From an email message received on 8/6/00. My response is in italics.

After reading your article "Evolution and the Human Eye," I wrote the following brief article:

Great, I'll post it with my response.

Subject: An Odd Defense of the Eye's Alleged Evolution

A very curious argument made by Dawkins and other evolutionists is that the eye could not be the result of divine design because it's not perfect.

You have created a strawman. Dawkins and other evolutionists have responded to creationist claims that the human eye is so amazing and so perfect that only an intelligent creator could create it. This is very different than Dawkins claiming that something can't be of divine design because it is not perfect.

Thus, they argue, the eye actually occurred by natural (read: random) processes. What?

Strawman number 2. Natural doesn't equal random. Had you bothered to actually read Dawkins' book, or any decent book on the mechanisms of cumulative natural selection, you would know that.

So let me get this straight: If I see a video camera with a defect, I can conclude it might have resulted from thousands of explosions at a parts factory? Would a defect in even a "simple" device like a mouse trap suggest to anyone that the mouse trap in question resulted from random processes? Of course not.

You have nothing straight because, again, you don't have the slightest grasp of what cumulative natural selection is and how it works.

The fact of the matter is that the Bible explains the imperfections in the eye. Man is in a fallen state. As a result of the Fall, his body changed from being perfect and immortal to being imperfect and subject to death.

A man's body is created through procreative processes. Until you can come up with evidence of immortal beings being transformed into mortals, your hypothesis will remain mythology at best.

Similarly, the evolutionary observation that certain components of the human eye are put to better use in less-advanced eyes or in other organs in other creatures is meaningless. So if one were to find a component in a stereo system that is put to better use in, let's say, a TV, would anyone argue the stereo system wasn't the result of intelligent design? What if someone brought to you an unmarked stereo system, one with no manufacturer's marks at all--would you ever, even for a split second, take seriously the proposition that this stereo system was produced by millions of explosions at a parts factory? Would you consider any random-process scenario, no matter how clever or inventive it might be? No. Why not? Because your own basic common sense would tell you to reject the notion as nonsense.

What I reject as nonsense is your comparison of apples to oranges. You are comparing inanimate objects with biological entities. There is a difference far greater between these two than there are between apples and oranges since at least both of them are biological.

The human eye, in spite of its imperfections, is still a marvel of technology and performance.

Technology? Don't you mean biology?

The human vision system processes information faster than a Cray supercomputer. The human eye outperforms our best video equipment. And all this came about by random processes, i.e., by mutations and natural selection?

If it didn't, you need to come up with a better theory based on evidence. There is plenty of evidence of mutation and natural selection at work. For instance, what was it, if it wasn't mutation and natural selection, that gave the mole rat its eyes when it used to live where it needed eyes but then built a flap of skin over it as it moved underground where its brain could be better used for things other than sight?

The oddest argument of all is the denial that evolution posits chance as the vehicle of development. One evolutionist writes that creationists who argue that evolution relies on chance alone "still don't grasp the idea of cumulative natural selection." This is nonsense. Natural selection can only "select" what mutations provide. Mutations are random events. They are not directed, at least according to evolutionary theory.

But they build, one upon another, and this is what you ignore. The vehicle isn't your "stereo system produced by millions of explosions at a parts factory" strawman. It is millions of generations of cumulative, incremental changes.

Evolutionary biologists don't believe your parents poured an arbitrary amount of adenine, thymine, hydrogen, cytosine, and guanine into a beaker, shook it up, and out came you. You and other creationists create a false caricature of Darwinism.

Furthermore, in the case of the eye, for example, natural selection would have had to "select" numerous complex components even before they would have been needed and before they could have been combined into a functional mechanism! How would, how could, that have happened? How? I have yet to receive anything approaching a coherent answer to this question.

Did you look at the sub-links on the page you are critiquing? Try the one called "How Could An Eye Evolve?".

This is a simple matter of logic: If you rule out intelligent design, then you are of necessity positing chance as the method by which development occurs. There is no middle ground between accidental and directed. Either something develops solely by chance or at some point intelligent design is involved. Those are the only two choices.

Darwinian evolution is more than the mere random chance you make it out to be.

Theistic evolutionists sometimes describe a scenario where the eye evolved after God created and set in motion the required mutations and selections. Fine, that's intelligent design.

But it doesn't hold water unless you believe in a God who is fond of mistakes.

Either the eye, with its numerous sophisticated components, resulted from design or it came about by random processes. There is no other alternative.

Sure there is. Random processes coupled with some not-so-random processes like mating, fitness, survival, etc.

The intelligent-design model is a much more plausible, logical theory of the eye's origin than the evolutionary model. This is just common sense.

It is only common sense if you selectively choose a religion to first believe in and evidences which you will therefore have to ignore.

Something as complex and intricate as the eye could not have come into existence by random processes. Our own common sense tells us this, if we'll only listen to it. For that matter, science knows of no example where something so complex has come into existence by random processes, and evolutionists have yet to explain HOW the components of the eye would have magically come together to function as a sophisticated machine, much less how or why those components would have "evolved" even before they would have been needed.

So evolution is now based on magic but your religion isn't? Tell me how God, in your view, got all the species into being if it wasn't by magic? I believe you are the one with beliefs based on miracles. Why would you try to throw stones at evolutionists who you think rely on miracles? Isn't that your methodology of choice?

Sir Isaac Newton once played a joke on an atheist friend of his. Newton had a model or our solar system built. He then invited his atheist friend over for dinner. His friend saw the model of the solar system and was impressed, asking, "Who made it?" Newton said no one made it. Incredulous, his atheist friend replied that Newton must not have understood his question. Again, he asked, "Who made it?" Newton replied once more that no one had made it, that it came into existence by chance, all by itself. Newton's atheist friend was insulted. He asked Newton if he thought he was a fool. Newton then drove home his point by noting that his friend scoffed at the idea that his model of the solar system resulted from chance processes, and yet he argued that the real thing, the real solar system, which was far, far more complicated, originated from purely random processes. Newton noted that if his friend was certain the solar-system model came from intelligent design, then surely he should conclude that the much more sophisticated solar system after which it was patterned must also be the product of intelligent design. It's really just that simple, yet this realization is also deeply profound.

Which just goes to show you why Newton wouldn't have made a very good biologist. ;) In all seriousness though, Newton had some really off the wall ideas when it came to religion and alchemy. I certainly wouldn't use him as an authority when it comes to the subject. All an atheist needs to do in response to the argument that something "more powerful" must have always created something "less powerful" is ask where the infinite regresses of such logic ends. Until the theist can answer that question the atheist's view of the world is more parsimonious.