Materialism

Taking apart a Steinway & Sons concert grand piano piece-by-piece to understand how it works, no matter how thorough and expert is the scientific methodology in dissecting and analyzing the function of its parts, will never on its own make the artistic leap to the creative invention of a Beethoven piano concerto or a Chopin etude.  The imaginative inspiration of a musical composition is on another level…in another domain of reality…informationally unconnected to the basic physical mechanics of the parts of the musical instrument.

The creative, artistic program of information that goes into the “why” component of the ingenuity of a Beethoven piano concerto is not at all the information package that makes up the mathematics, physics, and chemistry of “how” the concert grand piano produces beautiful sounding individual notes.  Dissecting the piano painstakingly piece-by-piece for scientific analysis will not uncover the secret of music or the purpose behind the creation of the body-plan of the musical instrument.  The secret of music composition will not be found in the physics and chemistry of the keys, the strings, the soundboard, or the distinctive shape of the wood box, raised lid, and three supporting legs.

The most skilled modern scientist, using the best techniques and finest equipment available, analyzing the acoustic features of the sound-board and the vibrating resonance of the various strings while clunking away at the piano keys, may or may not be artistically inspired to create a musical composition simultaneously as the investigative work progresses, based upon a positive reaction to the beauty of the sounds he or she is producing at the keyboard.  The beautiful tones of the concert grand piano tells the researcher there is the possibility of “music” inside, but if they fail to respond in an artistic way to experiment with the highly specified arrangement of the musical notes of the various piano keys to create a musical composition, they will remain in the purely materialistic zone of the physics and chemistry of the musical instrument alone.

The two potentially parallel, simultaneous efforts…first the scientific investigation of the workings of the piano and second the creative discovery that the sounds produced can be arranged into an interesting and satisfying musical composition…are intimately connected yet are very different, discrete programs of information.

This is one explanation for the dichotomy between the differing viewpoints of atheistic materialism and theistic creationism.  The Christian sees the order and intelligibility underlying the “body plans” of the varied phenomenon of the natural world as a confirmation for the experiencing of beautiful lives…like creating musical compositions.  The scientist working within the narrower worldview of naturalism sees no such transcendent reality above the ceiling line of the pure mathematics, physics, and chemistry of functioning parts.

Taking this argument of the different levels of existing information a step further…the creative, directional, information program that assembles the cheek bones, nose, chin, lips, forehead, muscles, tendons, and skin of the face of a beautiful woman is likewise entirely different from the informational program that arranges the basic parts of the DNA, protein, and amino acid molecules encased within the microscopic eukaryotic cells of the human body.

The information program that forms the intended limits and boundaries of the shape of the beautiful woman’s face is analogous to both the creative mechanical imagination that invents the functional body-plan arrangement of ascending and descending notes on the keyboard of the concert grand piano, combined with the artistic genius that composes Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata or Chopin’s Ballade No. 2.  Some guiding informational program must tell each living cell precisely where to go in the human body and what function to perform, in exactly the right artistic arrangement to produce the sparkling eyes, radiant smile, beautiful hair, lovely shape of the face, and melodious voice having perfect pitch, tone, and resonance coming from the beautifully attractive human female.

Like the information contained within a musical composition that transcends the mechanics of the piano, the essence of what makes a beautiful woman enchantingly feminine is a mystery that transcends far above the hypothetical creative capacity of material particles…particles acting without the outside guidance of blueprint instructions according to the naturalistic scenario.

The artistic imagination contained within the creation of the body-plan form of the face of the beautiful human female cannot be reduced to the materialistic parts of proteins, amino acids, and DNA any more than the musical genius of a Bach, Beethoven, or Brahms can be explained by the inked musical notes drawn on the page of a musical score, or the engineering statics and mechanics composition of the parts of the concert grand piano.

One of the reasons why Darwinian evolution has never caught on with the majority of people, at least in America, is that people sense that the atheists and agnostics who preach the philosophy of naturalism intermixed with evolution, are proposing a simplistic explanation entailing only the mechanics side of the equation…that is inadequate to encompass the fullness of reality that includes innovative lifestyle programs as well.

Scientific investigation is incapable of answering the larger, fundamental question as to why the concert grand piano was created in the first place.  Analyzing the various parts of the piano…no matter how thorough and complete…will not answer the fundamental “why” question as to the piano’s origin or its functional integration within the world of music.  This basic limitation of the explanatory reach of the scientific method is profound.

The empirical evidence for an extrapolation from microevolution to macroevolution, including the all-important, essential lifestyle changes required…is simply not there.  People look at the complexity of the outside natural world and the intricate coordination internally in the functioning of their own bodies and conclude by mere commonsense that all of this is beyond a complexity that random chance could possibly assemble into functionally coordinated realities.

To fill-in the gaps of our understanding with the speculative philosophy of atheistic naturalism and materialism is not the automatic, default option of reason.  The atheistic philosophy of naturalism has enormous philosophical problems, leaving humanity at the extreme end-point of a cold and purposeless existence having no meaning, no compass, no anchor, and no sure confidence in our own mental reasoning capacity when reduced to mere materialistic particles…in other words…only the materialistic understanding of the mechanics of the concert grand piano…but without the beauty of musical compositions.

God created the precision of the natural world so that God-composed journeys of faith could be experienced by people of faith…like playing Debussy’s beautiful Claire de Lune on a piano.

The idea that living things of incredible functionality, adaptability, fearsome power, and breathtaking beauty merely self-assembled themselves, according to the naturalistic philosophy that nature can create itself through a random chance search strategy, without any guidance from outside intelligence, requires the clearest scientific explanation in detailed and specific terms of the method of how Darwinian macroevolution might occur.  Fill-in speculative philosophy will not suffice in this incredibly important area of scientific investigation and worldview formulation.

Author: Barton Jahn

I work in building construction as a field superintendent and project manager. I have four books published by McGraw-Hill on housing construction (1995-98) under Bart Jahn, and have six Christian books self-published through Create Space KDP. I have a bachelor of science degree in construction management from California State University Long Beach. I grew up in Southern California, was an avid surfer, and am fortunate enough to have always lived within one mile of the ocean. I discovered writing at the age of 30, and it is now one of my favorite activities. I am currently working on two more books on building construction.

4 thoughts on “Materialism”

  1. For the sake of time – and because my wife is asking me to look something up on the computer – I didn’t get a chance to slowly read your whole post. However, what I did read was spot on. Being a musician I completely understand your point. My daughter, who is a Music Ed major, has a brand new computer on which she can easily compose pieces of music and print off the sheet music in moments. Her computer will even play them for her. However, all of that is simply digital switches – data – and cannot mimic or explain the heart of the composer or the touch of a master on the keys of the piano.

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    1. Thanks Anthony…excellent comment…this subject really needs someone more articulate than me…probably has already been expressed in other books and blogs…if carried out to its end-point really makes a strong case for the absurdity of naturalism as the all-encompassing explanation for our world.

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