Leftovers… Again!

Evolutionists love leftovers. That is, they love their alleged proof of evolution which suggests that many living organisms possess useless leftovers of evolution. For more than a century, evolutionists have chewed on these leftovers, known as vestigial organs. Sadly, though science has shown repeatedly over the past several decades that these supposed “useless” body parts actually have important functions (see Bergman and Howe, 1990), evolutionists continue to chew on the “fat,” rather than the real “meat” of the matter.

Recently, evolutionist Laura Spinney did her part to perpetuate this broken-down theory. She authored an article for New Scientist titled “Five Things Humans No Longer Need” (2008). On the list were wisdom teeth, goose bumps, the coccyx, the vomeronasal organ (a part of the nose), and Darwin’s point (a “minor malformation” on the ear). Right from the start, however, Spinney waffled with her pro-evolutionary list of organs and functions that humans “no longer need.” She indicated that these are the “five organs and functions most likely to be truly vestigial” (emp. added). They are “more-or-less useless,” she wrote (emp. added). So which is it? Are they totally useless and thus “no longer needed,” or are they just “most likely” or “more-or-less” useless?

Evolutionists, especially textbook editors, should be alarmed that Spinney admitted in the opening paragraph of her article that “[p]robably the most famous example” of a vestigial organ (emp. added), the appendix, may not be vestigial after all. Even though science textbooks, such as the Glencoe/McGraw-Hill’s 2003 middle-school textbook, have repeatedly declared that “[t]he human appendix is a vestigial structure” (Science…, p. 360, emp. added), New Scientist has acknowledged that “it is now an open question whether the appendix is really vestigial” (Spinney, 2008). So, the alleged human vestigial organ that has likely been highlighted in science textbooks more than any other supposed leftover of evolution may not even be vestigial. In fact, it is not vestigial, but rather “a highly functional part of the immunological and endocrine systems” (see Bergman and Howe, 1990, pp. 40-47).

Most perplexing was Spinney’s blatant contradiction concerning the human coccyx. Though she included it on her list of “Five Things Humans No Longer Need,” she admitted that it actually functions “as an anchor point for the muscles that hold the anus in place.” The fact that the admittedly functional human coccyx is on a list “of the five organs and functions most likely to be truly vestigial” speaks volumes about the weaknesses of her defense of evolutionary theory. What’s more, if Spinney really believes that “humans no longer need” a coccyx, one wonders if she would voluntarily have hers removed—just to see if humans really need their tail bones.

Regarding the other alleged vestigial organs and functions, science has shown that (1) they are not vestigial, (2) some have been mislabeled (e.g., Darwin’s point is merely a “harmless congenital defect that results from a malformation as the ear folds during early development,” appearing in 10% of humans; DeWitt, 2008), or (3) their functions may simply still be unknown (after all, dozens of previously alleged “useless leftovers of evolution” are now known to be very useful organs of the human body (e.g., pancreas, spleen, pituitary gland, etc.). [NOTE: For a more detailed response to Spinney’s other alleged vestigial organs, see DeWitt, 2008.]

As with evolutionists’ arguments from homology, evolutionists see what they want to see regarding alleged leftovers of evolution. The fact is, even if there were organs in the human body that were functionless or less useful than previously thought, such still would not prove that humans evolved from ape-like creatures or that those alleged ape-like creatures evolved millions of years earlier from reptiles. In fact, it would just as easily argue the very opposite of the “simple-to-complex” General Theory of Evolution, because the vestigial-organ argument makes earlier life more complex than life today. Furthermore, creationists can just as easily argue that, since sin entered the world (Genesis 3), the physical world and everything in it has deteriorated to its present state. In truth, the vestigial-organ argument is merely more of the unprovable, assumption-based propaganda we have come to expect from many evolutionists.


Bergman, Jerry and George Howe (1990), “Vestigial Organs” Are Fully Functional (Kansas City, MO: Creation Research Society Books).

DeWitt, David (2008), “Setting the Record Straight on Vestigial Organs,” May 28, [On-line], URL: straight-vestigial#fnMark_1_1_1.

Science: Level Blue (2003), (Columbus, OH: Glencoe/McGraw Hill).

Spinney, Laura (2008), “Five Things Humans No Longer Need,” New Scientist, May 19, [On-line], URL: longer-need.html.


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