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Why Ken Miller is Right About Our Backward Retina

In the steady-stream of “not junk after all” findings it was inevitable that our backward retina would be discovered to work quite well, thank you. But if you think it is another icon of evolution that has been shattered, think again. Evolutionary explanations of vision go back to Darwin, and they haven’t changed much in spite of our much improved understanding of how vision actually works. And now new findings that the inverted design of our retina isn’t as bad as it looks, while interesting, are not much more than a yawner for evolutionists.  Read more
Hello Clive, no I didn't know about that particular tribe, but very interesting article. I know that the Aztecs used to have a human type of pony express consisting of relay runners covering hundreds of mile non stop, in short time periods. THEMAYAN
If we could run one hundred miles an hour, we could make an argument that we were poorly designed because we could not run two hundred miles an hour. If we could see for forty miles unaided, we would use the same reasoning to complain for not being able to see eighty miles.
I totally agree. This can be applied to the Problem of Pain as well. If we felt things more acutely than we do now, that would be used by some as an argument against a Creator, but if we were completely numb, the argument could be made as well against the Creator that we wouldn't feel anything, which could be called the Problem of Not Feeling Anything At All, Ever, pleasure included. But speaking of running, have you heard of these folks from Mexico that can run for more than 24 hours and have been known to run up to 48 hours at a time? http://books.google.com/books?id=lz8kvR8qBZkC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Tarahumara+Indians&source=bl&ots=DZflIXCJzU&sig=nF4pKandoABQVy5_jpdc4vwZbPE&hl=en&ei=M6PrS9H7HML78AaJ5PzsBA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=13&ved=0CEoQ6AEwDA#v=onepage&q=Tarahumara%20Indians&f=false Here's an article about them: http://www.lehigh.edu/~dmd1/art.html Clive Hayden
Trying to define optimal design in anything, requires experience based on the subjectivity and presumptions of the observer, who has no source of reference, at least in the animal kingdom. Another words, we don't have extraterrestrial humanoids to compare ourselves with, so we can't quantify this notion of optimal design. Trying to compare the eye of the Mantis Shrimp again, requires a great deal of presumption, in this case, an almost literal, Whats Good for the Goose is Good for the Gander, one size fits all, belief. This doesn't seem to make any real sense since animals our adapted and specialized for their own environment. The eye of an eagle can spot a rabbit at twenty miles away. This however is only beneficial to the eagle. If I spotted a rabbit from twenty miles away, by the time my fat ass got there, the rabbit would be long gone, or we would both be dead of old age. Why would nature spend all that precious energy on an impractical attribute not really required for your survival. What good would it do me to have this fascinating and remarkable strange perception of frequencies that the Mantis Shrimp has, when I will never use it, and don't require it? It seems to me, just maintenance of cellular structure alone requires a great deal of energy as it is. If we could run one hundred miles an hour, we could make an argument that we were poorly designed because we could not run two hundred miles an hour. If we could see for forty miles unaided, we would use the same reasoning to complain for not being able to see eighty miles. We have no way of rewiring the vertebrate retina in that fine of a detail to make it more conducive to the octopus eye, and to see if it actually works on humans, or if this can be done at all, even by the finest surgeon. Our physical attributes have to ultimately have a limit somewhere, and it seems to me that where ever we lay on that limit, we will always have something to complain about. Even Superman had his Cryptonite. THEMAYAN
I quickly looked through Cornelius's blog entry and saw the familiar criticism of the cephalopod eye as superior by an ill informed commenter. "It's not speculation to say we know it can be done better. Cephalopod eyes are also high-precision, color-sensing camera eyes. But they are built out of different tissues, and they don't have the wires sticking out the front, or any blind spot. Creationists always elide this crucial comparative point, basically because they have no answer to it." First there is the obligatory mention of creationist when that is not an issue and second there is a simple very persuasive answer to it. Maybe the commenter is not familiar with the concept of an ecology. The question becomes "better for what?" All organisms live in an ecology in which better or superior is a bad concept because according to Darwinian theory superior is all about "me." And that would not work well down on the farm or the ecology. So a superior or better eye may in fact be an inferior eye for the ecology unless good design is being used. The ecology is what has to be optimized, not the organism and I do not see how Darwinian processes would get there because all individual organisms would want to be better but by being so would essentially be committing suicide because they would destroy the ecology that feeds them. So what creates a process of adaptation that lets organisms flourish in varied ecologies and in the same breath puts limits on this adaptation? Great design! jerry
Mathematician David Berlinksi, in the video at www.davidberlinski.org, calls evolutionary biology "utterly unlike anything we've seen in the serious sciences." Evolutionary biologists seem totally incapable of doing serious science, which involves drawing logical conclusions from the evidence, as this post richly illustrates. One of your best posts ever, Cornelius, thanks for trying to keep UD on track. Granville Sewell
Thanks for the link idnet; Here is another link that lays out much of the other evidence, for optimal design of the retina, that had been collected thus far: Is the Backwards Human Retina Evidence of Poor Design? Excerpt: This short review covers only a few of the many reasons for the superiority of the existing design of the mammalian retina. Our knowledge now shows that the retina design is superior to what we understood even just a few short years ago. Gratitude rather than impertinence seems the more appropriate response to its ingenious design. http://www.icr.org/index.php?module=articles&action=view&ID=2476 bornagain77
Retinal Glial Cells Enhance Human Vision AcuityA. M. Labin and E. N. Ribak Physical Review Letters, 104, 158102 (April 2010) [4 pages] | DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.104.158102 http://link.aps.org/doi/10.1103/PhysRevLett.104.158102 http://physics.technion.ac.il/~eribak/LabinRibakGlialCells.pdf Abstract: We construct a light-guiding model of the retina outside the fovea, in which an array of glial (Muller) cells permeates the depth of the retina down to the photoreceptors. Based on measured refractive indices, we propagate light to obtain a significant increase of the intensity at the photoreceptors. For pupils up to 6 mm width, the coupling between neighboring cells is only a few percent. Low cross talk over the whole visible spectrum also explains the insensitivity to chromatic aberrations of the eye. The retina is revealed as an optimal structure designed for improving the sharpness of images. idnet.com.au

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