Theodicy: bad bacteria seen differently (Introduction)

by dhw, Sunday, July 11, 2021, 12:56 (14 days ago) @ David Turell

Theodicy: bad bacteria seen differently

DAVID: It says we are accidental targets:
https://aeon.co/essays/when-bacteria-kill-us-it-s-more-accident-than-assassination?utm_...

Many thanks, as always, not only for drawing our attention to this article, but also for taking so much trouble in editing it for us. I spend so much time discussing the issues with you that I sometimes forget to show my appreciation of the material you provide.

QUOTE: "But a growing number of studies show that our anthropocentric view is sometimes unjustified. The adaptations that allow bacteria, fungi and other pathogens to cause us harm can easily evolve outside the context of human disease. They are part of a microbial narrative that affects us, and can even kill us, but that isn’t about us."

DAVID: when everyone has to eat something there is constant warfare. This essay says we are mainly innocent bystanders in the war between bacteria and themselves and other tiny organisms. The article is filled with examples of the battles. Read to be fascinated. My view is a wise God knew this, gave us immune systems an the brains to help ourselves. The 'bad' are not purposeful against us. God wouldn't do that.

You are quite right to broaden the discussion to everyone. And this leaves you with a God who either directly (creationism) or indirectly (evolution) created bacteria and viruses and everyone else with the freedom to design their own methods of finding food. (You call it constant warfare, but you are forgetting the equally important role of constant cooperation – two very different methods.) The common thread is the struggle for survival, and this goes back thousands of millions of years before humans. Exit anthropocentrism. The problem of theodicy is the existence of “bad” in a world supposedly created by a God who is all “good”. The problem disappears if we jettison both concepts. You constantly protest against any humanization of God except your own, so drop the concepts of “good” and “bad” altogether and substitute the following: your God, whose nature and intentions are unknown, created life forms in such a manner that they could reproduce and evolve into other life forms. Developments were triggered by interplay between living conditions and the intelligence of organisms as they tried to find means of surviving or improving their chances of survival. This process resulted in constant warfare and constant collaboration between organisms, independently of your God. We humans are so far its culmination, are affected just like every other life form by the struggle for survival – viruses and bacteria being just one of many factors - and it is WE who distinguish between “good” and “bad”. God simply created the mechanisms for organisms to do their own thing in a constantly changing free-for-all. We are “part of a microbial narrative” and an even wider narrative to which we make a huge contribution, but it is WE and our fellow organisms that have created and still create the narrative itself – not God. So there is no “good” or “bad” involved.


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