Thursday, December 07, 2006


Sight and Sound: A Daunting Task for Evolution

To get a real idea of how impossible it would be for evolution to have formed eyes and sight, it is necessary to look at what light and color really are. During its first 4+ billion years, the planet earth was completely devoid of light and color. It wasn't even black; it was completely and profoundly dark. No animal had any idea whatsoever what light and color were because virtually 100% of all animals had no eyes. Further, the sun does not give off light at all. The sun produces electromagnetic waves of certain specific wave lengths in the form of photons. These waves either directly or, after bouncing off of objects, enter our eyes through the cornea, lens, and iris. When they reach the retina in the back of the eye, electro-chemical signals are formed. These electro-chemical signals are transported to the brain via the optic nerve. The brain then interprets the signals and converts the signals into light and color. Light and color do not exist at all outside of a receptive brain. The brain "manufactures" the light that we see, as well as the odors that we smell, sound we hear, taste, and texture. Without a brain to interpret the signals it gets from the retina, the electromagnetic waves from the sun would only be useful in warming and energizing the planet earth, and for no other reason. How would evolution "know" that if it evolved this incredibly complex vision system, light, color, and incredible images would be at the finish line? This doesn't even qualify in the unimaginable range.
Further, a requirement of three dimensional vision is two eyes. Only one eye would provide flat vision. Before there were eyes and vision, evolution could not have known that there was such thing as "3D". Evolution provided one mouth, and one nose with two nostrils that are connected to one trachea. Why didn't one eye in the center of the forehead evolve first? How did evolution "know" that two eyes were required for 3D vision, or that there was 3D vision in the first place? Was 3D vision just a lucky byproduct of two eye evolution? If you answer that animals needed a second eye so they could see right to left for protection and hunting, why wasn't an eye or two evolved on the back of the head? This is where species are most vulnerable.
The same is true for our hearing systems. The earth before 500 million years ago was totally, and profoundly quiet. There was no sound at all, since there is also no sound outside of the head of a listener. A boulder falling off of a cliff makes waves in the air or water, not sound. The waves vibrate a receptor's eardrums, which creates a signal that the auditory nerve sends to the brain. The brain makes the sound, not the boulder. Sound does not exist outside of the brain of a capable receiver (observer).
It's not as if there was light and sound all over the early earth environment, and animals needed only to evolve systems to see and hear, much like we plug speakers into a stereo system or use binoculars. The earth before 500 million years ago was profoundly quiet and dark, and the knowledge that evolution would require to "realize" that electromagnetic and water or air waves could be utilized to make color, light and sound is unthinkable.
There is an excellent book written on this subject called "The Symbiotic Universe" (Quill, NY) by George Greenstein, an astronomer, and firm believer in evolution. I really like his thoughts on why we are here, but not his conclusion that there is no intelligence in the universe. He states that the universe "knows" that conscious observers are required for its existence, however there is no intelligence in the formation of those conscious observers. His book reeks of intelligence in the universe, but his conclusion is that there is none. The book is an excellent read, however.

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