Divine purposes and methods (Evolution)

by dhw, Monday, December 10, 2018, 12:54 (106 days ago) @ David Turell

I am combining this thread with “Big brain evolution” to avoid repetition.

DAVID (under “Big brain evolution”): My analysis pattern about God differs from yours. I identified God's purpose from the unlikely ending of evolution in human beings. That is about as far as I ever went in thought until you asked me for possible motives. Very true, I'd never thought about motives. So I cooked up some for you, but I know it is all guess work.

Everything we conjecture about God – including his existence – is guesswork, and the whole point of our discussions is to test the guesses and gauge the likelihood of their being right. I completely accept the design argument that underlies your faith that he exists, but it is you who on many occasions have (unjustly) accused me of not recognizing that your God is purposeful. If he exists he would certainly have had a purpose in creating life. I don’t have a problem either with your belief that humans are special because of their high level of consciousness. However, I do have a problem with your hypothesis that his only purpose was us, but he specially designed every organism and econiche etc. for 3.x billion years to provide food before he - who is always in full control - specially designed the one thing he wanted to design. This hypothesis did not arise out of my questioning you. It is the reason for my questioning you. And your faith in Adler (see below) long preceded the birth of this forum.

DAVID: Based on what we know, my reasoning makes perfect sense to me.

dhw: How can it make sense to you if you can’t explain the reasoning behind the hypothesis bolded above?

DAVID: We can't know God's reasons!!! Of course I can't explain it. Can I explain God?

No, we can’t, but the bolded hypothesis above offers a succession of contradictory interpretations which you yourself cannot reconcile. This should at least make you wonder if there might not be a flaw in your guesswork.

DAVID: I've even said the chances for a relationship from God's standpoint are 50/50, which is a quote from Adler I accept, since he as a religious expert, doing lots more thought than I've given to the subject. 50/50, as you will recognize from our cell discussions, means it is an open issue. All of your ruminations about God's purposes are logical and possible, but don't fit my frame of belief. Doesn't mean I am right, but it is what I am most comfortable with. Not surprising, faith offers comfort.

50/50 are the odds I offer for the existence of God, but that is why all my ruminations must allow for his existence. If Adler also thinks there’s a 50/50 chance that God cares about us, and a 50/50 chance of his being a person even if he’s not a person like us, that’s also fine with me. Thank you for conceding that all my ruminations are logical and possible. They all do away with the logical gap between your interpretation of his purpose and your interpretation of his method (see below for the baleen example), and that is the part of your “frame of belief” that I challenge. But if you find comfort in the gap, so be it.

DAVID: Again you want an explanation of God deciding to use evolution as His method. I simply accept it. I can't read His mind's reasoning. Nor can you much as you try.

What you simply “accept” is your own hypothesis that your God used evolution with the sole purpose of producing us, but in order to produce us he first (for example) had to take out pre-baleen whale’s teeth and then give it baleens a few million years later, to provide energy for pre-human life to go on until he could specially design us, although he is always in full control.

DAVID: I cannot read/enter His mind, nor can anyone else. I can guess at intentions based on the results I see.

dhw: So if it’s OK for you to guess, and insist that your guesses are right even though you can’t explain how the method fits the intention, why do you criticize me for guessing at his intentions in a manner which does link up logically with the results we see?
That question remains unanswered.

DAVID: That you are not satisfied with your position re' God is evidenced by this website of yours. [Yes.] Is it comfortable? [I’ve got used to it, but comfort is no criterion for truth or even likelihood of truth.] Who has participated here? My memory of the visitors are theists and atheists, and Romansh as a sort-of agnostic. Do you have a breakdown? [No, but I am delighted that we have had a mixed bunch of participants. It would be a pretty boring forum if everyone agreed!] I know you have learned how much of Darwin was incorrect, and lots of biochemistry. Does it help? [It is enormously helpful with regard to my personal education. You in particular have been my faithful science teacher since the very beginning, and I acknowledge this with deep gratitude, as I do the personal friendship which has given me great pleasure.]


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