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New Horizons II

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Old Friday 21st February 2020, 17:56   #151
Alexis Powell
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...Autofocus in cameras is now so precise, I think that autofocus binoculars should be looked at again...
The extraordinary autofocus of today's top-end cameras wouldn't be practical to implement in bins without bulking them up a lot and adding to their cost. Modern AF systems use a lot of data (including multiple focus/contrast sensors, color sensors, brightness distribution) with a lot of computing power to analyze the scene to pick an appropriate focus point. The best focus and metering systems are composition and subject matter "aware", including face "aware" and eyes "aware".

Simpler, would be to use an active system. Couple today's laser rangefinder technology to a power focus.

--AP
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Old Friday 21st February 2020, 18:06   #152
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Omid, This depiction of L.A. is far more realistic...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-Bm...Iut2hCBb5wGwIC

As for the focusing conundrums, Henry's explanation helps, but doesn't answer other questions, such as how the aperture/exit pupil size increases, or diminishes, depth of field. Also, how moving the focal plane towards the viewer at higher magnifications will eventually make it impossible for the eye to accommodate at any age. More offline reading to do...
Enjoy your weekend.

-Bill
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Old Friday 21st February 2020, 18:21   #153
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Omid, This depiction of L.A. is far more realistic...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-Bm...Iut2hCBb5wGwIC

-Bill
Ha ha ha!! At 2:50 in the video it says go to Marina del Ray and park at the Coffee Bean!! That's walking distance from where I live
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Old Friday 21st February 2020, 18:45   #154
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Omid, This depiction of L.A. is far more realistic...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-Bm...Iut2hCBb5wGwIC

-Bill
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Ha ha ha!! At 2:50 in the video it says go to Marina del Ray and park at the Coffee Bean!! That's walking distance from where I live
I've actually stayed at the Mariners Apartment complex !

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1uFv9Ts7Sdw




Chosun
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Old Friday 21st February 2020, 18:52   #155
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If a healthy eye can focus from 20cm to infinity; the same eye with a 10X binocular in front of it should be able to focus from 2m to infinity.
Should? According to what? We don't get to make up the laws of optics, or facts of biology. But if you still want to try, you could invite Rico to enjoy the afternoon at your café, and see who can project an image farthest...
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Old Friday 21st February 2020, 21:54   #156
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Should? According to what? We don't get to make up the laws of optics, or facts of biology.
According to the definition of an afocal system. An afocal system manipulates angles of rays by a simple multiplication factor M as I have shown in the attached drawing. If an input ray enters the entrance pupil of this system at an angle Alpha, it will come out of the exit pupil at an angle M x alpha. The output angle does not depend on the height (from the optical axis) at which the ray enters the system. (In a "focal system", the exit angle depends on both input angle and input height of the ray.)

I do know from experience that we can't focus on various objects seen through binoculars using the accommodation power of our eyes. Binoculars seem to provide only one plane of focus and the eye lens doesn't seem to be able to change this plane much. I am trying to understand exactly why and I want to be able to explain it using well-known laws of geometrical optics. I might be missing something which seems plain or obvious to you guys, so bear with me till I figure out why

-Omid
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Old Friday 21st February 2020, 23:25   #157
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Omid,

There's another approach to thinking about this that might, or might not, be helpful.

Coupling the eye to a binocular or scope is not fundamentally different from using a camera for afocal photography through a binocular or scope. For our purposes the eye could be thought of as a camera equipped with a lens with a focal length of approximately 20mm. In daylight, with the eye's pupil closed to 2.5mm it would be the equivalent of a 20mm f/8 camera lens. When that lens is combined with a 10x binocular it's just as if its focal length has been increased 10x to 200mm and because the entrance pupil is now the 25mm central part of the binocular objective lens the focal ratio remains f/8. There are various online DOF calculators that can be used to compare the DOF at any distance of a 20mm f/8 lens and a 200mm f/8 lens.

Henry

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Old Saturday 22nd February 2020, 00:39   #158
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According to the definition of an afocal system. An afocal system manipulates angles of rays by a simple multiplication factor M as I have shown in the attached drawing.
Sure enough... so now instead of imagining how the eye "should" be able to focus anyway, you have to first envision what it means for an object to be out of focus (because something at another distance is in focus). The rays from this object are converging in front of or behind the retina instead of nicely on it, and the question is by how much, and whether the lens can distort enough to bring that focus onto the retina instead. Normally it can. (A diagram might help, like those at this DOF tutorial at Cambridge in Color.)

Now put a 10x binocular in front of the eye: all the angles get multiplied accordingly, so the difference between the angles subtended by the two objects also does. The distance by which that convergence misses the retina increases dramatically, along with the diameter of the "circle of confusion" for that object. Now it's way out of focus, not just more than before but more of a blur than anything encountered in unaided vision. Can the eye lens distort enough now to correct even for that? No, it can no longer shift focus to this object without adjusting other lens(es) in the system.

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Old Sunday 23rd February 2020, 08:39   #159
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Sure enough... so now instead of imagining how the eye "should" be able to focus anyway, you have to first envision what it means for an object to be out of focus (because something at another distance is in focus). The rays from this object are converging in front of or behind the retina instead of nicely on it, and the question is by how much, and whether the lens can distort enough to bring that focus onto the retina instead. Normally it can. (A diagram might help, like those at this DOF tutorial at Cambridge in Color.)

Now put a 10x binocular in front of the eye: all the angles get multiplied accordingly, so the difference between the angles subtended by the two objects also does. The distance by which that convergence misses the retina increases dramatically, along with the diameter of the "circle of confusion" for that object. Now it's way out of focus, not just more than before but more of a blur than anything encountered in unaided vision. Can the eye lens distort enough now to correct even for that? No, it can no longer shift focus to this object without adjusting other lens(es) in the system.
QED.


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Old Tuesday 25th February 2020, 19:14   #160
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So where did Omid go? Did this explanation do the trick? At least I'm sure I understand this now myself. I hope it doesn't spoil patent #10 :)
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Old Wednesday 26th February 2020, 01:23   #161
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I am here. Thank you for your latest explanations (Henry /tenex). I am thinking about the problem and trying to understand it for myself. Patent No 10 is on riflescopes and has already been granted (Dec 10, 2019)

The ideas I am contemplating here may form the basis of a future patent but I am mostly interested in a deeper understanding of binocular vision. Whether we actually end up inventing a new concept is not critical.

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Old Wednesday 26th February 2020, 02:04   #162
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Evolution can't even Optimize an optical system, let alone design one

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[David Williamson:] "The mystery remains of how the eye was designed and made that way so long ago".

[tenex:] Just catching up on this thread... a curious remark. Of course there is no such mystery, as the eye was neither designed nor made. It certainly is interesting though.
Our eyes; designed or evolved? This is a hell of a question. If someone had asked me this question a few years ago, I would readily answer that they evolved over many million years by the process of natural selection. If someone asks me this question now, I would say that human eyes can never ever be designed by an evolutionary optimization process. Gradual improvement (even if guided by a gradient-descent algorithm that can identify a direction vector for improvement) can't lead to an stereoscopic, auto-focus, night-day vision capable, liquid-filled, deformable lens, image-stabilized (yes, the human visual system is image-stabilized like the Zeiss 20X60), color-sensitive optical system mounted in-front (not behind or to the sides) of the head of a bi-pedal creature.

I am with Mr. Williomson. I have no idea how the human eye was created.

-Omid

PS1. I learned optimization theory from the book by the prominent British mathematician Roger Fltecher some 25 years ago. Genetic algorithm (and the whole host of similar methods developed over the past several decades) are a bunch of ad-hoc non-scientific methods. See attached PDF paper which exposes the fallacy of the so-called "nature-inspired" optimization methods.

PS2. Evolution by natural selection is a non-scientific theory as well. This is because you can not design an experiment (or hope for discovering some evidence) which can possibly prove evolution wrong. It is also a circular argument: the fittest are those who survive, and those who survive are deemed fittest. Evolutionary theory is like economy, psychology and probability theory. It is close to a being a science but not quite there yet.
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Old Wednesday 26th February 2020, 14:25   #163
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If my eyes are image stabilized the system isn't great.
I get 10% better resolution if I brace my head against a lamp post.

The main part of the eye is our brain, and its ability to process the information being delivered by our eyes.

Eyesight varies depending on the needs of particular groups.

If our eyes were considerably different to what they are, the same question could be asked.
Also why are we the size, shape, and why we don't have four legs, four arms etc.

I suppose we are as we are.

Maybe other creatures on other planets are shaped like balls and roll around their own environment in different gravity.

B.
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Old Wednesday 26th February 2020, 19:05   #164
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a) The main part of the eye is our brain, and its ability to process the information being delivered by our eyes.


b) Maybe other creatures on other planets are shaped like balls and roll around their own environment in different gravity.

B.
a) Absolutely agree. The visual processor in the brain is the main thing and it works very differently from a camera. It seems to have an "internal model of the universe" which it then updates occasionally using real-time visual information provided by the eye.


b) What do you say if we ask Swarovski to send samples of their latest EL model binoculars for these creatures? I am curious if they too will notice a rolling ball effect.

-Omid
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Old Wednesday 26th February 2020, 20:01   #165
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The real problem we have is that the more we know the more questions need answering.

I know world class scientists, who admit that they know very little about their own speciality.

I have always been amused in astronomy by people who say they have found or nearly found the answer to everything.

This has been going on for hundreds of years, and we still have more questions than answers.

B.
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Old Yesterday, 00:57   #166
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Hi Binastro,

That reminds me of an observation that I read long ago, which went along the lines of:
‘When we first started out in this area of study we were confused, and now after all these years we’re still confused but at a much higher order of understanding’

As with many things, it’s as much about the journey and the insights along the way, as the desired destination


John

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Old Yesterday, 02:56   #167
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Back to reality...

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Maybe other creatures on other planets are shaped like balls and roll around their own environment in different gravity.
It seems we may be having a conversation with one now, in a manner of speaking. I actually didn't expect to have to get into this. I was merely puzzled by Williamson's remark because words like "designed" and "made" are generally used only by evolution deniers, but with their typical beliefs there would be no remaining "mystery" to speak of. So I have no idea where Williamson puts himself, but I can address Omid.

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Our eyes; designed or evolved? This is a hell of a question. If someone had asked me this question a few years ago, I would readily answer that they evolved over many million years by the process of natural selection. If someone asks me this question now, I would say that human eyes can never ever be designed by an evolutionary optimization process. Gradual improvement (even if guided by a gradient-descent algorithm that can identify a direction vector for improvement) can't lead to an stereoscopic, auto-focus, night-day vision capable, liquid-filled, deformable lens, image-stabilized (yes, the human visual system is image-stabilized like the Zeiss 20X60), color-sensitive optical system mounted in-front (not behind or to the sides) of the head of a bi-pedal creature.
Absolutely all of this was argued to full completion long ago, but here we go, as briefly as possible... I really can't imagine why anyone would want to ask you this question at all, since it obviously doesn't fall within your expertise -- and it's not clear what real scientific field does, not even optics it seems. As to biology, you're in no position whatever to make claims about what evolution can "never ever" have led to. Yes, the eye is intricate and useful yet it's also rather weird, not truly "optimized" at all, and could have been better in any number of ways. This is typical; such features develop in a purely contingent way and at times even for different purposes, as with feathers and wings. But you're just engaging in idle café chatter about irrelevant abstractions. Evolution is not an "optimization" process, an algorithm, a heuristic; it's not actually performed by anything, and doesn't have goals, but just happens. If you can't see how it could have produced eyes, you simply need to learn more about evolution, and about eyes.

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PS1. I learned optimization theory from the book by the prominent British mathematician Roger Fltecher some 25 years ago. Genetic algorithm (and the whole host of similar methods developed over the past several decades) are a bunch of ad-hoc non-scientific methods. See attached PDF paper which exposes the fallacy of the so-called "nature-inspired" optimization methods.
You seem to be suffering from a ridiculous misunderstanding here. The fact that evolution is used as a metaphorical inspiration for algorithms (in the arcane field of "metaheuristics") doesn't mean that it is one itself; the fact that such "evolutionary" optimization methods may not work well doesn't mean that biological evolution doesn't work. You're confusing theoretical entities with real ones, metaphor with scientific fact -- essentially, living on another planet.

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PS2. Evolution by natural selection is a non-scientific theory as well. This is because you can not design an experiment (or hope for discovering some evidence) which can possibly prove evolution wrong. It is also a circular argument: the fittest are those who survive, and those who survive are deemed fittest. Evolutionary theory is like economy, psychology and probability theory. It is close to a being a science but not quite there yet.
Evolution is actually the best established theory in modern science. It has a staggering range of supporting evidence in a variety of fields ranging from paleontology to microbiology. Ignorance of the actual content of all those fields doesn't justify a claim to the contrary. All sorts of this evidence could have turned out differently in ways that would have been awkward for evolution to explain, but didn't. (It's actually hard to "prove" any theory "wrong" because there are always explanatory maneuvers to resort to; but evolution is no different in this respect from others.) All these foolish statements have been widely and repeatedly rebutted in detail, so I'll ignore the unfortunate business of Huxley's "fittest" and stop here.

Binastro is right, there's much that we don't yet know. But these are the kinds of claims that students are supposed to learn the fallacy of in college if not high school, that make one wonder what sort of person one could be talking to... of course it's also odd to hear someone make Leica out to be fools for not licensing his optical patent, and then find that he actually doesn't understand depth of field. "New Horizons", indeed. The question I had at my first glance has been answered; this conversation can only be described as risible, ideally said in one's best Michael Palin voice.
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Old Yesterday, 07:32   #168
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It is instructive, I think, that different kinds of eyes have evolved in different creatures. For example the complex compound eyes of insects or the simple single-lensed eyes of humans. Some eyes merely detect light rather than create an image and even the simple eyes of higher animals can differ. Compare the performance of the eyes of falcons and eagles with that of humans. And if one broadens the discussion to mean light sensitivity, even flowers detect light and change position to make best use of it during the day. In short there is no such thing as 'the' eye but a range of visual organs that evolved in different ways to meet different demands.

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Old Yesterday, 15:52   #169
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It seems we may be having a conversation with one now, in a manner of speaking. I actually didn't expect to have to get into this. I was merely puzzled by Williamson's remark because words like "designed" and "made" are generally used only by evolution deniers, but with their typical beliefs there would be no remaining "mystery" to speak of. So I have no idea where Williamson puts himself, but I can address Omid.


Absolutely all of this was argued to full completion long ago, but here we go, as briefly as possible... I really can't imagine why anyone would want to ask you this question at all, since it obviously doesn't fall within your expertise -- and it's not clear what real scientific field does, not even optics it seems. As to biology, you're in no position whatever to make claims about what evolution can "never ever" have led to. Yes, the eye is intricate and useful yet it's also rather weird, not truly "optimized" at all, and could have been better in any number of ways. This is typical; such features develop in a purely contingent way and at times even for different purposes, as with feathers and wings. But you're just engaging in idle café chatter about irrelevant abstractions. Evolution is not an "optimization" process, an algorithm, a heuristic; it's not actually performed by anything, and doesn't have goals, but just happens. If you can't see how it could have produced eyes, you simply need to learn more about evolution, and about eyes.


You seem to be suffering from a ridiculous misunderstanding here. The fact that evolution is used as a metaphorical inspiration for algorithms (in the arcane field of "metaheuristics") doesn't mean that it is one itself; the fact that such "evolutionary" optimization methods may not work well doesn't mean that biological evolution doesn't work. You're confusing theoretical entities with real ones, metaphor with scientific fact -- essentially, living on another planet.


Evolution is actually the best established theory in modern science. It has a staggering range of supporting evidence in a variety of fields ranging from paleontology to microbiology. Ignorance of the actual content of all those fields doesn't justify a claim to the contrary. All sorts of this evidence could have turned out differently in ways that would have been awkward for evolution to explain, but didn't. (It's actually hard to "prove" any theory "wrong" because there are always explanatory maneuvers to resort to; but evolution is no different in this respect from others.) All these foolish statements have been widely and repeatedly rebutted in detail, so I'll ignore the unfortunate business of Huxley's "fittest" and stop here.

Binastro is right, there's much that we don't yet know. But these are the kinds of claims that students are supposed to learn the fallacy of in college if not high school, that make one wonder what sort of person one could be talking to... of course it's also odd to hear someone make Leica out to be fools for not licensing his optical patent, and then find that he actually doesn't understand depth of field. "New Horizons", indeed. The question I had at my first glance has been answered; this conversation can only be described as risible, ideally said in one's best Michael Palin voice.
Thanks for this measured, clear, and efficient response to Omid's naively imaginative musings on biological evolution. I think I'll just say "agreed" to what you've wrote and will get back to my work this morning. I hope I can manage to refrain from adding some comments to address Omid's further misconceptions about the nature of science as it is understood by those who study it (esp. historians, sociologists, and philosophers of science). I don't know his background, but I've long observed that many engineers and mathematicians (and some physicists) struggle to understand both evolution and science. More generally, they do not seem to understand the content or operation of the historical sciences (e.g. some parts of evolutionary biology, geology, cosmology, paleontology).

--AP
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Old Yesterday, 15:56   #170
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Hi Tenex,

Thank you for your detailed comments (post #167). Reading your post, I got a feeling that I might have offended you or somehow you got the impression that my post on evolutionary design of the eye was directed specifically to you. That post was simply inspired by the David Williamson's quote which you had quoted recently. I simply copy pasted your post because I found it sooner than my original post in which I had quoted David.

Second, I am not a creationist nor a denier of evolution! As you said, evolutionary theory is one of the most amazing discoveries of science and a very illuminating and important subject too. But it doesn't mean that it evolutionary theory -in its current form- explains everything. It is somewhat like economy and psychology: it describes patterns rather than making clear cause-and-effect claims with predictive power (as in Physics). When reading my post also note that I used the word "gradual" improvement. Gradual improvement of a CRT TV does not lead to an LED TV. Gradual improvement of a film camera doesn't lead to a digital camera. Gradual improvement of a refactor telescope doesn't lead to a reflective telescope. So gradual improvement has its own limits.

When I critique something - as I, for example, critique a Leica binocular- it doesn't mean I hate it or I don't care about it or I don't understand it. Film critiques don't hate films, they LOVE them! So, a critique of evolutionary theory is not the same as denying it or dismissing it. It is only through the process of critical review that theories -and binoculars- can improve.

Thirdly, note that in all the posts in this topic, we have been discussing "ideas" and "concepts" not "persons". But in your post above (#167), you have started to make comments about me as a person. That is not very nice.

Fourthly, if you read my posts (e.g. # 156 and #161) with regards to why human eyes cannot on their own focus the images seem through binoculars again, you will notice that I had thanked you and others for the explanations and added that "I might be missing something which seems plain or obvious to you guys, so bear with me till I figure it out". This is a very nice and polite response to your explanations. Why do you get angry about it?

Finally, if you don't like this topic, Simply ignore it. I barely write in other topics and my posting frequency on this forum is rather low (480 posts in 16 years!!) so it should be very easy to ignore them

Cheers,
-Omid

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Old Yesterday, 16:33   #171
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I appreciate the viewpoints of many in this forum, and very much in this thread. That knowledgable folks are willing to share and explain what they understand to others is a gift. That said, I also don't mind speculative musings, and 'idle cafe chatter'. That's also a part of this place.

So, hopefully you can all carry on and share knowledge, wisdom, experience and ideas, that are in some peripheral way connected to binoculars, optics, nature, etc...

So to all on this thread: Thanks for being well spoken and civil.

-Bill

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Old Yesterday, 19:33   #172
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When reading my post also note that I used the word "gradual" improvement. Gradual improvement of a CRT TV does not lead to an LED TV. Gradual improvement of a film camera doesn't lead to a digital camera. Gradual improvement of a refactor telescope doesn't lead to a reflective telescope. So gradual improvement has its own limits.

When I critique something - as I, for example, critique a Leica binocular- it doesn't mean I hate it or I don't care about it or I don't understand it. Film critiques don't hate films, they LOVE them! So, a critique of evolutionary theory is not the same as denying it or dismissing it. It is only through the process of critical review that theories -and binoculars- can improve.
Once again, you don't seem to be in a position to offer any "critique" of evolutionary theory that could advance it. All this about the supposed limits of "gradual improvement" is more tired old baggage (from the 1860s!) hardly improved by irrelevant analogies to television sets. Discussion on this topic seems unlikely to become productive, and can stop as soon as you like. It's not really pertinent to this forum anyway.

Edit: It's the fact that you have no useful critique to offer that makes me so curious. We could turn this into a meta-inquiry if you like: why do you keep wanting to try anyway? I care about empirical truth. What's important to you here? Seriously, with no winky-smilies please.

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Thirdly, note that in all the posts in this topic, we have been discussing "ideas" and "concepts" not "persons". But in your post above (#167), you have started to make comments about me as a person. That is not very nice.
No, you haven't offended me personally, nor do I intend to offend you. You really don't seem to appreciate the care I took in focusing on the flawed and misleading ideas you keep proclaiming. Forgive me for being left to infer the nature of some of your misunderstandings, and expressing some curiosity about you as a person, which seems natural under the circumstances.

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