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

by dhw, Thursday, October 28, 2021, 11:54 (37 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: [re cancer] The 20% is total cases. My own personal two were totally easily eradicated.

dhw: Lucky you. Do you then deny that cancer causes a great deal of suffering, as do the diseases resulting from what you believe is your God’s direct design of “bad” bacteria and viruses? And do you deny that the whole problem of theodicy arises from the fact that “bad” exists, and believers try to find an explanation for the existence of “bad” if the creator of life himself is all good?

DAVID: I don't view God as good or loving. That is pure religious PR. My God simply designs the best He can.

dhw: Please stop trying to kid us that you don’t view God as “good”.

DAVID: Don't distort this: I view God as a designer/creator who wishes to produce the best results He can. What does 'good' mean to you?

A brilliant way of dodging the implications of the quotes I gave you yesterday from your own statements about God’s goodness, his good intentions, his works being for the good, and his efforts to make up for the errors he wished he hadn’t been somehow forced to design. Nevertheless, I’ll try to oblige. I think an all-good God would not produce anything harmful or “bad” but would deliberately produce only whatever is beneficial to his creations. This would, for example, entail things to make us happy, as opposed to things that make us scream in agony. NB That does not mean I object to the existing world of contrasts. I can mount a strong defence of it. But that would not solve the problem of theodicy for believers who insist that their all-good God cannot have been the creator of "bad". Now please explain what you understand by “good” and “bad”, so that we can continue to tackle that problem.

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.

dhw: 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: Widely known fact. So?

dhw: I mention it because of your absurd argument that her championship of cellular intelligence is somehow out of date just because she proposed it many years ago.

DAVID: Only Shapiro, her follower championed it, none since.

dhw: Please stop kidding yourself. You have just reproduced an article supporting the concept. If you google the subject, you will find loads and loads of articles supporting the theory. For example:

DAVID uses these:
Cellular Intelligence – Jon Lieff, MD

QUOTE: "Everywhere we look, there are ubiquitous conversations among all cells in all organisms. Life might come down to the ability to converse, which is another way of saying life is based on the ability to transfer meaningful biological information."

DAVID: I agree with the quote. Nowhere does He say cells are in and of themselves intelligent.

Then why is his blog called “cellular intelligence”? How can organisms converse and exchange information if they don’t have the intelligence to communicate with and understand each other?
QUOTE: "...reveal a level of cellular intelligence that is unrecognised by science and is not amenable to computer analysis."
DAVID: Just my point. We scientists do not recognize it.

Oh good heavens, now you’re claiming that all the scientists who support the theory are not scientists! The theory has not been accepted as an objective scientific fact. The author is a research biologist who claims that cells are intelligent, whereas you claim that only Shapiro now proposes the theory. Please stop clutching at these feeble straws. The theory is still current, but it remains a theory. Meanwhile, perhaps I should point out that your theory about a God preprogramming or dabbling every cellular response to every problem for the whole of life’s history is also unrecognized by science.

Theodicy: the good view of viruses
dhw: 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.

DAVID: I view it as God using them as tools in common design.

dhw: I hope we’re not going to have “common design” thrust down our throats as the new answer to everything. Now please let us have your explanation for the destructive viruses.

DAVID: Why are you afraid of common design?? I view viruses like I do bacteria, very largely good, but doing bad if in the wrong place.

dhw: There is nothing to fear from “common design”, which simply denotes common descent as designed by your God. I have objected because it is irrelevant to my request for an explanation of the bad, which is the whole point of the theodicy debate.

DAVID: I've explained the bad. You don't accept the answers.

Your explanation, as I understand it, is that your God designed the bad viruses, knew they would do nasty things, but had good intentions, and one day we'll find out what they were. (See also under "Miscellany".)

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