Your Intelligently Designed Retina

There are amazing processes which goes on before you can see! Your retina performs an array of multiple digital transformations! A recent study by opthalmologists from the University of Tübingen, Germany has discovered that your eye goes digital. What was thought to be continuous analog signals to the retina are really created spikes (action potentials) that represent on-or-off conditions which is the basis of digital programming!

Currently Biology describes a vast amount of complexity where the eye massages its digitized information for the brain.

Action potentials allow for much faster and temporally more precise signal transmission than graded potentials, thus offering advantages in certain situations…”

“The retina in our eyes is not just a sheet of light sensors that – like a camera chip – faithfully transmits patterns of light to the brain. Rather, it performs complex computations, extracting several features from the visual stimuli, e.g., whether the light intensity at a certain place increases or decreases, in which direction a light source moves or whether there is an edge in the image.”

“To transmit this information reliably across the optic nerve — acting as a kind of a cable — to the brain, the retina reformats it into a succession of stereotypic action potentials – it “digitizes” it. Classical textbook knowledge holds that this digital code – similar to the one employed by computers – is applied only in the retina’s ganglion cells, which send the information to the brain. Almost all other cells in the retina were believed to employ graded, analogue signals. But the Tübingen scientists could now show that, in mammals, already the bipolar cells, which are situated right after the photoreceptors within the retinal network, are able to work in a “digital mode” as well.”

There are at least 8 classes of the bipolar cell patterns that were classified by the researches.  Why would this be considered the end of the dogma? Action potentials have been discovered before, but were considered only rare exceptions rather than the norm. The press release goes on to say that the discovery opens up new questions. But as one reads this, evolution is not even mentioned! Normally they just give credit to evolution or just speculate on the spot, but how could they mention it, considering that they were talking about computer cables with digital codes! These concepts as you know are designed by a thought process rather than a mindless one!

This is a classic example of when science improves that leads to astounding discoveries, nature appears more intelligently designed than ever before! The autonomous bipolar cells cannot “know” nor understand what the brain needs. Bipolar cells require pre-programming in order to send vital information to the brain and have the brain understand that vital information so it could react the right way. Formatting of the signal takes place using a code that the brain is able to understand! And it is required to get there fast, that is why digital was the way to go!

The exquisite interaction of parts here, sending digitally-encoded information down a “cable” of sorts, is truly one of the most amazing and mind-boggling things ever discovered!  We are not talking about just a camera with a chip; rather we are talking about the whole Photoshop!

So when we look at nature, before we think what we are seeing, just think of how many processes it took to get us to see what we are seeing! There is a quite an amazing list of intermediaries which includes; the cornea, the aqueous humor, the lens, the vitrious humor, the rods and cones, the bipolar cells, the retinal ganglion cells, the optic nerve, and who knows what else which has yet to be discovered, has massaged, transformed and formatted the signal from the initial impingement of photons on the cornea!

27 thoughts on “Your Intelligently Designed Retina

  1. Oh dear oh dear … not the eye again !
    Why do creationists keep on making the same mistakes again and again and again …

    An interesting psychological question, I guess.

  2. You are free to remove your non-intelligently designed eyes and create something better Eelco. It is also an interesting psychological question as to why you would be so concerned with what Michael believes.

  3. Oh, I do, ‘Chazing’, I do. I’m an astronomer and use HUGE eyes, very nicely designed to peer into deep space …

    I am not concerned with what Michael believes – I am concerned he’s trying to sell it as science. Which it is not.

  4. I hope your HUGE intelligently designed eyes serve you well though I suspect you would be better served by creating ones to fit directly into your eye sockets. There is no set, fully agreed upon definition of what constitutes science so all you are wasting your time with, is your opinion of Michael’s opinion. Even if he is selling, most are not buying. You could be peering into the stars and being amazed at how singularities go bang and create randomness which creates order which creates life which creates intelligence which creates telescopes. Of course, on evolution, telescopes may not really exist. They would be most likely be a figment of a mass random delusion started at the big bang. Now that’s a better psychological question: are you deluded and how do you know?

  5. “I hope your HUGE intelligently designed eyes serve you well though I suspect you would be better served by creating ones to fit directly into your eye sockets. ”

    Nah … eyes are not very sensitive, and CCD’s are much better at the job.

    The rest of your post does not make any sense to me …

  6. Then I strongly suspect that you don’t understand the philosophical ramifications of evolution and also that you don’t understand science very well. Which is pretty bad given that you work as an astronomer….

  7. You can suspect all you like … but I’m afraid I understand science well enough, after 25 years or so …

    Your post did not make any sense to me because you were rambling. I can’t put it any nicer, but after your remarks above I do not feel I have to, really.

  8. Well if you cannot understand a paragraph of simple ‘rambling,’ once again, I strongly suspect that you would not understand Michael’s longer posts.

  9. Ramblings are typically not understood by anyone, as they do not make sense.
    Your ramblings do not make sense. That is the problem, not me. Sorry.

  10. Michael has realized for the 23trd time that the vertebrate eye surpasses his understanding.[1] And, if he can’t understand it, then it must be beyond the power of natural law, because ….. Well, just because.

    Most body cells are electrically charged—they have a “potential.” These are of two types, depending upon the specific ion channels in their cell walls; many cells have both types. A graded potential admits ions to the cell in amounts proportional to the stimulus; its channel opens partially. An action potential has a threshold stimulus, above which the channel opens fully in a positive feedback loop to produce a high output. However, this output snaps the channel shut again after a very short time. That is, an action potential produces a short spike, rather than an proportional level.

    Comparing action potentials to “computer codes” is misleading. Computers are capable of representing many signal levels with binary digits. Action potentials represent only one level—anything above a threshold is a single spike or pulse. Try running a computer on a code like that.

    Michael seems to think that action potentials were created just for retina cells. Many—perhaps most—neurons have them. In addition, muscle cells have them, and endocrine cells. Even some plant cells. So action potentials in the retina is nothing unusual.The significance of this discovery is that APs exist in the retinal bipolar cells; the previous opinion was that only the retinal ganglion cells used them.

    So cool it, Michael. All-or-nothing action potentials exist all through your body, not just in the retina. And other cells in the retina were known to use APs as well. CEH is misleading you again. Easy to do, apparently.

    We might also ask, if “digital processing” in the retina proves design, then how about retinal flaws such as its backward construction that limits acuity and requires extra blood vessels to keep it from overheating. By the same token, that seems to negate design.


    One has to laugh at creationists’ attempts to “prove” that biological systems are designed BECAUSE some of them can be given names that are analogs of human artifacts. An eye MUST be designed, because it works in some ways like a camera. A cellular ion channel MUST be designed because it is a pump. A nerve MUST be designed, because it is like a cable.

    According to this logic, an artesian spring MUST be designed, because it acts as a pump. A pebble on the beach MUST have been designed, because it is like a marble. A snowflake MUST be designed, because it looks like a pinwheel. The question is, how far into absurdity does Michael wish to carry this by attempting to find analogies between man-made objects and biological structures.

    An analogy constitutes evidence only in theology.[2]


    One must also wonder why creationists pick such stupid targets such as the eye in claiming design. The evolution of eyes is well documented. Examples abound of eyes all the way from simple patches of light-sensitive skin cells to eye cups (“pinhole cameras”) to retinas and lenses and irises and eyelids for winking at pretty girls.

    After all, much easier targets are plentiful enough. For example, all cell walls are lipid bilayers. These are so easy to form spontaneously that they can do it right in front of your eyes. However, all cell walls must be permeable, to allow entry and exit of certain chemicals. This is done by protein channels in the wall, since the walls by themselves are impermeable.. The question is, how can you form a channel without some rather complex proteins already in the cell. There seems to be no way that this capability could have arisen by a succession of steps.

    Creationists entirely ignore tough problems such as these. Probably because they are so ignorant of evolutionary biology that they tell the difference between a big problem and a small problem.. Most people have some idea how an eye operates, and think of it as complex. But how complicated can it be to stick a molecular-channel protein into a cell wall? Turns out that it is so complicated that no one can even come up with a guess as to how it evolved.

    There are several other prominent examples of the same type. Perhaps we should be glad that creationists are so ignorant. Keeps them from asking the really hard questions.


    [1] This post was cribbed from Creation Evolution Headlines, “Eye Retina Is Analog-to-Digital Converter” Truly, Michael doesn’t know what to think about anything unless someone else tells him.

    [2] Where, for example, turning an electric light on breaks the Sabbath BECAUSE it might cause a spark in the switch, a spark is LIKE a fire, and fires are prohibited on the Sabbath. Or, my personal favorite, Stevie Wonder is God—-because God is love; love is blind; Stevie Wonder is blind.

  11. ChazIng on December 19, 2012 at 2:18 pm said:
    Then I strongly suspect that you don’t understand the philosophical ramifications of evolution ….

    What are the philosophical implications of evolution? Please separate those for (a) the fact of evolution–i.e., common descent; and (b) theories concerning the processes of evolution—how it operates.

    A listing of metaphysical and epistemological aspects would be particularly interesting.

    Mahalo nui.

  12. ChazIng on December 20, 2012 at 3:16 pm said:
    See my second post.

    To whom was that comment addressed? To what is it relevant or meaningful?

  13. It was addressed to you and relevant to your question of the philosophical implications of evolution.

  14. Except that that comment is silent as to any philosophical implications of evolution. Or of anything else.

    So I guess I’m with Eelco. Unless you start making sense, there seems to be no reason to continue..

  15. Well, if you can’t see the glaring philosophical implication of evolution in my second comment, likewise, “there seems to be no reason to continue..”

  16. Sorry, no sense yet.

    Wait! Let’s ask our host. Yo, Michael: what is the glaring philosophical implication of evolution that lies smothered in Chazing’s second comment? (The one about the huge intelligently designed eyes.)

  17. Well, no reply from Michael. Apparently he is as mystified by Chazing’s purpored philosophical implication as the rest of us.

    So it’s 3-0. You’re not making sense, Chazing. You get to feel smug all by yourself. If you’d like the rest of us to follow, please turn the babble factor down. A lot.

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