I once heard a college professor who specialized in evolution and ecology remark that no he’d never heard an adequate Creationist explanation for vestigial organs and structures. Rather he claimed that the only explanation he’d ever been offered was something to the effect that “Well, God made them to test our faith.”
I do not wish to question his veracity (though one would be justified in asking why it would be wrong in his evolutionary worldview to lie to his students, especially if it helped students more readily accept the evolutionary theory he claimed to be an expert of. Just saying…), but I must wonder at his claim that a shoulder-shrugging, “Well, God musta made them thar vestigi-machallits to test our faith,” is the only repsonse he’d ever received. Especially when he could have done about 20 minutes worth of actual reseach at well-known Creationist websites to discover that much more substantial explanations for so-called vestigial arguments exist. In other words, one wonders whether he was simply lazy [willfully ignorant] or disingenuous.
Of course, this evolutionist professor also conflated the extraBiblical views of Old Earth Creationists who believe that all animals were created in the forms we see them today with the Biblical views of Young Earth Creationists who affirm that Creation was accomplished roughly 6,000 years ago. Though he seemed knowledgable enough to point out that adding up the Genesis genealogies will give a date of Creation of about 6,000 years ago, he made no mention of the Biblical Creationist concept of variation and speciation within Biblical kinds. On the other hand, it’s possible he omited reference to Biblical kinds and only mentioned the extraBiblical Creationist view that all creatures were created in their present form because the latter view stands in direct opposition to the observable facts that animals do change over time via natural selection and speciation and thus undermines the Creationist position. This is why such compromise Creationist positions are self-defeating!
In any case, the Biblical Creationist does indeed have a reasoned response to the so-called vestigial argument for evolution.
Of course, part of the answer is in the definition of the term vestigial itself. Vestigial comes from the root word vestige which once meant “an organ or part of an organism that is a small nonfunctioning remnant of a functional organ in an ancestor” (World English Dictionary). In 1895, evolutionist Robert Wiedersheim once made up a list of 180 alleged vestigial or rudimentary organs. Useful functions have been found for nearly all of them (which is a cautionary argument against declaring an organ vestigial simply based on present ignorance of its function!), so evoilutionists had to modify the definition a bit. Now they claim that vestigial organs are organs or structures remaining or surviving in a degenerate, atrophied, or imperfect condition or form. (Oxford English Dictionary); in other words, vestigial organs may have an identifiable function but it is a diminished function from whatever the organ did in the past.
Three caveats suggets themselves:
 Diminished functionality [whether total or partial] is a loss of information not a gain of information as required of molecules-to-man evolution. If the vestigial argument is a powerful argument for fish-to-philosopher evolution, it should be pointed out that its actually an argument in the wrong direction! We should be suspicious of any claim that one can accrue a million dollars over time by progressively losing a few dollars at a time.
 Diminished functionality is fully compatible with the Biblical Creationist concept of variation within created kinds. Due to the effects of the Curse laid upon Creation at Adam’s Fall, we expect deleterious mutations, loss of functionality and loss of overall genetic viability. Which to say that a loss of functionality is not necessarily incompatible with Biblical Creation so long as one does not presume that one kind of creature changes into another [viz. dinosaurs to birds], which obviously requires increases of genetic information.
 Most importantly, claiming that an organ is vestigial by claiming it used to have greater [or even different] functionality in the past begs the question of whether goo-to-you-by-way-of-the-zoo evolution actually occurs; which is to say it begs the question of whether vestigial organs exist at all!
The Human Coccyx
For example, evolutionists often claim that the human coccyx is a vestigial tail. They even point to developmental biology to note that human embryos have a “tail.” The latter isn’t really a tail of course; it’s simply the vertebral column. Since the vertebral column forms ahead of other organs, it gives the appearance of a tail, but then again human embryos also have pharyngeal folds which look like gill slits but, if we’re honest (and not all evolutionists and public school textbooks are!), they aren’t anything of the sort. They never have the function of gills, merely a superficial appearance. This also holds true for the coccyx. Less scrupulous evolutionists point to babies born with tails, but neglect to mention that these “tails” contain no muscles or bone (certainly not the coccyx!) but are actually fatty tumors. Hardly a vestigial tail.
Of course, the coccyx has a vital function. It not only serves as an anchor point for the anus muscles and the entire pelvic diaphram. Kent Hovind is on record as stating that if any evo truly believes the coccyx is vestigial, he’d pay to have that truebeliever’s coccyx removed.
The Human Vermiform Appendix
The evo professor in question also made a big deal over the appendix, adamantly insisting that it is simply a vestigial cecum, a remnant from a time when man needed a larger cecum to accomodate a higher fiber diet. Again, this is simply begging the question, for there’s no indication that the appendix has ever been anything other than what it is now, except in the fertile imaginations of evolutionists. In fact, thge appendix plays a vital role in the immune system, repopulating the intestines with beneficial gut flora after diarreah or antibiotics clean out beneficial bacteria.
Answers in Genesis sums up the problem for evos quite nicely:
“The entire concept of vestigial organs is based on evolutionary storytelling. There is nothing in operational science to suggest that any of these so-called evolutionary “remnants” are less than fully functional in their present form.”
Hip Bones in Whales and Snakes
Like the human coccyx, the pelvic bones in whales and snakes [and the manatee, for that matter] serve as a vital anchorage point for muscles and to support internal organs. Stating that these bones have a diminished function from their supposed ancestral structure is very misleading since the bones in question are vital to the animal’s design and viability.
“Vestigial” “junk” DNA
Most recently, evolutionists have proposed that so-called pseudogenes are vestigial, but whether such “junk” DNA has no function at all is hotly debated. Yet even if these pseudogenes were in fact nonfunctional, why would that be evidence against Biblical Creationism which expects diminished functionality and mutation in a Fallen world?
I realize that other examples of the vestigial argument could be examined and I hope to do so at some later date, but here I only wish to establish that this line of argumentation is based on a logical fallacy [or two]…
Each time the evolutionists puts forth the claim that an organ or structure is vestigial, t faithful evolutionist commits one of two erros:
1] When no function is presently evident [and our present ignorance is typically remedied later], the evo presumes that a nonfunctional structure or organ is an “evolutionary leftover” of some proposed ancestor when nonfunctional organs [like the eyes of blind cave fish] are better explained by the degenerative trend of a world affected by the Fall.
2] When the function of a “vestigial” organ or structure is known AND the organism is presumed to have evolved, the evo further presumes that these organs or structures evidence dimished functionality from the proposed ancestral organism. It’s a lot of presumption, or what I typically term imagineering.
The problem then with vestigial arguments is that the evo has to beg the question of whether microbes-to-man evolution occurs in order to suggest that some organs and structures are vestigial so that he can use vestigial oragns and structures as evidence for the goo-to-you evolutions he’s presuming to begin with! Which makes it all a rather circular argument: The evo must beg the question of microbes-to-man evolution in order to beg the question of vestigiality in order to support his claim of darwinian evolution [and for vestigial organs for that matter!]. It’s very much a chicken and the egg scenario.
Which begs the question of why they have to resort to such weak arguments to begin with….
God bless and Stay in the Word!
Rev Tony Breeden, aka Sirius Knott