Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Miracle of Vision


[more precious than any diamond]

The Talmud Berakoth 60b states “When he [a Jew] opens his eyes he should say: 'Blessed is He who opens the eyes of the blind'.”

Each morning we must thank God for the miracle of vision. How much are our lives enriched by the ability to see? Imagine for a moment that you were totally blind. How much would you be willing to pay to have your sight restored? I think most of us would give everything we possess.

Each eye weighs about 7.5 grams and contains over 120 million special photoreceptor nerve cells. The optic nerve then transmits visual information to the brain, through a process not yet understood.

If the eyes are destroyed, there is currently no way to replace them artificially. Scientists are just beginning to move toward the creation of a bionic eye.

We should sing with joy for every moment of vision. This should also remind us to use our eyes in a way which God would approve.

60 comments:

Joseph said...

I recall that light was the first thing God created.

Anonymous said...

There's nothing's wrong with being grateful and appreciative, but the design of the eye is flawed, such that many things can and do go wrong.

The designer should go back to the drawing board.

jewish philosopher said...

I recently purchased a Toyota prius. Would it impress you if a 10 year old looked it over and commented "The design is flawed, such that many things can and do go wrong.
The designer should go back to the drawing board."

Anonymous said...

Sorry if you are insulted for God

Abe said...

>>>I recently purchased a Toyota prius. Would it impress you if a 10year old looked it over and commented "The design is flawed, such that many things can and do go wrong.
The designer should go back to the drawing board."

The 10 year old is not intellectualy competent to make that judgement. However reputable biologists are. So if they say the design is flawed, their attestations may be valid. In any event, the eye is indeed a fascinating organ, a testament to the evolutionary mechanism.

jewish philosopher said...

"However reputable biologists are."

Wrong. They cannot understand or reproduce the eye any more than a child can understand or reproduce my car.

"a testament to the evolutionary mechanism"

Of course, the magical mindless god of atheism, which does everything and asks nothing.

Abe said...

>>>Wrong. They cannot understand or reproduce the eye any more than a child can understand or reproduce my car.

Scientific inability to reproduce the eye does not negate evolution.
Its like saying, lehavidil elef havdolos, that because present day gedolim cannot perform miracles, therefore their all biblical miracles are untrue. (which they happen to be)

>>>Of course, the magical mindless god of atheism, which does everything and asks nothing

And of course god asks everything and does nothing --- except for confiscating your reason and leaving you mindless.

alex said...

Anonymous wrote: "There's nothing's wrong with being grateful and appreciative"

To whom, then?

jewish philosopher said...

The one true God does a great deal.

"G-d is the Creator and Ruler of all things. He alone has made, does make, and will make all things."

http://www.ou.org/torah/rambam.htm

And He is the source of all wisdom.

"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; but the foolish despise wisdom and discipline." Proverbs 1:7

http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt2801.htm#7

Alex said...

Anonymous said...
"There's nothing's wrong with being grateful and appreciative..."

To whom, Anonymous?

Anon1 said...

That we develop far-sightetness, near-sightedness, presbyopia or glaucoma (which result from structural design flaws) attests to the lack of a perfect all knowing creator.

On the other hand it attests to the presence of an ever-changing and imperfect process of mutation and natural selection, the only concern of which is to maximize offspring in a given environment.

There are plenty of primitive eye-like sensory organs present in other species (living or extinct) that document this adaptation.

jewish philosopher said...

"attests to the lack of a perfect all knowing creator"

Wrong. Suffering and God are easily reconcilable.

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2009/08/kindness-of-suffering.html

"it attests to the presence of an ever-changing and imperfect process of mutation and natural selection"

I have already disproved evolution.

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2008/03/evolution-science-hijacked-by-atheism.html

Abe said...

>>>"G-d is the Creator and Ruler of all things. He alone has made, does make, and will make all things."

Maybe he did? We can't disprove his existence, just as we can't disprove Jesus' divinity or Muhammed's claim to god's imprimatur. Similarly, we can't falsify god's supernatural creation of all things with 100% certainty. However, what is evident is that whatever he may have created, he evolved into a wimp and abandoned it. He deserted humankind, left us a universe bereft of clear and convincing evidence of his presence and by his absence repressed moral clarity. His universe is more subject to the laws of chance than any divine guidance or moral purpose.
So why should we acclaim a god that transformed himself into a nebbish? The succinct answer is that we shouldn't. There is no reason to worship god than there is to worship a clothes dryer.
Try it. The results will be the same.

jewish philosopher said...

Abe, based on what do you believe God does nothing? If tomorrow you are diagnosed with a brain tumor or make a million dollar profit, this is decided by God. No scientist can predict it.

Believe me Abe, God is busy with your life every moment. Like it or not.

As far as proof of God goes see the watchmaker analogy.

Abe said...

>>>Abe, based on what do you believe God does nothing? If tomorrow you are diagnosed with a brain tumor or make a million dollar profit, this is decided by God. No scientist can predict it.

Really? And If I'm not diagnosed with a brain tumor or do not make a million dollar profit? Is that god's intercession also?
A few weeks ago I was given a clean bill of health by my physician in a routine annual exam. God did not inform me or anyone else of his medical benevolence. Nor did he subsequently visit me with prophecy to inform me that he was the divine cause of my failure to win the lottery.
Did he inform you?

And just because no scientist can predict this, is proof of nothing, other than a propensity to assess causation by illogical inference.

As for as the watchmaker analogy, that has long been debunked as the product of minds desperate for causation and afraid of their own corporeality.
http://www.update.uu.se/~fbendz/nogod/watchmak.htm

jewish philosopher said...

"Really? And If I'm not diagnosed with a brain tumor or do not make a million dollar profit? Is that god's intercession also?"

sure

"And just because no scientist can predict this, is proof of nothing, other than a propensity to assess causation by illogical inference."

it's actually because we cannot predict what God will do.

"As for as the watchmaker analogy, that has long been debunked as the product of minds desperate for causation and afraid of their own corporeality."

the way to debunk it would be to find a watch with no maker, for example monkeys banging on tin cans made it. Let me know how that goes.

Anon1 said...

"Wrong. Suffering and God are easily reconcilable."

You changed the subject (although that statement is easily refuted as well).

You cannot explain the various vulnerabilities, imperfections and flaws inherent in all biological systems. Your "Kindness of suffering" silliness isn't relevant for non-humans. Does a sick fish or plant "suffer" because of punishment, or out of kindness?

Only evolution, guided by considerations of reproductive success and mutations, explains all of this.

jewish philosopher said...

"Only evolution, guided by considerations of reproductive success and mutations, explains all of this."

Actually, evolution explains nothing because as I have pointed out it did not and could not have happened. We must try to purge ourselves of these bizarre myths.

But try this explanation.

God made everything perfect. Then man came and sinned and messed it up.

See Genesis 2:4

http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0102.htm#4

alex said...

Anonymous wrote, "...the design of the eye is flawed, such that many things can and do go wrong. The designer should go back to the drawing board."

You mean the eye sometimes doesn't work? I never knew that. Oh, in that case, there's no designer. Thanks for clearing that up!

I'm just kidding there, but you realize, anonymous, that that's exactly the logic you're proposing.

And you still didn't explain to whom or what one can show one's gratitude and appreciation. You can't give gratitude to a theory, even if it happens to be a good one.

Abe said...

"Really? And If I'm not diagnosed with a brain tumor or do not make a million dollar profit? Is that god's intercession also?"

>>>sure

OK, I'm game. Prove it and not just by quoting yourself or some ancient document.



>>>it's actually because we cannot predict what God will do.

Exactly. He's no better a marshal of causation than random chance -- and equaly unworthy of any prayer or devotion.

Abe said...

>>>Actually, evolution explains nothing because as I have pointed out it did not and could not have happened. We must try to purge ourselves of these bizarre myths.

You're pirateing an atheistic description of your god and his torah. At least summon up the courage to mesmerize us with some originality. Here's a suggestion. Why don't you try: "All atheists are drug abusers, sexual deviants and murderers, devoid of all morality." Now that's original! Even our greatest gedolim havn't come up with that yet!

jewish philosopher said...

"Prove it and not just by quoting yourself or some ancient document."

Prove Alexander the Great or Aristotle existed. And don't just quote some ancient document.

"He's no better a marshal of causation than random chance"

Nothing is random. Check this out for example.

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2009/06/holocaust-clear-evidence-of-gods-hand.html

Anon1 said...

Appreciation can be
FOR something, not necessarily
TO someone. I can be grateful for my good
fortune or that it didn't rain today.

JP your original sin idea is very Christian
and doesn't jive with Jewish thought.
You want us to believe that because Adam
sinned, humans suffer forever and all biological
systems are doomed to be forever
flawed? Puppies die because man sinned?

JP you are one twisted dude.

jewish philosopher said...

"You want us to believe that because Adam sinned, humans suffer forever and all biological systems are doomed"

Well it's not exactly just Adam. He started the ball rolling, but I bet you've committed a sin here and there.

"You're pirateing an atheistic description of your god and his torah."

I'm fighting for truth and reason and battling irrational superstition.

jewish philosopher said...

About animals suffering, you can check this out

http://ohr.edu/ask_db/ask_main.php/250/Q6/

Alex said...

Eh, it looks like I asked my last question after someone already answered it. I find the answer unsatisfactory, but I won't press it.

Abe said...

>>>Prove Alexander the Great or Aristotle existed. And don't just quote some ancient document.

You're right. I can't and won't even try. Similarly, I can't prove that god exists and won't try that either.
However, Alexander and Aristotle's existence or non-existence have no effect on me. But proclaiming god's existence, by applying that same evidentiary standard, has very importantnegative and deleterious consequences, especially if you're a chareidi jew. Thus, why should I observe the orthodox sabbath, or require women to wear a shaytel or myriad other commandments and prohibitions, when using the same criterion, there is no possibility of proving god's existence. Alexander and Aristotle may never have existed and neither may have god. That's reason enough to arrest any passion for obeying and worshiping god by way of questionable evidentiary provenance.

Abe said...

>>>I'm fighting for truth and reason and battling irrational superstition.

No, you're not. You hijack atheistic sentiments against believers in god and usurp them because you're bereft of originality. Maybe a bit more creative writing and a bit less of shor shenagach et ha'parah, might preempt your need for thesis appropriation

Abe said...

>>>Nothing is random. Check this out for example.

I'll be sure to avoid telling that to the pit boss when I toss the dice on my next trip to Las Vegas.
I won't tell him tell him that I know this guy on the internet who's discovered how to abrogate the mathematical laws of probability. Now, please share your secret with me. I promise to contribute 50% of my winnings to your favorite tzedaka, as long as its not used to support kolel kvetchers.

jewish philosopher said...

Abe, I've already noted how rational the "Rational Response Squad" is. Atheism is simply delusional - The Darwin Delusion.

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2009/05/rational-response-squad.html

Chance events merely appear to be chance however of course God is controlling them. And God's existence is the most obvious fact about the world around us. A watch must have a watchmaker.

Ancient documents are considered to be valid evidence for everything else, except Torah. Then Christopher Hitchens starts slurring and smirking about "ancient documents from Bronze Age nomads". The problem is that accepting Torah would mean having to improve yourself.

Larry Tanner said...

Still holding onto the Watchmaker Analogy?

It's been refuted. http://larrytanner.blogspot.com/2009/11/putting-watchmaker-analogy-to-bed.html

Abe said...

>>>Chance events merely appear to be chance however of course God is controlling them. And God's existence is the most obvious fact about the world around us. A watch must have a watchmaker.

You've conveniently ignored the consequences of your assertion that there are no random events. Therefore a throw of the dice does not produce random results. You're just spouting ridiculous claims that are contrary to accepted and proven mathematical principles. Once again you've demonstrated how to employ surreal logic and drivel to suit your impaired religious beliefs.

>>>Ancient documents are considered to be valid evidence for everything else, except Torah.

You're the one who wants to disregard the ancient documents. Now you cite them as tools for justifying the torah's doctrines. Its so nice of you to impart such a scholarly approach to history.
You can't make this up.

bankman said...

"I'm fighting for truth and reason and battling irrational superstition."

JP, this is one of the funniest things I have read on your blog in a long time....and that is saying something!

fah'kert! your whole life is based on irrational superstition and leaps of faith! by definition irrational. REason and truth would lead you to a VERY different conclusion (and lifestyle)

try this. daven for more parnassah to the desk that your computer is sitting on in your office. If you make more money - the desk listened to you! If yu odont, the desk still answered your prayer, bu the answer was "no"....dont you see the flaws there??!?!

you live on mars or something.

jewish philosopher said...

"dice does not produce random results"

They are unpredictable by you but not random.

"You're the one who wants to disregard the ancient documents."

I would disregard modern ones too, if they are fake.

"Still holding onto the Watchmaker Analogy?"

Still holding on to evolution?

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2008/03/evolution-science-hijacked-by-atheism.html

Abe said...

>>>I would disregard modern ones too, if they are fake.

Well, I'm happy we agree on something: Documentary proof of Alexander The Great, Aristotle and the Torah are all suspect.
You just can't trust those fake historians, be they secular, divine or divinely inspired.

jewish philosopher said...

Exactly. The holocaust, the moon landings, 9/11, it's all some conspiracies.

jewish philosopher said...

Exactly. The holocaust, the moon landings, 9/11, it's all some conspiracies.

Abe said...

>>>Exactly. The holocaust, the moon landings, 9/11, it's all some conspiracies.

Don't forget to include apocryphal tales of kriyas yam suf, matan torah, lubavitcher messianism the tooth fairy and pickle juice cancer cure.
We wouldn't want to accuse you of selective repudiation.

Anonymous said...

Its interesting how many arguments for evolution not scientific at all, but rather theoological. "Why would G-d create an imperfect organ?" Is a question for theologians, not scientists. Scientists constantly claim that theological explanations are not allowed whne explaining nature. But why are theological proofs allowed?

jewish philosopher said...

I merely reject implausible conspiracy theories, which is why I accept the Torah.

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2006/12/truth-of-judaism.html

Anon1 said...

The question for you, JP, is what is considered NOT a miracle, NOT divine intervention. If H20 breaking down by electrolysis to hydrogen and oxygen is not nature, but "God", then all of your arguments about complexity make no difference. Any and every chemical reaction is "miraculous". On the other hand, if you distinguish between simple chemical reactions and complex biological systems, you run into a problem each time we actually figure out a mechanism.

Don't throw the man-made complex machines argument at us; because your requirement for "disproof" is unreasonably high. Showing a self-replicating organism is enough to demonstrate that no intelligent designer is required.

And if you argue that organic replication is not "natural" but "miraculous", then your whole argument is circular-- complex things require designers not because they are complex, but because EVERYTHING, even simple things, require designers.

Anonymous said...

It now seesm that the people who have the biggest problem telling the truth are scientists. Lots of global warming fraud has been revealed. If we can't trust them one global warming, why should we believe them when it comes to something like evolution. And lets not forget the fact that a century's worth of textbooks had Haeckel's faked emobryo drawings. Scientists are incorrigable.

jewish philosopher said...

Anon1, please help me because I don't follow you.

The watchmaker analogy proves God's existence.

Evolution attempts to refute watchmaker.

I refute evolution.
http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2008/03/evolution-science-hijacked-by-atheism.html

Anonymous said...

I think the point is that the formation of organisms form inorganic matter is a violation of the laws of nature that we are familiar with. Small molecules don't spontaniously join thogether to make big molecules, violates second thermo-dynamics. And if the configuration of the big molecule is very specific, because it has to fucnction a certain way, then the laws of probability are working against you.

Anonymous said...

If poor design means no designer, then the opposite, good design should there is a designer. There is a rapidly growing field called biomimickry, where engineers study organisms to get ideas for designing stuff. So "nature" is smarter than the scientists. Maybe thats not saying much.

Anonymous said...

Anon1:

I underatsnd you to be saying that if we understand how an oragnism works, we understand the origin of life. But we don't understand the orgin of life.

Anon1 said...

"So "nature" is smarter than the scientists."

A simple camera is functionally better than an eye.

The watchmaker analogy claims that complex things don't spontaneously form. But biological replication (even of single cells) is an example of that simple and complex things do in fact "come together" and form, because of chemistry and physics.

"Small molecules don't spontaniously join thogether to make big molecules, violates second thermo-dynamics."

Wow, You think that you "discovered" that the second law contradicts evolution? Well, amazing, why didn't somebody think of that? Those stupid scientists.

If a more complex system has lower energy value than the simpler system, it will form spontaneuously. Crystals are a good example. No God needed.

"I underatsnd you to be saying that if we understand how an oragnism works, we understand the origin of life. But we don't understand the orgin of life."

1. No more or less the origin of matter in general. Are you OK with cosmological claims about the origin of the earth and stars?

2. Let's imagine that I conceded that god made the first amoeba. Then everything evolved from that, naturally. Would you have a problem with that?

Evolution deals with the origins of species, not abiogenesis. It gives a mechanism of genetic change and selection over time.

JP, you demonstrate a woefully shallow and ignorant conception of evolution ("worms into people")--which isn't just history, but includes the spheres of molecular and population genetics, involving rigorous quantative methods. Did you know that we can measure rates of mutations in different species and different genomes, and mathematically project it over time?

Remember, we share 96% of our genome with chimps, so it doesn't take a huge genetic change for apes to evolve into humans. It happened about 100000 years ago.

The main point is that we don't just know how organisms work, but we also know how they change over time. And we can observe it, too. Small genetic changes can make big changes in phenotype (the physical expression).

So, WHAT'S the BIG DEAL?

jewish philosopher said...

Anon1, my argument for God is basically as follows:

We never witness a complex mechanism with many parts all working efficiently for a certain purpose form spontaneously. There is always a designer. A watch must have a watchmaker. Therefore life, in which every organelle in every cell is a complex machine, must have been created by God.

Potential falsification: Present one example of a machine which we have witnessed come into existence spontaneously, without any intelligent designer.

"The main point is that we don't just know how organisms work"

We know almost nothing about how organisms work. Creating one E. coli from basic chemicals is totally beyond our capacity.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/sciencenow/3214/01-collins.html

Anonymous said...

Anon1:

Crystals are not complex the way life is. They are just orderly molecules. When molecules loose energy, they become more orderly. Now, to make large biomolecules, you have to add energy. That's what organisms do. It's called metabolism. But you have to control the energy in a very specific way, or you increase the entropy. Hard to make large molecules that can function like biomolecules.

And I understand that stars formed when gas condensed under gravity and the hydorgen started fusing. And planets formed when when gasses containing heavy elements produced in supernova explosion condensed. It is explanable by the laws of nature that we are familiar with. Galaxies area problem, however. There isn't enough matter to explain their origin under gravity.

But it is really hard to explain how very lagre organic moloecules could form under natural conditions.

Now the origin of the universe as a whole is still a problem.

Anonymous said...

This is OT,but still interesting.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article6925781.ece

Richard Dawkins published a poster promoting atheism, but he used children from a religious family as models. I guess he couldn't find any happy atheist children.

Anon1 said...

Great repetition of your mantra, jp.

We can understand how things are built or how they work, but the fact that we can't synthesize them means nothing. We can't synthesize an atom, either. It doesn't mean we don't understand it. An auto mechanic can know a Chevy inside and out; does that mean he has to be able to build his own chevy from raw materials?

jewish philosopher said...

"does that mean he has to be able to build his own chevy from raw materials?"

Of course. Engineers who are experts in computers can and do build them.

We know almost nothing about life, because of it's immense complexity.

Anon1 said...

"We know almost nothing about life, because of it's immense complexity."

By your standards we know nothing about
a volcano because we can't build one. And nobody
has "witnessed" volcanos spontaneously appearing. Therfore,
by your argument, there must be an
intelligent "volcano builder". All of that
geological theory is just a bunch of crap.


And we can clone tissues, alter DNA and perform in vitro
fertilization. Isn't that the same as "building" from
raw materials?

I'll repeat: "building" something is a sufficient but not
necessary condition to understanding.

Anon1 said...

Here's a great website:
http://WhyWontGodHealAmputees.com/

jewish philosopher said...

The problem with life is not that it's to too big to build; it's that we don't understand it:

Here's Francis Collins M.D., Ph.D., an American physician-geneticist, noted for his landmark discoveries of disease genes and his leadership of the Human Genome Project (HGP) and described by the Endocrine Society as "one of the most accomplished scientists of our time".

"We are so woefully ignorant about how biology really works. We still don't understand how a particular DNA sequence—when we just stare at it—codes for a protein that has a particular function. We can't even figure out how that protein would fold—into what kind of three-dimensional shape. And I would defy anybody who is going to tell me that they could, from first principles, predict not only the shape of the protein but also what it does. The idea that we could somehow just step back from what evolution has already figured out and do a better job because we are able to predict those things from theoretical principles, is just so far away from reality as to be laughable."

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/sciencenow/3214/01-collins.html

The amputee thing sounds to me like asking "Why won't President Obama find me a better job?" Just because you wrote the President a letter and you did not get a better job does not prove that the President does not exist.

Anon1 said...

"The amputee thing sounds to me like asking "Why won't President Obama find me a better job?" Just because you wrote the President a letter and you did not get a better job does not prove that the President does not exist."

No it does not prove that God does not exist (we all know that proving that something does not exist is impossible)
But it does prove the the classic understanding of prayer--to make requests of god--does not work.

jewish philosopher said...

Well, I think the way prayer works is like this - the more you listen to God, the more likely it is that He will listen to you.

Bearing that in mind, it is not terribly surprising that most prayers go unanswered.

Incidentally, if you review the Orthodox Jewish prayer book, I believe you'll find that probably 90% is devoted to praising God and that is our primary focus in prayer.

Abe said...

>>>Well, I think the way prayer works is like this - the more you listen to God, the more likely it is that He will listen to you.
Bearing that in mind, it is not terribly surprising that most prayers go unanswered.

Oh, now I get it! All those silly poeple who were murderd at the hands of HItler didn't listen to god. Thank god for little things --he might have gotten realy angry and visited total destruction on humanity with another world-wide deluge.
I suppose we need to praise him for visiting his wrath only on the Jews. How dumb of me not to have to have recognized this truth!

jewish philosopher said...

Actually, not only Jews died.

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2007/10/where-was-god-during-holocaust.html

Alex said...

Anon1 wrote: "(we all know that proving that something does not exist is impossible)"

I bet you could prove to everyone's satisfaction that you don't have a real elephant in your house.