Evolution and humans: all over Africa (Evolution)

by dhw, Saturday, October 14, 2017, 13:03 (2375 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Of course we have to speak of his personality in our human terms, but I'll stick to Adler's terminology, a person like no other person.
dhw: “He’s a person like no other person” is a cop-out. Your God watches with interest, but is too “serious” to want a spectacle, and wants us to think of him but stays hidden because...um... – all this is every bit as human as my own hypothesis, so please don’t use “humanization” as an excuse for rejecting it.
DAVID: Adler's statement is obviously true. God is NOT like us. I an only guess at His reactions to His own works. So I make human guesses, but I always carefully think, He is not human!

If God exists, of course he’s not human! I don’t imagine him as an old man with a beard. But if, as you keep telling us, our consciousness is part of his consciousness, and he wants a relationship with us, and he has purpose, and, as the Bible tells us, he made us in his image, it is far from improbable that our consciousness bears similarities to his consciousness. You have every right to make “human guesses”. So do I. You “carefully think”? You may be surprised to hear that I do too. Your careful thoughts do not fit the history we know. As you keep acknowledging, mine do.

DAVID: Sequence of my thoughts: evolution requires responses to challenges to survival. The human brain appeared for no obvious reason, compared to ape survival. The human brain is the most complex object in the universe. Not a Freudian slip. I see the purpose.
dhw: 1)You said you started with God’s purpose, but you meant to say you start with the world you observe. You can’t have two different starting points.
DAVID: Of course I can! I start by looking at works with purpose in mind.

Either you start by looking at the history and extrapolate the purpose, or you start with the purpose and try to manipulate the history. You said you started with God’s purpose, but no doubt you meant to say you started with God’s works and then tried to extrapolate his purpose. Minor point.

dhw: 2) Nobody knows why pre-humans descended from the trees, but it is perfectly feasible that they did so in response to local environmental challenges, as opposed to your God fiddling with their anatomy in advance.
DAVID: But He did fiddle. There were lumbar changes in a 23 million year old monkey, remember?

Maybe the 23-million-year-old monkey was the first to descend from its local trees.

dhw: 3) Every multicellular organism, including apes, humans, whales, and weaverbirds appeared for no obvious reason, because bacteria have survived from the start. My hypothesis adds the drive for improvement to that for survival.
DAVID: Your statement about 'survival' is a suspect thesis. It is not proven. Complexification or your statement 'improvement' are more to the point.

You wrote: “evolution requires responses to challenges to survival”. I’m sorry you don’t agree with yourself. But I agree that ‘improvement’ is more to the point when it comes to innovations, though it is sometimes difficult to draw the line between the two. (Improvement can be related to chances of survival as well as to opportunities provided by environmental change.)

dhw: 5) The human brain is the most complex object in the world we know. (I’m afraid I don’t have access to the whole universe.) But that does not mean your God specially designed the eight stages of whale and the weaverbird’s nest in order to keep life going until he could produce it.
DAVID: It is obvious God uses evolutionary processes to achieve His goals.

If God exists, then of course you are right. The question mark is over your personal interpretation of his goals. If his prime goal was the production of the brain of Homo sapiens, why did he bother to design eight stages of whale and the weaverbird’s nest?

DAVID: Everything we know about evolved from a beginning, even if we do not understand the beginnings of the universe or origin on life. Sorry you can't seem to see that. Evolution take time. Complexity of the brain implies purpose to me.

What on earth gives you the impression that I can’t see that there must have been a beginning? Or that evolution has taken 3.8 billion years so far (or whatever may be the true figure), no matter what its goal might be? It is the beginning that we can’t explain, and hence my openness to the possibility of a God. Complexity of the brain fits is perfectly well with the purpose of organisms to improve themselves.

DAVID: Faith may not be logical to you.
dhw: I explained to you why I do NOT admit that the purpose you extrapolate fits the history. You have no answers to my questions, and so of course your faith in the hypotheses I listed earlier does not seem logical to me. You are (quite rightly) happy enough to use logic to justify your faith in a designer. Why do you suddenly find logic unnecessary when it comes to your personal theory of God’s intentions and methods?
DAVID: Because your logic about God does not understand that He is not human, and cannot be subject to human logic.

See above. If he exists, he can't be human, but there is no reason to suppose that we do NOT have certain attributes in common with him. Your hypothesis that “He wants us to think about him” is no less human than my hypothesis that he created a spectacle for himself.

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