Home » Intelligent Design » ID And The Arts: Van Cliburn, 50 Years Later

ID And The Arts: Van Cliburn, 50 Years Later

I remember my two meetings with Van Cliburn with great fondness.

He was, and still is, an extraordinary musical and pianistic talent who, at the tender age of 23 in 1958, warmed the Cold War. Most of you probably don’t remember this.

Visit the following links for a little history: here, here, and here. As many UD readers know, I am both a classical pianist and a software engineer.

As a result my involvement in two endeavors, artistic and analytical, design in both nature and human experience screams with such force that I cannot deny it. The Tschaikovski piano concerto was not the result of random errors filtered by natural selection; it was the result of human creativity — a faint reflection of the creativity that produced the human mind and soul.

About this I am certain.

  • Delicious
  • Facebook
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter
  • RSS Feed

33 Responses to ID And The Arts: Van Cliburn, 50 Years Later

  1. He is fun to watch:

    (Cliburn)Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No.1 Mvt III

    http://video.search.yahoo.com/.....1297366975

  2. GilDodgen:

    “About this I am certain.”

    Me too! Absoutely.

    One argument we rarely address here at UD, perhaps because very difficult to address scientifically, is the incredible presence of beauty in the “natural” world, and especially in the living world. That is, in my opinion, a very strong evidence not only of the presence of design, but also of the presence of creative, exquisitely artistic design. Beauty is the product of consciousness, no less than mathemathical engineering. They are two complementary aspects of the same reality.

    Unfortunately, we have not a quantitative model for beauty, as we have for CSI. In a sense, beauty could be considered a special kind of functional specification, a special kind of meaning and of conscious recognition. The simplest quantitative aspect of beauty in art and nature of which I am aware is the widespread presence of the golden ratio both in works of art and in biological beings.

    Someone could argue that beauty can be only a subjective category, a special creation of the human mind. But, in a sense, even mathematics is, and it seems to be in some way objectively working in the outer world. Darwinist will certainly explain how the sense of beauty evolved, and what the fitness gain of appreciating art is. Let’s leave them to their unending, bleak considerations.

    As soon as we listen to a piano concert, or look at a flower, we feel and know, and that’s enough.

  3. Gil, gpuccio: The subject has been taken up in glorious fashion by pro-ID Catholic priest Fr. Thomas Dubay. I highly recommend his work, “The Evidential Power Of Beauty.”

  4. For me, the universal human desire and propensity for artistic creation is very revealing. It really is a stretch to suggest that random genetic errors filtered by natural selection produced this tendency and desire. Of course, one can make up endless stories about the survival value of painting, sculpture, creating musical instruments and writing symphonies, but they all seem rather desperate to me.

    A better explanation, I believe, is that this creative urge is a reflection of the creativity and design that went into making humans in the first place.

  5. Off-topic Question:

    I tried to go to the Brites site today, and got an internet explorer message saying: “You are trying to connect to a known fraudulent web site.” The message warns about the possible dangers, then gives you the option of connecting anyway.

    I’ve never had this message for the Brites site before. Does anyone know what is going on with the Brites site?

    T.

  6. gpuccio,

    You are far more eloquent and insightful than I.

  7. So, what about the ugliness?

    Famous British TV naturalist, David Attenborough, says that he gets many letters from religious viewers asking why he doesn’t refer to the wonder of God’s design in his programmes – to which he always answers, ‘if I did that, I would presumably also have to mention God’s design in the parasite, slowly boring into the eyeballs of the two 5 year old African boys I filmed on the bank of the Zambezi river, knowing – as they and their parents did not – that they would both be blind before they were 6’.

    I appreciate that this particular example is specifically religious, which ID is not, but the point still stands. Michael Behe acknowledges it in ‘The Edge of Evolution’. He says the designer is deliberately mutating the malaria virus to re-establish its effectiveness at killing humans.

    The designer(s) does seem to be particularly vicious.

  8. Duncan

    There is no such thing as a malaria virus. P.falciparum is a eukaryote and Behe did not say the designer is deliberately mutating it to re-establish its effectiveness at killing humans.

    Go away.

  9. I don’t know if Duncan is still with us, but I think his observation (about ugliness, not certainly the one about malaria, which DaveScot has already answered) deserves a brief comment. Indeed, I anticipated that kind of remark from somebody.

    Speaking for myself, I have no problem to admit that in the biological world there is not only beauty, but also ugliness. Even more, there seems to be explicit and sometimes unnecessary violence, sometimes even apparent cruelty.

    In a sense, that is a problem similar to that of the possible existence of bad design together with good design, but the aspect of ugliness and cruelty is even more evident, in my opinion.

    What can I say? That’s not a problem for me, but the possible answers to those questions are obviously of philosophical and religious kind. I don’t think that’s at present a scientific problem.

    As for beauty, I know for certain that there is immense beauty in the biological world, just as there is immense design and intelligence in it. And yes, there is also ugliness, and contrast, and apparent paradoxes. That does not mean, in any way, that the beauty is not there: if possible, that makes it even more stunning.

    Usually, most philosophies in the world, if they are at least a bit realistic, acknowledge that there is some form of good and evil in reality. Each philosophical point of view tries to cope with that in its own manner. I don’t think we are here to discuss that.

    Some try do deny the evidence. But denying the ugliness means to become blind to the beauty, and I do believe that the resulting wasteland, devoid of any meaning and purpose, is the worst ugliness of which I am aware.

  10. gpuccio: I agree. I submit that beauty and truth are objectively related realities just as their opposites, ugliness and error are objectively related realities. Beauty points to truth; ugliness points to error.

  11. 11

    A curse shall light upon the limbs of men
    Domestic fury and fierce civil strife
    Shall cumber all the parts of Italy;
    Blood and destruction shall be so in use
    And dreadful object so familiar
    That mothers shall but smile when they behold
    Their infants quartered with the hands of war,
    A pity choked with custom of fell deeds;
    And Caesar’s spirit, ranging for revenge,
    With Ate by his side come hot from hell,
    Shall in these confines with a monarch’s voice
    Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war,
    That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
    With carrion men groaning for burial.
    -Julius Caesar

    Is there anything more beautiful than a beautiful, beautiful flamingo, flying across in front of a beautiful sunset? And he’s carrying a beautiful rose in his beak, and also he’s carrying a very beautiful painting with his feet. And also, you’re drunk.
    -Jack Handey

  12. Good poems JY,

    Ocean Sunset

    The deep stirring sounds of the ocean surf

    The breathtaking hues of the setting sun’s sky

    Speaks a tension between time and timeless

    That brings a holiness to mind and eye

    Surely its a heavenly dimension that
    We barely perceive but do not yet possess

    An apparent sheen on the near side of eternity that We are privileged to see but not yet to transgress

    The overwhelming beauty of this translucent continuum strips the veil of my shallow ego

    And yes, these moments of spiritual transcendence have been as much immortality as I know

    For I come suddenly upon a full awareness
    Of a life force thats shared within me

    And the strange but perfect exhilaration that God made this ocean sunset and me to be

  13. I forgot to mention: For those who enjoy classical piano music, you can download three of my piano albums with program notes for free here:

    http://worldchampionshipchecke.....piano.html

  14. I’ve been reading J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion (in my opinion, one of the best books ever written). It opens with a mythological retelling of Creation–of how angelic beings called the Ainur sang the world into existence and of how one among them named Melkor brought evil into the world by way of the discord and turbulence in his music.

    In the midst of this strife, whereat the halls of Iluvatar shook and a tremor ran out into the silences yet unmoved, Iluvatar arose a third time, and his face was terrible to behold. Then he raised up both hands, and in one chord, deeper than the Abyss, higher than the Firmament, piercing as the light of the eye of Iluvatar, the Music ceased.

    Then Iluvatar spoke, and he said: ‘Mighty are the Ainur, and mightiest among them is Melkor; but that he may know, and all the Ainur, that I am Iluvatar, those things that ye have sung, I will show them forth, that ye may see what ye have done. And thou, Melkor, shalt see that no theme may be played that hath not its uttermost source in me, nor can any alter the music in my despite. For he that attempteth this shall prove but mine instrument in the devising of things more wonderful, which he himself hath not imagined.’

    Maybe the greatest good is not possible without the greatest evil.

  15. I understand the point of duality between good and evil, but when taking an ID view of the world, the existence of life forms that cause so many problems to humans is still an issue. Gpuccio is right, it’s a philosophical/religious issue, but I think it’s an important one nevertheless, and it’s difficult to wrestle with, especially if you’re a person of faith. It may convince one to believe in evolution (even in the face of design evidence), because he would rather believe in that than a cruelly designed world.

  16. Berceuse,

    I don’t think it’s particularly difficult to wrestle with – and I don’t think this world is cruelly designed, for all its admitted horrors. A world that was not this one is a world that could have never brought me about, or any of the people I love. And I have plenty of reasons to hope that the wrongs we experience will in the end be righted.

    And I believe in evolution as well as design.

  17. Berceuse:

    You point to a true problem. The existence of evil is one of the greatest mysteries for human consciusness, and nobody can hope to get rid of it easily. I don’t want to suggest a specific answer. I would just suggest that, to be more precise, the problem is not to believe in “a cruelly designed world”, but rather in a “designed world where cruelty exists and has a role in the relative aspects of reality, but where a transcendent goodness and intelligence is, at the same time, expressing itself.” I understand that does not solve the problem completely, but it is a little bit different.

    If, however, someone prefers to believe in evolution, even in the face of design evidence, just to avoid facing the problem of evil, what can I say? I don’t think that’s the best answer, I don’t even think that’s an answer, and evil will not certainly go away for that. But anyone must follow the intuitions of his own heart.

    Rather, I don’t really believe that’s the reason why most people prefer to believe in evolution (just to be clear, I will specify that I mean unguided evolution). OK, I am convinced that most people do believe in it for “religious” reasons (otherwise, how could you explain that they go on believing even in the face of such contrary evidence), but the main need behind that belief seems to be to get rid of the same concept of a God, and of any transcendent purpose and meaning in human life, rather than to get rid of the concept of evil. I am not criticizing that. I understand that fear of transcendency is a very strong component of human nature, and it can be traced down in many human philosophies and cultures. It’s perfectly physiological. It’s part of the game.

    Perhaps, in the end, it is much more natural to interpet the abnormal persistence of darwinian evolution theory in that light, rather than simply as bad science.

  18. 18

    gpuccio:

    How did tapeworms arise?

    Either they were designed or not designed.

    If they were not designed, how did they arise?

    If they were designed, what was the designer thinking?

  19. DK

    If they were not designed, how did they arise?

    One way might be that they devolved from something that was designed. In fact that’s the path of least resistance according to the second law of thermodynamics so until we know better that’s what we should assume about not just tapeworms but about ourselves, our planet, and the whole observable universe – they all came from *something* that had a higher order of organization.

  20. This is so ironic. Darwinists and theistic evolutionists falsely accuse ID scientists of bootlegging religion into science by making a design inference. On the other hand, it is they who ignore the SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE for design and smuggle in the THEOLOGICL PROBLEM of evil in the world. A good God, they hasten to tell us, would never have designed such a cruel world. So much for science.

    Obviously, a religious objection requires a religious answer. We therefore turn to the Bible and find that man’s disobedience to God disturbed the order of nature by bringing evil into the world, the result of which was to compromise a perfect design and render it imperfect. In other words, the book of Genesis explains both the FACT of the design and it’s changing QUALITY, both before and after the fall.

    If Darwinists and TEs don’t like that answer, then they should not be raising the question about “bad” design. Why is it that they have not use for God except when they think they can use him to discredit intelligent design?

  21. 21

    <blockquote.e should assume about not just tapeworms but about ourselves, our planet, and the whole observable universe – they all came from *something* that had a higher order of organization.

    Geico: So easy a modern human can do it!

  22. Daniel King:

    What have you against tapeworms? :-)

    Seriously, my answers:

    “How did tapeworms arise?

    They were designed.

    “If they were designed, what was the designer thinking?”

    Don’t know. Do you?

  23. 23

    StephenB:

    This is so ironic. Darwinists and theistic evolutionists falsely accuse ID scientists of bootlegging religion into science by making a design inference. On the other hand, it is they who ignore the SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE for design and smuggle in the THEOLOGICL PROBLEM of evil in the world.

    gpuccio:

    “If they were designed, what was the designer thinking?”

    Don’t know. Do you?

    I don’t think the origin of disease organisms is a theological problem (except for theologians). If the design inference is a scientific inference, it seems logical and legitimate to ask people what they think about the motivation and personality of the putative designer of those organisms.

  24. StephenB,

    Calm down. I am far from the hypocritical Darwinist types you speak of. I’m just playing devil’s advocate.

    I was expecting someone to bring up The Fall, but for many people that’s not good enough.

  25. Daniel King:

    “I don’t think the origin of disease organisms is a theological problem (except for theologians).”

    If the question is why disease organisms exist (in a moral sense), and not simply how did they arise (in a scientific sense), then the question is philosophical and theological, and not scientific.

    “If the design inference is a scientific inference, it seems logical and legitimate to ask people what they think about the motivation and personality of the putative designer of those organisms.”

    As the design inference is a scientific inference, and as such it tells us almost nothing about the identity and motivations of the designer (at least with our present knowledge), it seems logical and legitimate to answer that we don’t know.

  26. —-Daniel King: “If the design inference is a scientific inference, it seems logical and legitimate to ask people what they think about the motivation and personality of the putative designer of those organisms.”

    There is a big difference between between [A] asking, “What do you suppose the designer had in mind?” and [B] stating apriori that no motivation for design could be justified given the problem of evil, therefore biological design must be an illusion.

  27. Berceuse:

    “Calm down. I am far from the hypocritical Darwinist types you speak of. I’m just playing devil’s advocate.”

    I know. And, if I am not wrong, StephenB’s comment was probably intended for others, and not for you.

    Indeed, I have tried to answer your comments as seriously as possible.

    “I was expecting someone to bring up The Fall, but for many people that’s not good enough.”

    The Fall is one possible answer. It is, however, a religious answer, and not the only possible one. I don’t discuss specific religious positions here, so I tried to answer in a more general way.

  28. —–Berceuse: “Calm down. I am far from the hypocritical Darwinist types you speak of. I’m just playing devil’s advocate.

    I was expecting someone to bring up The Fall, but for many people that’s not good enough.”

    I believe you. Whenever it is appropriate and not unduly simplistic, I speak to categories of people so as to avoid offending individuals. I am sorry if it seemed as if I was making you a target.

    The notion of original sin is one plausible answer to the charge of “bad design,” but it is by no means the only one. Another answer is the distinction of “optimal design” vs. “perfect design.” Yet another answer is the argument that God chose to bring good out of evil. Yet another argument is that God allows evil so that good is sufficiently appreciated.

    The point is that TEs have no justification whatsoever for assuming apriori that what seems to them like a bad design is sufficient justification for declaring that ID is junk science. What prompts the charge is junk logic, and when it is used as a weapon to marginalize ID scientists and discredit their work, it becomes offensive.

  29. 29

    You might like this video Gil:

    Child Prodigy – Akiane – Art Inspired by God

    http://www.godtube.com/view_vi.....4aeadefdbd

  30. Daniel King

    Motivation and personality have no bearing in scientific questions. Do we ask about the motivation and personality of Einstein and Heisenberg in the attempt to formulate grand unification theories? Of course not. Maybe there’s more than one designer – one good and one evil. Maybe the designer was just bored, tinkering around in his garage for the fun of it and had no real purpose in mind except find something to do. Or maybe our universe is a science fair project long forgotten. We have no way of knowing. All we can infer is that no known stochastic process can reasonably do all of what was done in the origination and diversification of life but we do know that intelligent agents who can conceive improbable outcomes and manipulate matter/energy to achieve those outcomes can reasonably accomplish what we see.

    Answers that we get from science don’t have to be satisfying nor do they have to make sense. Hypotheses must be reasonable, facts don’t.

  31. 31

    DaveScot:

    You paint a grim picture.

    Whereas,

    gpuccio:

    As the design inference is a scientific inference, and as such it tells us almost nothing about the identity and motivations of the designer (at least with our present knowledge), it seems logical and legitimate to answer that we don’t know.

    Thank you for suggesting the possibility of future enlightenment about these issues.

  32. DK

    The usual reason for pointing out pain, death, and ugliness in nature is to disparage the idea of a benevolent personal God. It’s a theological argument based on arbitrary characteristics of a revealed god. This has nothing at all to do with a design inference based on the properties of nano-molecular machinery in the cells of living things. I hear the lame theological objection to ID so much it gets frustrating.

  33. DaveScot:

    “I hear the lame theological objection to ID so much it gets frustrating.”

    I totally agree! Perhaps we should start the term: “theistic anti IDists” for all those darwinists, both religious and not, who enjoy using theological arguments (usually rather gross ones, I must say) against ID.

Leave a Reply