Tuesday, December 5, 2006

To the Drive-By Linker, About the Evolution of the Eye...

  1. Learn some html coding and you can make your links work like this: For I Am Fearfully and Wonderfully Made. It saves everyone the trouble of cutting and pasting.
  2. Get better sources so that your "articles" are harder to refute. At least pick something that sounds good.
  3. Ashamed of being a follower of sky god that you refuse to put your name where your mouth is? Let me see, what does the great and holy bibble say? Oh, that's right: Luke 9:26 For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and [in his] Father's, and of the holy angels. Seems like you may be screwed.
But enough of dealing with your silly, silly ways. I am here to refute the link you posted, the so-called "Eyeball Conundrum" which you creationists tend to think of as your holy grail as "proof" of the insupportableness of evolution. Think of this as a learning experience, and you may find it less painful, okay?

Right off the bat, your web site of choice quotes Darwin:

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.
And, as always, you think you have a point, but only because that's when you all stopped reading! None of you have ever--ever--read the paragraph immediately following it, have you? Darwin goes on to say:

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.
This is where my mom usually says, "What? What is that in layman's terms! Speak English!" :D

Darwin acknowledges first the complexity of the eye in its various, interworking parts and states up front that, if one were to simply say the "eyeball evolved" exactly as it presently is into being, thinking so would be absurd! (As is thinking the sky god made it as it is!; but we'll get to that in a moment...) Nothing simply pops up into existence so complex! But he goes onto explain that, through small, numerous changes over periods of time involving genetic variance and natural selection, such a complex thing comes into being as it continues to need improvement for the survival of the fittest, as well as for the species itself! But, of course, being as you fundies don't like using reasoning or logic, you simply say, "Wow! It must have been a god!" and totally ignore (conveniently) Darwin's simple, clear explanation of how it came to be.

Further, many many scientists, trying to learn exactly how something so complex (yet faulty still) came into being have hit upon numerous similarities, common traits, genetic markers, and large amounts of data that show the path of the eyeball when it started out deep in the brain as just a cluster of cells that showed a sensitivity to light. But, since I doubt you'll even want to read about it, for those of you do, here are some links (which you need not copy and paste into your browser):
  1. DNA Science Workshop for VCE Biology Teachers by Elizabeth Finkel, dated 12/11/95 (which just goes to show that you all should have been searching for a new grail a long time ago...)
  2. Where'd You Get Those Peepers? by Richard Dawkins, dated 6/16/95
  3. Evolution of the Eye by Dan-Erik Nilsson, dated 2001 (and there's even a short, educational video to watch about it--how fun! Interactive learning!)
  4. Darwin's Greatest Challenge Tackled: The Mystery Of Eye Evolution by Science Daily, dated 11/1/04
Now, as to the silliness of thinking that, because our eye is complex, it must have had a designer: You know trees have trunks? Goodness, someone must have designed that! See how silly that sounds? Not only is our eye pretty piss-poor in regards to some of the other eyeballs that look upon this same world we do (and notice, none of them are saying, "Hey! I can see! Thank god!!"), our eye is not the most evolved on earth by any stretch of the imagination. It is prone to a vast amount of diseases and afflictions! (To see a list of some of the most common, you can click here.) Many animals have better vision, sharper details, see more colors (some can even see ultraviolet and infrared!), can rotate them independently, have much better protection than our flimsy eyelids--the list goes on and on! But our eyes evolved to the point now where we can certainly function pretty optimally for what we need them to do (although I'm thinking with all the radiation stories floating around lately, perhaps we should evolve the ability to see radiation wavelengths!). Regardless, some types of eyes have gone extinct with the creatures that evolved them (see this page about trilobites, a vast family of creatures now extinct, some of which had eyes made of calcite!). But, calcite eyes were probably part of some "grand design" that the eyes of these extinct creatures should be hard as a rock, eh? Hmm, wonder why these hundreds of thousands of creatures died when most of them lived on the bottom of the sea floor? It couldn't have been Noah's flood... And since there are no other world-wide disasters in the bibble.... Well, again, must have been part of the "master plan" of the sky god, right? To create these creatures, make them so prolific they leave literally thousands of fossils behind, but then wipe them out... without a catastrophe anywhere in the bibble to explain how... Must have been some of those "tough love" courses offered at Sky God University, eh? Go figure. "Mysterious ways" and all that other jazz...

Regardless, the eye, when looked at as the slowly evolving organ that it has been, following the genetics, the data, the fossils, and all of the other evidence available to our brains can easily be seen (as noted by Darwin) to have gained complexity over time through small, useful changes that allowed certain species to live better and longer. As opposed to an "intelligent designer" who not only gave us "complex" eyes out of the "dust of the ground" (talk about your dry eyes!) but a useless appendix only good for getting infected and causing near-death experiences (as personally experienced), tonsils which are only good for sore throats (as not personally experinced but seen in two siblings), and a tail while we are in utero only to have it disappear by the time we are born. Which in turn begs another grand question for the followers of the sky god: why would we need to grow tails in the womb only to lose them by birth? If we start out as a round circle, get invaded by wiggly, tiny creatures, and begin reproducing cells that are supposedly human and human alone (not having gone through an evolutionary process), why do we grow tails in utero and then lose them? And no fundie has yet told me how they explain away Neanderthal (as well as the other human ancestor fossils which are well documented and studied) as nothing more than an ape (an "ape," I remind you, that buried their dead...)

So we are still where we were before, aren't we? Evolution has facts, creationists have half-truths (as shown by their "selective" quoting of Darwin) and myths (as shown by their inability to explain even the most basic questions about our past). Ta-ta for now!

4 comments:

FCSuper said...

It's funny that anon seems to imply that his one little unrearched weblink some how magically trumps an actual well sourced article. Opinions aside, that's pretty pathetic.

I have found that some people often choose to ignore the science of something because it's just to hard for them to understand. "God made it that way" is so much easier than "This lifeform has come about through a series of small genetic changes over a period of millions of years based on application of natural selection." I don't have a problem with the belief of God because we all must choose the metaphor by which we live. It is just ironic when someone promotes their belief that God did everything over actual observed researched facts. I also don't mind applying the God metaphor to things we don't understand, but once we have a glimmer of knowledge in those areas, the God metaphor is a roadblock to the accumulation of more knowledge. Ok, this is what I mean: our understanding of evolution is expanding human knowledge in many other areas! In fact, knowledge of evolution is leading to the saving of lives right now. So, whatever someone wants to say about the complex human eye or the odds of evolution doing this or that. It doesn't matter. Knowledge gained through our understanding of evolution is saving lives, among other advances benefiting humanity. Yet, we still having people trying to hide that knowledge from others, or mudding up the waters of public discourse with randoms misleading comments to create confusion to make people want ignore the facts without understanding them.

mom said...

hello jason! you would be surprised how many times i asked myself why they can't speak english!! :) and i think the brain itself is alot more exciting than the eyeball even though i am having a lot more doctor visits on that part of my body now. come to think of it ever since i turned 40 its seems like the doctors office is the place to go for fun!! :) so far my brain has not been looked at even if some people out in blog land think i should have my brain looked at. :) i am smarter than the average bear! snort! well anyway let me know when you have pictures of the whole thing of how things were made and i will get excited. at my age i am glad i still have working parts that don't hurt yet! now that is exciting! my new hips are really working good and plan on being able to keep them longer than the doctors say i can keep them! i will make it in the medical books i am sure! :) i do think the knowledge that we are gaining is God given and that we all can be thankful on that. God made us all different and He gave us the brain to help others in all kinds of different ways. it is funny on how i read in the Bible today first Thessalonians5:12-22, niv. i think what i read kind of fits in all this. well, got to go. love and prayers

Deacon Barry said...

It's a little known fact, that the human retina can detect ultraviolet radiation, but usually it is filtered out by the lens. When the lens is removed surgically and replaced with a plastic intraocular lens, UV light is then detected as a blueish tinge to the colour balance.

mom said...

hello jason! you would be surprised how many times i asked myself why they can't speak english!! :) and i think the brain itself is alot more exciting than the eyeball even though i am having a lot more doctor visits on that part of my body now. come to think of it ever since i turned 40 its seems like the doctors office is the place to go for fun!! :) so far my brain has not been looked at even if some people out in blog land think i should have my brain looked at. :) i am smarter than the average bear! snort! well anyway let me know when you have pictures of the whole thing of how things were made and i will get excited. at my age i am glad i still have working parts that don't hurt yet! now that is exciting! my new hips are really working good and plan on being able to keep them longer than the doctors say i can keep them! i will make it in the medical books i am sure! :) i do think the knowledge that we are gaining is God given and that we all can be thankful on that. God made us all different and He gave us the brain to help others in all kinds of different ways. it is funny on how i read in the Bible today first Thessalonians5:12-22, niv. i think what i read kind of fits in all this. well, got to go. love and prayers