Most problematic of all with the Chosen Sperm Model is something I mentioned previously: I doubt God planned for 11-year-old Jaycee Dugard to be kidnapped, raped, and impregnated twice by her perverted adult kidnapper.
I’m Richard and please forgive me for jumping into this so late. For one, we are promised hard times by Jesus (John 16:33, Matthew 6:34, Mark 4:17):
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.
The, “non-perfect creation” is a common canard used by skeptics, but what they don’t realize is that according to the bible, the world was never meant to be, “perfect”, but to be a place where we will be tested, and it’s perfectly suited for that, with the spiritual mixing with the physical. This concept is in both the OT (Exodus 16:4, Deuteronomy 6:16, Judges 2:22):
In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions.
Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.
I will use them to test Israel and see whether they will keep the way of the Lord and walk in it as their ancestors did.
And in the New Testament (John 6:6, 2 Corinthians 2:9):
He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.
Another reason I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything.
So life is a test, and the answer is Christ. Hope this helps!
Yep, her sperm only thought it was lucky. If it knew what was coming it could have saved itself the effort.
Why not? Is there any other explanation for successfujl fertilization?
Re: RoundEarth @ 1
Just curious about the numbers.
From the source you cited 37% of fertilisations result in birth. (i.e 63% of fertilized zygotes fail to make it to delivery; only 168/200 are fertilised.)
From Wikipedia - Miscarriage, 50%-70% of fertilisations result in birth.
There is probably a deal of uncertainty about the actual rates but this is still a big difference between the sources. Could it be that Rational Wiki is being selective in their sources to make what they think will be a stronger case?
Boy Meets Girl. Sperm and egg come together.
Do you mean it would have been better if she had never been born? That is a really tough one. It’s not something I can really judge, not having been in their shoes. Many of us suffer.
Difficult, deep one.
I can’t really say that either but I mean it may have seemed that way to her at some point. But I think Beaglelady’s point is the more important one, that it is hard to argue that no matter what ill befalls you there is always a grander plan at work whereby all is happening for the best. (If I understood her correctly.) So the idea of each winning sperm being pre-selected just strikes me as extremely unlikely.
Oh, I see. Sorry! Yes, that’s a good point, I think. I can’t ever say I’ve come anywhere near to her suffering–I’ve been really very lucky.
This certainly is a confusing subject! Thanks.
In the past, human lives were shorter, and they needed more help just to gather food and survive things like ice ages, infections, childhood diseases. So maybe God will end civilization to stimulate us to help each other more.
Great questions. I gathered my own data:
men produce enough sperm on a daily basis to repopulate the earth in six months. However, many of those sperm are deformed, many have two heads, or two tails, or squiggly tails, or heads that are too large or two small, etc. Was that part of some design or fine-tuned plan to make you? And in the average human ejaculate there are two hundred million sperm. If God wanted specifically to make ‘you’ then only one sperm would have been required. Two to decide between a specific boy or girl. But two hundred million? Talk about a roll of the biological dice that made ‘you.’
Sperm are also subjected to physical stresses during ejaculation and contractions of the female tract, and may sustain oxidative damage, or even encounter the defenses of the female immune system meant for infectious organisms.
Also, in a 5 year study of 11 female volunteers Baker and Bellis (1993) examined the characteristics of sperm loss from the vagina following coitus (also called ‘flowback’). They found that flowback occurred in 94% of copulations with the median time to the emergence of ‘flowback’ of 30 min (range 5—120 min). Furthermore they estimated that a median of 35% of spermatozoa were lost through flowback but that in 12% of copulations almost 100% of the sperm inseminated were eliminated. Does the high flowback ratio sound like efficient design? This suggests that less than 1% of sperm might be retained in the female reproductive tract and this supports the notion that only a minority of sperm actually enter cervical mucus and ascend higher into the female reproductive tract.
Even being the first sperm to reach the egg assures nothing, since the eggʼs wall is too thick at that point and has to be weakened first by a couple thousand sperm attempting to breach it. And on occasion two or more sperm enter the egg before it begins to reharden, in which case the fertilized egg divides a few times then stops, or it may grow to the point of early implantation, implant on the uterine wall and then result in a miscarriage. Sometimes after the sperm enters the egg it triggers a second set of female chromosomes to be produced, and the fertilized egg dies. Sometimes the sperm enters the egg but does not go on to form a pronucleus, leaving only the eggʼs chromosomes functional, and again the process of development shuts down.
In short, your genetic compliment appears to be the result of trivial differences between hundreds of millions of dead sperm, i.e., purely statistical odds. SEE INFOGRAPHIC, “THE ODDS OF YOU BECOMING YOU”.
Now letʼs talk about eggs. During childhood a girlʼs ovaries absorb almost half of the million immature eggs with which she was born. Of the four hundred thousand eggs present during her first menstrual period, only 300 to 500 of them will develop into mature eggs across her reproductive life span. Her body reabsorbs the rest before they complete development. Again, does that sound like efficient design, or a case of the roll of the dice?
Even the circumstances by which oneʼs parents meet, and the time of year or day they make love, and the position they are in during coitus, along with a host of other circumstance, can affect which sperm reaches which egg. So it appears like a crap shoot. Also, what lessons can one be sure that God is teaching us when a baby dies in the womb, or dies during birth, or is born with defects? Up to the mid 1700s half of all children who were born died before reaching the age of eight (according to Buffonʼs estimate). So if we canʼt be sure of what God may be teaching us when lightning strikes one tree or power line rather than another, then what can one say with certainty concerning why one particular egg happened to become fertilized by one particular sperm, or why spontaneous abortions or birth defects occur?
Now letʼs take our discussion to a higher level. If the conception of each individual seems like a crap shoot or toss of the genetic dice due to a plethora of circumstances that do not seem personally planned, then what about the evolution of a species? What if God lets evolution be evolution just as He lets sperm be sperm and eggs be eggs, and lightning strikes be lightning strikes? The human species constitutes one of a small number of extremely large-brained species of mammals on earth, including cetacea (whales, dolphins), elephants, early apes and upright hominids. All with larger brains than average. However many species of cetacea, elephants, early apes, and upright hominids, became extinct, rather like the aforementioned hundreds of millions of eggs and sperm with different compliments of genes that naturally perish during coitus leaving either nothing behind or a single fertilized zygote.
Is our species the apex of creation, or a passing phase? Will future humans look back at our species like we look back at Australopithecines or Homo habilis?
Paleontologists have discovered that before the earliest upright hominids arose, the world was covered with diverse ape species, the majority of which went extinct. The same was true in the case of other large-brained mammal species, like dolphins and whales, their ancestors also went extinct. And they appear to have passed through a tinkering period where their rear legs had yet to disappear and their blowholes moved from the nostrils at the ends of their noses to the middle of their noses before reaching their current position atop their heads. Same with the ancestors of birds that have gone extinct. They went through a tinkering period when their bones were still solid and heavy, their skulls still triangle shaped and thick-boned like reptiles, with teeth, and long bony tails that create drag, and a small keel bone in their chests that could not have anchored wide and thick muscles for great wing flap power, so their flapping would have been much less powerful. Modern birds have light bones, smooth thin helmet shaped skulls, no teeth, a mere stub of a bony tail that does not create drag, and a keel bone in their chests so wide and large it extends the entire length of their torso to which large and wide wing flap muscles are attached. I guess God spent some time tinkering dolphins, whales, and birds, etc. into existence, leaving behind loads of extinct cousin species.
And what of the future? Even if we suppose that God’s fine-tuning ended with the present day species of homo, that does not mean humanity has plans for its own evolution to end. Humans have learned ways to fiddle with genes, and augment their brains with machines, and it now seems within the realm of possibility that we could produce hybrid species of animals raised to human or greater levels of consciousness. In fact, a human embryonic brain cells were implanted in a rat embryo and thrived inside the ratʼs brain as it grew, showing electrical integration with the rest of the rat’s brain, but only a small number of human cells were inserted in that experiment. We donʼt know what might happen if the majority of an embryonic ratʼs brain cells were replaced with human cells. Or what would happen if we performed a similar experiment on a dolphin or elephant embryo whose brains naturally grow far larger than a ratʼs.
Or we might create quantum computers with artificial intelligence that wind up superseding humanity. In such a case a learning program might learn to upgrade itself faster than humans can upgrade it so it surpasses humanity—in that case carbon-based life forms will have been superseded by something we gave birth to, and humanity will simply have been a stepping stone in the process toward new entities. Will such new entities then claim the cosmos was fine-tuned so that they would be the premier product?
On the other hand if our species becomes extinct or civilization collapses and we devolve into less brainy animals, will it then be said that God fine-tuned or designed the cosmos such that things would turn out that way?
On the third hand, letʼs say humanity reaches livable planets throughout the cosmos and evolves in different directions on each of them with some or all of the results mentioned above occurring on different planets. Our species might also raise up animal consciousness on some, raising up artificial intelligences on others, and blending some discoveries with human evolution, and such diversification might also be followed by extinction events on some or all of those planets, again we would see a whittling process of trial and error, of probabilities. Who knows what future version of humanity (or humanityʼs creations) will be the last one standing?
Need I add that the cosmos still has billions of years ahead of it. New stars are still being churned out in stellar nurseries, the maximum number of stars and planets has yet to be reached per articles I have read, and the stars that already exist have enough fuel to continue burning for billions of years via nuclear fusion. It takes even longer for black holes to dissipate, around 100 billion years to release their energy via Hawking Radiation. So it is easy to conceive of this cosmos outliving our species and outcome that seems likely given all the objects and energies careening throughout the cosmos, and energies beneath the earth, all of which pose dangers for our speciesʼ continued existence. Itʼs only a matter of time before any of the hundreds of objects already known to cross earthʼs orbit collide with our planet—as evidence of past collisions demonstrates. And long before our sun grows old and expands to envelop our planet in flame, our moon’s orbit will decay and it will fall into the earth.
Nor can we say with certainty how the cosmos will end, either with a Big Freeze, or Big Rip (if the cosmos continues to expand at the present rate of increasing acceleration then time and space could begin to tear apart at its furthest seams), or, a Big Crunch (if the cosmos eventually slows down and begins to contract), or perhaps our cosmos will give birth to another cosmos or several, spontaneously via internal Big Bangs. Cosmologists donʼt know.
Now letʼs take the discussion to an even higher level. Was it Godʼs specific intention to bring this particular cosmos into being? Maybe God allows cosmoses to produce other cosmoses in endless cycles of change and experimentation? Maybe God is a tinkerer of cosmoses?
This cosmos is constantly mixing and swirling, statistically allowing for life to arise in very small regions of the cosmos, and probably only for limited amounts of time due to the explosive swirling nature of the cosmos. And life in this cosmos continues via cycles of reproduction and death. Life does not appear to be a particularly stable phenomena, and single-celled forms have demonstrated better chances of long-term survival than more complex multi-cellular forms.
So, the design in the above case might be a never ending process of change, including the possibility of extinction at every level of such changes. It looks like randomness or chance plays a role in each individualʼs origins, as well as the origin of each species. If one says it was fine-tuned or designed that way, then fine-tuning or design including trial and error or tinkering.
Jesus was uniquely aware of God’s true nature, and knew Truth in ways we mere humans cannot completely comprehend; i.e., what is the full meaning of perfection, and goodness and sin. When we struggle on our own to understand these qualities (important in the quest for eternal life), it is best to just take his word for it. Unless I am mistaken, Christy, you and I agree on this.
This is what I have distilled from Teilhard’s philosophy: we live in an evolving Universe which is wondrous enough to give us a Zest for Life, but which contains obvious defects that challenge us to join with Him to correct. Teilhard warns that this zest must be effective globally, not internalized in self so as to become hedonistic. Because he sees God as Ahead (rather than a God Above), he believes it is important that we realize that secularity can have a holy component. A Heaven in the Clouds may not be the sole objective. Physicians dedicated to relieving human suffering (Doctors without Borders & Smiles Train) certainly illustrate this. It helps explain why God permits ills like ebola and cleft palate in order for humans to have the chance to act as ‘co-creators’ in fixing the problem. After his Ascension, Jesus has given us enough saintly humans to emulate. So rather than wringing our hands, complaining of natural evils and bad design, perhaps He is telling the rest of us: "Get off your butts and do something about it." We might be surprised at how much evil we can overcome.
We forgot that it is all so poorly designed that it ends in our death. That alone should be proof for poor design
Interesting perspective. But YEC would say that was from sin. But isn’t there a benefit to programmed cell and organism death…the new generation is an accumulated new combination of gene variants, the better for survival? Does that play into why some species live longer than others, do deal with a different niche or environment? That would be an interesting field of study. I am sure someone here (maybe you) knows more about that than I.
I am not sure if mutations within an organism can be shown to have any benefit, but cell death and replacement is certainly necessary in organisms for growth. This is easy to see in the growth of bones, where the shape and configuration is remodeled completely as an organism grows. Bone is removed by some cells, built by others. Another example is skin cells. Cells must be continually be replaced as the old ones wear off, just to give a few examples.
Yes, that’s certainly the case. Good point. What I was wondering is whether the programmed lifespan of a given organism May reflect an adaptation for the species as an entire entity to improve the ability to adapt any given niche.
Here is one article. Such a concept sort of argues, on one level, that death is a good thing for survival of the species…and thus against a YEC concept of death because of sin or only from entropy. However if you take it further, a YEC would argue (perhaps simplistically) that the environment that drives this is also fallen. Interesting anyway.
Just noticed this in catching up on this thread and wanted to say what a great bible quote for this website. “Knit me together in my mother’s womb” sure sounds like the devo side of eve-devo. And of course what is knit together can always go wrong; if it couldn’t, it might throw a monkey wrench into the very stream of evolution that bears the endless forms most beautiful we all delight in.
looks like the moderators failed to kill the thread by closing it
The dinosaurs must have been very sinful to deserve dying by this measure, as was the Dodo. They must think he died for our sin. But then - that’s coherent thinking for those that do not get something as complicated as Genesis and read it like children.
To ask where God is when when someone dies is theological inept. It is like believing Jesus complaining to God about having “forsaken him” on the cross. It is in our darkest hours that God is with us if we are fully with him. If we do not understand that this is teaching us the lesson of psalm22 that he has not forsaken us but that once we understand - that it is to his praise, we are missing the lessons of the gospel. It is as bad as believing Jesus would declare a fine wine as the most valuable drink over the water of ritual spiritual purification. We must have become more illiterate than those people who the Gospel was originally written for.