Purpose and design (Evolution)

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Sunday, April 23, 2017, 23:52 (847 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?

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.

What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

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