Having the Vision to See Design
The argument is relatively simple. Everything that exhibits design must have an intelligent designer. Systems in nature (like human vision) exhibit design. Therefore, systems in nature (like human vision) have a designer. This classic syllogism is unquestionably valid. But the evolutionists argue that it is not sound. They would suggest that the second premise, “things in nature (like human vision) exhibit design” is not a provable statement. In fact, Richard Dawkins wrote an entire book, The Blind Watchmaker, in which he attempted to disprove the idea that design is found in nature. In the prefatory pages that provide commendations about the book from various high-profile authors, Michael T. Ghiselin, a writer for the New York Times, stated that Dawkins “succeeds admirably in showing how natural selection allows biologists to dispense with such notions as purpose and design and he does so in a manner readily intelligible to the modern reader” (as quoted in Dawkins, 1996, emp. added). Dawkins even includes a rather lengthy section in which he attempts to prove that human vision does not possess traits that would demand the conclusion that it had a designer.
Dawkins does this at the peril of being found guilty of heinous irrationality, since it can easily be proven that systems (like human vision) have design. In syllogistic form, the argument looks like this. Complex structures such as video cameras or computers made by intelligent beings (i.e., humans) exhibit recognizable characteristics of design (If they did not, no one would be able to tell the difference between a camera designed by engineers and a rock). Biological structures (such as human vision) exhibit the same recognizable characteristics of design. Thus, biological structures (such as human vision) were designed by an intelligent designer. After establishing the validity of this argument, we need only to prove that human vision exhibits the same characteristics of design that are recognized in man-made mechanisms such as cameras and computers.
With that in mind, we turn to a recent article in Technology Review titled, “Biologically Inspired Vision Systems.” Duncan Graham-Rowe, the author, explained: “Neuroscientists at MIT have developed a computer model that mimics the human vision system to accurately detect and recognize objects in a busy street scene, such as cars and motorcycles” (2007, emp. added). He further noted that scientists have been attempting to copy biological vision systems for many years because these systems “are so good.” A large portion of the article discusses challenges to programming a computer system with the ability to recognize and identify objects to any useful degree. Graham-Rowe then documented how researchers used human vision as a model for a visual computing system.
This system, based on the properties observed in human vision, worked remarkably well in several performance tests. Graham-Rowe quoted David Lowe, a computer vision and object recognition specialist from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, who said: “Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised. Human vision is vastly better at recognition than any of our current computer systems, so any hints of how to proceed from biology are likely to be very useful” (emp. added).
In the final paragraph of his article, Graham-Rowe stated: “At the moment, the system is designed to analyze only still images” (emp. added). So we have a visual computing system that is designed by intelligent humans who took their ideas from characteristics of the biological system of human vision, which is still vastly better than the computer. The evolutionist’s conclusion is that the one made by humans is designed, but the vastly better one found in the human eye, even though it possesses similar (although superior) characteristics, is not the product of design. An honest observer would be forced to recognize the heinous irrationality of such a conclusion. Indeed, the rational conclusion is the one recorded by the Proverbs writer so many years ago: “The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the Lord has made both of them” (20:12).
Dawkins, Richard (1996), The Blind Watchmaker (New York, NY: W.W. Norton).
Graham-Rowe, Duncan (2007), “Biologically Inspired Vision Systems,” Technology Review, [On-line], URL: http://www.technologyreview.com/Infotech/18210/page1/.