An interview with eye-disease researcher Dr George Marshall
by CMI Creation Magazine
Dr George Marshall obtained his B.Sc. (Hons.) in Biology at the University of Strathclyde in 1984. He conducted research into bone marrow cancer at the University of Sheffield for three years until invalided out with a serious, normally incurable illness. He was dramatically healed of this in November 1987 and soon obtained an M.Med.Sci. from Sheffield. He then worked at the University of Manchester before taking up a post at the University of Glasgow in 1988. He obtained his Ph.D. in Ophthalmic Science at Glasgow in 1991 and was elected to chartered biologist (C.Biol.) status and to membership of the Institute of Biology (M.I.Biol.) in 1993. He is now Sir Jules Thorn Lecturer in Ophthalmic Science.
Creation magazine [CM]: Dr Marshall, you wrote to us to comment on the article Seeing back to front which appeared in the March–May 1996 issue of Creation magazine. What was your comment?
Dr George Marshall [GM]: I pointed out that the principal reason as to why the eye cannot be regarded as being wired backward (as some evolutionists claim) was hidden in a footnote in your article.
CM: Would you care to elaborate?
GM: The light-detecting structures within photoreceptor cells are located in the stack of discs. These discs are being continually replaced by the formation of new ones at the cell body end of the stack, thereby pushing older discs down the stack. Those discs at the other end of the stack are ‘swallowed’ by a single layer of retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells. RPE cells are highly active, and for this they need a very large blood supply—the choroid. Unlike the retina, which is virtually transparent, the choroid is virtually opaque, because of the vast numbers of red blood cells within it. For the retina to be wired the way that Professor Richard Dawkins suggested, would require the choroid to come between the photoreceptor cells and the light, for RPE cells must be kept in intimate contact with both the choroid and photoreceptor to perform their job. Anybody who has had the misfortune of a hemorrhage in front of the retina will testify as to how well red blood cells block out the light.
Then what do you think of the idea that the eye is wired backward?
The notion that the eye was wired backward occurred to me as a 13-year-old when studying eye anatomy in a school science class. It took me two years of lecturing on human eye anatomy to realize why the eye is wired the way it is. The idea that the eye is wired backward comes from a lack of knowledge of eye function and anatomy.
How do you react to the notion that the human eye is the product of evolution?
The more I study the human eye, the harder it is to believe that it evolved. Most people see the miracle of sight. I see a miracle of complexity on viewing things at 100,000 times magnification. It is the perfection of this complexity that causes me to baulk at evolutionary theory.
Can you give our readers some idea of just how complex the eye is?
The retina is probably the most complicated tissue in the whole body. Millions of nerve cells interconnect in a fantastic number of ways to form a miniature ‘brain’. Much of what the photoreceptors ‘see’ is interpreted and processed by the retina long before it enters the brain…
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image credit: Amanda Dalbjörn