In my previous posting, I wrote about the “intelligence” of HIV virus. This has led me to the following afterthought:
The HIV virus is a great example of the explanatory power of evolution. Here is an organism that, on any measure of complexity, is at the opposite end of the spectrum from humans. Yet, it is still incredibly well-adapted to its environment. So much so that, at least for awhile, scientists feared that HIV could eradicate the entire human race. There is still some concern that this could happen, if HIV mutates into some more virulent form. Evolution, which does not posit that increased complexity equals superiority or that humans have any special status that should make them immune from extinction threats, has no trouble with explaining the success of HIV.
For religious (“design”) explanations for how the world works, HIV is likely to be a major problem. What kind of God would create an organism that kills millions and threatens to kill billions more. Yes, some say that this is God’s punishment to those that are drug addicts or homosexuals. But even if you accept such an idea (which many religious people do not), it doesn’t work: AIDs infects far more than those populations, including children infected even before they are born.
I know I am not the first to raise the larger issue here. How, if there is a benevolent omnipotent God, he could permit “bad things to happen to good people” has been a long-standing debate. But there is still not a convincing answer to this question.
The issue also serves as a convenient segue to my next two postings.