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The Definition Of "vestigial."


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#1 Spectre

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 10:14 PM

In High School I was taught that "vestigial organs" meant that an organ was useless. An atheist that I was debating said that vestigial organs is when a organ becomes useless or obtains a secondary function through evolution after losing its primary function.

I looked up the definition at multiple sites and some dictionaries from Oxford and Cambridge sites agree that vestigial organs are useless, but other sites such as wikipedia and talkorigins say that vestigial is an organ that used to have a primary function, but is reduced to a secondary function through evolution.

Has the definition of vestigial changed?

#2 Bex

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 10:51 PM

In High School I was taught that "vestigial organs" meant that an organ was useless. An atheist that I was debating said that vestigial organs is when a organ becomes useless or obtains a secondary function through evolution after losing its primary function.

I looked up the definition at multiple sites and some dictionaries from Oxford and Cambridge sites agree that vestigial organs are useless, but other sites such as wikipedia and talkorigins say that vestigial is an organ that used to have a primary function, but is reduced to a secondary function through evolution.

Has the definition of vestigial changed?

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Yep, that is what I was taught also and that is how the word was used (when read in context). I believe it has been modified/added to. Certainly, there is no doubt that some organs have been referred to as being "leftovers" and having "no function" or "useless" from our evolutionary past. This has been discovered to be wrong, as we find such organs do indeed have function and often very important ones.

It makes it alot easier to deny ever suggesting such organs were useless if you find a meaning of vestigial that gets further away from "useless".

#3 Spectre

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 01:44 AM

Yep, those were my thoughts exactly. I figured they shifted the goalposts when they found out that the organs were not vestigial after all. I just wanted to double check to make sure that my thoughts on this were correct.

#4 Ron

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 05:14 AM

In High School I was taught that "vestigial organs" meant that an organ was useless. An atheist that I was debating said that vestigial organs is when a organ becomes useless or obtains a secondary function through evolution after losing its primary function.

I looked up the definition at multiple sites and some dictionaries from Oxford and Cambridge sites agree that vestigial organs are useless, but other sites such as wikipedia and talkorigins say that vestigial is an organ that used to have a primary function, but is reduced to a secondary function through evolution.

Has the definition of vestigial changed?

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Spectre, there is no real evidence so-called "vestigial organs" were anything other than what they currently are. The only thing being thrown around is speculation and opinion. So, when an atheist OR a theist says "vestigial organs is when a organ becomes useless", or attributes any function (or non-function) of vestigial organs to evolution, they are merely stating an opinion, and not facts. When someone attempts to use this line of reasoning, ask them for the evidence for said statement.

#5 MamaElephant

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 07:01 AM

There are vestigial body parts... flightless birds who descended from the flying variety. That is all I know of however.

#6 Ron

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 07:13 AM

There are vestigial body parts... flightless birds who descended from the flying variety. That is all I know of however.

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Hello ME... I would have to disagree, specifically concerning flightless birds. We have no evidence (just speculation) that flightless birds ever had the ability to fly in the first place (the Ostrich for example). I don't have a problem with the speculation, I'm just pointing out the facts.

#7 MamaElephant

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 10:50 AM

Hello ME... I would have to disagree, specifically concerning flightless birds. We have no evidence (just speculation) that flightless birds ever had the ability to fly in the first place (the Ostrich for example). I don't have a problem with the speculation, I'm just pointing out the facts.

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I agree with ostriches. Not all flightless birds had the ability to fly. There are a few that flew to islands and then lost the ability. We have specific observations on those few.

#8 Ron

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 11:01 AM

I agree with ostriches. Not all flightless birds had the ability to fly. There are a few that flew to islands and then lost the ability. We have specific observations on those few.

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I would ask for evidence of said assertion.

#9 Spectre

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 11:23 AM

I am aware that there is no such thing as a vestigial organ. I was just shocked to find that they may of changed the definition, so I asked here and I found out that they did change the definition after all.

This one atheist was arguing that the "pelvis" of a whale is vestigial. I told him it was used for reproduction and he asked for my sources. So I got the curator of the National Museum of Natural History(Who has a Ph. D in Biology and his speciality is Marine Biology.) to explain to him that the whale's pelvis is an anchor bone for muscles used in reproduction. He then left him many sources that said the same thing. :P

The debate started when I told him that if he wants to believe in evolution that is his choice, but don't teach our children lies such as the whale's "pelvis" being vestigial. Honestly, I have seen the bones and the bone does not look like a pelvis to me.

As for the "flightless birds" flying to Australia. I don't buy it. Where did you hear this from?

#10 MamaElephant

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 12:28 PM

As for the "flightless birds" flying to Australia. I don't buy it. Where did you hear this from?

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Creation.com magazine

#11 Bex

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 12:48 PM

Creation.com magazine

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Hi ME, Could you give us a little more than this so we can read some of the article and take a look at the evidence they have for this? If this is so, it would only show a loss of information, rather than a gain. However, I'd still need to have a look at the evidence and how they have arrived at their conclusions.

Because as we know, wings can serve other purposes than flight.

#12 MamaElephant

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 05:59 PM

Hi ME, Could you give us a little more than this so we can read some of the article and take a look at the evidence they have for this?  If this is so, it would only show a loss of information, rather than a gain.  However, I'd still need to have a look at the evidence and how they have arrived at their conclusions.

Because as we know, wings can serve other purposes than flight.

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I know you all are wanting more specifics. I think it was speaking of birds in New Zealand. I read about a year's worth of the magazines from the library, so I can't find anything else on it at the moment. I tried searching Creation.com and didn't see the article.

#13 MamaElephant

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 10:12 AM

The Theory of Evolution with Universal Common Descent and random mutations is erroneous. Not everything evolutionists say is.

Baraminology is a creation biology discipline that studies of the ancestry of life on Earth (biosystematics). Creationist biosystematics enables us to more clearly understand the true evolutionary history of the life on Earth that could not be known from a naturalistic perspective.

Yes, some animals have descended from others, including flightless birds. I cannot always provide references to everything I say. I am sure that people other than myself have access to magazines, books, libraries and google searches if they are interested enough to put forth the effort.

#14 The Ark

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 10:50 AM

What about spurs/flaps at rear of boid and python snakes

Also flaps on at rear of legless lizards.

#15 Ron

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 11:35 AM

What about spurs/flaps at rear of boid and python snakes

Also flaps on at rear of legless lizards.

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What about them?

#16 MamaElephant

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 07:29 PM

As for the "flightless birds" flying to Australia. I don't buy it. Where did you hear this from?

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May I ask where you heard it? I didn't say Australia.

#17 MamaElephant

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 06:35 PM

Yes, some animals have descended from others, including flightless birds. I cannot always provide references to everything I say.

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Well, I was a little cranky. Please accept my apologies for that post. If I find the article, I will let you all know.




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