Tag Archives | Eye

Eye of the Skeptic

Eye-blue“Belief is the death of intelligence. As soon as one believes a doctrine of any sort, or assumes certitude, one stops thinking about that aspect of existence.”

                                     -Robert Anton Wilson

“No amount of belief makes something a fact.”

                        -The Amazing James Randi

 

“Faith” should be a four-letter word.  I propose a change in spelling.  “Fath,” maybe.

Those “I’m always right” types absolutely need faith, or else those vicious doubts start creeping in.  Not only will you find faith in the religious mind, calling God a fact, you’ll also find it lurking in the atheist, saying He isn’t.  Come to think of it, anyone who uses the word “fact” so easily must be pretty faithful, at least when it comes to their own nonsense.

One of my favorite “always right” groups to hate is the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF), a self-proclaimed “skeptical” organization founded by professional debunker and ex-stage magician, the Amazing Randi.  According to their website, the Foundation “was founded in 1996 to help people defend themselves from paranormal and pseudoscientific claims.”  If you look at this statement closely, you’ll see that little demon, “faith,” wearing a lab coat and a clipboard, trying to look casual in the corner.  It presupposes that “paranormal and pseudoscientific claims” are something to be defended against, and presupposition is the very antithesis of skepticism.  It goes against the very spirit of skepticism: a “questioning attitude towards knowledge, facts, or opinions/beliefs stated as facts.”

Although I’m sure most supporters of the JREF are scoffing right now at the idea that their beliefs are grounded in faith, there’s almost certainly one thing they never question: their own senses.… Read the rest

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First Eyeball Grown From Stem Cells

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Photo: Danny Hope (CC)

The Guardian reports:

Scientists have used stem cells to grow a rudimentary eye in the laboratory in a landmark study that raises the prospect of creating tissues to treat blindness and tease apart how diseases can destroy eyesight.

The Japanese team is the first to make significant progress in turning embryonic stem cells into an organ as complex as the eye.

Writing in the journal Nature, the scientists describe how they used embryonic stem cells from mice to grow an “optic cup”, a structure that forms the retina and contains the light-sensitive cells and neurons needed to see properly.

The work gives researchers hope for growing parts of the human eye to investigate the progression of devastating diseases that lead to blindness, and to screen for drugs that might slow or even reverse the conditions.

It also raises the more distant prospect of creating banks of healthy retina cells to transplant into patients whose vision has been damaged by illness or accidents.

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‘Bionic Eye’ Implant Gives Hope To The Blind

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Photo: Jalal Volker (CC)

“I see,” said the blind man, with the bionic eye. For centuries the hearing impaired have used devices to aid their hearing, but it is only till now that we may be able to help the blind see again. Bangkok Post reports:

For a man whose view of the world has slowly faded to black over 30 years, a device that allows him to see flashes of light has kindled his hope of one day gazing upon his grandson’s face.

A career electrician who grew up in Greece and came to the United States as a young man, Elias Konstantopoulos first noticed his vision getting poorer when at age 43 he absentmindedly tried on a relative’s eyeglasses and found he could see more clearly with them than without.

Soon after, he visited a doctor who tested his sight and discovered he was no longer able to see his outstretched arms from the corners of his eyes.

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NYPD To Start Iris Scanning Suspects And Prisoners

Will iris scans replace the fingerprint? With the many ways someone can change their identity, NYPD is taking a step to insure that their prisoners remain the same person from booking to the arraignment. From DNAinfo:

The NYPD implemented a new identification procedure this week – using digital eye scans to prevent prisoners from assuming false identities during arraignment.

The new practice, which identifies prisoners by taking high-resolution pictures of their irises, the colored part of the eye, began on Monday at Manhattan Central Booking and is expected to expand to other boroughs, the NYPD confirmed Tuesday.

The eye scans are performed first during the booking process and again before the arraignment to confirm that it’s the same person, according to police.

While NYPD spokesman Paul Browne told the New York Times that the department did not know how many people had fallen through the cracks by pretending to be different people at their arraignments, there have been at least two such instances reported in the past year.

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