Friday, May 15, 2009

The Eye - Perfect Design and Irreducibly Complex

The dysteleological argument or 'argument from poor design' (i.e. Organisms having suboptimal features) is a poor argument against Intelligent Design.

All dysteleological arguments make two false assumptions: (1) that the designer must only make things which are pain-free and have no suboptimal features, and (2) that the design is indeed suboptimal. In short, all of these dysteleological arguments about pain or suboptimality are theological arguments which do not make a dent in the scientific theory of design.

Poor design is NOT the absence of design. This theological objection has nothing to do with the scientific theory of intelligent design. This presents a straw-man argument against intelligent design, based upon the view that a designer must design things to withstand a certain type of malicious physical attack.

For example, the inverted retina is a perfect sign. Right external to the retina layer lies a very important tissue of veins that envelop it like a net. There is a reason that the photoreceptors are "inverted." Clearly, there is a strategy here. The inverted arrangement of the retina is not faulty, but is proof that it was designed for a specific purpose.

In his book,
An Introduction to the Biology of Vision, Professor James T. McIlwain writes, "Because of the great metabolic needs of the photoreceptors, the eye seems to have adopted the strategy of 'swamping' the choroid with blood to ensure that supply is never a problem."

The eye has been created in a way that permits it to function in the most efficient manner.
1) The cornea assists with the focusing of light.
2) The retina transforms the image into neural signals.
3) Veins in the optical cavity feed the retina.
4) Light enters through the opening of the pupil.
5) The iris muscles control how much light will enter.
6) The sclera is a firm, white layer that covers the eyeball.
7) The lens focuses the image.
8) Optic nerve connects the eye to the brain.

Jonathan Sarfati, Ph.D. (Physical Chemist and Spectroscopist):
Evolutionists claim that the eye has ‘profound optical imperfections,’ so is proof of ‘tinkering’ and ‘blind’ natural selection. However, there is no positive argument for evolution because there's no evidence of a step-by-step way for the retina to have evolved. Ultimatley, this ' arguemnt from poor design' is just an attack on a Designer without any evidence.
No engineer have been able to design something remotely as good as the eye. They would have to design something with all the versatility of the vertebrate eye such as
color perception, resolution, coping with range of light intensity, night vision as well as day vision etc. All this must be done under the constraints of embryonic development.
Refuting Evolution (part 2)

Ophthalmologist Dr George Marshall says: "The idea that the eye is wired backward comes from a lack of knowledge of eye function and anatomy." He explains that the nerves could not go behind the eye, because that space is reserved for the choroid, which provides the rich blood supply needed for the very metabolically active retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). This is necessary to regenerate the photoreceptors, and to absorb excess heat. So it is necessary for the nerves to go in front instead. The claim on the program that they interfere with the image is blatantly false, because the nerves are virtually transparent because of their small size and also having about the same refractive index as the surrounding vitreous humor. In fact, what limits the eye’s resolution is the diffraction of light waves at the pupil (proportional to the wavelength and inversely proportional to the pupil’s size), so alleged improvements of the retina would make no difference.

The more he studies the human eye, the harder it is to believe that it evolved. Most people see the miracle of sight. He sees a miracle of complexity on viewing things at 100,000 times magnification. It is the perfection of this complexity that causes him to baulk at evolutionary theory.

The retina is probably the most complicated tissue in the whole body. Millions of nerve cells interconnect in a fantastic number of ways to form a miniature ‘brain’. Much of what the photoreceptors ‘see’ is interpreted and processed by the retina long before it enters the brain.
An eye for creation

For a more technical account of the retina’s amazing design, see
'Is Our 'Inverted' Retina Really 'Bad Design'? by ophthalmologist Peter Gurney, an article highly commended by Dr Marshall.

We can safely infer that the theoretical risk arising from the blind spot in a one-eyed person, is negligible; and, in keeping with this, it is considered safe for a one-eyed person to drive a private motor car i.e. for non-vocational purposes.
Human Eye

The deterioration in the eye reflect the fact that entropy (the Second Law of Thermodynamics) during aging will increase with time, not decrease. A general picture of vision deterioration can be figured out by understanding the
aging mechanisms of the human body and by focusing on 'process' rather than on 'causes' (failures or damages). Visual sharpness declines as the blood vessels convey insufficient quantity of oxygen due to reduced ventilation of lungs as we age. As a consequence, the occipital lobe of the brain is not supplied in correct manner and the view, controlled by the occipital area, is obscured. Also, the eyeball loses flexibility with age and the lens of the eye yellows and makes it harder to detect light at the blue end of the spectrum. Aging eyes also require more light.

Some scientists have recently found an exception to this rule. For one kind of vision, the old see better than the young.
According a Canadian study, subjects 60 years old and over have neurological changes to the areas involved with vision that allow them to better spot small motions in a larger high contrast field.
Science finds vision can improve with age

The Panda's Thumb

The panda has an odd forelimb arrangement which it uses to handle and eat bamboo.
It has the normal five digits, none of which are opposable to each other. In addition, it also possesses a unique enlargement of two wrist bones which, in effect, gives it seven ‘fingers’.
These two ‘digits’ come into play whenever the panda uses them to grasp the bamboo in a pincer-like movement of the ‘digits’. Owing to the superficial resemblance of one of the enlarged-wrist-bone ‘digits’ to the human thumb, this appendage has commonly been called the panda’s ‘thumb’.

Stephen Jay Gould's dysteleological argument:
Dysteleological arguments are nothing more than smokescreens designed to hide the failures of naturalistic explanations by changing the subject. In like manner, it should be noted that little time is spent providing solid evidence of how the panda, the panda’s presumed ancestors, the ancestors of the ancestors, and the first life were all supposed to have evolved.

Dr. Paul Nelson makes the following comment: "Although the panda's thumb may be suboptimal for many tasks (such as typing), it does seem suited for what appears to be its usual function, stripping bamboo."
The authors of The Giant Pandas of Wolong comment as follows:
The panda can handle bamboo stems with great precision, by holding them as if with forceps in the hairless groove connecting the pad of the first digit and pseudothumb. . . When watching a panda eat leaves. . . we were always impressed by its dexterity. Forepaws and mouth work together with great precision, with great economy of motion

Stephen Gould’s famous critique has been contradicted by the work of six Japanese biologists. Gould once argued that the giant panda’s thumb represents a clumsily adapted wrist bone, not the work of a Designer. A number of rebuttals to Gould’s assertion have been published since the mid-1980s when it appeared, but the most rigorous to date comes from a Japanese study published early in 1999.

1) Panda thumbs its nose at the dysteleological arguments of the atheist Stephen Jay Gould by John Woodmorappe - (

2) Jettison the Arguments, or the Rule? The Place of Darwinian Theological Themata in Evolutionary Reasoning by Dr. Paul A. Nelson - (

Friday, May 1, 2009

Lesson 6 – History: Whose story?

A. Whose story is this?Isaiah 46 >> God is speaking to the children of Israel.
Sovereignty >> God is in control
God is fulfilling his purpose and is carrying out a plan.

God’s plan unfolding
Galatians 4:4 >> But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law

B. The plan of God· All the elements of time: past, present & future
· Principle: What you believe in the present is of the past.

C. The power of historical revisionism
History can be re-written to believe stuff in the present to point a position.
Rigoberta Menchú, was the winner of the 1992 Nobel Peace Prize for her advocacy on behalf of Guatemala’s marginalized Mayans.David Stoll raised awareness and provided evidence to show that the story set forth by Menchu (in her autobiography: ''I, Rigoberta Menchu”) is not entirely accurate: The Rigoberta Menchú controversy

His work made front page news in the NYT on December 15, 1998:
TARNISHED LAUREATE: A special report; Nobel Winner Finds Her Story Challenged

Professor: "Whether her book is true or not, I don't care" – "what is important is getting students to believe what we want in the present"

Omissions identified in history textbooks:
Notice the following three examples from American history works:
We whose names are under-written . . . do by these presents solemnly and mutually in the presence of God, and one of another, covenant and combine our selves together into a civil body politick. MAYFLOWER COMPACT, 1620
Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? . . . I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death?

. . . ART. I.—His Britannic Majesty acknowledges the said United States . . .

What was omitted from these important historical quotes?
We whose names are under-written having undertaken for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith and honor of our king and country, a voyage to plant the first colonie in the Northern parts of Virginia do by these presents solemnly and mutually in the presence of God, and one of another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politick.
Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death?
In the name of the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity. It having pleased the Divine Providence to dispose the hearts . . . ART. I.—His Britannic Majesty acknowledges the said United States . . .
The omitted segments are those that indicate the strongly religious nature of American government documents and leaders. Also regularly omitted from texts is the fact that gratitude to God was central to the first Pilgrim Thanksgiving — and the fact that in 1782, the Congress of the United States was responsible for America's first English-language Bible; and that in 1800, Congress voted that on Sundays, the Capitol Building would serve as a church building and that by 1867, the largest protestant church in America was the one that met inside the U. S. Capitol; etc.
The context of History:
Historical context is the political, social, cultural, and economic setting for a particular idea or event. In order to better understand something in history, we must look at its context – those things which surround it in time and place and which give it its meaning. In this way, we can gain, among other things, a sense of how unique or ordinary an event or idea seems to be in comparison to other events and ideas.

Does it matter if we re-write the history of the beginning?
Instruction to the guards à Go re-write history
Matthew 28: 11-15 à lies about history à a lie is historical revisionism!!!

D. Veracity of God’s Word
Why is it that the only book that comes under attack is the bible from historical revisionist activists but not Plato’s books?

Do you believe in Plato?
Ancient documents:
Iliad & Odyssey >> two ancient Greek epic poems dated between late 9 BC & 8 BCCaesar's Gallic Wars >> lasting from 58 BC to 51 BC
Pliny’s History >> Naturalis Historia >> an encyclopedia written circa AD 77 by Pliny the Elder.

Number of early manuscripts:
New testament à 24000 manuscripts

There’s an objective to Historical Revisionism:He who controls the past controls the future.

E. God’s mandate to RememberMemorial stones >>
Joshua 4:1-7
Jewish Tassels >> Numbers 15:38 >> The tassels were to be worn to remember God’s commandments.
Passover >>
Deuteronomy 16:12 >> Commemorate the Exodus from Egypt and the liberation of the Israelites from slavery.

Our Problem:
· Forgetting what we should remember
· Remembering what we should forget
· We have a tendency to remember our boastful accomplishments.

Theodore Dalrymple >> Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass
· Life is a biography >> Video: Dalrymple & Guinness on History
· The past is the key to who we are
· The end of England’s children
· The Decay and Fall of the West - An interview with psychiatrist and thinker Dr. Theodore Dalrymple.

F. What is the meaning of life? (Question to focus group)
· I don’t know
· Making the decisions
· To use what God has given us and give him glory as much as possible
· Have a good time
· Love and to be loved
· There is no meaning to life
· To be selfish or to do good

If the meaning of life starts with you, then the meaning of life seems shallow.

The battle against the nature of God

H.D. Wells: “The frantic director”

G. Providence at work
Acts 4:27-28

· The Mayflower: A church relocation effort
· The pilgrims view of the providence of God.

Ahab and the purpose of God >> 1 Kings 22
"A certain man drew a bow at random …" [verse 34]. The point is that, under the sovereign control of God, nothing happens "at random." As the Lord says in Isaiah 46, "I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass." Our destinies are in His hands, and we cannot change this no matter how we try to "fiddle" with the past by re-writing history to fit in with our own plans.)

H. Antinomies & Paradox
We are subject to the sovereignty of God
Jean Francois Lyotard

I. The battle over History
Truth (Reality) vs. Lie (Illusion)

Photo Albums are extraordinary – each picture has a story behind it.
God has a great photo Album!!!
We all suffer from natural myopia:
We are caught up with our own little story except the great story of God.
Stepping stones – We should see ourselves as part of His story.