Intelligent Design Question

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by mathman, Nov 24, 2005.

  1. TheAlphaWolf Registered Senior Member

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    445
    In short, the appendix isn't TOO bad for us, so there's not a big enough reason for it to disappear. Other traits make a bigger difference.

    That source goes against what you said about it digesting cellulose ("But just because the appendix performs no digestive function"). And that was in my source wasn't it? lol... But anyway, the way I understand it is that there is lymphatic tissue all over the intestines (and I quote: "like much of the rest of the intestine"), and the appendix just happens to have some. Saying that the appendix itself is useful is like saying that since the ear has blood vessels it is therefore part of the circulatory system and it does serve a function. It just makes no sense.
     
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  3. valich Registered Senior Member

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    No, the appendix isn't bad for us except that - from what I was taught - sometimes it takes in too much foreign material in that it tries to fight off and then becomes inflamed: it's too small to do so now. So actually, because of this, I would think there's a reason why it should be bigger? It's part of the immune system. If it were bigger then it would be better able to help the immune system fight off foreign invading material.

    I said, the rest of the info was provided through class lectures. The appendix is a vestigial organ that originially evolved to digest cellulose. It is still used so today in Bovidae species, the ancestors of which we acquired it from.
     
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  5. valich Registered Senior Member

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    3,501
    One last point about the appendix that should clarify and reconcile what I posted above. Among biologists, endocrinologists and paleontologists, some consider the appendix as a vestigial useless organ, others as part of the digestive system, and now as part of the immune system. Neither are wrong: it just depends on your point-of-view:

    1. as a Vestigial Organ: there is no doubt that it is a rudimentary organ. It has diminished in size during the course of evolution because the function that it once served to breakdown cellulose and other plant material has now become totally unnecessary in humans and is a remnant that we inherited from our ancestorial species. In herbivores (Bovidae - cows, sheep, goats - and also rabbits, elk, antelope, and deer) it is an outgrowth of the caecum (part of the four-chambered stomach system) that secretes millions of bacteria and enzymes (enzymes are complex proteins that catalyze reactions) to ferment plant material for digestion and absorbtion of nutrients. In plant-eating primates, it is an elongated organ called the cecum that excretes bacteria to digest plants. In humans, the appendix still does secrete bacteria, and if it ruptures it can be fatal because it spills out all that acidic bacteria-laden food particles and pus into the surrounding viscera body cavity. With this point-of-view, it is considered useless and we would be better off without it: thus eliminating the risks of appendicitis and rupturing.

    2. as a Digestive Organ: it allows a species to exist on grasses and other plants for their diet. With this point-of-view, I should think it would be better if we had a larger appendix, and why not even a four-chambered stomach? This would allow humans to have a wider range of food that we could use for sustanence and would help alleviate global food shortages and world hunger.

    3. as a part of the Immune System: its original function of cellulose digestion is gone, but it still is able to distinguish and "monitors the passing of food, detecting and responding to harmful foreign materials," such as undigestable plant material, and therefore it can be classified as part of the immune system. It still secretes bacteria - and probably enzymes too - that help breakdown plant material, but it no longer has the capacity to do so to any meaningful extent and can easily rupture if overwhelmed past its small capacity. With this point-of-view, again I should think that it would be better if it were larger.

    Vestigial organs such as the appendix and the coccyx ("lost tail") in humans, the wings of an ostrich, pelvic and leg bones in whales (no longer required since whales have no hind limbs), vestigial hindlimbs in some snakes leftover from their lizard ancestors, all present a virtually unsurpassable quagmire for creationists or proponents of intelligent design. To add to the creationist's dilemma, occasionally completely lost and surpressed vestigial organs, that are clearly still present in embryonic expression, may reemerge for evolutionary readaptation in a process called altavism: the return of ancestrial parts.
     
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  7. TheAlphaWolf Registered Senior Member

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    445
    well, right now it is more bad for humans than it is good. That can be proven by the number of appendectomies (sp?) to the number of people that have had bad results directly (not due to medical error, etc) as a result from having their appendix removed (which is a lot to zero... or if there are any hat have had bad results, it's a VERY small number in comparison)
    Nobody's disputing the fact that it's a vestigial organ that originally evolved to digest cellulose, what I want is a good source that says it still digests cellulose in humans.
    it allows OTHER species to do that. That's irrelevant to wheter it is vestigial in humans or not. Humans don't use it as a digestive organ.
    like I said before, the appendix itself doesn't do that, but the lymphatic tissue that is all over the intestines. And like I said before, that doesn't make the appendix itself a part of the immune system.
    again, I want a source. If it DID do that, it WOULD be part of the digestive system. I have sources that say it doesn't play any part in the digestive system, and therefore I want you to give me sources.
     
  8. valich Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,501
    I suppose that some biologists consider it now as part of the immune system because it produces bacteria in responce to invading foreign matter. In the case of humans, this invading foreign matter is now the cellulose, since we no longer have the capacity in our digestive system to break it down like herbivores do. In general, herbivores have a much longer intestine and digestive tract then carnivores. Canidae (dogs, wolves, coyotes, and foxes) and all cats are also carnivores and have a small appendix rather than larger ceca (plural of cecum).

    It is interesting - and perhaps more enlightening? - to know that the development of the cecum (the appendix - more specifically called the vermiform appendix - is actually at the end of the cecum) occured in evolution to enlarge the surface area of the digestive tract for increased digestion. Herbivores need a larger digestive tract because of the lesser nutritional value in the food they eat as compared to carnivores.
    The only herbivore that I know of that DOES NOT have a cecum and appendix is the ground sloth, but it is rather unique in its digestive system as it takes an entire month for it to digest its food! This adds further proof of the importance of the cecum and the bacteria producing appendix to plant digestion.

    Perhaps what you could try to do is to find out specifically what type of bacteria and possibly enzymes the human appendix produces. This shouldn't be too difficult. First, you could either try to google it, or you could ask hospitals for the names of doctors who have dealt with cases of ruptured appendix and appendicitis. Once you have the names of the bacteria that the appendix produces in humans, you could then easily compare these to the bacteria involved in fermentation of cellulose in ruminant animals such as those that I listed above.

    I hope this helps.
     
  9. TheAlphaWolf Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    445
    ugh. I'll ask one more time... WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU GETTING YOUR INFORMATION?
    here- "However, even though humans are herbivorous, the small human caecum does not house cellulose-digesting bacteria, and we cannot digest cellulose."
    "However, contrary to what one is apt to read in anti-evolutionary literature, there is currently no evidence demonstrating that the appendix, as a separate organ, has a specific immune function in humans (Judge and Lichtenstein 2001; Dasso et al. 2000; Williams and Myers 1994, pp. 5, 26-29). To date, all experimental studies of the function of an appendix (other than routine human appendectomies) have been exclusively in rabbits and, to a lesser extent, rodents. Currently it is unclear whether the lymphoid tissue in the human appendix performs any specialized function apart from the much larger amount of lymphatic tissue already distributed throughout the gut. Most importantly with regard to vestigiality, there is no evidence from any mammal suggesting that the hominoid vermiform appendix performs functions above and beyond those of the lymphoid-rich caeca of other primates and mammals that lack distinct appendixes. "

    none.

    you keep saying that it does this and it does that, and you don't give me any sources. You should be the one who does the research because you're the one who's saying it DOES something. I already did my research. Now, either do your own research, or stop saying it does something when you don't even have any sources.
    and I'm only talking about the HUMAN appendix. I couldn't care less (well I do care, but not for this debate... and I already know anyway ) what the appendix does in other animals, or why it came about. It does not do the same thing in humans, and that's the whole point. In HUMANS the appendix itself is useless.
     
  10. mountainhare Banned Banned

    Messages:
    3,287
    Alphawolf:
    You should. That is one way in which we determine whether the appendix is vestigal (aka. useless or reduced in function).

    As for whether the appendix forms some minor immune function (from my understanding, it does, just like the tonsils do), it is still an example of bad design. There are far better ways of storing lymphatic tissue than in a compartment which is prone to blockage and infection.
     
  11. valich Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,501
    Here are additional sources that you can contact for more information. I have already listed all my sources to you above including my course professor. If you would like her email address, I can also supply that, but you can find it online. In any case, I am reluctant to provide you with any further personal information because of the tone of your email postings. My colleagues and other university professors would not appreciate it:

    The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)

    American Academy of Family Physicians
    P.O. Box 11210
    Shawnee Mission, KS 66207–1210
    Phone: 1–800–274–2237
    Email: fp@aafp.org
    Internet: www.aafp.org

    American College of Surgeons
    633 North Saint Clair Street
    Chicago, IL 60611–3211
    Phone: 312–202–5000
    Fax: 312–202–5001
    Email: postmaster@facs.org
    Internet: www.facs.org

    American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons (ASCRS)
    85 West Algonquin Road
    Suite 550
    Arlington Heights, IL 60005
    Phone: 847–290–9184
    Fax: 847–290–9203
    Email: ascrs@fascrs.org
    Internet: www.fascrs.org
     
  12. valich Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,501
    "WHAT IS THE APPENDIX?

    The appendix produces a bacteria destroying protein called immunoglobulins, which help fight infection in the body. Its function, however, is not essential. People who have had appendectomies do not have an increased risk toward infection. Other organs in the body take over this function once the appendix has been removed."
    http://www.sages.org/pi_appendectomy.html

    It is unreasonable for you to require me to go out of my way to find an additional source just to satisfy your own selfish inquisition when you could so see easily do it yourself. As I said, read what I posted above and you will see that I documented and cited my sources. Does this now help you?
     
  13. TheAlphaWolf Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    445
    well yeah, but we're not arguing about whether it's vestigial or not. We're arguing whether it has any function or not. ... no, vestigial doesn't mean useless. Ostrich wings are vestigial, but they use them for mating rituals and stuff.
    I already adressed that. The appendix itself isn't doing that, it's the lymphatic tissue in and around it (and all around the intestines)
    Ok, I'll e-mail them and post what they said here.
     
  14. mountainhare Banned Banned

    Messages:
    3,287
    Alpha:
    I notice that the topic has derailed a bit. However, whether the appendix is vestigal or not is highly relevant to the general topic, as it refutes ID. Whether it serves some minor immunity purpose is really irrelevant, although it never hurts to quibble over details to increase our knowledge.

    Actually, vestigal CAN mean useless. Once again:

    Quite simply, 'vestigal' can be used to describe useless body parts, or body parts which are reduced in function (aka. Your ostrich example).
     
  15. TheAlphaWolf Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    445
    It doesn't really refute ID. If it is used for some reason or another, then it could be designed to be used for that purpose. And the whole idea of something being vestigial... I mean... one determines if something is vestigial or not by comparing it to their ancestors (if it was bigger and served a bigger function, then it is vestigial), but of course if ID were true then you can't compare it to their ancestors, as that species wouldn't even have one. Know what I mean?


    the people haven't replied to my e-mail yet...
     
  16. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

    Messages:
    24,066
    Yes, it does refute it.

    So does hemmroids. Bad design of the blood circulation in the ass.

    Bad design vs intelligent designer.

    Do you see the problem here?
     
  17. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    23,198
    The all knowing ID appears to have slipped up again. After arranging for two posters to take the names: TheAlphaWolf & Mountainhare, as getting them into conflict, it was too mild. I was waiting for TheAlphaWolf to eat the MountainHare!

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  18. TheAlphaWolf Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    445
    err... I guess i'm kind of sleepy. Yeah, I know what you meant by it refuting it... all the appendicitis or however you spell it stuff.

    lol... another refuting of ID- our brains suck. So unefficient, Forgetful, etc.
    lol. And birth pains, and teeth in embryonic anteaters, and leg buds in cetaceans, etc. There used to be a website titled "Some More of God's Greatest Mistakes" that listed a ton of badly designed things.
    lol... sorry to disappoint you but the hare won... a wolf without the support of his pack is nothing (although it really shouldn't matter much for a hare... should it?)
     
  19. valich Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,501
    ID, in the traditional sense as I've ever heard it, is akin to the creationist's view. Are we now say on this forum that ID also involves evolution???

    Vestigial organs are proof of evolution, and it's not just because they are now vestigial. In the case of the cecum (end part is called the appendix), you can clearly follow it's evolution from fish to reptiles, then through dinosaurs to modern day birds, or from reptiles to mammals to primates to modern day humans. It gradually diminishes and became smaller and smaller and smaller. Some fish have 400 ceca (predacious fish have more than those that feed on algae and plankton: like carnivores vs. herbivores), birds have 2, rabbit's are very long (herbivore), monkey's about half the length, chimp's shorter still, human's just a short and narrow worm-like stub. Perfect example of evolution in action.
     
  20. TheAlphaWolf Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    445
    who said that?
    but since you did bring it up, there are many kinds of creationism (including ID). some ID proponents say evolution did happen, but it was guided by some intelligent force. Others say it didn't happen, etc.
    and don't get me started on creationism. From flat earth, young earth, baraminology (sp?), to old earth, etc.
     
  21. mountainhare Banned Banned

    Messages:
    3,287
    Alpha:
    Generally, ID'ists adopt the position that at one stage, God had to have been actively involved, because some structures of an organism are 'irreducibly complex' (aka. couldn't have evolved by natural means). Of course, what structures are irreducibly complex, and how much evolution occurred naturally, is what differs from ID'ist to ID'ist.
     
  22. mathman Valued Senior Member

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    1,426
    ID seems to me to be a modern version of what the ancient Greeks and Romans did when they had a whole bunch of gods to explain all natural phenomena. ID is in essence saying that since the theory of evolution (like any scientific theory) is not in its final form, intelligence in needed to fill in the gaps (good old god of the gaps).
     
  23. valich Registered Senior Member

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    3,501
    That's why I'm questioning what assumptions we're using here to define ID. Okay, ID threw out a bunch of chemicals and atmospheric conditions and then let everything go from there. Where's the ID? Or, "there is no final form," and? ID has to step in to determine it? As if it can't happen naturally on its own without ID?
     

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