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. Mung: “Bilateral symmetry” is a description. I guess when you’re short on explanation description has to suffice.

    Sort of like design?

  2. phoodoo:
    dazz,

    Which came first, the bilateral symmetry or the eyes?

    Bilateral symmetry, as far as I can tell

    Mung: “Bilateral symmetry” is a description. I guess when you’re short on explanation description has to suffice.

    That’s just fucking stupid. The fact that bilateral organisms develop some organs in a symmetric way is a rock solid explanation for the emergence of pairs of eyes… not just pairs, but pairs that follow the fucking symmetry.

  3. The problem for people like petrushka and dazz, as hinted at by Joe, is that eyes have evolved independently, many times.

  4. Joe Felsenstein: There are jellyfish that have eyes, and Cnidaria are radially symmetric.

    Two points:

    There are hypotheses that radial symmetry is a derived condition in Cnidaria, and I think we were talking about vertebrate eyes, not eyes in general.

  5. John Harshman: I think we were talking about vertebrate eyes, not eyes in general.

    I think we were talking about how a light sensitive spot became an eye, and that vertebrates gots nothing to do with it.

  6. Mung:
    The problem for people like petrushka and dazz, as hinted at by Joe, is that eyes have evolved independently, many times.

    When you think about it very much at all, one would have to be an absolutely nuts fantastical imaginer to truly believe that more than one series of organisms is going to get all of this crazy (and seen no where else sporadically) little weird morphological mutations that just so happen to turn into a perfectly spherical, controllable camera lens eye, which functions with amazing speed and precision, and which can be understood by the organism, and it a vital necessity for almost all living creatures, by accident.

    Where in the heck are these accidents? Liquid filled depressions, getting cornea mutations, and retina mutations and rods and cones mutations, and tear drop mutations and eyelid mutations, and pupil mutations, and muscles to control two of them in exact unison….These kind of mutational accidents could happen ANYWHERE, but they just so happen to have happened right in a developing eye, right when it turns out it can be useful?

    There is a clear reason why evolutionists never phrase the series of events in this way, even though this is precisely what we must believe to be true in order to buy their story. They never talk about it as all these weird accidents of parts, because they know that thinking about it in this way makes one sound like a complete fucking illogical lunatic of grand proportions.

    So we get this glossed over fog of strategy, and design, but not actually design, and well, intrinsic in nature and natural selection is not really random, so its not accidental, and well, you have to understand geological time is vast, and slight changes can have large implications over vast time scales, and its stochastic, not random, and, and, and, “What you want us to explain EVERY little detail, come on!”

    “You have a better idea?”

    YES, aliens with cosmic sculpting silly string lasers is a better explanation then this retarded explanation we are supposed to believe! Its nuts. Complete nuts. And there is zero evidence for it. We have never seen an accidental mutation for a pupil or a cornea anywhere else on an organism. That’s a pretty big clue. If tear ducts sometimes randomly appeared on the tips of newborns noses, or rapidly blinking eyelashes in the middle of some palms, you might actually have a leg to stand on.

  7. I’m thinking I should put John on Ignore. He seems to be clueless.

    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.

    Vertebrates only, anyone?

  8. Of course the evolutionists will say, “But its not an accident!”

    There is nothing else it can be but an accident, but they insist you don’t call it an accident. It sounds too stupid. It is too stupid. And it has to be.

  9. The first and most crucial task is to work out an evolutionary sequence which would be continuously driven by selection. The sequence should be consistent with evidence from comparative anatomy, but preferably without being specific to any particular group of animals.

    Did Dr. John actually read the paper?

  10. Mung: 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.

    Can’t they think of a better word than design?

    Naw, it would sound too stupid to say through continuous small improvements of accidents.

  11. phoodoo: Can’t they think of a better word than design?

    Apparently not.

    Ideally we would like selection to work on a single function throughout the entire sequence. Fortunately, spatial resolution, i.e. visual acuity, is just such a fundamental aspect and it provides the sole reason for any eye’s optical design.

  12. OMagain: And yet there are people who are blind with perfectly functioning eyes. How come?

    I don’t know about this but if so it would fit fine.
    it would be that the person is not reading the memory of which the sight is impressed on.
    It would be more evidence one just reads the memory. Nothing to do with brain machinery. its not that complicated in how the senses work.
    Optical illusions are another example of not seeing the real.

  13. Rumraket: Regardless, it’s directly wrong. There is a visual cortex that directly treats and transmits visual information to other parts of the brain. In fact, researches have become so good at scanning this part of the brain they can literally “see what you see” when scanning your brain in real time.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8iEogscUl8

    No they can’t. They are speculating on the future.
    Anyways none of this has relevance to how we see.
    We do not see in differentv areas of the brain. they may react to what we are seeing but thats for action.
    We only watch a recording, our memory, and thats all.
    Its only the memory in the head that matters to the nerve coming into the skull.

  14. phoodoo: When you think about it very much at all, one would have to be an absolutely nuts fantastical imaginer to truly believe that more than one series of organisms is going to get all of this crazy (and seen no where else sporadically) little weird morphological mutations that just so happen to turn into a perfectly spherical, controllable camera lens eye, which functions with amazing speed and precision, and which can be understood by the organism, and it a vital necessity for almost all living creatures, by accident.
    . . . .

    Your logical fallacy is Personal Incredulity:

    “Because you found something difficult to understand, or are unaware of how it works, you made out like it’s probably not true.
    Complex subjects like biological evolution through natural selection require some amount of understanding before one is able to make an informed judgement about the subject at hand; this fallacy is usually used in place of that understanding.”

    It’s like it was written just for you!

  15. Patrick,

    Nothing complex about it Patrick. Just unsupported, illogical and wrong. Anyone can understand what a random mutation means.

    Don’t think you can cop out of evolutions lack of a coherent explanation by saying its complicated. No serious person believes that.

  16. Those are phoodoo’s two main MO’s. First he will commit the appeal to rhetoric (it’s unguided, blind, random, unintelligent, meaningless, accidential errors), then declare that it is ridiculous to believe in that, thus committing the appeal to personal incredulity.

    That’s almost all he does, encapsulated in that simple statement. Rhethoric followed by incredulity.

  17. phoodoo: Don’t think you can cop out of evolutions lack of a coherent explanation by saying its complicated. No serious person believes that.

    What is your excuse for the lack of a coherent alternative explanation?

  18. newton,

    I don’t know what you mean by alternative. Alternate to what, I am still waiting for a real evolution explanation. According to Patrick, its complicated! That’s an explanation?

    Or do you mean an alternative to “accidents happen, sometimes right where they are needed”?

  19. Richardthughes: Childish level of understanding.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exaptation

    Yes, you are displaying quite a level of childish understanding Richard. What the hell does exaptation have to do with the development of the eye? The pupils were used for something else before? The vitreous humor used to be used for spitting fireballs?

    You just love using Wikipedia don’t you? You don’t even care in the slightest what it has to do with anything being discussed. If you use a Wikipedia link you just figure it saves you the trouble of trying to think of anything.

  20. phoodoo

    and [is] a vital necessity for almost all living creatures

    Yeah, tell that to the bacteria.

    Sure, it provides a survival advantage. Particularly in a world where other organisms have eyes … One wonders why God saw fit to populate the world with predatory bastards that can see.

    This ‘can’t arise by accident’ line is well worth a bit ridicule. It’s impossible for something that provides a survival advantage to be originated and improved through the ‘chance’ mechanism of providing a survival advantage. Ha, ha and ha.

  21. Its a fallacy to call the scrutinizing of a poorly evidenced, poorly articulated, outlandishly speculative, logically incoherent theory a fallacy.

    Its called the “fallacy of the desperate skeptic.”

  22. The original vertebrate eye was far more complex than the one we have today, and had all the bells and whistles that evolutionists think an eye ought to have, were it perfectly designed, but then evolution got hold of it.

    Nilsson and Pelger left that part out.

  23. Mung: The original vertebrate eye was far more complex than the one we have today, and had all the bells and whistles that evolutionists think an eye ought to have, were it perfectly designed, but then evolution got hold of it.

    ?

  24. Is it my fault that Nilsson and Pelger’s made-up story about eye evolution is not the correct story?

    first, the eye didn’t start with a light sensitive spot, it started with an overly-sensitive light-sensitive spot, which then became less sensitive. They forgot to take that into account. I could go on and on about things about eye evolution that they left out.

    I could concoct my own story about eye evolution. Mine might even be far more imaginative and interesting. Why would their story about eye evolution be better than my story? Because of where it got published?

  25. John Harshman:

    Mung: The original vertebrate eye was far more complex than the one we have today, and had all the bells and whistles that evolutionists think an eye ought to have, were it perfectly designed, but then evolution got hold of it.

    ?

    petrushka: ??

    I think this is based on some sort of assumption that evolution can only de-evolve, and everything was front-loaded before it evolved. If so, a bizarre assumption.

  26. Joe Felsenstein: I think this is based on some sort of assumption that evolution can only de-evolve, and everything was front-loaded before it evolved. If so, a bizarre assumption.

    No, it’s about what make one story about how the eye evolved better or worse than another story about how the eye evolved. Nilsson and Pelger left out a lot of important details in their story. They make it sound like evolution travels in a straight line, when there’s no reason to think so.

    Did all eyes start out as a light-sensitive spot, or only some? How do they know?

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