This post is not for fundamentalist Christians. If you believe that God created the universe in six literal days as described in the first two chapters of Genesis, ignore this post (but please consider doing the following: take a small step out of your comfort zone by reading a good book on evolution, such as Jerry Coyne’s book quoted below; it never hurts to be informed about what the “enemy” is saying, right?).
But if you are a moderate or liberal Christian who believes in science and scientific evidence, and believe that even though the creation of the universe was initiated by God, the development of living organism on earth occurred following Darwinian evolution, how can you possibly look at the evidence for evolution and still believe that a good and perfect God initiated the creation of humans, animals, and plants?
Evolution is such an imperfect method of creating things! New species are not created de novo in perfect form and condition. New species evolve from older species, frequently bringing with them in their DNA, useless and even deadly baggage from their ancestor species. Why would a perfect God create such a sloppy design? Of course, one can always chalk this up to “God’s ways are a mystery“, but come on! Let’s use our brains! Either our Intelligent Designer has a macabre sense of humor, or, he isn’t very intelligent (and therefore, is not perfect, and therefore, most likely does not exist).
There are numerous examples of this “inherited baggage” in nature, but I will pick one: the human appendix.
In herbivorous animals like koalas, rabbits, and kangaroos, the cecum [the first section of the large intestine] and its appendix tip are much larger than ours. This is also true of leaf-eating primates like lemurs, lorises, and spider monkeys. The enlarged pouch serves as a fermenting vessel (like the “extra stomachs” of cows), containing bacteria that help the animal break down cellulose into usable sugars. In primates, whose diet includes fewer leaves, like orangutans and macaques, the cecum and appendix are reduced. In humans, who don’t eat leaves and can’t digest cellulose, the appendix is nearly gone. Obviously the less herbivorous the animal, the smaller the cecum and appendix. In other words, our appendix is simply the remnant of an organ that was critically important to our leaf-eating ancestors, but of no real value to us.
Does an appendix do us any good at all? If so, it’s not obvious. Removing it doesn’t produce any bad side effects or increase mortality (in fact, removal seems to reduce the incidence of colitis). …[the appendix] may be of some small use. The appendix contains patches of tissue that may function as part of the immune system. It has also been suggested that it provides a refuge for useful gut bacteria when an infection removes them from the rest of our digestive system.
But these minor benefits are surely outweighed by the severe problems that come with the human appendix. Its narrowness makes it easily clogged, which can lead to its infection and inflammation, otherwise known as appendicitis. If not treated, a ruptured appendix can kill you. You have about one chance in fifteen of getting appendicitis in your lifetime. Fortunately, thanks to the evolutionarily recent practice of surgery, the chance of dying when you get appendicitis is only 1 percent. But before doctors began to remove inflamed appendixes in the late nineteenth century, mortality may have exceeded 20 percent. In other words, before the days of surgical removal, more than one person in a hundred died of appendicitis. That’s pretty strong natural selection.
Over the vast period of human evolution—more than 99 percent of it—there were no surgeons, and we lived with a ticking time bomb in our gut.
–biologist Jerry Coyne, Why Evolution is True, pp. 61-62