Theodicy: bad bacteria seen differently (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Monday, July 12, 2021, 16:27 (13 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: You have arrived at my point of view. We make judgments about good and bad, right and wrong and those judgments require advancing research to known whether the judgments have any validity. Theodicy, based on our judgments is our problem, not God's.

dhw: That is not my point of view at all. Yes, we make judgements, but our judgements are irrelevant because – as the article makes abundantly clear – life is not all about us! That is the polar opposite of your insistence that WE are your God’s one and only purpose for creating life! And my point is not that we wait to find out whether our judgements of good and bad are valid, but that there IS no good or bad. If God exists, he devised a system whereby all life forms pursued their own methods of survival. To put it very simply: what’s good for a bacterium may be bad for a human.

Your last point about God is right on. We are innocent bystanders in the system, and misinterpret good and bad. Theodicy is mainly human mistaken explanations.

DAVID: So it turns out viruses can also be good, not bad. My view is God has a reason for everything, and as yesterday's essay shows, we are innocent bystanders in the war of eat or be eaten.

dhw: Some viruses can be good for viruses and good for humans, and others can be good for viruses and bad for humans. In the war of eat or be eaten we are not innocent bystanders, since we are the most predatory of all life forms, but we are part of the great free-for-all, in which ALL life forms participate in the war of eat or be eaten. That – as you at last seem to have realized – is what we call the struggle for survival, and it continued/continues, regardless of whether humans were/are involved or not. Your God, if he exists, would have invented the means whereby all life forms evolved as they invented new ways of surviving or improving their chances of survival. This process is what has produced the vast and ever changing bush of life. And this explains life’s history and also solves the mystery of theodicy: there is no good and bad, as I've tried to explain above. God started the process off, and only when we came along did the concepts of good and bad come into being, as we relate all events to ourselves. That is the point made by the article in the limited context of bacteria: “a growing number of studies show that our anthropocentric view is sometimes unjustified”. I am suggesting that in the wider context of “good” and “bad”, our anthropocentric view is always unjustified. In the context of theodicy, this means that what your God created was the struggle for survival – not a mixture of good and bad.

In some way we seem to be in agreement here. The difference is I have God in purposeful charge.


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