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Monday, March 16, 2009

Beauty - Evolution or Creative Design

End results of Evolution.
The results through Creation.

By Russell Husted.
Beauty, and the abundance of things beautiful in this world, is surely one of the strongest arguments for God, and against evolution, that one can adduce. And why is that? Because the Bible offers a thorough rationale and explanation for a world filled with beauty, but evolutionary theory offers no rationale or explanation. I've seen several attempts by evolutionists to explain beauty and things beautiful, but they have been very unsuccessful. Here's why.
Since only one relatively unimportant species (humans) can discern or appreciate beauty, beauty is essentially “invisible” to all the other species. That's not a problem for Christian apologists, whose argument is that we are the only ones expected or intended to appreciate and benefit from beauty, but it is a serious problem for evolution apologists. Since beauty is “invisible” - that is, neither perceived nor appreciated as “beauty” - to all other species, it is wholly outside the influence or efficacy of any biotic component of “natural selection”, such as selective predation or mating or symbiosis. Consequently, it confers no reproductive success or advantage, and no survival advantage. Therefore, while the beauty of a living thing may be rooted in its genetics, there is no feedback or influence on its own or any other genome. Therefore, it cannot be explained or justified by evolutionary theory. “Evolution” and “beauty” are pretty much non sequiters.
On the other hand, the Christian arguments - that beauty reflects the nature and the esthetics of God; that it is His personal purpose and will; and that it is a gift from Him to humanity - derive naturally from the Bible and are each reasonable and logically consistent explanations within their theory of creation. In the Biblical paradigm of “intelligent design” by a Designer who loves both beauty and the one species capable of appreciating it, beauty is very much a “sequitur”!Look at the trees. Some trees are tall, some slender, some stately, some precisely geometrically patterned, and some are like mathematical formulae in expression. Like classical music. Others are almost chaotic, following few rules that we can see, but still emerge as something beautiful. Some are wizened and gnarled expressions of survival, but we admire them. We would hate to cut them down even if we were freezing and in need of fuel. I've seen a couple of “ugly” species, to my taste, but usually they're planted in someone's front yard! It's that 90 to 95% agreement thing, again.
Trees, which dominate (or did) almost every landscape and terrain, are beautiful to nearly every human eye. They needn't be, but they are. There's something about them, and about us, that “connects”. It involves colors, textures, designs and symmetries, even their stoic attitudes. There's no reasonable explanation that science can adduce. You have to turn to Scripture and the story of a Creator, Who has a sense of beauty, which He shared with us, if you want any sensible explanation. Not necessarily provable, but as easily argued as any evolutionary rationale, and your choice as to whether it is acceptable.
What about beauty of a different sort?
Why do we almost universally like sunrises and sunsets? Why do we stop to watch the sun go down? Evolution cannot explain it. If anything, I'm sure there is some serious “natural selection” against such appreciation, against such behavior!
Twilight is a dangerous time for prey. Predators are on the prowl, and I can imagine that more than one human has paid the price for dallying, its attention focused on a red sky or red cliffs, while the lion stalked. Sitting out under the stars, dreamily contemplating the dark and sparkling heavens, or gazing at salmon pink clouds, or lightening on the horizon, instead of seeking shelter and safety, sorely dares “natural selection” to permit our evolution as creatures with a sense for beauty.
The creation account, however, of Genesis 1 & 2 clearly tells us that this world was created for our pleasure. It tells us, as my more precise translation reveals, that it was fashioned and designed with love and intention. Many other scriptures tell us that the natural creation purposely and thoroughly reflects God's nature, and tastes, and purposes. The Bible tells us, several times, that if we want to know Him and discern His nature, we only need look closely at His creation. Romans 1:19,20 says it very plainly, and forcefully:
“because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.
“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead…”
That, within the context of the creation account and many other scriptures, is a powerful explanation of beauty. You don't have to believe it, of course. It's totally your choice. You have complete freedom to believe or not believe in God, in a Creator, an intelligent designer, or in chance. But if you choose to believe in chance as the designer of the life that inhabits this planet, and look to evolutionary theory and rationale to account for the abundant wealth of beauty present on this planet, you'll be sorely disappointed. It will be a fruitless exercise, both scientifically and intellectually.

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