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Apologetics Press :: Decisive Designs

Decoding Design In the Retina?
by Kyle Butt, M.A.
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If there were not another argument available to prove that an intelligent Designer exists, the intricacies of the human eye would be sufficient to establish the fact. Charles Darwin understood the insurmountable hurdle that the human eye presented to his theory. In fact, he accurately commented:

To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest sense (1859, p. 170, emp. added).

Of course, after admitting that such seems absurd in the highest sense, Darwin went on to argue that it only seemed absurd, but in reality had actually happened. His inept explanations attempting to dispel the obvious absurdity of the notion fell far short of sufficient. Not only does the evolution of the human eye seem absurd from a prima facie look at the situation, but it can be proven to be such from an in-depth study of the organ. In his landmark book Darwin’s Black Box, Michael Behe effectively used the biochemical steps involved in human vision to present his case against Darwinism. Regarding Darwin’s comments about the eye, Behe wrote: “Each of the anatomical steps and structures that Darwin thought were so simple actually involves staggeringly complicated biochemical processes that cannot be papered over with rhetoric” (1996, p. 22). The eye is complicated, immensely effective, and evolutionarily impossible. Darwin could not explain it and neither can his 21st-century philosophical descendents.

Not only do scientists fail to explain away the eye’s design, but they often are forced to admit it, at least implicitly. Emily Singer recently wrote an article titled “Decoding the Human Eye” which was printed in Technology Review, a magazine published by MIT. Without moving past the title, the implication of design is obvious. If there is a code, a language by which information is passed effectively, then there must be an intelligent encoder who supplied meaning to the language. For years members of the scientific community have combed space for signs of codes that would prove life exists somewhere other than Earth. Yet, in the human eye, just such a code is readily available for study.

Singer’s article reviews research done at the University of California, Santa Cruz, in which the researchers have designed a microchip that attempts to detail the process used by the human retina to encode information. Singer quotes UCSC physicists Alan Litke, as saying: “The retina is a very sophisticated visual-information-processing device” (2007). Such a statement by Litke immediately brings to mind the question of how would such an information-processing device come to be in the eye if the organ arose by mindless, chance occurrences. Even the simple word “device” is pregnant with design implications. Merriam-Webster’s On-line Dictionary defines the term as: “something devised or contrived as a plan, procedure, technique” (2007). How would mindless, purposeless evolution devise or plan anything? It could not.

Singer included many other implications of design in her article. She mentioned that the retina has its own language. She also stated: “While the retina is often likened to a camera, it is in reality much more complicated” (2007). No one finding a working camera in the woods would posit that it originated without a designer, and the retina is much more complicated than a camera.

Despite all the work being done across the globe to study and mimic the human eye, its intricacies, language, coding abilities, and technological devices continue to boggle the most brilliant human minds. Evolutionary just-so stories about the eye’s origins remain devoid of any legitimate explanatory power. The Proverbs writer provided the rational, honest assessment of the situation when he wrote: “The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the Lord has made them both” (20:12).


Behe, Michael J. (1996), Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution (New York: The Free Press).

Darwin, Charles (1859), On the Origin of Species (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press).

Merriam-Webster On-line Dictionary (2007), [On-line], URL:

Singer, Emily (2007), “Decoding the Human Eye: Superdense Arrays of Silicon Electrodes Will Bring Scientists Closer to an Artificial Retina that Approximates Normal Vision,” Technology Review, [On-line], URL:

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