Thursday, February 22, 2007

Vestigial Structures Are Evidence of Evolution

Bill Dembski writes in Vestigial Structures by Design ....
Vestigial structures in biology are commonly cited as evidence for evolution, and it may well be that they did evolve. But if it is evidence of evolution, it is evolution in the wrong direction — it’s not the sort of function enhancing/innovating evolution that is supposed to give evolutionary theory its bite. Vestigial structures, after all, are structures that have lost their function. If all of evolution proceeded in this fashion, we’d quickly descend to a world of nonfunctionality.
Dear IDiot,

You can't have your cake and eat it too.

Either vestigial structures are evidence of evolution or they aren't. You don't get to pick and choose whatever fairy tale version of evolution you like whenever it takes your fancy. The fact that some whales have tiny pelvis bones and tiny legs buried deep under their skin tells us something about evolution. It tells us that whales are descended from ancestors that had hind limbs. The fossil record confirms this.

How does the wonderful scientific theory of Intelligent Design Creationism explain this?


  1. You can't expect convincing arguments from a vestigial intellect. (resulting from extended collaboration with pseudoscientists)

  2. Blly Boy's brains seem fried. It's phenotypic evolution in action. Surrounded by sycophants and peabrains Billy Boy's gradually losing the aboilty to write even coherently

  3. his idiot talent is much better suited to making fart videos. it's such a waste when he concentrates on anything else.

  4. This is even more stupid than the usual.

  5. This sort of argument - "it is evolution in the wrong direction" - is perfectly understandable coming from a philosophy that has as its entire stock in trade the notion that All This Complicated Stuff In Living Things couldn't possibly get there without some sort of intent behind it to give it the right "direction."

    The fact that changes which go too far in the "wrong direction" will be quite neatly excised from the gene pool without need of a designer - by predators, competition from reproductive rivals, environmental changes such as variations in level of food sources, etc. - is apparently rejected just because it doesn't feel grand enough to some folks to explain All This.

  6. It's the usual weaselly waffling that IDists present. If they want to be taken seriously by the academic/professional world, they pay lip service to common descent a la Behe. If they're preaching to the choir, they drop the pretense.

    The quoted paragraph could have been summed up as "Vestigial Structures do not disprove design", and there's nothing wrong (or useful or informative) with that.

    But the actual point of his post is even worse. He's citing "vestigial" automobile running boards as evidence that vestiges can be designed. Of course, he's utterly ignoring the reason such vestiges are kept around, which is aesthetic. Either the designers thought the cars looked better with the extra strip of metal in that spot, or they thought customers expected it.

    If he can give an aesthetic reason for whale hindlimbs or the human appendix, or show something like a vestigial carburetor on a fuel-injected engine, I might be impressed. Maybe.

  7. What is the purpose of life without Intelligent Design?