Let’s review some of the most cited examples of “vestigial organs”, so claimed by evolutionists:
The Human Coccyx (Tailbone)
What happens when a scientist does not take to the indoctrination of Darwinian Evolution? Enter Dr. David Menton. Dr. Menton has a Ph.D. in cell biology from Brown University. He has a long and illustrious career as medical school professor earning the Silver Award for Basic Research from the American Academy of Dermatology. He was awarded the ‘Distinguished Service Teaching Award’ from Washington University School of Medicine in 1991, 1994, 1995, 1996, and 1997. Dr. Menton was named ‘Teacher of the Year’ at Washington University School of Medicine in 1979 and was elected ‘Professor of the Year’ by that same institution.
Dr. Menton has been a thorn in the flesh of those who try to brainwash and indoctrinate others into believing that Darwinian evolution is a fact of science. Why would a medical school professor become a thorn in the flesh of the evolutionary faithful? The reason is really very simple: because he boldly and unashamedly gives his students, and anyone else who is willing to listen, information that the evolutionary establishment will not disclose.
Dr. Menton responded to a clinical case report that appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine entitled, “Evolution and the Human Tail” by Dr. Fred Ledley. In his article, Dr. Ledley strongly implied that this growth (called a caudal appendage) was essentially a ‘human tail’, though he admitted that it had virtually none of the distinctive biological characteristics of a tail! (Menton 1994)
Dr. Menton corrected the erroneous statements of Darwinian scientists that the human tailbone was a vestigial structure and noted that “all true tails have bones in them that are a posterior extension of the vertebral column. Also, all true tails have muscles associated with their vertebrae which permit some movement of the tail” (Menton 1994). Rather than leaving the reader with the impression that the coccyx has no real function in human beings, Dr. Menton points out “that most modern biology textbooks give the erroneous impression that the human coccyx has no real function other than to remind us of the ‘inescapable fact’ of evolution. In fact, the coccyx has some very important functions. Several muscles converge from the ring-like arrangement of the pelvic (hip) bones to anchor on the coccyx, forming a bowl-shaped muscular floor of the pelvis called the pelvic diaphragm. The incurved coccyx with its attached pelvic diaphragm keeps the many organs in our abdominal cavity from literally falling through between our legs. Some of the pelvic diaphragm muscles are also important in controlling the elimination of waste from our body through the rectum” (Menton 1994).
But this is only one of the allegedly “100’s” of vestigial structures we are being told offer evidence of Darwinian evolution. What of the other three or four mentioned in our biology textbooks? We would not want our wisdom teeth, or those allegedly useless muscles that aid us in moving our ears and noses, to escape the scrutiny of simple logic. Or would we?
Muscles in our Ears and Noses
Would it surprise anyone that Darwin himself wrote on this very subject in his book The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex? Darwin questioned other experts in the field of anatomy to gain their insights into the reason that men, and several of their alleged ape-like ancestors, had lost the ability to move their ears in ways similar to other mammals. He attributes this to the ability that apes and men have to move their heads in a horizontal plane (emphasis added) allowing them to catch sounds from all directions (Darwin 1890). Why no questions about the ears of a Macaque monkey, and some other monkeys, that have far more developed ear muscles? These muscles enable them to focus towards sounds without using their much touted horizontal planes? Like a great deal of the evolutionary rhetoric, things are just stated in support of the theory and most other non-supportive information is simply excluded.
That takes us to the other example from our 1999 biology text book: our wisdom teeth. Jonathan Safarti has earned a B.Sc. (Hons.) in Chemistry (with condensed matter and nuclear physics papers substituted) and a Ph.D. in Spectroscopy (Physical Chemistry) from Victoria University at Wellington. Dr. Safarti addresses this subject in his book entitled By Design: Evidence for Nature’s Intelligent Designer – the God of the Bible.
In the publication, Dr. Safarti explains that “wisdom teeth” is a popular term for our third molars, which often don’t develop properly. Instead, they can be impacted against their adjoining teeth, or partially erupt so the gum doesn’t form a bacterially-tight seal (leaving the tooth vulnerable to infection), or erupt crookedly and then cut the cheek frequently. Thus they are often removed (Safarti 2008).
Dr. Safarti reminds the reader that modern dentistry has identified the problem with wisdom teeth as being primarily linked to the diet in modern cultures. In non-technological cultures, impacted wisdom teeth are extremely rare as their tougher diet exercises their jaw muscles properly during chewing, thus helping the jaw to develop properly. The grittier diet also results in tooth wear, and the normal compensation for this loss of tooth surfaces is mesial migration (tooth movement towards the front of the mouth) making more room for the back molars. The modern diet fails both to provide the same jaw exercise, so the jaw doesn’t develop to full size, and to provide tooth wear that would enable them to avoid crowding (Bergman 1998).
When I sought to gain a broader perspective about these vestigial organs, I discovered at one time as many as 180 vestigial organs were claimed to exist (Wiedersheim 1895). Dr. Jerry Bergman offers some insight concerning the original 180 specimens. Dr. Bergman has two earned PhD’s. One in human biology, from Columbia Pacific University 1992 and one in measurement and evaluation, minor in psychology, Wayne State University 1976. He has a M.A. in Social Psychology from Bowling Green State University and another M.Ed. from Wayne State University. In his paper entitled “Do Vestigial Organs Exist in Humans,” Dr. Bergman claims that the original list published in 1890 had shrunk down to 0 by 1999 (Bergman 2000).
The Wings of Flightless Birds
Much to my surprise, on the very same web publication that announced the possible removal of the appendix from the vestigial structure/organ list, AOL’s Live Science, I came across Brandon Miller’s Top Ten Useless Limbs (and other Vestigial Organs) list (Miller 2009). Miller begins his countdown with the ‘wings of flightless birds.’ What Mr. Miller fails to include in his support of Darwinian Theory is the fact that there are other explanations concerning these apparently useless structures.
There is more than one explanation for wings that do not produce flight. Even if the wings of these flightless birds are indeed ‘useless’ for purposes of flight, and even if they were derived from birds that once could fly, this does not falsify the creationist’s model. Loss of feathers is relatively easy by natural processes, whereas acquisition of new complex characters, requiring specific DNA information, is impossible. Loss of wings most probably occurred in a beetle species that colonized a windy island. Again, this is a loss of genetic information, so it is not evidence for microbe-to-man evolution, which requires masses of new genetic information (Wieland 1997).
Secondly, the wings of these flightless birds have a function. Some possible functions, depending on the species of flightless bird, are: balance while running, cooling in hot weather, protection of the rib-cage in falls, mating rituals, scaring predators (emus will run at perceived enemies of their chicks, mouth open and wings flapping), sheltering of chicks, etc. If wings are useless, why are the muscles functional, allowing these birds to move their wings (Safarti 2008)?
It might be helpful if those who espouse Darwinian evolution to be a fact of science honestly gave us all the information, pro and con, and then allowed open discussion and academic debate to rule the day. It seems that asking the evolutionary faithful to allow all the evidence to be heard is no longer an option. Rather than talking about different ways to interpret the data, the evolutionary establishment refuses to even allow any alternate or conflicting opinions to be heard.
Hind Leg Bones in Whales
The ninth in Miller’s countdown is ‘hind leg bones in whales’. Mr. Miller begins his review of this alleged vestigial structure with the ‘just so’ story of vertebrate evolution. He describes the story of how fish might have become the first land lovers by developing hips and legs and walking out of the water. Then, for no particular reason I can understand, Mr. Miller tells us that this evidently fickle process of evolution caused these one time ‘refugees from the ocean’ to go back into the water. By this process, we are told aquatic mammals allegedly came into existence. Then “despite their apparent uselessness, evolution left traces of hind legs behind, and these vestigial limbs can be seen in the modern whale” (Miller 2009).
While the proponents of Darwinian evolution hold up the fossil evidence for whale evolution as one of the best examples of Darwin’s theory in the fossil record, the reality is far different from the hype. It is good to keep in mind that most paleontologists believe that a single-celled organism evolved from inorganic matter and continued to evolve into virtually every living organism that lives today, ever has lived in the past, or ever will in the future live on planet Earth. There is real debate, even among the evolutionary faithful, concerning whale evolution.
Dr. Carl Werner is a medical physician and the author of Evolution: The Grand Experiment. In this book, Dr. Werner interviews many of the leaders in the field of paleontology seeking real answers to the questions concerning evolution. In the chapter devoted to the fossil record of whales, Dr. Werner personally interviews several leaders in the field of whale evolution and discovers that the alleged ancestry of whales is not as unanimous as the evolutionary faithful might want us to think. There are some glaring problems with the evolution of whales, not the least of which is the fact that all whales are carnivores. Even the large filter-feeding baleen whales eat small crustacean animals called krill. Evolution scientists have chosen meat-eating land mammals such as the cat-like Sinonyx or the hyena-like Pachyaena, as the land animal precursor of whales, because of the similarities of the meat-eating teeth when compared to teeth of the oldest fossil whales (Werner 2007).
Even though a comparison of teeth is often used to trace evolutionary ancestry, in recent times DNA has been used to search for links in the phylogenetic history of living organisms. This was the case in Tokyo when researchers at the Tokyo Institute found evidence that hippopotamus DNA is the closest match to the DNA of whales when compared to all other mammal groups (Werner 2007).
But what of those alleged remnants of hips in whales? Dr. Jonathan Safarti echoes the opinions of his fellow creationists, Bergman and Howe, when he explains that many evolutionists support whale evolution by alleging that there are vestigial hind legs buried in their flesh. However, these so-called ‘remnants’ are not useless at all, but help strengthen the reproductive organs — the bones are different in males and females. So they are best explained by creation, not evolution (Safarti 1999).
There continues to be a myth that some whales have been discovered with hind legs complete with thigh and knee muscles. Dr. Carl Wieland spent much time and effort tracking down this evolutionary ‘urban legend’. In his article entitled “The Strange Tale of the Leg on the Whale,” Dr. Wieland traced the origin of this myth to a book by Dr. R. Baker in which Dr. Baker writes:
‘And every once in a while a modern whale is hauled in with a hind leg, complete with thigh and knee muscles, sticking out of its side. These atavistic hind legs are nothing less than throwbacks to a totally pre-whale stage of their existence, some fifty million years ago.’ (Baker 1986)
In an effort to document Dr. Baker’s source, Dr. Carl Wieland arranged for a colleague to contact Dr. Baker and track down the source for the statement concerning the whale-leg appendage. Dr. Baker indicated that the source for this was Everhard Johannes Slijper (1907–1968). Slijper was professor of general zoology at Amsterdam University, Netherlands and he was the world’s leading authority on whales. In chapter 2 of his classic work is entitled Evolution and External Appearance, he talks about a bone in whales that he calls the ‘pelvic bone’, which is some 30 centimeters (12 inches) long, “but unlike the pelvis of normal mammals, it is not attached to the vertebral column.” This bone serves as an anchorage for the male reproductive organs. Slijper goes on to say that sometimes “another small bone may be attached to it.” Being an evolutionist, he naturally interprets this smaller piece of bone as a throw-back to the femur, or thigh bone, of the whale’s evolutionary ancestor. However, he states that in these occasional cases, the bone in question is generally 2.5 cm (just over an inch) in length, and that it is sometimes ‘fused’ with the pelvic bone (Wieland 1998).
The attempt to further track down the alleged whale with a “hind leg, complete with thigh and knee muscles, sticking out of its side,” brought Dr. Wieland to write: “the closest thing to the claim which launched our pursuit of this whole trail is where Slijper states, ‘Thus, at Ayukawa Whaling Station (Japan), a Sperm Whale was brought in 1956, with a 5-inch tibia projecting into a 5½-inch “bump,” and a Russian factory ship in the Bering Sea had a similar experience in 1959.’ No photo is provided.”
Ignoring – for the moment – the purely anecdotal nature of the evidence, what is it that is being claimed? Sperm whales are massive — up to about 19m (62 feet) long. A 14 cm (5.5 inch) ‘bump’ on its side would look like an almost unnoticeable pimple. Inside the bump is a piece of bone, some 12.5 cm (5 inches) ‘long’. There is no evidence given of anything which could reasonably be called a ‘leg’. Slijper calls the bone inside the ‘bump’ a ‘tibia’. But we have already seen that it doesn’t take much for evolutionary believers to label abnormal pieces of bone in ways to fit their naturalistic religion (Wieland 1998).
So the search for photographic evidence of an atavistic leg, dangling uselessly from the underbelly of a whale, ends in failure. The reason such myths find a home in Darwinian theory, is due to the fact that ‘just so’ stories rarely provide any substantive evidence. Whether it the atavistic leg in whales or the prehensile tails in neonates, looks can indeed be deceiving, especially if the entire theory is based upon a faulty premise.
Erector Pili and Body Hair
Erector Pili are smooth muscle fibers that are responsible for giving human skin a bumpy appearance normally referred to as goose bumps. The evolutionary establishment sees all evidence through the lens of Darwinian spectacles. The conclusions they reach are affected by their chosen paradigm of naturalism. Therefore, they see absolutely no reason for humans to have goose bumps. While the small size of these miniature muscles make them likely targets for evolutionists, Dr. Menton reminds us that the size of these structures should not be any indication of their usefulness to the organism. As is the case with all allegedly vestigial organs, not understanding their current function does not mean that they have no function, e.g. the now non-vestigial tonsils and appendix.
We are reminded by Dr. Menton, while virtually all of the larger muscles of the body have obvious (as well as some not so obvious) mechanical functions, smaller muscles are not necessarily useless. For example, two of the smallest muscles in the body, the stapedius and the tensor tympani, serve to dampen the movements of the auditory ossicles and the tympanic membrane (respectively) preventing loud sounds from overloading these delicate structures of the middle ear. In general, most small, short muscles of the body produce fine adjustments in the movement of larger muscles (Menton 2000).
With an almost perfunctory statement alluding to the eyebrow being the only worthy statement of function for body hair, the proponent of the ‘Top Ten Vestigial Organs’ goes on to say that, aside from the possible aesthetic qualities influencing sexual attraction, “all the rest of the hair, though, is essentially useless” (Miller 2009).
Here is where the obvious influence of Darwinian thought starts to resemble anti-science. It may very well be a problem on both sides of the debate, that is, coloring our interpretation of the data through our individual worldview rather than looking at all the evidence independent of bias. However, Creationists and Intelligent Design theorists are willing to look at all the possibilities without automatically excluding any of them. We see how the concept of ‘molecules to men’ evolutionary thinking, and their unswerving allegiance to naturalism, clouds the minds of the evolutionary faithful and colors all of their conclusions. They will inevitably assume that man shares a common ancestor with other primates. Primates are usually very hairy; therefore, man must have lost his hair, because he no longer needed it. This is why goose bumps are seen as a rudimentary vestige of our furry relatives, puffing themselves up to appear larger to predators or generating warmth in particularly cold circumstances.
It may be too easy to play devil’s advocate with this subject, but just for a minute indulge me. First of all, is human hair really degenerating fur, lost to eons of clothing and improvements in central heating? Can eyebrows, and the ability to grow the hair on our heads longer than other body hair really be traced back to the sexual mores of our alleged furry forefathers, as those ‘wise of all’ scientists – the proponents of evolutionary psychology – tell us? Is it really as cut and dried as fur and hair being the same thing?
Let’s look at the similarities and the differences between hair and fur. First of all, hair and fur have the same chemical composition. They are both made of keratin and when speaking of non-humans, the term “fur” is used to describe the coat of fur-bearing animals. The real difference between fur and hair is found in the core of the hair follicle. In the case of animals, the hair follicle allows for more insulation to coat the hair shaft. Human hair lacks this ability and therefore, it does not provide the same insulation and weather proofing that animal fur provides.
Another area of difference is in the growth patterns of fur versus hair. In humans, the hairs grow distinctively from one another without the typical, closely woven appearance of fur. Animal hair will fall out at a predetermined length, while some human hair, e.g. head hair, facial hair in men, etc., can be grown to considerable length. Animal hair seems to have double the composition of human hair and therefore, animal hair is much thicker than human hair.
Because evolutionary biology assumes common ancestry between animals and humans, these biologists automatically assume that similarities indicate common ancestry. This is why Creationists and Intelligent Design theorists cry foul when only one possible explanation is presented. Bible believing people see similarities in design as evidence of the ultimate Intelligent Designer, God. Man did not lose body hair as he made an evolutionary leap across time. Man was created with the God-given ability to be fruitful and multiply. He was not some Geico Neanderthal moving up the evolutionary ladder to modern man. The forever-missing link aside, man has reamined virtually unchanged since he was created in the Garden of Eden.
Some men are hairier than others. I remember the professional wrestler, ‘George the Animal Steele’, whose body hair was so thick he would have to shave it. It left him with what looked like a fur collar of body hair around his considerably thick neck. ‘The Animal’ walked with a stooped posture, a hairless head and a thick mat of natural fur-like hair on his exposed arms and torso. Wrestling broadcasters often speculated that The Animal was indeed “the missing link.” The fly in this proverbial ointment, as is usually the case, was the truth. George the Animal Steele was not the Neanderthal throwback his promoters presented to his Worldwide Wrestling Federation (WWF) fans. George was a teacher with both a bachelors and a master’s degree from Central Michigan University. George honed his skills in wrestling while serving as both a teacher and the amateur wrestling coach at Madison High School in Madison Heights, Michigan. In reality, George was nothing like his WWF persona. George was just an educator-turned-professional-wrestler who turned his extraordinary fur-like body hair into a successful show-biz shtick. In reality, George was not really a throwback to some long-lost evolutionary ancestor, any more than our human hair is the remnant of any long-lost evolutionary ape-like forefathers.
The Blind Fish Astyanax Mexicanus
The next in the line of the top ten vestigial organs is not really what it is being promoted to be. Like the ‘bait and switch’ tactic of the evolutionary faithful, adaptability is being promoted as evidence of the ‘molecules to men’ grand theory of evolution. Adaptability is not evidence of inorganic molecules forming themselves into organic molecules by natural selection and beneficial mutation. Adaptability is not evidence of a living single-celled microorganism that – contrary to all biogenetic law – is going to be able to produce new information allowing it to morph itself into every living creature that has ever lived, or will ever live, on planet Earth. This ability to transform one form of life into another is often referred to as “macro-evolution.” It is descriptive of the large and complex changes being postulated by Darwin’s theory.
Smaller changes can be produced by an incremental accumulation of genetic changes due to a loss of genetic information, or loss can occur due to atrophy. These are the types of changes that produce blind fish or blind salamanders, etc., and do not require new information to be generated. The ‘use it or lose it’ type of changes we observe are often referred to as “micro-evolution.” These are the horizontal changes within a species, e.g. the variety of species within canis familiaris from the Chihuahua to the Great Dane. These changes within the dog species are due to the incredible variety contained in the DNA; that is, information already contained therein and not newly created through natural selection and beneficial mutation. The ability to breed in and out certain genetic traits is far more indicative of special creation and Intelligent Design theory than Darwinian evolution. These changes are real, but not sufficient in nature to produce the vertical changes postulated by Darwinian Theory.
As noted previously, the fact that a fish, or other creature, may suffer the loss of ability in part, or the whole, of an organ or organ system is called atrophy, not evolution. The fact that muscles left unused will shrink with time and become virtually useless is not evidence of macro-evolution at all. It is even less supportive of adaptation, or micro-evolution. The loss of function is not necessarily traced back to loss of genetic information and, as modern genetics has clearly established, no major changes can be achieved without new genetic information being generated.
Another incredible truth concerning our blind fish is that scientists have been able to reverse their blindness, so the loss of sight was not even permanent. That raises another question. Can some of these losses, e.g. flightless birds and insects, be reversed? The answer, according to 2003 report in the Washington Post, is a resounding “yes” (Gugliotta 2003). The article went on to say how surprised these researchers were to discover that insects commonly known as ‘walking sticks,’ had evolved from winged to wingless and back again to winged. If is all sounds a bit confusing, don’t be alarmed. Darwinian Theory often sounds ridiculous when the ‘just so’ stories get told.
The Sexual Organs of Dandelions
Here is another example of the skewed thinking that permeates all evolutionary writing. The bait and switch tactic is used here again to imply that not using a particular organ, or ability, is change that is supportive of macroevolution. This ‘use it or lose it’ scenario sounds a lot like Lamarckism, a debunked theory named for the French biologist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (1744–1829) who postulated that certain traits in an organism (occurring during the life time of that organism) could be passed on to their offspring. Charles Darwin entertained this Lamarckian concept as a possible adjunct to natural selection (Desmond & Moore 1991).
The dandelion has the proper organs, e.g. the stamen and pistil, for sexual reproduction, but opts for asexual reproduction. This is seen as supportive of Darwin’s Theory even though, by Darwinian standards, sexual reproduction is considered superior for the proliferation of the species over asexual reproduction (Fisher 1975).
Dandelions are being held up as the ‘poster boy’ for asexual reproduction and evidence of vestigial structures. However, the fact remains that other organisms have this ability using both methods to reproduce, e.g. several species of algae, many protists and fungi, flora, and aphids along with some species of amphibians and reptiles, the hammerhead shark (Eilperin 2007) and the blacktip shark (Chapman et al. 2008).
So does the loss of an ability to reproduce sexually support Darwin’s Theory? When talking about dandelions, it is important to remember that although they evidently choose to reproduce asexually, the stamen and the anther of the dandelion remain intact and fully functional. Dandelions self-pollinate, they do not clone or bud, thereby offering an advantage that mere cloning or budding does not. Given the fact that most evolutionary biologists believe asexual reproduction preceded sexual reproduction, the loss of the ability to reproduce sexually is really evidence of devolution, not evolution (Miller and Levine 2004).
We have also been told that the beautiful flower of the dandelion is a vestigial structure, since the dandelion is no longer reproducing sexually. This is an interesting but flawed argument, because the flowers of the dandelion are not superfluous at all, when one considers the symbiotic relationships that undeniably exist in God’s creation. Dandelion leaves are more nutritious than anything you can buy in the local health food store. They’re higher in beta-carotene than carrots. The iron and calcium content is phenomenal, greater than spinach. You also get vitamins B-1, B-2, B-5, B-6, B-12, C, E, P, and D, biotin, inositol, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc by using a tasty, free vegetable that grows on virtually every lawn. The root contains the sugar inulin, plus many medicinal substances. Dandelion root is one of the safest and most popular herbal remedies. The specific name, Taraxacum officinale, implies that it’s used medicinally. The decoction is a traditional tonic that is supposed to strengthen the entire body, especially the liver and gallbladder, where it promotes the flow of bile, reduces inflammation of the bile duct, and helps get rid of gall stones. It is good for chronic hepatitis, reduces liver swelling and jaundice, and helps indigestion caused by insufficient bile. Don’t use it with irritable stomach or bowel, or if you have an acute inflammation (Morrow 1994).
Fake Sex in Virgin Whiptail Lizards (Vestigial Behavior)
Coming in as number 3, is a species of lizard designated genus Cnemidophorus. The females of this particular species do not need the males, because they reproduce by parthenogenesis. Parthenogenesis is a form of reproduction in which an unfertilized egg develops into a new individual. Despite the fact that it is unnecessary and futile to attempt copulation with each other, the lizards still like to try, and occasionally one of the females will start to act like a male by attempting to copulate with another female. Evolutionists say these lizards evolved from a sexual species and the behavior to copulate like a male – to engage in fake sex – is a vestigial behavior; that is, a behavior present in a species, but expressed in an imperfect form, which in this case is useless (Miller 2009).
The Whiptails are not the only parthenogenic organisms on the planet. This form of asexual reproduction is also found in some fishes, several varieties of insects, and a few species of frogs and lizards. The largest lizard known to exhibit this form of reproduction is the female Komodo dragon. Unlike the whiptails, Komodo dragons continue to be able to reproduce sexually. Unlike their smaller cousins – the Whiptails – who always produce female offspring, Komodo dragons that reproduce asexually only produce males.
Unlike our evolutionary counterparts, we do not see everything through the lens of Darwinian spectacles. Evolution assumes in the case of the Whiptail lizard, that the ability to reproduce asexually via parthenogenesis is the result of evolutionary change. This is an assumption that is not consistent throughout Darwinian Theory.
The standard view is that the oldest life forms are cyanobacteria that have a photosynthetic capability, survive and thrive in anaerobic conditions, and allegedly arose in the aquatic primordial soup of primitive Earth approximately 3.5 billion years ago. I like to call this “the original ‘just so’ story of evolution. Cyanobacteria belong to a relatively new category of organisms called Archaea (Jarrell et al. 1999) and are commonly referred to as blue-green algae.
Under normal circumstances, blue-green algae reproduce asexually, thrive without oxygen, and can endure extreme temperatures in aquatic environments. These are some of the reasons they are considered the most primitive form of bacteria on the planet. Included in this category are the thermophiles that thrive in conditions considered primordial by today’s standards. The dirty little secret is that microorganisms – including some species of blue-green algae – reproduce both sexually and asexually, but when it comes to evolutionary theory, the details don’t seem to matter that much.
The writer of our top ten focuses on the fact that female Whiptails still occasionally act like males attempting a sexual union with other females. Creationists would theorize that Whiptails were created to reproduce both ways and eventually, through natural selection, they completely switched over to asexual reproduction. That does not mean that instinctual behaviors intended to allow these creatures to “be fruitful and multiply” would completely disappear, hence the occasional female acting like a male and attempting sexual reproduction with another female. So, yes, in this case we do seem to have a “vestigial” behavior if we define “vestige” purely to mean a “leftover” or trace evidence of something that once existed, but it is certainly not a leftover of any evolutionary process. Rather, it is a behavior that signifies a useful trait that once existed in a more fully-endowed population, and has been lost forever in the degenerated form of the whiptail that survives today.
Intelligent Design theorists would say much the same, noting that both forms of reproduction are intended to propagate the species in question. Although it is considered more beneficial for the health of a species to reproduce sexually, e.g. twice the genetic information, less inbreeding, etc., some creatures have not benefited as much from sexual reproduction. For example, parthenogenesis is forced on some species of wasps when they become infected with bacteria, as in the genus Wolbachia (Nair 2007).
With all the details of the evolution of microorganisms aside, the trace memories of sexual reproduction among a now (but not always) asexually reproducing species of lizard, hardly confirm this practice as evidence of upward change, e.g. Darwinian evolution.
Male Breast Tissue and Nipples
Here our top ten list becomes almost comical. Our writer states that both men and women have nipples, because in early stages of fetal development an unborn child is effectively sexless. It is true of all neonates that nipples are present in both males and females, and it is only in a later stage of fetal development that the more overt signs of sex differentiation are evident in the fetus. All mammals, male and female, have mammary glands. Our top ten list compiler notes, if male nipples are truly vestigial; they may perform a small role in sexual stimulation and a small number of men have been able to lactate. However, he claims they are not fully functional and, because cancer can grow in male or female breast tissue, the tissue can be dangerous (Miller 2009).
The initial statement concerns the pathway that decides the sexual identity of a fetus. The author of the top ten list seems willfully ignorant when he implies that the sex of a child is determined solely by hormonal secretions. Not one mention of the genetic factors involved in sex determination is offered or even alluded to. The fact that some male breast tissue has been known to lactate indicates that these anatomical features still function as originally designed. Sexual stimulation, for some reason, is not really a sufficient function according to our evolutionary friends.
Dr. Jonathan Safarti asks: what is the evolutionist’s explanation for male nipples? Did males evolve (or devolve) from females? Or did ancestral males suckle the young? No evolutionist would propose either of these options. He concludes that male nipples are neither evidence for evolution nor evidence against creation (Safarti 2008).
Remembering that both men and women are made in God’s image, should give us some insight into why some features are common to both the genders. However, we must remember that evolution leaves no room for an Intelligent Designer, much less an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent God.
The Human Appendix
There it was! The number one allegedly vestigial organ in our top ten list: the human appendix. Yet this was the organ that is being demoted off the list of so-called vestigial organs and appeared in the Live Science.com article that suggested it was not really vestigial at all (Choi 2009). As we noted in the opening paragraph of this article, Live Science reported:
“Maybe it’s time to correct the textbooks,” said researcher William Parker, an immunologist at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. “Many biology texts today still refer to the appendix as a ‘vestigial organ.”
Our top ten promoter opines, in plant-eating vertebrates, the appendix is much larger and its main function is to help digest a largely herbivorous diet. The human appendix is a small pouch attached to the large intestine where it joins the small intestine and does not directly assist digestion. Biologists believe it is a vestigial organ, left behind from a plant-eating ancestor. Then Mr. Miller states in a monumental example of bogus reasoning, in 2000 there were nearly 300,000 appendectomies performed in the United States, and 371 deaths from appendicitis. Any secondary function that the appendix might perform certainly is not missed in those who had it removed before it might have ruptured.
Aside from the attempt to prove an organ vestigial, because it might become infected and result in death, not all the scientists agree with this view. As we noted earlier, Dr. David Menton has a Ph.D. in cell biology from Brown University. Dr. Menton has had a long and distinguished career teaching medical students anatomy and physiology. Dr. Menton provides the following information on the allegedly vestigial organ called the appendix.
The appendix, like the once “vestigial” tonsils and adenoids, is a lymphoid organ (part of the body’s immune system) which makes antibodies against infections in the digestive system. Believing it to be a useless evolutionary “left over,” many surgeons once removed even the healthy appendix whenever they were in the abdominal cavity. Today, removal of a healthy appendix under most circumstances would be considered medical malpractice (Menton 1994).
So, the list of vestigial organs continues to shrink. The more we discover about our great God and Savior, Messiah Jesus, the more we stand in awe of His creative abilities. The more true science looks at the universe, the more evidence piles up in support of special creation. Today we are seeing the cracks in the foundation supporting Darwinian Evolution. One by one the pillars are giving way to true science and the warning of the Apostle Paul to his son in the faith, Timothy, becomes all the more timely:
- See more at: http://www.creationstudies.org/Education/vestigal_organs.html#Organs
Steven Rowitt, Th.M., Ph.D.
Baker, R. (1986). The Dinosaur Heresies: A Revolutionary View of Dinosaurs, U.K. edition, Longman Group, Essex, 1986; published in USA as The Dinosaur Heresies: New Theories Unlocking the Mystery of the Dinosaurs and their Extinction, Morrow, New York, 1986. p. 317.
Bergman, Jerry (1998). Are wisdom teeth (third molars) vestiges of human evolution? J. Creation 12(3):297-304.
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Menton, David (1994). Ibid.
Menton, David (1994). Ibid. This version accessed September 8, 2009 at http://www.jesus-is-lord.com/evoltail.txt.
Menton, David (2000). The plantaris and the question of vestigial muscles. Answering the critics. CEN Technical Journal 14(2) 2000.
Miller, Brandon (2009). Top Ten Useless Limbs (and other Vestigial Organs). Live Science. at http://www.livescience.com/animals/top10_vestigial_organs.html on August 25, 2009.
Miller, Brandon (2009). Ibid. Whale evolution.
Miller, Brandon (2009). Ibid. Erector Pili and body hair.
Miller, Brandon (2009). Ibid. Fake sex in virgin Whiptail lizards.
Miller, Brandon (2009). Ibid. Male breast tissue and nipples.
Miller, Kenneth, R., Levine, Joseph (2004). Biology. Glossary, Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Pearson Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ. p.1104.
Miller, Kenneth, R., Levine, Joseph (2004). Ibid. Similarities in embryology. p. 385.
Miller, Kenneth, R., Levine, Joseph (2004). Ibid. Evolution of protists. p. 498.
Morrow, William (1994). Identifying and Harvesting Edible Plants in Wild (and Not-So-Wild) Places. Harper Collins Publishers, New York.
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Safarti, Jonathan (2008). By Design: Evidence for Nature’s Intelligent Designer – the God of the Bible. Creation Book Publishers. Powder Springs, GA. p 204.
Safarti, Jonathan (2008). Ibid. Flightless birds. Ibid. p. 205-206.
Safarti, Jonathan (2008). Ibid. Flightless birds. Ibid. p. 206.
Safarti, Jonathan (2008). Ibid. Why do males have nipples? p. 206.
Safarti, Jonathan (1999). Refuting Evolution. Whale evolution. Master Books. Brisbane,
Australia. p 77. Footnote – J, Bergman and G. Howe. “Vestigial Organs” are Fully Functional, Creation Science Society Monograph No. 14.
Schraer, William D., Stoltze, Herbert J. (1999). Biology. Evidence of evolution. Prentice Hall Pub. Upper Saddle River, NJ. p. 583.
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Werner, Carl (2007). Ibid. Originally retrieved from Science News on Line on September 29, 2006 at http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_ml1200/is_19_156/ai_57828404. On page 3 of the on-line article, Dr. Monastersky quotes Dr. Norhiro Okada, a Biologist and Professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology: “I am one hundred percent confident with the conclusion that most the most closely related species to whales, among extant mammals, is the hippo.”
Wiedersheim, R (1985). The Structure of Man: An Index to His Past History. 2nd Edition. Translated by H. and M. Bernard. London: Macmillan and Co. 1985. Originally
Wiedersheim postulated 86 vestigial structures in 1983 but expanded it to no less than 180 vestiges in later publications.
Wieland, Carl (1997). Beetle bloopers: even a defect can be an advantage sometimes. Creation 19(3):30.
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Wieland, Carl (1998). Ibid. – See more at: http://www.creationstudies.org/Education/vestigal_organs.html#Organs