Friday, December 21, 2007

Apologetics Press and Vestigial Organs

This is a few emails sent back and forth between myself and Kyle Butt (Yeah, that's his real name) at Apologetics Press. My words are in italics, his are in bold. At the time of writing, I haven't received any further contact from him. As a side, he is totally wrong about evolutionists saying vestigial organs had absolutely no function. Talk Origins has some definitions from the early 1900's which state vestigial organs can have function.


I came across your website and stumbled on to the
following article:

It says:

"These “useless” vestiges of evolution, however,
turned out to be nothing of the sort. Dr. Houts noted
that these organs were “useless” only in the sense
that scientists and medical doctors were ignorant of
their functions."

Vestigial does not mean totally useless. It means that
has lost most or all of its original function. The
appendix is homologous to the primate caecum, used for
digesting cellulose. While ours may have some
immunological function, it is still vestigial.

It also says:

"So, we are told that the appendix is a useless
leftover, and that “fact” proves evolution to be true.
Then we are told that the appendix has a very
important function and that fact “makes evolutionary

Actually, if the appendix was totally useless, it
should have completely disappeared by now. But the
caecum did not, a small part of it stayed behind as
the appendix. It would make sense that this small
remnant stayed behind for some reason.

I believe this should be evaluated and corrected.


Dear Ryan,
Thanks for writing. As you might imagine, I would
disagree with your conclusion that the appendix
is vestigial. In truth, those at talk origins are
forced to admit the multiple uses of alleged vestigial
organs. This is not, however, how alleged vestigial
organs are approached by all evolutionary thinkers,
and certainly not how they were approached
in the past
(please see, and notice the listing as useless 
The reason talk origins folks were forced to change
is because so many uses and functions have been found
for the supposed vestigial organs. In order to prove
that something is an inadequate left-over of evolution,
the evolutionists would first be forced to prove
that humans actually evolved from a lower life form
(which they cannot do), then they would be forced to
prove that the organ was not specifically designed
for a special purpose as it currently is positioned
in the human body (which they cannot do).
The truth of the matter is, the more science studies
alleged vestigials, the weaker the argument
for evolution gets. Thanks for writing.
Kyle Butt

Dear Kyle,

I'm not sure how vestigial organs were approached in
the past, they may have indeed been called useless.
But the fact is, there are many examples of
rudimentary structures that have lost most or all of
their original (key word: original) function, like the
hind limbs of the whale.

Now, as for being "forced to prove that the organ was
not specifically designed for a special purpose as it
currently is positioned in the human body". Are you
joking? No offense, but their is no way to prove a
negative like that. That would be like me asking you
to prove that it hadn't evolved. Besides, appendixes
and such are taken out every year and with seemingly
little effect on the individual. Live Science states
that this causes over 300 deaths a year. Doesn't sound
like something "designed" to me. Now, as for proving
that man evolved from "lower" life forms, that's easy.
I have written a whole blog series dedicated to doing
just that. I have references linked to just about
everything I say, so you can check it out if you want.
Particularly interesting is the ERV's:

And By the way, if you read the Live Science Article
on Vestigial Organs, you will notice they report
whales being found with "feet and complete digits".
Just how does a creationist explain that?

I hope I haven't sounded hostile, hope to hear from
you soon, Sincerely,


l_johan_k said...


I got some quotes that clearly states that vestigial organs never were considered totally useless:

Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire (1798): "Whereas useless in this circumstance, these rudiments (...) have not been eliminated, because Nature never works by rapid jumps, and She always leaves vestiges of an organ, even though it is completely superfluous, if that organ plays an important role in the other species of the same family".

Charles Darwin (1859): "An organ serving for two purposes, may become rudimentary or utterly aborted for one, even the more important purpose, and remain perfectly efficient for the other.(...) [A]n organ may become rudimentary for its proper purpose, and be used for a distinct object.".

Robert Wiedersheim (1893): "[Rudimentary organs are] wholly or in part functionless".

August Weismann (1886): "(...) not infrequently the degenerating organ can be turned to account in some other way"

Reference: Vestigiality, Wikipedia (2006-09-13)

Great blog! :)

Johan (Sweden)

AIGBusted said...

Thanks Johan!

I especially like the quote from Darwin! This shows that they were never considered totally useless!

homo escapeons said...

Nothing is ever wasted in Nature...perhaps the Cetaceans are on standby..ready to make their move once we beat Mother Nature to the punch and (in)voluntarily terminate our reign?

The "Prime Apes" had their shot.

cgosling said...

I just discovered Answers in Genesis BUSTED. Thank you. It was well done. I will be checking you out in the future. Check out my essay on Vestigial structures on "Kiosk". C. Gosling

cgosling said...

I just discovered Answers in Genesis BUSTED. It was well done johan. Thank you. I too wrote a similar essay on vestige structures that you may be interested in reading, at "Kiosk"