Actually, Talk.Origins defines a vestigial organ as an organ left over from ancestors, not as a useless organ.
But, I do see how evolutionists can confuse the laymen with terms like this, and for the sake of the creation/evolution debate "vestigial" would be better defined as "useless", since neo-darwinianism would have to predict useless organs, and if defined as useless organs, you will find none. We win.
--RichardT 21:19, 2 April 2007 (EDT)
On second thought, I'm not too sure anymore if neo-darwinianism predicts useless organs. Shouldn't natural selection select them out?
--RichardT 16:42, 3 April 2007 (EDT)
New uses for the appendix
Recently a contribution made earlier this year excited some controversy and was even removed, probably because the contributor misread the article that he cited. But recent (October 2007) research indicates that the claimed use for the appendix--as a harbor of gut flora--might be a correct understanding, though not for the reasons the original contributor stated.
Below is my proposed additional text for the "Appendix" section. I offer this and request comment.
For everyone's information, I have a medical degree and was able to discern that the science in the articles that I cite, make sense.
More recent research has demonstrated that the appendix might also assist in helping the body tolerate the symbiotic bacteria--the intestinal flora--that populate the large intestine beginning early in life. In 2004, Jan-Olaf Gebbers and Jean-Albert Laissue found that as the lymphoid tissue in the appendix continues to develop (generally within two weeks of birth), bacteria are often found within that tissue, either because they invade directly or because the body takes them up on purpose. Gebbers and Laissue speculate that the body uses this "bacterial translocation" to learn what species of microorganisms are friendly and tolerable.
In 2007, William Parker et al. found another possible use of the appendix: to harbor enough samples of the intestinal flora to repopulate the large intestine should the patient suffer a bout of extreme diarrhea, say from cholera or amebic dysentery. Parker and his colleagues speculate that this function of the appendix might not be necessary in a highly industrialized society, where cholera and dysentery are far less common--but they also point to other studies that show that the incidence of appendicitis is far higher in industrialized countries than in non-industrialized countries. This latest finding has caused sharp debate in medical and scientific circles, especially because the appendix is found chiefly in humans, other primates, and rabbits, but not in most other mammals.
- Gebbers, Jan-Olaf, and Laissue, Jean-Albert. "Bacterial Translocation in the Normal Human Appendix Parallels the Development of the Local Immune System." Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1029:337-343, 2004. Retrieved October 17, 2007.
- Bollinger, R. Randal, Barbas, Andrew S., Bush, Errol L., Lin, Shu S., and Parker, William. "Biofilms in the Large Bowel Suggest an Apparent Function of the Human Vermiform Appendix." Journal of Theoretical Biology, manuscript accepted and in press; available for on-line purchase September 7, 2007.
- Merrit, Richard, media rep. "Appendix Isn't Useless at All: It's a Safe House for Bacteria." Duke Medical News, October 8, 2007. Retrieved October 17, 2007.
- Authors unknown. "Purpose of appendix believed found." Associated Press, October 5, 2007. Retrieved October 17, 2007, from <http://www.cnn.com>.
- See, for example: MacKenzie, Debora, "The appendix: good for something after all," New Scientist, October 10, 2007. Retrieved October 17, 2007.
- Looks good Temlakos, I have been wanting to update this article with this type of information as well. Great addition. --Tony Sommer 13:33, 17 October 2007 (EDT)
Evowiki has commented on this article
On their page eye, EvoWiki tries to refute arguments replying to the claims of it's so-call lack of design. They reference this article as a source for one of them. To quote them:
"A slightly less common argument is that the orientation of the vertebrate eye helps to prevent light from being reflected off the the choroid onto the photoreceptors, which would cause blurry vision.. While this would be the case if light was reflected, it is not clear from the creationist arguments exactly how the vertebrate eye provides any protection against reflection. It is clear that human eyes do reflect light, as evident by the 'red eye' effect in flash photographs, and even more so in other vertebrates (bats, cats, dogs, crocodiles, horses etc) due to their reflective layer behind the retina known as the tapetum lucidum."
We are reference 5.--Nlawrence 14:01, 12 November 2007 (EST)
- Well, here's the relevant section:
This argument is simply not true. There is good reason why the human retina is inverted. It prevents light from reflecting off the back of the eye onto the retina, which would degrade the image. Also, if the eye was reverted, it would place photoreceptors away from their source of nutrition, oxygen, and retinal. Since rods and cones have such a huge metabolism, it would be hard for them to repair themselves without this source of food.<ref name=retina>Gurney, Peter W. V., [http://www.trueorigin.org/retina.asp Is Our 'Inverted Retina' Really 'Bad Design'?]" ''Creation Ministries International'', 1999. Retrieved October 17, 2007.</ref>
- It's not hard to see why they referenced us instead of our source -- this doesn't make sense! In the first place, the argument mentioned in the first sentence is not identified: who made what argument, when, where, and why? The third sentence is not only unsourced, it is both nonsensical and contradicted by the source cited for the second paragraph. In fact, some vertebrates have a reflective layer behind the photoreceptors, to help with low-light vision, as mentioned in the EvoWiki article.
- Finally, it doesn't even make sense to list the eye here at all -- does anyone claim that the eye is vestigial? The verted arrangement is called bad design, but not vestigial, as far as I know. Is there any reason not to delete this section entirely? ~ MD Otley (talk) 18:55, 12 November 2007 (EST)
I'll delete it.--Nlawrence 19:28, 12 November 2007 (EST)