Viruses intentionally choose how they infect


This is a theological question rather than a scientific one. The activity of God is not testable using the scientific method.

There are likely a diversity of opinions here on “how God is involved in evolutionary processes” that are based on one’s theological/philosophical views. I am probably in the minority here as a reformed/Calvinistic thinker in my belief that “every particle of dust that dances in the sunbeam does not move an atom more or less than God wishes” (Charles Spurgeon) and “not a sparrow falls to the ground apart from [God’s will]” (Matt. 10:29).

(Christy Hemphill) #42

Different people would have different ways of framing how they see God’s involvement and design in creation. I believe God is intimately involved in ongoing creative and sustaining work and that he “holds all things together” as it says in Colossians 1:17. I personally believe God is an artist and a designer and that creation obeys his will and reflects his sovereign plan. I think where many BL-type folks differ with ID-type folks is when it comes to:

I do not believe science has the tools to investigate how God is involved in evolution. Since evolution is an aspect of creation, I affirm that he is the Creator because of what I know about God through his revelation of himself in Scripture, Jesus Christ, and through what my intuition tells me when I look at his world. But I don’t think science will find incontrovertible evidence of design or be able to nail down a process by which God creates through evolution, or be able to somehow tease apart the natural and the supernatural when it comes to the wonders of life. Science by definition does not study the supernatural. God can not an object of scientific questioning.

(Martin R) #43

No, it is not a theological question…

I am an engineer, and i see a way how God or anyone else who is skilled and educated enough, or has the proper technology, can influence evolution on Earth.

So it is not a theological question… This can be done in real if you know how … Species can be modified by genome editing… this is a fact… Obviously, genomes can be edited by 3rd parties … just think of retroviruses… in other words, if you would be skilled enough to develop a retrovirus with a desired DNA sequence in it, you can influence the evolution on Earth. Not hypothetically, not theologically, but in real… moreover, nobody would notice…

(Martin R) #44

i don’t get you guys… why are you using words like supernatural ? i asked this before anther guy… is chemistry something supernatural?

Think about this:

I am an engineer, and i see a way how God or anyone else who is skilled and educated enough, or has a proper technology, can influence evolution on Earth.

This can be done in real if you know how … Species can be modified by genome editing… this is a fact… Obviously, genomes can be edited by 3rd parties … just think of retroviruses… in other words, if you would be skilled enough to develop a retrovirus with a desired DNA sequence in it, you can influence the evolution on Earth. Not hypothetically, not theologically, but in real… moreover, nobody would notice…

(Phil) #45

I understand the desire to know exactly how it happens, but that touches on the difference between the Intelligent Design movement and the Evolutionary Creationist movement. The ID folks seem to think you can know how it happens and can prove that it takes place, whereas the EC folks do not believe it is provable with the scientific method. Now, there is going to be some difference in opinion as to how God supports and sustains creation, but that is does is a common belief among the EC adherents.
End result, is that if you want an answer to your question, you would have to ask on an ID forum, because most here believe the question cannot be answered, as I see it.

(Mervin Bitikofer) #46

Hi, Martin. I’m not a professional engineer, but I did earn an engineering degree, so I have a pretty good sense of how engineers think. But I also know that an engineering viewpoint is not the only perspective on all matters of creation. It is a category mistake to think that God would be limited to an engineering perspective. You seem to think that there is a category of “real things” (the things that engineers deal with), and that God’s activity in this world is only real if it can be understood in those terms. Every believer here (I think) would affirm that God is the active creator of all things (in all the “most real” ways we could comprehend). And yet we are undisturbed by the fact that we can’t isolate and analyze certain items or events in all that as being “specifically God’s fingerprints” in some engineering or scientific sense. There are special actions of God, to be sure (usually referred to as ‘signs’ or ‘miracles’ in the Bible - chief of which would be the resurrection). But we don’t believe in those because some science tells us about them, but because God reveals himself in them and left testimony in scriptures.

A human engineer has certain limited priorities focused on efficiency, safety, cost-benefit analyses, etc. It is a mistake to try to think God must fit into that same box of limited priorities.

(Martin R) #47


thanks for the reply…

Yes, it would be nice to know what happened in the past… on the other hand, if you would know, from that moment, no more debates, no fun …

I don’t think that the evolutionary theory is right … i mean, a simple cell …an universal common ancestor, humans …

yes, it looks like the evolutionary theory fits the recent history … when you look at DNA evidence … nested hierarchy, ERVs… yes, very strong arguments… however, a lot of other things don’t fit…

cambrian explosion, dinosaurs, evolutionary stasis, origin of viruses (have you heard of pandoravirus, a crazy thing), convergent evolution (C4 photosynthesis 60 independent origins, or myrmecochory 147 independent origins) … these are very big issues…

And, my favorite ET problem - DNA barcoding… 100,000 species with an unique 600bp sequence in their mitochondrial genome …

So, it looks like something very weird is going on … i would say, that there were multiple creation events in the history… that would make sense…

p.s. have you noticed the very recent article on octopus?

May 2018

“33 Scientists Say That Octopuses Are Aliens From Space That Arrived To Earth On Icy Bodies”

Tell me Phil, what makes 33 secular scientists to publish something like that? To look stupid?

(Martin R) #48

You are wrong Mervin… it seems that God thinks of efficiency and energy consumption more than 21st century engineers… i can assure you…

Have a look at the cave fish… eyes consume a lot of energy - the cave fish don’t need eyes, so lets the eyes switch off…

Why should God create energy wasting species? Moreover, look how energy efficient we humans are … You don’t need to eat for how long? 3-4 weeks? And you still work… your camera eyes work, you can speak, hear, smell, your brain works, you can still move … 21st century robots are joke…

(Phil) #49

Martin, did you read the end of the octopus article? It stated:
"There are several reasons why the scientific community rejects the entire theory. First, none of the meteorites collected on Earth contain genetic material. In fact, the octopus genes fit perfectly in the genetic makeup of life on Earth. As for the new life in the fossil record, most scientists agree that there are more plausible explanations than aliens.

The entire study that was published contains no original research. Instead, the authors of the study only referenced their own works."

In other words, who ever wrote the original article based it on nothing but their own musings. It does bring up the need to be discerning in what we accept when we read. You are right to be skeptical, just be sure you are skeptical about the right things, and hold the sources you trust to high standards.

(Martin R) #50

sure i did… by the way, this was a PEER-REVIEWED article published in a PEER-REVIEWED journal … maybe another faked peer-review?

However, you have not answered my question:

What makes 33 scientists to publish something like that? To look stupid? and, why octopus?

(Mervin Bitikofer) #51

You don’t need to sell me on the amazing things that God has done and is doing. I’m not insisting that we can’t admire the engineering God has done even from our human engineering perspective. But what I don’t do is insist that God’s actions are limited to that perspective.

For all the efficiencies you can observe and bring up about creation, I assure you there will be others here (including Christians) happy to fill you in on all the vast and apparent “inefficiencies” (from the human engineering perspective) that God also created and lavished on creation far beyond what would be used. Just think about how some living organisms propagate themselves with thousands of times more scattered seed than is actually used, because so little of it will end up in a place where it can grow … or how many animals have hundreds of young because only a tiny few will survive.

God’s ways are not our ways, nor his thoughts, our thoughts. Paraphrased from: Isa 55:8-9

(Martin R) #52

you got it wrong, they have hundreds of young because only a tiny few will survive… the same for the seed… it was planned that way … designed…

i never understood, how a mentally healthy person can think that a ecosystem can somehow self-assemble (evolve) by its own, without any planning…

Did you hear of Biosphere 2 project? An ecosystem engineered by humans… was a disaster…

(Christy Hemphill) #53

The study of chemistry doesn’t involve studying anything supernatural. I am using the word supernatural because I believe there is a dimension to reality that is beyond the natural.

I don’t think I understand your point or where you think we disagree.

(Martin R) #54

you talked about supernatural … so i had the impression, you think that God used some supernatural forces to guide evolution on Earth.

Then i have showed you, no supernatural forces are needed… a retrovirus will do the job… and you even don’t have to be present on Earth… you just need to somehow deliver the retrovirus…

But i apologize when i misunderstood something … I know my English is bad, i am not native, please be patient with me…

(Martin R) #55

i definitely agree …

(Christy Hemphill) #56

In many people’s minds, the fact that God is doing it makes it supernatural. Is the natural/supernatural a helpful dichotomy? Perhaps not.

(Martin R) #57

I also think, there are things beyond our comprehension … so …

The most common atheist’s question “who designed the designer” is logical, but as i pointed out, perhaps the answer has nothing to do with human logic…

(Martin R) #58

i see your point now… that makes sense…

(George Brooks) #59


So you aren’t kidding? You really think bundles of molecules have “intentions”? Where are these “intentions” stored?

(Mervin Bitikofer) #60

First of all … don’t worry if English isn’t your first language. You’re doing just fine, and I would be nowhere close to being able to carry on a conversation like this in another language. So I admire those who speak of topics in their non-native language.

Incredulity has not always been a reliable guide for truth – because God’s universe is a truly amazing place. Who in their right mind might consider that the entire universe was once packed into a single dense, hot singularity? Or who in their right mind could imagine billions of bits of information packed away into a microscopic cell? These things blew people’s minds at one time (and still do, -we just get acclimated to speaking and thinking that way). So, no. The fact that you just “can’t see it” as a viable option is not always a reliable guide for searching out truth.

I don’t doubt it. One does not just lightly imagine they can “do what God does” or “think God’s thoughts after him” and then have it come out as they intended. There were those who also said we would never land on the moon for similar reasons. Leaving this planet was a bit too much like stealing God’s prerogative. “Success” and “Disaster” are both in the eye of the beholder.