Evolutionists are very fond of the idea that there are useless things scattered throughout the living world. Darwin suspected that there were many, many useless organs in several members of the animal kingdom. After all, since he thought “higher” animals evolved from “lower” animals, he assumed that some of the important organs in the “lower” animals would serve no function in the “higher” animals. Nevertheless, since those organs were already there in the “lower” animals, they might continue to appear in the “higher” animals, because making a useless organ was not enough of a disadvantage for natural selection to remove it. He likened such useless organs to the silent letters in a word – they tell you things about the word’s origin but serve no function. In the same way, a useless organ serves no purpose for the animal, but it does tell you about the animal’s evolutionary ancestors.
Since Darwin, evolutionists have continued to point to useless organs and even useless DNA that supposedly litter the living world. The only problem is that annoying functions keep being discovered for these supposedly useless things. Up until about 2004, it was confidently taught that the human appendix is useless, but now we know it serves a vital function. It was once thought that large sections of the genomes of most organisms have “junk DNA” that serves no useful purpose, but time and time and time again, DNA that was confidently described as useless has been shown to have important functions. Evolutionists have been wrong time and time again when it comes to claiming that a given structure in creation is useless.
Well…we now know that evolutionists were wrong…AGAIN.
In 1898, Swiss anatomist K.W. Zimmerman was studying kidney cells and noticed a structure that looked like a tiny “hair” jutting out of each cell. Now it’s not unusual for some cells in the body to have “hairs” jutting out of them. They are called cilia (the singular is cilium), and they generally beat back and forth to produce motion. For example, the cells that line your bronchial tubes (which carry air to your lungs) have cilia. Those cilia beat back and forth to push mucus up the tubes. The mucus traps foreign particles from the air so that those particles don’t get into your lungs, and the cilia push the mucus up the tubes so you can swallow it to get rid of it.
The cilium that Zimmerman found in each kidney cell was odd, however. It didn’t move. It became known as the primary cilium, and as time went on, it was shown that almost all the cells in the human body (as well as almost all the cells in all mammals) have a primary cilium.
What did scientists think was the function of the primary cilium? They thought it had no function. Since evolutionists think that our ancestors were once single-celled organisms, and since many single-celled organisms use cilia to move around, it was thought that the primary cilium was simply a leftover vestige of evolution. It was supposedly a structure that was in our ancestors (single-celled organisms) and continued to be produced by our cells, even though it serves no purpose. Indeed, as one scientific paper states:
It was previously thought that primary cilia were vestigial remnants of a free-swimming unicellular predecessor1
That very paper ended up casting doubt on the evolutionary interpretation of the primary cilium. Not surprisingly, the more scientists learned about the primary cilium, the more they saw how wrong the evolutionary interpretation is.
Studies that focused on primary cilia in different kinds of mammalian cells showed that the they act as “antennas,” sensing signals that allow the cells to adjust what they are doing so as to help the organism as a whole.2 As time went on, studies began to link abnormalities in primary cilia to diseases such as cystic kidney disease.3
Well, a recent study4 has really put the last nail in the coffin of the idea that the primary cilium is a vestigial remnant of evolution. In this study, Jin and colleagues studied genes that have been implicated in Bardet–Biedl syndrome (BBS), a genetic disease that is fairly rare. It comes with a host of nasty symptoms, including blindness, obesity, and kidney malfunction.
They find that the proteins produced by these genes are involved in moving other proteins around in the primary cilum. If the BBS-related proteins are abnormal due to genetic mutation, they can’t do their job, and as a result, the primary cilium doesn’t work properly. Because the primary cilium doesn’t work properly, all sorts of cellular work doesn’t get done. For example, retinal cells cannot detect light properly, which eventually leads to the blindness mentioned above. The authors note that since a wide variety of symptoms can be linked to problems with the primary cilium, it is probably a very important part of each cell.
In the end, it is hard to imagine how the evolutionary interpretation of the primary cilium could have been more wrong. If evolutionists were just willing to learn the simple idea that God doesn’t make junk, they wouldn’t be so wrong about so many things.
1. C. Anthony Poole, Michael H. Flint, and Brent W. Beaumont, “Analysis of the morphology and function of primary cilia in connective tissues:A cellular cybernetic probe?” Cytoskeleton 5:175–193, 1985
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2. Veena Singla and Jeremy F. Reiter, “The Primary Cilium as the Cell’s Antenna: Signaling at a Sensory Organelle” Science 313:629-633, 2006
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3. Bradley K. Yoder, “Role of Primary Cilia in the Pathogenesis of Polycystic Kidney Disease” Frontiers in Nephrology 18:1381–1388, 2007
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4.Hua Jin, et. al., “The Conserved Bardet-Biedl Syndrome Proteins Assemble a Coat that Traffics Membrane Proteins to Cilia” Cell 7:1208-1219, 2010
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