God and evolution (Evolution)

by dhw, Thursday, March 30, 2017, 14:16 (838 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

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

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

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

I can’t see any similarity here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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