“If we can’t explain how the eye evolved, then the whole theory of evolution is dead.” Charles Darwin. The human eye haunted Charles Darwin til the day he died. As well – it should have! It is one of God’s greatest creations!
The recent PBS multi-program special “Evolution” had a well produced (but grossly inadequate) segment on the eye and an attempt to rescue Darwin with a modern explanation of the evolution of the eye. The discussion for the evolution of the eye was presented by Dr. Dan Nilsson, a professor at a prestigious Swedish University, who has spent (wasted) his career studying the evolution of the eye. He is a world renown expert on the evolution of the eye. His claims centered around four basic points:
- The eye is poorly designed,
- Simple creatures incorporate simple “light sensitive skin” for visualization,
- More complex creatures have concave “light sensitive skin,” and
- By adding a lense, the most complex creatures have “the modern eye.”
The sequence of items 2-4 is the intended evolutionary trail. As one who has a tremendous fascination with God’s design of the eye, I would like to comment on each of these claims.
Claim #1: “The eye is poorly designed.” The program opened with a very dramatic simulation of a lady’s personal experience of a torn retina. It was a moving and well dramatized portrayal of her vision deterioration, rush to the hospital, and repair by modern scientific procedures. Having my own set of retinal imperfections, I, for one, was appalled, shocked, and somewhat offended by this claim. The fact that the retina can become a victim of disease is no different from any other form of disease. It does NOT provide evidence for evolution. It provides evidence for the fall of man! Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. Romans 5:12.
The other justification for this claim was the so called, “blind spot.” The claim was, “A perfect eye, designed by a perfect God, wouldn’t have a blind spot.” As you all know, we all have a so called, “blind spot” in each eye. But is it truly “blind”? It’s easy to check. Close one eye. Now look for that spot. You can’t find it, can you?!?! So it’s not a blind spot. This spot represents only 0.25% of your visual field and is a full 15 degrees away from your focal point! That’s a rather spectacular design! NOT a design deficiency! We will discuss this in greater detail later in this article.
Claim #2: “Simple creatures incorporate simple “light sensitive skin” for visualization.” This was described as an ancient and early form of vision, but the notion has multiple fallacies. For one, even a “light sensitive” spot is incredibly complex. It is far from a first stage of evolutionary development! This process involves no less than 15 different chemical reactions that occur in picoseconds! (0.000000000001 seconds) Any one missing reaction results in no light sensitivity! Furthermore, “light sensitive skin” has extreme limitations; it must be in contact with the brain to be of any value, in which case it is restricted to soft slimy creatures with no skull and limited risk of damage.
Claim #3: “More complex creatures have concave “light sensitive” spots.” The intent here was to show that a “light sensitive spot” would want to become concave for better visualization. Dr Nilsson showed extremely complex computer modeling to promote this step of evolution. Although a concave “spot” would produce a more useful image, it is of little value being only light sensitive skin! Hardly any creatures have this form of “eye.”
Claim #4: “By adding a lense, the most complex creatures have the modern eye.” This was the most incredulous claim of all. Basically, he jumped from “concave light sensitive skin” to a fully developed “human eye” in one easy step!!! This claim has countless flaws! First of all, his initial wording was, “If I add….” What does he mean by, “If I…?” This is not evidence for evolution. This is evidence for intelligent design by our Creator! To continue his statement, “If I add two layers of transparent membranes, water in between, and a mechanism to control the pressure of this fluid…” Wow!! What a spectacular “IF I”!!! How many non-transparent membranes would form before two (not one, but two) transparent membranes could be formed?!?! How many other “transparent membranes” are found in your body? This is NOT an easy item to requisition by chance! Second, holding pressure without leaking or tearing!?! Third, being able to control the fluid pressure to control focusing!?! Fourth, having a transparent membrane of proper variations of thickness so that varying pressure actually affects focus instead of distortion!?! What an incredible statement!
Also, this claim totally overlooks numerous other aspects of the eye, all of which were totally ignored. The optic nerve!!! The pupil. The iris muscles to control the size of the pupil. The muscles to move the eye left and right. The muscles to move the eye up and down. The muscles to control the shape/focus of the lens. (It is not controlled by water pressure.) The water glands to keep it lubricated. The eyelid to protect it, and on and on!!!
The most spectacular oversight was the impossible leap from “light sensitive skin” to a “retina.” They have nothing in common!!! Skin is made of “skin” tissue. The retina is made of “nerve” tissue. (The retina is considered an extension of the brain!) These two tissues are totally different in structure and design. One could not evolve into the other. The light sensitive skin would have had to disappear and then be replaced by nerve tissue. (Starting the process all over.) Furthermore, since the process of evolution is considered mutation of genes for development, it is interesting to note, the various aspects of the human eye are NOT found in any single gene! The human genome uses several genes independently to control these various aspects of our Creator’s design!
Those of you who have worn glasses for years, have you ever been called, “four eyes?” The next time that term comes up, remind the other person that we ALL have four eyes!!! (Kinda) Think about it. Your retina has two entirely separate receptor systems. The cones produce the color images and the rods produce the black and white images. They do not work simultaneously. They work independently! The cones (color) are not capable of working at low light levels. The rods (black and white) work at extremely low levels and can detect as little as one light photon. However, in daylight, the rods would become so supersaturated that they would completely wash out the cone images EXCEPT for, by design, they turn themselves off right at the light level where the cones become effective!!! What a spectacular design!!! As a result, the dynamic light sensing range of the human eye (designed by God) is 10 billion to one! In comparison, photographic film (designed by man) is only one thousand to one! The difference is a factor of one million to one!!!
Lastly, so far we have only discussed “imaging!” There has been no statement at all regarding “signal processing.” “Imaging” can be illustrated by simply projecting an image on a screen. “Signal processing” is much more complex. This involves being able to recognize the image and act on the recognition. This is a topic of considerably more material than “imaging!” Without signal processing, the image is of no useful value whatsoever! Remember the so called, “blind spot?” It is not a blind spot because the signal processing fills in this missing information! As one with retinal problems myself, let me assure you, the brain can process enormous holes of missing information!!! In fact, much of what you think you see is not seen at all, but is filled in by the brain (the signal processor.) Your eyes move much too quickly and your brain requires far too much information to rely too heavily on the imaging capabilities of the eye alone. What a spectacular design! And even more, a spectacular designer!!! And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought. And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking. Mark 8:23-24 This could have been an example of inadequate signal processing which often occurs when the blind first regain their sight after surgery! After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly. Mark 8:25 Perhaps the result of fully restored signal processing!
In summary, if you are looking for an example of a magnificent design that only our infinite Creator is capable of accomplishing AND that defies all evolutionary logic, The Eyes Have It! The human eye mystifies even the best evolutionary scientists today just as it did in Darwin’s day. As Christians, we cannot begin to explain the complexity of the human eye. It is far too complex for us to understand. But that’s OK, For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 1 Cor 13:12
Jay A Auxt