I’m a science guy. I’ve taught chemistry and physics all my life. And of course I believe in evolution. The scientific data for it is pretty compelling. But there are some things that evolution just can’t explain.
Recently I stayed late at school — working and listening to music. Somewhere in the middle of Amy Grant’s “Breath of Heaven,” I started thinking.
We’ve studied sound and music in physics for years. We know they’re nothing more than a bunch of vibrations. Put your fingers on a table when somebody’s banging on it: That’s all that sound and music are — the vibrations you feel through your fingers.
But when those same vibrations are picked up by your eardrums and sent to the right part of the brain, a really cool transformation takes place. Those vibrations begin to have meaning.
Now you can certainly make an evolutionary argument as to why someone who recognizes different sounds has a competitive advantage, since speech obviously gives anyone an advantage. But music?
I’ve always found it amazing that certain combinations of vibrations can be so pleasing. What could possibly cause our brains to interpret those sounds that way? I can’t think of any evolutionary advantage for a being who understands music over one who doesn’t.
Yet, there it is: music — just a bunch of vibrations. But a bunch of vibrations that can move us, influence us, and bring so many thoughts and emotions.
And here the scientist in me finds God. What other explanation for music? Evolution alone just can’t seem to explain it satisfactorily, this gift of God to us.
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