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From the Ocean to Your Living Room

on October 31, 2009
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LiveScience: “Sea Creature’s Amazing Eyes Could Inspire New DVD PlayersGenesis 1 makes no mention of DVD players, of course, and we’re certainly not saying God had such technology in mind when He designed sea life. But mantis shrimp have “the most complex vision systems known to science” that, reportedly, may one day inspire better DVD players.

The shrimp’s eyes are actually similar in some respects to technology called quarter-wave plates.

The eyes of the mantis shrimp are superior to human eyes in two key ways. First, while human eyes can see three colors (which combine to make up the visible spectrum), the mantis shrimp sees twelve. Second, the shrimp’s eyes are able to convert light that is polarized one way to a different polarity. A team of American, Australian, and British scientists report on the incredible design in Nature Photonics (“A Biological Quarter-Wave Retarder with Excellent Achromaticity in the Visible Wavelength Region”).

The shrimp’s eyes are actually similar in some respects to technology called quarter-wave plates, which are designed to convert light polarity in CD and DVD players and some camera filters. However, quarter-wave plates only work well for one color of light. The eyes of the mantis shrimp, on the other hand, work well across a broad light spectrum, much broader than that of human-made devices, the paper reports. The researchers believe the shrimp’s ability is used in hunting, communication, or sexual signaling.

Nicholas Roberts, of the University of Bristol’s Ecology of Vision unit, said of the shrimp’s eye,

“It really is exceptional—out-performing anything we humans have so far been able to create. What’s particularly exciting is how beautifully simple it is. This natural mechanism, comprised of cell membranes rolled into tubes, completely outperforms synthetic designs. It could help us make better optical devices in the future using liquid crystals that have been chemically engineered to mimic the properties of the cells in the mantis shrimp’s eye.”

The Nature Photonics paper made the same point more esoterically: “This complex and novel structural design exemplifies why natural photonic systems continue to offer biomimetic inspiration for the design and construction of new artificial photonic structures.” While human-engineered technology accomplishes incredible tasks and requires great ingenuity (both to create and, sometimes, to operate!), time and time again we find designs of God’s that are far superior. Is it rational to think that the mind-boggling design in living creatures is the result of the directionless work of time, chance, and the laws of nature working on raw matter, as evolutionists claim?


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