For a long time, the concept of "vestigial organs" appeared frequently in evolutionist literature as "evidence" of evolution. Eventually, it was silently put to rest when this was proved to be invalid. But some evolutionists still believe in it, and from time to time someone will try to advance "vestigial organs" as important evidence of evolution.
The notion of "vestigial organs" was first put forward a century ago. As evolutionists would have it, there existed in the bodies of some creatures a number of non-functional organs. These had been inherited from progenitors and had gradually become vestigial from lack of use.
The whole assumption is quite unscientific, and is based entirely on insufficient knowledge. These "non-functional organs" were in fact organs whose "functions had not yet been discovered." The best indication of this was the gradual yet substantial decrease in evolutionists' long list of vestigial organs. S. R. Scadding, an evolutionist himself, concurred with this fact in his article "Can vestigial organs constitute evidence for evolution?" published in the journal 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.312
The list of vestigial organs that was made by the German Anatomist R. Wiedersheim in 1895 included approximately 100 organs, including the appendix and coccyx. As science progressed, it was discovered that all of the organs in Wiedersheim's list in fact had very important functions. For instance, it was discovered that the appendix, which was supposed to be a "vestigial organ," was in fact a lymphoid organ that fought infections in the body. This fact was made clear 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.313
In the years that followed, it was realized that the thymus triggered the immune system in the human body by activating the T cells, that the pineal gland was in charge of the secretion of some important hormones such as melatonin, which inhibits secretion of luteinizing hormone, that the thyroid gland was effective in providing steady growth in babies and children and in metabolism and body activity, and that the pituitary gland controlled skeletal growth and the proper functioning of the thyroid, adrenals, and reproductive glands. All of these were once considered to be "vestigial organs." Finally, the semi-lunar fold in the eye, which was referred to as a vestigial organ by Darwin, has been found in fact to be in charge of cleansing and lubricating the eyeball.
There was a very important logical error in the evolutionist claim regarding vestigial organs. As we have just seen, this claim was that the vestigial organs in living things were inherited from their ancestors. However, some of the alleged "vestigial" organs are not found in the species alleged to be the ancestors of human beings! For example, the appendix does not exist in some ape species that are said to be ancestors of man. The famous biologist H. Enoch, who challenged the theory of vestigial organs, expressed this logical error as follows:
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?314
Beside all of this, the claim that an organ which is not used atrophies and disappears over time carries a logical inconsistency within it. Darwin was aware of this inconsistency, and made the following confession in The Origin of Species:
There remains, however, this difficulty. After an organ has ceased being used, and has become in consequence much reduced, how can it be still further reduced in size until the merest vestige is left; and how can it be finally quite obliterated? It is scarcely possible that disuse can go on producing any further effect after the organ has once been rendered functionless. Some additional explanation is here requisite which I cannot give.315
Simply put, the scenario of vestigial organs put forward by evolutionists contains a number of serious logical flaws, and has in any case been proven to be scientifically untrue. There exists not one inherited vestigial organ in the human body.
312 S. R. Scadding, "Do 'Vestigial Organs' Provide Evidence for Evolution?," Evolutionary Theory, vol. 5, May 1981, p. 173.313 The Merck Manual of Medical Information, Home edition, Merck & Co., Inc. The Merck Publishing Group, Rahway, New Jersey, 1997.314 H. Enoch, Creation and Evolution, New York, 1966, pp. 18-19.315 Charles Darwin, Origin of Species, http://www.zoo.uib.no/classics/darwin/origin.chap14.html.