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“Evolutionists don’t know a good eye when they see one”

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Salvo 43 From molecular biologist Jonathan Wells at Salvo:

In 2005, Douglas Futuyma published a textbook about evolution claiming that “no intelligent engineer would be expected to design” the “functionally nonsensical arrangement” of cells in the human retina. That same year, geneticist Jerry Coyne wrote that the human eye is “certainly not the sort of eye an engineer would create from scratch.” Instead, “the whole system is like a car in which all the wires to the dashboard hang inside the driver’s compartment instead of being tucked safely out of sight.” Like Dawkins, Williams, Miller, and Futuyma, Coyne attributed this arrangement to unguided evolution, which “yields fitter types that often have flaws. These flaws violate reasonable principles of intelligent design.”

We can be glad, as Wells explains, that these people were not asked to do the engineering.

Because of the high metabolic requirements of the light-sensing cells and their need to regenerate themselves, the inverted retina is actually much better than the “tidy-minded” design imagined by evolutionary biologists.

Jonathan Wells

The blind spot (a in the drawing) is not a serious problem, because the blind spot produced by the left eye is not in the same place as the one produced by the right eye. This means that, in humans with two good eyes, the field of vision of one eye covers for the blind spot of the other eye, and vice versa.

What about the claim that cephalopod eyes are better than vertebrate eyes? … More.

They are too busy writing textbooks on Darwinian evolution to notice.

See also: Jon Wells on science journal boilerplate

Comments
Sebestyen @ 58 My apologies, I only just noticed this.
1. The whole world around us isn’t created to be perfect and neither is anything that’s created. In all known creatures and machines there are countless compromises to get things to work, there actually can’t be anything that’s really “perfect”.
Imperfection and compromise point to limitations in the knowledge and power of the Creator on the face of it. You could argue that this perfect Creator created the imperfection we observe for a reason but you would need to provide a credible reason for doing so, else this is no more than special pleading.
2. It’s the designers decision how he designs his work. Just because God is omniscient and omnipotent doesn’t mean he has to create everything better or more complex than it needs to be. Of course it would be fantastic to have the visual abilities of a mantis shrimp or an eagle but apparently God decided not to equip us with the ability to see ultraviolet light or spot a rabbit from 3 km away
Again, as Mill pointed out, design is only required where there are constraints on the knowledge, power and materials available. You still need to explain why God designed this limited and imperfect world.
In addition, since the creation must’ve been a long time ago and since it’s known that genetic material suffers from decay, most creatures/organs/etc. were likely in better shape than they’re now.
If genetic material were subject only to decay then, given the age of the Universe or even just our solar system life would have suffered catastrophic genetic failure and gone extinct long ago.Seversky
January 29, 2018
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Molson- your eyes weren't designed as you are not the originally designed type.ET
January 26, 2018
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I definitely wish that my eyes were better designed. Myopia from an early age. Macular degeneration. Astigmatism. Blocked tear ducts. Cataracts.Molson Bleu
January 26, 2018
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@Seversky: I simply wanted to point out that you're wrong about the sensors, not use it as an example. But since you've mentioned it, your/Mill's argument is hogwash because it completely ignores two simple facts: 1. The whole world around us isn't created to be perfect and neither is anything that's created. In all known creatures and machines there are countless compromises to get things to work, there actually can't be anything that's really "perfect". 2. It's the designers decision how he designs his work. Just because God is omniscient and omnipotent doesn't mean he has to create everything better or more complex than it needs to be. Of course it would be fantastic to have the visual abilities of a mantis shrimp or an eagle but apparently God decided not to equip us with the ability to see ultraviolet light or spot a rabbit from 3 km away. In addition, since the creation must've been a long time ago and since it's known that genetic material suffers from decay, most creatures/organs/etc. were likely in better shape than they're now. SebestyenSebestyen
January 25, 2018
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@Seversky The critique from Dawkins, et al on the eye is that a human designer could have done it better. The weakness of the critique is that no human designer can do it all, let alone do it better. The argument that an all-knowing, all-powerful Deity could do it better, suffers from a lack of knowledge. How do we know that it could be done better within the restrictions of the natural world that the Deity purpotedly created? Humans are the pinnacle of natural intelligence are far as we are aware. If we can't design it better, whose to say it can be done? Merely saying that in your conception of G-d, He ought to be able to do it, is a theological proposition, not a rational argument. Maybe he can do it even within the bounds of the natural world he created, maybe he can't. There's no way to know. I never found the imperfect design argument to be all that compelling (theologically both Jews and Christians believe that Creation is imperfect), but as to the eye it simply does not work logically.conceptualinertia
January 25, 2018
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Sebestyen @ 30
Actually, almost all image sensors you can buy today are built backwards as well. The reason? It’s much easier to manufacture that way. There are so-called BSI sensors that are built the other way around (and they’re better in certain aspects) but they’re not widely used yet. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Back-illuminated_sensor or https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/149742-how-back-illuminated-sensors-work-and-why-theyre-the-future-of-digital-photography
Thanks for pointing to that article. It's very interesting. It illustrates nicely designing within the constraints of current knowledge and materials. The problem with all such examples, as the English philosopher John Stuart Mill pointed out 150 years ago, is that they imply a designer with limited knowledge and powers, not the omniscient and omnipotent God of Christianity.
Regarding your other “objection” I’d recommend you read a little about this topic, because then you’d probably won’t make a fool out of yourself anymore. http://webvision.med.utah.edu/ is a good start.
I'm already familiar with some of that. In return, I'll quote this passage from the article "Is Our “Inverted” Retina Really “Bad Design?” on the Answers in Genesis website:
Although the neurosensory retina is virtually transparent apart from the blood in its very slender blood vessels, there is an additional refinement of its structure in its central region called the macula. The retina and the occipital cerebral cortex (called the visual cortex)23 of the brain, to which the former transmits visual information, are so organised that the VA is maximal in the visual axis (line of sight—see Figure 2). The visual axis passes through the foveola which forms the floor of a circular pit with a sloping wall, the fovea (Latin: pit) at the centre of the macula (Figures 2 & 5). Away from the fovea the VA diminishes progressively towards the periphery of the retina. Thus the colour photoreceptors—the cones for red, green and possibly also blue24—have their greatest density of 150,000 per square mm at the foveola,25 which measures only 300–330 µm across.26 Moreover, the foveolar cones differ from those elsewhere in being taller, more slender, perfectly straight and accurately oriented to be axial with respect to incident light, for maximal VA and sensitivity. In this area, blood vessels are absent and the retina is much thinner, being reduced to only photoreceptors (cones) with minimal supporting tissue. The inner neural elements of the neurosensory retina are displaced from the foveola radially to allow unimpeded access of light and elimination of what little scattering of light occurs elsewhere (Figure 5).
Seversky
January 24, 2018
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mike1962 @ 7
Let’s see you try, given the constraints of the overall animal. Problem is, you don’t know what the constraints are. You might be able to “design” a cartoon eye that looks nicer than a human eye on the inside. But in the Real World, you don’t know how the eye develops in ontogeny in conjunction with the rest of the genome. In short, you know damn little about the matter. You have no idea if the design is optimal given the constraints or not.
I certainly couldn't design or build a functioning organ like the eye but that isn't the point. I will put to you the same question that I put to kf elsewhere: is it your contention that the human eye is perfect and incapable of improvement?Seversky
January 24, 2018
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kairosfocus @ 5
Seversky, what of those who went into Science or Medicine etc “to destroy Religion”?
Such as?
I suggest on the eye, it clearly works and works very well; indeed down to detecting single photons under the right dark-adapted circumstances. It may not appeal to your sense of how it should be laid out but it is hard to quarrel with success. And remember, that success is as a part of a self-replicating entity, a class of machines we don’t know how to design — so we are having arguments in the face of a huge hole in our understanding so we would be better advised until we can on balance build a better product from ground up, one that is robust and resilient in the face of drastic environmental shifts.
I entirely agree that the human visual system works wonderfully well just as it is. That doesn't mean it is perfect and incapable of improvement, however, and the same is true of many other parts of the human body. We can both acknowledge something as being well done while still recognizing that it might have been done better.Seversky
January 24, 2018
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If we were designed by some one or some thing who knows when then who’s to say we – or more likely our distant descendants – won’t be able to do the same?
That would all depend on what is required and if those descendants haz it.ET
January 24, 2018
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ayearningforpublius @ 4
So Seversky @3: We all await the brilliant human designers, engineers and manufactures that will duplicate — nay exceed — the multi-faceted capabilities of a Michael Jordon or a Leonard Bernstein. Or a human heart along with its supporting cast of lungs, liver, brain, hearing system, balance system, circulatory system, immune system, Kinesin Motors … and more.
If we were designed by some one or some thing who knows when then who's to say we - or more likely our distant descendants - won't be able to do the same? Most likely it won't happen until after we are all long gone but you never know.Seversky
January 24, 2018
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'That is really strange. Maybe they are so accustomed to blind faith (in some omnipotent neo-darwinian mechanism) that they naturally apply the same dogmatism to the imagined target of their “scientific” confutations (some omnipotent, restraint-free designer).' Who can but marvel at the sublime, soaring imagination of unguided evolution, in all its myriad manifestations.Axel
January 24, 2018
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Dean_from_Ohio, Maybe your objecting interlocutor could find out why a distinguished biology professor hasn't come back to continue his discussion with gpuccio about the spliceosome, after trying unsuccessfully to punch a hole in gpuccio's excellent presentation. Did the professor run out of valid arguments and decided to quit? Perhaps your objecting interlocutor could find another scientist who could continue the discussion?Dionisio
January 24, 2018
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Sebestyen, Good responses. Thanks. Had we remained in Eden, those health issues, or even sociopolitical conflicts, would not have been problems to deal with at all. Too late now. We humans prefer to do things our way. Can't complain, we got what we wished for.Dionisio
January 24, 2018
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as my beautifully designed eyes packed up at age 11, I began to worry about my upcomming adult erruption of pointless wisdom teeth; sure enough my mouth could not accomodate this wisely ‘designed’ addition. My knees, and lower back are now experiencing some pain, could we please revise this, ‘design’?
Sorry that you got the short end of the genetic stick but many people retain good eyesight throughout their lives, don't have any problems with their molars or their knees and back. Your personal problems are no evidence against design...
Apparently the appendix is designed to store essential bacteria when an illness destroys the main colonies in our gut. Was this its original purpose? All other primates have a different use for this ‘killer’ organ; to humans at least.
Your chances of dying from appendicitis is lower than 0,07%, don't be such a drama queen. And no, the appendix doesn't necessarily have other uses in primates. Maybe in other mammals but there simply hasn't been done enough research so far to be certain... SebestyenSebestyen
January 24, 2018
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ET, what else can they do? They ran out of valid arguments. Actually, they never had them.Dionisio
January 23, 2018
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LoL! @ rvb8 - trying to use those old, beaten-to-death, theological arguments against ID.ET
January 23, 2018
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Keep an eye on this: https://uncommondescent.com/evolution/rethinking-biology-what-role-does-physical-structure-play-in-the-development-of-cells/#comment-649856Dionisio
January 23, 2018
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Oh yeah, as my beautifully designed eyes packed up at age 11, I began to worry about my upcomming adult erruption of pointless wisdom teeth; sure enough my mouth could not accomodate this wisely 'designed' addition. My knees, and lower back are now experiencing some pain, could we please revise this, 'design'? Apparently the appendix is designed to store essential bacteria when an illness destroys the main colonies in our gut. Was this its original purpose? All other primates have a different use for this 'killer' organ; to humans at least. Design? Hmmm.rvb8
January 23, 2018
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D_f_O, @18, "What are Seversky's qualifications to evaluate an engineering design?" Ahuh. And any person's qualification here, for commenting on Evolutionary Biology, or if you want, any Biology? Really? You want to get into an, 'argument from authority', argument? Alright we'll reel out our authoratative biologists, chemists, and scientists generally. You then produce yours. "What are Seversky's qualifications..."? Indeed, this supposed justified, constraint on Seversky, has never ever constrained ID commenters!rvb8
January 23, 2018
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Dionisio- I find it very interesting that evolutionists, starting with Darwin, have approached the issue of vision systems from a Lamarkian perspective- meaning it has always been about just changing the physical characteristics and never about the underlying genetics. Dr Behe mentions this in "Darwin's Black Box"- he calls it discussing the changes in terms of "gross anatomy". It makes you wonder what the modern synthesis actually accomplished.ET
January 23, 2018
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Dionisio @13......I don't think it's going to happen. I've been asking these guys for years. I think at this point it's pretty clear that darwinism lacks a legitimate mechanism for adding novel or innovative structures. Kinda makes it easy to be a creationisttommy hall
January 23, 2018
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Keep an eye on this: https://uncommondescent.com/evolution/rethinking-biology-what-role-does-physical-structure-play-in-the-development-of-cells/#comment-649839Dionisio
January 23, 2018
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Keep an eye on this: https://uncommondescent.com/evolution/rethinking-biology-what-role-does-physical-structure-play-in-the-development-of-cells/#comment-649837Dionisio
January 23, 2018
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Keep an eye on this: https://uncommondescent.com/evolution/rethinking-biology-what-role-does-physical-structure-play-in-the-development-of-cells/#comment-649835Dionisio
January 23, 2018
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ET @32: Valid point.Dionisio
January 23, 2018
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Sebestyen @30: Interesting comment. Thanks.Dionisio
January 23, 2018
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Keep an eye on this: https://uncommondescent.com/evolution/rethinking-biology-what-role-does-physical-structure-play-in-the-development-of-cells/#comment-649829Dionisio
January 23, 2018
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Keep an eye on this: https://uncommondescent.com/evolution/rethinking-biology-what-role-does-physical-structure-play-in-the-development-of-cells/#comment-649820Dionisio
January 23, 2018
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Seversky:
A human designer could have done better.
That is false as humans do not know how to make a vision system from starting from DNA, or whatever it is that produces vision systems in developing organisms.ET
January 23, 2018
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Keep an eye on this: https://uncommondescent.com/evolution/rethinking-biology-what-role-does-physical-structure-play-in-the-development-of-cells/#comment-649816Dionisio
January 23, 2018
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