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Welcome to ARN-Announce
Dennis Wagner, editor

The ID Arts Initiative

Number Fifty-Six, July 1, 2006

ARN-Announce is the on-line announcement and information service of Access Research Network. ARN generates announcements to the current ARN Announce list as information becomes available. You have received this message because your email address was submitted to this list. Subscription and Unsubscription information is at the end of this message.


July 2006

Dear Friends of ARN,
I am excited to share with you about a new initiative at ARN that you have the opportunity to be a part of from the ground up. We are calling it the ID Arts Initiative. I also call it the Right-Brain approach to intelligent design (ID). Let me explain.

Our worldview impacts all areas of life including the arts. The arts also reflect philosophical and cultural trends in human societies. If intelligent design philosophical and scientific concepts are valid, we believe they will both inspire, and be reflected in, our art, music, literature and film. Much of the focus of the ID movement to date has been on left-brain activities (logical, sequential, rational, analytical, objective, focused on parts). We believe there is also a right-brain approach to the issues (more intuitive than logical, and focused on the creative process) that may speak to an even wider audience through the arts. Some people who might never crack a science book, will grasp ID concepts through image, lyric, or prose.

My first real interest in art came from reading Francis Schaefer’s books back in my college days and realizing that the arts often reflect or predict where we are as a culture:

“There is a flow to history and culture. This flow is rooted and has its wellspring in the thoughts of people. People are unique in the inner life of the mind—what they are in their thought world determines how they act. This is true of their value systems and it is true of their creativity ….The results of their thought world flow through their fingers or from their tongues into the external world. This is true of Michelangelo’s chisel, and it is true of a dictator’s sword.”

How Should We Then Live? Francis Schaeffer

We’ve been talking with artists, musicians, authors, poets, and filmmakers about this idea and we’ve discovered several who are already producing creative works that fit into the ID Arts category. We would like to start a website this year that would feature the work of these artists and perhaps inspire others. And we hope that this initiative will open up a whole new dialogue in our culture about whether we live in a world of chance or a world of design.

Art as the “proof-positive experience” of how objects and systems come into being
Jody Sjogren, one of our featured artists and the illustrator of the book Icons of Evolution, cites the experience of human creativity as the one “proof-positive experience” that we have for explaining how something comes into being that did not previously exist.  She writes: 

“When artists, architects, and engineers design paintings, buildings, and machines, they begin by using their mental ability to visualize, in their mind’s eye, the object they want to create.  This non-verbal process of visualizing something in the mind is the genesis of the creative effort.  Add to this the will to create and the ability to organize and manipulate elements from the environment into some new object, and we have what is called ‘the creative process.’  It begins with a thought in the mind of the designer, which is followed by planning and actions to bring into being the intended object or invention.

“Following this line of reasoning, drawing is simply ‘putting marks around a thought.  Similarly, architecture and engineering involve ‘putting materials around a thought.’  So how, then, do we describe the origin of life, with all of its complexity and diversity?  Was it merely a thoughtless, random chemical process that did not have anything in mind? 

“In my view, the experience of human creativity gives us a logical, ‘proof-positive experience’ for answering this question.  When we consider the origin of life from our perspective as artists, architects, and engineers, it appears that an awfully big creative thought preceded the universe and the life within it (not to mention the will and ability to act on the thought).  As with art, architecture, and engineering, a logical explanation suggests that Mind Preceded Matter.  This is the essence of intelligent design.” 

Art as a reflection of the creative nature of the universe
Many mindful artists realize (and have realized) that they are the instrument, not the source of art. It is often remarked in music circles that Mozart appeared to be a conduit for his work since his original manuscripts show no signs of correction or rewriting; it was as if he was taking dictation. Many artists report occasionally having a taste of this experience, where the art flows effortlessly, while at other times it is an incredible struggle. Does the fact that music and art can occasionally flow through us as instruments point to a grand design of the universe? Do the sights and sounds of the world around us, as captured by the artist, reflect a design that is not a proof, but a shadow or reflection of the deeper design of the universe?

Literature, Lyrics, Poetry & Film
Sometimes a good novel or film can spark an emotion or thought that may not have occurred to us through the study of the “facts”. Sometimes the connections are subtle, and we don’t even see it until someone points it out to us—or it works on us in the background. We envision posting ID-related reviews of movies like Signs or Contact to help people begin to ask if there is more to life than can be explained by matter and random processes. We also envision inspiring future film writers and authors to embrace these topics more directly.

We would like to explore these concepts and offer a line of ID-inspired art, music, literature and film products. We do not mean to imply that ID art is produced in a particular way, or even has a particular look or feel to it. We are simply looking to create a “brand” of artists who are connected in some way to the concept that there is a design to life that transcends the randomness of the neo-Darwinian (or materialist) worldview and that their art somehow emanates from or reflects an ID-friendly worldview.

Just as ID is portrayed by some as the bridge between science and theology, we view the arts we feature in a similar way. Somewhere between the secular and the sacred. The art does not have to make any obvious statement about anything, but if it does, the lyrics, images and product descriptions might offer hints about the designed nature of the world around us.

So What is ID Art?
By now you are probably wondering what ID art looks like. I’m going to offer several examples and give you an opportunity to own some limited edition prints with your donation to help us launch the ID Arts project.

The first piece is entitled “Blackbird” by Jody Sjogren. Jody has an entire metamorphosis series she has developed depicting man-made designs that draw their inspiration from designs in nature. Several of her prints in this series have already sold out, but she still has a small supply of Blackbird prints left that she has agreed to make available for the launch of our ID Arts Project:

The similarities between machines and living systems inspired artist Jody Sjogren to create “Blackbird,” a visual metamorphosis between the Raven and the SR-71 Blackbird.  These two black avian knights share many attributes and functional capabilities.  But the elegance and complexity of the bird’s features rival those of this Mach 3+ spyplane.  With variable-geometry wings; on-board maintenance, repair, and refueling systems; and even the ability to reproduce itself, the Raven compels us to consider that intelligent design is as logical an explanation for the origin of living systems as it is for man-made machines.  (Maybe not politically correct, but definitely logical!)

Split Rock
Our next example comes from Colorado artist Chris Woolley and is entitled “Split Rock”. This beautiful watercolor painting was painted in a canyon just a mile or two from my house here in Colorado. Some might wander upon this scene and only see random patterns of nature. As an artist operating in an intelligently designed world, Chris finds purpose.

When you hike up North Cheyenne Canyon, you eventually step through the trees to find looming above you this rock of monumental proportions. It is set on the side of a hill with the path brushing past it on the right. It is large enough to provide shelter in a time of storm or a solid foundation if one chooses to spend time there. When I first found Split Rock I felt compelled to draw and paint it and have since grown quite fond of my time spent there. It has become for me a metaphor for life. The rock that was broken, but through that brokenness I create art.

-- Chris Woolley

The Visigoths Are Coming!
Some art comes with a more direct message. Such is the case with our next work from political cartoonist Chuck Asay. A recent book attacking intelligent design (Intelligent Thought: Science vs. the Intelligent Design Movement, ed. John Brockman, Vintage Press, May 2006), has chapters by most of the big names in evolutionary thought: Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins, Jerry Coyne, Steven Pinker, Lee Smolin, Stuart A. Kauffman and others. In the introduction Brockman summarizes the situation from his perspective: materialistic Darwinism is the only scientific approach to origins, and the “bizarre” claims of “fundamentalists” with “beliefs consistent with those of the Middle Ages” must be opposed. “The Visigoths are at the gates” of science, chanting that schools must teach the controversy, “when in actuality there is no debate, no controversy.”

While Brockman intended the “Visigoths” reference as an insult equating those who do not embrace materialistic Darwinism to uneducated barbarians, he has actually created an interesting analogy of the situation, and perhaps a prophetic look at the future. For it was the Visigoths of the 3rd and 4th centuries that were waiting at the gates of the Roman Empire when it collapsed under its own weight. For years the Darwinists in power have pretended all is well in the land of random mutation and natural selection and that intelligent design should be ignored. With this book (and several others like it), they are attempting to both laugh and fight back at the ID movement. This work by Chuck Asay proves again that a picture is worth a thousand words.

ID Music
Now you have a small sample of what we have in mind when we say ID art. How about ID music? What does ID music sound like? As with art, the music may have a direct tie in with ID through the lyrics, or it may be simply instrumental music created or performed by an ID-inspired musician. We also envision the style of music to be all over the map including rock, jazz, country, folk, classical, traditional, etc. When Mark Small heard about our project he sent us a sample of his recent CD, Fast Falls the Eventide, and we decided to feature it in the announcement of our ID Arts project as one example of what we had in mind for ID music:

Mark Small (left) and Peter Clemente

Fast Falls the Eventide is the first recording by the Small-Clemente Duo, which features two classical guitarists Peter Clemente and Mark Small.

The guitarists present a wide-ranging program that includes solo performances, duets, ensemble pieces, as well as collaboration with members of the Utah Symphony Orchestra. The instrumental performances include folk songs, hymns, classical pieces, movie themes, and original pieces. They open with an amazing rendition of “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief,” one of the best-loved hymns of the Restoration. Arranged for oboe, cello and two guitars, the piece sets the tone for the rest of the project, which maintains a study in excellence throughout. For a sampling of what the duo sounds like in performance, check out “Prelude No. 2” and “Fugue No. 2,” two pieces from J.S. Bach taken from Book 1 of The Well-Tempered Clavier.

Arranged for two guitars, Small and Clemente give each piece such elegant and simpatico readings. The CD also features original compositions by Small, the work of Granados, Dvorak, traditional and spiritual pieces, and a take of “A Map of the World,” the theme song of the 1999 film of the same name by Pat Metheny. The showpiece however, is “Waterscapes,” a set of variations on the folk song "The Water Is Wide", arranged by Small, who dedicated the piece to his father, who was “always drawn to oceans, lakes and rivers.” Fast Falls the Eventide is as complete a record as any artist could wish to make. Put it on and wade into its beauty.

While the majority of the CD is instrumental, it is the one song with vocals that drew us to consider the work for our project. The song is titled “When It’s Time” and was co-written by Mark Small’s daughter Meegan. Meegan sings the lyrics on this folk song in a style that seems to magically transport you to some Irish countryside to ponder the design of the universe:


When It’s Time
Words and Music by Mark and Meegan Small

When it’s time we arrive,
For a while we can stay,
When it’s time for leavin’ we’ll go.
There’s an order to all and a master design,
This we’ll each in our own time know.

Feel the warmth of the breeze,
See the grain in the field,
Hear the geese fly over the trees.
The creator above has an eye on it all,
It’s not hard for me to believe.

Would it make sense if all our lives,
Result from random chance?
Evil and good, a happenstance,
Or is there really a plan?

Full moon in the sky,
Brings the rise of the tide,
And the frost brings red to the leaf.
The creator above has his hand in it all,
That’s not hard for me to believe.

Show me a sign the doubter says,
I must see with my eyes.
Just look around is my reply,
For the proof is in earth, sea, and sky.

When it’s time we arrive,
For a while we can stay,
When it’s time for leavin’ we’ll go.
The creator above has been guiding our ways,
This we’ll each in our own time know.
The creator above has been guiding our ways,
This we’ll each in our own day know.


ID Literature
The ID Arts Initiative provides us a great forum to announce the publication of the first ARN fictional book: The Cave Painting: A Parable of Science by Roddy Bullock. Our ID Literature focus will include many literary works that engage ID on some level including poetry, fiction, non-fiction, sci-fi, and children’s books.

Almost six hundred pages of serious fun, The Cave Painting is an allegorical novel exploring the Design versus Naturalism debate in a story format. With special emphasis on contemporary intelligent design theory the novel, together with comprehensive end notes which tie the allegorical arguments to real facts and arguments, highlights the key shortcomings of current Darwinian theories in explaining the origin of specified complex things, whether they be cave paintings, or, by analogy, human beings. This parable pits a bright young student against the academic establishment that tries to convince her and fellow students that a recently discovered local cave painting can be explained by purely naturalistic processes. She’s not buying it, and you are likely to stay up all night to find out how the parable ends.

How You Can Help
So, how do you become a patron of the ID arts? It’s simple. Send us a donation to help us launch the new ID Arts website this year, and we will send you your choice of the items I’ve just described above along with a tax-deductible receipt for the amount of the donation above our cost for the item(s) we send you.

Two of the art works featured above are numbered, limited print editions, and as one of our important supporters over the years, we want to offer you the first opportunity to own a beautiful art print, book, or music CD before we make them available to the public on our ID Arts website.

I’m also looking forward to hearing your thoughts about our ID Arts Initiative. So when you mail in your donation (or call in your donation on our toll-free line 888-259-7102, or make your donation online at www.arn.org/arnproducts/donation.htm) be sure to let me know your thoughts. Or send me your recommendations for other art, music, literature or film that we should consider featuring as part of our ID Arts initiative in the future.

Yours,
Dennis Wagner
Executive Director
www.arn.org


To make an online donation and help support the launch of the ID Arts Initiative, please use the donation form below. After making you online donation, just indicate in the comment field when you check out which items from our ID Arts collection you would like us to send you. You may also call in your credit card donation on our toll-free line 888-259-7102 (or 719-633-1772). The following table lists the available items and suggested donations:

Item
Suggested Donation
Fast Falls the Eventide Music CD by the Small-Clemente Duo Use Code CD003
$25 Domestic
$35 Foreign Air
The Cave Painting: A Parable of Science fictional story by Roddy Bullock Use Code B113
$25 Domestic
$35 Foreign Air
15”x19” Framed Edition of “The Visigoths are Coming” by political cartoonist Chuck Asay Use Code P107
$100 Domestic
$125 Foreign
Limited Edition Color Museum Art Print of “Blackbird” by artist Jody Sjogren Use Code P108
$250 Domestic
$300 Foreign
(20” x 35” shipped flat)
Limited Edition Color Giclee Print of “Split Rock” by artist Chris Woolley Use Code P109
$250 Domestic
$300 Foreign
(19” x 30” shipped in sturdy tube)

*Note: you will receive an email receipt for your donation and a receipt with an item shipped above if you have requested one or both. The mailed receipt will include the cost of the item being sent which is not considered a deductible part of your donation by the IRS (United States tax regulations require that only the amount over and above the value of any products purchased may be considered for a tax deduction). All foreign orders will be shipped airmail.

    I would like to make the following donation:
    $
    (Enter amount in U.S Dollars/cents)


ON-LINE ORDERING AVAILABLE FOR ARN PRODUCTS

All of the ARN products can be ordered through our web catalog store with secure credit card ordering. There you will find a description of each product and you may add as many products as you would like to the electronic shopping cart. The suggested donation for each item includes USPS Media Mail for North American orders, which typically arrive in 5-7 days. Overseas prices include Foreign Surface shipping which may take 4-8 weeks. For faster shipping please include an additional donation and request either USPS Priority or Foreign Air. If you provide your email address, you will receive an email receipt of your order. Place your order today online at www.arn.org (click the products links on the top menu bar). If you have any problems or questions, or would rather place your order by phone, call our toll free number at 1-888-259-7102 and our staff will be happy to assist you (or leave your order on our voice mail system if we are out of the office).


A FEW NOTES ABOUT ARN ANNOUNCE

ARN-Announce describes many of the upcoming events and new articles, books, videos and other resources on Intelligent Design. Please forward this message to several of your friends and colleagues to let them know about the resources available at Access Research Network (www.arn.org). Back issues of ARN-Announce can be found at www.arn.org/announce.htm


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07.01.06