Saturday, February 07, 2009

The evolution of the eye

Sir David Attenborough explains the evolution of the eye, for the benefit of those who may be suffering from a touch of epistemological astigmatism.


Anonymous said...

Lovely, almost a Darwinist version of "All Things Bright and Beautiful". I particularly enjoyed the deft insertion of the word "improvement".

Gordon McCabe said...

I particularly enjoy verse 3 of 'All things bright and beautiful':

The rich man in his castle,
The poor man at his gate,
God made them, high or lowly,
And order'd their estate.

Anonymous said...

Gordon, you may have noted that Brit, I and a few others are mourning the death last week of a blogging pal with whom we used to have endless debates over evolution that at times became riotous. I thought you might enjoy this spoof by Brit and some of the comments it led to.

Anonymous said...

How is anyone with even a modicum of knowledge of the actual structure and operation of the human eye coupled to the need for an occipital cortex in the brain capable of processing the information transmitted along the optic nerve (which is itself a marvel of complexity) taken in by this staggeringly simplistic (supposed) explanation?

Do you know that the eye processes the information it recieves before it travels down the optic nerve? We know that the eye is vastly more complicated than was believed to be the case when Attenborough studied.

Its become rather trite to talk about the mathematical improbability of even the simplest living cell having evolved let alone a complex structure like the human eye, the optic nerve and the occipital cortex (I'm greatly simplifying here) but that doesn't stop it being so.

All the elements (eye, nervous system, brain) that work together to give us our ability to see (you know auto aiming, auto focus, auto apeture adjust, colour processing, self maintain / repair etc) had to 'evolve' in conjunction with each other.

Dawkins & company argue that natural selection gets over the mathematical improbabilility problem but that's not so. The idea of natural selection makes the whole basis of evolution less likely as you then not only have to consider probabilities but have to factorize each stage by the number of components and remember that the most simple living thing is composed of thousands of elements. What was already impossible to have evolved becomes truly mind bogglingly impossible.

Oh and that bit about the eye evolving over billions of years - well mammalian eyes need a skeletal support so we are post Cambrian Explosion or not more than 550 million years.

Oh c'mon folks! Open your eyes and stop accepting things so uncritically. Think it through.