I recently made a trip to the dentist. It’s a place I don’t particularly enjoy visiting but I understand the importance of such a profession. I had a cleaning done and made an appointment to get a couple of crowns done as a result of work I had done over a decade ago that hasn’t quite held up over time. So I have more time in the near future sitting in the dentist’s chair. Again, I see the importance of it all, but I still hate going.
As you walk through a dentist’s office or if you are just sitting in the little room with the “torture chair” in it, you notice things. I can see the tools that can only be used to pry the truth out of terrorists. I can see a computer screen with my chart on it that seems to be written in a different language. And lastly, I can see advertisements and charts on the wall that speak to different procedures. One thing you often see at a dentist’s office, is a poster speaking of wisdom teeth removal. It talks about the age that people usually are when the teeth are removed, the type of visit you can expect to have and they try to put you at ease with the knowledge that it is a straightforward and painless procedure. And it got me thinking…why do we have teeth that don’t fit and that we don’t need?
A wisdom tooth is one of the third molars in the human mouth that usually erupt through the gums between 17 and 25 years old. Oftentimes the human mouth doesn’t have enough space to allow for these teeth. The impaction (blockage from other teeth) is the reason why many people have their wisdom teeth removed. I had my wisdom teeth removed at 18 because there was not nearly enough room in my jaw to allow for these teeth. There has to be a reason why we still have teeth that serve no purpose and can create headaches (literally).
I never once thought about the reasons for this before recently. I just assumed that some people just had differently shaped mouths and couldn’t support these “extra” teeth. As it turns out, the reason for humans still having wisdom teeth is one that I would have rejected a few years ago. It is human evolution. Human evolution is in direct conflict with the creation story as the creation story claims that humans were created roughly 6,000 years ago in their present form. From the dust, man was made just as we are now. Evolution makes the claim that humans evolved from other primate forms over millions of years that resulted in who we are today. Evolution and creation are at odds. They are not compatible so even if you don’t want to, you really need to pick a side and figure out what you believe. For nearly four decades, I was on one side. Now, I am on the side of truth.
Humans have evolved from primates (or less evolved humans if that makes you feel better) who once had larger jaws than we have today. In years past, our ancient cousins had room for their wisdom teeth in their jaws. As our diets changed over the years, our jaws have shrunk. The jaws shrunk, but the teeth still remain and try to fit anyway. Quite often they don’t. They are what is known as “vestigial remnants.” Our human ancestors used their wisdom teeth to break down plant materials to make it easier to digest these materials that their bodies had difficultly digesting. Wisdom teeth are one example of a vestigial part that we still have. Other examples are the appendix, the coccyx, ear muscles (used for movement of the ear that we no longer have) and part of the eye known as the “plica semilunaris”. This is a small fold of tissue in the eye that is a remnant of the “nictitating membrane” which is essentially a third eyelid that would cover the eye to protect it while eating or going underwater. One other unusual body part that contradicts scripture would be the male nipple. Male nipples really serve no purpose (aside from sexual stimulation in some) and calls into question whether God has nipples himself. “Created in his image” would imply that if we have nipples, then God has nipples. “God’s Nipples” could be the title of a blog post all on its own, but that is not what I’m really concerned with here.
If we have body parts now that serve no purpose, why do we have them if we are created by God in our present form? When I was a believer, I would question things like our tailbone and what the purpose of it is. The apologetic reason is that we have it for support while sitting and that sort of makes sense. It makes us kind of like a tripod, but there’s a problem with that theory. The problem is when humans are born with actual tails. Some still are born with tails today. These tails are not just bones used for stability.
They are actual tails. Is it rare? Yes. Does it happen? Also yes. There are documented cases of tails that are extensions of the coccyx. These tails don’t aid in the stability of the person with the tail while sitting.
Male humans have nipples that are not connected to mammary glands and are not used for breastfeeding our young. Yet we still have them. It is a result of embryology. We all start out with nipples in the womb. At some point, we develop into either a boy or a girl. Females have structures in place for the mammary glands to develop in puberty while males do not. It is determined as we develop within our mother’s wombs. According to scripture, God knows us before we are born and would seemingly know whether we would be male or female. If he knew I was going to be a male before I was born, why would he give me nipples I don’t need? I will admit to all of you here and now, I am very ticklish in that area and I can’t stand being touched there. Even a tight shirt rubs me the wrong way…literally. So I can’t imagine that God gave them to me for sexual stimulation. Besides, why would God care to give us anything to aid in that area when he makes it quite clear that most things sexual are dirty and sinful? There is no good reason for me to have them. Yet here I am with nipples that I have no use for.
The parts of the body we have but don’t need are numerous and contradict the creation story. If we are created in God’s image, does god have extra teeth, useless nipples, a tail or an appendix? Why would his perfect creation have parts it doesn’t need? Is this a result of sin as is the excuse for anything in life that is either confusing, painful or damaging in any way? Is it a result of the fall in the Garden? Did we get extra parts because we disobeyed God or are they here for some other reason?
I am not an expert on evolution or any other topic. In fact, I am new to evolution because of my lifetime of Christianity which discouraged evolutionary teaching. I am slowly coming around to accepting things that have truth backing them up instead of claims or outright lies. I can see things that I was once blind to. I can see that my mouth couldn’t accommodate wisdom teeth because my jaw is too small compared with my primate ancestors. That is where the evidence points. Yes, it contradicts everything I once believed in, but that’s just how it is. Truth does not care what your beliefs are. Truth just is. I may have lost those four wisdom teeth back when I turned 18, but I have gained much more wisdom in the years since. It is not wisdom to preach from ignorance. It is wisdom to change your views when proven wrong.
I was proven wrong.