Further to “Vestigial” whale, dolphin hip bones actually needed for, um, reproduction (Lots of vestigial organs prove that Darwinian evolution is true, but not finding any also proves it true. Sign of a strong theory):
Over at the Darwin-in-the-schools pressure group, National Center for Science Education, in their “Science League of America” blog, we learn:
Quite often, these bones are held up as the marquee example of vestigial structures. I have no problem with that, but there’s a problem when vestigial structures are defined as evolutionary remnants that have no function. As I discussed in a previous post, the correct way to describe a vestigial structure is to say that it no longer has its original function.
When discussing the ideas put forward by Darwin’s followers, the general first rule is not to take them at face value.
If evolution happens (I assume so), then not much about a human being today has its original function. Between now and back when our ancestors were unicellular animals—so we are told—what isn’t vestigial? So what does the term actually mean? How can we know what it includes and excludes?
Indeed, as ID theorist Michael Behe writes to say,
So doesn’t that make everything a vestigial structure from a Darwinian viewpoint? And if so, of what use is the word?
So the Darwin lobby writer attempts to correct the meaning of the term, in the face of an embarrassment, by removing all meaning from it.
The people down whose throats it is rammed in school can continue to assume it means anything they like, as long as they do not dissent from whatever the Darwin lobby wants now.
It’s still an open question whether there are any vestigial organs in the meaningful sense—a body part that persists indefinitely without a function. Note: The navel doesn’t count; it’s lifelong function is to keep the wound from the placenta’s departure safely closed.
Embryologist Jonathan Wells offered some thoughts in 2009:
Darwin argued in The Origin of Species that the widespread occurrence of vestigial organs — organs that may have once had a function but are now useless — is evidence against creation. “On the view of each organism with all its separate parts having been specially created, how utterly inexplicable is it that organs bearing the plain stamp of inutility… should so frequently occur.” But such organs, he argued, are readily explained by his theory: “On the view of descent with modification, we may conclude that the existence of organs in a rudimentary, imperfect, and useless condition, or quite aborted, far from presenting a strange difficulty, as they assuredly do on the old doctrine of creation, might even have been anticipated in accordance with the views here explained.”
In The Descent of Man, Darwin cited the human appendix as an example of a vestigial organ. But Darwin was mistaken: The appendix is now known to be an important source of antibody-producing blood cells and thus an integral part of the human immune system. It may also serve as a compartment for beneficial bacteria that are needed for normal digestion. So the appendix is not useless at all.
In 1981, Canadian biologist Steven Scadding argued that although he had no objection to Darwinism, “vestigial organs provide no evidence for evolutionary theory.” The primarily reason is that “it is difficult, if not impossible, to unambiguously identify organs totally lacking in function.” More.
The only way to save the concept of vestigial organs as evidence for Darwinism is to render the concept so vague as to be useless.
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