Theodicy: solution lies in definition of God (Introduction)

by dhw, Friday, August 20, 2021, 11:51 (65 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Yes life is a free-for-all, but not evolution.

dhw: How do you know? If your God gives organisms the means of adapting autonomously to different surroundings, why should he not provide them with the means of autonomously inventing new ways of adapting to different surroundings?

DAVID: The bold is your wishful guess.

So now you even have your God providing bacteria with detailed instructions on how to adapt to every single environment, and how to solve every new problem, from Day One till the end of life on Earth. All these instructions packed into a single cell are just as mind-boggling as God popping in every time bacteria have a new problem to solve. Why don’t you stick to the simple alternative which you embraced so enthusiastically on August 4th in the context of cells creating new antibodies:

dhw: ...he gave our cells the ABILITY to recognize each new threat and to respond to it by creating new antibodies de novo without him having to intervene.

DAVID: You’ve got it!!! The latter portion of your comment is exactly what God did!

So you agree that your God gave cells an autonomous ability to solve problems. Simple.

FESER
DAVID: Feser asked for limitations in implying various possibilities in descriptions of God.

dhw: […] You have agreed that all my alternatives explain the history of life. How do you and Feser know that none of them are correct, and we must all accept your unprovable theory that your God’s nature corresponds exclusively to such human concepts as good, immutable, all-knowing etc.?

DAVID: You have every right to your views of a very humanized God which explain the history of evolution/life very differently than I do. We have outlined our differences.

You and Feser impose an arbitrary list of “limitations” on descriptions of a possible God. If you say he is all-powerful and all-knowing, the rest of us are not allowed to suggest that he might deliberately create something that functions without his control, or that he might experiment and/or learn new things as he goes along. (See below on “humanizing”.) As for your explanation of the history of evolution/life, it has led you to the illogical conclusion that your God individually designed every life form extant and extinct for the one and only purpose of designing sapiens and our food, although the vast majority of those life forms had no connection with sapiens and our food.

DAVID: […] you want Him spectating.

dhw: You have said yourself that you are sure he watches us with interest.

DAVID: Allegorically, not in a human sense.

dhw: What on earth does that mean? What does watching with interest symbolize?

DAVID: He does not watch in a human way.

I don’t suppose he has a pair of eyes peering through a pair of spectacles, but do you or do you not think he has his own means of observing his own creations?

DAVID: Theists view God in certain ways which limits the expanse of what might be implied as to His thinking and possible intentions.

dhw: And you think I have tunnel vision! In any case, you are wrong. There are deists who think their God set creation in motion and then left it to run its own course, there are process theologians who believe God is constantly in the process of becoming (i.e. not immutable), experiences and loves the process of changing nature, and is “the great companion – the fellow sufferer who understands” (Oxford Dic. of World Religions), and there are theists who believe in multiple gods that manifest multiple human characteristics. How dare any theist insist that God must only be viewed his way and no other?

DAVID: You are right about all the different deism/theisms of which I am totally aware. I follow Thomism thought in thinking about God. Thus I read Feser.

All my alternative explanations of life’s history deliberately allow for God – they are compatible with theism. So please stop pretending that your way of thinking is the only way any theist can possibly think about God. Why don’t you focus instead on the reasonableness of the theories?

DAVID: Your approach is uninhibited and wide open to all imaginations possible.

dhw: My approach in all cases has been to find a rational explanation for the history of life as we know it. You have agreed that every single one of my theistic proposals is logical, unlike your own, which leaves you with premises you simply cannot explain.

DAVID: You rigidly oppose my point of view. You keep forgetting I accept your theories only if I accept a very humanizing form of a God, which I don't. Please remember the point even if yhou don't like it.

I don’t like the silly argument that a God who created us could not possibly have endowed us with some of his own attributes. Nor do you, because you agree that he possibly/probably has thought patterns and emotions similar to ours, and you are “sure that we mimic Him in many different ways”. But you think you can discredit a logical proposal merely by using the word “humanize” if the “mimicry” does not correspond to the “humanizing” you believe in.


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