The previous two blogs (here and here) have taken just two examples of things that Darwinian evolution cannot explain adequately. If you recall, the important thing to understand is that “evolving” is not just morphing into something more complex, more advanced, and better adapted as evolutionists would have you think. Evolution requires a genetic change to an organism but it can’t be too drastic of a change or else the organism would die. It must be the incremental build-up of infinitesimally small changes, genetic mutations, each of them beneficial to the organism. But even the overly simplified break down of the individual changes necessary to move from asexual to sexual reproduction or from a pigment cup eye to a pinhole eye show that this idea of evolution cannot produce those things. Evolutionists use the word “evolve” to just gloss over the finer details and interconnectedness of systems within an organism. This point is so powerfully stated by William Coleman in his book, Studies in the History of Biology:
“A major change, for example, a sharp increase in the heart beat or the diminution by half of the kidney and thus a reduction in renal secretion, would by itself have wrought havoc with the general constitution of the animal. In order that an animal might persist after a change of this magnitude it would be necessary that the other organs of the body be also proportionally modified. In other words, an organism must change en bloc or not at all. Only saltatory modification could occur, and this idea was to Cuvier (considered the father of paleontology), as it is to most modern zoologists but for very different reasons, unverified and basically absurd. Transmutation by the accumulation of alterations, great or small, would thus be impossible.”[i]
What he’s saying is that each change, though it appears slight and slowly moving the organism in the direction of evolutionary advancement, must be accompanied by many other changes in order for the organism to survive. Like we discussed last week, the addition of thousands of photoreceptors to a sight organ not suited for that many photoreceptors would not be advantageous, and would obviously wreak havoc on the functionality of that organ and the survivability of that organism.
So I want to take a closer look at another classic example cited by Darwinian evolutionists as “evidence” based on these two main premises: intermediate structures had to be advantageous and complex things must be slowly built up from something simple that has changed via micro-mutations. Let’s look at the feather. Evolutionists state that feathers evolved from a frayed reptilian scale. The first issue is there is no such thing as acquired characteristics. A physical change like that in the adult does not result in a genetic change for the offspring. A reptile fraying its scales from overuse or damage does not change the genes it will pass on to its offspring. The reptile offspring is still genetically programmed to have fully formed scales. So the frayed scale must actually be the result of a genetic mutation causing the scale to not fully form.
But that leads us to the next issue. The genetic mutation must provide the offspring some kind of advantage. Yet a reptile with a frayed scale provides no survival advantage. The whole point of progressing from scale to frayed scale to a feather is with the intention of providing the organism flight. But a frayed scale would be weak, easily deformed, and quite permeable to air. Things permeable to air would not be suitable for flight, or even for gliding. But at the same time, a frayed scale would not be suitable for climbing and grasping things. A reptile with a frayed scale would be less able to climb and scavenge for food, but it would be unable to fly. The frayed scale intermediate does not provide any survival advantage for the organism before it became suitable for flight. Therefore, it’s difficult to see how this creature with a frayed scale would have survived to pass this trait down to the rest of the population.
The third problem with this evolutionary scenario is it implies a feather is just a random tangle of frayed scale filaments. Instead the feather is actually considered to be the most complex integumentary structures found in vertebrates. The feather is ordered in an amazingly complex way to achieve a tightly intertwined, aerodynamic structure. It is not only used for flight but for thermal insulation and waterproofing.
There are two basic types of feathers found on a bird: vaned feathers (cover the exterior of the body) and down feathers (underneath the vaned feathers). A typical vaned feather has a main shaft called the rachis. At the base of the feather, the rachis expands to form the quill, which is a hollow tube without vanes, to insert into the skin. Fused onto that are a series of branches called barbs. Those are then further branched into barbules. The barbules then each have tiny hooks called barbicels for cross-attachment to the neighboring barbule. The down feather has a similar structure except it doesn’t have the barbicels. Therefore each barbule is free, or unattached, to the other barbule, which is what makes those feathers so fluffy. The purpose of that is the down feathers can trap air to provide thermal insulation for the bird. Even the shape of the feather is important to allow for different modes of flight. The position of feathers is maintained by an intricate system of tendons so they can open and close to improve flight efficiency. And the locations of these fibers and tendons is critical to the flight of the bird, either aligned in the middle of the feather for birds that fly, or towards the tips as they are in flightless birds.
So what would the incremental build-up of the feather be? Let’s assume there was a genetic mutation to an entire generation of reptiles resulting in their scales being frayed. Assuming they all survived, they produced offspring with a genetic mutation that the frayed scales would be more like the down feathers. How would that animal survive? It’s not a bird – it’s still a reptile but it has down feathers instead of scales, yet it can’t fly with only down feathers. The down feathers do not have the barbicels to give the feathers enough stiffness for flight. But there would be no point in having the barbicels present without the rachis. As you can see, though it seems so simple, the bird’s feather requires all of those structures in place before it can be used for flight.
Even if the reptile with frayed scales could survive and have just the right genetic mutations to develop feathers, it still has a problem. Just because an organism has feathers does not mean that it is ready for flight any more than a person with feathers glued to his arms means that he could safely jump off a cliff. There are still mathematical aerodynamic factors that determine if flight would even be possible. The wing area, body weight, and power of the organism must be factored in as well. Even in man-made machines for flight, there is a limit to the amount of weight that can be accommodated by the plane mechanics – which would be the plane wings, engine thrust, and weight of the vehicle. In the same way, the feathered organism must have enough power and lift in the wings to offset the weight of the animal.
So it’s not just the structure of the feather that must be in place before flight, but numerous other features that are necessary to fly. Although the feather is exceedingly light, the bird’s plumage actually weighs two or three times more than its skeleton. That is because the bird’s bones are hollow which helps to make flight possible. It also has the appropriate sizing of muscles and tendons that attach to those wings to make movement of them possible, all of which are unique for a flying vertebrate.
Furthermore, the bird has a completely unique lung system. In all other non-flying vertebrates, the air flow is bi-directional, moving back and forth into and out of the lungs. As a result, air coming into a mammal's lungs is mixed with 'old' air (air that has been in the lungs for a while). This 'mixed air' has less oxygen. Birds have unidirectional air flow so the air moving through the lungs is largely 'fresh' air and has a higher oxygen content. The unidirectional flow of air is maintained during both inspiration and expiration by a complex system of interconnected air sacs in the bird’s body which expand and contract in such a way so as to ensure a continuous delivery of air through the parabronchi. It allows the bird to be able to breathe at higher altitudes than other mammals. And this system also keeps the volume of air in the lung nearly constant. No lung in any other vertebrate species even comes close to the avian system. Yet this system is identical in all essential details in all birds - from hummingbirds, to ostriches, to hawks. This unique avian lung cannot function until the parabronchi system and the air sac system are both highly developed and able to function together in a perfectly integrated manner. It could not have slowly acquired this respiratory system by building up from our lung system type.
So not only do all the parts of the feather have to be together, perfectly matched, sized, and integrated to be used in flight, but the bird’s bones must be light-weight, the musculoskeletal system must be appropriately sized and fitted for wings, and the avian lung system must be fully functional.
Therefore, the classic Darwinian evolution example of birds evolving from reptile scales very clearly falls apart under the scrutiny of irreducibly complex mechanisms and viable intermediate organisms. The intermediate creature would be maladapted to survive its environment and therefore not a candidate for progressing the evolutionary chain.
Now I know what the evolutionists are going to say to this. What about the feathered dinosaurs? What about the Archaeopteryx? For those that aren’t familiar with these, the Yutyrannus huali, the “beautiful feathered tyrant,” was the largest yet found of the now famous Chinese “feathered dinosaurs.” The technical description published in Nature that a “gigantic feathered dinosaur from the Lower Cretaceous of China” was recovered. Within the article though, scientists qualified the “feathered” label: These “feathers” are actually just “feather-like features,” or “simple filaments.” Similarly, the Nature article described them as “filamentous integumentary [skin] structures.” Real bird feathers are complicated, with semi-hollow cores and branching barbs, but the fossil’s filaments apparently did not have these features. These Chinese tyrannosaur fibers, as with perhaps all the famous Chinese fossil dinosaur “feathers” so far, are more straightforwardly interpreted as the fossilized fragments of partly decayed skin.
As for the Archaeopteryx, many evolutionists consider it to be a bridge between reptiles and birds. This primitive bird did possess certain skeletal reptilian-like features – teeth, a long tail, and claws on its wings. But in one respect, flight, the Archaeopteryx was already truly bird. Its wings already had flight feathers as fully developed as any modern bird and capable of powered flight. Unlike dinosaurs, Archaeopteryx had a large braincase for the increased motor control and sensory input that were required for flight. Theropods (dinosaurs) had a lizard-like pelvis that was distinct from the birdlike frame of the Archaeopteryx. It already had a robust furcula (wishbone), a trait characteristic of strong fliers—one that keeps flight muscles from crushing the bird’s delicate internal air sacs. No evidence supports the story that such fully formed wings with fused clavicles “evolved from” the tiny, clavicle-free theropod forelimbs. Even claw measurements of the Archaeopteryx fall within the range of true perching birds. It was a bird without a single transitional feature.
So the “feathered dinosaur” is simply a reptile with decayed skin fibers. And the Archaeopteryx is really a fossilized bird. But there is no progression of reptile to bird, frayed scales to feather, scenario. Furthermore, those who insist that dinosaurs evolved into birds have to willfully ignore the fossil bird prints found in rock layers containing some of the earliest dinosaurs—the supposed ancestors of birds.
As you can see, the mechanisms for flight are irreducibly complex from the simplest element of the feather itself to the composite element of the organism itself being suitable for flight mechanics. However, Darwinian evolution must be accomplished through slow, gradual changes so that everything in life is explained as the slow build-up from something simple to something complex. And Darwin once wrote, “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.”[ii]
When he wrote that in his book Origin of Species, he followed that sentence with the statement that there were no such complex organs. But then again, he was writing this in 1859. What kind of biological knowledge did they have in 1859? For perspective, the American Civil War began in 1861. In all honesty, Darwin probably wasn’t aware of the amazing complexity within our bodies. He had no knowledge of DNA at all, much less how it replicated, since the DNA molecule and its structure was not discovered until 1953. Given the vast amount of information we know now, there is no intellectually honest way one could say that we do not have organs or systems that are irreducibly complex. If we observe something complex that cannot be built up by small, incremental improvements on something simple, then it could not be explained by only natural causes. It is evidence of design, and design requires a designer.
[i] W. Coleman, Georges Cuvier: Zoologist (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1964), 172-173.
[ii] Phillip E. Johnson, Darwin on Trial (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), 33
I am only a bystander here, watching the tales of two men’s lives unfold. I’m sitting in the courtroom as the guard brings in the first man. His head is hung low. His chains are still on his hands and feet. I take a glance at the prosecutor gleefully sneering. He knows he has an airtight case. He is sure of his victory, proud that he gets to be a part of this trial to send the accused to their judgment. The Judge enters the courtroom and the proceedings begin.
The prosecutor opens by listing the crimes levied against the accused: malice, slander, deceit, lust, and pride. The man hangs his head even lower. He knows he can’t argue against the charges. He enters a plea of guilty. The prosecutor can barely hide his joy as he awaits the sentence from the Judge – which is surely the full penalty of the law.
But the voice of the counselor interrupts the scene. He says, “Your Honor, of the charges listed against my client, he is surely guilty. He committed each of those in deed and thought. And he surely deserves to be punished. But see, I know him. He chose to love me and follow me, even though he stumbled along the way. So I am offering to pay the full amount of his punishment so that he may go free.”
The courtroom goes silent. The smile quickly vanishes from the prosecutor’s face. He begins to speak but the Judge interrupts. The Judge addresses the counselor and says, “My Son, You do realize that the punishment for his crimes will be death?”
“Yes, your honor. I know that the crimes of the accused have left victims so someone must be punished for it. But my love for him is so great, that I am willing to die so that he may go free, if that is the only way. You can put my innocence onto this man and I will wear the shame and the punishment of his crimes.”
The man looks up with tears in his eyes. The courtroom erupts in applause. What an amazing sacrifice from someone perfectly innocent to bear the price for the crimes of someone completely guilty. Amidst the rejoicing though you hear the prosecutor cry out in anger. He thought he was going to be victorious. He thought he could levy enough accusations at this man to come between him and his Defender. But nothing was able to separate the accused from the Defender.
The Judge declares the man as having righteousness imparted to him from the Defender. He would inherit eternal life. He would be treated as the Judge’s own child.
As the courtroom settles down, the second man enters. He too is in shackles but he bears no shame. He almost seems proud to be in his condition. As he looks at the prosecutor though, a look of shock comes over him. It seems he recognizes the prosecutor.
The man shouts out, “You?!? You are going to prosecute me? But you were there with me! You enticed me to do those things. You told me it was more fun than following a bunch of stuffy rules! You told me I would never be judged for it as long as I didn’t get caught. You told me that this courtroom and this Judge did not exist!”
The prosecutor just laughs.
The man walks over to the counselor. Again, the prosecutor lists the charges: malice, slander, deceit, lust, and pride. The Judge asks for his plea: not guilty.
The man cries out, “I did a lot of good things too! Those weren’t the only things I did. And besides, those things weren’t all that bad either. I mean, there’s a lot worse folks out there than me. I was always nice to people. I had a good career that helped a lot of people. I loved my family and friends. Most of those things didn’t even hurt anyone else. You can’t judge me for this! I didn’t even think you were real so how can I be held accountable?”
The Judge says, “Prideful to the very end, I see. I sent you that coworker to warn you but you only made fun of him. I sent you that cousin but you refused to listen because you thought you were smarter than her. I gave you that friend who told you about a better way to live but you didn’t want to give up your way of life. I revealed myself in countless ways but you followed the foolish counsel of the world. You chose what you wanted to believe despite all the evidence. Now, Counselor, is there anything you would like to state on behalf of your client?”
“No, your honor. I never knew him.”
The Judge pronounced His sentence. The man would be sent away to eternal punishment, the fiery lake of burning sulfur, where there would be weeping and gnashing of teeth. It is a place of everlasting destruction, shut out from the presence of the Lord, where the fire is never put out. So the prosecutor led him out of the courtroom.
This article is Part 2 of our scientific analysis of evolution (go here for Part 1 in case you missed it). Though Part 1 focused on reproduction issues, the main concept is the lack of any plausible way to incrementally change from one type to another in a Darwinian evolution fashion. The only way that Darwin could ever have one species change into another is through a slow gradual process of tiny, micro-mutations within the genes of some common ancestor. In fact, Darwin says everything must be the result of “infinitesimally small inherited modifications,” each of them being profitable to the preserved being.[i] But there are so many things that cannot be explained as a slow gradual build up from something simply, especially given that each incremental step must be advantageous to the individual in order for it to survive through natural selection.
A classic example of this is found in the human eye. The evolutionist would argue that it is easy to show how the eye evolved because 2% of the eye would be more advantageous than 0%, therefore those organisms with 2% of the eye would survive through natural selection. And those would then evolve, or rather genetically mutate, to have 4% of the eye. And those with 4% of the eye would be better adapt to survive than those with 2%, and so on. However, the flaw here is that 2% of the eye does not equate to 2% of eyesight. Yes, having 2% vision is better than 0% but a species won’t have even 0.1% vision until 100% of the eye is present. There is a difference in a partial percentage of the components of the eye itself and having some partial percentage of eyesight. Think about it. If you only had a cornea, but no pupil, or iris, or retina, or rods, or cones, or optic nerve, then you could not see at all. Nothing. 0%. So what advantage would an organism have to genetically mutate a cornea, which gives it no sight whatsoever, while it waits generations to finally genetically mutate a lens? Because, remember, each change must be from an infinitesimally small modification (one micro-mutated gene at a time). So why would natural selection preserve the genes of the organism with a cornea over an organism with no cornea if neither organism could see?
Further still, if an organism were to then completely develop an eye, yet had none of the support structures, the eye still would not be functional. Support structures would be those things that provide tears and blood to nourish and lubricate the eye; the muscles that allow the eye to move; the structures that give the eye protection from injury, like the eye lid and the epithelium of the cornea; the optic nerve to send the signals from the eye to the brain; and a brain to understand what those signals mean. If there were not a brain to interpret what the eye sees, then the eye would still be useless to the organism. Granted, some organisms are able to have eyesight without those support structures and without a brain (and we’ll talk about some of those below) – but not our eye type. For our eye type, the camera eye, something must be able to interpret what the eye sees into something meaningful especially since what our eyes “see” is upside down and double. Our brain is able to combine and convert those double upside-down images into something that makes sense. And all of that work is done by multiple parts within the brain.[ii] Otherwise, the eye would basically just be one annoyance, where dust and particles would scratch and irritate this new feature that didn’t provide any use for the organism. It would be like someone giving a farmer in the 1800s a smart phone.
Now, at this point in the line of reasoning, the evolutionist will show examples of the different types of complexity of eyes that are found in nature. They will even show how they could have progressed from one to another. Some bacteria have just a light sensitive spot with a pigment screen behind it. Next there are some multi-cellular animals that have a similar arrangement set into an optical cup to give improved direction-finding capability. The nautilus has a pinhole eye with no lens, and then the squid eye adds a lens. There is the simple eye, the compound eye, and the camera eye (human eye). So there is wide variety of eye types with various levels of complexity. But does that mean that the more complex eye evolved out of the simpler eye? It is a pertinent question especially since all of these eye types co-exist together!
We must first assess the components of these different eye types. Are the components similar across all eye types to where there could be an incremental building up of something complex? In other words, does the simplest eye have just a retina, the next complex eye adds a lens, and the next adds a cornea until you find all of the components present in the most complex eye – where each of those intermediate eyes were fully functional? Well, those evolutionary charts would have you think so, but that is not the case at all when you look at the details. Each of these different eye types uses entirely different structures. It is not a series of structures that are built upon one another over millions of generations. The compound eyes of insects are made up of hundreds of units called ommatidia that has a cluster of photoreceptor cells surrounded by support cells and pigment cells, each with its own lens. This is a much different structure than the human eye (pictured below). What would an intermediate eye between these types be? It would be something that could not see.
Human camera eye
As you read more about the different eye types even in the camera-type eye it is amazing to see the unique design for each organism’s environment. And the design to make that eye work in that environment goes way beyond just what structures are present. It has to do with the shape and location of those structures; where the eye is located on the head; what muscles are around it. And these variations occur even within the same eye type, the same phylum, and the same genus! The eyes of some fish in the deep sea show variations in the basic spherical design. For some, their field of view is restricted to the upward direction which makes the eye a tubular shape. Some have their field of vision restricted downward, with a second lens and retina attached to the main eye so they can detect bioluminescent creatures. Think about the genetic mutations necessary to develop those two vastly different eyes found in the same phylum. One of them has a second lens and retina attached to its eye. Unless you were already in the sea but stayed mainly in shallow waters, this genetic mutation gives you no advantage whatsoever.
The placing of the eyes in the head of the organism varies as well. Predators like cats and owls have forward-pointing eyes and can judge distance by binocular triangulation. The prey for those animals, like mice and rabbits, have eyes opposite each other to give near-complete coverage of their surroundings. There are even different structures between nocturnal and diurnal animals that would have the same general eye type (compare a squirrel to a raccoon). Diurnal animals have smaller, thinner lenses placed toward the front of the eye with more cones photoreceptors to detect color and fine detail. But nocturnal animals have almost spherical lenses that fill most of the eye cavity so they can capture the maximum amount of light as possible. They also have a huge amount of rods photoreceptors to detect size, shape, and brightness better, but not color. They even have a slit pupil so it can close more effectively in bright light than a round pupil. They also have a “tapetum lucidum, a reflector behind the retina designed to give receptors a second chance to catch photons that were missed on their first passage through the retina.”[iii] Even the Encyclopedia Britannica can’t shy away from the use of the word that most clearly describes this unique feature for nocturnal animals: design. And these differences would be between two organisms that have the same general eye type, the vertebrate camera eye, yet have vast differences in the type and number of photoreceptors, a slit pupil, the shape of the lens, and a reflector behind the retina. These aren’t trivial differences either. Each one of those would require its own genetic mutation. Consider which genetic mutation would have come first, and not just for the eye, but for being a nocturnal animal. What if a diurnal animal had a slit in its pupil before it “evolved” to be nocturnal? Or what if the diurnal animal genetically mutated to have the tapetum lucidum first? What advantage would that animal have? None. Yet for Darwinian evolution to work, each new variation must come from infinitesimally small inherited modifications each of them being profitable to the preserved being.
Let’s put the pencil to the paper for the two “simplest” eyes to see if they could even genetically mutate from one to the other. Here are the descriptions of these two eye types.[iv]
The evolutionary chart is going to show a light spot that just adds a pupil. But taking the steps required by Darwinian evolution, consider the genetic mutations that must occur to “evolve” from one eye type to another - genetic mutations that are not controlled by the organism itself nor by the environment it is subjected to. Nature can’t predetermine the appropriate order for each change to occur. It must all be random. This is the problem with “reverse engineering” to find Darwinian evolution progressions. The “engineering” part of that puts logic and purpose and intelligence into why each change was made to improve on a design. Engineering would say we increased the size of the heart so we must increase lung capacity to go with it. But a blind, random process can’t do that. Darwinian evolution can’t decide that one particular change would help and then make that change. It must wait on the blind luck of a genetic mutation to give it that beneficial change. And it can’t make all those changes at one time because that would be a “sudden jump” in nature. Nature doesn’t make sudden jumps, only God does. It must be the result of a slow, gradual process with infinitesimally small changes. So every change is blind to its effect, and must leave all previous and all future changes unaffected. That being said, we can’t presuppose the order of those genetic changes involved because that involves foresight and planning; and nature does not have that on its own.
Let’s think through the incremental changes between these two incredible “simple” eyes, changing from a Planaria eye to a Nautilus eye. The organism would need a genetic mutation to produce millions of photoreceptors instead of just a few. Now what would a Planaria do if it suddenly had millions of photoreceptors for its pigment cup eye, which only needs a few? Would that be an advantage for it? Then the Planaria’s genes must mutate to decrease the size of the aperture. But how would it be able to still see if the aperture size is decreased but the size of the eye is still only 0.004 inches? Meanwhile, what have all those changes done to the function of the pigment cup eye for the Planaria? Because, see (no pun intended), at this point, the Planaria’s eye is not a pinhole eye. It is a pigment cup eye with too many photoreceptors and too small of an aperture. Hopefully for the Planaria’s sake the next genetic mutation will be to increase the size of the eye 100 times from 0.004 inches to 0.4 inches, assuming this genetically mutated Planaria has survived natural selection, and assuming there are enough other Planaria in this generation that also have genetically mutated to have millions of additional photoreceptors, a smaller aperture, and larger eye size so that all of those traits are passed on. Then the Planaria needs a genetic mutation to acquire muscles in order to move this new eye. Of course that mutation may not get the size, location, and mobility exactly right. It may take multiple generations until the muscles are precisely located to work with this newly mutated eye structure. Lastly, it needs to genetically mutate a pupil, and it must be one that can vary in diameter.
Even if by some miracle (pun intended) all of those genetic mutations occurred individually and incrementally, each one somehow being beneficial to the Planaria, we still don’t have a Nautilus eye. We have a Planaria with a pinhole eye. What is a Planaria going to do with a pinhole eye? Otherwise, we have to start factoring in all of the other genetic mutations that would have to occur alongside the mutations of the eye to change all of the other systems of the body to “evolve” from a Planaria to a Nautilus. Consider the drastically different reproductive systems, digestive systems, circulatory systems, and even the environments in which they live between the Planaria and Nautilus. Not to mention, the Nautilus would have been smart to hold on to the Planaria’s ability to regenerate. But it even begs the question, why did the Nautilus eye stop there in its evolution? Shouldn’t it have continued to genetically mutate to gain a lens over its eye? Richard Dawkins admits to being baffled by the nautilus that has never evolved a lens for its eye over its hundreds of millions of years of existence. He says it is an eye that is “practically crying out for this particular simple change.”[v] Yet it has remained the same.
The eye is an amazing organ, no matter which eye type you study. There is a wide range of eye types that so specifically meet the requirements of the organisms which bear them that it truly is miraculous, or rather, statistically improbable to have occurred through nature alone. (I’ll include some more info below on other eye types if you are interested.) I heard one evolutionist say that they aren’t intimidated by the improbability of evolution because hey, someone has to win the lottery. But for even just the one organ of the eye to develop so perfectly suited for that particular organism’s needs, it would be more like the SAME person winning the lottery every week for the next 5 billion years. Eyes vary in their visual acuity, the range of wavelengths they detect, their sensitivity in low light, their ability to detect motion or to resolve objects, and whether they can discriminate colors – all depending on the need of the organism. When you consider that, it is as though no two species have the same kind of eye structure or sight mechanism.
It is so varied even within the same genus that it becomes statistically improbable that each eye genetically mutated from some common ancestor, especially when there is no evidence of eyes AT ALL in the fossil record before the Cambrian period. That means the Cambrian explosion was not just an explosion of body type, but eye type, all showing up at the same time in the fossil record. It means all those eye types existed together at the same time – just like they do now. Even though the evolutionary pictures try to show a linear progression between types, while intentionally omitting the hundreds of genetic mutations that would have to occur for that to happen, evolutionists now must also claim the evolution was not linear but parallel! But what are the statistical odds of ALL eye types developing at the same rate and time and being kept through natural selection in order to all appear in the fossil record of the Cambrian explosion at the same time – if it were done through Darwinian evolution? [That sounds to me like maybe they were all uniquely created at the same time.] The evolutionists contradict what they try to indoctrinate – that each type gradually merges into another through a serial, linear fashion of infinitesimally small genetic modifications each being beneficial to the organism. So they show a linear progression when it’s convenient and a parallel explosion when it is not. Every technical consideration of the amazing wonder of the eye smacks of divine design of a specific type perfectly suited to the organism. Meanwhile evolutionists just throw in the word “evolved” with no detailed explanation, as if that makes it so. But the detailed evidence, or lack thereof, show a different picture.
[i] Phillip E. Johnson, Darwin on Trial (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), 33.
[iii] https://www.britannica.com/science/photoreception#ref1005219 “Diversity of Eyes”
[iv] https://www.britannica.com/science/photoreception#ref1005219 “Diversity of Eyes”
[v] Phillip E. Johnson, Darwin on Trial (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), 35.
The Amazing Eye
Lens eyes. Lenses are composed of a refractive index material that reduce the angle over which each photoreceptor receives light. This allows the lens to form an image focused onto the retina. Each organism type varies the shape of the lens. Organisms focus by either physically moving the lens toward and away from the retina or by using eye muscles to adjust the shape of the lens. But not even in the same genus does the lens develop the same way. And this is important because evolution must come through the genetics and embryonic development. The vertebrate eye lens develops from the epidermis overlying the optic cup, which develops in the exact place to fit the optic cup perfectly. Researchers then discovered that the optic cup itself is the organizer which induces the epidermis to differentiate into this tailor-made lens. The common frog (Rana fusca) eye develops this way. So it was discovered that if this optic cup is removed in the embryo, then no eye lens develops at all. However, for the edible frog (Rana esculens), if the optic cup is removed from the embryo, the eye lens will still develop just the same. The lens develops completely differently in the embryo – even within the same genus!
Corneal Eyes. The cornea is the transparent membrane in front of the eye that separate fluids inside the eye from fluids outside the eye. It functions to increase the focusing power of the eye but the optical power is reduced when there is fluid on both sides of the membrane (it’s why we can’t see well if you go under water and open your eyes).
So animals that move from air to water and back (like seals, otters, and diving birds) have uniquely shaped corneas. Seals have a flat cornea with a spherical lens to produce images. Diving ducks use a different method. They squeeze the lens into the bony ring around the iris, forming a high curvature blip on the lens surface to shorten the focal length. A summary statement from this article about the different eyes says that “the eyes of animals are diverse in structure and use distinct optical mechanisms to achieve resolution.” What is the seal had genetically mutated a flat cornea but didn’t have a spherical lens? Or what if it genetically mutated the spherical lens but didn’t have the flat cornea? What if the diving duck hadn’t yet genetically mutated the bony ring around the iris in order to adjust the focal length? What were those organisms doing before all of those necessary changes occurred?
For organisms not under water, the lenses are flattened and weakened compared to say, a fish lens. In humans, the cornea has an ellipsoidal shape giving it only one axis of symmetry, where the best image quality occurs. Therefore along this axis is a high density of photoreceptors, known as the fovea, which results in acute vision.
Concave mirror eyes. Scallops have about 50-100 single-chambered eyes. And though those eyes have a lens, it is too weak to produce an image. So it has a mirror, made up of alternating layers of guanine and cytoplasm, in the back of the eye that reflects light to the photoreceptors. The mirror structure produces constructive interference for green light to give it a high reflectance. The Pecten actually has two retinas, one made up of a layer of microvillus receptors close to the mirror and out of focus. The other retina is made up of a layer with ciliary receptors in the place of the image. The second layer responds when the image of a dark object moves across it causing the scallop to shut its shell in self-defense.
Chapter 5 of Teaching Others to Defend Christianity, explores the evidence that affirms the validity of the New Testament Scriptures giving us confidence that the Scriptures are true. (for your copy, go here). As believers though, we not only believe that they are true in an “honest reporting of the facts” way but as the inspired Word of God. That means it is unchangeable, immovable, final, perfect, and holy. This view of the Scriptures is often referred to as “verbal plenary” inspiration. That means the inspiration extends to the very words themselves —not just concepts or ideas—and that the inspiration extends to all parts of Scripture and all subject matters of Scripture. (2 Peter 1:21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.) Even though God used men with their distinctive personalities and writing styles, God divinely inspired the very words they wrote. In Matthew 5:17-18 Jesus reinforces the accuracy of the Scriptures down to the smallest detail and the slightest punctuation mark – because it is the very Word of God. And because God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and completely perfect, His Word will by its very nature have the same characteristics. The Word of God is both inerrant and authoritative.
In 2 Timothy 3:16-17 Paul says, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” So God inspired all Scripture; and all scripture is profitable to us. It is not just the parts of the Bible that deal with religious doctrines that are inspired, but each and every word, from Genesis to Revelation. Because it is inspired by God, the Scriptures are therefore authoritative when it comes to establishing doctrine, and sufficient for teaching man how to be in a right relationship with God. The Scriptures even have the supernatural ability to change us and make us “complete.” So we are to use the Word of God to teach us, to instruct us, to guide us, to equip us so that we can be complete. In John 17:1-3, Jesus says that eternal life (or salvation) is knowing God, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom God sent. How do we get to know God? By studying Him and His Word. By reading the very words He breathed out for us. If the Bible is true, God-breathed, and forming our decisions on everything in this life, then why would we not study what it says? This seems like a simple topic to cover. Yes, of course we should study the Bible. But how well are we doing it?
One common way people “study” the Bible is in daily devotional books. Those are usually intended to be read in at most 5 minutes. They usually have a short passage of verses, or maybe sometimes one verse; and then give a short personal story of how those verses were applied to some situation. There is nothing wrong with this approach in itself, but if this is the only thing you are doing, how well are you really learning the Word of God? Do you have any idea how those verses are read in context? Have you actually learned about why God gave us those words and what was happening to the person when those words were written? Or did you just get some fluffy story about how those words were applied to someone’s personal situation? Now, this method could be valuable if it is supplementing actual scripture study but this should not be the only thing you are doing.
I understand we all like the idea of only taking 5 minutes to do our devotion but consider what that says about our priorities. We’ll spend hours each day on Facebook/Twitter, video games, TV, hanging out with our friends, or surfing the internet, but we only want to give at most 5 minutes to the God and Creator of the universe. Spending only five minutes a day in the Word, especially when most of that time is reading some else’s interpretation of that Word, does not really implant the Scriptures in our hearts. Psalm 119:11 says that we are to hide His word in our hearts so that we might not sin against God. Does this approach to reading His Word actually serve to hide it in our hearts? To write God’s words on our hearts, we must understand them – and understand them in context – to really have them change our daily lives. We see this concept for anything else we do. If you only spent 5 minutes a day exercising, can it really change your body type? If you only spent 5 minutes a day practicing your instrument, could you really ever advance in the complexity of music you can play? So to really have God’s Words stored in our hearts and transforming our minds, we must spend more time studying the Bible. The 5-minutes devotion may allow you to memorize a few verse here and there to spout off but it’s not hidden in your hearts. You haven’t learned the full depth of what God gave us. And think of all the verses YOU miss out on. Some of the most meaningful passages may come from those other verses that aren’t highlighted in a 5-minute devotion. It may come from your own study of the scriptures themselves in their fullness.
Another common method is the read through the Bible in a year studies. But let’s be honest; none of us usually make it all the way through December with the plan. But think about how much you’re studying the Bible with this method. You read about 10 verses in one book then a few random verses from Psalms or Proverbs. How much context and digestion do you really get that way? Do you know why that Psalm was written? Do you understand the historical context of that passage from 1 Kings? And usually it is still geared for just a 5 minute study a day. This can be done in a profitable way but I at least find myself just reading them to check off the list for that day’s assignment instead of really studying and thinking over those passages.
So what is the best way to do this? Plan a study time. Yes this may mean losing 20 minutes of sleep to get up a little earlier to spend time in God’s word – to really study God’s word. But it is so worth it! And isn’t that what we should PREFER to do?? We should rather study the Word given to us by God than watch another mindless sitcom on TV. And I promise, the more you are in the Word, the more you’ll want to be in the Word. Yes, it’s hard to commit to this. And there will be some days you won’t. But let’s set a goal here to work towards actually growing in right understanding of God’s word.
And then plan on reading the Bible itself. So often we read books about the Bible but never actually read the Bible. Get a Study Bible that will help you with explanations, introductions, outlines of the text, cross-references, and notes. Notes will help you with dates, places, and expanded definitions of words. They’ll also have maps and a topical index. The Bible is recording the real history of real people, events, and places. Seeing that in context helps the Bible come to life for you. Use the maps and notes to see where these people were living and what they were doing when these things happened. It reveals the hand of God is a much more amazing way. You could even get a topical Bible that organizes Scripture based on a special area of interest, like prayer, marriage, or salvation. Bible dictionaries, timelines, maps, and atlases can help too. There are also commentary books for every book in the Bible. Those are entire books dedicated to expounding on the text found within one book in the Bible. I have found the most fruitful way to study the Bible is using those commentary books. It’s a good idea to have more than one commentary too – not all theologians agree on certain passages.
I’ve found that once I can put a book of the Bible in context, in a time of history, I have a deeper appreciation for God’s Word and God's Sovereignty. The 5-minute devotionals left me with this shallow feeling, like I wasn’t really learning anything new– and I think for good reason. Because it is shallow. And it is the same fluff lesson that could probably be applied to anything. How can we be fulfilled with God’s word in only 5 minutes with just some watered-down application of a random few verses? How can you really even effectively apply those random few verses to your situation if you have no greater context? No appreciation for the author or the setting? The quote “et tu, Brute?” only has impact when we understand the characters and the context and what was at stake. We can’t live out the Scriptures and appreciate our doctrine and know to stand on it in face of persecution, scoffing, and criticism if we don’t understand the characters and the context and what is at stake. How can we defend God’s word to the world if we don’t truly know what it says? How can we answer criticisms about God’s character from certain passages if we don’t understand it in context; if we’ve only read a random selection of verses scattered across the Bible?
So think seriously about how you approach reading God’s word. Again, I promise the more you are in it the more you will want to be. If you only dabble in enough Bible reading to fill a few minutes each week, then you’ll never feed your soul or move from the milk of babies to the steak of the mature walk. I think no matter how much or little you know about the Bible, we all know enough to stand in awe of the strength of faith of men like Paul, and David, and Abraham. But they had that strength of faith because they were daily committed to knowing God. We can’t just sit back and wish we had that yet do nothing different in our daily life to make that happen. If you never spend time with God, then how could you ever live a life like Daniel or Paul or Peter? If you never study His Word, how can you ever know Him? We study the Bible to know God; to enjoy and love God; to understand His commands; to learn direction in life; to find comfort and hope; to let God expose our innermost thoughts and desires; to become pure and holy; to obey the Great Commandment: to love God with all of our being.
How do you study the Bible? Let me know in the comments below. And here are some tips I've found helpful as well...