Eyes are a marvel of evolution that first appeared in trilobites during the Cambrian explosion approximately 543 million years ago. There’s no doubt that eyes are complex; they have many parts that work together to give us the visual experience we humans and many of our animal cousins share today.
Because of its complexity, many creationists see the eye as a weak point in evolutionary theory. They make an argument of irreducible complexity: that if any single part of the eye was missing it wouldn’t function. Therefore, eyes must have been created in their current form – by a creator!
But as Dr. Ivan R. Schwab explains in his new book Evolution’s Witness: How Eyes Evolved, this argument doesn’t hold vitreous fluid. Much simpler eye designs not only existed in our evolutionary past, but in some animals alive today! We know how eyes evolved, and (spoilers!) no creator is needed. From the Amazon description of Evolution’s Witness:
From initial photoreception 3.75 billion years ago to early spatial recognition in the first cupped eyespot in Euglena to fully formed camera style eyes the size of beach balls in ichthyosaurs, animals have processed light to compete and survive in their respective niches. It is evolution’s greatest gift and its greatest triumph.
Tune in to Atheists Talk this Sunday November 25th for our interview with ophthalmologist Ivan R. Schwab as he shares with us the story of the evolution of the eye.
- Evolution’s Witness: How Eyes Evolved – Amazon Book Page
- Ivan R. Schwab, M.D. – Professional faculty website
- Cure for a Headache – Announcement of Dr. Schwab’s 2006 Ig Nobel prize in orinthology
Listen to AM 950 KTNF this Sunday at 9 a.m. Central to hear Atheists Talk, produced by Minnesota Atheists. Stream live online. Call in to the studio at 952-946-6205, or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org during the live show. If you miss the live show, listen to the podcast later.