Theodicy: bad bacteria seen differently (Introduction)

by dhw, Thursday, July 15, 2021, 11:05 (398 days ago) @ David Turell

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...

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

dhw: But you refuse to tell us his purpose for producing humans! Perhaps the reason why you refuse is that you know perfectly well that it will result in your adding yet more “humanizing” features to those you already attribute to your God.

DAVID: I don't worry about humanizing God. I don't try to. As for why God wanted us to appear, in the past I've given you all sorts of possibilities, all guesswork. Why repeat it all?

You dismiss my alternative theistic explanations of life’s history and of theodicy as “humanizing”, offer some theories of your own which are just as “humanizing” as mine, and when this is pointed out to you, you dodge back to your purposeless purpose (to design humans) – which required designing lots of life forms that had no connection with humans – and your hopes that all the “bad” things your God designed will turn out to have been “good” because you know he has “good” intentions.

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).

DAVID: 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: But this would only be the case if he did NOT design the murderous viruses and bacteria, as explained above and in my next comment:

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.

DAVID: 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.

dhw: Thank you for at last appearing to accept the theory that your God left all life forms the freedom to find their own ways of survival, i.e. he did not design them, but left them to “adjust their bodies and modes of existence”.If he did not design them, he cannot be held responsible for what we humans consider to be bad. Alas, though, I suspect that this will not be the happy ending to our discussion!

DAVID: No, I'm happy with all except you keep fighting the idea of God as the designer.

I have not fought the idea of God the designer. I have fought your insistence that he deliberately designed every life form, including the murderous bacteria. With my theist’s hat on, I have proposed that God designed the intelligence which enables all life forms to adapt or innovate in their quest for survival without his interference. By giving them their freedom, he cannot be said to have deliberately designed “good” and “bad”, which are human inventions based on anthropocentric criteria.


DAVID: There are bad vaginal bacteria that fight the good ones:
DAVID: Once again, we have good bacteria, which help us, fighting with bad ones and we get caught in the middle. Not God's fault.

Not his fault if he didn’t specifically design them to be “good” or “bad”, but only designed the means that enable them to design/redesign themselves in their quest for survival. Then what is “good” for them may be “bad” for us. If he did design them individually, you are back to square one: why did he deliberately design those which he knew would cause so much suffering to us and our fellow creatures?

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