Divine purposes and methods (Evolution)

by dhw, Friday, December 21, 2018, 10:26 (567 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: God designs us for survivability. If we didn't survive, what is the point of making us? My view is survivability does not drive evolution, God does.

dhw: You have been on and on about evolution resulting from the drive for complexity as opposed to the drive for survival. I am pointing out to you that even if your God did design whale fins and baleens and 50,000 spider webs and the monarch’s migration and the cuttlefish’s camouflage, these all serve the purpose of enabling those organisms to survive. Therefore even in your hypothesis, survivability plays a major role in your God’s design, and hence in your God-controlled evolution.

DAVID: One simple answer. God is in charge. He is the driving force behind evolution. Since that is the case all of the Darwin theory about survivability and the struggle to survive is out the window.

If God exists, of course he is in charge and of course he is the driving force behind evolution. But I’m sorry, that does not mean your interpretation of his purposes and methods has to be correct. In your hypothesis, were the fins, baleens, webs, migration and camouflage designed to aid survivability or not? If they were, it is clearly absurd to say that survivability plays no role even in your view of evolution as a divinely preprogrammed or directly dabbled process. And if we regard as possible my own (theistic) hypothesis that your God created the mechanism for organisms to devise their own means of survival, the theist can still say that God is in charge, and the result is precisely what he wanted: innovations, econiches, lifestyles and natural wonders, all geared to the survival of the organisms concerned.

DAVID: That is no need for me to explain why God chose to evolve life to the point it is at. Of course each level of complexity He creates will survive until He moves on to the next more complex stage. From that viewpoint all of my theories make perfect sense. Of course, you don't look at it that way, so it makes no sense to you even as you make your attempts at being theistic.

There is no need for you to explain anything, but that makes all discussion pointless. If you admit you can’t understand why something was done in a certain way, you can hardly go on to say that it makes perfect sense. As for my “attempts at being theistic”, they are attempts to gain insight into the great mysteries that none of us can solve. I am an agnostic because I am torn 50/50 between belief and disbelief. That does not mean my attempts to understand the purposes and methods of a possible God are any less valid than your own. That is why I try to find explanations that make sense, and – to redress the balance between us – that is why your scientific approach to the mystery of life itself is of such great value to me. But in discussing your God’s purposes and methods, I look for the same logic you apply to your argument for your God’s existence. I can’t find it. You admit that you can’t find it either, but you don’t need to and clearly don’t want to. Perhaps we should therefore close this thread, but the same problem will keep arising whenever you tell us that a particular innovation, econiche, lifestyle or natural wonder is evidence for your highly personal interpretation of your God’s purposes and methods.

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