The Arts (Art)

by Mark @, Tuesday, September 30, 2008, 21:40 (5776 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: I know that I am a mass of different materials, but do those materials actually create the scene of my emotions, consciousness etc., or are they just a medium? - This is an interesting thread because dhw, by focusing on the arts, and above on the wider issue of consciousness, has exposed one of science's weakest areas. I have scanned through the thread, and it seems to get nowhere. - George says: "I don't see that appreciation of art in any of its forms has anythng to do with atheism, theism or agnosticism. It is just part of human nature to appreciate visual and audible pattern and colour and variation." - Well, if the arts are just about appreciating sensations then it certainly does seem odd that we grant them such significance. I don't see how it is possible to give any account of the arts without speaking of transcendence: the human spirit reaching for something beyond, searching for meaning. I'm not saying that art is or should be necessarily religious, but that the artistic impulse and the sense of the divine are linked. Is it not the case that much art signifies that there is truth which is transcendent and cannot be contained in propositions? I question whether science could ever explain art. As G K Chesterton said "The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens. It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head. And it is his head that splits." - Consciousness presents an even bigger problem to science. No scientist has the first clue how to explain consciousness from the bottom up, from physics. I don't just mean that there are no verified theories. There are no theories, i.e. no-one has an explanation which makes it seem at all possible to get from science to pain, beauty, morals, intentions etc. Now if I as a Christian try to make something of this by way of an argument for God I may in reply be reminded of all the other areas which science has explained in the past which people once needed God for. That is always a fair point, but this does seem different. Some atheists think that mind is irreducible, which leaves things rather untidy, having two types of explanation. God fits best with Occam's razor, for then the personal and material explanations are held in one.

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