Saturday, July 26, 2008

Conversations on the Stoop: Intelligent Design

This morning when I was weeding, a Jehova's witness who was visiting my neighbors struck up a conversation with me:

"They're beautiful, aren't they? So many different varieties. It's really amazing."

"Yes," I thought, "I work really hard at choosing varieties and colors and arranging them in a way that emphasizes the beauty of each plant and try to create a good image that you can see differently from different angles in the garden. I weed, water, fertilize, amend my soil, use organic mulch, and even grow things from seed in multi-year projects. I think I do pretty well. Thanks for noticing. (And that's not to mention all the work of botanists and others who work on plant varieties for decades.) This is the product of human effort; they don't call it hortiCULTURE for nothing. Yes, let's stop and appreciate all of that."

"You know," said the Jehova's witness, clutching her Bible, "When someone gives us a bouquet we thank them for being so thoughtful. It's interesting that when many people look at flowers like these that they don't recognize that there's a designer. Some people think that we we evolved and all that, but when you see these flowers, you know it's intelligent design."

I told her I disagreed with her because I knew she didn't realize who the intelligent designer of this particular patch really was and walked inside.


George Entenman said...

I'm thinking that you're sounding a bit like a Republican, believing that you did it all yourself without the help of a whole society to supply the seeds, mulch, know-how, etc. Then I realize that the Jehovah's Witness - no doubt a Republican (if anything) - thinks that we are responsible for nothing at all because some Intelligence designed everything. Are those contradictory ideas or do they somehow blend together?

Unknown said...

Yeah, I thought about the intense human agency that goes into hybridizing plants as part of the labor that went into my garden too. Maybe I'll re-edit and add it in. I just thought it was amazing that there I was, actually working in my garden and this person acted as if it had all been done simply by a "higher power."