Friday, December 28, 2007
One of the foundations of evolution is the concept of vestigial organs – meaning organs that have no purpose and therefore represent vestiges of some earlier stage of development.
In “Origin of Species” chapter 13, Charles Darwin calls these “rudimentary organs” and defines them as being either entirely useless or “almost” useless. Ernst Mayr in “What Evolution Is” page 30 to 31 includes vestigial organs as part of the evidence for evolution.
The species about which we know the most is of course our own, so seemingly, according to Darwin, we should be able to find many vestigial organs in our bodies.
After 148 years of searching, however, the results have been a little disappointing.
In 1893, Dr. Robert Wiedersheim, professor at the Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg, Germany, published a list of 86 vestigial organs in man. This was eventually expanded to 180. That sounds very impressive, until one realizes that nearly all of these organs have since been found to have important, even vital, functions. For example, Professor Wiedersheim included the pituitary gland and pineal gland in his list.
One of the remaining holdouts was the appendix – until now. Recently a group of scientists discovered that the appendix probably aids people in recovering from an epidemic of sever diarrhea, something not uncommon in poorer communities.
The more we learn, the more evolution fails.
[This information was kindly brought to my attention by one of my readers, Mr. David Fried.]
Posted by jewish philosopher at 12:19 PM