THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE FIRST PRINCIPLES IN THE MIND OF A CHILD

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Excerpted from The Evidence of God in an Expanding Universe, edited by John Clover Monsma. New York: G.P. Putman’s Sons, 1958

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By Andrew Conway Ivy, Ph.D., M.D., D.Sc, LL.D., F.A.C.P.

Dr. Ivy is a scientist of world-wide renown. He was appointed by the American Medical Association as its representative at the 1946 Nuremberg Medical Trial for Nazi doctors and is the recipient of decorations from many American and foreign scientific institutions. From 1923 to 1946 he was Head of the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Northwestern University Medical School; from 1946 to 1953 he was Vice President of the University of Illinois. Presently he is Distinguished Professor of Physi­ology and Head of the Department of Clinical Science, U. of III. College of Medicine, Chicago. Among the positions he has filled in the past are: Scientific Director, Naval Medical Research Institute; Commander, Aviation Medical Naval Re­serve Corps; Consultant to U.S. Secretary of War; President, American Gastro-Enterological Association; and President, American Physiological Society. Dr. Ivy has written more than a thousand (1,320) scientific articles, and is one of the world’s outstanding specialists in cancer and functions and ailments of the gastrointestinal tract.

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When I was three years old, as is true of most three-to-five-year-old children, I asked my father and mother: “Who made me?” “Who made the birds?” “Who made our cow?” “Who made the world?” The facts of life, or my sense experi­ence, had so interacted with my mind while it had been developing that my young unsophisticated intellect had concluded that there cannot be a “machine without a maker.” My intellect had moved the appropriate part of my brain to inquire beyond the immediate facts, namely, that there is a me, a bird, a cow, and had in addition concluded that there cannot be a me, a bird, a cow without a sufficient cause, a maker.

My simple, naive, unsophisticated, un-confused, non-frus­trated, non-neurotic, rational mind had discovered and expressed the most basic philosophical and scientific prin­ciples of existence and thought ever conceived by the mind of man.

The machinery for the development of mind in my brain had so interacted (or was conjoined) with sense experience (the material cause) as to develop sufficient mind or intellect to produce a sense of being, or a sense of “I am,” or “this is me.” It had also produced a sense of non-being: “I am not a bird, or a cow, or a world.” In other words, my mind had expressed the fact or principle of being and non-being. It had also expressed the concept of a part and a whole, and that the whole is greater than a part.

Not long after a sense of being and non-being develops, the child becomes aware of the first principle of thought, namely, “We cannot affirm and deny a thing at the same time.” The little boy says: “I am Tom” and “That is my sister Mary.” The intellect of the little boy is too rational to say, except as a joke: “I am Mary and my sister is Tom.” The child also soon discovers that it is incorrect to say that a square is round. The child realizes that a square has a “suffi­cient reason,” and its sufficient reason makes it a square and makes it intelligible.

This knowledge of the child and the fact that the child has inquired “Who made me?” and “Who made the world?” demonstrate the discovery by the child of the basic principle of causality. This principle is also expressed as: “the law of causation”; “there cannot be an effect without a cause”; “there cannot be a machine without a maker”; “for every change there is a cause.” The thinking moves as a causal chain from the judgment of “the existence of me” and “of the world” to the existence of God as the Prime Cause; or from the existence of motion to the Prime Mover. Another means of expressing the trend of thought is: Design is evi­dent; design must have a designer; the designer must be a personality of infinite qualities; and that personality is God. So compelling is the natural law of the relation of cause and effect that the developing mind of the three-to-five-year-old child realizes that there must be a Creator.

I have dedicated my life as a scientist to look for the cause beyond the immediately known facts. My mind as it has been developed by sense experiences (and their correlation) in­sists on looking beyond the immediate facts of life to discover valuable new facts or truth regarding the material and spiritual aspects of existence. In my search I have read and studied in the field of Natural Science, or of “the world as it actually is,” and in the field of Moral, Ethical and Religious Science, or “the world as it ought to be.” I have found that many excellent writers, many who are known as philosophers, and many otherwise excellent thinkers either have made subtle and sometimes obvious errors which stir up dust, or set up a barrier against looking beyond the immediate facts, or have ignored the immediate and well known facts. The scientist who does such things in his laboratory places a barrier against his progress. It is by recognizing the known facts, by looking beyond them in the laboratory of material and spiritual values, of law and order, by being guided by the reason (ratio) in natural law, and by being energized by faith, hope, and love of the truth, that all progress is made.

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