Wednesday, December 17, 2008

the human eye -- additional thoughts

Opponents to the theory of evolution frequently use the human eye to suggest that it is simply not plausible that such a complex structure could evolve through random mutation and natural selection. One of the many Internet sites that puts forth this argument against evolution begins thus:
The human eye is enormously complicated - a perfect and interrelated system of about 40 individual subsystems, including the retina, pupil, iris, cornea, lens and optic nerve.

And in this one sentence lies the key problem with the anti-evolution argument. Because, as billions of people on earth are aware every day, the human eye is far from perfect. For example, in the U.S. and western Europe myopia (nearsightedness) affects between 30 to 40 percent of adults (and approximately 20 percent of young primary school children), but in some Asian nations, myopia among young school age children is between 35 and 45 percent, and among adults is from 70 to 90 percent. (Reference: http://www.laser-eye-surgery-statistics.com/page/page/5961885.htm).

As for the farsightedness (hyperopia), the rate for young children ranges between about 6 percent to 15 percent around the world, and increases with age, so that the over 65 population, suffers from farsightedness from fifty to 60 percent depending upon ethnicity.

In addition to myopia and hyperopia there are (as one medical site states) "a vast array of hereditary eye disorders." Among the more common are congenital cataracts (one out of 250 infants is born with a cataract) and retinal degenerations which includes retinitis pigmentosa (RP), which affects one in 5,000 in the United States. Glaucoma and strabismus, or crossed eyes, are two other commonly inherited conditions.

Given the wide array of congenital problems with eyes, and the extent to which those problems are found in the human population, it would seem to me that an evolutionary explanation makes more sense than design guided directly by some omnipotent being.

I do believe with an implacable, unswerving faith, in G-d, divine power, transcendent power, unknowable power, infinite power, incomprehensible power (to us finite humans) and in the role of that divine power in the initiation of the universe and the processes through which it has unfolded for billions of years. But it seems to me, that if there was a direct, conscious, hands-on designer of the human eye, he/she/it could have done a much better job.

On the other hand, as a consequence of billions of years of accidental mutations and fortuitous benefits for enhancing survival, the human eye is pretty damn miraculous.

3 comments:

Qaro said...

Thanks for the warning signs. I may not have thought about going to the doctor just for a vision problem but it might just become very important.

As for the anti-evolution sites, at least he cited references! : )

Jennifer Howland said...

I am so sorry. There must be so much hurt and rejection built up inside of you. However, there is no rejection in the arms of God. We needed a Savior and nobody else could save us but God. So he, himself came to earth as a baby and grew up as a man in order to voluntarily give his life as a sacrifice for our sin. There is something deep inside you telling you that this is truth. Don't reject HIM. I Love You,
Jennifer Howland

Sue said...

it never ceases to amaze me that people like Jennifer here never really read or try to understand people and new ideas before they have knee jerk reactions to them.