Divine watchmaker or diabolical matchmaker?
The opening of his keynote lecture left his audience of students, academics and fellow clinicians at City University London, in no doubt about the importance the eye has for Professor William Ayliffe, describing the body as merely "the life support machine for the eyes."
During an hour long lecture Professor Ayliffe examined the evidence for a "divine watchmaker" of the eye offering the argument that it is "implausible for something as beautiful and complex as the eye to have simply evolved," and could only be the work of a divine being.
He also presented the evolutionary side of the argument and discussed recent research that reveals the eyes of insects and mammals being closer related than previously thought.
Professor Ayliffe has combined his role as a leading Consultant Ophthalmologist in the NHS with roles as a teacher and clinical researcher into the prevention of blindness and is one of the world's leading figures in the field of ophthalmology. He visited City earlier this month as part of the School of Health Science's Dean's Lectures Series.