God and evolution (Evolution)

by dhw, Thursday, March 16, 2017, 12:17 (159 days ago)

Once again, the threads are overlapping, and so I will pick out the salient points:

DAVID: It is simple to recognize God might have wanted to evolve the big brain over time as His choice of development. You are suggesting a limited God, which possibility I originally expressed, but that He wanted this other approach to development is just as probable.

It was you who suggested a limited God because you could not make any sense of the scenario in which an all-powerful God would have to design millions of life forms, lifestyles and natural wonders before he personally or his 3.8-billion-year programme was able to enlarge the human brain. Here is the relevant quote taken from my post under “Evolution took a long time” (27 February at 12.23). I summarized the above hypothesis and added: “and his ability to dabble makes even you wonder why he couldn’t have produced us more directly. It just doesn’t make sense.” I then quoted your reply: “Guess what? It doesn’t make sense to me either”, and you went on to repeat the obvious: “but he did not directly create humans. He used an evolutionary process…” etc. (The problem of course is why!) Later you came up with the explanation that maybe God HAD to do it that way because he was limited. From then on, he has either been limited or not limited, but that does not alter the fact that your theory does not make sense to you unless he is limited. The all-powerful approach fails to answer the question of why he didn’t do the one thing he wanted to do. Your only answer, repeated over and over again, is that he used evolution, the latest example coming under “dark matter”:
DAVID’S comment: This is more evidence that the universe evolved and God uses an evolutionary method to achieve His goals.
If you believe in evolution and you believe in God, then of course you believe that God used an evolutionary method. But that does mean he preprogrammed or dabbled the weaverbird’s nest, the frog’s tongue or the fly’s compound eye in order to keep life going until he could produce humans. And in relation to solar systems, we now have him either not in control and having to wait until the right system comes along, or being in full control and creating lots of galaxies with lots of life forms (all apparently culminating in humans!).

DAVID: As I've explained, He has the right to chose any method of getting to creating humans in any way He chooses. He may be in total control yet look limited.

Yes of course he has the right if he is the creator of everything. We are discussing the logic and likelihood of him using the particular methods you ascribe to him. It is you who keep telling us that he may or may not be in total control. I don’t know how he can “look” anything. Have you seen him?

I offered various (unproven) alternatives to your (unproven) hypotheses, and asked you (1) where these alternative hypotheses (as unproven as your own) fail to match evolutionary history, and (2) why they are not just as convincing as yours.

DAVID: Because some of your proposals take control from God, I find those unacceptable granted that He may have some limits. Those He probably can overcome given time to make corrections.

How can you object to the possibility of God not being in control when you keep telling us you don’t know whether he is in full control or not? However, do tell us what mistakes he might have made that needed correcting.

DAVID: In my reasoning I see overwhelming evidence that humans were the endpoint of evolution. I have previously listed all of those.

I have included that possibility among my alternatives. However, you have taken to using “endpoint” rather than “purpose”. Not necessarily the same. I’ll be delighted if this signals a departure from your dogmatic insistence that God set out from the very beginning to produce humans and designed everything else for that purpose.

DAVID: Will you ever accept the point that the balance supplies the necessary energy for life to continue, and is required?
dhw: It is nature that supplies the energy, and the balance at any particular time is formed by whichever organisms are best able to exploit the energy provided [etc.].
DAVID: Perversely the same mis-interpretation. Only a proper balance of nature can supply the energy needed for life to continue throughout evolution. I have shown you improper balances and what happens.

As I have pointed out several times now, the examples you give concern human interference which changes the balance of nature into something we consider to be improper. This does not mean that life will not continue, with or without humans. Throughout the history of evolution prior to humans, the balance constantly changed as conditions changed, but life continued in accordance with which species were best able to use the conditions, as remains the case today, except that there were no humanly judged “proper” or “improper” balances. The ever changing balance of nature gives no support to your God-designed-it-all-for-the-sake-of-humans hypothesis. It simply forces you into contradictory arguments plus repetition of the obvious: that if God exists and evolution happened, then God used evolution.
r

God and evolution

by David Turell @, Thursday, March 16, 2017, 15:20 (158 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: If you believe in evolution and you believe in God, then of course you believe that God used an evolutionary method. But that does mean he preprogrammed or dabbled the weaverbird’s nest, the frog’s tongue or the fly’s compound eye in order to keep life going until he could produce humans.

The fact that God uses evolution to produce complicated life including humans relates to natures wonders as parts of the balance of nature. The weirdly diverse life forms create micro-niches of balance which allows for everyone to eat someone and have the energy to continue evolution which takes time. Your statement above seems to agree with me.

dhw: And in relation to solar systems, we now have him either not in control and having to wait until the right system comes along, or being in full control and creating lots of galaxies with lots of life forms (all apparently culminating in humans!).

Either is possible. I can't make a choice. Both are acceptable.


dhw: I offered various (unproven) alternatives to your (unproven) hypotheses, and asked you (1) where these alternative hypotheses (as unproven as your own) fail to match evolutionary history, and (2) why they are not just as convincing as yours.

Mine are God centered. So we differ. Yes, from your viewpoint your theories fit.


DAVID: Because some of your proposals take control from God, I find those unacceptable granted that He may have some limits. Those He probably can overcome given time to make corrections.

dhw: How can you object to the possibility of God not being in control when you keep telling us you don’t know whether he is in full control or not? However, do tell us what mistakes he might have made that needed correcting.

I've never suggested mistakes. Possible limitations have been discussed.


DAVID: In my reasoning I see overwhelming evidence that humans were the endpoint of evolution. I have previously listed all of those.

dhw: I have included that possibility among my alternatives. However, you have taken to using “endpoint” rather than “purpose”. Not necessarily the same. I’ll be delighted if this signals a departure from your dogmatic insistence that God set out from the very beginning to produce humans and designed everything else for that purpose.

"Endpoint" means as I have said, humans are the end of evolution. God's purpose was to produce humans to reach that endpoint. Yes, the words are not the same.

dhw: It is nature that supplies the energy, and the balance at any particular time is formed by whichever organisms are best able to exploit the energy provided [etc.].

DAVID: Perversely the same mis-interpretation. Only a proper balance of nature can supply the energy needed for life to continue throughout evolution. I have shown you improper balances and what happens.

dhw: As I have pointed out several times now, the examples you give concern human interference which changes the balance of nature into something we consider to be improper. This does not mean that life will not continue, with or without humans.

The examples are to show how delicate that balance can be, nothing more. And yes, life will continue with or without humans. What is your point?

dhw: Throughout the history of evolution prior to humans, the balance constantly changed as conditions changed, but life continued in accordance with which species were best able to use the conditions, as remains the case today, except that there were no humanly judged “proper” or “improper” balances. The ever changing balance of nature gives no support to your God-designed-it-all-for-the-sake-of-humans hypothesis.

It is not meant to support my God-runs-evolution-to-reach-humans. It teaches that balance is necessary for life to have the energy to continue evolving under God's guidance, creating life's diversity.

dhw: It simply forces you into contradictory arguments plus repetition of the obvious: that if God exists and evolution happened, then God used evolution.

Yes, I produce some contradictory possibilities when the evidence offers them.

r

God and evolution

by dhw, Friday, March 17, 2017, 12:54 (157 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: If you believe in evolution and you believe in God, then of course you believe that God used an evolutionary method. But that does mean he preprogrammed or dabbled the weaverbird’s nest, the frog’s tongue or the fly’s compound eye in order to keep life going until he could produce humans.
DAVID: The fact that God uses evolution to produce complicated life including humans relates to natures wonders as parts of the balance of nature. The weirdly diverse life forms create micro-niches of balance which allows for everyone to eat someone and have the energy to continue evolution which takes time. Your statement above seems to agree with me.

So far so good. Nobody would deny that every organism needs energy, and that evolution takes time (approx. 3.8 billion years till now). But you’ve left out your contention that the purpose of all these micro-niches extant and extinct was to buy time until evolution produced humans. The higgledy-piggledy changes in the balance of nature as energy supplies kept varying would have enabled life and evolution to continue even without the production of humans. And life would still continue if there were nothing but bacteria, flies and the duck-billed platypus. As regards humans being the endpoint (if they are – evolution probably still has a few billion years to run), I have offered you theistic alternatives: your God may have experimented in order to produce us, or we may have been a new idea that came to him as evolution progressed. I’m afraid I remain sceptical that he said to himself: “I must specially design the fly’s compound eye so that life will continue until I am able to dabble with the pre-human brain.”

dhw: I offered various (unproven) alternatives to your (unproven) hypotheses, and asked you (1) where these alternative hypotheses (as unproven as your own) fail to match evolutionary history, and (2) why they are not just as convincing as yours.
DAVID: Mine are God centered. So we differ. Yes, from your viewpoint your theories fit.

Thank you. All my alternatives explicitly allow for God at their centre, so they fit from all points of view.

DAVID: (15 March at 18.20) ...some of your proposals take control from God, I find those unacceptable granted that He may have some limits. Those He probably can overcome given time to make corrections.
dhw: How can you object to the possibility of God not being in control when you keep telling us you don’t know whether he is in full control or not? However, do tell us what mistakes he might have made that needed correcting.
DAVID: I've never suggested mistakes. Possible limitations have been discussed.

I don’t know how you can make corrections without something having gone wrong. In any case, your objection was that some of my proposals took control away from God. Look at this exchange:
dhw: And in relation to solar systems, we now have him either not in control and having to wait until the right system comes along, or being in full control and creating lots of galaxies with lots of life forms (all apparently culminating in humans!).
DAVID: Either is possible. I can't make a choice. Both are acceptable.

So a hypothesis in which God is not in control is acceptable, whereas two days ago a hypothesis in which God is not in control is unacceptable.

Dhw (re balance of nature): As I have pointed out several times now, the examples you give concern human interference which changes the balance of nature into something we consider to be improper. This does not mean that life will not continue, with or without humans.
DAVID: The examples are to show how delicate that balance can be, nothing more. And yes, life will continue with or without humans. What is your point?

My point is that the ever changing balance of nature gives no support to your God-designed-it-all-for-the-sake-of-humans hypothesis.

DAVID:It is not meant to support my God-runs-evolution-to-reach-humans. It teaches that balance is necessary for life to have the energy to continue evolving under God's guidance, creating life's diversity.

The balance is constantly changing! Energy is necessary for life to continue, and the changing supply of energy leads to life’s diversity. That’s it. Why do you insert “under God’s guidance”? Maybe God created the evolutionary mechanism to run its own course (though he might have dabbled.) You have always used the balance of nature argument as if somehow it was geared to the production of humans. I am delighted that you are at last withdrawing that attempted link and only relating the ever changing balance of nature to the diversity of life. I suggest you leave it at that.

dhw: It simply forces you into contradictory arguments plus repetition of the obvious: that if God exists and evolution happened, then God used evolution.
DAVID: Yes, I produce some contradictory possibilities when the evidence offers them.

Quite right too. That is the reason for my agnosticism, but it is also the reason why one of your two God-runs-evolution-to-reach-humans hypotheses makes no sense even to you (see yesterday's post). Yes, humans have a remarkably advanced level of consciousness, which makes them very special. But – once more – that does not mean your God designed or had to design the fly’s compound eye in order to balance nature in order to keep life going until he was able to produce the human brain.

God and evolution

by David Turell @, Saturday, March 18, 2017, 00:29 (157 days ago) @ dhw


dhw:So far so good. Nobody would deny that every organism needs energy, and that evolution takes time (approx. 3.8 billion years till now). But you’ve left out your contention that the purpose of all these micro-niches extant and extinct was to buy time until evolution produced humans.

He wasn't 'buying time'. He may well have wanted that much time to pass. After all, if He has been around forever, time doesn't matter, except to you.

dhw: As regards humans being the endpoint (if they are – evolution probably still has a few billion years to run), I have offered you theistic alternatives: your God may have experimented in order to produce us, or we may have been a new idea that came to him as evolution progressed. I’m afraid I remain sceptical that he said to himself: “I must specially design the fly’s compound eye so that life will continue until I am able to dabble with the pre-human brain.”

If He has been in full control, humans came whenever He wanted them. If He is limited then He had to wait, either or. Either way the balance of nature fed everyone.

dhw: In any case, your objection was that some of my proposals took control away from God. Look at this exchange:
dhw: And in relation to solar systems, we now have him either not in control and having to wait until the right system comes along, or being in full control and creating lots of galaxies with lots of life forms (all apparently culminating in humans!).
DAVID: Either is possible. I can't make a choice. Both are acceptable.

dhw: So a hypothesis in which God is not in control is acceptable, whereas two days ago a hypothesis in which God is not in control is unacceptable.

I have always said He might have limits.


dhw: My point is that the ever changing balance of nature gives no support to your God-designed-it-all-for-the-sake-of-humans hypothesis.

DAVID:It is not meant to support my God-runs-evolution-to-reach-humans. It teaches that balance is necessary for life to have the energy to continue evolving under God's guidance, creating life's diversity.

dhw: The balance is constantly changing! Energy is necessary for life to continue, and the changing supply of energy leads to life’s diversity. That’s it. Why do you insert “under God’s guidance”? Maybe God created the evolutionary mechanism to run its own course (though he might have dabbled.) You have always used the balance of nature argument as if somehow it was geared to the production of humans. I am delighted that you are at last withdrawing that attempted link and only relating the ever changing balance of nature to the diversity of life. I suggest you leave it at that.

I won't leave it. Humans took 3.8 billion years, and the process needed energy all the way. That is the only relationship to my concept that humans are the purpose of evolution.


dhw: That is the reason for my agnosticism, but it is also the reason why one of your two God-runs-evolution-to-reach-humans hypotheses makes no sense even to you (see yesterday's post). Yes, humans have a remarkably advanced level of consciousness, which makes them very special. But – once more – that does not mean your God designed or had to design the fly’s compound eye in order to balance nature in order to keep life going until he was able to produce the human brain.

Covered in my last statement. 3.8 billion years may or may not relate to His ability to produce us. It may well be His choice to wait that long. Remember we do not know if He is limited. All we know is He uses evolutionary processes for everything He develops.

God and evolution

by dhw, Saturday, March 18, 2017, 12:49 (156 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Nobody would deny that every organism needs energy, and that evolution takes time (approx. 3.8 billion years till now). But you’ve left out your contention that the purpose of all these micro-niches extant and extinct was to buy time until evolution produced humans.
DAVID: He wasn't 'buying time'. He may well have wanted that much time to pass.

You keep slipping from one of your hypotheses to the other. You don’t know whether he was or wasn’t capable of doing what he wanted to do. If he wasn’t capable, he had to “wait” – I call that “buying time” as you think he had to find ways to keep life going until humans appeared - as confirmed by your next comment (bolded). Your other hypothesis is that he did have the ability, but for some unknown reason chose to go the roundabout route – a scenario which, as I keep quoting ad nauseam, does not make sense to either of us.

DAVID: If He has been in full control, humans came whenever He wanted them. If He is limited then He had to wait, either or. Either way the balance of nature fed everyone.

Once more, the balance of nature never fed anyone. It is sources of energy that do the feeding, and they didn’t feed everyone, because 99% of everyone went extinct, which is why the balance of nature kept changing. Either way, however, control or non-control, we agree that life continued and humans “came”.

dhw: ...your objection was that some of my proposals took control away from God.
DAVID: I have always said He might have limits.

And that is why, when you say you don't know whether your God is in full control or not, you contradict yourself by rejecting any hypothesis that takes control away from him.

dhw You have always used the balance of nature argument as if somehow it was geared to the production of humans. I am delighted that you are at last withdrawing that attempted link and only relating the ever changing balance of nature to the diversity of life. I suggest you leave it at that.
DAVID: I won't leave it. Humans took 3.8 billion years, and the process needed energy all the way. That is the only relationship to my concept that humans are the purpose of evolution.

The process of life needs energy all the way, regardless of what organism we are talking about. You have agreed that “balance of nature” offers no support to your hypothesis that humans are the purpose of evolution, and we both agree, as above, that life went on and humans “came”, so what are we arguing about?

DAVID: All we know is He uses evolutionary processes for everything He develops.

Precisely. We both believe that evolution happened, and if God exists, he used evolutionary processes. But see the thread on “ruminations” for various alternatives to your hypothesis that he preprogrammed or dabbled the fly’s compound eye in order to keep life going until humans came.

God and evolution

by David Turell @, Saturday, March 18, 2017, 13:45 (156 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: You keep slipping from one of your hypotheses to the other. You don’t know whether he was or wasn’t capable of doing what he wanted to do. If he wasn’t capable, he had to “wait” – I call that “buying time” as you think he had to find ways to keep life going until humans appeared - as confirmed by your next comment (bolded). Your other hypothesis is that he did have the ability, but for some unknown reason chose to go the roundabout route – a scenario which, as I keep quoting ad nauseam, does not make sense to either of us.

You keep trying to make sense of the unknowable. It is quite a problem for you. I am perfectly comfortable to making 'slippery' hypotheses when I see two or three possible explanations none of which should be set in stone, as you are wont to do when reading what I opine as possibilities, never probabilities.


DAVID: If He has been in full control, humans came whenever He wanted them. If He is limited then He had to wait, either or. Either way the balance of nature fed everyone.

dhw: Once more, the balance of nature never fed anyone. It is sources of energy that do the feeding, and they didn’t feed everyone, because 99% of everyone went extinct, which is why the balance of nature kept changing. Either way, however, control or non-control, we agree that life continued and humans “came”.

99% had to go if evolution was to continue. Don't you see that?


dhw: ...your objection was that some of my proposals took control away from God.
DAVID: I have always said He might have limits.

dhw: And that is why, when you say you don't know whether your God is in full control or not, you contradict yourself by rejecting any hypothesis that takes control away from him.

Because you persist in removing too much control in your theories.


dhw:The process of life needs energy all the way, regardless of what organism we are talking about. You have agreed that “balance of nature” offers no support to your hypothesis that humans are the purpose of evolution, and we both agree, as above, that life went on and humans “came”, so what are we arguing about?

No argument with this rational statement.


DAVID: All we know is He uses evolutionary processes for everything He develops.

dhw: Precisely. We both believe that evolution happened, and if God exists, he used evolutionary processes. But see the thread on “ruminations” for various alternatives to your hypothesis that he preprogrammed or dabbled the fly’s compound eye in order to keep life going until humans came.

Backsliding again. We both understand life's diversity feeds evolution.

God and evolution

by dhw, Sunday, March 19, 2017, 11:22 (156 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: You don’t know whether he was or wasn’t capable of doing what he wanted to do. If he wasn’t capable, he had to “wait” – I call that “buying time” as you think he had to find ways to keep life going until humans appeared…
DAVID: You keep trying to make sense of the unknowable.

All our discussions are “trying to make sense of the unknowable”. I simply try to explain the implications of your own attempts. You stated explicitly that God did not “buy time”. If his purpose was to create humans and he was incapable of producing them straight away (one of your two hypotheses), he had to “buy time”. Yes or no?

DAVID: If He has been in full control, humans came whenever He wanted them. If He is limited then He had to wait, either or. Either way the balance of nature fed everyone. (dhw's bold)
dhw: Once more, the balance of nature never fed anyone. It is sources of energy that do the feeding, and they didn’t feed everyone, because 99% of everyone went extinct, which is why the balance of nature kept changing.
DAVID: 99% had to go if evolution was to continue. Don't you see that?

I was responding to your inaccurate statement that “the balance of nature fed everyone”. No it didn’t. That is why the balance kept changing. Whether 99% “had to go” is another matter.

dhw:The process of life needs energy all the way, regardless of what organism we are talking about. You have agreed that “balance of nature” offers no support to your hypothesis that humans are the purpose of evolution, and we both agree, as above, that life went on and humans “came”, so what are we arguing about?
DAVID: No argument with this rational statement.

Then we can close the “balance of nature” debate in respect of evolutionary history, though your articles on how humans are currently changing the balance of nature, such as the one you have posted today on “anthropocene future effects”, are important (and mightily depressing).

dhw: ...when you say you don't know whether your God is in full control or not, you contradict yourself by rejecting any hypothesis that takes control away from him.
DAVID: Because you persist in removing too much control in your theories.

Your exact objection to my alternatives was: “Because some of your proposals take control from God.” Now, all of a sudden, it is “too much control”. I shan’t ask you to define how much loss of control is needed before we can call it loss of control. If you can’t see the contradiction, let’s move on.

DAVID: All we know is He uses evolutionary processes for everything He develops.
dhw: Precisely. We both believe that evolution happened, and if God exists, he used evolutionary processes. But see the thread on “ruminations” for various alternatives to your hypothesis that he preprogrammed or dabbled the fly’s compound eye in order to keep life going until humans came.
DAVID: Backsliding again. We both understand life's diversity feeds evolution.

What backsliding? Evolution is the process by which life has diversified. How on Earth does that mean your God designed the fly’s compound eye in order to keep life going until humans arrived?

God and evolution

by David Turell @, Sunday, March 19, 2017, 14:31 (155 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: You don’t know whether he was or wasn’t capable of doing what he wanted to do. If he wasn’t capable, he had to “wait” – I call that “buying time” as you think he had to find ways to keep life going until humans appeared…
DAVID: You keep trying to make sense of the unknowable.

dhw: All our discussions are “trying to make sense of the unknowable”. I simply try to explain the implications of your own attempts. You stated explicitly that God did not “buy time”. If his purpose was to create humans and he was incapable of producing them straight away (one of your two hypotheses), he had to “buy time”. Yes or no?

'Buying time' asks if He is limited and not in control. The length of time of evolution to humans is 3.8 billion years. He may have chosen that length of time. Who knows? For Him time is limitless if we believe the Bible. No answer is possible.

DAVID: 99% had to go if evolution was to continue. Don't you see that?

dhw: I was responding to your inaccurate statement that “the balance of nature fed everyone”. No it didn’t. That is why the balance kept changing. Whether 99% “had to go” is another matter.

Changing conditions killed off 99%. The remainder always eats. Perfect sense.


dhw: ...when you say you don't know whether your God is in full control or not, you contradict yourself by rejecting any hypothesis that takes control away from him.
DAVID: Because you persist in removing too much control in your theories.

dhw: Your exact objection to my alternatives was: “Because some of your proposals take control from God.” Now, all of a sudden, it is “too much control”. I shan’t ask you to define how much loss of control is needed before we can call it loss of control. If you can’t see the contradiction, let’s move on.

You keep asking for the impossible. He may impose His own limits or time schedules as He sees fit. Yes, lets move on.

DAVID: Backsliding again. We both understand life's diversity feeds evolution.

dhw: What backsliding? Evolution is the process by which life has diversified. How on Earth does that mean your God designed the fly’s compound eye in order to keep life going until humans arrived?

See your own response: dhw: "There is no disagreement between us on the proposal that diversity is the result of the changing balance of nature, as caused by the changing energy supply. We have agreed that this has nothing whatsoever to do with humans being the “endpoint” of evolution."

God and evolution

by dhw, Tuesday, March 21, 2017, 08:30 (154 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: All our discussions are “trying to make sense of the unknowable”. I simply try to explain the implications of your own attempts. You stated explicitly that God did not “buy time”. If his purpose was to create humans and he was incapable of producing them straight away (one of your two hypotheses), he had to “buy time”. Yes or no?
DAVID: 'Buying time' asks if He is limited and not in control. The length of time of evolution to humans is 3.8 billion years. He may have chosen that length of time. Who knows? For Him time is limitless if we believe the Bible. No answer is possible.

No definitive answer is possible, which is why we come up with our hypotheses and test their likelihood. I have questioned yours, and offered alternatives for testing, so perhaps I can try once more to set it all out for examination.
Your basic tenet is that God planned humans from the very beginning of life. You also claim that only God could have designed all the innovations, lifestyles and natural wonders throughout the history of evolution. My question is why he would have done so if all he wanted to do was to produce humans. You have come up with two hypotheses:

1) he had no choice because his powers were limited and he had to keep life going until he was able to dabble with the pre-human brain or until his 3.8-billion-year brain enlargement programme switched itself on (= “buying time”).
2) His powers were not limited, in which case he chose to delay doing what he really wanted to do, but you don’t know why, and you have agreed that it doesn’t make sense to you.

I have offered you these theistic alternatives:
1) He wanted to create humans (i.e. beings with a consciousness like his own), but didn’t know how to do it so kept experimenting.
2) He wanted and created diversity, and the idea for humans only came later.
3) He deliberately created an autonomous inventive mechanism enabling organisms to do their own designing, but he may also have dabbled.

You have agreed that all of these hypotheses fit in with life’s history, and your original objection was that “some of your proposals take control from God”. 1) limits his knowledge (fits in with your first hypothesis) and preserves your initial purpose; 2) changes your initial purpose but gives him complete control; 3) changes your initial purpose and has him deliberately sacrificing control, though with the option of taking control again if he wants to.

Do you agree that, unlike your second hypothesis, these three make perfect sense? And do you agree that they are just as likely as your hypothesis that your God personally dabbled or 3.8 billion years ago preprogrammed every innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder for the sake of producing humans? If not, what is your objection?

God and evolution

by David Turell @, Tuesday, March 21, 2017, 13:49 (153 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: No definitive answer is possible, which is why we come up with our hypotheses and test their likelihood. .... My question is why he would have done so if all he wanted to do was to produce humans. You have come up with two hypotheses:

1) he had no choice because his powers were limited and he had to keep life going until he was able to dabble with the pre-human brain or until his 3.8-billion-year brain enlargement programme switched itself on (= “buying time”).
2) His powers were not limited, in which case he chose to delay doing what he really wanted to do, but you don’t know why, and you have agreed that it doesn’t make sense to you.

# 2 is a misinterpretation in that what makes 'no sense to me' simply means that I don't have a clear explanation or differentiation of the events. Either God is limited or He chose the possible delay in time. It is a simple either or, not something that lacks sense.


dhw: I have offered you these theistic alternatives:
1) He wanted to create humans (i.e. beings with a consciousness like his own), but didn’t know how to do it so kept experimenting.
2) He wanted and created diversity, and the idea for humans only came later.
3) He deliberately created an autonomous inventive mechanism enabling organisms to do their own designing, but he may also have dabbled.

You have agreed that all of these hypotheses fit in with life’s history, >
Do you agree that, unlike your second hypothesis, these three make perfect sense? And do you agree that they are just as likely as your hypothesis that your God personally dabbled or 3.8 billion years ago preprogrammed every innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder for the sake of producing humans? If not, what is your objection?

#1 is totally off the reservation. Any power that can produce a fine-tuned universe can then see to the creation of humans without difficulty.

#2 Why bother with a fine-tuned universe if humans are not expected in the planning?

#3 Using current knowledge, the only AIM we see is the adaptive mechanism of epigenetics. God is in control of speciation. I see no other possibility. Please don't forget I am a panentheist. Note this website and a definition of pantheism:

http://bigthink.com/paul-ratner/albert-einsteins-surprising-thoughts-on-the-meaning-of-...

"Was Einstein himself religious? Raised by secular Jewish parents, he had complex and evolving spiritual thoughts. He generally seemed to be open to the possibility of the scientific impulse and religious thoughts coexisting.

"'Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind," said Einstein in his 1954 essay on science and religion.

"Some (including the scientist himself) have called Einstein’s spiritual views as pantheism, largely influenced by the philosophy of Baruch Spinoza. Pantheists see God as existing but abstract, equating all of reality with divinity. They also reject a specific personal God or a god that is somehow endowed with human attributes." (my bold)

That is the nub of our difference: God does not have human attributes.

By the way most of this answer was deleted by Neil yesterday. I forgive him, as he has given us a very good functional site within which to debate.

God and evolution

by dhw, Wednesday, March 22, 2017, 12:33 (153 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: No definitive answer is possible, which is why we come up with our hypotheses and test their likelihood. .... My question is why he would have done so [personally designed every innovation etc.] if all he wanted to do was to produce humans. You have come up with two hypotheses:
1) he had no choice because his powers were limited and he had to keep life going until he was able to dabble with the pre-human brain or until his 3.8-billion-year brain enlargement programme switched itself on (= “buying time”).
2) His powers were not limited, in which case he chose to delay doing what he really wanted to do, but you don’t know why, and you have agreed that it doesn’t make sense to you.

DAVID: # 2 is a misinterpretation in that what makes 'no sense to me' simply means that I don't have a clear explanation or differentiation of the events. Either God is limited or He chose the possible delay in time. It is a simple either or, not something that lacks sense.

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? Now look at your next response:

dhw: I have offered you these theistic alternatives:
1) He wanted to create humans (i.e. beings with a consciousness like his own), but didn’t know how to do it so kept experimenting.

DAVID: #1 is totally off the reservation. Any power that can produce a fine-tuned universe can then see to the creation of humans without difficulty.

If he could create humans without difficulty, please explain why you have put forward your own hypothesis (1), that maybe he is LIMITED and HAD TO keep life going until humans could appear.

dhw: 2) He wanted and created diversity, and the idea for humans only came later.
3) He deliberately created an autonomous inventive mechanism enabling organisms to do their own designing, but he may also have dabbled.

DAVID: #2 Why bother with a fine-tuned universe if humans are not expected in the planning?

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: #3 Using current knowledge, the only AIM we see is the adaptive mechanism of epigenetics. God is in control of speciation. I see no other possibility. Please don't forget I am a panentheist. Note this website and a definition of pantheism:
http://bigthink.com/paul-ratner/albert-einsteins-surprising-thoughts-on-the-meaning-of-...

There is no evidence that my AIM exists, that your 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme exists, or that God dabbles. They are all hypotheses. You say you are a panentheist, not a pantheist, but in any case I can find no reference to the computer programme or the dabbling in any definition of pantheism or panentheism. Both approaches would allow for organisms to organize their own evolution, since their God is immanent in all living things. Einstein may also have been a deist, which again tells us nothing about the mechanisms for evolution.

DAVID: Pantheists see God as existing but abstract, equating all of reality with divinity. They also reject a specific personal God or a god that is somehow endowed with human attributes." (my bold)
That is the nub of our difference: God does not have human attributes.

That is not the nub of our difference at all. 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. (You have suggested your God wants a relationship, watches us try to solve the problems he can’t solve, and created life because he was lonely.) Nature – the pantheist God - simply is and does what it is and does. No specific plan for a specific purpose, and pantheism categorically rejects your anthropocentrism, so I don’t know why you’ve brought it up, except as a diversion from the subject of God and evolution.

God and evolution

by David Turell @, Wednesday, March 22, 2017, 14:14 (152 days ago) @ dhw

David: Either God is limited or He chose the possible delay in time. It is a simple either or, not something that lacks sense.[/i]

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?

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.

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.

Humans are too superior to all other animals to be an afterthought, but you have your approach and I have mine.


DAVID: Pantheists see God as existing but abstract, equating all of reality with divinity. They also reject a specific personal God or a god that is somehow endowed with human attributes." (my 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.

Then why do you constantly apply human wishes and desires to Him?

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.

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.

dhw: (You have suggested your God wants a relationship, watches us try to solve the problems he can’t solve, and created life because he was lonely.) Nature – the pantheist God - simply is and does what it is and does. No specific plan for a specific purpose, and pantheism categorically rejects your anthropocentrism, so I don’t know why you’ve brought it up, except as a diversion from the subject of God and evolution.

I brought it up purposely for the statement in bold: God does not have human attributes!

God and evolution

by dhw, Thursday, March 23, 2017, 12:43 (151 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.

God and evolution

by David Turell @, Thursday, March 23, 2017, 14:53 (151 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: 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.


I do not accept limitations out of God's control as you imply. I merely suggest it as one approach to interpretation of the history. He may well be in full control. Simply either or, but you only pick out from my comments only that which you prefer to comment about.


dhw: 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.

The delay is our interpretation. It may be His plan all along, and evolution may require that much time. The Cambrian Explosion which starts all modern species took slightly about 8.7 billion years to appear after life started. Can we explain that gap in time with evolution controlled by God? Accept it is part of His plan, but yes limits are possible.

dhw: 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!

I'm sure He did.


dhw: 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,

You cannot tell me what does not make sense to me. I've explained how I use the word 'sense' as in 'making sense of the history' of evolution. Either it is all God's perfect plan, or it is possible He has limits. Either, or. Both reasonable interpretations.

dhw: 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.

It all makes sense to me as either/or. What have I not explained?

God and evolution

by dhw, Friday, March 24, 2017, 12:39 (150 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: 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: I do not accept limitations out of God's control as you imply. I merely suggest it as one approach to interpretation of the history.

I thought you had offered it as a hypothesis to explain why, although his purpose was to produce humans, he waited 3.X billion years - designing countless other life forms, lifestyles and natural wonders - before doing the one thing he wanted to do. However, when I offered it to you as a hypothesis, you rejected it on the grounds that “any power that can produce a fine-tuned universe can then see to the creation of humans without difficulty.” You are therefore left with only one hypothesis: namely, that he is all-powerful and chose to wait 3.X billion years before doing what he wanted to do. But you cannot find any reason for this.

In my last post, the other contradiction I pointed out to you concerned your vacillation between a God with attributes and a God without them, and I’ve been trying to work out just what underlies all these contradictions. In particular, why you suddenly brought pantheism into the discussion. I’ll offer you my thoughts, in the hope that this might make for a clearer picture. I had said that this was irrelevant to the subject of God and evolution, but I now see that it’s not.

The pantheist God is without attributes, and might just as well be called Nature. Some folk regard pantheism as a form of atheism, since it denies the existence of a personal God. That is the sort of God which most of the time you are advocating. Supposing for a moment, then, we substitute “Nature” for God, so that we rid ourselves entirely of attributes. Nature is impersonal. It does what it does, and we cannot always explain why it does what it does. It has produced billions of life forms, lifestyles and natural wonders extant and extinct. And it has produced humans.

So far, this would appear to fit in with your own concept of God. But you want to go further. Your God is a “He” and your God “wants” something, and (in yesterday’s post) you are sure not only that what your God wanted was to produce humans, but also that he had a reason for doing so. This is the point at which you abandon the pantheist concept and embrace a personal God – personal in the sense that it has a specific intention in its mind. And this is where the two subjects overlap: 1) Why has evolution proceeded in the way it has? 2) If your God is not just impersonal Nature but is manipulating Nature (your panentheistic God is outside as well as inside), what IS his purpose? And the moment you give God a purpose, you have to humanize him, and you plunge into the two problems we keep being confronted with: 1) if all he wanted was humans, why the delay? 2) If he has a purpose in creating humans, what is it? This is when you the panentheist scurry back to impersonal pantheism, because although you are happy to offer possible purposes (wanting a relationship, wanting us to solve problems, alleviating his own loneliness)...well, I’ll leave it to you to explain why you acknowledge that “He” must have a purpose but you would rather not discuss it.

It seems to me that this leaves two possibilities. Either 1) you settle for the pantheistic God of Nature, without personal attributes, and so without a personal plan hatched for personal reasons right from the start, with all of creation geared to that one personal desire. Or 2) you settle for a personal God who designed life for personal reasons. If it’s the latter, any one of my three theistic hypotheses will explain why evolution took the course it did, all three allow for your God being in charge, and all three provide a clear explanation for the late arrival of humans – which did not “make sense” to you, by which you meant you could not find a clear explanation.

God and evolution

by David Turell @, Friday, March 24, 2017, 19:47 (150 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I do not accept limitations out of God's control as you imply. I merely suggest it as one approach to interpretation of the history.

I thought you had offered it as a hypothesis to explain why, although his purpose was to produce humans, he waited 3.X billion years - designing countless other life forms, lifestyles and natural wonders - before doing the one thing he wanted to do. ...You are therefore left with only one hypothesis: namely, that he is all-powerful and chose to wait 3.X billion years before doing what he wanted to do. But you cannot find any reason for this.

Yes, I try to explain God's actions, but all I can do is make intelligent guesses. I know humans did not appear for 3.78 byo, so the two logical explanations are what has been proposed, He has limits or part of His preferred plan. Why struggle with that conclusion.


dhw: The pantheist God is without attributes, and might just as well be called Nature. Some folk regard pantheism as a form of atheism, since it denies the existence of a personal God. That is the sort of God which most of the time you are advocating. Supposing for a moment, then, we substitute “Nature” for God, so that we rid ourselves entirely of attributes. Nature is impersonal. It does what it does, and we cannot always explain why it does what it does. It has produced billions of life forms, lifestyles and natural wonders extant and extinct. And it has produced humans.

We are mostly together. Remember I am not well educated in philosophy and make up what I think without worrying about the precedent of the exact representations of panenthesism. As you know what I accept is God is within and without this universe and is pure energy.


dhw: So far, this would appear to fit in with your own concept of God. But you want to go further. Your God is a “He” and your God “wants” something, and (in yesterday’s post) you are sure not only that what your God wanted was to produce humans, but also that he had a reason for doing so. This is the point at which you abandon the pantheist concept and embrace a personal God – personal in the sense that it has a specific intention in its mind.

God is not personal because He wants humans. It does not necessarily means He wants to answer our prayers, Adler's main point. God may well be impersonal in a complete sense. We hope He is not. Do not invoke that hope to make him personal.

dhw: And this is where the two subjects overlap: 1) Why has evolution proceeded in the way it has? 2) If your God is not just impersonal Nature but is manipulating Nature (your panentheistic God is outside as well as inside), what IS his purpose? And the moment you give God a purpose, you have to humanize him, and you plunge into the two problems we keep being confronted with: 1) if all he wanted was humans, why the delay? 2) If he has a purpose in creating humans, what is it? This is when you the panentheist scurry back to impersonal pantheism, because although you are happy to offer possible purposes (wanting a relationship, wanting us to solve problems, alleviating his own loneliness)...well, I’ll leave it to you to explain why you acknowledge that “He” must have a purpose but you would rather not discuss it.

As usual you scurry back to trying to humanize Him. We cannot know that. We can only guess at purpose from our human vantage point, and precisely, our humanized form of thinking. When you have asked it, I've suggested possibilities, but I never leave my position of "we cannot know". "Delay" is the way we look at the time involved. He may well not see it that way. That is obvious. Back to either/or.


dhw: It seems to me that this leaves two possibilities. Either 1) you settle for the pantheistic God of Nature, without personal attributes, and so without a personal plan hatched for personal reasons right from the start, with all of creation geared to that one personal desire. Or 2) you settle for a personal God who designed life for personal reasons. If it’s the latter, any one of my three theistic hypotheses will explain why evolution took the course it did, all three allow for your God being in charge, and all three provide a clear explanation for the late arrival of humans – which did not “make sense” to you, by which you meant you could not find a clear explanation.

I appreciate your attempt to summarize where we are and your attempt to define me without an overlay of your own approach. I've said your three hypotheses do fit the history, but lack the emphasis points I make: the rapid evolution of conscious humans, with their special anatomy, contrary to every other example of animal evolution. You do not accept that humans are a goal. Until we agree on that point, we will never reach a meeting of the minds.

God and evolution

by dhw, Saturday, March 25, 2017, 13:38 (149 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I do not accept limitations out of God's control as you imply. I merely suggest it as one approach to interpretation of the history.

Here are your three irreconcilable hypotheses again:
1 Your God’s purpose in creating life was to produce humans.
2 Only God could have designed all the life forms, life styles and natural wonders extant and extinct throughout evolution.
3 God has no human attributes.

Fact: humans did not appear until 3.X billion years after life began. Problem with reference to hypothesis 1: why?
You have offered two explanations:
1 God could not do it immediately because he has limitations.
2 God preferred to do it that way, but you can’t explain why.

DAVID: “...any power that can produce a fine-tuned universe can then see to the creation of humans without difficulty.

That removes hypothesis 1 and leaves you with hypothesis 2, for which you have no explanation. I have offered you three theistic hypotheses, and you agree that they all fit the facts as we know them.
1 Your own explanation 1, which you have rejected.
2 Your God did not think of humans till later in the process.
3 Your God gave organisms the ability to make their own way, but dabbled when he felt like it (which can include the production of humans).
DAVID: I've said your three hypotheses do fit the history, but lack the emphasis points I make: the rapid evolution of conscious humans, with their special anatomy, contrary to every other example of animal evolution.

Covered by all three of my hypotheses.

DAVID: You do not accept that humans are a goal.

Why “a” goal? You have always argued that they were “the” goal. Hypothesis 1 accepts “the” goal. Hypotheses 2 and 3 allow for the deliberate creation of humans, but offer a clear and logical explanation both for the “delay” and for the vast diversity of life that preceded humans.

As for your God without human attributes, I wrote: "Your God is a “He” and your God “wants” something, and (in yesterday’s post) you are sure not only that what your God wanted was to produce humans, but also that he had a reason for doing so. This is the point at which you abandon the pantheist concept and embrace a personal God – personal in the sense that it has a specific intention in its mind".
DAVID: God is not personal because He wants humans. It does not necessarily means He wants to answer our prayers, Adler's main point. God may well be impersonal in a complete sense. We hope He is not. Do not invoke that hope to make him personal.

I did actually specify what I meant by “personal”, but perhaps we should avoid the word. By “personal” I understand a being with attributes in common with humans, but as you say, that does not mean having relationships with them, such as answering prayers. Consciousness, thought, intentions, observation, dabbling are all human (“personal”) attributes or activities. Do you believe that a pebble on the beach wants something and strives to achieve a purpose? But you are actually sure that God wanted to produce humans and had a reason for doing so. That is “personal”. If he exists, then according to your beloved Adler,he is “a person like no other person.” That does not mean he is not “personal”, i.e. possessing the human attributes I’ve mentioned. And it certainly does not mean we should reject perfectly reasonable explanations of life’s history, and hence of your God’s intentions, solely on the grounds that they do not conform to the image you have of him.

God and evolution

by David Turell @, Saturday, March 25, 2017, 18:11 (149 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I do not accept limitations out of God's control as you imply. I merely suggest it as one approach to interpretation of the history.

Here are your three irreconcilable hypotheses again:
1 Your God’s purpose in creating life was to produce humans.
2 Only God could have designed all the life forms, life styles and natural wonders extant and extinct throughout evolution.
3 God has no human attributes.

These may be irreconcilable to you, n ot to me. They are pillars of my faith.


dhw: Fact: humans did not appear until 3.X billion years after life began. Problem with reference to hypothesis 1: why?
You have offered two explanations:
1 God could not do it immediately because he has limitations.
2 God preferred to do it that way, but you can’t explain why.

There are obviously things God does without clear reasoning to us poor humans. For example, He remains concealed, except for Bible stories. I think my either/or approach is acceptable.


DAVID: “...any power that can produce a fine-tuned universe can then see to the creation of humans without difficulty.

dhw: That removes hypothesis 1 and leaves you with hypothesis 2, for which you have no explanation.

I fully believe God used an evolutionary process to produce humans and only His mind could do all the intricate planning in living biochemistry to accomplish the job. Your problem is two-fold: you don't really understand the complexity of the living biochemistry and you cannot accept that a designer is required for it. It cannot appear by chance and your spontaneously appearing IM is no answer to the need for intricate design only God's mind can supply. When I present the newly discovered complexities you accept they exist, but don't recognize how severely complex they are.

dhw:I have offered you three theistic hypotheses, and you agree that they all fit the facts as we know them.
1 Your own explanation 1, which you have rejected.

I've not rejected #1: It is an either/or situation. Either He is limited or He let time pass, simple.

dhw: 2 Your God did not think of humans till later in the process.

No. He always planned on humans, the pinnacle of evolution. the early parts were preparation.

dhw: 3 Your God gave organisms the ability to make their own way, but dabbled when he felt like it (which can include the production of humans).

He only gave them epigenetic adaptations, nothing more. Speciation is beyond individual organisms ability to create.


DAVID: You do not accept that humans are a goal.

dhw: Why “a” goal? You have always argued that they were “the” goal. Hypothesis 1 accepts “the” goal. Hypotheses 2 and 3 allow for the deliberate creation of humans, but offer a clear and logical explanation both for the “delay” and for the vast diversity of life that preceded humans.

Your human reasons for the delay miss the point that a delay is our interpretation and not God's. It may well be His choice of how to do things.

DAVID: God is not personal because He wants humans. It does not necessarily means He wants to answer our prayers, Adler's main point. God may well be impersonal in a complete sense. We hope He is not. Do not invoke that hope to make him personal.

dhw: you are actually sure that God wanted to produce humans and had a reason for doing so. That is “personal”. If he exists, then according to your beloved Adler,he is “a person like no other person.” That does not mean he is not “personal”, i.e. possessing the human attributes I’ve mentioned. And it certainly does not mean we should reject perfectly reasonable explanations of life’s history, and hence of your God’s intentions, solely on the grounds that they do not conform to the image you have of him.

Once again, I agree that He might have human 'personal' attributes, but my premise, and Adler's is, we cannot know that, so why assume it in analyzing what God does or did. You are wedded to humanizing Him. Yes, He might have those attributes but analyze with an open mind that He might not have those attributes. My 'image' of Him is to keep an open mind about what I can know about Him, not using the Bible.

God and evolution

by dhw, Sunday, March 26, 2017, 10:49 (149 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Here are your three irreconcilable hypotheses again:
1 Your God’s purpose in creating life was to produce humans.
2 Only God could have designed all the life forms, life styles and natural wonders extant and extinct throughout evolution.
3 God has no human attributes.

DAVID: These may be irreconcilable to you, not to me. They are pillars of my faith.

Your faith does not remove any of the discrepancies I have pointed out.

dhw: Fact: humans did not appear until 3.X billion years after life began. Problem with reference to hypothesis 1: why?
You have offered two explanations:
1 God could not do it immediately because he has limitations.
2 God preferred to do it that way, but you can’t explain why.

DAVID: There are obviously things God does without clear reasoning to us poor humans. For example, He remains concealed, except for Bible stories. I think my either/or approach is acceptable.

But if you can’t find an explanation, why reject explanations which even you acknowledge fit the facts as we know them?

DAVID: I fully believe God used an evolutionary process to produce humans and only His mind could do all the intricate planning in living biochemistry to accomplish the job. Your problem is two-fold: you don't really understand the complexity of the living biochemistry and you cannot accept that a designer is required for it. It cannot appear by chance and your spontaneously appearing IM is no answer to the need for intricate design only God's mind can supply. When I present the newly discovered complexities you accept they exist, but don't recognize how severely complex they are.

I have always accepted the strength of the case for design, and you know it. My IM is not “spontaneously appearing” because at all times I have emphasized that it may have been invented by your God. I am an agnostic, not an atheist, and always make allowance for the existence of God. But I have challenged your interpretation of your God’s actions, which you yourself cannot explain, and offered alternative theistic interpretations. Your attack on my intelligence is an unworthy response to my arguments.

dhw:I have offered you three theistic hypotheses, and you agree that they all fit the facts as we know them.
1 Your own explanation 1, which you have rejected.

DAVID: I've not rejected #1: It is an either/or situation. Either He is limited or He let time pass, simple.

On Tuesday March 21 you said it was “totally off the reservation” because: “…any power that can produce a fine-tuned universe can then see to the creation of humans without difficulty.”

dhw: 2 Your God did not think of humans till later in the process.
DAVID: No. He always planned on humans, the pinnacle of evolution. the early parts were preparation.
dhw: 3 Your God gave organisms the ability to make their own way, but dabbled when he felt like it (which can include the production of humans).
DAVID: He only gave them epigenetic adaptations, nothing more. Speciation is beyond individual organisms ability to create.

(You've ignored the dabble in 3.) An authoritative reiteration of your beliefs does not, I’m afraid, provide an explanation for your God’s need to design the fly’s compound eye before he fulfilled his purpose of producing humans.

DAVID: Your human reasons for the delay miss the point that a delay is our interpretation and not God's. It may well be His choice of how to do things.

But you have acknowledged that you can find no “clear explanation” for such a choice. I am offering you clear explanations, and in response you simply reiterate your beliefs. NB I am not asking you to believe anything. I am merely asking you to open your mind to the possibility that one of these alternatives might be true.

DAVID: Once again, I agree that He might have human 'personal' attributes, but my premise, and Adler's is, we cannot know that, so why assume it in analyzing what God does or did. You are wedded to humanizing Him. Yes, He might have those attributes but analyze with an open mind that He might not have those attributes. My 'image' of Him is to keep an open mind about what I can know about Him, not using the Bible.

I don’t even know if he exists, so I am not “wedded” to anything. But since it is you who insist that he must have a purpose (a human trait), I am trying to find out what that purpose might be, and to fit it to the history of life as we know it. A totally impersonal pantheistic God is just as believable to me as your observing, thinking, planning, purposeful hide-and-seek God (all of which are “humanized”). But if I am offered an interpretation of life’s history which does not make sense to me, I am not prepared to shut my eyes and say no other explanation is possible. I too am pleading for an open mind.

God and evolution

by David Turell @, Sunday, March 26, 2017, 19:18 (148 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: Here are your three irreconcilable hypotheses again:
1 Your God’s purpose in creating life was to produce humans.
2 Only God could have designed all the life forms, life styles and natural wonders extant and extinct throughout evolution.
3 God has no human attributes.

DAVID: These may be irreconcilable to you, not to me. They are pillars of my faith.

dhw: Your faith does not remove any of the discrepancies I have pointed out.

The problem is this discussion is that they are your inconsistencies, not mine.


dhw: Fact: humans did not appear until 3.X billion years after life began. Problem with reference to hypothesis 1: why?
You have offered two explanations:
1 God could not do it immediately because he has limitations.
2 God preferred to do it that way, but you can’t explain why.

Why do I have to explain why?

dhw: But if you can’t find an explanation, why reject explanations which even you acknowledge fit the facts as we know them?

Either/or are both reasonable to me. There are n o exact answers as you demand.

dhw: I have always accepted the strength of the case for design, and you know it. My IM is not “spontaneously appearing” because at all times I have emphasized that it may have been invented by your God. But I have challenged your interpretation of your God’s actions, which you yourself cannot explain,

Why should I explain it any further than He is limited or He chose to wait. no one can carry it beyond that.

dhw: Your attack on my intelligence is an unworthy response to my arguments.

I ma not attacking your intelligence which is formidable. You are not trained in biochemistry. I don't think you fully understand the complexity of the controls, which to me demand careful mental planning to achieve. I follow the biochemists in the ID community who make perfect sense to me.

dhw: On Tuesday March 21 you said it was “totally off the reservation” because: “…any power that can produce a fine-tuned universe can then see to the creation of humans without difficulty.”

I'm sure my statement makes perfect sense. Humans were God's primary purpose, a firm point of my theology.


dhw: (You've ignored the dabble in 3.) An authoritative reiteration of your beliefs does not, I’m afraid, provide an explanation for your God’s need to design the fly’s compound eye before he fulfilled his purpose of producing humans.

You've rejected the necessary balance of nature to provide energy for evolution to continue until humans appeared. Chance cannot design that complex eye.


DAVID: Your human reasons for the delay miss the point that a delay is our interpretation and not God's. It may well be His choice of how to do things.

dhw: But you have acknowledged that you can find no “clear explanation” for such a choice.

Why should I have to have a clear explanation when none is available. I'm satisfied with either/or.

dhw: I am offering you clear explanations, and in response you simply reiterate your beliefs. NB I am not asking you to believe anything. I am merely asking you to open your mind to the possibility that one of these alternatives might be true.

They are not clear explanation. They are suppositions that are contrary to my beliefs. I'm not changing any more than you will leave the picket fence.

dhw: I don’t even know if he exists, so I am not “wedded” to anything. But since it is you who insist that he must have a purpose (a human trait),

As I've explained, not necessarily a human trait. He may be all purpose in His own way, not as we humans look at our personal purposes, which is what makes understanding Him so difficult, as show by our debates.

dhw:I am trying to find out what that purpose might be, and to fit it to the history of life as we know it. A totally impersonal pantheistic God is just as believable to me as your observing, thinking, planning, purposeful hide-and-seek God (all of which are “humanized”). But if I am offered an interpretation of life’s history which does not make sense to me, I am not prepared to shut my eyes and say no other explanation is possible. I too am pleading for an open mind.

Your mind is not so open as to accept the premise that the complexity of living cells absolutely requires mental planning to achieve that complexity. The only planning that can exist requires the existence of God. Chance won't work, only design by a designer can work

God and evolution

by dhw, Monday, March 27, 2017, 12:04 (148 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Fact: humans did not appear until 3.X billion years after life began. Problem with reference to hypothesis 1: why?
You have offered two explanations:
1 God could not do it immediately because he has limitations.
2 God preferred to do it that way, but you can’t explain why.

DAVID: Why do I have to explain why?

Nobody has to explain anything. I just thought you and I were interested in trying to make sense of the world we live in.

dhw: But if you can’t find an explanation, why reject explanations which even you acknowledge fit the facts as we know them?
DAVID: Either/or are both reasonable to me. There are no exact answers as you demand.

We both know that there are no exact answers -only speculations and hypotheses, including the God theory. I agree that both hypotheses – an all-powerful versus a limited God – are reasonable. That is why I offered hypothesis 1, but on Tuesday March 21 you rejected it because: “...any power that can produce a fine-tuned universe can then see to the creation of humans without difficulty.” And yet you say the inconsistencies are mine, not yours.

DAVID: I'm sure my statement makes perfect sense. Humans were God's primary purpose, a firm point of my theology.

Your statement does make perfect sense. But it invalidates your hypothesis that perhaps God did not fulfil his primary purpose for 3.X billion years because he was limited, and that leaves you with no explanation. Why do you say both statements are “reasonable” if you think one is “totally off the reservation”?

DAVID: I follow the biochemists in the ID community who make perfect sense to me.

Once again: I accept the case for design. It is a major reason why I cannot embrace atheism. (I have explained many times why I cannot embrace theism either.) But that is not the subject of this thread, which is “God and evolution”, i.e. how and why your God might have produced life’s history as we know it. That is why all the alternatives I have offered you are theistic.

dhw: I am offering you clear explanations, and in response you simply reiterate your beliefs. NB I am not asking you to believe anything. I am merely asking you to open your mind to the possibility that one of these alternatives might be true.
DAVID: They are not clear explanations. They are suppositions that are contrary to my beliefs. I'm not changing any more than you will leave the picket fence.

They are not suppositions but alternative possible explanations. Your God could not produce humans straight away (= limitations), OR he didn’t think of humans till later, OR he designed evolution to follow its own paths, but did an occasional dabble which may have included humans. What is not clear? You even agree that all of them fit life’s history! The only supposition we have been confronted with is your insistence that your God’s evolutionary purpose was to produce humans. However, there are interesting changes taking place in your vocabulary. Earlier it became “a” goal instead of “the” goal, and in this post you refer to your God’s “primary” purpose. Perhaps you would elaborate on what you think may have been his other goals/purposes.

God and evolution

by David Turell @, Monday, March 27, 2017, 22:42 (147 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: You have offered two explanations:
1 God could not do it immediately because he has limitations.
2 God preferred to do it that way, but you can’t explain why.[/i]
DAVID: Why do I have to explain why?

dhw: Nobody has to explain anything. I just thought you and I were interested in trying to make sense of the world we live in.

dhw: I agree that both hypotheses – an all-powerful versus a limited God – are reasonable.

Yes, either/or.

dhw: you rejected it because: “...any power that can produce a fine-tuned universe can then see to the creation of humans without difficulty.”

You did not understand the full implications of that statement which I did not fully explain: God created the universe from His mind or thoughts, that is, His consciousness. I believe that consciousness is at a quantum mechanics level, which is why our reality is based on a quantum underpinning. A mind which can create a fine-tuned universe from thought can easily create a process of evolution which ends up with conscious humans. Nothing inconsistent here. This introduces the idea that speciation is also at a quantum level within the genome that we have not yet found, although we do know that some living processes are at a quantum level, such as photosynthesis, for example.


DAVID: I'm sure my statement makes perfect sense. Humans were God's primary purpose, a firm point of my theology.

dhw: Your statement does make perfect sense. But it invalidates your hypothesis that perhaps God did not fulfil his primary purpose for 3.X billion years because he was limited, and that leaves you with no explanation. Why do you say both statements are “reasonable”

'Limited' is part of either/or reasoning. We can't know which is correct, and you keep implying a need for exactitude! Really!


DAVID: I follow the biochemists in the ID community who make perfect sense to me.

dhw: Once again: I accept the case for design. It is a major reason why I cannot embrace atheism. (I have explained many times why I cannot embrace theism either.) But that is not the subject of this thread, which is “God and evolution”, i.e. how and why your God might have produced life’s history as we know it. That is why all the alternatives I have offered you are theistic.

Yes, they are all possible, but none have any degree of certainty. This is why either/or works


dhw: They are not suppositions but alternative possible explanations. Your God could not produce humans straight away (= limitations), OR he didn’t think of humans till later, OR he designed evolution to follow its own paths, but did an occasional dabble which may have included humans. What is not clear?

Yes, He is limited or not. However your supposition that He only thought of humans later is very strange.. He first created a fine-tuned universe to have life. But it didn't occur to Him to create conscious humans who could relate to His consciousness until later? Possible but very unlikely for a thinking mind who started with the Big Bang. You imply He had no idea where He was headed, no goal in mind. I find that wooly thinking. You want to propose He had no purpose in mind when He started the process? I find that very hard to believe.

dhw: You even agree that all of them fit life’s history! The only supposition we have been confronted with is your insistence that your God’s evolutionary purpose was to produce humans.

Exactly!

dhw: However, there are interesting changes taking place in your vocabulary. Earlier it became “a” goal instead of “the” goal, and in this post you refer to your God’s “primary” purpose. Perhaps you would elaborate on what you think may have been his other goals/purposes.

Humans were His main purpose. Everything else relates to that goal. Do you have any purposes for Him He might want to achieve?

God and evolution

by dhw, Tuesday, March 28, 2017, 14:00 (146 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw:You have offered two explanations [for the late arrival of humans]:
1 God could not do it immediately because he has limitations.
2 God preferred to do it that way, but you can’t explain why.

DAVID: Why do I have to explain why?
dhw: Nobody has to explain anything. I just thought you and I were interested in trying to make sense of the world we live in.

dhw: I agree that both hypotheses – an all-powerful versus a limited God – are reasonable.
DAVID: Yes, either/or.
dhw: ...you rejected [the first hypothesis] because: “...any power that can produce a fine-tuned universe can then see to the creation of humans without difficulty.”
DAVID: You did not understand the full implications of that statement which I did not fully explain: God created the universe from His mind or thoughts, that is, His consciousness. I believe that consciousness is at a quantum mechanics level, which is why our reality is based on a quantum underpinning. A mind which can create a fine-tuned universe from thought can easily create a process of evolution which ends up with conscious humans. Nothing inconsistent here. This introduces the idea that speciation is also at a quantum level within the genome that we have not yet found, although we do know that some living processes are at a quantum level, such as photosynthesis, for example.

I’m sorry, but none of this changes the fact that your statement is a rejection (“totally off the reservation”) of the hypothesis that God did not fulfil his purpose of producing humans for 3.X billion years BECAUSE OF HIS LIMITATIONS. I agree that he may have limitations. Your rejection of your own explanation leaves you with an all-powerful God and, by your own admission, no explanation except to say that maybe God wanted it that way (which is not an explanation), and why do you have to explain why?

DAVID: 'Limited' is part of either/or reasoning. We can't know which is correct, and you keep implying a need for exactitude! Really!

How can I be demanding exactitude when I offer THREE possible and perfectly logical explanations for the “delay”? They are different hypotheses, and I do not insist on any of them. The exactitude is yours, not mine: namely, that God’s purpose from the beginning was to produce humans, and “everything else was related to that goal”.

dhw: They are not suppositions but alternative possible explanations. Your God could not produce humans straight away (= limitations), OR he didn’t think of humans till later, OR he designed evolution to follow its own paths, but did an occasional dabble which may have included humans. What is not clear?
DAVID: Yes, He is limited or not. However your supposition that He only thought of humans later is very strange.

Once more: not a supposition, but one of three alternative explanations for the late arrival of humans.

DAVID: He first created a fine-tuned universe to have life. But it didn't occur to Him to create conscious humans who could relate to His consciousness until later? Possible but very unlikely for a thinking mind who started with the Big Bang. You imply He had no idea where He was headed, no goal in mind. I find that wooly thinking. You want to propose He had no purpose in mind when He started the process? I find that very hard to believe.

I do not imply that he had no purpose – on the contrary, I am the one who emphasizes purpose on two levels: a) why did he create life, and (b) why have there been millions of life forms, lifestyles and natural wonders extant and extinct? Since you cannot explain b) in relation to your theory that his purpose was to create humans, you have ended up by asking why you should have to explain it! We are just supposed to accept your anthropocentric interpretation of evolution without question.

dhw: …there are interesting changes taking place in your vocabulary. Earlier it became “a” goal instead of “the” goal, and in this post you refer to your God’s “primary” purpose. Perhaps you would elaborate on what you think may have been his other goals/purposes.
DAVID: Humans were His main purpose. Everything else relates to that goal. Do you have any purposes for Him He might want to achieve?

If you say his “main” purpose for creating life was humans, he must have had other purposes. Please let us know what you think they are. I have already offered you a different main purpose, which fits in perfectly with your theory that he is hidden and is observing us: namely, that he created a spectacle for himself to watch. Two of the hypotheses I have offered fit in with this basic purpose, they ALL explain the fact that humans came late on the scene, and between them they present the either/or that you have advocated: limited powers (which you have rejected as “totally off reservation”), or unlimited powers (humans were a later idea as the spectacle unfolded, possibly through an autonomous IM plus whatever dabbling he fancied). The last two hypotheses allow for God to change the course of the show if he feels like it. You agree that ALL of them fit the facts as we know them, but you reject them because they conflict with your suppositions, which you acknowledge do not make sense, i.e. for which you cannot find a clear explanation.

God and evolution

by David Turell @, Tuesday, March 28, 2017, 19:14 (146 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: 'Limited' is part of either/or reasoning. We can't know which is correct, and you keep implying a need for exactitude! Really!

dhw: How can I be demanding exactitude when I offer THREE possible and perfectly logical explanations for the “delay”? They are different hypotheses, and I do not insist on any of them. The exactitude is yours, not mine: namely, that God’s purpose from the beginning was to produce humans, and “everything else was related to that goal”.

My problem is the word 'delay'. Because humans arrived at the end of evolution, both of us have assumed we must explain it. I have tried to convert the conversation to a different approach in which we recognize it is not a delay at all, just a part of a timeless God's plan. He may not view it as delayed. Therefore, why should we? No explanation is required!


dhw:Once more: not a supposition, but one of three alternative explanations for the late arrival of humans.

No explanation needed.


dhw: I do not imply that he had no purpose – on the contrary, I am the one who emphasizes purpose on two levels: a) why did he create life, and (b) why have there been millions of life forms, lifestyles and natural wonders extant and extinct? Since you cannot explain b) in relation to your theory that his purpose was to create humans, you have ended up by asking why you should have to explain it! We are just supposed to accept your anthropocentric interpretation of evolution without question.

Note the above approach removes the problem.

DAVID: Humans were His main purpose. Everything else relates to that goal. Do you have any purposes for Him He might want to achieve?

dhw: If you say his “main” purpose for creating life was humans, he must have had other purposes. Please let us know what you think they are.

I don't have any others. "He must have" is a requirement you have invented for Him.

dhw: I have already offered you a different main purpose, which fits in perfectly with your theory that he is hidden and is observing us: namely, that he created a spectacle for himself to watch.

Humanizing again, and you can't know that.

dhw:You agree that ALL of them fit the facts as we know them, but you reject them because they conflict with your suppositions, which you acknowledge do not make sense, i.e. for which you cannot find a clear explanation.

I agree your suppositions fit the history. But they do not emphasize the goal of humans that God has. My clearest explanation is that God does not see a 'delay' as we do.

God and evolution

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Tuesday, March 28, 2017, 19:36 (146 days ago) @ David Turell

I know I am late in coming to this conversation, but once again it seems like both of you are overlooking the simple, basic concept of "a time and place for every activity under heaven."

Why would god create animals before plants? Why would god create humans before animals?


Genesis 1
Then God said: “Let us+ make man in our image,+ according to our likeness,+ and let them have in subjection the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and the domestic animals and all the earth and every creeping animal that is moving on the earth.”+ 27 And God went on to create the man in his image, in God’s image he created him; male and female he created them.+ 28 Further, God blessed them, and God said to them: “Be fruitful and become many, fill the earth+ and subdue it,+ and have in subjection+ the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and every living creature that is moving on the earth.”
29 Then God said: “Here I have given to you every seed-bearing plant that is on the entire earth and every tree with seed-bearing fruit. Let them serve as food for you.+ 30 And to every wild animal of the earth and to every flying creature of the heavens and to everything moving on the earth in which there is life,* I have given all green vegetation for food.”
+ And it was so.

WHY would god create mankind to "have in subjection" all the animals if there were no animals created? Why would he create all the animals if there were no "green vegetation for food" for them to eat. Things happened in their proper TIME.

--
Without darkness there can be no light, no truth without lies.

God and evolution

by David Turell @, Tuesday, March 28, 2017, 21:28 (146 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

Tony: I know I am late in coming to this conversation, but once again it seems like both of you are overlooking the simple, basic concept of "a time and place for every activity under heaven."

Why would god create animals before plants? Why would god create humans before animals?


Genesis 1
Then God said: “Let us+ make man in our image,+ according to our likeness,+ and let them have in subjection the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and the domestic animals and all the earth and every creeping animal that is moving on the earth.”+ 27 And God went on to create the man in his image, in God’s image he created him; male and female he created them.+ 28 Further, God blessed them, and God said to them: “Be fruitful and become many, fill the earth+ and subdue it,+ and have in subjection+ the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and every living creature that is moving on the earth.”
29 Then God said: “Here I have given to you every seed-bearing plant that is on the entire earth and every tree with seed-bearing fruit. Let them serve as food for you.+ 30 And to every wild animal of the earth and to every flying creature of the heavens and to everything moving on the earth in which there is life,* I have given all green vegetation for food.”
+ And it was so.

WHY would god create mankind to "have in subjection" all the animals if there were no animals created? Why would he create all the animals if there were no "green vegetation for food" for them to eat. Things happened in their proper TIME.

Tony, you are quite correct. Of course animals had to come first and then plants and finally humans. My point is God does not see this as delay but preparation.

God and evolution

by dhw, Wednesday, March 29, 2017, 14:27 (145 days ago) @ David Turell

TONY: I know I am late in coming to this conversation, but once again it seems like both of you are overlooking the simple, basic concept of "a time and place for every activity under heaven."
Why would god create animals before plants? Why would god create humans before animals?

Genesis 1
Then God said: “Let us+ make man in our image,+ according to our likeness,+ and let them have in subjection the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and the domestic animals and all the earth and every creeping animal that is moving on the earth.”+ 27 And God went on to create the man in his image, in God’s image he created him; male and female he created them.+ 28 Further, God blessed them, and God said to them: “Be fruitful and become many, fill the earth+ and subdue it,+ and have in subjection+ the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and every living creature that is moving on the earth.”
29 Then God said: “Here I have given to you every seed-bearing plant that is on the entire earth and every tree with seed-bearing fruit. Let them serve as food for you.+ 30 And to every wild animal of the earth and to every flying creature of the heavens and to everything moving on the earth in which there is life,* I have given all green vegetation for food.”+ And it was so.

WHY would god create mankind to "have in subjection" all the animals if there were no animals created? Why would he create all the animals if there were no "green vegetation for food" for them to eat. Things happened in their proper TIME.

DAVID: Tony, you are quite correct. Of course animals had to come first and then plants and finally humans. My point is God does not see this as delay but preparation.

This is a different and welcome approach to the subject, but it glosses over most of the problems raised by David’s reading of God’s mind. I’ll continue to wear my theist’s hat, but I can’t think of any way in which to bring our three approaches under one umbrella except by asking some questions. I’ll cut out references to evolution, at least for the time being, since you don’t believe in it.

1 Do you think God’s only purpose in creating life was to produce humans, and everything else was related to that goal?

2 Do you think God specially designed (by preprogramming or dabbling) the weaverbird’s nest, the monarch butterfly’s lifestyle and the fly’s compound eye, and he did so in order to “prepare” the way for humans, or to keep life going until humans arrived? (Please stick to these examples, which are carefully selected from a long list of “natural wonders” that David has posted.)

3 Similarly, do you think that all extinct life forms, lifestyles and natural wonders were specially designed by God and related to the goal of producing humans?

4 Assuming God is purposeful, what do you think was his purpose in creating humans and all the creatures under human “subjection”?

Apologies again for the interrogation!

God and evolution

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Wednesday, March 29, 2017, 23:44 (145 days ago) @ dhw

DHW

This is a different and welcome approach to the subject, but it glosses over most of the problems raised by David’s reading of God’s mind. I’ll continue to wear my theist’s hat, but I can’t think of any way in which to bring our three approaches under one umbrella except by asking some questions. I’ll cut out references to evolution, at least for the time being, since you don’t believe in it.

1 Do you think God’s only purpose in creating life was to produce humans, and everything else was related to that goal?

The Bible refers to all of creation as a gift for his son. I think THAT is the ultimate purpose. We are PART of that purpose. To rot that thought, just prior to the flood, Jehovah is said to have regretted creating us, and was going to wipe us out, which to me indicates that we are not THE purpose for everything. That sentiment is simply hubris.

2 Do you think God specially designed (by preprogramming or dabbling) the weaverbird’s nest, the monarch butterfly’s lifestyle and the fly’s compound eye, and he did so in order to “prepare” the way for humans, or to keep life going until humans arrived?

These features are not completely unique. It is my opinion that, like any good designer, he found solutions to problems and implemented the where appropriate, allowing those solutions to vary within established parameters to make them viable for the broadest range of circumstances. The creatures themselves each fit into a larger web of life and fulfill roles within that organization. These features were merely supporting optimizations.


3 Similarly, do you think that all extinct life forms, lifestyles and natural wonders were specially designed by God and related to the goal of producing humans?

No. I DO think humans were integral to the plan, but it s not follow that everything done was done for our benefit. I think much of it was done with the goal of creating the homeostasis needed to subplot ALL life, which we happen to benefit from. Being a manager of a company doesn't mean that all of the employes, jobs, roles, tools, and functions are expressly for your benefit, but you WOULD still benefit from them.


4 Assuming God is purposeful, what do you think was his purpose in creating humans and all the creatures under human subjugation.

We are a gift for his son. We were created as caretakers for earth and its inhabitants. Even the angels were created to perform certain tasks and functions. Why should we be any different? If an atheist has no trouble believing we exist for no purpose at all, is it so hard to believe that we DO have a purpose, and that the purpose is at once beautifully simple, fulfilling, and elegantly complex?

--
Without darkness there can be no light, no truth without lies.

God and evolution

by David Turell @, Thursday, March 30, 2017, 02:07 (145 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

DHW

This is a different and welcome approach to the subject, but it glosses over most of the problems raised by David’s reading of God’s mind. I’ll continue to wear my theist’s hat, but I can’t think of any way in which to bring our three approaches under one umbrella except by asking some questions. I’ll cut out references to evolution, at least for the time being, since you don’t believe in it.

1 Do you think God’s only purpose in creating life was to produce humans, and everything else was related to that goal?


Tony: The Bible refers to all of creation as a gift for his son. I think THAT is the ultimate purpose. We are PART of that purpose. To rot that thought, just prior to the flood, Jehovah is said to have regretted creating us, and was going to wipe us out, which to me indicates that we are not THE purpose for everything. That sentiment is simply hubris.

2 Do you think God specially designed (by preprogramming or dabbling) the weaverbird’s nest, the monarch butterfly’s lifestyle and the fly’s compound eye, and he did so in order to “prepare” the way for humans, or to keep life going until humans arrived?


These features are not completely unique. It is my opinion that, like any good designer, he found solutions to problems and implemented the where appropriate, allowing those solutions to vary within established parameters to make them viable for the broadest range of circumstances. The creatures themselves each fit into a larger web of life and fulfill roles within that organization. These features were merely supporting optimizations.


3 Similarly, do you think that all extinct life forms, lifestyles and natural wonders were specially designed by God and related to the goal of producing humans?


No. I DO think humans were integral to the plan, but it s not follow that everything done was done for our benefit. I think much of it was done with the goal of creating the homeostasis needed to subplot ALL life, which we happen to benefit from. Being a manager of a company doesn't mean that all of the employes, jobs, roles, tools, and functions are expressly for your benefit, but you WOULD still benefit from them.


4 Assuming God is purposeful, what do you think was his purpose in creating humans and all the creatures under human subjugation.


We are a gift for his son. We were created as caretakers for earth and its inhabitants. Even the angels were created to perform certain tasks and functions. Why should we be any different? If an atheist has no trouble believing we exist for no purpose at all, is it so hard to believe that we DO have a purpose, and that the purpose is at once beautifully simple, fulfilling, and elegantly complex?

Exclusive of your reference to Jesus, my thinking and yours are very similar.

God and evolution

by dhw, Thursday, March 30, 2017, 14:16 (144 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

David and I are locked in a theistic discussion on why his God set the process of evolution in motion, and how the historical facts as we know them can be seen to fit in with that hypothetical purpose. Tony does not believe in evolution, but since David’s concept of it is closely akin to creationism in so far as his God has designed every innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder, this does not affect the basic arguments. In order to keep the discussion within the above framework, I asked Tony four questions, three of which were direct references to David’s beliefs. David’s comment on Tony’s answers is:

DAVID: Exclusive of your reference to Jesus, my thinking and yours are very similar.

I will highlight the points at issue:
DAVID: Humans are God’s sole purpose. And: Everything else was related to that goal.
TONY: …Jehovah is said to have regretted creating us, and was going to wipe us out, which to me indicates that we are not THE purpose for everything. That sentiment is simply hubris.

I can’t see any similarity here.

2 Do you think God specially designed (by preprogramming or dabbling) the weaverbird’s nest, the monarch butterfly’s lifestyle and the fly’s compound eye, and he did so in order to “prepare” the way for humans, or to keep life going until humans arrived?
TONY: These features are not completely unique. It is my opinion that, like any good designer, he found solutions to problems and implemented the where appropriate, allowing those solutions to vary within established parameters to make them viable for the broadest range of circumstances. The creatures themselves each fit into a larger web of life and fulfill roles within that organization. These features were merely supporting optimizations.

“Allowing the solutions to vary” does not suggest David’s individual design of the three examples given, and I can’t see how this = preparing the way for humans or keeping life going until humans arrived. I think David and I would both agree, though, that all organisms fit into a larger scale and fulfil roles within that organization – until they go extinct.

3 Similarly, do you think that all extinct life forms, lifestyles and natural wonders were specially designed by God and related to the goal of producing humans?
TONY: No. I DO think humans were integral to the plan, but it s not follow that everything done was done for our benefit. I think much of it was done with the goal of creating the homeostasis needed to subplot ALL life, which we happen to benefit from. Being a manager of a company doesn't mean that all of the employes, jobs, roles, tools, and functions are expressly for your benefit, but you WOULD still benefit from them.

The answer is no, though it doesn’t quite link up directly with my question. What follows does relate directly to David’s “balance of life”, which we have agreed means nothing more than that life continues and favours whatever species are in existence at the time. Humans “happen to benefit” from the current balance. “The homeostasis needed to subplot ALL life” is a strange concept if it means the extinction of SOME life, but I don’t know what you mean by subplotting life. My question actually referred to the production rather than the benefit of humans, but you remain clearly hostile to the whole idea that humans were God's sole purpose.

4 Assuming God is purposeful, what do you think was his purpose in creating humans and all the creatures under human subjugation?
TONY: We are a gift for his son. We were created as caretakers for earth and its inhabitants. Even the angels were created to perform certain tasks and functions. Why should we be any different? If an atheist has no trouble believing we exist for no purpose at all, is it so hard to believe that we DO have a purpose, and that the purpose is at once beautifully simple, fulfilling, and elegantly complex?

Not directly related to the disagreement between David and myself. David thinks the production of humans was God’s sole purpose. He doesn’t like to speculate on God’s purpose in producing humans, although he acknowledges that God must have had one. When pressed for an answer, however, he has offered God’s desire for a relationship with humans, his desire to set us problems and watch us solve them, and his loneliness. I have suggested that he may have wished (just a hypothesis) to create a spectacle for his own enjoyment – which could easily link up with at least two of David’s speculations, as well as with the fact that David’s God keeps himself hidden (not much help in a relationship).

DAVID (to Tony): Exclusive of your reference to Jesus, my thinking and yours are very similar.

I can see very little common ground between you. But I am playing the Devil’s advocate here, and may have to leave you to fight over your very different concepts of how and why your God has done what you think he has done. Any further discussion will, however, be hampered by the fact that neither David nor I accepts the authority of the Bible.

God and evolution

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Thursday, March 30, 2017, 15:42 (144 days ago) @ dhw

2 Do you think God specially designed (by preprogramming or dabbling) the weaverbird’s nest, the monarch butterfly’s lifestyle and the fly’s compound eye, and he did so in order to “prepare” the way for humans, or to keep life going until humans arrived?
TONY: These features are not completely unique. It is my opinion that, like any good designer, he found solutions to problems and implemented the where appropriate, allowing those solutions to vary within established parameters to make them viable for the broadest range of circumstances. The creatures themselves each fit into a larger web of life and fulfill roles within that organization. These features were merely supporting optimizations.

“Allowing the solutions to vary” does not suggest David’s individual design of the three examples given, and I can’t see how this = preparing the way for humans or keeping life going until humans arrived. I think David and I would both agree, though, that all organisms fit into a larger scale and fulfil roles within that organization – until they go extinct.

Birds, like the weaver are nature's farmers. Yes there are many, many birds that do this same thing. You find that odd. Do you feel the same about the huge variety of cars available? Why bother with so many colors and features when maybe a dozen total models would fit most every situation?


3 Similarly, do you think that all extinct life forms, lifestyles and natural wonders were specially designed by God and related to the goal of producing humans?
TONY: No. I DO think humans were integral to the plan..."

DHW:The answer is no, though it doesn’t quite link up directly with my question. What follows does relate directly to David’s “balance of life”, which we have agreed means nothing more than that life continues and favours whatever species are in existence at the time. Humans “happen to benefit” from the current balance. “The homeostasis needed to subplot ALL life” is a strange concept if it means the extinction of SOME life, but I don’t know what you mean by subplotting life. My question actually referred to the production rather than the benefit of humans, but you remain clearly hostile to the whole idea that humans were God's sole purpose.

Your agreement on what it means may or may not be in line with God's idea of what it means. However, with the exception of major era changes, like the end of the Paleolithic, HUMANS are the prime cause for extinctions. You seem to be blaming God for our handywork.

DHW: I am playing the Devil’s advocate here, and may have to leave you to fight over your very different concepts of how and why your God has done what you think he has done. Any further discussion will, however, be hampered by the fact that neither David nor I accepts the authority of the Bible.

I see a lot of "Why Dr God do it this way? I wouldn't have if it'd been me." His ways are not our ways, and are higher than our ways. I don't know why car designers insist on making cars like little boxes, but I can only assume that they have a good reason for doing so. Whatever answer I come with is likely to be wrong. However, if I choose not to read or believe the manual, or assume that those who wrote it were clueless, it is no ones fault but my own.


P.s. "subplot" was an artifact of my phone's autocorrect. Very annoying.

--
Without darkness there can be no light, no truth without lies.

God and evolution

by dhw, Friday, March 31, 2017, 11:12 (144 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

TONY: It is my opinion that, like any good designer, he found solutions to problems and implemented the where appropriate, allowing those solutions to vary within established parameters to make them viable for the broadest range of circumstances. The creatures themselves each fit into a larger web of life and fulfill roles within that organization. These features were merely supporting optimizations.
Dhw: “Allowing the solutions to vary” does not suggest David’s individual design of the three examples given, and I can’t see how this = preparing the way for humans or keeping life going until humans arrived. I think David and I would both agree, though, that all organisms fit into a larger scale and fulfil roles within that organization – until they go extinct.
TONY: Birds, like the weaver are nature's farmers. Yes there are many, many birds that do this same thing. You find that odd. Do you feel the same about the huge variety of cars available? Why bother with so many colors and features when maybe a dozen total models would fit most every situation?

I don’t find it odd at all. What gives you that impression? I am simply challenging David’s assumption that this vast diversity has been designed for the sole purpose of humans.

dhw: 3 Similarly, do you think that all extinct life forms, lifestyles and natural wonders were specially designed by God and related to the goal of producing humans?
TONY: No. I DO think humans were integral to the plan..."
DHW:The answer is no, though it doesn’t quite link up directly with my question. What follows does relate directly to David’s “balance of life”, which we have agreed means nothing more than that life continues and favours whatever species are in existence at the time. Humans “happen to benefit” from the current balance. “The homeostasis needed to subplot ALL life” is a strange concept if it means the extinction of SOME life, but I don’t know what you mean by subplotting life. My question actually referred to the production rather than the benefit of humans, but you remain clearly hostile to the whole idea that humans were God's sole purpose.
TONY: Your agreement on what it means may or may not be in line with God's idea of what it means. However, with the exception of major era changes, like the end of the Paleolithic, HUMANS are the prime cause for extinctions. You seem to be blaming God for our handywork.

I don’t know which of my remarks you are commenting on, but again this may be the result of your joining the discussion so late. The extinction of 99% of species seems to me to be a problem for David’s theory that all of life is related to God’s sole goal – the production of humans. Why would he specially design all these life forms etc., then let them die off, if all he wanted to do was produce humans? However, in answer to your comment: I agree that humans are NOW the prime cause of extinctions, and I would not dream of blaming your God for our actions. Where did you see that in my post? But the extinctions that preceded the arrival of humans were on a massive scale. I’m sure you will find very good reasons why your God organized them/let them happen, but I’m equally sure your reasons will not support David’s contention that they were all related to God’s sole goal of producing humans.

DHW: I am playing the Devil’s advocate here, and may have to leave you to fight over your very different concepts of how and why your God has done what you think he has done. Any further discussion will, however, be hampered by the fact that neither David nor I accepts the authority of the Bible.
TONY: I see a lot of "Why Dr God do it this way? I wouldn't have if it'd been me."

Again, I don’t know where you get this idea from. Certainly not from my posts. The whole of this discussion is an attempt to explain WHY life’s history has taken this particular course (and from a theistic perspective, WHY God did it this way.) You already know David’s anthropocentric hypothesis, which doesn’t make sense to me. I have therefore offered three different theistic hypotheses: 1) God started out wanting to produce beings similar to himself (David’s theory) but he had to experiment for 3.X billion years before he got what he wanted. 2) God wanted to produce a spectacle for himself to watch, and humans only came to mind late on during the production. 3) Same idea of a spectacle, but he gave organisms the freedom and means to create their own different life forms etc., though he may also have dabbled. The means would be an autonomous, inventive intelligence. All three offer a theistic explanation of the apparently higgledy-piggledy comings and goings of life’s history (whether you believe in evolution or not) and of the comparatively late arrival of humans. David does not accept any of them, but agrees that they fit in with life’s history as we know it. Now you have the full background to this discussion.

God and evolution

by David Turell @, Friday, March 31, 2017, 15:12 (143 days ago) @ dhw


DHW: I am playing the Devil’s advocate here, and may have to leave you to fight over your very different concepts of how and why your God has done what you think he has done. Any further discussion will, however, be hampered by the fact that neither David nor I accepts the authority of the Bible.
TONY: I see a lot of "Why Dr God do it this way? I wouldn't have if it'd been me."

dhw: Again, I don’t know where you get this idea from. Certainly not from my posts. The whole of this discussion is an attempt to explain WHY life’s history has taken this particular course (and from a theistic perspective, WHY God did it this way.) You already know David’s anthropocentric hypothesis, which doesn’t make sense to me. I have therefore offered three different theistic hypotheses: 1) God started out wanting to produce beings similar to himself (David’s theory) but he had to experiment for 3.X billion years before he got what he wanted. 2) God wanted to produce a spectacle for himself to watch, and humans only came to mind late on during the production. 3) Same idea of a spectacle, but he gave organisms the freedom and means to create their own different life forms etc., though he may also have dabbled. The means would be an autonomous, inventive intelligence. All three offer a theistic explanation of the apparently higgledy-piggledy comings and goings of life’s history (whether you believe in evolution or not) and of the comparatively late arrival of humans. David does not accept any of them, but agrees that they fit in with life’s history as we know it. Now you have the full background to this discussion.

Tony's comment is straightforward. He knows about humans laughing at the human backward upside-down retina as bad design as one stupid example. And it is appropriate in the discussions. What humans dismiss as poor design has always turned out to be the best design.

God and evolution

by dhw, Saturday, April 01, 2017, 10:29 (143 days ago) @ David Turell

TONY: I see a lot of "Why Dr God do it this way? I wouldn't have if it'd been me."

dhw: Again, I don’t know where you get this idea from. Certainly not from my posts. The whole of this discussion is an attempt to explain WHY life’s history has taken this particular course (and from a theistic perspective, WHY God did it this way.) You already know David’s anthropocentric hypothesis, which doesn’t make sense to me. I have therefore offered three different theistic hypotheses: 1) God started out wanting to produce beings similar to himself (David’s theory) but he had to experiment for 3.X billion years before he got what he wanted. 2) God wanted to produce a spectacle for himself to watch, and humans only came to mind late on during the production. 3) Same idea of a spectacle, but he gave organisms the freedom and means to create their own different life forms etc., though he may also have dabbled. The means would be an autonomous, inventive intelligence. All three offer a theistic explanation of the apparently higgledy-piggledy comings and goings of life’s history (whether you believe in evolution or not) and of the comparatively late arrival of humans. David does not accept any of them, but agrees that they fit in with life’s history as we know it. Now you have the full background to this discussion.

DAVID: Tony's comment is straightforward. He knows about humans laughing at the human backward upside-down retina as bad design as one stupid example. And it is appropriate in the discussions. What humans dismiss as poor design has always turned out to be the best design.

Yes indeed. But it is not a response to any of my posts and is irrelevant to this discussion, which concerns your insistence that humans were God’s only goal and everything else was related to it.

God and evolution

by David Turell @, Saturday, April 01, 2017, 14:47 (142 days ago) @ dhw

TONY: I see a lot of "Why Dr God do it this way? I wouldn't have if it'd been me."

dhw: Again, I don’t know where you get this idea from. Certainly not from my posts. The whole of this discussion is an attempt to explain WHY life’s history has taken this particular course (and from a theistic perspective, WHY God did it this way.) >
DAVID: Tony's comment is straightforward. He knows about humans laughing at the human backward upside-down retina as bad design as one stupid example. And it is appropriate in the discussions. What humans dismiss as poor design has always turned out to be the best design.

dhw: Yes indeed. But it is not a response to any of my posts and is irrelevant to this discussion, which concerns your insistence that humans were God’s only goal and everything else was related to it.

Yes it is! Note your own comment I have bolded. "Why did God do anything the way He did" is always a human question.

God and evolution

by dhw, Sunday, April 02, 2017, 13:42 (141 days ago) @ David Turell

TONY: I see a lot of "Why Dr God do it this way? I wouldn't have if it'd been me."
dhw: Again, I don’t know where you get this idea from. Certainly not from my posts. The whole of this discussion is an attempt to explain WHY life’s history has taken this particular course (and from a theistic perspective, WHY God did it this way.) >
DAVID: Tony's comment is straightforward. He knows about humans laughing at the human backward upside-down retina as bad design as one stupid example. And it is appropriate in the discussions. What humans dismiss as poor design has always turned out to be the best design.
dhw: Yes indeed. But it is not a response to any of my posts and is irrelevant to this discussion, which concerns your insistence that humans were God’s only goal and everything else was related to it.
DAVID: Yes it is! Note your own comment I have bolded. "Why did God do anything the way He did" is always a human question.

That indeed is the subject of our discussion – not a criticism (“I wouldn’t have if it had been me”) but an inquiry, in this case specifically into your contention that he did it this way in order to produce humans. That contention, I maintain, does not fit in with the higgledy-piggledy history of evolution, and therefore (wearing my theist’s hat) I am challenging your explanation of why God did it this way. Tony clearly agrees with me (see his second comment below, my bold):

TONY: Actually, DHW, my comment was directed at the fact that things like weaverbird nests and extinctions constantly seem to trip you up when you wear your theist hat. It is as if you cannot fathom a reason God would have created any life form if he knew in advance that it must die off at some point or that he would not gift his creations with more than the most basic of abilities.

Your post should have been directed at David, not at me. I have constantly hypothesized (with my theist hat on) that your God HAS given his creations more than the most basic of abilities, and the weaverbird was perfectly capable of designing its own nest. It is David who insists that it was not, and God had to do it. Extinctions are no problem either (I can offer more than one rational theistic explanation) until David insists that God specially designed all the extinct organisms and lifestyles for the purpose of producing humans.

TONY: Humans, as the prime goal of all creation, or even of evolution, is truly just silliness, even according to science which claims everything is still evolving. If that were true, we must be in one of those periods of punctuated equilibrium.

That is the focal point of this whole discussion. It is David who says that humans were not just the prime goal but the ONLY goal. For a change, you and I are on the same side.

TONY: We are called creatures that he was especially fond of, nothing more. But regardless, MOST life today could not have lived in the early earth, because it had not been prepared.

There is no doubt that most of today’s life could not have lived in the early earth. With my theist’s hat on, I have no idea to what extent your God actually planned the environmental changes that led to each stage of evolution (or creation), or designed the basic mechanisms and then sat back to see what would happen (though possibly intervening when he wanted to). This is the point at which I can envisage various scenarios, whereas you and David have fixed – but extremely different – ideas.

God and evolution

by David Turell @, Sunday, April 02, 2017, 15:24 (141 days ago) @ dhw

TONY: Actually, DHW, my comment was directed at the fact that things like weaverbird nests and extinctions constantly seem to trip you up when you wear your theist hat. It is as if you cannot fathom a reason God would have created any life form if he knew in advance that it must die off at some point or that he would not gift his creations with more than the most basic of abilities.

***

dhw: That is the focal point of this whole discussion. It is David who says that humans were not just the prime goal but the ONLY goal. For a change, you and I are on the same side.

TONY: We are called creatures that he was especially fond of, nothing more. But regardless, MOST life today could not have lived in the early earth, because it had not been prepared.

dhw: There is no doubt that most of today’s life could not have lived in the early earth. With my theist’s hat on, I have no idea to what extent your God actually planned the environmental changes that led to each stage of evolution (or creation), or designed the basic mechanisms and then sat back to see what would happen (though possibly intervening when he wanted to). This is the point at which I can envisage various scenarios, whereas you and David have fixed – but extremely different – ideas.


Tony and I are very close together. You don't interpret Tony as I do. God's evolutionary processes require a series of preparations for the arrival of humans as his statements point out. Our differences come from his Biblical interpretations.

God and evolution

by dhw, Monday, April 03, 2017, 12:47 (141 days ago) @ David Turell

TONY: Actually, DHW, my comment was directed at the fact that things like weaverbird nests and extinctions constantly seem to trip you up when you wear your theist hat. It is as if you cannot fathom a reason God would have created any life form if he knew in advance that it must die off at some point or that he would not gift his creations with more than the most basic of abilities.
***
dhw: That is the focal point of this whole discussion. It is David who says that humans were not just the prime goal but the ONLY goal. For a change, you and I are on the same side.
TONY: We are called creatures that he was especially fond of, nothing more. But regardless, MOST life today could not have lived in the early earth, because it had not been prepared.
dhw: There is no doubt that most of today’s life could not have lived in the early earth. With my theist’s hat on, I have no idea to what extent your God actually planned the environmental changes that led to each stage of evolution (or creation), or designed the basic mechanisms and then sat back to see what would happen (though possibly intervening when he wanted to). This is the point at which I can envisage various scenarios, whereas you and David have fixed – but extremely different – ideas.
DAVID: Tony and I are very close together. You don't interpret Tony as I do. God's evolutionary processes require a series of preparations for the arrival of humans as his statements point out. Our differences come from his Biblical interpretations.

Why have you omitted Tony’s direct dismissal of your dogmatic anthropocentrism?
TONY: Humans, as the prime goal of all creation, or even of evolution, is truly just silliness, even according to science which claims everything is still evolving. If that were true, we must be in one of those periods of punctuated equilibrium.

Tony will have to tell us himself how, if he agrees with you, your God’s personal design of the weaverbird’s nest, the monarch’s lifestyle and the fly’s compound eye constituted preparation for his "sole goal", the production of humans.

God and evolution

by David Turell @, Monday, April 03, 2017, 15:34 (140 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Tony and I are very close together. You don't interpret Tony as I do. God's evolutionary processes require a series of preparations for the arrival of humans as his statements point out. Our differences come from his Biblical interpretations.

dhw: Why have you omitted Tony’s direct dismissal of your dogmatic anthropocentrism?

TONY: Humans, as the prime goal of all creation, or even of evolution, is truly just silliness, even according to science which claims everything is still evolving. If that were true, we must be in one of those periods of punctuated equilibrium.

dhw: Tony will have to tell us himself how, if he agrees with you, your God’s personal design of the weaverbird’s nest, the monarch’s lifestyle and the fly’s compound eye constituted preparation for his "sole goal", the production of humans.

Note Tony's reply. Yes Tony and I disagree about the centrality of humans. We are allowed to.

God and evolution

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Saturday, April 01, 2017, 15:18 (142 days ago) @ dhw

ctually, DHW, my comment was directed at the fact that things like weaverbird nests and extinctions constantly seem to trip you up when you wear your theist hat. It is as if you cannot fathom a reason God would have created any life form if he knew in advance that it must die off at some point or that he would not gift his creations with more than the most basic of abilities.

Humans, as the prime goal of all creation, or even of evolution, is truly just silliness, even according to science which claims everything is still evolving. If that were true, we must be in one of those periods of punctuated equilibrium. :p

We are called creatures that he was especially fond of, nothing more. But regardless, MOST life today could not have lived in the early earth, because it had not been prepared. If he wanted to prepare it which minimum energy expenditure, why not use a limited selection of early, simpler organisms to do it? Just cause you could, in theory, shake a kettle of tea until it became hot does not make it a better choice than build a fire or designing a stove for that purpose. Even if designing the stove seems overkill, when all of the other benefits besides that of tea are observed, it makes designing it worthwhile.

--
Without darkness there can be no light, no truth without lies.

God and evolution

by dhw, Wednesday, March 29, 2017, 14:08 (145 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: 'Limited' is part of either/or reasoning. We can't know which is correct, and you keep implying a need for exactitude! Really!
dhw: How can I be demanding exactitude when I offer THREE possible and perfectly logical explanations for the “delay”? They are different hypotheses, and I do not insist on any of them. The exactitude is yours, not mine: namely, that God’s purpose from the beginning was to produce humans, and “everything else was related to that goal”.
DAVID: My problem is the word 'delay'. Because humans arrived at the end of evolution, both of us have assumed we must explain it. I have tried to convert the conversation to a different approach in which we recognize it is not a delay at all, just a part of a timeless God's plan. He may not view it as delayed. Therefore, why should we? No explanation is required!

This does not change the fact that you are the one who insists on exactitude, whereas I offer alternatives. However, we do not need to use the word “delay”, which is why I keep putting it in inverted commas. You insist that God’s purpose was to create humans, and “everything else was related to that goal”. I agree that your 2) (below) makes “delay” irrelevant, since it just means God does what he wants to do, but it doesn’t explain why, if humans were his sole purpose, he specially designed millions of life forms, lifestyles and natural wonders extant and extinct before he produced humans! You had two proposals: 1) he couldn’t produce humans at first because of his limitations. 2) He has no limitations, you can’t find a clear explanation, and why should you have to explain it? Either/or. And you keep insisting on your either/or, despite having rejected 1) as “totally off reservation”. Are you now withdrawing your hypothesis that God may be limited, or is it still either/or?

DAVID: Humans were His main purpose. Everything else relates to that goal. Do you have any purposes for Him He might want to achieve?
dhw: If you say his “main” purpose for creating life was humans, he must have had other purposes. Please let us know what you think they are.
DAVID: I don't have any others. "He must have" is a requirement you have invented for Him.

“Must have” refers to your “main”, which means there are other purposes that are secondary. I presume, then, that you mean “only”, not “main”.

dhw: I have already offered you a different main purpose, which fits in perfectly with your theory that he is hidden and is observing us: namely, that he created a spectacle for himself to watch.
DAVID: Humanizing again, and you can't know that.

Nobody can "know" anything. It is a hypothesis. You distorted my objection to your hypothesis as meaning “You want to propose He had no purpose in mind when he started the process? I find that very hard to believe.” So do I, which is why I have suggested a purpose that fits in with all the facts as we know them, and includes your own hypothesis that he is hidden and is observing us. But we cannot “know” that purpose, any more than we can “know” God’s purpose in creating life itself, any more than we can “know” whether God exists. ALL our hypotheses, including your own, are based on interpretations. If an interpretation fits the facts as we know them, I suggest it has a better chance of being true than an interpretation for which you cannot find a clear explanation, as below.

dhw:You agree that ALL of them fit the facts as we know them, but you reject them because they conflict with your suppositions, which you acknowledge do not make sense, i.e. for which you cannot find a clear explanation.
DAVID: I agree your suppositions fit the history. But they do not emphasize the goal of humans that God has. My clearest explanation is that God does not see a 'delay' as we do.

No, my hypotheses (why do you keep calling them suppositions?) do not emphasize what you consider to be God’s purpose, because your interpretation of God’s purpose does not explain why God designed the weaverbird’s nest, the monarch’s lifestyle and the fly’s compound eye before he produced humans. Forget ‘delay’. There is no ‘delay’ if God’s goal was NOT confined to producing humans.

God and evolution

by David Turell @, Wednesday, March 29, 2017, 15:35 (145 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: This does not change the fact that you are the one who insists on exactitude, whereas I offer alternatives. ....You had two proposals: 1) he couldn’t produce humans at first because of his limitations. 2) He has no limitations, you can’t find a clear explanation, and why should you have to explain it? Either/or. And you keep insisting on your either/or, despite having rejected 1) as “totally off reservation”. Are you now withdrawing your hypothesis that God may be limited, or is it still either/or?

I am aware of Tony's comment about 'preparation'. He is a strict Biblical constructionist, but it is an important point. God may have used the time for preparation, and not be at all limited, but 'limited' still remains possible for me. I am still either/or, but inclined to feel more attracted to Tony's opinion.

DAVID: I don't have any others. "He must have" is a requirement you have invented for Him.

dhw: “Must have” refers to your “main”, which means there are other purposes that are secondary. I presume, then, that you mean “only”, not “main”.

Humans are his only purpose.


dhw: I have already offered you a different main purpose, which fits in perfectly with your theory that he is hidden and is observing us: namely, that he created a spectacle for himself to watch.
DAVID: Humanizing again, and you can't know that.

Nobody can "know" anything. It is a hypothesis. ... But we cannot “know” that purpose, any more than we can “know” God’s purpose in creating life itself, any more than we can “know” whether God exists. ALL our hypotheses, including your own, are based on interpretations. If an interpretation fits the facts as we know them, I suggest it has a better chance of being true than an interpretation for which you cannot find a clear explanation, as below.

My clear explanation is that humans are Gods sole purpose.


dhw:You agree that ALL of them fit the facts as we know them, but you reject them because they conflict with your suppositions, which you acknowledge do not make sense, i.e. for which you cannot find a clear explanation.
DAVID: I agree your suppositions fit the history. But they do not emphasize the goal of humans that God has. My clearest explanation is that God does not see a 'delay' as we do.

dhw: No, my hypotheses (why do you keep calling them suppositions?) do not emphasize what you consider to be God’s purpose, because your interpretation of God’s purpose does not explain why God designed the weaverbird’s nest, the monarch’s lifestyle and the fly’s compound eye before he produced humans. Forget ‘delay’. There is no ‘delay’ if God’s goal was NOT confined to producing humans.

Just the opposite! Per Tony, the 'delay' was simply taking time to prepare fro humans who have dominion over all.

God and evolution

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Wednesday, March 29, 2017, 23:49 (145 days ago) @ David Turell

Don't forget that while we have the earth in subjection to us, we are posed to be in subjection to christ, who is in turn in subjection to Jehovah. We are PART of a purpose. It is less than wise to put on airs and assume we are the end-all-be-all of creation. Even if it is true, it closes your mind to the prospect that there is a purpose greater than ourselves.

--
Without darkness there can be no light, no truth without lies.

God and evolution

by David Turell @, Thursday, March 30, 2017, 02:08 (145 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

Tony: Don't forget that while we have the earth in subjection to us, we are posed to be in subjection to christ, who is in turn in subjection to Jehovah. We are PART of a purpose. It is less than wise to put on airs and assume we are the end-all-be-all of creation. Even if it is true, it closes your mind to the prospect that there is a purpose greater than ourselves.

As a Jew I don't find that in my Old Testament.

God and evolution

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Thursday, March 30, 2017, 08:02 (145 days ago) @ David Turell

Tony: Don't forget that while we have the earth in subjection to us, we are posed to be in subjection to christ, who is in turn in subjection to Jehovah. We are PART of a purpose. It is less than wise to put on airs and assume we are the end-all-be-all of creation. Even if it is true, it closes your mind to the prospect that there is a purpose greater than ourselves.


As a Jew I don't find that in my Old Testament.

Even as a Jew there are OT references to the messiah that would rule as God's anointed king, and that we would be in subjection to him. Regardless of whether you view Jesus as the Christ, or some future person, is immaterial in regards to that point. The main point to me is that we are neither at the top or bottom, and that we have a purpose and function within that organized structure.

--
Without darkness there can be no light, no truth without lies.

God and evolution

by David Turell @, Thursday, March 30, 2017, 15:17 (144 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained


David: As a Jew I don't find that in my Old Testament.


Even as a Jew there are OT references to the messiah that would rule as God's anointed king, and that we would be in subjection to him. Regardless of whether you view Jesus as the Christ, or some future person, is immaterial in regards to that point. The main point to me is that we are neither at the top or bottom, and that we have a purpose and function within that organized structure.

I agree we are not top or bottom. As for the messiah, I am neutral.

God and evolution

by dhw, Thursday, March 30, 2017, 13:48 (144 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: You had two proposals: 1) he couldn’t produce humans at first because of his limitations. 2) He has no limitations, you can’t find a clear explanation, and why should you have to explain it? Either/or. And you keep insisting on your either/or, despite having rejected 1) as “totally off reservation”. Are you now withdrawing your hypothesis that God may be limited, or is it still either/or?
DAVID: I am aware of Tony's comment about 'preparation'. He is a strict Biblical constructionist, but it is an important point. God may have used the time for preparation, and not be at all limited, but ‘limited’ still remains possible for me. I am still either/or, but inclined to feel more attracted to Tony’s opinon.

Please explain how ‘limited’ still remains possible for you, while at the same time it is “totally off reservation” because “...any power that can produce a fine-tuned universe can then see to the creation of humans without difficulty.”

Dhw: If an interpretation fits the facts as we know them, I suggest it has a better chance of being true than an interpretation for which you cannot find a clear explanation, as below.
DAVID: My clear explanation is that humans are Gods sole purpose.

God designed the weaverbird’s nest, the monarch’s lifestyle and the fly’s compound eye and every innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder in the history of evolution because his sole purpose was to produce humans? No wonder you said originally that it didn’t make sense even to you. Sorry, but that is the causal link which needs explaining! I’ve offered you three possible theistic explanations of the history: 1 He didn’t design them but gave them the freedom and means to do their own designing (still allowing for dabbling – maybe to produce humans); 2 God’s sole purpose was not to create humans but to create a spectacle of diversity, with humans as a possible latecomer in his thinking; 3 God wanted to create a being like himself, and experimented until he succeeded. Those are hypothetical theistic explanations for the history of evolution as we know it.

DAVID: I agree your suppositions fit the history. But they do not emphasize the goal of humans that God has. My clearest explanation is that God does not see a 'delay' as we do.
dhw: No, my hypotheses (why do you keep calling them suppositions?) do not emphasize what you consider to be God’s purpose, because your interpretation of God’s purpose does not explain why God designed the weaverbird’s nest, the monarch’s lifestyle and the fly’s compound eye before he produced humans. Forget ‘delay’. There is no ‘delay’ if God’s goal was NOT confined to producing humans.
DAVID: Just the opposite! Per Tony, the 'delay' was simply taking time to prepare fro humans who have dominion over all.

An amazingly swift conversion. You began this post by saying “God may have used the time for preparation, and not be at all limited, but ‘limited’ still remains possible for me. I am still either/or, but inclined to feel more attracted to Tony’s opinion.” By the end you are fully committed to hypothesis 2: an unlimited God who inexplicably designed the weaverbird’s nest etc. etc. because he wanted to produce humans (for which your clear explanation is that he wanted to produce humans). See my reply to Tony on the subject of his opinion.

God and evolution

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Thursday, March 30, 2017, 15:04 (144 days ago) @ dhw

Why are things like the weaver birds nest such a hang up for you? I mean, making your shoes or clothing stylish is not 'necessary' yet some designer somewhere felt strongly enough that function does not require an absence of beautiful form to make them attractive. How much more so for the God that gave us so many other wonderful, beautiful, and amazing creations? Why must your concept of a possible God be purely utilitarian with no concept of aesthetics? You may as well ask why he gave us taste buds, particularly when so many things that are good for us mechanically taste bad. Where is the evolutionary sense in that?

--
Without darkness there can be no light, no truth without lies.

God and evolution: weaverbirds

by dhw, Friday, March 31, 2017, 11:00 (144 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

TONY: Why are things like the weaver birds nest such a hang up for you? I mean, making your shoes or clothing stylish is not 'necessary' yet some designer somewhere felt strongly enough that function does not require an absence of beautiful form to make them attractive. How much more so for the God that gave us so many other wonderful, beautiful, and amazing creations? Why must your concept of a possible God be purely utilitarian with no concept of aesthetics? You may as well ask why he gave us taste buds, particularly when so many things that are good for us mechanically taste bad. Where is the evolutionary sense in that?

Unfortunately, you have missed the background to this whole discussion. There are two points at issue between David and myself. First and foremost is his insistence that God designed all innovations, lifestyles and natural wonders for the sole purpose of producing humans. (DAVID: Humans are God’s sole purpose. And: Everything else was related to that goal.) I cannot for the life of me see how the weaverbird’s nest is related to the goal of producing humans, and so I use that as a prime example. From your posts, I think you are in agreement on this subject. Secondly – and here we may well disagree – I am not convinced that either your God or David’s specifically designed the nest, or the monarch’s lifestyle or the fly’s compound eye. The more we learn about our fellow organisms, right down to bacteria, the more evidence there is that they are sentient, cognitive, decision-making beings. (David has just posted an article on the humble slime mold, which interestingly mentions its decision-making abilities, along with those of “other self-organised systems, such as ant nests, bacterial colonies, and humans.") With my theist’s hat on, I am therefore suggesting that perhaps - it’s only a hypothesis - your God has given all these organisms the intelligence to do their own designing, even to the extent of changing their own structure.

However, the idea that God designed the weaverbird’s nest for aesthetic reasons, which is not in any way related to the production of humans, offers us a different approach. Before making any further comments, though, I would need to know the extent to which you think your God does all the designing or leaves the designing to the organisms themselves.

God and evolution: weaverbirds

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Friday, March 31, 2017, 15:19 (143 days ago) @ dhw

I personally feel that it is somewhere between the two extremes, and have said so often. Teaching someone to weave does not limit them in what they can do with that knowledge. Many, many birds 'weave' their nests to some extent or another. Allowing for variations on that theme allows for the creatures to do what best suits their environment, just like humans knowing how to weave allows us to make clothing to suit all of our environments that we inhabit. Some birds need something more complex, while others need only need something simple. In short, my view is that Jehovah designed themes and allowed for variants within constraints.

--
Without darkness there can be no light, no truth without lies.

God and evolution: weaverbirds

by David Turell @, Friday, March 31, 2017, 15:34 (143 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

Tony; I personally feel that it is somewhere between the two extremes, and have said so often. Teaching someone to weave does not limit them in what they can do with that knowledge. Many, many birds 'weave' their nests to some extent or another. Allowing for variations on that theme allows for the creatures to do what best suits their environment, just like humans knowing how to weave allows us to make clothing to suit all of our environments that we inhabit. Some birds need something more complex, while others need only need something simple. In short, my view is that Jehovah designed themes and allowed for variants within constraints.

Close to my views.

God and evolution: weaverbirds

by dhw, Saturday, April 01, 2017, 10:25 (143 days ago) @ David Turell

Dhw: However, the idea that God designed the weaverbird’s nest for aesthetic reasons, which is not in any way related to the production of humans, offers us a different approach. Before making any further comments, though, I would need to know the extent to which you think your God does all the designing or leaves the designing to the organisms themselves.

Tony: I personally feel that it is somewhere between the two extremes, and have said so often. Teaching someone to weave does not limit them in what they can do with that knowledge. Many, many birds 'weave' their nests to some extent or another. Allowing for variations on that theme allows for the creatures to do what best suits their environment, just like humans knowing how to weave allows us to make clothing to suit all of our environments that we inhabit. Some birds need something more complex, while others need only need something simple. In short, my view is that Jehovah designed themes and allowed for variants within constraints.

DAVID: Close to my views.

But David, you have always insisted that your God must have directly designed the weaverbird’s nest, as it is too complex for the bird to have done it alone. It would seem that Tony’s view is that all birds have the (God-given) ability to weave, and some weave more complicated designs than others. Close to my view (theistic version) that God gave organisms the intelligence to do their own designing.

God and evolution: weaverbirds

by David Turell @, Saturday, April 01, 2017, 14:43 (142 days ago) @ dhw


Tony: I personally feel that it is somewhere between the two extremes, and have said so often. Teaching someone to weave does not limit them in what they can do with that knowledge. Many, many birds 'weave' their nests to some extent or another. Allowing for variations on that theme allows for the creatures to do what best suits their environment, just like humans knowing how to weave allows us to make clothing to suit all of our environments that we inhabit. Some birds need something more complex, while others need only need something simple. In short, my view is that Jehovah designed themes and allowed for variants within constraints.

DAVID: Close to my views.

dhw: But David, you have always insisted that your God must have directly designed the weaverbird’s nest, as it is too complex for the bird to have done it alone. It would seem that Tony’s view is that all birds have the (God-given) ability to weave, and some weave more complicated designs than others. Close to my view (theistic version) that God gave organisms the intelligence to do their own designing.


Tony said: "In short, my view is that Jehovah designed themes and allowed for variants within constraints". I interpret that as very close to my thoughts. Instructing a bird in how to do it is virtually the same.

God and evolution: weaverbirds

by dhw, Sunday, April 02, 2017, 13:19 (142 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Tony said: "In short, my view is that Jehovah designed themes and allowed for variants within constraints". I interpret that as very close to my thoughts. Instructing a bird in how to do it is virtually the same.

Our specific subject here is the weaverbird. The theme, then, is nest-building. The weaverbird’s nest is a variant on the theme of nest-building. According to you, the weaverbird’s nest is too complex for the bird to have constructed its own variant, and so God designed it. (What’s more, God designed it because it is related to the production of humans, because everything God has done is related to the production of humans.) There is a world of difference between direct intervention by your God, and your God “allowing” birds to design their own variants, to do which he must have given them the necessary mechanisms.

God and evolution: weaverbirds

by David Turell @, Sunday, April 02, 2017, 15:06 (141 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Tony said: "In short, my view is that Jehovah designed themes and allowed for variants within constraints". I interpret that as very close to my thoughts. Instructing a bird in how to do it is virtually the same.

dhw: Our specific subject here is the weaverbird. The theme, then, is nest-building. The weaverbird’s nest is a variant on the theme of nest-building. According to you, the weaverbird’s nest is too complex for the bird to have constructed its own variant, and so God designed it. (What’s more, God designed it because it is related to the production of humans, because everything God has done is related to the production of humans.) There is a world of difference between direct intervention by your God, and your God “allowing” birds to design their own variants, to do which he must have given them the necessary mechanisms.

Of course, they have epigenetics for variation, no argument.

God and evolution: weaverbirds

by dhw, Monday, April 03, 2017, 12:42 (141 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Tony said: "In short, my view is that Jehovah designed themes and allowed for variants within constraints". I interpret that as very close to my thoughts. Instructing a bird in how to do it is virtually the same.

dhw: Our specific subject here is the weaverbird. The theme, then, is nest-building. The weaverbird’s nest is a variant on the theme of nest-building. According to you, the weaverbird’s nest is too complex for the bird to have constructed its own variant, and so God designed it. (What’s more, God designed it because it is related to the production of humans, because everything God has done is related to the production of humans.) There is a world of difference between direct intervention by your God, and your God “allowing” birds to design their own variants, to do which he must have given them the necessary mechanisms.

DAVID: Of course, they have epigenetics for variation, no argument.

So why do you insist that your God must have specially designed the weaverbird’s nest because it is too complicated for the weaverbird to have designed by itself? Ditto the monarch’s lifestyle and the fly’s compound eye. These are all variations. And how are they all related to God’s “only goal” – the production of humans?

God and evolution: weaverbirds

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Monday, April 03, 2017, 15:10 (140 days ago) @ dhw

I think it is important to distinguish between physical attributes and behaviors. Build a nest is a behavior, and really should not require more than a very basic set of instructions. Physical attributes however require very specific instructions, precise timing, and in some cases cannot vary by more than minute amounts.

--
Without darkness there can be no light, no truth without lies.

God and evolution: weaverbirds

by dhw, Tuesday, April 04, 2017, 12:18 (140 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

DAVID: Tony said: "In short, my view is that Jehovah designed themes and allowed for variants within constraints". I interpret that as very close to my thoughts. Instructing a bird in how to do it is virtually the same.
dhw: […] There is a world of difference between direct intervention by your God, and your God “allowing” birds to design their own variants, to do which he must have given them the necessary mechanisms.
TONY: I think it is important to distinguish between physical attributes and behaviors. Build a nest is a behavior, and really should not require more than a very basic set of instructions. Physical attributes however require very specific instructions, precise timing, and in some cases cannot vary by more than minute amounts.

Once again, we are talking about a specific nest, because David insists that it is too complicated for the weaverbird to have designed it. Nest-building is behaviour, but the nest itself is a material object. I have deliberately chosen three different types of “variant” (one object, one lifestyle and one physical attribute), but let's stick to the nest, as that to me is the obvious example of the dislocation between David's two hypotheses. So may I be a pain, and ask for a direct response? Do you agree with David that God must have separately designed the weaverbird's nest, as opposed to giving the bird the intelligence to design its own "variant" (a good description, as I would assume the weaverbird was not the first to build a nest). I shan’t ask you whether you agree with David that the nest is related to God’s sole purpose, the production of humans, as I know this is a resounding no!

DAVID: You know my reasoning: balance of nature to supply life's energy for evolution to proceed for millions of years. As for the nest, please note Tony's entry today. God's behavioral instructions.

The complicated knots are not behavioural, but in any case the question is whether God designed the "variant" himself, or the weaverbird designed it. Balance of nature means life continues, whether there are humans or not. Nothing to do with God’s sole purpose being the production of humans and everything else being related to that. See “God and evolution”.
X

God and evolution: weaverbirds

by David Turell @, Tuesday, April 04, 2017, 13:42 (139 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: You know my reasoning: balance of nature to supply life's energy for evolution to proceed for millions of years. As for the nest, please note Tony's entry today. God's behavioral instructions.

dhw: The complicated knots are not behavioural, but in any case the question is whether God designed the "variant" himself, or the weaverbird designed it. Balance of nature means life continues, whether there are humans or not. Nothing to do with God’s sole purpose being the production of humans and everything else being related to that. See “God and evolution”.

You always skip the nuanced part of the balance argument: constant balance means evolution can take a long time with a source of energy always present, even during extinctions.

God and evolution: weaverbirds

by dhw, Wednesday, April 05, 2017, 12:30 (139 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: You know my reasoning: balance of nature to supply life's energy for evolution to proceed for millions of years. As for the nest, please note Tony's entry today. God's behavioral instructions.

dhw: The complicated knots are not behavioural, but in any case the question is whether God designed the "variant" himself, or the weaverbird designed it. Balance of nature means life continues, whether there are humans or not. Nothing to do with God’s sole purpose being the production of humans and everything else being related to that. See “God and evolution”.

DAVID: You always skip the nuanced part of the balance argument: constant balance means evolution can take a long time with a source of energy always present, even during extinctions.

There is no such thing as “constant balance”. The balance is always changing, as species come and go. Evolution is the process by which different forms of life develop, and it will continue as long as there is life and time. Yet again, as you keep agreeing, the continuousness does not in any way support your dogmatic insistence that God’s only purpose was to create humans and that everything else (including the weaverbird’s nest) was related to that purpose! Life (and evolution) has gone on and will go on, with or without humans, until it ends, and it will take as long as it takes!

God and evolution: weaverbirds

by David Turell @, Wednesday, April 05, 2017, 14:42 (138 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: You always skip the nuanced part of the balance argument: constant balance means evolution can take a long time with a source of energy always present, even during extinctions.

dhw:There is no such thing as “constant balance”. The balance is always changing, as species come and go.

But my point is balance is always there as it changes supplying energy for evolution to continue.

God and evolution: weaverbirds

by dhw, Thursday, April 06, 2017, 12:35 (138 days ago) @ David Turell

Dhw: There is no such thing as “constant balance”. The balance is always changing, as species come and go.

DAVID: But my point is balance is always there as it changes supplying energy for evolution to continue.

I don’t know why you insist on using the word “balance” in this context. Life needs energy, and the changing supplies of energy go hand in hand with the changing balance of nature as some species come and some species go. And although you refer to it every time I ask you why God designed the weaverbird’s nest, it tells us absolutely nothing about God’s purpose being to produce humans and designing every life form, lifestyle and natural wonder to relate to that purpose, which is the subject we are discussing. There is no disagreement between us over the fact that life needs energy, and evolution cannot take place unless there is life!

God and evolution: weaverbirds

by David Turell @, Thursday, April 06, 2017, 20:59 (137 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: And although you refer to it every time I ask you why God designed the weaverbird’s nest, it tells us absolutely nothing about God’s purpose being to produce humans and designing every life form, lifestyle and natural wonder to relate to that purpose, which is the subject we are discussing. There is no disagreement between us over the fact that life needs energy, and evolution cannot take place unless there is life!

I do it because you keep equating bird's nests with the purpose of producing humans. The only connection, which you well know, is that human took a long time to appear and as Tony observes constant energy was needed to get there.

God and evolution: weaverbirds

by David Turell @, Friday, April 07, 2017, 01:54 (137 days ago) @ dhw

Dhw: There is no such thing as “constant balance”. The balance is always changing, as species come and go.

DAVID: But my point is balance is always there as it changes supplying energy for evolution to continue.

dhw: I don’t know why you insist on using the word “balance” in this context. Life needs energy, and the changing supplies of energy go hand in hand with the changing balance of nature as some species come and some species go. And although you refer to it every time I ask you why God designed the weaverbird’s nest, it tells us absolutely nothing about God’s purpose being to produce humans and designing every life form, lifestyle and natural wonder to relate to that purpose, which is the subject we are discussing. There is no disagreement between us over the fact that life needs energy, and evolution cannot take place unless there is life!

Humans arrived over billions of years. The vast bush of life supplies the energy. you agree to that. That is the relationship.

God and evolution: weaverbirds

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Thursday, April 06, 2017, 14:43 (137 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: You know my reasoning: balance of nature to supply life's energy for evolution to proceed for millions of years. As for the nest, please note Tony's entry today. God's behavioral instructions.

dhw: The complicated knots are not behavioural, but in any case the question is whether God designed the "variant" himself, or the weaverbird designed it. Balance of nature means life continues, whether there are humans or not. Nothing to do with God’s sole purpose being the production of humans and everything else being related to that. See “God and evolution”.

DAVID: You always skip the nuanced part of the balance argument: constant balance means evolution can take a long time with a source of energy always present, even during extinctions.

DHW:There is no such thing as “constant balance”. The balance is always changing, as species come and go. Evolution is the process by which different forms of life develop, and it will continue as long as there is life and time. Yet again, as you keep agreeing, the continuousness does not in any way support your dogmatic insistence that God’s only purpose was to create humans and that everything else (including the weaverbird’s nest) was related to that purpose! Life (and evolution) has gone on and will go on, with or without humans, until it ends, and it will take as long as it takes!

Balance does not mean or imply stasis. It is not a static thing. Of course things are changing. It's like a top or a tight rope walker. They are constantly in motion, making constant tiny corrections, but the end result is balance.

--
Without darkness there can be no light, no truth without lies.

God and evolution: weaverbirds

by David Turell @, Monday, April 03, 2017, 15:32 (140 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: There is a world of difference between direct intervention by your God, and your God “allowing” birds to design their own variants, to do which he must have given them the necessary mechanisms.[/i]

DAVID: Of course, they have epigenetics for variation, no argument.

dhw: So why do you insist that your God must have specially designed the weaverbird’s nest because it is too complicated for the weaverbird to have designed by itself? Ditto the monarch’s lifestyle and the fly’s compound eye. These are all variations. And how are they all related to God’s “only goal” – the production of humans?

You know my reasoning: balance of nature to supply life's energy for evolution to proceed for millions of years. As for the nest, please note Tony's entry today. God's behavioral instructions.

God and evolution

by David Turell @, Thursday, March 30, 2017, 15:34 (144 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: Please explain how ‘limited’ still remains possible for you, while at the same time it is “totally off reservation” because “...any power that can produce a fine-tuned universe can then see to the creation of humans without difficulty.”

The 'off the reservation' comment was to reject your weird idea that God had to experiment to figure out how to make humans. Never! Please review that entry. You have totally distorted the exchange.

DAVID: Just the opposite! Per Tony, the 'delay' was simply taking time to prepare fro humans who have dominion over all.

dhw: An amazingly swift conversion. You began this post by saying “God may have used the time for preparation, and not be at all limited, but ‘limited’ still remains possible for me. I am still either/or, but inclined to feel more attracted to Tony’s opinion.” By the end you are fully committed to hypothesis 2: an unlimited God who inexplicably designed the weaverbird’s nest etc. etc. because he wanted to produce humans (for which your clear explanation is that he wanted to produce humans). See my reply to Tony on the subject of his opinion.

I find Tony's explanation perfectly reasonable, but I am still either/or. Remember 'delay' is our human impression, not necessarily God's.

God and evolution

by dhw, Friday, March 31, 2017, 11:05 (144 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Please explain how ‘limited’ still remains possible for you, while at the same time it is “totally off reservation” …

DAVID: The 'off the reservation' comment was to reject your weird idea that God had to experiment to figure out how to make humans. Never! Please review that entry. You have totally distorted the exchange.

Just to clarify this particular hypothesis: I have suggested that he wanted to make a creature similar to himself, i.e. he did not have a blueprint for humans in his mind, but experimented in order to find the right formula for a being with enhanced consciousness. If that is what your God wanted to do but because of his limitations was unable to do it, perhaps you had better explain what limitations you have in mind, remembering of course that “...any power that can produce a fine-tuned universe can then see to the creation of humans without difficulty.”

God and evolution

by David Turell @, Friday, March 31, 2017, 15:06 (143 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: Please explain how ‘limited’ still remains possible for you, while at the same time it is “totally off reservation” …

DAVID: The 'off the reservation' comment was to reject your weird idea that God had to experiment to figure out how to make humans. Never! Please review that entry. You have totally distorted the exchange.

dhw: Just to clarify this particular hypothesis: I have suggested that he wanted to make a creature similar to himself, i.e. he did not have a blueprint for humans in his mind, but experimented in order to find the right formula for a being with enhanced consciousness. If that is what your God wanted to do but because of his limitations was unable to do it, perhaps you had better explain what limitations you have in mind, remembering of course that “...any power that can produce a fine-tuned universe can then see to the creation of humans without difficulty.”

Your thought: "he did not have a blueprint for humans in his mind, but experimented in order to find the right formula for a being with enhanced consciousness" again supports your humanized view of God. He is not limited in that way. And remember what we think of as the possibility of limits because of the delay, may not be a delay in God's mind. I repeat: God evolved the universe, evolved the Earth, and evolved organisms. The process of evolution may create the impression of delay and limits. I know limits are my suggestion in either/or, but don't forget my thought: “...any power that can produce a fine-tuned universe can then see to the creation of humans without difficulty.” If God can design a bird that can make a complex hanging nest He can make humans without experimentation!

God and evolution

by dhw, Saturday, April 01, 2017, 10:34 (143 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Please explain how ‘limited’ still remains possible for you, while at the same time it is “totally off reservation” …
DAVID: The 'off the reservation' comment was to reject your weird idea that God had to experiment to figure out how to make humans. Never! Please review that entry. You have totally distorted the exchange.
dhw: Just to clarify this particular hypothesis: I have suggested that he wanted to make a creature similar to himself, i.e. he did not have a blueprint for humans in his mind, but experimented in order to find the right formula for a being with enhanced consciousness. If that is what your God wanted to do but because of his limitations was unable to do it, perhaps you had better explain what limitations you have in mind, remembering of course that “...any power that can produce a fine-tuned universe can then see to the creation of humans without difficulty.”

DAVID: Your thought: "he did not have a blueprint for humans in his mind, but experimented in order to find the right formula for a being with enhanced consciousness" again supports your humanized view of God. He is not limited in that way. And remember what we think of as the possibility of limits because of the delay, may not be a delay in God's mind. I repeat: God evolved the universe, evolved the Earth, and evolved organisms. The process of evolution may create the impression of delay and limits. I know limits are my suggestion in either/or, but don't forget my thought: “...any power that can produce a fine-tuned universe can then see to the creation of humans without difficulty.” If God can design a bird that can make a complex hanging nest He can make humans without experimentation!

I can hardly forget your “thought”, and I keep reminding you about it, because it leads to all the obfuscations apparent in your response. If God is unlimited, he can design whatever he wants to design. But you keep giving us an either/or: 1) he ‘delayed’ creating his sole goal because he was limited, or 2) there was no ‘delay’, because he wanted to do it that way, though we don’t know why. I have suggested that his hypothetical limitation was not knowing how to create a being like himself, which meant he had to experiment. You have rejected that limitation. If you reject the hypothesis of limitation, you no longer have an either/or. I have therefore asked you what other limitations you have in mind. Please answer, remembering of course that “...any power that can produce a fine-tuned universe can then see to the creation of humans without difficulty.”

God and evolution

by David Turell @, Saturday, April 01, 2017, 15:00 (142 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: Your thought: "he did not have a blueprint for humans in his mind, but experimented in order to find the right formula for a being with enhanced consciousness" again supports your humanized view of God. He is not limited in that way. And remember what we think of as the possibility of limits because of the delay, may not be a delay in God's mind. I repeat: God evolved the universe, evolved the Earth, and evolved organisms. The process of evolution may create the impression of delay and limits. I know limits are my suggestion in either/or, but don't forget my thought: “...any power that can produce a fine-tuned universe can then see to the creation of humans without difficulty.” If God can design a bird that can make a complex hanging nest He can make humans without experimentation!

dhw: I can hardly forget your “thought”, and I keep reminding you about it, because it leads to all the obfuscations apparent in your response. If God is unlimited, he can design whatever he wants to design. But you keep giving us an either/or: 1) he ‘delayed’ creating his sole goal because he was limited, or 2) there was no ‘delay’, because he wanted to do it that way, though we don’t know why. I have suggested that his hypothetical limitation was not knowing how to create a being like himself, which meant he had to experiment. You have rejected that limitation. If you reject the hypothesis of limitation, you no longer have an either/or. I have therefore asked you what other limitations you have in mind. Please answer, remembering of course that “...any power that can produce a fine-tuned universe can then see to the creation of humans without difficulty.”

The limits can be limits within an evolutionary process that God does not wish to change. God produces results by evolutionary processes. And either/or also refers to delays as humans see them or appearance of delay to us when one doesn't exist in God's mind.

God and evolution

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Saturday, April 01, 2017, 15:29 (142 days ago) @ David Turell

A delay is only a delay if it is unanticipated or unintentional. This talk I keep hearing of a delay seems to me like expecting offspring to come out of the womb 30 seconds after coitus and for the already be mature adults. Why the 9 month delay? Why the 20-odd year maturation delay? I think it is obvious why, but perhaps consideration of that analogy will put pause to all of the talk of delays.

--
Without darkness there can be no light, no truth without lies.

God and evolution

by dhw, Sunday, April 02, 2017, 13:51 (141 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: If God is unlimited, he can design whatever he wants to design. But you keep giving us an either/or: 1) he ‘delayed’ creating his sole goal because he was limited, or 2) there was no ‘delay’, because he wanted to do it that way, though we don’t know why. I have suggested that his hypothetical limitation was not knowing how to create a being like himself, which meant he had to experiment. You have rejected that limitation. If you reject the hypothesis of limitation, you no longer have an either/or. I have therefore asked you what other limitations you have in mind. Please answer, remembering of course that “...any power that can produce a fine-tuned universe can then see to the creation of humans without difficulty.”

DAVID: The limits can be limits within an evolutionary process that God does not wish to change. God produces results by evolutionary processes. And either/or also refers to delays as humans see them or appearance of delay to us when one doesn't exist in God's mind.

Another obfuscation, and you know it. We both agree that if God exists, he used evolutionary processes. But if his sole purpose was to produce humans, you have told us that either there was a ‘delay’ because his powers were limited, or there was no ‘delay’. If there WAS a delay – the first of your own alternatives – and the limitation was not your God’s inability to find the formula for a creature resembling himself, what other limitations might he have had? Please answer.

If you can’t think of any other limitation, then forget about ‘delay’. You are then faced with the problem of why, if humans were God’s only purpose, he did not produce us more directly but instead specially designed every other life form, lifestyle and natural wonder extant and extinct (including the weaverbird’s nest) – and THAT was the scenario which made no sense to you or, later, for which you could find no clear explanation. For that “no-delay” scenario I have offered two explanations: 1) he did NOT specially design all the above (the weaverbird’s nest being my obvious example); 2) humans were not his only purpose.

TONY: A delay is only a delay if it is unanticipated or unintentional. This talk I keep hearing of a delay seems to me like expecting offspring to come out of the womb 30 seconds after coitus and for the already be mature adults. Why the 9 month delay? Why the 20-odd year maturation delay? I think it is obvious why, but perhaps consideration of that analogy will put pause to all of the talk of delays.

I hope my response to David will clarify the arguments. The delay hypothesis only applies if God’s SOLE purpose was to produce humans. (And you are even more sceptical than I am!) I just want to add one personal point, though: I do not have a problem, as David does, with the idea of a god experimenting. If anyone is interested, I will explain why.

God and evolution

by David Turell @, Sunday, April 02, 2017, 15:40 (141 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: The limits can be limits within an evolutionary process that God does not wish to change. God produces results by evolutionary processes. And either/or also refers to delays as humans see them or appearance of delay to us when one doesn't exist in God's mind.

dhw: Another obfuscation, and you know it. We both agree that if God exists, he used evolutionary processes. But if his sole purpose was to produce humans, you have told us that either there was a ‘delay’ because his powers were limited, or there was no ‘delay’. If there WAS a delay – the first of your own alternatives – and the limitation was not your God’s inability to find the formula for a creature resembling himself, what other limitations might he have had? Please answer.

You see me as unreasonable when it doesn't fit your concept of the issue of delay. First, delay may be a human concept when people think God can create anything immediately. Secondly, as Tony points out, goals take preparation as part of evolutions. Third, evolutionary preparations may take time. Fourth, as God views His plans, there is no delay at all in His mind. Fifth we come to limits. The best conclusion is if God uses evolutionary processes there is no limit, no delay, only process. Back to 'is God limited?' I posed this originally as part of possible discussions and our current discussion result is in my view, that there is an appearance of limits, but we cannot know for sure, and God is likely not limited at all.


dhw: If you can’t think of any other limitation, then forget about ‘delay’. You are then faced with the problem of why, if humans were God’s only purpose, he did not produce us more directly but instead specially designed every other life form, lifestyle and natural wonder extant and extinct (including the weaverbird’s nest) – and THAT was the scenario which made no sense to you or, later, for which you could find no clear explanation. For that “no-delay” scenario I have offered two explanations: 1) he did NOT specially design all the above (the weaverbird’s nest being my obvious example); 2) humans were not his only purpose.

TONY: A delay is only a delay if it is unanticipated or unintentional. This talk I keep hearing of a delay seems to me like expecting offspring to come out of the womb 30 seconds after coitus and for the already be mature adults. Why the 9 month delay? Why the 20-odd year maturation delay? I think it is obvious why, but perhaps consideration of that analogy will put pause to all of the talk of delays.

dhw: I hope my response to David will clarify the arguments. The delay hypothesis only applies if God’s SOLE purpose was to produce humans. (And you are even more sceptical than I am!) I just want to add one personal point, though: I do not have a problem, as David does, with the idea of a god experimenting. If anyone is interested, I will explain why.

I reject this interpretation of delay completely. You accept evolution. It requires time because of process. Thus delay.

God and evolution

by dhw, Monday, April 03, 2017, 13:06 (141 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: The limits can be limits within an evolutionary process that God does not wish to change. God produces results by evolutionary processes. And either/or also refers to delays as humans see them or appearance of delay to us when one doesn't exist in God's mind.
dhw: Another obfuscation, and you know it. We both agree that if God exists, he used evolutionary processes. But if his sole purpose was to produce humans, you have told us that either there was a ‘delay’ because his powers were limited, or there was no ‘delay’. If there WAS a delay – the first of your own alternatives – and the limitation was not your God’s inability to find the formula for a creature resembling himself, what other limitations might he have had? Please answer.

DAVID: You see me as unreasonable when it doesn't fit your concept of the issue of delay. First, delay may be a human concept when people think God can create anything immediately. Secondly, as Tony points out, goals take preparation as part of evolutions. Third, evolutionary preparations may take time. Fourth, as God views His plans, there is no delay at all in His mind. Fifth we come to limits. The best conclusion is if God uses evolutionary processes there is no limit, no delay, only process. Back to 'is God limited?' I posed this originally as part of possible discussions and our current discussion result is in my view, that there is an appearance of limits, but we cannot know for sure, and God is likely not limited at all.

The concept of delay is YOURS not mine! It arises out of your insistence that the production of humans was your God’s only purpose. If they were not his purpose, their arrival cannot be called delayed! You later reject this interpretation, as "evolution requires time because of process. Thus delay." Of course evolution, whatever its outcome, takes time, but once again: there is only a delay if there is a specific purpose. If humans were not the specific purpose, there is no delay.

The problem, however, is not that dogma by itself, but the gap between it and your other dogma, which is that your God personally designed every life form, lifestyle and natural wonder extant and extinct, and did so for the sake of humans. When I pin this down to precise examples (the weaverbird’s nest, the monarch butterfly’s lifestyle, the fly’s compound eye) you cannot find a “clear explanation” concerning how they are related to his only goal. That is why you came up with your idea that maybe God had to ‘delay’ because he was limited. I offered you a hypothetical explanation to bridge the gap you created (God didn’t know how to achieve his goal and had to experiment), but you rejected that. You cannot think of any other limitation, and so you are leaning towards the alternative, which is that he is unlimited and we cannot bridge the gap (back to my three examples) because we can’t ‘know’ anything. The alternative to the unbridgeable gap is to remove one of the two dogmas that have created it: 1) the production of humans was NOT your God’s only purpose. 2) God did NOT personally design the nest, the lifestyle, the compound eye. Aren’t these possibilities worth considering, instead of merely claiming that God did it your way but you can’t find a “clear explanation”?

God and evolution

by David Turell @, Monday, April 03, 2017, 15:44 (140 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: The concept of delay is YOURS not mine! It arises out of your insistence that the production of humans was your God’s only purpose. If they were not his purpose, their arrival cannot be called delayed! You later reject this interpretation, as "evolution requires time because of process. Thus delay." Of course evolution, whatever its outcome, takes time, but once again: there is only a delay if there is a specific purpose. If humans were not the specific purpose, there is no delay.

I know it was my idea. In these discussions I ruminate about possibilities and we explore them. 'Limits' and 'delay' are ideas we explored, not carved in stone.


dhw: The problem, however, is not that dogma by itself, but the gap between it and your other dogma, which is that your God personally designed every life form, lifestyle and natural wonder extant and extinct, and did so for the sake of humans. When I pin this down to precise examples (the weaverbird’s nest, the monarch butterfly’s lifestyle, the fly’s compound eye) you cannot find a “clear explanation” concerning how they are related to his only goal.

The clear explanation is balance of nature and eco-niche production of energy for a long evolutionary process.

dhw:The alternative to the unbridgeable gap is to remove one of the two dogmas that have created it: 1) the production of humans was NOT your God’s only purpose. 2) God did NOT personally design the nest, the lifestyle, the compound eye. Aren’t these possibilities worth considering, instead of merely claiming that God did it your way but you can’t find a “clear explanation”?

Explanation given above, the same as usual.

God and evolution

by dhw, Tuesday, April 04, 2017, 12:38 (140 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: The concept of delay is YOURS not mine! It arises out of your insistence that the production of humans was your God’s only purpose. If they were not his purpose, their arrival cannot be called delayed! You later reject this interpretation, as "evolution requires time because of process. Thus delay." Of course evolution, whatever its outcome, takes time, but once again: there is only a delay if there is a specific purpose. If humans were not the specific purpose, there is no delay.
DAVID: I know it was my idea. In these discussions I ruminate about possibilities and we explore them. 'Limits' and 'delay' are ideas we explored, not carved in stone.

Of course they are not carved in stone. You thought of ‘delay’ and limitations as a means of explaining the dichotomy between your two dogmas: humans were God’s sole purpose, and only God could have designed every life form, lifestyle and natural wonder. I offered you a bridge for that gap (experimentation) which you rejected. It seems that now you are rejecting your whole delay/limitations hypothesis in favour of “it doesn’t make sense to me either”, which = you don’t have a “clear explanation”.

dhw: The problem, however, is not that dogma by itself, but the gap between it and your other dogma, which is that your God personally designed every life form, lifestyle and natural wonder extant and extinct, and did so for the sake of humans. When I pin this down to precise examples (the weaverbird’s nest, the monarch butterfly’s lifestyle, the fly’s compound eye) you cannot find a “clear explanation” concerning how they are related to his only goal.
DAVID: The clear explanation is balance of nature and eco-niche production of energy for a long evolutionary process.

We have long since agreed that the balance of nature means nothing more than life going on and favouring whichever species are best able to master conditions. This applies with or without humans and has absolutely no bearing on your claim that humans were God’s only purpose and everything else was related to that.

dhw:The alternative to the unbridgeable gap is to remove one of the two dogmas that have created it: 1) the production of humans was NOT your God’s only purpose. 2) God did NOT personally design the nest, the lifestyle, the compound eye. Aren’t these possibilities worth considering, instead of merely claiming that God did it your way but you can’t find a “clear explanation”?
DAVID: Explanation given above, the same as usual.

So your God specially designed the weaverbird’s nest, the monarch’s lifestyle and the fly’s compound eye in order to keep life going until he was ready to produce humans? It didn’t make sense to you before, and that is why you came up with your delay-because-of-limitations hypothesis, which you now appear to be turning against. That leaves you, according to yourself, with “no clear explanation”, but you still refuse to consider the possibility that one or both of your two basic premises might be wrong.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

DAVID: Tony and I are very close together.

TONY: Humans, as the prime goal of all creation, or even of evolution, is truly just silliness, even according to science which claims everything is still evolving. If that were true, we must be in one of those periods of punctuated equilibrium. (my bold)

dhw: Tony will have to tell us himself how, if he agrees with you, your God’s personal design of the weaverbird’s nest, the monarch’s lifestyle and the fly’s compound eye constituted preparation for his "sole goal", the production of humans.

DAVID: Note Tony's reply. Yes Tony and I disagree about the centrality of humans. We are allowed to.

Of course you are. I am only pointing out that Tony disagrees with one of your two central dogmas, and we still don’t know how far he supports the other one, so you can hardly claim to be “very close together”.

God and evolution

by David Turell @, Tuesday, April 04, 2017, 13:56 (139 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I know it was my idea. In these discussions I ruminate about possibilities and we explore them. 'Limits' and 'delay' are ideas we explored, not carved in stone.

dhw: Of course they are not carved in stone. You thought of ‘delay’ and limitations as a means of explaining the dichotomy between your two dogmas: humans were God’s sole purpose, and only God could have designed every life form, lifestyle and natural wonder. I offered you a bridge for that gap (experimentation) which you rejected. It seems that now you are rejecting your whole delay/limitations hypothesis in favour of “it doesn’t make sense to me either”, which = you don’t have a “clear explanation”.

If you agree not carved in stone, then I can ruminate about possibilities, since that is all they are. Clear explanations do not exist.


dhw:The alternative to the unbridgeable gap is to remove one of the two dogmas that have created it: 1) the production of humans was NOT your God’s only purpose. 2) God did NOT personally design the nest, the lifestyle, the compound eye. Aren’t these possibilities worth considering, instead of merely claiming that God did it your way but you can’t find a “clear explanation”?
DAVID: Explanation given above, the same as usual.

So your God specially designed the weaverbird’s nest, the monarch’s lifestyle and the fly’s compound eye in order to keep life going until he was ready to produce humans? It didn’t make sense to you before, and that is why you came up with your delay-because-of-limitations hypothesis, which you now appear to be turning against. That leaves you, according to yourself, with “no clear explanation”, but you still refuse to consider the possibility that one or both of your two basic premises might be wrong.

I won't leave my beliefs just as you stay on your fence.


xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

DAVID: Tony and I are very close together.

TONY: Humans, as the prime goal of all creation, or even of evolution, is truly just silliness, even according to science which claims everything is still evolving. If that were true, we must be in one of those periods of punctuated equilibrium. (my bold)

dhw: Tony will have to tell us himself how, if he agrees with you, your God’s personal design of the weaverbird’s nest, the monarch’s lifestyle and the fly’s compound eye constituted preparation for his "sole goal", the production of humans.

DAVID: Note Tony's reply. Yes Tony and I disagree about the centrality of humans. We are allowed to.

dhw: Of course you are. I am only pointing out that Tony disagrees with one of your two central dogmas, and we still don’t know how far he supports the other one, so you can hardly claim to be “very close together”.

Tony and I come from different religions, but we both believe God is in charge.

God and evolution

by dhw, Wednesday, April 05, 2017, 12:45 (139 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I know it was my idea [referring to "delay" owing to God's possible limitations]. In these discussions I ruminate about possibilities and we explore them. 'Limits' and 'delay' are ideas we explored, not carved in stone.
dhw: Of course they are not carved in stone. [..]
DAVID: If you agree not carved in stone, then I can ruminate about possibilities, since that is all they are. Clear explanations do not exist.

Clear explanations certainly do exist, but that does not mean they are right. I have offered you three clear explanations that do away with the dichotomy between your two hypotheses, but those do seem to be carved in stone (“I won’t leave my beliefs just as you stay on your fence”). However,“ruminating about possibilities” is the whole purpose of this forum, and that applies to all subjects, including the existence, purpose and nature of God. There would be no need for any discussion at all if the facts were known. And so we shall, I hope, go on ruminating together!

xxxx

dhw: I am only pointing out that Tony disagrees with one of your two central dogmas, and we still don’t know how far he supports the other one, so you can hardly claim to be “very close together”.

DAVID: Tony and I come from different religions, but we both believe God is in charge.

Most theists do. By “very close together”, I thought you meant he shared your ideas on God’s purposes, methods and nature – i.e. the subject under discussion.

God and evolution

by David Turell @, Wednesday, April 05, 2017, 15:24 (138 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: If you agree not carved in stone, then I can ruminate about possibilities, since that is all they are. Clear explanations do not exist.


dhw: Clear explanations certainly do exist, but that does not mean they are right. I have offered you three clear explanations that do away with the dichotomy between your two hypotheses, but those do seem to be carved in stone (“I won’t leave my beliefs just as you stay on your fence”). However,“ruminating about possibilities” is the whole purpose of this forum, and that applies to all subjects, including the existence, purpose and nature of God. There would be no need for any discussion at all if the facts were known. And so we shall, I hope, go on ruminating together!

Yes, continue ruminating. But currently it depends on what 'clear' means. My interpretation of the word is not yours. I see nothing that is 'clearly' correct. Possible explanations, yes, clear, no.


xxxx

dhw: I am only pointing out that Tony disagrees with one of your two central dogmas, and we still don’t know how far he supports the other one, so you can hardly claim to be “very close together”.

DAVID: Tony and I come from different religions, but we both believe God is in charge.

dhw: Most theists do. By “very close together”, I thought you meant he shared your ideas on God’s purposes, methods and nature – i.e. the subject under discussion.

I respect Tony's beliefs, but cannot accept most of his theology for me. We share a belief in a powerful God and His abilities to create life through evolution.

God and evolution

by dhw, Thursday, April 06, 2017, 12:50 (138 days ago) @ David Turell

I am combining two threads again, as they deal with the same subject.

DAVID (under “Evolutionary theory cannot be falsified”): I have explained that my comments are at the moment remarks and responses to your questions. Remember they are not set in stone as I've stated. I am ruminating out in public. You then pick up an at-the-moment thought and stick with it in responding to me. I don't settle on one thought or approach. My thoughts remain fluid. I'm trying to understand the history as much as you are. You have not allowed yourself to make choices among the possible final decisions about what to believe.

Final decisions do not lead to fluidity. Two of your thoughts are not fluid at all: 1) humans were your God’s only purpose, and 2) your God designed every innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder, all of which were related to that purpose. Your fluidity comes into play when you try to find an explanation for the dichotomy and can’t.

DAVID: Again, no dichotomy. Main point, God's goal is to create humans.

No fluidity here.

DAVID: Time to do it is a human concept, not God's. He is timeless. Limitations or not are human thinking, not God's. Is He limited, probably not, but it remains a possibility. Is He all-powerful. More probable. Can I be absolutely positive about either thought? No.

We cannot know your God’s mind, so how with your human thinking can you be absolutely positive that God’s sole purpose was to create humans and he designed everything to relate to that purpose?

DAVID: As for experimentation, all of the intricate examples of complexity in the genome and biologic functions reprised yesterday deny that possibility. They all strongly suggest immediate saltation of immediately active processes, nothing stepwise as would be the case with experimentation.

You seem to have missed the point of my “experimentation” hypothesis, which is the only explanation I can find to remove the dichotomy between your two basic precepts. Nothing to do with the complexity of the genome! Your God starts out wanting to produce beings like himself. He does not have a blueprint. He designs all kinds of beings, but they are not close enough to the image of himself, and so he continues to experiment. In due course he hits on the right formula: a biped mammal with an extra tweak here and there to its brain. All of this fits in with your two rigid tenets. You have rejected it because “any power that can produce a fine-tuned universe can then see to the creation of humans without difficulty.” This leaves you with no explanation for the dichotomy except your dogmatic insistence that God did it your way and you don’t know why. (Of course I "pick up" on your arguments - how else can a discussion proceed?)

DAVID: If you agree not carved in stone, then I can ruminate about possibilities, since that is all they are. Clear explanations do not exist.
dhw: Clear explanations certainly do exist, but that does not mean they are right. I have offered you three clear explanations that do away with the dichotomy between your two hypotheses, but those do seem to be carved in stone (“I won’t leave my beliefs just as you stay on your fence”). ..
DAVID: ….But currently it depends on what 'clear' means. My interpretation of the word is not yours. I see nothing that is 'clearly' correct. Possible explanations, yes, clear, no.

Please read what I wrote. “Clear explanations certainly do exist, but that does not mean they are right.” Right means correct, and I did not say they were clearly correct. Three different explanations can’t all be correct! A clear explanation means one that is easy to understand, so what don’t you understand about the experimentation hypothesis above, or the hypothesis that God wanted a spectacle for himself and so designed a mechanism to produce all sorts of life forms, including humans? You even agree that this explanation fits in with the history of life as we know it. It could hardly be clearer, but of course it’s not “clearly correct”. If it were, we would regard it as a fact, not a hypothesis. However, I would suggest to you that any explanation we can understand has a better chance of being correct than no explanation at all, which is the situation you are faced with when the combination of your two hypotheses does not make sense even to you.

xxxx

dhw: By “very close together”, I thought you meant he [Tony] shared your ideas on God’s purposes, methods and nature – i.e. the subject under discussion.

DAVID: I respect Tony's beliefs, but cannot accept most of his theology for me. We share a belief in a powerful God and His abilities to create life through evolution.

Tony doesn’t even believe in evolution.

God and evolution

by David Turell @, Friday, April 07, 2017, 01:46 (137 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: Final decisions do not lead to fluidity. Two of your thoughts are not fluid at all: 1) humans were your God’s only purpose, and 2) your God designed every innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder, all of which were related to that purpose. Your fluidity comes into play when you try to find an explanation for the dichotomy and can’t.

DAVID: Again, no dichotomy. Main point, God's goal is to create humans.

dhw: No fluidity here.

Of course. Humans are a goal. Life styles and natural wonders supply energy so evolution can reach the goal of humans. No dichotomy except in your way of looking at things.


DAVID: Time to do it is a human concept, not God's. He is timeless. Limitations or not are human thinking, not God's. Is He limited, probably not, but it remains a possibility. Is He all-powerful. More probable. Can I be absolutely positive about either thought? No.

dhw: We cannot know your God’s mind, so how with your human thinking can you be absolutely positive that God’s sole purpose was to create humans and he designed everything to relate to that purpose?

I am certainly allowed to reach that conclusion.


DAVID: As for experimentation, all of the intricate examples of complexity in the genome and biologic functions reprised yesterday deny that possibility. They all strongly suggest immediate saltation of immediately active processes, nothing stepwise as would be the case with experimentation.

dhw: You seem to have missed the point of my “experimentation” hypothesis, which is the only explanation I can find to remove the dichotomy between your two basic precepts. Nothing to do with the complexity of the genome! Your God starts out wanting to produce beings like himself. He does not have a blueprint. He designs all kinds of beings, but they are not close enough to the image of himself, and so he continues to experiment.

Neat just-so story. God designed a complex evolving universe which allows life, based on quantum mechanics. If He can do that He knew in advance how to make humans.

dhw: You have rejected it because “any power that can produce a fine-tuned universe can then see to the creation of humans without difficulty.”

Exactly.

dhw: This leaves you with no explanation for the dichotomy except your dogmatic insistence that God did it your way and you don’t know why.

I don't see a dichotomy. It all fits together.

DAVID: ….But currently it depends on what 'clear' means. My interpretation of the word is not yours. I see nothing that is 'clearly' correct. Possible explanations, yes, clear, no.

dhw: However, I would suggest to you that any explanation we can understand has a better chance of being correct than no explanation at all, which is the situation you are faced with when the combination of your two hypotheses does not make sense even to you.

It does make sense to me. Humans are the goal and balance of nature supplies the energy to take the time to do it.


xxxx

dhw: By “very close together”, I thought you meant he [Tony] shared your ideas on God’s purposes, methods and nature – i.e. the subject under discussion.

DAVID: I respect Tony's beliefs, but cannot accept most of his theology for me. We share a belief in a powerful God and His abilities to create life through evolution.

dhw: Tony doesn’t even believe in evolution.

My interpretation of Tony is that God arranged for all species appearing over time. Perhaps tony will clarify.

God and evolution

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Friday, April 07, 2017, 21:18 (136 days ago) @ David Turell

I do not believe in macroevolution, i.e. speciation. I have no issue at all with variations on a species (i.e. creatures that can breed and produce viable offspring which can in turn reproduce). Half a dozen types of finches coming from a single type doesn't bother me at all.

--
Without darkness there can be no light, no truth without lies.

God and evolution

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Thursday, April 06, 2017, 14:39 (137 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Note Tony's reply. Yes Tony and I disagree about the centrality of humans. We are allowed to.

DHW: Of course you are. I am only pointing out that Tony disagrees with one of your two central dogmas, and we still don’t know how far he supports the other one, so you can hardly claim to be “very close together”.

What is the other part of his central dogma that you don't know my position on?

--
Without darkness there can be no light, no truth without lies.

God and evolution

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Saturday, April 01, 2017, 15:22 (142 days ago) @ dhw

I reject that limitation because, from a biblical perspective, his own son was his first creation, a creature far more implicated and powerful than ourselves. Further, after that he created myriads upon myriads of other celestial creatures, all before creating the material universe.

--
Without darkness there can be no light, no truth without lies.

God and evolution

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Friday, March 31, 2017, 15:21 (143 days ago) @ dhw

My issue with this is that he had already created intelligent prior to humans in the for of the angelic host, according to biblical accounts.

--
Without darkness there can be no light, no truth without lies.

God and evolution: big brain mutations

by David Turell @, Monday, April 03, 2017, 15:19 (140 days ago) @ dhw

Some of the new genes behind the human brain are found. Apes don't have them:

https://cosmosmagazine.com/biology/evolving-a-human-brain

"For the past decade, scientists have been comparing the DNA of chimpanzees and humans to look for clues. The most recent discovery comes from Wieland Huttner’s lab at the Max Planck Institute in Germany. Remarkably, they showed that just a single letter change in the DNA of one gene triggered an increase in a population of stem cells called basal radial glia. These cells are thought to have powered the expansion of the human cerebral cortex. The finding was published in Science Advances last December.

"The dramatic finding is the latest in a series of revelations about the DNA upgrades that delivered the human brain. Human and chimpanzee genomes are 98.8% the same.

"Intriguingly, within many of the regions that differ, it looks as if chunks of DNA in the human had been Xeroxed – meaning humans acquired “back-up copies” of particular genes, That made them ripe for some evolutionary tinkering; if the copy happens to acquire a few coding errors, there’s no drama – there’s still the functioning original. Once in a while however, a copying error might lead to a new function that is useful.

"Six million years ago, around the time our ancestors were branching off from non-human primates, there was a burst of these gene duplications. Smoking guns! Problem is, there were thousands of them.

***

"One success came in 2012, when Cécile Charrier at the Scripps Research Institute in California and her colleagues took a closer look at a duplicated human gene named SRGAP2C. It was a slightly altered copy of the original found in chimps and mice, and it was active in their developing brains. The scientists came up with an irresistible experiment: they genetically engineered the human copy into embryonic mice.

"As neurons develop, they acquire spines that act like antennae for receiving messages from other neurons. But the spines stop sprouting once the neurons mature. Charrier and her team found that introducing the human backup gene, SRGAP2C, delayed the maturation so spines kept sprouting, which enabled them to make more connections. The experiment showed how, through the copying and then tweaking of a single gene, evolution increased the circuit complexity of the human brain.

"The latest work follows a similar plot line. Marta Florio, a PhD student in the Huttner lab studied another backup copy of a gene that is present in humans but absent from chimps and mice. It is called ARHGAP11B. When the human version was introduced into developing mice, it caused a particular population of brain stem cells – basal radial glia – to increase their rounds of multiplication. Not only did mice double the number of these stem cells in some cases their ballooning brains started folding to fit into the skull – just as the brains of primates do.

"That finding was reported in Science in 2015. The latest finding is that just a single letter change in the ARHGAP11B DNA is able to increase the multiplication of basal radial glia.

"So are these mice any smarter? The German team has yet to test them. But at least one strain of mice are smarter today for having acquired a human gene.

"The FOXP2 gene is needed to turn thoughts into speech; human families who lack the functional gene show defects in language and vocalisation. According to a paper published in 2014 by Christiane Schreiweis at the Max Planck Institute and colleagues at MIT, when the human form of this gene was introduced into mice, they got better at learning mazes and squeaked more often.

"As stunning as these results are, researchers are still far from providing a manifest of the upgrades that delivered the human brain. “Evolution went through a process of trial and error over millions of years,” says neuroscientist Seong Sen Tan of the Florey Institute in Melbourne. “There will be numerous switches.'”

Comment: All of this happened over eight million years. Only to humans, no other apes. Certainly could be God at work.

RSS Feed of thread
powered by my little forum