The Instigator
Spiral
Pro (for)
Winning
51 Points
The Contender
Ironduke
Con (against)
Losing
18 Points

The human eye evolved.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/23/2008 Category: Science
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 6,041 times Debate No: 3767
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (63)
Votes (23)

 

Spiral

Pro

Thanks to my opponent if he accepts, not sure if this is the evolution debate you wanted, though you did state the complexity of the eye as an indication of an intelligent designer. Next one can be your choosing. ;)

Essentially I will show that the eye evolved, using the human eye, and eyes found in nature in general, to show the stages of development and how relatively easily it occurs.

I assert that an Intelligent Designer, by definition, would not incorporate flaws into a system, as the argument of ID rests on the creation having no components that are wasteful, or could not be better designed as seen in their present form.

So with that, I will leave it up to my opponent to make the opening gambit as to why the eye could not have evolved.
Ironduke

Con

Well, thank you for giving me the honor of debating you.

You seem to have picked a very good topic as I am not very good at science and the eye is very scientific. However, I shall "do or die", but most likely die.

Nice move with the whole "Intelligent Designer would not incorporate flaws into a system" thing. Because then, you would proceed to say that an Intelligent Designer would not put blood vessels so close to the surface making them liable to pop and ruin the eye. You might also mention that an Intelligent designer would not have made eyes to see upside down, which we learn to flip around as babies using touch. Of course, there also is that blind spot(sorry if I stole your thunder.)*evil cackle*

Now, the heart of the issue. I am simply going to show you the complexity of the eye, because I am at a loss to do anything else. Understand I do not doubt here, I just like to go to the root of issues, like how life began or why we have ethics. However, eyes are important too. A close look at the eye reveals a lot of different parts. And no matter how long you have to evolve them, from nothing, to light sensing chemical patches, to the state-of-the art eyes we have today. You know, it has been estimated that a Cray supercomputer would take a hundred years to process what we see and process in one second with our eyes.

To me, it is alot to think that the eye formed by itself, but of course I'm not very good at science. The ciliary muscle, in order to focus, changes the shape of the lens itself!!! That is more sophisticated than any technology we have today.

Look at all the parts, and just for a second, don't worry about how it came to be. There is the protective lens, the pupil, which is a wonder in itself(it is a hole in the eye, a HOLE!!), the iris, the ciliary muscle, the retina, the rods and cones. Of course, over gazilions of years, oh, sorry, millions, maybe billions of years, the eye could have evolved. Little step by little step. I am unable to comprehend that, but, that is what you are trying to show me. Many thanks.

My last point for now is in the beauty of the eye. There is nothing so delicate looking, so open so individual as the eye. The old saying, "The eye is the window to the soul" is very true, unless you don't believe in the soul. It still shows you alot of what the person is feeling or even thinking. I don't have a faint clue as to why that would be built into the eye!!! It doesn't help survival at all. Another thing is that no one has an eye like another person. Everyone's is unique. Every single eye that has ever been recorded, look at them closely, and every eye is a little different from anyone else's! Why would that happen??? Genes is my best guess, but do tell yours!

Your turn
Debate Round No. 1
Spiral

Pro

Thank you for accepting, and welcome to your first debate.
Additional thanks you for conceding that the eye appears not to be "intelligently designed", (saved me the time) human and animal life is full of imperfections, evolution needs not to strive for perfection merely success. Our vast amount of junk DNA is testament to that.
As to the often appropriated and misused Darwin quote; creationists rarely finish it.
"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."

Arguments: A. Argument of Incredulity and B. Argument of Beauty

A.Evolution of the eye:

Firstly some key points about evolutionary/genetic theory that may enable easier understanding.
1.Not everything is an adaption: A part may mutate and be generationally passed down, simply because there is no selective pressure to remove said part. A part or expression thereof may be a ‘side effect' of another trait. A gene variant may spread/exist due to its relation to a successful gene.
2. Natural selection is not the only way for evolution to progress: DNA when copied creates errors. Human embryos will contain around 100 new mutations; natural selection will eliminate the most harmful. Most mutations will not matter, occurring within our junk DNA that makes up the majority of our genome. The majority of neutral mutations will die out but a few will survive and spread through generations by chance in a process called genetic drift.
3. A mutation may be used differently to its previous precursors (e.g. fins to fingers, the infamous flagellum precursor).

"What is the use of half an eye?" Half an eye is just 1 per cent better than 49 per cent of an eye, which is already better than 48 per cent, and the difference is significant. Serviceable, image-forming eyes have evolved between 40 and 60 times, independently from scratch, in many different invertebrate groups. Among these 40-plus independent evolutions, at least nine distinct design principles have been discovered, including pinhole eyes, two kinds of camera-lens eyes, curved-reflector ("satellite dish") eyes, and several kinds of compound eyes.
The simplest organ which can be called an eye consists of an optic nerve, surrounded by pigment-cells and covered by translucent skin, but without any lens or other refractive body. Geneticists have discovered that eye development in animal embryos is almost always initiated by a gene called pax6, which like many developmental genes is found in many different lineages. The prototype eye was very simple, one photoreceptor cell and one pigment cell. The C. elegans nematode has lost its eyes because it lives underground, but it has retained its Pax6 gene. The reason for retaining the Pax6 gene lies in the pleiotropic function of Pax6, which specifies not only the eye but also the nose and parts of the brain. Therefore, there is selective pressure to maintain Pax6 despite of the reduction of the eyes (point 1). Various descendants of this organism, including trilobites, went on to realise unique ways of improving on this prototype to create fully fledged eyes with lenses. It has been discovered that two types of light-sensitive cells existed in our early animal ancestors: rhabdomeric and ciliary. In most animals, rhabdomeric cells became part of the eyes, and ciliary cells remained embedded in the brain. But the evolution of the human eye is peculiar – it is the ciliary cells that were recruited for vision which eventually gave rise to the rods and cones of the retina. Studying a "living fossil," Platynereis dumerilii, a marine worm that still resembles early ancestors that lived up to 600 million years ago. By mapping "molecular fingerprints" ( a fingerprint is a unique combination of molecules that is found in a specific cell), it can be shown that if cells between species have matching molecular fingerprints, then the cells are very likely to share a common ancestor cell. Scientist Kristin Tessmar- determined the molecular fingerprint of the cells in the worm's brain. She found an opsin, a light-sensitive molecule, in the worm that strikingly resembled the opsin in the vertebrate rods and cones (European Molecular Biology Laboratory, 2004, November, 1; Gehring, 2005. Journal of Heredity, 96(3), 171–184).

Time line:
Stage 1: 580 Million years ago (Mya).
Animals with bilateral symmetry exist, numerous families of genes exist, the opsin has evolved into 3 major classes: rhabdomeric, photoisomerase and ciliary opsins. Protostomes seprate from our line (deuterstomes).

Stage 2: (580-550 Mya).
Ciliary photoreceptor and ciliary opsin continue to evolve similar to those in extant and ascidian larvae. Cephalochordates and tunicates separate from our line (chordates).

Stage 3: (550-530 Mya).
Ciliary photoreceptors make synaptic contact onto projection neurons that might have been descendants of rhabdomeric photoreceptors. The eye-field region of the diencephalon bulges to form ‘eye vesicles'. These lateral vesicles invaginate bringing the proto-retinal into opposition with the retinal pigment epithelium. A primordial; lens develops, preventing pigmentation of the overlying skin. Myxiniformes (hagfish etc) separate from our line (vertebrates).

Stage 4: lamprey-like ancestors (530-500 Mya).
Photo receptors develop cone-like features: Ordered sac/disc membranes, Mitochondria becomes concentrated within the ellipsoid region, coloured filter material is incorporated into the inner segment for spectral tuning, ribbon synapses evolve into the synaptic terminal, cell classes diverge to give 5 separate cone like photoreceptors each with own cliary opsin and with isoforms of transduction proteins.
Retinal computer power increases: Cone bipolar cells evolve, either from proto neurons or photoreceptors, bi-plexiform ganglion cells develop, highly organised 3 layered neuronal structure with 2 intervening plexiform layers develops.
Ganglion-cell axoms project to the thalamus, the optics evolve (lens accommodation and eye movement), the lens placode invaginates and develops to form a lens, the iris develops and papillary constriction becomes possible, innervated extra ocular muscles evolve.
Petromyzoniformes separate from our line

Stage 5 (500-530 Mya).
Myelin evolves and is incorporated throughout the nervous system.
Rod photoreceptors evolve: Rhopsidin evolves from cone opsin, free floating discs pinch off within the plasma membrane, rod bipolar cells evolve probably from rod photoreceptors, the sceptic rod pathways evolves with amacrine cells (input via pre existing cone pathway), highly contractile iris evolves that can adjust eye levels, intrinsic eye muscles develop that permit accommodation of the lens. The eye currently possesses a duplex retina, rods & cones, retinal wiring, colour coded photopic pathways.
The last jawless fish separate from our line

Stage 6: Tetrapods (430>Mya).
The lens develops an elliptical shape to compensate for the added refractive power that is provided by the cornea in air, the dermal component of the split cornea is lost and the eyelids evolve, certain opsin classes are lost due to nocturnal conditions.
(Nature Reviews Neuroscience 8, 960-976 December 2007)

B.Argument from Beauty

The eye is far from the only unique component in our body. "Window to the soul" sounds nothing more than tribal mysticism. What you may think as reading emotion in the eye is nothing more than basic body language as a whole.
Ironduke

Con

Note I did not say that I could not imagine that the eye could be formed by an Intelligent Designer. I simply wanted to steal a march on you. It was fun.

Now, to the task at hand. You said, "evolution needs not strive for perfection, merely success"(I put in the coma because I thought you would want one in) With all due respect, the goal of evolution is perfection. Success is important, but at the end of the day, perfection remains to be required.

First, the eye. I have a hard time debating without going back to the begginning, but if either side could solve that, there would not be this debate and I am rather enjoying it. How, could this eye turn from nothing to something. I suppose that things like that have happened if scientists have all supported the idea. However, I have heard of a little thing called a scientific law. we all know that science cannot prove anything, merely point out a logical course of action. I remember this law called the First Law of Thermodynamics, which states(*I hope the law is the right one, tell me if it isn't), "matter cannot be created or destroyed." The Second Law of Thermodynamics basically says things go from order to disorder.

I believe the eye could not have been evolved due to the complexity of the eye. Of course, this is good for both sides, with micro-evolution and God(Intelligent Design).

Look for a second around you. My question is that why would the eyes not have evolved so we could see infrared at the same time? That would help with survival.

I am at a loss. The eye is far to complicated for 500 million years to develop it.

Now, how could these dead chemicals make such a thing as the eye.

Now, the "tribal mysticism" you speak of. I suppose it could be "body Language" But who are we kidding. When you look in some peoples eyes, even if they are completely fine, you can see things. If they are hurting, you can see it in their eyes. If they are addicts of some kind, you can see when they are high. When they are in withdrawal, you can see something terrible in their eyes. You won't accept this, but I tried.

Meat, no matter how long you put it outside, is still meat. When grubs hatch in it, the meat did not change into grubs, but rather, the flies that fed there left their eggs, and the eggs hatched into the grubs. No self-respecting scientist would ever believe this. But some scientists still hold that chemicals from somewhere hatched into bacteria. Both you and I know this is impossible, so what now? This is what some theories of evolution dictate. It doesn't work very well. No matter how long a rock sits in a forest, it is still a rock. It is still a rock when algea grows on it(moss, technically), when it is shattered, it never loses the properties of a rock. Some might say that you could modify it(I have no clue how), but that wouldn't be the rock changing by itself, would it? I don't know.

Another thing, tears. Tears of pain are far different from tears of emotion. Tears of amotion not only refresh you physically, but emotionally, you feel better. I'm pretty sure you agree with this one. Why would the eye have that characteristic if it was simply to help you survive.(this could go on to emotions and their relevence in the evolutionary model, but that is another debate)

Another little point is color. Why would you see in vibrant color when black and white suffice. It may be helpful, but we see in lots of colors, but the brain mixes all three primary colors together. If not black and white, at least the three primary colors then.

The eye has a light sensitivity of 10,000,000,000:1. that is better then any film we have created so far. The best one is about 1,000 to one. If we can't make cameras that efficient, then how could blind chance do so?

Sorry, I think I went off track. I cannot think of any more evidence. Bon chance!
Debate Round No. 2
Spiral

Pro

Thanks for the timely response and grammar correction ;)

"With all due respect, the goal of evolution is perfection. Success is important, but at the end of the day, perfection remains to be required."

This is a common fallacy regarding evolution; that it aims to produce perfect specimens as a process of natural selection. In reality all it needs to do is work well, not perfectly. A classic example is the panda's ‘thumb', an adapted wrist bone the animal uses as an opposable thumb to grip bamboo. It is far from ideal, but the thumb is fused to the paw and it has to make do. Additionally, introduced species show all too well the fragility of a system of seemingly "perfect" organisms in relation to their environment (it is a process of one side matching the other or risk dying out; think of our body's continual immune system adaption with rapidly mutating bacteria). If a species were truly raised to perfection it would quickly eat or over populate itself to destruction, the key is balance to the environment it is in. Many groups haven't evolved features that would make them better adapted. Sharks lack the gas bladder for buoyancy control found in other fish, mammals two way lungs are less efficient than birds (one way). Recurrent mutation also means advantageous mutations may be lost (most primates cannot make vitamin C, the diet was rich there was no need). Once natural selection fixes on a bad, but functional design, the species may be stuck with it, and the eye is a perfect example of that.

"First, the eye. I have a hard time debating without going back to the begginning, but if either side could solve that, there would not be this debate and I am rather enjoying it. How, could this eye turn from nothing to something. I suppose that things like that have happened if scientists have all supported the idea. However, I have heard of a little thing called a scientific law. we all know that science cannot prove anything, merely point out a logical course of action. I remember this law called the First Law of Thermodynamics, which states(*I hope the law is the right one, tell me if it isn't), "matter cannot be created or destroyed." The Second Law of Thermodynamics basically says things go from order to disorder."

The eye started as a simple photosensitive pigment; essentially a yes/no relay to the presence of light. As for the original process of chemical evolution, experiments as early as 1953 (The wondrous Miller-Urey experiment), shows how chemicals can transform into organic compounds. Wiki has a simple review of the experiment (http://en.wikipedia.org...). Many others have shown similar effects.

"I believe the eye could not have been evolved due to the complexity of the eye. Of course, this is good for both sides, with micro-evolution and God(Intelligent Design)."

The argument from complexity is a common one, based usually on the assumption that evolution is entirely a random processes. It is clearly not that, natural selection is a very active process in the determination of traits; it is very far from random.

"Look for a second around you. My question is that why would the eyes not have evolved so we could see infrared at the same time? That would help with survival."

Some animals have, our lines however separated long ago (no warm blooded animals see infrared). At its most basic, many poisonous plants and animals advertise their poisonous nature by being brightly coloured. If our eyes were to see the entire spectrum without any filtration, then we would not easily be able to discriminate between those organisms that are dangerous and those that are not.

"Now, the "tribal mysticism" you speak of. I suppose it could be "body Language" But who are we kidding. When you look in some peoples eyes, even if they are completely fine, you can see things. If they are hurting, you can see it in their eyes. If they are addicts of some kind, you can see when they are high. When they are in withdrawal, you can see something terrible in their eyes. You won't accept this, but I tried."

The tribal mysticism remark was in regards to "the eye is a window into the soul". To illustrate the point that emotion reading is body language and not purely from the eye, feel free to view this and attempt to label emotions within these eyes with certainty. http://www.bbc.co.uk...

"...But some scientists still hold that chemicals from somewhere hatched into bacteria..."

See above for chemicals > organic compounds (NOT bacteria. That is not the first stage).

"Another thing, tears. Tears of pain are far different from tears of emotion. Tears of amotion not only refresh you physically, but emotionally, you feel better. I'm pretty sure you agree with this one. Why would the eye have that characteristic if it was simply to help you survive.(this could go on to emotions and their relevence in the evolutionary model, but that is another debate)."

The eye, tears etc are not a component of emotion; tears are a physiological response to emotion. The distinction is important. Again (refer to second round) an adaption does not need to be related to survival. Even so, the ability to relieve stress would lead to a happier longer life.

"Another little point is color. Why would you see in vibrant color when black and white suffice. It may be helpful, but we see in lots of colors, but the brain mixes all three primary colors together. If not black and white, at least the three primary colors then."

Despite your contradiction of stating evolution strives for perfection and now stating it must ‘just make do', colour discrimination is directly related to environment discrimination; it allows the organism to make superior decisions about the environment it is in. We use colour, dogs for example, use superior smell.

"The eye has a light sensitivity of 10,000,000,000:1. that is better then any film we have created so far. The best one is about 1,000 to one. If we can't make cameras that efficient, then how could blind chance do so?"

Cameras are not eyes; that is the basic reason. The analogy of eyes and cameras is often used, and just as often inappropriate. Again, natural selection is not a random process: gradual by gradual improvements.

And with that there you have it. Clearly the evolution of the eye is not only possible, the evidence of components for explaining how, are very apparent. Thanks to my opponent for the interesting debate.

Regards, Spiral.
Ironduke

Con

A common fallacy regarding evolution? I did not say that anything was perfect. I said perfection was the goal. A light difference, but extremely important.

That is the goal. It is put forth by any atheist spokesperson of importance(not that other spokespeople aren't important, but of world known levels) Nietzsche himself always advocated for a superhuman evolution, if you will, an evolution to achieve godlikeness. So while we may not be "perfect", we are on the way to becoming so. So evolution says. If it isn't, then what are you, we, evolving to? And you said something earlier about how evolution was not completely random. But to start it had to have been. Otherwise we would have something intelligent guiding the process. Because I don't think nothing would suddenly think, "hmmm, I want to create a universe today!"

Anyway, the eye. An early response to light. Ok, still order out of nothing. My science teacher(ooh, I'm bring in the big boys), when I asked him about a little thing I like to call the scientific method, agreed that it could not prove anything. the man believes in evolution. Science cannot prove anything. It simply can point you in a logical direction. That is what you are doing I'm sure. Because if one says science has proven, one is in direct violation of the scientific method. It would then cease to be science, and become sciencism, a religion. That is not relevant, but, simple=y, another thing I rambled about. A thousand apologies.

I will say nothing further. I have given my evidence. Some times, a human quality is to get focused on the small scale thing, while ignoring the big picture. I believe that debates would be better focused on the beginning, rather then the byproducts. But, to question things is all to human. Another thing that is human is to get so wrapped up in the big picture, that we tend to forget about the little things, like a little kid's smile, or the smell of freshly cooking bread. Corny, I know, but true.

I will say that as a Christian I have my share of doubts, but instead of burying them to leave them to ferment into disbelief, I ask questions. It works better.

I will say that the eye has an amazing movement system, beter then many hypodermic things taht move(I can't find the word, sorry)

The thing with evolution is that you can explain all body parts one way or another. What it has a very difficult time explaining is ethics...(appropriate pause for unbridled fury and thousand of debate requests.)

I'm finally done. Many thanks, it has been educational and fun. I enjoyed learning. Even if I won't believe it, it is good to know what to talk about. Sorry for not being as articulate as you might've liked, I am still learning. Oh wow, good music on the radio. That is also something, the effects of music and art. But I'm sure that is useful too.

Until next time, live well!
Debate Round No. 3
63 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by sadolite 9 years ago
sadolite
That is not what my daughter is being taught. I think I will have a word with the school about this.
Posted by Spiral 9 years ago
Spiral
Firstly the theory of evolution makes no postulation about the origin of life. That is the theory of Abiogenesis. Once you have self replicating RNA strands, then natural selection, genetic drift etc can work. Secondly mammals were existing at the time of the dinosaurs, they just weren't the dominant life forms. Thirdly "flash of geologic time" is a bit erronous, we are talking 1000's of millions of years.

Evolutionary theory accounts for the diversity of life, not life itself.
Posted by sadolite 9 years ago
sadolite
Like I said, These sites don't help explain the origin of the first human, We go from dinosaurs then to fury little mammals to humans in a flash of geologic time. I am not trying to disprove your comments only trying to understand why evolution is being used to explain the origins of life or am I miss informed because that is what is being taught to my daughter in her science class, "That evolution explains the origin of all life on this planet" Would that statement be correct if it is taught to my children.
Posted by sadolite 9 years ago
sadolite
I am sorry my bad, You are right he did not say we evolved from chimps. I am in the wrong kind of debate for the answer I am looking for. It is the ancestors origin that is causing my confusion.
Posted by Spiral 9 years ago
Spiral
Not what Bitz said at all.

We evolve from a common ancestor, our lines branched 5 million years ago from apes, that is not the same as "evolved from". The primates you see today are modern primates.

Natural selection does not "kill" weaker species over time. Those species that are less successful, at whatever ecological niche they are in, will naturally reproduce less, have a higher, relative, attrition rate. Still, around 98% of all life that has been on earth has become extinct.
Posted by sadolite 9 years ago
sadolite
Spiral, If man evolved from chimps as blitz suggests, then natural selection would kill of the weaker species over time. I consider chimps to be inferior to humans.
Posted by Spiral 9 years ago
Spiral
How do you mean, Sadolite?

Character Limits.
Posted by sadolite 9 years ago
sadolite
One must wounder why chimps even exist given the natural selection argument used by spiral in this debate.
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