EYE ORIGINS: Part II
Is Nature or Intelligence Responsible for Eye Design?
Can the processes of biology create an eye? Nature only has one known mechanism for creating new material or designs, that is random mutation. Natural selection would only become part of the creative process after mutations have either accidentally created something new or accidentally modified an existing sequence that has a positive or negative impact on the ability for an organism to survive.
Since natural selection is often mistakenly thought to be the creative force and an indicator of origins it’s important to keep focused on the source of the change, i.e. mutation. In reality natural selection works identically whether the origin of a feature is naturally occurring or intelligently designed. It can’t be used as an indicator of origins since it assumes what needs to be proved.
Typically, Evolutionists look at things from the wrong end of the organism. They mainly look at an organism’s structure rather than how biology modifies DNA. They assume that structural similarities indicate evolutionary relationships with the caveat that sometimes they don’t. This means that similarities don’t prove evolutionary relationships since it can be whatever it needs to be to make the story sound true. Even when comparing DNA sequences, they are still looking at the wrong thing, since the similarities do not address the problem of how the molecules got there. Meaning that molecular similarities can’t prove origins and once again the conclusions they draw are only to find the best sounding story, the story the majority can put their faith in, i.e. consensus. The assumption that similarities indicate an evolutionary relationship can be whatever they need. They might be an indicator, or they might not. When using structural or genetic similarities as evidence, evolution is assumed to be the origin. Therefore, using them as proof of evolution is circular reasoning. Circular reasoning is always convincing to those who use it
THE SHOWSTOPPER FOR NATURE.
When we look at how mutations behave in real time, in the present, they don’t do what evolution is said to have done in the past. The fact is that new molecular code cannot arise through random mutation in the time span available to this universe. Since it’s not possible for the processes of nature, either through the interactions of basic chemicals or through random mutations to DNA, to create even one new protein or enzyme, the story of evolution should end before it begins. No feature of the eye could have been the result of purely natural processes. This was considered in Probability vs. Natural origins.
However, evolutionists don’t accept that. They are still hoping to discover some natural way to get around the impossible odds that face each step in the evolutionary path. They have blind faith in a future discovery that will tell them that the obvious is not really the truth.
Rather they continue to rely on the same inadequate tools that were formed 200 years ago when we were ignorant of how biology works. They look at the rocks to find out when a feature first appears. They equate the first known appearance with its evolution. But looking at the rocks, making assumptions about dates, comparing similarities and drawing lines between the organisms that seem most logical depends on taking by faith that mutations really could morph life into all the different forms we see. How this fails when examining the origin of the eye is what was looked at in Part 1.
What we want to consider now are the mechanisms of biological change, mutation and genetic recombination and the likelihood that these would be able to create eyes like ours starting with an organism with no eye and no light sensitivity. How many genetic changes are needed for each step? How many steps are required? Would a million years or a billion years help when multiple components need to arise in the same organism? How many generations could pass when parallel changes in different systems or structures are required?
We have the following multiple step elements to consider in the construction of an eye: • Proteins and enzymes (coded on the DNA)
• Cellular internal structures (coded on the DNA)
• Cellular types (coded on the DNA)
• Organs and structures (coded on the DNA)
• Systems (indirectly defined by expression of DNA codes)
• Relationships to other organs, structures and systems (emerges from above mentioned elements)
How many different molecules are needed? How many different structures? We will touch on dozens of them, but to look at them all would fill volumes.
We also want to consider that if nature is not capable of creating the effects we see, could what we see be the result of an intelligent designer? Do the components and features of the eye system exhibit the signs of purposeful design? Do the paths imagined by evolutionists and attributed to nature actually fit paths that would be taken by a programmer?
Every organism starts out as a single cell. In that cell is the information to build every protein, every enzyme, every cell type and every structure in the organism. Then there is additional information that directs each cell division so that the final identity of the cell and it’s position in relation to other cells creates a structure or system. The information in this cell comes from a combination of the DNA of its parents. This is essentially where any changes will first come into being. It is far distant from the point of selection, which happens after the organism is formed. Any changes to the DNA will not be tested as individual changes to the DNA code, but as it affects the organism over its lifetime. Therefore, equating genetic differences as the point of selection is false.
Each cell in an organism has the information to be any other cell in that organism. Cells are specified by genetic programs which activate only specified sections of the code. This is what defines the cell. Specific codes are turned on or off during the organism’s development by another level of genetic programming. These master control genes continue to operate from the first division of the initial cell, through its growth as an embryo, through its birth and then at specific periods during the organism’s lifetime. Genetically programmed triggers can change an organism’s entire make up such as a caterpillar changing to a butterfly or even a child changing to an adult.
Code for a new protein is not enough, the following additional elements also need to be coded on the DNA:
• Activation of the protein in a cell. The code needs to be expressed.
• Factors that regulate the amount of the protein to be expressed.
• Factors that direct the placement of the protein.
This means that accidentally hitting on a code that might build a new protein is not enough. It involves even more coding that is physically unrelated to the code for the protein. So, adding a seemingly simple new feature to a phenotype can involve many levels of programming. Making the idea of a chance appearance ridiculously absurd.
What does this mean for a natural origin of the eye? Its not a simple matter of adding new features in a step-wise fashion. That is because each new feature would need to be the result of several levels of genetic coding changes. A new feature would appear only when the coding to create the proteins it needed was accompanied by coding for the shape and size of the cells that use it and their relative position to each other. The problem is even greater for nature when more than one system is needed to get to the next presumed step.
In each cell there are hundreds of different types of molecules, they all end up in a purposeful place, perform purposeful actions and they don’t inadvertently or incorrectly react with one another unless something has gone wrong. Every molecule placement is orchestrated and precise. This is a task that is well beyond nature but is exactly what a programmer would do.
The illusion that misdirects many people is the notion that the codes can be constructed bit by bit. When we look at the similarities and differences in coding, we can confuse our own ability to see the relationships with the ease with which nature can make a change or create new code. A short path for us is not necessarily a short path for nature. We use our cognitive abilities, our puzzle solving minds to see the sequences. The illusion is created by attributing to nature the ability to follow the path we see.
Opsin, for example, is one of the molecules used for light sensitivity. It’s made up of over 300 amino acids, that would be over 900 nucleotides on the DNA. We know it could not have arisen as a novel protein, but how likely is it to have arisen from modification to the code of a similar molecule?
We think the path would be short, but that illusion is created by our ability to see the path, the specific sections of code that needed to change. If only 5 of the 900 nucleotides changed randomly what is the likelihood that the ones that changed would be the 5 that would create opsin? We assume nature could have made the change in a reasonable amount of time because we are confusing what we deduce with our intelligence and attributing it to the processes of nature. A personification. Similar codes are not a guarantee that nature is the cause, programmers often use similar code to produce various effects. Both nature and intelligence can produce this effect.
The proposed evolutionary scenario for the origin of opsin is a gene duplication followed by specific unknown mutations to the code. This scenario fails to address the origin of the original molecule, it assumes both a precursor to opsin and that the similarities are the result of a natural change.
This conclusion is based on a scenario they think would work the best. They project their puzzle solving abilities onto nature and imagine a path that satisfies them. But once you consider the process the story is no longer compelling. The proposal, a duplication followed by a genetic re-write is actually the logical path that a programmer would use.
It’s highly unlikely the duplication and mutation scenario would happen naturally with just two mutational events. The likely result of multiple copying errors would result in many non-functional intermediates. But we don’t see evidence of this in nature.
Why are these problems so hard for many to see? It’s because the showstopping problems and assumed pathways are hidden in a fog of millions of years of time. On one hand they examine things through the eyes of an engineer, but in the remote past where nothing can be examined any changes are nebulous and only partially defined. The idea that “nature had millions of years” is not a sufficient answer, it simply hides the problems. “Millions of years” is the evolutionary fog that shelters them from the showstopping details.
Opsin is part of a G-protein/G-Protein Coupled Receptor (GPCR) molecular system.
Some facts about G-Protein/GPCR systems:
• Each GPCR is associated with at least one G-protein and often several additional proteins or enzymes meaning that all the associated molecules have an irreducibly complex relationship. Making the origin for even one such relationship impossible. The code for all the molecules involved would have to be compiled in a reasonable amount of time in the same organism.
• G-proteins and GPCRs are present in even the simplest eukaryotes and evolutionists believe by faith that the first of these important molecular systems appeared by pure chance shortly after the “emergence” of eukaryotes. That is, right from the beginning of multicellular organisms.
• The GPCR, G-Protein and effector molecule arrangements are found hundreds of times for all types of signals, detectors and regulators throughout life. They regulate things such as vision, embryonic development and cell growth to name a few. There are over 800 such relationships in humans alone. Opsin would not have been the first absurdly lucky duplication then reprograming accident or the last.
• Specifically, opsins in bacteria and the opsins in our ancestors are not believed by evolutionists to be related by descent, so they believe by faith that mutations stumbled upon the code for opsins and the associated molecules at least two times, once in bacteria and again in an ancient ancestor to everything else with opsin-based photo-sensitivity. But their evidence is not based on how biology works, but on the necessity to make their story work and to obscure the outlandish odds.
The Phototransduction Cascade:
Although opsin could be considered the central molecule involved in light sensitivity, it’s not light sensitive and it doesn’t create the signal used in vision. Opsin is only one molecule in a collection of many molecules in the reaction to light.
Here is an overview of the phototransduction cascade. Keep in mind that each molecule needed to be defined on the DNA before the cascade would work.
- The energy from a photon transforms the light sensitive molecule 11-cis Retinal nested inside the opsin. The change to 11-cis Retinal also changes the shape of the opsin and it becomes active.
- Opsin is designed not only to hold the 11-cis Retinal but also to activate the next molecule in the chain, transducin. The purposeful placement of opsin and transducin on the disc membrane is designed to facilitate this activation. Opsin can activate over 100 transducin molecules in one second.
- Then the active transducin molecules will then activate the next molecule in the chain, phosphodiesterase (PDE)
- PDE then converts cGMP to 5’-GMP at a rate of about 2000 per second.
- cGMP is a molecule that holds open the CNG channel that lets sodium and calcium into the cell. When cGMP is converted to 5’-GMP the channels close.
This arrangement serves the purpose of amplifying the effect of the photon hundreds of times. The result is that calcium concentration rapidly drops in the cell and, after several more steps and many more molecules, this triggers the cell to stop production of glutamate turning off the signal being sent to the next cell in the chain. This is designed to happen in a fraction of a second. The phototransduction cascade would not function in a cell without many other components in place.
Here is a list of the molecules involved:
- Opsin, holds 11-cis Retinal, activates transducin (coded on the DNA)
- 11-cis retinal, reacts to the energy from a photon (Made by cellular machinery)
- Transducin, activates PDE (coded on the DNA)
- PDE, changes cGMP to 5’-GMP (coded on the DNA)
- cGMP, Keeps the CNG channel open. (Made by GC)
- CNG channel for letting calcium and sodium into the cell. (coded on the DNA)
The phototransduction cascade is another showstopper for nature because it contains irreducibly complex elements as do many G-protein/GPCR combinations.
While evolutionists won’t admit this, they acknowledge this indirectly by making the erroneous claim that some of the molecules in the cascade “co-evolved”, meaning they all appeared at the same time. But co-evolution, by their own definition, is not something that happens at the molecular level. Co-evolution is based on a mutual need of one species for another. But molecules don’t need each other, so their reasoning is faulty.
What they are actually seeing is the work of an intelligent designer who can see how the molecules would need to work together and design them to do so. There is no natural stepwise way to create the phototransduction cascade. The “co-evolution” claim is only a cognitive dissonance release valve. Turning the cascade off and resetting the molecules is yet another showstopper. Even for low quality vision the signal needs to be turned off or the photoreceptors would become saturated. If all you need is to regulate circadian rhythms saturated photoreceptors would work fine, but for pattern recognition and image forming you need to reset the system quickly for the next activation. The need for this adds another very complex series of purposeful events and specified molecules, none of which could have arisen by chance.
Here is an overview of the reaction shutdown process.
- Opsin’s activity is first reduced by a molecule called Rhodopsin Kinase.
- Then another molecule, Arrestin, stops Opsin activity.
- Opsin needs to be recoupled with 11-cis retinal, this means that the form that was altered by the photon, All-trans retinal, needs to be changed back. All-trans Retinal is also toxic to the cell, so it needs to be changed quickly.
- The next step is to have an enzyme, RDH, change all-trans Retinal to all-Trans Retinol.
- A second enzyme, RPE 65, then changes the All-trans-Retinol to 11-cis Retinol.
- A third enzyme, 11cRDH, changes 11-cis Retinol to 11-cis Retinal
- 11-cis Retinal then recouples with the opsin.
- The opsin then imbeds in the disc and is ready to receive another photon.
- When the opsin is no longer activating transducin, then transducin no longer activates PDE,
- Then PDE no longer de-activates cGMP and the calcium channels open. At this point the signal being sent to the next cell resumes.
Here are some of the molecules involved in resetting the opsin to react to another photon.
- Rhodopsin Kinase. Reduces opsin activity. (coded on the DNA)
- Arrestin. Stops Opsin Activity. (coded on the DNA)
- GC. Converts 5’-GMP to cGMP. (coded on the DNA)
- RPE. Converts All-Trans Retinal to All-Trans Retinol. (coded on the DNA)
- RPE 65. Converts All-Trans Retinol to 11-cis Retinol. (coded on the DNA)
- 11cRDH. Converts 11-cis Retinol to 11-cis Retinal. (coded on the DNA)
If the code for each of these molecules could come about by a real natural process, there should be some sort of predictability as to how long it should take based on how genetic changes happen in real time. Looking at rocks to find when new features seemingly “appeared” doesn’t confirm that natural processes were the cause. Those who have done the math know that there is no evolutionary scenario that would create the code for these molecules in the time available.
BEYOND THE MOLECULAR
Each of the things that will follow are composed of hundreds of programmed molecules.
The Photoreceptor Cell:
All cells have common elements. But what makes a liver cell a liver cell, or a heart muscle cell a heart muscle cell, or a photoreceptor cell a photoreceptor cell? Specific programing.
Proteins are made of specific sequences; therefore, we can estimate the odds of those sequences occurring, but how do we quantify the code that builds the cellular structures and systems the proteins are ultimately used in? Certainly, the codes that build a cell must be more involved than the code that creates a single molecule within that cell. Wouldn’t this mean that the origin of much of what we see is far out of reach for nature? There is no evidence that suggests otherwise.
Even the simplest working photoreceptor cells have unique structural elements that allow them to perform their function. Cells also have logical layouts. The structures surfaces and paths all work together. How many generations are predicted to build even a simple cell type by a compilation of accidents?
The following components are coded into the developmental programs that build the rod photoreceptors in your eye. This is only a fraction of what is involved.
- Discs and folds that are designed to house the several dozen components for the phototransduction cascade.
- Segmented cell divisions:
• A cell management and energy regulation segment
• A photoreceptor segment.
• A nervous system connection segment.
- At least 4 different types of appropriately placed channels that facilitate the flow of calcium and sodium and potassium.
- More channels to regulate the flow of nutrients specific to the cell type.
- Transcription factors to regulate production of the necessary components.
- The overall construction plan that ties all these individual components together.
A Functional Organ:
With few exceptions photoreceptors are only one small component of a larger system that serves an overall purpose to benefit an organism. We shouldn’t assume that a brand-new cell would automatically become part of a larger organization of cells and would also have a useful function or even be expressed in a useful place. Without purposeful placement of the photoreceptors they would most likely be useless or detrimental. This is another impossible order for nature, but we see intelligence designing similar systems all the time.
Following are some things that need to be defined somewhere on the DNA. And if not coded directly, developmental patterns need to result in a working system. This means not only the photoreceptors but the adjacent structures and supports need coding that causes an accommodation for new cells. How many slight successive changes and how many generations would it take for undirected mutation to result in the following?
1. Receptor cells clustered into a collection of cells.
2. A specified location.
3. Support structures.
4. Tissues adjacent to the cells need to be adjusted to accommodate the new mass of cells.
5. It needs to be properly connected to the nervous system.
6. The output signal needs to be channeled to a system capable of putting the signal to a beneficial use.
Wouldn’t a mass of cells that is continually expanding have a tendency to push away from the surrounding tissue rather than create a depression in it and a space for the optic nerve? It would be more likely to create a lump rather than a depression. This is the opposite of what the evolutionary story requires and assumes.
To accommodate this, you would need new developmental programing for all these factors. In order to have a sunken retina the development of the tissues underneath the retina cells would need to be re-programmed to make room for the accidently expanding cells and connecting nerves. There are no evolutionary scenarios that demonstrate that the coding for this is likely to arise through mutation.
Many non-functional stages would certainly result if nature were mutating the code for existing features or adding new sections of non-working code that would need to be available for the development of new molecules, structures and systems. These growths of non-functional tissue would cost the organism energy to maintain. Normally this energy cost results in a loss of fitness. Over generations this would result in genetic loss, not functional genetic gain. So once again nature can be shown to be an inadequate source for the necessary programming changes.
A Purpose for Light Sensitivity:
The patch of photoreceptors would need to have a use, a purpose. The problem is that nature has no goal for a photoreceptor cell. An organism that is surviving without light sensitivity doesn’t need it. On the other hand, if an organism is going extinct and light sensitivity could help, nature wouldn’t respond to that need. But intelligence can anticipate and respond to a need. Nature wouldn’t have been searching to connect the photoreceptor to a function, like circadian rhythm control. That is, however, what intelligence does. How many generations do evolutionists predict for random changes to the genetic code to create the connection of a new cell type to a function? What do the rocks tell them?
Evolutionists believe that circadian rhythms were the first function to accidently couple to photoreceptors. Circadian rhythms can control a variety of behaviors including sleep cycles, feeding cycles and mating cycles. At this point photoreceptors would need to be connected to the nervous system and then to the brain.
While photoreceptors do not have to connect to a nervous system to regulate circadian rhythms, in a journey towards an eye this would be a first step. The connections would need to be coded into the organism’s developmental patterns to differentiate in the correct order during the organism’s development from a single cell. Then the brain would have to develop in such a way that useful behaviors resulted. How much reprogramming of brain structure would this require?
For photoreceptors to tie into a system, that system needs to also exist. Brain functions that properly regulate specified behaviors had to be there first, or the photoreceptors would do nothing other than send disruptive signals. Evolutionists still debate these storylines, primarily because they build their ideas on speculation rather than evidence.
“Because the eye in vertebrates develops as an evagination of the brain and is part of the brain it has generally been assumed that the brain evolved before the eye. Furthermore, the detailed visual processing occurs in the brain rather than in the eye, that is, we actually see with the brain. Nevertheless we have proposed that the eye came first in evolution… The sensory organs are gathering information, whereas the brain is an information-processing organ, similar to a computer. If no information is acquired, there is no need for an elaborate information-processing organ.” – Walter Gehring
He presents two speculative ideas, both fall short. The first idea is not based on how mutations would create genetic programs but on how already existing genetic programs build an eye. This is backwards thinking and has nothing to do with evolutionary origins, it simply assumes evolution.
The second proposal is no better, it uses the “need” for information processing as a reason for the existence of the brain. This is a personification of nature. It presents brain development as the result of a need to process information. Neither view is based on how genetic changes would result in all the necessary connections to build a new system.
Need produces results only when intelligence is involved. He recognizes that a brain is a response to a need, but incorrectly attributes it to nature. In doing this he obscures the obvious and blinds himself to the evidence for an intelligent source to meet the need. A programmer would respond to the need for another system by creating the necessary code, whereas nature would not.
Real time science also tells us that brain mutations are detrimental. How did nature repeatedly get around that with all the necessary modifications that would be required as opposed to the exponentially large number of detrimental paths? How do evolutionists miss addressing this problem?
As a side note, evolutionists still haven’t come up with a story they all like for how circadian rhythms arose in the first place. They don’t have a story they can put their faith in, i.e. consensus. That’s because the stories have some major showstoppers. One is that circadian rhythms would have had to arise by an accumulation of genetic errors independently, multiple times. Even once is a statistical improbability. Then, even at the molecular level, where a brain is not required for processing, several molecules must exist together, meaning that the systems are irreducibly complex.
Whether it is circadian rhythms or some other function, the odds that a new cellular mass would just fit into a needed function are highly unlikely. Any new collection of cells would require many accidental modifications to the genetic sequences of the nervous system and brain to create behaviors connected to light and dark cycles. Evolutionists don’t recognize the difficulties because they tend to impart their own cognitive abilities onto nature. They think that nature did it, but the path they attribute to nature is based on intelligent design.
The Retina Structure:
The vertebrate retina is much more than a collection of photoreceptors, it’s actually an organized tissue comprised of at least 8 different cell types, each with a vision enhancing purpose.
• Rods cells
• Cone cells
• Bi-polar cells
• Amacrine cells
• Horizontal Cells
• Muller Cells
• Ganglion Cells
• Pigmented Cells
Each of these cells would need coding that defined its unique components, shape, size, location and developmental order. To advance from a relatively simple light sensitive spot to a retina suitable for vision there needs to be a huge amount of very specific and significant changes.
All these cells work together to send a crisp, clear signal to the brain. But what would make us expect that nature is ever likely to accidently hit on that level of coordination? There are millions of ways these cells can be arranged, but only a handful of arrangements that will work.
How did the sequences that create the bipolar and ganglion cells accidently hit on a developmental path that resulted in a transformation of the signal that digitizes it before it’s sent to the brain? The layout anticipates a brain structure that can handle the reformatted information. An intelligent programmer is capable of anticipating the need for the components and layouts to work with other systems, nature is not.
The pigmented cells in the retina, present another major hurdle for nature. In evolutionary stories they just show up (arise or appear). Their placement behind the photoreceptor cells is critical for keeping light reflections at a minimum, but they also convert all-trans retinal back to 11-cis retinal. To do this there are transport molecules that drag the all-trans retinal from the photoreceptor cells to the pigmented cells for conversion, then those converted molecules are transported back to the photoreceptors.
Evolutionists note that some photoreceptor cells convert retinal themselves and don’t need pigmented cells. Because of this, they make the claim that evolution started with the whole process in the photoreceptor and then later initialized a “division of labor” in the lineage for our eyes. But the concept of a “division of labor” is not a natural process, it’s a personification. This is an error when applied to nature. It’s also indicative of the true origin of the division, purposeful intelligent design.
The complexities of turning off just the right sequences in the code in the photoreceptor and turning them on in the pigmented cell is unrealistic when attributed to nature. Nature wouldn’t have made the decision to move function from one cell to another. How many lucky mutations to the genetic sequence would this need? The division of labor idea makes sense in the context of intelligent design, but not with nature.
The Necessity of the “Backwards” Retina:
Could our retina be assembled with the photoreceptors facing towards the light instead of away from it? It could have, but would it be better? Evolutionists believe that since the construction of the retina is not what they would design (if they could design a retina) means nature can do it. But their reasoning is backwards not the retina. A retina, backwards or forwards, is beyond the capability of nature.
The fact is that there are advantages to the way the retina is constructed. One thing to note is that the direction of the photoreceptors is not a limiting factor in what we can see. Also, many organisms with our type of eye have excellent vision. The quality of vision is subjective unless it’s compared to a standard and nature has no standard.
One evidence that creates a huge problem for a natural explanation is that each of the supposed drawbacks has a compensation designed into the optical processing system in the brain. We don’t see the shadows of the blood vessels on our eyes or notice the blind spot without doing special exercises to reveal them, because processing in the brain filters them out.
One of the reasons for the direction of the photoreceptors is that it places them right next to the oxygen and nutrient rich blood supply in the choroid layer. Enough light reaches the photoreceptors no matter what direction they face, but the eye is the most metabolically active organ in the body, so it makes sense to place the photoreceptors facing the blood supply rather than the light.
Since the photosensitive end of the photoreceptor is continually being used up and is literally replaced every few days, it creates a large amount of debris. The debris needs to be cleaned up by macrophages. The facing allows the shedding debris to collect behind the incoming light. So, the facing of the photoreceptors rather than being backwards is a brilliant solution.
All this, rather than being evidence of a natural origin, is really another massive hurdle. The direction of the photoreceptors would need to be considered at the addition of every new cell in the retina assembly. Was it just luck numerous copying mistakes created code that puts all the cells in the retina in the correct order and faces them in the best direction for high quality vision? How many copying errors created the compensating systems in the brain for the blind spot and blood vessels in front of the retina?
The Evolutionist’s “Detached” Retina:
A few decades ago, a paper by Nillson and Peglar made the claim that they called a “pessimistic estimate” of the time it would take for an eye to evolve. They claimed that 1829 steps of 1% each was enough to transform a flat eyespot to a camera eye. They also claimed that those steps could take place in just 384 thousand years. Here was their reasoning,
“If selection constantly favours an increase in the amount of detectable spatial information, a light-sensitive patch will gradually turn into a focused lens eye through continuous small improvements of design. An upper limit for the number of generations required for the complete transformation can be calculated with a minimum of assumptions. Even with a consistently pessimistic approach the time required becomes amazingly short: only a few hundred thousand years.”
Evolutionists fell for it because they already believe by faith that eyes evolved multiple times in only a few million years during the Cambrian period. It fit their timeline, so they didn’t need to think any further.
The view however is hardly pessimistic, and it did not make a minimum of assumptions. Here is some of what they assumed:
• A working retina
• Direction of the curvature
• Brain function: spatial processing, pattern recognition
• Supporting structure changes
• Continual selection of 1% changes
They start with a working retina and only look at the retina’s shape. All other related structural and system changes are assumed. Their retina is detached from the rest of the necessary changes.
They assumed gradual changes in a specific direction of curvature were likely. The capabilities of the brain were also assumed, that being the processing of spatial information and pattern recognition. They also assume supporting tissues. They assumed the lens would arise and join the system at an appropriate stage. They assumed the associated behaviors that would be needed to make each stage useful. They also assumed that a 1% difference would be selectable. Is there a selectable difference between a flat eyespot, a 1% curve or 30% curved eyespot if the brain is only regulating circadian rhythms? It’s clear they were unable to see how many assumptions they needed to make for their story to satisfy those who had a desire to believe it.
Then the math doesn’t jive with what we might expect to see in biology. Their limiting factor is the time it takes to curve a retina (384 thousand years) rather than the time it would take to create an organ that can calculate, regulate, and respond to various signals. That is because that would kill the story and increase the time needed well beyond the limits of the storyline. Its far simpler to deal with curving lines rather than to explain how structural changes driven by coding errors might result in something similar to a working computer chip.
Additionally, shouldn’t some evidence exist in nature showing these changes happening. For example, if a light sensitive spot can become a cup eye in around 170 thousand years, that means organisms that had flat light sensitive spots 500 million years ago should have started down that evolutionary path almost 3000 times. Shouldn’t we expect to see a number of organisms that had flat eyespots then that have curved eyespots now? But the organisms that are believed to have had flat eyespots a half billion years ago have flat eyespots throughout history.
We should expect to see organisms that started out with flat eye spots going through the full transformation over 1000 times since the Cambrian period. Shouldn’t there be many organisms that had flat eye spots only a few thousand years ago that now show some curvature since one step supposedly takes around 200 years?
The problem is that organisms with the so called “stages” of eye evolution have remained static and not a single eye type can be traced directly from one to another. So, the evidence from biology suggests it didn’t happen, even once.
If evolution at this level really happens what is preventing eyes from evolving over and over again, continually throughout the assumed 500 million years since flat eye spots first appeared? Something else must be going on. Reality perhaps?
Another thing. Scientists have determined that it would take two million years to fix just two beneficial mutations in a population of organisms with a generational time of just a few days. This may be why they choose “steps” instead of mutations. How many beneficial mutations does each step represent? If each 10 steps equal 1 beneficial mutation then the time needed would be almost a would be almost 200 million years and that’s if the organisms reproduced quickly. That’s is nowhere near the half million years they claim.
Of Course, You Need A Brain.
Parallel Advancements are a Requirement in both the Brain and Eye:
“The principles that govern the evolution of brain structure are not well understood.” –Wikipedia (2020)
“Of course, other physiological elements (e.g., competent brains) have to evolve in parallel with eyes.” –Encyclopedia Britannica
The hardest part of eye evolution is the vastly more complex brain, which is why it’s a mere afterthought for those that believe the eye evolution storyline. It’s there because it had to be there for the eye to work. But is creating a competent brain in parallel with eyes something nature is remotely likely to do? Not only is creating a working organic computing system by randomly mutating coding sequences over many generations beyond likely, but those accidental advancements have to happen in parallel with changes in the eye. That’s why evolutionists look at similarities and contrived dates to tell an imaginary story where features simply appear due to unverifiable natural events that they believe happened in the distant and foggy past.
The features that make the eye useful are dependent on the brain. How would nature coordinate the many abilities needed for vision to work with changes in the eye?
The features of the eye are of no benefit at all unless they are part of a larger system. Things like motion detection, pattern recognition, image forming, motion tracking, memory and the associated responses to visual cues are created by the brain. And all of these features need to work with split second precision to create a seamless picture of reality.
Unless intelligence was directing the coding, the end result would be deterioration. Each brain structure resulting in a processing ability means new genetic programing. What are the odds of any of these systems arising through many multiple mutations? What are the odds of the proper association of behaviors with signals arising by mutating existing genes? Were no longer talking about the code for a single protein, but multiple codes that result in complex interacting and interdependent systems. Has anyone shown that this is even remotely possible without intelligence?
Changes in the curvature of the retina would not drive changes in the brain. If the retina changed the signal being sent to the brain would no longer be readable. What evidence is there that random mutations to the coding of the brain would create the needed adjustments and enhancements?
Motion Detection: In evolutionary stories this is made possible by the curvature of the retina. In reality it would be mutations that accidentally created new brain function rather than brain damage.
Pattern Recognition: In evolutionary stories, once again, this is said to result from the curvature of the retina and the appearance of some focusing mechanism. In reality, there would have to be multiple mutations that created new structures that coordinated interdependent brain functions rather than causing more brain damage.
Memory: In evolutionary stories, memory is never mentioned. The reality is that multiple systems are associated with memory. New brain structures would have to arise and be organized through a series of mutations to the coding for the brain. Why would this happen without the goal of housing memory and storing patterns?
For evolutionists the story is the woefully simplistic one of a curving retina. The required and difficult changes in DNA programing for brain development are completely ignored in evolutionary scenarios. They look at rocks to try to determine the order in which brain function developed rather than the processes of biological change. They assume millions of years is enough time, but avoid dealing with the showstopping details.
These systems are insurmountable problems for nature. Mutations would have to be able to successfully create dedicated areas and the necessary cellular relationships that manifest pattern recognition without destroying any existing brain functions in the process. How does the programing in a single cell cause it to divide and differentiate to become the most sophisticated organic computing device we know? This requires hundreds of genetic programs working together to create a sophisticated end product. It’s still beyond our technical capability to grasp exactly how this is accomplished.
Yet, evolutionists believe by faith that the shape of the retina is the determining factor in the time it would take for a working eye to form. How many steps would it take to modify a brain to work with a new organ, system or even a new environment? The excuse that soft tissue isn’t preserved is a red herring, as if looking at a dead brain would tell them anything about how mutation would build it. We can weigh it, we can measure the size of the container it’s in, we can map the locations of the functions, but none of these tell you how the code could produce the structure, or how the structure produces cognition.
How could mutations to the code for a mass of brain tissue happen in parallel with changes in the eye, and match so closely that it would make either one of them useful? Evolutionists fool themselves when they think that looking at similarities, developmental patterns and the dates of rocks is satisfactory to explain how a brain could originate or change. Those things only establish an imaginary path. But only intelligence could accomplish the level of programming needed.
Challenges with Eye Structures.
Color Vision: There are four types of photoreceptors in our eyes. Rods pick up all light, cones are tuned to red, green or blue light. The showstopping problem for a natural scenario is that with the accidental introduction of each type of photoreceptor the brain needs to incorporate the new signal and make sense out of it. This problem was discussed in part 1. Evolutionists realize that this is a problem and once again suggest that the brain co-evolved with each variation of photoreceptors. Of course, this is a statistical impossibility, so they don’t calculate the odds. They calculate the time it took by looking at rocks rather than a consideration of biological processes.
Our retinas have over 6 million cones and 120 million rods. The cones are distributed in a specific ratio, with about 64% tuned to red, 34% tuned to green and 2% tuned to blue. But each organism has a different ratio and a different density. Mutations would have to create the new cell, differentiate it in the development stage, create the appropriate connections in the brain and then cause the brain to combine the different color signals into a coherent picture. Not only that, but adjustments would need to be made to the distribution and density of rods and cones with every change to the eye for it to continue to send a usable signal to the brain.
How likely is it for mutations to create a properly proportioned layer of receptors with ratios, densities and distribution patterns and coordinate them with continually evolving organisms?
Relationships with supporting tissue and bone structures
Always assumed, but rarely mentioned in evolutionary stories are the connections to the supporting structures for the eye.
For every organism the bones or cartilage that hold the eye in place are once again, highly specified. The resulting structures fit the eye perfectly and that relationship is maintained throughout the life of the organism, even as it grows and changes. The insurmountable problem for a series of genetic mis-steps is having the various components develop together so that the end result creates the necessary structural relationships. This is achieved by master control genes that regulate many factors, so that a defect in one area often leads to a defect in others.
Bone structure is tied to behaviors. You can tell things about how an organism lives by its bones, because the bones are designed to facilitate certain behaviors, just as the sculls of organisms are designed around the sensory organs they hold.
For example, predators and organisms that read tend to have eyes that face to the front. This allows for depth perception. Prey on the other hand tend to have eyes on the sides of their head so they have a greater field of view. How would accidental modifications to the genetics hit on these relationships.
The supposed evolutionary progression is this: Once the retina has curved to the point of a pinhole, mucus would just start forming and cause a blurry image on the retina. Later the mucus lens would be replaced by a collection of crystallin and later become a more focused lens. It’s a nice story for the poor college kids training to be evolutionary biologists, but it is far removed from reality.
It’s true that the cells in our lens are filled with crystallin, a specialized protein which is the result of coding on the DNA. The evolutionary story starts with the protein crystallin-a already in existence, therefore bypassing the showstopping problem of how crystallin-a was created by mutations to the DNA. They then postulate its duplication, followed by an unknown number of mutations to create crystallin-b. This is followed by nature co-opting (a personification) the crystallin-b sequence to use into an emerging design of a lens that will work in an eye system. No explanation of how changes to the DNA could complete such a task is given, nor how many useless alternatives exist in the total available sequences.
While they are satisfied with this answer, postulating these steps is a gross oversimplification of the accidental changes that would be needed. The lens is not just a blob of crystallin covering the hole in the front of the eye. Their stories ignore many important factors.
• The original crystallin could not have arisen by accident.
• The scenario of duplication, mutation, then co-option is a “just so” story.
• Likelihood that variation will result in useful components in the time available.
• The likelihood of a lens fiber being created through mutation.
• The likelihood of a collection of lens fibers being arranged in a pattern useful for a lens
• The likelihood that a lens would be the right shape and distance to focus the light in a good place on the retina.
Rather than being an easy solution for nature the lens is a massive unsolvable problem. Evolutionists start with one seemingly small thing, crystallin, then insert an extremely specific scenario, duplication, mutation, and co-option, then assume everything else.
The reason why the lens works for the useful focusing of light is due to the layout and composition of the fibers. Genetic programs cause the cells to elongate and lose their organelles and nucleus, they essentially die so they can become the clear flexible fibers that allows focusing mechanisms to work. The crystallin concentration in the fiber is the highest of any protein in the body at around 60% of the cell.
The system is purposefully designed to be elastic, but its shape is critical to its function, so it is constricted by the genetically programed capsule layers and also fibers called zonules. Zonules also help to maintain its shape and in connection with the ciliary muscles are part of the lenses ability to change its focus. But the change in focus is directed by the brain.
The lens is far more than a concentration of crystallins deposited in front of the retina. Genetic programs would need to be created to result in the following:
• The epithelial layer
• Crystallin-b and its concentration
• Lens fibers, their shape and arrangement
• Removal of organelles and nucleus from lens fiber cells
• The protective and shape restraining lens capsule
• The supporting zonules
• Placement of the lens on the eye at a proper location
Rather than a simple layer covering the eye, the cornea is a complex organization of different cell types that together create the crystal-clear window that accounts for 70% of the refractive power of the eye.
It provides protection for the lens and iris; the surface is self-repairing for fixing minor damage.
The outer epithelial layers prevent entry of substances into the main layers of the cornea and also act as an infection barrier. The stroma is composed of 200 layers of regularly arranged cells and is critical to the transparency of the cornea. The specified cellular arrangement prevents the scattering of light which is why it is as crystal clear as high quality glass. The endothelial layer removes the excess water from the stroma layers and prevents swelling, keeping them compact and therefore clear.
Once again, knowing that each one of the layers serves a purpose, is created, put in order and operated by genetic programs, why would anyone think that random mutations and additions to the genetic code could create such a multifaceted structure?
Evolutionary explanations don’t address this and fall short of providing a reasonable answer to how genetics could create the structures through a series of genetic accidents. Instead they compare the corneas of different organisms, make note of differences in complexity and arrangement, and simply conclude that evolution must have done it. This is not a scientifically satisfying answer at all. It rests on circular reasoning. First you must believe evolution is true to see the differences as “changes” or “emerging features.” In reality the differences have to be accounted for by demonstrating that genetic changes can create such features in the first place. We knew enough about biology four decades ago to determine that this can’t happen. But evolutionists, by faith, look hopefully towards a future discovery that will make the problems all go away.
The muscles of the eye
So, what would cause the eye muscles to attach in just the right places to be useful to an organism? Especially when the possible detrimental attachments are immeasurably numerous.
“Although camera-style eyes provide a wide field of view (typically of around 180 degrees), in practice our brain can sample only a fraction of the available information at any given time because of the limited number of nerve fibers linking our eye to our brain. The earliest camera-style eyes no doubt faced an even more severe limitation, because they presumably had even fewer nerve fibers. Thus, there would have been considerable selective pressure for the evolution of muscles to move the eye. Such muscles must have been present by 500 million years ago because the arrangement of these muscles in the lamprey, whose lineage dates back that far, is almost identical to that of jawed vertebrates, including humans.” -Trevor Lamb, Scientific American 2011.
This story, the best they have to offer, rests very heavily on pure speculation. But how would such a scenario work, practically? Before you can have any selection, you have to have something to select. Selection pressure is a nebulous idea that satisfies only the deeply indoctrinated. Selection is not a response to a need. Before something can be selected it requires a variable working structure that would impact an organism’s ability to avoid death and reproduce.
The claim of “selection pressure” is a non-answer because it doesn’t address the issue of how mutation would be driven to produce relevant muscle connections. Selection happens after the a system exists, it doesn’t drive it’s creation. The reasons given as to why they evolved are untestable. An interesting question is why do stories like this, that mimic logical reasoning, satisfy Scientific American and evolutionists?
Why would coding changes to the DNA master control genes that govern eye formation be altered in response to a limitation of the nerves to the brain? They wouldn’t. That would mean an awareness of the limitation. Nature doesn’t have awareness, but intelligence does. This means, that while they don’t admit it, they are seeing the results of intelligent design but erroneously attributing them to nature.
How would nature know that the reason why an organism was not successful was due to the fact that its field of vision was limited? Again, that reasoning is what an intelligent designer would use. So, Lamb claims “evolution” but he presents an intelligent design scenario.
If coding changes resulted in muscles attaching to the eye, they would also need proper control in the brain. This means special nerves, specialized control programs resulting from the structure of the brain tissue, and additional connections so that the brain would respond properly to different stimuli. This would not be a simple response to selection pressure.
Which eye muscle would be attached first? What did that do to visual control? There are no precursors in our assumed evolutionary lineage that show when and how muscles were attached or any progression of muscular attachments. Muscles and eyes like our own simply appear from nowhere and evolution is assumed.
The reality is that nature, through multiple mutations, would just be playing a pin the eye muscle on the eyeball game. The odds of the muscles attaching in the right place are so astronomically low it’s ridiculous to even suggest that nature could do it. Where is a study to show how many steps it would take to attach the first set of eye muscles, tendons, their associated nerves and add proper brain control? I’m going to go out on a limb and estimate that its more than 1829 steps.
To get full motion of the eye a number of elements have to be coded into the master control development programs on the DNA for the following muscles:
• SUPERIOR RECTUS: Upward movement
• INFERIOR RECTUS: Downward movement
• LATERAL RECTUS: Outward movement
• MEDIAL RECTUS: Inward movement
• INFERIOR OBLIQUE: Clockwise rotation
• SUPERIOR OBLIQUE: Counterclockwise rotation
In addition to the muscles each one needs associated nerves. And those nerves need to connect properly to the brain. The brain in turn needs new coding that results in tissue structures that gives the coordinated muscle control that moves both eyes in the desired direction.
The insurmountable problem for nature is that all of these things require parallel advancements in several systems, dedicated muscles, dedicated nerves, and whole new processes in the brain. There is no step by step or gradual way to construct this, where a continuous series of intermediates stages would be successful. The idea that Selection pressure is a good answer is laughable.
Eye Movement Programs
Having muscles is not the whole story, the control of their activity is essential. There are at least three levels of eye movements. Each one of the following results from the coding of master control genes on our DNA
• Eye muscle response to the will of the organism.
• Automatic eye muscle response to a stimulus.
• Automatic eye muscle movements to improve visual acuity.
When you want to look at something you don’t need to make a decision as to what eye muscles to activate. You don’t even think, “I should move my eyes to look at that.” The movement is unconscious but its controlled by our consciousness. But even at that level, where we decide to move our gaze there are a number of other factors controlling our eyes, those that compensate for the movements of our head and body.
The eye is only one of a number of systems being coordinated by the brain to create the smooth stream of consciousness we experience. While our conscious actions are controlled by our will, numerous unconscious actions accompany each conscious one. There are no natural paths that logically explain how mutations to programs on the DNA would create these coordinated effects. Evolutionary explanations usually focus on why we need them, but those reasons are in reality what an intelligent designer would use for their creation. Nature is hopelessly incapable of creating any of these relationships.
• Eye movement can result from various sensory information such as sound and touch and the muscles can be activated because of the will the organism or an automatic response to a specific stimulus.
• Eye muscle control also results in coordinated movement in both eyes. In our case they move together, but in slightly different degrees so that binocular vision is the result. The eyes can be fixed on a moving object, tracking its path and anticipating its location when both the object and observer are moving.
• We are able to visually track moving objects. Slower objects are tracked at one level where the eye keeps focus on the object of interest through continuous adjustments of the eye muscles. These adjustments are made by the brain as it follows patterns in the visual field.
We can follow objects vertically, horizontally or any combination of both by moving each eye in the same direction as we track the object. But we can also follow objects that are approaching or receding from us. This means the eyes move in the opposite direction of each other. For this to happen the muscles need to contract and relax properly as directed by the brain based on information in the visual field and the objects of interest.
Fast moving objects require a different level of adjustment, this involves the brain calculating the probable path of the object of interest and predicting its future position. This often means that the body and the eyes are being adjusted simultaneously so that the object of interest remains in the center of the visual field. When we think of a predator in quick pursuit of prey the adjustments are not just to the eye muscles, but also to the many other muscles involved in the pursuit.
How many calculations is your brain performing each second to accomplish this? How many mutations do those calculations represent? How many years are predicted for this to happen?
Additionally, your eyes are also continually oscillating, a property called saccades movement. These movements do several things.
• Help keep the focal area on the region of interest.
• Decreases saturation of the photoreceptors
• Used together with brain programing to erase the image of the blood vessels that run over the retina.
Then, the brain compiles all the visual information from both eyes and puts them into a fluid and seamless reality in a fraction of a second. The computational requirements for this cannot be explained through a step by step evolutionary process supplied by random mutations.
Every feature, structure, cell and molecule in the eye system has a reason for being there. And there are many more evolution defying features about the visual system that could be discussed. All eyes and the picture of reality they help to create for the organisms that possess them demonstrate the need for a creator. Eyes are overwhelming evidence that intelligence is required for all systems in life. Nature has no chance of creating these structures or systems, and even most of the complex molecules involved.
You can’t use biology to prove who the Creator is any more than a chemical analysis of the materials used in a painting or the style of the brush strokes can tell you who the painter is. It’s the painter himself that lets you know who painted the painting. We also know that forgers can copy a painter’s style and even fake the materials to fool people into thinking that the forgery is an original. Evolutionists do something similar with the biological evidence. They show you a few things that seem to support natural origins but avoid knowing or thinking about the things that nature could never accomplish. Molecules to man evolution is the “origins” forgery.
It’s funny to think how people look at a piece of art and attempt to get into the mind of the artist. But God’s design of life won’t tell you all of who He is.
For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.
As it says, those who can’t see the need for a creator have no excuse for holding to that view once they consider the evidence. God’s signature is on the painting. Not only that He is the creator can be found in His Word but also His character. We can look at biology to see the need for a creator and the wonder of its design, but it’s the Bible that tells us who He is and that we can know Him, and what the true purpose of life is.
Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
1 Timothy 1:17