Wow on trilobite eyes!

James Mahaffy (
Tue, 26 Nov 1996 14:24:21 -0600 (CST)


We discovered my mail loop was caused by a weird problem because of a
filter I was using to dump messages into folders and it is now fixed.

I haven't kept up with all the thread that my colleague Russ Maatman
started about the Creation conference, but at the same time he was
talking about Mike Behe and design, I was lecturing on trilobite eyes to
my paleo class here at Dordt and thought I would share a paragraph from
those notes. While I don't think you should go about scientifically
proving the Creator, sometimes a secular neoDarwinian theory tends to
encourage us not see the Creator as being or having been active in
Creation. It also lends itself toward thinking that fossil structures
are generally more simple than more recent structures, and that often
does not fit with invertebrate fossils. In any case it is good to have
a trilobite tell us how marvelous are your works.

Well I better get back to rewriting some material on Pennsylvanian
coal-swamp palynology.

2. schizochroal
In this eye lenses are large and separated from each
other. Very unique eyes. Actually made of two
lenses of different numerical aperture with a shape to
exactly correct for spherical aberration. Wow!
Discovered by a good and avid amateur collector, Dr.
Riccardo Levi-Setti, who is a professor of physics at
the University of Chicago. He recognized the shape of
the bottom lens as being exactly that as described by
DesCartes and Huygens as being the shape needed for
correction of spherical aberration. In his words, "In
fact this optical doublet is a device so typically
associated with human invention that its discovery in
trilobites comes as something of a shock. The
realization that trilobites developed and used such
devices half a billion years ago makes the shock even
greater. And a final discovery - that the refracting
interface between the two lens elements in a
trilobite's eye was designed in accordance with optical
constructions worked out by Descartes and Huygens in the
mid-seventeenth century - borders on sheer science
fiction." (RLS Trilobites - Second Ed., 1993 p. 54.

James F. Mahaffy                   e-mail:
Biology Department                 phone: 712 722-6279
Dordt College                      FAX 712 722-1198
Sioux Center, Iowa 51250