Purpose and design (Evolution)

by dhw, Friday, April 14, 2017, 11:42 (162 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Since humans are the final stage at present, why not accept this is God's intended stage? The wonders supply the balance of nature. Only the recent ones can delight humans, which was Tony's point.

Thank you for “at present”. This removes the concept of “end point”, and since none of us can read God’s mind – if he exists – it leaves wide open the question of his purpose. With my theist’s hat on, I have always allowed for God’s intentional production of humans (he can dabble if he wants to). I question your claim that the production of humans was his only goal and everything else was related to that. If your God created the wonders for humans to enjoy, why create wonders that go extinct before humans arrive? I think Tony’s point was that he created them for his own delight (he talked of God’s love for his creations), which is closer to my hypothesis than to yours, but I hope Tony will explain his own views.

DAVID: God knows where these processes are directed and how they will end.
dhw: 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: I presume God controls evolution and its processes and knows the outcome of processes He started. After all He created the Big Bang.

And with my theist’s hat on, I am questioning your presumption of prior knowledge, and have suggested the concept of deliberately engineered unpredictability. (Free will would illustrate the same principle - unless you believe your God has made us variants of the Stepford wives).

Dhw … 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: I have looked at delay as a possibility. How does one reach conclusions without a complete analysis of every aspect of history?

Precisely. And yet after your analysis of every aspect of history, you insist on your conclusion that God’s only purpose was to produce humans, and everything else was related to that. Your concept of “delay” depends entirely on there being a fixed purpose, and you have only offered it because…as I wrote last time: "you cannot make up your mind whether he was or was not in control of the ever changing environment. If he was in control, and if his sole purpose was to create humans, he delayed and you don’t know why. If he wasn’t in control, his powers were limited, which conflicts with your belief that he could have created humans without difficulty."

DAVID: If God set up evolutionary processes that led to desired goals a passage of time is required. That cannot be viewed as a delay, unless you feel God can instantly create anything. I don't. He uses evolutionary processes.

We both agree that that if God exists he used evolutionary processes! And of course evolution requires time. But this does not solve your dilemma as summarized above. That will only disappear if you abandon one or both of your two basic premises (humans as the only goal, and every other life form, lifestyle and natural wonder related to that one goal).


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