Punching bags

I really don’t read Neil’s blog very often. I usually scoot over there for a peak when I’m writing a post for FTSOS and I need to reference an old post. Those old posts often have links back to Neil’s and so I take a glance. And what do I see every time? Something wildly wrong:

The explicit reason for both the junk DNA error and the vestigial organs error was the need to find evidence for Darwinism in the form of stuff in life forms that doesnโ€™t work. Without that need, these errors would not have been made. For many kids, mid-twentieth century, it was an error that resulted in needless, risky surgeries, removing supposedly vestigial tonsils and adenoids.

Neil is quoting from Uncommon Descent, a creationist blog that demonstrates the same understanding of biology as Neil has – none. That’s why this is such an easy one.

First, most DNA still is junk, i.e., non-coding and without use. It’s largely unneeded and has no developmental use or phenotypic effect. What was once labeled “junk” may have regulatory business to go about, but that is not the majority of DNA. Deal with it, creationists.

Second, I can’t believe creationists are still confused about vestigial structures. It was never the argument that these structures used to have a function and now they don’t. The argument was – and is – that they evolved to have a particular function, but they have since lost that function. They may well have been co-opted into having other uses, but that is not important to whether or not they are vestigial. Uncommon Descent and Neil ought to be hugely embarrassed.

Third and finally, tonsils were historically taken out for a number of reasons. One reason has to do with the availability of medicine to treat inflammation. It wasn’t until the middle of the previous century that penicillin and erythromycin were put into wide-spread use. Without that treatment option, surgery was a very viable solution. Second, improvements in surgical techniques plus the 19th century discovery of anesthesia made surgery that much easier. Third, long-term statistics were not particularly available concerning the effectiveness of the surgery. It was clear that it improved a person’s well being in the short-term as far as inflammation and soar throats were concerned, but beyond that it was a bit of a mystery. What was clear was that it did not pose significant long-term risks. Finally, the practice of removing one’s tonsils dates back approximately 2800 years prior to Darwin. The procedure is not based upon evolutionary thinking, nor was it ever utilized in an attempt to justify any claims about the vestigial nature of tonsils.

This is getting to be too easy.

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One Response

  1. This is getting to be too easy.

    That is because they are ignorant and proud of it, and due to their lack of education they just pass the same stupidity around and around, being too ignorant to realize most of the world knows better.

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