AFTER ITS KIND
from the book by the same name (1958)
THE "PROOF" FROM VESTIGIAL ORGANS
This fourth proof of evolution rests on the so-called fact that there are in the bodies of many animals parts that have absolutely no function. These parts, it is said lost whatever usefulness they once had in the course of evolution. As an illustration of what a vestigial organ is we might take the old kerosene lamps that were once inside the windshield of the early automobile. Now those kerosene lights are no more. Strong electric head-lights have taken their place. If however, the old kerosene lamps were still retained in manufacture because they could not be gotten rid of, they would be what would be designated as "vestigial" organs of the automobile. Such vestigial parts are supposed to be present in great abundance in the bodies of animals and men, especially the latter, and are being carried around as so much useless luggage.
It is certainty not reasonable that the Creator would put into any one of His creatures parts that are of absolutely no use to it. Certainly He would not put in detrimental parts. The only way of determining the value of this argument, therefore, is to determine whether there are in any creature parts that serve no purpose. It makes no difference what degree of functional importance the parts may have. It is not to be expected that all parts of a body should have equally important functions. The thumb could better be dispensed with than the heart. If a part serves any function whatever, whether it is only in the embryonic period, in the years of childhood—grown, or later, that part is useful and cannot reasonably be considered a proof of evolution.
Certain definite organs of men and animals that are said to be "vestigial" will now be considered. So many have been enumerated that it is impossible in these pages to mention them all. Furthermore, it is not necessary. The chief ones will be considered and certain principles will be stated that will serve the purpose of showing the fallacy in this sort of proof.
It should be borne in mind, as was brought out in the section on comparative anatomy, that the Creator has used one common plan or pattern of structure for vast numbers of His creatures. However, since these creatures were to live in different surroundings, it was necessary that the common plan should be modified, now in one place, now in another. Man is one of the creatures made on the common plan. In his body he is not essentially different from the lower animals. According to the Bible it is in his spiritual nature that man is superior to, and a creature totally different from, the dumb brutes.
It is to be expected, in view of the similarity of plan of structure which the Creator adopted, that we should find in the body of man the same muscles and organs which we find in the lower animals, only modified according to human needs. Such is the case.
In the head of the horse for example, and this matter is referred to because it touches the subject of vestigial organs, are certain muscles that are very useful to the horse, muscles by which the horse can twitch the skin of his forehead vigoro-usly to drive off flies, and muscles by which he can turn his ears back and forth quickly in order to detect danger. In man, because he is made on the same fundamental plan as the horse, these same muscles are found, only they are not so highly developed and efficient. With them man can move his ears and his scalp slightly, but not so well as watch the horse in the can. These muscles in man, because they are less useful and less efficient, are therefore said by the evolutionists to be "vestigial" muscles, muscles that—we human beings could and did once use, when we were creatures of a lower order, but cannot now use because we have evolved. Some day, according to the theory, these muscles and others of the face will be entirely gone.
But - let us consider, why, on the theory of creation, man should be made so as to be able to twitch his skin and move his ears as vigorously as the horse. Man has a mind that serves him better than any set of muscles. Let us further ask if, when the time comes that these so-called useless muscles will be gone, we shall not be as dead in facial expression and appearance as stones. We shall be able, neither to laugh nor smile, to raise our eyebrows nor otherwise express the personality within us. Finally, it must be considered, if the muscles that connect with our ears and enable us to move them as we do were ever absent entirely, would not something else be necessary to fill up the holes in the head caused by their absence? If these parts are useful only for filling in, they are not "vestigial."
We might refer in this connection to the so-called rudimentary "third eyelid" in man. Reptiles, birds, cats, all vertebrate animals, in fact, have fastened to the edge of the eye on one side a thin membrane that helps to hold the eye in place in the head. In some creatures this membrane is so well developed that it is useful for cleaning off the eyeball. In man's eye, next to the nose, as the reader can see by inspection, there is a fold of whitish membrane that serves to fill in that corner of the eye and forms a delicate socket in which the eyeball turns. This fold is said to be "vestigial," a proof that man is a direct descendant of the reptiles! However, since the Creator used a common pattern, why should not this fold be there? What would take its place if it were gone?
It is hoped that the above discussion will suggest how to deal with a certain class of "evidences."
There are others, however, that should be taken up separately, among them certain so-called vestigial organs in the lower animals. The two most commonly mentioned are the "relics of rear legs" in whales, which are said to prove that whales are descendants of land animals, and the "relics of legs" in the great snake, the python or boa, which are said to prove that these serpents once
In the rear part of the whale, about midway between the front paddles and the tail flukes by which the creature drives itself through the water, imbedded in the flesh of that region, are certain cartilaginous bones from six to ten inches in length. These bones are not connected with the spine, but are imbedded in the muscles. They do not approach the outside of the skin but are clearly an interior organ of the whale. These bones, existing in the whale in the general region where rear legs, if they existed would be, are pointed to by the upholders of the evolutionary theory as evidence that the whale was once a land animal in possession of useful rear legs.
Before discussing the actual facts of the case it is well to consider what this "proof" calls upon men to accept. Evolutionists are wont to ridicule the creationists with being credulous, superstitious, able to believe anything. To accept this proof means that one must believe that the whale came out of the water where it had been a fish, became a land animal, worked for millions of years to get legs, got them, used them, perhaps to climb trees with or gallop over the dusty plains, then got tired of being a land animal, being a land animal, began to live near the edge of the water, turned its front legs into paddles, developed tails, flukes to act as propellers, let its rear legs hang uselessly behind until they wasted away, and finally came to exist only in the state it is in today!
Does not such a course of evolution cause one to wonder at the statement of President McMurrich of the University of Toronto, "It seems incredible that man as a reasoning animal can presume to doubt evolution"?
As said above, the whale is a mammal. The Creator made it, internally, not after the pattern of the fish, though it lives in the water, but after the pattern of the four-footed land animals. The pattern was modified, so as to substitute tail-flukes for rear legs. It was necessary, however, to provide certain bones in the rear part of the great monster to help support the mass of organs in that part. The bones were put there by the Creator and muscles attached to them by which the genital and other parts of the creature are supported. Having, thus, an important function these often mentioned bones in the whale are not vestigial anythings.37
The other so-called vestigial organs of the lower animals to be considered are the leg-bones of the boa. In the rear part of this great serpent there are two strong spurs 38 which project two or three inches. They are the visible parts of what are actually legs, the larger part of which are concealed under the skin. But the skin is very loose and pliable in that region and the legs can be moved vigorously back and forth. By means of the spurs the serpent, which kill's by wrapping itself around its victim and squeezing it to death, can cut severe gashes by powerful, quick strokes. By means of the spurs it assists in propelling its great bulk along the ground. In view of the useful advantages, the creature has in the possession of these spurs the leg-bones cannot be considered useless appendages.
We come now to the so-called vestigial organs in man besides those already mentioned: the tonsils, the thyroid,
37 See article, "Whale," in the Cent. Dict. and Ency., 1911 ed.
38 See picture and discussion in Ditmar's Reptiles of the World, pages 197, 218.
the thymus gland, the pineal gland, the pituitary gland, and the vermiform appendix. Belief in evolution was given tremendous impulse until comparatively recent times by the oft repeated statements of evolutionists that the above mentioned organs of the human body were with out rhyme or reason and could be dispensed with at any time. Medical science was then in a rather crude state. Today, because of the great progress of investigation in the study of human anatomy, evolutionists are strangely silent on all these once so-called "Vestigial" organs. As Paley declared, "our list of useless structures decreases as our store of knowledge increases."
The once loudly proclaimed useless part, the thyroid gland, is now known to be vitally important in normal body growth. Improper functioning of the organ causes that hideous deformity called cretinism. 39 The thyroid controls the iodine that comes into the system in the food that is eaten. Yet this important part, because its function, was unknown, was until quite recently an infallible "proof" of evolution. Another "vestigial" part, whose lack of function has been disproved, is the pituitary gland. On the functioning of this gland depends the proper growth of the skeleton. Over-activity of the gland causes abnormal
growth. The giants which we see in circuses are probably victims of an over-activity of pituitary functions. 40 The pineal gland, another once infallible "proof" exerts its chief functional activity in childhood. "Until the seventh year this organ exerts an inhibitory influence upon the development of the sexual glands." 41 The function of the thymus is now clearly known. It is an endocrine gland working with the thyroid. Four pairs of lymphatic tissues exist in the upper human throat, one of which ordinary people call their "tonsils." although all four pairs are their tonsils. These are "a chain of fortresses protecting the body against invasion by pathogenic organisms." 42 In other words, the tonsils help to prevent disease germs from
39 See Thyroid and Thymus Gland, 2nd ed., page 21, of George W. Crile and Associates.
40 See The Endocrines, by S. Wyllis Bandler, pages 100-104.
41 See ibid., page 93.
42 A Laboratory Textbook of Human Anatomy, by O. F. Kampmeier, 1944, page 128, part VII.
entering the system. They are especially important in children. Concerning the thymus and the tonsils, Sir Arthur Keith, head of the Royal College of Surgeons. London said, "no one would describe them as vestiges." 43
The following concerning that notorious "proof" of evolution, the appendix, is from a member of the faculty of one of the large medical schools of America:
"Both the tonsils and the appendix are largely composed of lymphoid tissue. The function of lymphoid tissue, wherever it is found, is intimately related to combatting the invasion of the body by foreign agents, particularly bacteria. The tonsils and appendix engage in this protective function, consequently they can not be thought of as inert or vestigial tissues from this point of view. The appendix, in addition to being a lymph organ, also happens to be an extension of the large intestine. Because of its narrow lumen (or duct) . . . it is difficult to conceive how the appendix can play a significant role in the digestion and absorption of food-stuffs. From this point of view. i.e. as an organ important in the handling of foodstuffs, it may be considered rudimentary in the human species, but it must be remembered that it still contains its lymph structure and functions in much the same manner as its parent, the larger intestine."
The member of the faculty of the medical school thus quoted then refers to the author of a text-book of human anatomy 44 who says, "The designation 'abdominal tonsil' ... is sometimes applied to the appendix . . . (which) is found only in scattered forms of mammals: in the wombat, rabbit, some lemurs, in anthropoid apes, and in man. It is erroneously classed as a vestigial organ.'" Keith likewise says 45 that the appendix "does not merit the name 'vestigial'" and says that in growth and atrophy in later years the appendix keeps company with other lymphatic glands of the body.
Attention is called to the presence of the appendix in lower animals. If, as was once said, the appendix is a "vestigial" organ in man because its function is unknown,
43 Nature, Dec. 12, 1925.
44 Kampmeier, O. F., A Laboratory Textbook of Human Anatomy, 1944, p. 405, part IV.
45 Nature, Dec. 12, 1925.
then evolution has produced a totally useless organ in the entire animal world, because no more is known about its function in the lower animals than in man. Furthermore, it is odd that the appendix should exist in what are said to be man's closest relatives, the higher apes, but not in his less immediate relatives, the monkeys, and yet should appear again in animals farther down the scale, e.g., the rabbit, wombat and opossum. 46
It might be well to add a word in connection with so-called vestigial organs regarding the reputed existence of human beings with "tails." Every now and then it is reported that a baby has been born with a tail, or a tailed family has been discovered somewhere, usually in some far away corner of the earth. It is rather significant that when such cases are reported the descriptions of them are so meager, or the time of their occurrence so remote that one who might wish to make a personal investigation would not be able to do so. All reports of human tails, however apparently authoritative, should be received with suspicion. Zeal to establish their theory will sometimes lead evolutionists to accept and report cases that are totally without foundation. As a proof of this, what occurred a few years ago may be cited. Dr. W. W. Keen, a man of reputation in evolutionary circles, wrote a book called "I Believe in God and in Evolution" in which he published a faked picture of a man with a tail. When the fact that the photograph was faked was called to his attention he wrote to the magazine Science as follows: "In my book, 'I Believe in God and in Evolution' I have included in the fourth edition a photograph of an Igorot with a tail, which I vouched for, as I understood that it had been photographed by own grandson, Mr. John Freeman. A few days ago within a few hours of each other, I received letters from Dr. Alex Hrdlicka, of the division of physical anthropology of the National Museum of the Smithsonian Institute and from Mrs. Ella F. Grave, who a year ago had been doing some work in the Philippines for the National Research Council. Both of these correspondents stated that the Bureau of Science in Manila had shown them the original of this
40 Mivart, Man and Apes, page 161.
photograph which showed it was a fake photograph, the tail having been added to the original by the photographer, I suppose as a joke. On communicating with my grandson I find that I misinterpreted his letter and that he did not photograph this Igorot." Keen then went on to say that his mistake did not mean that human tails do not prove man's animal ancestry, "for there are plenty of genuine tails." In a later communication to the same magazine he stated that "two new photographs, unquestionably authentic" had been substituted for the faked one, one photograph of a case reported in 1901, the other in 1889. It is doubtful, however, if many will agree that the new photographs are "unquestionably authentic" after the publication of the faked one, which was also once to be relied on as authentic. 47
Aside from falsely reported cases of actual human tails what may happen is this:
As students of embryology know, injuries or accidents are likely to occur in embryonic development which cause freaks of nature. Among animals two-headed calves and cats and puppies, and in the human family three-legged men and two persons with a common stomach have been born. Evolutionists do not contend that therefore there have been such ancestors as these for animals and men. In like manner injuries have occurred in the development of the human embryo which have caused the coccyx or lower end of the spine to be abnormally developed, thus giving the suggestion of a tail. This does not mean that men had tailed ancestors any more than two-headed calves prove that modern cattle are descended from two-headed cattle.
Monstrosities due to accidents in very early stages of individual development, rather than the evolution of the whole human race, account for some so-called proofs of evolution, such as the very rare births of men or women with supernumerary breasts. A rather common condition, in which men's second and third toes are joined, may well be a condition which is of genetic origin, i. e., one Divinely provided for at creation, like white streaks of hair above the forehead, rather than be a condition due to man's
47 Science, April 2, 1926, and June 11, 1926.
evolution from webbed bird or reptile ancestors, as some evolutionists have maintained.
Much has been made by evolutionists of the fact that very young infants can support their weight by their fingers at an early age, this being a sign, it is said, of man's arboreal ancestry. It is to be explained, however, by the fact that infants possess this ability because they have been very active in the womb in opening and closing their fingers, and have thus developed strong hand muscles. Where the will to believe in evolution exists there exists also the willingness to grasp at any straw which may seem to support that theory.
TO BE CONTINUED
INDEED MANY A CIRCUS HAD AT TIMES IN THE PAST "THE FREAK" PERSON, WITH ABNORMAL THIS OR THAT. WE STILL KNOW TODAY NOW AND AGAIN BABIES ARE JOINED TOGETHER AT DIFFERENT PARTS OF THEIR BODY, SOME CAN BE OPERATED ON AND DIVIDED; SOME CANNOT BECAUSE THEY SHARE A VITAL ORGAN. ABNORMAL HAPPENINGS DO TAKE PLACE IN THE STAGES OF DEVELOPMENT IN THE WOMB OF ANIMALS AND MANKIND. THIS HAS ALWAYS BEEN THE FACT OF LIFE. JUST AS WE HAVE "DOWN-SYNDROME" CHILDREN, NOW UNDERSTOOD WHY BY SCIENCE, SO WE HAVE HAD AND DO HAVE FROM TIME TO TIME, VARIOUS BIRTHS OF ANIMALS AND CHILDREN WITH VARIOUS, WHAT WE MIGHT CALL "ABNORMAL PHYSICAL" CHARACTERISTICS.