Theodicy: bad bacteria seen differently (Introduction)

by dhw, Monday, July 19, 2021, 08:36 (395 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: As usual you take God out of full control. My view includes all organisms that get in the way. The unavoidable need for constant energy creates the problem.

dhw: The unavoidable need for constant energy (= food) is what leads to the battle for survival. In this, every life form has its own means of acquiring energy. And so you are left with a stark choice: either your God invented each life form and its strategies for survival, or he gave them the means of devising their own strategies (which would include changing their own structures) for the same purpose. If he deliberately invented a bacterium which, for instance, would survive by destroying another life form (of course carnivorousness is a prime and direct example of survival by destruction of other life forms), then so be it. But this lies at the heart of the problem of theodicy: we humans don’t like it when we get eaten, and we think it’s “bad”, and so we ask why a good God would invent such nasty things. All I am suggesting is that if he exists, God did not invent them. He only created the means whereby life forms could design their own means of survival. Theodicy problem solved.

DAVID: Your solution removes God from managing evolution, contrary to my view. How would we get from bacteria to humans by self-evolving forms doing their own thing? That makes us lucky chance beings. I know how you will howl about this, but I know we are obviously special.

Why have you changed the subject from theodicy to humans as God’s one and only purpose? This is fully dealt with under “A possible God’s possible purpose and nature”.

DAVID: It seems God did not plan some of them:
DAVID: God may have designed everyone in the past, but what is happening now is not under His direct control. [..]

dhw: Once again, my thanks for reproducing material that contradicts your own theory. I agree that he cannot be held responsible for events that are out of his control; that is the whole basis of my “solution” to the problem of theodicy. By creating a free-for-all, he did not design anything “good” or “bad”.

DAVID: Right, your God is not in control, so He can't be blamed. Wow, what a solution!!! God who created the universe fine-tuned-for-life, guided the formation of our galaxy and our special Earth that allows life, started life, and did it all by free-for-all. Your analysis about God limps.

dhw: I have never said that fine-tuning etc. was done by free-for-all! If God exists, I accept that he would have designed the conditions for life and the first forms of life. The free-for-all concerns EVOLUTION! And yes, WOW, it provides a solution to the problem of theodicy. If organisms were given the means to design their own ways to survive, God is not responsible for the means that they designed. […] Now instead of misrepresenting my proposal, please tell us what faults you can find in its logic.

Your reply is to repeat your earlier response – that God had to control evolution in order to produce us. That only reproduces your own illogical theory of evolution. Please indicate any logical flaws in my own proposal.

DAVID: And finally survival doesn't drive evolution, God does. […]

Also dealt with under “A possible God…” Even if your God invented all the ways in which animals can eat or be eaten, the purpose of eating is to survive.

DAVID: You love to bring up the 99% gone. They have to be gone to make room, but also because they were no longer needed as stages of invention.

Stages of invention of what? The question is not why they have gone, but why your God designed them in the first place if his only purpose was us. See “A possible God...”

DAVID: You keep forgetting the major point about bacteria. Why aren't they past history? Because they are a necessary part of the whole design reaching us and still acting in helpful ways.

Of course bacteria are necessary to ALL life. I am talking about the life forms that were not necessary for human life! And what has this to do with theodicy?

DAVID: Your 99% is pure strawman, an empty point.

Then why can’t you explain the logic behind your God’s deliberately designing them when his only purpose was to design us plus lunch? See “A possible God…

DAVID: It seems you cannot think from a purpose standpoint as you try to be a theist. I start with a very purposeful God, you don't, a good summary of our difference.

All my theories start out from a purpose, and one of them (experimentation) even adopts your version of that purpose. The free-for-all starts out from your own certainty that your God enjoys creating and watches his creations with interest, which suggests that maybe his purpose in creating life was to provide himself with the enjoyment of creation, with the added interest of the unpredictable (free-for-all instead of puppet show). That is when you dodge from the fallacy of purposelessness to the self-contradiction of moaning about humanization even though you are certain that we mimic God in many ways.

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