Back in medical school, every time I studied Anatomy and Physiology, I was awe-struck to learn the complex systems we have in place working in perfect harmony and collaboration. The study of Embryology and development of various faculties was even more fascinating. Even at its most macro level, the intricacy and complexity of the formation of a human never ceased to amaze me. As I continue to learn, and with advancement of medical knowledge and technology this amazement persists to this day, 42 years after I entered medical school. How do we strike a balance between evolution, intelligent design and creation?
I cannot help but ask myself as to how this ultra complex system could form without any direction or a master plan. I am not anti-evolution per se, but to think that we achieved this level of complexity spontaneously, with simply passage of time because gazillion things accidentally aligned to achieve this level of complexity and perfection is beyond me.
In a series of posts, I will address two of these complex structures that enable us to hear and see- two of the “special senses” of human body.
A picture is worth a thousand words and a video is worth a million (or more). Here is a video to illustrate human hearing. Mind it, the video actually captures the very superficial aspects of hearing but that alone is mind-boggling. What complex mechanisms are at play for something that we take for granted and often don’t even pay any attention?
Our hearing may have evolved from the aquatic animals who were deaf hundreds of million years ago. But even with this evolutionary model, there must have been a mastermind to guide this evolution to result in the faculties we now possess. The video is produced here without any commentary- for you to ask yourself as to how this amazing faculty could have developed on its own.
Fetal Growth Timeline
During fetal development, hearing develops before eyesight. Ear buds start to appear near the end of the first month. Babies start to hear sound around week 18 of gestation and by week 25-26, babies respond to noise/voices in the womb.The eye structure begins t form early in first trimester and retina begins to form in week 8. The baby may sense light at week 16-18 but the eyelids are shut until week 26-28, at which time babies can respond to external light. Even at birth, the hearing is more developed than the eyesight, since the babies till now have been living in a dark space.
It is interesting to note that in pretty much all the verses in the Quran in reference to seeing and hearing, the hearing is mentioned first.
The References to Hearing and Eyesight in the Qur’an and the Bible
The Qur’an makes numerous references to hearing and eyesight as some of God’s special bounties. But do we give thanks and take them for granted?
Such is the Knower of the Invisible and the Visible, the Mighty, the Merciful. Who made all things good which He created, and He began the creation of man from clay. And made his progeny from a quintessence of the nature of a fluid despised.
Then He fashioned him in due proportion, and breathed into him something of His spirit. And He gave you (the faculties of) hearing and sight and feeling (and understanding): little thanks do you give! The Qur’an 32:6-9
Verily We created Man from a drop of mingled sperm, in order to try him: So We gave him (the gifts), of Hearing and Sight. 76:2
It is He Who brought you forth from the wombs of your mothers when you knew nothing; and He gave you hearing and sight and intelligence and affection: that you may give thanks (to Allah). 16:78.
The Bible also makes many references to God’s bounties and gifts to us. Whether we appreciate them or not is another story. It is also interesting to note that the Biblical references to these faculties mention hearing first.
Ears to hear and eyes to see- both are gifts from the Lord. Proverbs 20:12
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. James 1:17