Purpose and design (Evolution)

by dhw, Friday, April 07, 2017, 17:22 (228 days ago)

We now have three separate threads dealing with the same subject, so once again I will try to summarize the arguments.
David has two dogmatic beliefs:
1) God’s only purpose in creating life was to produce humans, and everything else was related to that purpose.
2) “Everything else” includes the weaverbird’s nest (the most obviously problematical example), which was either preprogrammed 3.8 billion years ago in the first cells or was divinely “dabbled”.

David argues that the vast range of such examples was necessary for the “balance of nature” which provided energy so that life could continue until God achieved his only purpose. I argue that all life depends on energy, and the fact that life has continued does not mean that humans were God’s only goal. I don’t see how the nest provides energy (that’s why it’s my prime example), but why design it anyway if all he wanted was humans?

Initially, David agreed that this made no sense, but offered the hypothesis that maybe God’s powers were limited so he had to “delay” humans. He appears to have rejected this now on the grounds that a God who can create and fine-tune a universe can produce humans “without any difficulty”. Fine. So once again, why design the weaverbird’s nest?

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

Not birds' nests, but this particular nest which you claim is so complicated that only God could have designed it. And it is you who claim that God’s only purpose was to produce humans, and everything else was related to that! Energy was and is needed for all forms of life, with or without humans, and the fact that God took a long time to achieve his one goal, though he could have done so “without any difficulty”, does not explain why he specially designed the weaverbird’s nest and the huge range of other wonders. That is the dichotomy. A possible explanation is either that he didn’t design it, or that his purpose was not confined to the production of humans. Either of these will remove the dichotomy.

TONY (referring to a similar statement): Ok, let's see if we can sort this statement.
A) God did NOT have to create the endless variety, but he DID need to create sufficient variety to meet the requirements of sustaining a livable ecosystem.
B) The act of making the required resources beautiful, complex, interesting and wondrous is an expression of God's love for his creations.

David: Thank you. With my background I accept A, but am not sure of B

Still with my theist hat on:
A) It is self-evident that if you want life, you have to create a system in which life can live. That does not mean that God himself had to personally design the vast range of life forms, lifestyles and natural wonders to keep life going in order to produce humans. Maybe he invented a mechanism (intelligence) enabling organisms to do their own designing. And maybe – here you agree, Tony – God’s sole purpose was not the production of humans.

B) The resources, which include one complex organism eating another in a system which depends on destruction as much as on creation (99% of species went extinct), may just as easily be an expression of God’s enjoyment of an ever changing spectacle. But no matter how you interpret God’s attitude towards his creations, neither of your comments supports David’s dogmatic belief in humans as God’s sole purpose, and everything else being related to that. And I still don’t know if you think your God personally designed the weaverbird’s nest!

TONY: 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.

Balance between what and what? We are talking about Nature and life, which boils down to balance between demand and supply. I do not believe for one second that God said to himself, “I am going to design the weaverbird’s nest in order to ensure that there will be enough energy to balance demand and supply so that life can keep going until I produce humans, who are my only goal.” (Multiply this example by a few million.) THAT is the point at issue here.

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?
DAVID: I am certainly allowed to reach that conclusion.

Of course you are. Everybody is allowed to reach whatever conclusion they like. The point of discussion is to test how reasonable those conclusions are. You vacillate from admitting that your hypothesis makes no sense to offering an explanation which you then reject (God’s limitations), and then to repeating the same hypothesis with the same irreconcilable arguments that your God preprogrammed or dabbled millions of complex designs extant and extinct before fulfilling his one and only purpose, which he could have achieved “without any difficulty”. That is why I am querying your two dogmas and offering alternatives, which even you agree fit in perfectly with life's history as we know it.

Purpose and design

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Friday, April 07, 2017, 21:33 (227 days ago) @ dhw

The balance is also between a is and order. If the structure is too rigid, there is no variation and it stagnates, if it is too chaotic, it all falls apart and self-destructs.

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

Purpose and design

by David Turell @, Saturday, April 08, 2017, 05:55 (227 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

Tony: The balance is also between a is and order. If the structure is too rigid, there is no variation and it stagnates, if it is too chaotic, it all falls apart and self-destructs.

Is this under God's control or not?

Purpose and design

by dhw, Saturday, April 08, 2017, 13:03 (227 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

Tony: The balance is also between a is and order. If the structure is too rigid, there is no variation and it stagnates, if it is too chaotic, it all falls apart and self-destructs.

I don’t understand “a is”. However, I accept what you say about structure, and if God set it all up, then clearly he set it up to allow for variation. Eventually, we are told, it will indeed fall apart and self-destruct – even solar systems have a limited life. Meanwhile, the system allows for continual falling apart and self-destruction on a micro-level (99% of species are extinct), but life goes on as long as life goes on, regardless of what form it takes.

TONY: I just recalled the the Hebrew word Bara, who's is most often translated "created" literally translates to fill, or more specifically "to fatten". In the context of evolution, this could imply a "fattening" or a "filling out" of an existing system or framework. If God fattened the biological system in stages, it would have two implications. First is that hated equilibrium makes sense. Second is that macro-evolution can only occur with outside intervention, but that, if properly guided, it could happen.

“Hated” equilibrium? Presumably a misprint, but I can’t work out what it’s meant to be. If your God created a framework within which organisms used their (God-given?) intelligence to work out their own ways of coping with (adaptation) or exploiting (innovation) ever changing conditions, why would he need to intervene?

David wants to know if you think God is in control. If God exists, I myself have no doubt that the system we have is the system he wants. The question then would be the extent to which he gives organisms the ability and freedom to control their own way of life: that applies just as much to their coping with or exploiting the environment as to humans choosing whether to be nice or nasty to one another.

Purpose and design

by David Turell @, Saturday, April 08, 2017, 15:42 (227 days ago) @ dhw


TONY: I just recalled the the Hebrew word Bara, who's is most often translated "created" literally translates to fill, or more specifically "to fatten". In the context of evolution, this could imply a "fattening" or a "filling out" of an existing system or framework. If God fattened the biological system in stages, it would have two implications. First is that hated equilibrium makes sense. Second is that macro-evolution can only occur with outside intervention, but that, if properly guided, it could happen.

dhw: David wants to know if you think God is in control. If God exists, I myself have no doubt that the system we have is the system he wants. The question then would be the extent to which he gives organisms the ability and freedom to control their own way of life: that applies just as much to their coping with or exploiting the environment as to humans choosing whether to be nice or nasty to one another.

Tony's 'outside intervention, properly guided' answers my question. God controls. I think Tony mis-typed 'gated equilibrium'. Makes sense.

Purpose and design

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Saturday, April 08, 2017, 18:13 (226 days ago) @ dhw

Tony: The balance is also between a is and order. If the structure is too rigid, there is no variation and it stagnates, if it is too chaotic, it all falls apart and self-destructs.

DHW:I don’t understand “a is"

That was supposed to say chaos. I hate my phone.

DHW: However, I accept what you say about structure, and if God set it all up, then clearly he set it up to allow for variation. Eventually, we are told, it will indeed fall apart and self-destruct – even solar systems have a limited life. Meanwhile, the system allows for continual falling apart and self-destruction on a micro-level (99% of species are extinct), but life goes on as long as life goes on, regardless of what form it takes.

That 99% figure is an unprovable, unsupported speculation.

TONY: First is that hated equilibrium makes sense. Second is that macro-evolution can only occur with outside intervention, but that, if properly guided, it could happen.

DHW: “Hated” equilibrium? Presumably a misprint, but I can’t work out what it’s meant to be.

Punctuated equilibrium. ..stupid phone.


DHW:David wants to know if you think God is in control. If God exists, I myself have no doubt that the system we have is the system he wants. The question then would be the extent to which he gives organisms the ability and freedom to control their own way of life: that applies just as much to their coping with or exploiting the environment as to humans choosing whether to be nice or nasty to one another.

I do not think there is one right answer to that question. Yes,God is in control, but that does not mean he exercises that control at all times. A parent sometimes let's their kids play without interfering, and sometimes the reason for their doing so is not readily apparent to the child. Maybe there is other work to do, or they just want the kids to enjoy life for while. Perhaps, the parent feels that there is a lesson to be learned in having to play with others. Sometimes parents even let kids go their own way just to allow them to figure out that they are wrong and should listen to their parents.

As far as evolution goes, the evidence indicates that it is dependent on the life form. Humans have more freedom than animals, who're are driven by more tightly constrained instinct. In all cases our genetic make up is tightly controlled, constrained, and self-correcting within those constraints.

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

Purpose and design

by David Turell @, Saturday, April 08, 2017, 18:53 (226 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

DHW: However, I accept what you say about structure, and if God set it all up, then clearly he set it up to allow for variation. Eventually, we are told, it will indeed fall apart and self-destruct – even solar systems have a limited life. Meanwhile, the system allows for continual falling apart and self-destruction on a micro-level (99% of species are extinct), but life goes on as long as life goes on, regardless of what form it takes.

Tony: That 99% figure is an unprovable, unsupported speculation.

The figure applies to more advanced species than bacteria which are excluded from the estimate. David Raup's book, Extinction, Bad Genes or Bad Luck , 1991, on page 3, places the rate estimated at 99.9%, of all animals and plants that ever existed.




[quote]DHW:David wants to know if you think God is in control. If God exists, I myself have no doubt that the system we have is the system he wants. The question then would be the extent to which he gives organisms the ability and freedom to control their own way of life: that applies just as much to their coping with or exploiting the environment as to humans choosing whether to be nice or nasty to one another.[/quote]

[quote]Tony: I do not think there is one right answer to that question. Yes,God is in control, but that does not mean he exercises that control at all times. A parent sometimes let's their kids play without interfering, and sometimes the reason for their doing so is not readily apparent to the child. Maybe there is other work to do, or they just want the kids to enjoy life for while. Perhaps, the parent feels that there is a lesson to be learned in having to play with others. Sometimes parents even let kids go their own way just to allow them to figure out that they are wrong and should listen to their parents.[/quote]

I interpret this as God is in complete control but chooses to relax it from time to time.

[quote]Tony: As far as evolution goes, the evidence indicates that it is dependent on the life form. Humans have more freedom than animals, who're are driven by more tightly constrained instinct. In all cases our genetic make up is tightly controlled, constrained, and self-correcting within those constraints.[/quote]

This issue is can a 'better' human evolve, and how are they better?

Purpose and design

by dhw, Sunday, April 09, 2017, 09:47 (226 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

DHW: However, I accept what you say about structure, and if God set it all up, then clearly he set it up to allow for variation. Eventually, we are told, it will indeed fall apart and self-destruct – even solar systems have a limited life. Meanwhile, the system allows for continual falling apart and self-destruction on a micro-level (99% of species are extinct), but life goes on as long as life goes on, regardless of what form it takes.
TONY: That 99% figure is an unprovable, unsupported speculation.

I’m not bothered about the figure. Whatever it is, the system involves destruction, by eating, extinction and, we are told, eventually by the end of our solar system. I’m not complaining, though! Just saying that what you and David like to call the balance – whether between energy supply and demand, or between chaos and order, or between creation and destruction – is constantly changing. I really don’t know what it has to do with the subject of God’s sole purpose being to produce humans and everything else being related to that – but David and I at last seem to be reaching agreement on this thorny topic.

DHW: David wants to know if you think God is in control. If God exists, I myself have no doubt that the system we have is the system he wants. The question then would be the extent to which he gives organisms the ability and freedom to control their own way of life: that applies just as much to their coping with or exploiting the environment as to humans choosing whether to be nice or nasty to one another.
TONY: I do not think there is one right answer to that question. Yes, God is in control, but that does not mean he exercises that control at all times.

I’ll leave out your parent child image, as I think David’s concern – and certainly my own – is more with the control your God exercises over the course of evolution.

TONY: As far as evolution goes, the evidence indicates that it is dependent on the life form. Humans have more freedom than animals, who're are driven by more tightly constrained instinct. In all cases our genetic make up is tightly controlled, constrained, and self-correcting within those constraints.

Sorry, my post wasn’t clear, as my reference to human choice was misleading. You have said that you “do not believe in macroevolution, i.e. speciation. I have no issue at all with variations on a species...” David goes a lot further. He believes that his God specifically designs such variants as the weaverbird’s nest, the fly’s compound eye, the monarch butterfly’s migration. Wearing my theist’s hat, I am more inclined to think that God may have given organisms the autonomous intelligence to work out their own variations and lifestyles. It boils down to borderlines, and of course whatever one believes has important ramifications for one’s image of a Creator God and his possible purposes. That’s why I’m interested (David too, I think) in your views concerning the extent of your God’s control over the course of evolution.

Purpose and design

by reblak, Tuesday, July 04, 2017, 17:19 (140 days ago) @ dhw

As a convinced atheist, it always troubled me that while creationism offered an explanation of life and evolution whatever I thought of it, atheism did not. It clings to the idea that it was all a million’s to one series of chance events.
This always distressed me but not being an important person, I thought that if 'they' had no answer ... Then one day, loafing in my chair (aged 76), I resolved that if I believe/know that all things are subject to physical law, so must be life and evolution.
Suddenly excited by a flash of (rather clouded!) inspiration, I decided upon a dialectical approach to this conundrum. Having pondered in this way, I realised that my starting point must be (as it were) as if I were Mother Nature! There is nothing and no-one to help Mother Nature in this scenario.
It was obvious that while evolution was, thanks to Darwin et al., partially understood, the same cannot be said of life to any real extent. I have never considered chance – an arithmetic equation not engaged by nature – as affecting evolution. Mother Nature doesn’t ‘do’ arithmetic so chance barely exists.
All ‘events’ are the essentially automatic result of a current ‘pre-condition’. There are usually, probably two or more automatically acceptable outcomes in the terms of the then pre-existing conditions. Thus this process in not totally deterministic as it allows marginally different, immediate outcomes. These, in turn, will result in widely varying further outcomes.
So, I thought, it’s essentially atomic – must be if nature is automatic: complex (at this stage) would be impossible. Atoms, to become materials must be governed by laws (properties) that set the boundaries of their differing structures and capabilities including – most importantly – the acceptability of conjoining with other atoms that are’sympathetic in their structure. A simple example sprang to mind.
H2O !! This is the result of the interplay of entirely natural forces and materials. Before the advent of Homo-Sapiens, as far as we know, absolutely everything has been formed automatically.
So, for certain, we know that inorganic materials can and do form automatically! Life would seem to be formulated in like manner but there are other quite natural possibilities. No useful purpose for airing them here, unfortunately.
Evolution, however, is a different case.
The very simplest form of life as yet, eludes us, leaving only speculation. Nonetheless, it is possible that all life has developed from it. Assuming this to be so, that lifeform further developed when some member/s automatically accepted an additional atom or atoms. The addition/s altered the pre-existing ‘State’, just marginally and this ‘change’ modified the automatically the range of further ‘acceptability’.
In a nutshell, this process, automatically functioning in varying conditions, must inevitably result in all the lifeforms that have ever existed and any yet to appear.
Simple can only deal with simple, but, eventually, complexity is formed but is still limited to operating with only the simplest available choices. In Homo-Sapiens-Sapiens is displayed the amazing capability of the brain. Many feel that this level of complexity cannot arise in this seemingly ‘iffy’way.
What they fail to understand is that chance (iffyness!) plays no part! These bits of brain are already at a stage where the ‘rules of engagement’ can only accept very particular new configuration. The already existing ‘configurations’ take, as they must, account of the ‘directing balance’ of the organism (i.e. what it has become) in accepting further ‘additions’.
On 7th July 2007, ten full years ago, I sent the main body of my idea (in a pages long essay) to The Society for Interdisciplinary Studies. Mrs Jill Abury (Sec) the Soc. biologist added the title ‘The Genesis of Evolution’. Sadly, for me, it was rejected.
Analogies are, unfortunately rarely if ever fireproof, but, if we assume here that the letters of the alphabet are incontrovertible parts of natural law and that letter ‘A’ can conjoin wth any other and all the others have limitations, I can say that A, B, C, may be an example of a natural automatic attracted set of atoms.
This base will not accept some dozen of the others but can unite with half a dozen of the remainder. Other letters may form other bases, but only with a limited selection of letters that will then influence strongly further additions. Later, the more complex word may be able to absorb what were hitherto unacceptable letters.
An example: the word Verb can become Verbal or Adverb, but the word Verb cannot retain its initial structure if it accepts letters a,d or l. ‘Verbatimly’ would represent that later complexity. I hope this is sufficient to convey my meaning.
I should, I think, make the point that are no physical laws plural. Physical law is a totality, the so-called laws are simply shades of its intrinsic all-embracing nature. I would be happy to discuss any views I post, via john.kalber@yahoo.com .

Purpose and design

by reblak, Tuesday, July 04, 2017, 17:22 (140 days ago) @ reblak

As a convinced atheist, it always troubled me that while creationism offered an explanation of life and evolution whatever I thought of it, atheism did not. It clings to the idea that it was all a million’s to one series of chance events.
This always distressed me but not being an important person, I thought that if 'they' had no answer ... Then one day, loafing in my chair (aged 76), I resolved that if I believe/know that all things are subject to physical law, so must be life and evolution.
Suddenly excited by a flash of (rather clouded!) inspiration, I decided upon a dialectical approach to this conundrum. Having pondered in this way, I realised that my starting point must be (as it were) as if I were Mother Nature! There is nothing and no-one to help Mother Nature in this scenario.
It was obvious that while evolution was, thanks to Darwin et al., partially understood, the same cannot be said of life to any real extent. I have never considered chance – an arithmetic equation not engaged by nature – as affecting evolution. Mother Nature doesn’t ‘do’ arithmetic so chance barely exists.
All ‘events’ are the essentially automatic result of a current ‘pre-condition’. There are usually, probably two or more automatically acceptable outcomes in the terms of the then pre-existing conditions. Thus this process in not totally deterministic as it allows marginally different, immediate outcomes. These, in turn, will result in widely varying further outcomes.
So, I thought, it’s essentially atomic – must be if nature is automatic: complex (at this stage) would be impossible. Atoms, to become materials must be governed by laws (properties) that set the boundaries of their differing structures and capabilities including – most importantly – the acceptability of conjoining with other atoms that are’sympathetic in their structure. A simple example sprang to mind.
H2O !! This is the result of the interplay of entirely natural forces and materials. Before the advent of Homo-Sapiens, as far as we know, absolutely everything has been formed automatically.
So, for certain, we know that inorganic materials can and do form automatically! Life would seem to be formulated in like manner but there are other quite natural possibilities. No useful purpose for airing them here, unfortunately.
Evolution, however, is a different case.
The very simplest form of life as yet, eludes us, leaving only speculation. Nonetheless, it is possible that all life has developed from it. Assuming this to be so, that lifeform further developed when some member/s automatically accepted an additional atom or atoms. The addition/s altered the pre-existing ‘State’, just marginally and this ‘change’ modified the automatically the range of further ‘acceptability’.
In a nutshell, this process, automatically functioning in varying conditions, must inevitably result in all the lifeforms that have ever existed and any yet to appear.
Simple can only deal with simple, but, eventually, complexity is formed but is still limited to operating with only the simplest available choices. In Homo-Sapiens-Sapiens is displayed the amazing capability of the brain. Many feel that this level of complexity cannot arise in this seemingly ‘iffy’way.
What they fail to understand is that chance (iffyness!) plays no part! These bits of brain are already at a stage where the ‘rules of engagement’ can only accept very particular new configuration. The already existing ‘configurations’ take, as they must, account of the ‘directing balance’ of the organism (i.e. what it has become) in accepting further ‘additions’.
On 7th July 2007, ten full years ago, I sent the main body of my idea (in a pages long essay) to The Society for Interdisciplinary Studies. Mrs Jill Abury (Sec) the Soc. biologist added the title ‘The Genesis of Evolution’. Sadly, for me, it was rejected.
Analogies are, unfortunately rarely if ever fireproof, but, if we assume here that the letters of the alphabet are incontrovertible parts of natural law and that letter ‘A’ can conjoin wth any other and all the others have limitations, I can say that A, B, C, may be an example of a natural automatic attracted set of atoms.
This base will not accept some dozen of the others but can unite with half a dozen of the remainder. Other letters may form other bases, but only with a limited selection of letters that will then influence strongly further additions. Later, the more complex word may be able to absorb what were hitherto unacceptable letters.
An example: the word Verb can become Verbal or Adverb, but the word Verb cannot retain its initial structure if it accepts letters a,d or l. ‘Verbatimly’ would represent that later complexity. I hope this is sufficient to convey my meaning.
I should, I think, make the point that are no physical laws plural. Physical law is a totality, the so-called laws are simply shades of its intrinsic all-embracing nature. I would be happy to discuss any views I post, via john.kalber@yahoo.com .

Purpose and design

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Friday, April 07, 2017, 22:24 (227 days ago) @ dhw

I just recalled the the Hebrew word Bara, who's is most often translated "created" literally translates to fill, or more specifically "to fatten". In the context of evolution, this could imply a "fattening" or a "filling out" of an existing system or framework. If God fattened the biological system in stages, it would have two implications. First is that hated equilibrium makes sense. Second is that macro-evolution can only occur with outside intervention, but that, if properly guided, it could happen.

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

Purpose and design

by David Turell @, Saturday, April 08, 2017, 05:58 (227 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

Tony: If God fattened the biological system in stages, it would have two implications. First is that hated equilibrium makes sense. Second is that macro-evolution can only occur with outside intervention, but that, if properly guided, it could happen.

God is in control?

Purpose and design

by BBella @, Saturday, April 08, 2017, 19:46 (226 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

I just recalled the the Hebrew word Bara, who's is most often translated "created" literally translates to fill, or more specifically "to fatten". In the context of evolution, this could imply a "fattening" or a "filling out" of an existing system or framework. If God fattened the biological system in stages, it would have two implications. First is that hated equilibrium makes sense. Second is that macro-evolution can only occur with outside intervention, but that, if properly guided, it could happen.

I always took bara (to fatten) to mean to feed or to fuel in order to make fat/plenty/fertile. Creation is fueled by change producing momentum, that causes the continuation of all that IS.

Purpose and design

by David Turell @, Saturday, April 08, 2017, 00:09 (227 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: the fact that life has continued does not mean that humans were God’s only goal. I don’t see how the nest provides energy (that’s why it’s my prime example), but why design it anyway if all he wanted was humans?

The design of the nest fits the weaverbird into its eco-niche, nothing more. Humans asre the current endpoint of evolution. If nothing else appears, they are the goal.


dhw: Fine. So once again, why design the weaverbird’s nest?

So it can live its lifestyle.


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

dhw: Energy was and is needed for all forms of life, with or without humans, and the fact that God took a long time to achieve his one goal, though he could have done so “without any difficulty”, does not explain why he specially designed the weaverbird’s nest and the huge range of other wonders. That is the dichotomy.

No dichotomy. The range of wonders is the balance of nature supplying energy so evolution could continue. All to the purpose of evolving.

dhw: A possible explanation is either that he didn’t design it, or that his purpose was not confined to the production of humans. Either of these will remove the dichotomy.

No dichotomy just convoluted reasoning .

TONY: 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.

dhw: Balance between what and what? We are talking about Nature and life, which boils down to balance between demand and supply. I do not believe for one second that God said to himself, “I am going to design the weaverbird’s nest in order to ensure that there will be enough energy to balance demand and supply so that life can keep going until I produce humans, who are my only goal.” (Multiply this example by a few million.) THAT is the point at issue here.

The nest is to allow the weaverbird to have its lifestyle and fit into its eco-niche, nothing more. You keep insisting on a much stronger connection, which doesn't exist, except in your mind.

DAVID: I am certainly allowed to reach that conclusion.[/I[/quote]

[quote]dhw: The point of discussion is to test how reasonable those conclusions are. You vacillate from admitting that your hypothesis makes no sense to offering an explanation which you then reject (God’s limitations), and then to repeating the same hypothesis with the same irreconcilable arguments that your God preprogrammed or dabbled millions of complex designs extant and extinct before fulfilling his one and only purpose, which he could have achieved “without any difficulty”.

My vacillation was during a period of your questioning my thoughts about God and how He handled the process of evolution. I explored, not vacillated, several avenues of thought. I've now concluded that God chose a lengthy evolutionary process. There was no delay. He had no difficulty. He created the bush of life which supplies the balance of nature to have energy for life to continue to evolve over such a long period of time. It make perfect sense to me. All of your proposals fit the history, but I don't accept them as probable, only possibilities. I've been though a somewhat convoluted process, but I've made my choices. Can you make any choices?

Purpose and design

by dhw, Saturday, April 08, 2017, 13:22 (227 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: the fact that life has continued does not mean that humans were God’s only goal. I don’t see how the nest provides energy (that’s why it’s my prime example), but why design it anyway if all he wanted was humans?
DAVID: So it can live its lifestyle. And: The design of the nest fits the weaverbird into its eco-niche, nothing more.

So your God did not say to himself: “I’ll design the weaverbird’s nest in order to provide energy to keep life going until I choose to produce humans.” He said: “I’ll design the nest so that the weaverbird can fit into its eco-niche and live its own lifestyle. Nothing more.” Thank you. Now the only open theistic question is whether God designed the nest or the bird designed it (see also my response to your cephalopod post).

DAVID: Humans are the current endpoint of evolution. If nothing else appears, they are the goal.

At last we now have an “if”. “Current endpoint” is a slightly odd expression, since endpoint = completion (and in any case it is not synonymous with goal). I would not like to predict what life will look like in even a million years’ time, let alone a thousand million. For all we know, there might be nothing left except bacteria, so bacteria would the endpoint. (I doubt if you would say they were the goal.) And whatever it is will be your God’s will if he exists, or the outcome of the impersonal workings of Nature.

dhw: Energy was and is needed for all forms of life, with or without humans, and the fact that God took a long time to achieve his one goal, though he could have done so “without any difficulty”, does not explain why he specially designed the weaverbird’s nest and the huge range of other wonders. That is the dichotomy.
DAVID: No dichotomy. The range of wonders is the balance of nature supplying energy so evolution could continue. All to the purpose of evolving.

Yes, the purpose would be evolution, which certainly makes sense, since evolution is what we have – the coming and going of a vast range of organisms, the majority of which have no link whatsoever with God’s apparently “sole purpose” of producing humans. I'm happy to see that your next comment continues this far more logical approach.

dhw: You vacillate from admitting that your hypothesis makes no sense to offering an explanation which you then reject (God’s limitations), and then to repeating the same hypothesis with the same irreconcilable arguments that your God preprogrammed or dabbled millions of complex designs extant and extinct before fulfilling his one and only purpose, which he could have achieved “without any difficulty”.

DAVID: My vacillation was during a period of your questioning my thoughts about God and how He handled the process of evolution. I explored, not vacillated, several avenues of thought. I've now concluded that God chose a lengthy evolutionary process. There was no delay. He had no difficulty. He created the bush of life which supplies the balance of nature to have energy for life to continue to evolve over such a long period of time. It makes perfect sense to me.

I am delighted to have helped you reach a new theistic conclusion, and with a slight rewording I think it does make perfect sense, so long as we stick to the limits you have imposed on your own framework. (I hear alarm bells, but I will persist!) Your God created a system whereby life continued to evolve into a huge bush of forms over a long period of time. I will even take your above hypothesis one step further. The evolving bush led to the arrival of humans. Nothing more, and the above dichotomy disappears.


DAVID: All of your proposals fit the history, but I don't accept them as probable, only possibilities. I've been through a somewhat convoluted process, but I've made my choices. Can you make any choices?

Again I am delighted that you have now chosen to accept the possibility that my proposals might be correct, i.e. that humans were not God’s only purpose, and that “everything else” was not specially designed to serve that one and only purpose. That is all I have ever asked for in this discussion. (I hear the alarm bells again!)

Can I make choices? Definitely not on the macro-level – i.e. the existence of God. But I can certainly express preferences on other subjects. For instance, with my theist’s hat on, I prefer the hypothesis that he deliberately created a system that would lead to the vast variety of life forms and wonders that mark life’s history – not for the sake of producing humans, but for their own sake. I find the vast variety (including those that are extinct) absolutely fascinating. Why shouldn’t he? However I accept the possibility that your God may have intervened at times, and that humans (who I agree have very special levels of consciousness) may be the result of one such intervention.

Purpose and design

by David Turell @, Saturday, April 08, 2017, 16:07 (227 days ago) @ dhw


So your God did not say to himself: “I’ll design the weaverbird’s nest in order to provide energy to keep life going until I choose to produce humans.” He said: “I’ll design the nest so that the weaverbird can fit into its eco-niche and live its own lifestyle. Nothing more.” Thank you. Now the only open theistic question is whether God designed the nest or the bird designed it.

Slightly twisted interpretation. Something more: The nest fits into the concept of balance of nature supplying energy for life in evolution. Each eco-niche fills the balance. All I can say about your theistic question is God helped the bird with the design. The bird could not do it on its own.


DAVID: Humans are the current endpoint of evolution. If nothing else appears, they are the goal.

dhw: At last we now have an “if”. “Current endpoint” is a slightly odd expression, since endpoint = completion (and in any case it is not synonymous with goal).

My 'if' is a cautionary comment. Frankly I cannot see any further evolution except some minor changes in humans, such as bigger, stronger, which we are seeing now. No major reconstructions like over the last eight million years.

DAVID: No dichotomy. The range of wonders is the balance of nature supplying energy so evolution could continue. All to the purpose of evolving.


dhw: Yes, the purpose would be evolution, which certainly makes sense, since evolution is what we have – the coming and going of a vast range of organisms, the majority of which have no link whatsoever with God’s apparently “sole purpose” of producing humans. I'm happy to see that your next comment continues this far more logical approach.

It seems you do understand my thoughts. The bush supports the energy supply needed.


dhw: I am delighted to have helped you reach a new theistic conclusion, and with a slight rewording I think it does make perfect sense, so long as we stick to the limits you have imposed on your own framework. (I hear alarm bells, but I will persist!) Your God created a system whereby life continued to evolve into a huge bush of forms over a long period of time. I will even take your above hypothesis one step further. The evolving bush led to the arrival of humans. Nothing more, and the above dichotomy disappears.

As Tony commented, speciation requires outside intervention. Humans are the result of God's interventions.

dhw: Again I am delighted that you have now chosen to accept the possibility that my proposals might be correct, i.e. that humans were not God’s only purpose, and that “everything else” was not specially designed to serve that one and only purpose. That is all I have ever asked for in this discussion.

I've said might be possible and do fit the history. They do not presume God's existence.

dhw: Can I make choices? Definitely not on the macro-level – i.e. the existence of God. But I can certainly express preferences on other subjects. For instance, with my theist’s hat on, I prefer the hypothesis that he deliberately created a system that would lead to the vast variety of life forms and wonders that mark life’s history – not for the sake of producing humans, but for their own sake. I find the vast variety (including those that are extinct) absolutely fascinating. Why shouldn’t he? However I accept the possibility that your God may have intervened at times, and that humans (who I agree have very special levels of consciousness) may be the result of one such intervention.

That is about as close as you can get to me. Good.

Purpose and design

by BBella @, Saturday, April 08, 2017, 20:30 (226 days ago) @ David Turell


So your God did not say to himself: “I’ll design the weaverbird’s nest in order to provide energy to keep life going until I choose to produce humans.” He said: “I’ll design the nest so that the weaverbird can fit into its eco-niche and live its own lifestyle. Nothing more.” Thank you. Now the only open theistic question is whether God designed the nest or the bird designed it.


Slightly twisted interpretation. Something more: The nest fits into the concept of balance of nature supplying energy for life in evolution. Each eco-niche fills the balance. All I can say about your theistic question is God helped the bird with the design. The bird could not do it on its own.

What you are saying that you believe, David, is that God, through the bird's own consciousness, guided the bird to design this particular new type of intricate nest, correct? So that anyone observing this very first process of the bird building this new nest, would say, wow...look at that strange new type of nest that bird just built! Obviously you do not mean that God directly chose a particular bird and sent him to God's 'School for Nest Building', right?

Purpose and design

by David Turell @, Saturday, April 08, 2017, 23:55 (226 days ago) @ BBella

David: Slightly twisted interpretation. Something more: The nest fits into the concept of balance of nature supplying energy for life in evolution. Each eco-niche fills the balance. All I can say about your theistic question is God helped the bird with the design. The bird could not do it on its own.


BBella: What you are saying that you believe, David, is that God, through the bird's own consciousness, guided the bird to design this particular new type of intricate nest, correct? So that anyone observing this very first process of the bird building this new nest, would say, wow...look at that strange new type of nest that bird just built! Obviously you do not mean that God directly chose a particular bird and sent him to God's 'School for Nest Building', right?

My belief is the lifestyle of the weaverbird required a nest like this for the safety of the newborn chicks, and God showed the bird how to create it, probably by giving the bird a design to follow. Have you seen the intricacy of the various knots employed?

Purpose and design

by BBella @, Sunday, April 09, 2017, 00:14 (226 days ago) @ David Turell

David: Slightly twisted interpretation. Something more: The nest fits into the concept of balance of nature supplying energy for life in evolution. Each eco-niche fills the balance. All I can say about your theistic question is God helped the bird with the design. The bird could not do it on its own.


BBella: What you are saying that you believe, David, is that God, through the bird's own consciousness, guided the bird to design this particular new type of intricate nest, correct? So that anyone observing this very first process of the bird building this new nest, would say, wow...look at that strange new type of nest that bird just built! Obviously you do not mean that God directly chose a particular bird and sent him to God's 'School for Nest Building', right?


My belief is the lifestyle of the weaverbird required a nest like this for the safety of the newborn chicks, and God showed the bird how to create it, probably by giving the bird a design to follow. Have you seen the intricacy of the various knots employed?

So, by saying, "God showed the bird how to create it, probably by giving the bird a design to follow", it sounds as though you are pretty much saying God did send him to bird school! And if you, as an observer, happened to had observed this bird being shown the design by God at that moment in time, what would you have observed?

Purpose and design

by David Turell @, Sunday, April 09, 2017, 00:50 (226 days ago) @ BBella

David: Slightly twisted interpretation. Something more: The nest fits into the concept of balance of nature supplying energy for life in evolution. Each eco-niche fills the balance. All I can say about your theistic question is God helped the bird with the design. The bird could not do it on its own.


BBella: What you are saying that you believe, David, is that God, through the bird's own consciousness, guided the bird to design this particular new type of intricate nest, correct? So that anyone observing this very first process of the bird building this new nest, would say, wow...look at that strange new type of nest that bird just built! Obviously you do not mean that God directly chose a particular bird and sent him to God's 'School for Nest Building', right?


David: My belief is the lifestyle of the weaverbird required a nest like this for the safety of the newborn chicks, and God showed the bird how to create it, probably by giving the bird a design to follow. Have you seen the intricacy of the various knots employed?


BBella: So, by saying, "God showed the bird how to create it, probably by giving the bird a design to follow", it sounds as though you are pretty much saying God did send him to bird school! And if you, as an observer, happened to had observed this bird being shown the design by God at that moment in time, what would you have observed?

I'm not sure about bird school. The design was more likely implanted into the bird's genome where it acted as an instinct.

Purpose and design

by dhw, Sunday, April 09, 2017, 09:38 (226 days ago) @ David Turell

Dhw: So your God did not say to himself: “I’ll design the weaverbird’s nest in order to provide energy to keep life going until I choose to produce humans.” He said: “I’ll design the nest so that the weaverbird can fit into its eco-niche and live its own lifestyle. Nothing more.” Thank you. Now the only open theistic question is whether God designed the nest or the bird designed it.
DAVID: Slightly twisted interpretation. Something more: The nest fits into the concept of balance of nature supplying energy for life in evolution. Each eco-niche fills the balance.

I still don’t know how the nest itself supplies energy (unless, I suppose, you eat it) – that’s why it is my prime example – but of course I agree that all forms of life, regardless of which ones hold the balance of nature at any time, both need and supply energy, and energy is required for life to evolve.

DAVID: All I can say about your theistic question is God helped the bird with the design. The bird could not do it on its own.

All your versions of “help” are dealt with under “Genome complexity”. However, I acknowledge that complexity is a problem and we do not know how far organisms are capable of doing their own designing. But I am obviously far more open than you to the possibility that from bacteria upwards they may have sufficient (God-given?) intelligence to do it themselves.

DAVID: Humans are the current endpoint of evolution. If nothing else appears, they are the goal.
dhw: At last we now have an “if”. “Current endpoint” is a slightly odd expression, since endpoint = completion (and in any case it is not synonymous with goal).
DAVID: My 'if' is a cautionary comment. Frankly I cannot see any further evolution except some minor changes in humans, such as bigger, stronger, which we are seeing now. No major reconstructions like over the last eight million years.

I am not prepared to make predictions for the next thousand million years. But I suspect the “endpoint” is more likely to be bacteria than humans!

DAVID: No dichotomy. The range of wonders is the balance of nature supplying energy so evolution could continue. All to the purpose of evolving.
dhw: Yes, the purpose would be evolution, which certainly makes sense, since evolution is what we have – the coming and going of a vast range of organisms, the majority of which have no link whatsoever with God’s apparently “sole purpose” of producing humans.
DAVID: It seems you do understand my thoughts. The bush supports the energy supply needed.

Yes, as above, all life provides the energy needed for life to continue and to evolve, and no life can survive without some form of energy. This is self-evident. It is your God’s “sole purpose”, plus everything else being related to it, that I have objected to.

dhw: Again I am delighted that you have now chosen to accept the possibility that my proposals might be correct, i.e. that humans were not God’s only purpose, and that “everything else” was not specially designed to serve that one and only purpose. That is all I have ever asked for in this discussion.
DAVID: I've said might be possible and do fit the history. They do not presume God's existence.

Two of the hypotheses (God experimenting to produce a being like himself, and God thinking of humans later on in the course of evolution) do presume his existence. The autonomous inventive intelligence does not presume his existence, but it allows for him to be its inventor, and also allows for him to dabble if he does exist. I prefer all three of these to the concept of a God who designs every life form so that he can put off designing the only life form he wants to design.

dhw: Can I make choices? Definitely not on the macro-level – i.e. the existence of God. But I can certainly express preferences on other subjects. For instance, with my theist’s hat on, I prefer the hypothesis that he deliberately created a system that would lead to the vast variety of life forms and wonders that mark life’s history – not for the sake of producing humans, but for their own sake. I find the vast variety (including those that are extinct) absolutely fascinating. Why shouldn’t he? However I accept the possibility that your God may have intervened at times, and that humans (who I agree have very special levels of consciousness) may be the result of one such intervention.
DAVID: That is about as close as you can get to me. Good.

I have offered you this hypothesis many times, and will now raise my glass to you in celebration of the fact that you have finally agreed it is possible.

Purpose and design

by David Turell @, Sunday, April 09, 2017, 14:50 (226 days ago) @ dhw

.


DAVID: Humans are the current endpoint of evolution. If nothing else appears, they are the goal.
dhw: At last we now have an “if”. “Current endpoint” is a slightly odd expression, since endpoint = completion (and in any case it is not synonymous with goal).
DAVID: My 'if' is a cautionary comment. Frankly I cannot see any further evolution except some minor changes in humans, such as bigger, stronger, which we are seeing now. No major reconstructions like over the last eight million years.

dhw: I am not prepared to make predictions for the next thousand million years. But I suspect the “endpoint” is more likely to be bacteria than humans!

Yes, the bacteria are tough enough to survive human self-destruction.

dhw: I prefer all three of these to the concept of a God who designs every life form so that he can put off designing the only life form he wants to design.

The timing of humans is obviously God's choice of action. He probably does not view it as 'putting off'. That is your humanized version.


dhw: Can I make choices? Definitely not on the macro-level – i.e. the existence of God. But I can certainly express preferences on other subjects. For instance, with my theist’s hat on, I prefer the hypothesis that he deliberately created a system that would lead to the vast variety of life forms and wonders that mark life’s history – not for the sake of producing humans, but for their own sake. I find the vast variety (including those that are extinct) absolutely fascinating. Why shouldn’t he? However I accept the possibility that your God may have intervened at times, and that humans (who I agree have very special levels of consciousness) may be the result of one such intervention.
DAVID: That is about as close as you can get to me. Good.

dhw: I have offered you this hypothesis many times, and will now raise my glass to you in celebration of the fact that you have finally agreed it is possible.

I've always said your proposals fit the history.

Purpose and design

by dhw, Monday, April 10, 2017, 11:42 (225 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Two of the hypotheses (God experimenting to produce a being like himself, and God thinking of humans later on in the course of evolution) do presume his existence. The autonomous inventive intelligence does not presume his existence, but it allows for him to be its inventor, and also allows for him to dabble if he does exist. I prefer all three of these to the concept of a God who designs every life form so that he can put off designing the only life form he wants to design.

DAVID: The timing of humans is obviously God's choice of action. He probably does not view it as 'putting off'. That is your humanized version.

Then let me stick rigidly to your terminology and say I prefer any one of those three to the concept of a God who designed every other life form and natural wonder so that it would take a long time for him to produce the only life form he actually wanted to produce, and which he could have produced without any difficulty. Since you have agreed that there can be no “clear indisputable answer” and have withdrawn Saturday’s decisive conclusion, do please tell us which of these four hypotheses you now consider most likely.

Purpose and design

by David Turell @, Monday, April 10, 2017, 15:26 (225 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: Then let me stick rigidly to your terminology and say I prefer any one of those three to the concept of a God who designed every other life form and natural wonder so that it would take a long time for him to produce the only life form he actually wanted to produce,

Parsing this part of your statement: "designed every other life form and natural wonder so that it would take a long time" seems to mean He stopped and played with designs to temporize until He finally got to designing humans. Not my view. I remind you I always point out the evidence of God preferring evolution of all goals: universe, earth, and life. He used an evolutionary process to produce us as His standard operating procedure (SOP) approach.

dhw: and which he could have produced without any difficulty. Since you have agreed that there can be no “clear indisputable answer” and have withdrawn Saturday’s decisive conclusion, do please tell us which of these four hypotheses you now consider most likely.

Of course here is no indisputable answer. It is possible He could have gone directly to creating humans, He might be limited or evolutionary processes are His preference. He is allowed to have preferences, if he wishes. And your theories are possible answers, but not ones I prefer, as explained.

Purpose and design

by dhw, Tuesday, April 11, 2017, 11:53 (224 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Then let me stick rigidly to your terminology and say I prefer any one of those three to the concept of a God who designed every other life form and natural wonder so that it would take a long time for him to produce the only life form he actually wanted to produce,
DAVID: Parsing this part of your statement: "designed every other life form and natural wonder so that it would take a long time" seems to mean He stopped and played with designs to temporize until He finally got to designing humans. Not my view. I remind you I always point out the evidence of God preferring evolution of all goals: universe, earth, and life. He used an evolutionary process to produce us as His standard operating procedure (SOP) approach.

Since we both believe evolution happened, you do not need to remind me that if God exists he used an evolutionary method. You wrote that God designed all the natural wonders in order to provide energy “so evolution can take a long time to reach the end point.” By “end point” you mean humans, and by “evolution” you mean the process God used to produce humans. Therefore your statement can only mean that God designed all the natural wonders to provide energy so that his process could take a long time to produce humans. Please tell me what else it could mean.

dhw: ...and which he could have produced without any difficulty. Since you have agreed that there can be no “clear indisputable answer” and have withdrawn Saturday’s decisive conclusion, do please tell us which of these four hypotheses you now consider most likely.
DAVID: Of course here is no indisputable answer. It is possible He could have gone directly to creating humans, He might be limited or evolutionary processes are His preference. He is allowed to have preferences, if he wishes. And your theories are possible answers, but not ones I prefer, as explained.

None of my hypotheses suggest that he could have gone directly to creating humans. They are all explanations of the history as we know it, not speculations as to what your God might have done differently. Let me summarize the current position. We both believe evolution happened. If God exists, clearly that was his chosen method. It is a fact that humans came comparatively late on the scene, and it is a fact that vast numbers of life forms, lifestyles and natural wonders have come and gone. You have created an anomaly by claiming that God’s sole purpose all along was to produce humans, and yet he specially designed “everything else” before he produced the one thing he wanted to produce. The question is why. You offered the theory that he was limited, but then you rejected it. Your next theory appears to be that he wanted it to take a comparatively long time, and he is allowed to have his preferences, as of course are we. Current theistic options:
1 God (limited version) wanted to produce a being resembling himself but didn’t know how to do it and so he experimented.
2 God designed lots of life forms etc., and hit on the idea of humans later on.
3 God devised a mechanism enabling organisms to do their own free, autonomous inventing, but he may have occasionally dabbled.
4 God’s sole aim was to produce humans, and he knew how to do it but chose to design all the other organisms, lifestyles and natural wonders because he wanted to take a long time over achieving his sole purpose.
Please tell us which of these you prefer, or please offer us another explanation.

Purpose and design

by David Turell @, Tuesday, April 11, 2017, 18:54 (223 days ago) @ dhw


Since we both believe evolution happened, you do not need to remind me that if God exists he used an evolutionary method. You wrote that God designed all the natural wonders in order to provide energy “so evolution can take a long time to reach the end point.” By “end point” you mean humans, and by “evolution” you mean the process God used to produce humans. Therefore your statement can only mean that God designed all the natural wonders to provide energy so that his process could take a long time to produce humans. Please tell me what else it could mean.

Exactly.

DAVID: Of course here is no indisputable answer. It is possible He could have gone directly to creating humans, He might be limited or evolutionary processes are His preference. He is allowed to have preferences, if he wishes. And your theories are possible answers, but not ones I prefer, as explained.

dhw: None of my hypotheses suggest that he could have gone directly to creating humans. They are all explanations of the history as we know it, not speculations as to what your God might have done differently. ....Current theistic options:

1 God (limited version) wanted to produce a being resembling himself but didn’t know how to do it and so he experimented.
2 God designed lots of life forms etc., and hit on the idea of humans later on.
3 God devised a mechanism enabling organisms to do their own free, autonomous inventing, but he may have occasionally dabbled.
4 God’s sole aim was to produce humans, and he knew how to do it but chose to design all the other organisms, lifestyles and natural wonders because he wanted to take a long time over achieving his sole purpose.
Please tell us which of these you prefer, or please offer us another explanation.

All of your options fit the history with one obvious omission. The eight million year history of human evolution from apes is a stark example of very purposeful evolutionary advances. Apes are still the same. You know the details. Life is about 3.8 byo. Eight million years is but a blink of the eyes in comparison. Did God suddenly learn how to evolve what He wanted? Not likely. He converted land mammals to whales rather easily in the past. These observations remove 1,2,and 3 from consideration. Only 4 fits, BUT 1 must receive some consideration, as we cannot know if God recognized some limitation in His methodology, a limitation we can only guess at. A hint is the Cambrian Explosion, which had to wait for enough oxygenation to be present, and that had to be produced over quite a length of time by cyanobacteria and algae. Since the Cambrian was swift and purposeful, we are left with limitations in Earth's evolution as the reason for the long period of time. Genome manipulation for speciation does not seem to be the limiting problem. Thus we can eliminate 1 as God having to learn how to manipulate genome speciation. He had to wait for geologic and atmospheric changes in the Earth as it evolved. Proper continents, ocean currents, weather patterns, etc. had to appear and stabilize. Chicxulub had to happen as a final step in severe asteroid bombardment. His limits, if any, might reside here.

Purpose and design

by dhw, Wednesday, April 12, 2017, 10:50 (223 days ago) @ David Turell

Dhw: Therefore your statement can only mean that God designed all the natural wonders to provide energy so that his process could take a long time to produce humans. Please tell me what else it could mean.
DAVID: Exactly.

So what is the difference between that and “He stopped and played with designs to temporize until He finally got to designing humans”?

dhw: None of my hypotheses suggest that he could have gone directly to creating humans. They are all explanations of the history as we know it, not speculations as to what your God might have done differently. ....Current theistic options:
1 God (limited version) wanted to produce a being resembling himself but didn’t know how to do it and so he experimented.
2 God designed lots of life forms etc., and hit on the idea of humans later on.
3 God devised a mechanism enabling organisms to do their own free, autonomous inventing, but he may have occasionally dabbled.
4 God’s sole aim was to produce humans, and he knew how to do it but chose to design all the other organisms, lifestyles and natural wonders because he wanted to take a long time over achieving his sole purpose.
Please tell us which of these you prefer, or please offer us another explanation.

DAVID: All of your options fit the history with one obvious omission. The eight million year history of human evolution from apes is a stark example of very purposeful evolutionary advances. Apes are still the same. You know the details. Life is about 3.8 byo. Eight million years is but a blink of the eyes in comparison. Did God suddenly learn how to evolve what He wanted? Not likely. He converted land mammals to whales rather easily in the past. These observations remove 1,2,and 3 from consideration.

They do not. See below for Option 1. Option 2: If 8 million years is a blink of an eye, then the production of humans could have occurred to him “later on”. The higgledy-piggledy comings and goings for 3.X billion years can be explained by Option 3, and maybe God did a dabble to start the human line of descent, or to transform a few apes into humans.

DAVID: […] Genome manipulation for speciation does not seem to be the limiting problem. Thus we can eliminate 1 as God having to learn how to manipulate genome speciation.

Hold on. According to you it requires a special manipulation to produce the human brain. Knowing the general principle doesn’t give you the precise formula for the one thing you particularly want. Option 1 does not mean he had a blueprint for humans. He may have thought the whale would resemble himself (and even fiddled several versions of it), but no…it still didn’t have that extra degree of consciousness… better try something else.

DAVID: He had to wait for geologic and atmospheric changes in the Earth as it evolved. Proper continents, ocean currents, weather patterns, etc. had to appear and stabilize. Chicxulub had to happen as a final step in severe asteroid bombardment. His limits, if any, might reside here.

So your God, who could create and fine-tune the universe, may not have had control over the environment. He had to “wait” for it do the right thing, to “appear”, to “happen”. Chicxulub: what a stroke of luck…maybe, or maybe not, because after your firm rejection of limitations, you are now back to either/or. Discussion continued in my reply to Tony.

Purpose and design

by David Turell @, Wednesday, April 12, 2017, 22:34 (222 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: […] Genome manipulation for speciation does not seem to be the limiting problem. Thus we can eliminate 1 as God having to learn how to manipulate genome speciation.

dhw: Hold on. According to you it requires a special manipulation to produce the human brain. Knowing the general principle doesn’t give you the precise formula for the one thing you particularly want. Option 1 does not mean he had a blueprint for humans. He may have thought the whale would resemble himself (and even fiddled several versions of it), but no…it still didn’t have that extra degree of consciousness… better try something else.

See my comments in my answer to your discussion with Tony.


DAVID: He had to wait for geologic and atmospheric changes in the Earth as it evolved. Proper continents, ocean currents, weather patterns, etc. had to appear and stabilize. Chicxulub had to happen as a final step in severe asteroid bombardment. His limits, if any, might reside here.

dhw: So your God, who could create and fine-tune the universe, may not have had control over the environment. He had to “wait” for it do the right thing, to “appear”, to “happen”. Chicxulub: what a stroke of luck…maybe, or maybe not, because after your firm rejection of limitations, you are now back to either/or. Discussion continued in my reply to Tony.

My discussion is there also. I'm with Tony.

Purpose and design

by dhw, Thursday, April 13, 2017, 10:25 (222 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: […] Genome manipulation for speciation does not seem to be the limiting problem. Thus we can eliminate 1 as God having to learn how to manipulate genome speciation.
dhw: Hold on. According to you it requires a special manipulation to produce the human brain. Knowing the general principle doesn’t give you the precise formula for the one thing you particularly want. Option 1 does not mean he had a blueprint for humans. He may have thought the whale would resemble himself (and even fiddled several versions of it), but no…it still didn’t have that extra degree of consciousness… better try something else.
DAVID: See my comments in my answer to your discussion with Tony.

Not answered. You have not eliminated Option 1 for the reason I have given above. Nor have you or Tony eliminated Options 2 (your God didn’t think of humans till late on in the process) or 3 (he gave organisms the wherewithal to design their own evolution, but may have dabbled) for the reasons I gave in my post of yesterday.

DAVID: He had to wait for geologic and atmospheric changes in the Earth as it evolved. Proper continents, ocean currents, weather patterns, etc. had to appear and stabilize. Chicxulub had to happen as a final step in severe asteroid bombardment. His limits, if any, might reside here.
dhw: So your God, who could create and fine-tune the universe, may not have had control over the environment. He had to “wait” for it do the right thing, to “appear”, to “happen”. Chicxulub: what a stroke of luck…maybe, or maybe not, because after your firm rejection o[/i[i]]f limitations, you are now back to either/or. Discussion continued in my reply to Tony.
DAVID: My discussion is there also. I'm with Tony.

Not answered. It is you who have suggested that God might have had to wait, i.e. that his limitations forced him to rely on changes beyond his control. Your problem here is that you cannot make up your mind whether he was or was not in control of the ever changing environment. If he was in control, and if his sole purpose was to create humans, he delayed and you don’t know why. If he wasn’t in control, his powers were limited, which conflicts with your belief that he could have created humans without difficulty. But you still can’t see that there is no conflict of ideas if you simply acknowledge that God’s sole purpose may not have been the production of humans, and/or the vast range of life forms, lifestyles and natural wonders were not all geared to that one purpose.

Purpose and design

by David Turell @, Thursday, April 13, 2017, 22:25 (221 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: My discussion is there also. I'm with Tony.

dhw: Not answered. It is you who have suggested that God might have had to wait, i.e. that his limitations forced him to rely on changes beyond his control. Your problem here is that you cannot make up your mind whether he was or was not in control of the ever changing environment. If he was in control, and if his sole purpose was to create humans, he delayed and you don’t know why. If he wasn’t in control, his powers were limited, which conflicts with your belief that he could have created humans without difficulty. But you still can’t see that there is no conflict of ideas if you simply acknowledge that God’s sole purpose may not have been the production of humans, and/or the vast range of life forms, lifestyles and natural wonders were not all geared to that one purpose.

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

Purpose and design

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Wednesday, April 12, 2017, 03:09 (223 days ago) @ dhw

Option 5: Each stage of 'evolution' (life forms) was designed to perform a specific, specialized purpose at specific times within the evolution of the earth in order to bring about a predetermined state that existed in homeostasis. When those specific periods were over, and they were no longer needed, they were either adapted or allowed to die off as the situation warranted. When the conditions were right for Humans, and only when they were right, God continued development and created humanity.

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

Purpose and design

by dhw, Wednesday, April 12, 2017, 10:55 (223 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

TONY: Option 5: Each stage of 'evolution' (life forms) was designed to perform a specific, specialized purpose at specific times within the evolution of the earth in order to bring about a predetermined state that existed in homeostasis. When those specific periods were over, and they were no longer needed, they were either adapted or allowed to die off as the situation warranted. When the conditions were right for Humans, and only when they were right, God continued development and created humanity.

If I’ve understood you correctly, this means that whatever happened was planned by your God to happen that way. With my theist’s hat on, I find that perfectly reasonable. But you say: “When those specific periods were over, and they were no longer needed…” Needed for what? David thinks “for the production of humans”, because that apparently was God’s sole purpose to which everything else was related. However, you reject that hypothesis, while you also continue to fight shy of telling us where you think the borderlines lie between direct design by God and autonomous design by organisms themselves. If we stick to my prime example, the problem will remain clear. Do you believe a) that God preprogrammed or personally designed the weaverbird’s nest, and if you do, b) that he did so in order to keep life going until he could produce humans?

I’m sure even an atheist would agree that humans could not appear until conditions were right, but how does that make humans the sole purpose for every phase in the development of life forms and of the environment? Is it not, in your view, possible that your God either designed - or enabled organisms to design - all these natural wonders simply for his own enjoyment? And that he then went on to design different forms, or to watch as organisms themselves designed different forms, for the same reason? And that when they were not “needed” any more – because perhaps he grew tired of them – he stepped in to make a few changes? And humans were the result of those changes? I offer this as a possible theistic explanation for what I see as the higgledy-piggledy history of life on Earth. David agrees that it fits in with that history. Do you also agree?

Purpose and design

by David Turell @, Wednesday, April 12, 2017, 22:30 (222 days ago) @ dhw

TONY: Option 5: Each stage of 'evolution' (life forms) was designed to perform a specific, specialized purpose at specific times within the evolution of the earth in order to bring about a predetermined state that existed in homeostasis. When those specific periods were over, and they were no longer needed, they were either adapted or allowed to die off as the situation warranted. When the conditions were right for Humans, and only when they were right, God continued development and created humanity.

dhw: If I’ve understood you correctly, this means that whatever happened was planned by your God to happen that way. With my theist’s hat on, I find that perfectly reasonable. But you say: “When those specific periods were over, and they were no longer needed…” Needed for what?


I’m sure even an atheist would agree that humans could not appear until conditions were right, but how does that make humans the sole purpose for every phase in the development of life forms and of the environment?

I do not think you follow Tony as I do. Tony is describing a God who sets up processes to create certain life forms and certain environmental conditions. God know where these processes are directed and how they will end. When they reach His anticipated endpoint, He moves on to the next process or step in evolution, always under his control but in steps by processes. Tony's description fits my idea of God using evolution for all accomplishments He desires, in universe, Earth, and animal and plant goals. What looks like delay to us is staged purposeful development. This may be a required methodology or simply God's way of doing things. It does not necessarily imply limits for God, although in my mind it remains a possible interpretation.

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

Purpose and design

by dhw, Thursday, April 13, 2017, 10:19 (222 days ago) @ David Turell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Purpose and design

by David Turell @, Thursday, April 13, 2017, 22:19 (221 days ago) @ dhw


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

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


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

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

I presume God controls evolution and its processes and knows the outcome of processes He started. After all He created the Big Bang

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

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


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

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

Self-imposed only for thorough analysis. Surely you see that. With our discussion, not a likely issue to pursue further.


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

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

I hope he will

Purpose and design

by dhw, Friday, April 14, 2017, 11:42 (221 days ago) @ David Turell

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

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

DAVID: God knows where these processes are directed and how they will end.
dhw: How do you know what God knows? You are assuming omniscience and totally discounting the possibility that your God might deliberately have set up a system in which the outcomes are unpredictable. (Human free will could be an example of just such a system.)
DAVID: I presume God controls evolution and its processes and knows the outcome of processes He started. After all He created the Big Bang.

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

Dhw … it is you who keep talking of “delay” because you insist that the only accomplishment he desired was the production of humans! If the accomplishment he desired was the unpredictable unfolding of a vast variety of living forms, and if this led to the unpredictable behaviour of one particular species, we have a full explanation of every phase of life’s history, without all your convoluted explanations for a “delay” that was not a delay.
DAVID: I have looked at delay as a possibility. How does one reach conclusions without a complete analysis of every aspect of history?

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

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

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

Purpose and design

by David Turell @, Friday, April 14, 2017, 15:42 (221 days ago) @ dhw

dhw:I question your claim that the production of humans was his only goal and everything else was related to that. If your God created the wonders for humans to enjoy, why create wonders that go extinct before humans arrive? I think Tony’s point was that he created them for his own delight (he talked of God’s love for his creations), which is closer to my hypothesis than to yours, but I hope Tony will explain his own views.

I hope Tony responds, but God uses evolution. Prior natures wonders had to appear if there was evolution. The wonders are a natural part of the bush of life.

DAVID: I presume God controls evolution and its processes and knows the outcome of processes He started. After all He created the Big Bang.

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

If God can create the universe, a special planet for us, and create life, he knows where his processes are going and what they will produce

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

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

All explained with this previous quote from me:


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

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

Once again the dilemma is in your mind, not mine. The delay discussion has been an analysis of possibilities, now settled for me.

Purpose and design

by dhw, Saturday, April 15, 2017, 12:59 (220 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Prior natures wonders had to appear if there was evolution. The wonders are a natural part of the bush of life.

Of course they are, but you had referred to them as possibly having been created by God for human enjoyment, which cannot have been the case for wonders that died out before humans arrived. So why won’t you consider the possibility that your God might have created all the wonders for his own enjoyment, as Tony has suggested?

DAVID: If God can create the universe, a special planet for us, and create life, he knows where his processes are going and what they will produce.

Which in the case of my theistic hypothesis would be a wonderful free-for-all, in which organisms either do or don’t succeed by their own efforts, using the intelligence God gave them. The organisms would range from the highly successful bacteria to humans exercising the power of free will – a hypothesis which by your own admission fits every aspect of the history of life.

dhw: …"you cannot make up your mind whether he was or was not in control of the ever changing environment. If he was in control, and if his sole purpose was to create humans, he delayed and you don’t know why. If he wasn’t in control, his powers were limited, which conflicts with your belief that he could have created humans without difficulty."
DAVID: All explained with this previous quote from me:
DAVID: If God set up evolutionary processes that led to desired goals a passage of time is required. That cannot be viewed as a delay, unless you feel God can instantly create anything. I don't. He uses evolutionary processes.

dhw: We both agree that that if God exists he used evolutionary processes! And of course evolution requires time. But this does not solve your dilemma as summarized above. That will only disappear if you abandon one or both of your two basic premises (humans as the only goal, and every other life form, lifestyle and natural wonder related to that one goal).
DAVID: Once again the dilemma is in your mind, not mine. The delay discussion has been an analysis of possibilities, now settled for me.

You keep coming to settled conclusions and then rescinding them. On 12 April it was not settled. You wrote: What looks like delay to us is staged purposeful development. This may be a required methodology [required by what? Did someone else make the laws?] or simply God's way of doing things. It does not necessarily imply limits for God, although in my mind it remains a possible interpretation.

It was you who suggested “delay” as a way out of your dilemma! The concept can only be applied if there is a fixed goal and if your God’s powers are limited. You can’t bear the thought of him not starting out with the one and only goal of creating humans, and that is why you came up with delay through limitations. He had to design the weaverbird’s nest etc. in order to keep life going until conditions were right. Today you have him back in full control, deliberately choosing to create the wrong conditions for humans, deliberately designing thousands of life forms and natural wonders that come and go, because he actually wants to (not has to) go through all these different stages although with his unlimited powers he can fulfil his one and only goal “without any difficulty”. Does this really make more sense than, for instance, the scenario in which he deliberately sets the whole process in motion to see what will happen, but sometimes dabbles to change the course of events?

Purpose and design

by David Turell @, Saturday, April 15, 2017, 18:58 (219 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Prior natures wonders had to appear if there was evolution. The wonders are a natural part of the bush of life.

dhw: Of course they are, but you had referred to them as possibly having been created by God for human enjoyment, which cannot have been the case for wonders that died out before humans arrived. So why won’t you consider the possibility that your God might have created all the wonders for his own enjoyment, as Tony has suggested?

Because I follow the rule of not humanizing God. Christians humanize Him.


DAVID: If God can create the universe, a special planet for us, and create life, he knows where his processes are going and what they will produce.

dhw: Which in the case of my theistic hypothesis would be a wonderful free-for-all, in which organisms either do or don’t succeed by their own efforts, using the intelligence God gave them. The organisms would range from the highly successful bacteria to humans exercising the power of free will – a hypothesis which by your own admission fits every aspect of the history of life.

Intelligence to speciate is present only in your mind. God speciates.

DAVID: Once again the dilemma is in your mind, not mine. The delay discussion has been an analysis of possibilities, now settled for me.


dhw: You keep coming to settled conclusions and then rescinding them. On 12 April it was not settled. You wrote: What looks like delay to us is staged purposeful development. This may be a required methodology [required by what? Did someone else make the laws?] or simply God's way of doing things. It does not necessarily imply limits for God, although in my mind it remains a possible interpretation.

It was you who suggested “delay” as a way out of your dilemma! The concept can only be applied if there is a fixed goal and if your God’s powers are limited. You can’t bear the thought of him not starting out with the one and only goal of creating humans, and that is why you came up with delay through limitations.

Why won't you grant me the right to explore and discuss all avenues of approach to God's methods of creation as we bat the ball back and forth? I've told you your probing helps me explore. I've now settled on God using evolutionary processes as His only method. Since a process like that takes time, appearance of delay appears, but it is just the time it takes to evolve.

dhw: He had to design the weaverbird’s nest etc. in order to keep life going until conditions were right. Today you have him back in full control, deliberately choosing to create the wrong conditions for humans, deliberately designing thousands of life forms and natural wonders that come and go, because he actually wants to (not has to) go through all these different stages although with his unlimited powers he can fulfil his one and only goal “without any difficulty”. Does this really make more sense than, for instance, the scenario in which he deliberately sets the whole process in motion to see what will happen, but sometimes dabbles to change the course of events?

To repeat: if He can design our universe in advance from quantum particles to eventually allow for life to appear, He can accomplish anything He wants to. I see Him filled with goal-oriented purpose while your helter-skelter approach is further treating Him like a human who watches an entertaining show.

Purpose and design

by dhw, Sunday, April 16, 2017, 14:53 (219 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: ..why won’t you consider the possibility that your God might have created all the wonders for his own enjoyment, as Tony has suggested?
DAVID: Because I follow the rule of not humanizing God. Christians humanize Him.

I don’t know why you have imposed this rule on yourself and want to impose it on me. See my post on the “asteroid” thread.

DAVID: If God can create the universe, a special planet for us, and create life, he knows where his processes are going and what they will produce.
dhw: Which in the case of my theistic hypothesis would be a wonderful free-for-all, in which organisms either do or don’t succeed by their own efforts, using the intelligence God gave them etc.
DAVID: Intelligence to speciate is present only in your mind. God speciates.

Another of your authoritative statements for which there is no more evidence than for my alternative hypothesis. Or have you finally discovered the 3.8-billion-year computer programme for all innovations, lifestyle and natural wonders, and/or eye-witnesses to your God’s dabbling?

DAVID: Once again the dilemma is in your mind, not mine. The delay discussion has been an analysis of possibilities, now settled for me.
Dhw: It was you who suggested “delay” as a way out of your dilemma! The concept can only be applied if there is a fixed goal and if your God’s powers are limited. You can’t bear the thought of him not starting out with the one and only goal of creating humans, and that is why you came up with delay through limitations.
DAVID: Why won't you grant me the right to explore and discuss all avenues of approach to God's methods of creation as we bat the ball back and forth? I've told you your probing helps me explore. I've now settled on God using evolutionary processes as His only method. Since a process like that takes time, appearance of delay appears, but it is just the time it takes to evolve.

We both have the right to explore and discuss all avenues of approach, and we do. That is why I offer you alternatives to scenarios you insist on with such authority, such as God speciates, and God’s sole purpose was to produce humans and everything else was related to that. Wearing my theist hat, I have no problem with the statement that God used evolutionary processes – we both believe that evolution happened, and so evolution was his method, and of course evolution takes time. There is absolutely no “appearance of delay”, however, unless you insist that his one and only purpose was to produce humans.

DAVID: To repeat: if He can design our universe in advance from quantum particles to eventually allow for life to appear, He can accomplish anything He wants to. I see Him filled with goal-oriented purpose while your helter-skelter approach is further treating Him like a human who watches an entertaining show.

Watching a show IS a goal-oriented purpose. However, if your God can accomplish anything he wants to (you appear to have given up your own hypothesis that his powers might be limited), he could have created the right conditions for humans without designing the weaverbird’s nest plus millions of other examples. And so if you can claim that he WANTED to produce humans and everything else was related to that, I can equally claim that he WANTED a free-for-all (with dabbles), or alternatively that he WANTED to produce spiders’ eyes, monarch’s navigation, the weaverbird’s nest, not to mention dinosaurs and every other extinct form, lifestyle and wonder, for their own sake, AS WELL AS wanting to produce humans (but not BECAUSE he wanted to produce humans). This removes the contradiction between his now unlimited powers and his countless special designs that have no relevance to the one and only design you claim he actually WANTED. And you needn’t ask why he wanted them if you’re afraid of humanizing him.

Purpose and design

by David Turell @, Sunday, April 16, 2017, 16:23 (219 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Why won't you grant me the right to explore and discuss all avenues of approach to God's methods of creation as we bat the ball back and forth? I've told you your probing helps me explore. I've now settled on God using evolutionary processes as His only method. Since a process like that takes time, appearance of delay appears, but it is just the time it takes to evolve.

dhw: We both have the right to explore and discuss all avenues of approach, and we do. That is why I offer you alternatives to scenarios you insist on with such authority, such as God speciates, and God’s sole purpose was to produce humans and everything else was related to that. Wearing my theist hat, I have no problem with the statement that God used evolutionary processes – we both believe that evolution happened, and so evolution was his method, and of course evolution takes time. There is absolutely no “appearance of delay”, however, unless you insist that his one and only purpose was to produce humans.

There is no delay if evolutionary processes are employed, and they are. Thus an appearance of delay exists, but no real delay. I raised the issue of delay and I've explained it doesn't exist.


DAVID: To repeat: if He can design our universe in advance from quantum particles to eventually allow for life to appear, He can accomplish anything He wants to. I see Him filled with goal-oriented purpose while your helter-skelter approach is further treating Him like a human who watches an entertaining show.

dhw: Watching a show IS a goal-oriented purpose. However, if your God can accomplish anything he wants to (you appear to have given up your own hypothesis that his powers might be limited), he could have created the right conditions for humans without designing the weaverbird’s nest plus millions of other examples. And so if you can claim that he WANTED to produce humans and everything else was related to that, I can equally claim that he WANTED a free-for-all (with dabbles), or alternatively that he WANTED to produce spiders’ eyes, monarch’s navigation, the weaverbird’s nest, not to mention dinosaurs and every other extinct form, lifestyle and wonder, for their own sake, AS WELL AS wanting to produce humans (but not BECAUSE he wanted to produce humans). This removes the contradiction between his now unlimited powers and his countless special designs that have no relevance to the one and only design you claim he actually WANTED. And you needn’t ask why he wanted them if you’re afraid of humanizing him.

I agree that one way of interpreting God is that He is an inveterate inventor like Edison and just enjoys creating amazing creatures with wild lifestyles for His own enjoyment. We could also view that approach as a frivolous waste of effort and energy without real goals or purpose. We differ in our interpretations. I specifically see purpose in God's actions. Your view of Him is amorphous.

Purpose and design

by dhw, Monday, April 17, 2017, 13:22 (218 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: There is no delay if evolutionary processes are employed, and they are. Thus an appearance of delay exists, but no real delay. I raised the issue of delay and I've explained it doesn't exist.

There is no delay if there is no single fixed goal. We agree that evolutionary processes are used, but we do not agree on what they are used for! In short, I agree that there was no delay, because I do not believe that your God specifically designed the weaverbird’s nest for the sole purpose of keeping life going until he could produce humans (which = delay).

DAVID: To repeat: if He can design our universe in advance from quantum particles to eventually allow for life to appear, He can accomplish anything He wants to. I see Him filled with goal-oriented purpose while your helter-skelter approach is further treating Him like a human who watches an entertaining show.

dhw: …if you can claim that he WANTED to produce humans and everything else was related to that, I can equally claim that he WANTED a free-for-all (with dabbles), or alternatively that he WANTED to produce spiders’ eyes, monarch’s navigation, the weaverbird’s nest, […] AS WELL AS wanting to produce humans (but not BECAUSE he wanted to produce humans). This removes the contradiction between his now unlimited powers and his countless special designs that have no relevance to the one and only design you claim he actually WANTED. And you needn’t ask why he wanted them if you’re afraid of humanizing him.

DAVID: I agree that one way of interpreting God is that He is an inveterate inventor like Edison and just enjoys creating amazing creatures with wild lifestyles for His own enjoyment. We could also view that approach as a frivolous waste of effort and energy without real goals or purpose. We differ in our interpretations. I specifically see purpose in God's actions. Your view of Him is amorphous.

Firstly, your God without any attributes other than consciousness seems to me as amorphous as it can possibly be. Secondly, the ONLY “real” purpose you see in God’s actions is the production of humans, and yet you refuse even to consider what might be his purpose in producing humans! The very idea that enjoyment is a “frivolous waste of effort and energy” is quite astonishing. Having met you, I can testify to the joie de vivre you bring into your personal life and that of others, and I do not for one minute believe that you dismiss this joy as a waste of your effort and energy. Life itself is one purpose, and enjoyment of life is another purpose, so why should you assume that your God is pleased with his creations but did not create them because he wanted to be pleased by them, i.e. to enjoy them?

Purpose and design

by David Turell @, Monday, April 17, 2017, 23:38 (217 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: I agree that one way of interpreting God is that He is an inveterate inventor like Edison and just enjoys creating amazing creatures with wild lifestyles for His own enjoyment. We could also view that approach as a frivolous waste of effort and energy without real goals or purpose. We differ in our interpretations. I specifically see purpose in God's actions. Your view of Him is amorphous.

dhw: Firstly, your God without any attributes other than consciousness seems to me as amorphous as it can possibly be.

I think God is simply consciousness/mind, having a definite form of energy in the quantum realm.

dhw: Secondly, the ONLY “real” purpose you see in God’s actions is the production of humans, and yet you refuse even to consider what might be his purpose in producing humans! The very idea that enjoyment is a “frivolous waste of effort and energy” is quite astonishing. Having met you, I can testify to the joie de vivre you bring into your personal life and that of others, and I do not for one minute believe that you dismiss this joy as a waste of your effort and energy. Life itself is one purpose, and enjoyment of life is another purpose, so why should you assume that your God is pleased with his creations but did not create them because he wanted to be pleased by them, i.e. to enjoy them?

I think God is pleased with His creations, as I've stated elsewhere. At my level of humanity I fully enjoy all the aspects of life as you describe. God is not at my level and I see his purpose at work. but I'm certain He is not pleased at humans warring, etc.

Purpose and design

by dhw, Tuesday, April 18, 2017, 09:30 (217 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I agree that one way of interpreting God is that He is an inveterate inventor like Edison and just enjoys creating amazing creatures with wild lifestyles for His own enjoyment. We could also view that approach as a frivolous waste of effort and energy without real goals or purpose. We differ in our interpretations. I specifically see purpose in God's actions. Your view of Him is amorphous.
dhw: Firstly, your God without any attributes other than consciousness seems to me as amorphous as it can possibly be.
DAVID: I think God is simply consciousness/mind, having a definite form of energy in the quantum realm.

“Simply consciousness/mind” seems to me to be more amorphous than a God who has a reason for creating life (including humans), and whose reason may be enjoyment.

dhw: Secondly, the ONLY “real” purpose you see in God’s actions is the production of humans, and yet you refuse even to consider what might be his purpose in producing humans! The very idea that enjoyment is a “frivolous waste of effort and energy” is quite astonishing. Having met you, I can testify to the joie de vivre you bring into your personal life and that of others, and I do not for one minute believe that you dismiss this joy as a waste of your effort and energy. Life itself is one purpose, and enjoyment of life is another purpose, so why should you assume that your God is pleased with his creations but did not create them because he wanted to be pleased by them, i.e. to enjoy them?
DAVID: I think God is pleased with His creations, as I've stated elsewhere. At my level of humanity I fully enjoy all the aspects of life as you describe. God is not at my level and I see his purpose at work. but I'm certain He is not pleased at humans warring, etc.

What purpose do you “see at work”? The only purpose you have acknowledged is the production of humans. Even in this post, you say he is “simply consciousness/mind” and yet now you are humanizing him to the extent that you are sure he is pleased by some things and not pleased by others. Hallelujah! Maybe you will even come round to the idea that if he is pleased/not pleased, his purpose in creating life (including humans) might actually have been to be pleased, which I would regard as synonymous with enjoyment.

Purpose and design

by David Turell @, Tuesday, April 18, 2017, 15:27 (217 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I think God is pleased with His creations, as I've stated elsewhere. At my level of humanity I fully enjoy all the aspects of life as you describe. God is not at my level and I see his purpose at work. but I'm certain He is not pleased at humans warring, etc.

dhw: What purpose do you “see at work”? The only purpose you have acknowledged is the production of humans. Even in this post, you say he is “simply consciousness/mind” and yet now you are humanizing him to the extent that you are sure he is pleased by some things and not pleased by others. Hallelujah! Maybe you will even come round to the idea that if he is pleased/not pleased, his purpose in creating life (including humans) might actually have been to be pleased, which I would regard as synonymous with enjoyment.

He may well be pleased with the results of his creations, but whether He really is or not in unknowable for us. Why conjecture? It is only an attempt to humanize him.

Purpose and design

by dhw, Wednesday, April 19, 2017, 12:09 (216 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID (under “watching asteroids”): You are looking for a purpose behind a purpose! God's purpose in producing humans does not have to have a God reason behind it. I see his purpose in how He engineered the evolution of humans from monkeys 23 million years ago. See yesterday's entry. You want me to see into God's mind. I can't! Again you are asking a humanizing question about God.

According to you he also engineered the evolution of every single innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder in the history of life. Of course I want to know the purpose, and of course nobody can see into God’s mind, if he exists, but you think you can, because you keep telling us that all he wanted was to produce humans. I am challenging that assumption.

DAVID: As an afterthought let me guide everyone to my entry about the appearance of a guided evolution for humans coming from monkey 23 million years ago. Our bipedalism makes us distinct from primates who aren't, and That is everybody but us!

Same again: you keep telling us that he guided EVERY life form, lifestyle and natural wonder, extant and extinct. Yes, we are different, but that does not mean we were his one and only reason for designing the weaverbird’s nest, the monarch’s lifestyle etc. etc.

dhw: If you are sure he has been pleased with his creations, why do you refuse to consider the possibility that he created them in the hope that they would please him, i.e. give him pleasure, i.e. enable him to enjoy them?
DAVID: He might well be pleased and have pleasure. That is beside the points I make as to his purpose. I don't care about God's thinking leading up to his choice of purpose, because I cannot find any evidence to support a supposition about it.

(Yesterday you were “sure” and “certain” – not even “might well be” – that he is pleased by some things and not by others.) The purpose IS the thinking, and it is what we disagree on! According to you, God thought: “I want to produce humans, so I’ll design millions of different organisms, lifestyles and natural wonders in order to keep life going until I get the one thing I want”, although he could get that one thing “without any difficulty”. I suggest he may have thought something else, and I have offered you four different hypotheses, including a very different purpose for evolution, directly linked to your certainty that he takes pleasure in his creations. How can a different purpose for evolution be “beside the point”?

DAVID: He may well be pleased with the results of his creations, but whether He really is or not in unknowable for us. Why conjecture? It is only an attempt to humanize him.

Your usual escape route, and as usual I have to point out that we can’t KNOW anything about God, including whether he exists or not. Your question “why conjecture?” makes nonsense of all our discussions on every related subject, and your “one and only purpose” is no less a conjecture than my “spectacle for enjoyment” conjecture.

Purpose and design

by David Turell @, Wednesday, April 19, 2017, 15:59 (216 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: He might well be pleased and have pleasure. That is beside the points I make as to his purpose. I don't care about God's thinking leading up to his choice of purpose, because I cannot find any evidence to support a supposition about it.

(Yesterday you were “sure” and “certain” – not even “might well be” – that he is pleased by some things and not by others.) The purpose IS the thinking, and it is what we disagree on! According to you, God thought: “I want to produce humans, so I’ll design millions of different organisms, lifestyles and natural wonders in order to keep life going until I get the one thing I want”, although he could get that one thing “without any difficulty”. I suggest he may have thought something else, and I have offered you four different hypotheses, including a very different purpose for evolution, directly linked to your certainty that he takes pleasure in his creations. How can a different purpose for evolution be “beside the point”?

DAVID: He may well be pleased with the results of his creations, but whether He really is or not in unknowable for us. Why conjecture? It is only an attempt to humanize him.

dhw: Your usual escape route, and as usual I have to point out that we can’t KNOW anything about God, including whether he exists or not. Your question “why conjecture?” makes nonsense of all our discussions on every related subject, and your “one and only purpose” is no less a conjecture than my “spectacle for enjoyment” conjecture.

I have studied all the scientific evidence we have looking at what should be considered as works of God. What seems to be evidence of His purpose is my only approach. I have presented that evidence here: God prefers evolving His creations and in my entry on bipedalism suggest how He began the manipulation of evolution toward humans. You have neglected to comment on it, and instead want psychoanalyze God. This demonstrates to me why we differ so much in our discussions. I left agnosticism because I had a wide open mind in surveying the scientific evidence I've presented in two books, with much additional information in this site. I've been taught in my reading not to approach God as a person as we know persons. I study His works for purpose, not for his underlying reasons, since hey are not approachable. When you question me as to God's motives, I've politely given you my off-the-cuff guesses, which are not set in stone, although that is the way you seem to approach them as you throw them back at me.

With your background as a author and playwright, I can understand your reasons for trying to look into God's reasoning. It is part of trying to understand and portray a character in one of your plays. I don't think it fits in looking at God. That has been the role of religions, and we have both agreed they have failed. If they have failed, you will also. God, as a personage, remains concealed, which also bothers you. I'm not bothered. The evidence tells me God exists and that alone is enough to satisfy me.

Purpose and design

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Wednesday, April 19, 2017, 20:06 (215 days ago) @ David Turell
edited by Balance_Maintained, Wednesday, April 19, 2017, 20:16

Religion has failed because they act like children. The parent tells them something and they only hear what they want, only take what they want from it, only believe what they want.

The Christians added rror stories of hell and misery and ignore the rules laid out for them. Others see the anger or discipline and respond out of fear or ignorance, claiming that if daddy loved them they shouldn't get punished for breaking the rules, or that there should be no consequences for their actions.

The Jews refused to acknowledge God's son, probably cause he called them hypocrites and told them they were doing it wrong. And really, who would ever want to admit killing God's son. So, they discount everything dad told them after the part they dont want to believe. (No offense meant David)

The Mormons and the Muslims don't think what daddy says is good enough, so they had to get their buddy (John Smith or Mahammoud) to correct their dad. Yeah... that makes sense.

So, yeah, religion gets it wrong. God says this is who and what I am. And we say, you lie!

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

Purpose and design

by David Turell @, Thursday, April 20, 2017, 00:21 (215 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

Tony; Religion has failed because they act like children. The parent tells them something and they only hear what they want, only take what they want from it, only believe what they want.

The Christians added rror stories of hell and misery and ignore the rules laid out for them. Others see the anger or discipline and respond out of fear or ignorance, claiming that if daddy loved them they shouldn't get punished for breaking the rules, or that there should be no consequences for their actions.

The Jews refused to acknowledge God's son, probably cause he called them hypocrites and told them they were doing it wrong. And really, who would ever want to admit killing God's son. So, they discount everything dad told them after the part they dont want to believe. (No offense meant David)

The Mormons and the Muslims don't think what daddy says is good enough, so they had to get their buddy (John Smith or Mahammoud) to correct their dad. Yeah... that makes sense.

So, yeah, religion gets it wrong. God says this is who and what I am. And we say, you lie!

You are right. Religions set the whole thing up as a reward and/or punishment arrangement. Why not goodness for goodness sake as an adult approach? I am not offended. The crucifixion of Jesus was a combined action of Romans and Jews of the time. Since I do not view Jesus as the son of God, it does not have the importance to me it does for you. I view him as a rabbi as great as Hillel, who preached the same message of peace and 'do unto others' the generation before.

Purpose and design

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Thursday, April 20, 2017, 04:42 (215 days ago) @ David Turell

Ironically, goodness for goodness sake is exactly the message carried out the bible. The bible basically classifies actions in terms of loving and unloving. Even sin, or 'miising the mark' really boils down to the principle of love.

Attributing human like features to God doesn't miss the mark UNLESS you try to a) ignore the bits you don't like, or b) insist that God should do things or think about things our way (which would be incredibly dumb because our ways normally stink).DHW is fond of doing both when the mood strikes and he is drinking his theist tea, but mainly I think he just does it to tweak David's beard, or mine.

There is a scripture that says God IS love. It doesn't say he is never angry, or will not punish when needed.

What it DOES say about him is remarkably consistent with science. He is not wasteful, but not afraid to get rid of something nor prone to keep it just out of sentimental value. He is protective, but not to the point of denying free will and the consequences that stem from that. He an, and will provide what is EDEd, but not necessarily what is wanted, and his 'needs' list boils down to food clothing and shelter. Some things he gives freely to all, but others he requires that we earn by obeying the rules. He provided, at the very least, intervention at each stage in the existing life forms, filling them up, making them fuller, more complete. And in doing so, he obeyed his own laws that he created(i.e. physics, genetics, etc.)

We can also assume, in this hypothesis, that we will never find the means to create life, becauseno one other n God andhis son have hat ability. It is something that can only come from them.

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

Purpose and design

by dhw, Thursday, April 20, 2017, 13:04 (215 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

TONY: Attributing human like features to God doesn't miss the mark UNLESS you try to a) ignore the bits you don't like, or b) insist that God should do things or think about things our way (which would be incredibly dumb because our ways normally stink).DHW is fond of doing both when the mood strikes and he is drinking his theist tea, but mainly I think he just does it to tweak David's beard, or mine.

I really ought to leave this discussion to you and David, but this particular passage draws me in! Firstly, although I appreciate the irony of the tone, I’d just like to point out that in my view our ways do not “normally” stink. My experience of human nature is that there is a genuine balance between perfume and stink. I see just as many acts of love, charity, kindness, empathy as I do of hate, egotism, meanness and indifference. I also see that in many cases, the positive requires the negative, but that does not mean the negative is excluded from God's possible nature. Secondly, in considering that nature, I certainly do not ignore the bits I don’t like, and I have never insisted that he should think as we do. “Drinking my theist tea” is inevitable if I am to discuss the nature – as opposed to the actual existence – of God, but it is not just a beard-tweaking exercise. God may exist, and if he does, I consider his nature to be a subject of major importance to us all! But I have no way of knowing what he is like beyond extrapolations from what he has created and from the statements of my fellow humans. In both cases, I find myself confronted with the same mixture of attributes as above. And so, as regards both the existence and the nature of a possible God, I find myself unable to form any belief, which is why I tend to offer the counter-argument to anyone who does have a fixed belief.

Purpose and design

by David Turell @, Thursday, April 20, 2017, 16:16 (215 days ago) @ dhw

TONY: Attributing human like features to God doesn't miss the mark UNLESS you try to a) ignore the bits you don't like, or b) insist that God should do things or think about things our way (which would be incredibly dumb because our ways normally stink).DHW is fond of doing both when the mood strikes and he is drinking his theist tea, but mainly I think he just does it to tweak David's beard, or mine.

dhw: I really ought to leave this discussion to you and David, but this particular passage draws me in! Firstly, although I appreciate the irony of the tone, I’d just like to point out that in my view our ways do not “normally” stink. My experience of human nature is that there is a genuine balance between perfume and stink. I see just as many acts of love, charity, kindness, empathy as I do of hate, egotism, meanness and indifference. I also see that in many cases, the positive requires the negative, but that does not mean the negative is excluded from God's possible nature. Secondly, in considering that nature, I certainly do not ignore the bits I don’t like, and I have never insisted that he should think as we do. “Drinking my theist tea” is inevitable if I am to discuss the nature – as opposed to the actual existence – of God, but it is not just a beard-tweaking exercise. God may exist, and if he does, I consider his nature to be a subject of major importance to us all! But I have no way of knowing what he is like beyond extrapolations from what he has created and from the statements of my fellow humans.

Thank you for this admission. My point all along. He is concealed. and a person like no other human person, and the only way to study Him is through His creations.

dhw: In both cases, I find myself confronted with the same mixture of attributes as above. And so, as regards both the existence and the nature of a possible God, I find myself unable to form any belief, which is why I tend to offer the counter-argument to anyone who does have a fixed belief.

Just defending your perch on the fence shaky as it is.

Purpose and design

by dhw, Friday, April 21, 2017, 13:52 (214 days ago) @ David Turell

Dhw: God may exist, and if he does, I consider his nature to be a subject of major importance to us all! But I have no way of knowing what he is like beyond extrapolations from what he has created and from the statements of my fellow humans.
DAVID: Thank you for this admission. My point all along. He is concealed. and a person like no other human person, and the only way to study Him is through His creations.

For me a “study” of God would entail far more than telling us he exists and announcing that his one and only purpose was to create humans.

dhw: In both cases, I find myself confronted with the same mixture of attributes as above. And so, as regards both the existence and the nature of a possible God, I find myself unable to form any belief, which is why I tend to offer the counter-argument to anyone who does have a fixed belief.
DAVID: Just defending your perch on the fence shaky as it is.

Not defending but explaining. I have frequently pointed out that I am wrong one way or the other, which is not a defence! As for shaky, there is NO position that is not shaky. If there were, we would have nothing to discuss.

TONY: I was teasing, mostly. I've noticed though that things like creating animals that go extinct, or some of the punishments listed in the OT, or even allowing bad things to happen as consequences of our actions doesn't sit well with you.

No problem with “teasing”. David and I do it all the time! However, the serious bit depends on what you mean by “doesn’t sit well”. You like to focus on human actions, as if humans alone are responsible for all the “bad things” in the world. Self-interest and destructiveness began long before humans arrived on the scene. Carnivorousness, disease and natural disasters are not human inventions. And so if your God really exists, I ask myself what, if anything, they might reveal about his nature. It’s not a matter of “not sitting well” or even of complaining. The world is as it is, for better or worse. I am simply exploring the possible implications.

TONY: As for whether or not our ways stink, I am referring more to humanity as a whole as opposed to individuals. Even as individuals though, we tend to be shortsighted, narrow-minded, prejudiced, rash, impulsive, and selfish. Even people who we think of as good people.

Yes, we are all a mixture, and so if we take quite literally the belief that God made humans in his own image, and if we consider the mixture that is clear from his creations even prior to the arrival of humans, it is not unreasonable to ask ourselves whether God himself might not be just such a mixture.

Purpose and design

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Friday, April 21, 2017, 18:32 (213 days ago) @ dhw

TONY: I was teasing, mostly. I've noticed though that things like creating animals that go extinct, or some of the punishments listed in the OT, or even allowing bad things to happen as consequences of our actions doesn't sit well with you.

DHW: No problem with “teasing”. David and I do it all the time! However, the serious bit depends on what you mean by “doesn’t sit well”. You like to focus on human actions, as if humans alone are responsible for all the “bad things” in the world. Self-interest and destructiveness began long before humans arrived on the scene. Carnivorousness, disease and natural disasters are not human inventions. And so if your God really exists, I ask myself what, if anything, they might reveal about his nature. It’s not a matter of “not sitting well” or even of complaining. The world is as it is, for better or worse. I am simply exploring the possible implications.

If something has served its purpose and is no longer needed, why keep it? If you have to destroy it, why not use the mechanisms already in place, like bacteria to create a disease or a meteorite? Yes, it does reveal his nature. He obeys his own laws. He is not hesitant about destroying that which is no longer needed. He may even be sentimental about it, but does not let the sentimentality stop him from doing what must be done.

TONY: As for whether or not our ways stink, I am referring more to humanity as a whole as opposed to individuals. Even as individuals though, we tend to be shortsighted, narrow-minded, prejudiced, rash, impulsive, and selfish. Even people who we think of as good people.

DHW: Yes, we are all a mixture, and so if we take quite literally the belief that God made humans in his own image, and if we consider the mixture that is clear from his creations even prior to the arrival of humans, it is not unreasonable to ask ourselves whether God himself might not be just such a mixture.

I have always acknowledged that God possessed qualities like jealousy, anger, regret, etc.

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

Purpose and design

by dhw, Saturday, April 22, 2017, 11:21 (213 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

DHW: …the serious bit depends on what you mean by “doesn’t sit well”. You like to focus on human actions, as if humans alone are responsible for all the “bad things” in the world. Self-interest and destructiveness began long before humans arrived on the scene. Carnivorousness, disease and natural disasters are not human inventions. And so if your God really exists, I ask myself what, if anything, they might reveal about his nature. It’s not a matter of “not sitting well” or even of complaining. The world is as it is, for better or worse. I am simply exploring the possible implications.

TONY: If something has served its purpose and is no longer needed, why keep it? If you have to destroy it, why not use the mechanisms already in place, like bacteria to create a disease or a meteorite? Yes, it does reveal his nature. He obeys his own laws. He is not hesitant about destroying that which is no longer needed. He may even be sentimental about it, but does not let the sentimentality stop him from doing what must be done.

The big question, of course, is: what is his purpose? I assume that what is “needed” and what “must be done” is what God wants, and the history of life is the history of what God wants. If he wants animals (including ourselves) to help and love one another as well as to hunt one another and be maimed or killed by his viruses and natural disasters, so be it. (I’ll come to purpose in a moment.) Your next comment fits in neatly with my hypothesis that if we are in his image, he is also an image of us:

TONY: I have always acknowledged that God possessed qualities like jealousy, anger, regret, etc.

And so there is no reason why one should not hypothesize that God’s purpose in creating this great spectacle of endlessly changing life forms, lifestyles and natural wonders – with humans especially fertile in the production of new twists and turns – was to provide a rich entertainment for himself. Dinosaurs were no longer “needed” because he got fed up with them, so whoosh! plunk! splat! along came Chicxulub. You seem to agree that your God may have given organisms the ability to design their own innovations, lifestyles and natural wonders within given constraints, which would add to the interest of the show. So although I do not expect you to support this interpretation of life’s history, can you fault its logic?

Xxx

dhw: […]if we take quite literally the belief that God made humans in his own image, and if we consider the mixture that is clear from his creations even prior to the arrival of humans, it is not unreasonable to ask ourselves whether God himself might not be just such a mixture.
DAVID: I think the image is in the presence of human consciousness.

I did not imagine the image contained two eyes, two arms and two legs. However, a blank consciousness is not much of an image, is it?

Purpose and design

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Sunday, April 23, 2017, 00:27 (212 days ago) @ dhw


TONY: If something has served its purpose and is no longer needed, why keep it? If you have to destroy it, why not use the mechanisms already in place, like bacteria to create a disease or a meteorite? Yes, it does reveal his nature. He obeys his own laws. He is not hesitant about destroying that which is no longer needed. He may even be sentimental about it, but does not let the sentimentality stop him from doing what must be done.

DHW If he wants animals (including ourselves) to help and love one another as well as to hunt one another and be maimed or killed by his viruses and natural disasters, so be it. (I’ll come to purpose in a moment.)

Want and purpose are not the same, as you acknowledge. It is one thing to say that bacteria, disease, or even maiming and killing are part of his purpose, but quite a different one to say he wants it.

TONY: I have always acknowledged that God possessed qualities like jealousy, anger, regret, etc.

DHW And so there is no reason why one should not hypothesize that God’s purpose in creating this great spectacle of endlessly changing life forms, lifestyles and natural wonders – with humans especially fertile in the production of new twists and turns – was to provide a rich entertainment for himself. Dinosaurs were no longer “needed” because he got fed up with them, so whoosh! plunk! splat! along came Chicxulub. You seem to agree that your God may have given organisms the ability to design their own innovations, lifestyles and natural wonders within given constraints, which would add to the interest of the show. So although I do not expect you to support this interpretation of life’s history, can you fault its logic?

Except that entertainment is and empty purpose, and nothing I see in all of creation points to such wastefulness being an attribute of God.

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

Purpose and design

by David Turell @, Sunday, April 23, 2017, 02:16 (212 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained


TONY: If something has served its purpose and is no longer needed, why keep it? If you have to destroy it, why not use the mechanisms already in place, like bacteria to create a disease or a meteorite? Yes, it does reveal his nature. He obeys his own laws. He is not hesitant about destroying that which is no longer needed. He may even be sentimental about it, but does not let the sentimentality stop him from doing what must be done.

DHW If he wants animals (including ourselves) to help and love one another as well as to hunt one another and be maimed or killed by his viruses and natural disasters, so be it. (I’ll come to purpose in a moment.)


Tony: Want and purpose are not the same, as you acknowledge. It is one thing to say that bacteria, disease, or even maiming and killing are part of his purpose, but quite a different one to say he wants it.

TONY: I have always acknowledged that God possessed qualities like jealousy, anger, regret, etc.

DHW And so there is no reason why one should not hypothesize that God’s purpose in creating this great spectacle of endlessly changing life forms, lifestyles and natural wonders – with humans especially fertile in the production of new twists and turns – was to provide a rich entertainment for himself. Dinosaurs were no longer “needed” because he got fed up with them, so whoosh! plunk! splat! along came Chicxulub. You seem to agree that your God may have given organisms the ability to design their own innovations, lifestyles and natural wonders within given constraints, which would add to the interest of the show. So although I do not expect you to support this interpretation of life’s history, can you fault its logic?


Tony: Except that entertainment is and empty purpose, and nothing I see in all of creation points to such wastefulness being an attribute of God.

Thank you, Tony. The last thing I would think is that God has frivolous human intentions.

Purpose and design

by dhw, Sunday, April 23, 2017, 10:17 (212 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

TONY: If something has served its purpose and is no longer needed, why keep it? […]
DHW If he wants animals (including ourselves) to help and love one another as well as to hunt one another and be maimed or killed by his viruses and natural disasters, so be it. (I’ll come to purpose in a moment.)
TONY: Want and purpose are not the same, as you acknowledge. It is one thing to say that bacteria, disease, or even maiming and killing are part of his purpose, but quite a different one to say he wants it.

Purpose is governed by what you want. If your God could only achieve his purpose by doing things he did not want to do, you are back to David’s hypothesis (recently rejected by him) that his powers are limited. Is that what you believe?

TONY: I have always acknowledged that God possessed qualities like jealousy, anger, regret, etc.
DHW And so there is no reason why one should not hypothesize that God’s purpose in creating this great spectacle of endlessly changing life forms, lifestyles and natural wonders – with humans especially fertile in the production of new twists and turns – was to provide a rich entertainment for himself. […]
TONY: Except that entertainment is an empty purpose, and nothing I see in all of creation points to such wastefulness being an attribute of God.

I will assume that you share David’s view of God as the First Cause, i.e. an eternally conscious mind. What is this mind conscious of? As First Cause it has nothing to be conscious of except itself. Frankly, what a bore! And so it decides to create something to relieve the boredom of eternal introspection: a universe containing living material beings, which it can watch develop in all kinds of unexpected ways. And if gets bored with one set of developments, it gets rid of them. What I see in “all of creation” is a continual coming and going, of stars and solar systems, of individual organisms and of species. Certainly not “wasteful” if, as you yourself have said, each of them “has served its purpose and is no longer needed”. Hence the example of the dinosaurs and Chixculub. Unlike David, you do not fight shy of attributing human qualities to your God, who you believe made us in his image. What would you yourself feel if you had nothing to do except think about yourself? (Actually, David at one point suggested that God was lonely.) Once again, I do not expect you to support this interpretation of life’s history geared to God’s purpose, but can you fault its logic?
Xxx
DAVID: I think the image is in the presence of human consciousness.
dhw: I did not imagine the image contained two eyes, two arms and two legs. However, a blank consciousness is not much of an image, is it?
DAVID: Our consciousness certainly relates to His. Obviously, neither are blank. I'm sure both are extremely active.

So what aspects of our consciousness do you think might be “related” to his?

Purpose and design

by David Turell @, Sunday, April 23, 2017, 14:52 (212 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: I will assume that you share David’s view of God as the First Cause, i.e. an eternally conscious mind. What is this mind conscious of? As First Cause it has nothing to be conscious of except itself. Frankly, what a bore! And so it decides to create something to relieve the boredom of eternal introspection: a universe containing living material beings, which it can watch develop in all kinds of unexpected ways. And if gets bored with one set of developments, it gets rid of them. What I see in “all of creation” is a continual coming and going, of stars and solar systems, of individual organisms and of species. Certainly not “wasteful” if, as you yourself have said, each of them “has served its purpose and is no longer needed”. Hence the example of the dinosaurs and Chixculub. Unlike David, you do not fight shy of attributing human qualities to your God, who you believe made us in his image. What would you yourself feel if you had nothing to do except think about yourself? (Actually, David at one point suggested that God was lonely.) Once again, I do not expect you to support this interpretation of life’s history geared to God’s purpose, but can you fault its logic?
Xxx
DAVID: I think the image is in the presence of human consciousness.
dhw: I did not imagine the image contained two eyes, two arms and two legs. However, a blank consciousness is not much of an image, is it?
DAVID: Our consciousness certainly relates to His. Obviously, neither are blank. I'm sure both are extremely active.

dhw: So what aspects of our consciousness do you think might be “related” to his?

You and I are consciously discussing God. Isn't that a relationship to Him? I have my own form of praying to Him. I get comfort from my belief in Him and the way it explains the mysteries of existence to me. As for your comments above the break, what an extreme from of humanizing God by offering to describe Him as bored. God is pure purpose, pure intent. It is not all coming and going. It is evolving processes ending in purposeful results. Once you accept purpose as primary, all of the considerations you think of as illogical fall into place.

Purpose and design

by dhw, Monday, April 24, 2017, 14:52 (211 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Our consciousness certainly relates to His. Obviously, neither are blank. I'm sure both are extremely active.
dhw: So what aspects of our consciousness do you think might be “related” to his?
DAVID: You and I are consciously discussing God. Isn't that a relationship to Him? I have my own form of praying to Him. I get comfort from my belief in Him and the way it explains the mysteries of existence to me. As for your comments above the break, what an extreme from of humanizing God by offering to describe Him as bored. God is pure purpose, pure intent. It is not all coming and going. It is evolving processes ending in purposeful results. Once you accept purpose as primary, all of the considerations you think of as illogical fall into place.

We can consciously discuss fairies at the bottom of the garden, but it hardly constitutes a relationship to them. If God exists, of course purpose is primary, but what in heaven’s name is “pure purpose, pure intent”? The term is meaningless. Our disagreement is over what we think that purpose is. You insist it was the production of humans. That is not “pure purpose, pure intent” – that is a specifically defined purpose. And even if your rigidly dogmatic anthropocentrism were true (which of course we cannot “know”, any more than we can “know” that God exists), that in itself is not primary because if God is purposeful, there must have been a purpose in producing humans. I have suggested several purposeful hypotheses to fit in with different scenarios, all of which you have agreed “fall into place”. What has never fallen into place is your insistence that every innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder was related to the production of humans.

Tony: Self-awareness, introspection, abstract reasoning ability, a sense of time, place, and purpose, the drive to create, emotional depth, etc.
DAVID: I can accept this statement, even the 'emotional depth' in a general non-specific way.

Just as you cannot have non-specific purpose, you cannot have non-specific “emotion”. If your God is capable of emotion, he is capable of boredom, interest, love, hate and any other feeling we humans are capable of. I do not ask for belief in such a hypothesis, but I do expect rational argument instead of hollow terminology or groundlessly authoritative statements. Study his works and extrapolate possibilities. That is all we can do. But you refuse to do it, as you have now explicitly acknowledged:
dhw: By studying God, I understand trying to work out his nature and his purpose. You do not want to discuss his nature because it is unknowable and one must not humanize, and you only want to talk about purpose if it is the one and only purpose you believe in, which is to produce humans.
DAVID: Exactly.

In order to cope with things you don’t understand,
‘Tis recommended you stick your head in the sand.
(New Texan proverb)

Purpose and design

by David Turell @, Tuesday, April 25, 2017, 00:39 (210 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: You and I are consciously discussing God. Isn't that a relationship to Him? I have my own form of praying to Him. I get comfort from my belief in Him and the way it explains the mysteries of existence to me. As for your comments above the break, what an extreme from of humanizing God by offering to describe Him as bored. God is pure purpose, pure intent. It is not all coming and going.

dhw: We can consciously discuss fairies at the bottom of the garden, but it hardly constitutes a relationship to them. If God exists, of course purpose is primary, but what in heaven’s name is “pure purpose, pure intent”? The term is meaningless.

It is not meaningless. I view God as very determined and firmly sets out goals for Himself.

dhw: What has never fallen into place is your insistence that every innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder was related to the production of humans.

Once it is accepted that humans are the main purpose, it all falls into place. You just don't see it as a reasonable conclusion.


Tony: Self-awareness, introspection, abstract reasoning ability, a sense of time, place, and purpose, the drive to create, emotional depth, etc.
DAVID: I can accept this statement, even the 'emotional depth' in a general non-specific way.

Just as you cannot have non-specific purpose, you cannot have non-specific “emotion”. If your God is capable of emotion, he is capable of boredom, interest, love, hate and any other feeling we humans are capable of.

I don't read Tony's comment as you do. His list of attributes is not the one you give. He may well have emotional depth, but it is beyond us to know.

dhw: In order to cope with things you don’t understand,
‘Tis recommended you stick your head in the sand.
(New Texan proverb)


I'm allowed to stick with Adler: He is a person like no other person. He may not even be willing to respond to our prayers.

Purpose and design

by dhw, Tuesday, April 25, 2017, 09:54 (210 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: […] As for your comments above the break, what an extreme from of humanizing God by offering to describe Him as bored. God is pure purpose, pure intent.
dhw: […] If God exists, of course purpose is primary, but what in heaven’s name is “pure purpose, pure intent”? The term is meaningless.
DAVID: It is not meaningless. I view God as very determined and firmly sets out goals for Himself.

If God exists, I would also assume that he had a purpose in creating life, including humans. What is “pure” purpose? You dogmatically assert that his purpose was to create humans. I suggest (hypothetically) that it was to relieve his own boredom. What do these have to do with “purity”? A purpose has to relate to something!

dhw: What has never fallen into place is your insistence that every innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder was related to the production of humans.
DAVID: Once it is accepted that humans are the main purpose, it all falls into place. You just don't see it as a reasonable conclusion.

It’s nice to see you changing from the one and only purpose to the main purpose. Eventually I hope to see you acknowledge that theistic explanations of the history of life only fall into place if you acknowledge that everything else (life forms, lifestyles, natural wonders) may not have been related to the production of humans after all. I would see that as a stepping-stone towards one of several reasonable conclusions.

Tony: Self-awareness, introspection, abstract reasoning ability, a sense of time, place, and purpose, the drive to create, emotional depth, etc.
DAVID: I can accept this statement, even the 'emotional depth' in a general non-specific way.
Dhw: Just as you cannot have non-specific purpose, you cannot have non-specific “emotion”. If your God is capable of emotion, he is capable of boredom, interest, love, hate and any other feeling we humans are capable of.
DAVID: I don't read Tony's comment as you do. His list of attributes is not the one you give. He may well have emotional depth, but it is beyond us to know.

Back you go to unknowability. His existence and his purpose are also “beyond us to know”. But if you believe your God is capable of emotion, you cannot dismiss the possibility that he is capable of boredom, interest, love, hate etc.

dhw: In order to cope with things you don’t understand,
‘Tis recommended you stick your head in the sand.

(New Texan proverb)

DAVID: I'm allowed to stick with Adler: He is a person like no other person. He may not even be willing to respond to our prayers.

You are allowed to believe whatever you want to believe. But your refusal to discuss your God’s purpose in creating humans, and to consider any other purpose for life than the production of humans (though this is perhaps beginning to crumble in the light of your “ONLY” now switching to “MAIN PURPOSE” or even “A MAJOR PURPOSE”), simply leaves you with sand in your eyes and ears.

Purpose and design

by David Turell @, Tuesday, April 25, 2017, 19:40 (209 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: […] As for your comments above the break, what an extreme from of humanizing God by offering to describe Him as bored. God is pure purpose, pure intent.
dhw: […] If God exists, of course purpose is primary, but what in heaven’s name is “pure purpose, pure intent”? The term is meaningless.
DAVID: It is not meaningless. I view God as very determined and firmly sets out goals for Himself.

dhw: If God exists, I would also assume that he had a purpose in creating life, including humans. What is “pure” purpose?

'Pure' as in 100% committed.

dhw: You dogmatically assert that his purpose was to create humans. I suggest (hypothetically) that it was to relieve his own boredom. What do these have to do with “purity”? A purpose has to relate to something.

Stating God has humanly bored solved nothing about His purpose. He wanted an introspective consciousness capable organism. Why any other 'relationship to something'?

dhw: What has never fallen into place is your insistence that every innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder was related to the production of humans.
DAVID: Once it is accepted that humans are the main purpose, it all falls into place. You just don't see it as a reasonable conclusion.

dhw: It’s nice to see you changing from the one and only purpose to the main purpose. Eventually I hope to see you acknowledge that theistic explanations of the history of life only fall into place if you acknowledge that everything else (life forms, lifestyles, natural wonders) may not have been related to the production of humans after all.

I am not aware of any other of God's purposes, but I admit some might exist. Tony sees a group of them.

DAVID: I don't read Tony's comment as you do. His list of attributes is not the one you give. He may well have emotional depth, but it is beyond us to know.

dhw: Back you go to unknowability. His existence and his purpose are also “beyond us to know”. But if you believe your God is capable of emotion, you cannot dismiss the possibility that he is capable of boredom, interest, love, hate etc.

We cannot know which of your list, if any He experiences. He should be interested in His creations, which is not really an emotion, if He is the designer.

Purpose and design

by dhw, Wednesday, April 26, 2017, 09:35 (209 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: All forms of life fulfil a role in “keeping the Earth alive”. I don’t think anyone on this planet would disagree. That has nothing whatsoever to do with your anthropocentric interpretation of evolution.
DAVID: I was applauding: "does fall into the larger category of benefiting humanity specifically and all life in general." Nothing more. It does not support my anthropocentric thesis by itself. See my entry on fine tuning: Tuesday, April 25, 2017, 14:59

It does not support your anthropocentric thesis at all. Nor does fine tuning, which supports the case for design, not for anthropocentrism.

DAVID: We are both trying to interpret Tony. I think He would accept the appearance of humans as a major purpose of God.
dhw: If God exists, I would also agree that the appearance of humans is A major purpose. But I do not agree that it is THE one and only purpose and everything else, including the weaverbird’s nest, the jumping spider and the parasitic wasp, was personally designed by your God and was/is related to that one and only purpose.
DAVID: I don't expect you to agree. Everything we see is designed to produce life which resulted in humans. The result speaks for itself.

It also resulted in dinosaurs, which went extinct, and in the duckbilled platypus, which is still here, and in countless other life forms, lifestyles and natural wonders extinct and extant. If the result spoke for itself, there would be no disagreement. But perhaps you would clarify whether there is or is not a shift in your thinking. Do you now regard humans as A major purpose or as THE only purpose?

DAVID: I am not aware of any other of God's purposes, but I admit some might exist.

Nobody is “aware” of any of God’s purposes. We can only speculate on what they might be. Will you therefore now agree, as you did once before, that the relief of loneliness might have been his purpose in creating life?

dhw: If God exists, I would also assume that he had a purpose in creating life, including humans. What is “pure” purpose?
DAVID: 'Pure' as in 100% committed.

Have I ever argued that if God exists, he is only half committed to his purpose? This is getting silly.

DAVID: Stating God has humanly bored solved nothing about His purpose. He wanted an introspective consciousness capable organism.

It is not a “solution”, it is a hypothesis to explain why he created life. Creating a consciousness like his own has resulted in the most complex, unpredictable and riveting spectacle of all – the best possible antidote to boredom. Creating an introspective consciousness for no reason whatsoever tell us nothing about his purpose.

DAVID: I don't read Tony's comment as you do. His list of attributes is not the one you give. He may well have emotional depth, but it is beyond us to know.
dhw: Back you go to unknowability. His existence and his purpose are also “beyond us to know”. But if you believe your God is capable of emotion, you cannot dismiss the possibility that he is capable of boredom, interest, love, hate etc.
DAVID: We cannot know which of your list, if any He experiences. He should be interested in His creations, which is not really an emotion, if He is the designer.

Still harping on about unknowability. We needn’t faff around trying to define what is or isn’t “emotion”. If he is capable of interest, he is also capable of boredom and/or loneliness.

Purpose and design

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Wednesday, April 26, 2017, 13:57 (209 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: All forms of life fulfil a role in “keeping the Earth alive”. I don’t think anyone on this planet would disagree. That has nothing whatsoever to do with your anthropocentric interpretation of evolution.
DAVID: I was applauding: "does fall into the larger category of benefiting humanity specifically and all life in general." Nothing more. It does not support my anthropocentric thesis by itself. See my entry on fine tuning: Tuesday, April 25, 2017, 14:59

It does not support your anthropocentric thesis at all. Nor does fine tuning, which supports the case for design, not for anthropocentrism.

DAVID: We are both trying to interpret Tony. I think He would accept the appearance of humans as a major purpose of God.
dhw: If God exists, I would also agree that the appearance of humans is A major purpose. But I do not agree that it is THE one and only purpose and everything else, including the weaverbird’s nest, the jumping spider and the parasitic wasp, was personally designed by your God and was/is related to that one and only purpose.
DAVID: I don't expect you to agree. Everything we see is designed to produce life which resulted in humans. The result speaks for itself.

dhw: It also resulted in dinosaurs, which went extinct, and in the duckbilled platypus, which is still here, and in countless other life forms, lifestyles and natural wonders extinct and extant. If the result spoke for itself, there would be no disagreement. But perhaps you would clarify whether there is or is not a shift in your thinking. Do you now regard humans as A major purpose or as THE only purpose?

You ever wonder if some things, like the duckbilled platypus, are here to simply remind us how ignorant we are? I mean, it defies all classifications and yet we still cling to our classifications as if they actually have some meaning.

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

Purpose and design

by David Turell @, Wednesday, April 26, 2017, 19:16 (208 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

DAVID: I don't expect you to agree. Everything we see is designed to produce life which resulted in humans. The result speaks for itself.

dhw: It also resulted in dinosaurs, which went extinct, and in the duckbilled platypus, which is still here, and in countless other life forms, lifestyles and natural wonders extinct and extant. If the result spoke for itself, there would be no disagreement. But perhaps you would clarify whether there is or is not a shift in your thinking. Do you now regard humans as A major purpose or as THE only purpose?


Tony: You ever wonder if some things, like the duckbilled platypus, are here to simply remind us how ignorant we are? I mean, it defies all classifications and yet we still cling to our classifications as if they actually have some meaning.

Our classifications, based on phenotype, are all out whack. We are not that ignorant as we work to classify by DNA analysis of relationships.

Purpose and design

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Thursday, April 27, 2017, 05:33 (208 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I don't expect you to agree. Everything we see is designed to produce life which resulted in humans. The result speaks for itself.

dhw: It also resulted in dinosaurs, which went extinct, and in the duckbilled platypus, which is still here, and in countless other life forms, lifestyles and natural wonders extinct and extant. If the result spoke for itself, there would be no disagreement. But perhaps you would clarify whether there is or is not a shift in your thinking. Do you now regard humans as A major purpose or as THE only purpose?


Tony: You ever wonder if some things, like the duckbilled platypus, are here to simply remind us how ignorant we are? I mean, it defies all classifications and yet we still cling to our classifications as if they actually have some meaning.


David: Our classifications, based on phenotype, are all out whack. We are not that ignorant as we work to classify by DNA analysis of relationships.

Oh, I don't know about all that. They keep finding things that turn that class system on it's ear too.

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

Purpose and design

by David Turell @, Wednesday, April 26, 2017, 18:21 (208 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I was applauding: "does fall into the larger category of benefiting humanity specifically and all life in general." Nothing more. It does not support my anthropocentric thesis by itself. See my entry on fine tuning: Tuesday, April 25, 2017, 14:59

dhw: It does not support your anthropocentric thesis at all. Nor does fine tuning, which supports the case for design, not for anthropocentrism.

Look at the process of creation. To find a reason for evolution look at the current endpoint: humans. Seems like a strong solution and evidence for a purpose.

DAVID: I don't expect you to agree. Everything we see is designed to produce life which resulted in humans. The result speaks for itself.

dhw: If the result spoke for itself, there would be no disagreement. But perhaps you would clarify whether there is or is not a shift in your thinking. Do you now regard humans as A major purpose or as THE only purpose?

No shift. The endpoint of evolution is the most complex organism ever evolved, humans. God might have other purposes. Can you suggest some?


dhw: Nobody is “aware” of any of God’s purposes. We can only speculate on what they might be. Will you therefore now agree, as you did once before, that the relief of loneliness might have been his purpose in creating life?

It is possible since we have consciousness and can relate intimately to His.


DAVID: Stating God has humanly bored solved nothing about His purpose. He wanted an introspective consciousness capable organism.

dhw: It is not a “solution”, it is a hypothesis to explain why he created life. Creating a consciousness like his own has resulted in the most complex, unpredictable and riveting spectacle of all – the best possible antidote to boredom. Creating an introspective consciousness for no reason whatsoever tell us nothing about his purpose.

I've given you a reason in the past: a conscious relationship. I have no reason to think He was bored, but I am sure He follows and watches what humans do. We are certainly unpredictable.


DAVID: I don't read Tony's comment as you do. His list of attributes is not the one you give. He may well have emotional depth, but it is beyond us to know.
dhw: Back you go to unknowability. His existence and his purpose are also “beyond us to know”. But if you believe your God is capable of emotion, you cannot dismiss the possibility that he is capable of boredom, interest, love, hate etc.
DAVID: We cannot know which of your list, if any He experiences. He should be interested in His creations, which is not really an emotion, if He is the designer.

dhw:Still harping on about unknowability. We needn’t faff around trying to define what is or isn’t “emotion”. If he is capable of interest, he is also capable of boredom and/or loneliness.

By definition showing 'interest' is not emotion. His response to what He sees is an emotion. He may well be bored or lonely. We cannot know.

Purpose and design

by dhw, Thursday, April 27, 2017, 12:37 (208 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: […] perhaps you would clarify whether there is or is not a shift in your thinking. Do you now regard humans as A major purpose or as THE only purpose?
DAVID: No shift. The endpoint of evolution is the most complex organism ever evolved, humans. God might have other purposes. Can you suggest some?

Thank you. The acknowledgement that there might be other purposes is the shift I was referring to. I have suggested relief of boredom, which in your God’s case I would link to loneliness.

Dhw: Creating an introspective consciousness for no reason whatsoever tell us nothing about his purpose.
DAVID: I've given you a reason in the past: a conscious relationship. I have no reason to think He was bored, but I am sure He follows and watches what humans do. We are certainly unpredictable.

If he exists, I would expect him also to have followed and watched what everything else did before humans arrived. As for your idea of a conscious relationship, that ran into difficulties when you insisted that your God remained hidden and we must not “humanize” him. Not much of a relationship if the partner isn’t contactable and we have nothing in common.

DAVID: He may well be bored or lonely. We cannot know.

For the umpteenth time, we cannot “know” anything. It’s all speculation. Thank you for agreeing that relief of boredom and loneliness is a possible purpose underlying the creation of life on Earth. So much more productive than merely stating that humans were his purpose. For instance, it gives us an explanation for the astonishing variety of life forms, lifestyles and natural wonders extant and extinct, all of which are fascinating in themselves – a wonderful antidote to boredom – and we do not have to tie ourselves in knots trying to explain why God designed the weaverbird’s nest in order to keep life going till he designed the only thing he wanted to design, which was humans.

TONY Isaiah 45:18 For this is what Jehovah says, The Creator of the heavens, the true God, The One who formed the earth, its Maker who firmly established it, Who did not create it simply for nothing,* but formed it to be inhabited: I am Jehovah, and there is no one else."
DAVID: I can certainly accept Isaiah, which supports my view. We humans are some of the inhabitants He envisioned creating.

I doubt if anyone on this planet would dispute that we humans are some of the inhabitants. How does that support the view that God’s only purpose was to produce humans and everything else was related to that?

Purpose and design

by David Turell @, Thursday, April 27, 2017, 20:13 (207 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: […] perhaps you would clarify whether there is or is not a shift in your thinking. Do you now regard humans as A major purpose or as THE only purpose?
DAVID: No shift. The endpoint of evolution is the most complex organism ever evolved, humans. God might have other purposes. Can you suggest some?

dhw:Thank you. The acknowledgement that there might be other purposes is the shift I was referring to. I have suggested relief of boredom, which in your God’s case I would link to loneliness.

Back to humanizing Him. IMHO a purposeful God is never bored.

dhw: If he exists, I would expect him also to have followed and watched what everything else did before humans arrived. As for your idea of a conscious relationship, that ran into difficulties when you insisted that your God remained hidden and we must not “humanize” him. Not much of a relationship if the partner isn’t contactable and we have nothing in common.

How do you know He is not contactable? He may listen to prayer and respond in ways we do not recognize at first. I feel He has guided my life. I can't tell you why.


DAVID: He may well be bored or lonely. We cannot know.

dhw: For the umpteenth time, we cannot “know” anything. It’s all speculation. Thank you for agreeing that relief of boredom and loneliness is a possible purpose underlying the creation of life on Earth.


Where did I agree? I admit it is a possibility, but I don't agree with it.


TONY Isaiah 45:18 For this is what Jehovah says, The Creator of the heavens, the true God, The One who formed the earth, its Maker who firmly established it, Who did not create it simply for nothing,* but formed it to be inhabited: I am Jehovah, and there is no one else."
DAVID: I can certainly accept Isaiah, which supports my view. We humans are some of the inhabitants He envisioned creating.

dhw:I doubt if anyone on this planet would dispute that we humans are some of the inhabitants. How does that support the view that God’s only purpose was to produce humans and everything else was related to that?

It is a panoply of evidence that I follow, not just that one point.

Purpose and design

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Sunday, April 23, 2017, 23:52 (211 days ago) @ dhw

TONY: Want and purpose are not the same, as you acknowledge. It is one thing to say that bacteria, disease, or even maiming and killing are part of his purpose, but quite a different one to say he wants it.

DHW: Purpose is governed by what you want. If your God could only achieve his purpose by doing things he did not want to do, you are back to David’s hypothesis (recently rejected by him) that his powers are limited. Is that what you believe?

That is a logical fallacy. Yes, purpose, the end result, is governed by what you want, but the path to get there is does not necessarily follow what you want. I assume that most people want to be successful or knowledgeable, however, that does not mean they necessarily want to spend the time and effort to achieve that. My brother loves to eat, but loathes cooking. I love working with computers but loathe dry technical manuals that have all the flavor of century old bread.

God had a purpose: To create a universe(or planet if assuming the universe is too much) full of life. My beliefs posit that the goal of this purpose was a gift to his son. There are many possible reasons behind that. Perhaps they love seeing life, and take joy in it. Perhaps there is some larger mysterious purpose behind it. However, the undeniable fact (for a theist) is that creating life was a part of that purpose. So, God WANTED to create life. That does not mean that every step of the path towards that purpose was necessarily joyous any more than the path to achieving knowledge, wealth, power, or any other goal is joyous every step of the way.


TONY: I have always acknowledged that God possessed qualities like jealousy, anger, regret, etc.
DHW And so there is no reason why one should not hypothesize that God’s purpose in creating this great spectacle of endlessly changing life forms, lifestyles and natural wonders – with humans especially fertile in the production of new twists and turns – was to provide a rich entertainment for himself. […]
TONY: Except that entertainment is an empty purpose, and nothing I see in all of creation points to such wastefulness being an attribute of God.

DHW: I will assume that you share David’s view of God as the First Cause, i.e. an eternally conscious mind. What is this mind conscious of? As First Cause it has nothing to be conscious of except itself. Frankly, what a bore! And so it decides to create something to relieve the boredom of eternal introspection: a universe containing living material beings, which it can watch develop in all kinds of unexpected ways. And if gets bored with one set of developments, it gets rid of them. What I see in “all of creation” is a continual coming and going, of stars and solar systems, of individual organisms and of species. Certainly not “wasteful” if, as you yourself have said, each of them “has served its purpose and is no longer needed”. Hence the example of the dinosaurs and Chixculub. Unlike David, you do not fight shy of attributing human qualities to your God, who you believe made us in his image. What would you yourself feel if you had nothing to do except think about yourself? (Actually, David at one point suggested that God was lonely.) Once again, I do not expect you to support this interpretation of life’s history geared to God’s purpose, but can you fault its logic?

Oh, it is interesting to muse about what it must have been like for God maturing as an entity. I have no idea how it went, whether or not he was bored, or anything of the sort. Perhaps it didn't occur to God to BE lonely or bored for the first few eons. And, with my theist hat on, creating his son and raising him might have taken the edge off a few more eons. Perhaps God's realization of his own loneliness prior to creating his son was his inspiration and driving force behind creating everything else: to prevent his son from suffering the same loneliness that he experienced. Where I draw the line is at saying that entertainment, purely as something to amuse him while he wiles away eternity, is not something I would attribute to him. While you do not necessarily see this, everywhere I look I see signs of unfathomable, unspeakable love in all of creation. Things created to bring joy, not to God, but to the rest of God's creations. Why would God need sweet smelling flowers, pleasant tasting food, strange and exhilarating dreams that he doesn't experience, pleasurable sex, or any other number of other joys that could offer little or no benefit to him?

Xxx
DAVID: I think the image is in the presence of human consciousness.
dhw: I did not imagine the image contained two eyes, two arms and two legs. However, a blank consciousness is not much of an image, is it?
DAVID: Our consciousness certainly relates to His. Obviously, neither are blank. I'm sure both are extremely active.

DHW: So what aspects of our consciousness do you think might be “related” to his?

Self-awareness, introspection, abstract reasoning ability, a sense of time, place, and purpose, the drive to create, emotional depth, etc.

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

Purpose and design

by David Turell @, Monday, April 24, 2017, 00:06 (211 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained


Xxx
DAVID: I think the image is in the presence of human consciousness.
dhw: I did not imagine the image contained two eyes, two arms and two legs. However, a blank consciousness is not much of an image, is it?
DAVID: Our consciousness certainly relates to His. Obviously, neither are blank. I'm sure both are extremely active.

DHW: So what aspects of our consciousness do you think might be “related” to his?


Tony: Self-awareness, introspection, abstract reasoning ability, a sense of time, place, and purpose, the drive to create, emotional depth, etc.

I can accept this statement, even the 'emotional depth' in a general non-specific way.

Purpose and design

by dhw, Monday, April 24, 2017, 14:56 (211 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

Tony, Please forgive me if I edit your post in order to discuss what I regard as its salient points.
TONY: Want and purpose are not the same, as you acknowledge. It is one thing to say that bacteria, disease, or even maiming and killing are part of his purpose, but quite a different one to say he wants it.
DHW: Purpose is governed by what you want. If your God could only achieve his purpose by doing things he did not want to do, you are back to David’s hypothesis (recently rejected by him) that his powers are limited. Is that what you believe?
TONY: That is a logical fallacy. Yes, purpose, the end result, is governed by what you want, but the path to get there is does not necessarily follow what you want.

I’ll skip your analogy with humans because for the moment it is inappropriate. If humans had unlimited powers, they would achieve what they want without having to do things they don’t want to do. If you think your God’s powers are unlimited, I would suggest everything that has happened has been what he wants to happen, in accordance with the fulfilment of his purpose. If you think his powers are limited, we can look at other options.

TONY: God had a purpose: To create a universe(or planet if assuming the universe is too much) full of life.

With my theist hat on, I agree 100%. The point at issue is why he wanted to create a universe or planet full of life.

TONY: So, God WANTED to create life. That does not mean that every step of the path towards that purpose was necessarily joyous any more than the path to achieving knowledge, wealth, power, or any other goal is joyous every step of the way.

I didn’t say it was necessarily joyous. If I may borrow your method of human analogy, I do not shout for joy when I watch King Lear or Othello. But perhaps I should not use the word “entertainment”, as people do tend to associate it with amusement (see your comment below). Let’s stick to relief of boredom.

DHW: I will assume that you share David’s view of God as the First Cause, i.e. an eternally conscious mind. What is this mind conscious of? As First Cause it has nothing to be conscious of except itself. Frankly, what a bore! And so it decides to create something to relieve the boredom of eternal introspection: a universe containing living material beings, which it can watch develop in all kinds of unexpected ways. […] Once again, I do not expect you to support this interpretation of life’s history geared to God’s purpose, but can you fault its logic?
TONY: Oh, it is interesting to muse about what it must have been like for God maturing as an entity. I have no idea how it went, whether or not he was bored, or anything of the sort. […] Perhaps God's realization of his own loneliness prior to creating his son was his inspiration and driving force behind creating everything else: to prevent his son from suffering the same loneliness that he experienced. Where I draw the line is at saying that entertainment, purely as something to amuse him while he wiles away eternity, is not something I would attribute to him. While you do not necessarily see this, everywhere I look I see signs of unfathomable, unspeakable love in all of creation. Things created to bring joy, not to God, but to the rest of God's creations. Why would God need sweet smelling flowers, pleasant tasting food, strange and exhilarating dreams that he doesn't experience, pleasurable sex, or any other number of other joys that could offer little or no benefit to him?

Thank you for your acknowledgement that boredom and loneliness might be his motivation. I do not expect you to believe it. And I do indeed see all these signs of love, just as I see animals eating each other, dying of hunger or thirst, fleeing in terror, screaming in pain, wasting from disease, being destroyed by natural disasters. Like the benefits of the pleasures, these would offer little or no suffering to your God. But please don’t misunderstand me. I am not passing judgement. I am only looking at his works and trying to find a logical pattern to explain his purpose. Relief of boredom can take many forms. I note that you have not found any logical flaw in this hypothesis as applied to life’s history.
I’m interested in your reference to God “maturing as an entity”. This would seem to fit in with the idea that God did not start out as the eternal know-all but, like ourselves, keeps learning from experience. This implies limitations, but is it what you mean?

Purpose and design

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Tuesday, April 25, 2017, 00:39 (210 days ago) @ dhw

DHW: Purpose is governed by what you want. If your God could only achieve his purpose by doing things he did not want to do, you are back to David’s hypothesis (recently rejected by him) that his powers are limited. Is that what you believe?
TONY: That is a logical fallacy. Yes, purpose, the end result, is governed by what you want, but the path to get there is does not necessarily follow what you want.

DHW: I’ll skip your analogy with humans because for the moment it is inappropriate. If humans had unlimited powers, they would achieve what they want without having to do things they don’t want to do. If you think your God’s powers are unlimited, I would suggest everything that has happened has been what he wants to happen, in accordance with the fulfilment of his purpose. If you think his powers are limited, we can look at other options.


TONY: So, God WANTED to create life. That does not mean that every step of the path towards that purpose was necessarily joyous any more than the path to achieving knowledge, wealth, power, or any other goal is joyous every step of the way.

DHW: I didn’t say it was necessarily joyous. If I may borrow your method of human analogy, I do not shout for joy when I watch King Lear or Othello. But perhaps I should not use the word “entertainment”, as people do tend to associate it with amusement (see your comment below). Let’s stick to relief of boredom.

DHW: I will assume that you share David’s view of God as the First Cause, i.e. an eternally conscious mind. What is this mind conscious of? As First Cause it has nothing to be conscious of except itself. Frankly, what a bore! And so it decides to create something to relieve the boredom of eternal introspection: a universe containing living material beings, which it can watch develop in all kinds of unexpected ways. […] Once again, I do not expect you to support this interpretation of life’s history geared to God’s purpose, but can you fault its logic?
TONY: Oh, it is interesting to muse about what it must have been like for God maturing as an entity. I have no idea how it went, whether or not he was bored, or anything of the sort. […] everywhere I look I see signs of unfathomable, unspeakable love in all of creation. Things created to bring joy, not to God, but to the rest of God's creations. Why would God need sweet smelling flowers, pleasant tasting food, strange and exhilarating dreams that he doesn't experience, pleasurable sex, or any other number of other joys that could offer little or no benefit to him?

DHW:... I do indeed see all these signs of love, just as I see animals eating each other, dying of hunger or thirst, fleeing in terror, screaming in pain, wasting from disease, being destroyed by natural disasters. Like the benefits of the pleasures, these would offer little or no suffering to your God. But please don’t misunderstand me....
I’m interested in your reference to God “maturing as an entity”. This would seem to fit in with the idea that God did not start out as the eternal know-all but, like ourselves, keeps learning from experience. This implies limitations, but is it what you mean?

I am not sure 'limitations' is the right word any more than 'entertainment' was. Using power for the sake of using power is not wise, and one of God's four cardinal qualities is Wisdom. (Wisdom, Justice, Power and Love). So while I do not believe he is limited in terms of power, I believe that, in his wisdom, he saw that doing things another way would have been detrimental in the long term, possibly in ways we do not even have the capacity (mentally or technologically) to comprehend currently.

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

Purpose and design

by dhw, Tuesday, April 25, 2017, 09:47 (210 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

DHW:[...] I’m interested in your reference to God “maturing as an entity”. This would seem to fit in with the idea that God did not start out as the eternal know-all but, like ourselves, keeps learning from experience. This implies limitations, but is it what you mean?

TONY: I am not sure 'limitations' is the right word any more than 'entertainment' was. Using power for the sake of using power is not wise, and one of God's four cardinal qualities is Wisdom. (Wisdom, Justice, Power and Love). So while I do not believe he is limited in terms of power, I believe that, in his wisdom, he saw that doing things another way would have been detrimental in the long term, possibly in ways we do not even have the capacity (mentally or technologically) to comprehend currently.

I would still like to know what you meant by God “maturing”. Limitations do not have to refer to power. My specific interest is in the question of whether you think that prior to creating the universe and life, your God already knew everything that could possibly be known, or he learned and maybe still learns from experience.

Xxxxx

Tony: Some things are done strictly for the benefit of the creature in question. However, just because the bird's nest is not strictly for humanity's sake, the bird itself DOES fill a vital role in keeping the earth alive, and thus, giving the bird a means to stay alive does fall into the larger category of benefiting humanity specifically and all life in general.
DAVID: Thank you. dhw for some reason cannot see this.
DAVID: What I have left above is the part of Tony's statement that I was applauding.

All forms of life fulfil a role in “keeping the Earth alive”. I don’t think anyone on this planet would disagree. That has nothing whatsoever to do with your anthropocentric interpretation of evolution.

dhw: […] This does NOT mean that your God personally designed the weaverbird’s nest – Tony’s post leaves it open as to whether the bird did this by itself […]
DAVID: Tony does not speak to how the nest was designed, or by whom.

Correct. So there is no support for you there.

dhw: I know you are desperate for support from Tony, but: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” (Balance Maintained, 1 April under “God and evolution”). Thank you, Tony. David for some reason cannot see this.

DAVID: We are both trying to interpret Tony. I think He would accept the appearance of humans as a major purpose of God.

If God exists, I would also agree that the appearance of humans is A major purpose. But I do not agree that it is THE one and only purpose and everything else, including the weaverbird’s nest, the jumping spider and the parasitic wasp, was personally designed by your God and was/is related to that one and only purpose.

Purpose and design

by David Turell @, Tuesday, April 25, 2017, 19:30 (209 days ago) @ dhw


Tony: Some things are done strictly for the benefit of the creature in question. However, just because the bird's nest is not strictly for humanity's sake, the bird itself DOES fill a vital role in keeping the earth alive, and thus, giving the bird a means to stay alive does fall into the larger category of benefiting humanity specifically and all life in general.
DAVID: Thank you. dhw for some reason cannot see this.
DAVID: What I have left above is the part of Tony's statement that I was applauding.

dhw: All forms of life fulfil a role in “keeping the Earth alive”. I don’t think anyone on this planet would disagree. That has nothing whatsoever to do with your anthropocentric interpretation of evolution.

I was applauding: " does fall into the larger category of benefiting humanity specifically and all life in general." Nothing more. It does not support my anthropocentric thesis by itself. See my entry on fine tuning: Tuesday, April 25, 2017, 14:59


dhw: I know you are desperate for support from Tony, but: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” (Balance Maintained, 1 April under “God and evolution”). Thank you, Tony. David for some reason cannot see this.

DAVID: We are both trying to interpret Tony. I think He would accept the appearance of humans as a major purpose of God.

dhw: If God exists, I would also agree that the appearance of humans is A major purpose. But I do not agree that it is THE one and only purpose and everything else, including the weaverbird’s nest, the jumping spider and the parasitic wasp, was personally designed by your God and was/is related to that one and only purpose.

I don't expect you to agree. Everything we see is designed to produce life which resulted in humans. The result speaks for itself.

Purpose and design

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Wednesday, April 26, 2017, 01:25 (209 days ago) @ dhw

DHW:[...] I’m interested in your reference to God “maturing as an entity”. This would seem to fit in with the idea that God did not start out as the eternal know-all but, like ourselves, keeps learning from experience. This implies limitations, but is it what you mean?

TONY: I am not sure 'limitations' is the right word any more than 'entertainment' was. Using power for the sake of using power is not wise, and one of God's four cardinal qualities is Wisdom. (Wisdom, Justice, Power and Love). So while I do not believe he is limited in terms of power, I believe that, in his wisdom, he saw that doing things another way would have been detrimental in the long term, possibly in ways we do not even have the capacity (mentally or technologically) to comprehend currently.

I would still like to know what you meant by God “maturing”. Limitations do not have to refer to power. My specific interest is in the question of whether you think that prior to creating the universe and life, your God already knew everything that could possibly be known, or he learned and maybe still learns from experience.

By definition, God would have to be outside of time, without beginning. However, the is no insight anywhere about what he was like stretching billions and billions of eons before T0. It is difficult for me to even speculate on that. However, 'all knowing' is relative when nothing else exist. Essentially, if you are the only thing in existence and you are self aware, then you know everything...at least at that point. When I spoke of him maturing as an entity, I was thinking that as a power he always existed, but that his intellect, insight, wisdom, and all of that developed over an unfathomable time frame.

God, as all knowing, is all knowing because he designed and created all. However, the bible clearly speaks of 'time and unforeseen occurrences' which implies that there is some randomness and that he either can not or does not predict every random occurrence. My take on it is that he could if he bent is will to the task, but that there is no real reason for him to do so.

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

Purpose and design

by dhw, Wednesday, April 26, 2017, 09:41 (209 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

Dhw: I would still like to know what you meant by God “maturing”. Limitations do not have to refer to power. My specific interest is in the question of whether you think that prior to creating the universe and life, your God already knew everything that could possibly be known, or he learned and maybe still learns from experience.
TONY: By definition, God would have to be outside of time, without beginning. However, the is no insight anywhere about what he was like stretching billions and billions of eons before T0. It is difficult for me to even speculate on that. However, 'all knowing' is relative when nothing else exist. Essentially, if you are the only thing in existence and you are self aware, then you know everything...at least at that point. When I spoke of him maturing as an entity, I was thinking that as a power he always existed, but that his intellect, insight, wisdom, and all of that developed over an unfathomable time frame.

Thank you for this very clear answer. If I put on my theist’s hat, this is also how I would envisage God. On the assumption that he himself is immaterial but created materials out of his own energy, and created life out of those materials, he would learn how to handle those materials as he went along. One of the hypotheses I offered David was that God may have experimented with life forms, perhaps even with a view to creating a consciousness like his own. (David rejected this outright.)

DAVID: God, as all knowing, is all knowing because he designed and created all. However, the bible clearly speaks of 'time and unforeseen occurrences' which implies that there is some randomness and that he either can not or does not predict every random occurrence. My take on it is that he could if he bent is will to the task, but that there is no real reason for him to do so.

Again, this is very interesting for me. I can well imagine your God creating a system in which the environment undergoes random changes, which would lead to unpredictability in the course life takes. Similarly, by endowing humans with free will, he would again have created unpredictability. You will see, of course, where this is heading. I know you have very definite views yourself on God’s purposes, but I’m sure you will agree that everything you have written - especially in relation to unpredictability or there being no real reason for him to make predictions - fits in perfectly with the hypothesis (and it's ONLY a hypothesis) that your God, if he exists, created life to relieve the boredom of eternal introspection.

Purpose and design

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Wednesday, April 26, 2017, 14:12 (209 days ago) @ dhw

Dhw: I would still like to know what you meant by God “maturing”. Limitations do not have to refer to power. My specific interest is in the question of whether you think that prior to creating the universe and life, your God already knew everything that could possibly be known, or he learned and maybe still learns from experience.
TONY: By definition, God would have to be outside of time, without beginning. However, the is no insight anywhere about what he was like stretching billions and billions of eons before T0. It is difficult for me to even speculate on that. However, 'all knowing' is relative when nothing else exist. Essentially, if you are the only thing in existence and you are self aware, then you know everything...at least at that point. When I spoke of him maturing as an entity, I was thinking that as a power he always existed, but that his intellect, insight, wisdom, and all of that developed over an unfathomable time frame.

dhw: Thank you for this very clear answer. If I put on my theist’s hat, this is also how I would envisage God. On the assumption that he himself is immaterial but created materials out of his own energy, and created life out of those materials, he would learn how to handle those materials as he went along. One of the hypotheses I offered David was that God may have experimented with life forms, perhaps even with a view to creating a consciousness like his own. (David rejected this outright.)

DAVID: God, as all knowing, is all knowing because he designed and created all. However, the bible clearly speaks of 'time and unforeseen occurrences' which implies that there is some randomness and that he either can not or does not predict every random occurrence. My take on it is that he could if he bent is will to the task, but that there is no real reason for him to do so.

dhw: Again, this is very interesting for me. I can well imagine your God creating a system in which the environment undergoes random changes, which would lead to unpredictability in the course life takes. Similarly, by endowing humans with free will, he would again have created unpredictability. You will see, of course, where this is heading. I know you have very definite views yourself on God’s purposes, but I’m sure you will agree that everything you have written - especially in relation to unpredictability or there being no real reason for him to make predictions - fits in perfectly with the hypothesis (and it's ONLY a hypothesis) that your God, if he exists, created life to relieve the boredom of eternal introspection.

According to my belief system, he didn't tinker or experiment with consciousness because his very, very first creation WAS as conscious creature: his own son. Further, my belief system also states that he started his remaining creative works in an immaterial (spirit) plane of existence. Matter came much later to the scene, long after the creative process started. It could be that, in a sense, his son was formed much as a simple organism is, some form of energetic meiosis or mitosis, followed by a very long period of growth before creation started. Which, ironically, would have also have given him the inspiration for how to create self sustaining life simply mimicking his the start of the spread of his own existence.

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

Purpose and design

by David Turell @, Wednesday, April 26, 2017, 19:21 (208 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained


Tony: According to my belief system, he didn't tinker or experiment with consciousness because his very, very first creation WAS as conscious creature: his own son. Further, my belief system also states that he started his remaining creative works in an immaterial (spirit) plane of existence. Matter came much later to the scene, long after the creative process started. It could be that, in a sense, his son was formed much as a simple organism is, some form of energetic meiosis or mitosis, followed by a very long period of growth before creation started. Which, ironically, would have also have given him the inspiration for how to create self sustaining life simply mimicking his the start of the spread of his own existence.

As an outsider, I'm confused by your religious view, and I would like to understand it. Are you saying Jesus existed before the universe appeared? History says He was born in 33 BC.

Purpose and design

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Thursday, April 27, 2017, 05:49 (208 days ago) @ David Turell


Tony: According to my belief system, he didn't tinker or experiment with consciousness because his very, very first creation WAS as conscious creature: his own son. Further, my belief system also states that he started his remaining creative works in an immaterial (spirit) plane of existence. Matter came much later to the scene, long after the creative process started. It could be that, in a sense, his son was formed much as a simple organism is, some form of energetic meiosis or mitosis, followed by a very long period of growth before creation started. Which, ironically, would have also have given him the inspiration for how to create self sustaining life simply mimicking his the start of the spread of his own existence.


David: As an outsider, I'm confused by your religious view, and I would like to understand it. Are you saying Jesus existed before the universe appeared? History says He was born in 33 BC.

There are numerous references to Jesus' prehuman existence, both in the OT and NT. Micah 5:2, for example, is a prophecy regarding Christ that clearly points to this. Also, if you compare Genesis 1:26, Colossians 1:15-17, Hebrews 1:2, John 1:3. He is also personified as Wisdom in Psalms 8:22-31, and Luke 1:20-25.

For the record, I much prefer to give you the scriptures rather than quote them directly. Even if your translation has some variance from mine, they are all very, very similar and the basic information is the same.

Jesus was the first born of all creation. Given that angels repeatedly took on human form, it is no huge shock that the son of God could do the same.

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

Purpose and design

by David Turell @, Thursday, April 27, 2017, 19:56 (207 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained


Tony: According to my belief system, he didn't tinker or experiment with consciousness because his very, very first creation WAS as conscious creature: his own son. Further, my belief system also states that he started his remaining creative works in an immaterial (spirit) plane of existence. Matter came much later to the scene, long after the creative process started. It could be that, in a sense, his son was formed much as a simple organism is, some form of energetic meiosis or mitosis, followed by a very long period of growth before creation started. Which, ironically, would have also have given him the inspiration for how to create self sustaining life simply mimicking his the start of the spread of his own existence.


David: As an outsider, I'm confused by your religious view, and I would like to understand it. Are you saying Jesus existed before the universe appeared? History says He was born in 33 BC.


Tony: There are numerous references to Jesus' prehuman existence, both in the OT and NT. Micah 5:2, for example, is a prophecy regarding Christ that clearly points to this. Also, if you compare Genesis 1:26, Colossians 1:15-17, Hebrews 1:2, John 1:3. He is also personified as Wisdom in Psalms 8:22-31, and Luke 1:20-25.

For the record, I much prefer to give you the scriptures rather than quote them directly. Even if your translation has some variance from mine, they are all very, very similar and the basic information is the same.

Jesus was the first born of all creation. Given that angels repeatedly took on human form, it is no huge shock that the son of God could do the same.

Thank you for the references. I can see how you might interpret them.

Purpose and design

by dhw, Thursday, April 27, 2017, 12:09 (208 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

DAVID: I don't expect you to agree. Everything we see is designed to produce life which resulted in humans. The result speaks for itself.
dhw: It also resulted in dinosaurs, which went extinct, and in the duckbilled platypus, which is still here, and in countless other life forms, lifestyles and natural wonders extinct and extant. If the result spoke for itself, there would be no disagreement.
TONY: You ever wonder if some things, like the duckbilled platypus, are here to simply remind us how ignorant we are? I mean, it defies all classifications and yet we still cling to our classifications as if they actually have some meaning.

Our classifications, like all language, are just symbols to try and help us understand and communicate. And like all language they are sometimes inadequate.

DHW: I know you have very definite views yourself on God’s purposes, but I’m sure you will agree that everything you have written - especially in relation to unpredictability or there being no real reason for him to make predictions - fits in perfectly with the hypothesis (and it's ONLY a hypothesis) that your God, if he exists, created life to relieve the boredom of eternal introspection.
TONY: According to my belief system, he didn't tinker or experiment with consciousness because his very, very first creation WAS as conscious creature: his own son. Further, my belief system also states that he started his remaining creative works in an immaterial (spirit) plane of existence. Matter came much later to the scene, long after the creative process started. It could be that, in a sense, his son was formed much as a simple organism is, some form of energetic meiosis or mitosis, followed by a very long period of growth before creation started. Which, ironically, would have also have given him the inspiration for how to create self sustaining life simply mimicking his the start of the spread of his own existence.

Like David, I have problems with this concept of Christ, but even if I were to accept the basic premise that your God’s son was the start of the creative process, I would still like to know why God created the system that produced this vast variety of material life forms, including humans with their advanced consciousness. I cannot see anything in your earlier post that would invalidate the hypothesis of life as a means of alleviating his boredom: the process began with himself and nothing besides himself, what he created produced a huge and ever changing variety, there were and are elements of randomness that he either could not or would not predict…and unlike David you are not afraid to attribute human thoughts to him - after all, we are “in his image”. So once again (with apologies for harping on about it), can you see anything in the history of life that contradicts the relief-of-boredom hypothesis?

Purpose and design

by David Turell @, Thursday, April 27, 2017, 20:00 (207 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: I cannot see anything in your earlier post that would invalidate the hypothesis of life as a means of alleviating his boredom: the process began with himself and nothing besides himself, what he created produced a huge and ever changing variety, there were and are elements of randomness that he either could not or would not predict…and unlike David you are not afraid to attribute human thoughts to him - after all, we are “in his image”.

I have never said God does not think like us. All I have said is He is very different from us. it is the emotional side of His thoughts that I question.

Purpose and design

by dhw, Friday, April 28, 2017, 17:51 (207 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I have never said God does not think like us. All I have said is He is very different from us. it is the emotional side of His thoughts that I question.

I find it difficult to draw a clear line here between thought and emotion. If God thought to himself, “I’m interested” or “I’m bored”, I really can’t see why one is acceptable to you and the other not.

Dhw […] can you see anything in the history of life that contradicts the relief-of-boredom hypothesis?
DAVID: Back to humanizing Him. IMHO a purposeful God is never bored.

Having a purpose is a good way of alleviating boredom. You suggested relief of loneliness as a possible purpose, and I’m quite happy to see that as an alternative motive if you prefer it.

dhw: As for your idea of a conscious relationship, that ran into difficulties when you insisted that your God remained hidden and we must not “humanize” him. Not much of a relationship if the partner isn’t contactable and we have nothing in common.
DAVID: How do you know He is not contactable? He may listen to prayer and respond in ways we do not recognize at first. I feel He has guided my life. I can't tell you why.

I do not “know” anything. If you think that instead of hiding himself he guides you and may respond to your prayers, you must think him “human” enough to understand your needs and care about you as an individual. No problem if that’s what you believe. But it makes a mockery of your dismissal of any alternative view of your God because we can’t “know” (which is why we both speculate) or because it is a “humanization” that differs from your own humanization.

dhw: Thank you for agreeing that relief of boredom and loneliness is a possible purpose underlying the creation of life on Earth.
DAVID: Where did I agree? I admit it is a possibility, but I don't agree with it.

Please read what I wrote. Agreeing that something is “a possible purpose”, means agreeing that it is a possibility.

TONY: Only this... IF it was only to cure his own boredom, why would he put up with the crap from us after allegedly coming so darn close to wiping us off the face of the earth. Why go through all the headache and heartache of it all when he could have just wiped us out if the only reason we mattered was to alleviate his boredom.

Because the crap, just like the sweet scent of love, empathy, charity, could all be part of the show. The very fact that he does NOT wipe us out suggests that he is not fed up with it. I offer this merely as one hypothesis. But if you think he’s sick of all the crap, perhaps he’s simply turned his attention elsewhere. I’m only looking for logical explanations of life’s history from a theistic perspective. Your Bible will no doubt offer other alternatives.

Purpose and design

by David Turell @, Saturday, April 29, 2017, 00:58 (206 days ago) @ dhw

dhw:I do not “know” anything. If you think that instead of hiding himself he guides you and may respond to your prayers, you must think him “human” enough to understand your needs and care about you as an individual. No problem if that’s what you believe. But it makes a mockery of your dismissal of any alternative view of your God because we can’t “know” (which is why we both speculate) or because it is a “humanization” that differs from your own humanization.

His consciousness and mine can obviously communicate, although from our viewpoint it is unidirectional. I'll stick to a definition of Him as 'a person like no other person we can know'.


dhw: Thank you for agreeing that relief of boredom and loneliness is a possible purpose underlying the creation of life on Earth.
DAVID: Where did I agree? I admit it is a possibility, but I don't agree with it.

dhw: Please read what I wrote. Agreeing that something is “a possible purpose”, means agreeing that it is a possibility.

Yes, most anything is conceivably possible, but I strongly feel God is more purposeful than emotional. I find boredom and loneliness as highly unreasonable.


TONY: Only this... IF it was only to cure his own boredom, why would he put up with the crap from us after allegedly coming so darn close to wiping us off the face of the earth. Why go through all the headache and heartache of it all when he could have just wiped us out if the only reason we mattered was to alleviate his boredom.

dhw: Because the crap, just like the sweet scent of love, empathy, charity, could all be part of the show. The very fact that he does NOT wipe us out suggests that he is not fed up with it. I offer this merely as one hypothesis. But if you think he’s sick of all the crap, perhaps he’s simply turned his attention elsewhere. I’m only looking for logical explanations of life’s history from a theistic perspective. Your Bible will no doubt offer other alternatives.

Note that the Bible tells us He is very forgiving if you are contrite enough. The meaning of Yom Kippur!

Purpose and design

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Saturday, April 29, 2017, 05:51 (206 days ago) @ David Turell

TONY: Only this... IF it was only to cure his own boredom, why would he put up with the crap from us after allegedly coming so darn close to wiping us off the face of the earth. Why go through all the headache and heartache of it all when he could have just wiped us out if the only reason we mattered was to alleviate his boredom.

dhw: Because the crap, just like the sweet scent of love, empathy, charity, could all be part of the show. The very fact that he does NOT wipe us out suggests that he is not fed up with it. I offer this merely as one hypothesis. But if you think he’s sick of all the crap, perhaps he’s simply turned his attention elsewhere. I’m only looking for logical explanations of life’s history from a theistic perspective. Your Bible will no doubt offer other alternatives.


David: Note that the Bible tells us He is very forgiving if you are contrite enough. The meaning of Yom Kippur!

Indeed! But it also said that at one point he regretted making mankind and wanted to destroy it.

Genesis 6:5-8

5 The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. 6 The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. 7 So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.”

Edit**

It is also worth noting that Genesis 9 is Biblical confirmation that God does/did indeed tinker with living creatures after the initial act of creation. He made creatures afraid of mankind which amounts to changing their basic instincts and behaviors. So, the weaver bird nest is a possibility too!

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

Purpose and design

by David Turell @, Saturday, April 29, 2017, 15:30 (206 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained


David: Note that the Bible tells us He is very forgiving if you are contrite enough. The meaning of Yom Kippur!


Tony:Indeed! But it also said that at one point he regretted making mankind and wanted to destroy it.

Genesis 6:5-8

5 The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. 6 The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. 7 So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.”

Edit**

It is also worth noting that Genesis 9 is Biblical confirmation that God does/did indeed tinker with living creatures after the initial act of creation. He made creatures afraid of mankind which amounts to changing their basic instincts and behaviors. So, the weaver bird nest is a possibility too!

But God relented and made a covenant with the sign of the rainbow. The Great Flood is a sign of God changing the course of things in general.

Purpose and design

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Saturday, April 29, 2017, 15:35 (206 days ago) @ David Turell


David: Note that the Bible tells us He is very forgiving if you are contrite enough. The meaning of Yom Kippur!


Tony:Indeed! But it also said that at one point he regretted making mankind and wanted to destroy it.

Genesis 6:5-8

5 The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. 6 The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. 7 So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.”

Edit**

It is also worth noting that Genesis 9 is Biblical confirmation that God does/did indeed tinker with living creatures after the initial act of creation. He made creatures afraid of mankind which amounts to changing their basic instincts and behaviors. So, the weaver bird nest is a possibility too!


David: But God relented and made a covenant with the sign of the rainbow. The Great Flood is a sign of God changing the course of things in general.

I know a lot of people mock that (not saying you are), but then, they also forget that before the flood it had not rained, so a rainbow would have been something entirely new.

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

Purpose and design

by dhw, Monday, May 01, 2017, 08:58 (204 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw:I do not “know” anything. If you think that instead of hiding himself he guides you and may respond to your prayers, you must think him “human” enough to understand your needs and care about you as an individual. No problem if that’s what you believe. But it makes a mockery of your dismissal of any alternative view of your God because we can’t “know” (which is why we both speculate) or because it is a “humanization” that differs from your own humanization.

DAVID: His consciousness and mine can obviously communicate, although from our viewpoint it is unidirectional. I'll stick to a definition of Him as 'a person like no other person we can know'.

That does not alter the fact that your own beliefs run counter to the arguments you offer to discredit alternatives: nobody “knows” the truth, and you think he is human enough to listen to you and to care about you, but I should not speculate on boredom or loneliness because that is human.

DAVID: Yes, most anything is conceivably possible, but I strongly feel God is more purposeful than emotional. I find boredom and loneliness as highly unreasonable.

Why do you compare purpose and emotion? Emotion can be a spur to purpose. Boredom and loneliness can motivate a mind to invent something whose purpose is to relieve such feelings. Why is that unreasonable?

Purpose and design

by David Turell @, Monday, May 01, 2017, 18:57 (203 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Yes, most anything is conceivably possible, but I strongly feel God is more purposeful than emotional. I find boredom and loneliness as highly unreasonable.

dhw: Why do you compare purpose and emotion? Emotion can be a spur to purpose. Boredom and loneliness can motivate a mind to invent something whose purpose is to relieve such feelings. Why is that unreasonable?

Not unreasonable. Just human reasoning about a non-human person.

Purpose and design

by dhw, Tuesday, May 02, 2017, 11:51 (203 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Yes, most anything is conceivably possible, but I strongly feel God is more purposeful than emotional. I find boredom and loneliness as highly unreasonable.

dhw: Why do you compare purpose and emotion? Emotion can be a spur to purpose. Boredom and loneliness can motivate a mind to invent something whose purpose is to relieve such feelings. Why is that unreasonable?

DAVID: Not unreasonable. Just human reasoning about a non-human person.

You can say the same about every single hypothesis concerning God – and you are as human as I am. At least you accept that my hypothesis is reasonable. I can see nothing reasonable in the hypothesis that your God’s one and only purpose was to create humans, and therefore he designed the weaverbird’s nest in order to provide energy to keep life going because he had decided to “take his time” before designing the only thing he wanted to design.

Purpose and design

by David Turell @, Tuesday, May 02, 2017, 18:31 (202 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: Why do you compare purpose and emotion? Emotion can be a spur to purpose. Boredom and loneliness can motivate a mind to invent something whose purpose is to relieve such feelings. Why is that unreasonable?

DAVID: Not unreasonable. Just human reasoning about a non-human person.

dhw: You can say the same about every single hypothesis concerning God – and you are as human as I am. At least you accept that my hypothesis is reasonable. I can see nothing reasonable in the hypothesis that your God’s one and only purpose was to create humans, and therefore he designed the weaverbird’s nest in order to provide energy to keep life going because he had decided to “take his time” before designing the only thing he wanted to design.

Humans are the unreasonable result of creation. That is my prime point.

Purpose and design

by dhw, Wednesday, May 03, 2017, 12:56 (202 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Why do you compare purpose and emotion? Emotion can be a spur to purpose. Boredom and loneliness can motivate a mind to invent something whose purpose is to relieve such feelings. Why is that unreasonable?

DAVID: Not unreasonable. Just human reasoning about a non-human person.

dhw: You can say the same about every single hypothesis concerning God – and you are as human as I am. At least you accept that my hypothesis is reasonable. I can see nothing reasonable in the hypothesis that your God’s one and only purpose was to create humans, and therefore he designed the weaverbird’s nest in order to provide energy to keep life going because he had decided to “take his time” before designing the only thing he wanted to design.

DAVID: Humans are the unreasonable result of creation. That is my prime point.

You dismiss speculation about God’s purpose and nature on the grounds that this is just “human reasoning” about a non-human, as if your own dogmatic assertions concerning his one and only purpose were not your own human reasoning. The fact that humans, like life itself, appeared against all the odds does not provide a reasonable explanation for your God designing the weaverbird’s nest "in order to provide energy" etc. as quoted above.

Purpose and design

by David Turell @, Wednesday, May 03, 2017, 15:14 (202 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: Humans are the unreasonable result of creation. That is my prime point.

dhw: You dismiss speculation about God’s purpose and nature on the grounds that this is just “human reasoning” about a non-human, as if your own dogmatic assertions concerning his one and only purpose were not your own human reasoning. The fact that humans, like life itself, appeared against all the odds does not provide a reasonable explanation for your God designing the weaverbird’s nest "in order to provide energy" etc. as quoted above.

Your problem is seeing forest or trees. The nest is one tiny cog in energy production to allow evolution to continue to its current (or end) point.

Purpose and design

by dhw, Thursday, May 04, 2017, 12:04 (201 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: You dismiss speculation about God’s purpose and nature on the grounds that this is just “human reasoning” about a non-human, as if your own dogmatic assertions concerning his one and only purpose were not your own human reasoning. The fact that humans, like life itself, appeared against all the odds does not provide a reasonable explanation for your God designing the weaverbird’s nest "in order to provide energy" etc. as quoted above.

DAVID: Your problem is seeing forest or trees. The nest is one tiny cog in energy production to allow evolution to continue to its current (or end) point.

To summarize this meandering discussion:
A. If you dismiss the boredom/loneliness hypothesis on the grounds that it is human reasoning about a non-human person, you will have to dismiss every single hypothesis about God’s purpose and nature, including your own.

B. Nobody knows the end point of evolution.

C. We have agreed over and over again on the obvious fact that evolution requires energy to continue from past to "current" to future (whatever it may be). That does not provide even the slightest support for the argument that God’s one and only purpose was to produce humans, and everything else was related to this purpose.

Purpose and design

by David Turell @, Friday, May 05, 2017, 01:32 (200 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: You dismiss speculation about God’s purpose and nature on the grounds that this is just “human reasoning” about a non-human, as if your own dogmatic assertions concerning his one and only purpose were not your own human reasoning. The fact that humans, like life itself, appeared against all the odds does not provide a reasonable explanation for your God designing the weaverbird’s nest "in order to provide energy" etc. as quoted above.

DAVID: Your problem is seeing forest or trees. The nest is one tiny cog in energy production to allow evolution to continue to its current (or end) point.

dhw: To summarize this meandering discussion:
A. If you dismiss the boredom/loneliness hypothesis on the grounds that it is human reasoning about a non-human person, you will have to dismiss every single hypothesis about God’s purpose and nature, including your own.

B. Nobody knows the end point of evolution.

C. We have agreed over and over again on the obvious fact that evolution requires energy to continue from past to "current" to future (whatever it may be). That does not provide even the slightest support for the argument that God’s one and only purpose was to produce humans, and everything else was related to this purpose.

We should stop this discussion. A. I can decide on God's purpose without humanizing Him, and giving Him emotions.

B. I can decide on what I think the endpoint is.

C. Energy is a side issue you keep return to. The balance of nature relates to evolution and its endpoint only in that is supplies energy so it can continue. It does not prove humans are the endpoint and I have never said that.

Purpose and design

by dhw, Friday, May 05, 2017, 12:36 (200 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: You dismiss speculation about God’s purpose and nature on the grounds that this is just “human reasoning” about a non-human, as if your own dogmatic assertions concerning his one and only purpose were not your own human reasoning. The fact that humans, like life itself, appeared against all the odds does not provide a reasonable explanation for your God designing the weaverbird’s nest "in order to provide energy" etc. as quoted above.

DAVID: Your problem is seeing forest or trees. The nest is one tiny cog in energy production to allow evolution to continue to its current (or end) point.

dhw: To summarize this meandering discussion:
A. If you dismiss the boredom/loneliness hypothesis on the grounds that it is human reasoning about a non-human person, you will have to dismiss every single hypothesis about God’s purpose and nature, including your own.
B. Nobody knows the end point of evolution.
C. We have agreed over and over again on the obvious fact that evolution requires energy to continue from past to "current" to future (whatever it may be). That does not provide even the slightest support for the argument that God’s one and only purpose was to produce humans, and everything else was related to this purpose.

DAVID: We should stop this discussion. A. I can decide on God's purpose without humanizing Him, and giving Him emotions.
Nevertheless, like everyone else you are applying human reasoning to a non-human “person”.

B. I can decide on what I think the endpoint is.
Of course you can. Nobody else can decide on what you think.

C. Energy is a side issue you keep return to. The balance of nature relates to evolution and its endpoint only in that is supplies energy so it can continue. It does not prove humans are the endpoint and I have never said that.
It is you who keep returning to it, as in the exchange that begins this post. You do it every time I challenge the logic of your God having designed the weaverbird’s nest when according to you all he wanted to design was humans. But we should indeed end the discussion as it has lost its way.

Purpose and design

by David Turell @, Saturday, May 06, 2017, 00:06 (199 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: You dismiss speculation about God’s purpose and nature on the grounds that this is just “human reasoning” about a non-human, as if your own dogmatic assertions concerning his one and only purpose were not your own human reasoning. The fact that humans, like life itself, appeared against all the odds does not provide a reasonable explanation for your God designing the weaverbird’s nest "in order to provide energy" etc. as quoted above.

DAVID: Your problem is seeing forest or trees. The nest is one tiny cog in energy production to allow evolution to continue to its current (or end) point.

dhw: To summarize this meandering discussion:
A. If you dismiss the boredom/loneliness hypothesis on the grounds that it is human reasoning about a non-human person, you will have to dismiss every single hypothesis about God’s purpose and nature, including your own.
B. Nobody knows the end point of evolution.
C. We have agreed over and over again on the obvious fact that evolution requires energy to continue from past to "current" to future (whatever it may be). That does not provide even the slightest support for the argument that God’s one and only purpose was to produce humans, and everything else was related to this purpose.

DAVID: We should stop this discussion. A. I can decide on God's purpose without humanizing Him, and giving Him emotions.
dhw: Nevertheless, like everyone else you are applying human reasoning to a non-human “person”.

B. I can decide on what I think the endpoint is.
dhw: Of course you can. Nobody else can decide on what you think.

C. Energy is a side issue you keep return to. The balance of nature relates to evolution and its endpoint only in that is supplies energy so it can continue. It does not prove humans are the endpoint and I have never said that.
dhw: It is you who keep returning to it, as in the exchange that begins this post. You do it every time I challenge the logic of your God having designed the weaverbird’s nest when according to you all he wanted to design was humans. But we should indeed end the discussion as it has lost its way.

Agreed

Purpose and design

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Thursday, April 27, 2017, 22:18 (207 days ago) @ dhw

DHW: Like David, I have problems with this concept of Christ, but even if I were to accept the basic premise that your God’s son was the start of the creative process, I would still like to know why God created the system that produced this vast variety of material life forms, including humans with their advanced consciousness. I cannot see anything in your earlier post that would invalidate the hypothesis of life as a means of alleviating his boredom: the process began with himself and nothing besides himself, what he created produced a huge and ever changing variety, there were and are elements of randomness that he either could not or would not predict…and unlike David you are not afraid to attribute human thoughts to him - after all, we are “in his image”. So once again (with apologies for harping on about it), can you see anything in the history of life that contradicts the relief-of-boredom hypothesis?

Only this... IF it was only to cure his own boredom, why would he put up with the crap from us after allegedly coming so darn close to wiping us off the face of the earth. Why go through all the headache and heartache of it all when he could have just wiped us out if the only reason we mattered was to alleviate his boredom.

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

Purpose and design

by David Turell @, Friday, April 28, 2017, 00:02 (207 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

DHW: Like David, I have problems with this concept of Christ, but even if I were to accept the basic premise that your God’s son was the start of the creative process, I would still like to know why God created the system that produced this vast variety of material life forms, including humans with their advanced consciousness. I cannot see anything in your earlier post that would invalidate the hypothesis of life as a means of alleviating his boredom: the process began with himself and nothing besides himself, what he created produced a huge and ever changing variety, there were and are elements of randomness that he either could not or would not predict…and unlike David you are not afraid to attribute human thoughts to him - after all, we are “in his image”. So once again (with apologies for harping on about it), can you see anything in the history of life that contradicts the relief-of-boredom hypothesis?


Tony: Only this... IF it was only to cure his own boredom, why would he put up with the crap from us after allegedly coming so darn close to wiping us off the face of the earth. Why go through all the headache and heartache of it all when he could have just wiped us out if the only reason we mattered was to alleviate his boredom.

I didn't think you would find boredom as a reason.

Purpose and design

by David Turell @, Wednesday, April 26, 2017, 18:28 (208 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: I know you have very definite views yourself on God’s purposes, but I’m sure you will agree that everything you have written - especially in relation to unpredictability or there being no real reason for him to make predictions - fits in perfectly with the hypothesis (and it's ONLY a hypothesis) that your God, if he exists, created life to relieve the boredom of eternal introspection.

The most significant result of God's creation is conscious humans who can attempt to understand how He made the universe work. That is not evidence of boredom, but it can be conceded that He will be interested in our efforts.

Purpose and design

by David Turell @, Sunday, April 23, 2017, 01:42 (212 days ago) @ dhw

Xxx

dhw: […]if we take quite literally the belief that God made humans in his own image, and if we consider the mixture that is clear from his creations even prior to the arrival of humans, it is not unreasonable to ask ourselves whether God himself might not be just such a mixture.
DAVID: I think the image is in the presence of human consciousness.

dhw: I did not imagine the image contained two eyes, two arms and two legs. However, a blank consciousness is not much of an image, is it?

Our consciousness certainly relates to His. Obviously , neither are blank. I'm sure both are extremely active.

Purpose and design

by David Turell @, Friday, April 21, 2017, 22:11 (213 days ago) @ dhw

TONY: As for whether or not our ways stink, I am referring more to humanity as a whole as opposed to individuals. Even as individuals though, we tend to be shortsighted, narrow-minded, prejudiced, rash, impulsive, and selfish. Even people who we think of as good people.

dhw: Yes, we are all a mixture, and so if we take quite literally the belief that God made humans in his own image, and if we consider the mixture that is clear from his creations even prior to the arrival of humans, it is not unreasonable to ask ourselves whether God himself might not be just such a mixture.

I think the image is in the presence of human consciousness.

Purpose and design

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Thursday, April 20, 2017, 16:32 (215 days ago) @ dhw

I was teasing, mostly. I've noticed though that things like creating animals that go extinct, or some of the punishments listed in the OT, or even allowing bad things to happen as consequences of our actions doesn't sit well with you.

As for whether or not our ways stink, I am referring more to humanity as a whole as opposed to individuals. Even as individuals though, we tend to be shortsighted, narrow-minded, prejudiced, rash, impulsive, and selfish. Even people who we think of as good people.

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

Purpose and design

by dhw, Thursday, April 20, 2017, 12:51 (215 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: He may well be pleased with the results of his creations, but whether He really is or not in unknowable for us. Why conjecture? It is only an attempt to humanize him.
dhw: …we can’t KNOW anything about God, including whether he exists or not. Your question “why conjecture?” makes nonsense of all our discussions on every related subject, and your “one and only purpose” is no less a conjecture than my “spectacle for enjoyment” conjecture.
DAVID: I have studied all the scientific evidence we have looking at what should be considered as works of God. What seems to be evidence of His purpose is my only approach. I have presented that evidence here: God prefers evolving His creations and in my entry on bipedalism suggest how He began the manipulation of evolution toward humans. You have neglected to comment on it, and instead want psychoanalyze God.

Since we both believe in evolution, obviously bipedalism was part of the process by which humans evolved from apelike ancestors. There is no “instead”. But according to you, every single step (i.e. innovation) in the evolution of all organisms, lifestyles and natural wonders extant and extinct was deliberately designed by your God, and yet you insist that his ONLY purpose was to produce humans. This doesn’t make sense, and no amount of obfuscation about balance of nature and preference will make it any more logical.

DAVID: I've been taught in my reading not to approach God as a person as we know persons. I study His works for purpose, not for his underlying reasons, since they are not approachable. When you question me as to God's motives, I've politely given you my off-the-cuff guesses, which are not set in stone, although that is the way you seem to approach them as you throw them back at me. […] God, as a personage, remains concealed, which also bothers you. I'm not bothered. The evidence tells me God exists and that alone is enough to satisfy me.

My problem is not with your conviction that God exists but with your refusal to consider any other possible reading of your God’s mind that would remove the illogicality of your basic anthropocentric premise, which does seem to be set in stone. Purpose IS the underlying reason for any action. You are clearly not averse to speculating on God’s nature – your certainty that God is pleased/not pleased was offered quite spontaneously – but you erect the humanization/unknowability barriers the moment your basic premise is challenged. And frankly, since we cannot KNOW any of the answers, I see no sense either in your allowing yourself to conjecture that all God wanted was to produce humans, but in not allowing conjecture as to why he might have wanted to produce humans.

Purpose and design

by David Turell @, Thursday, April 20, 2017, 18:56 (214 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: Since we both believe in evolution, obviously bipedalism was part of the process by which humans evolved from apelike ancestors. There is no “instead”. But according to you, every single step (i.e. innovation) in the evolution of all organisms, lifestyles and natural wonders extant and extinct was deliberately designed by your God, and yet you insist that his ONLY purpose was to produce humans. This doesn’t make sense, and no amount of obfuscation about balance of nature and preference will make it any more logical.

I know it doesn't make sense to you, because you don't look at evolution as I do. Does evolution advance for the sake of advancing? Or is it an adaptive response to challenges of nature? For the sake of this argument my choice is to say it is a response to challenges. Our ancestors were monkeys and apes. Over 23 million years they have not significantly changed, but for some unknown reason a line developed that became us. I don't see a driving force in natural challenges, do you? Is it happenstance (chance)? The odds say very unlikely. I am convinced God is the force, and humans his goal. Very straightforward reasoning.


DAVID: I've been taught in my reading not to approach God as a person as we know persons. I study His works for purpose, not for his underlying reasons, since they are not approachable. When you question me as to God's motives, I've politely given you my off-the-cuff guesses, which are not set in stone, although that is the way you seem to approach them as you throw them back at me. […] God, as a personage, remains concealed, which also bothers you. I'm not bothered. The evidence tells me God exists and that alone is enough to satisfy me.

dhw: My problem is not with your conviction that God exists but with your refusal to consider any other possible reading of your God’s mind that would remove the illogicality of your basic anthropocentric premise, which does seem to be set in stone.

Of course set in stone. That is why we debate.

dhw: Purpose IS the underlying reason for any action. You are clearly not averse to speculating on God’s nature – your certainty that God is pleased/not pleased was offered quite spontaneously – but you erect the humanization/unknowability barriers the moment your basic premise is challenged. And frankly, since we cannot KNOW any of the answers, I see no sense either in your allowing yourself to conjecture that all God wanted was to produce humans, but in not allowing conjecture as to why he might have wanted to produce humans.

Of course we can debate his reasons or thought. We have, but when I point out to you that it is like the number of angels on the head of a pin, you get upset. But that is all that debate can be. Why don't you realize that point?

Purpose and design

by dhw, Friday, April 21, 2017, 14:00 (214 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: ...you insist that [God’s] ONLY purpose was to produce humans. This doesn’t make sense, and no amount of obfuscation about balance of nature and preference will make it any more logical.
DAVID: I know it doesn't make sense to you, because you don't look at evolution as I do. Does evolution advance for the sake of advancing? Or is it an adaptive response to challenges of nature? For the sake of this argument my choice is to say it is a response to challenges.

We have been over this many times. The fact that bacteria have survived shows that multicellular life in general was not necessary, and so evolution is not just a response to challenges but is also a drive to improvement, which you may call an advance for the sake of advancing if you like.

DAVID: Our ancestors were monkeys and apes. Over 23 million years they have not significantly changed, but for some unknown reason a line developed that became us. I don't see a driving force in natural challenges, do you? Is it happenstance (chance)? The odds say very unlikely. I am convinced God is the force, and humans his goal. Very straightforward reasoning.

Which totally ignores the fact that for the same “unknown reason” our single-celled ancestors branched out into COUNTLESS different organisms, lifestyles and natural wonders, extant and extinct. Not by chance. By intelligence (perhaps given to organisms by your God). Not just in response to challenges but also in response to new opportunities for improvement (e.g. through environmental change). It is straightforward reasoning to say that the mechanisms are too complex to have arisen by chance and so required a designer, but your insistence that the designer had humans as his ONLY goal has resulted in one irrational hypothesis after another (see below).

dhw: ...And frankly, since we cannot KNOW any of the answers, I see no sense either in your allowing yourself to conjecture that all God wanted was to produce humans, but in not allowing conjecture as to why he might have wanted to produce humans.
DAVID: Of course we can debate his reasons or thought. We have, but when I point out to you that it is like the number of angels on the head of a pin, you get upset. But that is all that debate can be. Why don't you realize that point?

Strange. I see our debates as the complete reverse. Although at one time you agreed that it made no sense for a God with unlimited powers to specially design the weaverbird’s nest plus countless other natural wonders when his only goal was to produce humans, you get upset when I suggest a different motive. That is when you put up the unknowability/humanization barriers. Debate on God’s “goal” cannot exclude debate on his reasons or thought, and unknowability and humanization are no excuse for embracing illogicality at the expense of hypotheses that make sense. “Why don’t you realize that point?”:-)

Purpose and design

by David Turell @, Friday, April 21, 2017, 22:19 (213 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: Which totally ignores the fact that for the same “unknown reason” our single-celled ancestors branched out into COUNTLESS different organisms, lifestyles and natural wonders, extant and extinct. Not by chance. By intelligence (perhaps given to organisms by your God). Not just in response to challenges but also in response to new opportunities for improvement (e.g. through environmental change).

The early unicellular organisms had to have the ability to respond to stresses beyond the simple adaptive mechanisms we know about. Their innate mechanisms are not up to the task of multicellular speciation. I my view that requires god.

dhw: It is straightforward reasoning to say that the mechanisms are too complex to have arisen by chance and so required a designer, but your insistence that the designer had humans as his ONLY goal has resulted in one irrational hypothesis after another (see below).

Irrational only to you, since you ae unwilling to understand the marked difference in kind of humans

dhw: Debate on God’s “goal” cannot exclude debate on his reasons or thought, and unknowability and humanization are no excuse for embracing illogicality at the expense of hypotheses that make sense. “Why don’t you realize that point?”:-)

We can muse about his thoughts, but why try if we have no way of knowing what is correct? What will that discussion tell us?

Purpose and design

by dhw, Saturday, April 22, 2017, 11:27 (213 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Which totally ignores the fact that for the same “unknown reason” our single-celled ancestors branched out into COUNTLESS different organisms, lifestyles and natural wonders, extant and extinct. Not by chance. By intelligence (perhaps given to organisms by your God). Not just in response to challenges but also in response to new opportunities for improvement (e.g. through environmental change).
DAVID: The early unicellular organisms had to have the ability to respond to stresses beyond the simple adaptive mechanisms we know about. Their innate mechanisms are not up to the task of multicellular speciation. I my view that requires god.

Your argument was that humans did not arise in response to natural challenges, and – by some weird twisted logic – that means they were God’s purpose. Clearly multicelullarity was not needed for survival, and so the argument applies to ALL multicellular organs. Now you are shifting your ground and saying that ALL multicellular organisms required God’s programming or dabbling. In that case, you can’t use the “natural challenges” argument to support your claim that non-necessity proves that humans were the only goal.

dhw: It is straightforward reasoning to say that the mechanisms are too complex to have arisen by chance and so required a designer, but your insistence that the designer had humans as his ONLY goal has resulted in one irrational hypothesis after another (see below).
DAVID: Irrational only to you, since you are unwilling to understand the marked difference in kind of humans

I have never denied the marked difference between our degree of consciousness and that of other animals, or between parts of our anatomy and those of other animals. But that does not mean your God designed the weaverbird’s nest in order to keep life going for our sake or to provide food for us.

dhw: Debate on God’s “goal” cannot exclude debate on his reasons or thought, and unknowability and humanization are no excuse for embracing illogicality at the expense of hypotheses that make sense. “Why don’t you realize that point?”
DAVID: We can muse about his thoughts, but why try if we have no way of knowing what is correct? What will that discussion tell us?

Why muse about the existence of God, the origin of life and the universe, what happened before the big bang (if the big bang ever happened), the nature and origin of consciousness, the possibility of an afterlife, if we have no way of “knowing” what is correct? One moment you are telling us “the only way to study Him is through his creations”, and the next moment you tell us there is no point in trying to study him. You use unknowability as your escape route whenever I point out the illogicality of your own personal reading of your God’s mind.

Purpose and design

by David Turell @, Sunday, April 23, 2017, 02:00 (212 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: The early unicellular organisms had to have the ability to respond to stresses beyond the simple adaptive mechanisms we know about. Their innate mechanisms are not up to the task of multicellular speciation. I my view that requires god.

dhw: Your argument was that humans did not arise in response to natural challenges, and – by some weird twisted logic – that means they were God’s purpose. Clearly multicelullarity was not needed for survival, and so the argument applies to ALL multicellular organs. Now you are shifting your ground and saying that ALL multicellular organisms required God’s programming or dabbling. In that case, you can’t use the “natural challenges” argument to support your claim that non-necessity proves that humans were the only goal.

Good point. I was twisting Darwin's argument. God guides evolution and causes speciation. Once again, 23 million years ago only certain organisms began to progress to humans. Everyone else stayed the same. Something or someone pushed that line to complexify so much. I choose God over chance.


dhw: It is straightforward reasoning to say that the mechanisms are too complex to have arisen by chance and so required a designer, but your insistence that the designer had humans as his ONLY goal has resulted in one irrational hypothesis after another (see below).
DAVID: Irrational only to you, since you are unwilling to understand the marked difference in kind of humans

dhw: I have never denied the marked difference between our degree of consciousness and that of other animals, or between parts of our anatomy and those of other animals. But that does not mean your God designed the weaverbird’s nest in order to keep life going for our sake or to provide food for us.

The weaverbird bird belongs to an eco-niche that supplies food to someone, and eventually some of what is eaten becomes our food. We do eat that bird nest.


dhw: Debate on God’s “goal” cannot exclude debate on his reasons or thought, and unknowability and humanization are no excuse for embracing illogicality at the expense of hypotheses that make sense. “Why don’t you realize that point?”
DAVID: We can muse about his thoughts, but why try if we have no way of knowing what is correct? What will that discussion tell us?

dhw: Why muse about the existence of God, the origin of life and the universe, what happened before the big bang (if the big bang ever happened), the nature and origin of consciousness, the possibility of an afterlife, if we have no way of “knowing” what is correct? One moment you are telling us “the only way to study Him is through his creations”, and the next moment you tell us there is no point in trying to study him. You use unknowability as your escape route whenever I point out the illogicality of your own personal reading of your God’s mind.

We can muse and discuss whatever has some scientific factual substance. Your comment: "next moment you tell us there is no point in trying to study him" is not consistent with my statements. I have always said study Him through His works. Many of us can certainly see His purpose, even if you cannot..

Purpose and design

by dhw, Sunday, April 23, 2017, 10:37 (212 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: […] Now you are shifting your ground and saying that ALL multicellular organisms required God’s programming or dabbling. In that case, you can’t use the “natural challenges” argument to support your claim that non-necessity proves that humans were the only goal.
DAVID: Good point. I was twisting Darwin's argument. God guides evolution and causes speciation. Once again, 23 million years ago only certain organisms began to progress to humans. Everyone else stayed the same. Something or someone pushed that line to complexify so much. I choose God over chance.

An autonomous (perhaps God-given) IM excludes chance. If God exists, I don’t have a problem with him dabbling humans, though with his now unlimited powers I’m a bit surprised that once conditions were OK, he had to do so many different dabbles. At least the Creationists have him doing it all in one go. But no, my real problem is with your irrational insistence that he specifically designed every natural wonder etc. solely for the sake of humans.

DAVID: Irrational only to you, since you are unwilling to understand the marked difference in kind of humans
dhw: I have never denied the marked difference between our degree of consciousness and that of other animals, or between parts of our anatomy and those of other animals. But that does not mean your God designed the weaverbird’s nest in order to keep life going for our sake or to provide food for us.
DAVID: The weaverbird bird belongs to an eco-niche that supplies food to someone, and eventually some of what is eaten becomes our food. We do eat that bird nest.

So humans would not have had food if the weaverbird had stuck to an ordinary common-or-garden nest instead of your God teaching it to tie complicated knots. Yeah, yeah, God moves in mysterious ways…

DAVID: We can muse about his thoughts, but why try if we have no way of knowing what is correct? What will that discussion tell us?
dhw: Why muse about the existence of God, the origin of life and the universe, what happened before the big bang (if the big bang ever happened), the nature and origin of consciousness, the possibility of an afterlife, if we have no way of “knowing” what is correct? One moment you are telling us “the only way to study Him is through his creations”, and the next moment you tell us there is no point in trying to study him. […]
DAVID: We can muse and discuss whatever has some scientific factual substance. Your comment: "next moment you tell us there is no point in trying to study him" is not consistent with my statements. I have always said study Him through His works. Many of us can certainly see His purpose, even if you cannot.

By studying God, I understand trying to work out his nature and his purpose. You do not want to discuss his nature because it is unknowable and one must not humanize, and you only want to talk about purpose if it is the one and only purpose you believe in, which is to produce humans.

Purpose and design

by David Turell @, Sunday, April 23, 2017, 15:16 (212 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: An autonomous (perhaps God-given) IM excludes chance. If God exists, I don’t have a problem with him dabbling humans, though with his now unlimited powers I’m a bit surprised that once conditions were OK, he had to do so many different dabbles. At least the Creationists have him doing it all in one go. But no, my real problem is with your irrational insistence that he specifically designed every natural wonder etc. solely for the sake of humans.

If you accept God is purposeful He provides every help He needs to to continue his chosen method of evolving life and humans.

DAVID: We can muse and discuss whatever has some scientific factual substance. Your comment: "next moment you tell us there is no point in trying to study him" is not consistent with my statements. I have always said study Him through His works. Many of us can certainly see His purpose, even if you cannot.


dhw: By studying God, I understand trying to work out his nature and his purpose. You do not want to discuss his nature because it is unknowable and one must not humanize, and you only want to talk about purpose if it is the one and only purpose you believe in, which is to produce humans.

Exactly

Purpose and design

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Monday, April 24, 2017, 00:11 (211 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: The weaver bird bird belongs to an eco-niche that supplies food to someone, and eventually some of what is eaten becomes our food. We do eat that bird nest.

DHW: So humans would not have had food if the weaver bird had stuck to an ordinary common-or-garden nest instead of your God teaching it to tie complicated knots. Yeah, yeah, God moves in mysterious ways…

The weaver bird is part of the food cycle by spreading seed through its dietary habits. That is why it is there. It's nest is likely for ITS benefit, not ours. After all, most weaver birds do not live in the U.S. They live in areas where there are far more predators, poisonous snakes, and other deadly threats that they must protect against. This is why I do not view EVERYTHING as a route to humanity. Some things are done strictly for the benefit of the creature in question. However, just because the bird's nest is not strictly for humanity's sake, the bird itself DOES fill a vital role in keeping the earth alive, and thus, giving the bird a means to stay alive does fall into the larger category of benefiting humanity specifically and all life in general.

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

Purpose and design

by David Turell @, Monday, April 24, 2017, 05:06 (211 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

DAVID: The weaver bird bird belongs to an eco-niche that supplies food to someone, and eventually some of what is eaten becomes our food. We do [not] eat that bird nest.

DHW: So humans would not have had food if the weaver bird had stuck to an ordinary common-or-garden nest instead of your God teaching it to tie complicated knots. Yeah, yeah, God moves in mysterious ways…


Tony: The weaver bird is part of the food cycle by spreading seed through its dietary habits. That is why it is there. It's nest is likely for ITS benefit, not ours. After all, most weaver birds do not live in the U.S. They live in areas where there are far more predators, poisonous snakes, and other deadly threats that they must protect against. This is why I do not view EVERYTHING as a route to humanity. Some things are done strictly for the benefit of the creature in question. However, just because the bird's nest is not strictly for humanity's sake, the bird itself DOES fill a vital role in keeping the earth alive, and thus, giving the bird a means to stay alive does fall into the larger category of benefiting humanity specifically and all life in general.

Thank you. dhw for some reason cannot see this.

Purpose and design

by dhw, Monday, April 24, 2017, 14:58 (211 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

Tony: The weaver bird is part of the food cycle by spreading seed through its dietary habits. That is why it is there. It's nest is likely for ITS benefit, not ours. After all, most weaver birds do not live in the U.S. They live in areas where there are far more predators, poisonous snakes, and other deadly threats that they must protect against. This is why I do not view EVERYTHING as a route to humanity. Some things are done strictly for the benefit of the creature in question. However, just because the bird's nest is not strictly for humanity's sake, the bird itself DOES fill a vital role in keeping the earth alive, and thus, giving the bird a means to stay alive does fall into the larger category of benefiting humanity specifically and all life in general.
DAVID: Thank you. dhw for some reason cannot see this.

All organisms fulfil a role in “keeping the earth alive” until they disappear, and then the surviving organisms keep the earth alive. All organisms therefore benefit all other organisms, including humans. This does NOT mean that your God personally designed the weaverbird’s nest – Tony’s post leaves it open as to whether the bird did this by itself – and benefiting all life in general includes benefiting humans, but does NOT mean that all life forms, lifestyles and natural wonders, extant and extinct, were specially designed by your God to provide food solely for the benefit of humans, or to keep life going until – according to you – he designed the only thing he wanted to design (humans). For some reason you cannot see this.

I know you are desperate for support from Tony, but: “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” (Balance Maintained, 1 April under “God and evolution”). Thank you, Tony. David for some reason cannot see this.

Purpose and design

by David Turell @, Tuesday, April 25, 2017, 00:55 (210 days ago) @ dhw

Tony: Some things are done strictly for the benefit of the creature in question. However, just because the bird's nest is not strictly for humanity's sake, the bird itself DOES fill a vital role in keeping the earth alive, and thus, giving the bird a means to stay alive does fall into the larger category of benefiting humanity specifically and all life in general.[/i]

DAVID: Thank you. dhw for some reason cannot see this.

What I have left above is the part of Tony's statement that I was applauding.


dhw: All organisms fulfil a role in “keeping the earth alive” until they disappear, and then the surviving organisms keep the earth alive. All organisms therefore benefit all other organisms, including humans. This does NOT mean that your God personally designed the weaverbird’s nest – Tony’s post leaves it open as to whether the bird did this by itself – and benefiting all life in general includes benefiting humans, but does NOT mean that all life forms, lifestyles and natural wonders, extant and extinct, were specially designed by your God to provide food solely for the benefit of humans, or to keep life going until – according to you – he designed the only thing he wanted to design (humans). For some reason you cannot see this.

Tony does not speak to how the nest was designed, or b y whom.


dhw: I know you are desperate for support from Tony, but: “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” (Balance Maintained, 1 April under “God and evolution”). Thank you, Tony. David for some reason cannot see this.

We are both trying to interpret Tony. I think He would accept the appearance of humans as a major purpose of God.

Purpose and design

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Wednesday, April 26, 2017, 01:04 (209 days ago) @ David Turell


dhw: I know you are desperate for support from Tony, but: “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” (Balance Maintained, 1 April under “God and evolution”). Thank you, Tony. David for some reason cannot see this.


David: We are both trying to interpret Tony. I think He would accept the appearance of humans as a major purpose of God.

A major purpose, yes. Not 'the only' purpose, or even the 'primary' purpose.

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

Purpose and design

by David Turell @, Wednesday, April 26, 2017, 01:31 (209 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained


dhw: I know you are desperate for support from Tony, but: “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” (Balance Maintained, 1 April under “God and evolution”). Thank you, Tony. David for some reason cannot see this.


David: We are both trying to interpret Tony. I think He would accept the appearance of humans as a major purpose of God.


Tony: A major purpose, yes. Not 'the only' purpose, or even the 'primary' purpose.

'
What is the primary purpose?

Purpose and design

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Wednesday, April 26, 2017, 13:53 (209 days ago) @ David Turell


dhw: I know you are desperate for support from Tony, but: “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” (Balance Maintained, 1 April under “God and evolution”). Thank you, Tony. David for some reason cannot see this.


David: We are both trying to interpret Tony. I think He would accept the appearance of humans as a major purpose of God.


Tony: A major purpose, yes. Not 'the only' purpose, or even the 'primary' purpose.

'
David: What is the primary purpose?

I know you do not accept the Bible as an authority, but:

Colossians 1:15-16 "The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him."

Isaiah 45:18 For this is what Jehovah says, The Creator of the heavens, the true God, The One who formed the earth, its Maker who firmly established it, Who did not create it simply for nothing,* but formed it to be inhabited: I am Jehovah, and there is no one else."

Now, aside from these comments, and others like these, there is no discussion of a larger context, (i.e. beyond the context of Earth itself) though it is implied in Revelations where it says that new things will be revealed at a later date.

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

Purpose and design

by David Turell @, Wednesday, April 26, 2017, 18:41 (208 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

'
David: What is the primary purpose?


dhw: I know you do not accept the Bible as an authority, but:

Colossians 1:15-16 "The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him."

Isaiah 45:18 For this is what Jehovah says, The Creator of the heavens, the true God, The One who formed the earth, its Maker who firmly established it, Who did not create it simply for nothing,* but formed it to be inhabited: I am Jehovah, and there is no one else."

Now, aside from these comments, and others like these, there is no discussion of a larger context, (i.e. beyond the context of Earth itself) though it is implied in Revelations where it says that new things will be revealed at a later date.

I can certainly accept Isaiah, which supports my view. We humans are some of the inhabitants He envisioned creating.

Purpose and design

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Monday, April 17, 2017, 05:25 (218 days ago) @ dhw

The idea of God doing magic like Jimminy Cricket or Santa Clause is as amusing as it is frustrating. God obeys the laws he puts in place. Imagine that, a lawmaker that follows his own laws!! So, if I read this right, you think he could just pop all of creation out in a single instant, like a miraculous passing of gas upon which blew in all of existance. Oh the wonders of Devine flatulance!

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

Purpose and design

by dhw, Monday, April 17, 2017, 13:26 (218 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

TONY: I keep seeing this debate over God's enjoyment versus human [enjoy]ment, as if they are mutually exclusive. That is puzzling to me. Further, what craftsman does not delight in the work of his hand? The bible often refers to the fact that God yearns and delights in the work of his hands. Why shouldn't he? Why does that mean that he wouldn't want his creations to love and enjoy the works of his hands as well?

This is addressed to me, but is actually a criticism of David’s approach, because he is the one who until now has refused to accept the possibility that his God might have created life for his own enjoyment. He sees that as humanization (and as “a frivolous waste of time and effort”). I do not regard God’s enjoyment and human enjoyment as “mutually exclusive”. On the contrary, I see enjoyment as a key element of human life, and see no reason at all why that should not be a reflection of God’s own attitude towards life (if he exists).

TONY: The idea of God doing magic like Jimminy Cricket or Santa Clause is as amusing as it is frustrating. God obeys the laws he puts in place. Imagine that, a lawmaker that follows his own laws!! So, if I read this right, you think he could just pop all of creation out in a single instant, like a miraculous passing of gas upon which blew in all of existance. Oh the wonders of Devine flatulance!

I’m afraid you do not read it right at all. I believe in evolution, and if God exists I can well believe that he deliberately set that whole process in motion and knew precisely what he was doing. What I do not believe is David’s insistence that he started out with the sole purpose of creating humans. If his sole purpose had been to create humans, I believe he would have been able to do so without personally designing the weaverbird’s nest (plus countless other examples). And so with my theist’s hat on, I suggest that either he did not design the nest but gave organisms the ability to do their own designing, or if he did design it, he did so for his own enjoyment and not simply to keep life going until he produced humans. All done by science, not by magic, and no suggestion that God should have done things differently. David and I agree that he used evolution, and the disagreement concerns his God’s one and only purpose (the production of humans), which in my view makes nonsense of the history of life as we know it.
--

Purpose and design

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Monday, April 17, 2017, 05:17 (218 days ago) @ dhw

I keep seeing this debate over God's enjoyment versus human ment, as if they are mutually exclusive. That is puzzling to me. Further, what craftsman does not delight in the work of his hand? The bible often refers to the fact that God yearns and delights in the work of his hands. Why shouldn't he? Why does that mean that he wouldn't want his creations to love and enjoy the works of his hands as well?

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

Purpose and design

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Monday, April 17, 2017, 05:09 (218 days ago) @ David Turell

I've already answered regarding the weaverbird's nest, as well as all other complex visors of animals. I see them each as part of a broader design that allows variations within constraints. Much like the rest of the universe, animal behaviors, even the seemingly complex ones, result from complex interactions between simpler parts, much like chemical or molecular reactions. Certain elements behave certain ways when combined with other elements. By layering or chaining these elements, we get a nigh infinite variety of possibilities. God created the biological elements, set tight constraints on how they work, then allowed the rules governing the system to do their job and produce the variety.Much like a designer drug, the reactions or end results are not always identical, and often far more complex then predicted once they are released into the environment. However, I ink God knew, and could predict, every stage and every change, and accounted for them in his design.

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

Purpose and design

by David Turell @, Monday, April 17, 2017, 23:12 (217 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

Tony: I've already answered regarding the weaverbird's nest, as well as all other complex visors of animals. I see them each as part of a broader design that allows variations within constraints. Much like the rest of the universe, animal behaviors, even the seemingly complex ones, result from complex interactions between simpler parts, much like chemical or molecular reactions. Certain elements behave certain ways when combined with other elements. By layering or chaining these elements, we get a nigh infinite variety of possibilities. God created the biological elements, set tight constraints on how they work, then allowed the rules governing the system to do their job and produce the variety.Much like a designer drug, the reactions or end results are not always identical, and often far more complex then predicted once they are released into the environment. However, I ink God knew, and could predict, every stage and every change, and accounted for them in his design.

I'm in general agreement with your statement.

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