Theodicy (Introduction)

by dhw, Friday, October 23, 2020, 07:53 (663 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: You are the one who thought God created so he could have a spectacle. I certainly think He is interested in His creations, but not as entertainment.

dhw: It is you who used the word entertainment, not me. […] Why do you think he would watch life with interest but would not have created life so that he could watch it with interest?

DAVID: You used 'spectacle', which implies entertainment.

I will take the definition “a strange or interesting object or phenomenon” (Encarta). Now please answer my question.

DAVID: […] God gave us exactly the system/reality He wanted and the only system of living organisms He could produce required by the necessary biochemical speed of reactions, which includes His design of giant molecule enzymes to make sure the speed exists.

dhw: […] We agree that he gave us the system/reality he wanted! I am not disputing “the necessary biological speed”. I am suggesting that he wanted all the errors and the bugs and meat-eating monsters and parasites whose “selfish” behaviour is mirrored in most forms of evil. And this in turn makes life more interesting than a dull Garden of Eden.

DAVID: On that point I will agree.

dhw: Good news, then! We agree that your God is interested in the world he created, but you have no idea why even before we were around, he would have designed bad bugs and parasites and meat-eating monsters, whose “selfishness” is the root of most evil. I suggest that their existence made/makes life more interesting for him than a dull Garden of Eden would be. But I go one step further: I propose that he didn’t design them all directly, but just like your free-to-make-errors molecules, he gave all cells the freedom to find their own means of survival. This theory relieves us of accidental, unavoidable errors (caused by a fault in the system he designed, and suggesting incompetence as he tries and fails to correct some of them) and of deliberately creating evil (exemplified by the bad bugs) […]

DAVID: You still don't understand the biology of life as designed by God as I view it. The bold is not a fault but a requirement for free molecules in the soup of life. Your God gives freedom to life to do what it wants. I see it as under very tight controls from a very purposeful God.

Thank you for the comment I have bolded. That is my own theory. No “fault”, no accidental, unavoidable errors which he is unable to correct (pretty disparaging, I’d say), but “free molecules” which do what they want. Not tight controls, but a mechanism that would use its freedom to create the vast variety of life forms and of goodies and baddies that make up the history of evolution. In other words, precisely the world we know – created that way by a “very purposeful God” (if he exists).
Under “error corrections III and IV”:

QUOTE: "If a mismatched base pair, bound strongly by a transcription factor, makes it through the DNA replication cycle without being repaired by another type of protein—known as a repair enzyme—it can become a mutation, and mutations can lead to genetic diseases like cancer and neurodegeneration. (DAVID’s bold)

DAVID: […] This study shows the complexity of mistake controls designed by God.

dhw: And every case of cancer and neurodegeneration shows that the repair mechanisms don’t always work. God’s incompetence? Surely not. "What God wants, God gets. "God gave us exactly the system/reality He wanted" (D. Turell)

DAVID: Exactly.

We agree: the system which produced all the goodies and the baddies was the system he wanted, as described above. And the icing on the cake is that you are “sure that He sees what is going on with His own level of interest”. Which opens the door to the possibility that he created life so that he could see something that would interest him.

DAVID (under “God’s error corrections IV”): Just presenting another example of God providing a check on DNA errors and making them actually useful! So not all errors are only bad as dhw, in denigrating God, is wont to write. God gave us the best living system He could.

There is no denigration of God in my arguments. It is you who have drawn our attention to errors which are NOT useful – namely those that cause disease – and it is you who denigrate him by telling us that he was unable to control them but provided backups which sometimes didn’t work and so he left it to humans to correct what he couldn’t correct. Even “the best he could” is a denigration, as if he was powerless to do otherwise. I have him creating precisely what he wanted to create, and in so doing I offer a solution to the problem of theodicy.

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