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The Talk.Origins Archive: Exploring the Creation/Evolution Controversy

100% of an Eye

Post of the Month: August 2003


Date:       1 August 2003

My question is: What is 100% of an eye?

If the creationists get worried about how 50% or 5% of an eye can function, shouldn't there be some standard to tell us just what is 100% of an eye?

I'd say that 100% of an eye would be one which sees 100% of the information in the electromagnetic spectrum. Well, maybe we can relax that a bit, and just confine ourselves to some standard range of wavelengths, those which are "visible" to some animal's eyes. That would cover something from the ultraviolet to the near-infrared, if I'm not mistaken.

But 100% of an eye would have to do a good job of distinguishing between wavelengths in that spectrum. The standard human three-color vision is clearly inadequate. Even some humans have four-color vision, which means the rest of us are getting by with - at most - 75% of an eye. We shouldn't be unreasonable about this, so I wonder what is the most number of distinct color receptors in any animal eye? Maybe five or six? That makes the normal human eye only 50%-60% of an eye, with respect to color discrimination.

And, then, there's the matter of acuity of vision. The standard there would be set by some birds of prey, I think. I understand that some of them have vision that is eight times as sharp as normal human vision. 12.5% of an eye for humans, with respect to acuity.

And finally, there is the lack of 360-degree vision. I think that humans have, at best, a 90 degree field of vision.

Multiply them all together 60% x 12.5% x 25% = 2.875%, but let's be generous and call it 3% (or 5% for the rare tetrachromat).

What good is 5% of an eye? Ask any human. They'd be lucky to have 5% of an eye.

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A Thank-You to Talk.Origins

Post of the Month Runner-Up: August 2003


Date:       21 August 2003
Message-ID: rTa1b.3385$

This is kind of off-topic, but it's a "warm, fuzzy" story, so you might wanna read it.

I've been on ... gee, I don't know how long now, maybe something like 2 years. I've been interested in evolution/religion a lot longer than that and was thrilled when I found a good place to discuss it online.

So, I'm 18 now, and I go to college in a week (University of Maryland, College Park if you're interested). I am rather happy to be going to college, because I get to outfit my dorm room with killer equipment that other people cannot afford - I got a full scholarship, you see!

Let me tell you, getting a full scholarship here is very tough. They have about 100 full scholarships for all 4 grades, and there are about 26,000 undergraduates. It's not that I'm not very smart, I just wasn't very dedicated in my schoolwork (thanks in no part to the distraction of AHEM). I had a final GPA of something like 3.85, and a weighted GPA of 4.75 (I took nothing but Honors classes my last 3 years). But in the end, it was that saved me (never mind how it negatively impacted my high school grades).

Besides looking at your essays, high school grades, etc., the interview is a very important part of the scholarship decision process. The interviews were conducted by groups of three professors, ... and lo and behold, who should I get on my interviewing staff but a professor of biology!

So I had a long discussion about evolution with him. We were talking about abiogenesis, punctuated equilibrium, stuff like that. He was really impressed. Meanwhile the other 2 interviewers were spellbound that I was talking to this biology professor in all of these advanced topics (this isn't the kind of stuff high schoolers would know, even if they took AP Biology).

So, they were very impressed. The biology professor commended me on how much free time I spent on various educational pursuits, and said that he personally would be checking out I left the interview feeling very pleased. And, sure enough, about a month later, I got a letter in the mail saying I had been awarded a full scholarship!

So, I would like to formally thank all of the wonderful people on for the many tens of thousands of dollars I'll be saving over the course of the next four years. I (really) couldn't have done it without you. I'd like to thank all the regulars (Wilkins, Bryant, Sienkiewicz, et al, you know who you are). And I'd even like to thank our resident trolls (who I will not mention) for provoking endless discussions that helped fill my brain up with all sorts of cool information that ended up being useful on a scholarship admission interview.

I have to start packing now, I'll see you all again when I'm relocated to my college dorm.

Usenet is a strange reality where you see people beating up a patch of
grass where nine years ago there used to be a horse. -Nuke

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