The dilemma over evolution
I’ve never read Darwin’s theory, but I understand that he doesn’t explain how life started, other than to say it happened in a very primitive form, and grew from there. It is not my purpose to disrupt his ideas, heaven forbid. We each look at the world through our own mental window, which like any other window view, reveals only the part of the landscape it is open to. I make these observations for my own satisfaction, not to disrupt your security of understanding.
All material can be classified as one of two very different entities. One group is materials described in the Periodic Table of the Elements. These material things are without purpose in themselves. They merely exist. They are made up of atoms, which can be described as microscopic bits of energy. These elements of nature have no mind or motive. They are but building blocks.
Then there are living things. They too are made up of these same microscopic atoms of energy, but there is one important added feature. All life forms have intelligence. Intelligence is the essence of life! An ant hill displays the intelligence that has been infused into the ant colony to fulfill the purpose of their existence. Even trees? Yes. They may not display consciousness, but an acorn has been imbued with the necessary intelligence to enable it to grow and change, not into a stalk of rhubarb, or a rose bush, but only as an oak tree. In the same way, every living thing has been given the intelligence necessary to enable it to fulfill its assigned destiny. This is obvious, although we may not have thought of it that way. Most of us have more to do than wonder about the obvious.
Some may not like my use of the phrase “assigned destiny,” but what else could we call it. Every life form, except humans, has a very limited, specific, allotment of intelligence, which enables it to complete its life function, no more, and no less. No creature comes close to the degree of intelligence of humans. There seems to be a wide range of cognitive skill in humans; but one may wonder how much of this range has more to do with the way different humans are exposed to intelligence, or lack of it, in their formative years. History has shown that the clay of humanity can be sculpted into an infinite array, from the beautiful character, to the grotesque beast.
So what is this capacity for intelligence? It apparently makes the difference between inert existence, and active motivation and control. The dictionary defines it as the ability to learn and understand; the capacity to acquire and retain knowledge, and the faculty to use reason to solve problems. I don’t think any of us have a problem with the definition, as far as it goes, but where does this faculty come from? You can’t get it by just going to school. Your dog can go to school with you every day and never learn a thing, even if he lies obediently and listens to every word. Apparently, the capacity must be given to you.
Doesn’t this careful assignment of intelligent function hint more at an organized order than an accident? How did this infusion of intelligence into mindless matter to create life happen? Mindless material could not seek out and take on intelligence. Mindless matter cannot function on its own. Only intelligence can act on its own. The creation of life could only be the result of action by intelligence. The catalyst could only come from an intelligent source. If matter was infused with any degree of intelligence, it had to be the result of an active purposeful intelligence, that is the only thing that can have motive, purpose, or be capable of action of its own. A football can sail 50 yards down the field, but only if someone with purpose throws it. A stone by itself can do nothing. Intelligence can crush it to bits, or chisel it into a statue of David. Go figure.
May God bless America.
Richard Westlund is a Collins resident. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org