Divine purposes and methods (Evolution)

by dhw, Thursday, December 27, 2018, 09:30 (24 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Linnemann makes sense only if organisms can speciate on their own and make the giant leaps in form and physiology that major speciation implies. Your reliance on survival as a driving force is a direct repudiation of any possibility of God existing.

dhw: If your God invented a mechanism enabling organisms to design their own means of survival, there is no repudiation of the possibility of God’s existence. It is only a repudiation of your personal belief that your God himself designed every facet of evolution, and did so in order to enable organisms to survive until he could design H. sapiens, although apparently survivability plays no role in evolution!

DAVID: What we are debating is the driving force behind each advance or change in evolution as it progresses from simple to complex. I view God as designing each advance and providing for necessary survival in each stage. My point could not be clearer. You constantly muddy the waters with your insistence that I do not recognize survival has a role: dhw: "apparently survivability plays no role in evolution!" Of course it has a role, but it is not the driving force as touted by you and your mentor, Darwin.

You suddenly started this discussion, on the thread “Introducing the brain; complexity: autopilot”, when you claimed (9 December at 19.56) that “there is little real evidence that survival plays any role in evolution if humans are used as an example”. In response I wrote: “Why you keep harping on about survival is a mystery to me, except that it is part of your Darwinphobia.” I challenged your claim with examples (fins, baleens, monarch migration, spiders’ webs) and later humans (hairlessness and bipedalism as aids to hunting and escape from predators), all of which improve chances of survival. You have now accepted this, but have switched the argument to God being the “driving force”, designing each advance. (Survival doesn’t design anything – in this context it is a purpose not a force.) This is a different subject altogether, in which my alternative hypothesis is that God does not design each advance but the “driving force” is cellular intelligence, perhaps designed by your God. (Darwin’s proposal is random mutations with gradual refinements and natural selection.) If you now wish to withdraw your statement that “there is little real evidence that survival plays any role in evolution”, we can end this part of the discussion.

Another disagreement concerns your belief that the motivation for each change is complexification, not survivability. I see no point in complexity for the sake of complexity, and again point out that I do not regard fins, toothlessness and baleens as more complex than legs and teeth. Nor do I see the great bush of life as a straight progression from simple to complex, and I cannot find any logical connection with your overall hypothesis summarized below.

DAVID: And that God is the designer is much more than my personal belief. There is a whole crowd of scientifically trained ID'ers who believe as I do. Be careful of personal attacks. You have had no scientific training!

My criticisms of your overall hypothesis – your God designed every innovation, econiche, lifestyle and natural wonder to provide food so that life would survive until he could fulfil his sole purpose of producing H. sapiens, although he is always in full control – is not meant as a personal attack, and I apologize if that is the impression you have gained. I simply find it illogical. But I must point out that my lack of scientific training does not miraculously endow this hypothesis or the complexity-rather-than-survivability hypothesis with any scientific basis or theistic logic. It’s true that there are crowds of scientifically trained ID scientists who think God is the designer (40%?), and the rest (60%?) think there may be a designer God or no designer God at all. Your scientific training provides you with a logical basis for your belief in God, but not for your interpretation of his possible purposes and methods.

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

dhw: 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).

DAVID: It is convenient of you to invent any type of God invention you wish, which apparently is to diminish God's purposeful drive and goal orientation.

My hypothesis is not a matter of “convenience”, and there is no diminishing of your God’s purposeful drive or goal orientation if he set out to create what his method actually did create: an ever changing bush of life. You can’t explain why your always-in-control God chose to achieve your idea of his sole purpose (us) by your idea of his method (3.5+ billion years’ worth of specially designed organisms that have little or nothing to do with us). I can only repeat that if you can’t explain your hypothesis, perhaps you should consider the different scenarios I have proposed, which are not beliefs but alternative explanations, the logic of which you have not denied. In fairness, though, you have agreed that experimentation (e.g. your God not knowing how to achieve his purpose, which = his not being in full control) is possible.

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