Question: In Christopher Hitchens's God Is Not Great , he says that the magnificent, irreducible complexity of the human eye is not evidence for a Creator but cites "the ineptitude of its 'design'" as proof for evolution. He quotes Dr. Michael Shermer, who claims that "a simple eyespot with a handful of light-sensitive cells...developed into a recessed eyespot...then into a pinhole camera eye...then into a pinhole lens...then into a complex eye." Shermer goes on to say: "The anatomy of the human eye, in fact, shows anything but 'intelligence' in its design. It is built upside down and backwards, requiring photons of light to travel through the cornea, lens, aquaeous fluid, blood vessels, ganglion cells, amacrine cells, horizontal cells, and bipolar cells before they reach the light-sensitive rods and cones that transduce the light signal into neural impulses — which are then sent to the visual cortex at the back of the brain...." Hitchens says, "It is because we evolved from sightless bacteria, now found to share our DNA, that we are so myopic...we must never forget Charles Darwin's injunction that even the most highly evolved of us will continue to carry 'the indelible stamp of their lowly origin.'" My question is: For optimal vision, why would an intelligent designer have built an eye upside down and backwards?
Response: I have a question first of all for Hitchens. Can he prove that we "evolved" from sightless bacteria? It is true that we all share the same DNA alphabet, even with carrots and garden slugs; but human DNA is far more complex. Nor is DNA all that makes us human and separates us from all lower creatures. What part of the DNA spells out appreciation for poetry, the ability to compose an opera, or to write like Shakespeare or Dickens? Where does the DNA spell out the genius to define the mathematics to engineer the construction of a high-rise building or to design the space capsule that landed on the moon? None of these abilities comes from DNA, nor even from the brain, but from the
Hitchens is determined to support his atheism at any cost, and that makes him so eager to accept anything that seems to do so that he is blind to the many facts to the contrary. The truth is that Shermer, upon whom Hitchens relies, has the facts twisted. He recites the standard theory of evolutionists concerning the origin of the eye from "a simple eyespot with a handful of light-sensitive cells...then into a pinhole camera eye...then into a pinhole lens...then into a complex eye."
Evolutionists all repeat this same recital as though it has been established by fossils, but that is far from the case. It doesn't take a genius to realize that this is pure speculation. A child could ask simple questions that neither Shermer nor Hitchens could answer: What is an eyespot? How did it develop? Many cells on our body are "light sensitive" but none of them will turn into an eye-why this one?
How and why did it develop a "recessed eyespot"? How did it make the huge leaps from "eyespot" to a "pinhole camera eye" then into a "pinhole lens"-and how could it have been called a "camera" before it had a "lens"? At what point did these partial developments begin to benefit the organism enough to aid in its survival? How did they avoid being wiped out by natural selection before they became part of a functioning whole?
As for the eye being badly designed, ophthalmic scientists have denounced this idea. Dr. George Marshall, for example, Sir Jules Thorn Lecturer in Ophthalmic Science, University of Glasgow, declares: "The [belief] that the eye is wired backward comes from a lack of knowledge of eye function and anatomy.... [T]he 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...the nerves [must] go in front instead.
"Inverted wiring is necessary for vertebrate eyes to work...the direct opposite of what evolutionists claim would be the 'correct' wiring. [In fact], the evolutionists' claim is actually undercut by their own assessment of squid eyes, which despite being 'wired correctly,' don't see as well as vertebrate eyes....
"Interestingly, anyone with excellent eyesight is said to have 'eyes like a hawk,' which are 'backwardly wired,' not 'eyes like a squid.' The excellent sight provided by these allegedly 'wrongly wired' eyes makes [evolutionists'] objections absurd.... [The] claim that the nerves obstruct the light has been falsified by very new research by scientists at Leipzig University....
"Not only is the inverted wiring of our eyes a good design, necessary for proper functioning, [but] it is also coordinated with an ingenious fibre optic plate. So the vertebrate eye has the advantage of a rich blood supply behind the receptors without the disadvantage of nerves blocking out light. Such fine coordination of parts makes sense with a Master Coordinator, while it's a puzzle for evolutionists." (http://creationontheweb.com/content/view/5214/#endref1 )