email - January 2013

Does Atavism Prove Evolution?

Jeff responds to evolutionists.

Last month we shared Jeff’s Sad Experience with you. He challenged evolutionists to present any valid proof for evolution; but all he got in response was a barrage of insults and personal attacks. He wrote us again to tell us that he finally got some minimal scientific response. Here’s what he told us:

Recently, I challenged some evolutionists to present ANY evidence that they considered valid evidence for evolution. Many posted evidences that had been refuted many times, in many ways, over many years. That is what happens when a person refuses to read anything contrary to their particular point of view.

Three evolutionists however, offered one word as evidence: “Atavism.” Like many from both sides, these three touted this one word as “proof” rather than correctly identifying it as “evidence.”

The dictionary defines atavism this way:

Atavism (at'eVIZeM), the appearance in an individual of a characteristic not apparent in the preceding generation. At one time it was believed that such a phenomenon was thought to be a “throwback” to a hypothetical ancestral prototype. The term is seldom used today since science has shown that such abnormal characteristics can be explained by the inheritance of a pair of recessive genes.

IN BRIEF: The reappearance of genetic traits.

Used in a sentence: “An episode of atavism must have caused Lynn to be born with red hair”

That certainly doesn't seem very convincing as evidence for evolution. Were these evolutionists kidding me? I then looked up examples of supposed evolutionary atavism offered by the textbooks:

  1. Hind legs on whales – This is despite the fact that there has never been a whale with hind legs, or even a fossil showing this! Some modern whales have a pair of bones embedded in their tissues, each of which strengthens the pelvic wall and acts as an organ anchor. Evolutionists generally claim that these small, yet purposeful structures are vestigial (“left-over”) organs. They choose to believe that each bone of the pair is all that is left of the pelvic bone of the whale’s ancestor which, according to evolutionary doctrine, once walked and ran on land.
  2. Hind fins on dolphins – this is an extra set of fins which is a simple mutation just like the fruit flies that emerge with an extra set of wings or babies born sometimes with extra limbs (or pseudo limbs). The dolphins already have the genetic information for fins. There is a 22-year-old girl alive today who has one complete normal body and two heads. Each head has separate thoughts and emotions. Nobody is claiming that she is a “throwback” (or atavism) to when we all had 2 heads.
  3. Extra toes on horses – No mention that so-called “horse evolution” has been refuted since 1951. Besides, an extra toe proves nothing about ancestry. Just as some humans are born with 6 digits instead of five on hands or feet, it is certainly not a reversion to a former “primitive” state. When a human is born with an extra toe, NOBODY says, “Oh look, he's reverted back to his ancestors of 100,000 years ago when all people had six toes. This is the same kind of mutation as happens when radiation causes fruit flies to have an extra set of wings.
  4. Really hairy people – this is a medical condition called congenital generalized hypertrichosis (CGH). The hairiness invariably turns out to be the result of the genetic code being corrupted, which is a mutational loss of information. This is not evidence of microbes-to-man evolution (a process requiring the gain of genetic information). Rather, it is a process opposite of evolution since a loss of genetic information occurs.
  5. Humans with tails – This is what I believe evolutionists see as their “trump” card. There are two types of tails involved: The non-bony tail and the bony tail.

The Non-Bony Tail

This “tail”, like nearly all cases of human “tails”, is not a real tail. It is not evidence of evolution. It doesn't have any bones in it, doesn't have fur like a monkey's tail, and doesn't have a nerve cord. It is a useless, non-functioning appendage. It is just skin and fatty tissue, and can easily be cut off. In addition, many of these so-called “tails” do not appear near the tailbone or backside. When they do, they are almost always off-center. As biologist Dr. Gary Parker once said about these fatty tumor tails: “So far as I know, no one claims we evolved from an animal with a fatty tumor at the end of its spine.”

The Bony Tail

The second type of “tail”, a rarer type, is one that has bone in it. (Duh) In some cases, the coccyx bone protrudes out from the spine at birth. It looks like a little tail but is actually part of the coccyx bone. Wikipedia (I know – it is a questionable source) says that the coccyx is the remnant of a vestigial tail. There is nothing vestigial about the coccyx bone. Therefore its link to a tail is a huge assumption from the evolutionary world view.

The coccyx serves as an anchor for the pelvic muscles, which support certain internal organs. If the coccyx were vestigial (that is, obsolete and worthless), why don't surgeons just go ahead and remove it when the people are in for other surgery? Why isn't removal recommended at any opportunity since it “only gets in the way” and may be broken or inflamed later? In fact, just the fact that you can break your coccyx should prove it's protecting something. What damage would have been caused if that set of bones hadn't been there?

Even if every human had a bony tail a few inches long, this would not be evidence that humans have evolved from monkeys. The existence of something is not evidence of its origin. Monkeys and humans have heads, arms, and legs in common but that only proves homology - which is NOT evolution. If anything, homology proves a common designer.

One side note: Evolutionists insist that we did not descend from monkeys; but from apes—which have no tails.

So in summary, these are the facts:

  1. Everything cited as an atavism is a mutation or a simple reversion to recessive genes. (For example, blue eyes showing up in a child that has a family with brown eyes for 3 or more previous generations.)
  2. These mutations are either MORE of the SAME genetic information, (the referenced above blue eyes or an extra set of fins on a dolphin) or a loss of genetic information. (Extremely hairy people, for example.)
  3. Evolution requires a gain in genetic information for the hypothetical molecules-to-man change to occur. And most significantly,
  4. Since evolution is progressive, atavism disproves it. Atavism is a throwback, not a leap forward.

We know that, unlike reverse engineering, we can't put evolution in reverse for people or animals. By that, I simply mean that you can't take a poodle and work your way back to a wolf. Since ALL living change is the result of a loss of the DNA code, once the genetic information is lost, it's lost. You can't take an animal, SUBTRACT some genes and get a completely different kind of animal. A poodle, even though it's hardly anything like a REAL dog – is still a dog.

So the answer to the original question is NO. Not only does atavism NOT prove evolution, the scant material offered as evidence is NOT even in favor of the evolutionary model.

There isn’t anything we can add to Jeff’s explanation, so we won’t.

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