autonomy v. automaticity (Evolution)

by dhw, Saturday, March 31, 2018, 09:44 (261 days ago) @ David Turell

I am shifting the “whales and hippo” post to “autonomy versus automaticity”, where it is more appropriate.

dhw: Theodicy has never been an issue between us, and my major point of AGREEMENT with you is on design!

DAVID: You raised the issue of theodicy by pointing out bad viruses and bacteria, showing God did not create a totally benign reality.

The actual exchange (under “Immunity” March 20 at 14.31) was:

dhw: Your God must have had lots of fun designing these killer bacteria and viruses, and then working out ways in which some organisms might or might not be able to survive them. And apparently all for the sake of the human brain.
DAVID: Another non-religious thought is God created a such a strong driving force to produce life on Earth with bacteria that viruses also appeared and in each group nasty ones popped up, that then had to be controlled. Raises the issue of whether God is under total control or just well-intended? I have no way of knowing.

You obviously meant “in total control”, but as I say, theodicy – just like design – was never an issue between us. My hypothesis of what you call “freewheeling” offers a perfectly rational explanation of “evil”. However, this was a digression from the issue of your refusal to tell me why you reject the possibility that God gave organisms the autonomous power to organize themselves, i.e. WANTED to sacrifice full control.

DAVID: I have never thought He was not in full control. My statement of viruses as a 'side effect' certainly suggests the option that His control was not complete, but that has two interpretations: He did mean to lose total control or He didn't mean it. On balance He demonstrates extraordinary purpose which still support full control.

Your original “non-religious thought”, quoted above, was that you had no way of knowing whether your God was in full control. Thank you for now acknowledging the equal possibility that he WANTED to lose control. That is just as purposeful as the deliberate or accidental creation of bad viruses, but the purpose of course would not be the targeted production of the sapiens brain. It would be the ever varying spectacle of the evolutionary bush, with organisms coming and going as they autonomously attempt to work out their own ways of coping with changing conditions. (Your God could, of course, dabble if he wanted to.) And I still don’t know why you are so resolutely opposed to this hypothesis, which fits in perfectly with the history of evolution as we know it.

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