Guest Post: On Not Having a Third Eyelid

human-eye-995168_1280
Pixabay – CC0 Public Domain

What are you doing with your appendix these days? Chances are, not a lot. The appendix is thought to be a vestigial trait in humans. That is to say, it is part of the body that might once have served a useful function in our distant past, but now is useless or nearly useless.

At university I studied Biological Anthropology, and vestigiality fascinated me. Fossilised footprints and fragments of skull from hundreds of thousands of years ago were all very well, but here were signposts to our past that we all carry around inside us every day. Did we once have tails? Your coccyx suggests we did. Were we once able to move our ears? Well you still have the muscles, even if you can’t use them. Could we once close a transparent third eyelid across our eyeballs? The plica semilunaris in the corner of your eye seems to think so. And were we once happy digesters of now indigestible leaves? “Yes!” says your appendix.

For me, these quirks of nature are the living proof of the most elegant and glorious of all God’s creation: the process of evolution.

I hope you’ll forgive me if I tell you that your body is not perfect. I’m not talking about your frizzy hair or that embarrassing tendency to snort when you laugh; I’m talking about inbuilt flaws that are out to scupper you. Take your pharynx, for example. Who knows how many people have choked to death because humans have to breathe and swallow food through the same structure? Or what about the blind spot in our eyes? That’s less than ideal when we rely on our vision for survival.

If we were to set out to design the human body from scratch we would certainly iron out these niggles before we went into production. Evolution however, is not the swish of a paintbrush but a stunningly elegant process of engineering. Yes, it results in flaws, but it also allows the vast multitude of life on Earth – from ants to antelopes to thermophilic bacteria clustering round deep sea vents – to develop in every possible niche from the most simple starting points.

Kingdom_of_animals
By Collection created by The Emirr [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
When I look at God’s world, I am blown away by the ingenuity of evolution. I am astounded once again by God. His gift of free will – to adore Him or reject Him as we please – was not an afterthought; it was written into creation from the start. Life was given the freedom to grow flippers and feathers and antlers and, yes, to grow increasingly intelligent, ever-more aware of the Power behind this amazing creative process.

Sharing common ancestry with apes and bears and sea squirts only increases my wonder at the brilliance of creation. If you took apart a whale’s flipper, a horse’s leg and a human arm it is beautiful to me that you would find the same bone structure within each one. Three creations adapted and evolved the same way for so long, then adapted and evolved in different directions to fill their own niche in the world. Astonishing.

There will always be debate and discussion about whether a specific characteristic is truly vestigial or merely has a function we haven’t yet figured out. However, when I think about these proud markers of our development as a whole, I feel excited to be part of this world. If designing every living thing from scratch is amazing , then creating a process that does the designing itself, that creates such enormous variety and beauty, truly is sensational. What an incredible world. What an awesome creator.

Chloe Banks mugshotChloe Banks is a prize-winning short story writer and novelist who lives on the edge of Dartmoor with her husband, two tiny sons and an overactive imagination. At the age of 19, having become overwhelmed by the evidence in favour of Christianity, she became a Christian and is now part of a rural community church. While studying Biological Anthropology at the University of the West of England in Bristol, a friend dared her to enter a novel-writing competition for undergraduates. The novella she produced was shortlisted and the writing bug had bitten. Her first novel, The Art of Letting Go (Thistle Publishing, 2014), has been a kindle bestseller, and is nominated for the 2016 People’s Book prize. Find out more about Chloe at www.chloebanks.co.uk.

5 thoughts on “Guest Post: On Not Having a Third Eyelid

  1. Michala March 3, 2016 / 12:15 pm

    Evolution is not just about energy & matter but also information/ DNA.
    How can you explain the existence & evolution of DNA? Natural selection could not have triggered this. many of these vestigial organs do have function & purpose & a common ancestor is uncertain or unknown for most species.for eg the dog is not directly the ancestor of the wolf as first thought but of a primitive dog.( many lineages have unknown or extinct ancestors- fill in the gaps for evolutionists!)
    Where you see evolution, I see intelligent design.
    I believe we share 50% of our DNA with bananas ! You can make assumptions that anything can change from anything ! Wow! Like to see that in a lab & wait a million years! ?

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  2. Michala March 3, 2016 / 12:49 pm

    It is not evolution which fills me with wonder & awe but the actual design , beauty & symmetry of nature that suggests a Creator.
    Science is based on maths & laws of nature & if you break these laws evolution cannot happen.

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    • thebookofworks March 3, 2016 / 3:17 pm

      Michala

      I agree that science is based on laws of nature. So, if that is true, then what law of nature did God follow in the creation of each kind of animal, if not evolution? If God uses gravity to allow the planets to move and apples to fall, rather than actually pulling each apple down to the earth, then by what process did God’s design for the diversity and beauty of life come to fruition?

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      • Michala April 13, 2016 / 6:46 pm

        I would say natural selection is limited in its power to design & create such beauty & symmetry in nature.
        Evidence suggests some species that exist today have not evolved, so natural selection is not always required & perhaps is a secondary process.
        New evidence suggests mutations in cells is a non random process.it appears random but there is method within the seemingly random process.( this is debatable) but maybe one day we can unravel the mutations of diseases like cancer through research.
        Fossils are problematic due to dating methods which can vary in reliability.
        Fossils have been found in the wrong order or rock strata but this information has been censored or can be explained by evolutionists .
        In summary, how can you rely on a theory which cannot be tested or observed? Gravity can be tested & observed but its a theory which has been proved through experiments/ predictions.you cannot predict how evolution will evolve in the future.
        God may have used & created the natural laws to govern evolution,but I doubt the ” blind watchmaker” would break biological laws to produce new species from one kind to a completely new kind( macro EV)this breaks several laws on various levels molecular/ chemical / biological & other natural laws.
        There must be an unknown process we have overlooked to explain macro evolution. I agree micro evolution is observable but the size of beaks in birds( Galapogas islands) returned to their original size after a certain amount of time.

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