Vestigials

Discussion in 'Creation vs. Evolution' started by Administrator2, Jan 25, 2002.

  1. Administrator2

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    PAUL OF EUGENE

    Hi Helen! I beg to differ with this statement of yours:

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>There is no evidence of the change from fish to man in the evidence of variation within the kind. We have both acknowledged the vast variation among dogs above. But they are all dogs. Humans vary, too, in height, coloration, intelligence, coordination, etc. But we know what a human is! Variation is already present in the genome’s potential.
    Evolution into another sort of thing altogether isn’t.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


    I cite the presence of vestiges as evidence. Take the coccyx. Regardless of whether or not the human coccyx has any present use (a matter of considerable debate on boards such as these in the past) no one has ever proposed any use for the division of the coccyx into vertabrae that I have ever seen. So I claim the vestigal presence of VERTABRAE IN THE COCCYX as evidence of ancestral species that had full tails. If you choose to claim they have a purpose, look for purpose of the vertabrae divisions, not just the presence of the coccyx.

    I think we can agree that tails are not parts of the normal human kind.

    Take the ear wiggling muscles. There they are, I can even use them to wiggle my ears. They don't rotate anymore - they just shift up and down a bit, with no useful function in that movement. It has been a long time since my non-human physical ancestors actually turned ears towards and away from sounds as a way of enhancing hearing and locating the direction of sounds.

    I think we can agree that rotating ears are not parts of the normal human kind.

    Among the various animals, there are clearer examples. Hip bones, uselessly floating unconnected to anything, in whales, for example.

    It appears to me that your flat declaration of "no evidence" is refuted.
     
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    HELEN
    Hi Paul,
    Simply by calling them ‘vestigials’ you are presuming evolution, so how
    can you use them as evidence for the same thing which you are using to
    define them?

    How, except for a presumption of evolution, can you show they are
    vestigials?

    The human NEVER has a tail in utero. What a fetus has is the
    development of the skeletal structure before the musculature. This
    gives the musculature something to anchor onto! So the entire backbone
    is there first, before the soft tissues which will attach to it. Now
    whether we can ‘get along’ without the coccyx is neither here nor
    there. People can get along without a number of parts which are not considered vestigial, such as the spleen. This, in my opinion, is a matter of intelligent design...

    Take a look at the processes of fetal development and you will see that
    all the skeletal structures are in place rather rapidly. This includes
    the coccyx vertebrae, which will later be used to anchor the muscles
    which make sitting at your computer typing that they are all vestigial a
    more comfortable affair than if you were without them!

    About wiggling ears. Have fun with them! But the fact that some can
    wiggle their ears is simply not really evidence that they evolved from
    animals. You have to presume evolution first to make that jump, and you
    can't use your presumption as your conclusion!

    And are ‘hip bones’ uselessly floating in whales? This is up for
    debate:

    DON’T take this first link as a serious response from me, please, but
    allow me to share it as a matter of humor. I was looking up something
    else and read this and this cracked me up. Everyone needs a little
    spoofing now and then. If this is offensive to you I’m sure we can
    petition the administrators to take it off. If it is not offensive,
    please enjoy:
    http://www.hat.net/mol/archive/wk_80108.htm


    However, a little more seriously:

    A passing admission from an evolutionist instructor here:
    http://www.nyu.edu/projects/fitch/courses/evolution/html/rudimentary_organs.html

    “Even if a "rudimentary organ" actually has a function about which we
    observers are unaware (e.g., if vestigial pelvic bones of a whale may
    function to support gonads), why would it still provide excellent
    evidence in support of evolution by descent?”



    in other words, it evolved because we said it evolved. It doesn’t
    matter if those bones actually have a useful function!

    http://www.trueorigin.org/ng_whales01.asp

    Under the backbone of Basilosaurus and the sperm whale, there are
    small bones independent of it. National Geographic claims these to be
    vestigial legs. Yet that same magazine mentions that these bones
    actually had another function. In Basilosaurus, these bones ‘functioned
    as copulary guides’ and in sperm whales ‘[act] as an anchor for the
    muscles of the genitalia.’[6] To describe these bones, which actually
    carry out important functions, as ‘vestigial organs’ is nothing but
    Darwinistic prejudice.



    And a little more about whale ‘evolution’ in general…

    http://www.ridgenet.net/~do_while/sage/v3i11f.htm
    http://www.ridgenet.net/~do_while/sage/v6i2f.htm
    http://members.ozemail.com.au/~sjdando/the.htm
     
  3. Administrator2

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    PATRICK PARSON

    The human NEVER has a tail in utero. What a fetus has is the development
    of the skeletal structure before the musculature.


    Human embryos certainly do have tails in utero. A very few of them
    actually retain tails after birth, complete with vertebrae, nerves, and
    muscles.



    This gives the musculature something to anchor onto! So the entire
    backbone
    is there first, before the soft tissues which will attach to it. Now whether
    we can ‘get along’ without the coccyx is neither here nor there. People can
    get along without a number of parts which are not considered vestigial, such
    as the spleen. This, in my opinion, is a matter of intelligent design...


    What matters is not present function, but rather original function. In
    primates, the tail is predominately an organ of balance. It no longer
    serves that function, and is therefore vestigial, even if it has a new
    function.



    Take a look at the processes of fetal development and you will see that
    all the skeletal structures are in place rather rapidly. This includes
    the coccyx vertebrae, which will later be used to anchor the muscles
    which make sitting at your computer typing that they are all vestigial a
    more comfortable affair than if you were without them!


    The coxxyx has almost nothing to do with sitting. You sit on the ischim,
    not the coxxyx. The muscles associated with sitting are not those attached
    to the coccyx. Indeed, there are humans who are born without a coccyx, and
    never notice the absence! Coccygeal agenesis can be complete, and even a
    portion of the sacrum can be missing with no noticable effects.



    However, a little more seriously:
    A passing admission from an evolutionist instructor here:

    “Even if a "rudimentary organ" actually has a function about which we
    observers are unaware (e.g., if vestigial pelvic bones of a whale may
    function to support gonads), why would it still provide excellent
    evidence in support of evolution by descent?”

    in other words, it evolved because we said it evolved. It doesn’t
    matter if those bones actually have a useful function!


    I don't think you got what he was saying. "Vestigial" does not mean
    "without a function".



    "Under the backbone of Basilosaurus and the sperm whale, there are
    small bones independent of it. National Geographic claims these to be
    vestigial legs. Yet that same magazine mentions that these bones
    actually had another function. In Basilosaurus, these bones ‘functioned
    as copulary guides’ and in sperm whales ‘[act] as an anchor for the
    muscles of the genitalia.’[6] To describe these bones, which actually
    carry out important functions, as ‘vestigial organs’ is nothing but
    Darwinistic prejudice. "


    Again, it is an error to assume that vestigial organs cannot evolve a new
    function later. Basilosaurus could not walk on those vestigial legs, but
    they seem to have found a new function. But they still would be
    vestigial.
     
  4. Administrator2

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    HELEN
    Helen originally: The human NEVER has a tail in utero. What a fetus has
    is the development
    of the skeletal structure before the
    musculature.

    Pat: Human embryos certainly do have tails in
    utero. A very few of them
    actually retain tails after birth, complete
    with vertebrae, nerves, and
    muscles.


    A tail extends out from the rear end, Pat. As soon as the fetus has
    developed that rear end, there is no ‘tail’. The lower part of the
    spinal column is just that: the lower part of the spinal column. And I
    would ask you to reference even ONE human born with a tail that includes
    vertebrae, nerves, and muscles. You said ‘very few’ so I presume that
    means you know of some.

    Vestigial USED to mean ‘without a function.’ I have my mother’s college
    biology text here. It is Animal Biology by Michael F. Guyer, who
    was then professor of zoology at the University of Wisconsin. It was
    published by Harper & Brothers in 1937. There is a section on
    vestigials starting on page 517, which repeatedly refers to vestigials
    as ‘functionless organs’. In the section on “Vestigial Organs in Man”
    there is this: Man, both as adult and embryo, shows many vestigial
    organs. The anatomist Wiedersheim lists many structures in man in the
    various organ systems I this category, most of which are to be found
    fully developed in other groups of animals of different habits of life.
    …the vermiform appendix – a menace rather than a help to man since it is
    the seat of that dangerous inflammatory condition known as appendicitis
    – is likewise a vestigial structure.


    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>
    "An analysis of the difficulties in unambiguously
    identifying functionless structures and an analysis of the
    nature of the argument, leads to the conclusion that
    'vestigial organs' provide no evidence for evolutionary
    theory.

    "I would suggest that the entire argument that
    vestigial organs provide evidence for evolution is
    invalid on two grounds, one practical, the other
    theoretical.

    "The practical problem is that of unambiguously
    identifying vestigial organs, i.e., those that have
    no function. The analysis of Wiedersheim's list of
    vestigial organs points out the difficulties. As
    our knowledge has increased the list of vestigial
    structures has decreased. Wiedersheim could list
    about one hundred in humans; recent authors usually
    list four or five. Even the current short list
    of vestigial structures in humans is questionable.

    "Similarly, for other 'vestigial organs' there is
    reasonable ground for supposing that they are
    functional albeit in a mina way.

    "The other major objection to citing vestigial organs
    as evidence of evolution is a more theoretical
    one based on the nature of the argument. The
    'vestigial organ' argument uses as a premise the
    assertion that the organ in question has no function.
    There is no way, however, in which this
    negative assertion can be arrived at scientifically.

    "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." —S. Scadding,
    "Do `Vestigial Organs’ Provide
    Evidence for Evolution?"; Evolution Theory (1981), pp.
    174,175,171<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Steve Scadding is of the Department of Zoology, University of Guelph,
    Guelph, Ontario, Canada. http://www.uoguelph.ca/CBS/


    Now that it is known that ‘vestigials’ have a function, evolutionist
    apologists have had to back up and say exactly what you said – just
    because it has a function now doesn’t mean it didn’t do something else
    in the past.

    That’s a fairy story! The ONLY reason evolutionists call certain
    muscles and organs vestigial is because they are presuming evolution to
    be true in the first place! Again, the presumption cannot be the
    conclusion of a logical argument. And, again, ‘vestigials’ HAVE a
    function where they are found. The idea that they were functionless
    sixty or so years ago was an idea born of ignorance. The retreat into
    the present argument is just that: a retreat.

    True vestigials certainly exist – but they are not evidence of evolution
    towards more complexity, but of ‘evolution’ resulting in LESS
    complexity, such as the loss of eyes (actually I believe it is simply
    their atrophy) in cave fish, or possibly the loss of wings on such birds
    as the kiwi. These losses say nothing about how these structures got
    there in the first place, and that is what evolution needs to explain.

    In summary: the original arguments regarding vestigials were mostly
    arguments from ignorance. The retreat into ‘different function now’ or
    ‘partial function now’ is an effort to either salvage something or maybe
    just retreat gracefully. And, thirdly, those evidences of vestigials we
    see in the animal kingdom all have to do with loss within the kind and
    not a change of kind. Vestigials give no evidence for change of basic
    kind or type of organism. Nor do we have any evidence, except when we
    can see the atrophy occur, as with cave fish, of the reality of calling
    ANYTHING vestigial! It is all based on our lack of understanding of
    function combined with the presumption of evolution.
     
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    SCOTT PAGE

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Helen :

    Vestigial USED to mean ‘without a function.’<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Yes, it USED to. Of course, the extensor coccygis has no function. The auricularis muscles have no useful function. Unless you know of functions for these?
    If they are not vetiges and are not evidence of evolution, what are they? Poor design?

    I would be particularly interested in a function for the extensor coccygis.
    For those who are not familiar with the anatomy, the extensor coccygis is a tiny muscle, about the size of a piece of linguini. If it is even present, it usually originates on the proximal vertebrae of the coccyx and or caudal sacrum and inserets on the distal bones of the coccyx. Contracting a muscle only does one thing – pull. Contracting the extensor coccygis would result in the extension of the coccyx, that is, sticking the tailbone out. I know of nobody that can do this, and whats more, I can see no reason that this would occur. In addition, the coccyx is a fused bone, so contracting the e.c. would do nothing anyway.

    So, please, what the function of the extensor coccygis is and why is it not a vestige.
     
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    PATRICK PARSON
    Barbarian says:
    Of course "vestigial" means "no longer having the original function".
    As your cite notes, the appendix does not have the original function.
    It does not say that it has no function at all. As far as "well, it
    USED to mean something different", I took my first course in college
    biology almost 40 years ago, and "vestigial" meant "no longer had its
    original function" then. I don't think the word ever meant "no
    function at all", although that might be true in some cases.

    The point obviously is that we see these vestigial organs in many, many
    cases, and they are inexplicable without evolution. The thought that
    God would specially create a beetle with perfectly-formed wings
    permanently sealed under fused elytra is absurd; one could assume, as
    Phillip Johnson did, about the tail of peacocks, that God was just being
    "whimsical", but I find that unconvincing. If God is given to
    whimsically create organisms with features that are likely to kill them,
    it says something rather unflattering about God.

    On the other hand, vestigial organs that have new functions, like the
    rudimentary legs on Basilosaurus, are also inexplicable, unless they
    evolved.
     
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    PATRICK PARSON
    The Barbarian Replies to Helen's request for examples of tails in humans

    U. O. di Pediatria, ASL SA/1, Ospedale M.
    Scarlato di Scafati, Italy.

    The case of a healthy newborn presenting a
    dorsal-lumbar cutaneous appendage is
    reported. The appendage was excised by
    ligature. This appendage was not associated
    with dysraphism or other malformations. It was
    analysed histologically and then
    defined as a so called true tail. Although it
    was been expressed a lot of hypotheses, the
    etiology of this finding remains disputed. The
    embryology of malformation and its non
    identification between known-syndromes is
    showed. The difference between true tails
    and not-true tails is discussed. The
    conclusion is drawn that for its clinical and
    histological aspect this malformation may be
    included in true tails.


    True tail in a newborn.

    Alashari M, Torakawa J.

    Department of Pathology, Children's Hospital,
    Buffalo, New York 14222, USA.

    Human true tail is a rarely reported anomaly
    that may have a marked psychologic
    impact on the patient's family and may be
    associated with other congenital anomalies. A
    true tail in a newborn girl is reported, and
    findings from a review of the literature are
    summarized. The clinical and pathologic
    differential diagnoses are discussed, as they
    might affect the management and prognosis of
    this congenital malformation.


    Clin Pediatr (Phila) 1995 May;34(5):286-8

    Human tails and associated spinal anomalies.

    James HE, Canty TG.

    Human tails have been described intermittently
    in the literature, typically as isolated
    cases with varying forms of malformation.
    Attempts have been made to differentiate
    "true" tails from "tail-like" appearances.
    Unless identified, underlying occult spinal
    disorders, mass effect, and/or tethering of
    the spinal cord may lead to progressive
    neurologic damage. We report three patients
    with "tails" and the associated spinal
    anomalies.


    Matsuo T, Koga H, Moriyama T, Yamashita H,
    Imazato K, Kondo M.

    Department of Neurosurgery, Sasebo City
    General Hospital.

    Human tails have been attributed to a
    disturbance in fetal tail regression which normally
    occurs at the gestation age of about 6 weeks.
    To date, more than 100 cases of human
    tails have been reported. However, reports of
    true human tails, which involve the
    coccygeal vertebrae, are rare. We recently
    encountered a patient with a true human tail
    which involved the coccygeal vertebrae and was
    accompanied by lumbar spinal lipoma
    and spina bifida. A four-year-old boy was
    brought to our clinic with complaints
    primarily of painful mass. The boy had no
    neurological abnormalities. Physically, a tail
    bone projected, slightly in the lumbar area,
    with a linear depression in the center. A hard
    tail bone was palpable subcutaneously. A soft
    mass was palpable in the lumbar region,
    which was accompanied by hemangioma on the
    superficial layer of the skin in this
    region. On X-ray films, the tail bone lacked
    the normal curvature and it projected
    linearly in the posterior direction. CT scans
    revealed spina bifida at the level below L2.
    MRI disclosed spina bifida (at the level below
    L2), spinal lipoma and a tethered cord.
    During surgery, the tail bone was first
    resected over a distance of one and a half
    vertebral bodies. The lumbar tumor, which
    continued into the spinal canal, was removed
    as completely as possible after incision of
    the dura mater. To free the tethered cord, the
    tensioned, hypertrophic filum terminale was
    dissected. Although the morphological
    diagnosis of this condition is easy, the high
    incidence of complication by other
    anomalies makes it essential to perform
    thorough preoperative examinations with CT
    and MRI.


    The human tail and spinal dysraphism.

    Belzberg AJ, Myles ST, Trevenen CL.

    Division of Neurosurgery, Alberta Children's
    Hospital, Calgary.

    Recent publications have endeavoured to
    differentiate between the true, or vestigial tail,
    and the pseudotail by clinical and
    pathological examination, and have indicated the
    benign nature of the true tail. The true tail
    arises from the most distal remnant of the
    embryonic tail, contains adipose, connective,
    muscle, and nerve tissue, and is covered by
    skin. Pseudotails represent a variety of
    lesions having in common a lumbosacral
    protrusion and a superficial resemblance to
    vestigial tails. A review of the case reports
    indicates spina bifida to be the most frequent
    coexisting anomaly with both. A review of
    occult spinal dysraphism shows it to be
    associated with cutaneous signs in more than
    50% of instances. Three cases of spinal
    dysraphism with tail-like cutaneous structures
    are described and their radiological,
    operative, and pathological findings presented. The
    classification of each of the appendages into
    true tail or pseudotail remains obscure.
    Although the finding of these three tails was
    the subject of much curiosity, surgical
    treatment was clearly designed to adequately
    deal with the associated dysraphic state.
    The presence of a tail-like appendage in the
    lumbosacral region should alert the clinician
    to the possibility of underlying spinal
    dysraphism. Preoperative assessment must
    include a complete neurological history and
    examination as well as computed
    tomographic or magnetic resonance imaging.

    Because humans evolved from organisms with tails, humans are sometimes
    born with protruding tails. They are essentially no different than the
    tails we have within our bodies. They have nerves, vertebrae which
    are the same as those in the coccyx and so on. It is not true that the
    coccyx is functional in humans. Coccygeal agenesis normally is
    completely benign.
     

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