The Human Eye

by D.W. Cloud

The bewildering complexity of the human eye speaks eloquently of an Almighty Creator.

The eye’s retina is less than one square inch in surface area but it contains 137 million light-sensitive receptor cells. 130 million of these are rod cells (which see in black and white) while 7 million are cone cells (which allow color vision).

Each photoreceptor cell is vastly more complex than the most sophisticated man-made computer (Alan Gillen,
Body by Design, p. 98). And each complex photoreceptor cell replaces itself every seven days.

The eye has a dynamic range of 10 billion to one; that is, it will detect a single photon of light and will still work well in an intensity of 10 billion photons. By contrast, modern photographic film has a dynamic range of about 1,000 to one (Jonathan Sarfati, Ph.D.,
By Design, p. 26), and a high quality single lens reflex (DSLR) camera has a dynamic range of about 2000 to 1.

The Nikon D700 is a semi-pro grade DSLR with a top of the line exposure metering system, but the authors of
Mastering the Nikon D700 are led to comment that it “is only a weak imitation of our marvelously designed eye and brain functions” (p. 34).

A healthy eye can see the light from a single candle 25 miles away.

At every level the human eye demonstrates mind-boggling complexity.

For example, in response to bright light, a protein called arrestin rushes to “bind and calm the light-detecting proteins.” Arrestin is shuttled at lightning speed by a motor protein called myosin along special tracks of the cell’s internal skeleton (Sarfati,
By Design, p. 27). “For the cell to properly adapt to bright light, arrestin needs to move; if it doesn’t, the cell remains as sensitive to light as it was when it was dark” (C. Montell).

“... a process called edge extraction enhances the recognition of edges of objects. John Stevens, an associate professor of physiology and biomedical engineering, pointed out that it would take ‘a minimum of a hundred years of Cray supercomputer time to simulate what takes place in your eye many times each second’ (Byte, April 1985)” (Sarfati,
By Design, p. 27).

Intelligent processing occurs in the retina before the information is transmitted to the brain. It has been estimated that 10 billion calculations occur every second in the retina
before the image even gets to the brain (Gillen).

George Marshall, Ph.D. in Ophthalmic Science from Glasgow University, says:

“The retina is probably the most complicated tissue in the whole body. Millions of nerve cells interconnect in a fantastic number of ways to form a miniature ‘brain.’ Much of what the photoreceptors ‘see’ is interpreted and processed by the retina long before it enters the brain” (“An Eye for Creation: An Interview with Eye-disease Researcher Dr. George Marshall,”
Creation, September 1996,

Even the atheist Richard Dawkins has to marvel at the complexity of the human eye, though he reaches the strange conclusion that it is the product of blind evolution:

“The optic nerve is a trunk cable, a bundle of separate ‘insulated’ wires, in this case about three million of them. Each of the three million wires leads from one cell in the retina to the brain. You can think of them as the wires leading from a bank of three million photocells (actually three million relay stations gathering information from an even larger number of photocells) to the computer that is to process the information in the brain” (Richard Dawkins,
The Blind Watchmaker, p. 93).

The eye’s optic nerve can handle 1.5 million simultaneous messages that are sent to the brain where this massive amount of information is instantaneously processed.

The eyes are set in the body at the ideal place and are protected by the surrounding bone structure, by the eyelid, the eyelashes, and the eyebrows.

The eyes are self-cleaning and self-maintaining. They produce three different types of tears, each with its own complex chemical makeup. Basal tears are the normal lubricating tears that keep the eye clear of dust. The composition of these tears include lysozyme which fights against bacterial infection as part of the body’s mind-bogglingly complex immune system. Reflex tears are produced to flush the eye of irritants, such as onion or pepper vapors. Emotional tears are produced as a result of emotional stress and contain a natural painkiller and calming hormones. Tears have three layers, an outer layer which contains oils that prevent evaporation and control the flow of tears onto the cheek; a middle layer, which contains the proteins and hormones, and a mucous layer touching the eye itself which coats the cornea and provides for even distribution of the tear film.

Could the eye have evolved from a single light-sensitive spot, as evolutionists claim?

First, even a “simple” light sensitive spot that can actually discern and interpret light is incredibly complicated and could not have evolved by chance. Biologist Michael Behe observes:

“We are invited by Dawkins and Darwin to believe that the evolution of the eye proceeded step-by-step through a series of plausible intermediates in infinitesimal increments. But are they infinitesimal? Remember that the ‘light-sensitive spot’ that Dawkins takes as his starting point requires a cascade of factors, including 11-cis-retinal and rhodopsin, to function. Dawkins doesn’t mention them. And where did the ‘little cup’ come from? A ball of cells--from which the cup must be made--will tend to be rounded unless held in the correct shape by molecular supports. In fact, there are dozens of complex proteins involved in maintaining cell shape, and dozens more that control extracellular structure; in their absence, cells take on the shape of so many soap bubbles. Do these structures represent single-step mutations? Dawkins did not tell us how the apparently simple ‘cup’ shape came to be. And although he reassures us that any ‘translucent material’ would be an improvement ... we are not told how difficult it is to produce a ‘simple lens.’ In short, Dawkins’s explanation is only addressed to the level of what is called gross anatomy. ...

“Biochemistry has demonstrated that any biological apparatus involving more than one cell (such as an organ or a tissue) is necessarily an intricate web of many different, identifiable systems of horrendous complexity. ... Not only is the eye exceedingly complex, but the ‘light-sensitive spot’ with which Dawkins begins his case is itself a multicelled organ, each of whose cells makes the complexity of a motorcycle or television set look paltry in comparison. ...

“Richard Dawkins can simplify to his heart’s content, because he wants to convince his readers that Darwinian evolution is ‘a breeze.’ In order to understand the barriers to evolution, however, we have to bite the bullet of complexity” (
Darwin’s Black Box).

Second, the eye appears in the fossil record in great variety and amazing complexity (e.g., trilobite and shrimp eyes), far beyond a “simple light spot.” There is no evidence that complex eyes evolved from simple eyes.

Further, not only does sight require exceedingly complicated biological machinery, but there must be the accompanying intelligence to interpret the light signals and this must be coordinated with further complex systems that enable the creature to do something with the information. Darwinists have never demonstrated how these things evolved.

For a study of the supposed backwards wiring of the human eye see “The Imperfect Human Eye” under the section on Icons of Evolution.
Kathmandu Traveler
David W Cloud