Intelligent Design

The poem or the blot

There is a little known short story by Hans Christian Andersen called ‘The Pen and the Inkstand’. ( )

In the story the pen and the inkstand compete for the accolades of the writer.

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.”

ink_bottle_and Pen

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.”

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 this particular story in order to point out the fact that we are all implements that the Almighty uses. However, Hans unintentionally makes another point- the absurdity of the pen or the ink being the responsible party for the poetry. They are nothing more than tools, any of a variety of instruments, but we need the mind of the poet to actually create the 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 some weird chance resembled a word instead Rorschach inkblot. If there was no poet, and no one to read and understand the poetry, then the ink and the pen could produce nothing but glitches and mistakes.

That is exactly what the proponents of atheistic evolution believe. It really is as absurd as that, as simple as that, as stupid as that, as unbelievable as that. Creationists deride cosmic evolution as a theory which says ‘hydrogen is a colorless, odorless gas which, given enough time, turns into people.’ This is considered to be an insult to the ‘sophisticated’ and the ‘intelligensia’ who accept evolutionary theory, but in essence that is what it all boils down to. Where does the information come from which will restructure matter and give it meaning? Does it erupt, evolve, emanate, emerge from the matter itself? For if there is no outside intelligence affecting the raw, unchanged, pristine material, that is exactly what must be the case.

Therefore, to the secular evolutionist, the ink and the pen must be the source of the poetry, for there is no need for a poet to create a poem out of random letters, words, phrases and sentences. But if there is no poet, how can the words created be recognized as words? It can only be that there is intelligence in the ink. The ink itself needs to produce itself so the inkwell doesn’t run dry, and the pen creates an elaborate language to express what needs to be expressed for all other pens and inkwells to understand. Does anyone in their right mind believe that?

But if for ‘ink’ you read the chemical basis 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.



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