Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Evolution: Why God Loves You

You Are Unique

You are the only person occupying your shoes.  Take a walk through the park.  Notice and appreciate the things of beauty.  Hear the songs of birds, see their beautiful color and amazing flight - never smashing into a tree branch.  Look for beauty in insects sipping nectar from beautiful flowers, feeding on leaves of seedlings beneath majestic trees, their forebears.  There is so much more to see and appreciate.

God knows everything about God's creation, from the microscopic to the cosmic.  It is all old stuff to God.  But we are able to appreciate it with awe, wonder, and feelings that express our joy to God.  Don't you get warm feelings when your loved ones are pleasurably moved by such things?

When you have a good story to tell, do you only tell it once?  Most of us enjoy telling it over and over to new listeners.  And a listener may be pleased to hear the same story from others.  The excitement of each grandchild during their early childhood celebrations is always joyful.

There are billions of ways and places to have similar, but unique, experiences foreknown to God.  Share them with others, but don't overdo it, they probably won't have God's infinite capacity for love and empathy.

A unique experience for me that came to mind

Our first year in a new, to us, home, we looked out a window into our back yard.  A large rabbit was grazing on the grass.  About a half-dozen half grown rabbits were cavorting around her.  The most amazing thing was that some leap-frogged over one another several times.  I had never seen that behavior before, nor have I seen it in the thirty years since.  I am almost positive others have seen such behavior.

I am less sure that anyone else believes -

- that some deep sea animals have longevity far beyond that of their shallow water relatives.
- that their environment shaped the pogonophoran transition from nervous system ventral annelid ancestors to nervous system dorsal vertebrate descendants.
- that the deep sea provided areas for the pogonophorans to survive multiple major extinction events making the preceding possible.
- the evolutionary story needs correcting where major changes were based on molecular phylogeny studies using inadequate sample sizes, as indicated in earlier posts of this blog.

Joseph Engemann   Emeritus Professor of Biology, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan    February 27, 2018

The opinions expressed in this blog are mine, not those of Western Michigan University; however, I am grateful for the opportunity they provided to teach courses and do research leading to my understanding of many of the topics I present.  Did I answer the question why God loves you - God made you using infinite patience and the evolutionary process.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Natural Selection and Creativity

More on Wilson's Creativity

In his interesting presentation of how the human brain and many aspects of social biology came about Wilson contends that "Natural selection as grand master of evolution means that humanity was not planned by any super-intelligence, nor was it guided by any destiny beyond the consequences of our own actions." [page 103 of E. O. Wilson, 2017, The Origins of Creativity, Liveright, New York.]

On page 6, he had said "Scientific explanations of organic life, including human life, routinely entail both proximate and ultimate causes."  He contrasts that to the humanities attempting only proximate explanations and leaving ultimate cause to various entities, without much attention to the why of our existance.

 On page 100 he says "Because of group selection, and its obvious consequences in the evolution of human social behavior, there is reason to suppose that the better angels of our nature need not be drilled into us under the threat of divine retribution, but are instead biologically inherited."  He goes on to further recognize our amazing place in nature.

What Wilson Misses

God, as the Ultimate Cause, can take the chance events of natural selection, that we see as the operative principle of evolution, and use them to produce the remarkable human species.  There are obvious bits and pieces of our evolutionary development based on various pre-human ancestors.  But our disproportionately large brain has the capacity for performance well beyond what most of us achieve.

Wilson sees the humanities, language, and presumably the cumulative written record, as part of the cause of the gulf between us and the rest of the natural living world.  He sees the good that results.  I hope he comes to see that the good is God's results.

It is very difficult, for finite beings such as ourselves, not to underestimate the power, love, and majesty of the one infinite being, God.  It is very much worth the effort to try to know God better.  God already knows and loves each of us more than we do ourselves.  It is awesome to consider the immensity of the universe and amazing diversity of life in a drop of pond water.  I don't think God needs our input on how the world should be run.  But we should make more effort for properly caring for our planet.

Joe Engemann      Kalamazoo, Michigan          February 1, 2017