Divine purposes and methods (Evolution)

by dhw, Sunday, December 09, 2018, 10:45 (219 days ago)

I have combined several threads here in the hope of avoiding excessive repetition.

dhw: (under “whale teeth”) Why would he want to give up control? Perhaps because – as you have often said – he is hidden but watches us with interest, and it is more interesting to watch the unpredictable than to watch everything do precisely what you have prearranged for it to do. (But he can still dabble if he wants to.) This reading of God’s mind is an alternative to your own […] and – to anticipate the next leap backwards – is no more “humanizing” than your own.

DAVID: He arranged for us to have free will. That gives Him plenty to watch if He wants to watch. I don't know if He wants to watch. Why should I know why He chose evolution as His methodology? I can only take reasons from what I see. You want to know more than we can know.

You asked why he would want to give up control. I have given you a reason. Nobody “knows” anything about God, which extends as far as to his existence, but you have frequently told us that he is hidden, and you think he watches his creations with interest. Humans did not exist for 3.x billion years, so why shouldn’t he also have watched the other millions of organisms with interest? Free will is an EXAMPLE of his willingness to sacrifice control. You can’t find a reason for what you see so long as you stick to your hypothesis that his only purpose was us, but he specially designed every organism and econiche etc. for 3.x billion years to provide food before he - who is always in full control - specially designed the one thing he wanted to design.

DAVID: (under “Neanderthal”): I think my God stays in control. Giving up speciation control as you propose may take evolution's course off the path to humans.

He could always do a dabble. But this does not resolve the above dichotomy which you cannot explain.

DAVID: (under “strange DNA”) I don't believe my God would do it your way.

Fair enough. That does not provide any logical coherence for the above mantra, i.e. for your attempted reading of your God’s mind.

DAVID: Based on what we know, my reasoning make perfect sense to me.

How can it make sense to you if you can’t explain the reasoning behind the hypothesis bolded above?

DAVID: I'm sorry it makes no sense to you, but the unusual result of a human with consciousness suggests purpose. Davies has made the same point in his writings, although he doesn't goes as far as to accept God.

So far as we know, all life and all natural wonders are unusual, including the whale, 50,000 spider webs and the duckbilled platypus. If your God exists, of course he had a purpose, but that does not mean his one and only purpose was to create us so that we would think about him and have a relationship with him. I have offered you four explanations (see below) for the anomalies you can’t understand, and two of them include his purposeful creation of humans. But you continue to ignore them.

DAVID: God is allowed to pick His method. You question it, I don't. That is our difference.

Of course he could pick his method. That is not our difference at all. I question your interpretation of his method and his purpose, since you cannot explain how they fit together.

DAVID: Repeat: I simply accept what God does. You don't. He evolved us, End of story.

If God exists, then we must all “accept” that he designed the mechanism that started life and evolution. In that limited sense, you can say he evolved us and every other life form, econiche etc. But that does not mean (a) that he specially designed every life form, econiche etc., or (b) that his one and only purpose in designing all that was to provide food until he specially designed the one species he wanted to design.

DAVID (under “Neanderthal”): Repeat: I accept God's methods as exhibited.

Repeat: you do not “accept” God’s methods. You accept evolution, but you have attempted to read his mind and you believe that he had one purpose and you can’t explain why he would have used evolution as his method to achieve it. So maybe he didn’t specially design every life form etc., or maybe he didn’t have just the one purpose you impose on him, or maybe he didn’t know how to achieve that purpose, or that purpose didn’t occur to him till later in the process. Then you wouldn’t have to “accept” something you can’t explain.

DAVID: I cannot read/enter His mind, nor can anyone else. I can guess at intentions based on the results I see.

dhw: So if it’s OK for you to guess, and insist that your guesses are right even though you can’t explain how the method fits the intention, why do you criticize me for guessing at his intentions in a manner which does link up logically with the results we see?

That question remains unanswered.

Divine purposes and methods

by David Turell @, Sunday, December 09, 2018, 15:35 (219 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: He arranged for us to have free will. That gives Him plenty to watch if He wants to watch. I don't know if He wants to watch. Why should I know why He chose evolution as His methodology? I can only take reasons from what I see. You want to know more than we can know.
dhw: You asked why he would want to give up control. I have given you a reason. Nobody “knows” anything about God, which extends as far as to his existence, but you have frequently told us that he is hidden, and you think he watches his creations with interest. Humans did not exist for 3.x billion years, so why shouldn’t he also have watched the other millions of organisms with interest? Free will is an EXAMPLE of his willingness to sacrifice control. You can’t find a reason for what you see so long as you stick to your hypothesis that his only purpose was us, but he specially designed every organism and econiche etc. for 3.x billion years to provide food before he - who is always in full control - specially designed the one thing he wanted to design.

dhw: How can it make sense to you if you can’t explain the reasoning behind the hypothesis bolded above?

We can't know God's reasons!!! Of course I can't explain it. Can I explain God?


DAVID: I'm sorry it makes no sense to you, but the unusual result of a human with consciousness suggests purpose. Davies has made the same point in his writings, although he doesn't goes as far as to accept God.

dhw: So far as we know, all life and all natural wonders are unusual, including the whale, 50,000 spider webs and the duckbilled platypus. If your God exists, of course he had a purpose, but that does not mean his one and only purpose was to create us so that we would think about him and have a relationship with him. I have offered you four explanations (see below) for the anomalies you can’t understand, and two of them include his purposeful creation of humans. But you continue to ignore them.

I haven't ignored them. All your explanation are logical, and you can take them on faith if you wish, but we cannot know God's motives, only make guesses, which I haven't done until you pushed me here, because our guesses don't establish anything. I accept God's works as evidence of His creative intentions without wondering about motives. See the other thread.


DAVID: God is allowed to pick His method. You question it, I don't. That is our difference.

dhw: Of course he could pick his method. That is not our difference at all. I question your interpretation of his method and his purpose, since you cannot explain how they fit together.

As above. All I can do is give you logical guesses.


DAVID: Repeat: I simply accept what God does. You don't. He evolved us, End of story.

dhw: If God exists, then we must all “accept” that he designed the mechanism that started life and evolution. In that limited sense, you can say he evolved us and every other life form, econiche etc. But that does not mean (a) that he specially designed every life form, econiche etc., or (b) that his one and only purpose in designing all that was to provide food until he specially designed the one species he wanted to design.

Again you want an explanation of God deciding to use evolution as His method. I simply accept it. I can't read His mind's reasoning. Nor can you much as you try.

DAVID (under “Neanderthal”): Repeat: I accept God's methods as exhibited.

dhw: Repeat: you do not “accept” God’s methods. You accept evolution, but you have attempted to read his mind and you believe that he had one purpose and you can’t explain why he would have used evolution as his method to achieve it. So maybe he didn’t specially design every life form etc., or maybe he didn’t have just the one purpose you impose on him, or maybe he didn’t know how to achieve that purpose, or that purpose didn’t occur to him till later in the process. Then you wouldn’t have to “accept” something you can’t explain.

Who can really explain God's motives? I accept what I see He created. I've admitted I can't know His motives as you wish to. I cannot know why He used evolution as a means to create.


DAVID: I cannot read/enter His mind, nor can anyone else. I can guess at intentions based on the results I see.

dhw: So if it’s OK for you to guess, and insist that your guesses are right even though you can’t explain how the method fits the intention, why do you criticize me for guessing at his intentions in a manner which does link up logically with the results we see?

dhw: That question remains unanswered.

I've said many times your guesses are as logical as any. I am not required to accept them as my way of looking at God.

Divine purposes and methods

by dhw, Monday, December 10, 2018, 12:54 (218 days ago) @ David Turell

I am combining this thread with “Big brain evolution” to avoid repetition.

DAVID (under “Big brain evolution”): My analysis pattern about God differs from yours. I identified God's purpose from the unlikely ending of evolution in human beings. That is about as far as I ever went in thought until you asked me for possible motives. Very true, I'd never thought about motives. So I cooked up some for you, but I know it is all guess work.

Everything we conjecture about God – including his existence – is guesswork, and the whole point of our discussions is to test the guesses and gauge the likelihood of their being right. I completely accept the design argument that underlies your faith that he exists, but it is you who on many occasions have (unjustly) accused me of not recognizing that your God is purposeful. If he exists he would certainly have had a purpose in creating life. I don’t have a problem either with your belief that humans are special because of their high level of consciousness. However, I do have a problem with your hypothesis that his only purpose was us, but he specially designed every organism and econiche etc. for 3.x billion years to provide food before he - who is always in full control - specially designed the one thing he wanted to design. This hypothesis did not arise out of my questioning you. It is the reason for my questioning you. And your faith in Adler (see below) long preceded the birth of this forum.

DAVID: Based on what we know, my reasoning makes perfect sense to me.

dhw: How can it make sense to you if you can’t explain the reasoning behind the hypothesis bolded above?

DAVID: We can't know God's reasons!!! Of course I can't explain it. Can I explain God?

No, we can’t, but the bolded hypothesis above offers a succession of contradictory interpretations which you yourself cannot reconcile. This should at least make you wonder if there might not be a flaw in your guesswork.

DAVID: I've even said the chances for a relationship from God's standpoint are 50/50, which is a quote from Adler I accept, since he as a religious expert, doing lots more thought than I've given to the subject. 50/50, as you will recognize from our cell discussions, means it is an open issue. All of your ruminations about God's purposes are logical and possible, but don't fit my frame of belief. Doesn't mean I am right, but it is what I am most comfortable with. Not surprising, faith offers comfort.

50/50 are the odds I offer for the existence of God, but that is why all my ruminations must allow for his existence. If Adler also thinks there’s a 50/50 chance that God cares about us, and a 50/50 chance of his being a person even if he’s not a person like us, that’s also fine with me. Thank you for conceding that all my ruminations are logical and possible. They all do away with the logical gap between your interpretation of his purpose and your interpretation of his method (see below for the baleen example), and that is the part of your “frame of belief” that I challenge. But if you find comfort in the gap, so be it.

DAVID: Again you want an explanation of God deciding to use evolution as His method. I simply accept it. I can't read His mind's reasoning. Nor can you much as you try.

What you simply “accept” is your own hypothesis that your God used evolution with the sole purpose of producing us, but in order to produce us he first (for example) had to take out pre-baleen whale’s teeth and then give it baleens a few million years later, to provide energy for pre-human life to go on until he could specially design us, although he is always in full control.

DAVID: I cannot read/enter His mind, nor can anyone else. I can guess at intentions based on the results I see.

dhw: So if it’s OK for you to guess, and insist that your guesses are right even though you can’t explain how the method fits the intention, why do you criticize me for guessing at his intentions in a manner which does link up logically with the results we see?
That question remains unanswered.

DAVID: That you are not satisfied with your position re' God is evidenced by this website of yours. [Yes.] Is it comfortable? [I’ve got used to it, but comfort is no criterion for truth or even likelihood of truth.] Who has participated here? My memory of the visitors are theists and atheists, and Romansh as a sort-of agnostic. Do you have a breakdown? [No, but I am delighted that we have had a mixed bunch of participants. It would be a pretty boring forum if everyone agreed!] I know you have learned how much of Darwin was incorrect, and lots of biochemistry. Does it help? [It is enormously helpful with regard to my personal education. You in particular have been my faithful science teacher since the very beginning, and I acknowledge this with deep gratitude, as I do the personal friendship which has given me great pleasure.]

Divine purposes and methods

by David Turell @, Monday, December 10, 2018, 15:18 (218 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: Everything we conjecture about God – including his existence – is guesswork, and the whole point of our discussions is to test the guesses and gauge the likelihood of their being right. I completely accept the design argument that underlies your faith that he exists, but it is you who on many occasions have (unjustly) accused me of not recognizing that your God is purposeful. If he exists he would certainly have had a purpose in creating life. I don’t have a problem either with your belief that humans are special because of their high level of consciousness. However, I do have a problem with your hypothesis that his only purpose was us, but he specially designed every organism and econiche etc. for 3.x billion years to provide food before he - who is always in full control - specially designed the one thing he wanted to design. This hypothesis did not arise out of my questioning you. It is the reason for my questioning you. And your faith in Adler (see below) long preceded the birth of this forum.

DAVID: Based on what we know, my reasoning makes perfect sense to me.

dhw: How can it make sense to you if you can’t explain the reasoning behind the hypothesis bolded above?

DAVID: We can't know God's reasons!!! Of course I can't explain it. Can I explain God?

dhw: No, we can’t, but the bolded hypothesis above offers a succession of contradictory interpretations which you yourself cannot reconcile. This should at least make you wonder if there might not be a flaw in your guesswork.

I cannot see any contradiction in the bolded. Follow the reasoning from the facts we have . Humans are the improbable end point currently of evolution. The method God chose to achieve humans was to start life and evolve them over 3.5+ billion years (BY). Life is a very diverse bush of probable and improbable creatures. Since 3.5 BY is a very long period, and life needs a food supply, the obvious solution is the diversity which provides the various econiches to produce food for all. This is God's method as I accept it. I don't know why God did it this way and your criticism implies that you feel God should have done it directly, or humans were an afterthought in the menagerie He had fun observing. All fun and frivolity with little real purposefulness, which I think is one of God's major attributes.


DAVID: I've even said the chances for a relationship from God's standpoint are 50/50, which is a quote from Adler I accept, since he as a religious expert, doing lots more thought than I've given to the subject. 50/50, as you will recognize from our cell discussions, means it is an open issue. All of your ruminations about God's purposes are logical and possible, but don't fit my frame of belief. Doesn't mean I am right, but it is what I am most comfortable with. Not surprising, faith offers comfort.

dhw: 50/50 are the odds I offer for the existence of God, but that is why all my ruminations must allow for his existence. If Adler also thinks there’s a 50/50 chance that God cares about us, and a 50/50 chance of his being a person even if he’s not a person like us, that’s also fine with me. Thank you for conceding that all my ruminations are logical and possible. They all do away with the logical gap between your interpretation of his purpose and your interpretation of his method (see below for the baleen example), and that is the part of your “frame of belief” that I challenge. But if you find comfort in the gap, so be it.

All I can say is your logic is not mine.

dhw: So if it’s OK for you to guess, and insist that your guesses are right even though you can’t explain how the method fits the intention, why do you criticize me for guessing at his intentions in a manner which does link up logically with the results we see?
That question remains unanswered.

I have explained the reasons above.


DAVID: That you are not satisfied with your position re' God is evidenced by this website of yours. [Yes.] Is it comfortable? [I’ve got used to it, but comfort is no criterion for truth or even likelihood of truth.] Who has participated here? My memory of the visitors are theists and atheists, and Romansh as a sort-of agnostic. Do you have a breakdown? [No, but I am delighted that we have had a mixed bunch of participants. It would be a pretty boring forum if everyone agreed!] I know you have learned how much of Darwin was incorrect, and lots of biochemistry. Does it help? [It is enormously helpful with regard to my personal education. You in particular have been my faithful science teacher since the very beginning, and I acknowledge this with deep gratitude, as I do the personal friendship which has given me great pleasure.]

Thank you for all the answers and I, too, am delighted with the friendship..

Divine purposes and methods

by dhw, Tuesday, December 11, 2018, 14:07 (217 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: […] However, I do have a problem with your hypothesis that his only purpose was us, but he specially designed every organism and econiche etc. for 3.x billion years to provide food before he - who is always in full control - specially designed the one thing he wanted to design. This hypothesis did not arise out of my questioning you. It is the reason for my questioning you.

DAVID: I cannot see any contradiction in the bolded. Follow the reasoning from the facts we have. Humans are the improbable end point currently of evolution. The method God chose to achieve humans was to start life and evolve them over 3.5+ billion years (BY). Life is a very diverse bush of probable and improbable creatures.

Firstly, I would have thought dinosaurs, whales, elephants, 50,000 different spider webs and the duckbilled platypus were also pretty improbable. Your hypothesis comprises the method and purpose which you impose on life’s history. As you have said yourself, your attempt to read your God's mind is all guesswork. Correct me if this is wrong, but although you don’t like to see your guesswork as an interpretation of your God’s thoughts, you are guessing that he said to himself: "I am in full control, and I choose to take 3.5+ billion years in order to specially design H. sapiens, my one and only purpose, and so I will specially design a very diverse bush of probable and improbable things like whales and dinosaurs, 50,000 different spider webs and the duckbilled platypus in order to provide food to keep life going until I do what I really want to do.” I find this highly unconvincing, and with my theist hat on, I have offered different guesses at God’s thoughts (methods and purposes) which you agree are perfectly logical but which you refuse to consider. (See below)

DAVID: Since 3.5 BY is a very long period, and life needs a food supply, the obvious solution is the diversity which provides the various econiches to produce food for all. This is God's method as I accept it.

You do not “accept” this hypothesis, you have guessed it, and you accept what you have guessed.

DAVID: I don't know why God did it this way and your criticism implies that you feel God should have done it directly...

You can't explain why your always-in-control God did it this way because you cannot match your guessed-at purpose with your guessed-at method. You have agreed that my four explanatory theistic hypotheses (he didn’t specially design every lifestyle, econiche etc.; humans were not his one and only purpose; humans were his purpose but he didn’t know how to make us; humans only became a purpose later on in the process of evolution) are logical and fit the history of life as we know it. I am not asking you to believe any of these explanations, but I can’t understand why you stick so firmly to a hypothesis which you yourself find inexplicable.

DAVID: ...or humans were an afterthought in the menagerie He had fun observing. All fun and frivolity with little real purposefulness, which I think is one of God's major attributes.

I don’t know what you mean by “real” purposefulness, but you keep telling us that it was the production of H. sapiens and his desire that we should think about him and have a relationship with him, which “humanizes" him just as much as the hypothesis that as first cause he needed to keep himself occupied! You can trivialize this with words like fun and frivolity if you like, but if he does exist, I would not see it that way at all. I see no reason why he should not be as fascinated by the diversity of life forms and natural wonders, the variety of experiences and emotions (especially through humans), and the unpredictability of the spectacle as we are, and for all we know, this may be a learning process for him as well. I would prefer your own more neutral formula of “watching with interest”.

QUOTE under “clever parrots”: "Parrots are intelligent birds capable of complex cognition, and it turns out that the genes that play a role in their brain development are similar to those that evolved to give humans large brains."

DAVID: This supports my point that God uses patterns in genes to advance evolution and it also would explain similar convergences that occur.

Since parrots predate humans by many millions of years, this supports the concept of common descent. Whether it supports the idea that your God specially created parrots to provide food to keep life going until he could specially create H. sapiens is another matter.

DAVID: under “Evolution: life below ground”: First it is obvious the Earth allows life everywhere and it is amazingly life-friendly. The next question is how did those organisms get down there? Did they first evolve on the surface and then slowly go deeper? If they suddenly went that deep they could not have evolved to the forms they are now, which are markedly different from surface bacteria. Were they designed to be there? That could be God at work running the evolutionary process.

If so, I can’t help wondering why your God would have specially designed these markedly different life forms for the sole purpose of providing food so that life would continue until he could specially design the only thing he actually wanted to design, which was H. sapiens. I'm afraid all your comments inevitably lead to the same problem. Thank you all the same for these very interesting articles.

Divine purposes and methods

by David Turell @, Tuesday, December 11, 2018, 18:09 (217 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: . Follow the reasoning from the facts we have. Humans are the improbable end point currently of evolution. The method God chose to achieve humans was to start life and evolve them over 3.5+ billion years (BY). Life is a very diverse bush of probable and improbable creatures.

dhw: ...Your hypothesis comprises the method and purpose which you impose on life’s history. As you have said yourself, your attempt to read your God's mind is all guesswork. Correct me if this is wrong, but although you don’t like to see your guesswork as an interpretation of your God’s thoughts, you are guessing that he said to himself: "I am in full control, and I choose to take 3.5+ billion years in order to specially design H. sapiens, my one and only purpose, and so I will specially design a very diverse bush of probable and improbable things like whales and dinosaurs, 50,000 different spider webs and the duckbilled platypus in order to provide food to keep life going until I do what I really want to do.” I find this highly unconvincing, and with my theist hat on, I have offered different guesses at God’s thoughts (methods and purposes) which you agree are perfectly logical but which you refuse to consider. (See below)

DAVID: I don't know why God did it this way and your criticism implies that you feel God should have done it directly...

dhw: You can't explain why your always-in-control God did it this way because you cannot match your guessed-at purpose with your guessed-at method. You have agreed that my four explanatory theistic hypotheses (he didn’t specially design every lifestyle, econiche etc.; humans were not his one and only purpose; humans were his purpose but he didn’t know how to make us; humans only became a purpose later on in the process of evolution) are logical and fit the history of life as we know it. I am not asking you to believe any of these explanations, but I can’t understand why you stick so firmly to a hypothesis which you yourself find inexplicable.

I do not find it inexplicable. Econiche food supply is perfectly reasonable to explain God's choice of method. What I cannot explain is why He chose this method, but I don't try.


DAVID: ...or humans were an afterthought in the menagerie He had fun observing. All fun and frivolity with little real purposefulness, which I think is one of God's major attributes.

dhw: I don’t know what you mean by “real” purposefulness, but you keep telling us that it was the production of H. sapiens and his desire that we should think about him and have a relationship with him, which “humanizes" him just as much as the hypothesis that as first cause he needed to keep himself occupied! You can trivialize this with words like fun and frivolity if you like, but if he does exist, I would not see it that way at all. I see no reason why he should not be as fascinated by the diversity of life forms and natural wonders, the variety of experiences and emotions (especially through humans), and the unpredictability of the spectacle as we are, and for all we know, this may be a learning process for him as well. I would prefer your own more neutral formula of “watching with interest”.

Why should He be fascinated by what He creates? He knows what they are! My attempt at interpretation is not the humanizing you do.


DAVID: under “Evolution: life below ground”: First it is obvious the Earth allows life everywhere and it is amazingly life-friendly. The next question is how did those organisms get down there? Did they first evolve on the surface and then slowly go deeper? If they suddenly went that deep they could not have evolved to the forms they are now, which are markedly different from surface bacteria. Were they designed to be there? That could be God at work running the evolutionary process.

dhw: If so, I can’t help wondering why your God would have specially designed these markedly different life forms for the sole purpose of providing food so that life would continue until he could specially design the only thing he actually wanted to design, which was H. sapiens. I'm afraid all your comments inevitably lead to the same problem. Thank you all the same for these very interesting articles.

I'm only attempting to interpret God's chosen mechanisms. I've offered reasonable explanations, which you refuse to accept, because you interpret Him as quite human and if so, He would have done it differently. God IS NOT human.

Divine purposes and methods

by dhw, Wednesday, December 12, 2018, 11:09 (216 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: You have agreed that my four explanatory theistic hypotheses (he didn’t specially design every lifestyle, econiche etc.; humans were not his one and only purpose; humans were his purpose but he didn’t know how to make us; humans only became a purpose later on in the process of evolution) are logical and fit the history of life as we know it. I am not asking you to believe any of these explanations, but I can’t understand why you stick so firmly to a hypothesis which you yourself find inexplicable.

DAVID: I do not find it inexplicable. Econiche food supply is perfectly reasonable to explain God's choice of method. What I cannot explain is why He chose this method, but I don't try.

You can’t explain his choice of method, but econiche food supply explains his choice of method? What you can’t explain is why, despite his full control, he chose to take 3.5+ billion years specially designing every innovation, econiche, lifestyle and natural wonder for the sole purpose of providing food until he specially designed H. sapiens, his one and only purpose. But although you can’t explain your own guesswork (your term) hypothesis, you “accept” it, and you refuse to consider the possibility that one or other of the above explanatory guesses (which you agree all provide logical explanations) might be true.

dhw: I see no reason why he should not be as fascinated by the diversity of life forms and natural wonders, the variety of experiences and emotions (especially through humans), and the unpredictability of the spectacle as we are, and for all we know, this may be a learning process for him as well.

DAVID: Why should He be fascinated by what He creates? He knows what they are! My attempt at interpretation is not the humanizing you do.

You have missed the point. The fascination would lie in the unpredictable products of the autonomous evolutionary mechanism he created (theistic version), mirroring the unpredictability of humans with their free will. You humanize him by telling us that his only purpose was to create H. sapiens, who would think about him and have a relationship with him. I humanize him by suggesting that as first cause he had nothing to occupy his mind, and so he created the mechanisms for life and evolution. Wouldn’t you say that both hypotheses suggest a very human desire to end his isolation?

DAVID: I'm only attempting to interpret God's chosen mechanisms. I've offered reasonable explanations, which you refuse to accept, because you interpret Him as quite human and if so, He would have done it differently. God IS NOT human.

Your usual get-out, followed by my usual response: of course God is not human, but that does not mean he has no characteristics in common with us (especially if we are supposed to be in his image). See above. As for your “reasonable explanations”, I do not accept them for the same reason as you can’t understand them, i.e. why he would have chosen your guessed-at method to achieve your guessed-at goal. See my first comment above.

Divine purposes and methods

by David Turell @, Wednesday, December 12, 2018, 15:11 (216 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I do not find it inexplicable. Econiche food supply is perfectly reasonable to explain God's choice of method. What I cannot explain is why He chose this method, but I don't try.

dhw: You can’t explain his choice of method, but econiche food supply explains his choice of method? What you can’t explain is why, despite his full control, he chose to take 3.5+ billion years specially designing every innovation, econiche, lifestyle and natural wonder for the sole purpose of providing food until he specially designed H. sapiens, his one and only purpose. But although you can’t explain your own guesswork (your term) hypothesis, you “accept” it, and you refuse to consider the possibility that one or other of the above explanatory guesses (which you agree all provide logical explanations) might be true.

We know that the chosen method of advancing life to the level of humans was by 3.5+ billion years of evolution. God's choice of method is obvious. The inner workings of His method is what you like to delve into. Why bother? It happened. Speciation happened, but there is no theory that really tells how it works. The only one that was accepted in the past was Darwin's, and that one is gone. I've agreed all your suppositions can logically fit, but that is because all of it is total guesswork to fill the gap in real knowledge. WE HAVE no real knowledge! Why do you insist on inventing some?


dhw: I see no reason why he should not be as fascinated by the diversity of life forms and natural wonders, the variety of experiences and emotions (especially through humans), and the unpredictability of the spectacle as we are, and for all we know, this may be a learning process for him as well.

DAVID: Why should He be fascinated by what He creates? He knows what they are! My attempt at interpretation is not the humanizing you do.

dhw: You have missed the point. The fascination would lie in the unpredictable products of the autonomous evolutionary mechanism he created (theistic version), mirroring the unpredictability of humans with their free will. You humanize him by telling us that his only purpose was to create H. sapiens, who would think about him and have a relationship with him. I humanize him by suggesting that as first cause he had nothing to occupy his mind, and so he created the mechanisms for life and evolution. Wouldn’t you say that both hypotheses suggest a very human desire to end his isolation?

I don't try to make God 'very human'. That is your sporting approach to theology. I view Him as a first cause, necessary being, who is intent upon creation of beings with a degree of His consciousness.


DAVID: I'm only attempting to interpret God's chosen mechanisms. I've offered reasonable explanations, which you refuse to accept, because you interpret Him as quite human and if so, He would have done it differently. God IS NOT human.

dhw: Your usual get-out, followed by my usual response: of course God is not human, but that does not mean he has no characteristics in common with us (especially if we are supposed to be in his image). See above. As for your “reasonable explanations”, I do not accept them for the same reason as you can’t understand them, i.e. why he would have chosen your guessed-at method to achieve your guessed-at goal. See my first comment above.

'His image' is only the way the Bible notes the fact we have a degree of His consciousness. As for the inner workings of His choice of evolution, it is a dead end of theorizing, since speciation is a black box to science so far. It is equivalent to angels on heads of pins.

Divine purposes and methods

by dhw, Thursday, December 13, 2018, 09:44 (215 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: We know that the chosen method of advancing life to the level of humans was by 3.5+ billion years of evolution. God's choice of method is obvious. The inner workings of His method is what you like to delve into. Why bother? It happened. Speciation happened, but there is no theory that really tells how it works. The only one that was accepted in the past was Darwin's, and that one is gone. I've agreed all your suppositions can logically fit, but that is because all of it is total guesswork to fill the gap in real knowledge. WE HAVE no real knowledge! Why do you insist on inventing some?

I am the one who keeps insisting that we cannot “know” anything, including whether your God exists or not and including the cause(s) of speciation. And yet you say that we “know” your God’s chosen method of advancing life to the level of humans was 3+ billion years of evolution. No we don’t. Not even a theist “knows” that. We only know that it took 3+ billion years of evolution to produce us, but your “supposition” is that we were his sole purpose from the very beginning. You also “suppose” that he specially designed every innovation, econiche, lifestyle and natural wonder to provide food so that life would keep going till 3+ billion years had passed and he could then specially design us. But you can’t figure out why he chose this method. The best you can do is to tell us that food supply explains your God’s choice of method but you cannot explain your God’s choice of method. You not only “invent” all these suppositions, but you cling to them and refuse to consider other theistic suppositions, even though they remove the logical gaps in your own: 1) maybe his sole purpose wasn’t to produce humans; 2) maybe he didn’t specially design every innovation etc.; 3) maybe his sole purpose was to produce humans, but he didn’t know how to do it; 4) maybe he only thought of humans late on in the course of evolution. These are not invented “knowledge” – they are logical alternative guesses to your guess, for which you can find no logical explanation. And yes, it still took 3+ billion years for humans to evolve.

dhw: I see no reason why he should not be as fascinated by the diversity of life forms and natural wonders, the variety of experiences and emotions (especially through humans), and the unpredictability of the spectacle as we are, and for all we know, this may be a learning process for him as well.

DAVID: Why should He be fascinated by what He creates? He knows what they are! My attempt at interpretation is not the humanizing you do.

dhw: You have missed the point. The fascination would lie in the unpredictable products of the autonomous evolutionary mechanism he created (theistic version), mirroring the unpredictability of humans with their free will. You humanize him by telling us that his only purpose was to create H. sapiens, who would think about him and have a relationship with him. I humanize him by suggesting that as first cause he had nothing to occupy his mind, and so he created the mechanisms for life and evolution. Wouldn’t you say that both hypotheses suggest a very human desire to end his isolation?

DAVID: I don't try to make God 'very human'. That is your sporting approach to theology. I view Him as a first cause, necessary being, who is intent upon creation of beings with a degree of His consciousness.

I didn’t say God was ”very human” – I said that your hypothesis of him wanting someone to think about him and have a relationship with him was a very human desire, as is my hypothesis that he wanted something to occupy his mind. I know you think his sole purpose was to create us, and that is where you run into all the problems dealt with above.

DAVID: I'm only attempting to interpret God's chosen mechanisms. I've offered reasonable explanations, which you refuse to accept, because you interpret Him as quite human and if so, He would have done it differently. God IS NOT human.

dhw: Your usual get-out, followed by my usual response: of course God is not human, but that does not mean he has no characteristics in common with us (especially if we are supposed to be in his image). See above. As for your “reasonable explanations”, I do not accept them for the same reason as you can’t understand them, i.e. why he would have chosen your guessed-at method to achieve your guessed-at goal. See my first comment above.

DAVID: 'His image' is only the way the Bible notes the fact we have a degree of His consciousness.

I don’t know about “fact”, but if we have a degree of his consciousness, it is not unreasonable to suppose that we might have certain characteristics in common with him: e.g. wanting someone to think about us and to have a relationship with us; wanting something other than ourselves to be conscious of.

Divine purposes and methods

by David Turell @, Thursday, December 13, 2018, 21:05 (215 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: I am the one who keeps insisting that we cannot “know” anything, including whether your God exists or not and including the cause(s) of speciation. And yet you say that we “know” your God’s chosen method of advancing life to the level of humans was 3+ billion years of evolution. No we don’t. Not even a theist “knows” that. We only know that it took 3+ billion years of evolution to produce us, but your “supposition” is that we were his sole purpose from the very beginning. You also “suppose” that he specially designed every innovation, econiche, lifestyle and natural wonder to provide food so that life would keep going till 3+ billion years had passed and he could then specially design us. But you can’t figure out why he chose this method. The best you can do is to tell us that food supply explains your God’s choice of method but you cannot explain your God’s choice of method.

Why should I KNOW His reasons for His method?

dhw: You not only “invent” all these suppositions, but you cling to them and refuse to consider other theistic suppositions, even though they remove the logical gaps in your own: 1) maybe his sole purpose wasn’t to produce humans; 2) maybe he didn’t specially design every innovation etc.; 3) maybe his sole purpose was to produce humans, but he didn’t know how to do it; 4) maybe he only thought of humans late on in the course of evolution. These are not invented “knowledge” – they are logical alternative guesses to your guess, for which you can find no logical explanation.

Once I had proven to myself that God existed, I made propositions on how God might have created humans. My decisions were multifactorial, many of which you are not impressed by, especially the point that humans are not a required result of life evolving from single cells. They are a surprise result!

DAVID: I don't try to make God 'very human'. That is your sporting approach to theology. I view Him as a first cause, necessary being, who is intent upon creation of beings with a degree of His consciousness.

dhw: I didn’t say God was ”very human” – I said that your hypothesis of him wanting someone to think about him and have a relationship with him was a very human desire, as is my hypothesis that he wanted something to occupy his mind. I know you think his sole purpose was to create us, and that is where you run into all the problems dealt with above.

When I am pushed, as you do, to find reasons for God's deeds, as a limited human I will think of human reasons, but while I still understand it is all guesswork about a non-human being.

DAVID: 'His image' is only the way the Bible notes the fact we have a degree of His consciousness.

dhw: I don’t know about “fact”, but if we have a degree of his consciousness, it is not unreasonable to suppose that we might have certain characteristics in common with him: e.g. wanting someone to think about us and to have a relationship with us; wanting something other than ourselves to be conscious of.

Agreed, possible, but very uncertain, so why bother?

Divine purposes and methods

by dhw, Friday, December 14, 2018, 10:42 (214 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: I am the one who keeps insisting that we cannot “know” anything, including whether your God exists or not and including the cause(s) of speciation. And yet you say that we “know” your God’s chosen method of advancing life to the level of humans was 3+ billion years of evolution. No we don’t. Not even a theist “knows” that. We only know that it took 3+ billion years of evolution to produce us, but your “supposition” is that we were his sole purpose from the very beginning. You also “suppose” that he specially designed every innovation, econiche, lifestyle and natural wonder to provide food so that life would keep going till 3+ billion years had passed and he could then specially design us. But you can’t figure out why he chose this method. The best you can do is to tell us that food supply explains your God’s choice of method but you cannot explain your God’s choice of method.

DAVID: Why should I KNOW His reasons for His method?

Why should you KNOW – as you claim – that “his chosen method of advancing life to the level of humans was by 3.5+ billion years of evolution”? You don’t KNOW that, as I have explained above – and you build a whole scenario of illogical speculations on that one premise.

dhw: You not only “invent” all these suppositions, but you cling to them and refuse to consider other theistic suppositions, even though they remove the logical gaps in your own: 1) maybe his sole purpose wasn’t to produce humans; 2) maybe he didn’t specially design every innovation etc.; 3) maybe his sole purpose was to produce humans, but he didn’t know how to do it; 4) maybe he only thought of humans late on in the course of evolution. These are not invented “knowledge” – they are logical alternative guesses to your guess, for which you can find no logical explanation.

DAVID: Once I had proven to myself that God existed, I made propositions on how God might have created humans. My decisions were multifactorial, many of which you are not impressed by, especially the point that humans are not a required result of life evolving from single cells. They are a surprise result!

Your “multifactorial decisions” have led you to a scenario for which you can find no logical explanation – you don’t understand why he chose the method you impose on him in order to fulfil the purpose you impose on him. I am surprised that you are not surprised that whales, elephants, spiders and the duckbilled platypus have evolved from single cells when single cells could manage perfectly well on their own.

DAVID: I don't try to make God 'very human'. That is your sporting approach to theology. I view Him as a first cause, necessary being, who is intent upon creation of beings with a degree of His consciousness.

dhw: I didn’t say God was ”very human” – I said that your hypothesis of him wanting someone to think about him and have a relationship with him was a very human desire, as is my hypothesis that he wanted something to occupy his mind. I know you think his sole purpose was to create us, and that is where you run into all the problems dealt with above.

DAVID: When I am pushed, as you do, to find reasons for God's deeds, as a limited human I will think of human reasons, but while I still understand it is all guesswork about a non-human being.

Yes, we are human and God is not, but I never pushed you to tell us that humans are your God’s sole reason for creating life, or that he personally designed every innovation, econiche etc. These are your guesses, and you yourself cannot understand why he chose this method etc. (as above).

DAVID: 'His image' is only the way the Bible notes the fact we have a degree of His consciousness.

dhw: I don’t know about “fact”, but if we have a degree of his consciousness, it is not unreasonable to suppose that we might have certain characteristics in common with him: e.g. wanting someone to think about us and to have a relationship with us; wanting something other than ourselves to be conscious of.

DAVID: Agreed, possible, but very uncertain, so why bother?

Since we can’t know anything for certain, why bother to ask whether God exists, to discuss his possible nature, purpose, method, evolution, the origin of the universe and life, the complexities of cells? Why did I bother to open this website, and why did you bother to write two brilliant books on these subjects?

Divine purposes and methods

by dhw, Saturday, December 15, 2018, 12:14 (213 days ago) @ dhw

I have shifted this from “Introducing the brain” as this thread is more appropriate.

DAVID: Flippers and legs are very different and require different muscle attachments for differing motions. Flippers flap. Try that with a leg! The marked change is the issue, not the complexity.

Thank you. Of course fins and legs are different, and of course they serve different functions, but your original point was that all these changes were part of the advance to complexity. My point is that legs did not change into fins for the sake of complexity, but for the sake of coping with a new environment in order to improve chances of survival.

DAVID: The road from single cells to humans is one of constant increasing complexity, a point you cannot deny.

dhw: Of course it is. So is the road from single cells to whales and elephants and the duckbilled platypus. But if he designed all these “necessary changes for survival”, how can you say that survival played little or no role in evolution?

DAVID: Extinctions are bad luck is the point. Jumping into water did not help survival, but endangered it without enormous phenotypic and physiologic changes. Looking for a purposeful explanation ( since God is purposeful) it must be diversity for econiche food supply. From the proper theistic standpoint, it is the most logical explanation.

It is indeed bad luck if organisms are unable to cope with new conditions. That doesn’t help us much in our attempts to understand how organisms do cope, so it's hardly "the point". What entitles you to claim that yours is the “proper” theistic standpoint? You simply refuse to acknowledge the possibility that environmental change may pose a threat to existing organisms, and if they survive, it can only be because their bodies change. I really can’t see why you think the most logical explanation of the baleen whale’s evolution, for example, is that your God extracted its ancestor’s teeth to force it to suction feed when it didn’t need to, and then a few million years later inserted baleens to make it filter-feed when it didn’t need to, and he did this so that it would provide food to keep life going until he could design H. sapiens.

DAVID: And note humans survive better than any other animal on earth with the modifications as they came out of the trees. God did not have the circular reasoning you have invented for Him. Totally irrational.

dhw: So although these modifications enabled humans to survive better than any other animal on earth, they apparently had nothing to do with survival. I’m glad you agree that your argument is totally irrational.

DAVID: You can toss around the word irrationality all you want, but the point is not what you want it to be. Humans would have survived if they stayed as apes and didn't gain all the attributes they have. Survival therefore is not The Issue.

You claim that survival had little or no role to play in evolution. As regards humans, it is perfectly feasible that a particular group of primates came under threat from local conditions and their survival depended on their adaptation to life on the ground. Other apes in other locations were able to stay in the trees – hence the evolutionary split.

DAVID: The dependence on that concept is pure Darwinianism from which you have never recovered. His view of competition is purely theoretical, never proven and you have agreed survival of the fittest is a tautology.

Of course it’s a tautology: those who are best able to survive, survive. Why do you bracket that with competition? See below.

Wikipedia:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Survival_of_the_fittest

QUOTE: "Interpreted as a theory of species survival, the theory that the fittest species survive is undermined by evidence that while direct competition is observed between individuals, populations and species, there is little evidence that competition has been the driving force in the evolution of large groups such as, for example, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals.

The article is devoted entirely to debunking the theory that competition has been the driving force. Firstly, you have clearly forgotten Margulis’s emphasis on cooperation as a major driving force. Secondly, competition is not a synonym for survivability! Survival depends on the ability to cope with existing environmental conditions. Herbivores do not compete with carnivores to find food – each organism finds its own source, which is why you quite rightly point out that econiches are delicately balanced. If sources die out, the econiche loses its balance and is replaced by another. (But of course that does not mean that your God specially designed every econiche for the sake of providing food until he could specially design us.) Please forget your obsession with Darwin and remember that you are discussing these issues with me. Finally, it is clearly absurd to say that “humans survive better than any other animal on earth with the modifications as they came out of the trees” and then argue that evolutionary change has little or nothing to do with survivability.

Divine purposes and methods

by David Turell @, Saturday, December 15, 2018, 14:44 (213 days ago) @ dhw

I have shifted this from “Introducing the brain” as this thread is more appropriate.

DAVID: Flippers and legs are very different and require different muscle attachments for differing motions. Flippers flap. Try that with a leg! The marked change is the issue, not the complexity.

dhw: Thank you. Of course fins and legs are different, and of course they serve different functions, but your original point was that all these changes were part of the advance to complexity. My point is that legs did not change into fins for the sake of complexity, but for the sake of coping with a new environment in order to improve chances of survival.

As usual you skip the obvious. Evolution produced complexity beyond bacteria when it was obviously not necessary. Bacteria to humans is increased complexity, nothing more. You are right, entering water required more complexity and more intricate design. Perhaps teh designer did the pushing into water

DAVID: Extinctions are bad luck is the point. Jumping into water did not help survival, but endangered it without enormous phenotypic and physiologic changes. Looking for a purposeful explanation ( since God is purposeful) it must be diversity for econiche food supply. From the proper theistic standpoint, it is the most logical explanation.

dhw: ... You simply refuse to acknowledge the possibility that environmental change may pose a threat to existing organisms, and if they survive, it can only be because their bodies change. I really can’t see why you think the most logical explanation of the baleen whale’s evolution, for example, is that your God extracted its ancestor’s teeth to force it to suction feed when it didn’t need to, and then a few million years later inserted baleens to make it filter-feed when it didn’t need to, and he did this so that it would provide food to keep life going until he could design H. sapiens.

As usual you note that whale evolution as irrational, which is exactly why I brought it up initially. A totally irrational unnatural series of changes. Requires a designer.


DAVID: You can toss around the word irrationality all you want, but the point is not what you want it to be. Humans would have survived if they stayed as apes and didn't gain all the attributes they have. Survival therefore is not The Issue.

dhw: You claim that survival had little or no role to play in evolution. As regards humans, it is perfectly feasible that a particular group of primates came under threat from local conditions and their survival depended on their adaptation to life on the ground. Other apes in other locations were able to stay in the trees – hence the evolutionary split.

It is also perfectly feasible to simple migrate as an ape to a better spot. Wildebeests migrate every year in Africa, the cradle of human life.

Wikipedia:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Survival_of_the_fittest

QUOTE: "Interpreted as a theory of species survival, the theory that the fittest species survive is undermined by evidence that while direct competition is observed between individuals, populations and species, there is little evidence that competition has been the driving force in the evolution of large groups such as, for example, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals.

dhw: The article is devoted entirely to debunking the theory that competition has been the driving force. Firstly, you have clearly forgotten Margulis’s emphasis on cooperation as a major driving force. Secondly, competition is not a synonym for survivability! Survival depends on the ability to cope with existing environmental conditions. Herbivores do not compete with carnivores to find food – each organism finds its own source, which is why you quite rightly point out that econiches are delicately balanced. If sources die out, the econiche loses its balance and is replaced by another. (But of course that does not mean that your God specially designed every econiche for the sake of providing food until he could specially design us.) Please forget your obsession with Darwin and remember that you are discussing these issues with me. Finally, it is clearly absurd to say that “humans survive better than any other animal on earth with the modifications as they came out of the trees” and then argue that evolutionary change has little or nothing to do with survivability.

Back to the same old point: why evolve from bacteria, if bacterial life didn't need to? Pure survival without a need to become more complex. Survival did not push complexity. A designer did.

Divine purposes and methods

by dhw, Sunday, December 16, 2018, 12:06 (212 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: […] Evolution produced complexity beyond bacteria when it was obviously not necessary. Bacteria to humans is increased complexity, nothing more. You are right, entering water required more complexity and more intricate design. Perhaps teh designer did the pushing into water.

Thank you for your “perhaps”. At least now you are clearly accepting the possibility that he didn’t do the pushing. We have always agreed that there was no need for life to evolve beyond bacterial level, and of course multicellularity is more complex than unicellularity. But once that step had been made, how does your drive for complexity invalidate the proposal that legs became fins as an aid to improved survivability in a new environment? See below for more of the same.

dhw: ... You simply refuse to acknowledge the possibility that environmental change may pose a threat to existing organisms, and if they survive, it can only be because their bodies change. [...]

DAVID: As usual you note that whale evolution as irrational, which is exactly why I brought it up initially. A totally irrational unnatural series of changes. Requires a designer.

No, no, and no again! What is irrational is your insistence that your God changed legs into fins, and extracted teeth and inserted baleens before there was any need for pre-whales to enter the water, or pre-baleen whales to suction-feed and then filter-feed. What is rational is that pre-whales found more food in the water than on the land, and their bodies changed to improve their survivability in the water; and pre-baleen whales’ jaws changed when a changing environment (as proposed in the article) proved more conducive to suction-feeding and then to filter-feeding.

dhw: You claim that survival had little or no role to play in evolution. As regards humans, it is perfectly feasible that a particular group of primates came under threat from local conditions and their survival depended on their adaptation to life on the ground. Other apes in other locations were able to stay in the trees – hence the evolutionary split.

DAVID: It is also perfectly feasible to simple migrate as an ape to a better spot. Wildebeests migrate every year in Africa, the cradle of human life.

I’m not going to pretend I know why a group of primates took to life on the ground instead of migrating! But at least your “also perfectly feasible” acknowledges the feasibility of my suggestion. We must not forget that your own suggestion is that your God fiddled with the limbs and pelvises of a group of tree-dwellers before telling them to go and live on the ground, even though they were perfectly OK up in their trees.

Wikipedia:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Survival_of_the_fittest

QUOTE: "Interpreted as a theory of species survival, the theory that the fittest species survive is undermined by evidence that while direct competition is observed between individuals, populations and species, there is little evidence that competition has been the driving force in the evolution of large groups such as, for example, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals.

dhw: The article is devoted entirely to debunking the theory that competition has been the driving force. Firstly, you have clearly forgotten Margulis’s emphasis on cooperation as a major driving force. Secondly, competition is not a synonym for survivability! Survival depends on the ability to cope with existing environmental conditions. Herbivores do not compete with carnivores to find food […] Finally, it is clearly absurd to say that “humans survive better than any other animal on earth with the modifications as they came out of the trees” and then argue that evolutionary change has little or nothing to do with survivability.

DAVID: Back to the same old point: why evolve from bacteria, if bacterial life didn't need to? Pure survival without a need to become more complex. Survival did not push complexity. A designer did.

Absolutely not back to the same old point. The point we are discussing here is your insistence that survivability played little or no part in evolution. The Wikipedia article debunks competition as the driving force, but competition is not a synonym for survivability (see above). You yourself say that “humans survive better...with the modifications...” (also above), and do you really think your God taught monarch butterflies to migrate, cuttlefish to camouflage themselves, spiders to spin 50,000 different webs, changed legs into fins etc. for the sake of complexity? Your own illogical hypothesis claims that your God designed them all to provide food so that life could go on. Life going on = survival. So how can you say survivability played little or no role even in your concept of evolution?

Divine purposes and methods

by David Turell @, Sunday, December 16, 2018, 15:25 (212 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: As usual you note that whale evolution as irrational, which is exactly why I brought it up initially. A totally irrational unnatural series of changes. Requires a designer.

dhw: No, no, and no again! What is irrational is your insistence that your God changed legs into fins, and extracted teeth and inserted baleens before there was any need for pre-whales to enter the water, or pre-baleen whales to suction-feed and then filter-feed. What is rational is that pre-whales found more food in the water than on the land, and their bodies changed to improve their survivability in the water; and pre-baleen whales’ jaws changed when a changing environment (as proposed in the article) proved more conducive to suction-feeding and then to filter-feeding.

You are forgetting that the whale series shows a series (8 or 9)of intermediate changes. They didn't just jump into water. it was a series of changes in form and then function, as I view designed by God.

Wikipedia:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Survival_of_the_fittest

QUOTE: "Interpreted as a theory of species survival, the theory that the fittest species survive is undermined by evidence that while direct competition is observed between individuals, populations and species, there is little evidence that competition has been the driving force in the evolution of large groups such as, for example, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals.

dhw: The article is devoted entirely to debunking the theory that competition has been the driving force. Firstly, you have clearly forgotten Margulis’s emphasis on cooperation as a major driving force. Secondly, competition is not a synonym for survivability! Survival depends on the ability to cope with existing environmental conditions. Herbivores do not compete with carnivores to find food […] Finally, it is clearly absurd to say that “humans survive better than any other animal on earth with the modifications as they came out of the trees” and then argue that evolutionary change has little or nothing to do with survivability.

DAVID: Back to the same old point: why evolve from bacteria, if bacterial life didn't need to? Pure survival without a need to become more complex. Survival did not push complexity. A designer did.

dhw: Absolutely not back to the same old point. The point we are discussing here is your insistence that survivability played little or no part in evolution. The Wikipedia article debunks competition as the driving force, but competition is not a synonym for survivability (see above). You yourself say that “humans survive better...with the modifications...” (also above), and do you really think your God taught monarch butterflies to migrate, cuttlefish to camouflage themselves, spiders to spin 50,000 different webs, changed legs into fins etc. for the sake of complexity? Your own illogical hypothesis claims that your God designed them all to provide food so that life could go on. Life going on = survival. So how can you say survivability played little or no role even in your concept of evolution?

The bold can also mean 'life going on = continued existence' so evolution can proceed over time. About survival 99% are gone! Some survival rate! If survivability drives evolution that doesn't explain bacteria. They haven't needed to survive by evolving..

Divine purposes and methods

by dhw, Monday, December 17, 2018, 11:48 (211 days ago) @ David Turell

Again I have telescoped two threads, as they both deal with purposes and methods.

dhw: You can’t explain why he “chose” this method, even though he was always in full control and could have done it any way he wanted. (David's bold) If you can’t think of an explanation, how can you say it is logical to you? […]

DAVID: The first bold above is the nubbin of our disagreement. In analyzing God's methods and motives, a conclusion will depend upon one's concept of God. All of both our proposals are logical. I view God as more controlling and purposeful than you do, and therefore favor the proposals I've given.

If you can’t explain something, then you can’t say it’s logical. If your one and only “purpose” idea (H. sapiens) is correct, I suggested experimentation and/or humans as a later idea to bridge the gap. These alternatives do reduce his level of ability to control, but your belief in full control is one cause of the gap you can’t explain! (See next comment below.) My theistic evolutionary hypothesis leaves him with full ability to control, but proposes that he deliberately created a mechanism to run independently of his control. No gap, but just as purposeful.

DAVID: […] My thought has always been, why did He evolve life if He had the capability to do direct creation as in Genesis? Since it happened it was obviously His choice of method of creation.

We both agree that evolution happened, but that does not mean (a) that his method was to specially design every innovation, econiche etc., or (b) that he did so solely for the purpose of providing food for 3.5+ billion years until he could specially design H. sapiens, which you say he could have done anyway, since he has full control. Hence the logical gap you acknowledge and then try to dodge.

DAVID: And as I sit here answering you, I am as far removed from apehood as anything you can imagine. We are the current endpoint. If God used evolution to guide creation and we are the current result, I just accept it as a logical conclusion that we have been His purpose all along. And furthermore, where does evolution go in the future? Superhumans? Same endpoint! Flying humans? We already have that. Case closed.

Your “if” is the point at issue: maybe he didn’t “guide” creation (which apparently means he specially designed everything), and the current result is us, whales, elephants, the duckbilled platypus etc. The future part of the “case” is wide open and does nothing to bridge the logical gap which you keep acknowledging and then trying to sidestep.

DAVID: As usual you note that whale evolution as irrational, which is exactly why I brought it up initially. A totally irrational unnatural series of changes. Requires a designer.

dhw: No, no, and no again! What is irrational is your insistence that your God changed legs into fins, and extracted teeth and inserted baleens before there was any need for pre-whales to enter the water […]

DAVID: You are forgetting that the whale series shows a series (8 or 9)of intermediate changes. They didn't just jump into water. it was a series of changes in form and then function, as I view designed by God.

I’ve picked on the stages we have been discussing, and I would suggest that every stage provided an improvement in the whale’s survivability. Your logical gap is expanding: (a) If your God wanted to produce a whale, why bother with intermediate stages, and (b) if your God only wanted to produce H. sapiens, why bother with eight stages of whale?

dhw: You yourself say that “humans survive better...with the modifications...”, and do you really think your God taught monarch butterflies to migrate, cuttlefish to camouflage themselves, spiders to spin 50,000 different webs, changed legs into fins etc. for the sake of complexity? Your own illogical hypothesis claims that your God designed them all to provide food so that life could go on. Life going on = survival. So how can you say survivability played little or no role even in your concept of evolution?

DAVID: The bold can also mean 'life going on = continued existence' so evolution can proceed over time.

Continued existence still = survival. You now have your God specially designing every survival kit in life’s history in order to fill in time!

DAVID: About survival 99% are gone! Some survival rate! If survivability drives evolution that doesn't explain bacteria. They haven't needed to survive by evolving.

Bacteria survive by constantly adapting to every environmental condition. We keep agreeing that they remain themselves, but somewhere along the line, unicellular organisms joined forces to create multicellularity, and that is presumably when the unexplained process of innovation and speciation began. 99% extinction (sometimes after millions of years of survival) fits in perfectly with the proposal that the whole process runs on the interplay between an ever-changing environment and the ability or inability of organisms to survive by adapting and/or innovating. I cannot see how it fits in with the proposal that your God specially designed every econiche and planned every change for the sole purpose of providing food, then different food, then more different food in order to pass the time until he could produce H. sapiens, which you think he could have produced directly anyway.

Divine purposes and methods

by David Turell @, Monday, December 17, 2018, 18:35 (211 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: In analyzing God's methods and motives, a conclusion will depend upon one's concept of God. All of both our proposals are logical. I view God as more controlling and purposeful than you do, and therefore favor the proposals I've given. [/i]

dhw: If you can’t explain something, then you can’t say it’s logical. If your one and only “purpose” idea (H. sapiens) is correct, I suggested experimentation and/or humans as a later idea to bridge the gap. These alternatives do reduce his level of ability to control, but your belief in full control is one cause of the gap you can’t explain! (See next comment below.) My theistic evolutionary hypothesis leaves him with full ability to control, but proposes that he deliberately created a mechanism to run independently of his control. No gap, but just as purposeful.

You are simply disagreeing with my view of God. What I can't explain is why God chose evolution as His method of creation. I don't read his mind. Nothing illogical about my approach.

dhw: We both agree that evolution happened, but that does not mean (a) that his method was to specially design every innovation, econiche etc., or (b) that he did so solely for the purpose of providing food for 3.5+ billion years until he could specially design H. sapiens, which you say he could have done anyway, since he has full control. Hence the logical gap you acknowledge and then try to dodge.

My reasoning is certainly not yours. Humans are the current endpoint of evolution, and we control life so much, evolution of humans may well be at an endpoint, with minor adaptations like drinking milk into adulthood. I view what God did as logical. That I can't explain why He chose His evolutionary method to achieve humans is not illogical in any way. I have my own interpretation of how it all happened under His control.


DAVID: And as I sit here answering you, I am as far removed from apehood as anything you can imagine. We are the current endpoint. If God used evolution to guide creation and we are the current result, I just accept it as a logical conclusion that we have been His purpose all along. And furthermore, where does evolution go in the future? Superhumans? Same endpoint! Flying humans? We already have that. Case closed.

dhw: Your “if” is the point at issue: maybe he didn’t “guide” creation (which apparently means he specially designed everything), and the current result is us, whales, elephants, the duckbilled platypus etc. The future part of the “case” is wide open and does nothing to bridge the logical gap which you keep acknowledging and then trying to sidestep.

You are dealing with my faith belief that God is the creator and is fully in control. I've given my reasons for jumping the chasm as developed from scientific discoveries. My logic is not your logic on your agnostic side of the chasm.


DAVID: You are forgetting that the whale series shows a series (8 or 9)of intermediate changes. They didn't just jump into water. it was a series of changes in form and then function, as I view designed by God.

dhw: I’ve picked on the stages we have been discussing, and I would suggest that every stage provided an improvement in the whale’s survivability. Your logical gap is expanding: (a) If your God wanted to produce a whale, why bother with intermediate stages, and (b) if your God only wanted to produce H. sapiens, why bother with eight stages of whale?

Exactly my point. Unless very complex phenotypical and physiological are designed the new stages would not have survived. Why did God bother? The only reason I can think of, and I've guessed, they are part of the food chain. Your answer is?


DAVID: About survival 99% are gone! Some survival rate! If survivability drives evolution that doesn't explain bacteria. They haven't needed to survive by evolving.

dhw: Bacteria survive by constantly adapting to every environmental condition. We keep agreeing that they remain themselves, but somewhere along the line, unicellular organisms joined forces to create multicellularity, and that is presumably when the unexplained process of innovation and speciation began. 99% extinction (sometimes after millions of years of survival) fits in perfectly with the proposal that the whole process runs on the interplay between an ever-changing environment and the ability or inability of organisms to survive by adapting and/or innovating. I cannot see how it fits in with the proposal that your God specially designed every econiche and planned every change for the sole purpose of providing food, then different food, then more different food in order to pass the time until he could produce H. sapiens, which you think he could have produced directly anyway.

I accept what we see God create. You don't. I accept His method, as illogical as it may seem to you. You have no idea why unicellular organisms decided to join forces and become multicellular. I see God arranging for it. It was never necessary. Bacteria never had a problem adapting as you first note and then you illogically want evolution to advance because more complex organisms can't survive. (See the bolds in your statement above.) Why become more complex if it makes survival more difficult? Talk about illogical! What drives complexity is an outside designer, God. It is obvious organisms become more complex with no relationship to survival.

Divine purposes and methods II

by David Turell @, Tuesday, December 18, 2018, 00:41 (211 days ago) @ David Turell

A theory about multicellularity, low temperature that is steady in a smal l range:

https://cosmosmagazine.com/biology/temperature-the-key-to-multicellular-evolution

"Researchers at Stanford University in the US have a theory about why multicellular life first developed deep in the ocean: the temperature.

"Working with sea anemones, researchers confirm that the organisms, which are similar to the world’s earliest complex lifeforms, are adapted to survival in a low-oxygen environment that changes only within a narrow temperature range.

"The finding provides insight into one the most puzzling aspects of life on Earth. After billions of years during which all organisms on the planet were unicellular and microscopic, an explosion of complex marine soft-bodied organisms, up to a metre long, suddenly appears in the fossil record.

"The organisms are known collectively as the Edicaran biota, and the timing of their emergence is curious. It occurred in a period in which terrestrial temperatures fluctuated wildly, oxygen was in short supply, and even light was restricted.

“'The only place where temperatures were consistent was in the deep ocean,” says Erik Sperling, senior author on a new paper, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

“'That's why animals appeared there.”

***


"Scientists have previously theorised that simple organisms use more oxygen if they are stressed by higher or lower temperatures. Boag and colleagues tested this idea using sea anemones, because in many ways they resemble Ediacaran species.

“'We assumed that their ability to tolerate low oxygen would get worse as the temperatures increased,” Boag explained, “because that had been observed in more complex animals like fish and lobsters and crabs.”

"They found that, as expected, oxygen use increased when the water temperature dropped below a certain level.

"During the Ediacaran period, the deep oceans were oxygen-poor, but their temperatures were very stable – and that, Sperling points out, could have been the most important factor.

“'Temperatures change much more rapidly on a daily and annual basis in shallow water,” he explains. In deep water, temperatures can vacillate less than one degree Celsius, compared to as much as 10 degrees at the surface. "

Comment: This is an interesting point about the conditions that might have allowed the advance to happen, but really doesn't tell us why it occurred.

Divine purposes and methods

by dhw, Tuesday, December 18, 2018, 13:40 (210 days ago) @ David Turell

More telescoping, but I hope the editing is fair.

Dhw: Changing conditions mean that organisms must change if they are to SURVIVE. It is therefore patently absurd to argue that survivability has played little or no role in evolutionary change.

DAVID: You are again ignoring the point of why complexity appears. Of course surviving species produce new more complex ones, but we have no idea why life advanced beyond bacteria which have always been here since the start of life. Why did multicellularity start?

Nobody knows why multicellularity started. (The anemone article echoes the point: “The finding provides insight into one the most puzzling aspects of life on Earth. After billions of years during which all organisms on the planet were unicellular and microscopic, an explosion of complex marine soft-bodied organisms [..] suddenly appears in the fossil record.”) And we have agreed ad nauseam that bacteria did not need to evolve. I wrote: “Bacteria survive by constantly adapting to every environmental condition. We keep agreeing that they remain themselves, but somewhere along the line, unicellular organisms joined forces to create multicellularity, and that is presumably when the unexplained process of innovation and speciation began.”

DAVID: Bacteria never had a problem adapting as you first note and then you illogically want evolution to advance because more complex organisms can't survive.

The process of innovation and speciation, which began with multicellularity, IS evolution, so please don’t use pre-evolution bacteria to defend your belief that survivability played little or no role in evolution itself. See also the end of this post.

DAVID: You are simply disagreeing with my view of God. What I can't explain is why God chose evolution as His method of creation. I don't read his mind. Nothing illogical about my approach.
And later:
DAVID: That I can't explain why He chose His evolutionary method to achieve humans is not illogical in any way. I have my own interpretation of how it all happened under His control.

The inexplicability is the whole point. If your view of God’s purpose and intentions provides a reading of his mind for which you can’t find a logical explanation, then maybe your reading is inaccurate.

DAVID: You are dealing with my faith belief that God is the creator and is fully in control. I've given my reasons for jumping the chasm as developed from scientific discoveries. My logic is not your logic on your agnostic side of the chasm.

I accept your scientific reasons (design) for your faith that God is the creator, but with my theist hat on, I can make no sense of your highly subjective reading (totally divorced from science) of his powers, purpose, and method of achieving that purpose, the three of which you yourself cannot fit together.

dhw: Your logical gap is expanding: (a) If your God wanted to produce a whale, why bother with intermediate stages, and (b) if your God only wanted to produce H. sapiens, why bother with eight stages of whale?

DAVID: Exactly my point. Unless very complex phenotypical and physiological are designed the new stages would not have survived. Why did God bother? The only reason I can think of, and I've guessed, they are part of the food chain. Your answer is?

Once more, please explain why your God needed to provide food, then different food, then more different food in order to fulfil his one purpose (us), which you believe he could have done without whales, since he’s in full control. You know my answer: the hypothesis (unproven, because nobody “knows”) that – theistic version - your God created a mechanism enabling the cell communities of which all organisms are made to autonomously work out their own ways of survival and/or improvement, though he could dabble if he wanted to. (And if it helps you, this would allow for the possibility that multicellularity, like Chixculub, was a dabble.)

DAVID: I accept what we see God create. You don't.

If he exists, I can hardly not accept what he created! But that does not mean he created every innovation, econiche etc. for 3.5+ billion years, or that he did so only in order to produce us.

DAVID: I accept His method, as illogical as it may seem to you.

You not “accept” his method of preprogramming and/or dabbling every innovation, econiche etc.; you have imposed it on what you see, and the illogicality lies in the irreconcilability of the three factors listed above.

DAVID: Why become more complex if it makes survival more difficult? Talk about illogical!

You are again reverting to pre-evolution bacteria and the mystery of multicellularity, though the theory you have quoted suggests “that the organisms, which are similar to the world’s earliest complex lifeforms, are adapted to survival in a low-oxygen environment... .” (My bold.) Once more: if you really believe that survivability plays no role, please explain why you think your God changed legs to fins, and extracted pre-baleen teeth and then a few million years later inserted baleens for the sake of complexity and not survival. And please explain the relevance of your statement that “humans survive better than any other animal on earth with the modifications as they came out of the trees.”

Divine purposes and methods

by David Turell @, Tuesday, December 18, 2018, 18:28 (210 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: That I can't explain why He chose His evolutionary method to achieve humans is not illogical in any way. I have my own interpretation of how it all happened under His control.

dhw: The inexplicability is the whole point. If your view of God’s purpose and intentions provides a reading of his mind for which you can’t find a logical explanation, then maybe your reading is inaccurate.

In my attempt to understand God's creation, I must accept what is known. My explanations are reasonable thoughts in regard to a Creator who is purposeful, selfless in His intentions and sees Himself as gaining nothing for himself, except the satisfaction of a job well done. You don't look at Him that way. In interpreting a very diverse bush of life, My best idea is that it provides food until evolution runs its current course. That humans are His main purpose is obvious. We are currently at the present end of evolution. Since humans are so much in control it appears likely to me major evolution is over and unimagined very advanced new species will not appear. I see nothing 'inexplicable' in my views, but then my views of God are not yours.


DAVID: You are dealing with my faith belief that God is the creator and is fully in control. I've given my reasons for jumping the chasm as developed from scientific discoveries. My logic is not your logic on your agnostic side of the chasm.

dhw: I accept your scientific reasons (design) for your faith that God is the creator, but with my theist hat on, I can make no sense of your highly subjective reading (totally divorced from science) of his powers, purpose, and method of achieving that purpose, the three of which you yourself cannot fit together.

It all fits together for me. Even in creating whales to create a very complex ecosystem in oceans.


dhw: Your logical gap is expanding: (a) If your God wanted to produce a whale, why bother with intermediate stages, and (b) if your God only wanted to produce H. sapiens, why bother with eight stages of whale?

God chose to evolve what appears. There is no reason for me to know why. I simply must accept his choice of method. Perhaps His creative powers require it. Religions in the Bible infer the ability for direct creation, but the Bible, in my view, is a human creation, not the real truth.

dhw: Once more, please explain why your God needed to provide food, then different food, then more different food in order to fulfil his one purpose (us), which you believe he could have done without whales, since he’s in full control.

DAVID: I accept what we see God create. You don't.

And as above, you view God very differently than I do. I can explain whales to my satisfaction.


dhw: If he exists, I can hardly not accept what he created! But that does not mean he created every innovation, econiche etc. for 3.5+ billion years, or that he did so only in order to produce us.

God used evolution for creation . That is obvious. We're here. What is not obvious to you? Except you view God very differently than I do.

DAVID: I accept His method, as illogical as it may seem to you.

dhw: You not “accept” his method of preprogramming and/or dabbling every innovation, econiche etc.; you have imposed it on what you see, and the illogicality lies in the irreconcilability of the three factors listed above.

Of course I accept His result, and then propose reasonable explanations. You see irreconcilability when I do not. Your view of God is not my view as above.


DAVID: Why become more complex if it makes survival more difficult? Talk about illogical!

dhw: ... Once more: if you really believe that survivability plays no role, please explain why you think your God changed legs to fins, and extracted pre-baleen teeth and then a few million years later inserted baleens for the sake of complexity and not survival.

Of course, in creating new ecosystems, the organisms in that system must be capable of survival. God is not inconsistent in his methods.

dhw: And please explain the relevance of your statement that “humans survive better than any other animal on earth with the modifications as they came out of the trees.”

Answered immediately above.

Divine purposes and methods

by dhw, Wednesday, December 19, 2018, 10:33 (209 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: If your view of God’s purpose and intentions provides a reading of his mind for which you can’t find a logical explanation, then maybe your reading is inaccurate.

DAVID: In my attempt to understand God's creation, I must accept what is known. My explanations are reasonable thoughts in regard to a Creator who is purposeful, selfless in His intentions and sees Himself as gaining nothing for himself, except the satisfaction of a job well done. You don't look at Him that way.

An interesting set of assumptions about God's character by someone who claims that we shouldn’t try to read God’s mind. But I agree that your God must have had a purpose in creating life. The “satisfaction of a job well done” does not explain why he gave himself the job in the first place, but it is perfectly reasonable to suppose that he set himself a task that would bring him satisfaction. Why do you think your first-cause, isolated God needed to do something that would bring him satisfaction?

DAVID: In interpreting a very diverse bush of life, My best idea is that it provides food until evolution runs its current course.

So God said to himself: “I shall create all sorts of life so that they can keep eating each other until I decide enough is enough, and that will give me satisfaction.”

DAVID: That humans are His main purpose is obvious.

We have had this conversation before, and I asked you what other purpose he might have had, if humans were his “main” purpose. The answer until now has been that humans were his only purpose.

dhw: I accept your scientific reasons (design) for your faith that God is the creator, but with my theist hat on, I can make no sense of your highly subjective reading (totally divorced from science) of his powers, purpose, and method of achieving that purpose, the three of which you yourself cannot fit together.

DAVID: It all fits together for me. Even in creating whales to create a very complex ecosystem in oceans.

So now God says to himself: “I want to create complex and very complex ecosystems, and these will give me satisfaction.” That’s logical enough on its own – the pleasure of creating all sorts of creatures. But it does not mean that all these complex ecosystems were designed to keep life going until he could fulfil what you keep telling us was his sole purpose from the beginning – H. sapiens. THAT is where your hypotheses become irreconcilable.

dhw: Your logical gap is expanding: (a) If your God wanted to produce a whale, why bother with intermediate stages, and (b) if your God only wanted to produce H. sapiens, why bother with eight stages of whale?

DAVID: God chose to evolve what appears. There is no reason for me to know why. I simply must accept his choice of method. Perhaps His creative powers require it. Religions in the Bible infer the ability for direct creation, but the Bible, in my view, is a human creation, not the real truth.

Forget the Bible, then. It is you who insist that he is in full control. His choice of method to do what? If he wanted to gain the satisfaction of creating lots of different ecosystems, your hypothesis makes sense: the pleasure of watching different forms of life evolve. You say he designed each one, and I suggest that he equipped them to do the designing themselves. The end product is the same. But if his sole purpose was to create us, you run into your logical brick wall: why specially create the whale if he could have created us without the whale?

DAVID: I can explain whales to my satisfaction.

Only by changing God’s purpose, as you have done above.

dhw: ... Once more: if you really believe that survivability plays no role, please explain why you think your God changed legs to fins, and extracted pre-baleen teeth and then a few million years later inserted baleens for the sake of complexity and not survival.

DAVID: Of course, in creating new ecosystems, the organisms in that system must be capable of survival. God is not inconsistent in his methods.

We are discussing your insistence that survival plays little or no role in evolution. So did your God perform the above operations for the satisfaction of creating a new toothless whale and a new ecosystem (nothing to do with fulfilling his sole purpose of creating us), or were they designed to enable the pre-whale and pre-baleen whale to survive?

dhw: And please explain the relevance of your statement that “humans survive better than any other animal on earth with the modifications as they came out of the trees.”

DAVID: Answered immediately above.

Not answered at all. If your God specially designed modifications that enable humans to survive better than any other animal, how can you say survivability played little or no role in the modifications your God specially designed?

DAVID (under “How we became marathoners”): A gene has been found, which allowed us to run down prey. We sweat, they don't. And later: On two feet we obviously needed this ability to run down game.

But according to you, this evolutionary development enhancing our ability to catch our food has nothing to do with survivability.

Divine purposes and methods

by David Turell @, Wednesday, December 19, 2018, 18:36 (209 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: Why do you think your first-cause, isolated God needed to do something that would bring him satisfaction?

We view God differently. He is purposeful in creation. He exists to create.

dhw: I accept your scientific reasons (design) for your faith that God is the creator, but with my theist hat on, I can make no sense of your highly subjective reading (totally divorced from science) of his powers, purpose, and method of achieving that purpose, the three of which you yourself cannot fit together.

I don't fit them together, just interpret what I see.


DAVID: It all fits together for me. Even in creating whales to create a very complex ecosystem in oceans.

dhw: So now God says to himself: “I want to create complex and very complex ecosystems, and these will give me satisfaction.” That’s logical enough on its own – the pleasure of creating all sorts of creatures. But it does not mean that all these complex ecosystems were designed to keep life going until he could fulfil what you keep telling us was his sole purpose from the beginning – H. sapiens. THAT is where your hypotheses become irreconcilable.

If God chose to evolve, and He did, and as humans are the goal as I see it, life had to eat during the 3.5+ billion years. Perfectly logical, but unacceptable to you for some reason I cannot see.

dhw: Forget the Bible, then. It is you who insist that he is in full control. His choice of method to do what? If he wanted to gain the satisfaction of creating lots of different ecosystems, your hypothesis makes sense: the pleasure of watching different forms of life evolve. You say he designed each one, and I suggest that he equipped them to do the designing themselves. The end product is the same. But if his sole purpose was to create us, you run into your logical brick wall: why specially create the whale if he could have created us without the whale?

Simply because He obviously didn't want to do it that way . Just accept what history tells us.

dhw: ... Once more: if you really believe that survivability plays no role, please explain why you think your God changed legs to fins, and extracted pre-baleen teeth and then a few million years later inserted baleens for the sake of complexity and not survival.

DAVID: Of course, in creating new ecosystems, the organisms in that system must be capable of survival. God is not inconsistent in his methods.

dhw:We are discussing your insistence that survival plays little or no role in evolution. So did your God perform the above operations for the satisfaction of creating a new toothless whale and a new ecosystem (nothing to do with fulfilling his sole purpose of creating us), or were they designed to enable the pre-whale and pre-baleen whale to survive?

New forms have to be designed to survive, or what is the purpose of these new organisms?


dhw: And please explain the relevance of your statement that “humans survive better than any other animal on earth with the modifications as they came out of the trees.”

DAVID: Answered immediately above.

dhw: Not answered at all. If your God specially designed modifications that enable humans to survive better than any other animal, how can you say survivability played little or no role in the modifications your God specially designed?

Of course new organisms had to designed to survive or evolution stops. Remember I view God as running the show of evolution. You view evolution from a chance natural mechanism, or have God give up some of His controls. Why should He?


DAVID (under “How we became marathoners”): A gene has been found, which allowed us to run down prey. We sweat, they don't. And later: On two feet we obviously needed this ability to run down game.

dhw: But according to you, this evolutionary development enhancing our ability to catch our food has nothing to do with survivability.

God designs us for survivability. If we didn't survive, what is the point of making us? My view is survivability does not drive evolution, God does. You are still pure Darwin, even if you hate my saying so.

Divine purposes and methods

by dhw, Thursday, December 20, 2018, 10:17 (208 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: [God] sees himself as gaining nothing for himself, except the satisfaction of a job well done.

dhw: Why do you think your first-cause, isolated God needed to do something that would bring him satisfaction?

DAVID: We view God differently. He is purposeful in creation. He exists to create.

Of course he is purposeful (if he exists). I don’t understand what you mean by “he exists to create”. As first cause, he must make his own purposes. So why do you think he wanted to give himself the satisfaction of a job well done?

dhw: I accept your scientific reasons (design) for your faith that God is the creator, but with my theist hat on, I can make no sense of your highly subjective reading (totally divorced from science) of his powers, purpose, and method of achieving that purpose, the three of which you yourself cannot fit together.

DAVID: I don't fit them together, just interpret what I see.
Later: If God chose to evolve, and He did, and as humans are the goal as I see it, life had to eat during the 3.5+ billion years. Perfectly logical, but unacceptable to you for some reason I cannot see.

You yourself can’t understand why he chose to specially design 3.5+ billion years’ worth of innovations, econiches etc. in order to fulfil what you think was his one and only purpose of producing H. sapiens, even though you think he is always in full control. What you refuse to see is that your own mystification at such an indirect method might mean that your interpretation of the method or of the purpose could be wrong.

Dhw …why specially create the whale if he could have created us without the whale?

DAVID: Simply because He obviously didn't want to do it that way. Just accept what history tells us.

History does not tell us that your God created the whale for the sole purpose of providing a new econiche in order to provide food until he could produce H. sapiens, which he could have done whenever he liked since he was always in full control.

dhw: We are discussing your insistence that survival plays little or no role in evolution. So did your God perform the above operations for the satisfaction of creating a new toothless whale and a new ecosystem (nothing to do with fulfilling his sole purpose of creating us), or were they designed to enable the pre-whale and pre-baleen whale to survive?

DAVID: New forms have to be designed to survive, or what is the purpose of these new organisms? And later: Of course new organisms had to designed to survive or evolution stops.

If they have to be designed to survive, how can you argue that survivability plays no part in the design?

DAVID: God designs us for survivability. If we didn't survive, what is the point of making us? My view is survivability does not drive evolution, God does.

You have been on and on about evolution resulting from the drive for complexity as opposed to the drive for survival. I am pointing out to you that even if your God did design whale fins and baleens and 50,000 spider webs and the monarch’s migration and the cuttlefish’s camouflage, these all serve the purpose of enabling those organisms to survive. Therefore even in your hypothesis, survivability plays a major role in your God’s design, and hence in your God-controlled evolution.

Divine purposes and methods

by David Turell @, Thursday, December 20, 2018, 14:13 (208 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I don't fit them together, just interpret what I see.
Later: If God chose to evolve, and He did, and as humans are the goal as I see it, life had to eat during the 3.5+ billion years. Perfectly logical, but unacceptable to you for some reason I cannot see.

dhw You yourself can’t understand why he chose to specially design 3.5+ billion years’ worth of innovations, econiches etc. in order to fulfil what you think was his one and only purpose of producing H. sapiens, even though you think he is always in full control. What you refuse to see is that your own mystification at such an indirect method might mean that your interpretation of the method or of the purpose could be wrong.

History does not tell us that your God created the whale for the sole purpose of providing a new econiche in order to provide food until he could produce H. sapiens, which he could have done whenever he liked since he was always in full control.

DAVID: New forms have to be designed to survive, or what is the purpose of these new organisms? And later: Of course new organisms had to designed to survive or evolution stops.

If they have to be designed to survive, how can you argue that survivability plays no part in the design?

DAVID: God designs us for survivability. If we didn't survive, what is the point of making us? My view is survivability does not drive evolution, God does.

dhw: You have been on and on about evolution resulting from the drive for complexity as opposed to the drive for survival. I am pointing out to you that even if your God did design whale fins and baleens and 50,000 spider webs and the monarch’s migration and the cuttlefish’s camouflage, these all serve the purpose of enabling those organisms to survive. Therefore even in your hypothesis, survivability plays a major role in your God’s design, and hence in your God-controlled evolution.

One simple answer. God is in charge. He is the driving force behind evolution. Since that is the case all of the Darwin theory about survivability and the struggle to survive is out the window. That is no need for me to explain why God chose to evolve life to the point it is at. Of course each level of complexity He creates will survive until He moves on to the next more complex stage. From that viewpoint all of my theories make perfect sense. Of course, you don't look at it that way, so it makes no sense to you even as you make your attempts at being theistic.

Divine purposes and methods

by dhw, Friday, December 21, 2018, 10:26 (207 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: God designs us for survivability. If we didn't survive, what is the point of making us? My view is survivability does not drive evolution, God does.

dhw: You have been on and on about evolution resulting from the drive for complexity as opposed to the drive for survival. I am pointing out to you that even if your God did design whale fins and baleens and 50,000 spider webs and the monarch’s migration and the cuttlefish’s camouflage, these all serve the purpose of enabling those organisms to survive. Therefore even in your hypothesis, survivability plays a major role in your God’s design, and hence in your God-controlled evolution.

DAVID: One simple answer. God is in charge. He is the driving force behind evolution. Since that is the case all of the Darwin theory about survivability and the struggle to survive is out the window.

If God exists, of course he is in charge and of course he is the driving force behind evolution. But I’m sorry, that does not mean your interpretation of his purposes and methods has to be correct. In your hypothesis, were the fins, baleens, webs, migration and camouflage designed to aid survivability or not? If they were, it is clearly absurd to say that survivability plays no role even in your view of evolution as a divinely preprogrammed or directly dabbled process. And if we regard as possible my own (theistic) hypothesis that your God created the mechanism for organisms to devise their own means of survival, the theist can still say that God is in charge, and the result is precisely what he wanted: innovations, econiches, lifestyles and natural wonders, all geared to the survival of the organisms concerned.

DAVID: That is no need for me to explain why God chose to evolve life to the point it is at. Of course each level of complexity He creates will survive until He moves on to the next more complex stage. From that viewpoint all of my theories make perfect sense. Of course, you don't look at it that way, so it makes no sense to you even as you make your attempts at being theistic.

There is no need for you to explain anything, but that makes all discussion pointless. If you admit you can’t understand why something was done in a certain way, you can hardly go on to say that it makes perfect sense. As for my “attempts at being theistic”, they are attempts to gain insight into the great mysteries that none of us can solve. I am an agnostic because I am torn 50/50 between belief and disbelief. That does not mean my attempts to understand the purposes and methods of a possible God are any less valid than your own. That is why I try to find explanations that make sense, and – to redress the balance between us – that is why your scientific approach to the mystery of life itself is of such great value to me. But in discussing your God’s purposes and methods, I look for the same logic you apply to your argument for your God’s existence. I can’t find it. You admit that you can’t find it either, but you don’t need to and clearly don’t want to. Perhaps we should therefore close this thread, but the same problem will keep arising whenever you tell us that a particular innovation, econiche, lifestyle or natural wonder is evidence for your highly personal interpretation of your God’s purposes and methods.

Divine purposes and methods

by David Turell @, Friday, December 21, 2018, 19:16 (207 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: If God exists, of course he is in charge and of course he is the driving force behind evolution. But I’m sorry, that does not mean your interpretation of his purposes and methods has to be correct. In your hypothesis, were the fins, baleens, webs, migration and camouflage designed to aid survivability or not? If they were, it is clearly absurd to say that survivability plays no role even in your view of evolution as a divinely preprogrammed or directly dabbled process. And if we regard as possible my own (theistic) hypothesis that your God created the mechanism for organisms to devise their own means of survival, the theist can still say that God is in charge, and the result is precisely what he wanted: innovations, econiches, lifestyles and natural wonders, all geared to the survival of the organisms concerned.

DAVID: That is no need for me to explain why God chose to evolve life to the point it is at. Of course each level of complexity He creates will survive until He moves on to the next more complex stage. From that viewpoint all of my theories make perfect sense. Of course, you don't look at it that way, so it makes no sense to you even as you make your attempts at being theistic.

dhw: There is no need for you to explain anything, but that makes all discussion pointless. If you admit you can’t understand why something was done in a certain way, you can hardly go on to say that it makes perfect sense. As for my “attempts at being theistic”, they are attempts to gain insight into the great mysteries that none of us can solve. I am an agnostic because I am torn 50/50 between belief and disbelief. That does not mean my attempts to understand the purposes and methods of a possible God are any less valid than your own. That is why I try to find explanations that make sense, and – to redress the balance between us – that is why your scientific approach to the mystery of life itself is of such great value to me. But in discussing your God’s purposes and methods, I look for the same logic you apply to your argument for your God’s existence. I can’t find it. You admit that you can’t find it either, but you don’t need to and clearly don’t want to. Perhaps we should therefore close this thread, but the same problem will keep arising whenever you tell us that a particular innovation, econiche, lifestyle or natural wonder is evidence for your highly personal interpretation of your God’s purposes and methods. (my bold)

Our view of God differs widely. Of course my interpretation is personal. I don't intend it to be otherwise. I have no reason to accept your view of God, which I view as very skewed to a very skeptical position. Of course God makes survivable organisms. He couldn't do otherwise. But I view God as the prime mover and controller of evolution and thus survival which is necessary is a secondary consideration to God's control. As for the bolded statement that I can 't understand God's methods, note I didn't claim it made perfect sense. I don't have to. I accept what I see as God's chosen method. I can wonder why, but that doesn't stop me from accepting it and then analyzing what I see. It is obvious you can't do that and end up on your foggy picket fence. I would ask you, if you could fully explain God's methods and reasoning, would you accept Him? I doubt it.

Divine purposes and methods

by dhw, Saturday, December 22, 2018, 11:41 (206 days ago) @ David Turell

Dhw: (under “Little foot”) I don’t understand why a God who 1) is always in full control, and 2) has the one and only purpose of creating the brain of H. sapiens, would 3) design all these different combinations. Nor do you, so maybe one or more of your three assumptions is wrong.

DAVID: We can't get around the point Little Foot had a somewhat advanced brain circulatory system. Progress toward H. sapiens apparently went at different speeds in different areas of Africa. I can't explain it clearly to you without assuming God may have been experimenting with different approaches to evolution of humans based on differing environments, differing circulatory arrangements. There is no reason not to entertain God as being somewhat of a tinkerer. No loss of full control, but as an experimenter working things out. […]

Thank you. Experimentation was one of the four options I offered you, but you rejected it when I pointed out that this could only mean (a) he didn’t know what he was looking for, or (b) he did know what he was looking for, but didn’t know how to get it. Your insistence that his sole purpose from the beginning was to produce the brain of H. sapiens knocks out (a). And (b): “I want to produce H. sapiens, but first I must spend 3.5+ billion years producing millions of other life forms and econiches etc. before I even start – and even then I don’t know how to do it” does not suggest full control. An alternative view would be that H. sapiens was a late addition to his experimenting, and/or that the whole of life is one vast experiment, and/or that instead of tinkering with pre-whale legs, cuttlefish camouflage, 50,000 spider webs and the weaverbird’s nest in order to provide food until he could tinker with hominins, he created a mechanism which enabled all these organisms to work out their own ways of survival while he watched with interest to see what they would come up with (though he might occasionally have dabbled).

dhw: If you admit you can’t understand why something was done in a certain way, you can hardly go on to say that it makes perfect sense. […] I look for the same logic you apply to your argument for your God’s existence. I can’t find it. You admit that you can’t find it either, but you don’t need to and clearly don’t want to.

DAVID: Our view of God differs widely. Of course my interpretation is personal. I don't intend it to be otherwise. I have no reason to accept your view of God, which I view as very skewed to a very skeptical position.

This particular discussion does not concern our general view of God; it concerns your very precise interpretation of his evolutionary purposes and methods.

DAVID: Of course God makes survivable organisms. He couldn't do otherwise. But I view God as the prime mover and controller of evolution and thus survival which is necessary is a secondary consideration to God's control.

For the sake of argument, I have accepted your view of your God as the prime mover. We are discussing two questions: 1) The degree of control that he has or wishes to have; 2) whether survivability plays any role in evolution. As regards 1) see the “Little Foot” comment above. As regards 2), even if your God did specially design the fins, the baleens, the camouflage, the webs, the instruments for navigation and migration, you can hardly deny that they are all essential to the survival of the respective organisms. This would be so, no matter what evolutionary hypothesis we accept. So how can you say that survivability plays no role in evolution, which consists precisely in the development of such innovations?

DAVID: As for the bolded statement that I can't understand God's methods, note I didn't claim it made perfect sense.

You wrote: “Of course each level of complexity He creates will survive until He moves on to the next more complex stage. From that viewpoint all of my theories make perfect sense.
They don’t, because you can’t explain why your God has to design all the above complexities in order to produce what you believe to be his one and only goal: us.

DAVID: I don't have to. I accept what I see as God's chosen method.

That simply means you accept your own interpretation, even though it does NOT make sense to you.

DAVID: I can wonder why, but that doesn't stop me from accepting it and then analyzing what I see. It is obvious you can't do that and end up on your foggy picket fence.

I certainly can’t accept an interpretation that doesn’t make sense. But I also analyse what I see, and try to offer alternative views that do make sense. My picket fence has nothing to do with the logic of the different interpretations of why and how your God might have created and run evolution.

DAVID: I would ask you, if you could fully explain God's methods and reasoning, would you accept Him? I doubt it.

My acceptance of any theory is irrelevant. We can only speculate about your God’s existence, methods and reason, but it seems to me that a logical speculation is more likely than an illogical one.

Divine purposes and methods

by David Turell @, Saturday, December 22, 2018, 16:53 (206 days ago) @ dhw
edited by David Turell, Saturday, December 22, 2018, 17:00

DAVID: There is no reason not to entertain God as being somewhat of a tinkerer. No loss of full control, but as an experimenter working things out. […]

dhw: Thank you. Experimentation was one of the four options I offered you, but you rejected it when I pointed out that this could only mean (a) he didn’t know what he was looking for, or (b) he did know what he was looking for, but didn’t know how to get it. Your insistence that his sole purpose from the beginning was to produce the brain of H. sapiens knocks out (a). And (b): “I want to produce H. sapiens, but first I must spend 3.5+ billion years producing millions of other life forms and econiches etc. before I even start – and even then I don’t know how to do it” does not suggest full control. An alternative view would be that H. sapiens was a late addition to his experimenting, and/or that the whole of life is one vast experiment, and/or that instead of tinkering with pre-whale legs, cuttlefish camouflage, 50,000 spider webs and the weaverbird’s nest in order to provide food until he could tinker with hominins, he created a mechanism which enabled all these organisms to work out their own ways of survival while he watched with interest to see what they would come up with (though he might occasionally have dabbled).

Other than the tinkerer possibility is that using the DNA code system requires a stepwise development from single cells to humans, adding complexity one advance at a time, which I have previously mentioned as a drive to complexity. If God gave the organisms at an early level the ability to develop the next species how would they know what to create without his guidance? I've agreed an IM would either need guidelines or be limited to adaptations of existing forms. Since I am sure God knew His goals, He had to remain in charge.

DAVID: Of course God makes survivable organisms. He couldn't do otherwise. But I view God as the prime mover and controller of evolution and thus survival which is necessary is a secondary consideration to God's control.

dhw: For the sake of argument, I have accepted your view of your God as the prime mover. We are discussing two questions: 1) The degree of control that he has or wishes to have; 2) whether survivability plays any role in evolution. As regards 1) see the “Little Foot” comment above. As regards 2), even if your God did specially design the fins, the baleens, the camouflage, the webs, the instruments for navigation and migration, you can hardly deny that they are all essential to the survival of the respective organisms. This would be so, no matter what evolutionary hypothesis we accept. So how can you say that survivability plays no role in evolution, which consists precisely in the development of such innovations?

What don't you understand? I've said, of course, God must make organisms that will survive, so if God is the designer and the driving force, survival is not a driving force. It is built into the process.


DAVID: As for the bolded statement that I can't understand God's methods, note I didn't claim it made perfect sense.

dhw: You wrote: “Of course each level of complexity He creates will survive until He moves on to the next more complex stage. From that viewpoint all of my theories make perfect sense.
They don’t, because you can’t explain why your God has to design all the above complexities in order to produce what you believe to be his one and only goal: us.

DAVID: I don't have to. I accept what I see as God's chosen method.

dhw: That simply means you accept your own interpretation, even though it does NOT make sense to you.

It does make sense to me. Ecosystems and econiches have been logically explained.


DAVID: I can wonder why, but that doesn't stop me from accepting it and then analyzing what I see. It is obvious you can't do that and end up on your foggy picket fence.

dhw: I certainly can’t accept an interpretation that doesn’t make sense. But I also analyse what I see, and try to offer alternative views that do make sense. My picket fence has nothing to do with the logic of the different interpretations of why and how your God might have created and run evolution.

DAVID: I would ask you, if you could fully explain God's methods and reasoning, would you accept Him? I doubt it.

dhw: My acceptance of any theory is irrelevant. We can only speculate about your God’s existence, methods and reason, but it seems to me that a logical speculation is more likely than an illogical one.

You don't like my logical speculations. Tinkerer is less logical than DNA advancement manager, but I'm willing to consider every possibility before settling on one that fits God's role as prime mover. You take every opportunity to make Him less than prime! My entry about marathoning is a great example of stepwise: out of trees on two feet and loss of hair to allow hunting by running down game that can't outrun the hominin:
Tuesday, December 18, 2018, 21:30

Divine purposes and methods

by dhw, Sunday, December 23, 2018, 09:34 (205 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: There is no reason not to entertain God as being somewhat of a tinkerer. No loss of full control, but as an experimenter working things out. […]

dhw: Thank you. Experimentation was one of the four options I offered you, but you rejected it when I pointed out that this could only mean (a) he didn’t know what he was looking for, or (b) he did know what he was looking for, but didn’t know how to get it. Your insistence that his sole purpose from the beginning was to produce the brain of H. sapiens knocks out (a). And (b): “I want to produce H. sapiens, but first I must spend 3.5+ billion years producing millions of other life forms and econiches etc. before I even start – and even then I don’t know how to do it” does not suggest full control.

DAVID: Other than the tinkerer possibility is that using the DNA code system requires a stepwise development from single cells to humans, adding complexity one advance at a time, which I have previously mentioned as a drive to complexity.

In the process of evolution, the stepwise development is not a straight line from single cells to humans! It entails countless steps to countless species, econiches, lifestyles and natural wonders extant and extinct – and these do not entail one advance at a time, as the bush of life spreads out in all directions.

DAVID: If God gave the organisms at an early level the ability to develop the next species how would they know what to create without his guidance? [..]

Yet again, my suggestion is that in spite of your “large organisms chauvinism”, cells/cell communities are not automatons but thinking beings, and as evolution progresses. SOME of them work out ways of surviving (adaptation – observed even today) or new ways of improving their chances of survival (innovation – not proven), using the intelligence which your God may have given them. You tell us he can do anything he wants, so he could have devised a mechanism to enable organisms to do their own autonomous adapting and inventing.

DAVID: Since I am sure God knew His goals, He had to remain in charge.

Not if his goal was to create a process that would function independently of his control (with the option of a dabble if he felt like it).

dhw: […] even if your God did specially design the fins, the baleens, the camouflage, the webs, the instruments for navigation and migration, you can hardly deny that they are all essential to the survival of the respective organisms. This would be so, no matter what evolutionary hypothesis we accept. So how can you say that survivability plays no role in evolution, which consists precisely in the development of such innovations?

DAVID: What don't you understand? I've said, of course, God must make organisms that will survive, so if God is the designer and the driving force, survival is not a driving force. It is built into the process.

You claim that survivability plays no role in evolution. I pointed out to you that the purpose of all the innovations listed above is to enable the organisms to survive. You agree. Those innovations ARE evolution! So – in your theistic version – your God designed them to enable the organisms to survive (so that they would keep life going until he could design you and me), but you say survivability plays no role in evolution! Once more: in ANY version, the purpose of all these innovations (which constitute the advance of evolution) was to aid survival.

DAVID: I accept what I see as God's chosen method.

dhw: That simply means you accept your own interpretation, even though it does NOT make sense to you.

DAVID: It does make sense to me. Ecosystems and econiches have been logically explained.

Yes, econiches are essential to the continuation of life. Perfectly logical. What is not logical is millions of econiches being specially designed for millions of different organisms to supply different types of food until your God can design the only thing he wants to design, which is you and me.

DAVID: You don't like my logical speculations. Tinkerer is less logical than DNA advancement manager, but I'm willing to consider every possibility before settling on one that fits God's role as prime mover. You take every opportunity to make Him less than prime!

Absolutely not! If he exists, of course he is prime, and he is prime in all the theistic hypotheses I have offered you but which you are NOT willing to consider. You keep admitting that you can’t explain why he “chose” higgledy-piggledy evolution as his method to fulfil his one and only goal, and then you claim that nevertheless your speculations are logical!

DAVID: My entry about marathoning is a great example of stepwise: out of trees on two feet and loss of hair to allow hunting by running down game that can't outrun the hominin: Tuesday, December 18, 2018, 21:30.

Indeed, an excellent example of Darwinian stepwise evolution, and as you quite rightly indicate, this step enabled the hominin to improve his chances of survival – although you will tell us in the same breath that this step in evolution had nothing to do with survival.

Divine purposes and methods

by David Turell @, Sunday, December 23, 2018, 19:48 (205 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Since I am sure God knew His goals, He had to remain in charge.

dhw: Not if his goal was to create a process that would function independently of his control (with the option of a dabble if he felt like it).

I think you wish He would be that way but I view the evidence from evolution as being obviously too purposeful to fit that scenario. Evidence: take humans out of trees and remove their hair so they can outrun game, or predators.


DAVID: What don't you understand? I've said, of course, God must make organisms that will survive, so if God is the designer and the driving force, survival is not a driving force. It is built into the process.

dhw: You claim that survivability plays no role in evolution. I pointed out to you that the purpose of all the innovations listed above is to enable the organisms to survive. You agree. Those innovations ARE evolution! So – in your theistic version – your God designed them to enable the organisms to survive (so that they would keep life going until he could design you and me), but you say survivability plays no role in evolution! Once more: in ANY version, the purpose of all these innovations (which constitute the advance of evolution) was to aid survival.

I don't know why you are arguing. I've said as prime mover God will design for survival .


DAVID: You don't like my logical speculations. Tinkerer is less logical than DNA advancement manager, but I'm willing to consider every possibility before settling on one that fits God's role as prime mover. You take every opportunity to make Him less than prime!

dhw: Absolutely not! If he exists, of course he is prime, and he is prime in all the theistic hypotheses I have offered you but which you are NOT willing to consider. You keep admitting that you can’t explain why he “chose” higgledy-piggledy evolution as his method to fulfil his one and only goal, and then you claim that nevertheless your speculations are logical!

Logically I don't have to explain. i simply have to interpret what He did.


DAVID: My entry about marathoning is a great example of stepwise: out of trees on two feet and loss of hair to allow hunting by running down game that can't outrun the hominin: Tuesday, December 18, 2018, 21:30.

dhw: Indeed, an excellent example of Darwinian stepwise evolution, and as you quite rightly indicate, this step enabled the hominin to improve his chances of survival – although you will tell us in the same breath that this step in evolution had nothing to do with survival.

Your interpretation of my statement is exactly opposite to the meaning of my statements.

Divine purposes and methods

by dhw, Monday, December 24, 2018, 09:04 (204 days ago) @ David Turell

I am again telescoping threads.

DAVID: Evolution is a process of building from one stage onto another more advanced stage.

Each of which introduces new means of survival in order to cope with ever changing conditions. It also branches out into a great bush, which throws into question your hypothesis that your God’s sole purpose from the very beginning was to create the brain of H. sapiens.

DAVID: Survival must occur until it is no longer necessary at that particular stage. Raup called it "Bad Luck" from his Darwin viewpoint.

Evolution occurs when organisms acquire new structures (either autonomously or through your God) which help them to survive. Organisms fail to survive when they are unable to adapt to new conditions. It’s bad luck whether they lack the means to survive or your God decides he’s had enough of them, but any innovation that enables them to survive (a) advances evolution, and (b) makes nonsense of the claim that survivability plays little or no role in evolution. Even you admit that the fins and baleens and camouflage and migration patterns and spider webs are instruments for survival!

DAVID: Linnemann makes sense only if organisms can speciate on their own and make the giant leaps in form and physiology that major speciation implies. Your reliance on survival as a driving force is a direct repudiation of any possibility of God existing.

If your God invented a mechanism enabling organisms to design their own means of survival, there is no repudiation of the possibility of God’s existence. It is only a repudiation of your personal belief that your God himself designed every facet of evolution, and did so in order to enable organisms to survive until he could design H. sapiens, although apparently survivability plays no role in evolution!

DAVID: Since I am sure God knew His goals, He had to remain in charge.

dhw: Not if his goal was to create a process that would function independently of his control (with the option of a dabble if he felt like it).

DAVID: I think you wish He would be that way but I view the evidence from evolution as being obviously too purposeful to fit that scenario. Evidence: take humans out of trees and remove their hair so they can outrun game, or predators.

I don’t “wish” anything. You claim that he had to remain in charge. I have pointed out that if his goal was to create a process that did NOT require him to be in charge, your statement is inaccurate.

Meanwhile, you could hardly offer a better example of the role survivability plays in evolution. Your God removes the hair and sets the hominin up on two legs with the purpose of enabling him to catch food or escape from predators – two crucial ways of surviving, and yet you tell us that “there is little real evidence that survival plays any role in evolution if humans are used as an example” and “humans survive better than any other animal on earth with the modifications as they came out of the trees.” Likewise with your favourite example of the whale. Did your God change pre-whale’s legs into fins for the sake of complexity, or for the sake of survival in a new environment?

DAVID: I don't know why you are arguing. I've said as prime mover God will design for survival.

But you keep telling us that survival has no role in evolution!

DAVID: I'm willing to consider every possibility before settling on one that fits God's role as prime mover. You take every opportunity to make Him less than prime!

dhw: Absolutely not! If he exists, of course he is prime, and he is prime in all the theistic hypotheses I have offered you but which you are NOT willing to consider. You keep admitting that you can’t explain why he “chose” higgledy-piggledy evolution as his method to fulfil his one and only goal, and then you claim that nevertheless your speculations are logical!

DAVID: Logically I don't have to explain. i simply have to interpret what He did.

We are discussing several interpretations of what he did. In my view, an interpretation which makes logical sense is more likely to be true than an interpretation which even the interpreter cannot logically explain.

DAVID: My entry about marathoning is a great example of stepwise: out of trees on two feet and loss of hair to allow hunting by running down game that can't outrun the hominin: Tuesday, December 18, 2018, 21:30.

dhw: Indeed, an excellent example of Darwinian stepwise evolution, and as you quite rightly indicate, this step enabled the hominin to improve his chances of survival – although you will tell us in the same breath that this step in evolution had nothing to do with survival.

DAVID: Your interpretation of my statement is exactly opposite to the meaning of my statements.

As above, you tell us that the purpose of the evolutionary changes was to catch prey and avoid predators (= survival), and yet you tell us that survival plays no role in evolution. One of these statements is “exactly opposite” to the other.

Divine purposes and methods

by David Turell @, Monday, December 24, 2018, 17:54 (204 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Linnemann makes sense only if organisms can speciate on their own and make the giant leaps in form and physiology that major speciation implies. Your reliance on survival as a driving force is a direct repudiation of any possibility of God existing.

dhw: If your God invented a mechanism enabling organisms to design their own means of survival, there is no repudiation of the possibility of God’s existence. It is only a repudiation of your personal belief that your God himself designed every facet of evolution, and did so in order to enable organisms to survive until he could design H. sapiens, although apparently survivability plays no role in evolution!

What we are debating is the driving force behind each advance or change in evolution as it progresses from simple to complex. I view God as designing each advance and providing for necessary survival in each stage. My point could not be clearer. You constantly muddy the waters with your insistence that I do not recognize survival has a role: dhw: "apparently survivability plays no role in evolution!" Of course it has a role, but it is not the driving force as touted by you and your mentor, Darwin. And that God is the designer is much more than my personal belief. There is a whole crowd of scientifically trained ID'ers who believe as I do. Be careful of personal attacks. You have had no scientific training!


DAVID: Since I am sure God knew His goals, He had to remain in charge.

dhw: Not if his goal was to create a process that would function independently of his control (with the option of a dabble if he felt like it).

It is convenient of you to invent any type of God invention you wish, which apparently is to diminish God's purposeful drive and goal orientation.

DAVID: Logically I don't have to explain. i simply have to interpret what He did.

dhw: We are discussing several interpretations of what he did. In my view, an interpretation which makes logical sense is more likely to be true than an interpretation which even the interpreter cannot logically explain.

I have logically explained, and you have illogically rejected the concepts.


DAVID: My entry about marathoning is a great example of stepwise: out of trees on two feet and loss of hair to allow hunting by running down game that can't outrun the hominin: Tuesday, December 18, 2018, 21:30.

dhw: Indeed, an excellent example of Darwinian stepwise evolution, and as you quite rightly indicate, this step enabled the hominin to improve his chances of survival – although you will tell us in the same breath that this step in evolution had nothing to do with survival.

DAVID: Your interpretation of my statement is exactly opposite to the meaning of my statements.

dhw: As above, you tell us that the purpose of the evolutionary changes was to catch prey and avoid predators (= survival), and yet you tell us that survival plays no role in evolution. One of these statements is “exactly opposite” to the other.

I've agreed survival is required, necessary, but my point, which you keep dodging, is survival is not the driving force!

Divine purposes and methods

by dhw, Thursday, December 27, 2018, 09:30 (201 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Linnemann makes sense only if organisms can speciate on their own and make the giant leaps in form and physiology that major speciation implies. Your reliance on survival as a driving force is a direct repudiation of any possibility of God existing.

dhw: If your God invented a mechanism enabling organisms to design their own means of survival, there is no repudiation of the possibility of God’s existence. It is only a repudiation of your personal belief that your God himself designed every facet of evolution, and did so in order to enable organisms to survive until he could design H. sapiens, although apparently survivability plays no role in evolution!

DAVID: What we are debating is the driving force behind each advance or change in evolution as it progresses from simple to complex. I view God as designing each advance and providing for necessary survival in each stage. My point could not be clearer. You constantly muddy the waters with your insistence that I do not recognize survival has a role: dhw: "apparently survivability plays no role in evolution!" Of course it has a role, but it is not the driving force as touted by you and your mentor, Darwin.

You suddenly started this discussion, on the thread “Introducing the brain; complexity: autopilot”, when you claimed (9 December at 19.56) that “there is little real evidence that survival plays any role in evolution if humans are used as an example”. In response I wrote: “Why you keep harping on about survival is a mystery to me, except that it is part of your Darwinphobia.” I challenged your claim with examples (fins, baleens, monarch migration, spiders’ webs) and later humans (hairlessness and bipedalism as aids to hunting and escape from predators), all of which improve chances of survival. You have now accepted this, but have switched the argument to God being the “driving force”, designing each advance. (Survival doesn’t design anything – in this context it is a purpose not a force.) This is a different subject altogether, in which my alternative hypothesis is that God does not design each advance but the “driving force” is cellular intelligence, perhaps designed by your God. (Darwin’s proposal is random mutations with gradual refinements and natural selection.) If you now wish to withdraw your statement that “there is little real evidence that survival plays any role in evolution”, we can end this part of the discussion.

Another disagreement concerns your belief that the motivation for each change is complexification, not survivability. I see no point in complexity for the sake of complexity, and again point out that I do not regard fins, toothlessness and baleens as more complex than legs and teeth. Nor do I see the great bush of life as a straight progression from simple to complex, and I cannot find any logical connection with your overall hypothesis summarized below.

DAVID: And that God is the designer is much more than my personal belief. There is a whole crowd of scientifically trained ID'ers who believe as I do. Be careful of personal attacks. You have had no scientific training!

My criticisms of your overall hypothesis – your God designed every innovation, econiche, lifestyle and natural wonder to provide food so that life would survive until he could fulfil his sole purpose of producing H. sapiens, although he is always in full control – is not meant as a personal attack, and I apologize if that is the impression you have gained. I simply find it illogical. But I must point out that my lack of scientific training does not miraculously endow this hypothesis or the complexity-rather-than-survivability hypothesis with any scientific basis or theistic logic. It’s true that there are crowds of scientifically trained ID scientists who think God is the designer (40%?), and the rest (60%?) think there may be a designer God or no designer God at all. Your scientific training provides you with a logical basis for your belief in God, but not for your interpretation of his possible purposes and methods.

DAVID: Since I am sure God knew His goals, He had to remain in charge.

dhw: Not if his goal was to create a process that would function independently of his control (with the option of a dabble if he felt like it).

DAVID: It is convenient of you to invent any type of God invention you wish, which apparently is to diminish God's purposeful drive and goal orientation.

My hypothesis is not a matter of “convenience”, and there is no diminishing of your God’s purposeful drive or goal orientation if he set out to create what his method actually did create: an ever changing bush of life. You can’t explain why your always-in-control God chose to achieve your idea of his sole purpose (us) by your idea of his method (3.5+ billion years’ worth of specially designed organisms that have little or nothing to do with us). I can only repeat that if you can’t explain your hypothesis, perhaps you should consider the different scenarios I have proposed, which are not beliefs but alternative explanations, the logic of which you have not denied. In fairness, though, you have agreed that experimentation (e.g. your God not knowing how to achieve his purpose, which = his not being in full control) is possible.

Divine purposes and methods

by David Turell @, Thursday, December 27, 2018, 22:45 (201 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: What we are debating is the driving force behind each advance or change in evolution as it progresses from simple to complex. I view God as designing each advance and providing for necessary survival in each stage. My point could not be clearer. You constantly muddy the waters with your insistence that I do not recognize survival has a role: dhw: "apparently survivability plays no role in evolution!" Of course it has a role, but it is not the driving force as touted by you and your mentor, Darwin.

dhw: I challenged your claim with examples (fins, baleens, monarch migration, spiders’ webs) and later humans (hairlessness and bipedalism as aids to hunting and escape from predators), all of which improve chances of survival. You have now accepted this, but have switched the argument to God being the “driving force”, designing each advance. (Survival doesn’t design anything – in this context it is a purpose not a force.) This is a different subject altogether, in which my alternative hypothesis is that God does not design each advance but the “driving force” is cellular intelligence, perhaps designed by your God. (Darwin’s proposal is random mutations with gradual refinements and natural selection.) If you now wish to withdraw your statement that “there is little real evidence that survival plays any role in evolution”, we can end this part of the discussion.

Obviously intelligence is the driving force. The role survival plays is survival, which is a requirement for any process of evolution. That is all I have ever claimed.


dhw: Another disagreement concerns your belief that the motivation for each change is complexification, not survivability. I see no point in complexity for the sake of complexity, and again point out that I do not regard fins, toothlessness and baleens as more complex than legs and teeth. Nor do I see the great bush of life as a straight progression from simple to complex, and I cannot find any logical connection with your overall hypothesis summarized below.

Again you ignore the evidence bacteria present. There was never a need for them to complexify into multicellular forms. Does necessity drive evolution? No!


dhw: My criticisms of your overall hypothesis – your God designed every innovation, econiche, lifestyle and natural wonder to provide food so that life would survive until he could fulfil his sole purpose of producing H. sapiens, although he is always in full control – is not meant as a personal attack, and I apologize if that is the impression you have gained. I simply find it illogical. But I must point out that my lack of scientific training does not miraculously endow this hypothesis or the complexity-rather-than-survivability hypothesis with any scientific basis or theistic logic. It’s true that there are crowds of scientifically trained ID scientists who think God is the designer (40%?), and the rest (60%?) think there may be a designer God or no designer God at all. Your scientific training provides you with a logical basis for your belief in God, but not for your interpretation of his possible purposes and methods.

I agree it is my interpretation of the science, which I view as granting me the right to quote whomever scientist I read and re-interpret his/her conclusions to fit my views from my training. As for my illogicality, if humans are the current pinnacle of evolutionary achievement one cannot avoid the conclusion they, based on the issue of necessary advancement, noted above, are the current and perhaps only goal. N o ay tgo den y that.


dhw: My hypothesis is not a matter of “convenience”, and there is no diminishing of your God’s purposeful drive or goal orientation if he set out to create what his method actually did create: an ever changing bush of life. You can’t explain why your always-in-control God chose to achieve your idea of his sole purpose (us) by your idea of his method (3.5+ billion years’ worth of specially designed organisms that have little or nothing to do with us). I can only repeat that if you can’t explain your hypothesis, perhaps you should consider the different scenarios I have proposed, which are not beliefs but alternative explanations, the logic of which you have not denied. In fairness, though, you have agreed that experimentation (e.g. your God not knowing how to achieve his purpose, which = his not being in full control) is possible.

You continue to logically recognize the need for food energy for life'd evolution to continue over time, but refuse to accept it as a prime reason for the bush of diversity, and invent spectacle which has no basis on logical clues, while the need for food is obvious. I use what we obviously know, nothing more. I suggest adding nothing which lacks evidence, which is all I suggest using as I do.

Divine purposes and methods

by dhw, Friday, December 28, 2018, 12:21 (200 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Obviously intelligence is the driving force. The role survival plays is survival, which is a requirement for any process of evolution. That is all I have ever claimed.

The starting point of this discussion was your claim that “there is little real evidence that survival plays any role in evolution”. All the developments I listed (fins, baleens, camouflage, migration, webs etc.), plus millions of others, constitute evolution, and you believe your God designed them all for the purpose of survival, so if you now wish to withdraw your original claim, we can end this part of the discussion.

dhw: Another disagreement concerns your belief that the motivation for each change is complexification, not survivability. I see no point in complexity for the sake of complexity, and again point out that I do not regard fins, toothlessness and baleens as more complex than legs and teeth. Nor do I see the great bush of life as a straight progression from simple to complex, and I cannot find any logical connection with your overall hypothesis summarized below.

DAVID: Again you ignore the evidence bacteria present. There was never a need for them to complexify into multicellular forms. Does necessity drive evolution? No!

I have made the same point over and over again: we do not know why multicellularity occurred, but once it had, the innovations which constitute evolution were either necessary for survival or improved organisms’ chances of survival, as you have now agreed. Again you ignore the fact that evolution was not a straight line from simple to complex, and the great bush does not suggest that your God’s only purpose was to create us.

dhw: Your scientific training provides you with a logical basis for your belief in God, but not for your interpretation of his possible purposes and methods.

DAVID: I agree it is my interpretation of the science, which I view as granting me the right to quote whomever scientist I read and re-interpret his/her conclusions to fit my views from my training.

I have never questioned your right to quote whichever scientists you like, and to interpret their findings as you wish. However, I do question your right to dismiss my own criticisms of your conclusions on the grounds that I have had no scientific training, and would point out that scientists who disagree with you have had just as much scientific training as you have.

DAVID: As for my illogicality, if humans are the current pinnacle of evolutionary achievement one cannot avoid the conclusion they, based on the issue of necessary advancement, noted above, are the current and perhaps only goal. No way to deny that. [dhw: I have rewritten your last sentence as it somehow got garbled.]

I have no objection to the argument that humans are currently the most intelligent and most powerful evolutionary achievement. Your illogicality lies in your belief that your God is always in full control and yet spent 3.5+ billion years specially designing millions of innovations, econiches, lifestyles and natural wonders to provide food for more and more innovations, econiches, lifestyles and natural wonders before specially designing what you keep telling us was his only goal (though modified here with “perhaps”). Well, perhaps we weren’t his only goal. Perhaps – if he exists – his goal was to create the great bush of life (whether directly or indirectly through the invention of cellular intelligence) which constitutes life’s history, or perhaps humans came as a later idea, or he was experimenting to achieve his goal (= not always in full control).

DAVID: You continue to logically recognize the need for food energy for life'd evolution to continue over time, but refuse to accept it as a prime reason for the bush of diversity…

I don’t know why you insert “over time”, but otherwise I most certainly do accept the need for food energy as a prime reason for the bush of diversity. Once multicellularity had begun, survival depended on the ability to eat and not be eaten, so different organisms (combinations of cells) progressively found different ways of finding food while not becoming food – hence the fact now acknowledged by you that the innovations I have listed (fins, baleens etc.) serve the purpose of survival.

DAVID: ...and invent spectacle which has no basis on logical clues, while the need for food is obvious. I use what we obviously know, nothing more. I suggest adding nothing which lacks evidence, which is all I suggest using as I do.

I’m glad you recognize as obvious the point that, far from survival not playing any role in evolution, evolutionary innovation has resulted from the need for organisms to obtain food in order to survive, to which we must add the need to cope with changing environmental conditions (which 99% of organisms have failed to do). What you have added are the various hypotheses – all lacking evidence – listed above in the sentence beginning “Your illogicality lies…”

Divine purposes and methods

by David Turell @, Friday, December 28, 2018, 18:08 (200 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Obviously intelligence is the driving force. The role survival plays is survival, which is a requirement for any process of evolution. That is all I have ever claimed.

dhw: The starting point of this discussion was your claim that “there is little real evidence that survival plays any role in evolution”. All the developments I listed (fins, baleens, camouflage, migration, webs etc.), plus millions of others, constitute evolution, and you believe your God designed them all for the purpose of survival, so if you now wish to withdraw your original claim, we can end this part of the discussion.

We know something drives evolution. I've always said survival doesn't. My above quote was simply referencing to that point, but was not clear to you, and I should have stated it more directly.

DAVID: Again you ignore the evidence bacteria present. There was never a need for them to complexify into multicellular forms. Does necessity drive evolution? No!

dhw: I have made the same point over and over again: we do not know why multicellularity occurred, but once it had, the innovations which constitute evolution were either necessary for survival or improved organisms’ chances of survival, as you have now agreed. Again you ignore the fact that evolution was not a straight line from simple to complex, and the great bush does not suggest that your God’s only purpose was to create us.

Why do you persist in ignoring God's chosen method? What you describe is how He did it. I'm simply using the facts of history and we are here as the present end point of evolution.

dhw: I have never questioned your right to quote whichever scientists you like, and to interpret their findings as you wish. However, I do question your right to dismiss my own criticisms of your conclusions on the grounds that I have had no scientific training, and would point out that scientists who disagree with you have had just as much scientific training as you have.

Thank you for allowing me to interpret science. You have simply found a very few scientists who support your a priori view, while I view their verbiage as hyperbole about known biochemical facts in regard to reactions.


dhw: I have no objection to the argument that humans are currently the most intelligent and most powerful evolutionary achievement. Your illogicality lies in your belief that your God is always in full control and yet spent 3.5+ billion years specially designing millions of innovations, econiches, lifestyles and natural wonders to provide food for more and more innovations, econiches, lifestyles and natural wonders before specially designing what you keep telling us was his only goal (though modified here with “perhaps”). Well, perhaps we weren’t his only goal. Perhaps – if he exists – his goal was to create the great bush of life (whether directly or indirectly through the invention of cellular intelligence) which constitutes life’s history, or perhaps humans came as a later idea, or he was experimenting to achieve his goal (= not always in full control).

You are simply questioning God's chosen method with your own psychoanalysis of God's mind. I say He chose to do it this way because that is what the facts are.


DAVID: You continue to logically recognize the need for food energy for life'd evolution to continue over time, but refuse to accept it as a prime reason for the bush of diversity…

I don’t know why you insert “over time”, but otherwise I most certainly do accept the need for food energy as a prime reason for the bush of diversity. Once multicellularity had begun, survival depended on the ability to eat and not be eaten, so different organisms (combinations of cells) progressively found different ways of finding food while not becoming food – hence the fact now acknowledged by you that the innovations I have listed (fins, baleens etc.) serve the purpose of survival.

DAVID: ...and invent spectacle which has no basis on logical clues, while the need for food is obvious. I use what we obviously know, nothing more. I suggest adding nothing which lacks evidence, which is all I suggest using as I do.

dhw: I’m glad you recognize as obvious the point that, far from survival not playing any role in evolution, evolutionary innovation has resulted from the need for organisms to obtain food in order to survive, to which we must add the need to cope with changing environmental conditions (which 99% of organisms have failed to do). What you have added are the various hypotheses – all lacking evidence – listed above in the sentence beginning “Your illogicality lies…”

My hypotheses are simply reasonable explanations for God's chosen method , while you simply add your humanizing thoughts about His mental process.

Divine purposes and methods

by dhw, Saturday, December 29, 2018, 12:14 (199 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: The starting point of this discussion was your claim that “there is little real evidence that survival plays any role in evolution”. All the developments I listed (fins, baleens, camouflage, migration, webs etc.), plus millions of others, constitute evolution, and you believe your God designed them all for the purpose of survival, so if you now wish to withdraw your original claim, we can end this part of the discussion.

DAVID: We know something drives evolution. I've always said survival doesn't. My above quote was simply referencing to that point, but was not clear to you, and I should have stated it more directly.

Thank you. I think we now agree that survival has a vital role to play in evolution, but the means of survival – all the innovations, lifestyles and natural wonders – are created by an unknown something. Hypotheses include 1) direct design by a god or gods; 2) design by cellular intelligence which may or may not have been designed by a god or gods; 3) random mutations followed by refinements and natural selection in a process which may or may not have been started by a god or gods; 4) an atheistic form of panpsychism, with intelligence evolving from bottom up as opposed to the top-down intelligence of a god or gods. I hope that’s a fair summary of the options.

DAVID: Again you ignore the evidence bacteria present. There was never a need for them to complexify into multicellular forms. Does necessity drive evolution? No!

dhw: I have made the same point over and over again: we do not know why multicellularity occurred, but once it had, the innovations which constitute evolution were either necessary for survival or improved organisms’ chances of survival, as you have now agreed. Again you ignore the fact that evolution was not a straight line from simple to complex, and the great bush does not suggest that your God’s only purpose was to create us.

DAVID: Why do you persist in ignoring God's chosen method? What you describe is how He did it. I'm simply using the facts of history and we are here as the present end point of evolution. And later:
DAVID: You are simply questioning God's chosen method with your own psychoanalysis of God's mind. I say He chose to do it this way because that is what the facts are.

If God exists, of course evolution was his chosen method, but the question is: method to do what? You continually assume that you know his purpose (us) and you know his method (direct creation through preprogramming and/or dabbling). Neither of these are facts. I agree that we are here (as are many other life forms) and are currently the most intelligent and powerful species, but not even you can explain why, if he is in full control and we are his sole purpose, he chose to specially design 3.5+ billion years’ worth of innovations, econiches, lifestyles and natural wonders so that organisms could go on eating one another until he could specially design us. So maybe he did NOT set out only to produce H. sapiens. Maybe he set out to produce what the facts tell us he did produce, whether directly or indirectly: the great higgledy-piggledy bush of life. Maybe he wasn’t in full control and kept experimenting to see what would happen, or to see if he could somehow produce a self-aware being who would think about him and have a relationship with him (your own bit of psychoanalysis). And maybe his method was not direct creation of each branch (a hypothesis, not a fact) but creation of a mechanism enabling organisms to create their own branches (also a hypothesis and not a fact). There are multiple hypotheses to be extrapolated from the “facts”, and although of course you can say that God chose to achieve what you think was his purpose by what you think was his method, your saying it does not turn it into a fact.

dhw: I have never questioned your right to quote whichever scientists you like, and to interpret their findings as you wish. However, I do question your right to dismiss my own criticisms of your conclusions on the grounds that I have had no scientific training, and would point out that scientists who disagree with you have had just as much scientific training as you have.

DAVID: [...] You have simply found a very few scientists who support your a priori view, while I view their verbiage as hyperbole about known biochemical facts in regard to reactions.

Firstly, I am not just talking about cellular intelligence! What percentage of scientists believe that there is a God whose sole purpose was to create H. sapiens, but who specially designed every innovation etc. before specially designing H. sapiens, and who specially changed legs into fins before sending whales into the water? Secondly, cellular intelligence is no more an a priori view than your own insistence that despite a 50/50 chance of “my” scientists being right, you are right. Their conclusions are based on a lifetime’s study of cellular behaviour, not on an a priori view. Thirdly, just to clarify,I offer this option as an alternative hypothesis to your own and to Darwin’s, to explain how evolution might work. It is not a fixed belief, but I think it merits very serious consideration.

Divine purposes and methods

by David Turell @, Saturday, December 29, 2018, 19:23 (199 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: We know something drives evolution. I've always said survival doesn't. My above quote was simply referencing to that point, but was not clear to you, and I should have stated it more directly.

dhw: Thank you. I think we now agree that survival has a vital role to play in evolution, but the means of survival – all the innovations, lifestyles and natural wonders – are created by an unknown something.

Of course it has a role. Without survival evolution cannot continue, but contra Darwin it doesn't drive evolution.

dhw: Hypotheses include 1) direct design by a god or gods; 2) design by cellular intelligence which may or may not have been designed by a god or gods; 3) random mutations followed by refinements and natural selection in a process which may or may not have been started by a god or gods; 4) an atheistic form of panpsychism, with intelligence evolving from bottom up as opposed to the top-down intelligence of a god or gods. I hope that’s a fair summary of the options.

Fair enough.

DAVID: You are simply questioning God's chosen method with your own psychoanalysis of God's mind. I say He chose to do it this way because that is what the facts are.

dhw: If God exists, of course evolution was his chosen method, but the question is: method to do what?

Why do you constantly question the evolution of humans as God's purpose? That is what has happened and there is no visible reason for it. What we left behind in the other primates has evidence that they will do just fine, if we don't continue to crowd them out.

dhw: You continually assume that you know his purpose (us) and you know his method (direct creation through preprogramming and/or dabbling). Neither of these are facts. I agree that we are here (as are many other life forms) and are currently the most intelligent and powerful species, but not even you can explain why, if he is in full control and we are his sole purpose, he chose to specially design 3.5+ billion years’ worth of innovations, econiches, lifestyles and natural wonders so that organisms could go on eating one another until he could specially design us.

Once again you want to dig into His mind, with no way of knowing where to go in your thinking, but to create human inventions of His logic. We all can guess, since that it all we have. I interpret the evidence as I see it, and see logic in the diversity as providing energy to take the time to evolve. As for questioning His full control, that allows him to chose any method He wished. I don't know why you won't accept that. I do.

DAVID: [...] You have simply found a very few scientists who support your a priori view, while I view their verbiage as hyperbole about known biochemical facts in regard to reactions.

dhw: Firstly, I am not just talking about cellular intelligence! What percentage of scientists believe that there is a God whose sole purpose was to create H. sapiens, but who specially designed every innovation etc. before specially designing H. sapiens, and who specially changed legs into fins before sending whales into the water? Secondly, cellular intelligence is no more an a priori view than your own insistence that despite a 50/50 chance of “my” scientists being right, you are right. Their conclusions are based on a lifetime’s study of cellular behaviour, not on an a priori view. Thirdly, just to clarify,I offer this option as an alternative hypothesis to your own and to Darwin’s, to explain how evolution might work. It is not a fixed belief, but I think it merits very serious consideration.

You keep fussing about the time evolution took. Accept that it did. From a naturalist viewpoint like Darwin, there is no obvious reason for bacteria to advance to multicellular. Multicellular involves multiple problems which require design. Marked environmental challenges like mammals stuck in water require monumental design problems. The advance to humans required monumental design of skeletal posture as well has creating a brain like no other. As for a priori reasoning, not my case: I was agnostic until I studied evolution from as scientific standpoint, and I discovered there had to be a designer mind. So how unbelievable as it seems there has to be God. You understand that reasoning but can't accept it. Your problem, not mine. The history of evolution is a complete story and it presents the need for a designer. I've also had a lifetime study of cellular behavior and all I've ever seen in the studies is logical automaticity of response. You are the a priori guy. Be sure to look at pointy eggs and whales. What we are debating about is all in the information hidden in the code of the genome's black box . We know what it runs but not how, and it is obvious to me it contains all the intelligent responses to stimuli needed. The designer did all the needed thinking in the autonomous automatic design. You do not run your body as it survives. You use your body for your chosen activities, thanks to the autonomic system it has. You've admitted you have no answer for the requirement of design. Enjoy the pickets!

Divine purposes and methods

by dhw, Sunday, December 30, 2018, 08:53 (198 days ago) @ David Turell

Again I have edited this in order to clarify the arguments.

DAVID: You are simply questioning God's chosen method with your own psychoanalysis of God's mind. I say He chose to do it this way because that is what the facts are.

dhw: If God exists, of course evolution was his chosen method, but the question is: method to do what?

DAVID: Why do you constantly question the evolution of humans as God's purpose? That is what has happened and there is no visible reason for it. What we left behind in the other primates has evidence that they will do just fine, if we don't continue to crowd them out.

As we have agreed so many times before, and as you repeat below, there is no visible reason why evolution should have proceeded beyond bacteria. The fact that humans are more self-aware, intelligent and powerful than any other species does not mean that your God specially designed millions of other species extant and extinct merely in order to provide food so that life could go on for 3.5+ billion years until he could produce us.

DAVID: I interpret the evidence as I see it, and see logic in the diversity as providing energy to take the time to evolve. As for questioning His full control, that allows him to chose any method He wished. I don't know why you won't accept that. I do.

And this is where your logic breaks down, as you readily admit, because you cannot explain why, if humans were his sole purpose and he was in full control and could choose any method he wished, he chose to spend 3.5+ thousand million years specially designing millions of life forms, econiches, lifestyles and natural wonders before he specially designed us.

DAVID: You keep fussing about the time evolution took. Accept that it did.

Of course evolution has taken time, and will continue to take time until life dies out! That doesn’t mean your God gave himself the commandment: “Thou shalt take 3.5+ billion years and specially design and kill off millions of life forms etc. before specially designing the one thing thou wantest to design.”

DAVID: From a naturalist viewpoint like Darwin, there is no obvious reason for bacteria to advance to multicellular. Multicellular involves multiple problems which require design. Marked environmental challenges like mammals stuck in water require monumental design problems. The advance to humans required monumental design of skeletal posture as well has creating a brain like no other.

Precisely. Yet again: If your God could choose any method he liked to fulfil his one and only purpose, why did he specially design whale fins and baleens, cuttlefish camouflage, monarch migration, 50,000 spider webs, all the complexities of all the mammals and reptiles and birds and fish extant and extinct for 3.5+ billion years? You can’t explain it, so maybe one or other or all of your hypotheses (God in total control, H. sapiens as sole purpose, special design of all life forms etc.) are wrong.

DAVID: As for a priori reasoning, not my case: I was agnostic until I studied evolution from as scientific standpoint, and I discovered there had to be a designer mind.

I have always accepted the logic behind your belief in design. Your “a priori” comment and mine referred to cellular intelligence, not to your belief in God.

DAVID: I've also had a lifetime study of cellular behavior and all I've ever seen in the studies is logical automaticity of response. You are the a priori guy.

The scientists I quote have also had a lifetime study of cells, and have reached a different, a posteriori conclusion. You admit that the odds are 50/50. I have not reached any conclusion, but have used their findings as the basis of a hypothesis. I keep telling you that it is a hypothesis, not a belief, but I find it at least as convincing as your own hypotheses.

DAVID: Be sure to look at pointy eggs and whales. What we are debating about is all in the information hidden in the code of the genome's black box . We know what it runs but not how, and it is obvious to me it contains all the intelligent responses to stimuli needed. […] You do not run your body as it survives. You use your body for your chosen activities, thanks to the autonomic system it has.

I like the analogy. We don’t know how it runs, but there is a 50/50 chance that micro-organisms use their autonomous intelligence as I do (though to nothing like the same degree) to process information, communicate it to others, take decisions etc. and perform their chosen activities through the autonomic parts of their bodies.

Divine purposes and methods

by David Turell @, Sunday, December 30, 2018, 15:34 (198 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: As we have agreed so many times before, and as you repeat below, there is no visible reason why evolution should have proceeded beyond bacteria. The fact that humans are more self-aware, intelligent and powerful than any other species does not mean that your God specially designed millions of other species extant and extinct merely in order to provide food so that life could go on for 3.5+ billion years until he could produce us.

I'm simply accepting that what evolution's history shows us is God's work, and all you are doing is rejecting that approach as an agnostic. Therefore, it is simple for me to believe God ran the process of evolution and ended up with our appearance. I believe. You don't.


dhw: And this is where your logic breaks down, as you readily admit, because you cannot explain why, if humans were his sole purpose and he was in full control and could choose any method he wished, he chose to spend 3.5+ thousand million years specially designing millions of life forms, econiches, lifestyles and natural wonders before he specially designed us.

I accept what I see as God's work. You are the one with the logic problem about His choices. Evolution is obviously a driven process, and it is easy to see God as the driver.


DAVID: You keep fussing about the time evolution took. Accept that it did.

dhw: Of course evolution has taken time, and will continue to take time until life dies out! That doesn’t mean your God gave himself the commandment: “Thou shalt take 3.5+ billion years and specially design and kill off millions of life forms etc. before specially designing the one thing thou wantest to design.”

You are questioning God's decisions who remains hidden. So I must conclude you have a direct conduit into his intentions and decisions. For you God is not logical. You are an agnostic and have every right to judge His logic as you see it.


dhw: Precisely. Yet again: If your God could choose any method he liked to fulfil his one and only purpose, why did he specially design whale fins and baleens, cuttlefish camouflage, monarch migration, 50,000 spider webs, all the complexities of all the mammals and reptiles and birds and fish extant and extinct for 3.5+ billion years? You can’t explain it, so maybe one or other or all of your hypotheses (God in total control, H. sapiens as sole purpose, special design of all life forms etc.) are wrong.

I' don't explain. I Interpret. If God used time consuming evolution as His production process all the diversity provides food for survive of life. Totally logical.


DAVID: Be sure to look at pointy eggs and whales. What we are debating about is all in the information hidden in the code of the genome's black box . We know what it runs but not how, and it is obvious to me it contains all the intelligent responses to stimuli needed. […] You do not run your body as it survives. You use your body for your chosen activities, thanks to the autonomic system it has.

dhw: I like the analogy. We don’t know how it runs, but there is a 50/50 chance that micro-organisms use their autonomous intelligence as I do (though to nothing like the same degree) to process information, communicate it to others, take decisions etc. and perform their chosen activities through the autonomic parts of their bodies.

Bacterial intelligence is the intelligent information and instructions in their DNA. I have God as a logical source for it. And as a result I believe that bacteria are totally autonomic.

Divine purposes and methods

by dhw, Monday, December 31, 2018, 13:13 (197 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: As we have agreed so many times before, and as you repeat below, there is no visible reason why evolution should have proceeded beyond bacteria. The fact that humans are more self-aware, intelligent and powerful than any other species does not mean that your God specially designed millions of other species extant and extinct merely in order to provide food so that life could go on for 3.5+ billion years until he could produce us.

DAVID: I'm simply accepting that what evolution's history shows us is God's work, and all you are doing is rejecting that approach as an agnostic. Therefore, it is simple for me to believe God ran the process of evolution and ended up with our appearance. I believe. You don't.

This discussion has nothing whatsoever to do with belief in God. I am questioning your interpretation of your God’s purposes and methods because, as below, your interpretation of these is illogical.

DAVID: As for questioning his full control, that allows him to chose any method he wished. I don’t know why you don’t accept that. I do.

dhw: And this is where your logic breaks down, as you readily admit, because you cannot explain why, if humans were his sole purpose and he was in full control and could choose any method he wished, he chose to spend 3.5+ thousand million years specially designing millions of life forms, econiches, lifestyles and natural wonders before he specially designed us.

DAVID: I accept what I see as God's work. You are the one with the logic problem about His choices. Evolution is obviously a driven process, and it is easy to see God as the driver.

But you have acknowledged many times that you cannot explain why, if he could choose any method he wished in order to implement his one and only purpose, he chose to spend 3.5+ billion years specially designing millions of life forms etc., as above. If you cannot find any logical explanation, what you are “accepting” is not God’s work but your own illogical interpretation of his purpose and method.

DAVID: You keep fussing about the time evolution took. Accept that it did.

dhw: Of course evolution has taken time, and will continue to take time until life dies out! That doesn’t mean your God gave himself the commandment: “Thou shalt take 3.5+ billion years and specially design and kill off millions of life forms etc. before specially designing the one thing thou wantest to design.”

DAVID: You are questioning God's decisions who remains hidden. So I must conclude you have a direct conduit into his intentions and decisions. For you God is not logical. You are an agnostic and have every right to judge His logic as you see it.

I am not questioning God’s decisions or his logic. I am questioning the logicality of your interpretation of his intentions and decisions! It is you who can’t explain why a God who is in full control decided to postpone designing the only thing he wanted to design until he had spent 3.5+ billion years specially designing millions of life forms etc. so that they could eat one another. So maybe one, two or all three of these interpretations are wrong.

DAVID: I don't explain. I Interpret. If God used time consuming evolution as His production process all the diversity provides food for survive of life. Totally logical.

It is totally logical that if God exists, he set evolution in motion, and it is totally logical that all organisms provide food for life, and life can’t survive without food. What is totally illogical is the dislocation between full control, single purpose, and 3.5+ billion years of bush, as described above five times.

Divine purposes and methods

by David Turell @, Monday, December 31, 2018, 18:22 (197 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: This discussion has nothing whatsoever to do with belief in God. I am questioning your interpretation of your God’s purposes and methods because, as below, your interpretation of these is illogical.

I'm simply logically noting that diversity in life provides food for evolution to continue. You question 'why so much diversity' as if you think less would do. You question what God did. I don't do that. I simply use what is present and interpret a reasonable explanation.

DAVID: I accept what I see as God's work. You are the one with the logic problem about His choices. Evolution is obviously a driven process, and it is easy to see God as the driver.

dhw: But you have acknowledged many times that you cannot explain why, if he could choose any method he wished in order to implement his one and only purpose, he chose to spend 3.5+ billion years specially designing millions of life forms etc., as above. If you cannot find any logical explanation, what you are “accepting” is not God’s work but your own illogical interpretation of his purpose and method.

Why do I have to explain God's choices of method? He made the choice, I didn't. I simply give a probable explanation of why He did it the way it was done. Nothing illogical. You are the one trying to enter God's mind and producing all sorts of humanistic versions of God's thinking.


DAVID: You keep fussing about the time evolution took. Accept that it did.

dhw: Of course evolution has taken time, and will continue to take time until life dies out! That doesn’t mean your God gave himself the commandment: “Thou shalt take 3.5+ billion years and specially design and kill off millions of life forms etc. before specially designing the one thing thou wantest to design.”

DAVID: You are questioning God's decisions who remains hidden. So I must conclude you have a direct conduit into his intentions and decisions. For you God is not logical. You are an agnostic and have every right to judge His logic as you see it.

dhw: I am not questioning God’s decisions or his logic. I am questioning the logicality of your interpretation of his intentions and decisions! It is you who can’t explain why a God who is in full control decided to postpone designing the only thing he wanted to design until he had spent 3.5+ billion years specially designing millions of life forms etc. so that they could eat one another. So maybe one, two or all three of these interpretations are wrong.

First, I have no obligation to tell you why He chose evolution as His method. I simply accept His decision to evolve advanced complex organisms. Second, humans are the current advanced result of evolution. Therefore they are obviously the current goal of the evolutionary process. But imaging what more can happen in future evolution involves pure guesswork so why bother? I'll stick with what we know. The only illogical event going on is your constant attempting to study God as if He were human and had human thoughts.


DAVID: I don't explain. I Interpret. If God used time consuming evolution as His production process all the diversity provides food for survive of life. Totally logical.

dhw: It is totally logical that if God exists, he set evolution in motion, and it is totally logical that all organisms provide food for life, and life can’t survive without food. What is totally illogical is the dislocation between full control, single purpose, and 3.5+ billion years of bush, as described above five times.

And for the fifth time, we must accept God chose a method and used it. We must accept that from your agnostic viewpoint, God is illogical, because He didn't do it the way you think He should have done it, all from your humanistic logic about Him.

Divine purposes and methods

by dhw, Tuesday, January 01, 2019, 11:47 (196 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: This discussion has nothing whatsoever to do with belief in God. I am questioning your interpretation of your God’s purposes and methods because, as below, your interpretation of these is illogical.

DAVID: I'm simply logically noting that diversity in life provides food for evolution to continue. You question 'why so much diversity' as if you think less would do. You question what God did. I don't do that. I simply use what is present and interpret a reasonable explanation.

If God exists, whatever he did resulted in life’s history as we know it. That is logical. It is also logical to argue that diversity in life provides diverse foods for diverse life forms. I don’t question what he did, but your interpretation of what he did and why he did it, and it is not logical to insist that although he only had ONE purpose (H. sapiens), and could have chosen any way he liked to fulfil that one purpose, he chose to spend 3.5+ billion years specially designing millions of other life forms, econiches, lifestyles and natural wonders extant and extinct that provided food for one another and had nothing to do with H. sapiens.

DAVID: Why do I have to explain God's choices of method? He made the choice, I didn't.

Because there are lots of different possible explanations of your God’s purposes and methods. I am asking you to explain YOUR choice out of all those possible explanations, and you can’t.

DAVID: You are the one trying to enter God's mind and producing all sorts of humanistic versions of God's thinking.

Interpreting God’s purpose entails trying to enter God’s mind. What is under the microscope here is your own personal interpretation of your God’s purposes and methods, but it has undergone an interesting variation, which I have bolded below:

DAVID: […] I simply accept His decision to evolve advanced complex organisms.

If he exists, I would also accept that decision, whether his method was to specially design each new complexity or just to invent the mechanism that would lead to advanced complex organisms.

DAVID: Second, humans are the current advanced result of evolution. Therefore they are obviously the current goal of the evolutionary process.

There is no disagreement that we are the current advanced result of evolution, just as dinosaurs in their day were the current advanced result. However, that does not mean that humans were the goal of the evolutionary process from the very beginning, as you have always maintained, or that your God specially designed dinosaurs, and did so merely in order to provide food until he could specially design humans. See below for alternatives.

DAVID: But imaging what more can happen in future evolution involves pure guesswork so why bother? I'll stick with what we know. The only illogical event going on is your constant attempting to study God as if He were human and had human thoughts.

We are not discussing the future, and we are not discussing any of the human thoughts we both attribute to your God as part of his overall intention (your own being the proposal that he specially designed us so that we would think about him and have a relationship with him, and mine – not totally dissimilar to yours – is that he wished to end his isolation). Neither of these are illogical anyway – they logically explain why he might have wanted to create life.

DAVID: […] we must accept God chose a method and used it. We must accept that from your agnostic viewpoint, God is illogical, because He didn't do it the way you think He should have done it, all from your humanistic logic about Him.

Of course I accept that if your God exists, he chose a method and used it, and I have no doubt that he would have chosen a perfectly logical way to implement his purpose. I am questioning your logic, not his – namely the dislocation between your insistence that he had only one purpose from the very beginning (us), had full control and could choose any method he liked of producing us, but spent 3.5+ billion years specially designing all the branches of the evolutionary bush. Once more, here some theistic alternatives which are no more humanizing than your own but which even you agree are logical: maybe he wanted the diversity of the bush for its own sake and not merely as food to keep life going until he could design us; maybe he wanted to create a self-aware thinking being but didn’t know how to make it; maybe he didn’t think of humans until later in the process. But these alternatives require the exclusion of one or other of your dislocated hypotheses (single purpose, full control, special design of every non-human organism for 3.5+ billion years), and so you reject them.

Divine purposes and methods

by David Turell @, Tuesday, January 01, 2019, 18:42 (196 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I'm simply logically noting that diversity in life provides food for evolution to continue. You question 'why so much diversity' as if you think less would do. You question what God did. I don't do that. I simply use what is present and interpret a reasonable explanation.

dhw: If God exists, whatever he did resulted in life’s history as we know it. That is logical. It is also logical to argue that diversity in life provides diverse foods for diverse life forms. I don’t question what he did, but your interpretation of what he did and why he did it, and it is not logical to insist that although he only had ONE purpose (H. sapiens), and could have chosen any way he liked to fulfil that one purpose, he chose to spend 3.5+ billion years specially designing millions of other life forms, econiches, lifestyles and natural wonders extant and extinct that provided food for one another and had nothing to do with H. sapiens.

We are discussing God's role in evolution. Once again you are in God's mind and telling us/Him what He did is illogical. He chose to evolve over time. Humans are the current endpoint. Of course they are God's goal, and probably the final step. I've explained the need for food, nothing more. You agree to it, so what is your problem with God's choices?


DAVID: Why do I have to explain God's choices of method? He made the choice, I didn't.

dhw; Because there are lots of different possible explanations of your God’s purposes and methods. I am asking you to explain YOUR choice out of all those possible explanations, and you can’t.

I just did above.


dhw: There is no disagreement that we are the current advanced result of evolution, just as dinosaurs in their day were the current advanced result. However, that does not mean that humans were the goal of the evolutionary process from the very beginning, as you have always maintained, or that your God specially designed dinosaurs, and did so merely in order to provide food until he could specially design humans. See below for alternatives.

We are the only result with consciousness which can think of God. That is a major part of the explanation of humans as the primary goal.


DAVID: […] we must accept God chose a method and used it. We must accept that from your agnostic viewpoint, God is illogical, because He didn't do it the way you think He should have done it, all from your humanistic logic about Him.

dhw: Of course I accept that if your God exists, he chose a method and used it, and I have no doubt that he would have chosen a perfectly logical way to implement his purpose. I am questioning your logic, not his – namely the dislocation between your insistence that he had only one purpose from the very beginning (us), had full control and could choose any method he liked of producing us, but spent 3.5+ billion years specially designing all the branches of the evolutionary bush. Once more, here some theistic alternatives which are no more humanizing than your own but which even you agree are logical: maybe he wanted the diversity of the bush for its own sake and not merely as food to keep life going until he could design us; maybe he wanted to create a self-aware thinking being but didn’t know how to make it; maybe he didn’t think of humans until later in the process. But these alternatives require the exclusion of one or other of your dislocated hypotheses (single purpose, full control, special design of every non-human organism for 3.5+ billion years), and so you reject them.

Note the bold. It shows no logic, but directly questions God's choices. Of course I reject your pipe dreams about God' possible thoughts. As I've already stated, you can invent God any way you wish and give Him any type of woolly thinking you can invent. Since God made choices, accept them. The only God invention we see with consciousness is humans, a huge step beyond anything else around in the diversity. If God loved diversity, humans are a dangerous invention. We are reducing diversity!

I'm not dislocated. You are floating around in mid-air supposing various God thoughts with no basis in fact. Evolution is not a play so you can invent dialogue as the playwright you are. God is not an actor. He created the play line plot you don't like.

Divine purposes and methods

by dhw, Wednesday, January 02, 2019, 13:17 (195 days ago) @ David Turell

The following exchanges encapsulate the disagreement between us:

DAVID: […] we must accept God chose a method and used it. We must accept that from your agnostic viewpoint, God is illogical, because He didn't do it the way you think He should have done it, all from your humanistic logic about Him.

dhw: Of course I accept that if your God exists, he chose a method and used it, and I have no doubt that he would have chosen a perfectly logical way to implement his purpose. I am questioning your logic, not his – namely the dislocation between your insistence that he had only one purpose from the very beginning (us), had full control and could choose any method he liked of producing us, but spent 3.5+ billion years specially designing all the branches of the evolutionary bush. Once more, here are some theistic alternatives which are no more humanizing than your own but which even you agree are logical: maybe he wanted the diversity of the bush for its own sake and not merely as food to keep life going until he could design us; maybe he wanted to create a self-aware thinking being but didn’t know how to make it; maybe he didn’t think of humans until later in the process. But these alternatives require the exclusion of one or other of your dislocated hypotheses (single purpose, full control, special design of every non-human organism for 3.5+ billion years), and so you reject them.

DAVID: Note the bold. It shows no logic, but directly questions God's choices. Of course I reject your pipe dreams about God' possible thoughts. As I've already stated, you can invent God any way you wish and give Him any type of woolly thinking you can invent. Since God made choices, accept them. The only God invention we see with consciousness is humans, a huge step beyond anything else around in the diversity. If God loved diversity, humans are a dangerous invention. We are reducing diversity!

Once more, I am not questioning God’s choices or his logic! It is you who assume you know these, and the bold summarizes your hypothesis, and you're right: it shows no logic, which is why I am questioning it. Why would a God with a single purpose and full control specially design millions of life forms, econiches, lifestyles and natural wonders extant and extinct before specially designing the only thing he wanted to design? The alternatives I offer above even include the possibility of humans as his goal, and in the past you have agreed that they are all logical. As for diversity, I did not say he loved anything - the word I used was "wanted", so why do you find it illogical to suggest that your God WANTED the variety provided by the ever changing bush of comings and goings that characterizes life’s history? Humans are unique in their degree of consciousness (even you admit that other animals are conscious, but to a lesser degree), and yes, we are a danger to the current diversity. How does that prove that your God did not want the variety of the ever changing bush? Or do you mean that his choice was to specially design the whale so that his specially designed H. sapiens could come along and destroy it? Or did he not know that this would happen - i.e. he has lost or sacrificed his full control?

DAVID: I'm not dislocated. You are floating around in mid-air supposing various God thoughts with no basis in fact. Evolution is not a play so you can invent dialogue as the playwright you are. God is not an actor. He created the play line plot.

If God exists, of course he wrote the play. But none of these hypothetical plots, including your own, have a basis in fact. The difference between us is that you insist that you know God’s plot: i.e. that his sole purpose was to produce H. sapiens, he knew how to do it, but he chose not to do it until he had specially designed 3.5+ billion years’ worth of life forms etc. so that they could eat each other. I do not insist that I know the plot, I find your version extremely unconvincing, and I offer alternatives which you have agreed fit in logically with the history of life as we know it.

Divine purposes and methods

by David Turell @, Wednesday, January 02, 2019, 15:31 (195 days ago) @ dhw

The following exchanges encapsulate the disagreement between us:

DAVID: […] we must accept God chose a method and used it. We must accept that from your agnostic viewpoint, God is illogical, because He didn't do it the way you think He should have done it, all from your humanistic logic about Him.

dhw: Of course I accept that if your God exists, he chose a method and used it, and I have no doubt that he would have chosen a perfectly logical way to implement his purpose. I am questioning your logic, not his – namely the dislocation between your insistence that he had only one purpose from the very beginning (us), had full control and could choose any method he liked of producing us, but spent 3.5+ billion years specially designing all the branches of the evolutionary bush. Once more, here are some theistic alternatives which are no more humanizing than your own but which even you agree are logical: maybe he wanted the diversity of the bush for its own sake and not merely as food to keep life going until he could design us; maybe he wanted to create a self-aware thinking being but didn’t know how to make it; maybe he didn’t think of humans until later in the process. But these alternatives require the exclusion of one or other of your dislocated hypotheses (single purpose, full control, special design of every non-human organism for 3.5+ billion years), and so you reject them.

DAVID: Note the bold. It shows no logic, but directly questions God's choices. Of course I reject your pipe dreams about God' possible thoughts. As I've already stated, you can invent God any way you wish and give Him any type of woolly thinking you can invent. Since God made choices, accept them. The only God invention we see with consciousness is humans, a huge step beyond anything else around in the diversity. If God loved diversity, humans are a dangerous invention. We are reducing diversity!

dhw: Once more, I am not questioning God’s choices or his logic! It is you who assume you know these, and the bold summarizes your hypothesis, and you're right: it shows no logic, which is why I am questioning it.

Again you see no logic in God's method. My answer is He did it His way. You question why and I try to give a viewpoint which makes sense in and of itself

dhw: Why would a God with a single purpose and full control specially design millions of life forms, econiches, lifestyles and natural wonders extant and extinct before specially designing the only thing he wanted to design?

Again you question the history He created.

dhw: The alternatives I offer above even include the possibility of humans as his goal, and in the past you have agreed that they are all logical. As for diversity, I did not say he loved anything - the word I used was "wanted", so why do you find it illogical to suggest that your God WANTED the variety provided by the ever changing bush of comings and goings that characterizes life’s history?

You have humanistically invented a 'want' for Him to follow. You know God better than I do!

dhw: Humans are unique in their degree of consciousness (even you admit that other animals are conscious, but to a lesser degree,

Minimizing the consciousness gap as usual. Conscious is vastly different from consciousness.

DAVID: I'm not dislocated. You are floating around in mid-air supposing various God thoughts with no basis in fact. Evolution is not a play so you can invent dialogue as the playwright you are. God is not an actor. He created the play line plot.

dhw: If God exists, of course he wrote the play. But none of these hypothetical plots, including your own, have a basis in fact. The difference between us is that you insist that you know God’s plot: i.e. that his sole purpose was to produce H. sapiens, he knew how to do it, but he chose not to do it until he had specially designed 3.5+ billion years’ worth of life forms etc. so that they could eat each other. I do not insist that I know the plot, I find your version extremely unconvincing, and I offer alternatives which you have agreed fit in logically with the history of life as we know it.

I did not invent the plot. I've simply tried to interpret it. I simply took diversity for the food supply and you agree that is logical. You won't accept humans as the goal, but we are here as the current endpoint. Do you envision another? Use current facts. You embellish.

Divine purposes and methods

by dhw, Thursday, January 03, 2019, 10:24 (194 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: […] we must accept God chose a method and used it. We must accept that from your agnostic viewpoint, God is illogical, because He didn't do it the way you think He should have done it, all from your humanistic logic about Him.

dhw: Of course I accept that if your God exists, he chose a method and used it, and I have no doubt that he would have chosen a perfectly logical way to implement his purpose. I am questioning your logic, not his – namely the dislocation between your insistence that he had only one purpose from the very beginning (us), had full control and could choose any method he liked of producing us, but spent 3.5+ billion years specially designing all the branches of the evolutionary bush.

DAVID: Again you see no logic in God's method. My answer is He did it His way. You question why and I try to give a viewpoint which makes sense in and of itself.

I see no logic in YOUR INTERPRETATION of your God’s method to achieve what you believe to have been his one and only purpose. Once again:

dhw: Why would a God with a single purpose and full control specially design millions of life forms, econiches, lifestyles and natural wonders extant and extinct before specially designing the only thing he wanted to design?

DAVID: Again you question the history He created.

No, I question your interpretation of the history he created, as above. If he only wanted to design H. sapiens, why design millions of other life forms that have/had nothing to do with H. sapiens?

dhw: The alternatives I offer above even include the possibility of humans as his goal, and in the past you have agreed that they are all logical. As for diversity, I did not say he loved anything - the word I used was "wanted", so why do you find it illogical to suggest that your God WANTED the variety provided by the ever changing bush of comings and goings that characterizes life’s history?

DAVID: You have humanistically invented a 'want' for Him to follow. You know God better than I do!

I offer various alternatives because I have no idea what your God wanted. It is you who claim to know that he “wanted” only to create H. sapiens, and it is you who insist that despite his full control, he “chose” the method (i.e. that is the method he “wanted” to use) of specially designing 3.5+ billion years’ worth of life forms extant and extinct which had little or nothing to do with H. sapiens.

dhw: Humans are unique in their degree of consciousness (even you admit that other animals are conscious, but to a lesser degree.

DAVID: Minimizing the consciousness gap as usual. Conscious is vastly different from consciousness.

How can conscious be “vastly different” from consciousness? You agree that your dog is conscious/has consciousness, but has nothing like your own degree of it or of your self-awareness.

DAVID: I'm not dislocated. You are floating around in mid-air supposing various God thoughts with no basis in fact. Evolution is not a play so you can invent dialogue as the playwright you are. God is not an actor. He created the play line plot.

dhw: If God exists, of course he wrote the play. But none of these hypothetical plots, including your own, have a basis in fact. The difference between us is that you insist that you know God’s plot: i.e. that his sole purpose was to produce H. sapiens, he knew how to do it, but he chose not to do it until he had specially designed 3.5+ billion years’ worth of life forms etc. so that they could eat each other. I do not insist that I know the plot, I find your version extremely unconvincing, and I offer alternatives which you have agreed fit in logically with the history of life as we know it.

DAVID: I did not invent the plot. I've simply tried to interpret it. I simply took diversity for the food supply and you agree that is logical. You won't accept humans as the goal, but we are here as the current endpoint. Do you envision another? Use current facts. You embellish.

The plot you invented is outlined above. The fact that diverse organisms have to eat one another in order to survive does not explain why your God specially designed them to eat each other for 3.5+ billion years until he specially designed the only thing he wanted to design, which was you and me. I offered you two alternatives which do allow for humans as the goal (experimenting because he didn’t know how to do it, or humans as a late idea during the process of experimentation with all sorts of life forms). These are not embellishments – they are explanations of the gap which you yourself have admitted you can’t explain.

Divine purposes and methods

by David Turell @, Thursday, January 03, 2019, 19:16 (194 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Again you see no logic in God's method. My answer is He did it His way. You question why and I try to give a viewpoint which makes sense in and of itself.

dhw:I see no logic in YOUR INTERPRETATION of your God’s method to achieve what you believe to have been his one and only purpose. Once again:

dhw: Why would a God with a single purpose and full control specially design millions of life forms, econiches, lifestyles and natural wonders extant and extinct before specially designing the only thing he wanted to design?

DAVID: Again you question the history He created.

dhw: No, I question your interpretation of the history he created, as above. If he only wanted to design H. sapiens, why design millions of other life forms that have/had nothing to do with H. sapiens?

Ask God. The point is I don't know why evolution looks like it does. I simply accept God's choice of method and see the need for a food supply, as you also do.


dhw: The alternatives I offer above even include the possibility of humans as his goal, and in the past you have agreed that they are all logical. As for diversity, I did not say he loved anything - the word I used was "wanted", so why do you find it illogical to suggest that your God WANTED the variety provided by the ever changing bush of comings and goings that characterizes life’s history?

DAVID: You have humanistically invented a 'want' for Him to follow. You know God better than I do!

dhw: I offer various alternatives because I have no idea what your God wanted. It is you who claim to know that he “wanted” only to create H. sapiens, and it is you who insist that despite his full control, he “chose” the method (i.e. that is the method he “wanted” to use) of specially designing 3.5+ billion years’ worth of life forms extant and extinct which had little or nothing to do with H. sapiens.

Humans are here. God wanting them to appear explains it.


dhw: Humans are unique in their degree of consciousness (even you admit that other animals are conscious, but to a lesser degree.

DAVID: Minimizing the consciousness gap as usual. Conscious is vastly different from consciousness.

dhw: How can conscious be “vastly different” from consciousness? You agree that your dog is conscious/has consciousness, but has nothing like your own degree of it or of your self-awareness.

And Adler wrote 'The Difference of Man and the Difference it Makes". You are still minimizing the difference.


DAVID: I did not invent the plot. I've simply tried to interpret it. I simply took diversity for the food supply and you agree that is logical. You won't accept humans as the goal, but we are here as the current endpoint. Do you envision another? Use current facts. You embellish.

dhw: The plot you invented is outlined above. The fact that diverse organisms have to eat one another in order to survive does not explain why your God specially designed them to eat each other for 3.5+ billion years until he specially designed the only thing he wanted to design, which was you and me. I offered you two alternatives which do allow for humans as the goal (experimenting because he didn’t know how to do it, or humans as a late idea during the process of experimentation with all sorts of life forms). These are not embellishments – they are explanations of the gap which you yourself have admitted you can’t explain.

Your dreamy suppositions do explain the history, but do not show a driving purpose, and I view God as being very purposeful. I don't have to explain the gap which you constantly demand. I accept the method and but have tried to explain it as it presents itself historically. My reasoning is perfectly logical based on a purposeful God.

Divine purposes and methods

by dhw, Friday, January 04, 2019, 13:34 (193 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Again you question the history He created.

dhw: No, I question your interpretation of the history he created, as above. If he only wanted to design H. sapiens, why design millions of other life forms that have/had nothing to do with H. sapiens?

DAVID: Ask God. The point is I don't know why evolution looks like it does. I simply accept God's choice of method and see the need for a food supply, as you also do.

Unfortunately, neither of us can ask God (if he exists), which is why we can only speculate. All life requires food, and that is irrelevant to the question I asked. I have offered you alternative answers to the question you can’t answer (forms of experimentation), which in the past you have agreed are logical.

dhw: As for diversity, I did not say he loved anything - the word I used was "wanted", so why do you find it illogical to suggest that your God WANTED the variety provided by the ever changing bush of comings and goings that characterizes life’s history?

DAVID: You have humanistically invented a 'want' for Him to follow. You know God better than I do!

dhw: I offer various alternatives because I have no idea what your God wanted. It is you who claim to know that he “wanted” only to create H. sapiens, and it is you who insist that despite his full control, he “chose” the method (i.e. that is the method he “wanted” to use) of specially designing 3.5+ billion years’ worth of life forms extant and extinct which had little or nothing to do with H. sapiens.

DAVID: Humans are here. God wanting them to appear explains it.

Fine. Whales, elephants, mosquitoes and the duckbilled platypus are also here, and dinosaurs were here. God wanting them to appear explains it. The ever changing bush of comings and goings also appeared. God wanting it to appear explains it. So once more: why do you find it illogical to suggest that your God WANTED the variety provided by the ever changing bush of comings and goings that characterizes life’s history?

dhw: Humans are unique in their degree of consciousness (even you admit that other animals are conscious, but to a lesser degree.

DAVID: Minimizing the consciousness gap as usual. Conscious is vastly different from consciousness.

dhw: How can conscious be “vastly different” from consciousness? You agree that your dog is conscious/has consciousness, but has nothing like your own degree of it or of your self-awareness.

DAVID: And Adler wrote 'The Difference of Man and the Difference it Makes". You are still minimizing the difference.

There is no difference between having consciousness and being conscious, and I agree that the difference between human consciousness and animal consciousness is vast. How does that minimize the difference?

dhw: The fact that diverse organisms have to eat one another in order to survive does not explain why your God specially designed them to eat each other for 3.5+ billion years until he specially designed the only thing he wanted to design, which was you and me. I offered you two alternatives which do allow for humans as the goal (experimenting because he didn’t know how to do it, or humans as a late idea during the process of experimentation with all sorts of life forms). These are not embellishments – they are explanations of the gap which you yourself have admitted you can’t explain.

DAVID: Your dreamy suppositions do explain the history, but do not show a driving purpose, and I view God as being very purposeful. I don't have to explain the gap which you constantly demand. I accept the method and but have tried to explain it as it presents itself historically. My reasoning is perfectly logical based on a purposeful God.

I have never at any time seen your God as being anything but purposeful or very purposeful. Of course he had a purpose if he deliberately created life. Even if his one and only purpose was to create a being who – in your words – would think about him and have a relationship with him – you can’t explain why he chose to spend 3.5+ billion years creating millions of other unconnected organisms, lifestyles etc, but you agree that this gap is closed if he had to experiment in order to achieve his purpose (i.e. didn’t know how to do it) or if humans came as a late afterthought as he experimented to see what he could come up with through all these different life forms. You keep harping on about purpose, wrongly claim that my version of your God is not purposeful, and you offer the extremely human purpose mentioned above, but if I offer an alternative purpose (relief of his isolation), you say I’m humanizing him, and when I suggest he wanted to create the bush (= purpose) you say I “have humanistically invented a ‘want’ for Him to follow”, though you say that God wanting humans to appear explains their appearance. Do you not detect a hint here of double standards?

Divine purposes and methods

by David Turell @, Friday, January 04, 2019, 16:08 (193 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Ask God. The point is I don't know why evolution looks like it does. I simply accept God's choice of method and see the need for a food supply, as you also do.

dhw: Unfortunately, neither of us can ask God (if he exists), which is why we can only speculate. All life requires food, and that is irrelevant to the question I asked. I have offered you alternative answers to the question you can’t answer (forms of experimentation), which in the past you have agreed are logical.

Yes logical, which does not require acceptance as the 'best' explanations. A concept of God who decides His actions in required. Mine is not yours.


DAVID: Humans are here. God wanting them to appear explains it.

dhw: Fine. Whales, elephants, mosquitoes and the duckbilled platypus are also here, and dinosaurs were here. God wanting them to appear explains it. The ever changing bush of comings and goings also appeared. God wanting it to appear explains it. So once more: why do you find it illogical to suggest that your God WANTED the variety provided by the ever changing bush of comings and goings that characterizes life’s history?

I know the history. The explanation is ecosystems for food supply. Nothing more. That is obvious. Why invent extra possibilities?


dhw: How can conscious be “vastly different” from consciousness? You agree that your dog is conscious/has consciousness, but has nothing like your own degree of it or of your self-awareness.

DAVID: And Adler wrote 'The Difference of Man and the Difference it Makes". You are still minimizing the difference.

dhw: There is no difference between having consciousness and being conscious, and I agree that the difference between human consciousness and animal consciousness is vast. How does that minimize the difference?

All life easily exists while conscious, except humans who have extraordinary consciousness, and never needed it to live. We are special. Ask yourself why?

DAVID: Your dreamy suppositions do explain the history, but do not show a driving purpose, and I view God as being very purposeful. I don't have to explain the gap which you constantly demand. I accept the method and but have tried to explain it as it presents itself historically. My reasoning is perfectly logical based on a purposeful God.

dhw: I have never at any time seen your God as being anything but purposeful or very purposeful. Of course he had a purpose if he deliberately created life. Even if his one and only purpose was to create a being who – in your words – would think about him and have a relationship with him – you can’t explain why he chose to spend 3.5+ billion years creating millions of other unconnected organisms, lifestyles etc,

I can't explain God's reasoning, so why shouldn't I simply accept history as as I see it and find the one logical explanation of ecosystems for food, which life has to have to continue to evolve over time. You are the struggling one. Just accept the history with the one reason I've given. You constantly try to humanize God to fit your own human puzzlement. He is not human!

dhw: but you agree that this gap is closed if he had to experiment in order to achieve his purpose (i.e. didn’t know how to do it) or if humans came as a late afterthought as he experimented to see what he could come up with through all these different life forms. You keep harping on about purpose, wrongly claim that my version of your God is not purposeful, and you offer the extremely human purpose mentioned above, but if I offer an alternative purpose (relief of his isolation), you say I’m humanizing him, and when I suggest he wanted to create the bush (= purpose) you say I “have humanistically invented a ‘want’ for Him to follow”, though you say that God wanting humans to appear explains their appearance. Do you not detect a hint here of double standards?

Can't you see how you are attempting in this paragraph of suppositions how you are trying to impose human reasoning on Him? Humans are the current endpoint, but you are not sure God wanted them? Stick to what we know. Based on the requirements for survival (Darwin) there is no need for us. Evolution moves from fairly simple to very complex not based on survival but to create more and more complex forms ending in primates. That is God pushing the process. You admit advancing beyond bacteria was not required. Why did it happen if not God in action? Humans are here through God's work, and He used evolution to do it. Yes, He wanted us. The doppelganger here is your human concept of God beyond any reasonable standard.

Divine purposes and methods

by dhw, Saturday, January 05, 2019, 12:47 (192 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: If he only wanted to design H. sapiens, why design millions of other life forms that have/had nothing to do with H. sapiens?

DAVID: Ask God. The point is I don't know why evolution looks like it does. I simply accept God's choice of method and see the need for a food supply, as you also do.

dhw: Unfortunately, neither of us can ask God (if he exists), which is why we can only speculate. All life requires food, and that is irrelevant to the question I asked. I have offered you alternative answers to the question you can’t answer (forms of experimentation), which in the past you have agreed are logical.

DAVID: Yes logical, which does not require acceptance as the 'best' explanations. A concept of God who decides His actions in required. Mine is not yours.

And yours includes the fact that you don’t understand it yourself. Why do you think a God who decides to experiment has not decided to experiment?

DAVID: Humans are here. God wanting them to appear explains it.

dhw: …The ever changing bush of comings and goings also appeared. God wanting it to appear explains it. So once more: why do you find it illogical to suggest that your God WANTED the variety provided by the ever changing bush of comings and goings that characterizes life’s history?

DAVID: I know the history. The explanation is ecosystems for food supply. Nothing more. That is obvious. Why invent extra possibilities?

And what was the purpose of supplying food for specially designed organisms which had nothing to do with the only organism he wanted to design which – according to you –was H. sapiens?

dhw: I agree that the difference between human consciousness and animal consciousness is vast. How does that minimize the difference?

DAVID: All life easily exists while conscious, except humans who have extraordinary consciousness, and never needed it to live. We are special. Ask yourself why?

Of course we need our consciousness to live – and in your own words: “Humans survive better than any other animal on earth with the modifications as they came out of the trees”. Or do you now think that their extra intelligence has played no role in their ability to survive? But this extra degree of consciousness enables us to think of things that have nothing to do with survival. Yes, in that sense we are special, and I keep asking you why. See below.

DAVID: I can't explain God's reasoning, so why shouldn't I simply accept history as I see it and find the one logical explanation of ecosystems for food, which life has to have to continue to evolve over time. […] You constantly try to humanize God to fit your own human puzzlement. He is not human!

Yet again: What was the point of specially designing 3.5+ billion years’ worth of food if his only purpose was to specially design H. sapiens? That is the point you cannot answer, but, as I wrote yesterday: you agree that this gap is closed if he had to experiment in order to achieve his purpose (i.e. didn’t know how to do it) or if humans came as a late afterthought as he experimented to see what he could come up with through all these different life forms). Why do you ignore these perfectly logical answers to the question?

dhw: You keep harping on about purpose, wrongly claim that my version of your God is not purposeful, and you offer the extremely human purpose mentioned above [he wants us to think about him and to have a relationship with him], but if I offer an alternative purpose (relief of his isolation), you say I’m humanizing him, and when I suggest he wanted to create the bush (= purpose) you say I “have humanistically invented a ‘want’ for Him to follow”, though you say that God wanting humans to appear explains their appearance. Do you not detect a hint here of double standards?

DAVID: Can't you see how you are attempting in this paragraph of suppositions how you are trying to impose human reasoning on Him? Humans are the current endpoint, but you are not sure God wanted them?

That is not what I have said at all! I have offered you two explanations of the gap between what he wanted and what he did. And now you have done precisely what I keep complaining about: you harp on about God’s purpose, you impose a purpose and method on him as a result of your own human reasoning, which you admit doesn’t make sense to you (you can’t explain it), and when I offer you a different interpretation of his purpose and method which DOES make sense to you, you try to dismiss it as “human reasoning”!

Divine purposes and methods

by David Turell @, Saturday, January 05, 2019, 17:33 (192 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: If he only wanted to design H. sapiens, why design millions of other life forms that have/had nothing to do with H. sapiens?

DAVID: Yes logical, which does not require acceptance as the 'best' explanations. A concept of God who decides His actions in required. Mine is not yours.

dhw: And yours includes the fact that you don’t understand it yourself. Why do you think a God who decides to experiment has not decided to experiment?

I'm not supposed to understand it from God's viewpoint. I simply accept what He did and explain the need for food.


DAVID: I know the history. The explanation is ecosystems for food supply. Nothing more. That is obvious. Why invent extra possibilities?

dhw: And what was the purpose of supplying food for specially designed organisms which had nothing to do with the only organism he wanted to design which – according to you –was H. sapiens?

You keep, perhaps purposely, ignoring the fact that God chose to evolve humans over lots of time.


DAVID: I can't explain God's reasoning, so why shouldn't I simply accept history as I see it and find the one logical explanation of ecosystems for food, which life has to have to continue to evolve over time. […] You constantly try to humanize God to fit your own human puzzlement. He is not human!

dhw: Yet again: What was the point of specially designing 3.5+ billion years’ worth of food if his only purpose was to specially design H. sapiens? That is the point you cannot answer, but, as I wrote yesterday: you agree that this gap is closed if he had to experiment in order to achieve his purpose (i.e. didn’t know how to do it) or if humans came as a late afterthought as he experimented to see what he could come up with through all these different life forms). Why do you ignore these perfectly logical answers to the question?

Those are logical human suppositions, but God is not human and His reasons are not revealed to us. So you can suppose about Him all you want. I accept that He chose to evolve us and the massive diversity of life supplies food from the various ecosystems to supply ongoing evolution until humans arrived in sapiens form. I doubt major evolution will ever occur again.


dhw: You keep harping on about purpose, wrongly claim that my version of your God is not purposeful, and you offer the extremely human purpose mentioned above [he wants us to think about him and to have a relationship with him], but if I offer an alternative purpose (relief of his isolation), you say I’m humanizing him, and when I suggest he wanted to create the bush (= purpose) you say I “have humanistically invented a ‘want’ for Him to follow”, though you say that God wanting humans to appear explains their appearance. Do you not detect a hint here of double standards?

DAVID: Can't you see how you are attempting in this paragraph of suppositions how you are trying to impose human reasoning on Him? Humans are the current endpoint, but you are not sure God wanted them?

dhw: That is not what I have said at all! I have offered you two explanations of the gap between what he wanted and what he did. And now you have done precisely what I keep complaining about: you harp on about God’s purpose, you impose a purpose and method on him as a result of your own human reasoning, which you admit doesn’t make sense to you (you can’t explain it), and when I offer you a different interpretation of his purpose and method which DOES make sense to you, you try to dismiss it as “human reasoning”!

You invent too much about God. He has offered no explanations. Keep it simple: God chose to evolve us. Obvious, since we are the current and probably the last endpoint of evolution. Our consciousness is not a necessary event from the standpoint of improvements for survival. Survival is no issue if we accept bacterial persistence. Increasing complexity of life is obvious at each new stage of evolution, with no need for that advancement for survival. So if complexity appears to be driven by a 'force' and we sapiens finally are here, the only explanation needed for the diversity of life is the food supply energy for evolution to occur over 3.8 billion years. And you've agreed about the need for the food! Keep the reasoning simple as I just did. God chose to evolve life. Accept it.

Divine purposes and methods

by dhw, Sunday, January 06, 2019, 10:50 (191 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: A concept of God who decides His actions in required. Mine is not yours.

dhw: And yours includes the fact that you don’t understand it yourself. Why do you think a God who decides to experiment has not decided to experiment?

DAVID: I'm not supposed to understand it from God's viewpoint. I simply accept what He did and explain the need for food.

dhw: And what was the purpose of supplying food for specially designed organisms which had nothing to do with the only organism he wanted to design which – according to you –was H. sapiens?

DAVID: You keep, perhaps purposely, ignoring the fact that God chose to evolve humans over lots of time.

It is you who insist that this was God’s choice! It is not a fact that God said to himself (I am simply summarizing your hypothesis): “My only purpose is to specially design humans, and I choose to take 3.5+ billion years to do it, and so I will specially design millions of other life forms to eat each other until the time has passed.” Even you can’t understand such thinking, as you admit:
DAVID: I can't explain God's reasoning, so why shouldn't I simply accept history as I see it …?

Because it doesn’t make sense even to you!

dhw: What was the point of specially designing 3.5+ billion years’ worth of food if his only purpose was to specially design H. sapiens? That is the point you cannot answer, but, as I wrote yesterday: you agree that this gap is closed if he had to experiment in order to achieve his purpose (i.e. didn’t know how to do it) or if humans came as a late afterthought as he experimented to see what he could come up with through all these different life forms). Why do you ignore these perfectly logical answers to the question?

DAVID: Those are logical human suppositions, but God is not human and His reasons are not revealed to us. So you can suppose about Him all you want.

Yes, we can only speculate about his reasons. But wouldn’t you agree that a logical explanation has a better chance of being right than an illogical one?

DAVID: I accept that He chose to evolve us and the massive diversity of life supplies food from the various ecosystems to supply ongoing evolution until humans arrived in sapiens form. I doubt major evolution will ever occur again.

You accept your own interpretation of why he did what he did, even though you can’t explain your own reasoning (which you call “God’s reasoning”).

DAVID: You invent too much about God. He has offered no explanations. Keep it simple: God chose to evolve us. Obvious, since we are the current and probably the last endpoint of evolution. Our consciousness is not a necessary event from the standpoint of improvements for survival. Survival is no issue if we accept bacterial persistence. Increasing complexity of life is obvious at each new stage of evolution, with no need for that advancement for survival.

If God exists, he chose to evolve the whole bush of life, including us. Survival was no issue until the arrival of multicellularity, and then it is clear that innovation after innovation was geared to improving chances of survival (although sometimes – as in the case of pre-baleen whale teeth, or the sticklebacks, certain complexities were discarded in order to improve survivability). This also applied to humans, since according to you their hairlessness and bipedalism improved their chances of hunting prey and escaping from predators, and the various modifications enabled them to “survive better than any other animal on earth”.

DAVID: So if complexity appears to be driven by a 'force' and we sapiens finally are here, the only explanation needed for the diversity of life is the food supply energy for evolution to occur over 3.8 billion years. And you've agreed about the need for the food! Keep the reasoning simple as I just did. God chose to evolve life. Accept it.

If God exists, then of course he chose to evolve life. But I’m afraid that does not provide one iota of logic for your “simple reasoning” that God wanted to design us, and chose to design millions of other life forms to eat each other so that it would take him 3.5+ billion years to do the one thing he wanted to do.

Divine purposes and methods

by David Turell @, Sunday, January 06, 2019, 19:11 (191 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: You keep, perhaps purposely, ignoring the fact that God chose to evolve humans over lots of time.

dhw: It is you who insist that this was God’s choice! It is not a fact that God said to himself (I am simply summarizing your hypothesis): “My only purpose is to specially design humans, and I choose to take 3.5+ billion years to do it, and so I will specially design millions of other life forms to eat each other until the time has passed.” Even you can’t understand such thinking, as you admit:

DAVID: I can't explain God's reasoning, so why shouldn't I simply accept history as I see it …?

dhw: Because it doesn’t make sense even to you!

It is your problem, not mine. It doesn't matter to me that God chose to evolve us. It makes perfect sense that God wanted to do it that way, if you simply accept that God does what He wants as the controller. Your problem is that you constantly try to humanize Him and apply your human reasoning. I never do. At your urging I've offered possible reasons for God's actions as polite responses to your questioning , but never positive that any of those discussions were productive of real possibilities.


dhw: What was the point of specially designing 3.5+ billion years’ worth of food if his only purpose was to specially design H. sapiens? That is the point you cannot answer, but, as I wrote yesterday: you agree that this gap is closed if he had to experiment in order to achieve his purpose (i.e. didn’t know how to do it) or if humans came as a late afterthought as he experimented to see what he could come up with through all these different life forms). Why do you ignore these perfectly logical answers to the question?

DAVID: Those are logical human suppositions, but God is not human and His reasons are not revealed to us. So you can suppose about Him all you want.

dhw: Yes, we can only speculate about his reasons. But wouldn’t you agree that a logical explanation has a better chance of being right than an illogical one?

Your human reasoning is no more logical than simply accepting what He did.


DAVID: I accept that He chose to evolve us and the massive diversity of life supplies food from the various ecosystems to supply ongoing evolution until humans arrived in sapiens form. I doubt major evolution will ever occur again.

You accept your own interpretation of why he did what he did, even though you can’t explain your own reasoning (which you call “God’s reasoning”).

DAVID: You invent too much about God. He has offered no explanations. Keep it simple: God chose to evolve us. Obvious, since we are the current and probably the last endpoint of evolution. Our consciousness is not a necessary event from the standpoint of improvements for survival. Survival is no issue if we accept bacterial persistence. Increasing complexity of life is obvious at each new stage of evolution, with no need for that advancement for survival.

dhw: If God exists, he chose to evolve the whole bush of life, including us. Survival was no issue until the arrival of multicellularity, and then it is clear that innovation after innovation was geared to improving chances of survival (although sometimes – as in the case of pre-baleen whale teeth, or the sticklebacks, certain complexities were discarded in order to improve survivability). This also applied to humans, since according to you their hairlessness and bipedalism improved their chances of hunting prey and escaping from predators, and the various modifications enabled them to “survive better than any other animal on earth”.

DAVID: So if complexity appears to be driven by a 'force' and we sapiens finally are here, the only explanation needed for the diversity of life is the food supply energy for evolution to occur over 3.8 billion years. And you've agreed about the need for the food! Keep the reasoning simple as I just did. God chose to evolve life. Accept it.

dhw: If God exists, then of course he chose to evolve life. But I’m afraid that does not provide one iota of logic for your “simple reasoning” that God wanted to design us, and chose to design millions of other life forms to eat each other so that it would take him 3.5+ billion years to do the one thing he wanted to do.

Again it is you who question God's logic to use evolution to reach our form. I simply accept it. You want to humanize Him with your human logic. Why bother? God does what God wants.

Divine purposes and methods

by dhw, Monday, January 07, 2019, 11:47 (190 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: You keep, perhaps purposely, ignoring the fact that God chose to evolve humans over lots of time.

dhw: It is you who insist that this was God’s choice! It is not a fact that God said to himself (I am simply summarizing your hypothesis): “My only purpose is to specially design humans, and I choose to take 3.5+ billion years to do it, and so I will specially design millions of other life forms to eat each other until the time has passed.” Even you can’t understand such thinking, as you admit:
DAVID: I can't explain God's reasoning, so why shouldn't I simply accept history as I see it …?

dhw: Because it doesn’t make sense even to you!

DAVID: It is your problem, not mine. It doesn't matter to me that God chose to evolve us. It makes perfect sense that God wanted to do it that way, if you simply accept that God does what He wants as the controller.

If he exists, of course he does what he wants. But you make him want what you want him to want (to specially design H. sapiens), although for reasons you don’t understand, you have him waiting 3.5+ billion years while he specially designs millions of other life forms so that they can eat each other.

DAVID: Your problem is that you constantly try to humanize Him and apply your human reasoning. I never do. At your urging I've offered possible reasons for God's actions as polite responses to your questioning , but never positive that any of those discussions were productive of real possibilities.

So what reasoning are you using when you insist that your God only wanted to design us but chose to spend 3.5+ billion years designing other things? You and I can only use our human reason, but we can’t be positive about any of our speculations. Your human reasoning has come up with a hypothesis that you can’t understand, and so you tell us that it is God’s reasoning/logic and we must simply accept it!

DAVID: Again it is you who question God's logic to use evolution to reach our form. I simply accept it. You want to humanize Him with your human logic. Why bother? God does what God wants.

Once more, I am NOT questioning your God’s logic. I am questioning YOUR human logic, which makes no sense even to you. Yes, your God does what your God wants. That does not mean he does what you want him to want! That is a speculative "maybe". Well, maybe he wanted to create what he created: the ever-changing higgledy-piggledy bush of life. And maybe later on he wanted a being with self-awareness, or maybe he wanted us from the start but needed to experiment before finding out how to do it. Why should we “simply accept” that you know what he wanted and you know he chose a method that you don’t understand?

Divine purposes and methods

by David Turell @, Tuesday, January 08, 2019, 22:34 (189 days ago) @ dhw
edited by David Turell, Tuesday, January 08, 2019, 22:39

DAVID: I can't explain God's reasoning, so why shouldn't I simply accept history as I see it …?

dhw: Because it doesn’t make sense even to you!

DAVID: It is your problem, not mine. It doesn't matter to me that God chose to evolve us. It makes perfect sense that God wanted to do it that way, if you simply accept that God does what He wants as the controller.

dhw: If he exists, of course he does what he wants. But you make him want what you want him to want (to specially design H. sapiens), although for reasons you don’t understand, you have him waiting 3.5+ billion years while he specially designs millions of other life forms so that they can eat each other.

I don't have to know His reasons. It is your 'humanizing of God' problem. I've simply accepted that God chose to evolve us. We can't ask him why , and I've given you the econiche logical solution a a food supply function. It explains the diversity you worry over, without ranging far afield to give God extra desires or thoughts at a human level.


DAVID: Your problem is that you constantly try to humanize Him and apply your human reasoning. I never do. At your urging I've offered possible reasons for God's actions as polite responses to your questioning , but never positive that any of those discussions were productive of real possibilities.

dhw: So what reasoning are you using when you insist that your God only wanted to design us but chose to spend 3.5+ billion years designing other things? You and I can only use our human reason, but we can’t be positive about any of our speculations. Your human reasoning has come up with a hypothesis that you can’t understand, and so you tell us that it is God’s reasoning/logic and we must simply accept it!

We can't do anything else but accept that is how He chose to do it. I understand it as food supply, and you have agreed to that. Your point is logical: if all powerful, why did He wait so long? Logical answers: either it was His choice or He had to do it that way, for reasons we do not understand, but might one day with enough research into the problems evolution present. But science is limited in how we practice and perceive it with our limits; thi s article explains our limits:

https://aeon.co/essays/the-blind-spot-of-science-is-the-neglect-of-lived-experience?utm...

"We can now appreciate the deeper significance of our three scientific conundrums – the nature of matter, consciousness and time. They all point back to the Blind Spot and the need to reframe how we think about science. When we try to understand reality by focusing only on physical things outside of us, we lose sight of the experiences they point back to. The deepest puzzles can’t be solved in purely physical terms, because they all involve the unavoidable presence of experience in the equation. There’s no way to render ‘reality’ apart from experience, because the two are always intertwined."

Comment: We are in this universe, but the best answers are available if we could look at this universe from without it. You cannot describe an elephant if you are living inside of it.


DAVID: Again it is you who question God's logic to use evolution to reach our form. I simply accept it. You want to humanize Him with your human logic. Why bother? God does what God wants.

dhw: Once more, I am NOT questioning your God’s logic. I am questioning YOUR human logic, which makes no sense even to you. Yes, your God does what your God wants.

Discussed above. God chose evolution. So be it.

dhw: That does not mean he does what you want him to want! That is a speculative "maybe". Well, maybe he wanted to create what he created: the ever-changing higgledy-piggledy bush of life. And maybe later on he wanted a being with self-awareness, or maybe he wanted us from the start but needed to experiment before finding out how to do it. Why should we “simply accept” that you know what he wanted and you know he chose a method that you don’t understand?

Again a total attempt as seeing God as human in reasoning. He chose evolution as His method and we are here as the current endpoint. Understanding His choices are your problem, not mine. Obviously that endpoint is a goal, and very likely the only goal. We have no other to look at, and imagination for future evolution is grounded in quicksand so why attempt it? Conclusions are sound only using facts we know. You are constantly treading water inventing human reasons for his choices.

Divine purposes and methods

by dhw, Wednesday, January 09, 2019, 12:31 (188 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: It doesn't matter to me that God chose to evolve us. It makes perfect sense that God wanted to do it that way, if you simply accept that God does what He wants as the controller.

dhw: If he exists, of course he does what he wants. But you make him want what you want him to want (to specially design H. sapiens), although for reasons you don’t understand, you have him waiting 3.5+ billion years while he specially designs millions of other life forms so that they can eat each other.

DAVID: I don't have to know His reasons. It is your 'humanizing of God' problem. I've simply accepted that God chose to evolve us. We can't ask him why , and I've given you the econiche logical solution a a food supply function. It explains the diversity you worry over, without ranging far afield to give God extra desires or thoughts at a human level.

If your God exists, we can only ask ourselves why he might have done something. The food supply argument has nothing to do with the evolution of humans, as you have admitted, and in any case you seem to think that H. sapiens didn't evolve, as such, but was specially designed. Your human reasoning tells you that since we are the latest and most intelligent species of all, God must have wanted us from the beginning. That want is no less “human” than suggesting we were the last inventions he thought of, or he did want some sort of thinking being, but didn’t know how to get it.

dhw: You and I can only use our human reason, but we can’t be positive about any of our speculations. Your human reasoning has come up with a hypothesis that you can’t understand, and so you tell us that it is God’s reasoning/logic and we must simply accept it!

DAVID: We can't do anything else but accept that is how He chose to do it.

How he chose to do what? I have given you different interpretations of what he chose to do,
and how he chose to do it. You agree that they make logical sense, but we must accept your interpretation of the method he used to achieve your interpretation of what he wanted to achieve! Your “human reasoning” is illogical, mine is logical, but we can only accept yours!

DAVID: […] Your point is logical: if all powerful, why did He wait so long? Logical answers: either it was His choice or He had to do it that way, for reasons we do not understand, but might one day with enough research into the problems evolution present.

Different logical, theistic answers: maybe he did NOT start out with the purpose of creating H. sapiens; maybe he did have that purpose but didn’t know how to achieve it; maybe he started out with the purpose of creating an ever changing bush of life (as history shows) by means of an autonomous mechanism which would respond to ever changing conditions, although he dabbled when he wanted to. None of these explanations are more “humanizing” than the claim that he “wanted” humans from the start but chose to spend 3.5+ billion years designing other things, and all of these explanations remove the logical impasse which your human reasoning has created but which you insist represents a correct reading of your God’s mind.

DAVID: But science is limited in how we practice and perceive it with our limits; this article explains our limits:
https://aeon.co/essays/the-blind-spot-of-science-is-the-neglect-of-lived-experience?utm...

The limitations of science do not support your illogical reading of your God’s mind. Here is a much earlier article on the limitations of science. I expect you will recognize its source:

Science can only concern itself with the material world as we know it. Science cannot speculate on matters beyond the scope of what can be tried and tested, and so by definition any belief in a non-physical world must be unscientific. But unscientific does not mean unreal or non-existent. There are many things in our lives that transcend the material world as we know it – love, art, music, beauty, premonitions and so on – but more importantly, the tools with which we examine the material world are inadequate. Birds and insects are able to perceive things that we cannot. We are clever enough to devise instruments that hugely enhance our capabilities of perception, but even then, they will only be able to show us that which the human brain is able to perceive. How, then, can we know that there are no other forms of life and being that exist on a totally different plane? A deaf man might argue that because he can hear nothing, sound doesn’t exist. This is not to denigrate science. It is simply a denial of the right of science to exclude the possibility of phenomena outside its range. By extension, it is a denial of the right of an atheist to claim that religious faith is unscientific and therefore wrong.

Of course one must add that the limitations of science do not mean we must accept any old conclusions regarding a non-material world! We must simply remain open to all possible sources of knowledge.

Divine purposes and methods

by David Turell @, Wednesday, January 09, 2019, 15:42 (188 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I don't have to know His reasons. It is your 'humanizing of God' problem. I've simply accepted that God chose to evolve us. We can't ask him why , and I've given you the econiche logical solution a a food supply function. It explains the diversity you worry over, without ranging far afield to give God extra desires or thoughts at a human level.

dhw: If your God exists, we can only ask ourselves why he might have done something. The food supply argument has nothing to do with the evolution of humans, as you have admitted, and in any case you seem to think that H. sapiens didn't evolve, as such, but was specially designed. Your human reasoning tells you that since we are the latest and most intelligent species of all, God must have wanted us from the beginning. That want is no less “human” than suggesting we were the last inventions he thought of, or he did want some sort of thinking being, but didn’t know how to get it.

You are making human guesses about God again in the bold!


dhw: You and I can only use our human reason, but we can’t be positive about any of our speculations. Your human reasoning has come up with a hypothesis that you can’t understand, and so you tell us that it is God’s reasoning/logic and we must simply accept it!

DAVID: We can't do anything else but accept that is how He chose to do it.

dhw: How he chose to do what? I have given you different interpretations of what he chose to do, and how he chose to do it. You agree that they make logical sense, but we must accept your interpretation of the method he used to achieve your interpretation of what he wanted to achieve! Your “human reasoning” is illogical, mine is logical, but we can only accept yours!

I only use what is known. You go far afield in logical supposing. Why bother? Angels on heads of pins.


DAVID: […] Your point is logical: if all powerful, why did He wait so long? Logical answers: either it was His choice or He had to do it that way, for reasons we do not understand, but might one day with enough research into the problems evolution present.

dhw: Different logical, theistic answers: maybe he did NOT start out with the purpose of creating H. sapiens; maybe he did have that purpose but didn’t know how to achieve it; maybe he started out with the purpose of creating an ever changing bush of life (as history shows) by means of an autonomous mechanism which would respond to ever changing conditions, although he dabbled when he wanted to. None of these explanations are more “humanizing” than the claim that he “wanted” humans from the start but chose to spend 3.5+ billion years designing other things, and all of these explanations remove the logical impasse which your human reasoning has created but which you insist represents a correct reading of your God’s mind.

Again pins and angels. My reasoning is from facts.


DAVID: But science is limited in how we practice and perceive it with our limits; this article explains our limits:
https://aeon.co/essays/the-blind-spot-of-science-is-the-neglect-of-lived-experience?utm...

dhw: The limitations of science do not support your illogical reading of your God’s mind. Here is a much earlier article on the limitations of science. I expect you will recognize its source:

Science can only concern itself with the material world as we know it. Science cannot speculate on matters beyond the scope of what can be tried and tested, and so by definition any belief in a non-physical world must be unscientific. But unscientific does not mean unreal or non-existent. There are many things in our lives that transcend the material world as we know it – love, art, music, beauty, premonitions and so on – but more importantly, the tools with which we examine the material world are inadequate. Birds and insects are able to perceive things that we cannot. We are clever enough to devise instruments that hugely enhance our capabilities of perception, but even then, they will only be able to show us that which the human brain is able to perceive. How, then, can we know that there are no other forms of life and being that exist on a totally different plane? A deaf man might argue that because he can hear nothing, sound doesn’t exist. This is not to denigrate science. It is simply a denial of the right of science to exclude the possibility of phenomena outside its range. By extension, it is a denial of the right of an atheist to claim that religious faith is unscientific and therefore wrong.

Of course one must add that the limitations of science do not mean we must accept any old conclusions regarding a non-material world! We must simply remain open to all possible sources of knowledge.

I obviously agree with the above. I read God's mind logically, because I don't embellish with endless suppositions of what He might have thought along the way of conducting evolution.

Divine purposes and methods

by dhw, Thursday, January 10, 2019, 13:45 (187 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: If your God exists, we can only ask ourselves why he might have done something. The food supply argument has nothing to do with the evolution of humans, as you have admitted, and in any case you seem to think that H. sapiens didn't evolve, as such, but was specially designed. Your human reasoning tells you that since we are the latest and most intelligent species of all, God must have wanted us from the beginning. That want is no less “human” than suggesting we were the last inventions he thought of, or he did want some sort of thinking being, but didn’t know how to get it.

DAVID: You are making human guesses about God again in the bold!

And so are you in the sentence preceding your bold. We can only make human guesses, and there is no reason to suppose that your guess, which leads to what you agree is a logical impasse, is more accurate than any of the logical alternatives I propose. So please stop pretending that your guesses are not just as human as mine.

DAVID: […] Your point is logical: if all powerful, why did He wait so long? Logical answers: either it was His choice or He had to do it that way, for reasons we do not understand, but might one day with enough research into the problems evolution present.

dhw: Different logical, theistic answers: maybe he did NOT start out with the purpose of creating H. sapiens; maybe he did have that purpose but didn’t know how to achieve it; maybe he started out with the purpose of creating an ever changing bush of life (as history shows) by means of an autonomous mechanism which would respond to ever changing conditions, although he dabbled when he wanted to. None of these explanations are more “humanizing” than the claim that he “wanted” humans from the start but chose to spend 3.5+ billion years designing other things, and all of these explanations remove the logical impasse which your human reasoning has created but which you insist represents a correct reading of your God’s mind.

DAVID: Again pins and angels. My reasoning is from facts.

We are looking at the same facts: Life's history has produced a vast diversity of forms extant and extinct; humans, with their exceptional intelligence, are the last so far. All the above interpretations fit in logically and comprehensibly with these facts. Your own reasoning leads you to a conclusion that you cannot understand. So maybe your conclusion is less likely to be true than any of the above.

DAVID: I read God's mind logically, because I don't embellish with endless suppositions of what He might have thought along the way of conducting evolution.

Mind reading entails supposing what someone is thinking, and your reading of your God’s mind - let's spell it out once more - is that his sole purpose was to specially design H. sapiens, but for 3.5+ billion years he specially designed lots and lots of other life forms so that they could eat one another, and you can’t understand why he chose that method of specially designing H. sapiens. But you call it logical.

Divine purposes and methods

by David Turell @, Thursday, January 10, 2019, 19:57 (187 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Again pins and angels. My reasoning is from facts.

dhw: We are looking at the same facts: Life's history has produced a vast diversity of forms extant and extinct; humans, with their exceptional intelligence, are the last so far. All the above interpretations fit in logically and comprehensibly with these facts. Your own reasoning leads you to a conclusion that you cannot understand. So maybe your conclusion is less likely to be true than any of the above.

DAVID: I read God's mind logically, because I don't embellish with endless suppositions of what He might have thought along the way of conducting evolution.

dhw: Mind reading entails supposing what someone is thinking, and your reading of your God’s mind - let's spell it out once more - is that his sole purpose was to specially design H. sapiens, but for 3.5+ billion years he specially designed lots and lots of other life forms so that they could eat one another, and you can’t understand why he chose that method of specially designing H. sapiens. But you call it logical.

Let's try my logical approach again: Humans are the current endpoint of evolution. You can't disagree with that. If God is in control, as I believe, it has to be His goal. We cannot know about a future goal. Since He is in control we must accept He chose to evolve us over 3.8 billion years, since that is what happened. I don't question why. You do. You look for all sorts of reasoning that God might have indulged in. Why bother if it is assumed He is in total control of events. The one logical reason for diversity is the need to eat by setting up ecosystems or econiches for food supply. I don't question God's form of methodology. You do as you look at possible human reasoning for setting up the evolution picture we know exists. Nothing illogical to me. Totally your problem. I cannot explain God's choices, just simply interpret what facts are presented.

Divine purposes and methods

by dhw, Friday, January 11, 2019, 13:04 (186 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: My reasoning is from facts.
And:
DAVID: I read God's mind logically, because I don't embellish with endless suppositions of what He might have thought along the way of conducting evolution.

dhw: Mind reading entails supposing what someone is thinking, and your reading of your God’s mind - let's spell it out once more - is that his sole purpose was to specially design H. sapiens, but for 3.5+ billion years he specially designed lots and lots of other life forms so that they could eat one another, and you can’t understand why he chose that method of specially designing H. sapiens. But you call it logical.

DAVID: Let's try my logical approach again: Humans are the current endpoint of evolution. You can't disagree with that. If God is in control, as I believe, it has to be His goal.

Your belief that your God is in total control is not a fact. In any case, it ignores the possibility that your God might have deliberately sacrificed control in order to see what might happen once he had set the process in motion. This is no more and no less “human” than your belief that his goal from the very beginning was to create H. sapiens: “I want to create a self-aware being, and I will give him free will – i.e. I will not control him.”

DAVID: We cannot know about a future goal. Since He is in control we must accept He chose to evolve us over 3.8 billion years, since that is what happened. I don't question why. You do. You look for all sorts of reasoning that God might have indulged in. Why bother if it is assumed He is in total control of events.

We needn’t bother about the future but now, all of a sudden, your assumption that he is in total control has become a fact! Even if he is in total control, you can’t ignore the fact that in your own hypothesis he chose to spend 3.5+ billion years to evolve (actually – according to you – specially design) millions of life forms, econiches, lifestyles and natural wonders as well, which brings us to your next problem:

DAVID: The one logical reason for diversity is the need to eat by setting up ecosystems or econiches for food supply.

So God says to himself: “My sole purpose is to specially design H. sapiens, but first I choose to design millions of different life forms etc. so that they can eat one another.” Why do you regard this attempt at mind-reading as a more logical reason for diversity than the various alternatives I have suggested: “I choose to design millions of different life forms etc. so that they can provide a rich spectacle for me to watch with interest”, or “I’d like to design a thinking being, but I’m not sure how to do it,” or “I’ve had a new idea – a thinking being”, or “Let me provide the mechanisms for evolution, and then see where it leads”? You even agree that these are logical interpretations of the facts, but you go on to say:

DAVID: I don't question God's form of methodology. You do as you look at possible human reasoning for setting up the evolution picture we know exists. Nothing illogical to me. Totally your problem. I cannot explain God's choices, just simply interpret what facts are presented.

The only facts are that life’s history has produced the diverse bush of species, and H.
sapiens is the latest. You don’t question your personal assumptions that your God exists, and if he does, that he is in total control,that his goal from the beginning was to specially design you and me, and that his method was to spend 3.5+ billion years specially designing millions of other life forms so that they could eat other. You don’t understand the methodology you have imposed on him, since it seems to contradict the total control and single goal you have also imposed on him, and yet it is not illogical to you. Your human reasoning leads you to reject my logical alternatives because we mustn’t “humanize” God by trying to read his mind – although it’s OK for you to do so – and God’s logic is different from ours (as if you knew). Maybe it isn’t!

Divine purposes and methods

by David Turell @, Friday, January 11, 2019, 23:11 (186 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Let's try my logical approach again: Humans are the current endpoint of evolution. You can't disagree with that. If God is in control, as I believe, it has to be His goal.

dhw: Your belief that your God is in total control is not a fact. In any case, it ignores the possibility that your God might have deliberately sacrificed control in order to see what might happen once he had set the process in motion. This is no more and no less “human” than your belief that his goal from the very beginning was to create H. sapiens: “I want to create a self-aware being, and I will give him free will – i.e. I will not control him.”

You've skipped the point that humans are the current endpoint, therefore an obvious goal. My belief is the starting point for my approach to the analysis of how God conducted evolution. You go on to invent human reasons for God's decisions. I don't.


DAVID: We cannot know about a future goal. Since He is in control we must accept He chose to evolve us over 3.8 billion years, since that is what happened. I don't question why. You do. You look for all sorts of reasoning that God might have indulged in. Why bother if it is assumed He is in total control of events.

dhw: We needn’t bother about the future but now, all of a sudden, your assumption that he is in total control has become a fact!

I've always stated God runs evolution. No change.

dhw:Even if he is in total control, you can’t ignore the fact that in your own hypothesis he chose to spend 3.5+ billion years to evolve (actually – according to you – specially design) millions of life forms, econiches, lifestyles and natural wonders as well, which brings us to your next problem:

No problem. It is history . I simply accept it.


DAVID: The one logical reason for diversity is the need to eat by setting up ecosystems or econiches for food supply.

dhw: So God says to himself: “My sole purpose is to specially design H. sapiens, but first I choose to design millions of different life forms etc. so that they can eat one another.” Why do you regard this attempt at mind-reading as a more logical reason for diversity than the various alternatives I have suggested: “I choose to design millions of different life forms etc. so that they can provide a rich spectacle for me to watch with interest”, or “I’d like to design a thinking being, but I’m not sure how to do it,” or “I’ve had a new idea – a thinking being”, or “Let me provide the mechanisms for evolution, and then see where it leads”? You even agree that these are logical interpretations of the facts, but you go on to say:

DAVID: I don't question God's form of methodology. You do as you look at possible human reasoning for setting up the evolution picture we know exists. Nothing illogical to me. Totally your problem. I cannot explain God's choices, just simply interpret what facts are presented.

dhw: The only facts are that life’s history has produced the diverse bush of species, and H.
sapiens is the latest. You don’t question your personal assumptions that your God exists, and if he does, that he is in total control,that his goal from the beginning was to specially design you and me, and that his method was to spend 3.5+ billion years specially designing millions of other life forms so that they could eat other. You don’t understand the methodology you have imposed on him, since it seems to contradict the total control and single goal you have also imposed on him, and yet it is not illogical to you. Your human reasoning leads you to reject my logical alternatives because we mustn’t “humanize” God by trying to read his mind – although it’s OK for you to do so – and God’s logic is different from ours (as if you knew). Maybe it isn’t!

You are sitting on the outside of faith looking in. Why should I question my belief God exists? That is your problem, not mine. I didn't impose a method on Him. He chose to evolve humans over time. That is the history. I accept it. 'Total control' means He has the right to chose His preferred method. I don't have to know the background of His logic. He has the right to choose His method. His logic might be like ours or different. No one knows.

Divine purposes and methods

by dhw, Saturday, January 12, 2019, 12:54 (185 days ago) @ David Turell

I’m condensing this post, as it is becoming very repetitive. The salient points are contained in the exchanges below:

DAVID: My reasoning is from facts.
And
DAVID: I read God’s mind logically.

dhw: The only facts are that life’s history has produced the diverse bush of species, and H. sapiens is the latest. You don’t question your personal assumptions that your God exists, and if he does, that he is in total control, that his goal from the beginning was to specially design you and me, and that his method was to spend 3.5+ billion years specially designing millions of other life forms so that they could eat one another. You don’t understand the methodology you have imposed on him, since it seems to contradict the total control and single goal you have also imposed on him, and yet it is not illogical to you. Your human reasoning leads you to reject my logical alternatives because we mustn’t “humanize” God by trying to read his mind – although it’s OK for you to do so – and God’s logic is different from ours (as if you knew). Maybe it isn’t!

DAVID: You are sitting on the outside of faith looking in. Why should I question my belief God exists? That is your problem, not mine.

I’m not asking you to question it. I’m simply pointing out that the existence of God – let alone your personal reading of his mind - is not a fact.

DAVID: I didn't impose a method on Him. He chose to evolve humans over time. That is the history. I accept it.

You “accept” your own non-factual assumption that his goal from the beginning was us, that he was in total control, that his chosen method of specially designing humans was to take 3.5+ billion years specially designing all those other life forms so that they could eat one another, and you also “accept” that you cannot understand why he would choose the method you have read into his mind. And yet you regard this as a logical reading!

DAVID: 'Total control' means He has the right to chose His preferred method. I don't have to know the background of His logic. He has the right to choose His method. His logic might be like ours or different. No one knows.

So once more: if no one knows, why do you insist that YOUR illogical account is correct, in which YOUR idea of his purpose by your own admission makes YOUR idea of his method incomprehensible even to you?

Divine purposes and methods

by David Turell @, Saturday, January 12, 2019, 18:55 (185 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I read God’s mind logically.

dhw: The only facts are that life’s history has produced the diverse bush of species, and H. sapiens is the latest. You don’t question your personal assumptions that your God exists, and if he does, that he is in total control, that his goal from the beginning was to specially design you and me, and that his method was to spend 3.5+ billion years specially designing millions of other life forms so that they could eat one another. You don’t understand the methodology you have imposed on him, since it seems to contradict the total control and single goal you have also imposed on him, and yet it is not illogical to you. Your human reasoning leads you to reject my logical alternatives because we mustn’t “humanize” God by trying to read his mind – although it’s OK for you to do so – and God’s logic is different from ours (as if you knew). Maybe it isn’t!

DAVID: You are sitting on the outside of faith looking in. Why should I question my belief God exists? That is your problem, not mine.

dhw: I’m not asking you to question it. I’m simply pointing out that the existence of God – let alone your personal reading of his mind - is not a fact.

Exactly the point. I am looking at God through logically established faith, and you aren't'.


DAVID: I didn't impose a method on Him. He chose to evolve humans over time. That is the history. I accept it.

dhw: You “accept” your own non-factual assumption that his goal from the beginning was us, that he was in total control, that his chosen method of specially designing humans was to take 3.5+ billion years specially designing all those other life forms so that they could eat one another, and you also “accept” that you cannot understand why he would choose the method you have read into his mind. And yet you regard this as a logical reading!

Human are here, but they are not His current goal? What fact are you looking for? The balance of nature food supply is obvious. It is His chosen method not mine. Why should I question it? I'm simply interpreting the facts that exist. I'm sorry for your confusion. Accept 'Dayenu'. He did it, and it is enough.


DAVID: 'Total control' means He has the right to chose His preferred method. I don't have to know the background of His logic. He has the right to choose His method. His logic might be like ours or different. No one knows.

dhw: So once more: if no one knows, why do you insist that YOUR illogical account is correct, in which YOUR idea of his purpose by your own admission makes YOUR idea of his method incomprehensible even to you?

We've crossed this bridge many times. It is not incomprehensible to me. You are imposing your confused thoughts on my conscious mental process. I'm not supposed to know why He chose the method He did. Since He chose to evolve us over time, my interpretation fits the facts in history.

Divine purposes and methods

by dhw, Sunday, January 13, 2019, 14:43 (184 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: My reasoning is from facts.
And
DAVID: I read God’s mind logically.

DAVID: Why should I question my belief God exists? That is your problem, not mine.

dhw: I’m not asking you to question it. I’m simply pointing out that the existence of God – let alone your personal reading of his mind - is not a fact.

DAVID: Exactly the point. I am looking at God through logically established faith, and you aren't'.

I accept the logic (the design argument) behind your faith in a God. But this is simply one of a list of beliefs which you try to present as facts, as below:

DAVID: I didn't impose a method on Him. He chose to evolve humans over time. That is the history. I accept it.

dhw: You “accept” your own non-factual assumption that his goal from the beginning was us, that he was in total control, that his chosen method of specially designing humans was to take 3.5+ billion years specially designing all those other life forms so that they could eat one another, and you also “accept” that you cannot understand why he would choose the method you have read into his mind. And yet you regard this as a logical reading!

DAVID: Human are here, but they are not His current goal? What fact are you looking for?

Firstly, you keep maintaining that humans were his goal from the very beginning (not just his “current” goal). The duckbilled platypus is also here. Does that mean it’s also his current goal? Secondly, you don’t know why he chose to spend 3.5+ billion years specially designing other unrelated life forms extant and extinct, but…

DAVID:The balance of nature food supply is obvious. It is His chosen method not mine. Why should I question it? I'm simply interpreting the facts that exist. I'm sorry for your confusion. Accept 'Dayenu'. He did it, and it is enough. […] It is not incomprehensible to me. […] I'm not supposed to know why He chose the method He did. Since He chose to evolve us over time, my interpretation fits the facts in history.

It is obvious that all forms of life need food, and by your admission that has nothing to do with the one and only goal of designing H. sapiens. The only facts at your disposal are that life’s history has produced millions of different life forms, and humans are the latest of these. “Since he chose to evolve us over time” = his chosen method of fulfilling his sole purpose of specially designing us was to specially design 3.5+ billion years’ worth of food….This illogical hypothesis is not a fact, but your fixed belief. If it’s not incomprehensible to you, why can’t you explain it, and why should I accept it when there are several different, alternative hypotheses which even you accept as being logical?

Divine purposes and methods

by David Turell @, Sunday, January 13, 2019, 19:59 (184 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Human are here, but they are not His current goal? What fact are you looking for?

dhw: Firstly, you keep maintaining that humans were his goal from the very beginning (not just his “current” goal). The duckbilled platypus is also here. Does that mean it’s also his current goal? Secondly, you don’t know why he chose to spend 3.5+ billion years specially designing other unrelated life forms extant and extinct, but…

Haven't you noticed the latest arrival in the fossil record in Homo sapiens. We are the most advanced and the most complex. The platypus is certainly somewhat complex but anticeded us and is much less complex. The pattern of evolution is to advance to increasing complexity which obviously makes us the current endpoint and therefore, obviously, the currently observed goal. I don't have to know why God chose evolution as His method. It is your problem.


DAVID:The balance of nature food supply is obvious. It is His chosen method not mine. Why should I question it? I'm simply interpreting the facts that exist. I'm sorry for your confusion. Accept 'Dayenu'. He did it, and it is enough. […] It is not incomprehensible to me. […] I'm not supposed to know why He chose the method He did. Since He chose to evolve us over time, my interpretation fits the facts in history.

dhw: It is obvious that all forms of life need food, and by your admission that has nothing to do with the one and only goal of designing H. sapiens.

Humans can't arrive by evolution over 3.8 billion years without the diversity of life to supply food in the balance of nature so life can continue to evolve. Perfect logic,.

. dhw: The only facts at your disposal are that life’s history has produced millions of different life forms, and humans are the latest of these. “Since he chose to evolve us over time” = his chosen method of fulfilling his sole purpose of specially designing us was to specially design 3.5+ billion years’ worth of food….This illogical hypothesis is not a fact, but your fixed belief.

It is a logical fact to me because I start by accepting the pattern of evolution as God's choice of method. You refuse to accept that and wander all over the place ascribing human reasoning to God all made up out of thin air.

dhw: If it’s not incomprehensible to you, why can’t you explain it, and why should I accept it when there are several different, alternative hypotheses which even you accept as being logical?

I admit, at a human level they seem logical. But humanly logical alternatives do not mean God did it in the ways you wish. They are only human alternatives.

Divine purposes and methods

by dhw, Monday, January 14, 2019, 13:04 (183 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Human are here, but they are not His current goal? What fact are you looking for?

dhw: Firstly, you keep maintaining that humans were his goal from the very beginning (not just his “current” goal). The duckbilled platypus is also here. Does that mean it’s also his current goal? Secondly, you don’t know why he chose to spend 3.5+ billion years specially designing other unrelated life forms extant and extinct, but…

DAVID: Haven't you noticed the latest arrival in the fossil record in Homo sapiens. We are the most advanced and the most complex. The platypus is certainly somewhat complex but anticeded us and is much less complex.

I have said repeatedly that we are the latest and most advanced species to appear, but the fact that we “are here” does not mean we were your God’s purpose from the very beginning, and that – yet again – is the sticking point: if we were his purpose from the very beginning, and he is in total control, why did he spend 3.5+ billion years creating dinosaurs, eight stages of whale, camouflaged cuttlefish and the duckbilled platypus? Your illogical answer is so that they could eat one another in order to keep life going until he specially designed the only thing he wanted to specially design.

DAVID: The pattern of evolution is to advance to increasing complexity which obviously makes us the current endpoint and therefore, obviously, the currently observed goal. I don't have to know why God chose evolution as His method. It is your problem.

Again you slip in “current”, as opposed to one and only goal from the very beginning. This is one of your fixed beliefs, and I have indeed offered you two logical hypotheses that allow for it, but they both contradict another of your fixed beliefs: that God is in total control. Normally when people discuss hypotheses, they try to give reasons for their beliefs – as you do so admirably when defending your belief in a designing God. Now apparently you are leaving it to me to reconcile your various irreconcilable fixed beliefs! Well, if you can’t do it, nobody can, which suggests to me that at least one of those irreconcilable fixed beliefs must be wrong.

dhw: It is obvious that all forms of life need food, and by your admission that has nothing to do with the one and only goal of designing H. sapiens.

DAVID: Humans can't arrive by evolution over 3.8 billion years without the diversity of life to supply food in the balance of nature so life can continue to evolve. Perfect logic.

No longer perfect when you add that your God is in total control, had only one purpose – to specially design humans - but chose to achieve his purpose by NOT achieving his purpose until he had spent 3.5+ billion years specially designing millions of other life forms to eat one another. Once again, the illogicality lies in your attempts to combine your fixed beliefs.

David: It is a logical fact to me because I start by accepting the pattern of evolution as God's choice of method. You refuse to accept that and wander all over the place ascribing human reasoning to God all made up out of thin air.

If God exists, of course evolution was his choice, but as usual you leave out what the method was supposed to achieve! Specially designing millions of unrelated life forms as a method of specially designing one life form is what I do not accept.

dhw: If it’s not incomprehensible to you, why can’t you explain it, and why should I accept it when there are several different, alternative hypotheses which even you accept as being logical?

DAVID: I admit, at a human level they seem logical. But humanly logical alternatives do not mean God did it in the ways you wish. They are only human alternatives.

I have offered several ways, but all of them involve removing at least one of the logical contradictions between your fixed beliefs. I do not believe that your own attempts at logic are anything other than human, but I do believe that if God exists, his purposes and methods are more likely to be “humanly logical” than humanly illogical.

Divine purposes and methods

by David Turell @, Tuesday, January 15, 2019, 01:54 (183 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Haven't you noticed the latest arrival in the fossil record in Homo sapiens. We are the most advanced and the most complex. The platypus is certainly somewhat complex but anticeded us and is much less complex.

dhw: I have said repeatedly that we are the latest and most advanced species to appear, but the fact that we “are here” does not mean we were your God’s purpose from the very beginning, and that – yet again – is the sticking point: if we were his purpose from the very beginning, and he is in total control, why did he spend 3.5+ billion years creating dinosaurs, eight stages of whale, camouflaged cuttlefish and the duckbilled platypus? Your illogical answer is so that they could eat one another in order to keep life going until he specially designed the only thing he wanted to specially design.

I'll repeat the very clear logic: evolution started with simple and goes to the most complex. Humans are here and therefore the goal from the beginning, as 'currently' seen! The the balance of nature to supply food for the 3.8 billion years is totally logical. I accept He chose to do it that way as we see. I don't explain God, as you try to; I simply accept and offer my interpretation of His actions. I'm sorry it is illogical for you, but then you constantly try to make Him as human as possible.


DAVID: The pattern of evolution is to advance to increasing complexity which obviously makes us the current endpoint and therefore, obviously, the currently observed goal. I don't have to know why God chose evolution as His method. It is your problem.

dhw: Again you slip in “current”, as opposed to one and only goal from the very beginning. This is one of your fixed beliefs, and I have indeed offered you two logical hypotheses that allow for it, but they both contradict another of your fixed beliefs: that God is in total control. Normally when people discuss hypotheses, they try to give reasons for their beliefs – as you do so admirably when defending your belief in a designing God. Now apparently you are leaving it to me to reconcile your various irreconcilable fixed beliefs! Well, if you can’t do it, nobody can, which suggests to me that at least one of those irreconcilable fixed beliefs must be wrong.

I'm sorry you don't understand how clear my reasoning is. Of course I have some fixed beliefs take on faith. What is irreconcilable to you may not be to me.


dhw: It is obvious that all forms of life need food, and by your admission that has nothing to do with the one and only goal of designing H. sapiens.

DAVID: Humans can't arrive by evolution over 3.8 billion years without the diversity of life to supply food in the balance of nature so life can continue to evolve. Perfect logic.

dhw: No longer perfect when you add that your God is in total control, had only one purpose – to specially design humans - but chose to achieve his purpose by NOT achieving his purpose until he had spent 3.5+ billion years specially designing millions of other life forms to eat one another. Once again, the illogicality lies in your attempts to combine your fixed beliefs.

I accept the way He chose to do it!!! The puzzle is your problem because you want God to be logical in a different way of evolutionary actions that fits your ideas about how He should have dome it. But He didn't do it your way!


David: It is a logical fact to me because I start by accepting the pattern of evolution as God's choice of method. You refuse to accept that and wander all over the place ascribing human reasoning to God all made up out of thin air.

dhw: If God exists, of course evolution was his choice, but as usual you leave out what the method was supposed to achieve! Specially designing millions of unrelated life forms as a method of specially designing one life form is what I do not accept.

Don't accept it. All your proposals can be viewed as logical, but wander about in the pursuit of a purposeful God, as I view Him with a primary attribute. I view Him as fully aware of His goals from the beginning and working toward them by his chosen method. You don't like His logic, but then you don't believe.


dhw: I have offered several ways, but all of them involve removing at least one of the logical contradictions between your fixed beliefs. I do not believe that your own attempts at logic are anything other than human, but I do believe that if God exists, his purposes and methods are more likely to be “humanly logical” than humanly illogical.

All you have said is you don't approve of God's chosen method. You don't have to. And I don't have to, but based on my concepts of God's attributes and purposefulness is a major one, it makes perfect sense to me.

Divine purposes and methods

by dhw, Tuesday, January 15, 2019, 16:00 (182 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Haven't you noticed the latest arrival in the fossil record in Homo sapiens. We are the most advanced and the most complex.

dhw: I have said repeatedly that we are the latest and most advanced species to appear, but the fact that we “are here” does not mean we were your God’s purpose from the very beginning, and that – yet again – is the sticking point: if we were his purpose from the very beginning, and he is in total control, why did he spend 3.5+ billion years creating dinosaurs, eight stages of whale, camouflaged cuttlefish and the duckbilled platypus? Your illogical answer is so that they could eat one another in order to keep life going until he specially designed the only thing he wanted to specially design.

DAVID: I'll repeat the very clear logic: evolution started with simple and goes to the most complex. [Agreed.] Humans are here and therefore the goal from the beginning, as 'currently' seen! [Why from the beginning? If “currently” is your criterion, then your God’s goal could have kept shifting as time went by: dinosaurs could have been the “current” goal until humans came along, since you believe he specially designed them too.]
The balance of nature to supply food for the 3.8 billion years is totally logical. (In what context is it logical? Yes, all life needs food. That doesn’t mean your God specially designed dinosaurs so that they could eat one another until he specially designed his one and only purpose: humans. THAT is what is not logical.] I accept He chose to do it that way as we see. (No, you accept your interpretation of his purpose and his choice of method.) I don't explain God, as you try to; I simply accept and offer my interpretation of His actions. [You accept your interpretation of his purpose and his method, and you admit that you can’t understand why he would have chosen that method for that purpose.] I'm sorry it is illogical for you, but then you constantly try to make Him as human as possible. [You have admitted that you don’t understand the logic either. I offer various logical alternatives to explain the different, conflicting elements of your hypothesis, but each one contradicts one or other of your fixed beliefs. The alternatives I offer are no more human than your control freak who knows what he wants, knows how to get it, but unfortunately chooses a way to get it which even you can’t understand.]

The remainder of your post simply reiterates the same points, but I’ll repeat them for the sake of clarity:

DAVID: I accept the way He chose to do it!!! The puzzle is your problem because you want God to be logical in a different way of evolutionary actions that fits your ideas about how He should have done it. But He didn't do it your way!

I don’t have a way. I offer alternatives, all of which you agree are logical. It is you who assume you know his purpose and the way he chose to fulfil it. You don’t know. As you once admitted, it’s all guesses.

DAVID: All your proposals can be viewed as logical, but wander about in the pursuit of a purposeful God, as I view Him with a primary attribute. I view Him as fully aware of His goals from the beginning and working toward them by his chosen method. You don't like His logic, but then you don't believe.

If God exists, of course he is purposeful, and I would also view him as aware of his goals and working towards them by his chosen method. The difference between us is that I do not claim to know his chosen goal or his chosen method, and I offer alternatives which you agree are logical. It is your logic I don’t like. Neither of us can know his logic, and so I come up with different possibilities.

DAVID: All you have said is you don't approve of God's chosen method. You don't have to. And I don't have to, but based on my concepts of God's attributes and purposefulness is a major one, it makes perfect sense to me.

All I have said is I don’t approve of your one-track insistence that you know God’s chosen purpose and method. You don’t. And you have acknowledged over and over again that you cannot find a logical explanation for the combination of your chosen purpose and your chosen method.

Divine purposes and methods

by David Turell @, Tuesday, January 15, 2019, 18:05 (182 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: The remainder of your post simply reiterates the same points, but I’ll repeat them for the sake of clarity:

DAVID: I accept the way He chose to do it!!! The puzzle is your problem because you want God to be logical in a different way of evolutionary actions that fits your ideas about how He should have done it. But He didn't do it your way!

dhw: I don’t have a way. I offer alternatives, all of which you agree are logical. It is you who assume you know his purpose and the way he chose to fulfil it. You don’t know. As you once admitted, it’s all guesses.

DAVID: All your proposals can be viewed as logical, but wander about in the pursuit of a purposeful God, as I view Him with a primary attribute. I view Him as fully aware of His goals from the beginning and working toward them by his chosen method. You don't like His logic, but then you don't believe.

dhw: If God exists, of course he is purposeful, and I would also view him as aware of his goals and working towards them by his chosen method. The difference between us is that I do not claim to know his chosen goal or his chosen method, and I offer alternatives which you agree are logical. It is your logic I don’t like. Neither of us can know his logic, and so I come up with different possibilities.

DAVID: All you have said is you don't approve of God's chosen method. You don't have to. And I don't have to, but based on my concepts of God's attributes and purposefulness is a major one, it makes perfect sense to me.

dhw: All I have said is I don’t approve of your one-track insistence that you know God’s chosen purpose and method. You don’t. And you have acknowledged over and over again that you cannot find a logical explanation for the combination of your chosen purpose and your chosen method.

I have chosen my approach to interpretation of what God created in evolution. I will keep to it as I view it totally logical for me as I view God. Your view of God differs. As a result we will not resolve our differences.

Divine purposes and methods

by dhw, Wednesday, January 16, 2019, 13:20 (181 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I have chosen my approach to interpretation of what God created in evolution. I will keep to it as I view it totally logical for me as I view God. Your view of God differs. As a result we will not resolve our differences.

Of course I must accept that you have a fixed belief from which you will not budge. I can only add firstly that you have agreed several times that you cannot logically connect your interpretation of purpose with your interpretation of method, and secondly I myself do not have a view of a possible God but can only offer alternatives to your own. It would perhaps be best if we dropped the subject, but I'm afraid it will continue to come up whenever you talk about design. See the post on “Little Foot”.

I’d also like to add that the whole point of this website is to exchange views on possible solutions to all the mysteries of life and the universe. If we all agreed on everything, there would be no discussion, but since there is absolutely no consensus on any of the solutions, we can only try to give one another logical reasons for and against each one.Through the eleven years of our discussions, many correspondents have been happy to present their solutions, but have presumably been less happy when you or I have questioned them, and sadly they have then left us. If it were not for you, I would probably be involved in one long monologue now, or I would have closed the site. To my surprise, though, I see that many of our recent discussions have still been followed by hundreds and, in some cases, more than a thousand viewers, so perhaps we “two stubborn old men” – as my daughter calls us – should keep going for a while!

Divine purposes and methods

by David Turell @, Wednesday, January 16, 2019, 22:26 (181 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I have chosen my approach to interpretation of what God created in evolution. I will keep to it as I view it totally logical for me as I view God. Your view of God differs. As a result we will not resolve our differences.

dhw: Of course I must accept that you have a fixed belief from which you will not budge. I can only add firstly that you have agreed several times that you cannot logically connect your interpretation of purpose with your interpretation of method, and secondly I myself do not have a view of a possible God but can only offer alternatives to your own. It would perhaps be best if we dropped the subject, but I'm afraid it will continue to come up whenever you talk about design. See the post on “Little Foot”.

I’d also like to add that the whole point of this website is to exchange views on possible solutions to all the mysteries of life and the universe. If we all agreed on everything, there would be no discussion, but since there is absolutely no consensus on any of the solutions, we can only try to give one another logical reasons for and against each one.Through the eleven years of our discussions, many correspondents have been happy to present their solutions, but have presumably been less happy when you or I have questioned them, and sadly they have then left us. If it were not for you, I would probably be involved in one long monologue now, or I would have closed the site. To my surprise, though, I see that many of our recent discussions have still been followed by hundreds and, in some cases, more than a thousand viewers, so perhaps we “two stubborn old men” – as my daughter calls us – should keep going for a while!

I will continue trying not to add human-sounding motives to any analysis I make of what I view as God's actions. We shall continue into the future! Eleven more years and I'll be 100. Possible.

Divine purposes and methods

by dhw, Thursday, January 17, 2019, 13:14 (180 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I have chosen my approach to interpretation of what God created in evolution. I will keep to it as I view it totally logical for me as I view God. Your view of God differs. As a result we will not resolve our differences.

dhw: Of course I must accept that you have a fixed belief from which you will not budge. I can only add firstly that you have agreed several times that you cannot logically connect your interpretation of purpose with your interpretation of method, and secondly I myself do not have a view of a possible God but can only offer alternatives to your own. It would perhaps be best if we dropped the subject, but I'm afraid it will continue to come up whenever you talk about design. See the post on “Little Foot”.

I’d also like to add that the whole point of this website is to exchange views on possible solutions to all the mysteries of life and the universe. If we all agreed on everything, there would be no discussion, but since there is absolutely no consensus on any of the solutions, we can only try to give one another logical reasons for and against each one.Through the eleven years of our discussions, many correspondents have been happy to present their solutions, but have presumably been less happy when you or I have questioned them, and sadly they have then left us. If it were not for you, I would probably be involved in one long monologue now, or I would have closed the site. To my surprise, though, I see that many of our recent discussions have still been followed by hundreds and, in some cases, more than a thousand viewers, so perhaps we “two stubborn old men” – as my daughter calls us – should keep going for a while!

DAVID: I will continue trying not to add human-sounding motives to any analysis I make of what I view as God's actions. We shall continue into the future! Eleven more years and I'll be 100. Possible.

Ah, my daughter will have to revise her description: “One stubborn old man and one stubborn even older man”.

Divine purposes and methods

by David Turell @, Thursday, January 17, 2019, 20:25 (180 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I have chosen my approach to interpretation of what God created in evolution. I will keep to it as I view it totally logical for me as I view God. Your view of God differs. As a result we will not resolve our differences.

dhw: Of course I must accept that you have a fixed belief from which you will not budge. I can only add firstly that you have agreed several times that you cannot logically connect your interpretation of purpose with your interpretation of method, and secondly I myself do not have a view of a possible God but can only offer alternatives to your own. It would perhaps be best if we dropped the subject, but I'm afraid it will continue to come up whenever you talk about design. See the post on “Little Foot”.

I’d also like to add that the whole point of this website is to exchange views on possible solutions to all the mysteries of life and the universe. If we all agreed on everything, there would be no discussion, but since there is absolutely no consensus on any of the solutions, we can only try to give one another logical reasons for and against each one.Through the eleven years of our discussions, many correspondents have been happy to present their solutions, but have presumably been less happy when you or I have questioned them, and sadly they have then left us. If it were not for you, I would probably be involved in one long monologue now, or I would have closed the site. To my surprise, though, I see that many of our recent discussions have still been followed by hundreds and, in some cases, more than a thousand viewers, so perhaps we “two stubborn old men” – as my daughter calls us – should keep going for a while!

DAVID: I will continue trying not to add human-sounding motives to any analysis I make of what I view as God's actions. We shall continue into the future! Eleven more years and I'll be 100. Possible.

dhw: Ah, my daughter will have to revise her description: “One stubborn old man and one stubborn even older man”.

Under your influence does Jenny believe or is she with you? Her analysis of the website is correct

Divine purposes and methods

by dhw, Friday, January 18, 2019, 10:29 (179 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I will continue trying not to add human-sounding motives to any analysis I make of what I view as God's actions. We shall continue into the future! Eleven more years and I'll be 100. Possible.

dhw: Ah, my daughter will have to revise her description: “One stubborn old man and one stubborn even older man”.

DAVID: Under your influence does Jenny believe or is she with you? Her analysis of the website is correct.

I don’t know why you say “under my influence”, unless you are anticipating the reply and already trying to discredit it. Jenny is a highly intelligent lady in her fifties, with a mind of her own and a very sharp and critical brain. She is an agnostic, but that does not mean she merely accepts whatever Dad tells her! I should add that her “analysis” is made with an affectionate twinkle in the eye directed towards both of us, and how nice it is to record that hers is a conclusion on which we both agree!

Divine purposes and methods

by David Turell @, Friday, January 18, 2019, 22:21 (179 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I will continue trying not to add human-sounding motives to any analysis I make of what I view as God's actions. We shall continue into the future! Eleven more years and I'll be 100. Possible.

dhw: Ah, my daughter will have to revise her description: “One stubborn old man and one stubborn even older man”.

DAVID: Under your influence does Jenny believe or is she with you? Her analysis of the website is correct.

dhw: I don’t know why you say “under my influence”, unless you are anticipating the reply and already trying to discredit it. Jenny is a highly intelligent lady in her fifties, with a mind of her own and a very sharp and critical brain. She is an agnostic, but that does not mean she merely accepts whatever Dad tells her! I should add that her “analysis” is made with an affectionate twinkle in the eye directed towards both of us, and how nice it is to record that hers is a conclusion on which we both agree!

No intent to denigrate lovely Jenny. We've discussed how a human develops from childhood with parental influences at work in shaping personality. Jenny did not arrive de novo at her current age. Do you deny your influence?

Divine purposes and methods

by dhw, Saturday, January 19, 2019, 13:08 (178 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I will continue trying not to add human-sounding motives to any analysis I make of what I view as God's actions. We shall continue into the future! Eleven more years and I'll be 100. Possible.

dhw: Ah, my daughter will have to revise her description: “One stubborn old man and one stubborn even older man”.

DAVID: Under your influence does Jenny believe or is she with you? Her analysis of the website is correct.

dhw: I don’t know why you say “under my influence”, unless you are anticipating the reply and already trying to discredit it. Jenny is a highly intelligent lady in her fifties, with a mind of her own and a very sharp and critical brain. She is an agnostic, but that does not mean she merely accepts whatever Dad tells her! I should add that her “analysis” is made with an affectionate twinkle in the eye directed towards both of us, and how nice it is to record that hers is a conclusion on which we both agree!

DAVID: No intent to denigrate lovely Jenny. We've discussed how a human develops from childhood with parental influences at work in shaping personality. Jenny did not arrive de novo at her current age. Do you deny your influence?

Of course we all inherit parental traits and are influenced by our upbringing. But that does not mean every child agrees with everything the parent says or thinks! My father was a practising Jew, but I am an agnostic. My brother was an atheist, but two of his four sons are ardent Christians. Did you always agree with your father?

Divine purposes and methods

by David Turell @, Saturday, January 19, 2019, 15:21 (178 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I will continue trying not to add human-sounding motives to any analysis I make of what I view as God's actions. We shall continue into the future! Eleven more years and I'll be 100. Possible.

dhw: Ah, my daughter will have to revise her description: “One stubborn old man and one stubborn even older man”.

DAVID: Under your influence does Jenny believe or is she with you? Her analysis of the website is correct.

dhw: I don’t know why you say “under my influence”, unless you are anticipating the reply and already trying to discredit it. Jenny is a highly intelligent lady in her fifties, with a mind of her own and a very sharp and critical brain. She is an agnostic, but that does not mean she merely accepts whatever Dad tells her! I should add that her “analysis” is made with an affectionate twinkle in the eye directed towards both of us, and how nice it is to record that hers is a conclusion on which we both agree!

DAVID: No intent to denigrate lovely Jenny. We've discussed how a human develops from childhood with parental influences at work in shaping personality. Jenny did not arrive de novo at her current age. Do you deny your influence?

dhw: Of course we all inherit parental traits and are influenced by our upbringing. But that does not mean every child agrees with everything the parent says or thinks! My father was a practising Jew, but I am an agnostic. My brother was an atheist, but two of his four sons are ardent Christians. Did you always agree with your father?

All I suggested is that you influenced Jenny as she developed, and you have agreed. Your further rebuttal suggests you have a fierce streak of defensiveness about your agnosticism. In the subject of religion my Father and I had no debates. Frankly, I have no idea what he really believed, if he had beliefs. While we were kids He went to High Holy Days services as the entire extent of what might be called practicing Judaism.

Divine purposes and methods

by dhw, Sunday, January 20, 2019, 12:11 (177 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: No intent to denigrate lovely Jenny. We've discussed how a human develops from childhood with parental influences at work in shaping personality. Jenny did not arrive de novo at her current age. Do you deny your influence?

dhw: Of course we all inherit parental traits and are influenced by our upbringing. But that does not mean every child agrees with everything the parent says or thinks! My father was a practising Jew, but I am an agnostic. My brother was an atheist, but two of his four sons are ardent Christians. Did you always agree with your father?

DAVID: All I suggested is that you influenced Jenny as she developed, and you have agreed. Your further rebuttal suggests you have a fierce streak of defensiveness about your agnosticism. In the subject of religion my Father and I had no debates. Frankly, I have no idea what he really believed, if he had beliefs. While we were kids He went to High Holy Days services as the entire extent of what might be called practicing Judaism.

This is becoming far too personal! I don’t recall ever discussing religion with any of my children until long after they’d left home. My late wife was a Methodist, and they all went to church when they were young and attended Sunday school. I never at any time objected to this, or to their being baptised as Christians, although I did inform the Minister that I was not a believer. In fact he and I became lifelong friends, although sadly he is now suffering from dementia. I don’t know when Jenny made the decision that religion was not for her. Nor do I know what you mean by a “fierce streak of defensiveness”. I am an agnostic, which means I frankly admit my own ignorance and the fact that one way or another my non-beliefs are wrong. I can’t imagine anyone characterising me as fierce! Mild and gentle, that's me! :-) But I must admit that I do have a very critical response when I'm confronted with what I regard as silly arguments. You will certainly have noticed this, and so would Dawkins if he knew about this website, which came into existence as a response to his book with the astonishingly presumptuous title The God Delusion.

Divine purposes and methods

by David Turell @, Sunday, January 20, 2019, 18:14 (177 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: No intent to denigrate lovely Jenny. We've discussed how a human develops from childhood with parental influences at work in shaping personality. Jenny did not arrive de novo at her current age. Do you deny your influence?

dhw: Of course we all inherit parental traits and are influenced by our upbringing. But that does not mean every child agrees with everything the parent says or thinks! My father was a practising Jew, but I am an agnostic. My brother was an atheist, but two of his four sons are ardent Christians. Did you always agree with your father?

DAVID: All I suggested is that you influenced Jenny as she developed, and you have agreed. Your further rebuttal suggests you have a fierce streak of defensiveness about your agnosticism. In the subject of religion my Father and I had no debates. Frankly, I have no idea what he really believed, if he had beliefs. While we were kids He went to High Holy Days services as the entire extent of what might be called practicing Judaism.

dhw: This is becoming far too personal! I don’t recall ever discussing religion with any of my children until long after they’d left home. My late wife was a Methodist, and they all went to church when they were young and attended Sunday school. I never at any time objected to this, or to their being baptised as Christians, although I did inform the Minister that I was not a believer. In fact he and I became lifelong friends, although sadly he is now suffering from dementia. I don’t know when Jenny made the decision that religion was not for her. Nor do I know what you mean by a “fierce streak of defensiveness”. I am an agnostic, which means I frankly admit my own ignorance and the fact that one way or another my non-beliefs are wrong. I can’t imagine anyone characterising me as fierce! Mild and gentle, that's me! :-) But I must admit that I do have a very critical response when I'm confronted with what I regard as silly arguments. You will certainly have noticed this, and so would Dawkins if he knew about this website, which came into existence as a response to his book with the astonishingly presumptuous title The God Delusion.

I agree. Drop the personal side although I think we both agree parents influence children. You do fiercely defend your agnosticism, but as you get criticized from all direction I'm sure you have developed a think hide and defenses.

Divine purposes and methods

by dhw, Monday, January 21, 2019, 13:28 (176 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Nor do I know what you mean by a “fierce streak of defensiveness”. I am an agnostic, which means I frankly admit my own ignorance and the fact that one way or another my non-beliefs are wrong. I can’t imagine anyone characterising me as fierce! Mild and gentle, that's me! But I must admit that I do have a very critical response when I'm confronted with what I regard as silly arguments. You will certainly have noticed this, and so would Dawkins if he knew about this website, which came into existence as a response to his book with the astonishingly presumptuous title The God Delusion.

DAVID: I agree. Drop the personal side although I think we both agree parents influence children. You do fiercely defend your agnosticism, but as you get criticized from all direction I'm sure you have developed a think hide and defenses.

Yes, upbringing, genes, education, personal experience all influence children in one way or another way (which is why the same family can produce atheists, agnostics and believers). Otherwise almost done and dusted, except that my criticism of what I regard as silly arguments (on both sides of the fence) is not a fierce defence of agnosticism but is simply criticism of what I regard as silly arguments. If an issue is unresolved, I do plead for open-mindedness, but I respect faith (either in a God or in chance) so long as it doesn’t cause harm or offence to others, or doesn’t pretend to be anything other than faith – e.g. to be based on scientific truths, or any other kind of incontrovertible fact.

Divine purposes and methods

by David Turell @, Monday, January 21, 2019, 15:18 (176 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: Nor do I know what you mean by a “fierce streak of defensiveness”. I am an agnostic, which means I frankly admit my own ignorance and the fact that one way or another my non-beliefs are wrong. I can’t imagine anyone characterising me as fierce! Mild and gentle, that's me! But I must admit that I do have a very critical response when I'm confronted with what I regard as silly arguments. You will certainly have noticed this, and so would Dawkins if he knew about this website, which came into existence as a response to his book with the astonishingly presumptuous title The God Delusion.

DAVID: I agree. Drop the personal side although I think we both agree parents influence children. You do fiercely defend your agnosticism, but as you get criticized from all direction I'm sure you have developed a thick hide and defenses.

dhw: Yes, upbringing, genes, education, personal experience all influence children in one way or another way (which is why the same family can produce atheists, agnostics and believers). Otherwise almost done and dusted, except that my criticism of what I regard as silly arguments (on both sides of the fence) is not a fierce defence of agnosticism but is simply criticism of what I regard as silly arguments. If an issue is unresolved, I do plead for open-mindedness, but I respect faith (either in a God or in chance) so long as it doesn’t cause harm or offence to others, or doesn’t pretend to be anything other than faith – e.g. to be based on scientific truths, or any other kind of incontrovertible fact.

A clear statement of your position.

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