Did God Design the Eye Badly?
“The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the Lordhath made even both of them..”
Richard Dawkins believes he has found an organ system, which is badly designed, and so proves that no god could have designed it. He has popularized this accusation so widely that atheistic websites and forums simply quote the example, as if it were proven. He refers to the color receptors on the retina of the vertebrate eye. These are the wrong way round, he says, with the receptor pointing towards the retina, instead of out to the lens. He says:
“Any engineer would naturally assume that the photocells would point towards the light, with their wires leading backwards towards the brain. He would laugh at any suggestion that the photocells might point away, from the light, with their wires departing on the side nearest the light.”
The wiring, to which he refers, is that of the nerves. He supposes that the nerves should be behind the retina, so that the receptors point outwards. However, the nerves cannot be behind the eye, as this is the space required for the cooling blood system. If this cooling system were not there, then the receptors would overheat. The receptors could also locally overheat, if they were pointed outward, and so could detect light directly. It would appear that it is better, safer, and more efficient for the receptors to receive light indirectly. Moreover, the nervous system is actually transparent, so light can get through the system just lensward of the receptors.
Far from being bad design, the structure of the vertebrate eye is an example of masterful design. That, of course, is what we expect from the creativity of the God of the Bible.
Prayer: As we consider that our eyes were perfectly designed by You, Lord, we also remember that You say that the eyes are the windows of the soul. Help us not to look on things that pollute, but to consider what is worthy. For Your glory’s sake. Amen.
Ref: Sarfati, J.D. (2008), Fibre optics in eye demolish atheistic ‘bad design’ argument, Creation 31(1):45–47, December 2008
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