Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Friday, June 24, 2005

The Gift of Music

This week I've spent a little time in Palo Alto, California, where my son attended an outstanding cello camp held at Stanford University. Last night we attended a recital of the instructor, Irene Sharp. Beautiful! One of the dramatic pieces on the program was the Sonata in D Minor of Shostakovich (Opus 40). Perhaps the most enjoyable work of Shostakovich I've heard, enhanced in part by the intense and almost theatrical delivery of the pianist, Steven Lightburn.

During the recital, I pondered the miracle of the gift of hearing and perhaps even more impressive, the gift of music, or the ability to ponder, enjoy, or even create music. Talk.origins lists music as one of the claims of creationists used to discredit evolution. It is dismissed as a mere attack based on incredulity, pointing out that the fact that we don't know how something happened doesn't mean it could not happen.

For me, the profound depth of beauty and meaning that is possible in the fine arts raises issues far greater than mere incredulity when it comes to the issue of divine versus accidental origins of human life. Selection of random mutations to give a survival advantage is an engine that just doesn't seem to have the power to take the brain to heights far beyond what is needed to survive. Granted, some people need Bach and Mendelssohn and even Shostakovich to survive, but how could natural selection be responsible for the tools that could create and appreciate such wonders?

When it comes to music, the difference between cavemen needing to distinguish different pitches in their grunts in order to hunt down a beast versus modern humans enjoying the subtleties of fine music are so vast as to demand more attention than a quick dismissal. I'm not saying that music cannot be explained in any degree by standard theories of evolution - some forms of rap music seem to be well covered by those theories already - but the joy of great music seems light years beyond what natural selection can handle.

Thanks be to God for the divinely designed human ear and brain and for the gift of music.

8 comments:

leftyjones said...

Jericho,
That's really not fair.
You clearly have your golden spectacles wrapped way too tight.

Anonymous said...

thanks being way too generous lefty. I pity people like Jericho who seem to find pleasure only in tearing down the work of others, never building or offering something better.

Mike Parker said...

"Jericho",

Having visited your blog (and "petty" sums it up nicely), I can see why you are so completely messed up. You seem to be obsessed with profanity, idiotic comments, and photographs of naked women.

Just because your life is shallow doesn't mean you have to spread your hatred around. Please educate yourself before you comment on Mormonism.

"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt." —Abraham Lincoln

Mormanity said...

The comments sections recently have seemed strange because people are responding to abusive comments that I have deleted. Sorry for the trouble our angry visitor is causing, but I'm grateful that he's hanging out at Mormon sites - might help him eventually.

danithew said...

My mother plays cello and my father plays piano and the organ. I have fond memories of the two of them playing those instruments together on many evenings when I was growing up. I'd be going to sleep and hearing a wonderful duet.

Mormanity said...

The poster of several deleted comments posted a message without profanity, and I'll let his post stay - but not the link to an offensive site. Here are his comments, for your intellectual enrichment:

"Am I causing trouble? Maybe I'm having my comments deleted because you can't bear to face the truth: That EVERYTHING you believe in is based in lies. You live a LIE. There's no profanity in this post. Let's see if you leave it or if you're just too afraid to confront that truth that you take this post down too."

Sorry to shake everybody's faith with this. But on the plus side, I am glad to have a new fan who visits my blog several times a day. Thanks! And be sure to let others know about Mormanity - might as well share some of the enjoyment with others.

Stephen said...

You managed to block comments deleting the guy on the prior thread.

My wife really liked:

ou know, the reasons why Scouts keep getting lost at camps, the controversial issue of video game addictions in Mormon youth (his first request after being rescued, after eating and drinking something, was "to play a video game on one rescuer's cell phone"), and the troubling fact that searchers found numerous items of clothing lying around in the mountains of Utah, enough to fill the bed of a pickup truck ...

Dan the Man said...

I was born in Palo Alto (actually on Stanford Campus)