I didn’t mean to sound condescending. If I did, I apologize and will try to watch my choice of words in the future. I meant to convey not condescension but impatience – impatience with what appeared to be a hurried and inaccurate reading of what I was saying to Neil.
(And by the way, if you wish to talk about attitudes, I find that Ph.D.s in biology on sites on origins sometimes sound condescending to those they disagree with; they may not intend to do so, but that comes across. Of course I can’t say that the attitudes of the biologists who tend to argue on blog sites are typical of all biologists – maybe it tends to be a more self-assured sort of biologist who spends time arguing on the internet, and most biologists are gentle as pussycats in the way they exchange ideas. But if I had to judge biologists (and scientists generally) by the way they argue on origins sites, I would say they tend more to the arrogant than to the humble side of the conversational spectrum. I may sometimes try to overcompensate for this perceived arrogance – which is combined often with massive intellectual narrowness – and that may make me sound more scolding than I am in normal conversation.)
Now, to get back on topic.
No, it isn’t, and I’ll try to explain why, Whatever the human eye lens is made of, it bends light rays so that they converge at a point on the retina. That is its function within the system, to bend light. Do you wear glasses or contact lenses, or know anyone who does? These things used to be made of glass; now they tend to be made of plastic. Those are two different substances, but the function of a glass lens and the function of a plastic lens are the same. The function of the lens in the eye is the same as the function of the lens in a telescope – to bend light rays so that they tend to converge upon a point. The difference between the eye and the refractor telescope is where the point of convergence is. You can see this from diagrams of various types of refracting telescope.
I’m perfectly aware of this. So was William Paley, over 200 years ago. That doesn’t change the fact that in both devices the light is bent by the lens. It means only that the lens of the human eye is adjustable to circumstances – a very useful and good thing.
In fact, the means by which the lens shape is altered is intricate, and thus the lens-connected parts of the human eye are more elaborate than the lens of a telescope. This excited the admiration of Paley.
Not just “in this case” but in all cases. The bending of light is always governed by principles of physics. How much it bends will depend on type and thickness of medium, but the general rules are rules of physics.
Neil and I weren’t arguing (directly, anyway) over the question of whether there is even an appearance of design in nature. I was having that dispute with Rumraket. Neil and I were arguing only over whether the telescope and human eye are similar in some respects (me) or not similar at all (Neil). Possibly you have conflated the two discussions in your mind. Anyway, the only thing I wanted to draw out of Neil was a retraction of his claim that the eye and the telescope aren’t similar at all. Now he is conceding that there is a similarity regarding the lens, but adding that he thinks the difference is “trivial.” I don’t agree that it’s trivial, but at least he now implicitly admits that he made an overstatement. So unless Neil resumes the conversation with new points, I consider that discussion done with.
In social, political, and family life, compromise is essential to maintaining peace and harmony. I don’t see what role it plays in theoretical matters. And people on your side of the fence seem to take the same view. When a “compromise” between creation and evolution is suggested, i.e., that evolution is real but that God guides or plans the process, I haven’t found any atheist biologists, and a surprisingly small number of Christian biologists, who like that sort of “compromise.” They seem to think that such a view is theoretical hash, and don’t see a virtue in compromises of that sort.
Yes, you were. By denying my point – that the lens in both the human eye and the telescope perform the same function of bending light rays, regardless of what material they were made of – you were saying something about optics. You were denying what numerous physicists, astronomers, opticians, etc. have written about the parallel between the lenses of a telescope and an eye.
I don’t recall immediately, but I don’t think so; but of course any evolutionary account one might give of the hypothetical evolutionary origin of crystallins (and by the way, Denton accepts macroevolution fully) would have to go into far too much detail to fit into the plan and purpose of Denton’s book, which is relatively brief.
It discusses the retina in some detail. Denton has a Ph.D. in biochemistry and his area of research was retinal cancers. He knows a little bit about the retina.
You offer speculations without having read the book. And this, I find, is all too common on these sites – that atheist or atheist-sounding biologists hear about a book secondhand, and, without reading it, start imagining what it might say and all the ways it is probably wrong.
Denton knows a little more about eyes and retinas than most people who write stuff for Wikipedia.
Do you always impute motivations to people in that way? Can you not see that this is just as bad as, and probably worse than, condescension? I have noticed that a number of atheist biologists have a tendency to do this. Is that something taught in the training of modern biologists – that scientists have the right to impute bad motives to others – or is it just a habit of biologists who post on sites like this?