Before the “intelligent design” argument became fashionable among other creationists, I was looking at the wondrous handiwork of plants and animals and saying, “Where there is a design there has to be a designer.” Many creatures have structures so complicated that it defies common sense to say they came about by chance, because in the process of development, many steps are required; the failure of any step would have left the creature with an organ that was useless — or worse. In Chapter 4 of The Genesis Chronicles, I pointed out that it’s the same situation with those relationships between different species that we call symbiosis, especially when they benefit each other (e.g., the flower and the bee).
This week I saw another example, a video of one of the strangest fish I’ve ever seen. The Pacific barrel-eye fish lives 2,000 feet underwater, making it one of those weird “mesopelagic” fish, like the viperfish, hatchetfish and the angler. What makes this fish weird is that its eyes are not on the front of its head or on the sides, like you’d expect; they’re in the middle of its head, next to the brain! It looks like the fish has external eyes, but they’re really nostrils. The fish can still see, though, because the top half of its head is transparent.
Why such a strange protection for the vision of a fish? The theory is that it steals food from siphonophores, a type of jellyfish, and because its eyes are deep inside its head, the fish doesn’t have to worry about them getting stung by tentacles. Anybody want to try explaining how that protection could have evolved by chance?