Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Post I Wrote a Prologue To

Man, I've been so exhausted lately from long hours at work (those projects are successfully implemented now) and repair work around the house.
That and playing with the new toy Scherie bought me, a 7" Samsung Android Tablet.
Not as intuitive as I thought it would be.

Well: the rest of the story about Toronto, before it gets so long ago, I don't remember it.

We got up that morning to the sound of a pile driver (Jess, you have an alibi?) outside the building.
We went out on the balcony, and surrounding us, in every direction, was building construction!
Somebody's economy is booming.

Our son drove me to the building my class would be in and then went back to get his mom for their day of adventure.

Entering the classroom I was greeted by the instructor, a gentleman of Romanian background. He is the laser safety officer for University of Toronto and very knowledgeable.
Our class was of about twenty. I was the only member without a four year degree minimum.
Most of these students were of foreign (to North America) extraction, so they were representative of the student population as I saw it on the street.
They were post graduate and doctoral students using lasers in very esoteric applications.
The thrust of the course was to protect users from "open" research laser uses.
I've been using lasers for years, but always in a safety enclosure.
Only infrequently have I needed to be in a room or enclosure with exposed laser radiation for troubleshooting purposes.
We were taken to the lab of the instructor (if you read the link to his bio, you'd see that he's more than an "instructor"), an open table top with mirrors and lenses and the opportunity to accidentally deflect a beam to a sensitive tissue, the most sensitive of which is the eye.

We talked a lot about the eye, it's composition and the frequencies it's sensitive to.
We had a diagram projected that showed the makeup of the eye.
The fabulous, remarkable, amazing design of the eye.


Folks, I don't want to insult you, but if you were to look at the eye and how it works, unless you were heavily invested in denying the existence of a Creator, you would say Design.

The cornea, the pupil, the iris, the vitreous fluid, the rods and the cones.
The optical nerve which some say is really an extension of the brain.

Even the instructor commented that many would look at it and say what a marvelous design it was. Realizing of course what that implied, he then remarked that many would say a Creator did a fine job.
He then said that an evolutionist would of course say that things came together very well.
He then elaborated on how evolution of the eye might have occurred, given that it is so well suited to our environment (the spectrum of sunlight in particular).

I raised my hand and he acknowledged it, whereupon I said that when Darwin saw a sea creature that was photo-sensitive, he wrote that it would be the evolutionary pre-cursor to the eye.
In Darwin's Black Box by Michael Behe, Mr. Behe points out the complexity of the eye, something unknown to Darwin, or he may never would have made that observation.
Some of the students looked like they had never heard such a thing and looked curious.
I had not made a religious statement, just one of fact, a fact they were presumably unaware of.

Later, the concept that the eye was an adjunct of the brain was mentioned.
The instructor said that the eye was only a sensor and that the brain did all the interpretation of data. There are people who have had some brain damage and could no longer detect stair treads because they only saw them as lines, not steps.

Once again, I raised my hand and he acknowledged it.
I said that along those lines, there was a story in the Bible where Jesus was asked to heal a blind man, and the blind man said "I see men as trees, walking".
Jesus then prays for him again, and it appears Jesus got it right the second time.
Or so thought men for years.
It turns out that Jesus healed the sensors the first time, and the brain, the second.
In other words, science has shown us since that the eyes might work, but the brain can't always process what it sees.
A friend of mine's daughter showed an article about this to me a few years ago that astounded me, and clarified that Bible verse for me. Read it, it's short.

The other students actually turned, looked at me as if they'd never heard such a thing and some smiled, not derisively, but as if they'd heard something in a new light.

And the instructor was cool with that, as I'd only reinforced his point.

We had a test at the end of the day, some math, some principles, and I must have passed, or they wouldn't have sent me a certificate later.

Our son and Scherie came and got me and we crawled along for an hour in city rush hour traffic.
They told me about their day and experiences and the wonderful time they had together.
We had dinner at a McD's on the way home and arrived about 11 pm.

When we crossed the border, the US Border guy asked some questions, and then some more and then some more and finally, I got it, and I volunteered that our son had a different last name because he's my step-son.
The officer smiled, gave me our passports and welcomed us back.
At least I learned a lesson going into Canada and used it coming back.

So that's it.

A couple comments unrelated to this story.
It took me three hours to compose this post to my satisfaction.
I had to pull out my old laptop to do it.
Posting on a 7" pad is very limiting.

Have a great weekend, I'll see you at your blogs.


  1. "see man as trees, walking." Someone very dear to me has a genetic condition that causes blindness in many cases. He is blind in one eye now, the other still decent, though not great, but we are aware it could go eventually as well with not much notice. He is only 30. He embraces every day of what he sees, the target, the tools, the musical notes. We are both very aware of the wonder of what we see, but also realize that had we been blind, to what is unseen we'd not be where we are, and that is a good place.

  2. Rita told me you had a very good post today. She was right as usual!

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Cnc: You are too kind, sir.
      Brigid: I don't know whether you saw my original reply to your comment, but I only now noticed I had inadvertently pasted some other comment to another blog in the middle of my reply to yours. And in an attempt to edit it, I deleted it.
      Regardless, my prayers go for your friend, and I must say. I love that turn of phrase of yours as does my wife:
      "had we been blind, to what is unseen, we'd not be where we are,"
      It reminds me of the title of the Bill Whittle essay "Seeing the Unseen".
      And as for gratefulness for what we have: I've seen in the movies, frequently, where the prayer over a meal has been, "O Lord, for that which we are about to receive, make us truly grateful."
      I always expect the meal to disappear.

  4. I have an alibi. It didn't cost much to acquire.

    I've wondered for year of the processing of information we see. Is it unique to every individual, or is it the same for all.

    If it's the latter, transferring information through the eyes of another would yield no new information.

    If it's the former, the images might be so scrambled, even a person with good sight would be effectively blind until their brain processed the new information. Still, the preconceived images would conflict with the new images.

  5. Jess, I expect to read the story soon.
    Sounds interesting.
    Never gave it any thought til now, but if the eyes are only sensors, would we see through other's eyes or what they think they see?
    Or men like trees?

  6. Romanians...I've never met a religious one under 40 and I've met a lot. Long story. YOU PASSED, hurrah!
    Very cool stuff about the eyes/sensors/brain.
    Thanks , Ed...tell Scherie HAPPY MOM'S DAY FOR ME.

  7. Interesting story, and not surprised about the instructor OR the composition of the classes... we are WAY behind in the tech world now...

  8. I remember reading that original Keith Mano article that Chuck Colson refers to. It made a big impression on me. I think Mano goes on to say, just think of all the details the Gospel writers put in their stories not knowing exactly what the significance of them was. They weren't trying to construct a slick narrative, they were just putting down what witnesses saw and heard.

  9. " just think of all the details the Gospel writers put in their stories not knowing exactly what the significance of them was."
    Like the prophets of old who wrote what they were shown, not knowing how the prophecy would be fulfilled.
    Good point!