There You Go Again, Nathan Lents

first_imgCongratulations to Science Magazine for an Honest Portrayal of Darwin’s Descent of Man Requesting a (Partial) Retraction from Darrel Falk and BioLogos TagsAdler’s Physiology of the Eyeblood vesselsDouglas Futuymaepithelial cellsevolutionGeorge WilliamsGordon WallsHuman Errorshuman eyeintelligent designJeanne SzalayJerry CoyneJohn Jay College of Criminal JusticeKenneth R. MillerNathan LentsPaul Henkindphotoreceptor cellsPhysiology of the Human Eye and the Visual SystemRichard HansenSidney FuttermanThe Blind WatchmakerThe Vertebrate EyeZombie Science,Trending “A Summary of the Evidence for Intelligent Design”: The Study Guide Origin of Life: Brian Miller Distills a Debate Between Dave Farina and James Tour A Physician Describes How Behe Changed His MindLife’s Origin — A “Mystery” Made AccessibleCodes Are Not Products of PhysicsIxnay on the Ambriancay PlosionexhayDesign Triangulation: My Thanksgiving Gift to All Nathan Lents is professor of biology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. In 2015, Dr. Lents wrote on his “Human Evolution” blog, “The human eye is a well-tread [sic] example of how evolution can produce a clunky design.” It’s clunky becausethe photoreceptor cells of the retina appear to be placed backward, with the wiring facing the light and the photoreceptor facing inward…. This is not an optimal design for obvious reasons. The photons of light must travel around the bulk of the photoreceptor cell in order to hit the receiver tucked in the back. It’s as if you were speaking into the wrong end of a microphone.According to Lents, “there are no working hypotheses about why the vertebrate retina is wired in backwards. It seems to have been a random development that then ‘stuck’ because a correction of that magnitude would be very difficult to pull off with random mutations” in the course of evolution.In 2017, I published a book titled Zombie Science, which included a chapter on the human eye showing why the “clunky design” claim doesn’t fit the evidence. The claim is false because the photoreceptor cells in the human retina are so active that they must be nourished by a dense network of blood vessels and constantly renewed by a layer of specialized epithelial cells. If the blood vessels and epithelial cells were in front of the photoreceptor cells, where Lents thinks they should be, we would be almost blind. Instead, human eyes (and the eyes of other animals with backbones) are very well designed.Apparently, Dr. Lents didn’t read my book. That’s OK; I don’t have time to read every book written even by my own colleagues. Instead, Dr. Lents just published his own book titled Human Errors, in which he repeats on page 5 his claim that the human eye is badly designed because the photoreceptor cells “appear to be installed backward.”Over thirty years ago, Richard Dawkins had used this claim as an argument for Darwinian evolution in his 1986 book The Blind Watchmaker. Since then the argument has been repeated by evolutionary biologists George Williams, Kenneth R. Miller, Douglas Futuyma, and Jerry Coyne, among others.But even before Dawkins published his claim in 1986, scientists writing in standard textbooks on eye physiology had shown why the “backwards retina” is functionally better than its opposite. Those scientists and textbooks included Gordon Walls in The Vertebrate Eye (Hafner, 1963); Sidney Futterman in Adler’s Physiology of the Eye (Mosby, 1975); and Paul Henkind, Richard Hansen, and Jeanne Szalay in Physiology of the Human Eye and the Visual System (Harper & Row, 1979). Abundant evidence that Dawkins’s claim was false had also been published in scientific journals in 1967, 1969, 1973, and 1985.Obviously, Dawkins didn’t bother to check the scientific literature before claiming that the human eye is badly designed. He simply assumed that Darwinian evolution is true and that he knew how an eye should be designed. Williams, Miller, Futuyma, Coyne, and Lents also neglected to check the scientific literature when they repeated Dawkins’s false claim.For most people (myself included), science is an enterprise that pursues truth by comparing hypotheses with evidence. For some people, science is an enterprise that searches for natural explanations on the assumption that everything can be explained in terms of material objects and the forces among them. Mind, spirit, free will, and God are excluded from consideration. The first is empirical science; the second is applied materialistic philosophy. When people persist in defending materialistic explanations even when they don’t fit the evidence (and are thus empirically dead), I call this enterprise “zombie science.” The argument that the bad design of human eyes provides evidence for Darwinian evolution and against intelligent design is an example of zombie science. Photo credit: analogicus, via Pixabay. Recommendedcenter_img Intelligent Design Jonathan WellsSenior Fellow, Center for Science and CultureJonathan Wells has received two Ph.D.s, one in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California at Berkeley, and one in Religious Studies from Yale University. A Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, he has previously worked as a postdoctoral research biologist at the University of California at Berkeley and the supervisor of a medical laboratory in Fairfield, California. He also taught biology at California State University in Hayward and continues to lecture on the subject.Follow JonathanProfileWebsite Share Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share Life Sciences There You Go Again, Nathan LentsJonathan WellsMay 11, 2018, 1:58 AM Jane Goodall Meets the God Hypothesis Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Sharelast_img read more

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Giants vs. Patriots: Who to start/sit in fantasy for ‘Thursday Night Football’

first_imgFLEX: TE Rhett Ellison ($200)It’s no secret it’s smart to load up on the principals of the Patriots’ offense tonight and round it out with their defense. We were greedy and double-stacked Brady and his top two wideouts minus Dorsett and then Michel and their defense, too.Gordon is the tournament-style captain we like, and again, if Ellison gives us even 2-20 and a TD for a 5x return on our investment, we should be in business. ‘Thursday Night Football’ can either make or break your fantasy football results for a given week in your seasonal leagues — or at least make you feel that way as you look at your small-sample score for three days. There’s also a lot on the line when it comes Showdown DFS contests on DraftKings, too, especially in a weirdly lopsided game like Week 6’s Giants vs. Patriots.Start ’em, sit ’em decisions are always magnified, as no one wants to start the week in a hole. Here’s a breakdown of Week 6’s Thursday game between the Giants and Patriots in New England (8:20 p.m. ET, FOX, NFL Network and Amazon Prime Video): MORE TNF: DraftKings lineup | Betting preview | Edelman injury news | Gordon injury newsGiants: Who to start or sit in fantasy football on Thursday nightSit: QB Daniel JonesThe Patriots’ pass defense has dominated early and allows the fewest fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. A rookie with limited weapons against a Bill Belichick scheme? Nope.Sit: RB Jonathan HillmanThere’s no Saquon Barkley (ankle) or Wayne Gallman (concussion), but you cannot trust the inept Hillman in a game where there will be a hugely negative game script, especially as he’s shown nothing in the passing game.Sit: WR Darius SlaytonThe promising rookie has some juice after delivering for Jones in a tough matchup against the Vikings last week and could do some good things with Sterling Shepard (concussion) out, but he’s likely the one getting the most of Stephon Gilmore outside here.Start: WR Golden TateThis is a PPR special, as we know Tate doesn’t score very often and the Patriots don’t allow many scores. The veteran should work the slot on shorter routes to rack up a few catches off high targets from Jones. Something like six catches for 70 would do the trick for you as a WR3.Start: TE Rhett EllisonHe’s been OK for the Giants when Evan Engram has been unavailable in the past, so this is more of a streaming replacement option for desperate Engram owners only. Given the sorry state of the position deep on waivers, you might as well take a shot here with Patrick Chung hurting. The Patriots have faced only two viable tight ends all season, Vance McDonald and Dawson Knox, and gave up a little something to them. Ellison is a best bet for a random short garbage TD.Sit: Giants D/STBut you knew that already.Patriots: Who to start or sit in fantasy football on Thursday nightStart: QB Tom BradyIt’s more C-A-K-E for the G-O-A-T. Around 300 yards and three TDs should happen again.Start: WRs Julian Edelman and Josh Gordon.Edelman wil destroy Grant Haley in the slot after his hundy and a score against the Redskins. Between Janoris Jenkins and rookie DeAndre Baker, Gordon should have his biggest game of the season. No Phillip Dorsett (hamstring) will ensure they are the top targets for Brady here.Start: RB Sony MichelIt’s looking like Rex Burkhead (foot) will miss another game here, which was a nice boost to Michel’s volume (he even caught passes!) last week, adding up to terrific RB2 production. The Giants’ run defense is better than you think, but it’s not good enough to think they can slow down MIchel in a highly positive game script.Start: RB James WhiteWe’re liking him more in PPR leagues for sure given his limited yardage in this offense and others better positioned to get the touchdowns. But the Giants can be burned all night on checkdowns and swing passes out of the backfield.Start: Patriots D/STBut you knew that already.Giants-Patriots DraftKings Showdown lineup for Thursday nightCaptain: WR Josh Gordon ($13,500)FLEX: QB Tom Brady ($11,800)FLEX: WR Julian Edelman ($10,400)FLEX: RB Sony MIchel ($7,600)FLEX: Patriots D/ST ($6,200)last_img read more

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Amazon’s Bezos says he’ll send a spaceship to the moon

first_imgJeff Bezos speaks in front of a model of Blue Origin’s Blue Moon lunar lander, Thursday, May 9, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)WASHINGTON | Amazon tycoon Jeff Bezos says he’s going to send a spaceship to the moon, joining a resurgence of lunar interest half a century after people first set foot there.Bezos says his space company Blue Origin will land a robotic ship the size of a small house, capable of carrying four rovers and using a newly designed rocket engine and souped-up rockets. It would be followed by a version that could bring people to the moon along the same timeframe as NASA’s proposed 2024 return.Bezos, who was dwarfed by his mock-up of the Blue Moon vehicle at his presentation Thursday, says, “This is an incredible vehicle and it’s going to the moon.”Bezos says: “It’s time to go back to the moon. This time to stay.”last_img read more

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