Scientists think the appendix does serve a purpose after all!
By Don Ruhl
Evolutionists claim that we have vestigial organs. What are vestigial organs? A pro-evolutionist web site, (http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/section2.html#vestiges), says this about vestigial organs:
Some of the most renowned evidence for evolution are the various nonfunctional or rudimentary vestigial characters, both anatomical and molecular, that are found throughout biology. A vestige is defined, independently of evolutionary theory, as a reduced and rudimentary structure compared to the same complex structure in other organisms. Vestigial characters, if functional, perform relatively simple, minor, or inessential functions using structures that were clearly designed for other complex purposes. Though many vestigial organs have no function, complete non-functionality is not a requirement for vestigiality…For example, wings are very complex anatomical structures specifically adapted for powered flight, yet ostriches have flightless wings. The vestigial wings of ostriches may be used for relatively simple functions, such as balance during running and courtship displays—a situation akin to hammering tacks with a computer keyboard. The specific complexity of the ostrich wing indicates a function which it does not perform, and it performs functions incommensurate with its complexity. Ostrich wings are not vestigial because they are useless structures per se, nor are they vestigial simply because they have different functions compared to wings in other birds. Rather, what defines ostrich wings as vestigial is that they are rudimentary wings which are useless as wings.
Evolutionists have long used supposed vestigial organs as evidence that evolution has taken place. They argue that we needed these organs in the past, but we have evolved and no longer need them. They say we no longer need them because the evolutionist cannot find a purpose or function for vestigial organs. Therefore, the organs must be useless and simply vestiges of evolution.
The problem with this is that evolutionists sound all-knowing. If they cannot explain it, it had no purpose. However, man does not know everything and when he acts as though he does, God humbles him that he might know he is only man. This holds true for both evolutionists or creationists.
The List of Vestigial Organs
The Live Science web site lists what they believe are the top ten Useless Limbs (and Other Vestigial Organs): (http://www.livescience.com/animals/top10_vestigial_organs.html)
No. 10 – Wings on flightless birds
No. 9 – Hind leg bones on whales
No. 8 – Erector pili and body hair (erector pili are smooth muscle fibers that give us goose bumps)
No. 7 – The human tailbone
No. 6 – The blind fish astyanax mexicanus
No. 5 – Wisdom teeth in humans
No. 4 – The sexual organs of dandelions
No. 3 – Fake sex in virgin whiptail lizards (vestigial behavior)
No. 2 – Male breast tissue and nipples
No. 1 – The human appendix
Let us see what has happened to what they believe is the number one example of a vestigial organ.
Scientists Now Think They Have Discovered a Purpose for the Appendix
October 6, 2007, the Grants Pass Daily Courier ran a front page article from the Associated Press, “Appendix might be useful after all.” The subtitle of the article said, “Some scientists think it makes and protects good germs.” The article made these interesting statements,
WASHINGTON — Some scientists think they have figured out the real job of the troublesome and seemingly useless appendix: It produces and protects good germs for your gut…For generations the appendix has been dismissed as superfluous…The function of the appendix seems related to the massive amount of bacteria populating the human digestive system, according to the study in the Journal of Theoretical Biology. There are more bacteria than human cells in the typical body. Most of it is good and helps digest food. But sometimes the flora of bacteria in the intestines die or are purged. Diseases such as cholera or amoebic dysentery would clear the gut of useful bacteria. The appendix’s job is to reboot the digestive system in that case. The appendix “acts as a good safe house for bacteria,” said Duke surgery professor Bill Parker, a study co-author. Its location — just below the normal one-way flow of food and germs in the large intestine in a sort of gut cul-de-sac — helps support the theory, he said. Also, the worm-shaped organ outgrowth acts like a bacteria factory, cultivating the good germs, Parker said. That use is not needed in a modern industrialized society, Parker said. If a person’s gut flora dies, they can usually repopulate it easily with germs they pick up from other people, he said. But before dense populations in modern times and during epidemics of cholera that affected a whole region, it wasn’t as easy to grow back that bacteria and the appendix came in handy. In less developed countries, where the appendix may be still useful, the rate of appendicitis is lower than in the U.S., other studies have shown, Parker said. He said the appendix may be another case of an overly hygienic society triggering an overreaction by the body’s immune system…Five scientists not connected with the research said that the Duke theory makes sense and raises interesting questions. The idea “seems by far the most likely” explanation for the function of the appendix, said Brandeis University biochemistry professor Douglas Theobald. “It makes evolutionary sense.” The theory led Gary Huffnagle, a University of Michigan internal medicine and microbiology professor, to wonder about the value of another body part that is often yanked: “I’ll bet eventually we’ll find the same sort of thing with the tonsils.”
Notice what the article said. The appendix produces and protects good germs. The appendix restarts the digestive system to produce the good bacteria again. The location of the appendix supports this theory. What happens if you have your appendix removed? Our physical contact with other people helps to repopulate the good bacteria, but our overly hygienic culture has caused problems, bringing on a higher rate of appendicitis. These scientists think this makes “evolutionary sense.”
The Appendix and Good Bacteria
If evolution happened, how did the first humans survive without this bacteria? If we managed to survive and to develop without it, why did we evolve the need for good bacteria? If evolution produced the appendix, how did the first humans survive until evolution perfected the appendix? The fact that our bodies can use items from the environment, in this case, bacteria, shows perfect design. A good designer enables his invention to use the environment in a non-harmless way. The environment contributes to the invention, and the invention contributes to the environment. This pictures mankind living on the earth.
Genesis 2 shows the Good Designer making man from the environment, “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being” (Gen 2.7). Genesis 3 shows that even the curse takes these factors into consideration, “Then to Adam [God] said, ‘Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, “You shall not eat of it”: Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return’” (Gen 3.17–19).
If God made us from our environment and if we shall return to the environment, does it surprise anyone that we need the environment to live?
The Location of the Appendix
Does a designer put items in the best location? Does it make sense to put the starter for an engine in the back seat? Does it make sense to put the mouth at the back of the head? Does it make sense to put the appendix behind the knee cap? No, if it produces and protects the good bacteria that we need for digestion, it needs to be close to the place where the digestion happens!
Does Psalm 139 reveal that a Good Designer put together our bodies? “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them” (Psa 139.13–16).
God formed all the organs of the body, placing them in the best places. Truly God skillfully wrought our bodies.
Humanity tends to go from one dangerous extreme to another. Some have no concern for cleanliness; others go too far and fail to see the benefit of living in our environment. Therefore, God taught the Israelites to be clean, but He also tells us to have contact with each other. Romans 16 encourages physical contact, “Greet one another with a holy kiss” (Rom 16.16).
Many people have serious health problems because they go too far in avoiding germs, but the article pointed out how we need human contact for health reasons, and the Bible encourages such contact. Does that surprise you? If God created us, He knows what we need. He knows our need for both cleanliness and human contact.
Does It Make “Evolutionary Sense”?
How can you win an argument with an evolutionist? They contend that if the appendix is useless, that proves evolution happened. Then they also say that if the appendix has a use, that makes “evolutionary sense.”
Just stay with the consistency of the teachings of Scripture. Psalm 12 declares the perfection of Scripture, “The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. You shall keep them, O LORD, You shall preserve them from this generation forever” (Psa 12.6, 7).
What Scripture taught yesterday, it teaches today, and will continue to teach tomorrow. The discoveries of man will only verify what we have known from correct thinking based on the Bible.