Culture Darwinism Evolution Human evolution Intelligent Design

“Darwin’s point”: A common ancestry myth that can’t just die

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File:Darwin-s-tubercle.jpg
dbenBenn, Ueberbach/GNU

From Günter Bechly at Evolution News & Views:

In a recent post for Evolution News, we discussed vestigial structures as alleged evidence for evolution (Chaffee 2017). As an illustration, the article featured an image of the auricular tubercles or “Darwin’s ear points,” a bump-like thickening on the helix of the auricle (exterior ear) of many people that is often claimed to be an atavistic vestige of the pointy ear tip found in monkeys. Evolutionists say the feature proves a shared ancestry of humans with lower primates.

The bump was originally discovered by the celebrated British sculptor Thomas Woolner, who informed Charles Darwin about it. In The Descent of Man, Darwin (1871:15-17) cited this structure as probable evidence for common ancestry of humans and monkeys. However, at the same time there were already published doubts about this interpretation (Meyer 1871), mainly because of the variability in humans.

Nevertheless, the claim that Darwin’s tubercle is an atavistic structure is still often heard today.

Of course it is still heard today. Has any Darwinian claim actually ceased to be made shortly after it was disproven by evidence? Or ever?

Darwinism doesn;t work that way. Once an icon has been canonized, it is safe in the canon, at least in the minds of believers.

For what it is worth:

The second problem is much more damaging to the atavism hypothesis. Pointed ear tips are a feature in many monkey species. It is present in all members of the concerned species and always symmetrically present on both ears in both sexes. This strongly suggests that the structure is genetically based and inherited. However, in humans, the feature shows great variability and occurs, for example, in only 10 percent of Spanish adults, 40 percent of Indian adults, and 58 percent of Swedish school children. Some people only have this tubercle on one ear. In half of the pairs of identical twins that were studied, only one of the twins had the ear bumps (Quelprud 1936).

Because of this evidence, and based as well on two genetic studies, McDonald (2011) concluded in an article about what he called the “myth” of Darwin’s tubercle:

The family and twin studies strongly indicate that Darwin’s tubercle is not determined by a single gene with two alleles, and there may be very little genetic influence on the trait at all. You should not use Darwin’s tubercle to demonstrate basic genetics. More.

No, one can’t use it to demonstrate basic genetics but one can use it to demonstrate the culture of Darwinism, a fascinating study in itself.

A question arises: Whether or not common ancestry of humans and apes is correct, are Darwinians proportionately less likely to believe it if some evidence turns out to be of poor quality? Or do they attend only to evidence that supports their view?

See also: Vestigial organs? Appendix evolved over 30 times.

Appendix has a use after all? Has recently retired from being “vestige of evolution” …

Appendix not even redundant, let alone vestigial?

See also: Appendix, no “vestigial organ,” is a safe house for useful bacteria, researcher says

They knew the human appendix did a job sixty years ago, actually

Your appendix: The king of vestigial organs has a job again

2 Replies to ““Darwin’s point”: A common ancestry myth that can’t just die

  1. 1
    asauber says:

    Or do they attend only to evidence that supports their view?

    News,

    I think they attend only to evidence that can be made to appear to support their view.

    And by that I mean Evolution is a malleable materialist story. There’s no way to demonstrate that any of it is true, though. Therefore, the evidence is just anything that appears to enhance the story. What enhances the story today may not tomorrow, but that’s OK. This isn’t about scientific discovery or retaining knowledge. It’s about pushing a belief system.

    Andrew

  2. 2
    polistra says:

    Seems like an odd claim in the first place, just from basic constants vs variables.

    Lots of mammals have pointy ears, not just monkeys.

    A thickening that occurs on some people wouldn’t seem to correspond to anything at all. We have different sizes of fingers. Does that mean short-fingered people are more like elephants, and long-fingered people are genetically similar to bats?

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