Home » The Design of Life » Vestigial organs, anyone? The humble appendix begs to differ

Vestigial organs, anyone? The humble appendix begs to differ

Despite its name – which means “hanger on” – the human appendix works for a living, according to recent research (helping kill germs).

As British physicist David Tyler notes, despite the claim of evolutionary biologists from Darwin to the present day that the appendix is junk left over from evolution, the appendix actually has a function – and the current crop of evolutionary biologists try hard to avoid acknowledging that they were wrong about that.

He comments,

It might be hoped that Darwinian evolutionary biologists would acknowledge that errors have been made; that Darwin’s claim for the appendix being useless was a claim made from ignorance rather than knowledge; that their theory had coloured their understanding of the data; etc. But no – what we get is this response to the new research: “The idea “seems by far the most likely” explanation for the function of the appendix, said Brandeis University biochemistry professor Douglas Theobald. “It makes evolutionary sense.”In other words, whatever turns out to be the case, their theory got it right, even though their theory got it completely wrong. Or, as Tyler puts it

It should be remembered that functionality was the prediction of biologists with a creation or design mentality, and it was not the prediction of evolutionary biologists. On this occasion, the people with a design perspective were right and the Darwinians were wrong. Let’s remember this next time we hear creation or ID being decried as being unable to make any scientific predictions!

But who said science predictions had to be correct? All they have to be is … made by convinced Darwinists!

They are somewhat like a Gucci label, I guess. They confer or withhold status, NOT useful information about the design of life.

  • Delicious
  • Facebook
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter
  • RSS Feed

76 Responses to Vestigial organs, anyone? The humble appendix begs to differ

  1. I found this quote:

    “The thyroid gland, pituitary gland, thymus, pineal gland, and coccyx, … once considered useless by evolutionists, are now known to have important functions. The list of 180 “vestigial” structures is practically down to zero. Unfortunately, earlier Darwinists assumed that if they were ignorant of an organ’s function, then it had no function.”
    Tornado in a Junkyard, the Relentless Myth of Darwinism by James Perloff

    I wonder Ms O’Leary, Are there any more vestigial organs left that have not been discovered to have purpose?

    As well, thanks to the work of ENCODE, It seems that the Human Genome is well on its way to finding 100% functionality of very impressive complexity,,,I wonder,,Do evolutionists even mention junk DNA anymore?

  2. God don’t make no junk, BA.

    I hope you are paying attention to the way that folks that speak the Word are treated around here. If I had to hazard a guess, I might surmise that you are next my friend. This comment probably won’t last long, since Solon was banned silently and no notice given to the rest of the board, it could just as easily have happened to you. One minute you are in the photo in the wall, the next minute the photo is retouched and you never existed.

    It is a bit orwellian for my calvinist tastes. I am wondering what is the point of ID if it means that I have to throw in lots with folks that I KNOW are wrong about the first principles of ID. How can that get us anywhere, particularly when we define ‘where’ to be saving souls for Christ? What good is it to lie with dogs only to pick up fleas? I am desperately searching for someone here at UD that seems to understand that ID will fail if it does not have the blessing of God, and that is entirely predicated upon the obedience of those working on ID to the Word of God. Denying the word will only reap suffering and destruction.

  3. Man, the puppets are theatrical.

    As to the OP, I remember reading some of the fallout commentary on the appendix discovery at pandasthumb. Along the lines of, ‘Well, maybe the germ-killing ability was one of two functions the appendix served. And since there’s not as much of a germ worry in the first world (which is why there’s less appendicitis in less develope countries), it’s now DOUBLY vestigal! Ha!’

  4. @ Lazarus

    “I am desperately searching for someone here at UD that seems to understand that ID will fail if it does not have the blessing of God, and that is entirely predicated upon the obedience of those working on ID to the Word of God. Denying the word will only reap suffering and destruction.”

    Look no further my friend – I agree with you (and I’m also a 5 Beautiful Point Calvinist at that :P)

    I also struggled with what you’re going through too that’s why I realized ID’s main goal putting Science back in its right place … SCIENCE.

    I believe God created the world and that true science will show designer. I also, believe atheists should even admit that the science by itself, points to a creator and that we should work within the ID paradigm.

    I share the Gospel when reaching unbelievers, and hopefully ID is good jumping point like where concrete predictions such as the appendix or junk DNA (see Behe vs Miller, but ultimately (ID) is a secular movement and I want it to be biology’s reigning paradigm. That is why you can have a Catholic (O’Leary), a 5 pt Calvnist(me), a follower of Sun Myung Moon (Wells), and a Jew (Klinghoffer) hold hands. (sorta like on pro-life and traditional marriage)

    Why do I say this? B/c I think we should rely solely on the Gospel to win souls I mean look at the 4 aforementioned different religions with different paths to salvation, but use ID. We as Evangelicals must use the Gospel to win souls that is the crucial factor, though IDs help (cf. 1 Peter 3:15) in illuminating the truth doesn’t hurt. :)

  5. bornagain77, My foot doctor says toe nails serve no function. According to him the idea that they somehow protect the toe is illusory, and their only purpose is to get infected. I disagree, but I guess that would be another supposed vestigial part still on the list.

  6. Hi Denyse,
    Off topic –
    How ’bout them ‘Riders?

  7. Even if certain organs were genuinely vestigial, they would be evidence of devolution, or decay, not evolution, or progress. Where are the emergent/incipient organs, which should be ubiquitous in all living things if Darwinian gradualism is the case?

  8. Eek. Please. Leave God out of ID.

    …and yeah, there are profound metaphysical implications. So be it. Scott Minich. UTMOL

    That should be the extent of “God” and ID being mentioned in the same sentence in the “secular” world. In an apologetics class, different story, but ID must stand on its own merits and nothing else.

  9. Lol.

    god = creationism = ID

    You can’t possibly separate the terms depending on one’s locations i.e. “‘secular’ world or apologetics class’”.

  10. What would be most interesting about the research is whether the scientists working on the appendix are ID supporters.

    It seems that you guys have just latched onto somebody else’s research and claimed it as your own

  11. Again lol.

    Misrepresentation of facts and ideas.

    The post would have one believe that a vestigial organ has no function whatsoever. ‘Junk’ it seems would be the official definition by evolutionists.

    A quick cross reference of the topic led me to http://www.talkorigins.org/faq.....endix.html

    which reveals a different perspective. It appears a more accurate evolutionary definition would be “evolutionary vestiges are, technically, any diminished structure that previously had a greater physiological significance in an ancestor than at present.”

    Dr. Theobald then goes on to say “these vestigial structures may have functions of some sort” and “vestiges can be functional, and speculative arguments against vestiges based upon their possible functions completely miss the point.”

    So it seems, from what I can tell, that vestigial status has nothing whatsoever to do with an organs current function in an individual. The term vestigial can only be applied when comparing a feature to a homologous partner.

  12. god = creationism = ID

    You can’t possibly separate the terms depending on one’s locations i.e. “’secular’ world or apologetics class’”.
    ====
    naturalism = materialism = Darwinsim

    Dave557– You can’t possibly separate the terms depending on one’s presuppositoinal bias, which generates the equation:

    nothing + time + chance = everything.

    Darwinists claim to be free of philosophical influences, which is patently false.

  13. Well, whether that is true or not, you are deflecting the issue. Again lol.

  14. jpark my point is that i disagree with your notion that ‘true science will show the designer’.

    This is because we live in a fallen state. All that man can do is stumble around in this dark and smoky cave and put names on things and perhaps figure out how to use them to sin, but he can never discover the designer. We know who the designer is because He told us. Not because of some silly germs that no one has ever seen before, and we are doing wrong to emphasize these things over the Gospel!!!

    this is the most important thing in this world. and jpark if you know this too, then you are sinning against God by going along with a cause that Denies Him, even if in your heart you know it is true.

  15. My wife had an emergency appendectomy last week. The thing was completely obliterated. The surgeon had to remove what was left of it and then essentially pressure-wash her insides. Bad situation. Poor lady is sore as can be.

    Anyway, I hope it wasn’t too important. :)

  16. So I guess I was wrong when I argued to my family that ID is not a religious thing, but a scientific thing. Maybe I was wrong?

  17. Scott: “Anyway, I hope it wasn’t too important. ”

    In this day and age one can easily re-infect onesself with the proper beneficial colonic bacteria. Just eat some yogurt every day for couple of weeks, and if she can’t handle that, get some acidophilus capsules at your local health food store. (In the refrigerated section.)

  18. Scott,

    The yogurt must have living cultures in it. Some of the crap at the supermarket does not. Dannon is fine, if you have access to that.

  19. Lazarus,
    I mean what am I supposed to say to people when they accuse intelligent design theory of just being motivated by a religious agenda, especially when they can point to your post? ID is strictly Calvinist perhaps? Christian? Monotheist?
    Naturalism is wrong, but if we argue that it is God or nothing in ID, then fewer people will accept ID.

  20. I’ve suspected the appendix had an immune system function ever since medical school when I found out it was full of lymph tissue. The anatomy professor discounted this surmise at the time.

    Any body part can become infected to the point it has to be removed. This does not mean the part had no purpose.

  21. The only thing truly vestigial these days is Darwinism.

  22. Collin, it doesn’t matter at all if they accept ID, it does matter if they accept Christ.

    This is my entire point that I have been trying to make here and I have been banned and called a sockpuppet or not a good christian (See Kairosfocus’ comments about not understanding the bible).

    Naturalism is no more wrong than any other religion than Christ. Emphasizing the wrong things to sinners is a sin.

    I am quite dismayed when theologians like Dr Dembski lose sight of the important part of the ID message: the Designer is Jesus and He Loves You and wants to forgive your sins, but you must first accept you are a sinner that needs salvation.

    If our theologians aren’t interested in winning souls for Christ, we are in a bad way. And we don’t need science to help us fix it.

  23. Borne [21],

    By that you imply it once has some useful function :)

  24. Acquiesce: Indeed it did, it served as a great example of bad science.

  25. “I wonder Ms O’Leary, Are there any more vestigial organs left that have not been discovered to have purpose?”

    How about the brain of a Darwinist. It once had a function: to understand life, but can no longer think rationally, and can only understand what it sees in front of its face.

  26. Boy! You just can’t please everyone!!

    Why must ID be solely a proselytization tool for one religion? Does that mean all of science belongs to that religion? Would you be willing to share mechanics and electronics with infidels?

    Doesn’t the Designer send rain on the just and on the unjust? Where is there charity for all men? Has history taught us nothing? Absolutists of one religion would still kill unbelievers, and though Materialism killed its tens of millions in the 20th century, this does not excuse the inquisitions and pogroms of another great religion.

    ID differs from sectarian creationism in that its converts are a diverse breed who have been convinced by logic. It is not a cultural or social class phenomenon. Consider the churches. Those that represent a culture or social class will lack social and ethnic diversity, but those “cults” that challenge accepted beliefs (be they right or wrong) tend to attract a diverse crowd.

    And so it is with ID. ID questions authority on logical grounds. Though most ID proponents recognize the social and religious implications of this challenge, just as the hard-core atheists do, the thrust of their challenge is fact and reason. I sense that most ID proponents would abandon the fight if they thought the other side was right—this even though they might abhor the political, social, and cultural ramifications.

    Our elites don’t seem to care if you hold to stupid superstitions or weird conspiracy theories. I suppose the priesthood of past ages didn’t much care either if you believed in fairies and goblins and whatnot—what mattered was a challenge to core doctrines that were perceived as foundational to the priesthood’s power. If Darwinism were not pivotal to power nobody would care. Who cares if the plebs subscribe to fantasy or believe in lies? It’s when they challenge your authority that your neck stiffens. And if your power is rooted in a deception it stiffens all the more.

    ID wins on facts and logic. This is because the other side has as much passion as we do. They want what they want and we want what we want. It’s an impass broken only among those of us who really want to know the truth.

    And wanting to know requires a bit of humility—something that the absolutists on all sides tend to lack.

  27. dave557 (post 12)

    [quote]
    Dr. Theobald then goes on to say “these vestigial structures may have functions of some sort” and “vestiges can be functional, and speculative arguments against vestiges based upon their possible functions completely miss the point.”
    [/quote]

    Yes, Darwinists are always changing the definition of words. Lets go back to what Darwin originally said.

    [quote]
    Rudimentary organs, from being useless, will be disregarded by natural selection, and hence probably are variable.
    [/quote]

    http://www.literature.org/auth.....er-05.html

    [quote]
    Rudimentary organs are eminently variable; and this is partly intelligible, as they are useless, or nearly useless, and consequently are no longer subjected to natural selection.
    [/quote]

    http://www.ourcivilisation.com...../index.htm

    Turns out they were much more useful than Darwin predicted.

  28. No one missed the point, the point is that Darwin was wrong so evolutionists move goal posts to try and accommodate the fact that they were wrong. No one here is missing the point dave557, we get the point, Darwin was wrong so darwinists move goal posts, it’s that simple.

  29. More quotes from Darwin.

    [quote]
    With respect to the alimentary canal, I have met with an account of only a single rudiment, namely the vermiform appendage of the caecum. The caecum is a branch or diverticulum of the intestine, ending in a cul-de-sac, and is extremely long in many of the lower vegetable-feeding mammals. In the marsupial koala it is actually more than thrice as long as the whole body.* It is sometimes produced into a long gradually-tapering point, and is sometimes constricted in parts. It appears as if, in consequence of changed diet or habits, the caecum had become much shortened in various animals, the vermiform appendage being left as a rudiment of the shortened part. That this appendage is a rudiment, we may infer from its small size, and from the evidence which Prof. Canestrini*(2) has collected of its variability in man. It is occasionally quite absent, or again is largely developed. The passage is sometimes completely closed for half or two-thirds of its length, with the terminal part consisting of a flattened solid expansion. In the orang this appendage is long and convoluted: in man it arises from the end of the short caecum, and is commonly from four to five inches in length, being only about the third of an inch in diameter. Not only is it useless, but it is sometimes the cause of death, of which fact I have lately heard two instances: this is due to small hard bodies, such as seeds, entering the passage, and causing inflammation.*(3)
    [/quote]

    http://www.literature.org/auth.....er-01.html

    So basically, he says that the appendix is useless.

  30. Wasn’t there some ‘back’ specialist who, through his belief in darwinism, recommended some strange cures, such as walking around hunched over like our supposed ancestors?

  31. Bettawrekonize

    Darwin wrote what he wrote. Today we don’t use his original definition. The point of that isn’t that we are moving goal posts. Science is fluid, dynamic and in constant evolution. Please stop being so stupid

  32. Naturalistic fluidity: we were never wrong – but we are right now. And we don’t move the goal posts – we started out with them as wide as possible.

  33. Dave557,
    since you pick and choose which of Darwin’s statements are binding, could you please explain the process through which you determine which ones are relevant and which ones are not?
    Or is it solely based on which one’s are currently shown to be incorrect?
    In your response, please try to be alittle more thoughtful opposed to your ‘stupid’ response to Bettawrekonize.

  34. Why on Earth would ID refute the presence of vestigial organs in the human body?

    As I understand, some very prominent IDists, like Michael Behe, accept the theory of common descent. If so, then it would seem highly unlikely that all the organs that ever existed in precursor species going back to the dawn of life are as fully functional or useful today as they once were.

    There are cave-dwelling fish with vestigial eyes. Vestigial organs are a fact of life, and the fact that they exist is not a problem for ID. If it was, then ID would already be refuted.

  35. Tyke,
    Good point,,and, in fact, cave dwelling fish with vestigial eyes actually conforms to Genetic Entropy (loss of information) and does evolutionists no good whatsoever as far as proving their fantasy.

  36. Why on Earth would ID refute the presence of vestigial organs in the human body?

    The refutation is of vestigial organs as evidence for Darwinian evolution.
    If the Darwinists, beginning with Darwin himself, hadn’t touted their supposed non-function as evidence for their side, they would not be such an issue.
    And if they were intellectually honest, they would admit it when they were wrong. But religious fanatics of any stripe very rarely if ever do that.

  37. “Why on Earth would ID refute the presence of vestigial organs in the human body?”

    The idea of a vestigial (currently useless remnant of the past) organ could certainly be used to support the notion of a evolution as a blind process.
    One could argue that a front-loaded scenario should have been instituted with the foresight that would avoid the possibility of an organ that serves no purpose at all at a future evolutionary stage.
    A diminished role is very different than serving no role.

    “As I understand, some very prominent IDists, like Michael Behe, accept the theory of common descent.”

    Key word: some. You stated it yourself. However, because Behe accepts common descent doesn’t mean he accepts evolution via RM culled by NS.

    “If so, then it would seem highly unlikely that all the organs that ever existed in precursor species going back to the dawn of life are as fully functional or useful today as they once were.”

    Again, key words: AS fully functional and AS useful. You understand the difference between a diminished role opposed to no role?

  38. So let me get this straight. Darwin said that these rudimentary organs are “useless, or nearly useless”. But, doesn’t that equate to a vestigial organ may or may not have a function?

    But you tell me I should take Darwin’s words as the gospel. What He wrote I or no scientists can challenge. No, that’s the difference between science and religion.

    Darwin was not wrong. A vestigial organ may or may not have a function. It is only a vestigial organ when its function is compared to a homologous organ in a related animal. So whether or not the appendix functions in humans, is does not function at the same physiological level as other organisms appendices.
    That’s not moving goalposts. Darwin originally stated that some features have diminished or no function.

  39. It may be worth pointing out that, although Darwin thought the appendix itself useless, he fully admitted the existence of partially useful rudiments:

    Not one of the higher animals can be named which does not bear some part in a rudimentary condition; and man forms no exception to the rule. Rudimentary organs must be distinguished from those that are nascent; though in some cases the distinction is not eary. The former are either absolutely useless, such as the mammæ of male quadrupeds, or the incisor teeth of ruminants which never cut through the gums; or they are of such slight service to their present possessors, that we cannot suppose that they were developed under the conditions which now exist. Organs in this latter state are not strictly rudimentary, but they are tending in this direction.

    So, the appendix still has functions: big deal. It’s still a “rudimentary” organ in Darwin’s terms, as are wisdom teeth and nipples on men.

  40. If Bettawrekonize had read a little further on, he would have noticed Darwin and Theobald and I are all playing the same game of soccer

    Rudiments of various muscles have been observed in many parts of the human body; and not a few muscles, which are regularly present in some of the lower animals can occasionally be detected in man in a greatly reduced condition. Every one must have noticed the power which many animals, especially horses, possess of moving or twitching their skin; and this is effected by the panniculus carnosus. Remnants of this muscle in an efficient state are found in various parts of our bodies; for instance, the muscle on the forehead, by which the eyebrows are raised. Some few persons have the power of contracting the superficial muscles on their scalps; and these muscles are in a variable and partly rudimentary condition.

    How, does this differ from the state of the appendix?

  41. Sorry… the text, beggining from Rudiments and ending in condition comes from http://www.ourcivilisation.com...../index.htm

  42. Again, key words: AS fully functional and AS useful. You understand the difference between a diminished role opposed to no role?

    Of course I do, and vestigial does not mean “totally devoid of function”.

    Unless you accept young-Earth creationism or some form of progressive creationism (species popping into existence fully formed) then it is undeniable that millions of years ago, our ancestors had organs (e.g. gills) that are no longer present in our bodies. At some point before they vanished, they must have been vestigial organs.

    Behe is a stanch supporter of ID, and accepts common descent (I didn’t say he accepted natural selection). So he must agree that some organs have, over time, lost function to the point they have become vestigial, before disappearing.

  43. This brief article, from over at OE, is very relevant to this discussion:

    http://www.overwhelmingevidenc.....ent_design

  44. The argument is NOT that (alleged) vestigials do not have a function.

    The argument is that (alleged) vestigials don’t have the original function.

    That the human appendix now has the function it does shows the strength of evolutionary processes- that is evolution can take a part used for one thing and over X generations modify it and it will become used for something else.

    So there may have been a time when the appendix was totally useless. Then the explanation of why it hung around changes- that is the useless part rode a wave of other beneficial innovations. (useless does not mean detrimental)

    The problem with that is showing what the alleged original function was, as well as showing that some number of accumulated genetic accidents can account for the modifications.

  45. tyke: “At some point before they vanished, they must have been vestigial organs.”

    Not unless the the DNA was tweaked to make them disappear “overnight.”

    If aliens were governing the development of life here, I can imagine them utilizing viruses to make such sudden changes, where frontloading might have been an inappropriate method.

  46. Tyke you stated:

    our ancestors had organs (e.g. gills)

    And where do you get your proof for this fanciful conjecture?

    Haeckel’s Embryos?

    http://www.iconsofevolution.co.....p3?id=3071

    of special note:

    But Haeckel’s Biogenetic Law was discredited by embryologists in Darwin’s lifetime (Bowler 1989);
    recent work has shown that Haeckel’s drawings misrepresent the embryos they purport to show (Richardson
    et al. 1997); and Haeckel entirely omitted the earliest stages of development in which the various
    classes of vertebrates are morphologically very different
    (Elinson 1987). Biology teachers should be aware that Haeckel’s drawings do not fit the facts.

    In its most famous example, the law teaches that “gill slits”
    in vertebrate embryos reveal their common aquatic ancestry. But human embryos do not really have
    gills or gill slits: like all vertebrate embryos at one
    stage in their development, they possess a series of “pharyngeal pouches,” or tiny ridges in the neck
    region. In fish embryos these actually go on to form gills, but in other vertebrates they develop into totally unrelated structures such as the inner ear and parathyroid
    gland. The embryos of reptiles, birds and mammals never possess gills (Rager 1986).

    Jonathan Wells is a post-doctoral biologist in the Department
    of Molecular & Cell Biology,University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720
    and a fellow of The Discovery Institute, Seattle,

  47. Nascent structures would have been far more telling of evolution. However these would be unidentifiable due to the fact that any structure coming into existence would have (some) function – or it wouldn’t be selected.

  48. our ancestors had organs (e.g. gills)

    And where do you get your proof for this fanciful conjecture?

    I clearly stated that unless you are a young-Earth or progressive creationist, then given that there is overwhelming evidence that life started in Earth’s oceans, it stands to reason that our ancestors, via common descent, had gills.

    Ask Michael Behe. He does not argue against common descent, he simply objects to the mechanisms behind common descent as proposed by evolutionists.

    This is nothing to do with Haeckel. Since I suspect you are a creationist, I would expect you to disagree with me, but that doesn’t mean that ID cannot accommodate the notion of vestigial organs.

    Since we cannot identify the designer, or the methods the designer used, we cannot rule out the presence of vestigial organs as part of purposeful design. I’m not sure why that is so hard to understand.

  49. Well Tyke,
    Seeing as I see no way for information to occur by random processes, and all beneficial adaptations, to new environments, can be proven to be caused by loss of information, is not the Theistic model of ID/Genetic Entropy the most correct model to fit the evidence in the fossil record and the incoming genetic data?

    Plus, Since the genome is most likely to be proven by further work of ENCODE to be virtually 100% poly-functional, of outstanding complexity, does not this evidence make any supposed supplemental addition of information to genomes just mere fanciful conjecture on your part. i.e. 100% poly-functionality will preclude any such scenario, since the genome will be proven to be poly-constrained in its ability to accept any type of new information, beneficial or not.

    Just some food for thought buddy.

  50. tyke: “Since we cannot identify the designer, or the methods the designer used, we cannot rule out the presence of vestigial organs as part of purposeful design. I’m not sure why that is so hard to understand.”

    I would agree. The “leg” bones in whales obvious are not used by whales to walk around. They would seem to have a diminished use. They may not be absolutely required, but their presence may yet give a bit of extra strength to the animal. So nothing is wasted. Nothing is useless. Perfectly compatible with any view, IMO. Although, if RV+NS were the source of life from goo to you, I would expect lots of odd things in the species that are not there.

  51. 51

    dave557 wrote

    [blockquote]
    So let me get this straight. Darwin said that these rudimentary organs are “useless, or nearly useless”. But, doesn’t that equate to a vestigial organ may or may not have a function?

    Darwin was not wrong. A vestigial organ may or may not have a function.
    [/blockquote]

    Darwin said that these organs would be useless or so close to useless that they are no longer subject to natural selection. It turns out that they are much more useful than he had originally predicted. There are situations where natural selection would favor them (ie: people living in poor conditions in the example of the appendix). Darwin was wrong.

  52. 52

    tyke

    I clearly stated that unless you are a young-Earth or progressive creationist, then given that there is overwhelming evidence that life started in Earth’s oceans, it stands to reason that our ancestors, via common descent, had gills.

    Overwhelming speculation, but not evidence. There is a difference. Speculation != evidence.

  53. 53

    dave557

    Rudiments of various muscles have been observed in many parts of the human body; and not a few muscles, which are regularly present in some of the lower animals can occasionally be detected in man in a greatly reduced condition.

    (I’m stil trying to figure out how to quote people).

    The notion that these alleged rudimentary muscles are from lower animals and evolved into a greatly reduced condition in man assumes evolution to be true, it’s not itself evidence for evolution.

  54. Overwhelming speculation, but not evidence. There is a difference. Speculation != evidence.

    Well, since I know you are a staunch young-Earth creationist and believe that the geological column was created by Noah’s Flood in only a few months, I don’t expect you to agree, but any cursory examination of the fossil record in the geological column will reveal enough evidence to convince all but the most religiously biased that sea-going life was present millions of years before anything above bacterial forms lived on land.

    Since you reject everything that modern science tells us related to the age of the Earth, I see little point in discussing this evidence further.

  55. BTW, Betta. This is a ID site, not a young-Earth creationist site.

    Supposedly ID is a “big tent” in which creationists and non-creationists (in the classical meaning of the word) can reside.

    So lets not have all the discussions you get involved in devolve into a fight over Young-Earth Creationism, like I have seen happen with you in forums elsewhere.

  56. 56

    And to many other posters: Can we please discuss the modern version of evolutionary theory based on the latest research? Of the proposed models which is supported by the known physical evidence?

    Imagine if an ID proponent or creationist ever said something like this. “We once predicted one thing but that turned out to be false so now we’re “predicting” something else insetead. Lets discuss the modern version of ID/Creationism and not what it originally predicted.” How far do you suppose that will get them? I guess it’s ok for Darwinism to make false predictions and modify them later but not ID right?

    The problem with your post is that you’re basically admiting that if one alleged prediction or model of UCD is falsified then we must discard it and claim that UCD predicts something else instead. You are essentially admiting that UCD is unfalsifiable, if one prediction or model gets falsified we shouldn’t throw away UCD; instead, we should discard the old predictions and, “discuss the modern version of evolutionary theory.” IE: we should move the goal posts no matter what the evidence shows.

  57. 57

    ellazimm (57)
    “Can we please discuss the modern version of evolutionary theory based on the latest research?”

    Translation

    Can we please discuss evolution after the goal posts were moved? We know evolutionary theory before the goal posts were moved is wrong, so we moved the goal posts and I would like to discuss what’s wrong with the new goal posts. You know if new research were to destroy modern evolutionary theory, we would simply keep moving the goal posts and I would be saying this same thing over again.

  58. Bettawrekonize,

    You’re right. I’ll go further: Let’s discuss all science in terms of what was thought 150 years ago.

  59. ellazimm,

    You asked what is the new paradigm if there is one.

    The entire debate on evolution is about how does novelty arise in a population. Natural selection is a side show and can only operate on what is presented in a population in terms of novelty. No novelty, then very little change.

    So the change in evolutionary biology thinking that has taken place in the last 20 years is what mechanisms could generate novelty in the offspring of a population quickly. Allan MacNeill who is an evolutionary biologist and occasionally visits this blog has listed 47 mechanism for generating variation in the offspring of a population. This includes the simple mutation to one of the DNA nucleotides called a SNP or single nucleotide polymorphisms.

    So when MacNeill says Darwinism is dead, he means changes by gradual means of simple mutations or a couple mutations in the DNA are out because they can not explain what has happened in the fossil record. However, these 47 mechanisms are only models and there is no empirical evidence to support that any of them ever generated novelty. They remain hypotheses to be researched in the future.

    I don’t think MacNeill believes that even these mechanisms could explain such things as eyes, wings, 4 chamber hearts, neural systems including brains, aviary oxygen delivery, consciousness, bat sonar, underwater mammal adaptations and many others. The list of major biological novelties is almost endless and each would have had hundreds if not thousands of intermediate steps to develop if a gradualism model was in force but I think MacNeill believes these 47 mechanisms will generate major changes in only a few generations of a population. Highly speculative and no evidence it ever happened.

    So how do these massively complex new systems arise? That is what is probably the source of MacNeill’s admission that they are nowhere yet.

    But that is the new synthesis. No change in natural selection or genetic drift and basic genetics. The only game in town is the source of variation and it has to be massive in a few generation of a population so it won’t show up in the fossil record.

    By the way if you think the fossil record supports gradualism then I suggest you supply some examples. Even the paleontologist know there are none. One of the techniques used to show that the current fossil record is representative is through sampling theory. Each new find is considered a new sample and if the fossils do not show anything different from previous samples and represent a range of times then probability theory will indicate the likelihood of new samples showing anything different. It is like the basic probability course example of taking balls out of the urn. If you continually pull out the same set of color balls the more samples you take then probability theory predicts that each new sample will be from this same set. Occasionally one gets a new color ball but so far the new finds only support the proposition that there are few new transitions to be found and these are often millions of years apart from other fossils in which they are supposedly a link for.

    The fossil record is the main way to prove or disprove gradualism. The other way is to look in the current world for any of MacNeill’s 47 mechanisms at work. There are a few new species that can be pointed to but none have developed through any of MacNeill’s processes. The new species are usually deterioration of the genome that allows the new species to survive in a new environment such as sub freezing antarctic waters. There is no evidence of any new systems or even new functional proteins developing and what’s more there are no transitions evident. The last new species of any consequence on the planet with lots of novelty is man and that ranges anywhere from 100,000 years ago to sooner. Apparently homo sapiens culture changed very dramatically 10,000 years ago but this may be just due to discovery of farming.

    If this is wrong then present some findings for us here to examine.

  60. Are you asserting that common descent is impossible? If so, then whatever mechanism brought about the current state of life on earth still has to look awfully like it. Wouldn’t progressive creation — the introduction of new species from scratch throughout history — have produced any number of incongruences that should be detectable in the fossil record. (I suppose it could have been done by tweaking previous species, but then, that’s still a form of common descent).

  61. dacook @ 21

    When I was studying medicine (76 – 80) we were told that the appendix was part of the immune system – though it was acknowledged that its precise role in that system had not been determined. There were speculations about the manufacture of IgA antibodies. We were also told that people used to think of the appendix as vestigial but that that idea could no longer be supported.

    What’s interesting to me is that people have been thinking of the appendix as vestigial (and functionless) for the last 30 odd years even though it was well known for all that time (at least by doctors) that the thing is full of lymphoid tissue. This idea of it being a reservoir for bacteria surprised me. When I saw the headline about the role of the appendix being discovered I thought maybe someone had elucidated its role as part of the immune system. But, no. Some completely new function is being ascribed to it. So that makes two (2) functional possibilities rather than none.

    So why has the general populace been allowed to think, for the last 30 years or more, that it had no function? And why has that changed now? Of course the latter question presumes that this research has been widely publicised, which I doubt. Certainly I’ve seen nothing about it in the news outlets that I read.

  62. tyke,

    Wouldn’t progressive creation — the introduction of new species from scratch throughout history — have produced any number of incongruences that should be detectable in the fossil record.

    What would you consider an incongruence in the fossil record?

  63. Tyke,

    Universal common descent is only evidenced via genetic and morphological similarities. However both can also be explained via common design and/ or convergence.

    I know that Dr Behe accepts UCD. And I also know that neither he, nor anyone else on this planet can account for the physiological and anatomical differences observed between allegedly cloesely related species such as humans and chimps.

    IOW no one knows whether or not such a transformation is even possible. There isn’t any way to test the premise- at this point in time.

    To Bettawrekonize & Janice- please read comment 45.

    And to anyone else- scientific inferences can and do change. That is the nature of science.

    IOW if a prediction turns out to need a revision, good theories allow for that. Only dogma doesn’t allow for change.

  64. tyke: “I suppose it could have been done by tweaking previous species, but then, that’s still a form of common descent”

    Right. But then it would be common descent rather like different versions of a computer program, particularly like one that generates copies of itself, and can make limited changes to the new copied program. The source of “major” changes are due to intelligent insight from an external source.

  65. I woke up this morning and, still being groggy, when clearing the moderation queue I accidentally hit the delete button. Fortunately my browser had saved the responses from ellazimm, so here they are:

    Nov 28, 2:12 AM
    magnan (#63): I am quite aware of Gould’s theory or punctuated equilibrium which he proposed as another evolutionary pathway not an argument against evolution. Remember the Cambrian explosion covers a period of 30 to 50 million years, a mere moment in geologic terms but quite a long time biologically. Using Gould is dangerous, he firmly believed and defended evolutionary theory and his comments came from that viewpoint.

    Bornagain77 (#67): Any sub-population that was developed from a subset of the parent population will have less diversity, that’s the basic reasoning why in humans there is more diversity amongst Africans than Europeans; Euopeans came from a relatively small subset of the whole African population. Not so much a loss of information but starting with less to begin with.

    Evolution is not predictable so saying would I think that such and such would have happened is not really the point. Some organisms are very well adapted to their environment and stay relatively stable for long periods of time while others change rapidly; there’s that pesky randomness to deal with as well.

    Again, improbable is not the same as impossible. Sub-species that are descendent from a subset of the parent species will have less diversity because they started with less.

    Chromosomes are pretty interesting actually. If common descent is true it’s pretty interesting that humans have 23 pairs and domestic cats have 19, fox 17, kangaroos 6, sheep 27, horse 32, dogs 39, and carp 52.

    Nov 28, 2:20 AM
    tyke (#80): I agree that the idea of intelligent intervention is theistically neutral but I for one would definitely try and find out when, where and how the intervention occurred. To me that is the most interesting part of the ID paradigm and to not explore it is puzzling.

    Nov 28, 7:59 AM
    Jerry (#61) said: “The last new species of any consequence on the planet with lots of novelty is man and that ranges anywhere from 100,000 years ago to sooner.”

    I’m sorry but I think I’m out of here. We don’t really even speak the same language. The idea that humans are the only species of consequence to have arisen in the last 100,000 years is way to elitist for my taste. Thank you to those who have taken the time to respond to some of my questions. I think I’ll just wait for ID to come up with some results documenting at least when (and hopefully how) intelligent intervention took place. Just trying to kick holes in other theories is not proof and, in the end, not very helpful to the ID movement. Let me know when you’ve got some data. Evolutionists’ data may not be complete but they do have data.

    My response: Farewell. Let us know if you ever find any positive evidence for Darwinian mechanisms being capable of what they’re proposed to be capable of.

  66. “Evolutionists’ data may not be complete but they do have data.”

    Not in respect to insectivorous plants. There is no evidence for their evolution in the fossil record – absolutely nothing. Also there are no hypothetical reconstructings conceptualizing functional continuums by which these complex capture mechanisms could have possibly evolved – nothing, nada, not a thing. And to make a bad situation worse, there is no logical reason why they did evolve – in terms of their fecundity and robustness they are weaker by far (due to their specialization) than general plants.

    In fact, the only reason we have to believe they did evolve is an prior acceptance of orthodox evolution – but that’s just circular reasoning isn’t it :)

  67. Acquiesce 68,
    You may need to update your research on investigations into the history of insectivorous plants:

    Here is a link to a 2002 news release from the New York Botanical Garden suggesting that there has in fact been some work done on hypothetical reconstruction of the evolutionary heritage of insectivorous plants.

    For example:

    Taken all together, the team’s results showed that Venus’ flytrap and waterwheel were each other’s closest relative, strongly supporting the idea that these plants have a common ancestor and that snap-traps evolved only once in the history of plants. Data on these plants’ genetic relationship with other carnivorous plant species also showed, as Cameron had suspected, that snap-traps evolved from flypaper traps, not the other way around.

  68. I am aware of this. Genetic similarities, albeit interesting doesn’t even come close to answering the points I made above.

    1. There is no fossilized evidence for the evolution of their complex capture mechanisms.

    2. There is no conceptualized functional contiuum which could potentially produce these capture mechanisms.

    Your link might be suggestive, but that’s about all.

  69. As we frequently see, even well-intentioned press releases and press or blog accounts frequently fail to accurately represent the underlying research. I hope if you are interested in this topic you have checked further into this.

  70. congregate,

    I don’t undestand your point. Your post only refers to research that solves the issue of whether or not cerain genes from the waterwheel and the flytrap are homologous. It doesn’t address any of the issues raised by Acquiesce.

  71. I do on a regular basis, insectivorous plants are my speciality.

    BTW, I’m not against the idea of evolution, it may turn out to be correct, I am just critical of orthodox evolution. In my speciality, few (that I know) actually believe these mechanisms evolved gradually, as the orthodox theory would claim. But that doesn’t mean I automatically assume these were created. I like to keep my options open.

    Genetic similarities, like I said before, are one thing and are suggestive of a common source. But this common source could be viewed very differently by people on either side of the debate. Only finding those intergrading forms, or reconstructing them hypothetically can provide the sort of evidence the theory requires.

    Rather than have his opponents demonstrate that complex systems cannot evolve step by step (impossibly demonstrating the negative), Darwin and his current followers should prove that complex systems can evolve gradually whilst retaining some function along the way.

    Thanks for your post.

  72. 72 Jehu-
    I misunderstood Acquiesce’s post. The press release to which I linked said:

    Data on these plants’ genetic relationship with other carnivorous plant species also showed, as Cameron had suspected, that snap-traps evolved from flypaper traps, not the other way around.

    Based on that I thought that the underlying research might contradict Acquiesce’s statement:

    There is no evidence for their evolution in the fossil record – absolutely nothing. Also there are no hypothetical reconstructings conceptualizing functional continuums by which these complex capture mechanisms could have possibly evolved – nothing, nada, not a thing.

    He has looked at the research and doesn’t think it does. On a second review I can see that you are correct, the release does not speak, as Acquiesce did, to the issue of functional continuums.

  73. @ Lazarus (from post 15)

    What I meant to say was “science will show a designer” not “the Designer.”

    I never said that anyone will be converted by ID and I emphatically agreed that it would only be Word that can do that. Besides, at best we will produce a deist like Prof. Flew who I hope in earnest will find Christ,

    I guess I wasn’t too clear before, but I am a scientist and I want the best scientific data available. The best data clearly seem to indicate nature exhibits design. This is all secular, but it does point clearly to a designer.

    Now, being a good Van Tillian myself, i know that ppl might not see it clealry, but its just good to point out to others that the Biblical claim of God’s creating the world, is infact clearly seen (whether they want to recognize it or not).

  74. Elazimmm you stated:

    Bornagain77 (#67): Any sub-population that was developed from a subset of the parent population will have less diversity, that’s the basic reasoning why in humans there is more diversity amongst Africans than Europeans; Euopeans came from a relatively small subset of the whole African population. Not so much a loss of information but starting with less to begin with.

    Now this is very interesting for you to acknowledge a partial truth, you admit there was a loss in information, thus you admit for a starting point that younger races of humans have by all appearances devolved from the parent species,,,yet, in the conjecture part of you statement,(Not so much a loss of information but starting with less to begin with),to defend Darwinism, you “believe as a proven fact” that sometime in the future the magic of evolution will kick in and start generating meaningful information! You see Elazimm, that is the whole point of the debate, you will never ever demonstrate the generation of complex information by natural means! Your belief that it may happen is based on nothing else than your blind faith in Darwinism! For there is absolutely no proof in hard evidence that it can be done by the RV/NS scenario. I challenge you to provide just one example of adaption of a living species that can be proven to be the result of the generation of meaningful information and can not in fact be traced back to the true foundational principle of Genetic Entropy.

  75. I manually skim the spam filter to look for valid posts. If the posts are very short I may sometimes miss them since much of the spam now resembles normal comments. Try posting them again?

  76. I just checked the spam filter this morning and did not see any comments by ellazimm that included external links.

Leave a Reply