Appendices of the Appendix

I’ve heard claims like this one before, but chemdude points out a more-recent one in his comment:

Speaking of evolution, has anyone else seen this? The appendix is useful after all! Just like tonsils, the foreskin, and everything else people thought was useless. Evolution rarely wastes effort.

The only downside to this is that is takes away an easy argument against the IDers. When told about intelligent design, a good refrain was “An intelligent designer wouldn’t have made the appendix.” Now we’ll have to make subtler arguments about the structure of the eye, etc.

In cases where appendicitis was suspected, surgeons would often remove it after reaching it surgically and finding that it wasn’t inflamed. Not so unreasonable. But sometimes they would go out of their way to excise the appendix during unrelated abdominal surgery.

It would be nice to say that they knew that people without appendices were normal when it was decided to do that. Sadly, that conclusion was post-hoc, formed after the policy of gratuitous removal was instigated. And even then, it wasn’t based on any rigorous examination of former patients and their outcomes, just a crude observation that surgical removal didn’t have any obvious consequences.

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