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ARTIST   5'?m2f Evolution, creation, design

LIZ -- (enters carrying briefcase, begins crossing)

AMY -- (follows carrying open top briefcase) Elizabeth?

LIZ -- (stops, turns) Yes?

AMY -- Hi. You got a minute?

LIZ -- Sure. What do you need?

AMY -- At the party the other night, you said that you could
look at a piece of art and tell a lot about the artist. Did you
mean that?

LIZ -- Sure. Why?

AMY -- Do you have a minute to look at a couple of works of art?
(reaches into briefcase, pulls out book, opens to marked page,
offers it)

LIZ -- Sure. (opens, points to book) These two pictures here?

AMY -- Yes.

LIZ -- I see you covered up the captions under the pictures. I
hope you don't expect me to identify the artist, because....

AMY -- ...Oh, no. I just want to see what you can tell me about
these works of art without any help from the author.

LIZ -- (examines pictures on both pages of open book) I see.
You're trying to trick me.

AMY -- No, I'm really interested in how you can tell about the
artist from merely looking at his art work.

LIZ -- Okay, well, to the untrained eye, these (points) both
look like abstract paintings.

AMY -- They're not?

LIZ -- No. One of them is not really art at all.

AMY -- How can you tell? They both use about the same colors.
And neither one of them depicts anything familiar.

LIZ -- That's true. But on this one, (points) the paint is
applied completely at random. There is no symmetry, no pattern,
it evokes no emotion. It doesn't convey any information. I'd say
this one was painted by a small child.

AMY -- As a matter of fact, it was painted by a chimpanzee. So,
you can see the difference?

LIZ -- Yes, look at the detail in the abstract painting. The
minute brush strokes, the pattern, the orientation, the
functionality. This painting sends information about the subject
and about the artist himself. I'd say from looking at this
painting that the artist was well educated and well-organized.

AMY -- Isn't that amazing?! This painting sold for half a
million dollars.

LIZ -- Well, in the art world, the value of a work of art is
unduly influenced by the artist's reputation.

AMY -- In other words, some art works are valuable merely
because of who the artist is?

LIZ -- Exactly.

AMY -- Well, I'm really impressed. (puts away book, removes hand
mirror from briefcase) Could you look at one more work of art
for me?

LIZ -- Sure.

AMY -- (holds mirror in front of Liz's face) What can you tell
me about the artist?

LIZ -- The artist?

AMY -- Yes. Is it random paint blotches with no symmetry, no
pattern, no attention to detail, no functionality?

LIZ -- (pushes mirror down) I know what you're doing.

AMY -- What am I doing?

LIZ -- This is not about our discussion about art. This is about
our discussion about evolution. You're trying to trick me into
saying that the image in the mirror there is random and stupid.

AMY -- Actually, it's just the opposite. I'm merely trying to
get you to objectively evaluate yourself as a work of art. Do
you see symmetry in that image? (lifts mirror, points)

LIZ -- Alright, I guess if you put it like that, yes, there is
lots of symmetry, bilateral symmetry, to be precise.

AMY -- What about patterns? What about attention to detail? What
about functionality? Do you see a lot or a little in that image?

LIZ -- (sigh) Alright, I suppose, if you put it like that,
there's a pretty fair amount of all of those qualities in that
image. Patterns, attention to detail, and functionality.

AMY -- Then, overall, how would you evaluate the artist?

LIZ -- There is no artist. I told you that the other night at
the party.

AMY -- Oh, that's right. You said that evolution only LOOKS like
intelligent design.

LIZ -- Yes.

AMY -- So, when you see symmetry, detail and functionality in
art work, you assume intelligence. But when you see symmetry,
detail and functionality in nature, it's blind chance. Is that
right?

LIZ -- That's right.

AMY -- Even though this work of art not only has symmetry,
functionality and patterns, it also has moving parts and has the
ability to spontaneously reproduce itself into another work of
art? Wouldn't you credit the artist with a little intelligence?

LIZ -- No.

AMY -- So, you won't even attribute this artist the intelligence
of a chimpanzee?

LIZ -- I told you, there is no artist! (turns, exits) It's just
blind chance!

AMY -- (exits opposite) Well, thanks for the art lesson.

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