If there is creative intelligence in the universe, something which is not under the blind reign of mechanical laws operating in masses of matter, it can direct and control, to some extent, matter and its motions. Creative intelligence would be able to set up goals and to devise ways and means to realize them; goals which would not be established or achieved without the presence of creative intelligence.
Modern Attitude Toward the Mind
Many are willing to swear – in theory if not in practice – that all that exists in some quantity and can be discovered and measured by the methods and instruments of experimental natural science. This materialistic dogma has had some influence upon the growth of the testing movement in recent educational circles.
John B. Watson laughs – in his book, Behaviorism – at the idea that man possesses a soul; something spiritual, non-material. He rejects it because the scientist has never put it into a test tube, bottled it in a flask, probed it with forceps, weighed it upon scales or examined it under a microscope. It cannot exist because such instruments are unable to pin it down and analyze it.
E.L. Thorndike regards intelligence as an intricate accumulation of specific neuron connections, or bonds. It is indeed difficult to imagine just how any intricate combination of bonds could arise above themselves and their machine-like operation and so act as to be termed “creative, directive, intelligence.”
Skeptical Scientism and God
The astronomer has turned his telescope toward the heavens. He has seen the stars but not God. Thus some reject God. However, there are other astronomers who do not reject God for they recognize that the heavens merely declare the glory of God and that the firmament “showeth his handiwork” without showing God Himself. God is not identical with his creation or of the same visible substance with constitutes the universe.
This failure upon the part of finite man to find the Creator within his creation is no more meaningful or final than the failure of man to discover the engineer within his engine, the inventor within his invention. We recognize that the engineer stands without his engine and that though it bears the imprint of his intelligence and “showeth forth his handiwork” yet he is not of the same substance as the engine nor can he be found by peering within the engine. He is not substance of its substance. You may find the physical body of the man by looking outside the engine but even then you cannot find his creative intelligence – that which makes him the man or the engineer.
The microscope, the scales, and the test tube all fail to find or contain God. This being true materialistic scientists come back with the report that there is no God. They have searched the universe but they have seen no signs of the Creator – of Creative Intelligence.
The Knife Which Amputates in Two Directions
It has been overlooked by these individuals that their very approach to the question of the existence of Creative Intelligence – God – not only prevents them from finding God but it also prevents them from finding any other creative intelligence. For the same approach and instruments which are unable to find creative intelligence manifested in the universe cannot find it in man or the works of man. If personality, the power of choice, and creative intelligence are not found by the instruments of science when searching for God they cannot be found when we turn them upon man.
This indicates one of two things: Either that they do not exist or that the instruments of science are no more capable of discovering them than they are discovering love, hate, ambition, or even the laws of nature. We do not see laws of nature; neither do we weigh them. We simply see matter, moving or stationary, and it is unscientific to postulate laws which we have not seen, cannot weigh, and have not been able to put into a test tube!
The same type of approach cannot even discover the presence of feeling within the universe or man as a part of the universe. This science has “no more right to affirm” feelings or “the existence of human minds than to affirm the presence of invisible angels”. (T.H. Herbart, The Realistic Assumptions of Modern Science Examined, p.113)
Some Shrink from this Conclusion
There are those who negate the existence of Creative Intelligence in the sense of God but they stand firm for creative intelligence within man even though their instruments have found neither intelligence nor consciousness. Dewey, for example, wrote an article on “Creative Intelligence”. This is a strange thing for a man to do whose agnostic experimentalism really amounts to a veiled materialism. If they would be consistent “they must confess that, -- from the point of view of their science, -- neither intelligence nor consciousness are there; to acknowledge which is, of course, to admit the limited range of their science, and the non-reality of the materialistic assumption. If they shrink from this admission, and maintain that intelligence rules in certain animal organisms, they cannot deny its operation in the works of nature, which are exactly on the same footing as regards physical evidence of its presence. But this would be to proceed against evidence. The proper course is to follow it to its furthest consequences, and admit that the materialistic assumption excludes all facts of mind and thereby indicates its merely hypothetical character.” (Ibid. pp.333-334)
John B. Watson has been more logical than some of his colleagues who also work upon the materialistic assumption which he followed to its inevitable conclusion. They agree with him with reference to the Creative Intelligence – God – and yet they want to leave enough creative intelligence in the universe to enable man to walk about in its feeble light. Watson excludes intelligence and consciousness. However, if Watson ever made a personal choice, or if he has ever been personally responsible for anything, even his book, his theory of behaviorism is refuted.
One of two roads is open to the materialistic scientist. He must travel only one for he cannot go in two directions at once. He must either admit that his methods of scientific experimentalism are valid only with reference to things that appear – matter; and that there is a realm which is non-material – the realm of life, love, ideals, the spiritual – in to which his method and instruments cannot enter. In other words he must admit the limitations of his science. Or he can maintain the all-sufficiency of his science and banish all consciousness, purpose, will and intelligence from the universe. And if he does make a choice in the favor of one or the other his very actions have refuted his materialism.
If an individual does exclude from his vocabulary and “mind” anything and everything that smacks of consciousness, of the spiritual, of creative intelligence, of love, of hate, of ambition and of personal responsibility he must regard himself, as well as others, as a non-conscious, unintelligent collection of electrons and protons. But this is to talk foolishness for it takes “consciousness and intelligence” to deny the same. Then, too, something in man – surely it is not his atoms – rebels against such a conception of man.
So we postulate “creative intelligence” to account for that which we see around us. And we have the same right to assume that there is Creative Intelligence behind the universe that is responsible for it, as we do to assume that creative intelligence is involved in the construction of a model of the universe.
James D. Bales, Ph.D.
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James D. Bales was a long time professor at Harding University. He wrote extensively in the field of Apologetics during the 20th century, and was a recognized expert on Marxism. He served as moderator for Dr. Thomas B. Warren during his monumental 1976 debate on the existence of God with Dr. Antony Flew.