Is Darwinist P.Z. Myers right to say that the appendix is vestigial?

WINTERY KNIGHT

Apologetics and the progress of science Apologetics and the progress of science

First, let’s hear prominent atheist P. Z. Myers, who believes in Darwinism, explain why he thinks that the appendix is a useless vestigial organ leftover from an unguided, random process of evolution:

The appendix in humans, for instance, is a vestigial organ, despite all the insistence by creationists and less-informed scientists that finding expanded local elements of the immune system means it isn’t. An organ is vestigial if it is reduced in size or utility compared to homologous organs in other animals, and another piece of evidence is if it exhibits a wide range of variation that suggests that those differences have no selective component. That you can artificially reduce the size of an appendix by literally cutting it out, with no effect on the individual (other than that they survive a potentially acute and dangerous inflammation) tells us that these are vestigial.

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About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. I study the History of Biblical Interpretation at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio, as part of its Ph.D. program. I have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting.
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3 Responses to Is Darwinist P.Z. Myers right to say that the appendix is vestigial?

  1. Heather G says:

    Hey James, I’m an avid follower of your blog (I’m subscribed and generally read in my email) but I’m a little surprised and dismayed at the tone you are taking towards someone who accepts the science of evolution. Calling someone a “Darwinist” is a bit of a pejorative methinks.
    I’m familiar with new theories about the appendix, and that it may indeed have a function after all. But surely the entire science of evolution doesn’t stand or fall on what the appendix is or isn’t. Many of your brothers and sisters who follow Jesus (including the Pope and most Catholics, almost all mainline denominations, and then organizations like Biologos that are filled with evangelical Bible-believing believers) accept evolution and see it as not in any way a challenge to faith in the Bible, in God, or in Christ. Evolution, while tauted by atheists, is not something that belongs only to atheists. Atheists believe in medical science too, but surely we’re not going to decided the the medical field is off-limits to Bible believing Christians. (Maybe a bad example but the best i could come up with off the cuff.)
    Anyway, I would challenge you to treat those who disagree with you about evolution with a bit more charity and “believing the best” about them. Yes, this guy might be wrong about the appendix, but he’s not your enemy unless you make him out to be one. Neither are all the brothers and sisters you have in Christ who actively accept evolution as compatible with faith in God – and in fact, these folks are often the ones who will reach those atheists with the truth about the gospel of Christ.

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  2. jamesbradfordpate says:

    Hi, Heather! I actually did not write this post, but I reblogged it. The author is Wintery Knight, who is a Christian apologist. I do not agree with everything WK writes, but I do find some of his posts informative. I agree with you on evolution, and I am a fan of Biologos.

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  3. Heather G says:

    AH, ok. 🙂 Well, great then. I did think it didn’t seem to mesh with what you normally write!

    Liked by 1 person

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