Left Jab knocks Darwin's head back -
Published: 27 May 2010(GMT+10)
“Looking back on these books, I realized that the evidence for evolution is nowhere explicitly set out, and that it seemed like a good gap to close.”One of his favourite examples, one he has been using for decades, is the alleged backwardly wired retina, a favourite example of supposed bad design. First, we republish a sample section from our refutation, The Greatest Hoax on Earth? showing that even with existing knowledge, Dawkins had no case. Then we report on a new discovery, conclusively showing that the allegedly inferior design is actually superior in producing sharper images and better colour distinctions.
From Greatest Hoax?:
Backwardly-wired retina?Dawkins repeats a claim he has been making for over 20 years:
“But I haven’t mentioned the most glaring example of imperfection in the optics. The retina is back to front.
“Imagine a latter-day Helmholtz presented by an engineer with a digital camera, with its screen of tiny photocells, set up to capture images projected directly on to the surface of the screen. That makes good sense, and obviously each photocell has a wire connecting it to a computing device of some kind where images are collated. Makes sense again. Helmholtz wouldn’t send it back.
“But now, suppose I tell you that the eye’s ‘photocells’ are pointing backwards, away from the scene being looked at. The ‘wires’ connecting the photocells to the brain run over all the surface of the retina, so the light rays have to pass through a carpet of massed wires before they hit the photocells. That doesn’t make sense … ” (pp. 353–4)Actually it does make sense, as ophthalmologists know, and have explained for years, so Dawkins has no excuse for repeating such discredited arguments. Dawkins’ analogy fails because photocells don’t have to be chemically regenerated, while the eye’s photoreceptors are chemically active, and need a rich blood supply for regeneration. As I wrote in By Design [see review], ch. 12:
“The idea that the eye is wired backward comes from a lack of knowledge of eye function and anatomy.”1He explained that the nerves could not go behind the eye, because the choroid occupies that space. This 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 from the light. So the nerves must go in front rather than behind. But as will be shown below, the eye’s design overcomes even this slight drawback.
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 to the eye’s performance.
It’s important to note that the ‘superior’ design of Dawkins with the (virtually transparent) nerves behind the photoreceptors would require either:
- The choroid in front of the retina—but the choroid is opaque because of all the red blood cells, so this design would be as useless as an eye with a hemorrhage!
- Photoreceptors not in contact with the RPE and choroid at all—but without a rich blood supply to regenerate, then it would probably take months before we could see properly after we were photographed with a flashbulb or we glanced at some bright object."
15 May 2007
Müller cells in the eye working as optical fibres
Second left to the head stuns the opponent -
Müller cells refuting Dawkins: feedback
Published: 3 July 2010(GMT+10)
Quite a lot of people have responded, both negatively and positively, to Dr Jonathan Sarfati’s article Backwardly wired retina “an optimal structure”: New eye discovery further demolishes Dawkins. First, the author responds to Richard M., a persistent critic of this site, who argues based on confusing two different kinds of explanation, followed by refuting some fallacious arguments of P.Z. Myers made on his atheopathic blog. Finally, we print some positive comments.
Richard M., USA writes:
I would agree that Dawkins lays undue stress on the “backward” arrangement of the retinal layers in the vertebrate eye,We agree on something at last Yet many atheopaths are still furiously defending this, as I show below.
but this argument is not 20 years old. It is more like 120 years old, having been made by Helmholz in the nineteenth century.Are you sure? Dawkins’s book The Greatest Show on Earth cites Helmholtz extensively on alleged eye faults, and I respond in The Greatest Hoax on Earth? and indeed addressed Helmholtz in my previous work By Design. But Dawkins gives the impression that his “backwardly wired” argument would have strengthened the hand of a “latter-day Helmholtz” armed with current knowledge.
But I am also surprised that both he and Dr Sarfati have not addressed the real reason that the layers of the retina are ordered the way that they are. The arrangement derives directly from the embryological origin of the retina as an outgrowth of the developing brain – the order of the layers is fixed long before the eye functions as an optical instrument.We are discussing different types of explanation for something. The above expresses the means of producing the structure, not the reasons the structure is this way. It is like saying that the reason a car’s cylinder and piston are shaped the way they are is that molten metal inevitably follows the shape of a die, and the resulting solid metal is worn away by harder materials of the lathe’s and borer’s cutting implements.
To use the Aristotelian terminology of causes, this would be the efficient cause of the car’s engine components, i.e. that which produces or effects a result, and that is what you have described about the eye. But the final cause—the purpose, end, aim, or goal of something—of the car’s components, is a machine to convert the chemical energy of fuel into motion. Or, take a fancy boat-shaped shaped chocolate cake: the efficient cause of the shape is the way liquids (the batter mixture) follow the shape of the container, and the flavour permeating the cake is caused by diffusion from higher concentration to lower. But the final cause explaining why the cake is shaped and flavoured that way is that it’s your son’s birthday and he likes boats and chocolate.
Similarly, the final cause of the eye is vision. There is no reason that the efficient cause should be classed as “the real reason”, as you are doing, when it is only one of the four Aristotelian types of cause.
The point that Dawkins makes explicitly, and that Sarfati has apparently failed to appreciate, is that what would appear to be a drawback in design is well compensated for by numerous adaptations that have arisen during the evolution of the eye.Indeed, that was the excuse of theistic evolutionist Ken Miller (see also refutations of his anticreationist books Finding Darwin’s God and Only a Theory). But this begs the question of whether this “backward wiring” really was a drawback at all. All we have is assertion, as well as appeals to ‘common sense’, which is sometimes not a reliable guide. Without the “backward wiring”, there would have been no Müller cells acting as light guides, filtering out scattered light and non-visible wavelengths and reducing chromatic aberration.
Because these improvements and compensations are applied to a structure whose basic layout is “locked in” by its evolutionary heritage, all vertebrate eyes have the “backwards retina” in common. This arrangement underlies all of the various adaptations and is not due to “the need to regenerate the photocells” as Dr. Sarfati claims.Not just me, but ophthalmologists Dr George Marshall and Peter Gurney.
Evolution does not (and cannot) make major changes (such as reversing the order of the retinal layers) de novo, but must build on what has gone before – that is the essence of “descent with modification.”Yet as I note in my previous article: the computer simulation he touts as proof for eye evolution starts with the nerve behind the light-sensitive spot. The vertebrate eye has the nerves in front of the photoreceptors, while the evolutionary just-so story provides no transitions from behind to in front, with all the other complex coordinated changes that would have to occur as well.
Simply put, the excellent performance of the eye is not due to the particular ordering of the retinal layers, but is in fact a tribute to the effectiveness of evolutionary processes in working with the materials and structures at hand in order to produce a structure. Perhaps is it time to add this topic to “arguments creationists should not use.”Not going to happen, given that you presuppose evolution to argue for evolution.
Myers also whinges at my comment that cephalopods, with their supposedly superior “forward wiring”, don’t see as well as vertebrates, making the absurd comment:
"First, there’s a stereotype he’s playing to: he’s trying to set up a hierarchy of superior vision, and he wants our god-designed eyes at the top, so he tells us that most cephalopods have poorer vision than we do. He doesn’t bother to mention that humans don’t have particularly good vision ourselves; birds have better eyes. So, is God avian?"First, in my article, I said, “it is no accident that we say ‘eyes like a hawk/eagle’”, hardly the words of someone trying to hide good avian vision. I’ve also pointed out that humans are worse flyers than birds, but no, God is not avian—I guarantee that no bird will be discussing this article, for one thing.
Second, he should not whinge at me, but at the experts in cephalopod vision cited in Is our ‘inverted’ retina really ‘bad design’?:
"Also, they have never shown that cephalopods actually see better. On the contrary, their eyes merely ‘approach some of the lower vertebrate eyes in efficiency’ and they are probably colour blind. Moreover, the cephalopod retina, besides being ‘verted’, is actually much simpler than the ‘inverted’ retina of vertebrates; as Budelmann states, ‘The structure of the [cephalopod] retina is much simpler than in the vertebrate eye, with only two neural components, the receptor cells and efferent fibres’. It is an undulating structure with ‘long cylindrical photoreceptor cells with rhabdomeres consisting of microvilli’, so that the cephalopod eye has been described as a ‘compound eye with a single lens’. The rhabdomeres act as light guides, and their microvilli are arranged such that the animal can detect the direction of polarized light—this foils camouflage based on reflection.
Finally, in their natural environment cephalopods are exposed to a much lower light intensity than are most vertebrates and they generally live only two or three years at the most. Nothing is known about the lifespan of the giant squid; in any case it is believed to frequent great depths at which there is little light. Thus for cephalopods there is less need for protection against photic damage. Being differently designed for a different environment, the cephalopod eye can function well with a ‘verted’ retina."
Right to the body, down Darwin goes!!!-
"No mas, no mas!!!" With those words, the supposedly invincible man with hands of stone, Roberto Duran, just quit on the fight against Sugar Ray Leonard in 1980 and I am old enough to remember it distinctly and fondly. Duran the bully was getting beat up and he couldn't take it.
Well, Darwinists do nothing but say "No mas, no mas" since Dawkins was beaten by Rabbi Boteach. He and a few others got a chance to talk up their side in the "Expelled" movie and frankly came out looking arrogant and foolish. So now they pretend they are far too smart and will not deign to debate creationists because they are modern day Roberto Durans. big talkers and no stomach for a fair fight.
now retired boxing great Angel Manfredy above and below
Photo by Peter Heintzelman
From Boxing Hall of Fame.
Published: 1 January 2010(GMT+10)"The 2010 Global Atheist Convention will be held in Melbourne, Australia, at the prestigious Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, over the weekend of March 12–14, 2010.1
Titled “The Rise of Atheism”, it is being billed as the “biggest ever atheist event in Australia’s history”. The more than twenty presenters include some of the “cream” of the world’s most prominent and vocal atheists.2 These include the notorious “ethicist” Professor Peter Singer who has made it plain that some animals have greater “rights” than human infants, who can even be killed after birth in certain circumstances (for more, try typing “Peter Singer” into the search engine on this website).
Also, the fanatically anti-creationist biology professor PZ Myers, who runs a well-known “science blog”—and of course self-styled “devil’s chaplain” and Darwinism promoter extraordinaire Dr Richard Dawkins will be there in full force. As will a whole array of representatives of various rationalist, humanist, skeptic and freethinker groups.
Atheism = faith in evolution (the world made itself)All of these make it overwhelmingly plain in their writings that their reasons for rejecting Christianity and the God of the Bible are firmly founded on and reinforced by their faith in evolution. They fully understand, sometimes better than many Christians, how evolution and its “millions of years” completely undermines and destroys the whole logical foundation of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
It’s not long since Dawkins rocked the world with his million-plus bestseller hymn to atheism, The God Delusion. His follow-up magnum opus, not long released, sets in cement his deep conviction that “science” (read naturalism, evolution and long ages) makes belief in a personal God impossible. It is called The Greatest Show on Earth: the evidence for evolution, and with it he intends to throw down the ultimate gauntlet to creationists. (Read on for our coming response to this latest Dawkins book.)
Why CMI issued a public invitation/challenge to debateAll CMI offices are of course certain that goo-to-you evolution is not only spiritually but also intellectually bankrupt. CMI-Australia in particular became convinced that with the world’s top atheists boastfully proclaiming their faith and its alleged “intellectual foundations” (evolutionary science) in Australia, we had a duty to make a public stand in response—fully conscious that the real warfare is spiritual. In 2 Corinthians 10:4 the Apostle Paul says that “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” In the very next verse he sets out what the apostles went about doing (bold emphasis ours): “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
Since this is about as public an anti-God pretension as there could be, and one based on a claim to rational argument, we sent an open letter of invitation/challenge to the convention organisers. This was for a public creation-evolution debate, offering for it to be formally videotaped with each side freely able to distribute it, regardless of the outcome. They were to be permitted to have a panel of their choice of atheists (preferably including Dawkins) formally debate the issue—of whether the evidence best supports creation or evolution—against our choice of CMI staff scientists.
Global atheists turn down debateWe got a rejection back the same day—which didn’t surprise us, except for possibly the speed. It’s easy for popular anticreationist books to distort and misrepresent the science involved in proper creationist claims made by scientifically trained and competent people, and also to set up strawmen to “demolish” in front of an unsuspecting audience. But if it wasn’t obvious before, it is clear now, that it was never going to be palatable to such anti-creation promoters to be held accountable in public for their misrepresentations, strawmen (and sometimes blatant deceptions). Nevertheless, we think it was important to try, if only to have taken a stand so that it might in some way help highlight the bankruptcy of these claims of “intellectual superiority”. (Plus we are holding a special Melbourne event the same weekend—see below).
Richard Dawkins and his crusade
“The enlightenment is under threat. So is reason. So is truth. So is science … We have to devote a significant proportion of our time and resources to defending it from deliberate attack from organized ignorance … ”
Translation: We have to spend a lot of time and money fighting the creationists (who are winning hearts and minds) and defending evolution.
SO WHY WON’T THEY DO SO IN AN OPEN PUBLIC FORUM? ONE WITH CREATIONIST SCIENTISTS WILLING TO FLY DOWN TO WHERE THEY ARE—A FORUM WHERE, UNLIKE IN THE ATHEISTS’/SKEPTICS’ BOOKS AND ARTICLES, ARGUMENTS CAN BE REBUTTED IN THE OPEN LIGHT OF DAY.
Dawkins himself, while in Australia in March 2010, will also be holding a public lecture in Brisbane, home of CMI-Australia. The venue bills him as one who, via his latest book The Greatest Show on Earth, “comprehensively rebuts the creationists by pulling together the incontrovertible evidence for evolution.”
In addition to highlighting this pointed refusal to debate the issues, CMI will, prior to Dawkins’ arrival, be releasing a new book by Dr Jonathan Sarfati comprehensively rebutting the best that Dawkins could come up with on evolution, the intellectual foundation stone of his atheism. Stay tuned!
Curiously, Dawkins says that he refuses to debate creationists simply because it gives them prestige. Yet, he has gone ahead and debated some ‘creationists’ while insisting that he would not debate creationists. Since he insists that he will not debate creationists even while debating some, he is obviously picking and choosing those he considers to be easy targets or those who he knows will not effectively counter his evolutionism."
Read the rest of the article and the actual back-and-forth correspondences here.
I will give Chuck Norris the final word here -
by Lawrence Ford“Chuck Norris doesn’t read books. He stares them down until he gets the information he wants.”
“Faster than a speeding bullet...more powerful than a locomotive…able to leap tall buildings in a single bound… yes, these are some of Chuck Norris’ warm-up exercises.”
“Superman owns a pair of Chuck Norris pajamas.”
You’ve all seen them. Chuck Norris “facts” all over the internet. Websites. Widgets. Emails. Over 50,000 jokes about America’s favorite Texas Ranger have been circulated around the World Wide Web. Internet encyclopedia Wikipedia has the inside scoop on this latest internet fad.
But did you know that Chuck Norris has come out surprisingly clear about his view of creation? A committed Christian, whose own website (chucknorris.com) has links to Bible sites like Campus Crusade for Christ and the Billy Graham organization, Norris commented recently on one of these one-liners in his latest editorial column for WorldNetDaily:
“There is no theory of evolution. Just a list of creatures Chuck Norris has allowed to live.”
“It’s cute,” writes the action star. “But here’s what I really think about the theory of evolution: It’s not real. It is not the way we got here. In fact, the life you see on this planet is really just a list of creatures God has allowed to live. We are not creations of random chance. We are not accidents. There is a God, a Creator, who made you and me. We were made in His image, which separates us from all other creatures.”
And that’s no joke!