Darwinists often cite the inverted retina (backward wiring) of the vertebrate eye as a prime example of bad design and therefore as evidence that no right-thinking designer would have done things that way. On the ID side, it’s been clear that the Darwinists’ received wisdom here is not nearly so clear cut and that there can be good functional reasons for an inverted retina (see Michael Denton on this subject here).
A recent article in PNAS now indicates that living optical fibers create a clear passage for light to the light-sensitive cells at the back of the eye. Concerning his research in this area, Andreas Reichenbach remarks, “Nature is so clever. This means there is enough room in the eye for all the neurons and synapses and so on, but still the MÃƒÂ¼ller cells can capture and transmit as much light as possible.” Go here for a summary of the research as well as for a reference to the relevant PNAS article.
Question: Is this result more consistent with Darwinian or ID assumptions? Darwinists have been constantly saying that a competent designer wouldn’t have wired our retinas the “wrong” way. Well, now we find inside the eye optic fibers that transmit 100% through the layers of “bad” stuff in front of the cones and rods. Perhaps we need is some congressional research funds earmarked to tackle all these instance of “bad design” and show that they actually constitute great design — things to inspire engineers to build better devices!