Yesterday my wife and I attended a yearly gathering of about 500 middle school musicians and singers from around the state of Connecticut — our 13 year old granddaughter was among the 500.
My attention was especially drawn to the hands of the many participants and of the conductors. Watching the conductors leading the several choirs with many body queues, especially with hand and finger gestures was fascinating — as was watching the many hands and fingers producing amazing music as many fingers danced across the whole range of orchestral instruments.
Truly an amazing day of talent and music as well as a fine demonstration of the wonders of the human hand.
Now to put the above comments into context, I invite you to read the following:
A scientific study was made on the dexterity of the human hand. In the report, several references were made to “ .. the Creator.”
Much negative reaction ensued resulting in the paper being retracted. The retraction was entirely due to the remarks referencing “the Creator”, and not disagreement with the technical content of the paper.
The following are my remarks regarding the paper and its retraction.
I find it entirely appropriate, and even commendable, that a group of researchers studying the intricacies of the human hand should (intentionally or not) credit the design they are trying to capture to a “Creator” and to ascribe the language of design to their model – the human hand … even in a so called “scientific” journal.
As far as I could tell, the end purpose of this study was for robotic or prosthetic purposes, and not to prove the existence of a “Creator.”
I read through many of the on-line comments to the PLoS ONE paper, and was appalled at the bigotry and small/closed mindedness of many of those professing to be the gate-keepers of this journal. It’s as if they have their heads inside a barrel with their fingers firmly stuck in their ears lest they hear the incessant drum beat of design coming from outside the barrel.
What I would suggest to these gate-keepers is to avail themselves of the many opportunities within their own campus and city to study first hand the beauty, adaptability and intricacies of the human hand. Get out of the laboratory … get out of the lecture hall … get out of the book you are writing. Go to an orchestral and choir event. Go to a baseball game and witness the execution of that perfect double play. Go to a football game and watch that amazing throw and fingertip catch that wins the game in the final seconds. Go to a fine art museum and gaze at the fine paintings and sculptures created by those many human hands. Go to the surgical unit at a local hospital and watch the skilled and trained hands at work on needy patients. Go to you library and scan through some of the hand written manuscripts you might find there – and carefully look at and read the US Constitution and the Declaration of Independence written carefully by human hands.
Then I would suggest a retreat back to the office, lab and lecture hall to ponder a bit:
1) Did I perhaps witness just a bit of that “divine foot in the door” in any of what I’ve seen around campus?
2) How many generations of folks like me before we stumble on the origin of the hand by evolutionary means? Will we ever even approach it?
3) About that report – it’s been retracted with seemingly little concern over the validity and/or use of the data and insights collected. Is it possible that some young enthusiastic researcher/engineer could have made use of the study in providing a somewhat useful hand to that wounded soldier? Guess that doesn’t matter as long as the feelings, yes feelings, of the Atheists is protected.
Don Johnson – March 2016