The Harvard-trained palaeontologist Kurt Wise who studied under Gould interestingly makes the following claim that the schizochroal eye is good evidence for design because it exceeds the needs of the trilobite. Although I am inclined to assume he is correct, I do not know much about trilobites, and as a layman, I would think a better optical system is always better, but maybe there is no selective pressure in the trilobite's environment to explain this, as Wise claims.
The design of the schizochroal eye makes it unique among eyes; perhaps even to the point of being the best optical system known in the biological world. 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.
This design, in fact, seems to far exceed the needs of the trilobite.
Um, what were the needs of the trilobite, and in what way were there eyes excessive?
By the way, trilobites composed a rather large group of animals that occupied a lot of different marine environments, and so had a large range of visual "needs". And a large range of eyes to meet those needs, including eye-less trilobites that lived in deep, lightless parts of the ocean.
I'm confused, Rand (don't say you know that, no cheap shots this early on)...
So the presence of a very good optic system in a creature who doesn't need it is proof of intelligent design? I don't follow that logic.
First, let me note that the trilobite fossil records shows a common loss of eyes.
Secondly, let's see what a trilobite expert has to say; caution--he has feelings about IDers use of his pages, so it seems only fair to include this disclaimer:
* I use the term "design" as a lead-in to the parallels between the optic designs of humans and the remarkably evolved morphology of trilobites. Trilobites provide some superb examples of evolution in action (see "loss of eyes" below). Trilobites make it quite clear that evolution of eyes occurs, and that one does not need to evoke "intelligent design" by a creator to explain them. To do so detracts from the idea of an omniscient being. It would have God tinkering with many flawed and suboptimal "designs" and never developing a perfect one. Who would want to worship a god like that? I mention this because this page has been used (without my permission) by people espousing "intelligent design" to the public, and I want it to be clear that I do not share those opinions, nor need that flawed argument to underpin my faith. Evolution is a remarkable and well-documented process, and breakthroughs in our understanding of its intricacies occur every year. Evolution is not in conflict with religious belief. Ignorance and intolerance damage the benefits of faith.
Just so we know where all our sources stand.
Okay. So how does he think the schizochroal eye evolved?
How did schizochroal eyes evolve?
All early trilobites (Cambrian), had holochroal eyes and it would seem hard to evolve the distinctive phacopid schizochroal eye from this form. The answer is thought to lie in ontogenetic (developmental) processes on an evolutionary time scale. Paedomorphosis is the retention of ancestral juvenile characteristics into adulthood in the descendent. Paedomorphosis can occur three ways: Progenesis (early sexual maturation in an otherwise juvenile body), Neoteny (reduced rate of morphological development), and Post-displacement (delayed growth of certain structures relative to others). The development of schizochroal eyes in phacopid trilobites is a good example of post-displacement paedomorphosis. The eyes of immature holochroal Cambrian trilobites were basically miniature schizochroal eyes. In Phacopida, these were retained, via delayed growth of these immature structures (post-displacement), into the adult form.
That's just a quick pass. I'll be reading more on this site myself, but it seems that maybe Wise was not motivated to think of ways for the trilobite schizochroal eye to develop.
quote:So the presence of a very good optic system in a creature who doesn't need it is proof of intelligent design?
Well, to be fair, it is known that one potential falsification for evolution by natural selection would be a feature or trait that can be shown to be impossible to arrive at through small, incremental steps of increasingly "better" stages. If an eye was "better" than the animal needs in order to survive, then there would be no way for natural selection to produce it.
Of course, I don't know what would be "better" than needed. It would seem that if sight is useful at all for a creature, then better sight would always be more useful. In theory, there should be no limit as to how good a creature's eye sight is.
In real life, every animal's eyesight is very limited. Either because the design itself ends up in some sort of "dead-end" where it would be impossible for an incrementally better feature to arise, or because the metabolic cost of developing and maintaining the organ would weigh more than the benefits of a better organ.
"Intellectually, scientifically, even artistically, fundamentalism -- biblical literalism -- is a road to nowhere, because it insists on fidelity to revealed truths that are not true." -- Katha Pollitt
When i see something like the following, I immediately think of the writer as a propagandist and would not recommend anyone assume even basic facts he relates are correct.
Trilobites provide some superb examples of evolution in action (see "loss of eyes" below).
For an educated person to claim loss of eyes due to natural selection is "evolution in action" is laughable, but typical of many evos insistence on using false logic to make their claims. Since they resort to such clear overstatements and sophistry, I really question the intellecual honesty and strength of their argument.
Here is another very poor and deceptive argument.
To do so detracts from the idea of an omniscient being. It would have God tinkering with many flawed and suboptimal "designs" and never developing a perfect one. Who would want to worship a god like that?
How often do many evos insist on inserting theology to back evolution? It really amazes me, and then if someone brings up better theology to answer them, they cry foul.
Evolution is not in conflict with religious belief.
Perhaps if he feels so strongly on this, he should spend as much effort denouncing men like Wilson and Watson as he does creationists.
All early trilobites (Cambrian), had holochroal eyes and it would seem hard to evolve the distinctive phacopid schizochroal eye from this form. The answer is thought to lie
I suspect Wise is dead on accurate then. Most evos I read take even a hint something may be and go on to describe it as given fact. The very fact he expresses some doubt, in context of the typical dogmatism of evos, suggests to me that Wise is correct.
Heh. Guess he pushed your automatic unthinking buttons, didn't he, Rand? Guess I could have read Wise's gooey homily on trilobites and offered you a similar rant, but I didn't.
So you don't think the elimination of a useless system that requires biological resources from the organism is evolution in action? Just when I think you might understand what evolution really means, you prove that you don't.
There's no reason to read on to the evidence and analysis if it's offered by someone who disagrees with you, Rand, no reason at all.
"Dost thou think because thou art virtuous there shall be no more cakes and ale?" -Sir Toby Belch, Twelfth Night
It takes energy to keep on eye functioning. In an environment where eyes are unneeded, since there is no light (such as a cave), then eyes become redundant, and those members that can not see are not weeded out from the general population. What happens is that the eyes become vestigial, because there is no advantage to them.
An eye becoming vestigal is evidence of microevolution/variation, but not macroevolution. That's the issue. The constant claim that microevolution is evolution in action is deceptive because on that basis, one could say having a baby is evolution in action, or that Indians dying from small pox is evolution in action.
But those things are not really evolution in action since they are not examples of macroevolution, and there are no real examples of that and won't be because the nature of the theory is that it takes too long for these things to occur.
Regardless of the claim microevolution equals macroevolution, it's still a claim, a theory. Microevolution does not equal macroevolution.
The Harvard-trained palaeontologist Kurt Wise who studied under Gould interestingly makes the following claim that the schizochroal eye is good evidence for design because it exceeds the needs of the trilobite.
Since when is it good design to have a needs exceeded rather than simply met? That an eye has a greater than necessary requirement speaks volumes to the contrary. An evolving eye would likely be arrived at with whatever materials are at hand capable of performing the necessary function regardless of whether they were suboptimal or of capacity exceeding the needs of the creature.
If we follow this logic then what are we to logically conclude about eyes that are not great in regards of the creature they belong to?
But I realize now that these people were not in science; they didn’t understand it. They didn’t understand technology; they didn’t understand their time. R.P. Feynman