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

by dhw, Saturday, November 06, 2021, 07:52 (22 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: […] God is omnipotent, omniscient, and knowing the results in advance set up the current systems of edits to prevent as many errors as He could.

dhw: He has total power over everything, and he knows everything, but He couldn’t design an error-free system, and he didn’t know how to correct some of the errors it produced, although amazingly he designed the brains that enable us to correct some of the errors he couldn’t correct. And he did not design this system because he WANTED it as it is, but because despite his omnipotence and omniscience, and his wishing he could do it differently, the conditions he created gave him no choice. Poor, helpless, all-powerful, all-knowing God.

DAVID: Not helpless: He invented life after He invented our universe. Lets imagine a human example of a perfectly designed process.

The example you gave was a system invented by fallible humans, depending on fallible humans. Your conclusion is the same as ever: An all-powerful, all-knowing God “recognized errors could occur, in the only design that would produce life.” Still limited in his power, forced by the conditions he created to design a system containing errors he wished didn’t happen, tried to correct and sometimes failed, but luckily he gave us the brains to do what he couldn’t do.

The good viruses do
DAVID: I never ignored the bad. I'm trying to establish the degree of bad with you. How huge is it or how small as a percentage of all of us? US male life expectancy is about 78 years. Is that good or bad? 10,000 years ago it was thought to have been in the forties. Much longer now despite all God's terrible errors? Why? How?

dhw: So instead of discussing the problem of theodicy (i.e. why an all-good God would produce bad things) you want to discuss the amount of good versus bad. Not only that, but we should focus on all the wonderful things humans have done in order to increase our resistance to the errors your omnipotent, omniscient God could not prevent. Well done us, for increasing our life expectancy!

DAVID: I asked for a bad percentage in your eyes. No answer. Is it too small for debate?

It is irrelevant, and in any case you are picking on just one example of the bad. I pointed out to you that according to some statisticians, 42% of Americans will suffer from cancer. You said it was 20%. If you want figures, I’d say that even 20% was large enough for debate. But the bad in the world is not confined to errors in the system or even to bad bacteria and viruses. Apart from natural disasters which cause untold destruction, suffering and death, we have the innate selfishness which lies at the very heart of much of the world’s evil, and theoretically you can trace this back to the very beginnings of evolution: survival is the key, and although there is goody-goody cooperation, there is also baddy-baddy egotism symbolized, for example, by the necessity for some animals to kill and eat others in order to survive. Why would a kindly, all-good God devise a system which engenders such horrors? THAT is the problem of theodicy which you want us to ignore.

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