Divine purposes and methods (Evolution)

by dhw, Monday, December 17, 2018, 11:48 (571 days ago) @ David Turell

Again I have telescoped two threads, as they both deal with purposes and methods.

dhw: You can’t explain why he “chose” this method, even though he was always in full control and could have done it any way he wanted. (David's bold) If you can’t think of an explanation, how can you say it is logical to you? […]

DAVID: The first bold above is the nubbin of our disagreement. In analyzing God's methods and motives, a conclusion will depend upon one's concept of God. All of both our proposals are logical. I view God as more controlling and purposeful than you do, and therefore favor the proposals I've given.

If you can’t explain something, then you can’t say it’s logical. If your one and only “purpose” idea (H. sapiens) is correct, I suggested experimentation and/or humans as a later idea to bridge the gap. These alternatives do reduce his level of ability to control, but your belief in full control is one cause of the gap you can’t explain! (See next comment below.) My theistic evolutionary hypothesis leaves him with full ability to control, but proposes that he deliberately created a mechanism to run independently of his control. No gap, but just as purposeful.

DAVID: […] My thought has always been, why did He evolve life if He had the capability to do direct creation as in Genesis? Since it happened it was obviously His choice of method of creation.

We both agree that evolution happened, but that does not mean (a) that his method was to specially design every innovation, econiche etc., or (b) that he did so solely for the purpose of providing food for 3.5+ billion years until he could specially design H. sapiens, which you say he could have done anyway, since he has full control. Hence the logical gap you acknowledge and then try to dodge.

DAVID: And as I sit here answering you, I am as far removed from apehood as anything you can imagine. We are the current endpoint. If God used evolution to guide creation and we are the current result, I just accept it as a logical conclusion that we have been His purpose all along. And furthermore, where does evolution go in the future? Superhumans? Same endpoint! Flying humans? We already have that. Case closed.

Your “if” is the point at issue: maybe he didn’t “guide” creation (which apparently means he specially designed everything), and the current result is us, whales, elephants, the duckbilled platypus etc. The future part of the “case” is wide open and does nothing to bridge the logical gap which you keep acknowledging and then trying to sidestep.

DAVID: As usual you note that whale evolution as irrational, which is exactly why I brought it up initially. A totally irrational unnatural series of changes. Requires a designer.

dhw: No, no, and no again! What is irrational is your insistence that your God changed legs into fins, and extracted teeth and inserted baleens before there was any need for pre-whales to enter the water […]

DAVID: You are forgetting that the whale series shows a series (8 or 9)of intermediate changes. They didn't just jump into water. it was a series of changes in form and then function, as I view designed by God.

I’ve picked on the stages we have been discussing, and I would suggest that every stage provided an improvement in the whale’s survivability. Your logical gap is expanding: (a) If your God wanted to produce a whale, why bother with intermediate stages, and (b) if your God only wanted to produce H. sapiens, why bother with eight stages of whale?

dhw: You yourself say that “humans survive better...with the modifications...”, and do you really think your God taught monarch butterflies to migrate, cuttlefish to camouflage themselves, spiders to spin 50,000 different webs, changed legs into fins etc. for the sake of complexity? Your own illogical hypothesis claims that your God designed them all to provide food so that life could go on. Life going on = survival. So how can you say survivability played little or no role even in your concept of evolution?

DAVID: The bold can also mean 'life going on = continued existence' so evolution can proceed over time.

Continued existence still = survival. You now have your God specially designing every survival kit in life’s history in order to fill in time!

DAVID: About survival 99% are gone! Some survival rate! If survivability drives evolution that doesn't explain bacteria. They haven't needed to survive by evolving.

Bacteria survive by constantly adapting to every environmental condition. We keep agreeing that they remain themselves, but somewhere along the line, unicellular organisms joined forces to create multicellularity, and that is presumably when the unexplained process of innovation and speciation began. 99% extinction (sometimes after millions of years of survival) fits in perfectly with the proposal that the whole process runs on the interplay between an ever-changing environment and the ability or inability of organisms to survive by adapting and/or innovating. I cannot see how it fits in with the proposal that your God specially designed every econiche and planned every change for the sole purpose of providing food, then different food, then more different food in order to pass the time until he could produce H. sapiens, which you think he could have produced directly anyway.

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