… Dr. Lents just published his own book titled Human Errors, in which he repeats on page 5 his claim that the human eye is badly designed because the photoreceptor cells “appear to be installed backward.”
Over thirty years ago, Richard Dawkins had used this claim as an argument for Darwinian evolution in his 1986 book The Blind Watchmaker. Since then the argument has been repeated by evolutionary biologists George Williams, Kenneth R. Miller, Douglas Futuyma, and Jerry Coyne, among others.
But even before Dawkins published his claim in 1986, scientists writing in standard textbooks on eye physiology had shown why the “backwards retina” is functionally better than its opposite. Those scientists and textbooks included Gordon Walls in The Vertebrate Eye (Hafner, 1963); Sidney Futterman in Adler’s Physiology of the Eye (Mosby, 1975); and Paul Henkind, Richard Hansen, and Jeanne Szalay in Physiology of the Human Eye and the Visual System (Harper & Row, 1979). Abundant evidence that Dawkins’s claim was false had also been published in scientific journals in 1967, 1969, 1973, and 1985.More.
The evidence actually doesn’t matter because the mere fact that a prominent Darwinist makes and repeats the claim creates credibility for it. Nature’s input is desirable, of course, but not really necessary. Another Skeptic will make the same claim in three years, probably, with even more evidence against it, which also won’t matter.
Note: Lents’s book, calling the human eye and other body parts are poorly designed is Human Errors: A Panorama of Our Glitches, from Pointless Bones to Broken Genes:
See also: At Skeptic: Five Questions about Human Errors for Proponents of Intelligent Design Lents: “The one thing that a species absolutely must be able to do is reproduce, so this is an area that humans must have mastered, right? Not even close. In fact, humans may be the least fertile of the apes.” One wonders, in that case, how the Population Bomb movement ever got started or why … But that’s clearly not a question that a Skeptical reader would ask.