Miscellany (General)

by dhw, Thursday, June 24, 2021, 11:09 (31 days ago) @ David Turell

A.N. Whitehead
DAVID: An evolving God is not 'inactive'. You are confused because of your view of whom God might be.

You wrote: “I don’t accept Whitehead either, but Whitehead doesn’t describe an active God as you do.” I assumed you meant that he was inactive. It doesn’t make much difference to the argument anyway. An evolving, “becoming” God is the exact opposite of your all-powerful, all-knowing, all-controlling, all-creating God, so why is Whitehead’s God equal to yours, whereas an experimenting or learning God is weak and namby-pamby?

Insect smell receptors
DAVID: The insects are given an amazing mechanism that can learn to know odors. No intelligence involved.

dhw: A mechanism that can endow patterns with meaning through learning and experience is what some of us would call a brain, which produces natural intelligence. If we humans were to create a machine that could endow patterns with meaning through learning and experience, we would call it artificial intelligence.

DAVID: How much conceptual thought does AI do? Odor recognition is analysis, nothing more.

Analysis and “endowing patterns with meaning through learning and experience” are hallmarks of natural intelligence.

Plant cell regulators
DAVID: We have previously discussed God's error correction mechanisms. What is obvious is that they must be present when the plant is initially evolved. Chance evolution by chance mutation won't do that.

dhw: […] Of course the development of a cure is not done by chance. Cells are confronted by a problem, and so they develop a solution. If they don’t, the species will become extinct. You seem to think that every problem that arises should automatically and immediately kill off every individual. This strange thinking is perhaps best illustrated through bacteria. We develop a means of killing them. Billions of them die. But some survive and in due course develop their own means of combating our deadly weapons. Problem first...followed by solution.

DAVID: And babies are born without immunities, but with an immune system that can learn automatically to fight any invaders. […] God has arranged that open pores in the baby's intestine allow the giant IGG to enter the blood stream for that period and then they close because of their inappropriate size. Solution first. Irreducible complexity requiring a designer.

dhw: You have forgotten that there is a process called evolution. The immune system is the product of millions and millions of years' development as cells have learned to cope with new problems. It all goes back to the bacteria from which we have evolved and which themselves had to learn to cope with problems as and when they arose. Are you now saying that your God created human baby immune systems “de novo”, or do you believe that they developed in and were passed on by our ancestors during the process called evolution?

DAVID: The rudiments of our immune system came through God's evolutionary process.

They certainly came through the evolutionary process, so what is all this about God arranging the human baby’s solutions in advance of the problems? The human baby’s immune system is the result of a long evolutionary process in which problems arose, and solutions were found and passed on.

Cosmic filaments spin
DAVID: At least the cosmologists are like dhw, who wants to know why God so many strange things in making the universe. They will find a cause and probably a reason. God knows what He is doing even if dhw doesn't think so. For life the Earth's rotation seems necessary.

dhw: I have no doubt that if God exists, he knew what he was doing. […] The cosmologists don’t seem to mention God. We all know that effects must have a cause, and that will be true even if there is no God. And so if the cosmologists do find the cause, I doubt very much that all of them will then cry “Hallelujah!” and rush off to church.

DAVID: You know science uses science and not God. The complexity of God's works requires Him as designer.

The question is WHY your God would do all these strange things if his one and only purpose was to design humans and their lunch. Even if scientists discover the cause of the spinning effect, it will not answer dhw, who “wants to know why God [did] so many strange things” that apparently have no connection with humans and their lunch.

Jupiter and Saturn have fevers
DAVID: The Earth is very, very special, but hope springs eternal that we inhabit something that is not so special. Why?

I would put it down to our natural curiosity rather than hope. And my own curiosity makes me wonder why, if God exists and his only purpose was to design humans and their lunch, he also designed billions and billions of other galaxies extant and extinct, which apparently have no life but simply exist until they stop existing.


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