December 29, 2016

Intelligent Design

True colors of solar corona Taken by Miloslav Druckmüller

And God said unto Moses, I Am That I Am: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you. Exodus 3:14

Whose Will decreed This slash of sea
Would frame This sun in gleams of green?
What Plan determines stone's decline,
Or shapes in stars, or shadow's sheen,

Or that we track, as clever beasts,
The passing haze of comet's fall,
And are the glaze of Thought on flesh
That sees the need of Plan at all?

I know, I know... no Plan at all
Is thought by some to be the plan,
And yet what is this sheen of thought
That seeks to measure more than man?

Look out beyond the far Deep Field,
Beyond the limits of our sight.
It cannot be that All that is,
Is only night on deeper night.

But if that should be All that is,
And All as purposeless as stone,
The Heart still sings the body's chants,
And moves the Light within the bone.

Perhaps this pattern that we know
As time at slant between two lights,
Is but some dance to entertain
What lies beyond our Shaded sight.

Yet what dark mind could find a gleam
Of pleasure from such turns,
Instead of reading evil
In a countenance of burns?

The Countenance of comets,
That the sky at night assumes,
Mutes all equations memorized
On the Continent of Tombs.

To stand but Once within this Field,
And feel the hands of wind,
Is ample compensation
For the Gift the years rescind.

At length our modern marvels
Seem but Blots of haze on slate,
That we note with brief attention
As we step between the Gates,

And dance, to some faint music,
Along the path of day's retreat,
Our ancient, ageless minuet
That rounds this sleep with sleep.

Posted by Vanderleun at December 29, 2016 1:19 AM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

I am stunned.

Posted by: Rob De Witt at December 6, 2008 11:05 PM

Thank you, again.

It is impossible that we are orphans in an infinite universe so perfectly attuned to our needs.

Posted by: Bob Sykes at December 7, 2008 4:08 AM

great stuff, thanks for posting it.

i have long found it funny that my friends - who think i'm irrational because i BELIEVE in G-d - themselves BELIEVE in the B-g B-ng, which they cannot themselves explain; they accept it as an article of faith.

Ditto their BELIEF in Str-ng Th--ry and so on.

i think G-d is a much more elegant and simple explanation for the true colors of the sun, the incredible beauty of nebulae, the miracle of simple kindness.

G-d passes Occam's Razor while so much of postmodern science does not.

another one of my favorite lines of attack is asking my atheist friends about the sun, the moon and the earth - how perfect they are together: a full solar eclipse is only possible because their sizes and their distances are JUST SO.

what are the odds of that? and that this should occur where feeling, thinking life can observe it!

then i point out to them that the entire solar system is perfect: the giant planets absorbing eons of comet hits and giant asteroids, each planet spinning in its designated slot so that Earth might remain in the one single solitary SWEET SPOT: not too warm, not too hot - just right..

a recent study revealed that children intuit the existence of G-d, and are not taught it.

it's the creature in us - we know there's a Creator.

that this Creator has a plan and awareness of us - of each of us - is where the possibility of FAITH breaks down for so many people. They see what WE have done to each other over the centuries - OVER THE LAST FEW WEEKS! - and they argue that no OMNIPOTENT CREATOR would allow this.

they are wrong.

The Creator made "space" for us within which we have choice: we can choose good or evil. G-d had to withdraw Himself from this space to allow this, and like a good parent He allows us to err in order that we might learn.

The fact that not all of us do learn, or that we learn - but at high cost - is not His fault.

The immortality of the soul and the transient nature of our lives on this side, in this domain, in this dominion, is what makes all of the troubles we experience - that WE create - worthwhile, and not pointless.

that's why as believers we are not nihilists.

and this is why so many postmodernists ARE nihilists.

and this is another thing (in addition to hatred for America and so on) that they have in common with jihadists - whose twisted faith-system hates life, hates Life and opposes the G-d who loves life.

Posted by: reliapundit at December 7, 2008 7:22 AM

-"it's like a song I can hear playin right in my ear,
and I can't sing it-
but I can't help listening" -Jackson Browne

Nice post.

Posted by: Adagny at December 7, 2008 7:26 AM

Since poets are our unacknowledged legislators, we need to support our nonlocal wordsmiths and advocate for cosmic law-and-order.

Man is intelligence, and intelligence is the transcending of forms and the realization of the invisible Essence; to say human intelligence is to say absoluteness and transcendence. --Schuon

Posted by: Gagdad Bob at December 7, 2008 8:09 AM

DOWN with the scantily clad nymphs and UP with more poetry, I say, Chap. Beautiful indeed, G.

Posted by: Webutante at December 7, 2008 8:19 AM

Edward Young--
An undevout astronomer is mad.

Posted by: james wilson at December 7, 2008 9:09 AM

Not so fast. Beauty is one of the coequal branches of cosmic government.

Posted by: Gagdad Bob at December 7, 2008 9:10 AM


mr youse needn't be so spry
concernin questions arty

each has his tastes but as for i
i likes a certain party

gimme the he-man's solid bliss
for youse ideas i'll match youse

a pretty girl who naked is
is worth a million statues

e e cummings

Posted by: Rob De Witt at December 7, 2008 10:18 AM


Posted by: Joan of Argghh! at December 7, 2008 10:33 AM

For a moment when I first saw this, I thought it was a human eye - pupil & iris...... I guess God never wastes a good design.

Susan Lee

Posted by: Susan Lee at December 7, 2008 11:23 AM

Man, I'm impressed...We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep...

However, the kind of existential wonder you deftly describe does not depend upon an anthropomorphic creator. In fact, to me it's all the more wondrous if it doesn't (doesn't depend on it, that is, which isn't the same as excluding it). The distinction between agnosticism and atheism (and theism) is the difference between humility and overweening confidence.

Posted by: Novalis at December 7, 2008 1:22 PM

Nothing like a little god or no god to build you some comments, no? You are better than this.

Posted by: dr kill at December 7, 2008 2:50 PM


Where are you when you write?

Yes. What are your surroundings?

What is your frame of mind?

Can you will it?

Or - must you wait?

Posted by: Cathy at December 7, 2008 5:33 PM

It varies.

The best I can do to describe it, generally, is at

The Arrival

Posted by: vanderleun at December 7, 2008 9:09 PM

Yes, I believe in the Arrival, and I believe it arrives of its own volition, apart from the vessel's desire. Of course, it it much more precise when the vessel is prepared, shaped to its task, ready for service when the Arrival happens. The happy, haunting result is the joy of channeling the Guest.

Posted by: Joan of Argghh! at December 6, 2009 10:14 AM

I call it being struck by Grace. It comes when you least expect it and, even though you cling to it desperately, it goes. But through those moments, hours, or even days; we are allowed a glimpse of that which we cannot name. But know surely that it is Love.

Posted by: Jimmy J. at December 6, 2009 12:11 PM

"It is impossible that we are orphans in an infinite universe so perfectly attuned to our needs."

Posted by Bob Sykes at December 7, 2008 4:08 AM

Mr. Sykes, do you it is possible that you have it backwards? Is it possible that it is we who are attuned to its needs?

Posted by: viktor silo at December 6, 2009 1:35 PM

Almost sublime. Thank you

In Christ,

Bill Henry

Posted by: Bill Henry at December 6, 2009 3:29 PM

Cathy & Gerard

I once mused myself about what you call 'The Arrival' and this selfish ditty popped up:

Mortalis Interruptus

Unfinished poems and incomplete prose;
An irrational urge to construct and compose
This jumble of words on the move in my head ...
Better perhaps just to leave them unsaid?

Whatever the need to relate and commune,
It is foolish, or least ways naive, to assume
That anyone else in the world will accept
The product as other than grossly inept.

And yet, when an unfettered thought take to flight
And transmutes into words in the dead of the night,
Defining a moment complete and sublime
It creates a short pause in the passage of time.

So while others may not comprehend or agree;
Refusing to listen or failing to see;
Or finding the metaphors too hard to handle,
Well ... the pleasure of writing is still worth the candle.

In your case Gerard, you are hereby granted indefinite immunity from the sentiments of that second verse. And thank you so much for sharing your latest memorable journey into the sublime.

Posted by: Frank P at December 6, 2009 5:42 PM

Castle Indolence

by Gerard Van der Leun

--for Tom Disch

Once I worked in projective verse,
But alas my work was for the worse.
Today I add scintilla of technique
Which, sprinkled in, reveals the scenes I seek.

Thoughts are easily clad in rime, it's true,
But some thoughts live when hidden from our view.
To offer rules that eviscerate tradition
Is freedom for a day, but for a life--perdition.

In workshops coast to coast, our poets sweat,
Renouncing honest doggerel and making bets
On who will win the laurels and be fully funded.
(At least ten grand a year, perhaps a hundred.)

To achieve this purloined prize, they teach the kids
To scrawl barbaric yawps on everything they did
And didn't do to Barbie or to Ken
The Night Before in rooms of manly men.

Such grades delivered are rightly pass or fail
Since all agree that any poem is off the scale
Of justice or of judgment ( "Fuck Tom Disch!"),
And is always just as good as is the poet's wish.

The other lessons taught in workshop hell
Are: "Rime is always bad and feelings swell!
Express yourself, young and toothsome student!
(But know that bending over is still prudent.)

"You see, in this strange game, we've got a rule
That states the poet comes before the school.
So please ignore Eliot and Stevens, even Dante,
To let feelings, a la Streisand, up the ante.

"By composing, from such sources, endless plaints,
You are allowed to shitcan meter's steel restraints,
And craft within our workshops shapeless blobs
That will sustain your feelings and our jobs."

What remedy remains for profs so sodden
With modest grants and laurels cheaply gotten?
There's no pretending that such men are poets pure,
For "once a bear is hooked on garbage there's no cure."

Our only hope is to accurately describe them
As mired in their muck. So woe betide them,
Should they hope to gain a lasting recognition,
Their very work will work for their derision.

The poem's not a path to some fat pension,
Nor like some hired hand releasing inner tension.
It requires nothing less than all the soul and mind,
And is, like love and Homer, always blind.

It is not made in workshops, whole or part,
But in the "rag and boneshop of the heart."
And those that cannot blindly see and sense
Must chained forever be in Castle Indolence.

All poetry is dreaming written clear
To the inner eye that wakes the sleeping ear.
You must listen to iced silence, seeing only night,
If you would give your readers second sight.

Posted by: vanderleun at December 6, 2009 6:39 PM

Castle Indolence. Thank you for that - and for this:

To stand Once within a meadow,
And feel the hands of wind,
Is ample compensation
For the Gift the years rescind.

Posted by: Cathy at December 7, 2009 3:29 PM


I'm glad you didn't leave Mortalis Interruptus 'unsaid'.


Posted by: Cathy at December 7, 2009 3:39 PM

Neat, but doesn't it remind you of "The Eye of Sauron?"

Posted by: MarkJ at December 7, 2009 7:30 PM

Dr. Kill had a pedantrum. I tried to be an atheist, once. It required far more faith than believing in God. It's just too taxing to maintain that kind of gullible disbelief. The mere fact that we claim to be rational undermines the whole concept of randomness. I only give myself a migraine trying to think to hard about it. As for Mr. V being better than this, or ginning up his comment numbers, well, so what?

Posted by: Jewel at December 27, 2010 5:41 AM

hey gvdl.

happy christmas and merry new year! (belated)


how did that very first speck/molecule/cell that was alive know what to eat?

i mean.... all life needs energy.

so how did the first single cell animal know what to eat?

how did its cell membrane know what to let in and what to excrete?

just asking....

Posted by: reliapundit at January 2, 2011 2:09 PM

V, you remind one of Masefield.

Posted by: Casca at January 11, 2011 8:48 AM

thank you for the links to 'The Arrival' and 'The Missing'.

Posted by: Jean at December 2, 2011 5:29 PM

Gerard, Did that young poet to whom you addressed "The Arrival" continue corresponding with you?

Posted by: Daniel K Day at December 2, 2011 7:20 PM

Yes, I do hear from him infrequently.

Posted by: vanderleun at December 2, 2011 7:35 PM

The moon, the sun, the planets, the stars, the galaxies. You are showing them all to us like a carousel full of slides from the latest vacation. So, Gerard, are these maybe the places you visited while the waiting for the doctors to jump-start your ticker and reel you back in? Just curious...

Posted by: drdave at December 2, 2011 8:02 PM

There is a man, upon who's pen,
The hand of God does weigh,
But only some can comprehend,
The message sent their way,

But some divine the writing,
And understood what's writ,
It's not so much a story,
but God's movie , by the script.

So thanks, Gerard, for writing,
The screenplay of your day,
You make me look at everything,
A wholly different way.

Many thanks.

Posted by: Roger Drew Williams at December 3, 2011 9:01 PM

You are very welcome, Roger.

Posted by: vanderleun at December 3, 2011 9:17 PM

The creatures who dwell between the tiles of Heaven's floor gaze upward into the Impossible Heights.

Posted by: Joel Raupe at December 5, 2011 2:35 PM

The heavens are telling the glory of God;
And the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Psalm 19: 1

Posted by: Roger Drew Williams at December 31, 2012 5:24 PM


Posted by: Deann at December 31, 2012 9:20 PM


Posted by: DeAnn at December 31, 2012 9:21 PM

Sure, all that is evidence of a Designer. But none of it is evidence that She will break Her own rules if you chant the correct magic spells (whether led by someone with excellent dentistry and a $10,000 suit or a celibate crossdresser) and none of it is evidence that you are anything more than an emergent phenomenon in the Universe's most complicated known computing device.

Posted by: Fletcher Christian at January 1, 2013 6:08 AM

2 Timothy 3

3 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

6 They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7 always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. 9 But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.

Posted by: JoeDaddy at December 29, 2014 3:14 AM

"'It is impossible that we are orphans in an infinite universe so perfectly attuned to our needs.'

"Mr. Sykes, do you it is possible that you have it backwards? Is it possible that it is we who are attuned to its needs?"

More, that only Earth is attuned to our needs? The Universe is not one iota attuned to these purported needs.

Things believed not at all in evidence:

1. The universe must by odds bristle with life.
2. G-d created anything in such a way as to specifically invoke or manifest G-d.
3. Atheism and creationism must fight.
4. G-d is tangible.

Remember a scant 20 years ago when we rejected evolution? Now, being scientifically enlightened, we say it's in Genesis. We bandy about words about faith and divinity that we can't possibly define the actions or trajectories of while at the same time making them the pillars of existence. Or we call on the creation myth of spontaneous universal existence and insist it's secular, mathematical science.

We forget the nature of the completely and utterly Unknowable while we claim things not in evidence and not even supported by reason.

These are technical conjecture or simple belief about a universe that's neither. We can no more claim to know the mind of G-d (or the fundamental boson and its magical eternal motivator) than we can deny being of the mind of G-d and It's supernatural, eternal, Alpha and Omega motivation.

This paradox exists despite the high likelihood of both being true.

Posted by: Ten at December 29, 2016 4:31 AM

A little humility would be in order.

“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
On what were its bases sunk,
or who laid its cornerstone
when the morning stars sang together
and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy?
“Or who shut in the sea with doors
when it burst out from the womb?—
when I made the clouds its garment,
and thick darkness its swaddling band,
and prescribed bounds for it,
and set bars and doors,
and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther,
and here shall your proud waves be stopped’?

God in Job 38.4-11

Posted by: Donald Sensing at December 29, 2016 7:39 AM

To believe that someone, some greater power did all this naturally implies a much greater being than even we are. Who created it/them?

I was brought up in the church. I enjoyed church as a child. I loved to sing the hymns at the top of my longs drowned out by a thousand other singers. I took all the classes and listened to countless sermons. Around 6-7 I realized it all wasn't true. Everyone 'acted' as though it were true and I have no doubt some believed it was true. But I knew that many others right along side of me understood this was a myth, a beautiful myth to be sure but a myth. I think that most people take comfort in this belief while simultaneously realizing that it is illogical. I believe that the priests and other religious figures are included in this vast majority of doubters.
I don't go to church today, but I could go easily. I was always comfortable with my understanding of what religion is to most people and the teaching and intent is good. Like a fairy tale you tell your children to make them want to be better people/adults. It is good, it means well, it just isn't based in truth/fact.

Posted by: IdahoBob at December 29, 2016 9:55 AM

GVdL, your always inspiring evocations are gifts we cannot lose.
And what is it that our universe, or multiverse, is expanding into, and what is its source?
And to the question,'Why?' -- why not?

Posted by: Howard Nelson at December 29, 2016 9:56 AM

Idaho Bob, consider that many myths are the best ways of transmitting essential truths from generation to generation.
Draw the lessons intended by each and become a greater artist in your own life.

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