Do We Have Useless Vestigial Organs?

Is evolution true? Did we come from monkeys? Is Genesis true? How old is the earth?

A common claim among those who believe that Darwinian evolution adequately explains life as we know it is that humans have a lot of leftover parts from our primitive ancestors. Whether it’s ‘junk DNA’ or vestigial organs, the idea is that our ancestors needed these parts for survival, but that we no longer need them. A list of such no-longer-needed body parts might include the following:

  • Appendix
  • Wisdom teeth
  • Tailbone (coccyx)
  • Body hair

…and so on. Below is a video by Answers in Genesis contributor Dr. David Menton, who is an anatomist. If one is going to believe that certain body parts have no function in modern humans, it makes sense to check that idea with people who specialize in anatomy. This video was made in response to a Vox video that says we have body parts that we don’t need. I post the video not because it answers all of the questions about such body parts, but because it shows that it’s easy to claim that we don’t need things like tailbones and much harder to back up the claim. Before you uncritically accept any claim (including my own), do a little homework. You might be surprised to find that there’s more to it than you first realized.

Darwinian Evolution: Science or a Belief System?

Is evolution true? Did we come from monkeys? Is Genesis true? How old is the earth?

I love science. I always have. I can’t resist clicking to news articles that talk about the discovery of a new species, or some tech advancement, or about the chemical makeup of my favorite soft drink. At the same time, I don’t always love discussions about science. The reason is simple: most people don’t think very well.

Evolution is a loaded word. It means a number of different things. One common use of the word suggests that all animals and humans ‘evolved’ from a common ancestor. I’ve long suggested that this isn’t a scientific conclusion, but a faith-based conclusion. I’ve seen no evidence to suggest otherwise…and I’ve looked. There are a lot of ideas, and a whole bunch of leaps in logic, but I see no actual, scientific evidence. In fact, the evidence I’ve seen points away from this kind of evolution.

In this video, Ray Comfort asks a bunch of folks who believe in evolution for one simple thing: a single bit of solid, scientific evidence that shows one kind of animal turning into another kind of animal. He makes the natural and reasonable distinction between adaptation (changes in a population to match environmental conditions) and speciation (where one kind of animal, over a long period of time, becomes another kind). It’s interesting to see the different reactions from those being asked. One man appears to get angry when his viewpoint is questioned. Some seem thoughtful.

One final note: Comfort somehow got PZ Myers to appear on camera. Myers is a very well-known biologist, and an outspoken critic of any idea that challenges or competes with Darwinism. I find his inclusion in this video very telling, especially since he doesn’t appear to have a good answer to the question.

Genetic Humor?

Is evolution true? Did humor evolve?

Doesn’t the Discovery Channel have a proofreader?

I spent a few minutes reading an article there today, titled Ancient Humor: Raunch, Riddles and Religion (no longer available). I found it interesting, for the most part.

I have no problem with the idea that humanity’s sense of humor goes back tens of thousands of years, or that the appearance of humor seems to coincide with the appearance of religious artifacts. That’s all good. What bugs me are some of the stupid statements that supposedly intelligent people, writing for supposedly science-loving organizations, sometimes make.

Here’s the scenario: anthropologists love to study Australian aborigines, because they’ve apparently been culturally and genetically isolated from the rest of humanity for most of the last 35,000 years. When some anthropologists were hanging out with some aborigines during a thunderstorm, the scientists were thunderstruck that aborigines weren’t afraid of the noise. They seemed astounded that their subjects were able to laugh and make light of the storm.

Now for the stupidity:

The ability to be amused by life’s inevitable surprises goes back at least 35,000 years, Polimeni said, citing the isolated Australians’ genetic capacity for humor.

Really? Come on. Really? Their “genetic capacity for humor”? The idea is that humor is genetic, and that it developed in all humans before the aborigines became isolated. If it had developed later, they wouldn’t have a sense of humor. Since they find things funny, we can conclude that the human race developed the genes for humor prior to aboriginal isolation.

Have we become so naive that we all just read past this sort of garbage? Am the only one who gets riled up when supposedly smart people make stupid statements and expect the general public to agree? Is “it’s genetic” the only explanation that supposedly smart people can think of?

Come to think of it, maybe that is the only explanation they can come up with. Anything that falls outside a strict materialist perspective would simply be unacceptable…wouldn’t it?