God and evolution (Evolution)

by dhw, Thursday, March 23, 2017, 12:43 (67 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Once more: you agreed that it did not make sense for an all-powerful God to have a specific purpose (to produce humans) and then spend 3.X billion years producing other things. But you did come up with a clear explanation. Instead of questioning the purpose you had imposed on your God, you questioned his powers, and came up with the idea that he was LIMITED (your word) and therefore HAD TO (your words) wait until he was able to produce humans. A simple either or?
DAVID: Of course a simple either or. God shows no evidence of instantaneous creation of anything. Big Bang is followed by development of the current universe, a life-giving Earth is developed and humans are finally evolved. He took his time by choice or by limitation. No one can tell which is correct.

You don’t need to repeat the history. It is your interpretation of the history and of your God’s purpose that leads you to contradictions. You dismissed #1 because “any power that can produce a fine-tuned universe can then see to the creation of humans without difficulty.” But your hypothetical explanation for the delay is that it may have been caused by God’s limitations, which can only mean there were difficulties he could not overcome for 3.X billion years.

DAVID: #2 Why bother with a fine-tuned universe if humans are not expected in the planning?
dhw: The fine tuning would apply to all species. The unfolding diversity of life could have been an end in itself, with humans as an afterthought.
DAVID: Humans are too superior to all other animals to be an afterthought, but you have your approach and I have mine.

An afterthought does not in any way reduce human “superiority”! The “delay” is the problem, and you have now disowned the only explanation you could find. There would be no “delay” if he did NOT start out with the intention of creating humans.

DAVID: They [pantheists] also reject a specific personal God or a god that is somehow endowed with human attributes." (David's bold)
That is the nub of our difference: God does not have human attributes.
dhw: That is not the nub of our difference at all.
DAVID: Then why do you constantly apply human wishes and desires to Him?

Your God’s nature and your God’s evolutionary method are two separate issues, but they overlap when you insist that you know God’s purpose. It is your anthropocentric reading of God’s mind that leads you to the contradictions exemplified above, but in any case even you can scarcely avoid the fact that if God really did set out to produce humans, he must have had a reason for doing so! See below, under "Ruminations".

dhw: The nub of our difference is your insistence that your God’s purpose from the start was to produce humans, and he dabbled or preprogrammed all innovations, lifestyles and natural wonders accordingly. It is precisely because you insist on this personal, anthropocentric purpose that we engage in speculation on the purpose of that purpose.
DAVID: I understand that you think humans are not much of a purpose, when I see them arriving against all odds and not driven to appear by the challenges of nature as shown by the fact that the apes stayed the same during the entire course of time it took us to appear.

Repeated ad nauseam: the “against all odds/challenges of nature” argument applies to all forms of multicellular life. But I accept the specialness of humans, and have allowed for it in all three hypotheses.

DAVID: God does not have human attributes!

Here is last week’s exchange under “Ruminations”:

dhw: Sitting back and observing is just what we do in the theatre or cinema. And it is perfectly feasible that he would do so just as we do. What sort of non-human way of observing can you think of if the observer is as conscious as we are?
DAVID (16 March at 14.52): We just don't know. Is His consciousness like ours? Again unknown.
dhw: No, we don’t know, any more than we know whether God exists, or what was the origin of life, or what is God’s purpose and nature if he exists. [...] It is perfectly possible that a conscious creator would share attributes with his conscious creations.
DAVID: You are right. It is perfectly reasonable to assume that some of God's personality attributes are similar to ours in some way.

16 March: “We just don’t know” if his consciousness is like ours, and it is “perfectly reasonable” to assume similarities (you even offered “loneliness” as a possible explanation for his creation of life), but on 22 March suddenly you do know: “God does not have human attributes!”

To return to the subject of this thread, your digression on panentheism does not alter the fact that your explanation of evolution does not make sense even to you, since you now refute the one explanation you had for the delay (God’s hypothetical limitations), and you have nothing to put in its place except to reiterate that that is how God did it. If you can’t explain a premise, perhaps you should consider the possibility that the premise you can’t explain is wrong.

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