Writing and Naturalistic Bees

My church’s Bible study group was good last night.  We’re going through Margaret Feinberg’s Scouting the Divine: My Search for God in Wine, Wool, and Wild Honey.  Two things stood out to me.

1.  We watched the DVD in which Margaret speaks.  Margaret was talking about different kinds of bees and the distinct roles that they play in making honey.  She then went on say that Christians in the body of Christ perform necessary roles, whether or not they feel that their work is important.  She said that there are times when she doubts the importance of her own work.  How can that be, when she is an author, speaker, and Bible teacher?  Margaret responded to that question by saying that she doesn’t see many of the people whom she impacts, and that she spends a lot of her time in research or in front of her computer screen, with no other company than God.  In those lonely times, she wonders if she is making any impact at all.

I appreciated Margaret’s honest comments about what it’s like to be a writer.  Personally, I like writing because of the solitude.  I wonder what kind of difference I am making, and I assume that this feeling will go away were I to become published and more well-known.  Not necessarily!

2.  Margaret quotes the beekeeper she interviews in the book as saying that an atheist who sees a hive would believe in God, presumably on account of the hive’s order.  My pastor agreed with that comment, for he noted that each bee somehow knows its distinct role in making honey.  He wonders how that could be the case, had God not programmed the bees to do so.

I wouldn’t be surprised if an atheist could come up with an explanation.  I don’t fully know what it would be, but I wouldn’t be surprised.  I’ve heard evolutionists say that animals learn that something works, and then they pass on what they learn to their offspring, such that it becomes instinct.  Animals that don’t do this are the ones that don’t survive.  In this model, I speculate, bees found a way to support themselves by making honey, which happens to be delicious for humans, and so they were survivors who passed down that know-how to their offspring.

Feel free to comment, only don’t put me or anyone else down as stupid.  I admit that I don’t know much about bees.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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3 Responses to Writing and Naturalistic Bees

  1. gabo says:

    Don’t know about atheists or “evolutionists”. I’m not one. I just wanna say that, if a biologist wants to be honest, he won’t say “yes, there is an explanation”, cos biology is not about that. He should, rather say: “that explanation can make any sense? well, if it does, then, IT MIGHT BE an explanation”. I put “it might be” in big letters to emphasize that a honest biology is not allowed to say, for instance, “then IT IS an explanation”, instead.

    All the opposite, the honest biologist should try to critic his own explanation and ask himself if there could be a BETTER explanation. So, he must continue searching the subject. That’s what science is supposed to be about: to try to find better and better explanations, and it is, cos a honest scientist should be aware that (at this stage of knowlodge) he’s TOO FAR from the actual truths about nature.

    Hope this helps (:


  2. jamesbradfordpate says:

    I think what you say overlaps with science. I’d say that they view evolution as supported by evidence, but science entails the possibility of falsifiability.


  3. Dennis Bayram says:

    Honestly, I know nothing of bees in particular. But I do know evolution, and methods it uses somewhat, to give a hint at what the answer might entail.

    What you often have from an evolutionary perspective is that with some adaptations, you open up a whole new set of possible adaptations.

    For example, when you had an organ which gave fish the ability to breathe outside of the water, in order to survive in small ‘ponds’ or rivers which suffers from low levels of oxygen, you suddenly opened up to an adaptation of life outside of water. As these fish adapted to terrestial life, their gills was unnecessary, maybe even harmful and they lost them, which also meant that they could not head back to the water.

    What I want to get at, is that when we look at bees today, having a coorperative behavior with honey which is essential to them today, might not have been the case all the way back.

    You might have had a common bug like a flyish type. Which then had a mutation or set of mutations which made it secrete some nutritional substrate which benefited its offspring. From there you then might get some beneficial adaptation by living in a group, in which you can help feed your groups offspring, ensuring the best reproductive and survival rate of the group. And after that you get specialization.

    Of course, this is a just-so story, I’ll admit that, because I have no particular knowledge on bees. But this is a hypothetical stepwise scenario that could lead to a bee-like existence.


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