The amazing progress of man's knowledge is progressively uncovering the unknown and destroying misconceptions in physiology and the experimental sciences.
For example, it was once thought that some of the organs of the body were of no use. But modern science, after much analysis and research, has demonstrated specific uses for each of them, and in the future, when research tools have been further developed; more important functions will surely be discovered. We shall mention some examples to show what we mean.
1. The thymus is a small gland located in the mediastinum in front of the windpipe and behind the ribs. The specific function of the thymus had been unclear, and previous scientists had thought it to be a superfluous organ. But today it is known that the thymus plays an important role in resistance and defence against foreign substances that attack the body. The thymus gland produces lymphocytes and its fundamental use is in the making of anti-bodies that defend and protect the body against viruses and foreign protein.
Some scientists believe that this gland has an important influence on sexual function and the growth of the body after puberty. Its removal results in atrophy of the sexual organs and delayed puberty.
2. The pineal gland, or epiphysis is more complex than the thymus and it is situated in the brain. In the past some physiologists had attributed no use to it, but nowadays it is believed that tints gland is operative in controlling sexual activity and in preventing premature puberty. It also has other functions, which, if stopped, cause death.1
3. Previously, physicians had thought that the tonsils were without function, and in the event of swelling of the tonsils would advise their extraction, and would excise them. However, today, specialists understand their importance, and do not recommend their removal except in exceptional circumstances.
The tonsils produce white blood cells whose function is to defend the body against microbes. They perform the same function for the body as does quarantine for diseases coming into a country. They act as a strong barrier at the entrance to the respiratory passages, cleaning the inspired air against infection and destroying microbes. When the air is more polluted, or when microbes are more active, the tonsils work harder, and as a result they swell up. Removal of the tonsils is inadvisable because it results in an increased activity of microbes in the throat and lets them enter the glottis, the windpipe and the lungs, and causes illnesses such as bronchitis.
The skin lining the nose and the glottis becomes thinner than normal and causes dryness in the nose and throat (atrophy of the mucous membranes) What is more, at the time of various throat infections, the tonsils swell up and, like warning lamps, inform doctors of these illnesses. So, if they are not there the diseases will not be diagnosed, and this may result in further complications such as angina.
4. After much research, a group of scientists came to the conclusion that the appendix has an important role to play in the fight against cancer and its removal, when unnecessary, can be a cause of this fatal illness. It has been explained in the Journal of the American Medical Association that removal of the appendix in those who are in danger of getting cancer has an important effect and may itself cause cancer.
The study of the examples mentioned above, together with hundreds of others, shows that when we do not find any use or advantage for something, we should not come to the conclusion that it really has no use or advantage. Rather, we should wait until its secrets and functions are revealed in the light of science.
For, although man has made much progress, he is still at the first stages, and has not yet read even one line from the great Book of Nature.
Einstein said in his book The Philosophy of Relativity that what we have read from the Book of Nature has taught us many things, but we know that we are far from finding the complete solution and understanding of her secrets.
Williams James also remarked that the difference between our knowledge and our ignorance is like the difference between a drop and the ocean.
Therefore, do not those materialists who, because of incomplete knowledge of the secrets and properties of a thing, think to be without use or function make a serious mistake? Whereas if they were to be more careful, they would realize that there is a world of difference between not knowing a thing and its non-existence, and that it is not correct to assume that because a man does not find a thing therefore it does not exist.
It is obvious that man's not knowing the details of one or two things from the infinity of existents should not be an obstacle to him on comprehending the, Wise Creator of the universe through the secrets of the world of creation and its wonderful harmony.
There is no doubt that the study of even one of the parts of creation, or even just a fragment of that part, is sufficient to lead man to the Knowing Designer and Builder of the universe. If one picks up a book, which is written in a fully rational and logical manner, but one, does not understand some things because of one's lack of knowledge, what should be one's judgement on the book? Should one ignore all the useful matters there in which are derived from the writer's creative thinking and broad vision? Surely it is not so.
In the words of the poet:2
The world is as eye, cheek, mole and brow,
for everything in its place is good.
Ignorance of something is not evidence of its absence from the realm of existence.
1. Which gland in human body produces antibodies?
2. Is it true that some parts in human body are of no use?
3. What are some of the functions of the pineal gland?
4. What kind of hormones does pineal gland produce?
5. What are some of the functions of the tonsils in the human body?
6. Is it advisable to remove the tonsils?
7. Do the Tonsils produce white or red blood cells?
8. What is the major function of appendix in human body?
9. Is it advisable to remove the appendix?
10. Did William James or Einstein say, “ We are far from knowing the secrets of Nature”?
11. Did Einstein or William James say, “our ignorance of the world is an ocean and our knowledge of the world is like one drop?
12. What has the Journal of American medical Association has said about removing the Appendix?
13. How much of nature one would need to study to learn about its designer?
14. Does not knowing means that the unknown does not exist?
15. What has destroyed some of the misconceptions about the secrets of the world?
16. Can you point out the weakness of the argument in the text?
17. If you did find out any weakness can you compensate?
- 1. The pineal gland acts by secreting a hormone called Glomerulotrophin that circulates in the blood and causes another hormone called aldosterone. These are to be secreted from the surface of the adrenal gland. This latter controls the concentration of sodium and potassium in the blood. This is of importance because an imbalance in these concentrations and the stopping of the secretion of aldosterone results in death in less than one week.
- 2. Gulshan-i Raz, Shabistari