Monday, April 10, 2017

Do Animals Appreciate Beauty?

I was intrigued by an article I read recently. The last sentence in paragraph 4 states: “We admire these creations because we have a built-in sense of what is truly beautiful.—Read Psalm 19:1; 104:24.” That made me wonder, “Do animals appreciate beauty?

Some of the articles that show up in the above Google listing take the concept of “beauty” in a number of directions. One states that animals are attracted to their mate’s color, but another article disagrees and says that animals choose mates based on health, strength, and other evolutionary features. For the most part, all the articles make it plain that animals do not appreciate beauty in the same sense that humans do. They do not sit in awe of a beautiful sunset. They don’t sense an invigorating peace in walking through a calm forest of trees. The only interest they have in the beauty of flowers is to eat them. You cannot show them a masterpiece painting and expect any reaction from them. You get the idea. Appreciation of beauty is exclusively a human characteristic.

So that brought me back to humans. Why do we appreciate beauty? I expected science to say that it was partly due to the higher functions of the brain or some such thing. Instead, in paragraph 5 of a Scientific American article, I read "Our interpretation of the result comes from cognitive theories of emotion that argue that aesthetic processing is, at its core, the appraisal of the value of an object -- in other words, an assessment of whether an object is 'good for me' or 'bad for me.'" Two words stood out to me in the above. First was “interpretation.” The second was “theories.” In other words, they really don’t “know” for sure why humans appreciate beauty. It was also interesting that the article didn’t cover the beauty of nature but rather art and aesthetics.

Once again science falls short because they refuse to acknowledge that we are created by a loving God. While there are major features (not including physical) that the Bible identifies as our “being made in God’s image,” appreciation of beauty is among the smaller things that demonstrate a separation between humans and other life on this planet.

Addendum: After having posted this article, I was reading the news. The reason I made an issue about "interpretation" and "theories" in the quote above is highlighted even more in this article from Business Insider titled "The dreaming brain may provide scientists with a never-before-seen window into consciousness." (Yes, I agree, as titles go, that one is l-o-n-g.) But the point it made was debunking the long-standing science of when dreams occur (at which step in our sleep progress). It was long preached by science that it occurred during REM. This new article says that fact is 'not quite accurate.' Therefore, once again, what science "knows" (or, more precisely, what science claims to know) is always a moving target. I've noticed this in all fields of scientific "truths." Take even something as simple (one might think) as food. One day eggs are bad. The next they are good. One day chocolate is bad. The next it is good. Food sciences is not a new branch of study. You'd think they could get it right by now. LOL

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