Divine purposes and methods (Evolution)

by dhw, Saturday, December 22, 2018, 11:41 (271 days ago) @ David Turell

Dhw: (under “Little foot”) I don’t understand why a God who 1) is always in full control, and 2) has the one and only purpose of creating the brain of H. sapiens, would 3) design all these different combinations. Nor do you, so maybe one or more of your three assumptions is wrong.

DAVID: We can't get around the point Little Foot had a somewhat advanced brain circulatory system. Progress toward H. sapiens apparently went at different speeds in different areas of Africa. I can't explain it clearly to you without assuming God may have been experimenting with different approaches to evolution of humans based on differing environments, differing circulatory arrangements. There is no reason not to entertain God as being somewhat of a tinkerer. No loss of full control, but as an experimenter working things out. […]

Thank you. Experimentation was one of the four options I offered you, but you rejected it when I pointed out that this could only mean (a) he didn’t know what he was looking for, or (b) he did know what he was looking for, but didn’t know how to get it. Your insistence that his sole purpose from the beginning was to produce the brain of H. sapiens knocks out (a). And (b): “I want to produce H. sapiens, but first I must spend 3.5+ billion years producing millions of other life forms and econiches etc. before I even start – and even then I don’t know how to do it” does not suggest full control. An alternative view would be that H. sapiens was a late addition to his experimenting, and/or that the whole of life is one vast experiment, and/or that instead of tinkering with pre-whale legs, cuttlefish camouflage, 50,000 spider webs and the weaverbird’s nest in order to provide food until he could tinker with hominins, he created a mechanism which enabled all these organisms to work out their own ways of survival while he watched with interest to see what they would come up with (though he might occasionally have dabbled).

dhw: 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. […] 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.

DAVID: Our view of God differs widely. Of course my interpretation is personal. I don't intend it to be otherwise. I have no reason to accept your view of God, which I view as very skewed to a very skeptical position.

This particular discussion does not concern our general view of God; it concerns your very precise interpretation of his evolutionary purposes and methods.

DAVID: Of course God makes survivable organisms. He couldn't do otherwise. But I view God as the prime mover and controller of evolution and thus survival which is necessary is a secondary consideration to God's control.

For the sake of argument, I have accepted your view of your God as the prime mover. We are discussing two questions: 1) The degree of control that he has or wishes to have; 2) whether survivability plays any role in evolution. As regards 1) see the “Little Foot” comment above. As regards 2), even if your God did specially design the fins, the baleens, the camouflage, the webs, the instruments for navigation and migration, you can hardly deny that they are all essential to the survival of the respective organisms. This would be so, no matter what evolutionary hypothesis we accept. So how can you say that survivability plays no role in evolution, which consists precisely in the development of such innovations?

DAVID: As for the bolded statement that I can't understand God's methods, note I didn't claim it made perfect sense.

You wrote: “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.
They don’t, because you can’t explain why your God has to design all the above complexities in order to produce what you believe to be his one and only goal: us.

DAVID: I don't have to. I accept what I see as God's chosen method.

That simply means you accept your own interpretation, even though it does NOT make sense to you.

DAVID: I can wonder why, but that doesn't stop me from accepting it and then analyzing what I see. It is obvious you can't do that and end up on your foggy picket fence.

I certainly can’t accept an interpretation that doesn’t make sense. But I also analyse what I see, and try to offer alternative views that do make sense. My picket fence has nothing to do with the logic of the different interpretations of why and how your God might have created and run evolution.

DAVID: I would ask you, if you could fully explain God's methods and reasoning, would you accept Him? I doubt it.

My acceptance of any theory is irrelevant. We can only speculate about your God’s existence, methods and reason, but it seems to me that a logical speculation is more likely than an illogical one.


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