AN (cc. CreationEvolutionDesign)
----- Original Message -----
To: Stephen E. Jones
Sent: Saturday, June 10, 2006 12:30 AM
Subject: Would Jesus stoop to quotemining?
>The incomprehensible creationist - the Darwin "eye" quote revisited
John Stear, 7 March 2004
[Updated 16 May 2005]
Continued from part #2.
>The quote, in its entirety, is taken from The Origin of Species, Chapter 6, "Organs of extreme perfection and complication".
To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree. Yet reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a perfect and complex eye to one very imperfect and simple, each grade being useful to its possessor, can be shown to exist; if further, the eye does vary ever so slightly, and the variations be inherited, which is certainly the case; and if any variation or modification in the organ be ever useful to an animal under changing conditions of life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, though insuperable by our imagination, can hardly be considered real. How a nerve comes to be sensitive to light, hardly concerns us more than how life itself first originated; but I may remark that several facts make me suspect that any sensitive nerve may be rendered sensitive to light, and likewise to those coarser vibrations of the air which produce sound.
Darwin was just bluffing. There was no way that in the 19th century, he could have known that "gradations from a perfect and complex eye to one very imperfect and simple, each grade being useful to its possessor, can be shown to exist."
And in fact "gradations from a perfect and complex eye to one very imperfect and simple"can not "be shown to exist." Even between two types of shrimps (i.e. Euphausiid shrimps" i.e. krill "classified as close 'cousins' to true shrimps), one of the world's foremost authorities on the eye, Prof. Michael Land, wrote that "a refracting optical system, with refractive index crystalline cones, could not evolve into a reflecting system with squared multilayer-coated surfaces, nor vice versa" and "Both are successful and very sophisticated image-forming devices, but I cannot imagine an intermediate form that would work at all" (my emphasis):
"Darwinism does not look you squarely in the eye. It insists on faith in the unseen conversion of one type of eye into another. Upon this faith a humble shrimp imposes considerable strain. Moths, fireflies and Euphausiid shrimps, creatures all active in the dark, have special compound eyes which include a retina on which the multiple lenses focus at a common point to form an upright image. These shrimps, which seem to be, and are, classified as close 'cousins' to true shrimps, employ lens cylinders which smoothly bend the incoming light so that it all focuses at a common point, rather than forming multiple images as most compound eyes do. This feat of optical engineering has only been duplicated by humans in the last decade. If this were not enough, Michael Land, a biologist from Sussex University, has observed that other shrimps have eyes which employ a different principle of physics, reflection from mirrors. The eyes have squared facets employed as radially arranged mirrors. It requires precise geometry to align such mirrors so that incoming rays are all reflected to focus at a common point, forming an image there. In an article entitled 'Nature as an Optical Engineer' Dr Land wrote: `I would guess that a refracting optical system, with refractive index crystalline cones, could not evolve into a reflecting system with squared multilayer-coated surfaces, nor vice versa. Both are successful and very sophisticated image-forming devices, but I cannot imagine an intermediate form that would work at all.' [Land, M., "Nature as an Optical Engineer," New Scientist, Vol. 84, October 1979, p.13] No common ancestors or series, leading up to these two very different sorts of eyes in the same shrimp-like body, are known. Confronted with the evidence, I believe a reasonable Mr. Darwin would have opted for a theory of design. Over one hundred years ago he wrote: `To suppose that the eye ... could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree.'" (Pitman, M., "Adam and Evolution," Rider & Co: London, 1984, pp.217-218)
And Darwin, by his admission that he was not explaining, "How a nerve comes to be sensitive to light," thereby evaded the main issue, in that he is not then explaining how the eye arose, because he is starting with an already fully-functioning eye! Just as in "how life itself first originated", the real challenge for Darwin's theory, is to get from nothing (i.e. no life, no eye) to something (life, an eye).
And there are in fact, no "very imperfect and simple" eyes. All eyes are very complex, just that some are more very complex than others! As an irreducible minimum an eye has to: 1) capture individual photons of light; 2) transduce each photon into a chemical signal; 3) pass it along an optical nerve to a brain; 4) the brain has to interpret those signals; and 5) tell the animal what they mean; so that 6) it can take the appropriate action.
As I mentioned not long ago, Richard L. Gregory, Emeritus Professor of Neuropsychology at the Department of Experimental Psychology, Bristol University, another expert on the eye, even though he is an evolutionist who accepts that "the human eye and brain have come about through slow painful trial and error," regards "The problem of how eyes have developed" as "a major challenge to the Darwinian theory of evolution by Natural Selection" because then "each step must confer some advantage upon its owner, to be selected and transmitted through the generations." But then "what use is a half-made lens?" and "What use is a lens giving an image, if there is no nervous system to interpret the information?" and "How could a visual nervous system come about before there was an eye to give it information?":
"The problem of how eyes have developed has presented a major challenge to the Darwinian theory of evolution by Natural Selection. We can make many entirely useless experimental models when designing a new instrument, but this was impossible for Natural Selection, for each step must confer some advantage upon its owner, to be selected and transmitted through the generations. But what use is a half-made lens? What use is a lens giving an image, if there is no nervous system to interpret the information? How could a visual nervous system come about before there was an eye to give it information? In evolution there can be no master plan, no looking ahead to form structures which, though useless now, will come to have importance when other structures are sufficiently developed. And yet the human eye and brain have come about through slow painful trial and error." (Gregory, R.L., "Eye and Brain: The Psychology of Seeing," , Weidenfeld & Nicolson: London, Second edition, 1972, p.25)
And Darwin was also wrong in his assumption that "any sensitive nerve may be rendered sensitive to light". As leading geneticist and Dawkins opponent, Gabriel Dover, pointed out, the fact is that all true eyes are based on the Pax-6 master gene:
"The Pax-6 gene of mammals is interchangeable with the equivalent Pax-6 gene of Drosophila. The experiment of getting Pax-6 switched on in tissues not normally expressing Pax-6 can be done using either the fly's own Pax-6 gene or one taken from a mouse. Either way, the results are quite startling - eyes are produced on several unusual parts of the fly's body, such as legs and wings. Insect eyes and mammalian eyes are constructed in different ways. The insect eye is a many-sided compound eye in which each 'eyelet' and its lens can be said to be equivalent to the single mammalian eye. So what should we be expecting from our gene-swopping experiments? We might guess that the Pax-6 of Drosophila produces patches of compound eye wherever Pax-6 is operating. But what of the Pax master gene from a mouse? Will it produce an insect or mouse eye when turned 'on' in different Drosophila tissues? The answer is that it produces a Drosophila compound eye on legs, wings, halteres and antennae. Moreover the antenna eyes generate the same electric impulses as the normal eyes showing that they are functional. Eyes cannot be induced in any tissue; the foreign eye master gene has to be active at the appropriate stage of insect development. Nevertheless, the mouse Pax-6 can successfully interact with the estimated 2,500 target genes lying dormant in many different Drosophila organs. Pax-6 genes exist in such diverse species as amphibians, squid worms and planariums, as well as mammals and insects. Some of these have also been shown capable of inducing extra eyes in Drosophila. What these experiments tell us is that Pax-6 really can be considered a master control gene that has been conserved over a huge distance of evolutionary time, probably predating the Cambrian epoch of 550 million years ago. " (Dover, G.A., "Dear Mr Darwin: Letters on the Evolution of Life and Human Nature," , University of California Press: Berkeley CA, 2000, reprint, pp.170-171)
[Graphic: New Scientist] which only arose once and codes for all "the widely different structures and operations of eyes (eye cup, pinhole, camera-type with single lens, mirror and compound)" which "goes against a hundred years of insistence" by Darwinists falsely that the these "different ... eyes ... arose independently, at least forty and maybe up to sixty-five times" to emphasize "the repetitive ease with which natural selection could" allegedly "produce an eye":
"The Pax-6 story tells us that there has been just one origin and one evolutionary line of progression, from the earliest patches of light-sensitive cells to the variety of advanced eye-forms around us. This unavoidable conclusion, Charles [Darwin], goes against a hundred years of insistence that the widely different structures and operations of eyes (eye cup, pinhole, camera-type with single lens, mirror and compound) arose independently, at least forty and maybe up to sixty-five times. Our old friend Richard Dawkins devoted a chapter in one of his books to 'the forty-fold path to enlightenment', emphasizing the repetitive ease with which natural selection could produce an eye, and so relieving you of the 'cold shudder' you experienced whenever you grappled with this problem." (Dover, 1999, p.172) .
Note Dover's subtle irony. Darwin can now, posthumously, be relieved "of the 'cold shudder'" he "experienced whenever" he "grappled with this problem" of how "natural selection could produce an eye," because it didn't!
Concluded in part #4.