Theodicy: the 'good' view of viruses (Introduction)

by dhw, Monday, October 25, 2021, 08:53 (33 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Watching or designing something for interest is not something my God would do or need to do, as your human God seems to need.

dhw: How very strange. Quotes:
I’m sure he likes what he creates, and that He is satisfied in His results as an inventor.”
“I’m sure He sees what is going on with His own level of interest.”
“His concern for us like our concern for others.”
“God did not create a Garden of Eden for us, as dull

DAVID: Again using my guesses about God's possible reactions as facts. All guesses.

NOBODY knows the facts – even concerning God’s existence. But if these guesses are what you believe (you are sure, or you state them as facts), you can have no complaints if I extrapolate conclusions that arise logically from your own guesses.

DAVID: […] Only you have the ability to find quotes and then place them out of context. They may be true. (Later:) I am sure we mimic Him in many unknown ways, unknown only because God is mystery to us. (dhw's bolds)

dhw […] What possible context could the above remarks have other than the nature of God? […] But even now, you are agreeing that my guesses may be true. Thank you. Now perhaps you will stop pretending you actually know what God would do or “need to do” or want to do.

dhw: You have again totally missed the point of the problem of theodicy, which is not solved by ignoring the bad. […]

DAVID: God's genetic errors would be hard to find in my compliment of patients.

dhw: What a pity you never knew about the other patients. See above.

DAVID: I know of other patients not in my practice, showing the rarity.

dhw: The “above” in my post referred to the fact that 41% of Americans and 50% of British people will get some form of cancer, and then we also have the diseases caused by the murderous bacteria and viruses that your God specially designed with good intentions. All apparently a minor consideration in view of your God’s high success rate in the field of design.

DAVID: The American rate of cancer is 20%. Most viruses and bacteria are useful. Your tunnel vision sees only bad.

Stats vary, but even 20% denotes a vast amount of suffering. And as you keep forgetting, it is the “bad” that creates the problem of theodicy.

God’s editing systems
DAVID: Remember, the Garden of Eden form of life is boring. And He gave us the brains to solve many of the problems.

I’m glad to hear that your God knew about boredom and was against it. One of the many thought patterns he certainly/probably/possibly has in common with us. And how amazing that we can solve problems that your all-powerful God couldn't solve!

QUOTE: “Transposons have the capacity to generate a lot of gene regulatory diversity and could help us to understand species-specific differences in the world.

Do you know who first proposed the existence of transposons? One Barbara McClintock, a Nobel-prize-winning scientist who was a firm believer in cellular intelligence.

DAVID: so transposons are not DNA junk. But more than that viral elements are involved in driving evolution, a point mentioned before in entries here. Why any viruses since some are dangerous? Why any bacteria because some are dangerous? Viruses are seen here as useful and we know bacteria perform all sorts of vital functions.

If DNA is not junk, it simply supports the theory that natural selection preserves what is useful. Nobody is going to deny that there are good and useful viruses and bacteria! And you no doubt give your God the credit for designing the good ones. The problem of theodicy is why – according to you – he also designed bad viruses and bacteria! Your answer so far has been that we don’t know, but one day we shall find out what were his good intentions, so let’s ignore all the nasty diseases that are caused by the “baddies”.

Theodicy: the good view of viruses
QUOTES: "Many biologists like me believe there is, at least for one specific type of virus – namely, bacteriophages, or viruses that infect bacteria. When the DNA of these viruses is captured by a cell, it may contain instructions that enable that cell to perform new tricks.

"Recent research points to another important function of phages: They may be nature’s ultimate genetic tinkerers, crafting novel genes that cells can retool to gain new functions.

"[…] there is mounting evidence that the viruses that infect plants and animals are also a major source of genetic innovation in these organisms. So while you may be used to thinking of viruses as the quintessential villains, they are arguably nature’s powerhouses for genetic innovation. Humans are likely here today because of them."

DAVID: my view of God inventing life and then evolving it sees the above evidence about viruses is that God made them to be His tools of evolution. It may be they step in and dabble for Him.

So viruses can be creative as well as destructive. If your God created them, and they “dabbled” both creatively and destructively, it would seem that he gave them the freedom to do their own thing. Thank you for supporting my theoretical explanation of theodicy.

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