Intelligent Design

May 20th, 2010 by Potato

The mollusk eye is often used as a counter-point to intelligent design arguments. The human eye, if deliberately designed, was not designed particularly well. The layers of tissue are laid down backwards (with the photosensitive layer that actually lets you see underneath the non-transparent, thin, easily separated blood vessel layer), and the lens setup leads to failure in middle age. The mollusk eye, on the other hand, shows evidence of having evolved independently, demonstrating that not only can an eye evolve by the process of natural selection, but that it has done so more than once. The octopus eye is in many ways more advanced than our own: the layers of tissue are the right way around. The lens changes focus by moving back and forth rather than being stretched (which means you don’t have to worry about compliance changes as the lens ages and stiffens). Indeed, camera makers have long turned to the octopus eye for inspiration on how to solve problems like how to make lenses that focus clearly on large photosensitive areas.

So then it led me to wonder: maybe there is an intelligent designer, but He designed octopi. I mean, not only are their eyes superior, but they are very smart, without having these delicate spines and specialized brain regions — they are a marvel of decentralized processing. Many can change their colours, and with their highly flexible bodies (no constrictive skeletons, just muscle), they can even mimic the outlines of other animals. They are ruthless and calculating — quite capable of escaping their laboratory tanks and eating the fish in neighbouring tanks, and smart enough to go back at dawn so no one is the wiser.

That leads us to wonder: what designed the octopus? And there is only one answer:


So, will octopi one day take over the world? Here’s the scary thought: 2/3 of the world’s surface is under water, and fairly poorly explored. It’s quite possible that the octopi already rule the world, and the tiny dry sliver of land we call home is just a wild frontier they haven’t yet got around to dominating yet.

2 Responses to “Intelligent Design”

  1. Marianne O Says:

    Excellent — I’ve learned something new about octopus eyes, and have a new global terror to fear (I sense the makings of a big budget horror movie). Good post.

  2. Potato Says:

    I love to swim and scuba dive, but there are many things lurking in the deep that give me the creeping horrors…