Design inference Evolution

Backwards eye wiring? Lee Spetner comments

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Product Details A friend must have been a really jumpin’ social event recently. Was buttonholed by a Darwin follower, just up from the crypt, who launched into the hoary old claim that the backwards eye wiring of vertebrates shows that the vertebrate eye is poorly designed—therefore not designed at all.

Now, of course, it is a non-sequitur to say that something that is poorly designed is not designed at all. Which is the followers’ point. Thus, it is unclear why they find eye wiring even an interesting argument, let alone a compelling one. No matter.

In any actual (rather than imaginary) situation, one can hope only for optimal, not “perfect” design. Perfection does not exist in time and space as we know it.

Wild turkey eastern us.jpgDear God, the Uncommon Descent News team gives thanks to you today on behalf of our American friends, celebrating Thanksgiving. We especially praise you for the fact that the people who think that the vertebrate eye is poorly designed did not go into the kitchen and bathroom remodelling business. We beg you, in your infinite mercy, to keep things that way!  Amen

Lee Spetner, author of The Evolution Revolution, kindly writes to say,

The retina of the eye is the screen on which the eye’s optical image is focused. Nerves (bundled in the optic nerve) convey the image information to the brain. One would think the nerves (neurons) should come off the back of the retina, the side opposite the one having the image. But in vertebrates they, surprisingly, come off the front where the image is formed. A naive observer would think this to be a poor arrangement because the neurons might interfere with the light falling on the retina. The Darwinists say, with their usual theological argument, that if it were designed by an omniscient Creator, it would surely have the nerve connections coming out of the back side of the retina. Since they come off the front side, against one’s expectation, Darwinists conclude there is no omniscient Creator and therefore evolution must be true. [11] …

With regard to the inverted retina, it has recently been discovered that, rather than being a dumb design, it is actually remarkably clever. The cleverness is not in the neurons on the image side of the retina, but in the glial cells, which always accompany neurons. The neurons are transparent and do not interfere with the passage of light, but the glial cells aid the process of vision by channeling the light. The glial cells of the retina are long and thin and propagate light as in an optical fiber (Franze et al. 2007), and have been called “ingeniously designed light collectors.” Amichai Labin and Ezra Ribak of the physics department of the Technion (Israel Institute of Technology) have shown by simulation and calculation that the glial cells improve the optical resolution of the retina and compensate for chromatic aberration (Labin and Ribak 2010). Had the optic neurons come off the back side of the retina, these advantages would not have accrued.

[11] Of course, they have no precise idea of how evolution could have led to the development of the retina. Typical of their vague arguments, they don’t know what mutations would be necessary to generate the nerve network, or if it could be done at all through a sequence of adaptive mutations.

More on “backwards” eye wiring, if of interest:

2011: A New Article in Salvo Magazine Rebuts Objections that the Vertebrate Eye is Poorly Designed

Dawkins concedes that the optic nerve’s impact on vision is “probably not much,” but the negative effect is even less than he admits. Only if you cover one eye and stare directly at a fixed point does a tiny “blind spot” appear in your peripheral vision as a result of the optic nerve covering the retina. When both eyes are functional, the brain compensates for the blind spot by meshing the visual fields of both eyes. Under normal circumstances, the nerves’ wiring does nothing to hinder vision.

Nonetheless, Dawkins argues that even if the design works, it would “offend any tidy-minded engineer.” But the overall design of the eye actually optimizes visual acuity.

To achieve the high-quality vision that vertebrates need, retinal cells require a large blood supply. By facing the photoreceptor cells toward the back of the retina, and extending the optic nerve out over them, the cells are able to plug directly into the blood vessels that feed the eye, maximizing access to blood.

Yes, there’s that concept of optimization…

2014: Phys.org: Specialized Retinal Cells Are a “Design Feature,” Showing that the Argument for Suboptimal Design of the Eye “Is Folly”

Now a new paper in Nature Communications, “Müller cells separate between wavelengths to improve day vision with minimal effect upon night vision,” has expanded upon this research, further showing the eye’s optimal design. According to the paper, Müller cells not only act as optical fibers to direct incoming light through the optic nerve, but are fine-tuned to specific wavelengths to ensure that light reaches the proper retinal cells.

See also: Further to Lee Spetner’s comments on the (correct) wiring of the vertebrate eye* (sometimes used as a claim for “poor design”), over at Creation-Evolution Headlines, there are some recent articles on the subject, with lots of links:

Two Evolutionary Evidences Debunked (7/23/14)

This evolutionary argument began to unravel in 2007 when researchers found that Müller cells, penetrating the thicket of blood vessels in the human retina, actually provide near-ideal vision by acting as wave guides to the individual photoreceptors—providing better performance than could be had if the rods and cones were in front of the blood vessels (see 5/02/2007 and subsequent research reported 5/07/2010 about additional vision enhancements provided by the Müller cells)

and

Backward Wiring of Eye Retina Confirmed as Optimal (2/27/15)

On The Conversation today, Erez Ribak in person has explained why the eye is “wired backwards” for several good reasons. What’s new is how the retina optimizes reception by color. Since blue predominates in daytime light, we don’t need it amplified, so most of the blue wavelengths scatter in the eyeball and retinal blood vessels to the rods. That’s also why there are fewer blue-sensitive cones in the retina. Green and red, however, need amplification. Experiments with guinea pig retinas and computer models showed some surprises: …

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45 Replies to “Backwards eye wiring? Lee Spetner comments

  1. 1
    Mung says:

    Exactly what Darwinism would have predicted.

  2. 2
    Sebestyen says:

    One thing’s for sure: Dawkins knows Jack Shitt about engineering, just like most of his colleagues…

    Sebestyen

  3. 3
    Jack Jones says:

    Researchers Create Clog-Free Printer Inspired by the Human Eye

    “Biomimicry has inspired many unique creations over the years, such as clothing, machines and even armor. But now a team of University of Missouri engineers have used biomimicry to create a clog-free printer that will save both time and money by keeping ink-jet nozzles clean and running efficiently. However, what might be the most bizarre aspect of their creation, is that they have based it on the human eye.”

    “The nozzle cover we invented was inspired by the human eye,” said Jae Wan Kwon, associate professor in the College of Engineering in a statement. “The eye and an ink jet nozzle have a common problem: they must not be allowed to dry while, simultaneously, they must open. We used biomimicry, the imitation of nature, to solve human problems.”

    The clog-free inkjet printer uses a droplet of silicone oil to cover the opening of the nozzle, similiar to the film of oil that keeps a thin layer of tears from evaporating off the eye. Eyelids spread this film over the layer of tears, but on an ink jet nozzle, mechanical shutters would be too big to work. Instead, the Missouri team spreads the nozzle oil with the use of an electric field.

    Kwon and his team believe that this innovation will make home and office printers less wasteful — as generally most printers clear their nozzles with a burst of fresh ink, which is expensive and constantly forms a crust of dried ink on the nozzle.

    “Other printing devices use similar mechanisms to ink jet printers,” Kwon said. “Adapting the clog-free nozzle to these machines could save businesses and researchers thousands of dollars in wasted materials. For example, biological tissue printers, which may someday be capable of fabricating replacement organs, squirt out living cells to form biological structures. Those cells are so expensive that researchers often find it cheaper to replace the nozzles rather than waste the cells. Clog-free nozzles would eliminate the costly replacements.”

    _____________________________________________________

    “Searching for ways to improve solar cell efficiency, a team of scientists found that tiny structures in the human eye have special mechanisms that can be adapted to silicon solar cells to make them better at collecting light.”

    http://www.greenoptimistic.com.....ld3P787Dcs

  4. 4
  5. 5
    Mapou says:

    Now, of course, it is a non-sequitur to say that something that is poorly designed is not designed at all. Which is the followers’ point. Thus, it is unclear why they find eye wiring even an interesting argument, let alone a compelling one. No matter.

    It’s because their fight is against fundamentalist Christians and others who claim that God is omnipotent and omniscient and therefore cannot make a mistake. They are not trying to uncover scientific truth. Theirs is a purely religious albeit stupid fight.

  6. 6
    bornagain says:

    a few notes:

    Optimized hardware compression, The eyes have it. – February 2011
    Excerpt: the human visual processing system is “the best compression algorithm around”.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....s-have-it/

    William Bialek: More Perfect Than We Imagined – March 23, 2013
    Excerpt: photoreceptor cells that carpet the retinal tissue of the eye and respond to light, are not just good or great or phabulous at their job. They are not merely exceptionally impressive by the standards of biology, with whatever slop and wiggle room the animate category implies. Photoreceptors operate at the outermost boundary allowed by the laws of physics, which means they are as good as they can be, period. Each one is designed to detect and respond to single photons of light — the smallest possible packages in which light comes wrapped.
    “Light is quantized, and you can’t count half a photon,” said William Bialek, a professor of physics and integrative genomics at Princeton University. “This is as far as it goes.” …
    Scientists have identified and mathematically anatomized an array of cases where optimization has left its fastidious mark, among them;,, the precision response in a fruit fly embryo to contouring molecules that help distinguish tail from head;,,, In each instance, biophysicists have calculated, the system couldn’t get faster, more sensitive or more efficient without first relocating to an alternate universe with alternate physical constants.
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....an-we.html

    Researchers find retinal rods able to detect photon number distribution – September 14, 2012
    Excerpt:,,, In the study, the team fired a rapid succession of laser pulses at the rod and found it able to discern, i.e. measure, individual differences of up to 1000 photons per pulse. They also found that the rods were able to tell the difference between coherent light (the degree to which the waves are in phase) and “pseudothermal” light, where the waves are chopped up by a rotating disk, to such an extent that the researchers believe they will be able to serve as a model for creating highly sensitive artificial detectors. In the end, the researchers found that single rhodopsin molecules are able to interact with single photons, a finding that demonstrates just how sensitive rods truly are; so much so that further studies by the team will look at their use in quantum optics and communication.
    http://phys.org/news/2012-09-r.....hoton.html

    Eye / brain is a interdependent and irreducible complex system
    http://reasonandscience.heaven.....ystem#2529

    Vision – Light and Neuronal Activity – animated video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AuLR0kzfwBU

    Reversal of cortical information flow during visual imagery as compared to visual perception – 2014
    • We studied bottom-up and top-down connections during visual perception and imagery.
    • A cortical occipito-parieto-frontal network was modeled from high-density EEG data.
    • Our approach used both state-space Granger causality and dynamic causal modeling.
    • Parieto-occipital directed connectivity reversed during imagery versus perception.
    • This is the first quantitative demonstration of theorized connectivity reversal.
    The role of bottom-up and top-down connections during visual perception and the formation of mental images was examined by analyzing high-density EEG recordings of brain activity using two state-of-the-art methods for assessing the directionality of cortical signal flow: state-space Granger causality and dynamic causal modeling.
    We quantified the directionality of signal flow in an occipito-parieto-frontal cortical network during perception of movie clips versus mental replay of the movies and free visual imagery.
    Both Granger causality and dynamic causal modeling analyses revealed an increased top-down signal flow in parieto-occipital cortices during mental imagery as compared to visual perception.
    These results are the first direct demonstration of a reversal of the predominant direction of cortical signal flow during mental imagery as compared to perception.
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/s.....1914004662

    This following videos and study highlight the profound mystery behind the question of, ‘exactly what is subjectively, i.e. consciously, perceiving the sight of our eyes?’:

    Blind Woman Can See During Near Death Experience – Pim Lommel – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKyQJDZuMHE

    Coast to Coast – Blind since Birth – Vicki’s NDE – Part 1 of 3
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e65KhcCS5-Y

    Kenneth Ring and Sharon Cooper (1997) conducted a study of 31 blind people, many of who reported vision during their NDEs. 21 of these people had had an NDE while the remaining 10 had had an out-of-body experience (OBE), but no NDE. It was found that in the NDE sample, about half had been blind from birth. (of note: The deaf can also hear during NDEs)
    – Near-Death and Out-of-Body Experiences in the Blind: A Study of Apparent Eyeless Vision Kenneth Ring, Ph.D. Sharon Cooper, M.A.University of Connecticut
    http://www.newdualism.org/nde-.....-147-1.pdf

    Verse:

    John 9:30-41
    The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will. Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”
    To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out.

    Spiritual Blindness

    Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
    “Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.”
    Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.”
    Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.
    Jesus said,a “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”
    Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?”
    Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.

  7. 7
    Jack Jones says:

    @6

    Now Born.

    If there is no design then why are inventors looking to model the eye for design?

    If there is no design then there is no design to model but inventors are modelling the eye for their own designs which contradicts the claim of no design.

  8. 8
    bornagain says:

    Now, Now, Jack, you just got to roll with it. You can’t be to fussy with logic when looking at the supposed evidence for Darwinian evolution. Logic will only get in the way.

    Biomimicry merely means that the illusion of design in biology is better than the illusion of design we see in man made artifacts. 🙂

    I learned to toss logic out the window way back when Darwinists tried to tell me that intelligently designed evolutionary algorithms prove that intelligent design is not needed.

    Besides first graders, who would dare argue with that? 🙂

    Atheist’s logic 101 – cartoon
    “If I can only create life here in the lab (or in my computer), it will prove that no intelligence was necessary to create life in the beginning”
    http://legacy-cdn-assets.answe.....chance.jpg

  9. 9
    bFast says:

    I have personal experience using these “inverted” eyes. The dread “blind spot” is totally invisible — honest. The only way that an actual user can tell that they have one of these badly designed eyes is because scientists have told them so. One day those scientists will discover that the designer has designed the issue away in post processing.

  10. 10
    Mapou says:

    Only the most malignant narcissists and snake oil salesmen would be so foolish as to claim that nature is badly designed. How arrogant and pretentious can these people be?

  11. 11
    bornagain says:

    Of related note to Thanksgiving is this failed holiday of atheists. “Blamesgiving”

    The Hateful History of Blamegiving Day, the Most Bitter, Godless Holiday of All Time – November 25, 2013
    Excerpt: The weirdest effort the 4A ever undertook was the establishment of what was supposed to be a brand new holiday called Blamegiving Day. There’s little information about this project available online, but from what I can tell, the idea was that while Christians got together to eat food and celebrate one another and the good things in their lives, atheists, unburdened by pathetic superstitious beliefs in deities, would gather in an auditorium and kvetch about how awful Christianity and God were.

    The first and only Blamegiving service was held at Webster Hall in New York City on Thanksgiving Day 1931 and led by Woolsey Teller, the 4A’s vice president. A program from the event, which I obtained thanks to the University of California, Davis library, describes it as “a protest against Divine negligence, to be observed each year on Thanksgiving Day, on the assumption, for the day only, that God exists.”
    http://www.vice.com/read/the-h.....f-all-time

    Apparently atheists of that day were more honest than today, since they at least understood that in order to blame God for the evil in the world you had to at least assume He is real.

    Albert Einstein Proves God Is Real And Not Evil
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4CVjntKvDk

    Sadly, “Blamesgiving” did not die on that day in 1931, as is stated in the article, but continues to live on to this day, and is practiced each and everyday of the year by atheists (and others), as it witnessed in Dawkins bellyaching about an imagined imperfection in the eye.
    An imagined imperfection which he had not the humility nor grace to apologize to God for when he was shown to be wrong.

    In fact, Darwinism would die if it were not for the theology of ‘blaming God”, i.e. the argument from evil.

    “Instead of presenting scientific evidence that shows atheism to be true (or probable), the neo-atheists moralize about how much better the world would be if only atheism were true. Far from demonstrating that God does not exist, the neo-atheists merely demonstrate how earnestly they desire that God not exist.8 The God of Christianity is, in their view, the worst thing that could befall reality. According to Richard Dawkins, for instance, the Judeo-Christian God “is arguably the most unpleasant character in all of fiction. Jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic-cleanser; a misogynistic homophobic racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”9 Dawkins’s obsession with the Christian God borders on the pathological. Yet, he underscores what has always been the main reason people reject God: they cannot believe that God is good. Eve, in the Garden of Eden, rejected God because she thought he had denied her some benefit that she should have, namely, the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. 10 Clearly, a God who denies creatures benefits that they think they deserve cannot be good. Indeed, a mark of our fallenness is that we fail to see the irony in thus faulting God. Should we not rather trust that the things God denies us are denied precisely for our benefit? Likewise, the neo-atheists find lots of faults with God, their list of denied benefits being much longer than Eve’s—no surprise here since they’ve had a lot longer to compile such a list!”
    William Dembski – pg. 10-11 – Finding a Good God in an evil World

    Also of note to the ‘problem of evil’, both Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln were born on the same day and shared many strange similarities in their lives,

    “Both men lost their mothers in early childhood, both suffered depression and both struggled with religious questions. The two also had poor relations with their fathers and each lost a child in early childbirth. Lincoln and Darwin both share “late bloomers” disease: Neither found real success until their middle years — Darwin published The Origin of the Species at 50 and Lincoln was elected President one year later.”
    http://www.tressugar.com/Linco.....nk-1757730

    ,,,but the one common thing they shared that separated the two men drastically was the way they choose to handle the evil that happened in their lives. Darwin, though drifting away from God for a long while, was permanently driven away from God because of what he perceived to be the ‘unjust’ death of his daughter,,

    “The death of his daughter was a significant event in Darwin’s life, and certainly consolidated his belief that a bad world is incompatible with a good God.”
    http://askjohnmackay.com/quest.....ristianity

    Whereas Lincoln, on the other hand, was driven from his mild skepticism into a deep reliance upon God because of the death of his son.

    Abraham Lincoln’s Path to Divine Providence
    Excerpt: In 1862, when Lincoln was 53 years old, his 11-year-old son Willie died. Lincoln’s wife “tried to deal with her grief by searching out New Age mediums.” Lincoln turned to Phineas Gurley, pastor of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington. Several long talks led to what Gurley described as “a conversion to Christ.” Lincoln confided that he was “driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I have nowhere else to go.”
    Similarly, the horrors of the dead and wounded soldiers assaulted him daily. There were fifty hospitals for the wounded in Washington. The rotunda of the Capitol held 2,000 cots for wounded soldiers. Typically, fifty soldiers a day died in these temporary hospitals. All of this drove Lincoln deeper into the providence of God. “We cannot but believe, that He who made the world still governs it.”
    His most famous statement about the providence of God in relation to the Civil War was his Second Inaugural Address, given a month before he was assassinated. It is remarkable for not making God a simple supporter for the Union or Confederate cause. He has his own purposes and does not excuse sin on either side.
    “Fondly do we hope—fervently do we pray—that this mighty scourge of war might speedily pass away…. Yet if God wills that it continue, until all the wealth piled by the bond-man’s two hundred years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid with another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago so still it must be said, “the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether.”
    http://www.christianity.com/th.....99728.html

    I like the following attitude from a cancer survivor in regards to the evil and suffering that happened in his life:

    “We are His masterpiece. The greatest creation he has ever made. See what God has to offer you. See what He can do and you will be amazed. When something hits you hard, don’t put that blame on God put that weight on God. Say, “God, take that weight off me.” And He will and He will carry you through the shadow of death, because He wants you to come out on the other side.”
    – Mark Herzlich – The Linebacker Who Couldn’t Be Stopped by Cancer – video
    http://www.cbn.com/tv/3775240000001

    Verse and Music:

    Luke 23:39-43
    One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”
    But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
    Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
    Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

    Held- Natalie Grant – music video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yk_y9204TBM

    Of related note to the problem of evil, and how we react to tragedy in our lives. That issue was almost central to Dr. Neal’s following talk on her near death experience.

    At around the 15:00 – 17:00 minute mark of the following video, Dr. Neal spoke about how she, when in the presence of God, and from being able to see things from that much higher perspective, finally understood why God allows evil in the world, (i.e. she finally ‘got it’), and finally understood how our limited perspective severely clouds our judgments and our reactions to tragedies in our lives. (The take home message is to trust God no matter what)

    Dr. Mary Neal’s Near-Death Experience – (Life review portion starts at the 13:00 minute mark) – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=as6yslz-RDw#t=787

    Verse and Music:

    1 Thessalonians 5:18
    In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

    Natalie Merchant-Kind And Generous
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAwyIad93-c

    Happy Thanksgiving all! 🙂

  12. 12
    tjguy says:

    I think Darwinists have blind spots in their brains as well as their eyes that prevent them not only from seeing design but also from logically deducing design.

  13. 13
    Robert Byers says:

    All these insights about how sight workds but no one fixes it. NAW. Nobody understands how sight really works on the outside of the skull.
    Good points here to show how wiring is not poorly conceived but it shows its still just being figured out.
    As a YEC we do have to see sight as part of mechanisms going on right now. Since the fall sight has been changed for creatures.
    My favorite example is the tuatara. it has a “eye” on top of its head. Yet this would be a post fall adaptation and not related to Gods creation on creation week.
    I think sight could be healed if it was better investigated.
    I could do with a little help.

  14. 14
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    The claims about the eye made here can be rebutted by reference to the cephalopod eye, which is “right way around”. Creationist arguments on this score rely on not comparing these systems in any detail.

    Reference:
    http://www.pandasthumb.org/arc.....squid.html

  15. 15
    Sebestyen says:

    @Matzke:

    Welcome to 2015, you have a lot of research to catch up on since 2006.

    Not that this “rebuttal” was any good in the first place…

    Sebestyen

  16. 16
    J-Mac says:

    Nick,

    Why don’t you or others design a better eye instead of coping what random processes apparently screwed up? I forgot…. you can’t even replicate what mindless, random processes have done…

    The only logic from this can be drawn that Darwinists and other designers are not even mindless…

    I vote for all Nobel Prizes awarded to intelligent scientists for discoveries of what random, mindless processes “only appear to have designed”, to be returned and rightly awarded to random, mindless processes…

  17. 17
    Virgil Cain says:

    Matzke:

    The claims about the eye made here can be rebutted by reference to the cephalopod eye, which is “right way around”.

    Nick Lane rebuts that canard in “Life Ascending: The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution”. Matzke needs to get an education.

  18. 18
    Virgil Cain says:

    Cephalopods live in an environment that has less sunlight then that of our environment. Much less. And it is very telling that Nick Matzke doesn’t understand the implications this has for eyes and vision systems. It’s as if he is unable to think past his stomach.

  19. 19
    Mung says:

    Perhaps the eye just had a backwards designer.

  20. 20
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    Nick Lane rebuts that canard in “Life Ascending: The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution”. Matzke needs to get an education.”

    I just looked this up, all it says is that the cells in front of the retina are transparent, which is true-ish, but not totally true, which is why the vertebrate eye has to move them aside, as Ian Musgrave points out:

    To get decent visual acuity, vertebrates must focus light on a small patch of retina where the blood vessels and nerves have been pushed aside, the fovea. This patch must be small because of the nutrient requirements of the retina. Also, the construction of the vertebrate retina means that blood vessels and nerves must pass through the retina, creating a “blind spot”, where no image is formed. Finally, the “backwards” retina means that vertebrates have a high risk of retinal detachment. Altogether this shows that having the nerves and blood vessels in front of the photoreceptors is less than optimal design.

    Imagine taking a pane of glass, then smearing it thickly with vaseline, then wiping a tiny hole in the vaseline. That is what the vertebrate retina is like.

    Now consider the eye of squids, cuttlefish and octopi. Their retinas are “rightway round”, that is the photoreceptors face the light, and the wiring and the blood vessels facing the back (1). Squid and octopi have no blind spot; they can also have high visual acuity. The octopus also has a fovea-equivalent structure, which it makes by packing more (or longer) photoreceptors into a given area (1). Because it doesn’t have to create a hole in the supporting tissue it can have arbitrarily large “fovea”, and greater visual acuity. Cuttlefish have better visual acuity than cats (2) and because of their “rightway round” retinas; this level of acuity covers nearly the entire retina (1,2) unlike vertebrates where it is confined to the small spot of the fovea.

    Nick Lane also makes the support cells/blood supply argument, which Musgrave also rebuts:

    This invokes an argument that has been doing the rounds of creationists for a while. The True.Origins site (which is a rip-off of Talk.Origins) has a page that claims that the “backwards” retina improves the blood supply. It is probably the canonical page where these claims come from. Denton’s argument is slightly different, but follows on from the canonical creationist argument, so I will deal with the creationist argument first.

    In vertebrates, underneath the photoreceptors is a layer of pigment and pigment cells called the choroid (the squid, cuttlefish and octopus have similar arrangements – more on this later), this layer of pigment absorbs stray light that is not caught by the photoreceptors, which might reflect back and fuzz up the image.

    In terrestrial vertebrates, the amount of light landing on the retina produces a significant amount of heat, enough to damage the retina itself (3,4). The True.Origins page gives the impression that it is light focused on the retina that produces the heat. The article implies that by having the most thermally sensitive bit of the photoreceptor bang up against a heat sink (the blood vessels of the choroid, whose rapid blood flow removes the heat, see below), vertebrates can tolerate light intensities that “right way round” retinas could not.

    However, when one reads the paper they reference (3), a completely different picture emerges.

    It is the choroid itself that generates the heat that threatens the retina! As noted above, the pigments in the choroid absorb light that is missed by the photoreceptors. This light is re-radiated as heat. 25-30% of the light falling on the retina ends up being absorbed by the choroid and re-radiated as heat (3,4). So we have the most thermally sensitive part of the photoreceptors bang up against the bit that generates the most heat. Good design? I think not.

    To cool down the choroid, very fast blood flow through the tissues below and in the pigment layer is needed (3,4). But let’s be clear about this, the Creationists have it back to front. The “backwards” arrangement of the vertebrate retina does not make possible fast blood flow, it requires fast blood flow to cool the tissue down. This is yet another area where vertebrate design is flawed, with the fragile photoreceptors hard up against the source of the damaging heat.

    Of course, the question of why fish, which have more species than all terrestrial vertebrates combined, must suffer with a backwards retina so that terrestrial vertebrates can have high blood flows to an area that wouldn’t need them if the system was designed correctly in the first place, is never addressed. The other question is why terrestrial gastropods which have camera eyes have a “right way round” retina if invert retinas are important for terrestrial vision? Their camera eyes are relatively small compared to terrestrial vertebrates, and so should loose heat readily. However, arthropod eyes of this size are subject to light-induced retinal damage. See the references in this paper.

    OK, I actually read and rebutted the arguments you referenced. Any IDists brave enough to give me the same courtesy? Or is the reply to detailed arguments about the eye just going to be more trivialities?

  21. 21
    Mung says:

    Nick Matzke: Any IDists brave enough to give me the same courtesy?

    How do you calculate the size of amino acid sequence space?

  22. 22
    bornagain says:

    NickMatzke_UD, so your argument is a Theologically based bad design argument? i.e. The God would not have done it that way so evolution must be true argument?

    In case you don’t know Matzke, this is empirical science not theology.

    Therefore, since this is empirical science and not theology, the onus is squarely on you to empirically prove that unguided material processes can do what you claim they can. Namely creating all life on earth in all its jaw dropping complexity and diversity.

    It is certainly an extraordinary claim for you, but let’s just set the bar real low and ask for you to demonstrate, in real time, the creation of a single protein by unguided material processes?

    Something, (namely empirical evidence itself), tells me that you cannot meet even this pitifully low threshold of the creation of a single protein by unguided material processes so as to validate your grandiose claims for unguided material processes creating all life on earth.

    Yockey and a Calculator Versus Evolutionists – Cornelius Hunter PhD – September 25, 2015
    Excerpt: In a 1977 paper published in the Journal of Theoretical Biology, Hubert Yockey used information theory to evaluate the likelihood of the evolution of a relatively simple protein.,,,
    Yockey found that the probability of evolution finding the cytochrome c protein sequence is about one in 10^64. That is a one followed by 64 zeros—an astronomically large number. He concluded in the peer-reviewed paper that the belief that proteins appeared spontaneously “is based on faith.”
    Indeed, Yockey’s early findings are in line with, though a bit more conservative than, later findings. A 1990 study of a small, simple protein found that 10^63 attempts would be required for evolution to find the protein.
    A 2004 study found that 10^64 to 10^77 attempts are required, and a 2006 study concluded that 10^70 attempts would be required.
    These requirements dwarf the resources evolution has at its disposal. Even evolutionists have had to admit that evolution could only have a maximum of 10^43 such experiments. It is important to understand how tiny this number is compared to 10^70. 10^43 is not more than half of 10^70. It is not even close to half. 10^43 is an astronomically tiny sliver of 10^70.
    Furthermore, the estimate of 10^43 is, itself, entirely unrealistic. For instance, it assumes the entire history of the Earth is available, rather than the limited time window that evolution actually would have had.,,,
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....ersus.html

    The Case Against a Darwinian Origin of Protein Folds – Douglas Axe – 2010
    Excerpt Pg. 11: “Based on analysis of the genomes of 447 bacterial species, the projected number of different domain structures per species averages 991. Comparing this to the number of pathways by which metabolic processes are carried out, which is around 263 for E. coli, provides a rough figure of three or four new domain folds being needed, on average, for every new metabolic pathway. In order to accomplish this successfully, an evolutionary search would need to be capable of locating sequences that amount to anything from one in 10^159 to one in 10^308 possibilities, something the neo-Darwinian model falls short of by a very wide margin.”
    http://bio-complexity.org/ojs/.....O-C.2010.1

    Moreover, proteins are found to be ‘context’ dependent. Context dependency greatly exasperates the problem for Darwinists.

    (A Reply To PZ Myers) Estimating the Probability of Functional Biological Proteins? Kirk Durston , Ph.D. Biophysics – 2012
    Excerpt (Page 4): The Probabilities Get Worse
    This measure of functional information (for the RecA protein) is good as a first pass estimate, but the situation is actually far worse for an evolutionary search. In the method described above and as noted in our paper, each site in an amino acid protein sequence is assumed to be independent of all other sites in the sequence. In reality, we know that this is not the case. There are numerous sites in the sequence that are mutually interdependent with other sites somewhere else in the sequence. A more recent paper shows how these interdependencies can be located within multiple sequence alignments.[6] These interdependencies greatly reduce the number of possible functional protein sequences by many orders of magnitude which, in turn, reduce the probabilities by many orders of magnitude as well. In other words, the numbers we obtained for RecA above are exceedingly generous; the actual situation is far worse for an evolutionary search.
    http://powertochange.com/wp-co.....Myers_.pdf

    That ‘contextual’ information resides along the entire protein structure is established here

    Proteins with cruise control provide new perspective:
    “A mathematical analysis of the experiments showed that the proteins themselves acted to correct any imbalance imposed on them through artificial mutations and restored the chain to working order.”
    http://www.princeton.edu/main/...../60/95O56/

    and here,

    Classical and Quantum Information Channels in Protein Chain – Dj. Koruga, A. Tomi?, Z. Ratkaj, L. Matija – 2006
    Abstract: Investigation of the properties of peptide plane in protein chain from both classical and quantum approach is presented. We calculated interatomic force constants for peptide plane and hydrogen bonds between peptide planes in protein chain. On the basis of force constants, displacements of each atom in peptide plane, and time of action we found that the value of the peptide plane action is close to the Planck constant. This indicates that peptide plane from the energy viewpoint possesses synergetic classical/quantum properties. Consideration of peptide planes in protein chain from information viewpoint also shows that protein chain possesses classical and quantum properties. So, it appears that protein chain behaves as a triple dual system: (1) structural – amino acids and peptide planes, (2) energy – classical and quantum state, and (3) information – classical and quantum coding. Based on experimental facts of protein chain, we proposed from the structure-energy-information viewpoint its synergetic code system.
    http://www.scientific.net/MSF.518.491

    Quantum coherent-like state observed in a biological protein for the first time – October 13, 2015
    Excerpt: If you take certain atoms and make them almost as cold as they possibly can be, the atoms will fuse into a collective low-energy quantum state called a Bose-Einstein condensate. In 1968 physicist Herbert Fröhlich predicted that a similar process at a much higher temperature could concentrate all of the vibrational energy in a biological protein into its lowest-frequency vibrational mode. Now scientists in Sweden and Germany have the first experimental evidence of such so-called Fröhlich condensation (in proteins).,,,
    The real-world support for Fröhlich’s theory (for proteins) took so long to obtain because of the technical challenges of the experiment, Katona said.
    per physorg

    As well ‘quantum criticality’ also greatly exasperates the problem for Darwinists:

    Quantum criticality in a wide range of important biomolecules
    Excerpt: The permutations of possible energy levels of biomolecules is huge so the possibility of finding even one that is in the quantum critical state by accident is mind-bogglingly small and, to all intents and purposes, impossible.,, of the order of 10^-50 of possible small biomolecules and even less for proteins,”,,,
    “what exactly is the advantage that criticality confers?”
    https://medium.com/the-physics-arxiv-blog/the-origin-of-life-and-the-hidden-role-of-quantum-criticality-ca4707924552

    In fact since quantum entanglement/information falsified reductive materialism and/or local realism in the first place (Alain Aspect; Anton Zeilinger) then finding quantum entanglement/information to be ‘protein specific’ is absolutely shattering to any rational hope that materialists had, in whatever slim probabilities they had for finding a functional protein sequence by neo-Darwinian processes, since a ‘transcendent’, ‘non-local’, cause must be supplied which is specific to each unique protein structure. Reductive materialism, which is the basis of neo-Darwinian thought, is simply at a complete loss to supply such a ‘non-local’ transcendent cause for quantum information-entanglement.

    Of supplemental note: The unique ORFan protein problem for Darwinists just became their worse nightmare.

    Unexpected features of the dark proteome – Oct. 2015
    Excerpt: Nearly half of the dark proteome comprised dark proteins, in which the entire sequence lacked similarity to any known structure. Dark proteins fulfill a wide variety of functions,,,
    We deliberately chose this stringent definition of “darkness,” so we can be confident that the dark proteome has completely unknown structure.,,,
    ,,,in eukaryotes and viruses, about half (44–54%) of the proteome was dark (Fig. 1B). Of the total dark proteome, nearly half (34–52%) comprised dark proteins.
    We repeated the above analysis using an even more stringent definition for darkness—combining PMP (2) and Aquaria (SI Methods) — but this had little effect (Fig. S1).,,,
    Lower Evolutionary Reuse.
    For each protein, we calculated how frequently any part of its sequence has been reused across all other known proteins (SI Methods). Dark proteins were reused much less frequently than nondark proteins (Fig. 4 C and Fig. S8), suggesting that dark proteins may be newly evolved proteins or rare proteins adapted to specific functional niches. This result was partly expected, given how darkness was defined and given the progress of structural genomics in targeting large protein families with unknown structure (8). Low evolutionary reuse also partly explains why dark proteins have few known interactions (Fig. 4 B and Fig. S8), because many interactions are inferred by homology (33).
    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2015/11

    Verse:

    John 1:1-4
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and that life was the Light of men.

  23. 23
    Jack Jones says:

    @22 born

    Biology etc would carry on just fine without Left wing tax mooching story tellers

    We could do without lefties mooching off the state with their tax funded story telling.

    And if leftie academics want to moan with theological arguments about what God would or would not do to try and support their evolutionary position then I do not mind as long as it is not at the expense of the taxpayer.

  24. 24
    drc466 says:

    Matzke,

    So, let me get this straight – your defense that the eye is poorly designed is to point to another type of eye and point out how well designed it is? And to pick one or two attributes that make it superior to the human eye design (e.g. visual acuity)? Just…wow.

    Here are some very simple questions for you and anyone else who claims the eye is poorly designed:
    1) Can you identify a human-designed equivalent that has all of the same capabilities as the human eye? light range, response time, information capacity, motion detection, field of view, recovery time, self-repair, etc.?
    2) True or False: Eyes serve their intended purpose, and do so effectively, regardless of specific design.
    3) True or False: Your argument reduces to “I am able to point to a different eye design found in nature that is better at one or two specific functions”.
    4) Which design is “poor” design: front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, or four-wheel drive?
    4a) Classify #4 based on a) fuel economy, b) stability, c) responsiveness, d) ease of production, e) driving on sand, asphalt, cement, water, snow, f) expense of production.
    4b) Explain why this analogy shouldn’t apply equally well to biological designs (assuming you even understand the point behind the analogy).
    5) True or False: Claiming that the human eye is “poorly” designed requires perfect knowledge of all the uses, environments, purposes, external influences, etc. that affect the eye in any way; i.e. anyone claiming the eye is poorly designed is claiming perfect or near-perfect knowledge of the eye’s design and purpose.

    At the end of the day, the eye works, and it works better than anything a human being has ever been able to design.

    Boom. (mike drop and walkaway).

  25. 25
    Virgil Cain says:

    To Nick Matzke-

    Cephalopods live in an environment that has less sunlight than that of our environment. Much less. And it is very telling that Nick Matzke doesn’t understand the implications this has for eyes and vision systems.

    That is the argument Nick Lane uses. The amount of light that reaches the cephalopod lens is much less than what reaches ours. A cephalopod vision system wouldn’t work on land.

    But we should not be too quick to dismiss our own arrangement. As so often in biology, the situation is more complex. The wires are colourless so don’t hinder the passage of light much; and insofar as they do, they may even act as a ‘waveguide’, directing light vertically on to the light-sensitive cells, making the best use of the available photons. And probably more importantly, we have the advantage that our own light-sensitive cells are imbedded directly in their support cells (the retinal pigment epithelium) with an excellent blood supply immediately underneath. Such an arrangement supports the continuous turnover of photosensitive pigments. The human retina consumes even more oxygen than the brain, per gram, making it the most energetic organ in the body, so this arrangement is extremely valuable. In all probability the octopus eye could not sustain such a high metabolic rate. But perhaps it doesn’t need to. Living underwater, with lower light intensity, the octopus may not need to re-cycle its photopigments so quickly. Nick Lane, “Life Ascending”, page 175

    Now what, Matzke?

    And, less we forget, natural selection, drift and neutral changes couldn’t produce a vision system even given the full 13.x billion years of the universe.

  26. 26
    Jack Jones says:

    While there are Darwiniacs that are using their theological arguments against design, The human eye is being modeled for design solutions.

    It is best that ignorant Darwiniacs with their theological arguments against design are ignored so that progress can be made in science and technology.

    “The eye has often been compared to a camera. It would be more appropriate to compare it to a
    TV camera attached to an automatically tracking
    tripod-a machine that is self focusing, adjusts automatically for light intensity, has a selfcleaning lens, and feeds into a computer with parallel processing capabilities so advanced that engineers are only just starting to consider similar strategies for the hardware they design.”

    Dr. David Hubel, Nobel Laureate in Physiology/Medicine

    Encyclopedia of Optical Engineering: AbeLas
    , Ronald G. Driggers (Ed), (Marcel Dekker, Inc 2003) p. 750

    ———————————————–
    A Camera That Sees like the Human Eye

    IBM’s brainlike computer architecture paves the way for a new kind of artificial vision.

    By Aviva Hope Rutkin on August 23, 2013

    “Why It Matters

    Better artificial vision will make it easier to sort through vast sets of visual data.

    Dynamic vision: The camera’s strength is in capturing movement, like the milk drops seen here.

    The retina is an enormously powerful tool. It sorts through massive amounts of data while operating on only a fraction of the power that a conventional digital camera and computer would require to do the same task.

    Now, engineers at a company called iniLabs in Switzerland are applying lessons from biology in an effort to build a more efficient digital camera inspired by the human retina.

    Like the individual neurons in our eyes, the new camera—named the Dynamic Vision Sensor (DVS)—responds only to changes in a given scene. This approach eliminates large swaths of redundant data and could be useful for many fields, including surveillance, robotics, and microscopy.

    “Your eye and my eye are digital cameras too. [They’re] just a different kind of digital camera,” says Tobi Delbruck, the chief scientific officer at iniLabs. “We had machine vision that was as good as possible with existing architecture and hardware. But compared to biology, machine vision is pathetically poor.”

    An ordinary camera will take in everything it sees, storing the information to be processed later. This uses up a lot of power and a lot of space. Neurons in the eye, however, fire only when they sense a change—such as when a particular part of a scene gets brighter or dimmer. The DVS mimics that selectivity, transmitting information only in response to a shift in the scene. That takes less power and leaves less information to be processed.”

    http://www.technologyreview.co.....human-eye/

  27. 27
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    Cephalopods live in an environment that has less sunlight than that of our environment. Much less. And it is very telling that Nick Matzke doesn’t understand the implications this has for eyes and vision systems.

    Cephalopods aren’t one species, and neither are terrestrial vertebrates. Some cephalopods live in shallow water in bright conditions (tropical coral reefs). Some terrestrial vertebrates are only active at night.

    Either way, fishes live in the water in the same environments and they have inverted retinas, like humans. Are you going to tell me fishes need their blind spots too?

  28. 28
    bornagain says:

    I know you can get the ‘science’. So try again Matzke without the theology.

  29. 29
    Virgil Cain says:

    Nick Matzke- The evidence that Nick Lane discusses isn’t going away just because you ignore it. And our blind spot doesn’t seem to hinder some of us from hitting a 95 MPH fastball. As a matter of fact no one even notices it.

    The inverted retina and other bad design arguments are just a sign of desperation. And it doesn’t help you that you don’t have a mechanism capable of explaining the existence any vision system, except a broken one.

  30. 30
    Mung says:

    Nick Matzke requests courage and courtesy. But what happens when we ask the same of Nick?

    Let me try again:

    Nick, how do you calculate the size of amino acid sequence space?

    Why are you ignoring the question, Nick?

    After all, you claimed to have a rebuttal to an ID claim based upon what now appears to be nothing more than yet another literature bluff.

  31. 31
    Mapou says:

    Is there a reason to suppose that Cephalopods and humans were designed by the same designers? I see evidence in nature for a huge number of designers with different styles, goals, interests and/or sense of beauty/humor.

  32. 32
    RexTugwell says:

    Referenced in the Salvo magazine article above:

    http://www.arn.org/docs/odesig.....ina171.htm

    I’ll choose my “poorly designed” inverted retina over the “superior” Cephalopod eye every time.

    Let’s be honest though. This whole silly debate over inverted vs forward-facing retinas is merely a smokescreen to avoid having to explain the evolution of the vision cascade at the biochemical level.

  33. 33
    bornagain says:

    A short history of Matzke’s literature bluffing – Nov. 2015
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-589458

    Dr. “Literature Bluff” Matzke, and other Darwinists, are stuck having to use the theologically based ‘bad design’ argument. They simply have no other option.

    Once you get past the deceptive literature bluffs, and ‘narrative glosses’,,,

    “,,I found that Darwin’s theory had provided no discernible guidance, but was brought in, after the breakthroughs, as an interesting narrative gloss.
    In the peer-reviewed literature, the word “evolution” often occurs as a sort of coda to academic papers in experimental biology. Is the term integral or superfluous to the substance of these papers? To find out, I substituted for “evolution” some other word – “Buddhism,” “Aztec cosmology,” or even “creationism.” I found that the substitution never touched the paper’s core. This did not surprise me. From my conversations with leading researchers it had became clear that modern experimental biology gains its strength from the availability of new instruments and methodologies, not from an immersion in historical biology.”
    Philip S. Skell – (the late) Emeritus Evan Pugh Professor at Pennsylvania State University, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. – Why Do We Invoke Darwin? – 2005
    http://www.discovery.org/a/2816

    Darwinian ‘science’ in a nutshell:
    Jonathan Wells on pop science boilerplate – April 20, 2015
    Excerpt: Based on my reading of thousands of Peer-Reviewed Articles in the professional literature, I’ve distilled (the) template for writing scientific articles that deal with evolution:
    1. (Presuppose that) Darwinian evolution is a fact.
    2. We used [technique(s)] to study [feature(s)] in [name of species], and we unexpectedly found [results inconsistent with Darwinian evolution].
    3. We propose [clever speculations], which might explain why the results appear to conflict with evolutionary theory.
    4. We conclude that Darwinian evolution is a fact.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ilerplate/

    Once you get past the deceptive literature bluffs, and ‘narrative glosses’, and realize that Darwinists have no actual empirical evidence to substantiate their grandiose claims.

    you (Matzke) cannot meet even this pitifully low threshold of the creation of a single protein by unguided material processes so as to validate your grandiose claims for unguided material processes creating all life on earth.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-590167

    Once you get past all that deception and realize that Darwinists have no real time empirical evidence to support their grandiose claims, then you start to see the theological core of the theory. The theological core of Darwinism that Matzke is currently using against the design of the eye. i.e. The Theologically based bad design argument. i.e. The God would not have done it that way so evolution must be true argument.

    This ‘Theological core’ to Darwinian theory was central to Darwin’s book, “Origin Of Species”, and continues to be central to Darwinian thought today.

    Charles Darwin’s use of theology in the Origin of Species – STEPHEN DILLEY
    Abstract
    This essay examines Darwin’s positiva (or positive) use of theology in the first edition of the Origin of Species in three steps. First, the essay analyses the Origin’s theological language about God’s accessibility, honesty, methods of creating, relationship to natural laws and lack of responsibility for natural suffering; the essay contends that Darwin utilized positiva theology in order to help justify (and inform) descent with modification and to attack special creation. Second, the essay offers critical analysis of this theology, drawing in part on Darwin’s mature ruminations to suggest that, from an epistemic point of view, the Origin’s positiva theology manifests several internal tensions. Finally, the essay reflects on the relative epistemic importance of positiva theology in the Origin’s overall case for evolution. The essay concludes that this theology served as a handmaiden and accomplice to Darwin’s science.
    http://journals.cambridge.org/.....741100032X

    Methodological Naturalism: A Rule That No One Needs or Obeys – Paul Nelson – September 22, 2014
    Excerpt: It is a little-remarked but nonetheless deeply significant irony that evolutionary biology is the most theologically entangled science going. Open a book like Jerry Coyne’s Why Evolution is True (2009) or John Avise’s Inside the Human Genome (2010), and the theology leaps off the page. A wise creator, say Coyne, Avise, and many other evolutionary biologists, would not have made this or that structure; therefore, the structure evolved by undirected processes. Coyne and Avise, like many other evolutionary theorists going back to Darwin himself, make numerous “God-wouldn’t-have-done-it-that-way” arguments, thus predicating their arguments for the creative power of natural selection and random mutation on implicit theological assumptions about the character of God and what such an agent (if He existed) would or would not be likely to do.,,,
    ,,,with respect to one of the most famous texts in 20th-century biology, Theodosius Dobzhansky’s essay “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution” (1973).
    Although its title is widely cited as an aphorism, the text of Dobzhansky’s essay is rarely read. It is, in fact, a theological treatise. As Dilley (2013, p. 774) observes:
    “Strikingly, all seven of Dobzhansky’s arguments hinge upon claims about God’s nature, actions, purposes, or duties. In fact, without God-talk, the geneticist’s arguments for evolution are logically invalid. In short, theology is essential to Dobzhansky’s arguments.”,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....89971.html

    One of the main reasons why Darwinists are stuck using Theological argumentation is because it simply is impossible to do science in the first place without presupposing Theology on some level. The atheistic worldview simply is a non-starter as far as providing a coherent foundation on which science can be practiced:

    An Open Letter to A.C. Grayling – Michael Egnor – November 23, 2015
    Excerpt: Dear Dr. Grayling:
    ,,, here’s a suggestion for the title of your atheist Oxford conference: “The Metaphysics of Nullity: How Nothing Happened and Then Nothing Made Everything for No Reason.”

    It could be a part of a much bigger atheist project: “The Metaphysics of Entanglement from an Atheist Perspective: Why Look for a Reason When There Are No Reasons?”

    No doubt you’d get a big crowd. Even in Oxford, there are plenty of folks who wouldn’t know a Prime Mover from a prime rib. You could pack the conference with the New Atheist vanguard. Imagine a room full of Brights tackling the metaphysical implications of Nothing!

    There could be some great speakers, and the topics write themselves:

    “Why Quantum Mechanics Is Nothing,” by Lawrence Krauss,,,

    Best regards,
    Mike Egnor
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....01111.html

    Why Look for a Reason When There Are No Reasons?” neatly sums up the primarily reason why there are no atheists to be found at the birth of modern science:

    Founders of Modern Science Who Believe in GOD – Tihomir Dimitrov – (pg. 222)
    Quotes: “This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being. This Being governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all; and on account of His dominion He is wont to be called Lord God.”
    (Newton 1687,Principia)

    “When I reflect on so many profoundly marvellous things that persons have grasped, sought, and done, I recognize even more clearly that human intelligence is a work of God, and one of the most excellent.”
    (Galileo, as cited in Caputo 2000, 85).

    “To know the mighty works of God, to comprehend His wisdom and majesty and power, to appreciate, in degree, the wonderful working of His laws, surely all this must be a pleasing and acceptable mode of worship to the Most High, to whom ignorance cannot be more gratifying than knowledge.”
    (Copernicus, as cited in Neff 1952, 191-192; and in Hubbard 1905, v)

    “Since we astronomers are priests of the highest God in regard to the book of nature, it befits us to be thoughtful, not of the glory of our minds, but rather, above all else, of the glory of God.”
    (Kepler, as cited in Morris 1982, 11; see also Graves 1996, 51).

    “It is true, that a little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism; but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s minds about to religion. For while the mind of man looketh upon second causes scattered, it may sometimes rest in them, and go no further; but when it beholdeth the chain of them, confederate and linked together, it must needs fly to Providence and Deity.”
    (Bacon 1875, 64).

    “And thus I very clearly see that the certitude and truth of all science depends on the knowledge alone of the true God, insomuch that, before I knew him, I could have no perfect knowledge of any other thing. And now that I know him, I possess the means of acquiring a perfect knowledge respecting innumerable matters, as well relative to God himself and other intellectual objects as to corporeal nature.”
    (Descartes 1901, Meditation V).

    “The book of nature which we have to read is written by the finger of God.”
    (Faraday, as cited in Seeger 1983, 101).

    “I think men of science as well as other men need to learn from Christ, and I think Christians whose minds are scientific are bound to study science that their view of the glory of God may be as extensive as their being is capable of.”
    (Maxwell, as cited in Campbell and Garnett 1882, 404-405)

    “Overpoweringly strong proofs of intelligent and benevolent design lie all around us; and if ever perplexities, whether metaphysical or scientific, turn us away from them for a time, they come back upon us with irresistible force, showing to us through Nature the influence of a free will, and teaching us that all living things depend on one ever-acting Creator and Ruler.”
    (Kelvin 1871; see also Seeger 1985a, 100-101)

    “When with bold telescopes I survey the old and newly discovered stars and planets, when with excellent microscopes I discern the unimitable subtility of nature’s curious workmanship; and when, in a word, by the help of anatomical knives, and the light of chemical furnaces, I study the book of nature, I find myself often times reduced to exclaim with the Psalmist, ‘How manifold are Thy works, O Lord! In wisdom hast Thou made them all!’ ”
    (Boyle, as cited in Woodall 1997, 32)

    “The examination of the bodies of animals has always been my delight, and I have thought that we might thence not only obtain an insight into the lighter mysteries of nature, but there perceive a kind of image or reflection of the omnipotent Creator Himself.”
    (Harvey, as cited in Keynes 1966, 330)

    “There is for a free man no occupation more worth and delightful than to contemplate the beauteous works of nature and honor the infinite wisdom and goodness of God.”
    (Ray, as cited in Graves 1996, 66; see also Yahya 2002)

    “The more I study nature, the more I stand amazed at the work of the Creator. Science brings men nearer to God.”
    (Pasteur, as cited in Lamont 1995; see also Tiner 1990, 75)

    etc.. etc..
    http://www.academia.edu/273960.....OD_Journal

    The War against the War Between Science and Faith Revisited – July 2010
    Excerpt: …as Whitehead pointed out, it is no coincidence that science sprang, not from Ionian metaphysics, not from the Brahmin-Buddhist-Taoist East, not from the Egyptian-Mayan astrological South, but from the heart of the Christian West, that although Galileo fell out with the Church, he would hardly have taken so much trouble studying Jupiter and dropping objects from towers if the reality and value and order of things had not first been conferred by belief in the Incarnation. (Walker Percy, Lost in the Cosmos),,,
    http://www.scifiwright.com/201.....revisited/

  34. 34
    bornagain says:

    Dr. Koons rightly observes “without the faith in the rational intelligibility of the world and the divine vocation of human beings to master it, modern science would never have been possible”

    Science and Theism: Concord, not Conflict* – Robert C. Koons
    IV. The Dependency of Science Upon Theism (Page 21)
    Excerpt: Far from undermining the credibility of theism, the remarkable success of science in modern times is a remarkable confirmation of the truth of theism. It was from the perspective of Judeo-Christian theism—and from the perspective alone—that it was predictable that science would have succeeded as it has. Without the faith in the rational intelligibility of the world and the divine vocation of human beings to master it, modern science would never have been possible, and, even today, the continued rationality of the enterprise of science depends on convictions that can be reasonably grounded only in theistic metaphysics.
    http://www.robkoons.net/media/.....ffd524.pdf

    Moreover, unlike Darwinian claims as to the generation of massive amounts of functional information for which we can find no substantiating evidence, The Theistic claim, particularly the Christian claim, that to coherently ‘do science’ in the first place we must presuppose Theism is true, (i.e. the presupposition that we can understand the universe so deeply because we are in the uniquely made in ‘the image of God’), is borne out empirically.

    Specifically, it is now found by modern science that both the universe and life itself are ‘information theoretic’ in their foundational basis:

    Information Enigma (Where did the information come from?) – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aA-FcnLsF1g

    Signature in the Cell by Stephen Meyer – video clip
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVkdQhNdzHU

    Complex grammar of the genomic language – November 9, 2015
    Excerpt: The ‘grammar’ of the human genetic code is more complex than that of even the most intricately constructed spoken languages in the world. The findings explain why the human genome is so difficult to decipher –,,,
    ,,, in their recent study in Nature, the Taipale team examines the binding preferences of pairs of transcription factors, and systematically maps the compound DNA words they bind to.
    Their analysis reveals that the grammar of the genetic code is much more complex than that of even the most complex human languages. Instead of simply joining two words together by deleting a space, the individual words that are joined together in compound DNA words are altered, leading to a large number of completely new words.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....140252.htm

    John Lennox – Semiotic Information – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6rd4HEdffw

    As well, as if that was not ‘spooky enough’, information, not material, is found to be foundational to physical reality:

    “it from bit” Every “it”— every particle, every field of force, even the space-time continuum itself derives its function, its meaning, its very existence entirely—even if in some contexts indirectly—from the apparatus-elicited answers to yes-or-no questions, binary choices, bits. “It from bit” symbolizes the idea that every item of the physical world has a bottom—a very deep bottom, in most instances, an immaterial source and explanation, that which we call reality arises in the last analysis from the posing of yes-no questions and the registering of equipment—evoked responses, in short all matter and all things physical are information-theoretic in origin and this is a participatory universe.”
    – Princeton University physicist John Wheeler (1911–2008) (Wheeler, John A. (1990), “Information, physics, quantum: The search for links”, in W. Zurek, Complexity, Entropy, and the Physics of Information (Redwood City, California: Addison-Wesley))

    Why the Quantum? It from Bit? A Participatory Universe?
    Excerpt: In conclusion, it may very well be said that information is the irreducible kernel from which everything else flows. Thence the question why nature appears quantized is simply a consequence of the fact that information itself is quantized by necessity. It might even be fair to observe that the concept that information is fundamental is very old knowledge of humanity, witness for example the beginning of gospel according to John: “In the beginning was the Word.”
    Anton Zeilinger – a leading expert in quantum teleportation:

    Quantum physics just got less complicated – Dec. 19, 2014
    Excerpt: Patrick Coles, Jedrzej Kaniewski, and Stephanie Wehner,,, found that ‘wave-particle duality’ is simply the quantum ‘uncertainty principle’ in disguise, reducing two mysteries to one.,,,
    “The connection between uncertainty and wave-particle duality comes out very naturally when you consider them as questions about what information you can gain about a system. Our result highlights the power of thinking about physics from the perspective of information,”,,,
    http://phys.org/news/2014-12-q.....cated.html

    John Lennox at Rice University: Christianity Gave Us Science – Sept. 28, 2015
    53:00 minute mark – mass-energy is derivative from information (i.e. It from bit) and life is based on information.
    https://youtu.be/PSq4KLjMSlI?t=3182

  35. 35
    bornagain says:

    Moreover, it is also found that the feature that most strikingly demarcates us from all other extant species is our unique ability to understand and create information:

    Evolution of the Genus Homo – Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences – Ian Tattersall, Jeffrey H. Schwartz, May 2009
    Excerpt: “Unusual though Homo sapiens may be morphologically, it is undoubtedly our remarkable cognitive qualities that most strikingly demarcate us from all other extant species. They are certainly what give us our strong subjective sense of being qualitatively different. And they are all ultimately traceable to our symbolic capacity. Human beings alone, it seems, mentally dissect the world into a multitude of discrete symbols, and combine and recombine those symbols in their minds to produce hypotheses of alternative possibilities. When exactly Homo sapiens acquired this unusual ability is the subject of debate.”
    http://www.annualreviews.org/d.....208.100202

    Leading Evolutionary Scientists Admit We Have No Evolutionary Explanation of Human Language – December 19, 2014
    Excerpt: Understanding the evolution of language requires evidence regarding origins and processes that led to change. In the last 40 years, there has been an explosion of research on this problem as well as a sense that considerable progress has been made. We argue instead that the richness of ideas is accompanied by a poverty of evidence, with essentially no explanation of how and why our linguistic computations and representations evolved.,,,
    (Marc Hauser, Charles Yang, Robert Berwick, Ian Tattersall, Michael J. Ryan, Jeffrey Watumull, Noam Chomsky and Richard C. Lewontin, “The mystery of language evolution,” Frontiers in Psychology, Vol 5:401 (May 7, 2014).)
    Luskin adds: It’s difficult to imagine much stronger words from a more prestigious collection of experts.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....92141.html

    As well, it is hard to imagine a more convincing proof that we are made ‘in the image of God’ than finding that both the universe and life itself are ‘information theoretic’ in their foundational basis, and that we, of all the creatures on earth, uniquely possess an ability to understand and create information.
    I guess a more convincing evidence could be if God Himself became a man, defeated death on a cross, and then rose from the dead to prove that He was God.
    But who has ever heard of such overwhelming evidence as that?

    Turin Shroud Quantum Hologram Reveals The Words ‘The Lamb’ on a Solid Oval Object Under The Beard – video
    http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=J21MECNU

    Solid Oval Object Under The Beard
    http://shroud3d.com/findings/s.....-the-beard

    Verses and Music:

    Genesis 1:26
    And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

    John 1:1-4
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and that life was the Light of men.

    Casting Crowns – The Word Is Alive
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9itgOBAxSc

  36. 36
    Sebestyen says:

    Matzke, feel free to grow yourself a pair of cephalopod eyes and then challenge someone else to a visual contest. Or teach an octopus how to dwell on land and how to speak and take the test instead.

    Or at least educate yourself on more recent finding but at least stop quoting that decade old article that doesn’t provide any prove that the cephalopod eyes actually are better…

    Sebestyen

  37. 37
    Virgil Cain says:

    Matzke ran away rather than deal with the evidence Nick Lane provided?! Typical

  38. 38
    Virgil Cain says:

    For anyone who missed it:

    But we should not be too quick to dismiss our own arrangement. As so often in biology, the situation is more complex. The wires are colourless so don’t hinder the passage of light much; and insofar as they do, they may even act as a ‘waveguide’, directing light vertically on to the light-sensitive cells, making the best use of the available photons. And probably more importantly, we have the advantage that our own light-sensitive cells are imbedded directly in their support cells (the retinal pigment epithelium) with an excellent blood supply immediately underneath. Such an arrangement supports the continuous turnover of photosensitive pigments. The human retina consumes even more oxygen than the brain, per gram, making it the most energetic organ in the body, so this arrangement is extremely valuable. In all probability the octopus eye could not sustain such a high metabolic rate. But perhaps it doesn’t need to. Living underwater, with lower light intensity, the octopus may not need to re-cycle its photopigments so quickly. Nick Lane, “Life Ascending”, page 175

  39. 39
    Seversky says:

    No one doubts that the human visual system works very well. Anyone with eyes to see knows that. But there are still questions that ID proponents need to answer.

    First, yes, the system can compensate for the blindspots with some fancy processing but if the blindspots weren’t there, there would be nothing to compensate for and that processing capacity could be used for something else.

    Second, if these glial cells acting as wave-guides is such a good idea, why is all this ‘plumbing’ and ‘wiring’ pulled aside in the fovea which generates the sharpest image of al? Rather suggests that all that other stuff does get in the way, doesn’t it?

    Third, if the eye is such a good design – analogous to a digital camera – show me one of those cameras where the CCD wiring is carried across the face of the sensor and down through a hole in the middle. I’m sure all you clever physicists and engineers and code-monkeys could figure out workarounds to make it work but why bother? What would be the point?

  40. 40
    Virgil Cain says:

    Seversky- Your position doesn’t have a mechanism that is capable of producing visual systems. That is the question you and other evos need to answer but never will.

  41. 41
    Jack Jones says:

    “But there are still questions that ID proponents need to answer.”

    No, You are the one that has the counter intuitive idea of life originating spontaneously in nature and the visual system, reproductive system etc coming about by dumb luck.

    Ernst Mayr “Evolution, in a way, contradicts common sense. ”

    Growth of Biological thought. pg 309.

    Now….Just because your faith goes against common sense that would not necessarily mean it is wrong, However, as you believe your brain came about by dumb luck and was not intelligently designed then it doesn’t provide you with any grounding to talk about the nature of reality.

  42. 42
    Sebestyen says:

    @Seversky:

    Almost all CMOS sensors of digital cameras are of the front-illuminated type where the metal wiring layer is in front of the photodiode layer so that the light has to pass through. Similar to the Müller cells in the eye, sometimes microlenses are used to more effectively guide the light through the wiring layer.

    The main reasons they make them this way is because a) it’s much cheaper and easier to produce and b) it’s more than sufficient for most cases. The back-illuminated types are used if high light sensitivity and/or very small pixel sizes are are required. I think the iphone 4 cam uses one of that.

    Picture

    Sebestyen

  43. 43
    Mapou says:

    A close look at the retina reveals something that no stochastic BS can explain. The photoreceptors in the retina are grouped in a center-surround design. Each pair of receptors in a group are then wired with retinal ganglion cells in such a way as to detect the movement of light in a very precise direction across the cell formation. The timing of the firing of the cells is extremely precise. The signals created by the retina are then encoded (using rank-order encoding) and sent via the optic nerve to the visual cortex for decoding and processing. Cortical timing mechanisms decode about 1 million signals from the optic nerve into over 200 million new signals representing different events in differents primary colors and amplitudes.

    But that is not all. Amazingly, the design of the retina is such that one cannot see anything unless the eye is moving. We lose our ability to see if our eyes are immobilized with muscle paralyzing drugs. This is the reason that there is special circuit in the cerebellum that continually moves the eyes in tiny jerky motions called microsaccades. This happens even when we fixate our eyes on a dot. We would not be able to see without the saccades.

    The point is that one cannot design a retina without also designing the decoding/processing visual cortex and the saccadic eye system. This is another example of Behe’s irreducible complexity.

    My advice to all is simple. All Darwinists are either stupid or lying through their teeth. Don’t believe anything that comes out of their mouths. Don’t let the jackasses do your thinking for you. Do your own thinking.

  44. 44
    willh says:

    Seversky, your second point at post 39:

    “Second, if these glial cells acting as wave-guides is such a good idea, why is all this ‘plumbing’ and ‘wiring’ pulled aside in the fovea which generates the sharpest image of al? Rather suggests that all that other stuff does get in the way, doesn’t it?”

    This is an interesting point. Perhaps it reflects more on drawing the conclusion that moving aside the ‘plumbing’ and ‘wiring at the fovea isn’t just about, or about, clearing a way for the light path. However, current experiments are demonstrating the efficacy of the glial cells as wave guides, pulled aside or not. This isn’t even a question in the verted eye at all. But in cephalopods (except for perhaps one species) it’s not an issue, I’m lead to believe they have no cone cells that would benefit from the glial cell inverted enhancement arrangement.

    A question people. Could the verted eye, as seen in cephalopods, be made to operate as efficiently in say avians? Some bird eyes have multiple fovea and much higher density rod and cone concentrations. Does the terrestrial verted eye of gastropods, as alluded to by Nick, have the same limitations in cone cells as the aquatic versions? Does it have colour sensing capability? Does it support those very high density photocell arrangements?

    Verted eyes also have to deal with the prodigious replacement rate of the disk/plate like structure of the light sensing part of the photoreceptor cell. But in their case these are shed off in way of the light path. Structures exist that climb up the side of the photoreceptor cells to accommodate this process. How would this affect the need for high density cell grouping in a projected bird type verted eye? An inverted structure avoids any possible dilemma.

    Another consideration. Inverted eyes can benefit from a tapetum lucidum. If I’m correct, these are not present in any verted eyes. Nor would they seem provide any benefit if they were. To speculate, they could well be detrimental or just unnecessary? Unnecessary doesn’t undermine the benefit to an inverted eye that solves a problem (need to increase night vision).

    Which introduces the mechanics of embryonic developmental constrictions. Verted and inverted eyes are necessarily products of this process. Structures like the tapetum lucidum, glial cell light enhancement or ability to counter blind spots do seem to well compensate from unavoidable developmental construction restrictions. Personally, I find the presence of these kind of things more evidence of design than less. This is the kind of things we can read about when humans design and attempt to produce optimal designs in conflicting structural situations.

    A note – my questions are meant to be genuine, not provocative. I wonder if those in the related studies consider these, if they are at all relevant?

  45. 45
    willh says:

    In way of a correction of sorts, some illustrations of the fovea show its inner surface covered in Muller Glial cells. These are not illustrated as ‘pulled aside’, unlike the rest of the ‘plumbing’. It would seem that the light still must pass through these in order to reach an area concentrated with cone cells.

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