Friday, August 7, 2009

Proof of the Existence of God

I think the cognitive/emotional/cultural development of the human race is the strongest argument imaginable for the existence of God.

I’ve had occasion recently to attend two events – one a concert by a young (in her ‘30’s) violin virtuosa, Elizabeth Pitcairn, playing the three-hundred year old “Mendelssohn Stradivarius” – the “red violin” of movie fame – and the other the Reno Philharmonic with its new conductor, Laura Jackson, playing Gershwin, also brilliantly.

It’s not just the music I’m talking about, though that was itself inspired, but so much more. As I looked around the two halls at hundreds of people sitting engaged with the music, I was struck by the sheer diversity – young, old, men, women, all races, you name it.

The other thing that struck me (and know that other than liking to listen, I am about as musical as a rock) is how remarkable it is that a large group of people can play a diverse lot of instruments in perfect coordination. It was fascinating to watch the conductors – what, exactly, do they do? I see a lot of body language, intense concentration, and nothing short of a miracle as they orchestrated (pun intended) a perfect blend of instruments, voices, and soloists.

So what does that have to do with the existence of God? I don’t know, really, but when I think about the evolution of the human race, from the caves and jungles through the middle ages, through the present day, and I see this kind of coordination and the ability to produce beauty so exquisite I can hardly be in the presence of it, I really understand where the “intelligent design” folks are coming from – this can’t be an accident.

Don’t get me wrong – I think creationism and intelligent design is a crock, but I can understand that it is impossible to think that all this happened by accident or a series of lucky coincidences – natural selection in a vacuum won’t cut it. It’s too much of a stretch to find a “survival of the fittest” explanation for the creation of music – music, art, artistic brilliance have no survival value that I can find credible, and while I can see survival value in collaboration, this is way beyond that.

So I choose to see the hand of a Great Unity behind it. If I’m wrong, then I think we’re poorer for it.