You won’t believe this unless you read it for yourself, but the eye is still being touted as evidence of intelligent design. At least, this time around, the argument doesn’t involve quote-mining Darwin.
Except for “Why are there still monkeys?” the eye is probably one of the oldest ploys in the creationist bag of tricks. We wrote about this subject before, because sooner or later creationists always bring it up, but they’re never able to make the case — as they must — that eye evolution is impossible. See Evolution of the Eye. Wikipedia has an article on it: evolution of the eye. Well, brace yourself, dear reader, because this hoary old argument is once again making the rounds.
We’re talking about this article, Optimistic Optics: “Scientific American” Makes Bold Claims About the Origin of the Eye, which appears at the blog of the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute‘s creationist public relations and lobbying operation, the Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids, a/k/a the cdesign proponentsists).
The Discoveroid article starts out like this, with bold font added by us:
A couple of weeks ago, an interesting article appeared in Scientific American, titled “Evolution Of The Eye.” The subheading of the article makes the bold claim, “Scientists now have a clear vision of how our notoriously complex eye came to be.” When I saw that this article had been published, I was immediately filled with a sense of intrigue. I looked forward to reading a proposed solution to a fiendishly vexing problem.
So intricate is the eye that its origin has long been a cause célèbre among creationists and intelligent design proponents, who hold it up as a prime example of what they term irreducible complexity — a system that cannot function in the absence of any of its components and that therefore cannot have evolved naturally from a more primitive form.
Indeed. But after discussing recent research, Lamb concludes:
The results indicate that our kind of eye — the type common across vertebrates — took shape in less than 100 million years, evolving from a simple light sensor for circadian (daily) and seasonal rhythms around 600 million years ago to an optically and neurologically sophisticated organ by 500 million years ago. More than 150 years after Darwin published his groundbreaking theory, these findings put the nail in the coffin of irreducible complexity and beautifully support Darwin’s idea. They also explain why the eye, far from being a perfectly engineered piece of machinery, exhibits a number of major flaws — these flaws are the scars of evolution.
Okay, back to the Discoveroid blog, which goes through some exquisite nit-picking about the eye’s lens, and then says:
But here’s the bottom line: This is not the type of system which one might intuitively expect to be the product of trial-and-error Darwinian-type tinkering. To simply appeal to the addition of a lens is to fundamentally trivialise the matter at hand.
You’ll need to read the Discoveroid article to see how lame that is. One could respond by pointing out that conjuring up a magical designer to solve a problem is the ultimate way to “fundamentally trivialise the matter at hand.”
The Discoveroid article then goes on to cite a number of creationists who disagree with eye evolution, including such notable names as Richard von Sternberg, Michael Behe, and Casey Luskin. It concludes by saying:
… I hope that this article has given readers a sense for why Darwinists are going to have to do a lot better than they are currently doing if they are to convince us of the plausibility of their model.
So there you are, dear reader. The eye is back in play as a major creationist argument. According to the Discoveroids, if you can see well enough to read our words, then you must abandon science and give thanks to the intelligent designer — blessed be he! — who bestowed the miracle of sight upon you.
Copyright © 2011. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.