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Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Debate is Settled on Another “Vestigial Organ”

Posted by jlwile on February 13, 2012

The Guiana dolphin's vibrissal crypts, which some thought were vestigial remains of whiskers (photo from reference 3)

Most dolphins are born with hairs on their rostrum. However, those hairs quickly fall out, leaving empty pits behind. The photograph on the left gives a rather striking example of these pits, which are often called vibrissal crypts. For a long time, there has been controversy in the scientific literature regarding what these pits are. Some have contended that they are leftover vestiges from when the ancestors of dolphins had whiskers1, while others have suggested that they serve some sort of sensory purpose.2

Wolf Hanke and his colleagues set out to settle this controversy for at least one species – the Guiana dolphin (Sotalia guianensis). As they say in the introduction to their study3

These vibrissal crypts are often described as vestigial structures lacking innervation and the characteristic blood sinuses [15,16], which are probably reduced in favour of the sonar system.

However, they indicate that there are some data that contradict this this idea, so they decided to do a detailed study of the Guiana dolphin’s vibrissal crypts. First, they examined the microscopic structure of the tissue. They noticed that each crypt had about 300 nerves plugged into it, which is more than the number of nerves plugged into a rat’s whisker. It seems obvious that there wouldn’t be such a large amount of nerve tissue wasted on a useless structure.

In addition, the tissue looked a lot like the electroreceptors found in the bill of a platypus which allow the platypus to detect electrical fields in the murky water where it lives. Why would the platypus want to sense electrical fields? Because whenever a muscle contracts, it sends out a weak electrical signal. As a result, a platypus can find prey without seeing or smelling it. All the platypus has to do is find the electrical signals being emitted by the prey’s contracting muscles.

So the microscopic structure of the tissue in the vibrissal crypts makes it look like the Guiana dolphin uses them to detect electrical signals, just as the platypus does. The scientists decided to put this idea to the test, and the results were astounding.

The team trained a Guiana dolphin named Paco to place his rostrum a few inches away from two electrodes. The team learned that Paco could determine when the electrodes had voltage applied to them and when they did not. The only way he could have known that is if he could detect the electric field between the electrodes. As a result, they performed many other tests and found that Paco could sense electrical fields as low as 4.6 millionths of a volt per centimeter. To give you an idea of how tiny an electrical field that is, it is about 10,000 times weaker than what you feel when you touch a 12-volt battery with your tongue! So not only is the Guiana dolphin able to use its vibrissal crypts to detect electrical signals, it is able to detect very weak electrical signals.

This research gives yet another example of how supposedly vestigial structures are not vestigial at all, but it also poses a problem for the hypothesis of evolution. According to the hypothesis, dolphins are supposed to have evolved from some sort of deer-like land mammal. Well, the problem is that no deer-like mammal (currently living or in the fossil record) is known to have the ability to sense electrical fields. In fact, the only other mammals that are known to have this ability are the egg-laying mammals, such as the platypus. These are supposed to be “primitive” mammals, while the deer-like mammals from which dolphins supposedly evolved are supposed to be much more advanced. Thus, in order to explain this observation, evolutionists must believe that the ability to detect electrical fields evolved out of the mammals that produced the dolphins’ deer-like ancestor, but then somewhere along the line, the ability re-evolved as the deer-like mammals became dolphins.

Of course, that’s not the end of the story. There are other animals that have the ability to detect very weak electrical fields. Sharks, for example, can detect electrical fields as low as 5 billionths of a volt per centimeter.4 Sharks and dolphins, however, don’t share any hypothetical ancestor that had this ability. As a result, evolutionists are not only forced to believe that this elegant ability can evolve away and then reappear again in the evolution of mammals, but they are also forced to believe that it can evolve independently in completely unrelated lineages! Of course, such wishful thinking is not a problem for most evolutionists, since they must believe that the eye evolved independently up to 60 different times!5

I am glad that I follow the data and realize that structures like the dolphin’s vibrissal crypts are designed. I just don’t have the kind of faith it takes to be an evolutionist!

REFERENCES

1. Yablokov, AV and Klezeva,l GA, “Whiskers of whales and seals and their distribution, structure and significance,” In Morphological Characteristics of Aquatic Mammals, Kleinenberg SE, editor, 1969, pp. 48-81 330:208-211, 2010.
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2. Mauck B, et. al., “Selective heating of vibrissal follicles in seals (Phoca vitulina) and dolphins (Sotalia fluviatilis guianensis),” Journal of Experimental Biology 203:2125-2131, 2000
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3. Nicole U. Czech-Damal, et. al., “Electroreception in the Guiana dolphin (Sotalia guianensis) ,” Proceedings of the Royal Society B 279:663-668, 2012
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4. Malcolm Jobling, Environmental Biology of Fishes, Springer 1994, p. 32
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5. Richard Dawkins and Yan Wong, The Ancestor’s Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution, Mariner Books, 2005, p. 588
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Comments

24 Responses to “The Debate is Settled on Another “Vestigial Organ””
  1. Jessica T. says:

    Hello Dr. Wile!

    I have a question that is semi-related to this post. I am planning to major in biology in college next year, and am hoping to pursue wildlife biology as a career after.

    This fall while I was visiting colleges, one of the professors in an animal biology class was talking about amphibians, and mentioned vestigial legs on some salamanders (like stumps that seemed to serve no purpose). I am very much a Young Earth Creationist, but was wondering if those “vestigial legs” really do serve any purpose, or how to relate those to a YEC perspective.

    Thank you so much!

  2. jlwile says:

    Great question, Jessica! First, you have to be careful when you interpret something as vestigial. Time and time again, structures in animals (or even cells) were thought to be vestigial because scientists could not discern a function for them. However, as time went on, scientists found functions for most of them. Thus, just because a structure (like a leg) is reduced in one animal compared to similar animals, that doesn’t mean it isn’t functional. Even if it doesn’t have the most obvious function, that doesn’t mean it is without function. In many reptiles, for example, legs are not only used for walking. They are used in mating. If a reptile has small legs that don’t serve to help it walk, they might serve to help it mate.

    Now I am not saying that vestigial structures don’t exist. They most certainly do. There are blind cave salamanders, for example. It is probably the case that their eyes are vestigial. At one time, they were designed to see. However, in current populations of the species, none of the individuals see. While there may be some other use for eyes of which we are not aware, it does seem that their sole function is that of sight. Thus, the blind cave salamanders’ eyes probably are truly vestigial. It is possible that some salamanders have vestigial legs as well. I am just saying that we must be cautious in claiming that a structure is vestigial, because the vast majority of structures that were once thought to be vestigial are now known to have important functions.

    So…how do I as a young-earth creationist evaluate vestigial structures? I can easily understand the eyes of blind cave salamanders to be vestigial. After all, once the Fall happened, genomes began to decay. In the right circumstances, sections of the genome can decay so much that an organ becomes useless. If that organ isn’t necessary for survival, then it won’t affect the organism overall. Thus, a blind cave salamander is completely understandable. It doesn’t need its eyes to survive, so natural selection won’t fight against the genomic decay that resulted from the Fall. As a result, the eyes eventually stop working. Even a salamander whose legs are no longer functional could be understandable, given the appropriate environment. These are examples of information in an organism’s genome decreasing, in accord with young-earth creationist ideas of genomic decay and natural selection.

    Where vestigial organs are inconsistent with young-earth creationism (and inconsistent with observation, I might add), is when we try to point out a structure in one kind of organism that looks something like the structure on a wholly different kind of organism but is small or reduced and call that vestigial. For example, there are those who look at a whale and see its tiny pelvic bones that are unattached to the rest of the skeleton. They say those bones are vestigial remnants of the pelvis and legs found in the land animals from which the whales evolved. The problem with that argument, of course, is that the small pelvic bones in a whale are not vestigial. They serve a very important purpose – to support and protect the genitalia. Without those pelvic bones, the whales could not reproduce! Thus, the pelvic bones are clearly not vestigial. They are small in a whale compared to their size in most land mammals because their purpose requires them to be small.

    The only truly vestigial organs I have investigated can be understood completely within the framework of genomic decay and natural selection. The “vestigial organs” that are used to support the idea of common ancestry among vastly different organisms don’t seem to be vestigial. Instead, they seem to serve important purposes in each organism.

  3. J.S. says:

    Dr. Wile, do you know if anyone has ever taken cave animals such as salamanders and fish, and raised their young in a lighted environment? The reason I ask is because I was reading the book “Unbroken,” about a WWII soldier who survived many trials, including a stint in a Japanese POW camp in winter. When spring came and the deep snow melted, it was discovered that some POWs had been keeping a pig alive by means of an underground snow cavern, and when it finally emerged from the snow, its skin was transparent. This made me think that maybe the blindness and translucency of cave animals is environmental, and that moving them to sunlit environments might restore them to appearances similar to other animals of their kind.

  4. Jessica T. says:

    Thank you so much for your reply, Dr. Wile! It was extremely helpful, and very interesting. :)

    P.S. I am taking your human anatomy course right now (as well as the marine biology course), and I’m loving both!

  5. jlwile says:

    J.S., I don’t know of anyone who has ever done that. The generation you take out of the cave won’t regain their sight, because their eyes simply don’t have what they need to work. However, back in 1998, William Jeffery and David Martasian wrote a paper about blind cave fish embryonic development. They actually saw that as the embryo develops, the eye starts to form but then stops forming and degenerates. I suppose its possible, then, that the embryos have all the material they need to make working eyes, but because of the environment, crucial developmental genes have been turned off. If that’s the case, you could take the blind fish or salamanders out of the cave, and have them reproduce in lighted conditions. If it is an environmental cue, perhaps one of the subsequent generations would get their eye development genes turned on and start developing working eyes again. It would be an interesting test.

  6. jlwile says:

    I am glad my response was helpful, Jessica. Feel free to ask other questions!

  7. gracekalman says:

    Dr. Wile, I recently read that Venus Flytraps do not need their traps to grow, photosynthesize, reproduce, or perform any other plant function. Does this mean that according to evolutionists, Venus Flytraps evolved incredibly detailed organs without ever needing them? I had never heard of this before, and I thought I’d run it by you for confirmation. Thanks!

  8. jlwile says:

    Thanks for your question, Grace. Venus flytraps do not eat the animals they catch and digest. Like all plants, they make their food from sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide. In this sense, then, they don’t need to catch and digest animals to survive. However, Venus flytraps (and other plants that trap and digest animals) use the chemicals in their digested prey (especially the nitrogen and phosphorus) to make biological molecules that keep them healthy and (most importantly) increase their reproduction rate. Thus, they use those chemicals like vitamins. Just as you and I can survive without vitamins, these kinds of plants can survive without trapping animals. However, just as you and I would be sickly without vitamins, these plants would be sickly without trapping and digesting animals.

    All plants need nitrogen and phosphorus (and some other chemicals) as vitamins, but they usually get those chemicals from the soil. With the help of some mutualistic fungi, they absorb those chemicals using their roots. Plants like the Venus flytrap are designed to live in soil that is low on such nutrients. Since the chemicals they need typically aren’t in the soil in which they normally grow, they get those chemicals from the animals they catch and digest.

    So do such plants absolutely need to trap and digest animals? No. Are they healthier and more fertile if they do? Yes, and this provides a distinct advantage in low-nutrient soil. As a result, their animal-trapping mechanisms are far from useless.

  9. Eric H. says:

    The venus flytrap is native to bogs and swamplands in North to South Carolina? I was wondering if you knew of any studies that would indicate their practical usefulness to the eco system in that area. Just how important is the venus flytrap for that area, as far as insect control goes?

  10. jlwile says:

    Eric, I don’t think Venus flytraps and other such plants are a big factor in insect control. The number of insects they digest is small compared to the number of insects eaten by other animals. The main benefit such plants give to an ecosystem is that without them, there would be little plant life in the area, due to the poor quality of the soil. So plants that digest insects for vitamins form the base of the food web in areas that would otherwise have few plants to fill the appropriate ecological niche.

  11. L.W. Dickel says:

    “..once the Fall happened, genomes began to decay”

    Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahh!!!

    Man, have you ever thought of going into comedy?

    And I’m sure that you can provide us with numerous SCIENTIFIC papers that demonstrate that genomes began to decay after a magical story in a magical land that was dreamed up by an ancient, superstitious, pre scientific bunch of goat sacrificers in the Middle East two thousand years ago.

    But while I’m hear, I wonder if Jay has any thoughts as to why human fetuses develop two sets of kidneys, the first set being completely functionless, that completely disintegrate before the third and final set of kidneys arrives?

    And I wonder why fetuses also develop a fine covering of hair all over their bodies at about 6 months, keep it for a couple of months, and then shed it. It’s called Lanugo.

    Did Jay’s god sit up in his paradise 13.7 billion years ago and decide that we needed useless kidney’s that disintegrate and useless fur to cover our bodies for two months?

    Of course, evolution RATIONALLY explains this, but I’ll bet you Jay finds a way to bring that old “sin” in for his explanation!!! hahahahahahahahahahah!!!!

  12. jlwile says:

    L.W., I can do better than a few scientific papers. There is an entire book, written by famed Cornell University geneticist Dr. John C. Sanford, the inventor of the gene gun, co-inventor of the Pathogen-derived Resistance (PDR) process, co-inventor of the Genetic Vaccination process, and author of more than 80 peer-reviewed scientific articles. The book is called Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of the Genome, and it specifically discusses genome decay as a result of the Fall. You should read it.

    I am glad that you asked your questions, because it seems you are laboring under some misconceptions related to human embryonic development. I am happy to clear up those misconceptions. It is, of course, incorrect to say that human fetuses develop two sets of kidneys before they develop their actual kidneys. Instead, the human fetus first develops a pronephros. It then develops a mesonephros, and then it develops what is typically called the “definitive kidney.” Of course, none of these structures are functionless. As Larsen’s Human Embryology, Fourth Edition, tells us:

    Formation of the pronephric kidney (i.e., pronephros) lays the foundation for the induction of the mesonephric kidney (i.e., mesonephros), and it in turn lays the foundation for the induction of the metanephric kidney (i.e., metanephros). Hence, formation of a pronephric kidney is really the start of a developmental cascade leading to the formation of the definitive kidney. (p. 483)

    So the pronephros lays a foundation that will eventually lead to the definitive kidney. If you watch this development, you will see why it has to be exactly as it happens. The embryo must have a means of getting rid of waste in its early development, but its needs are not complex yet, so the pronephros is formed. It forms the foundation for the next level of waste management the fetus needs, the mesonephros. That, in turn forms the foundation of the definitive kidney. At each step, the new structure formed is behind the old structure, because the developing embryonic conditions require the kidney to be situated more forward. That position will not work for the adult, so at each successive step, the new version of the kidney forms farther back.

    Similarly, lanugo is anything but functionless. I wrote about this some time ago, since Dr. Jerry Coyne was similarly misinformed about lanugo. Lanugo is incredibly important in development, because it anchors the vernix caseosa to the skin. The vernix caseosa protects the skin of the fetus from the constant exposure to the amniotic fluid in which it is bathed. However, it would fall off as it forms if it weren’t for lanugo, which holds it to the skin.

    Now when biologists were rather ignorant about embryonic development, they thought that the pronephros, mesonephros, and lanugo are all leftover vestiges of the evolutionary process. Like most evolution-inspired ideas, however, as we learned more science, we learned how wrong those ideas were.

  13. W. Brown says:

    Have you read any evolutionary books written after the 1940s, LW.? Just a thought….

  14. W. Brown says:

    And, as usual, you need to actually look the matter you’re discussing up, and be somewhat knowledgeable before bringing your ideology up and supporting it with unscientific rubbish that is obviously wrong, such as having two sets of kidneys, when most informed scientists know that it no longer fits the theory. After all, anyone with a highly sophisticated randomly-formed electronic circuitry system in the cranial region should be able to! ;)

  15. L.W. Dickel says:

    Ahh, Jay, as usual you don’t really answer any questions.

    You refer to a “whole!” book written by a John C. Stanford. Who turns out to be (surprise!!) a young earth creationist nutter who thinks that Noah had dinosaurs on his ark.

    And Jay, in how many of those peer reviewed papers that Mr. Stanford’s work was published do the words ‘the Fall’ appear?
    Can you name one?

    And regarding his book “Genetic Entropy, I came across a rather detailed and devastating critique of it. By an evangelical Christian, no less. Here’s what Scott Buchanan says of Stanford’s book-”The errors in Genetic Entropy are so pervasive that it might take a whole new book to fully expose them.”. Here is the link to that critique, perhaps you’ll do yourself the favor of reading it.

    http://letterstocreationists.wordpress.com/stan-4/

    And regarding the development of the embryonic kidneys, you offer no explanation as to why your creator would “design” two intermediate kidneys, the first of which has no function,(to lay the foundation for the next kidney is hardly a function, and your quote offers no evidence for that, either), and then have both sets disintegrate. Couldn’t your creator simply “design” kidneys that started out small but functioning and then continued to grow to the appropriate size? Like pretty much every other part of our anatomy does. You know, Jay, we don’t go though two sets of testicles that disintegrate before the third pair shows up!! Or two sets of hearts, lungs, spleens, etc.,etc.,

    Two intermediate kidneys makes sense with evolution, not with your invisible man in the sky.

  16. L.W. Dickel says:

    And regarding lanugo, the sources that you quoted offered no evidence of lanugo’s supposed purpose of anchoring the vernix caseosa. Simply making assertions is not evidence. Which is all that you provided. And the fact that the lanugo falls off before the baby is born seems to contradict this theory, as the baby will need that vernix for another month or two.
    You do understand the difference between assertions and evidence, right?

    And the lanugo doesn’t cover all parts of the baby; the lips, the palms of the hands and soles of the feet, sides of the fingers and toes, glans of the penis or insides of the labia minoria and majoria.
    Wouldn’t those parts of the baby need lanugo to help protect against the amniotic fluid? Well, Jay, those delicate parts seem to do just fine, don’t they?

    And as a side note, regarding your obsession with the Fall.
    Are you aware that your blessed savior, Jesus, never once mentions it? He never blames the sin of the world or the troubles that befall the world on some silly made up story.
    Although he may have believed it was literally true, he found no use for it during his ministry. So I can’t help but wonder about your obsession with it.

    And W. Brown, your pathetic attempts at writing something remotely intelligent are so embarrassing that I have to wonder if your Mommy still has to change your diapers.

  17. jlwile says:

    L.W., I see that you found one critical review of Sanford’s book. Here are a few that say just the opposite:

    “This review can not do justice to the vast amount of scientific information which Dr. Sanford meticulously presents in the book”

    “A must read for every biologist or person interested in biology. ”

    “Read this book twice. Then read it again with a highlighter. Technical aspects are easy to follow, and the specialist will benefit very much for the highly relevant references offered.”

    And, of course, here is what biochemist Dr. Michael Behe says about the book (its on the back cover)”

    In the Mystery of the Genome Cornell University researcher John Sanford lifts the rug to see what evolutionary theory has swept under it. He shows that, not only does Darwinism not have answers for how information got into the genome, it doesn’t even have answers for how it could remain there.

    So I guess the only way you will know who is right is to actually read the book for yourself. I sincerely hope that you do!

    The term “Fall” doesn’t appear in any of Sanford’s peer-reviewed papers. However, that’s not what you asked for. You asked for “SCIENTIFIC papers that demonstrate that genomes began to decay” after the Fall. I did better than that. I gave you an entire book. I do hope that you read it, as you seem to be confused on a variety of scientific issues.

    You claim that I offered “no explanation” for why the kidney develops as it does. However, I most certainly did. As I said:

    If you watch this development, you will see why it has to be exactly as it happens. The embryo must have a means of getting rid of waste in its early development, but its needs are not complex yet, so the pronephros is formed. It forms the foundation for the next level of waste management the fetus needs, the mesonephros. That, in turn forms the foundation of the definitive kidney. At each step, the new structure formed is behind the old structure, because the developing embryonic conditions require the kidney to be situated more forward. That position will not work for the adult, so at each successive step, the new version of the kidney forms farther back.

    Now, what does Larsen’s Human Embryology mean when it says that the pronephros lays a foundation? Perhaps this quote from Heptinstall’s pathology of the kidney, Volume 1 will help you understand:

    The pronephros rapidly involutes and cannot be identified by day 25 of gestation; however, the pronephrotic duct survives as the mesonephrotic duct. (p. 74)

    In other words, part of the proneprhos becomes part of the mesonephros. Thus, without the proneprhos, the mesonephros could never form. So just as Larsen tells us, the proneprhos lays the foundation for the development of the definitive kidney.

    Perhaps you think that the pronephros has no function before the mesonephros is formed. That is incorrect as well, as this quote from Fetal Medicine: Basic science and clinical practice tells us:

    The pronephros consists of one to three filtering units (the glomerulus) which filter(s) fluid into a body compartment – the nephrocele. From here, fluid is collected by the ciliated nephrostome and some reabsorption takes place into the surrounding blood sinus before excretion of the remainder into the cloaca. (p. 148)

    So we see that the pronephros is definitely not functionless prior to it becoming the foundation of the mesonephros. As I said before, it is the first level of waste management needed by the developing embryo. As I told you before, I understand that when scientists were largely ignorant of embryonic development, they thought the pronephros was useless. Science has learned a lot more since then, and like most evolution-inspired ideas, this idea has been shown to be incorrect. Thus, two intermediate kidneys make perfect sense in the context of design, as long as you actually know the science behind human embryonic development.

    You also still seem to be confused about lanugo. Perhaps more explanation will help clear up that confusion as well. You seem to think that lanugo has to cover the entire body in order to do its job. I think that’s because you didn’t read my explanation carefully. As I explain:

    if you look at a developing human embryo, you find that the “cheesy varnish” first accumulates where there is a lot of lanugo. It then spreads out, coming into contact with other patches that are spreading out from other regions of lanugo. So lanugo performs a very important function in the development of the vernix caseosa: it anchors this important “cheesy varnish” to the skin while the varnish is being formed.

    So you see, the lanugo doesn’t have to be everywhere the vernix caseosa is. It needs to be where the vernix caseosa begins to form before it comes into contact with other patches of vernix caseosa that are spreading out. This also explains why the lanugo generally falls out before the baby is born. Once the vernix caseosa covering is fully formed, there is no need for the lanugo anymore. This can all be understood by reading a serious text on human embryonic development.

    I agree that the sources I quote simply make the statement that lanugo anchors the vernix caseosa. That’s because lanugo’s function is so well known that it is simply stated as fact in textbooks, classes, and review materials. Once again, science improves as time goes on, and as science improves, we learn how wrong evolution-inspired ideas like functionless lanugo are.

    If anyone in this discussion is obsessed by the Fall, L.W., it is you. You seemed to think that I would use the Fall as an explanation for lanugo, the pronephros, and the mesonephros. You are also the one who is constantly asking where mentions of the Fall appear in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. The Fall is certainly a fact of history, and it does affect our study of biology, but if anyone is concentrating on it, L.W., that would be you! It is true that you never read the words “the Fall” as coming from Jesus, but He most certainly endorsed the fact that it happened. As He says in Matthew 5:17, “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.” The term “the Law” refers to the Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament. Thus, He endorses the Genesis account and says that He will fulfill it, which He did.

    I would like all my readers to note how L.W. continues to use silly insults rather than serious arguments. This is typical of someone who cannot defend his position reasonably, and unfortunately, it is very common among evolutionists.

  18. W. Brown says:

    Haha… These threads really are most amusing, in a sad way. I admire you, Jay, for actually posting rational arguments when all you get is ideology and vapid splutterings in return. A nice, polite classical discussion of theory of origins would be rather nice. (Think something conducted like the discussions in Plato’s “Last Days of Socrates”) Unfortunately, there’s a raving, obsessed and rabid person involved who won’t even read arguments about something he disagrees with. Good thing LW’s not a scientist! “Simply making assertions is not evidence.” Wow.. really? You could’ve fooled me with your unfounded assertions about the ridiculousness of the pronephric kidney, asserting that it’s evidence for the evolutionary theory, when actually anyone who knows something, even evolutionary biologists, don’t use it as evidence anymore. Your logic and facts are completely messed up… And that’s not really a subjective assertion. Anyone who has taken even the most basic logic and science courses could see that.

  19. jlwile says:

    W. Brown, I agree that a “nice, polite classical discussion of theory of origins would be rather nice.” However, that rarely happens, because evolutionists have such a weak case. As a result, like L.W., they must rely on hopelessly outdated concepts and silly insults. If they were to concentrate on the scientific data, they wouldn’t have a chance of convincing anyone!

  20. L.W. Dickel says:

    O.K. Jay-bird, let’s try again.

    The references that you cite for Stanford’s book are all from fellow young earth creation Jesus nutters!!!! Wow!! What are the chances that fellow creationists would actually support each other!!!!!??
    And you quote Michael Behe, whose work is also thoroughly rebutted by Dr. Buchanan!

    Perhaps you noticed, Jay, that the detailed rebuttal to Stanford’s book came from a professing Christian who will not allow his beliefs to be enslaved by the doctrines of his religion. You should try doing that sometime.

    And while I may stand corrected on the functions of the early stage kidneys, it doesn’t change the fact that you can offer no explanation as to why your miracle working god didn’t simply design a single set of kidneys that slowly evolved in complexity in accordance with the needs of the fetus, instead of having to disintegrate and start over two separate times. That sounds like a bone-headed designer to me.
    So contrary to what you say, the idea that “two intermediate kidneys make perfect sense in the context of design” is truly absurd. Your mighty god was supposedly able to create other organs to simply become more complex during the fetal development, but strangely he was unable to do so for the kidneys. Just part of the ‘mystery’ of your god, right?

    And again, regarding lunago, you simply trot out the same sentences from your previous post without actually offering any objective evidence!!
    And to say that you offered no evidence because the facts of lanugo is so well known that it is simply stated as fact in textbooks is too funny!!!!

    And you again offered no lucid reason why many delicate parts of the fetus survive just fine despite not being covered with lanugo.
    Nor did you try to justify why your supposed miracle working god would need to offer protection for the innocent fetus from the harmful effects of the amniotic fluid that he “designed” to surround the fetus during it’s development! And couldn’t he just use his almighty powers to protect the fetus without resorting to “cheesy” coverings that have to be expelled during birth?

    Of course, protecting the unborn child doesn’t seem to be a particularly high priority for your god as ectopic pregnancies, improper positions, umbilical cords wrapped around the neck and many other atrocities routinely befall unborn children. Have you googled ‘birth defects’ lately?

  21. L.W. Dickel says:

    W. Brown, I think I smell something rotten. Have you checked your diaper lately?

  22. L.W. Dickel says:

    May I invite you to go to the link below and then try desperately to find some comfort and reasoning from your invisible man in the sky.

    http://oldnortheast.patch.com/articles/pastor-s-daughter-dies-after-shooting-at-church

  23. jlwile says:

    L.W., the reference you cite in regards to Sanford’s book is from someone who disagrees with young-earth creationists. What are the chances that someone who disagrees with young-earth creationists would find fault with a young-earth creationists book!!!???? Also, Michael Behe is not a young-earth creationist. He disagrees with a lot that is in Sanford’s book, but as a biochemist, he understands the genetics involved and therefore understands that the material in the book is solid. He also hasn’t been refuted, which is why he is still publishing ID-related papers in the peer-reviewed literature. So once again, in order to see who is right, perhaps you should read the book.

    I am glad that you have learned the current scientific view of kidney development. Now let me once again try to educate you about why it has to be that way. Remember, in the early stages, the waste management that the fetus needs is simple. That’s why the pronephros is the first structure to appear. As the embryo matures, however, it needs to move farther back. The best way to accomplish this is to take one of its more posterior elements, the pronephrotic duct, and use it as the foundation for building the next stage of the kidney, the mesonephros. Thus, the pronephros doesn’t “disintegrate.” It builds the mesonephros. In the same way, the mesonephros then builds the definitive kidney even further back. In each stage, each version is fully functional and does exactly what needs to be done. Thus, the idea that this is somehow not designed is not consistent with the facts. It is designed well, fitting the needs of the developing embryo at every stage. Why doesn’t every organ go through a multi-stage development? It all depends on the needs of the developing embryo. Some organs don’t need to arrive until much later, so there is no need for them to develop in stages. Waste management is something that has to happen early, and the position has to change over time. Thus, a multi-stage development is exactly what is needed.

    You claim that I am not offering evidence about the function of lanugo. I have quoted several authorities on the matter, and I have explained exactly how lanugo functions. Could you please present your evidence that lanugo is functionless? I have seen none. You simply stated that it has no function and have not backed up your statement with any evidence. I have offered quite a bit more evidence than you have. Please offer your evidence now, and I will evaluate it.

    I have, indeed, told you why not all areas of the fetus need to be covered with lanugo. Once the various patches of vernix caseosa connect to one another, the overall structure holds itself to the fetus. Thus, not every part of the fetus needs to have lanugo. Just the parts where the vernix caseosa initially forms and starts to grow. Since the parts that are not covered by lanugo are the last to be covered by the vernix caseosa, there is no need to have something to hold the vernix caseosa to those parts.

    I was hoping that the need for vernix caseosa would be obvious. The baby floats in amniotic fluid because it cushions hard blows and jolts to the mother’s belly. It also allows the fetus the freedom to move while permitting symmetrical musculoskeletal development. It also maintains an even temperature, regardless of the environment the mother finds herself in. It also helps the fetus develop its lungs, because the fetus “practices” breathing by taking in and out amniotic fluid. Thus, it is essential for the fetus to develop in fluid. However, as the skin doesn’t react well to constant immersion, the vernix caseosa protects the skin. I suppose God could use His almighty powers to protect each child instead of using vernix caseosa, but that wouldn’t make much sense. God set up the natural laws, and nature works within those natural laws. If something happens regularly in nature, it makes sense that it shouldn’t need any supernatural intervention. The vernix caseosa and lanugo are designed so that no supernatural intervention is necessary when children develop in the womb.

    Once again, L.W., I see that you are really obsessed with the Fall. Yes, childbirth is difficult, because Adam and Eve rebelled. Yes, terrible accidents do happen in a fallen world. This is no reason to rage against God. It is a reason to repent before Him!

    I also note that you still can’t seem to make your case with reasonable arguments. All you can do is insult others. It is unfortunate that your case is so weak that you feel forced to do that!

  24. W. Brown says:

    I’m glad I fancy I have a decent sense of humor… Otherwise I’d be rather offended. Someone still hasn’t outgrown potty-humor. Anyways, back to science, and your nemeses: logic, facts and talent. Logic stage: L.W: “If there was a God, He would’ve made fully functioning kidneys in babies the way I (L.W the Omniscient) would prefer to have had them created. Not only that, but if He made them in a way other than the way I think they should have been made, then He obviously doesn’t exist. Q.E.D” That’s very interesting. I’m fairly certain that doesn’t exactly fit in with any of the given logical routes of thinking. Plus, you didn’t even realize that they don’t “disintegrate.” And regarding your silly Lanugo comment: Perhaps if you’d read a textbook, you’d see that. Ok, If you’re still reading this, (Which you probably aren’t: you’re probably actually already writing some hack response to an argument you haven’t read, about something you know absolutely nothing about) On to the facts bit: You have thoroughly demonstrated a complete lack of knowledge on everything you’ve discussed here. I’m not saying that people uneducated in a specific discipline shouldn’t speak about it, I’m saying that they oughtn’t spew their meaningless, unsupported, unresearched, uneducated opinions about as a highly concentrated solute of ideology mixed in with a fair bit (okay… more than a fair bit) of vitriol. Have you ever read a book on logic, biology, or earth sciences? Have you study these subjects in school (Primary of higher)? In order to have validation, you need to actually know and have some basic idea of what you’re talking about. Every time Jay responds, you have an illogical, unrelated answer, complete with a side dish of red herrings and topped with heaping dose of cluelessness. Get real.

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