Monday, June 15, 2009
I think that humans discover, assemble, or create in the limited sense that they assemble the tinker toys (as Chet Raymo has referred to all the stuff the universe is made of, the building block elements) in new and unique ways. All of God's tinker toys were here way before 5 billion years ago, all with their 'built-in' potential, potential to assemble and make more complex stuff, that which too with potential for ever increasing complexity. So do humans really create? Perhaps in a limited sense, for without the Tinker Toy set, humans are without. Are physics and mathematics creations of humans? Is the ability of a life form to think abstractly when seeing 4 objects, then looking at the hand and holding 4 fingers up, and understanding that apart from objects and fingers, 'four' is something unto itself. Living in a world full of discrete objects, being able to group similar objects and using an abstract idea (numbers) to hold/memorize a particular 'group' would have great evolutionary advantage to that creature that discovers this 'trick' -- a trick that resides only in the brain/mind.