"New eye discovery further demolishes Dawkins"

"Backwardly wired retina an optimal structure"

Incl. intelligent design, belief in divine creation

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Re: "New eye discovery further demolishes Dawkins"

#21  Postby GenesForLife » May 19, 2011 9:51 am

crank wrote:I was thinking about all the wonderful vision capabilities of of many of the much 'lower' species. Thanks, cool info.

One thing, the blog says 23m/s peak speed is potentially equivalent to 22 cal bullet, but FYI, even a plinking round has got to be 100's of feet per second, 23m/s=75 ft/s. I decided to go look, the slowest round a quick looksee found was 700, typical is like 1100 ft/s.

That acceleration is like 10,000 g, wow, that is juicing for a human. [I mean that literally, I think you would be juiced as in the liquid separated from your body. I know it's very brief, but god, that's a lot of g. Very brief 100g shocks are sometimes survivable].


These stomatopods have another name, popular amongst those who've kept them as pets and haven't been careful - thumbsplitters :mrgreen:

The quote about the 22 Cal is straight out of one of the papers I cited, IIRC.
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Re: "New eye discovery further demolishes Dawkins"

#22  Postby Panderos » May 20, 2011 4:04 pm

willhud9 wrote:How do creationists explain loss of vision or blind people? Whose retinas do not work. Either God is a malicious bastard for sticking that on a person or God fucked up in his design.

As a Christian I would be curious to know what your explanation is of God letting us evolve into these imperfect beings is? Is there any explanation you can go to that a creationist can't?

[The standard ones being 'it's for the greater good' and 'so his existence isn't too obvious'].
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Re: "New eye discovery further demolishes Dawkins"

#23  Postby willhud9 » May 20, 2011 5:22 pm

Panderos wrote:
willhud9 wrote:How do creationists explain loss of vision or blind people? Whose retinas do not work. Either God is a malicious bastard for sticking that on a person or God fucked up in his design.

As a Christian I would be curious to know what your explanation is of God letting us evolve into these imperfect beings is? Is there any explanation you can go to that a creationist can't?

[The standard ones being 'it's for the greater good' and 'so his existence isn't too obvious'].


Too be perfectly honest, I don't have one. Mainly because I do not look at God as a "designer" God.
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Re: "New eye discovery further demolishes Dawkins"

#24  Postby crank » May 20, 2011 5:56 pm

Oops, wrong thread, hate it when that happens.
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Re: "New eye discovery further demolishes Dawkins"

#25  Postby Animavore » May 20, 2011 6:00 pm

Just out of interest - he says the discovery further demolishes Dawkins. What were the previous discoveries of which this is, presumably, the latest?
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Re: "New eye discovery further demolishes Dawkins"

#26  Postby Panderos » May 20, 2011 6:02 pm

willhud9 wrote:
Panderos wrote:
willhud9 wrote:How do creationists explain loss of vision or blind people? Whose retinas do not work. Either God is a malicious bastard for sticking that on a person or God fucked up in his design.

As a Christian I would be curious to know what your explanation is of God letting us evolve into these imperfect beings is? Is there any explanation you can go to that a creationist can't?

[The standard ones being 'it's for the greater good' and 'so his existence isn't too obvious'].

Too be perfectly honest, I don't have one. Mainly because I do not look at God as a "designer" God.

Well, at least your honest! :grin: But I guess it just sits along side the problem of evil - why would God let it be that way, and all that.
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Re: "New eye discovery further demolishes Dawkins"

#27  Postby John P. M. » May 20, 2011 7:09 pm

willhud9 wrote:Mainly because I do not look at God as a "designer" God.


This made me curious: not a creator God at all, or what do you mean?
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Re: "New eye discovery further demolishes Dawkins"

#28  Postby THWOTH » May 20, 2011 7:34 pm

John P. M. wrote:
willhud9 wrote:Mainly because I do not look at God as a "designer" God.


This made me curious: not a creator God at all, or what do you mean?

I found this statement intriguing too. Isn't God's job to have made all that is and be responsible for what and how it is?
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Re: "New eye discovery further demolishes Dawkins"

#29  Postby willhud9 » May 20, 2011 7:44 pm

THWOTH wrote:
John P. M. wrote:
willhud9 wrote:Mainly because I do not look at God as a "designer" God.


This made me curious: not a creator God at all, or what do you mean?

I found this statement intriguing too. Isn't God's job to have made all that is and be responsible for what and how it is?


Do I think God is a creator God? Yes. Do I think all things eventually work together for the glory of God? yes. However, I do not hold any fancy notions that God micromanages my life or the universe. Not to be confused with deism, I believe God works in people's lives through the Holy Spirit etc. But too claim everything as an act of God is in my opinion ludicrous. If I were to win the lottery, that was chance and probability not God. Can I claim God provided? Sure, but where is the proof?
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Re: "New eye discovery further demolishes Dawkins"

#30  Postby John P. M. » May 20, 2011 8:13 pm

Ok, I thought perhaps it was something more exciting. ;)

It gave me the thought of "Is there anyone who believes in a God that was not in any way responsible for any kind of creating?"

I guess there are many if you count polytheism.

It is sometimes said though (in other discussions), that God is not used as an explanation for anything. But it would seem he is after all - I can't think of a monotheistic deity that is not responsible for any creation at all. That would be kinda intriguing in a weird way.
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Re: "New eye discovery further demolishes Dawkins"

#31  Postby Bob@RealScienceRadio » Jun 06, 2014 4:52 pm

Hi guys! Here are four questions on the origin of the human (or various other) eyes. I've been reading Evolution's Witness: How Eyes Evolved, and I debated the author's colleague, a Univ of Calif prof of ophthalmology on the topic. If you Google: scholars doubting darwin, you'll see, in the U.S. alone, links to lists of thousands of specific individuals, and then further research by prestigious secular pro-Darwin institutions showing that more than half a million, college graduates, most of them with PhDs and degrees in the applied biological sciences, who believe that strict materialist Darwinism cannot account for human life and that God must have been involved. So here are the kind of questions that lead educated folks to doubt Darwinism:

1. By Darwin and Dawkin's slow and gradual steps (like how you climb Mt. Improbable), would you agree that, in theory, *IF* THERE ARE NO STEPS between two very complex biological systems (like perhaps monochromatic and dichromatic vision), that neo-Darwinism is falsified.
2. Is it possible that there are no physical or even logical steps between monochromatic and dichromatic vision systems? (There is a non-trivial level of increased complexity going to dichromatic vision.)
3. When you consider, as in the image below (and at http://rsr.org/files/images/science/vis ... stream.jpg ), that a brain's incoming visual data stream doesn't include anything like an analog representation of the outside world, but instead, presents a symbolic encoding of that information, can you identify any of the fundamental laws of chemistry or physics that involve symbolic processing?
4. Looking at the image below (and at http://rsr.org/images/PermTOL/TrochleaKGOVchallenge.jpg ) does all that you've learned about neo-Darwinism enable you to give a rough algorithm, no details, just a broad-stroked description, of how one of the more simple functional aspects of our vision system could evolve? PZ Myers posted this challenge, and said that, speaking for himself, he could not. Even though it's one of the simplest parts of the eye system, I think it's unanswerable from your belief system.

Thanks for giving me a place to ask these questions!

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Re: "New eye discovery further demolishes Dawkins"

#32  Postby ADParker » Jun 07, 2014 9:37 am

Bob@RealScienceRadio wrote:Hi guys!

Hi Bob@RealScienceRadio (odd username but okay, and we've had odder) Welcome to the forum and all that! :grin:

Be sure to familiarize yourself with the Forum Users' Agreement. And feel free to peruse the New Members Welcome Pack at your leasuire. :mrgreen:

So you are this Bob Enyart then I take it. Interesting. I have to wonder if you are actually interested in joining the forum as an active member, or if this is just a fly-by, time wasting, kind of thing. Because that happens a lot. Time will only tell on that of course. ;)

Bob@RealScienceRadio wrote:Here are four questions on the origin of the human (or various other) eyes. I've been reading Evolution's Witness: How Eyes Evolved, and I debated the author's colleague, a Univ of Calif prof of ophthalmology on the topic.

That would be Evolution's Witness: How Eyes Evolved by Ivan R Schwab. (Just giving people context you understand ;) )

And you debated his colleague? Um okay, doesn't seem terribly relevant to much of anything that you debated a colleague of someone who wrote a book, but okay. What form did this "debate" take? Is there a form of it anywhere, such as a video or something like that?

Bob@RealScienceRadio wrote:If you Google: scholars doubting darwin, you'll see, in the U.S. alone, links to lists of thousands of specific individuals, and then further research by prestigious secular pro-Darwin institutions showing that more than half a million, college graduates, most of them with PhDs and degrees in the applied biological sciences, who believe that strict materialist Darwinism cannot account for human life and that God must have been involved.

Um okay, so a bit of the old appeal to authority and popularity then. And they all believe that God (Capital G) must have been involved? Well that right there gives a big clue as to what might have led them to such conclusions. And it is not as if you have to 'believe' in "Darwinism"* to get a PhD, let alone a degree, in the applied biological sciences to begin with. You may well find a number believing in astrology, psychics etc. as well. :roll:

*Not a fan of the term "Darwinism" to be honest, especially when used by religious apologists - just seems too loaded, like we worship Charles Darwin, take his works as 'gospel' or some such nonsense :roll:

Bob@RealScienceRadio wrote:So here are the kind of questions that lead educated folks to doubt Darwinism:

Okay, do you have any actual reason, or better yet evidence, that these kinds of questions have led educated folks to doubt Darwinism. Or is it that only people who already doubt for other reasons (religious indoctrination for instance) use them in cases like this?

Bob@RealScienceRadio wrote:1. By Darwin and Dawkin's slow and gradual steps (like how you climb Mt. Improbable), would you agree that, in theory, *IF* THERE ARE NO STEPS between two very complex biological systems (like perhaps monochromatic and dichromatic vision), that neo-Darwinism is falsified.

"Darwin and Dawkins": Interesting that you single out those two. It just reeks of agenda really.

"If there are no steps": If you mean by that (and I think you do, just trying to be clear and precise) that if there is no way to get from one point to another by "neo-Darwinistic" means (by the means of known, and as of yet unknown, evolutionary biology means - mutations, natural selection etc.) Then if were true then any theory that concluded/claimed that it did happen that way would be false.
Technically the theory (a human construct) wouldn't be "falsified" until that was demonstrated and "proven beyond all reasonable doubt" by the relevant scientific examination and tests. In other words a theory isn't falsified until it has been 'proven' false, even though it would of course have been false all along. ;)

"Neo Darwinism" as you call it would not be falsified that way though no. Because that is not as precise a theory to make such claims. The theory of evolution is a broad term encompassing a large number of 'lesser' theories. It is one of those that at best could be falsified in this hypothetical case.
What it would mean is that the particular case was caused by some other factor, outside of the current remit of the ToE. Once discovered it might well become enfolded within it (such as things like punctuated equilibrium was), or it might be concluded that the ToE explains all of these things other things, but something else was involved in this one (magic or whatever it might be.) To falsify the entire ToE you would have to falsify something more fundamental to the theory than that. Even many creationists have (unwittingly perhaps) given up any hope for that by accepting the "truth" of "microevolution". Personally I see no hope at all of falsifying the ToE, but only at best of changing it, such as 'proving' that it only occurs within certain limits, or something else is involved beyond certain points. Not that I hold any real expectation of that ever happening either.

Bob@RealScienceRadio wrote:2. Is it possible that there are no physical or even logical steps between monochromatic and dichromatic vision systems? (There is a non-trivial level of increased complexity going to dichromatic vision.)

I have no idea. I don't know enough about the topic to judge probabilities, or even possibilities. Hopefully someone more versed in the subject will pop in and help us there.
It might be possible though, I'll give you that.
Not sure what you mean by "logical" steps though, seems rather odd in a topic like this. "no physical steps" would cover it I would think.

Bob@RealScienceRadio wrote:3. When you consider, as in the image below (and at http://rsr.org/files/images/science/vis ... stream.jpg ), that a brain's incoming visual data stream doesn't include anything like an analog representation of the outside world, but instead, presents a symbolic encoding of that information, can you identify any of the fundamental laws of chemistry or physics that involve symbolic processing?

The address on that image doesn't appear to exist, and redirects you to your radio site. Did you just make that image up yourself?
Even I as a laymen recognize that is decidedly misleading. The whole point, to use your vernacular, is that "the brain" doesn't "see" as some might imagine, but (rather like a computer and a modem [MODulator DEModulator) translates data it receives in one form to another. Well technically there is even more 'translations' throughout the whole process of vision, but no need to bet that bogged down. So showing an image of what "the brain "sees" " doesn't really make that much sense. No more than showing a long string of zeros and ones as "what your computer "sees" of this picture." Because really the information you are alluding to is about how we see, not what we see.

I think it is accepted by most here that what we sense (see, hear...) are actually our own brains' interpretation of the data our sensory apparatus passes on. A wholly different being for example might well "see" the same things in entirely different fashions. And to a large extent that doesn't really matter at all, for most (almost all) of us all of the time, and even for the rest most of the time. Bloody interesting though.

As for your question: No, I'm not sufficiently versed in such science to do so. Can't say that I see any sort of fundamental problem there though. :dunno:

Bob@RealScienceRadio wrote:4. Looking at the image below (and at http://rsr.org/images/PermTOL/TrochleaKGOVchallenge.jpg ) does all that you've learned about neo-Darwinism enable you to give a rough algorithm, no details, just a broad-stroked description, of how one of the more simple functional aspects of our vision system could evolve? PZ Myers posted this challenge, and said that, speaking for himself, he could not. Even though it's one of the simplest parts of the eye system, I think it's unanswerable from your belief system.

Not a fan of "neo-Darwinism" either. Sounds like you are trying to make modern evolutionary biology out to be some sort of 'religion', set of coded doctrines, dogmas and beliefs or something, to me at least.

An odd question: A "rough algorithm" for a rather precise little part of the development of the eye in particular. Sounds rather like Richard Dawkins (you brought him up) analogy of the 'anti-evolutionist' demanding that one explain the evolution of the elbow joint of the lesser spotted weasel frog (or something like that). And claiming some kind of (either ignorant and/or dishonest) victory against the ToE if no one does or can. :doh:

And PZ Meyers posted this challenge? In which he challenged himself to "roughly describe" how that happened?! That doesn't sound right. Even more suspect given that the wording does not sound like him at all, but rather that of a creationist apologist (after a while you tend to get a feel for the mindset/position of a questioner just by how they turn a phrase.)

My belief system?! So I was right; you are trying to imply that modern evolutionary biology is just another belief system, akin to a religion, as opposed to the science that it is.
I must say that I do not like such manipulation, not at all! :nono:

I have no idea how that particular thing evolved. Perhaps it was magic after all. Or perhaps it did evolve and I am not close enough to all-knowing to know it. For all I know it might well be something no one has figured out yet, to a large extent detailing such minutiae is not really how biological science operates most of the time; too much work with too few and too limited (in terms of value) results to be worth anyones time.

I also don't know much about how jumbo jets, particle accelerators and many other things were designed or built either (certainly not down to the same kind of level as your example is to an organism). That in no way suggests that they weren't though. The same is true for your little example. To make any headway in the direction you seem to be driving for you would have to come up with some reason to reasonably conclude that it could not have occurred by known evolutionary means, and/or offer some better explanation. And by "better" I mean supported by actual evidence, that sort of thing.

Bob@RealScienceRadio wrote:
- Bob Enyart
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This isn't a letter, no need or point in ending a post with that sort of thing. Just leave it in your profile if you really want people to know what city you live in, or whatever. :naughty2:
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Re: "New eye discovery further demolishes Dawkins"

#33  Postby mrjonno » Jun 07, 2014 10:14 am

From my senses course I did last year.

The eye collected photons of light and focuses them on particular points, that is pretty well understood. It's a far more advanced than the camera but its not fundamentally different, to me the interesting bits are what happens behind the eyes ie the brain (until it goes wrong then I'm very interested thank 'god' for glasses)

The brain processes these photons and presents them to a property of the brain called the mind/consciousness as an 'image' which we are only just beginning to even scratch in understanding. However the evidence that this process actually does happen is overwhelming.

Not sure how lack of knowledge on something disproves evolution
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Re: "New eye discovery further demolishes Dawkins"

#34  Postby willhud9 » Jun 07, 2014 2:43 pm

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/01/mind-reading-brain-reconstruct-face_n_5049255.html

Yep. In fact, scientists can use the brain's signals to actually print the faces of the pictures the subjects were viewing. Showing the brain's process of image recognization is pretty straightforward.
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Re: "New eye discovery further demolishes Dawkins"

#35  Postby laklak » Jun 07, 2014 2:59 pm

The stuff the brain does with the raw data is the really fascinating part. A couple of years ago I suffered a bout of non arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy, which is a fancy way of saying a bit of my optic nerve ceased to function for no apparent reason. I lost vision in the lower inner quadrant of my left eye. If I close my right eye I see just a grey smudgy thing in that area. It was a real pain in the ass for a couple of weeks, before my brain adjusted. With both eyes open I have no discernible deficit, even in vision tests. The brain has merged the data from both eyes into a coherent picture, but it had to learn to do that. For the first few weeks I had a blind spot even with both eyes open.
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Re: "New eye discovery further demolishes Dawkins"

#36  Postby GenesForLife » Jun 07, 2014 3:22 pm

The whole thing is a crock of shite for one simple reason - there are two major conditions to be satisfied for the visual system to be evolvable - a) Is the necessary anatomical apparatus genetically determined? and b) Is vision a good thingTM to have. Both those conditions are met (mutation and selection) so the rest - like faffing around abstract streams and shit - is ridiculous.

What is also quite fascinating is you can induce ectopic functional eyes just by expressing Pax6 in cells elsewhere - the whole thing is genetically regulated (and genes going on and off is part of basic chemistry and physics) and can actually produce vision without direct connections to the brain http://now.tufts.edu/news-releases/ecto ... ction-brai

No requirement for intricate wiring patterns to process visual data at all.
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Re: "New eye discovery further demolishes Dawkins"

#37  Postby Bob@RealScienceRadio » Jun 07, 2014 6:02 pm

crank wrote:The octopus has the circuitry on the backside, so does that mean that there must be a deficiency in that design?

Hi Crank, and others here at RS. Thanks for the welcome. ADParker, hi! Yeah, like everyone, my life is hectic and I already participate in various forums (which makes the time pressures really insane). I hope to reply to a couple other posts (which I haven't read yet but am eager to).

Crank, consider that the octopus and we humans have different functional requirements. When someone takes our photograph using flash photography, we've all noticed that we can't see well for a second or so. This is directly related to the "wiring" of our retinas. After the intense light of a flashbulb, your body needs to regenerate your photoreceptor cells. (Well, like the OPer, I'm not an expert in eyes either, so without looking up the terminology, I might get the vocabulary or a detail wrong, but I'm confident that the concept is correct.) An octopus doesn't have much of a chance of grabbing a quick look at the sun. And that's good for the octopus, because it doesn't have that direct blood supply on the side of its retina that it would need to rapidly regenerate those cells. So that octopus might be blind for an hour or more while its body struggled to transport to the receptors the nutrients needed for their regeneration.

We humans have both 1) an upright posture which causes us to gaze over the horizon without even trying, and we have 2) a mind that often brings us to override basic instincts, so that while we are wired to breathe, eat, to not stare at the sun, etc., humans can (and sadly, many have) overrode such an instinct and indeed, stared at the sun. If they do so for just an instant, they may loose their sight, but only for a second or so while the rich blood supply to the photoreceptor-cells side of the retina provides the nutrients for their rapid regeneration. If our retinas were wired like an octopus, that momentary blindness that we've all experienced, by necessity, would last longer, because the rich blood supply used for that regeneration would not be directly available. Blindness for minutes or hours after glancing at the sun might be sufficient to bring about a functional tradeoff of a blind spot, which most people are unaware of and we have to work to notice, as compared to a vulnerability, intermittent temporary blindness, which could even lead to death.

So Crank, with the engineering tradeoffs that are common in a physical universe, one can see that the functional spec of an octopus eye could call for wiring it in the opposite way of a human eye, without either being considered a deficiency.

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Re: "New eye discovery further demolishes Dawkins"

#38  Postby Onyx8 » Jun 07, 2014 6:07 pm

Why do you think octopuses can't look at the sun? A lot of species of octopus live near the surface.

Are you sure you are correct that after a bright light human eyes regenerate the cells? I suspect not.
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Re: "New eye discovery further demolishes Dawkins"

#39  Postby hackenslash » Jun 07, 2014 6:30 pm

You can gaze over the horizon? And without even trying, no less!

Me, I can only ever see to the horizon. It's kind of what the word means. ;)

More cretinist bollocks.
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Re: "New eye discovery further demolishes Dawkins"

#40  Postby Bob@RealScienceRadio » Jun 07, 2014 6:51 pm

Hello THWOTH! Yes, there are plenty of writings from creationists, and evolutionists, that explain the vital role that bacteria play in a typical multicellular organism's cycle of life as indeed in the world's entire interrelated ecosystem. So you ask "from a creationist... justifications as to why [God] made human survival necessarily dependent on bacteria." Our physical life is dependent upon algae and phytoplankton in the oceans producing oxygen, on much of the plant kingdom in fact and its photosynthesis, etc. A robust economy has redundant services provided by a multitude of farmers and miners, redundant manufacturers and distribution systems, etc., whereas a vulnerable economy can have many points of failure where removal of one service devastates the whole enterprise. Likewise, a robust ecosystem has many redundancies in services provided by a million species. Likewise, the reliability of your heart to beat millions of times is linked to the fact that it is made out of hundreds of millions of cells that exist to do nothing other than contract and expand, so far superior to a car's engine, the "cardiac cathedral" has billions of machines (literally, billions, of discrete molecular machines) which exist to keep that organ beating. Likewise, bacteria in your body, like in your appendix, intestines, everywhere, perform vital functions. That's the justification. Bacteria are a vital part of the circle of life and because they are microscopic, they can pull their load and work, by the quadrillions per human being, as with our blind spot, without usually even being noticed.



THWOTH, you ask about creationists:

THWOTH wrote:...have they not stopped and asked themselves why <nominated supernatural agent> would give humans an eye inferior in every regard to that of the mantis shrimp, for example?


The mantis shrimp can generate enough heat (hotter than the sun) to stun or kill its prey, while preserving its own life long enough to enjoy the meal. Other functional requirements for that shrimp included a vision system to operate underwater in murky environments. A bloodhound has a huge snout and hundreds of millions of sense receptors (we have, what, a few million?) and two olfactory passages to its brain (whereas we have one, if I recall correctly) and a huge proportion of its brain dedicated to deciphering, per millisecond, the gigabits of incoming data from all that hardware (so to speak). So, there's a design tradeoff. The human anatomy could have been designed with a big nose, but then what proportion of our brain circuitry would you be willing to trade off for better smell? (I wonder if Dawkins would be willing to trade his blind spot for intermittent temporary blindness?) I seem to recall that a falcon's brain, and a bloodhound's, each have an enormous portion dedicated to processing their incoming vision and olfactory inputs, respectively. Most of us, I presume, enjoy our advantage of being able to ponder such matters, rather than simply being able to smell them.

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Thanks THOTH for bringing up functional issues like the role of bacteria in a complex ecosystem and the various biological niche tradeoffs evident in anatomy.
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Bob@RealScienceRadio
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