Religion Prof: The Blog of James F. McGrath
The Blog of Dr. James F. McGrath, Clarence L. Goodwin Chair in New Testament Language and Literature at Butler University, Indianapolis
A friend shared this on Facebook. Discuss!
I would not agree that computer science is “deeply rooted in evolutionary theory”. Evolutionary algorithms are a promising and expanding branch of computer science, but they are not at its root.
I agree with most of this, but the talk about God in this picture seems to me very ironic; the God that evolution indicates is not “ineffable”, but blind.
http://lesswrong.com/lw/kr/an_alien_god/ In the context of the above piece, “It makes me want to know God better” makes me smile. Of course, I do not think supernatural God exists, but evolution does explain much of what the concept of God was originally intended to explain much better.
If God chose to create through evolution he’s comfortable with a level of suffering and death that most parents would not be happy for their children to endure. I’m not sure I would want to know a God like that.
Of course it’s possible He had no choice, in which case, so much for omnipetence.
I don’t love evolution. I love some of the products of it, like pandas and cheetahs, but some of the others are absolutely horrifying. It’s a good theory and explains a lot, but it’s not a moral process. In fact it relys on death and infertility for its progress.
That’s an interesting perspective. But I don’t see how it is distinctive of evolution. Suffering and death are in the world, whether one believes they contribute to the emergence of complex organisms and ultimately sentience or not. If they were essential to producing those things, then we might consider our own existence to make the process worthwhile. And surely the alternative offered by young-earth creationists, that God made a world without those things and then spitefully inflicted them on our planet as punishment for human disobedience, depicts God in a much more horrific fashion.
Well yes, but that’s why I don’t believe in a God, at least not a benevolent and powerful one. I could just about imagine a distant ‘prime mover’ kind of God, that caused our universe and then moved on, but suffering and death seem to rule out a kind, loving, all-powerful God. If God somehow didn’t have a choice in how to make living things, then that’s forgivable, but if he picked evolution out of all possible options, that seems cruel and would need a pretty good explanation. I’m not sure if humankind is worth all the suffering and death that proceeded us. We’re talking about animals being eaten alive, starving to death, getting horrible diseases…I mean, I’d like a baby, but would I torture a whole load of animals to get one? I’m not sure. Besides, ‘the ends justify the means’ is not what I expect from the epitome of goodness.
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