Sunday, January 6, 2013

Intuitive Recognition

Curiosity about the physiology of the eye and the function of human vision leads us to inquire more deeply about how such wonders came to be. Science professionals are not content to discover merely physical processes even though such discovery is fascinating on its own merits. Scientific findings, for example, that one million neurons carry tiny “on or off” electrical impulses from our retina through a million neural conduits in the optic nerve, later to be integrated into a meaningful visual experience by our brain--such wonders should trigger more than shallow exclamations such as, “So that’s how it works!” Instead, most people inquire, “How did these wonders of the body come to exist?”

Most secular science textbooks give the credit to evolution. Even Charles Darwin had been struck with the majesty and magnificence of the eye. He experienced great difficulty rationalizing away his self-expressed “absurd” thinking that the human eye had resulted from an evolutionary process. Darwin then set out to resolve his doubts about evolution. His deeper questions about the origin of the eye were cleverly rationalized by a famous caveat confidently repeated by Darwin and still endorsed by present day supporters of evolution. The caveat consisted of a set of three proposals each beginning with “IF.” Following is Darwin’s lengthy stipulation:

IF numerous gradations from a perfect and complex eye to one very imperfect and simple, each grade being useful to its possessor, can be shown to exist; IF further the eye does vary ever so slightly, and the variations be inherited, which is certainly the case; and IF any variation or modification in the organ be ever useful to an animal under changing conditions of life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, though insuperable to our imagination, can hardly be considered real. (emphasis mine)

First, Darwin claimed that “the difficulty of believing (in evolution) can hardly be considered real.” (emphasis and parentheses mine) In his statement he works in reverse order from our present eye, a remarkable organ by his own admission, to a primitive eye in the dim geological past. Biological evolution, however, does not proceed in reverse order from complexity to simplicity. Evolution is usually assumed to produce increasing complexity and functionality. Darwin’s complete statement is full of assumptions and contingencies, enough to satisfy the most ardent and optimistic evolutionist.

Authors of biology textbooks and resource material commonly season their writings with powerful evolutionary assumptions. In particular, the assumption is made that virtually every genetic commonality among living things and every anatomical similarity is an artifact of evolutionary ancestry. In particular, modern textbooks are filled with references to evolution and adjectives such as evolutionary. Virtually all leading biology textbook authors use the power of their pulpit to teach the theory of evolution with unrelenting vigor. Evolution is the ruling paradigm of the day in secular biology.

For theistic scientists, there is an alternative to naturalistic evolution to account for the astonishing human eye. It is called theistic creation. Another explanatory proposal is termed intelligent design. Naturalistic scientists and theistic scientists alike use empirical evidence in their proposals. The two groups of scientists, however, come to different conclusions concerning origins, notwithstanding the evidence available to them in their research.

A seldom discussed issue impacting our scientific beliefs concerns the role of intuition--the apprehension that a given fact is indeed true without the need for conscious reasoning. After studying information about the human eye and its function, we must ask ourselves where our personal intuition leads. Our posts have reviewed many startling discoveries scientists have made concerning eye function. Does intuition lead us to recognize naturalistic evolution as the ultimate explanation for the existence of the eye and the function of vision? Do our intuitive abilities tell us that ultimate truth is found in the principles of naturalism? On the other hand, do we intuitively sense the truth that the eye was intelligently designed? Does our intuition tell us that a supernatural creation act is responsible for the existence of an organ as thoroughly wondrous as the human eye?