Published: 20 January 2015 (GMT+10)
There is a short story by Hans Christian Andersen called ‘The Pen and the Inkstand’.
In the story the pen and the inkstand compete for the accolades.
The inkstand said to the pen “It is wonderful and extraordinary what a number of things come out of me. It’s quite incredible, and I really don’t know what is coming next when that man dips his pen into me. One drop out of me is enough for half a page of paper, and what cannot half a page contain? From me, all the works of a poet are produced; all those imaginary characters whom people fancy they have known or met. All the deep feeling, the humour, and the vivid pictures of nature. I myself don’t understand how it is, for I am not acquainted with nature, but it is certainly in me.”
Said the pen, “you don’t think at all; if you did, you would see that you can only provide the means. You give the fluid that I may place upon the paper what dwells in me, and what I wish to bring to light. It is the pen that writes: no man doubts that; and, indeed, most people understand as much about poetry as an old inkstand.”
Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen, 1869
Late in the evening the poet came home. He had been to a concert, and had been quite enchanted with the admirable performance of a famous violin player whom he had heard there. … It was a wonderful performance and a difficult piece, and yet the bow seemed to glide across the strings so easily that it was as if any one could do it who tried. Even the violin and the bow appeared to perform independently of their master who guided them; it was as if soul and spirit had been breathed into the instrument, so the audience forgot the performer in the beautiful sounds he produced. Not so the poet; he remembered him, and named him, and wrote down his thoughts on the subject. “How foolish it would be for the violin and the bow to boast of their performance, and yet we men often commit that folly.”
Now Hans Christian Andersen wrote the story in order to point to the fact that we are all instruments that the Almighty uses. However, he unintentionally makes another point. The absurdity of the pen or the ink being responsible for the poetry is patent. They are the tools, the instruments, but it needs the mind of the poet to create meaning. The ordering of the words to convey information cannot come from the tools themselves. If a gust of wind knocked the pen and inkstand over, the resultant ink blot would have no meaning—even if it by chance resembled a word. If there was no poet, and no-one to read and understand the poetry, then the ink and the pen could produce nothing.
But that is exactly what the proponents of atheistic evolution believe. It really is as absurd as that. Creationists deride cosmic evolution as a theory which says ‘hydrogen is a colourless, odourless gas which, given enough time, turns into people.’ This is considered to be an insult to the sophisticated who accept evolutionary theory, but in essence that is what it boils down to. Where does the information come from which will restructure matter and give it meaning? Does it come from the matter itself? For if there is no outside intelligence, that is exactly what must be the case.
Therefore, to the secular evolutionist, the ink and the pen themselves are the source of the poetry, for there is no poet. But if there is no poet, how can the words created be recognized as words? It can only be that there is intelligent ink. The ink itself needs to reproduce itself, and creates an elaborate language to express that need. It expresses that need to other intelligent inks. Does anyone in their right mind believe that?
But if for ‘ink’ you read the chemical structure of DNA, with its 4 bases (this is the ‘raw material’ with which the genetic language is written), and for ‘pen’ you read the structure of DNA and RNA, the tool which uses the basic raw material, then surely that is what evolutionists believe?
Hans Christian Andersen gently mocked the idea that the pen or inkstand themselves could create poetry. How he might have laughed at the notion that DNA and genes could by themselves create living beings! In modern terms, it is equivalent to saying that a word processor left to itself would, given time, write the instruction manual to use itself—and more than that, to program itself.
- Information - where does it come from?
- Information and the origin of life - Did cells write their own software?
I've recently been re-reading "The Universe Next Door", by James W Sire. It's a worldview "catalog" of sorts. Describes worldviews and how they work, and the questions they answer.
Three of the first four he deals with are Theism, Naturalism, and Nihilism. They all have offshoots, but looking at them from a high-level:
Theism includes biblical Christian understandings to the great questions. Where did we come from? How should we live? etc.
Naturalism is essentially atheistic, basically saying that matter is all there is. (Like Sagan's "the cosmos is all there is, was, and ever will be.")
Nihilism is the belief that nothing matters. We can't know, detect, test, or anything else.
What has hit me reading it this time is that Nihilism naturally flows from Naturalism. In fact, a naturalist who is not a nihilist is simply not being consistent in his/her worldview.
The arguments surrounding abiogenesis show an astounding gap between what they think they know, and what actually is. Abiogenesis SHOULD cause all naturalists to abandon naturalism, because their own worldview cannot explain itself.
Their argument is that we simply don't understand it well enough. Yet.
The bottom line is really that all who do not accept Biblical teaching on our universe (our worldview) are simply making a faith choice, because they cannot validate that opinion without first escaping the trap into which their worldview has placed them.
So, they CHOOSE to deny God's work, and then come up with whatever tales they can tell that partially assuage that nagging inside them that tells them they are wrong.
Sad. They hate God so much that they're willing to accept complete absurdities, as long as God is out of the picture. Very sad.
A well written article. It goes beyond just DNA and RNA making a being but what if you took a lump of tissue that had all the right stuff to make life? I will even grant you stuff that is prearranged but just jostled a bit out of delicate balance. No pile of raw chemicals and water. ... How about a person who jumped to their death and is now a seeping pile of goo. All the systems and chemicals are there, make him live. Why not? ... there is nothing wrong with that pile of chemicals. Make them live. You can't. Even with pre-made and already assembled parts, you can't make it work. It is ludicrous to think we or any organism can happen that way. You want an 'easier' challenge? Make the mosquito fly after you add energy to the system (slap it). ... Too hard? Now try to start with only the raw molecules. Now try with only atoms. Now try from a true vacuum and nothing.
Thanks Michael, You've hit the nail on the head. I am a painter so I understand your piece perfectly. My paints and brushes would lie there useless without me to organise and use them to create pictures. However I must not forget that I too am a brush in the hands of one far greater than I, one who, I trust, uses me to produce works to his glory, of which I have no comprehension - and maybe also a few that I can understand, but whose effect is beyond my control. Praise his name! By the way even the nail I opened [this comment] with is unable to hit itself on the head.
When God breathed life into Adam he became a living being, or another way of saying the same thing is, a speaking spirit; no pen or bottle of ink can ever be a speaking spirit. In fact only mankind is a speaking spirit. THAT'S THE IMAGE OF GOD LIKENESS, it is also why God gave dominion over all the earth to man, ONLY. which of course Satan usurped via Adam's sin of disobedience.
Well done Michael, we hear your heart - reflecting God's heart.