Theodicy (Introduction)

by dhw, Friday, December 04, 2020, 12:42 (52 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Once more: nobody knows the origin of species. But since we know there is an autonomous mechanism for minor adaptations, it is feasible that the same mechanism might cause major adaptations and innovations (Shapiro calls them "novelties") when new conditions require or allow them.

DAVID: Well, we haven't found a natural mechanism yet. It's just another theory.

At least we know that there is an autonomous mechanism for change, but of course it’s “another theory”. So is God. All we can do is propose theories and test them for their feasibility.

DAVID: Yes, we have attributes of thought similar to God's. I accept the use of logic and logical analysis when designing a new species. The rest is speculation. Adler offers a 50/50 possible/probability for God's interest in us, which means He doesn't know how to gauge it.

dhw: Of course it's speculation. You are "sure" and "certain" that God is interested, and Adler is 50/50. So what? Even 50/50 makes the theory feasible.

DAVID: We cannot know the degree of interest. To that you must agree.

I don’t know how you measure degrees of interest. You are simply fudging the issue. You are “sure” and “certain” that he watches with interest, and I suggest that maybe he created his creations in order to have something interesting to watch. This theory, allied to the theory that it is more interesting to watch the unpredictable than the predictable (a “dull Garden of Eden", as you put it), solves the problem of theodicy as well as explaining the WHOLE ever-changing bush of life. Can you fault the logic?

DAVID: You don't realize how human you make Him.

dhw: I offer theories that entail a God who experiments or learns as he goes along, is interested in what he creates, invents a mechanism that can do its own designing. These various theories explain the evolutionary bush and/or theodicy. You agree that even your God probably has thought patterns and emotions like ours etc., and it is not beyond the bounds of reason that a God who created the universe and life out of himself should actually have some of the thought patterns, emotions etc. of his creations. But I do not propose an old man with a white beard, rocking and rolling round heaven, having a good giggle at Johnson and Trump, and swigging out of a whisky bottle as he does so. I would call that “very human”. Please drop this silly objection once and for all.

DAVID: I can't stop my objection. My image of God is diametrically opposed to your preferred image. I don't think He ever has had to experiment, in creating the marvelously fine-tuned universe or inventing life. Your proposed 'experimentation' is after all that invention. Not likely.

I don’t have a “preferred image”. I offer different explanations of his possible purposes and methods in the context of evolution, all of which you agree are logical, and the fact that they involve thought patterns similar to ours is no reason for rejecting them, so please drop this silly objection.


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