One claim that long occupied a place in the literature of evolution but was quietly abandoned once it was realized to be false is the concept of vestigial organs. Some evolutionists, however, still imagine that such organs represent major evidence for evolution and seek to portray them as such.
A century or so ago, the claim was put forward that some living things had organs that were inherited from their ancestors, but which had gradually become smaller and even functionless from lack of use.
Those organs were in fact ones whose functions had not yet been identified. And so, the long list of organs believed by evolutionists to be vestigial grew ever shorter. The list of originally proposed by the German anatomist R. Wiedersheim in 1895 contain approximately 100 organs, including the human appendix and the coccyx. But the appendix was eventually realized to be a part of the lymph system that combats microbes entering the body, as was stated in one medical reference source in 1997:
Other bodily organs and tissues--the thymus, liver, spleen, appendix, bone marrow, and small collections of lymphatic tissue such as the tonsils in the throat and Peyer's patch in the small intestine-are also part of the lymphatic system. They too help the body fight infection. 271
The tonsils, which also appeared on that same list of vestigial organs, were likewise discovered to play an important role against infections, especially up until adulthood. (Like the appendix, tonsils sometimes become infected by the very bacteria they seek to combat, and so must be surgically removed.) The coccyx, the end of the backbone, was seen to provide support for the bones around the pelvic bone and to be a point of fixation for certain small muscles.
In the years that followed, other organs regarded as vestigial were shown to serve specific purposes: The thymus gland activates the body's defense system by setting the T cells into action. The pineal gland is responsible for the production of important hormones. The thyroid establishes balanced growth in babies and children. The pituitary ensures that various hormone glands are functioning correctly.
Today, many evolutionists accept that the myth of vestigial organs stemmed from sheer ignorance. The evolutionist biologist S.R. Scadding expresses this in an article published in the magazine Evolutionary Theory:
Since it is not possible to unambiguously identify useless structures, and since the structure of the argument used is not scientifically valid, I conclude that ‘vestigial organs' provide no special evidence for the theory of evolution.272
Evolutionists also make a significant logical error in their claim that vestigial organs in living things are a legacy from their ancestors: Some organs referred to as "vestigial" are not present in the species claimed to be the forerunners of man.
For example, some apes have no appendix. The zoologist Professor Hannington Enoch, an opponent of the vestigial organ thesis, sets out this error of logic:
Apes possess an appendix, whereas their less immediate relatives, the lower apes, do not; but it appears again among the still lower mammals such as the opossum. How can the evolutionists account for this? 273
The scenario of vestigial organs put forward by evolutionists contains its own internal inconsistencies, besides being scientifically erroneous. We humans have no vestigial organs inherited from our supposed ancestors, because humans did not evolve randomly from other living things, but were fully and perfectly created in the form we have today.
271. The Merck Manual of Medical Information, Home edition, Rahway, New Jersey: Merck & Co., Inc. The Merck Publishing Group, , 1997.
272. S. R. Scadding, "Do ‘Vestigial Organs' Provide Evidence for Evolution?," Evolutionary Theory, Vol. 5, May 1981, p. 173.
273. Hannington Enoch, Creation or Evolution, New York, 1966, pp. 18-19.