Fish's Mirror Eyes Reflect the Creator

Scientists have waited for years to study a rare and unique deep sea fish. Finally able to investigate a live specimen, they discovered that the “spookfish” has mirrors that reflect light onto its retinas. This is the only vertebrate eye known to have reflective eye lenses,1 and their construction must have required purposeful intent.

The spookfish lives at a depth of over 3,000 feet. Very little usable surface light reaches so far down, and the mirrors are oriented downward. So, the fish likely gathers light from bioluminescent potential predators located below itself. The mirror portions of the eyes protrude from either side of the fish’s body, like car mirrors. The retinal parts that are close to the midline of the body receive the reflected light, then send the signals to the brain for image processing.2

An article in press in Current Biology reports the results of the scientists’ spookfish study.3 Co-author Julian Partridge of Bristol University used computer simulation to discover “that the precise orientation of the plates within the mirror's curved surface is perfect for focusing reflected light on to the fish's retina.”4

But “perfection” in nature is a plain indicator of intentional creative work, for which the broad story of evolution cannot account.5 The spookfish eye—like over a dozen known distinct and fully functional image-forming eye designs—operates according to the physical laws of optics. Partridge told BBC News that of “thousands of vertebrate species living and dead, this is the only one known to have solved the fundamental optical problem faced by all eyes.”4

But since when do fish species, which cannot reason or invent, solve complex optical problems? It is more likely that something or Someone beyond the fish with the ability to reason and invent is responsible. For example, cameras are machines that exploit the laws of optics for a specific purpose. Yet they were not invented by those laws (or any other natural laws), nor by themselves. They were made according to intentional specifications provided by the minds and hands of people. The process of invention is exclusively observed occurring from outside the limitations of natural laws.

Thus, and in like manner, the spookfish eyes were made by God’s creative intent, outside of nature.


  1. Certain mollusks and crustaceans also have reflective lens eyes, though differently structured than those of the spookfish. See Land, M. F. and D. Nilsson. 2005. Animal Eyes. New York: Oxford University Press.
  2. Image processing could not have arisen without intelligent causation. See Stoltzmann, D. E. 2006. The Specified Complexity of Retinal Imagery. Creation Research Society Quarterly. 43 (1): 4-12.
  3. Wagner, H. et al. 2009. A Novel Vertebrate Eye Using Both Refractive and Reflective Optics. Current Biology. Article in press. Published online December 24, 2008.
  4. Morgan, J. ‘Spookfish’ has mirrors for eyes. BBC News. Posted on January 7, 2009, accessed January 9, 2009.
  5. In addition to the complete absence of actual examples of natural processes producing complex, specified structures, Dr. John Sanford has shown the utter ineffectiveness of the neo-Darwinian model, wherein natural selection cannot see any beneficial mutations, cannot select for them, and cannot retain them in a population. See: Sanford, J. S. 2005. Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of the Genome. Lima, NY: Ivan Press.

Image Credit: Tammy Frank, Habor Branch Oceanographic Institution

* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer.

Article posted on January 15, 2009.

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