The centerpiece of an episode in the new Cosmos series is a presentation outlining the evolution of the intricate human eye.[1] After that presentation, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson declared: “Some claim that evolution is just a theory, as if it were merely an opinion. The theory of evolution — like the theory of gravity — is a scientific fact.”[2]

One of the major problems with such a claim is the impossibility of chance evolution creating the complex communication and adaptive control interface between the eye and the brain. This article will analyze the complexity of that interface along with other key reasons why chance evolution is not a scientific fact, but a theory that misinterprets the very Divine power that gives life to all things to prove that Darwinian evolution is true.

cosmos

This eye-like nebula that is the logo for the new Cosmos series emphasizes the evolution of the eye as a key scientific concept in the presentation. The logo is a stylized view of the well-known Ring Nebula.[3]

cover

The amazingly complicated, tightly integrated, highly adaptable human eye.[4] The extremely high communications bandwidth between the eye and the brain makes it a great example of a biological communication interface.

The Language of Life

DNA is truly the language of life and as we understand more about it we should realize that we stand on sacred ground as it were and that DNA testifies of a Supreme Creator. This information rich language is based on the architecture and processes of living cells and is quickened by the “light of Christ” which gives “life to all things.” (D&C 88:13) [5]

A prophet, seer and revelator’s ability to translate and understand records in ancient languages is considered an unequaled spiritual gift. “Secret things [shall] be made manifest and hidden things shall come to light … and also things shall be made known … which otherwise could not be known. Thus God has provided a means that man, through faith, might work mighty miracles; therefore he becometh a great benefit to his fellow beings.” (Mosiah 8:17-18)

In the Cosmos episode #2 script, Dr. Tyson said that “If life has a sanctuary, it’s here in the nucleus which contains our DNA, the ancient scripture of our genetic code. And it is written in a language that all life can read.” A recent book about DNA by Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health is entitled “The Language of Life.”[6]

DNA is an information code that surely qualifies as a language. Adding a letter, modifying a letter or deleting a letter can change the meaning of the “DNA document” or “DNA program.” The intelligence-based rules for editing a document in a language would certainly apply to DNA. [7]

Is the Theory of Evolution Like the Theory of Gravity?

Comparing the theory of evolution to the theory of gravity is, I believe, a difficult comparison to make. The theory of gravity is so practical and applicable that it is usually considered by almost everyone to be a natural law. It can be examined and applied all the way from stars racing around the black hole at the center of our galaxy to the carefully calculated gravity assists used to boost the space probe Cassini to orbit the planet Saturn and the prediction of solar and lunar eclipses.[8]

saturn

The Cassini spacecraft, which used gravity assists from Venus, the Earth and Jupiter to achieve its orbit around Saturn, has revealed colorful red and purple auroras on Saturn.

On the other hand, the theory of evolution is based upon random changes in the DNA language in living beings and many scientists do not believe that it is a scientific fact or natural law. Languages originate with intelligent beings, but the theory of evolution claims unintelligent chance mutations enabled life to evolve from single cell life all the way to human beings.

The theory of evolution as yet proposes no credible theory for the origin of the cell machinery that processes the DNA encoded language.[9] It is not hard to prove that random keystrokes cannot possibly create and edit a meaningful document or computer program written using a language, human or computer. In spite of the assurances that natural selection can overcome the weakness of this random editing, the source of all changes to DNA is still based on what many consider to be the sandy foundation of random mutations.

Linguistic Context: Small Changes–Large Effects

Drawing on the field of linguistics to show the intertwined syntactic and semantic components of language, a carefully designed DNA language modification, as simple as a single DNA letter change at a particular location in the genome, could be compared to a linguistic suffix.

The suffix “-ation” can be added to the root “imagine” to make the noun form “imagination.” Adding in that suffix into the text might require a phrase like “the ship in which we can imagine exploring anywhere we desire” to be edited into something that flows better like “the ship of the imagination where we can explore anywhere we desire.” So, the effects of even a single mutation have to be considered in the context of the semantic content of its DNA language environment.

Look at the simple word “UP” in the modern English language.

“It’s easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP?

“At a meeting, why does a topic come UP? Why do we speak UP, and why are the officers UP for election (if there is a tie, it is a toss UP), and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report? We call UP our friends, brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver, warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen. We lock UP the house and fix UP the old car.

“At other times, this little word has real special meaning. People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses. To be dressed is one thing, but to be dressed UP is special. And this UP is confusing: a drain must be opened UP because it is blocked UP. We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night. We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP!”[10]

The DNA language defines the physical structure and possible thought patterns of a child of God, created in His image, a person with a body, brain, mind, spirit and individual entity.

But Evolution is NOT Random

The theory of evolution is defined as DNA variations from random undirected mutations filtered via natural selection.

Quoting Neil deGrasse Tyson from episode #2:

“Mutations are entirely random and happen all the time.


  But the environment rewards those that increase the chance for survival. It naturally selects the living things that are better suited to survive. And that selection is the opposite of random.”[11]

So, how can enough high quality selected mutations be generated to create the life forms we see in nature with this “entirely random” input?  

The process of natural selection can only select what it receives as a mutation. The garbage-in garbage-out rule applies to this serial system where the second component depends on the output of the first component. Even a very sophisticated second component may be severely limited by its input coming from its first component.[12]

And, in the theory, “entirely random” actually does not mean “entirely random.”

Quoting biologist Richard Dawkins:

“If you think that ‘random mutation’ implies that all genes are equally likely to mutate, then hot spots show that mutation is not random. If you think ‘random mutation’ implies that all chromosomal loci the mutation pressure is zero, then once again mutation is not random. It is only if you define ‘random’ as meaning ‘no general bias toward bodily improvement’ that mutation is truly random. . The Darwinian says that variation is random in the sense that it is not directed towards improvement, and that the tendency towards improvement in evolution comes from selection.”[13]

So, for all of those conditions discussed by Dawkins, where would we get the accompanying programming, addressing and processing functions that would implement the widely varying rates of mutations through the genome space?

To me this “random is not really random” argument just seems a way of avoiding the entirely logical conclusion that the powerful DNA language originated from intelligence and is intelligently edited. Of course, there is randomness in this editing process and extensive randomness as chromosomes are shuffled for the next generation as defined in basic genetics. However, that does not support the theory that all changes, additions and deletions come from random, unguided, mindless mutations.

Uncorrected Mutation Bottleneck

Bacteria such as e coli have about five million DNA letters which can divide and mutate rapidly. A human has about three billion DNA letters and cell divisions and mutations happen much, much slower.[14] [15]

For mammals, the multitude of DNA correction and repair enzymes reduce chance mutations to about seven DNA letters per year in each cell.[16] Just as chance mutations would be most needed to evolve new features of higher organisms, it would seem that the speed of these chance mutations slows down to a snail’s pace.

Extrapolations from bacteria studies to predict how chance evolution might work in higher life forms ought to consider this important difference. Caution would be advised in making predictions based on many times more mutations coming from bacteria than from mammals.[17]

This is a kind of “uncorrected mutation bottleneck” that greatly limits the effects of random mutations. This means that just these few random low quality DNA letter changes are believed to specify the design of the human eye and its connecting interface from the first mammal to man.

Editing bacteria’s DNA according to evolutionary theory would be like editing the Book of Mormon (270,000 words) with fast random keystrokes.

Similarly, editing human DNA would be like trying to edit the Wikipedia (2,600 million words on 4,500,000 topics) with very, very, very slow random keystrokes and edits. That would be at a speed of only seven keystrokes per year, or one keystroke every fifteen years if only one in a hundred is a useful mutation.

Neither approach would end up with something that is readable. Writing and editing requires intelligence. The Wikipedia example would be especially impossible, “off the scale” impossible.[18]

dnaThis illustration of the DNA ligase enzyme shows it correcting errors in a strand of DNA. This is one of many correction processes and just this enzyme corrects from a thousand to a million errors in every cell every day. The integrity of the DNA and our continued lives depends on the many ongoing correction processes.[19]The Miraculous Human Eye

Physician, Scientist and Apostle Russell M. Nelson often talks about the miraculous human body.

“Each organ of your body is a wondrous gift from God. Each eye has an autofocusing lens. Nerves and muscles control two eyes to make a single three-dimensional image. The eyes are connected to the brain, which records the sights seen. … Anyone who studies the workings of the human body has surely seen God moving in his majesty and power.'” (D&C 88:47)[20]

Within the DNA language of life, there are many communication interfaces defined by further sublanguages, such as between the eye and the brain. Each side of the two systems must have the correct common data definitions and supporting programming necessary for the combined system to function. To have chance mutations drive the simultaneous creation of these two tightly interconnected systems is simply impossible.[21]

retina

This illustration depicts a section of the retina of the eye with light-sensing cells and other specialized cells that preprocess and encode the signals in the proper format and sequence onto the optic nerve to send to the brain.[22]

The interface from the human eye that processes and encodes over a hundred million signals via the optic nerve to the optical portions of the brain is an incredibly complicated system. The optic nerve itself consists of over a million nerve fibers. The adaptive control interface from the brain that controls the focusing, movement and coordination of the two eyes is also an amazing interface requiring split second timing.[23]

Examples of Communication Interfaces

We are all familiar with examples of how important communication interfaces are. When we pick up the wrong remote for the TV, in spite of our pushing many buttons as long as we like, nothing happens. The signals coming from that remote are not using the same communication protocol required by the sensing device and control logic on the TV. To work, the interface and its programming must be defined and shared between the remote and the TV.

COLOUR PROFILE (X30/X70/X90/RS45/55/65)

Command                                        Hex Code

Colour Profile – Off                         21 89 01 50 4D 50 52 30 30 0A

Colour Profile – Film 1 (in Film mode)       21 89 01 50 4D 50 52 30 31 0A

Colour Profile – Film 2 (in Film mode)       21 89 01 50 4D 50 52 30 32 0A

Colour Profile – Standard (in Cinema, Natural, Stage & 3D modes)                      

21 89 01 50 4D 50 52 30 33 0A

Colour Profile – Cinema 1 (in Cinema mode)   21 89 01 50 4D 50 52 30 34 0A

Colour Profile – Cinema 2 (in Cinema mode)   21 89 01 50 4D 50 52 30 35 0A

Colour Profile – Anime 1 (in Animation mode) 21 89 01 50 4D 50 52 30 36 0A

Colour Profile – Anime 2 (in Animation mode) 21 89 01 50 4D 50 52 30 37 0A

Colour Profile – Video (in Natural mode)     21 89 01 50 4D 50 52 30 38 0A

Colour Profile – Vivid (in Natural&3D modes) 21 89 01 50 4D 50 52 30 39 0A

Colour Profile – Adobe (in Natural mode)     21 89 01 50 4D 50 52 30 41 0A

Colour Profile – Stage (in Stage mode)       21 89 01 50 4D 50 52 30 42 0A

Colour Profile – 3D (in 3D mode)             21 89 01 50 4D 50 52 30 43 0A

Colour Profile – THX (in THX mode)           21 89 01 50 4D 50 52 30 44 0A

This example of a sublanguage used to define a small section of the options to control a JVC high definition projector system is an example of how communication interfaces are specified early in the development process to be used by two systems such as this TV projector and the remote control device.


Notice how complicated the various options are and each would need a detailed explanation to be understood and would require extensive programming to implement.[24] 

At a higher level, in a Google search box on your computer, if you type “evolution of the eye cosmos” you will get some great hits on the subject of this article. However, if your fingers are on the wrong home keys, you might type “rbp;iyopm pg yjr rur vpd,pd” and get nothing. Google requires valid query syntax to be able to perform a powerful artificial intelligence enabled search of the web. This syntax is another example of a complex communication interface.

Interfaces are Designed in Advance

When Samuel Morse sent his first message over the telegraph “What hath God wrought?” coming from Numbers 23:23, the crucial Morse code system of dots and dashes (and pauses) had to be defined in advance and known by the operators on both ends of the wire.

morse

The variable length Morse code efficiently encoded the alphabet, numbers and a few punctuation marks to enable the first communication system using electricity.[25]

In engineering projects, the design of the crucial communication interfaces happens up front, before the procedures and functions that do the actual communication tasks. Both the interface standard and the programming at both ends of the communication “wire” or equivalent are needed to implement that interface.

Consider the RS232 interface that we used to transfer files between two early CP/M-based microcomputer systems in my lab at BYU in 1978 where one machine had an eight inch floppy drive and the other only had a tape backup.

The interface was defined as to which electrical pins on the interface plug were reserved for the various programming functions of the transfer protocol. This footnote shows a portion of the code needed to implement the “get” and the “put” programming sides of the protocol.[26]

interface

This is the specification of the data pins needed for the RS232 interface that is used by the programming code on each end of this communication interface.[27]

High Definition Video/Audio Interfaces

A good interface to study that has the kinds of requirements that the eye-to-brain interface requires is the HDMI standard used on many video devices. The hdmi.org site is touting the release of the 2.0 version of the interface standard. Here is a description of its new enhanced capabilities.

“HDMI 2.0, which is backwards compatible with earlier versions of the HDMI specifications, significantly increases bandwidth up to 18Gbps and adds key enhancements to support continuing market requirements for enhancing the consumer video and audio experience. New functionality includes:

  • 4K@50/60, (2160p), which is 4 times the clarity of 1080p/60 video resolution
  • Up to 32 audio channels for a multi-dimensional immersive audio experience
  • Up to 1536kHz audio sample frequency for the highest audio fidelity
  • Simultaneous delivery of dual video streams to multiple users on the same screen
  • Simultaneous delivery of multi-stream audio to multiple users (up to 4)
  • Support for the wide angle theatrical 21:9 video aspect ratio
  • Dynamic synchronization of video and audio streams
  • CEC extensions provides expanded command and control of consumer electronics devices through a single control point”[28]

Is there any doubt that intelligent design and intelligent programming implementation of that design is on display in this communication interface? These enhanced levels of video and audio would not have been developed if the human eye and ear could not discern and process its enhanced quality. That fact supports the eye and the ear being of the same order of complexity and design as this interface.

The HDMI interface does not program and enhance itself on both ends of the cable by random chance. And neither does the marvelous human eye or ear as it interfaces with the human brain, spirit and individual intelligence.

Learn to Recognize Communication Interfaces in All Life

These communication interfaces defined in the DNA language are everywhere at all levels of life. The protocols that must be defined on both sides of the interface strongly testify of the hand of God and the light of Christ in upholding and powering all life on this world.

The eye spot for a simple algae cell, given as part of the proof in the new Cosmos series of how the eye could be created via random mutations, is in itself an extremely complicated system that once again needs a communication interface.

A certain threshold of light must be detected and then cause the algae to swim either away from or toward the light source. Using changes in that light intensity to be able to swim orthogonally to the light source would be complicated to program. Engineering students who have struggled with implementing robotic designs and especially making programming decisions based on sensory input doubtless realize the magnitude of even this supposedly simple task.[29]

Dr. Tyson confidently proclaims that “The complexity of the human eye poses no challenge to evolution by natural selection. In fact, the eye and all of biology makes no sense without evolution.” “Poses no challenge to evolution?” This seems to me to be the height of hubris: Looking directly at a miracle and denying the miracle, the One who performs it and the power by which it is done.

“He made me not … He had no understanding …” (Isaiah 29:16)

The human eye is exponentially more complex than the complicated eye spot, both in structure and communication interface, using many interrelated genes with millions of DNA letters.


[30] How do you get from the eye spot level to the human level via random uncorrected mutations, even over eons of time? You cannot.

It would be like trying to create the seven megabyte quadruple combination scripture text via random keystrokes. You would fill up the entire universe with bad data files and use up billions of years before you would create one copy of the verse: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1)

“All Nature is a Miracle”

Scientist, University President and Apostle James E. Talmage has always testified that the more scientists learn about the world, the more miraculous we should realize that it is.[31]

“In a broader sense, all nature is a miracle.”

“Miracles cannot be contravention of natural law, but are wrought through the operation of laws not universally or commonly recognized. Gravitation is everywhere operative, but the local and special application of other agencies may appear to nullify it.”[32]

“The fact that all created things are the works of God and that all processes of nature are due to him as the administrator of law and order is to the scientific mind an axiom requiring neither argument nor demonstration. The botanist knows that God makes the plant grow; but he, weak mortal, is devoting time and energy of body, mind and spirit, to a study of the way in which God works such a marvelous miracle. The geologist knows that God created the earth; but the best effort of his life is put forth in the hope of finding out in some degree, however small, the method by which the Creator wrought this wondrous world.”[33]

What a humble and powerful testimony of this great scientist who also knows the Savior in his calling as an apostolic witness of Jesus Christ. O that we might also see the hand of God in the world and His amazingly complex and integrated design of the myriad of communications and other processes of life, including those of the marvelous human eye.

Click here for footnotes #1-16 and click here for footnotes #17-33.