Theodicy (Introduction)

by dhw, Saturday, October 31, 2020, 11:50 (33 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: ...it is absurd to reject a theory on the grounds that it “humanizes” him when you acknowledge that he probably has thought patterns similar to ours.

DAVID: Still struggling: thought patterns of logic, etc., never can tell us His reasons!!!

dhw: I have just answered you!

DAVID: No real answer. His pattern of thought does not tell us "his reasoning!!! Since you are insistent, tell me how thinking patterns reveal purpose. Look at His works to see goals!

Nobody knows his reasons. We can only theorize. That means we are guessing what his thought patterns might be. For instance, you are sure he is interested in watching us. So maybe he designed us to have something interesting to watch – just as we do. That is a thought pattern. And if you think he probably has thought patterns similar to ours, it is absurd to say: No, he can’t have designed us to have something interesting to watch because that would be a thought pattern similar to ours.

DAVID: [...] Why we appeared in is the point, philosophically. Your answer?

dhw: Why did any multicellular organism appear, since bacteria are so successful? I have offered you a philosophical (theistic) explanation for the appearance of ALL organisms, including humans, and it also explains theodicy: [namely, to create something more interesting for himself than a dull Garden of Eden – as you so aptly described it.]

DAVID: From another thread on balance of nature my thought: 'Evolution could not have advanced beyond bacteria without God pushing evolution, after their invention by God!!!

dhw: If your God had wanted a free-for-all instead of a puppet show, he could have endowed the first cells with the intelligence to design their own advances as conditions changed, offering new challenges and opportunities. No divine pushing necessary.

DAVID: Again a weak God giving up controls.

Another of your feeble arguments. Usual response: you believe he gave humans free will – same thing, it means giving up control. Why do you regard deliberately giving up control as weak?

dhw: ALL organisms offer your God something interesting to watch, and humans are particularly interesting. Hence the bolded theory above which you attempt to dismiss with your silly objection that it is “humanizing”.

DAVID: We don't know God is interested. He might be, and I'll stick with Adler's 50/50.

dhw: Last week you wrote: “I’m sure he sees what is going on with His own level of interest, unknown to us.” Interest is interest.

DAVID: So now you know God's level of interest is equal to our levels of interest. You now claim to know more about God than anyone else on Earth.

We don’t “know” anything. We are theorizing and testing the feasibility of our theories. You’re sure he’s interested, but we can’t measure the exact degree of his interest, so let’s dismiss the theory! This is even sillier than the “humanizing” objection. Now please tell us why he could not have created life in order to have something interesting to watch.

DAVID: You don't ever understand how much you humanize god. We don't know if He is interested. We can only think so. He may not care. That is a logical neutral position.

Same again: we don’t “know” anything, which is why we theorize. I’m not even sure that he exists, let alone that he’s interested. But I am tackling the problem of theodicy which you raised, and for that purpose I assume he exists, and I offer a solution to the problem in tune with your own certainty that he “sees what is going on with His own level of interest".

Not caring is not a neutral position, but it certainly offers us another theory to explain evil. In this case, your theory would be that God deliberately designed all the bad viruses and bacteria, the many natural horrors such as meat-eating, and would not have bothered to even try and correct the disease-causing errors caused by the system he designed, because he just didn’t care how much suffering he caused. That also fits in with the history of life, and at best makes your God callous, and at worst sadistic. Thank you for offering this alternative explanation of the origin of evil. (I know it's NOT your theory - I'm simply extrapolating the implications of your hypothetical premise that "He may not care".)

dhw: ...for the sake of argument, as our subject here is theodicy, I am offering a theory which explains the whole of life, and the existence of and reason for good and evil. You have not offered a single logical reason for rejecting it.

DAVID: I don't reject it as it logically fits your humanized form of God. On that basis it is possible but we are not discussing m y God and His personality. Can you finally tell me about your God's personality and serious view of purposes.

Thank you for accepting the feasibility of my theory. As for my view of his personality and purposes, I don’t even know if he exists, but if he does, I have no doubt that he would be extremely powerful, would have had his own purpose(s)/reason(s) for creating life, and would have designed whatever he wanted to design. From that point on, I have a variety of alternative theories concerning his personality and his purposes, all of which you agree are logically based on the few facts we know. Do you really want me to go over them all again?


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