Theodicy: bad bacteria seen differently (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Tuesday, July 13, 2021, 16:20 (100 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: 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.

dhw: We are not innocent bystanders (see below), but we are not the be-all and end-all of life! The concept of good/bad is our invention, and our criteria are what is good/bad for us.

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.

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

dhw: I’m afraid it’s a major difference, because when you say “in purposeful charge”, you refuse to tell us what the purpose is,

His purpose, as I view it, is quite clear: to produce thinking humans as Adler and I explain.

dhw: and you mean that he is in total control of everything that happens (e.g. he deliberately designs the viruses and bacteria which he knows will cause harm to us and our fellow creatures).

I thought we have come to agree the viruses and bacteria attack us as bystanders and were not meant by God to deliberately attack us.

dhw: My point is that it’s only if life forms have the freedom to pursue their own methods of survival (i.e. to adjust their bodies and modes of existence) in ways that can meet or exploit new conditions that we can say God did not deliberately create what we humans consider to be good/bad. There IS no good/bad other than that which WE have created with our anthropocentric view of the world, and even from our point of view, God did not deliberately create anything “bad”, because it had the freedom to find its own way of surviving.

So as you continue you comeback to agreeing. I started the theodicy thread looking only at bad, as we seem to interpret it, and we have reached a solution. Proves our battles can be fruitful.


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