Russell and Duenes

Another Reason to Reject Neo-Darwinian Evolution: The Eyeball

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Neo-Darwinian Evolution holds that everything we see in the biological world around us arose from naturalist forces and must have a naturalist explanation. Douglas Wilson, in his little book, God Is: How Christianity Explains Everything – a devastating rebuttal to Christopher Hitchens’ God is Not Great – takes up the “eyeball argument,” and shows why the Darwinian account of how it got here is, well, not to be believed. Wilson writes (Hitchens’ quotes are in bold),

But let us move on and talk about the evolution of the eye. We “evolved from sightless bacteria” (82, Hitchens, God Is Not Great). This is a huge deal, and we ought to pay it the attention it deserves:

It is immensely fascinating and rewarding to know that at least forty different sets of eyes, and possibly sixty different sets, have evolved in quite distinct and parallel, if comparable ways. (83)

Quoting Dr. Michael Shermer, Hitchens describes the long, torturous climb to the Rube Goldberg eyeball we all know and love. First, a handful of light sensitive cells, then on to a recessed eyespot, then the deep recession eyespot, and then, mirabile dictu, a pinhole camera eye focusing images on the deeply-recessed layer of light-sensitive cells, and then, mucho macaronic mirabile dictu, a pinhole lens eye that can focus the image, and then on to the complex version found, for example, in my very own baby blues (82-83).

Just imagine (to take one example out of countless thousands) how many millions of years blind evolution spent in trying to get the placement of the first pinhole right. Doesn’t even know that a pinhole could possibly be helpful, and, even though random mutation does serve up random pinholes from time to time (not to mention gaping holes), there is nothing to prevent it from placing the pinholes in places where they would be absolutely useless.

This is a good example of what Michael Behe means by irreducible complexity. In the long developmental journey from the first three light-sensitive cells to the eye of the osprey, what percentage of that time was the eye closed for remodeling (and therefore possessed of that condition that scientific laymen call blindness)?And, during those periods of blindness, what evolutionary advantage was conferred such that the remodeling continued apace? Nevertheless,

The Real “miracle” is that we, who share genes with the original bacteria that began life on the planet, have evolved as much as we have. Other creatures did not develop eyes at all, or developed extremely weak ones. There is an intriguing paradox here: evolution does not have eyes but it can create them. (84)

Hitchens calls it a paradox when he is waving his hands over an incoherence, but is quite impatient when he thinks Christians are doing it. And he thinks we are doing it when we say that all-seeing God created the eye. No, he counters, trenchantly, that would have to have been done byblind process. [pgs.37-39, God Is]

That’s a better, and frankly more hilarious, way of putting it than I could possibly muster. What we must keep in mind is that the Darwinian account of how the eyeball got here (and many other things like it), is not one that has been observed in any laboratory. Further, it has no predictive power, nor really any explanatory power. It does not help opthamologists or optometrists in the least. This account is a “just so” account that “must be true” because “science” only admits of naturalistic explanations, and that’s the only naturalistic explanation we can come up with. We argue that the statement, “God did it” is not science, and properly speaking, it’s not. But neither is the neo-Darwinian account, a fact which is not readily admitted by those who believe in it. So how about if science sticks to its proper limits, which is to make observations about currently existing eyeballs or eyeballs from the fossil record. To say that “God made our eyeballs” is not anti-science, but it’s a whole lot more trustworthy than some nonsensical account about light-sensitive cells and blah, blah, blah.

-D

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Written by Michael Duenes

October 21, 2010 at 5:38 pm

Posted in Duenes, Science

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