last temptation of
Now Richard was walking in the garden in the cool of the evening. He saw everything that had evolved from an unimaginable amount of energy packed into virtually undetectable spatial co-ordinates 13.8 billion years ago whose behaviours are governed by a set of implausibly elegant and helpful equations undergirded by a somewhat depressingly self-destructive entropic principle. And Richard saw that it was quite good (depending on what exactly you mean by good).
Now the little girl was more deceptively naive than any other creature in the garden. Richard said to the little girl, What is the purpose of these flowers? And the little girl said, To make the world pretty and so that bees can make honey! And Richard smiled regretfully and said, Their purpose is to survive and propagate, and that is all. And the little girl laughed and said, Silly, that’s the process, not the purpose! Look at the flower and taste the honey!
Richard looked and saw that the flower was beautiful and the honey was good to eat. He said to the little girl, But if I concede the possibility of the existence of a non-evolutionary design component I’ll be stuffed. And the little girl said, The design is in the process, not the outputs, you goose! It was made to make cool stuff, and then to make someone like you who could appreciate it! And Richard replied, Ah, but if a system this complex was designed, the designer must be even more complex, so who designed the designer?! And the little girl said, Why should the characteristics of a creator be subject to a logic of his or her own making? Surely you can do better than that?! And she gave him the honey, and he ate it while thinking that one over.
One of two of poems written in response to a display of flower art at the BEAT (Borough of Ealing Art Trail) exhibit at St John's Church, West Ealing in September 2018.
The first three quotations in the second paragraph are from a real conversation recounted by Professor Dawkins.
© Godfrey Rust 2018, firstname.lastname@example.org. See here for permissions.