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Theory of Intelligent Design, the best explanation of Origins » Theory of evolution » appendix is there for a reason

appendix is there for a reason

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1 appendix is there for a reason on Tue Jul 22, 2014 3:42 pm



Today, the appendix is recognized as a highly specialized organ with a rich blood supply. This is not what we would expect from a degenerate, useless structure.

The appendix contains a high concentration of lymphoid follicles. These are highly specialized structures which are a part of the immune system. The clue to the appendix’s function is found in its strategic position right where the small bowel meets the large bowel or colon. The colon is loaded with bacteria which are useful there, but which must be kept away from other areas such as the small bowel and the bloodstream.

Through the cells in these lymphoid follicles, and the antibodies they make (see box below), the appendix is ‘involved in the control of which essential bacteria come to reside in the caecum and colon in neonatal life’.6 Like the very important thymus gland in our chest, it is likely that the appendix plays its major role in early childhood. It is also probably involved in helping the body recognize early in life that certain foodstuffs, bacterially derived substances, and even some of the body’s own gut enzymes, need to be tolerated and not seen as ‘foreign’ substances needing attack.

The appendix is an ugly, wormy little sac hanging off your large bowel that serves no purpose beyond occasionally becoming inflamed and trying to kill you. It's a vestige of a structure that was useful way back in our evolutionary history, but which evolution never bothered to get rid of.

Or so we were taught. It turns out, back in 1980, scientists found evidence that it isn?t vestigial at all. Anatomical studies failed to find anything it could be a vestige of. Other mammals don?t have them, except our closest ape relatives - and rabbits. This suggests the appendix is there for a reason. But what?

Bill Parker and colleagues at Duke University in North Carolina in the US think the appendix is a "safe house" for good gut bacteria, which would otherwise all be lost to bouts of diarrhoea. They found that healthy appendices are well endowed with immune tissue, and biofilms - the adherent colonies of beneficial microbes that have been found throughout biology, most recently lining much of the large bowel.

Now, as we all know, the small intestine leads into the large intestine, but plugs into the side of the larger tube, leaving its blind end hanging below the join. That blind end, and especially the narrow appendix leading off it, are largely protected from the normal flow of gut contents. This, Parker observes, makes it well placed to harbour beneficial bacteria so they can re-colonise a recently flushed gut.

Which makes you wonder why people without their appendix don't get unusual ailments. Maybe people in industrialised countries, who are most likely to have had an appendectomy, don't need the reserve bacteria because they are unlikely to get extreme diarrhoeal diseases like, say, cholera.

Parker sees something else in the statistics. Fully 6% of people in industrialised countries have had the thing out, but appendicitis is relatively rare in poor countries. Perhaps this is due to differences in diet, with more roughage making for generally healthier guts? Or perhaps, suggests Parker, appendicitis is another product of our clean society, just like allergies and asthma - both the result of an immune system that turns on us.

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2 Appendix on Fri May 01, 2015 9:39 pm



in 2010, four evolutionists called the adenoids and tonsils “large collections of immunologically active lymphoid tissue.”5 They are dynamic parts of immune systems! In 2009, an evolutionary immunologist stated:

If Darwin had been aware of the species that have an appendix attached to a large cecum, and if he had known about the widespread nature of the appendix, he probably would not have thought of the appendix as a vestige of evolution.6

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3 The Evil Appendix on Sat Oct 17, 2015 12:54 pm


The Evil Appendix

The first time I ever heard of the small organ known as the appendix it was when I was about 8 or 9 years old. My older brother was rushed to the hospital because his appendix was about to burst. He went into surgery and it was taken out with no problems. I was told at that time that it was OK for the appendix to be removed from the body because it didn’t do anything. So for years I believed that the appendix was this silly organ that was only capable of one thing, potentially killing you for no good reason!

I later learned in my high school biology class that the appendix was one of many organs called vestigial organs. Vestigial organs are organs that once served a purpose but no longer do because we as humans had evolved to no longer use them. From what I was told, the appendix was used to break down raw meat, but since we as humans don’t eat raw meat anymore (or at least, most of us don’t…) the appendix is therefore vestigial. Why not just have appendix removed in advance to prevent a potential future burst?[1] Turns out, doctors did for a time do just that. Doctors would often remove the appendix of a patient if the patient was already undergoing abdominal surgery.[2]

Even in one of the funny, yet informative, quirky books that made it into my bookshelf called Why Do Men Have Nipples? by Mark Leyner and Billy Goldberg M.D., the appendix is written of: “The appendix is a small pouch off the large intestine. The wall of the appendix contains tissue that is part of the immune system for making antibodies. Removing the appendix doesn’t cause any harm because there are several other areas in the body that contain similar tissue- the spleen, lymph nodes, and tonsils. The spleen and the tonsils can also be removed.”[3]’[4]

What? Part of the immune system? That doesn’t sound vestigial at all. Further research revealed that the appendix also serves as a “safe house” for storing bacteria used in the intestine for digestion. In fact, in the event of a pathogen making its way into the intestine, beneficial digesting bacteria are often lost in the ensuing purge. The appendix however replenishes the intestine with bacteria after just such an incident.[5] Dr. David N. Menton, a retired medical research technician and professor of anatomy writes, “The appendix is a complex, highly specialized organ with a rich blood supply- not what one would expect from a vestigial organ.”[6]

All and all the appendix does in fact sound pretty useful and not useless. But I know what you’re thinking, if it can be removed and not cause harm to us then it is still vestigial. That sounds like a good argument at first. After all we can remove the spleen and tonsils as well without causing any harm. But let us expand on that reasoning. I can remove your ears, hands and teeth and not cause you any harm. You can live without ears, hands and teeth. They must be vestigial as well right? [Insert sarcasm font right there]. Being able to cope without a particular body part does not make it vestigial. Having no functionality what so ever makes a body part vestigial, and the appendix has some pretty complex functionality.

So in conclusion, the appendix is not vestigial and not an evolutionary leftover, but instead another part of the multi-functional biological human machine. But what else would you expect from a God that carefully crafted our anatomy to be what it is. As for other “claimed” vestigial organs, they always have a function, and if they don’t, we probably just haven’t found it yet. Remember, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

As Dr. William Parker, assistant professor of surgical sciences at DukeUniversitysaid, “Maybe it is time to correct the textbooks. Many biology texts today still refer to the appendix as a ‘vestigial organ.’[7] Amen to that.

[1] The appendix bursting is actually a more recent problem. According to Dr. William Parker of Duke University, appendix bursting was very rare until sanitation efforts were stepped up in the 20th century. Body did not need the appendix as much to aid the immune system, which translated into an underused appendix, which apparently can cause it to burst.

[2] Menton, D.N., (2010) “Vestigial Organs- Evidence for Evolution?” as written in Ken Ham’s The New Answers Book 3, Master Books,GreenForest: AR, pp.  235.

[3] Leyner, M., & Goldberg, B., (2005) Why Do Men Have Nipples? Three Rivers Press,New York; NY, pp. 64.

[4] Leyner and Goldberg go on further in a casually comedic way to bring up that the human tail and body hair are also vestigial. But both our “tails” and body hair actually do have a function.

[5] Bollinger, R.R., (2007) “Biofilms in the Large Bowel Suggest an Apparent Function of the Human Vermiform Appendix,” Journal of Theoretical Biology, 249 no.4, pp. 826-831.

[6] Menton, D.N., (2010) “Vestigial Organs- Evidence for Evolution?” as written in Ken Ham’s The New Answers Book 3, Master Books,GreenForest: AR, pp.  235.

[7] (August 2009) “Evolution of the Appendix: A Biological Remnant No More,”

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The Appendix: More Evidence That the Creationist Prediction Is Correct

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