A couple of weeks ago, PhysOrg reported something we paid no attention to at the time: Discovery sheds light on how vertebrates see. They said:
New research led by the University of Leicester has overturned a long-standing theory on how vertebrates evolved their eyes by identifying remarkable details of the retina in the eyes of 300 million year-old lamprey and hagfish fossils.
The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, led by Professor Sarah Gabbott from the University of Leicester Department of Geology, shows that fossil hagfish eyes were well-developed, indicating that the ancient animal could see, whereas their living counterparts are completely blind after millions of years of eye degeneration – a kind of reverse evolution.
The published paper is here, and you can read it online without a subscription: Pigmented anatomy in Carboniferous cyclostomes and the evolution of the vertebrate eye. Back to PhysOrg:
The details of the retina in the fossil hagfish indicates that it had a functional visual system, meaning that living hagfish eyes have been lost through millions of years of evolution, and these animals are not as primitively simple as we originally believed. As a result they are not the most appropriate model for understanding eye evolution.
Professor Gabbott added: “Sight is perhaps our most cherished sense but its evolution in vertebrates is enigmatic and a cause célèbre for creationists. We bring new fossil evidence to bear on an iconic evolutionary problem: the early evolution of the vertebrate eye. We will now scrutinize the eyes of other ancient vertebrate fossils to see if we can finally build a picture of the sequence of events that took place in early vertebrate eye evolution.”
Okay. Fair enough. Contrary to earlier opinion, today’s hagfish isn’t an example of an intermediate step in vertebrate eye evolution. But there are loads of other examples of eye evolution. Wikipedia has an article on Evolution of the eye.
However, as might be expected, creationists are now in a state of ecstasy. A good example is the latest article at the website of Answers in Genesis (AIG) — the creationist ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the Australian entrepreneur who has become the ayatollah of Appalachia. The title is Discovery of Hagfish Eyes Debunks Claim About Eye Evolution.
What a title! The loss of one data point — albeit a good one — totally “debunks” eye evolution. It was written by Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell, a creationist gynecologist. (Please, dear reader, we know it’s tempting, but let’s have no inappropriate hagfish jokes!) Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
The discovery of sophisticated eyes in a fossilized hagfish has dethroned the modern blind hagfish as the only observable so-called intermediate form in eye evolution.
• Hagfish are blind because their eyes are missing many essential parts.
• Evolutionists have long seen hagfish as a living transitional form in the story of eye evolution.
• Discovery of complex eyes in an ancient hagfish fossil robs evolutionists of their supposed intermediate form.
• Hagfish originally had good eyes and lost them, but this is not reverse evolution because eye complexity did not evolve in the first place.
• Hagfish with complex eyes were designed by a wise Creator God, but they have degenerated like so many other things in this sin-cursed world.
Amazing, isn’t it? Her article is huge, so only a little bit will be excerpted here. For example:
So what happened to the hagfish’s eyes? Like blind cave fish, the modern hagfish has either lost the information for producing eyes or stopped expressing that information. Is that evolution or “devolution” or reverse evolution? Not at all. No one has shown that the information to make eyes in the first place was acquired through random natural processes, so the process of evolution has not been reversed. Neither is the loss of information or the end of its expression the same as acquiring new information.
Brilliant, huh? Then she tells us:
Fossil evidence indicates the ancient hagfish eye was not a transitional form. Having lost their only supposed intermediate form of the vertebrate eye, have evolutionists given up their model? Of course not. They still assume that the vertebrate eye evolved through a series of steps but presume that the fossil evidence for this bit of visual history remains undiscovered, deeper in history and perhaps lost to the ravages of time and chance.
Hey — we can’t give up faith! After that she says:
Why, some might ask, do evolutionists hang onto their story when the evidence does not support it? Well, it comes down to worldview. No scientist was around to observe the origin of eyes. And even if the fossil record contained a series of extinct vertebrate eyes that could be arranged from primitive to complex — and evolutionists concede it does not — those would represent only a collection of animals with different sorts of eyes. Only the evolutionary imagination — the belief that the existence of complex eyes means they must have evolved through a series of natural processes — connects the dots between such fossils.
The loss of genetic information, or the cessation of its expression as is seen in blind cavefish [reference omitted], is not evolution but only the sort of loss that occurs in a world fraught with deterioration and degeneration since man’s sin introduced death into the perfect world God made. Once a person understands that the most reliable source of information about our distant past is the Word of the all-knowing God who created us and saw it all unfold, the existence of the blind hagfish makes sense.
Ah yes, that makes sense. Now we skip to the end:
Thus when we look at the modern hagfish not staring back at us, we should not see evidence of evolution as Gabbott [one of the researchers] suggests (despite her discovery to the contrary), but we should see an example of a well-designed animal that has degenerated since God created it about 6,000 years ago, joining in the world of death that has reigned since Adam’s rebellion against our Creator.
Once again, dear reader, evolution is wrong, and Genesis is right. Isn’t creationism wonderful?
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