Monday, April 12, 2010

Creationists on Vestiges

For some reason, I felt compelled to watch a debate between Michael Shermer and Kent Hovind that showed up on my Youtube recommendations list the other day. Listening to Hovind's 'arguments' often made me cover my face with my palms in despair of his deceit. So I thought I'd go through some creationist literature and see what they have to say about vestigial organs, as Kent very obviously had no idea what a vestige was.

Here is a short passage from Hovind's website about Human vestigial structures.
Although at one time there were dozens of features of the human body listed as vestigial, most have been shown to have important functions. After all, even if a few parts have lost their original function that does not prove evolution. To demonstrate evolution, you need to show the development of completely new structures, not the loss and degeneration of previous characteristics.
In one single paragraph the author shows that he has no idea whatsoever what a vestigial feature really is, and has a very flawed perception of how evolution works. As I explained in my last post about vestigiality, it is not something that has completely lost its function, but rather something that no longer performs its original function, and has adapted to performing something else. Evolution is a process of gradual, progressive change or development, not of spontaneous formation and vestigial structures are a great example of this.

Here is a short passage from an AiG article on vestigial structures.

Even if this organ turned out to be functionless, this would only demonstrate that the function was lost in the human lineage. It would not prove common ancestry between man and animals.
 Here they are blatantly lying to themselves. If a structure appears in a human and also in a similar animal (e.g. another mammal), then it is assumed that they both received the structure from a common ancestor. This assumption is valid because this single structure is not the only piece of evidence linking the two animals.

This next quote just makes me feel sorry for them, it's from the same AiG article.

At best, evidence of vestigial organs in man demonstrates deterioration and loss of information since the Fall. They are evolutionary relics of common ancestors with animals only if you begin with evolutionary presuppositions.

If the fossil record validated the idea that humans have "devolved" from a better state, then creationists would be taken seriously, but it is demonstrably false from all the evidence of human ancestry that has been discovered.

It should be pretty obvious that the people involved in promoting creationism are either actively deceiving people for some reason unknown to me, or they are simply naive and ignorant.


  1. does the concept of the fall and evolution have to be independent of each other?

  2. Yes, they're completely at odds with each other on several levels.
    First level, one says we develop/refine traits as a result of natural selection, and that these traits are improving for one reason or another. On the other hand the 'fall of man' view says that as a species we're getting worse as a species as a result of sin. Not only is this sin view un-falsifiable and therefore un-scientific it goes against everything we know about human history.
    On the second level, there was never an 'Adam'. Humankind didn't evolve from one singular, isolated, monogamous couple, and certainly not as early as the Bible would lead one to believe.
    On the third level, if god did randomly choose one human who he called Adam to start his chosen group of people, what about the other groups of humans at the same time? Were they not offered this revelation of god? Why is it that other cultures developed god-concepts before the Israelites did?

  3. Lol, don't approve Blair's comments :D

  4. If you deny evolution you are either ignorant and wilfully disregard evidence that contraticts your beliefs. There is no shame in being wrong. I was a creatiionist because that is what I was taught. It takes courage to admit you are wrong and if you do you will feel an awesome connection to all the other creatures of the world. More on topic, this is a great post. Creationists commit a major fallacy by redifining vestiges and then attacking the redifined word. A distraction and type of a straw-man type fallacy.