Intelligent Design News vestigial organs

Appendix is not even redundant, let alone not vestigial?

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Gray536.png
appendix/Gray’s Anatomy

So says some new research. First, remember “vestigial organs”?

We learned in high school that  vestigial organs, including the appendix, show that there is no design in nature.

Being teens, we never considered the implications of the fact that the proposition is never supposed to work the other way. That is, now that almost all such organs have been found to be functional (so far), the no-design PR lobby just moved to other claims. For example, junk DNA!

Oh wait, let’s check our notes here on junk DNA… whoops… Okay, and now the humble appendix has the floor:

Immune cells make appendix ‘silent hero’ of digestive health

“Popular belief tells us the appendix is a liability,” she said. “Its removal is one of the most common surgical procedures in Australia, with more than 70,000 operations each year. However, we may wish to rethink whether the appendix is so irrelevant for our health.

Note: Decades ago, appendicitis was often not diagnosed until removal was the only life-saving option.

“We’ve found that ILCs [innate lymphoid cells] may help the appendix to potentially reseed ‘good’ bacteria within the microbiome — or community of bacteria — in the body. A balanced microbiome is essential for recovery from bacterial threats to gut health, such as food poisoning.”

“We found ILCs are part of a multi-layered protective armoury of immune cells that exist in healthy individuals. So even when one layer is depleted, the body has ‘back ups’ that can fight the infection.

More.

“Redundant”: A frequent feature of living systems, as well as human artifacts. If one level fails, another kicks in. Sometimes marketed to the public as evidence against design.

Note: Here is some post-vestigial organ spin from one of Darwin’s folk.

See also: “Vestigial” whale, dolphin hip bones actually needed for, um, reproduction

and

Is vestigial organ a term that should be retired?

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Here’s the abstract:

Intestinal T cells and group 3 innate lymphoid cells (ILC3 cells) control the composition of the microbiota and gut immune responses. Within the gut, ILC3 subsets coexist that either express or lack the natural cytoxicity receptor (NCR) NKp46. We identified here the transcriptional signature associated with the transcription factor T-bet–dependent differentiation of NCR- ILC3 cells into NCR+ ILC3 cells. Contrary to the prevailing view, we found by conditional deletion of the key ILC3 genes Stat3, Il22, Tbx21 and Mcl1 that NCR+ ILC3 cells were redundant for the control of mouse colonic infection with Citrobacter rodentium in the presence of T cells. However, NCR+ ILC3 cells were essential for cecal homeostasis. Our data show that interplay between intestinal ILC3 cells and adaptive lymphocytes results in robust complementary failsafe mechanisms that ensure gut homeostasis. (paywall) – Lucille C Rankin, Mathilde J H Girard-Madoux, Cyril Seillet, Lisa A Mielke, Yann Kerdiles, Aurore Fenis, Elisabeth Wieduwild, Tracy Putoczki, Stanislas Mondot, Olivier Lantz, Dieter Demon, Anthony T Papenfuss, Gordon K Smyth, Mohamed Lamkanfi, Sebastian Carotta, Jean-Christophe Renauld, Wei Shi, Sabrina Carpentier, Tim Soos, Christopher Arendt, Sophie Ugolini, Nicholas D Huntington, Gabrielle T Belz, Eric Vivier. Complementarity and redundancy of IL-22-producing innate lymphoid cells. Nature Immunology, 2015; DOI: 10.1038/ni.3332

This vid begins by stating in no uncertain terms that we learned in school that the appendix was useless:

39 Replies to “Appendix is not even redundant, let alone not vestigial?

  1. 1
    daveS says:

    Isn’t all this nevertheless consistent with the proposition that the human appendix is vestigial?

    From wikipedia:

    Vestigiality refers to genetically determined structures or attributes that have apparently lost most or all of their ancestral function in a given species, but have been retained during the process of evolution.[1] Assessment of the vestigiality must generally rely on comparison with homologous features in related species.

    and

    In herbivores, the cecum stores food material where bacteria are able to break down the cellulose. This function no longer occurs in the human cecum (see appendix), so in humans it is simply a dead-end pouch forming a part of the large intestine.

  2. 2
    Jon Garvey says:

    Well, speaking as one who has removed a few appendices, they’re not “simply” anything, but pretty tricky and extremely well supplied with blood (meaning they use valuable resources). And they didn’t go wrong very often until westerners started over-refining their diet.

    As it happens I’ve also removed 100 or more rabbit caeca (in dead animals, I will add) so have some experience of both.

    In comparison to rabbits we have vestigial ears, but then we neither get hunted by foxes nor eat grass. But the truth is that the whole concept of vestigial organs is a throwback to an outmoded and simplistic adaptationist view of evolution, which few people hold now unless they’re writing school textbooks (or Wikipedia articles)or laying into creationists.

    In fact they have little or no value in real science, for reasons that I’ve briefly outlined in a recent blog post, for anyone interested, here

  3. 3
    daveS says:

    Jon Garvey,

    Isn’t the claim being made about the cecum is that it performed some function related to digestion in an ancestor of both humans and rabbits, but now that digestive function is lost in humans?

    Perhaps this case is not as clear as that of blind cave fish, for example.

  4. 4
    Jon Garvey says:

    daveS

    The points are that
    (a) One cannot easily show that the caecum was originally for digestion at all, and perhaps it was co-opted to its digestive use in the rabbit. In fact, there is good evidence that the appendix always had primarily immune function, See here:

    Rabbits and some rodents have appendices, and it is research on these species that has begun to shed some light on the mystery of the organ’s function.

    Previously it was thought that the sack-like rabbit appendix served primarily as a reservoir for the bacteria involved in hindgut fermentation. That explanation, however, did not account for the absence of an appendix in other animals with similar digestive systems or for its presence in humans. When researchers examined the appendix microscopically, they found that it contains a significant amount of lymphoid tissue. Similar aggregates of lymphoid tissue occur in other areas of the gastrointestinal and are known as gut-associated lymphoid tissues (GALT). The functions of GALT are poorly understood, but it is clear that they are involved in the body’s ability to recognize foreign antigens in ingested material.

    In other words, the appendix is a convergently evolved immune organ in the quite separate clades of human and rabbit – that pretty well destroys the “vestigial” just-so story.

    (b) In any case, in the rabbit it’s grotesquely enlarged compared to most species, and we’re not descended from rabbits. If it was small in the (unknown) common ancestor, then it’s exaggerated in rabbits, not vestigial in humans. Unless you know the complete ancestry and that of their appendices and caeca, it’s just another evidence-free story.

    ( c) To say that a function or structure has changed is an statement of fact, and therefore the business of science (though “function” in an inescapably teleological term).

    But to say it has become “vestigial” is to make a statement about proper purpose, which is the business of religion, not science: it’s supposed to be, one is saying, “for digestion”, but no longer is (because it’s now co-opted as an immune organ). But when did evolution ever arrive at a “correct” use for anything? Evolution doesn’t (they say) know what things are “for” – it just uses what’s handy for what works.

    Are legs vestigial fins, or just limbs doing the best job for a particular creature’s needs? Are porpoise flippers vestigial fingers, or developed swimmers?

    As I said from the start, homology is moderately good evidence for common descent (but also for a couple of other alternatives, which limits its usefulness). But “vestigial organs” as such add nothing to our knowledge of evolution – in fact, the “vestigial story” was trotted out as a proof-case for 150 years before anybody bothered to research it properly. That is BAD science.

  5. 5
    daveS says:

    Jon Garvey,

    Thanks for elaborating on that.

    What would you say about blind cave fish? Is it inappropriate to label their “remaining eye structures” as vestigial?

  6. 6
    mahuna says:

    Not being a Biologist, do chimps and gorillas have appendices?

    If they do NOT, then exactly where was this “common ancestor” from which humans inherited our appendix as a “vestigial” organ? Don’t the “no modern function” guys have to establish the fact that SOME extinct primate had an appendix that did something worth the apparently large investment in blood vessels?

    Otherwise, we must conclude that the design of humans was IMPROVED from the baseline Primate model by the addition of this fancy new “appendix” thing.

  7. 7
    Zachriel says:

    mahuna: Not being a Biologist, do chimps and gorillas have appendices?

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pm.....MC1233252/

  8. 8
    Robert Byers says:

    Is it the same with us as wuth primates? Do apes not/do use it too?

  9. 9
    Jon Garvey says:

    daveS

    What would you say about blind cave fish? Is it inappropriate to label their “remaining eye structures” as vestigial?

    It’s tempting to make that example the exception that proves the rule – though in fact, it would be just the exception, really, being apparently “blindingly” obvious when most of the other examples don’t hold much water. On the face of it, eyes are the classic specialised purposeful organ, and caves the place you least need them.

    But again, it’s questionable what it proves scientifically: on an adaptationist model the eye is suited to purpose, or wouldn’t be there. If one finds any non-visual function at all for it in caves, then it’s tuned for the environment, not vestigial.

    On a non-adaptationist model, things aren’t “for” anything anyway, so it’s hard to say how a small eye can be less “for” anything.

    If there are structuralist reasons for eyes to develop, then they apply even in caves and you wouldn’t expect complete absence of the organ.

    OTOH, if the cave-fish’s eye is being used, as per Darwin, as evidence against special creation, there are many more possibilities of subtle divine purpose you have to explain away: for example, God might leave the basic structures in place against the possibility of non-cave-dwelling in future. He might favour aesthetics over function. Or all kinds of other reasons you can’t possibly know.

    Any argument that begins, “A sensible designing God wouldn’t…” is specious, because it claims to understand fully the motives and priorities of someone it’s denying to be involved at all.

    And any argument along the lines, “The cave-fish’s eyes are not functional because it doesn’t need them in the dark” is a teleological argument anyway, forcing you to ask where the intentionality came from, if not God.

  10. 10
    Jon Garvey says:

    Zachriel

    Thanks for that link – fascinating stuff. So there are 3 papers cited on this thread alone that completely demolish the “vestigial appendix” story from three different angles (4 if you count the link from my blog about the successful surgical removal of rabbit caeca back in the 1950s).

    What’s the betting, though, that it will still be getting into school text books in twenty years time, and still turning up on blogs like this?

  11. 11
    daveS says:

    Jon Garvey,

    It’s tempting to make that example the exception that proves the rule – though in fact, it would be just the exception, really, being apparently “blindingly” obvious when most of the other examples don’t hold much water. On the face of it, eyes are the classic specialised purposeful organ, and caves the place you least need them.

    Yes, I would agree with that. I think it’s hard not to conclude that the eyes of these cave fish have lost most or all of their ancestral function.

    But again, it’s questionable what it proves scientifically: on an adaptationist model the eye is suited to purpose, or wouldn’t be there. If one finds any non-visual function at all for it in caves, then it’s tuned for the environment, not vestigial.

    Regarding what it proves scientifically, I think I see your point. As a layperson, I don’t know what, if anything, it proves. Maybe it’s just an example of traits appearing and disappearing over time?

  12. 12
    Alicia Cartelli says:

    “In fact, there is good evidence that the appendix always had primarily immune function, See here:”

    I don’t see anything “here” that shows the appendix “always had primarily immune function.”

  13. 13
    Mung says:

    Can we expect another exciting weekend of vacuous comments from Alicia Cartelli?

    Don’t you have some molecular biology to catch up on?

  14. 14
    Alicia Cartelli says:

    If someone has something to say about my response to EAs challenge then you’ll definitely be hearing from me.

    But for now I’d like to pick mr. garvey’s brain a bit. He’s one of the few people on here that actually seems to know some biology.

  15. 15
    Virgil Cain says:

    Hi Alicia:

    If someone has something to say about my response to EAs challenge then you’ll definitely be hearing from me.

    Your response just proves that you don’t have anything to say about EA’s challenge.

    He’s one of the few people on here that actually seems to know some biology.

    When it comes to biology you are just a poseur.

    cheers,
    Virgil Cain

  16. 16
    Jon Garvey says:

    Well, Alicia’s right to the extent that my post was loosely worded, because I was employing some equivalent logic to that of the “vestigial organists.” It was just a blog comment, after all. The research I linked shows an immune, rather than a digestive, function in the rabbit appendix. We’ve known about immune function in humans for decades (which is why my profession declined to remove appendices without good reason, especially in kids).

    Now the old story was:

    Rabbits and us have an appendix, ergo descended from common ancestor.
    Rabbit’s is big and used for digestion, ergo that’s its “proper” function.
    Ours is small and not digestive, ergo vestigial.

    My argument was (in effect):

    Rabbits and us have appendix, ergo common ancestor.
    Both turn out to have immune function rather than digestive.
    Ergo immune function is more likely to be “proper” function.

    In truth, it’s just as vulnerable to the arguments I put against vestigial organs – lack of complete evolutionary history, inherent teleology and blah blah – but mine’s at least as well-supported for a school textbook, say. It just lacks the anti-theological appeal of “vestigial organs”.

    Zachriel’s link supports my version, rather than the vestigial organs version.

  17. 17
    Alicia Cartelli says:

    “Both turn out to have immune function rather than digestive.
    Ergo immune function is more likely to be “proper” function.”

    Your argument is worse than the current hypothesis.
    The immune function fits into the current hypothesis. Regions of the body that often encounter/house microbes have associated lymphoid tissue (GALTs and MALTs).

    The current hypothesis about vestigiality of the appendix is well proven, it is the definition of “vestigial” which needs to change and has.

    “Vestigial structures are reduced or incompletely developed structures that have no function or reduced function, but are clearly similar to functioning organs or structures in closely related species.”
    That is what is taught today.

  18. 18
    Virgil Cain says:

    No one knows what the original function of the human appendix was.

  19. 19
    Paul Giem says:

    Alicia Cartelli states (#17),

    The current hypothesis about vestigiality of the appendix is well proven, it is the definition of “vestigial” which needs to change and has.

    “Vestigial structures are reduced or incompletely developed structures that have no function or reduced function, but are clearly similar to functioning organs or structures in closely related species.”
    That is what is taught today.

    Just wow. Of all the ways to define “vestigial”, I cannot think of a more ambiguous one, nor one better designed to be used equivocally. (Perhaps that is why it is being defined that way).

    Here’s why: The argument against creation (in any time frame) by a God basically went like this:
    God is perfect.
    God’s actions are perfect.
    Therefore “God don’t make no junk.”
    Entities could deteriorate after being made, but would not likely have deteriorated in the same way in two different organisms.
    Therefore, if we find (essentially) identical junk in two different organisms, or junk in one organism that appears derived from something which was useful in another organism, this cannot (reasonably) be attributed to either chance or God.
    We do find such junk in two different organisms, or junk in one organism that appears to be derived from something which was useful in another organism.
    Therefore God and chance are not adequate explanations for this junk.
    Common descent could give an adequate explanation for this junk.
    Therefore, common descent is the best explanation for this junk.

    The key to keep in mind is that for this argument to work, the junk must have no function whatsoever. To see why this is true, consider the little finger, or the little toe. Humans can live perfectly well without either of them. And yet most people don’t consider the fact that humans have little fingers and toes to be an evidence for no design. They do have some function, and are esthetically pleasing. It is only when the junk has no function whatsoever that it can be used effectively as part of an argument against God. It also helps if the junk is actually deleterious.

    The argument isn’t watertight for several reasons. First, the designer(s) could be not perfect (see Mapou). Second, our definition of perfect may be flawed. Third, particularly in the case of vestiges in one organism and a functioning organ in another, this could be simple deterioration on the part of the organism with the vestigial organ, due to damage at a genetic bottleneck (the Fall?). An attempt to get around this might be to assert that according to creationist theory humans are the pinnacle of creation (at least on earth) and that we humans should have the best of everything, so if there are vestigial organs they should all belong to other animals and not us. That’s a shaky theological premise.

    However, the argument from junk has been an effective argument, especially for those who want it to be one, but also to those who run across it for the first time without any balance in the presentation.

    And Alice Cartelli’s definition (not hers(?) alone) waffles on precisely the point needed for it to be effective theologically. Vestigial structures “have no function or reduced function”. So one can argue that there are lots of vestigial structures (reduced function) and then argue that any self-respecting God wouldn’t have done things that way because they have “no function”, being vestigial structures, as we have already agreed. Perhaps not everyone using the argument realizes it, but this is snake oil salesmanship of the highest quality.

    There are now two well-documented uses for the appendix: as a safe haven for useful bacteria, and to facilitate making antibodies. The appendix clearly should be taken off of the list of vestigial organs sensu strictu, those having no function.
    ___

    The idea that the appendix is inherently dangerous also needs debunking. Appendicitis is fairly common in Western society, as I’m sure Jon Garvey will attest. However, it is much less common in some other societies. For example, I had a surgeon friend who did perhaps an appendix a week here in the US. He went to Nairobi, Kenya as a missionary and still had a number of Europeans that he had to operate on for appendicitis. However, during that 3 years he had exactly one case of appendicitis in an African (despite doing all kinds of other surgeries on Africans), and that African had moved to the city and adopted a Western diet. There is some indication that fiber in the diet may be related to this difference.

    One could complain that the appendix still fails too often in Western society. But that would be a little like complaining that lungs develop cancer when people smoke, or that a sedentary lifestyle puts one at higher risk for cardiac arrest. Why should God be charged for not making us indestructible regardless of the way we treat our bodies?

    So if Alicia Cartelli wants to argue that the appendix is vestigial, using that ambiguous definition, she can. But it should be carefully noted that it lends no support to the argument that “God wouldn’t have done it that way.”

  20. 20
    Alicia Cartelli says:

    Pauly, good thing I haven’t mentioned god once.
    Don’t get your panties in a bunch.

    The appendix is “vestigial” by what is accepted as the definition of vestigial and it is an example of how evolution works with what already exists.

  21. 21
    Paul Giem says:

    Alicia Cartelli (#20),

    True, you haven’t mentioned God (or “god”), but you are commenting on a thread of which the opening two paragraphs of the opening post were,

    So says some new research. First, remember “vestigial organs”?

    We learned in high school that vestigial organs, including the appendix, show that there is no design in nature.

    One can pretend that one is simply stating facts without any interest in where they lead, but when one does so in such a way as to support a misleading argument, it is reasonable for someone to tentatively conclude that one is being disingenuous. I hope that is not the case with you.

    So let’s be clear:
    1. Do you think there is an ambiguity in the definition of vestigial structures you apparently support (“Vestigial structures are reduced or incompletely developed structures that have no function or reduced function, but are clearly similar to functioning organs or structures in closely related species.”)?

    2. Do you think that the appendix has no function?

    3. Do you think that the appendix makes a good argument against the Judaeo-Christian God?

    4. Do you think that the appendix makes a good argument against ID?

  22. 22
    Alicia Cartelli says:

    “We learned in high school that vestigial organs, including the appendix, show that there is no design in nature.”

    That’s weird because I don’t even remember vestigial organs being mentioned in high school (certainly not stressed in the curriculum). Maybe it was mentioned as an aside in an evolutionary biology class I’ve recently taken, but even then it certainly wasn’t stressed.

    1. The accepted definition of “vestigial” is more broad because it needs to be. It would be nearly impossible for an entire organ to become completely functionless because organs are complex tissues, often performing a number of primary/secondary functions. If scientists actually used to say vestigial organs “had no function,” (I’m not even sure they did) then they were oversimplifying. In the case of the appendix, it’s function has gone from a primary sight of digestion through fermentation, to simply housing bacteria for times when the colon and resident microbiota are largely flushed out.
    2. As I said above, the appendix performs a secondary function in the digestive system and is not required as it’s often removed without consequence.
    3. The presence of the appendix says absolutely nothing about any god.
    4. The small function that the appendix provides while being basically a “ticking time-bomb” does however say that IF our bodies were “intelligently designed” by “something” the designer should probably be fired. So yes, it is an argument against ID, and an argument in favor of the evolution of structures in the body from pre-existing structures.

  23. 23
    J-Mac says:

    Alicia Delusionelli,

    Take your medication please!!! I beg you!!!

  24. 24
    Alicia Cartelli says:

    If you have anything intelligent to say J, I’m all ears.
    Won’t hold my breath though.

  25. 25
    Virgil Cain says:

    Alicia Cartelli:

    That’s weird because I don’t even remember vestigial organs being mentioned in high school (certainly not stressed in the curriculum).

    That’s weird because you aren’t old enough for high school yet.

  26. 26
    Paul Giem says:

    Alicia Cartelli (#22),

    Thanks for being responsive. It facilitates discussion. And I’ll try to avoid ad hominem arguments, or even (as far as I am able) statements.

    I am glad that in your experience nobody in high school made much of an argument about the appendix proving anything about design or God. Some of us were not so fortunate, and that colors (or informs) our outlook on the subject.

    1. I take it that you agree that there is ambiguity in the definition you offered (that others apparently gave) for vestigial structures. In fact, if I am reading correctly, you are willing to concede that “If scientists actually used to say vestigial organs “had no function,” (I’m not even sure they did) then they were oversimplifying.” In that case, I stand by my critique in #19.

    2. I take it that you agree that the appendix has a function. Perhaps that function is small enough so that one can remove it without serious consequences in the vast majority of cases, but it does have a function.

    (This point deserves some emphasis. Many parts of our body can be removed without serious consequences in the vast majority of cases. The spleen can be removed with no significant degradation in bodily function, unless one is infected with capsule-producing organisms such as pneumococcus or neisseria, at which point an otherwise manageable infection can become overwhelming. The appendix and the spleen are somewhat analogous to a spare tire, which is not necessary to drive a vehicle until one encounters a nail in the road, when the spare tire can become invaluable.)

    3. We agree that the appendix says nothing about any god or God.

    4. After all this agreement, I was stunned to have you insist that the appendix “is an argument against ID”. Your argument seems to be that “The small function that the appendix provides while being basically a “ticking time-bomb” does however say that IF our bodies were “intelligently designed” by “something” the designer should probably be fired.” It is obvious that you have (or are feigning) very little knowledge of ID. ID postulates a designer. It may or may not be a good designer, or an all-powerful or all-knowing designer, and even proving that it is a malevolent designer would not prove that there is no designer. Defying such a designer might be moral, but denying that the designer exists because one doesn’t like the designer is intellectually dishonest.

    The appendix can only be used as an argument against a particular kind of designer, not against design itself. Thus the more intellectually coherent response to questions 3 and 4 should have been to agree that you think that the appendix does not make a good argument against ID, but that it does make an argument against certain conceptions of the Judaeo-Christian God.

    I have given reasons why I do not view the appendix as negatively as you do (if properly cared for, it is unlikely to cause trouble, and in an environment where dysentery and cholera are common it is more likely to save life than to take it). You may or may not be persuaded by these arguments. Hopefully you can see them as at least rational.

    I am fascinated, though, by the fact that, in spite of it not coming up in high school, and knowing that the appendix really does have a function, you continue using its existence as an argument against ID. Where did you learn such an argument, if not in high school? Or did you just think it up on your own? What concept of ID (and the Judaeo-Christian God) did you have that made you think it was a good argument against ID, but not against Judaism or Christianity? And why did you act surprised (#20) when I objected to the appendix being used to argue against certain conceptions of God, when you feel it is valid to use it against ID? If one disbelieves in ID, does not one also disbelieve in certain conceptions of God?

  27. 27
    J-Mac says:

    If you have anything intelligent to say J, I’m all ears.
    Won’t hold my breath though.

    We’re have been waiting for YOU to finally say anything intelligent. We are not only ALL EARS.. We are all very, very, very skeptical you can make us even read one of your nonsense past the first sentence. Try! Please…

  28. 28
    Alicia Cartelli says:

    If the phrase “ticking time-bomb” can be used to describe one of our organs, then that sounds like bad design to me. The organ better have a lot of upside if it’s going to have that big of a downside, but the appendix doesn’t have much of an upside. Therefore the appendix is an argument against “certain forms of ID,” is that better?
    The only designer’s I’ve ever heard of are the various all-knowing gods in the sky.

  29. 29
    Paul Giem says:

    Alicia Cartelli (#28),

    Yes. That’s much better. It acknowledges implicitly that ID per se is not being challenged, and that therefore sensu strictu the argument is not an anti-ID argument.

    It also is fundamentally a theological (or if you prefer, an anti-theological) argument. It is an argument about theodicy. Once that is clear, I think the discussion can be much more productive.

    In order to parry that argument, one would have to establish either that (1) the designer is not all-powerful or not all-knowing or not good (i. e. not the classical God), or that (2) the appendix is unavoidably a requirement that making humans (perhaps one cannot make a human without an appendix, for developmental reasons), or that (3) the high incidence of appendicitis can be reduced to practically zero by some health practice, in which case we are to blame for this scourge, not God. Personally, I pick door number 3.

    The reason I do so is that the same correction (increased fiber in the diet) that decreases dramatically the incidence of appendicitis, also decreases dramatically the incidence of colon cancer, and diverticulitis, and a number of other diseases. I think it is not appropriate to blame the results of our personal choices on God. What do you think?

    (BTW, that means that the phrase “ticking time bomb” is not appropriate to describe the appendix, unless one lights the fuse. Once one realizes what lights the fuse, one is insisting on lighting the fuse if one continues.)

  30. 30
    Alicia Cartelli says:

    “one would have to establish either that…”
    Goodluck with that!

    “practically zero”
    Still not zero, even in a perfect world with everyone eating a perfect diet.
    And some people don’t have much of a choice when it comes to diet, for various reasons.
    For some, the appendix is truly a ticking time bomb, there’s no way around it. And like I said, there better be some huge upside to an organ that could potentially kill you. There is little upside to the appendix.

  31. 31
    Paul Giem says:

    Alicia Cartelli (#30),

    “practically zero”
    Still not zero, even in a perfect world with everyone eating a perfect diet.

    Perhaps in an absolutely perfect world, God is allowed (by us) to work in ways that transcend what we now call nature. You have to remember that the Judaeo-Christian tradition started out with the story of a perfect world where the first humans were in daily communion with their Creator, and then one day chose to disregard His instructions and were left with a world of distinct imperfections. We wanted independence from God; now we would find out just what it is like. The JCT has never claimed that this world we now live in is perfect–far from it. Therefore finding organs which could rarely fail, and fail more frequently if abused (for whatever reason), is not surprising at all. it is part of the curse of death.

    But notice what is happening. We are having a discussion that is fundamentally about theology (and the negative argument is illegitimately trying to import naturalism into theology). The real objection to intelligent design is not scientific (is there some evidence of design?), but rather where the acceptance of design might go. Cornelius Hunter is right; religion drives science, and it matters.

  32. 32
    Alicia Cartelli says:

    “the Judaeo-Christian tradition started out with the story…”
    We have stories and we have science.

    You are the one here that is “having a discussion that is fundamentally about theology.”
    You keep trying to bring more and more theology into it (most of your last post is a regurgitation of religious beliefs).

    All I am saying is that our appendix is an example of poor design if we were “designed.” While you keep trying to justify the imperfection through your world view by interpreting certain scriptures.

    Religion hasn’t driven science for hundreds of years.
    Welcome to 2015.
    The complete lack of any science in your last post means this conversation is over for me.

  33. 33
    Virgil Cain says:

    Alicia Cartelli:

    All I am saying is that our appendix is an example of poor design if we were “designed.”

    The humans of today were not designed. We are descendants of the designed organisms.

    If the phrase “ticking time-bomb” can be used to describe one of our organs, then that sounds like bad design to me.

    Or something happened along the way to make it so. IOW you have an innate inability to think.

  34. 34
    Paul Giem says:

    Alicia Cartelli (#32),

    The complete lack of any science in your last post means this conversation is over for me.

    Sorry to see you go. Once it becomes evident that your objection to ID really isn’t to ID, but only to “some forms of ID”, and isn’t really a scientific objection, but a theological objection (and a poor one at that), I guess it is enough to make you lose interest.

    You are the one here that is “having a discussion that is fundamentally about theology.”
    You keep trying to bring more and more theology into it (most of your last post is a regurgitation of religious beliefs).

    Actually, I am only pointing out that the original objection is theological in nature, and does not destroy the underlying premise of ID. It is almost as if you want to make a theological argument, but not to have it theologically criticized. but rather identified as science and therefore automatically valid, as in,

    We have stories and we have science.

    This attempt to wrap yourself in science in order to avoid criticism extends to denying the theological aspects of your argument, as in

    Religion hasn’t driven science for hundreds of years.
    Welcome to 2015.

    Sorry, the discussion has just demonstrated that in your case, religion (or if you prefer antipathy towards some religion) does drive “science”.

  35. 35
    Alicia Cartelli says:

    My objection to ID is that there simply is no evidence for any “intelligent designer” or “intelligent” design. Everything we have learned in biology supports the theory of evolution.

    I never wanted to make a theological argument at all. You brought religion into the conversation.

    The furthest I went into religion was to say the appendix is an example of poor design. That’s it. You try to fit this poor design into your worldview by reciting/interpreting scripture, I prefer to stay away from scripture.

    And no, for the last time, religion has nothing to do with science. It hasn’t for hundreds of years.
    It’s the ID proponents that try to bring religion into science (or science into religion), and it never goes well.

  36. 36
    Paul Giem says:

    Alicia Cartelli (#36)

    I appreciate your stated intent:

    I never wanted to make a theological argument at all.

    I suggest that if you do not wish to get into theological arguments, that you do not use one.
    Like this:

    The furthest I went into religion was to say the appendix is an example of poor design.

    Well, not quite. You also said (#28),

    The only designer’s I’ve ever heard of are the various all-knowing gods in the sky.

    thereby attempting to tie ID to religion. Perhaps your best bet is to be silent on both subjects, lest you find yourself in a theological discussion for which you are obviously ill-equipped. That way your sincerity can be believed when you claim

    religion has nothing to do with science.

    On the other hand, if you wish to learn, go ahead.

  37. 37
    Virgil Cain says:

    Alicia Cartelli:

    My objection to ID is that there simply is no evidence for any “intelligent designer” or “intelligent” design.

    How would you know?

    Everything we have learned in biology supports the theory of evolution.

    Except there isn’t any theory of evolution.

    Tell us, Alicia, how can we test the claim that ATP synthase evolved via natural selection, drift or neutral construction? If you can’t say then you are lying about support for evolutionism.

    And no, for the last time, religion has nothing to do with science.

    And yet all you have is faith in the ever elusive “theory of evolution”.

    Cheers,
    Virgil Cain

  38. 38
    Alicia Cartelli says:

    Pauly boy, look, I didn’t mention religion or design until you butted into the conversation. Check the tape. Even after your first comment @19 (in which you mention “design,” “god,” etc. a whole bunch of times) I still try to avoid the religion subject @20. It wasn’t until you pushed the further that I began to entertain the subject.
    If you want to believe aliens, or some “imperfect god,” or whatever “designed” us, then be my guest. You can claim that ID isn’t religion, I don’t care because ID is a joke. You can believe whatever you want here at UD because it has nothing to do with what goes on in the real world, especially in the world of science. I’m here to chit-chat about science and have a good laugh in the process.
    And I’ve spent a good amount of time studying and doing science, and believe it or not I have not encountered a single thing that even remotely resembles anything that has to do with religion. Feel free to educate me though.

  39. 39
    Virgil Cain says:

    Yes Alicia, we know that you are a legend in your own little mind. You want to chit-chat about science and yet you can’t tell us about this alleged support for the alleged theory of evolution.

    You are a joke.

    Cheers,
    Virgil Cain

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