Eyeballing Design in the Vampire Squid

In January 2007, Science magazine posted an article titled, “Loopy Lens Proteins Provide Squid with Excellent Eyesight,” by Elizabeth Pennisi. The article comments on the work done by graduate student Alison Sweeny who “wanted to learn about eye evolution” (Pennisi, 2007, 315[5811]:456). In order to do that, Sweeny dissected the eyeballs of a deep-water squid known as the Vampire squid.

To see underwater, an animal needs a special lens system. Pennisi wrote: “Seeing clearly underwater requires a special spherical lens with a high refractive index in the center but a lower index toward the edge” (315[5811]:456). The intricate lens structures in the eye of the Vampire squid were discovered to be extremely efficient for seeing clearly underwater. In fact, the caption to a picture in the article states: “Near-perfect eyes. Vampire squid lenses are designed for seeing details, even in virtual darkness” (315[5811]:456, emp. added). Jonathan Henry, biologist at the University of Illinois, stated: “It’s amazing how finely tuned the squid’s lens is to do its job” (315[5811]:456). In the concluding remarks of the article, Pennisi quoted Sweeney as saying that the lens of the Vampire squid “has a visual acuity better than in a state-of-the-art Zeiss dissecting microscope” (315[5811]:456).

Interesting, is it not, that Sweeney and the other researchers were attempting to learn more about “eye evolution”? Yet, they discovered exactly the opposite. They found a lens that is designed, finely tuned, and works better than a state-of-the-art microscope. Unfortunately, they missed the obvious implication that such statements demand: evolution cannot account for design or fine tuning. And how is it that all recognize that a Zeiss dissecting microscope has intelligent designers, but many miss the fact that the superior squid lens also has a designer? The biblical writer summarized this situation perfectly when he wrote:

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools (Romans 1:20-22, emp. added).


Elizabeth Pennisi (2007), “News Focus Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology Meeting: Loopy Lens Proteins Provide Squid With Excellent Eyesight,” Science, 315[5811]:456, January 26, [On-line], URL:


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