Setting the Record Straight on Vestigial Organs.indd

Abstract

Vestigial organs are often used as evidence to argue in favor of Darwinian evolution. These organs are allegedly left over from our ancestors but are no longer useful or needed. Evolution proponents typically contend that such structures are best explained as remnants of evolutionary history. Supposedly, the best explanation for these non-functional traits is that they once served a purpose in our ancestor but now no longer do. In a recent article for New Scientist, Laura Spinney discusses fi ve vestigial organs in the human body and refers to them as “useless relics of our evolutionary past.”1 Five organs that humans no longer need are provided to counter the claims of creationists who supposedly deny that vestigial organs exist at all. Before addressing the specifi c organs that are covered in her article, it is necessary to clarify how creationists should view vestigial organs. The classic defi nition of a vestigial organ is an organ or structure in an organism that is not functional, but is derived from an ancestor that had a use for that organ or structure. Creationists understand that there has been degeneration and mutation since the Fall. We also expect that there would be a signifi cant loss of information for many genes. The loss of genes for organs that do not signifi cantly impact survival in a negative way could be quite prevalent. Thus, for the creationist, there should be no problem with an organ or structure in man that has lost some functionality. However, another possibility is that we have just not determined or understood the function properly yet. Creationists that I know do not deny that there are organs in man that have lost some of their functionality. However, they do reject the notion that those organs were inherited from a common ancestor with apes or other animals. Evolutionists typically point to these presumed non-functioning organs and insist that they are evidence that we evolved from a common ancestor with more primitive organisms. Just because humans have organs with reduced functionality does not really count as evidence of common ancestry. This is perhaps because God created Adam and Eve with those organs, but they have lost some functionality in their descendants. Before really discussing the examples of non-functional organs, Spinney sets up a straw man argument about what creationists believe about vestigial organs and then shoots it down with her list. The list of fi ve organs that humans don’t need is then meant as a refutation of creationists as well. Here are the organs on the list:

Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Dewitt2009SettingTR, title={Setting the Record Straight on Vestigial Organs.indd}, author={David A. Dewitt}, year={2009} }