Tony\'s Painting Analogy (Art)

by dhw, Saturday, November 27, 2010, 11:50 (4569 days ago)

On 23 November at 21.20, under "Darwinian ignorance...", Tony posted his thoughts about painting, as an analogy to the creation of the world and life. I really like the observations and thoughts behind this piece, and am sorry it's taken me so long to respond. -You wrote: "It takes intellect, understanding, knowledge, imagination, emotion, planning, patience, and most especially love, to turn a collection of random crap into a work of art that other intelligent beings can appreciate and enjoy." You've summed up two of the most important arguments I know in favour of a caring God: 1) that the world is far too complex for me to believe it was created purely by unconscious chance; 2) that if it was created consciously, the force responsible is likely to have all the attributes you have listed (why should we have them, but our creator not have them?).-It would be wonderful if that could be the closing argument, but it's not. If our own world is too complex to attribute to the forces of chance, how much more complex must be the world of a being that was able to create it. But what created the creator? If you can believe that an intelligence with all these attributes created itself, or has been around for ever, then you might just as well believe that our world created itself. All such scenarios are equally fantastic. And when you talk of "this masterpiece" that we can all enjoy, I can't help pointing out that the enjoyment is far from universal, and if the work was indeed created deliberately, the artist is responsible for the appalling suffering as well as the glorious beauty. If he has all the positive attributes you have listed, he will also have the negative counterparts that lead to this suffering. -In terms of our disagreement regarding the degree of planning involved, I don't know how your wife sets about painting a picture, but apart from purely mimetic art, or situations in which artists are instructed or commissioned to do a particular piece in a particular way, you will find that many if not most painters, composers and writers either consciously follow the promptings of their subconscious minds, or plan in advance but then find themselves forced to deviate from those plans because the work takes on an impetus of its own. If there is a UI, I would expect it to work along those lines, rather than to have a specific plan which is followed through rigidly to the end without any new discoveries and adjustments on the way. A predictable work of art is a boring work of art, even for the artist. -One last comment on this very stimulating piece. You wrote: "Sometimes I wonder if philosophers stand too far away, and scientists stand too close." I think that with many people it's a combination of the two, and they simply take for granted the absolutely astonishing wonders of our own existence and that of everything around us. But in my experience, atheists and agnostics are just as aware as theists of these wonders. You don't have to believe in God to marvel at Nature.

RSS Feed of thread
powered by my little forum