Discussion in 'Optometry Archives' started by Ed, Jan 24, 2010.

  1. Ed

    Ed Guest

    As you all know, there's currently a heated debate in the sci news
    groups about what Charles Darwin really said about the evolution of
    the eye.
    It's time this matter is cleared up -- simply and concisely -- once
    and for all.
    (Actually, I thought I had ended all the confusion back on Saturday,
    May 11, 1996, when a pseudoscientist named Michael Clark accused me
    of misquoting Darwin. He had the balls to say I used only a portion of
    Darwin's quote.)
    Here's what I said:
    ``To suppose that the eye (with so many parts all working
    together) . . . could have been formed by natural selection seems, I
    freely confess, absurd in the highest degree."
    Here's what Charles Darwin REALLY said:
    "To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for
    adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different
    amounts of light,
    for the correction of spherical and chromatic
    aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I
    freely confess, absurd in the highest degree. When it was first said
    that the sun stood still and the world turned round, the common sense
    of mankind declared the doctrine false; but
    the old saying of Vox populi, vox Dei, as every philosopher knows,
    cannot be trusted in science. Reason tells me, that if numerous
    gradations from a simple and imperfect eye to one complex and perfect
    can be shown to exist, each grade being useful to its possessor, as is
    certainly the case; if further, the eye ever varies and the variations
    be inherited, as is likewise certainly the case and if such
    should be useful to any animal under changing conditions of life, then
    the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be
    formed by natural selection, though insuperable by our imagination,
    should not be considered as subversive of the theory. How a nerve
    comes to be sensitive to light, hardly concerns us more than how life
    itself originated; but I may remark that, as some of the lowest
    organisms, in which nerves cannot be detected, are capable of
    perceiving light, it does not seem impossible that certain sensitive
    elements in their barecode should become aggregated and developed into
    nerves, endowed with this special sensibility."
    I thought I said what Darwin had said but David Iain Greig said what I
    said wasn't what Darwin really had said because he said Darwin had
    more to say than what I said he had said, then Steve Vickers of the
    butts in and says HE knows what Darwin really said, claiming what I
    said he said wasn't what Darwin really had said, so I said, 'Okay,
    I'll say what they say about what Darwin really said, since I suppose
    that this is indeed what he had said, even though I really don't know
    for sure if he had said it, but this is what they say he had said.=======================================
    Nice little song and dance, there, Zippy. Can you balance a ball on
    your nose? -- Michael Clark
    Up your's, Douche Brain!
    (Folks, excuse the interruption!)
    Actually, it really doesn't matter what Darwin had said or what these
    fellas said he had said -- or what they say I said or didn't say --
    since what I said, whether Darwin said it or not, isn't something
    really had to be said. Perhaps Darwin said what
    he said because he felt he had to say it -- he certainly was entitled
    to say what he wanted to say. But by saying what they say he had said,
    he actually said more than he needed to say, so maybe he didn't have
    to say what he said. Of course, IF Darwin did say what these fella
    said he had said, critics could later say he had nothing to say even
    though he had said it.

    Ed Conrad
    Emeritus Professor of Clear, Concise Journalism
    Ediacara University
    Walla Walla, WA
    Rare photo shows Charles Darwin taking a dip off
    the Galapos Islands after finishing "Origin of Species"
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    Ed, Jan 24, 2010
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