The elephant in the room.

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Re: The elephant in the room.

Postby Luke Tyler » Mon Dec 26, 2011 12:43 pm

Moon Fire wrote:
Luke Tyler wrote:People often say that the appendix is useless, but when you live in a wild area where as part of your diet you have to ingest fibrous plant matter (like Borneo, The Congo or Scotland), you'll be very thankful for your appendix.


But that's not how the appendix works any more in humans! It's a vestigal organ in our species, it no longer has the function of breaking down cellulose cell walls in us, I understand it does still serve a function but it doesn't serve that function any more.

True, but surely in the even of our current living environment becoming more hostile, or supposing you lived somewhere where the food you ate had more substantial cellulose content, then the appendix becomes very important!

Anyway, I think it's quite ironic that the title of this thread is "The Elephant in the room" and we're talking about whether or not we need the appendix!
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Re: The elephant in the room.

Postby Moon Fire » Mon Dec 26, 2011 12:47 pm

Luke Tyler wrote:
Moon Fire wrote:
Luke Tyler wrote:People often say that the appendix is useless, but when you live in a wild area where as part of your diet you have to ingest fibrous plant matter (like Borneo, The Congo or Scotland), you'll be very thankful for your appendix.


But that's not how the appendix works any more in humans! It's a vestigal organ in our species, it no longer has the function of breaking down cellulose cell walls in us, I understand it does still serve a function but it doesn't serve that function any more.

True, but surely in the even of our current living environment becoming more hostile, or supposing you lived somewhere where the food you ate had more substantial cellulose content, then the appendix becomes very important!

Anyway, I think it's quite ironic that the title of this thread is "The Elephant in the room" and we're talking about whether or not we need the appendix!


No, we're talking about the FUNCTION of the appendix, not whether or not we need it, slight difference young man. The only way that the appendix might reclaim it's old function in our species is if out diet massively shifts to a much more plant based one, and that's only a might not a guarenty.
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Re: The elephant in the room.

Postby Luke Tyler » Mon Dec 26, 2011 1:40 pm

Moon Fire wrote: No, we're talking about the FUNCTION of the appendix, not whether or not we need it, slight difference young man. The only way that the appendix might reclaim it's old function in our species is if out diet massively shifts to a much more plant based one, and that's only a might not a guarenty.


Yes. Although I think that there are definitely people in the world who still require the appendix for their diet, but when we eat food which is processed, you are definitively right. From our current knowledge, the appendix does not serve any useful function at the moment.

I say "That we know of" because I don't want to rule out the idea that we might discover new functions for the appendix, but I'm not postulating them now.
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Re: The elephant in the room.

Postby Brian Jordan » Mon Dec 26, 2011 2:23 pm

Luke Tyler wrote:True, but surely in the even of our current living environment becoming more hostile, or supposing you lived somewhere where the food yoSu ate had more substantial cellulose content, then the appendix becomes very important!
Sorry Luke - that would entail re-evolution and if there were suddenly nothing but triffids to eat there would be no way the appendix could evolve - or even adapt - in time. As I quoted above, humans are no longer capable of digesting significant amounts of cellulose. Let's have another look at that Wikipedia article:
A possible scenario for the progression from a fully functional cecum to the current human appendix was put forth by Charles Darwin.[7] He suggested that the appendix was used for digesting leaves as primates. It may be a vestigial organ, evolutionary baggage, of ancient humans that has degraded down to nearly nothing over the course of evolution. The very long cecum of some herbivorous animals, such as found in the horse or the koala, supports this theory. The koala's cecum enables it to host bacteria that specifically help to break down cellulose. Human ancestors may have also relied upon this system when they lived on a diet rich in foliage. As people began to eat more easily digested foods, they became less reliant on cellulose-rich plants for energy. As the cecum became less necessary for digestion, mutations that were previously deleterious (and would have hindered evolutionary progress) were no longer important, so the mutations have survived. These alleles became more frequent and the cecum continued to shrink. After thousands of years, the once-necessary cecum has degraded to be the appendix of today.[7] On the other hand, evolutionary theorists have suggested that natural selection selects for larger appendices because smaller and thinner appendices would be more susceptible to inflammation and disease.
Did you spot a possible reason, right at the beginning, why creationists are particularly interested in the appendix? Or more particularly, in denying it's vestigiality? Further down, there's a suggestion about its present function that I rather like
This proposal is based on a new understanding of how the immune system supports the growth of beneficial intestinal bacteria,[14][15] in combination with many well-known features of the appendix, including its architecture, its location just below the normal one-way flow of food and germs in the large intestine, and its association with copious amounts of immune tissue. Such a function may be useful in a culture lacking modern sanitation and healthcare practice, where diarrhea may be prevalent.[13] Current epidemiological data[16] show that diarrhea is one of the leading causes of death in developing countries, indicating that as diarrhea flushes out the helpful bacteria the appendix helps recovery by providing a "safe house" for the bacteria.[13]
Now that would be useful if we were suddenly plunged into a triffid-ridden apocalypse where there was no Actimel or similar!
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Re: The elephant in the room.

Postby Moon Fire » Mon Dec 26, 2011 2:40 pm

Luke Tyler wrote:
Moon Fire wrote: No, we're talking about the FUNCTION of the appendix, not whether or not we need it, slight difference young man. The only way that the appendix might reclaim it's old function in our species is if out diet massively shifts to a much more plant based one, and that's only a might not a guarenty.


Yes. Although I think that there are definitely people in the world who still require the appendix for their diet, but when we eat food which is processed, you are definitively right. From our current knowledge, the appendix does not serve any useful function at the moment.

I say "That we know of" because I don't want to rule out the idea that we might discover new functions for the appendix, but I'm not postulating them now.


>.<

In the modern diet we COOK a significant amount of the food we eat, cooking makes the food uch easier to digest and therefore gain the nutrients that we need. Brian's post is quite excellent and highlights the modern function of the appendix (i was vaguely aware it did something immune system related but thats it). We've been cooking food for a least thousands of years, if not longer......I've got a vague recollection of reading somewhere that one of our ancestral species might have learnt to master fire.....i certainly know that our ancestral species got into the old meat eating game and that upped our nutrition intake, and thats the point that really tipped the balance away from the appendix.

How about you READ up on things a little before posting? Whilst it's full of inherent weakness in the fact it's open to abuse by those that vandalise entries wikipedia is a useful starting tool.
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Re: The elephant in the room.

Postby Moon Fire » Mon Dec 26, 2011 2:41 pm

Brian Jordan wrote:Now that would be useful if we were suddenly plunged into a triffid-ridden apocalypse where there was no Actimel or similar!


Modern or old school Triffids?
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Re: The elephant in the room.

Postby Dr_GS_Hurd » Mon Dec 26, 2011 4:29 pm

Re: Vermiform Appendix

There is good evidence that fire was used to cook food by late Homo erectus. It has been well over a million years that the function of our appendix was related to cellulose. It does appear though to have a function, else why would we have one at all? Evolutionary theory would indicate that a totally useless organ, and additionally one that occasionally kills, should have been eliminated long ago. Reasoning that there had to be some function R. Randal Bollinger, Andrew S. Barbas, Errol L. Bush, Shu S. Lin, and William Parker wrote, "Biofilms in the large bowel suggest an apparent function of the human vermiform appendix" 2007 Journal of Theoretical Biology Volume 249, Issue 4, Pages 826-831 doi:10.1016/j.jtbi.2007.08.032
http://www.mbio.ncsu.edu/mjc/old/200720 ... _paper.pdf

Makes sense to me.

Reviewed here;
Michel Laurin, Mary Lou Everett,William Parker
2011 "The Cecal Appendix: One More Immune Component With a Function Disturbed By Post-Industrial Culture"
The Anatomical Record, Volume 294, Issue 4, pages 567–579
DOI: 10.1002/ar.21357
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Re: The elephant in the room.

Postby Peter Henderson » Mon Dec 26, 2011 5:32 pm

i was vaguely aware it did something immune system related but thats it


Gosh, silly you. You need to read more YEC literature:

http://www.answersingenesis.org/article ... r-appendix

Your Appendix
January 30, 2008
Children's
Keywordsappendixkids-news
The appendix is a small organ in your body that is located near where your small and large intestines are joined. Many years ago, some people believed that the appendix was useless. They thought it was just leftover from our evolutionary ancestors.

However, those who believe the Bible disagreed. They believed that humans were made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) and that all of our body parts were useful, even though we might not know what every part was used for.

Recently, scientists have been studying the appendix. They have found that it does have a function—it helps to keep us healthy! Researchers at Duke University Medical School suggest that the appendix provides our intestines with good bacteria when we need it. Our intestines are filled with bacteria that help digest the food we eat. Some diseases may cause our bodies to get rid of the bacteria. In these cases, the appendix can supply more of the good bacteria that we need.

Of course, sometimes the appendix itself can become diseased. Those who have appendicitis need to have their appendix removed. From the Bible, we know that diseases happen because of what happened in the beginning—Adam disobeyed God and this sin brought death into the world (Genesis 3; Romans 5:12).

The next time someone tells you a part of your body is useless, just remember the truth: God created us in His image with all the parts that we need to stay healthy.


So, a diseased appendix has nothing whatsoever yo do with diet. It's all down to the fall !
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Re: The elephant in the room.

Postby Luke Tyler » Mon Dec 26, 2011 5:56 pm

This proposal is based on a new understanding of how the immune system supports the growth of beneficial intestinal bacteria,[14][15] in combination with many well-known features of the appendix, including its architecture, its location just below the normal one-way flow of food and germs in the large intestine, and its association with copious amounts of immune tissue. Such a function may be useful in a culture lacking modern sanitation and healthcare practice, where diarrhea may be prevalent.[13] Current epidemiological data[16] show that diarrhea is one of the leading causes of death in developing countries, indicating that as diarrhea flushes out the helpful bacteria the appendix helps recovery by providing a "safe house" for the bacteria.


Without wishing to sound annoying, this surely defeats the point of it being a vestigial organ?

Please bear in mind I'm not trying to argue for or against anything here.

How about you READ up on things a little before posting? Whilst it's full of inherent weakness in the fact it's open to abuse by those that vandalise entries wikipedia is a useful starting tool.

I'm not entirely sure what I've done that's angered you?!
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Re: The elephant in the room.

Postby Brian Jordan » Mon Dec 26, 2011 7:13 pm

Luke Tyler wrote:Without wishing to sound annoying, this surely defeats the point of it being a vestigial organ?
Having a function does not stop its being vestigial. It's vestigial because it's not used for digesting cellulose any more. Think of the whales: IIRC their vestigial leg bones have become part of their reproductive apparatus. They weren't discarded just because whales don't walk, they evolved and now have a very different function. Creationists say that that means they're not vestigial but that's because they are (perhaps willfully) misunderstanding the term.
Scientists have discovered that, like the whale, the snakes’ “legs” aid in their reproduction. But also, snakes use these short legs in fighting. Amazing! These “vestigial” organs are not vestigial at all. They all serve a purpose. Evolution couldn’t make everything “just right.” But God, the Great Designer, leaves nothing off, and has nothing left over.
http://www.apologeticspress.net/apPubPage.aspx?pub=2&issue=827&article=1599
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Re: The elephant in the room.

Postby Dr_GS_Hurd » Mon Dec 26, 2011 7:34 pm

Luke Tyler wrote:Without wishing to sound annoying, this surely defeats the point of it being a vestigial organ?


Nope.

"Vestigial" professionally does not necessarily mean "useless." It does mean that there was an "original" function which is no longer used. Charles Darwin grossly over stated this in "Decent of Man," where he did argue that the vermiform appendix was useless, and generally dangerous. What is amusing is that that would run counter to his own theory. (What he imagined was that is was retained, but was in the process of being eliminated).

Recall that Darwin had no idea that the genus Homo had had a half-dozen species and was over a million years old. So, in light of that information, there really needed to be a function to off-set the obvious risk.
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Re: The elephant in the room.

Postby Dr_GS_Hurd » Mon Dec 26, 2011 7:45 pm

Scientists have discovered that, like the whale, the snakes’ “legs” aid in their reproduction. But also, snakes use these short legs in fighting. Amazing! These “vestigial” organs are not vestigial at all. They all serve a purpose. Evolution couldn’t make everything “just right.” But God, the Great Designer, leaves nothing off, and has nothing left over.
http://www.apologeticspress.net/apPubPage.aspx?pub=2&issue=827&article=1599

Not all snakes retain any form of leg, and for many (the boas for example) only the males retain tiny nubs. They use them to stimulate females during coitus. Evolution rarely makes anything "just right," evolution makes things that work "well enough." What biologists, and physicians know is that there is nothing "just right." For example, if DNA replication were perfect, there would be no evolution, and all life would have become extinct long ago. As it is about 99% of all species that have ever existed have become extinct. So much for "Just Right."

Remember Rule #1, Creationists never tell the truth.
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Re: The elephant in the room.

Postby Luke Tyler » Mon Dec 26, 2011 9:11 pm

Brian Jordan wrote:Having a function does not stop its being vestigial. It's vestigial because it's not used for digesting cellulose any more. Think of the whales: IIRC their vestigial leg bones have become part of their reproductive apparatus. They weren't discarded just because whales don't walk, they evolved and now have a very different function. Creationists say that that means they're not vestigial but that's because they are (perhaps willfully) misunderstanding the term.

I stand corrected. I was probably not using the definition correctly (not willfully, how are 16 year olds supposed to know about vestigial organs? I've been brought up on the creationist definition).

I'll look into this further, since I am becoming increasingly interested in this topic.
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Re: The elephant in the room.

Postby Brian Jordan » Mon Dec 26, 2011 9:21 pm

Luke Tyler wrote:I stand corrected. I was probably not using the definition correctly (not willfully, how are 16 year olds supposed to know about vestigial organs? I've been brought up on the creationist definition).
I'll look into this further, since I am becoming increasingly interested in this topic.
Sorry if I was a bit forceful but creationist misrepresentation brings out the worst in me. You're doing fine, don't let us old fogeys get you down!
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Re: The elephant in the room.

Postby Luke Tyler » Mon Dec 26, 2011 9:32 pm

Brian Jordan wrote:Sorry if I was a bit forceful but creationist misrepresentation brings out the worst in me. You're doing fine, don't let us old fogeys get you down!

No, I appreciate I have a lot to learn and you are helping o give me the other side of the coin. I'm grateful for the help!
It's for my own interest anyway, so I'm not going to take offense or any nonsense like that. It's for my own good!
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