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Opinions Sat, 28 Jan 2017

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Our eyes; Is the night sky really black?

The human eye is an unparalleled remarkable optical organ. But it is obviously not the best given all that we now know about the universe and life on earth circumstantially. It is far reasonable to believe that it fits into the evolutionary explanatory narrative than intelligent design.

The night sky tells a lot of story. Is the sky really black at night? Or is the blackness of the night sky an imposed consequences of our eyes?

In a day of 24 hours, our eyes only make use of 12 hours. The other 12 hours become a source of fear as the dawn white clouds suddenly begin to change to dusk black clouds from our perspective, making our remarkable organ clueless. Does the cloud really become that black as if electroplated with soot from coalmines? Our ancestors really walked and embraced the dangers of the ancient world in the dark whilst waiting uneasily for the night to be broken. By commonsense, we say darkness or blackness is the absence of light.

This description certainly fits into our today’s world permeated with artificial illumination. Let the light go off, the whole place is plunged into total darkness. However, is that really the same situation up there in the sky, making up the natural world? That is not the case. The sun is still there shining. Our universe is full of light sources. There are uncountable stars in our solar system. All this light from the stars led by our own sun illuminate the earth. We should not talk of the blackness or darkness as absence of light on earth during any time. So, why does the sky look black beginning at dusk and deep into the night? Â

We must come back to examine our eyes, remarkable as it is, in the light of what we mean by light. What is light? Light, as we now know, is a spectrum, consisting of many parts. It is called electromagnetic spectrum. Of all the electromagnetic spectrum, our eyes is only sensitive to the visible portion. Other creatures make use of the other portions. Take a snake for instance. We are both on the same planet earth 24 hours. Yet unlike us, the night does not inhibit its movement. With an eye sensitive to the region of the infrared portion of the spectrum, it can see though it all. Human beings do not and cannot.

There is no blackness or darkness of the night sky for the snake. At night, a man is not hidden from the snake as the latter from the man despite the fact that they both glow. This glow falls in the region of infra-red, detectable by the snake whilst undetectable to man. The very reason snakes bites humans in what we call darkened or blackened night environment.

It is our eyes that is limited to only the visible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum showering us from the sun and other stars despite their distances. The night sky is never really black or dark. It only appears as black or dark because our eyes cannot access and make use of the dominant light of that time, which would happen to be in the region of infra-red or ultraviolet light.

Given the fact that there are nocturnal animals, meaning they necessarily make use of either infra-red or ultraviolet light to navigate the night unlike men amidst the circumstantial dangers that confront all creatures especially at night, what can we say about the eye? It is circumstantially difficult to believe the eyes were intelligently designed.

It may be designed or appeared to. But, certainly, it is not intelligently designed to work for only half a day. The other half makes it redundant if not utterly useless especially in the days of old and places where there are still no artificial illumination. The night sky is never black or dark. In fact, blackness is not the absence of light. It is the presence of lights our eyes cannot make use of. The night is never black to snakes and probably other nocturnal animals even as we all inhabit the same planet illuminated universally by the same sun. And they are not witches. Remember, science is a refinement of everyday thinking.

Whatsapp: 0248412308 FB: Stanley Seshie

Columnist: Seshie, Stanley

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