Divine purposes and methods (Evolution)

by dhw, Wednesday, January 02, 2019, 13:17 (195 days ago) @ David Turell

The following exchanges encapsulate the disagreement between us:

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.

dhw: 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 are 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.

DAVID: Note the bold. It shows no logic, but directly questions God's choices. Of course I reject your pipe dreams about God' possible thoughts. As I've already stated, you can invent God any way you wish and give Him any type of woolly thinking you can invent. Since God made choices, accept them. The only God invention we see with consciousness is humans, a huge step beyond anything else around in the diversity. If God loved diversity, humans are a dangerous invention. We are reducing diversity!

Once more, I am not questioning God’s choices or his logic! It is you who assume you know these, and the bold summarizes your hypothesis, and you're right: it shows no logic, which is why I am questioning it. Why would a God with a single purpose and full control specially design millions of life forms, econiches, lifestyles and natural wonders extant and extinct before specially designing the only thing he wanted to design? The alternatives I offer above even include the possibility of humans as his goal, and in the past you have agreed that they are all logical. As for diversity, I did not say he loved anything - the word I used was "wanted", so why do you find it illogical to suggest that your God WANTED the variety provided by the ever changing bush of comings and goings that characterizes life’s history? Humans are unique in their degree of consciousness (even you admit that other animals are conscious, but to a lesser degree), and yes, we are a danger to the current diversity. How does that prove that your God did not want the variety of the ever changing bush? Or do you mean that his choice was to specially design the whale so that his specially designed H. sapiens could come along and destroy it? Or did he not know that this would happen - i.e. he has lost or sacrificed his full control?

DAVID: I'm not dislocated. You are floating around in mid-air supposing various God thoughts with no basis in fact. Evolution is not a play so you can invent dialogue as the playwright you are. God is not an actor. He created the play line plot.

If God exists, of course he wrote the play. But none of these hypothetical plots, including your own, have a basis in fact. The difference between us is that you insist that you know God’s plot: i.e. that his sole purpose was to produce H. sapiens, he knew how to do it, but he chose not to do it until he had specially designed 3.5+ billion years’ worth of life forms etc. so that they could eat each other. I do not insist that I know the plot, I find your version extremely unconvincing, and I offer alternatives which you have agreed fit in logically with the history of life as we know it.


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