December 13, 2007 | David F. Coppedge

Darwin Fish Pokes ID in the Eye

Some science news outlets are having an eye-poking battle against intelligent design with the latest eye-popping claim about eye evolution.  It seems to have started in Australia on Science Alert, where some exceptionally-preserved placoderm fossils were found:

The palaeobiologist discovered that unlike all living vertebrate animals – which includes everything from the jawless lamprey fish to humans – placoderms had a different arrangement of muscles and nerves supporting the eyeball – evidence of an “intermediate stage” between the evolution of jawless and jawed vertebrates.
    “The vertebrate eye is the best example of structural perfection – as used by proponents of intelligent design to claim that something so complex couldn’t possibly have evolved,” Dr Young said.

The creature already had fully-formed, functioning eyes.  The discoverer was only claiming that a change in the arrangement of muscles and nerves around the eye hinted at a transitional arrangement between jawless fish and modern vertebrates.  The suggestion that a missing link had been found, however, was enough to send other reporters wielding their fingers in battle against ID.  “One in the eye for intelligent design,” jeered Brendan O’Keefe in The Australian.  The Sydney Morning Herald was even more brazen: “‘Eye ancestor’ debunks ID nonsense.”  The Science Alert article was slightly more reserved.  Entitled “Fossil evidence of early eye,” it ended, “This means that we’re able to add one more piece to the puzzle of how the human eye came to be.”

Next to Tinker Bell and Yoda, Popeye is one of the Darwin Party’s favorite characters.  Believing that eyes can just pop into existence with the greatest of ease, they picture Popeye, filled with Darwin spinach, knocking the living daylights out of the ID Brutus, as Olive Oyl (Eugenie Scott) grasps her hands adoringly, saying, “My hero!”
    Problem is, the ID folk aren’t watching the cartoons.  They are grown up.  They live in the real world.  They look ahead.  They watch ID the Future.

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