Dear rjs, you concluded in your review of Denis L.ʼs book on Evolutionary Creation that you wished he still left room for God to intervene in the evolutionary process via miracles of some sort. But such a view of God as a micro-manager raises other kinds of questions. Below are my questions:
You want to keep god in the evolutionary loop and say that god did something, possibly intervening in evolution. Fine, but what did god do? Nudge a cosmic ray to mutate a specific DNA linage in a specific gene? God would also have to nudge some cosmic rays away from mutating a gene that God wanted to preserve. So God is nudging cosmic rays to hit certain things, and also nudging some rays away from certain parts of the genome he wants to maintain and protect. Is that what you believe? Because based on what we know god would indeed have to be doing both. Or,… God allows evolution to occur as Denis suggests.
Cosmic rays of course are for point mutations. Thereʼs also molecules inside the cell like free radicals that cause mutations when they hit upon a certain part of an exposed DNA chain. And thereʼs mutations that occur naturally when DNA breaks unevenly during cell division for reproductive cell formation (meiosis). But the same question applies as in the case of cosmic rays. Is God directing where some free radicals float in the cell, and directing breakages in specific places, and also moving some free radicals away from certain points, and preventing some uneven breakages? It doesnʼt seem like god is doing any of this genetic engineering and preserving because then why is god allowing children to be born with horrendous defects, and others born with oncogenes that raise the risks of specific diseases including cancers, autoimmune and muscular diseases later in life? If god is directing mutations why do 50% of fertilized eggs simply die?
A similar question involves bodies flying about randomly in space like asteroids that sometimes strike Jupiter, or our moon and earth, and subsequent mass extinctions on earth. The same God who carefully directed the mutations of untold species of dinosaurs to produce just the right Triceratops and T. Rex, then simply shakes up His Designerʼs Etch-I-Sketch and kills them all enmasse with a big meteor? Thatʼs a lot of directed mutations to produce just a huge bunch of “designed” creatures to kill them all.
See also this quotation:
“The evolutionary process is not at all a perfect one and many traits created by it are not even adaptive. It is precisely because of this that we suffer from such unadaptive traits as back pain, fallen arches, impacted wisdom teeth, varicose veins, appendicitis, cystic fibrosis, sickle-cell anemia, Huntingtonʼs disease, schizophrenia, manic-depression, alcoholism, painful childbirth, and a host of other maladies which genetic evolution has created, but which natural selection has done nothing to eliminate.
“Moreover, each evolutionary change tends to bring with it new forms of pain and suffering that had not existed before…
“For example, sexuality is not absolutely superior to asexuality, and the evolution of the former has brought with it many forms of conflict and suffering that do not exist in organisms that reproduce without sex…
“Sociality is not absolutely superior to solitary life, and its evolution has created new forms of competition and conflict that are less frequent, or even unknown among asocial animals…
“Bipedalism [walking on two legs] is by no means absolutely superior to quadrupedalism [walking on four], and the evolution of a two-legged gait in Homo sapiens has brought with it countless adverse side effects…
“Intelligence and behavioral flexibility are by no means absolutely superior to instinctive behavior, and their evolution had brought with it many forms of [intellectual angst and] emotional pain that are virtually unknown in the nonhuman world…
“No animal has undergone more major changes during the course of its evolution than Homo Sapiens, and no animal has inherited a greater capacity for pain and suffering. With every evolutionary change we have sustained, we have discovered new ways to protect our genes and new ways to suffer for their benefit. With every passing generation, the aggregate price paid for their preservation has become dearer and dearer. And our genes - unlike us - remain blissfully ignorant of the staggering mass of suffering that has been endured for the sake of their perpetuation.”
Timothy Anders in “The roots of evil,” a sub-section in the evolution of evil: an inquiry into the ultimate origins of human suffering
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