Flawed design or scientific shortsightedness?

Here is a very interesting news brief on some recent biological research on the appendix. A team of researchers has proposed that the appendix may not be a useless organ after all. It may have an important part to play in synthesizing and protecting 'good' bacteria that line the intestinal track. What's interesting about this research is that the appendix has long been a favorite example of an evolutionary 'fluke' that a good Designer would not equip our bodies with, according to skeptics. What if more such flukes turn out to be useful after all? Would that provide supporting evidence for the design hypothesis? I'm not sure either way, because of the massive complexity of the biological process. But it does provide some food for thought.


Layman said…
So is this an example of the godlessness of the gaps?
BK said…
Yup. For years, when people have supported the idea of evolution, they have pointed to the appendix as an archtypical piece of the evidence. Why, they reason, would God have designed this useless, pointless organ if God really designed humanity? I expect that we will see a great deal of backpeddling on this one.
Jason Pratt said…
It gets even better when it comes to junk-DNA, which constitutes 98% of our genetic code. Starting to turn out it ain't quite all 'junk', maybe, after all.

What's more interesting about that particular topic to me, though, is that I recently read (corrections welcome btw) that when scientists talk about how our genetics are 98% similar to chimps and 99.4% similar to gorillas etc. (or whatever the precise similarity is tagged at)--what they really mean is that 98% (etc.) of the 2% of our genetic code deemed to be active and pertinent to our development as a species.

The rest of it, I'm now hearing, ain't.

This is news to me, if true; because I routinely get the impression when listening to evolutionary apologists, that the 98+% similarity is supposed to demonstrate our close descent relationship to those other animals. Which seems plausible enough all things considered. Until that other factor starts being considered in the all things.

I think we're owed some clarification on this, one way or another, before matters go much further. I honestly don't care one way or another whether I'm 98% similar genetically to an ape (though if I had my druthers I'd rather it be to a cat. {g} But that's just personal taste.) But if I'm only 2%ish similar to an ape genetically, then I'm going to start being highly curious as to how that other great mass of genetics (which wasn't even supposed to have been being used by our bodies, up until studies in recent years began suggesting otherwise) managed to change so radically if we're descended from the same ancestor and are supposed to be so closely related. And maybe even more curious about how that great mass changed so radically but the crucial 2% didn't.

Anyone hear/have any thoughts on this?

BK said…
I don't know about the question that you have, but I do know that junk DNA is proving to not be junk more-and-more as time goes on. I have written previously about junk DNA on the CADRE site, and have had at least five opportunities to show other functions for junk DNA that were discovered since that time. It really is important to note that junk DNA ain't really junk.
Puritan Lad said…
I can't help but recall the debate between the RR Squad and Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron. Brian from the RRS attempted to show flaws in the design of the universe by pointing out that he had nipples. In doing so, he acknowledged the very design he saw as "flawed". (You can have a flaw in design unless you first have design). Otherwise, flaws are meaningless, and should never enter our minds.

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