Divine purposes and methods (Evolution)

by dhw, Tuesday, January 01, 2019, 11:47 (145 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: This discussion has nothing whatsoever to do with belief in God. I am questioning your interpretation of your God’s purposes and methods because, as below, your interpretation of these is illogical.

DAVID: I'm simply logically noting that diversity in life provides food for evolution to continue. You question 'why so much diversity' as if you think less would do. You question what God did. I don't do that. I simply use what is present and interpret a reasonable explanation.

If God exists, whatever he did resulted in life’s history as we know it. That is logical. It is also logical to argue that diversity in life provides diverse foods for diverse life forms. I don’t question what he did, but your interpretation of what he did and why he did it, and it is not logical to insist that although he only had ONE purpose (H. sapiens), and could have chosen any way he liked to fulfil that one purpose, he chose to spend 3.5+ billion years specially designing millions of other life forms, econiches, lifestyles and natural wonders extant and extinct that provided food for one another and had nothing to do with H. sapiens.

DAVID: Why do I have to explain God's choices of method? He made the choice, I didn't.

Because there are lots of different possible explanations of your God’s purposes and methods. I am asking you to explain YOUR choice out of all those possible explanations, and you can’t.

DAVID: You are the one trying to enter God's mind and producing all sorts of humanistic versions of God's thinking.

Interpreting God’s purpose entails trying to enter God’s mind. What is under the microscope here is your own personal interpretation of your God’s purposes and methods, but it has undergone an interesting variation, which I have bolded below:

DAVID: […] I simply accept His decision to evolve advanced complex organisms.

If he exists, I would also accept that decision, whether his method was to specially design each new complexity or just to invent the mechanism that would lead to advanced complex organisms.

DAVID: Second, humans are the current advanced result of evolution. Therefore they are obviously the current goal of the evolutionary process.

There is no disagreement that we are the current advanced result of evolution, just as dinosaurs in their day were the current advanced result. However, that does not mean that humans were the goal of the evolutionary process from the very beginning, as you have always maintained, or that your God specially designed dinosaurs, and did so merely in order to provide food until he could specially design humans. See below for alternatives.

DAVID: But imaging what more can happen in future evolution involves pure guesswork so why bother? I'll stick with what we know. The only illogical event going on is your constant attempting to study God as if He were human and had human thoughts.

We are not discussing the future, and we are not discussing any of the human thoughts we both attribute to your God as part of his overall intention (your own being the proposal that he specially designed us so that we would think about him and have a relationship with him, and mine – not totally dissimilar to yours – is that he wished to end his isolation). Neither of these are illogical anyway – they logically explain why he might have wanted to create life.

DAVID: […] we must accept God chose a method and used it. We must accept that from your agnostic viewpoint, God is illogical, because He didn't do it the way you think He should have done it, all from your humanistic logic about Him.

Of course I accept that if your God exists, he chose a method and used it, and I have no doubt that he would have chosen a perfectly logical way to implement his purpose. I am questioning your logic, not his – namely the dislocation between your insistence that he had only one purpose from the very beginning (us), had full control and could choose any method he liked of producing us, but spent 3.5+ billion years specially designing all the branches of the evolutionary bush. Once more, here some theistic alternatives which are no more humanizing than your own but which even you agree are logical: maybe he wanted the diversity of the bush for its own sake and not merely as food to keep life going until he could design us; maybe he wanted to create a self-aware thinking being but didn’t know how to make it; maybe he didn’t think of humans until later in the process. But these alternatives require the exclusion of one or other of your dislocated hypotheses (single purpose, full control, special design of every non-human organism for 3.5+ billion years), and so you reject them.


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