Purpose and design (Evolution)

by dhw, Thursday, April 13, 2017, 10:19 (42 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Why not accept the possibility that there was no “delay” because your God simply didn’t set out to produce humans and/or everything else was not related to that purpose? As for “our enjoyment”, do you honestly believe that Nature’s wonders only arrived after humans appeared? Why not accept the possibility that Nature’s wonders were not for OUR enjoyment but for your God’s?
DAVID: Tony's response yesterday answers your question of 'why' by pointing out working through stages of development: Wednesday, April 12, 2017, 03:09. Enjoyment was also one of Tony's suggestions. When we arrived the wonders were there for our enjoyment. Pre-planning or just balance of nature for food supply?

We all agree that life’s history has developed through stages, and if God exists, it is perfectly reasonable to say God wanted it that way. It does not mean God started out with the single intention of producing humans and everything else was related to that! As for the wonders, do you really believe the only wonders were those that survived until humans appeared?

Dhw: I’m sure even an atheist would agree that humans could not appear until conditions were right, but how does that make humans the sole purpose for every phase in the development of life forms and of the environment?
DAVID: I do not think you follow Tony as I do. Tony is describing a God who sets up processes to create certain life forms and certain environmental conditions.

If God exists, you are merely saying that whatever happened was what he wanted to happen. I don’t think any theist would disagree.

DAVID: God knows where these processes are directed and how they will end.

How do you know what God knows? You are assuming omniscience and totally discounting the possibility that your God might deliberately have set up a system in which the outcomes are unpredictable. (Human free will could be an example of just such a system.)

DAVID: When they reach His anticipated endpoint, He moves on to the next process or step in evolution, always under his control but in steps by processes. Tony's description fits my idea of God using evolution for all accomplishments He desires, in universe, Earth, and animal and plant goals. What looks like delay to us is staged purposeful development.

You and I believe in evolution, and if God exists, then of course he uses evolution for all the accomplishments he desires. But it is you who keep talking of “delay” because you insist that the only accomplishment he desired was the production of humans! If the accomplishment he desired was the unpredictable unfolding of a vast variety of living forms, and if this led to the unpredictable behaviour of one particular species, we have a full explanation of every phase of life’s history, without all your convoluted explanations for a “delay” that was not a delay.

DAVID: This may be a required methodology or simply God's way of doing things. It does not necessarily imply limits for God, although in my mind it remains a possible interpretation.

Required by whom? If God exists, then obviously what happened was his way of doing things. One moment you dismiss the very idea of limitations – he could produce humans without any difficulty – and the next you reinstate its possibility because you cannot get round your self-imposed problem of delay.

DAVID: As for producing humans, I interpret Tony's view as cautioning humans to accept their existence in a humble manner, not glorifying in it as the only special group created by God. For example, he lists angels, etc., coming first.

I’m sure Tony will tell us in due course whether he does or does not think that his God designed the weaverbird’s nest, and whether all such wonders were designed to provide energy to keep life going until God could achieve his one and only purpose of producing humans.


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