Theodicy (Introduction)

by dhw, Thursday, October 08, 2020, 13:29 (17 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: As explained genetic congenital errors are not God's fault. His editing mechanisms don't always catch molecular errors. Molecules are free to make improper reactions for the sake of speed in the production of life itself. And they do make mistakes at that level that escape editing.

dhw: You have, however, told us that in the case of errors that cause disease, he has provided “backups”, but these don’t always work, and so he has left it to humans to try and correct what he himself couldn’t correct. You also assume that this is the only system your God was able to produce. In both cases, you are limiting his powers, and yet one of my alternative explanations of evolution’s history is that he experimented, and another is that he didn’t want absolute control. You complain that this makes him namby-pamby. Why is it more namby-pamby than a God who can’t prevent mistakes in the system he designed, and can’t even correct them but has to leave it to humans to do what he can’t do?

Today’s article on "Molecular machines seen clearly" does indeed help us to see clearly the consequences of these mistakes, which in your posts on God’s error corrections you dismissed as "minimal":

QUOTE: "'Malfunctions in these molecular machines contribute to diseases such as osteoporosis, neurodegeneration, diabetes, cancer and AIDS [...]

DAVID: Namby-pamby refers to underlying personality, not logical choice of giving us the brains to work on back-up when God recognized unexpected mistakes will get by the editing systems during our lives.

According to you, your God could not prevent the above mistakes, tried and failed to correct them, and left it to humans to do what he couldn’t do, and you also have him deliberately designing nasty viruses and bacteria and natural disasters. So I offer an alternative:
dhw: How about: God didn’t design them, but wanted to avoid the dull predictability of a Garden of Eden, and therefore invented a system whereby living organisms would design themselves in an endless variety of forms, all of which would find different ways (which we judge to be good or bad) of surviving in the on-going process we know as evolution?

DAVID: Again you wish for out of control evolution which might luckily reach our forms.

Please don’t switch the subject, which is theodicy. Does the proposal above provide an explanation of good and evil or not?

DAVID: Evil among humans beings is explained because God gave us free will.

dhw: Just as in the above proposal he would have given organisms “free will” to find their own methods of survival.
[I have cut out the discussion on the Garden of Eden metaphor which you had originally given us, as it was only meant to illustrate the following:)

dhw: My proposal is that God did not want dull perfection, but an unpredictable, ever changing bush of life as all organisms tried to find their own ways (good or bad) to survive.

DAVID: Dangerous environmental events: storms, volcanic eruption, flooding, earthquakes, etc. are all part of the beneficial processes of Earth that allows life to appear.

dhw: So did God design them or didn’t he? If he didn’t, he was dependent on chance for all these “beneficial processes”. If he did, are you saying that he couldn’t have directly designed life and living conditions without them? […] I would suggest that all these natural disasters also result from a system designed to fulfil his desire for endless and unpredictable variety, as epitomized by us humans and all our activities. Please remember our agreement that you need the dark to fully appreciate the light. But he would also have retained the option of intervening (dabbling) at any time, e.g. Chixculub.

DAVID: All explained in my last statement. Evolving Earth and its environment allows life here and we have to live with some of the necessary consequences.

So it’s back to your inevitable “errors” theory, in which it’s not God’s fault if the only system he could devise entailed “bad” errors and “bad” environmental conditions. He was incapable of creating a system without harmful or bad or evil effects.

DAVID: You have simply repeated describing a soft purposeless God who gives up control.

The only purpose you have offered us is that your God created his error-prone system, designed bad viruses and bacteria, and presumably (since he never gives up control) designed all the natural disasters, in order to directly design H. sapiens, whom he did not wish to harm (at least he has a soft heart, then). You consider a God who creates a life system of endless and ever-changing variety, with all the interplay between good and bad, light and dark, and all the unpredictability that would be the exact opposite of a dull Garden of Eden, to be soft and purposeless. So please tell us why you think he deliberately created bad viruses and bacteria, earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes in spite of his soft-heartedness (which I hope he would also feel towards other organisms than ourselves, since the our fellow animals also know what it is to suffer). If you can’t think of a reason, once more please tell us why my proposal is not feasible. And please accept that a test of feasibility is not whether or not it matches your own subjective concept of God and his purposes and nature.

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