Monday, November 22, 2004

Colson, Again

As part of his ongoing attempt to be as dopey and dishonest as possible, Charles Colson offers up these thoughts about the recently awarded Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine. The award went to Lynda Buck and Richard Axel for their work on the olfactory system.

Colson concludes with:


Previous Nobel laureates have researched other senses and found equally stunning complexity. In 1981, laureates David Hubel and Torsten Wiesel investigated the sense of sight. They discovered nerve cells that adjust contrast, detect motion, and perform numerous specialized functions. To explain how the brain makes sense of signals from the retina, their work uses the analogy, “ . . . as if certain cells read the simple letters in the message and compile them into syllables that are subsequently read by other cells, which, in turn, compile the syllables into words, and these are finally read by other cells that compile words into sentences” which proceed to the brain, where the visual impression originates.

Nearly a century and a half ago, Charles Darwin conceded, “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 degree.” He wrote botanist Asa Gray, “The eye to this day gives me a cold shudder.” And Darwin didn’t know nearly as much as we do about the sophistication of the signal processing from the eye and the nose.

All of this leads to a logical closing question: If researchers earn Nobel Prizes for discovering such intricacies in our sensory organs, doesn’t the Intelligent Designer of all of this intricacy deserve some recognition?


The first quote from Darwin above is a creationist golden oldie. More sophisticated creo's have outgrown that one, but just in case it's new to you, let us wonder one more time why people like Colson never quote the rest of the paragraph:


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 degree. When it was first said that the sun stood still and the world turned round, the common sense of mankind declared the doctrine false; but the old saying of Vox populi, vox Dei, as every philosopher knows, cannot be trusted in science. Reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a simple and imperfect eye to one complex and perfect can be shown to exist, each grade being useful to its possessor, as is certainly the case; if further, the eye ever varies and the variations be inherited, as is likewise certainly the case and if such variations should be useful to any 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 by our imagination, should not be considered as subversive of the theory.


Colson expresses very clearly here the intellectual craveness of the creationist mindset. Any time you encounter something complex in nature, throw up your hands and chalk it up to God. People like Colson search desperately for gaps in scientific knowledge, convinced that God's glory is revealed in the dark recesses of human ignorance.

2 Comments:

At 2:14 PM, Blogger tristero said...

You could add that subsequent to Darwin, intermediate structures demonstrating the evolution of the eye have been found.

 
At 10:02 PM, Blogger Jason said...

Good point. I should have said that not only have smarter creationists stopped using that particular quote, but they have also stopped using the eye as an example at all. Eye evolution is not nearly as mysterious as it once was. Most creationists prefer to talk about the flagellum or the immune system instead (and neither of those are especially mysterious either).

 

Post a Comment

<< Home