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Monday, October 20, 2008

the schizochroal compound eye

Kurt Wise is perhaps the world's best educated creationist. He earned a doctorate in paleontology from Harvard, where his advisor was no less than Stephen Jay Gould. Dr. Wise has also been described by Richard Dawkins as an "honest creationist" because he freely acknowledges that his belief in creationism is grounded in his reading of scripture and not in his reading of the scientific data.

In an article for Answers in Genesis, Dr. Wise suggests that, outside the Bible, the best evidence for creation comes from "the design of organisms past and present".

The schizochroal compound eye of the trilobite (a horseshoe crab-like organism of the past), for examp le, contains the only known lens in the biological world which corrects for focusing problems that result from using non-flexible lenses. The designs of the schizochroal lenses, in fact, are the very same designs that man himself has developed to correct for the same problems. Furthermore, the design of the schizochroal eye combines this optimum focusing capability with the optimum sensitivity to motion provided by the compound eye as well as the stereoscopic (3-D) vision provided by closely spaced eyes.

For another perspective — and photos — see this article on the evolution of the trilobite eye.

This design, in fact, seems to far exceed the needs of the trilobite. The origin of the design of the schizochroal eye is not understood by means of any known natural cause. Rather, it is best understood as being due to an intelligent (design-creating) cause, through a process involving remarkably high manipulative ability. Among available hypotheses, creation by God is the most reasonable hypothesis for the origin of the complexity of the trilobite’s schizochroal eye.

One wonders, though, what is the most reasonable hypothesis for humankind's greatly inferior eyes. If I understand the hypothesis correctly, there was an intelligent (design-creating) cause named God, who crafted a very extravagant eye for some types of small hard-shelled, segmented creatures that lived more than 300 million maybe a few thousand years ago, and has never reached the same level of design perfection since. This is what results when we reduce God to the level of a scientific hypothesis.

So what happened to the intelligent (design-creating) cause named God? Has he lost his touch? Gotten distracted or lost interest? Surely he is a god! Perhaps he fell asleep, or has wandered away, or maybe he is relieving himself.

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