Divine purposes and methods (Evolution)

by David Turell @, Saturday, December 22, 2018, 16:53 (28 days ago) @ dhw
edited by David Turell, Saturday, December 22, 2018, 17:00

DAVID: 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. […]

dhw: 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).

Other than the tinkerer possibility is that using the DNA code system requires a stepwise development from single cells to humans, adding complexity one advance at a time, which I have previously mentioned as a drive to complexity. If God gave the organisms at an early level the ability to develop the next species how would they know what to create without his guidance? I've agreed an IM would either need guidelines or be limited to adaptations of existing forms. Since I am sure God knew His goals, He had to remain in charge.

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.

dhw: 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?

What don't you understand? I've said, of course, God must make organisms that will survive, so if God is the designer and the driving force, survival is not a driving force. It is built into the process.

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

dhw: 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.

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

It does make sense to me. Ecosystems and econiches have been logically explained.

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.

dhw: 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.

dhw: 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.

You don't like my logical speculations. Tinkerer is less logical than DNA advancement manager, but I'm willing to consider every possibility before settling on one that fits God's role as prime mover. You take every opportunity to make Him less than prime! My entry about marathoning is a great example of stepwise: out of trees on two feet and loss of hair to allow hunting by running down game that can't outrun the hominin:
Tuesday, December 18, 2018, 21:30

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