John Harshman thinks Nilsson Pilger’s fairytale on eye evolution is science?

In an early post John, who wants to be called doctor, urged readers to take a look at a little paper by Dan Nilsson and Suzanne Pilger. He says it is a good conceptual example of how natural selection acting on variation can gradually create a new feature.

Gee, that must be quite a paper.  He says it can’t be beat!  So what does their paper actually show?  The paper is called , “A Pessimistic Estimate of the Time Required for an Eye to Evolve.” Well, that does sound interesting!

A light sensitive patch will gradually turn into a focus lensed eye in 100,000 years.  But of course they are using a pessimistic estimate, probably would happen even faster!  Wow.

In fact the paper is written in such a way as to make many people falsely believe that Nilsson and Pilger had come up with a computer model to show the steps of eye evolution, from “random” mutations.  Now that is something.

But because they didn’t ACTUALLY make any computer model (who has time) the task was made much easier for Nilsson and Pilger.  Just take an eye, unfold all the pieces, and put them back together, one step at a time.  POOF!  (Yes Patrick, that is a poof!).  But let’s make it even easier, because well, time, and let’s start with light sensitive cells.  Then just poof in a depression where the light sensitive cells are.  Next poof in another, deeper impression.  That sure does help focus the light doesn’t it?  Let’s keep that mutation!

From there we can just keep poofing away.  Fill the cavity with fluid.  Poof in a lens.  Make the lens better.  Poof in some rods and cones.  All at random mind you. Make them better…Keep those mutations (don’t let them mutate themselves, because they won’t help building an eye at all!)  Rudyard Kipling would be so proud.

This fable has already been passed down to generations. Take a look, these brilliant scientist doctors say, an eye is not so hard after all.  If only Darwin had known Nilsson and Pilger he never would have had reason to doubt himself.  Its as easy as POOF!

Of course John is apparently intimidated to engage with people who actually challenge him .  So what do you think?

 

167 thoughts on “John Harshman thinks Nilsson Pilger’s fairytale on eye evolution is science?

  1. In an early post

    Where?

    John, who wants to be called doctor, urged readers to take a look at a little paper by Dan Nilsson and Suzanne Pilger. He says it is a good conceptual example of how natural selection acting on variation can gradually create a new feature.

    Not even a quote of John, or a link to the paper?

    Gee, that must be quite a paper. He says it can’t be beat!

    Where? Did he really say “it can’t be beat”? I somehow doubt that.

    So what does their paper actually show?

    Yes, what DOES it show?

    The paper is called , “A Pessimistic Estimate of the Time Required for an Eye to Evolve.” Well, that does sound interesting!

    It sure does.

    A light sensitive patch will gradually turn into a focus lensed eye in 100,000 years.

    Well since I had to google the paper, I found your claim to be false already in the abstract. (And in the main body of the paper the number is actually 363.992 generations, not 100.000 years.

    I think there’s a bit of a difference there.

    A Pessimistic Estimate of the Time Required for an Eye to Evolve

    Abstract

    Theoretical considerations of eye design allow us to find routes along which the optical structures of eyes may have evolved. If selection constantly favours an increase in the amount of detectable spatial information, a light-sensitive patch will gradually turn into a focused lens eye through continuous small improvements of design. An upper limit for the number of generations required for the complete transformation can be calculated with a minimum of assumptions. Even with a consistently pessimistic approach the time required becomes amazingly short: only a few hundred thousand years.

    A few hundred thousand, is at least two-hundred thousand years. That’s fast en geological terms, but still a really long time to a human being. What’s the problem with this?

    But of course they are using a pessimistic estimate, probably would happen even faster! Wow.

    Oh I see, the problem is it doesn’t conform to your irrational hatred of anything evolution related? Check.

    In fact the paper is written in such a way as to make many people falsely believe that Nilsson and Pilger had come up with a computer model to show the steps of eye evolution, from “random” mutations.

    No it isn’t. At all. Nowhere is it somehow insinuated that a computer model that simulates eyes is being run on a computer.

    They make a mathematical model and then calculate the results of the model. As in they make equations and plot the graphs they result in. Nowhere do they claim to have involved computer simulations, or even insinuated it.

    They write:

    Estimates of the number of generations required to make a certain change to a simply quantitative character are easily made if the phenotypic variation, selection intensity and heritability of the character are known (Falconer 1989). The evolution of complex structures, however, involves modifications of a large number of separate quantitaative characters, and in addition there may be discrete innovations and an unknown number of hidden but necessary phenotypic changes. These complications seem effectively to prevent evolution rate estimates for entire organs and other complex structures. An eye is unique in this respect because the structures necessary for image formation, although there may be several, are all typically quantitative in their nature, and can be treated as local modifications of pre-existing tissues. taking a patch of pigmented light-sensitive epithelium as the starting point, we avoid the more inaccessible problem of photoreceptor cell evolution (Goldsmith 1990; Land & Fernald 1992). This, if the objective is limited to finding the number of generations required for the evolution of an eye’s optical geometry, then the problem becomes solvable.
    We have made such calculations by outlining a plausible sequence of alterations leading from a light-sensitive spot all the way to a fully developed lens eye. The model sequence is made such that every part of it, no matter how small, results in an increase of the spatial information the eye can detect. The amount of morphological change reqired for the whole sequence is then used to calculate the number of generations required. Whenever plausible values had to be assumed, such as for selection intensity and phenotypic variation, we deliberately picked values that over-estimate the number of generations. Despite this consistently pessimisted approach, we arrive at only a few hundred thousand generations!

    I will give one criticism about their model, which is it seems to basically ignore actual genetics. There is no such thing has a mutation rate, population size and genome size involved. No attempt is made at estimating the rate at which mutations that affect eye morphology would actually happen. Rather, at every generation the anatomical properties are assumed to follow some distribution around a mean, which if I understand this correctly, means already in the next generation there is a new distribution extended from the results of the previous one. That seems unrealistic to me.

    If they did it “properly” it seems intuitive it would significantly increase the timescales required, because the basic assumption in the model seems to be that in every generation, a mutation happens that affect eye morphology (and the previous generation’s results are assumed fixed to work with in the next). As such I wouldn’t consider the model realistic.

  2. In an early post …

    Why didn’t you provide the link?

    … John, who wants to be called doctor, …

    I have seen no evidence that John wants to be called “doctor”. I think you are misunderstanding the point he was making when he raised that issue.

    If this is supposed to b e a discussion of the paper by Nilsson & Pelger, you should at least have provided a link or citation.

  3. Rumraket: Nowhere is it somehow insinuated that a computer model that simulates eyes is being run on a computer.

    Perhaps phoodoo could quote the part of the paper that led him to claim that?

    phoodoo? Can you?

  4. Neil Rickert: I have seen no evidence that John wants to be called “doctor”. I think you are misunderstanding the point he was making when he raised that issue.

    I think there was a sarcastic request. It was in response to some argument from authority being made.

  5. Well, first John already provided a link, so I felt its a bit redundant, but its commonly sited paper by the skeptic crowd.

    Rumraket: I will give one criticism about their model,

    Hm…seems odd you are saying that they don’t give the impression that there is a computer model, but you then call it a model. Is a model really just writing a story?

    But for your information, there are many many references online to their so called computer model, so you are obviously incorrect that the paper doesn’t give that impression, if so many skeptics actually believe there is one.

    I will correct the rest of your mistakes a little later.

  6. Rumraket,

    As a good conceptual demonstration of how selection acting on random variation can gradually create a new feature, Nilsson & Pelger 1994 can hardly be beat.

    Rumraket: Where? Did he really say “it can’t be beat”? I somehow doubt that.

    You are such a skeptic Rumraket!

  7. Rumraket: (And in the main body of the paper the number is actually 363.992 generations, not 100.000 years.

    Oh, you are a skeptic, AND a scientist! How long do you think a generation is? Does 36 years sound about right? Maybe 36.3 years?

  8. Rumraket,

    Richard Dawkins

    Their task was to set up computer models of evolving eyes to answer two qu
    estions. The first was is there a smooth gradient of change, from flat skin to full camera eye, such that every intermediate
    is an improvement? Unlike human designers, natural selection can’t go downhill not even if there is a tempting higher hill on the
    other side of the valley. Second, how long would the necessary
    quantity of evolutionary change take? In their computer models, Nilsson and Pelger made no attempt to simulate the internal workings of
    cells They started their story after the invention of
    a single light sensitive cell it does no harm to call it a photocell
    .
    It would be nice, in the future, to do another computer model, this time at the level of the inside of the cell to show how the first living photocell came into being by step by step modification of an earlier, more general purpose cell
    .
    But you have to start somewhere, and
    Nilsson and Pelger started after the invention of the photocell

    Well, they did manage to fool Dawkins, but I agree with you, he is not much of a skeptic.

    Should I point out the parts where he talks about computer models, or can you find that part now?
    .

  9. phoodoo: Is a model really just writing a story?

    Well I see you are simply not familiar with the term “model” as it is used in science.

    For starters, read this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_modelling.

    In the sense of this paper, a model is actually a set of equations with parameters that can be varied and results can be calculated thereform. The results can then also be plotted on a graph so the relationships between the various parameters of the model can be studied.

    They call that a mathematical model.

    But for your information, there are many many references online to their so called computer model, so you are obviously incorrect that the paper doesn’t give that impression, if so many skeptics actually believe there is one.

    I found the paper you linked and read it. All the way through. I didn’t go to any websites to have the paper explained or interpreted by someone else. There is no computer model mentioned anywhere. The model is a set of equations with parameters that can be varied, and the calculations are of course perfomed on a computer instead of by hand. But that doesn’t make the model a “computer model”.

    It’s just math, they do math.

    If there are websites out there who make the mistake of thinking this model is a computer model (as in a simulation of eye evolution), they’re wrong too. It’s not.

    In point of fact, I went and just googled it and look what turned up on Uncommon Descent: Could the eye have evolved by natural selection in a geological blink?

    What does vjtorley think it is? A mathematical model, not a computer model. Not a compuer simulation. Just math.

    IN FACT, TORLEY ALSO REPORTS THAT IT IS A MISTAKE TO THINK IT IS A COMPUTER MODEL.

    EVEN MORE IRONICALLY, HE LEVELS THE SAME CRITICISM OF THE PAPER I DO.

    Vjtorley:

    Ever since Nilsson and Pelger’s paper was published, Darwinian evolutionists citing the paper have almost invariably mis-reported its findings. Two great myths have been recycled in the literature again and again: the fiction that Nilsson and Pelger’s model was a computer simulation, and the fiction that the variations in the model were random, like the variations in Darwinian evolution. We now know – thanks to the indefatigable research of Dr. David Berlinski – is that Nilsson and Pelger’s model didn’t even use a computer. And now we also know that the variations introduced into the model were deliberately designed, rather than random.

    I have never read the UD article before, and until you brought up this paper I had never heard of it. I saw what you wrote about it, then found and read it. Gave my response, and now you’re claiming I’m making a mistake somehow. This is ironic beyond belief.

    I’m actually finding out by my own what the paper says, that it says nothing about computers as you mistakingly think, and that it doesn’t actually model evolutionary change as it would happen, since the kind of mutation-caused variation that would be required for selection to work on, is simply assumed to happen every generation.

    Now that I’ve read Torley’s criticism, I see that I’m not the only one who’ve come to this conclusion.

    But for your information, there are many many references online to their so called computer model

    Really? When you write “references”, do you mean actual papers or just pop-sci articles on news-sites written by clueless journalists, or scientific nobodies such as yourself who haven’t read the paper?

    so you are obviously incorrect that the paper doesn’t give that impression, if so many skeptics actually believe there is one.

    How could I be wrong about a literal fact about the paper? The term “computer” isn’t used even once. The term model is used several times, so if there’s a lot of people thinking this means it’s an actual simulation, that’s their own fucking fault, not the paper’s authors.

    Maybe the general public is ignorant about scientific terminology in general? Seems plausible to me, they usually don’t know the correct definition of a scientific theory or the difference between that and a hypothesis.

    And if other people who also didn’t really read the paper and maybe heard about it through word of mouth or more pop-sci articles ALSO think it’s a computer model, then they are ALSO mistaken.

    I will correct the rest of your mistakes a little later.

    There can’t be a “rest” if you still haven’t found a single one. I will prepare myself for an evening of laughing. Good luck.

  10. phoodoo: Oh, you are a skeptic, AND a scientist! How long do you think a generation is? Does 36 years sound about right? Maybe 36.3 years?

    Depend on the organism, doesn’t it? For E coli in lenski’s flasks it’s 20 minutes, for a 21st century western nation human being it might very well be into the 30’s.

    For a rat or mouse it might be 1 year. But a generation is not some set amount of time.

    I’m so glad we get another opportunity to go over the basics. Will you get them this time?

  11. phoodoo: Well, they did manage to fool Dawkins, but I agree with you, he is not much of a skeptic.

    Should I point out the parts where he talks about computer models, or can you find that part now?

    So both you AND Dawkins failed to read the paper. How ironic.

    I can’t stop laughing.

  12. Rumraket,

    The beauty of simulating an eye, as distinct from, say, the leg of a running cheetah, is that its efficiency can be easily measured. The eye is represented as a two dimensional cross section and the computer can easily calculate its visual acuity, or spatial resolution, as a single real number.
    It would be much harder to come up with an equivalent numerical expression for the efficacy of a cheetah’s leg or backbone
    .
    Nilsson and Pelger began with a flat retina atop a flat pigment layer and
    surmounted by a flat, protective transparent layer. The transparent layer was allowed to undergo localised random mutations of its refractive index
    .
    They then let the model deform itself at random,
    constrained only by the requirement that any change must be small and must be an improvement on what went before.
    .
    The results were swift and decisive A trajectory of steadily mounting acuity led unhesitatingly from the flat beginning through a shallow indentation to a steadily deepening cup, as the shape of the model eye deformed itself on the computer screen

    Geez, what an asshole Dawkins is Rumraket. Its like he wants to totally destroy your credibility or something.

    http://sith.ipb.ac.rs/arhiva/BIBLIOteka/270ScienceBooks/Richard%20Dawkins%20Collection/Dawkins%20Articles/Where%20d'you%20get%20those%20peepers.pdf
    .

  13. phoodoo: How are we going to get that 363,000 generations to turn into a few hundred thousand years there Rumraket? Ignore truth?

    Why are you asking me? I already gave my criticism of the paper. I don’t buy it’s conclusion, it is unrealistic. The model ignores the reality of population genetics.

  14. phoodoo:
    Rumraket,

    Don’t tell me Rumraket, I already know this.Tell the good Doctor of Evolutionary Biology, John.

    Why should I tell John? What did John say? Document it for me.

  15. Rumraket,

    He said the model can hardly be beat. Seriously, can’t you read? Its actually the topic of the thread you are posting on, as a hint.

  16. Rumraket: IN FACT, TORLEY ALSO REPORTS THAT IT IS A MISTAKE TO THINK IT IS A COMPUTER MODEL.

    A mistake by whom? Who would think that?

    Oh that’s right, some scientific nobodies, journalists, and Richard Dawkins.

    I see. Good point Rumraket…I think? What was your point?

  17. phoodoo: A mistake by whom? Who would think that?

    Oh that’s right, some scientific nobodies, journalists, and Richard Dawkins.

    I see. Good point Rumraket…I think? What was your point?

    Yes, that was in fact my point.

    Phoodoo, you seem to be laboring under the misapprehension that I have some sort of special connection to, or high opinion of Richard Dawkins. Why is that?

  18. phoodoo: He said the model can hardly be beat.

    Where did he say that? Show me.

    No, I don’t trust you to be correctly relaying that information. Just as you did not correctly relay the contents and conclusions of the paper.

    Generally speaking, from experience, I’ve learned that you are mostly wrong. So when you say something about anything, I double-check it.

    If you post one more post without bothering to dig up the quote, I will feel justified in my suspicion that you are probably not correct and that you know it. If you post a single response without the quote, I will put you back on ignore.

  19. John Harshman,

    I would reply to you John, but you seem to be a little on the shy side, when it comes to being challenged.

    But Rumraket might want to chat-he apparently doesn’t think you believe the paper can hardly be beat, even when I give him your exact quote. What a hardened skeptic he is!

  20. Rumraket: Phoodoo, you seem to be laboring under the misapprehension that I have some sort of special connection to, or high opinion of Richard Dawkins.

    You are not only a skeptic, but a true narcissist as well apparently. What in the hell makes you think I was talking about you when I wrote that the paper gave many people the impression that there was a computer model?

    You refutation of that statement is that YOU never got that impression, and that if Dawkins and some dumb journalists and nobody scientists got that impression-that means I was wrong that many people got that impression?

    Please take a moment to see how clueless your statement is. Or put me on ignore, if you just can’t handle the criticism with your thin skin Rumraket.

  21. Seems I missed that you posted the quote up earlier in the thread. By golly it looks like you were correct, John Harshman did say that.

    Yes, I would disagree with him. I could think of several ways the model could be improved.

  22. phoodoo: You are not only a skeptic, but a true narcissist as well apparently. What in the hell makes you think I was talking about you when I wrote that the paper gave many people the impression that there was a computer model?

    What the hell makes you think I think that?

    You are the one that started by saying the paper was deceptively written to make people think it was on a computer model.

    Then I protested that, because nowhere in the paper is anything about a computer mentioned. At all. The word MODEL is used, but a model is not by definition a computer model.

    Then you went and insinuated that couldn’t be the case (that it wasn’t written deceptively) because other people had got the same impression, including Richard Dawkins.

    It’s pretty obvious why you brought up Richard Dawkins, you thought that upon me discovering that Dawkins had ALSO made the mistake, I would somehow retract my claim that you’re misinterpreting the paper.

    But I didn’t so now you’re droolingly obfuscating in what looks like desperation, because apparently your brain can’t compute that I don’t genuflect before what you seemingly believes functions as the “Infallible Prince of Atheist-Evolutionism”.

    You refutation of that statement is that YOU never got that impression, and that if Dawkins and some dumb journalists and nobody scientists got that impression-that means I was wrong that many people got that impression?

    I’m not refuting nor have I ever attempted to refute, that there were others that got that impression. I was CORRECTING YOU when YOU said it was written to insinuate it was about a computer simulation.

    Here are your own words in the OP:
    In fact the paper is written in such a wayas to make many people falsely believe that Nilsson and Pilger had come up with a computer model to show the steps of eye evolution, from “random” mutations. “

    I simply don’t CARE that you are not the only one who made that mistake. Nor do I care that among the other people who made it is Richard Dawkins. It doesn’t make it any less a mistake or any less embarrassing for YOU that Richard Dawkins ALSO made the same mistake. That just makes TWO of you who apparently didn’t read it. Or failed to understand what it said.

    Are you honestly trying to insinuate that because Richard Dawkins ALSO misinterpreted the paper (if he even read it), that somehow settles that it was written in a deceptive way? Could Richard Dawkins be mistaken about something? Could you?

  23. Rumraket:
    Seems I missed that you posted the quote up earlier in the thread. By golly it looks like you were correct, John Harshman did say that.

    Yes, I would disagree with him. I could think of several ways the model could be improved.

    Context. The perceived perfection of the model wasn’t the point I was trying to address. It’s a great example of how gradual improvement can create a new feature. You think the estimate wasn’t pessimistic enough. I would disagree, but my point is that it doesn’t matter.

    By the way, three generations in a year doesn’t seem like too much for the tiny little animals in which the vertebrate eye evolved, so I don’t see a problem with Phoodoo’s version of the time involved.

    Mung: It’s pretty clear that Rumraket did read the paper and is critical of it.

    I was talking about Phoodoo, not Rumraket. I would have thought that was obvious.

  24. John Harshman: Context. The perceived perfection of the model wasn’t the point I was trying to address. It’s a great example of how gradual improvement can create a new feature. You think the estimate wasn’t pessimistic enough. I would disagree, but my point is that it doesn’t matter.

    It’s not really that I think it wasn’t pessimistic enough (for the particular values the model works with, the numbers are indeed pessimistic), it’s that the model, perhaps due to it’s simplicity, is lacking aspects of population mechanics which I think, if included, would radically alter the outcome in number of required generations.

    What I think is flawed is found here in the paper:

    4. THE NUMBER OF GENERATIONS REQUIRED

    Having quantified the changes needed for a lens eye to evolve, we continue by estimating how many generations such a process would require. When natural selection acts on a quantitative character, a gradual increase or decrease of the mean value, m, will be obtained over the generations. The response, R, which is the observable change in each generation is given by the equation

    R = h²iσₔ
    or

    R = h²iVm,

    where is the heritability, i.e. the genetically determined proportion of the phenotypic variance, i is the intensity of selection, V is the coefficient of variation, which measures the ratio between the standard deviation, σₔ, and the mean, m, in a population (Falconer 1989).

    If I understand that correctly, the model is explicitly assuming that the selectable feature in question always exists with some degree of variation in the population. In other words, that every generation, there are enough members born into the population that you get a spread of variation of the morphological feature around some mean value and that this progressively moves along by some small degree every generation (0.005% according to their calculation).

    That seems to me to suggest that it is assumed the feature mutates somewhere in the population, every generation. Isn’t that rather unlikely? Even worse, the next generation after that, it is moved along even further, which seems to suggest the lucky individual who got the mutation that moved the average along the previous generation, just so happened to have offspring that suffered an additional mutation affecting the same feature, so the “mean” of the population is moved along even further.
    This totally ignores population mechanics such as fixation, which requires we estimate population size and mean fecundity. For some feature to have a good chance of being the substrate for further change, it first needs to spread in the population so when another mutation happens that affects eye-morphology, it should happen in an individual that already received the previous one? Right? But to make that a likely even, the mutation has to be in the majority of the population. But that itself takes many generations.

    How long does it take to fix a beneficial mutation with a selection coefficient of 0.01 in, say, (to keep it simple) 60% of a population of 10^6 individuals that each lay 500 eggs every generation? Hundreds? Thousands?
    I don’t know how to do that calculation, but it seems to me something like this would need to happen between (pretty much) every one of those 0.005% incremental increases in morphology caused by a mutation, rather than the assumption that in every generation, the whole spectrum is moved along by those 0.005%. So rather than eyes evoling in 300.000 generations, they evolve in 3 million, or 10 million? Which if the generation time is 1 year… still makes eye evolution entirely plausible, and more realistic.

    Tell me if I got something wrong here.

    By the way, three generations in a year doesn’t seem like too much for the tiny little animals in which the vertebrate eye evolved, so I don’t see a problem with Phoodoo’s version of the time involved.

    I see what you mean and I agree, I was just pointing out that in fact it wasn’t actually claimed in the paper that eyes evolved in 100.000 years (or generations). Phoodoo got the number wrong.

  25. Just out of sheer curiosity, if a paper DOES present (and perhaps rest on) a computer model, do publications generally provide access to the source code to anyone wishing to replicate or modify it?

  26. John Harshman: By the way, three generations in a year doesn’t seem like too much for the tiny little animals in which the vertebrate eye evolved, so I don’t see a problem with Phoodoo’s version of the time involved.

    And plants are just chock full of light-sensitive spots.

  27. I dunno. Is it worth putting Mung on “ignore” too? Has he ever said anything interesting that anyone can recall?

  28. Rumraket:
    What I think is flawed is found here in the paper:

    If I understand that correctly, the model is explicitly assuming that the selectable feature in question always exists with some degree of variation in the population. In other words, that every generation, there are enough members born into the population that you get a spread of variation of the morphological feature around some mean value and that this progressively moves along by some small degree every generation (0.005% according to their calculation).

    That seems to me to suggest that it is assumed the feature mutates somewhere in the population, every generation. Isn’t that rather unlikely? Even worse, the next generation after that, it is moved along even further, which seems to suggest the lucky individual who got the mutation that moved the average along the previous generation, just so happened to have offspring that suffered an additional mutation affecting the same feature, so the “mean” of the population is moved along even further.
    This totally ignores population mechanics such as fixation, which requires we estimate population size and mean fecundity. For some feature to have a good chance of being the substrate for further change, it first needs to spread in the population so when another mutation happens that affects eye-morphology, it should happen in an individual that already received the previous one? Right? But to make that a likely even, the mutation has to be in the majority of the population. But that itself takes many generations.

    I think he’s looking at selectable variation on the phenotypic level in quantitative characters with additive genetic variance at a whole lot of loci, which seems reasonable to me. So you don’t need just the right mutations in every generation, as lots and lots of allele frequencies are contributing to the relevant variation, not necessarily mutations or fixations at any given point. So I don’t think I agree with your assessment of the model.

    More importantly, I don’t think, even if your suggested changes produce a better model, that it’s all relevant to the point I was making, i.e. the value of this paper as an example of how small successive variations can produce a fancy new function. It doesn’t matter for that purpose how long it takes.

  29. Mung: And plants are just chock full of light-sensitive spots.

    Plus they have little depressions as well. The problem is the depressions keep missing the dam light sensitive spots. And their mutations for sacks of water are darn near useless thus far.

  30. John Harshman,

    Well, he has challenged some of your statements, so you might want to run from him too.

    Let’s face it John, YOU claimed this is a great example of how natural selection acting on variation can create a new feature. But it is not that in the slightest. Instead, they looked at an eye, saw all the parts needed, and simply said ok, start with very little add in each part one at a time, EXACTLY in the order it would be needed, and there, you have an eye, see? That’s not an explanation of anything.

    Furthermore, besides their obviously dubious time frames, where are we getting all these mutations for lenses, and liquid filled membranes? These are the type of mutations that just pop up every so often in organisms? In any part of the body? Or only precisely in light sensitive patches? And they are inheritable, exactly where they need to be? And they are highly conserved once inherited? And have no adverse effects? And they get better with time, because that is another random mutation that spreads?

    YOU referenced this as a good example of something. Why don’t you try defending it, instead of coming here, and then bragging that you ignore anyone who contests you.

  31. I’d like Phoodoo to give us his thoughts on the quality of the ‘design’ of color perception in man. Why was trichromacy chosen not dichromacy or tetrachromacy? Does he think we sample the spectrum well?

  32. John Harshman:
    I dunno. Is it worth putting Mung on “ignore” too? Has he ever said anything interesting that anyone can recall?

    Works for me, although I read the responses to people I don’t read. If anything interesting comes up, I’ll see it.

  33. I guess the basic argument is being made that complex useful features cannot evolve for mathematical reasons, therefore the creationist god.

  34. If evolutionists accept PE then why is time needed for evolving features? why not a burst of activity to make some detail in the evolving eye and then another burst but unrelated to time?
    If PE is true time is not relevant or helps. its just stasis.
    Its old ideas of evolutionism that time fixes everything or is needed.

    As a YEC i see the tuatara , New Zealand lizard, as a better case for sudden emergence of eyes.
    this creature, i understand from memory, has a eye on top of its head. this would not of been from creation week as its for defence.
    So it must of appeared instantly upon need.
    So eyes can appear as needed but i don’t see it as possible they could evolve themselves into the glory of their complexity.
    The eye might not be anymore complex then anything else actually.
    The part on the outside of the skull.

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