Theodicy: bad bacteria seen differently (Introduction)

by dhw, Friday, July 16, 2021, 13:08 (9 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: My point is the 'bad' bacteria is our human interpretation and God may have designed them as 'good'.

dhw: So who would the murderous ones have been “good” for? […]

DAVID: The article points out so-called 'bad' may act to block 'bad'.

dhw: All of which raises the question of why your God deliberately designed ‘bad’ in the first place.

DAVID: Question raised in wrong. It is our human interpretation the bugs are bad. WE have decided in recent days we are the innocent bystanders in the other organisms battles.

We are not innocent bystanders in the battle between so-called good and bad, as we are probably the greatest creators of “bad” in the history of life. You keep missing the point. We agree that “good” and “bad” are human concepts, and relate only to what is good or bad for us. (What is good for the murderous bacterium is bad for us.) But theodicy asks why did a “good” God design what we regard as the “bad” bacterium (plus all the other “bads”) in the first place, knowing what suffering it would cause? My proposed answer: he did not design it. Just as according to you he designed humans so that they were free to create their own good and bad, he designed the mechanism whereby every life form pursues its own means of survival by changing its own structure and modes of behaviour to do what is “good” for it. If you insist that he did design the murderous bacterium, you are left with the same question as before: why would a “good” God knowingly design something he knew would cause suffering?

DAVID (from the section on vaginal bacteria): The bold is your human assertion/interpretation of God's possible intent. As innocent bystanders the interpretation doesn't fit. I view it as God knowing the problems that might appear and gave us the brains to fight back.

Every single assertion/interpretation/suggestion we have ever offered about God’s intent is human! We are not innocent bystanders (see above), and now you are claiming that he deliberately designed the murderous bacteria but kindly gave us the means to defend ourselves against some of them. That does not explain why he designed them in the first place, which is the nub of the theodicy problem! My proposal is that he did not design them. Theodicy problem solved.

dhw: […] 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.

dhw: 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.

DAVID: You have just fought my idea of God as designing everything. That is what a designer of reality does!!!

How many designers of reality (life) have you met? A God who designed intelligent cells which could then change their own structure and behaviour without his intervention (i.e. in a free-for-all) is still God the designer. […]

DAVID: How does evolution reach a specific goal with your free-for-all??? You must then accept humans appearance as entirely accidental. Adler and I think that view os entirely illogical.

It doesn’t, although your God can always dabble, as in the theory that he learns and/or gets new ideas as he goes along. But you (I can’t answer for Adler) assume that he started out with the one goal of producing humans plus lunch, and so you have no idea why he would have designed all the unconnected non-humans plus lunches beforehand. (You’ve always said that Adler does not touch on this subject.) That is “entirely illogical”. As for “accidental”, there is nothing “accidental” about speciation à la Shapiro, since intelligent beings are at work, constantly coming up with new ideas of increasing complexity. But that still does not make humans inevitable. It is pointless to take existing reality and then claim it must all have been planned from the start. We have absolutely no idea what would have happened if conditions had developed differently. But as things have turned out, yes, we can say that if God exists, the intelligence of humans could be a logical outcome of the process he set in motion, whereby intelligent beings gradually morph into more intelligent beings. The mystery in your theory is why, if your God only wanted sapiens, he had to go on specially designing all the life forms etc. that had no connection with sapiens. And you still cannot solve the problem of theodicy.

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