Sunday, August 28, 2005

Evolution's Eye

Daniel C. Dennett has a superb editorial in today's NYTs debunking intelligent design and its defenders argument that something cannot exist without a creator. One of the more amusing parts of his argument is when he assails the supposed intelligence of the designer, if we take their opposition seriously, by using the eye as an example of a flawed design.
Brilliant as the design of the eye is, it betrays its origin with a tell-tale flaw: the retina is inside out. The nerve fibers that carry the signals from the eye's rods and cones (which sense light and color) lie on top of them, and have to plunge through a large hole in the retina to get to the brain, creating the blind spot. No intelligent designer would put such a clumsy arrangement in a camcorder, and this is just one of hundreds of accidents frozen in evolutionary history that confirm the mindlessness of the historical process.
I'd also like to ask that intelligent designer why I still have an appendix if I don't need it, yet, if it becomes infected it could kill me.

How smart is that?

You know the answer, it's not. My appendix, like my retina, is a product of evolution, regardless if that knowledge dampens my faith that I'm a unique snowflake lovingly created and endowed supernaturally with special worth.