Divine purposes and methods (Evolution)

by dhw, Sunday, December 23, 2018, 09:34 (154 days ago) @ David Turell

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.

DAVID: 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.

In the process of evolution, the stepwise development is not a straight line from single cells to humans! It entails countless steps to countless species, econiches, lifestyles and natural wonders extant and extinct – and these do not entail one advance at a time, as the bush of life spreads out in all directions.

DAVID: 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? [..]

Yet again, my suggestion is that in spite of your “large organisms chauvinism”, cells/cell communities are not automatons but thinking beings, and as evolution progresses. SOME of them work out ways of surviving (adaptation – observed even today) or new ways of improving their chances of survival (innovation – not proven), using the intelligence which your God may have given them. You tell us he can do anything he wants, so he could have devised a mechanism to enable organisms to do their own autonomous adapting and inventing.

DAVID: Since I am sure God knew His goals, He had to remain in charge.

Not if his goal was to create a process that would function independently of his control (with the option of a dabble if he felt like it).

dhw: […] 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: 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.

You claim that survivability plays no role in evolution. I pointed out to you that the purpose of all the innovations listed above is to enable the organisms to survive. You agree. Those innovations ARE evolution! So – in your theistic version – your God designed them to enable the organisms to survive (so that they would keep life going until he could design you and me), but you say survivability plays no role in evolution! Once more: in ANY version, the purpose of all these innovations (which constitute the advance of evolution) was to aid survival.

DAVID: 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.

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

Yes, econiches are essential to the continuation of life. Perfectly logical. What is not logical is millions of econiches being specially designed for millions of different organisms to supply different types of food until your God can design the only thing he wants to design, which is you and me.

DAVID: 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!

Absolutely not! If he exists, of course he is prime, and he is prime in all the theistic hypotheses I have offered you but which you are NOT willing to consider. You keep admitting that you can’t explain why he “chose” higgledy-piggledy evolution as his method to fulfil his one and only goal, and then you claim that nevertheless your speculations are logical!

DAVID: 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.

Indeed, an excellent example of Darwinian stepwise evolution, and as you quite rightly indicate, this step enabled the hominin to improve his chances of survival – although you will tell us in the same breath that this step in evolution had nothing to do with survival.


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