Theodicy (Introduction)

by dhw, Sunday, October 11, 2020, 13:49 (473 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: You’ve always said he [God] must be interested in us, so he’s interested in seeing how we respond to a challenge. Then maybe he created ALL organisms to see how they would respond to challenges (e.g. environmental changes). […]

DAVID: […] Free will is ours. Evolution is tightly designed by God, not by free-will organisms.

dhw: Your statement about evolution being tightly controlled […] leaves wide open the question of why your God’s tightly controlled design has produced “evil”. That is the subject of this thread. I have offered a simple explanation: freedom for ALL organisms as they design their own ways of survival, whether “good” or “bad” in our eyes.

DAVID: And I reject your 'freedom' approach as defining a God who wishes to give up control.

Since according to you your God wished to give up control over humans to see how they would respond to his challenges, how do you know he did not do the same with all the organisms that preceded humans?

DAVID: I've told you it is my belief He cannot design an error-free system due to the speed of reactions required.

dhw:[…]. […] but I’m suggesting that he wished to create the system we have, as opposed to having no choice.

DAVID: Rejected by noting all of God's editing systems to control mistakes.

Some of which failed. So he tried to correct the errors he couldn’t prevent because he didn’t want us to be harmed, and yet he deliberately designed harmful viruses and bacteria and you don’t know why. There’s something here that doesn’t quite add up, isn’t there? But hey, maybe he WANTED the disease-causing errors, and what you thought were his back-ups were actually the responses of the free good cells to the machinations of the free bad cells. Now that does add up, doesn’t it?

DAVID: I believe God is in total control but don't know His reasons for allowing the bad bugs. […]

dhw: […] If God is in total control, you can hardly escape the explanation that he WANTED the bad bugs.

DAVID: Just what I just said above.

Good. And you think he designed the bad bugs in order to set us a challenge, but..what next?..You don’t know why he wanted to challenge us? May I suggest that he did so because he’s interested in how we respond to challenges? And may I suggest that he might also be interested in how other organisms respond to challenges and it wouldn’t be very interesting if he already knew how we and every other organism would respond to challenges, and the only way he would NOT know how we/they would respond would be if he gave us/them the freedom to work out our/their own responses?

dhw: You have offered the very human explanation that he wanted to challenge us – which can only mean he likes watching how we respond to particular circumstances. You see how nicely that fits in with your other theory – he didn’t want a dull Garden of Eden. And there you have the simplest possible explanation of evolution and theodicy, all in one go. He likes watching how ALL organisms find their own different ways (freedom to act) of meeting the challenges he has set them in the struggle for survival (Darwin), which they conduct through the cooperation of their intelligent cells as well as cooperation with one another (Shapiro and Margulis). The result for all organisms: good and bad ways to get what they want (survival). For humans: good and bad ways to get what they want (survival, power, money, gratification of desires etc.).

DAVID: Except your your persistent 'intelligent' brainless cells a fine acceptable summary.

I’m delighted that you accept this summary of how evolution works and of the origin of evil. All that remains is for you to tell us 1) how he could retain his interest if he actually organized the responses of non-human organisms, and 2) how he could avoid knowing the responses in advance without giving these organisms the freedom to work out their responses on their own.

Under “Bacteria fungus symbiosis”:

QUOTE: “It appears that bacteria using the fungal highway to reach new foraging grounds pay for the ride by delivering thiamine to the hyphal tips."

DAVID: Happily working it out by mutual adaptation using modifying mechanisms that I believe are God designed.

I’m again delighted to see you acknowledging that they “work it out” using a mechanism designed by your God. The mechanism would have to be what I call “cellular intelligence” – how else can any organism happily work anything out, if not by using its intelligence?

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