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 Post subject: Re: The Problem of Evil - What is your theodicy?
PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2012 5:49 am 
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So suffering is completely understandable from my perspective - a product of our biology and natural forces.

I don't look for an answer to why there is suffering in the world because it's never occurred to me to ask that question. There is suffering, death and pain in the world. Whether God exists or whether he doesn't, it's there. Shouldn't the question be 'how should we approach suffering' and not 'why is there suffering'?


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 Post subject: Re: The Problem of Evil - What is your theodicy?
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 1:02 pm 
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gherkin wrote:
You are responding to things I didn't say. :fyi: For example, I spoke of Mackie's confused work strictly in the context of philosophy of religion, not in general. (Of course, his work in ethics is as bad as his work in philosophy of religion. But that's another matter.) For another example, I spoke only of the 'logical problem of evil,' not of the problem of evil in general. Edit. Oops. I didn't give myself enough credit. I also spoke of the evidential problem, and explicitly noted that many philosophers still find it has, as I said, some real teeth. I wonder how you can read that post, and still respond as though I had said that nobody takes "THE" problem of evil seriously anymore. :scratch:


I suppose I would still maintain that his work isn't confused in philosophy of religion either, and that the logical problem of evil is also not considered past tense either.

Sorry if I misrepresented or misread you though! I still might not be clear on this.


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 Post subject: Re: The Problem of Evil - What is your theodicy?
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 1:06 pm 
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[quote="gherkin"

So I can't call bad work "half-assed," but you can call me biased? Hm.

At any rate, in this case, the post in question was a reply to Doom, not to you, so I was making no attempt whatsoever to have a respectful conversation with you. I was talking to Doom. You're free to read the posts and even to reply if you like, but I'll thank you to keep your stylistic critiques to yourself.

If you continue to wish to claim some kind of authority based on your publishable articles, your finished dissertation, and your broad acquaintance with leading philosophers, I will feel obliged to ask you to provide some evidence that such claims are true. In fact, I already did once. We're interested in seeing your published articles. Would you post links to them for me? Thanks![/quote]

You said "half-assed juvenile nonsense" and I said "you were looking at things from a biased perspective." I hardly think the latter comment is an ad hominem, and I wouldn't take offense if you said I was 'biased in favor of materialism' or something like that. Can you see how I might take the former comment as more insulting?

Okay, well if you don't want to have a respectful conversation...

I am not a professional Philosopher, and have not published in philosophy, as I've said before. I've only published in nanotechnology to date.

What sort of proof would you like that I know these philosophers? Notes from class? E-mails from my Professors?

I can send you the syllabuses from philosophy courses taught this year if you really want to doubt me here...

FYI, I am wary to share personal information for safety reasons.


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 Post subject: Re: The Problem of Evil - What is your theodicy?
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 1:13 pm 
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Nooj wrote:

If he is able, but not willing, that does not mean he is malevolent (not necessarily). It just means he's indifferent.


I would agree - Epicurus's original structure could be improved by saying "he is not omni-benevolent" or "he is not benevolent". This serves to prove the same point. This non-benevolent God is not the one theists believe in. So the challenge stands.



noor wrote:


I don't see how you could get to atheism from the evidence up, as opposed to agnosticism. What sort of evidence can you acquire that suggests God, an indifferent one or a deistic one, does not exist?


Okay, so I hope you can take this example from my perspective without getting offended. I'm not using these examples to trivialize your experiences and religious culture.

In our world, there are lots of theists. So people who don't learn about gods - are they atheists or agnostic? I'd say they are de facto atheists. Or non-theists.

Now consider an alternate world where our whole world is the minority, where theism is a popular belief. But in all the other world countries, people believe in the invisible fairies (or the force, or some other metaphysical construct). You, Nooj, are a theist who isn't even aware that Fairyism is a mainstream belief. The equivalent would be a Fairyist saying, "well, Nooj isn't an afairyist, he's just agnostic about fairies."

That is, I don't think everyone faces a question of God or no God, and is agnostic until they actively settle the question. I think people are born non-theists, and that this idea is taught. One God, many gods, many spirits, demons, fairies, ghosts and so on are all ideas that have been taught. Making God/no God the main question doesn't seem fair to our history of polytheism.

So it's not that I would get to atheism from the ground up. It's that I would never get to theism from the ground up, and thus non-theism or atheism would be the default position. The alternative would be "I don't see how you can not belief in fairies based on evidence. What sort of evidence do you have that suggests that fairies don't exist?"

So I have a different view about defaults and the burden of proof.


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 Post subject: Re: The Problem of Evil - What is your theodicy?
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 1:18 pm 
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dschiff wrote:
gherkin wrote:
You are responding to things I didn't say. :fyi: For example, I spoke of Mackie's confused work strictly in the context of philosophy of religion, not in general. (Of course, his work in ethics is as bad as his work in philosophy of religion. But that's another matter.) For another example, I spoke only of the 'logical problem of evil,' not of the problem of evil in general. Edit. Oops. I didn't give myself enough credit. I also spoke of the evidential problem, and explicitly noted that many philosophers still find it has, as I said, some real teeth. I wonder how you can read that post, and still respond as though I had said that nobody takes "THE" problem of evil seriously anymore. :scratch:


I suppose I would still maintain that his work isn't confused in philosophy of religion either, and that the logical problem of evil is also not considered past tense either.

Sorry if I misrepresented or misread you though! I still might not be clear on this.

You could certainly defend those claims. You'd be wrong, of course, but that's OK. At any rate, my point in the post quoted above was simply that your reply failed to engage with the claims I was actually making. That's all. Which means that if you want to engage the claims I was actually making, you'd have to go back to the post where I originally made those claims, and try reading it again.


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 Post subject: Re: The Problem of Evil - What is your theodicy?
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 1:19 pm 
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Nooj wrote:
Quote:
Most atheists are not relativists.
Can you justify that? From my experience, most atheists I have talked to agree with moral relativism.



I could look for some polls, but I can tell you that my whole atheist group, my atheist friends, and the general view points of the mainstream organizations are not relativistic. American Atheists, the American Humanist Association, the Secular Student Alliance, and so on are all essentially consequentialist, egalitarian, humanitarian even loosely utilitarian I would say.

I don't know if this is enough, but what should be enough is the knowledge that many examined atheists become quasi-realists or adopt objective morality. Take a professional philosopher like Gideon Rosen, an atheist who argues for objective morality. It's not a fringe view at all - I hope that's sufficient proof for you.

Quote:
We are literally the knowers of good and bad. We know suffering is awful. Why would we need someone beyond us, a super-objective figure, to determine that pain is bad?

Why would we need someone beyond us to determine that pain is bad? You're jumping too far ahead. Not all people do think that pain is bad. Some think that suffering can be good, in that it can be redemptive. I think Nietzsche wrote very well about how suffering is good.

Many people say that pain and suffering, though it is bad in some sense, does not constitute the standard for evil. Even if pain is bad, which I'm not convinced of, it may not be the Big Bad. What constitutes the Big Bad for religious people must be related to God.[/quote]

Well I don't know what to say to people who think suffering and pain are good. I think suffering can lead to good consequences, but does anyone argue that pain itself is good? Really?

What is the big bad then? Disobedience of the God? Lack of believing it exists? Lack of obeying certain commandments? I'm curious what you mean by this.

I am defining bad as a subjective feeling. We are the knowers and feelers, and we know what things are good or bad. That seems enough for me, and I don't know how one adds in abstract 'bads' that aren't readily apparent to us.

Sam Harris has an example. He imagines a universe where every sentient things suffers as much as possible for eternity. He says, could you imagine something worse than this?


"Imagine a universe devoid of the possibility of consciousness… entirely constituted of rocks… Value judgments don’t apply. For changes in the universe to matter, they have to matter… to some conscious system.

What about well-being? …Imagine a universe in which every conscious creature suffers as much as it possibly can for as long as it can… [This] is bad. If the word ‘bad’ applies anywhere, it applies here. Now if you think the worst possible suffering for everyone isn’t bad… [then] I don’t know what you’re talking about… And I'm pretty sure you don't know what you're talking about. The minimum standard of moral goodness is to avoid the worst possible suffering for everyone."


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 Post subject: Re: The Problem of Evil - What is your theodicy?
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 1:23 pm 
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gherkin wrote:
dschiff wrote:
gherkin wrote:
You are responding to things I didn't say. :fyi: For example, I spoke of Mackie's confused work strictly in the context of philosophy of religion, not in general. (Of course, his work in ethics is as bad as his work in philosophy of religion. But that's another matter.) For another example, I spoke only of the 'logical problem of evil,' not of the problem of evil in general. Edit. Oops. I didn't give myself enough credit. I also spoke of the evidential problem, and explicitly noted that many philosophers still find it has, as I said, some real teeth. I wonder how you can read that post, and still respond as though I had said that nobody takes "THE" problem of evil seriously anymore. :scratch:


I suppose I would still maintain that his work isn't confused in philosophy of religion either, and that the logical problem of evil is also not considered past tense either.

Sorry if I misrepresented or misread you though! I still might not be clear on this.

You could certainly defend those claims. You'd be wrong, of course, but that's OK. At any rate, my point in the post quoted above was simply that your reply failed to engage with the claims I was actually making. That's all. Which means that if you want to engage the claims I was actually making, you'd have to go back to the post where I originally made those claims, and try reading it again.


Or you could repeat them again and clarify them. Since you had the time and energy to respond to this post, I don't see why that would be a problem, Mr. Smarky.

From you: "The so-called logical problem of evil has been wholly refuted, and no philosopher who knows anything about the state of philosophy of religion since the 60's would disagree. "
Both counts are explicitly wrong for previously stated reasons. Many philosophers take this problem seriously still. This is not my claim, this is their claim. Mainstream philosophers.

"in fact the one who wants to claim that this problem is actually a "disproof" of theism bears the burden of proof here."
I made an argument. Unnecessary suffering, omnipotent and benevolent God. Contradiction.


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 Post subject: Re: The Problem of Evil - What is your theodicy?
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 1:27 pm 
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Doom wrote:
Nooj wrote:
Why would we need someone beyond us to determine that pain is bad? You're jumping too far ahead. Not all people do think that pain is bad. Some think that suffering can be good, in that it can be redemptive. I think Nietzsche wrote very well about how suffering is good.


I think pretty much everyone agrees that suffering can be a good if it is redemptive....Nietzsche's famous dictum that 'whatever doesn't kill me only makes me stronger' is really just the Christian doctrine of 'redemptive suffering' expressed by a narcissist.



Same point as before, Doom. This says suffering is good because of later consequences (you learn from it, or grow, or connect with God or something). That doesn't mean pain is good in itself.

Again, what is this argument going to show?

That an infant living in extreme pain for a few months until it dies really doesn't constitute a problem for an omni-potent, loving God because the pain the infant experiences is redemptive?

This attempt to save God from the unnecessary suffering doesn't convince me.
Let me put it in Hitchens' words, stronger than my own.

Watch it at the 30 second mark for the full rhetorical effect.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_E0O6UICRF0

"What about Frauline Frissel in Austria? Whose father kept her in a dungeon where she didn't see daylight for 24 years, and came down most nights to rape and sodomize her. Often in front of the children who the victims of the previous tax offenses.
Imagine how she must have begged him. Imagine how she must have pleaded. Imagine for how long. Imagine how she must of prayed every day; how she must have beseached Heaven. Imagine. For 24 years. An no. No answer at all. Nothing. NOTHING! Imagine how those children must have felt. Imagine what they felt when they saw one them--one of their number, the dead twin, being born away from neglect on top of everything else.
Are you? I have to ask you if you can be morally or ethically serious and postulate such a question. No that had to happen! And heaven did watch it with indifference because it knows that score will later on be settled. So it was well worth the going through it. She'll have a better time next time. I don't see how you can look anyone, ANYone in the face or live with yourself and say anything so hideously, wickedly immoral as that or even imply it."


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 Post subject: Re: The Problem of Evil - What is your theodicy?
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 1:30 pm 
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dschiff wrote:
You said "half-assed juvenile nonsense" and I said "you were looking at things from a biased perspective." I hardly think the latter comment is an ad hominem, and I wouldn't take offense if you said I was 'biased in favor of materialism' or something like that. Can you see how I might take the former comment as more insulting?

Actually, I didn't say "half-assed juvenile nonsense." You're conflating two quite distinct terms of abuse. There is absolutely nothing remotely ad hominem in my characterization of certain philosophical work as "half-assed." Indeed, it could not possibly be ad hominem to characterize the work as half-assed, precisely because it is a characterization of the work, not of the person who produced the work. In fact, you'll note that when I talked about the people who produced this work, I noted that they were generally intellectually somewhat capable. So my only characterization of the people was basically positive. My characterization of the work was negative. Spoken to Doom. As a way of explaining my view about that work. It couldn't be further from fallacious. Now, when I talked about Sam Harris, I did indeed include some stuff that one might view as directed at the man. I stand by what I said, but I have no time or interest in defending those claims to you. You may accordingly dismiss them as unsupported. (Of course, I was talking to Doom, who I happen to know agrees with me about Sam Harris. If I were interested in trying to convince someone to reject Harris's idiotic nonsense, then I'd have to do a little more work in offering evidence for my assessment. But I'm not interested.)

Quote:
What sort of proof would you like that I know these philosophers? Notes from class? E-mails from my Professors?

I can send you the syllabuses from philosophy courses taught this year if you really want to doubt me here...

FYI, I am wary to share personal information for safety reasons.

I don't blame you in the least for wanting to keep your personal information off the web. I follow the same rule myself. It's just good sense. But here's the thing. Because I am not willing to provide evidence for my educational background or other such stuff, I don't invoke it in arguments. Again, mentioning certain things to Doom, who already knows who I am and what I do, is one thing. But trying to impress you with my fancy credentials is foolishness if I'm unwilling to cough up the credentials when challenged. As such, no credentials get mentioned. I'd recommend the same course to you. Follow the "put up or shut up" rule. You know lots of fancy philosophers, huh? And you think that this claim gives your posts some credibility here? Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzt! Sorry. Tell us who you know, and how you know them, and why we should think that your reports about what they believe are correct. If you're unwilling to produce the goods, don't mention the fancy philosophers that you're allegedly so chummy with. See how easy that is?


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 Post subject: Re: The Problem of Evil - What is your theodicy?
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 1:34 pm 
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dschiff wrote:
Or you could repeat them again and clarify them. Since you had the time and energy to respond to this post, I don't see why that would be a problem, Mr. Smarky.

You seem to have found those original comments, and you seem to have maybe even understood them this time. So why would I need to repeat them? :scratch:

Quote:
From you: "The so-called logical problem of evil has been wholly refuted, and no philosopher who knows anything about the state of philosophy of religion since the 60's would disagree. "
Both counts are explicitly wrong for previously stated reasons. Many philosophers take this problem seriously still. This is not my claim, this is their claim. Mainstream philosophers.

Who? Where? When? Specifics, please. I'll need many names of course. A few won't get you what you just claimed. What counts as 'many' is, of course, strongly contextual. There are several thousand professional philosophers in the US. I'd say that in that context, 100 or so would maybe start to count as many.

Quote:
"in fact the one who wants to claim that this problem is actually a "disproof" of theism bears the burden of proof here."
I made an argument. Unnecessary suffering, omnipotent and benevolent God. Contradiction.

Even Mackie backed off of that claim. A long time ago.


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 Post subject: Re: The Problem of Evil - What is your theodicy?
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 1:58 pm 
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Mithrandir wrote:
dschiff wrote:

Thanks for this long and thought out response. I've heard this evil as a privation of good argument, and it doesn't impress me for reasons stated above.

Just because you weren't "impressed" by it hardly makes it untrue. 2+2=4 isn't really impressive to anyone, yet it is true regardless of how you feel about it.


Long post.. This is getting messy. Any way we can clean up this overflowing discussion?

Of course my opinion doesn't entail truth or falsity. But reasserting your opinion doesn't help your case either.
I rejected the privation argument for logical reasons.

I don't care if evil is defined as the absence of good and it doesn't impress me because it doesn't affect the power of the problem of evil in refuting theism. A child is tortured to death, a baby is raped (these things happen). It was a "lack of good". God allows this "lack of good" to happen. Hence he is not omnipotent or not benevolent. Same argument stands.

dschiff wrote:
Quote:
Is evil then merely subjective? No, for if it were a subjective illusion, then the fact that we fear this mere illusion would be really evil. Evil IS real, but it is not a real thing. It is disordered love, disordered will. It is a wrong relationship, a nonconformity between our will and God's will.

I see no reason to think that evil is anything more than a description.

How do you know?
[/quote]
How do I know? These are just claims, we can't prove this either way. How do you know there is a metaphysical reality of 'evilness' and that you aren't just making up words an attaching them to things you observe? My version works well with physics and how the natural world appears. Your version brings in complex, undetectable ontologies, moral fields or some such. Occam's razor tends towards my explanation. The person with the larger ontology has the burden of proof.

Mithrandir wrote:

Never mind, we have to properly define what good is before we can have any insight as to how evil is a privation of what is good. I'll treat with that in a little bit...

There are two objections here based on misunderstandings. The first has to do with the word you used when referring to the Fall: "implicated". You're still treating these principles such as "good" & "evil" or "law" and "justice" in the positive sense instead of the natural sense. It's like the question Plato posed to an objector, "Do the gods command a thing because it is pious, or is it pious because the gods command it?" The evil we choose to do has nothing to do with something placed upon us, it is a part of our nature-it was inherited. It is this fallen nature that we are born with. It is this nature that clouds our reason and darkens our intellect so that we see evil as something good and desireable. Instead of our reason directing our wills and subduing our passions we allow our passions to subdue our reason and dictate our wills. It is called concupiscience.

I don't buy original sin... Do you have any support for this other than ancient texts? Scientific evidence that we aren't just evolved from primates with animalistic tendencies, moderated by human rational behavior?

Mithrandir wrote:
You assume the position that based on your experience people are generally good in their behavior. The fact is that people are not good in their behavior. People because of selfish longings and desires make bad decisions constantly; everything from adultry and murder to stealing office supplies from your work and lying to your wife on while on the cell phone about where you are at. We rationalize and justify our bad choices under various reasons yet these acts are evil. Even infants and toddlers selfishly desire their favorite toys even to the point of inflicting pain on their siblings. You have newborn babies screaming their heads off just so they can be given a bottle of formula. As parents we have love and pity for them and we endure it but the bottom line is that we are born as pure ids and superegos(to use Frued's terminology). The total domination of the self over others(be they things or even people) is the antithesis of love goodness.

Actually, I am more of a Hobbesian. I am impressed by people's selfishness, cruelty and malevolence and have a more negative than positive view of human nature. For a simple reason - we are animals.

So it seems we share this in common.

mithrandir wrote:


As far as God, He is NOT a tyrant. He could not make us do anything, not without violating our nature. God is absolute Truth so what you're suggesting-that God would contradict himself-is absurd. He does guide us; its called the human conscience which is the law of God(the law of Love) written on our hearts or that little "voice" we hear in ourselves that supports us when we do good or rebukes us when we do evil. This is also part of our nature. But sadly people, who continually make one evil decision after another, make it a constant habit to suppress and ignore that voice until it is no longer heard in themselves. Our consciences, like our intellects, must be informed to work properly. When you ignore your conscience and fail to inform it, you make it subject to your passions instead.

Okay, I see this is your religious position. This doesn't jive with a deterministic world at all though. People don't choose to be born with bad souls or good souls, to bad families or situations. So, God doesn't intervene to save babies from being killed, but he did intervene to do some miracles thousands of years ago? He did intervene, right? That's how we know all this stuff about him... But he doesn't intervene any more. That entails the 'tyrant' position, strong language though.

dschiff wrote:

Quote:
The second argument against God's "omnipotence" is the objection "If 'all things are possible with God,' then why didn't God create a world without sin?" That we already answered above.
Or to put it another way, omnipotence could not have created a world in which there was genuine human freedom and yet no possibility of sin, for our freedom includes the possibility of sin within its own meaning. Thus, even an omnipotent God cannot forcibly prevent sin without removing our freedom. The "cannot" does not mean that His power meets some obstacle outside Himself, but rather that "nonsense does not cease to be nonsense when we add the words 'God can' before it."(C.S.Lewis). This notion of God's omnipotence not extending to self-contradictions explains necessary physical evil as well as moral evil. Even omnipotence cannot avoid all physical evil if it creates a finite world that is not infinitely perfect. God wanted free creatures to love and that would choose to love Him, not robots. God is not a tyrant, He's a loving father.

Okay, so your view is that your God cannot create a world with free will and without evil. I'd say that's coherent, though it seems to me an omnipotent God could do much better. i.e. let murderers point the gun and then make the gun misfire. But God lets us have 100% free will, despite the innocents who suffer and the children who die. The value of free will under such a plan is lost to me.


Not without violating our nature. God is absolute Love as well as absolute Truth. These are one in Him because He is pure absolute Being("I Am He Who Is"). To put it simply if the gun misfired the will behind it simply would have looked for another gun. The misfire wouldn't change the will.
[/quote]
Ending malaria doesn't change our free will to sin or not.
Stopping babies from dying in hurricanes doesn't change our freedom to be good people or not.
Why doesn't God help these people?

mithrandir wrote:

The value of free will has to do with Love. For love to be truly love it has to be totally free. But this love is not the generally mistaken modern notion of passionate love. The love that God wants is the highest form of love: the classic "agape"-free and total self-giving love. We could not enjoy perfect love and blessedness unless were were fully free to choose it. We must be fully free to choose God and self-giving love or total selfishness and therefore not-God.

Remember, our faith places the eternal as obviously more important as the temporal-our souls are more important than our bodies. We don't believe that physical death is the end of the person, so neither is the death of innocents(although we can only assume their innocence-we have no real way of knowing who would choose God and who would not-only He can know) is the end of their existence. As far as any such people we pray for them and place them in His care and mercy with the confidence that He will judge them justly and mercifully.

This doesn't justify the death of innocents to me, or the allowance of that.
mithrandir wrote:

If you think a world of mindless robots is more valuable than a world of people with free will then that is totally lost on me. I see such a mindset as the sad consequence of complacency living is a free country such as we have. There's no way I would trade the supposed total emination of evil(I say "supposed" because there is no way that you could presume that such a world you suppose would be free of evil) and remove from the world the millions of opportunities and experiences of total self-giving love


I wouldn't call us mindless robots, but it's not about it being valuable. It's about whether it's true. It's not a mindset. There is reality, and we learn about it and then accept it or do not.

dschiff wrote:
Quote:
More specifically you fail to distinguish between two kinds of physical evil: (1) the imperfections, weaknesses, diseases, and deaths of nonhuman things, and (2) the suffering of human beings. The first is inherent in any finite, created world. Tornados are not evil in their being, they are the result of heat and pressure balancing themselves out within our atmosphere. Mosquitos look really attractive to other mosquitos.

I made this distinction earlier, but using the technical terminology of philosophy of religion. Moral evil vs. unnecessary suffering.

Note that I don't need humans at all to make this argument. Your God let tons of animals suffer in horrible ways before humans were around. That, to me, is not something a benevolent God allows. And they don't even have free will, by your account.

You're referring to pre-history and the comment begs the question. "Suffering" is a subjective emotion that can't you are applying to creatures which you assume had emotions.
[/quote]
So I don't assume animals have emotions. I am absolutely confident that they do, and can back this up with biological research.
To quote Peter Singer:
"Nearly all the external signs that lead us to infer pain in other humans can be seen in other species, especially the species most closely related to us –the species of mammals and birds. The behavioral signs include writhing, facial contortions, moaning, yelping or other forms of calling, attempts to avoid the source of pain, appearance of fear at the prospect of its repetition, and so on. In addition, we know that these animals have nervous systems very like ours, which respond physiologically as ours do when the animal is in circumstances in which we would feel pain: an initial rise of blood pressure, dilated pupils, perspiration, an increased pulse rate, and, if the stimulus continues, a fall in blood pressure. Although human beings have a more developed cerebral cortex than other animals, this part of the brain is concerned with thinking functions rather than with basic impulses, emotions, and feelings. These impulses, emotions, and feelings are located in the diencephalon, which is well developed in many other species of animals, especially mammals and birds. "

mithrandir wrote:

I find the objection a little vague and very presumptuous. It also follows from a false definition of God's goodness. I'll get to that later...
dschiff wrote:
Quote:
The second is the necessary consequence of sin. Human beings are body-soul(psycho-somatic) unities, our souls or psyches or personalities are our form and our bodies are our matter, much as in a poem the meaning is the form and the sounds and syllables are the matter. Once you grant this principle, it makes sense that if the soul becomes alienated from God by sin, the body will become alienated too, and experience pain and death as sin's inevitable consequences. These are not external, arbitrary punishments added on. Spiritual death(sin) and physical death go together because our spirits(souls, conciousness) and bodies go together.

This is kind of coherent, but requires assuming a lot about metaphysics. God is everywhere, are we ever away from him? Does physical distance make one more sinful? And, of course, there is no evidence of souls or anything like that, in the atheist viewpoint, generally.

Physical distance from God is irrelevent. Physical distance from those things that cause us to do evil can make all the difference.

And yes it does presume metaphysics and life after death. That could be the topic of another thread but I would quickly ask you here if there is not human soul how do you explain the ability of the human person(the subject) to objectify the body?


I don't even know what this means, to objectify the body?
I don't see how science can justify a soul.
Do you think only humans have souls and that animals don't?
At which point do you think the soul entered humans? A whole generation at the same time, or that each new 'sufficiently-human' creature was granted a soul?
Was it for:
Australopithecus afarensis
Australopithecus africanus
Australopithecus garhi
Australopithecus bahrelghazali
Homo habilis
?

dschiff wrote:
Quote:
To help understand this think of three iron rings suspended from a magnet. The magnet is God; the first ring, the soul; the second ring, the body; the bottom ring, nature. As long as the sould stays in contact with God the magnetic life flows through the whole chain. But when the soul declares its independence from God, the whole chain falls. When the soul is separated from God, the body is separated from the soul-that is it dies-and also from nature-that is, it suffers. The soul's authority over the body is a delegated authority, as is humanity's authority over nature. When God the delegator is rejected, so is the authority He delegated. Thus both suffering and sin are traced back to man, not God.
A nice metaphor. How to back up the metaphysical claims it makes though?


In your response you're assuming materialism and demanding proof while you have yet to prove that materialism is the only truth. IOW what you're really saying that in matters of thought and intellect there really is nothing for your science to abstract from. That is a philosophical claim, not a scientific one. And it is a false claim at that.

[/quote]
I am assuming materialism. I see no evidence of anything else. I see no reason for science of logic to extend to supernatural, non-material things, and no justification for doing so. If you think materialism is false, demonstrate the truth of supernatural, non-material things. (I don't know how you would do this, as I think you only live in a material world, only experience material things, and only have material evidence, by definition).

dschiff wrote:
Quote:
Thirdly your idea of "omnibenevolence" or "goodness" confuses what is you think is "good" for what is "kind". Kindness is the will to free the loved one from pain. Sometimes, to be good is not to be kind. Dentists, surgeons, athletic trainers, teachers, and parents all know that.

You use examples of people who cause *some* suffering or struggle to justify greater good. Letting millions of children die of starvation and malaria doesn't teach them a greater lesson. The analogy fails in this way. Parents let their children get a small cut, God lets his children suffer and die. You can't justify their choices to sit back in the same way.

But your neglecting to ask the right questions and instead you place the blame on God because its an easy out for your atheism. Why are those children dying of starvation? Is it because of God, or because of a greedy warlord or tribal leader wanting to starve out another tribe who they have been at war with for centuries?

You ask, "why didn't God do anything"? I ask you, and God will ask all of us if we dare ask Him the same question you do, "why didn't [b]YOU (or me, or anyone else) do anything?"[/b] Why weren't WE his presence to the world? Why did we decide to sit on the sidelines and allow our cowardess and laziness to rule us even though we saw the evil, knew it was evil, and yet did nothing to stop it!?

All I can say is that God only permits the evil and suffering He does to bring about greater good. Its not an easy answer, it takes a lot of faith, but its the only answer we, or Job, or anyone else, will get.

[/quote]

So you tried to blame suffering on us. I've mentioned many other examples. Babies killed in hurricanes. Death during childbirth. Spina bifida. Autism. Cancer. We can't blame these all on humans, especially in the majority if our history, in the pre global politics, pre modern medicine era. God permits this. Why does letting an infant's brain appear outside the skull so it suffers horribly and dies bring about a greater good?

If you are going to just take it on faith... that's just admitting that you don't have a justification and will just will yourself to believe it despite the argument that speaks against it. I take an argument on faith as a concession, because you can believe anything on faith with no justification.
dschiff wrote:
Quote:
Fourthly your argument about the amount of evil which you say disproves God. My question is this: How much evil would be too much? Would a Holocaust of six million disprove God but not a Holocaust of six thousand? How do you know how much evil is too much? You seem to assume implicitly that since you cannot understand why so much evil is permitted, it could not possibly be permitted by God; that is you assume that only the evil which you can understand as necessary or justified is compatible with God. But if only such evil did exist, it would be strong evidence against God. For if there is a God, His wisdom and ways must be infinitely superior to ours ,and we will not understand all His ways. That was the only answer Job got, and he was satisfied, because Job was a good philosopher. This is not blind fideism but eminent reasonableness. Who are we, the palyers on the stage, to tell off the author of the play? We cannot explain the particular evils we see, but we can explain why we can't explain them.

How much evil would be too much for an omnibenevolent God? Since we can come up with any definition of omnibenevolent we want, let me just ask instead, how much evil would be too much for a God that is generally good, loving, should be respected and so on. I would say that the number of deaths and horrible suffering in a single day is incompatible with any sort of kind or loving God. 27,000 deaths of children under 5. Unfathomable suffering.


You cannot come up with any definition of omnibenevolent that you want.

Here's the common sense definition of God as "all-good". God is the source of all that we recognoze as good. In fact we say that God is the source of all Being. Therefore God cannot be evil in any way, for whether an evil is moral or physical, it is properly understood in terms of what should be there but is not. A thing is good of its kind(and the qualification is important) if it succeeds in being that kind to the fullest. It is bad if it fails.

Now there can be no question of failure on the part of the Creator; God is to the fullest. And insofar as goodness is oone with perfect being, God is therefore perfect good.

God is perfectly good in Himself. We are good only so far as we perfectly cooperate with that goodness that is in Him. God, because of His love for us and free will cannot force us to act contrary to our wills despite His desire for us to act in cooperation with His goodness. By doing so he would destroy our wills and in effect destroy how He created us, and act contrary to Love.

He can compell us no more than a parent can compell their drug-addicted son or daughter to go into rehab-through Love and understanding and by informing them of their self-destructive ways. It STILL boils down to free-will; the addict still has to make the choice to change(to repent and do the good they know they ought to do. God, as a loving Father, informs us the Bible. He informs us by showing us the mistakes our forerunners made and gives us the perfect example of self-giving love through the example of His perfect divine Son.

So we have demonstrated that "omnibenevolence" when referring to God means the perfect goodness of God in Himself.

[/quote]
So God is the source of good and perfect goodness. And allows children to die and suffer horribly. The problem of evil stands.


dschiff wrote:
Quote:
Lastly, the God of the OT is the exact same God of the NT.
You commit the same errors as I did when I was an atheist.
1) you, understandably but albeit ignorantly, place your false understandings on the text. When you read the OT you read it with a lack of reference. You listen, but you do not hear.
2) you fail to recognize the persistence of sin. You see sin's punishment as something arbitrary and posited instead of something intrinsic to the act itself.
3) because of your ideology you place material reality over and above all else. In other words you place something temporary and finite as more important than what is eternal.

1) Your point is unclear, other than your simple assertion that my understandings are false. I've read the pentatuach many times with many scholars.

Which really means nothing. Protestant scholars even misunderstand because they read their theology into the text. How do you know that you aren't making the same mistake?

The most obvious mistake is that you keep referring to the "innocents" of the ancient times yet you seem to ignore the clear fact that the Bible describes that every generation from Adam on persisted and even grew in sin from one generation to the next. From fratracide and patricide, to incest, polygamy, and homosexuality, even human sacrifice(adults and infants), & ritual prostitution.
[/quote]
You think the infants of Amalek were sinners and deserved to be put to death? The children deserved to be wiped out in the flood? That none of the infants were innocent? I don't think this is morally sound.

mithrandir wrote:
It makes me wonder, that is if you know the pentateuch so well, how you can expect any generation following would have some miraculous change of heart and the whole society-or even the world- all of a sudden repent of the lives and acts and even worship of their fathers before them and turn back to the God they spurned. I can understand that it may take a great faith than you may be used to to see that a temporary death is a mercy when compaired to an eternal death.

I wasn't exactly trying to convince the whole generation of religious people to abandon their gods. But it is possible. People deconvert and become atheists all the time. Sometimes they have trouble coping, and sometimes they are much better and happier off! There are support groups for the former and great new things for the latter.
mithrandir wrote:
Maybe as much as I see now that it, at least to me, takes a greater faith to see this world as it is, and know that it ought to be better(which itself presumes a knowledge of Something that is supremely perfect), and yet remain an atheist. Because to see this world as its is and call it "proof" and say "there is no God" seems also to accept a notion that the world is destined to remain as evil as it is now or worse, and then to live and die without any hope of anything changing.

Instead, I would say that I see this world with a standard of evidence, as accurately as I can. That I think all gods are made up by men in their stories, and that we, collectively, have a responsibility to help each other and make the world a better and less evil place. This is a beautiful notion to me, not a despairing one.

dschiff wrote:
2) I'm talking about millions of toddlers and infants who haven't sinned at all. You think their suffering and death is justifiable. I claim it is not.
3) I do emphasize the natural world, as I disbelieve in supernatural realms. I don't think heaven justifies the suffering of the infants who died.


As long as you disbelieve in "supernatural realms" while presupposing materialism you're begging the question. At best you can only assert a certitude for the non-existence of heaven, you cannot demonstrate or prove it.
[/quote]
Burden of proof is on you here. You claim heaven exists. Your evidence of this supernatural realm is a material book that you read with material eyes.
Consider: I have an invisible dragon in my garage. At best you can assert it doesn't exist, you cannot demonstrate it does not exist. Does this make it logical to believe in the dragon? Does it make it a sensible step? Why do you reject the dragon and not heaven?
mithrandir wrote:

I have no right to claim anything as "justifiable", I can only read that it happened, accept it as history, and presume in faith that the God of justice, love and mercy knew what He was doing. The same as you have no right to say that it was unjustifiable because there is no possible way you can know that with certainty.

If you accept it on faith, then you are not using evidence. You can use faith to accept any religion. This is as much as admitting that you can't logically support this position but must simply accept it is true despite a lack of convincing evidence.

mithrandir wrote:
You can no more make the assumption about an infants guilt or innocence than you or I can presume any adult's guilt or innocence. You cannot possibly know that with any certainty either. Because such a judgement would necessarily require that you have the ability to see every end to every choice made by every person from the beginning to the end of time.-IOW, you would have to be God.

You have no way of claiming anyone "innocent" mo matter how much you presume it. You're simply begging the question. Even if allowed to live you have no way of knowing what their life would become, at best you can only presume.

Tens-of-thousands of people suffered and went to their deaths with the belief and confidence that heavens's existence and blessedness fully justified their present pain and deaths. These were the Christian martyrs. They wents to their deaths with songs of joy on their lips because they knew their volutary suffering and deaths would bring about greater good.

If you think infants can be sinners, I don't know how to respond. Do you think beating babies is okay? Throwing them in jail? Of course not. They can't talk, they can't walk. They can't know any better. Blaming them is silly. It doesn't apply. You can't blame animals or babies without rational capacities. Similarly, calling them sinners is silly. Do you not think so?

mithrandir wrote:
If you don't think heaven is better then life on earth then I pity you, seriously. But I understand, because while everyone presumes to know what hell will be like not many people have considered what heaven will be like. I've aske many protestants the question, "what do you thnk you will do in heaven?" and I get various subjective answers from the pious(I'll get to be with Jesus all I want) to the funny(a never-ending Longhorn vs Sooner football game).

If you think that eternal life full of happiness, peace, joy, and love is in no way preferrable to this life full of pain, frustration, and empty pursuits then I really feel sorry for you.


I mean, I think heaven is a fabrication. Just like Valhalla and Hades and Elysium. People want to be immortal, so their respective cultures invent other worlds where they can do so.good


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 Post subject: Re: The Problem of Evil - What is your theodicy?
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 2:13 pm 
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gherkin wrote:
Actually, I didn't say "half-assed juvenile nonsense." You're conflating two quite distinct terms of abuse. There is absolutely nothing remotely ad hominem in my characterization of certain philosophical work as "half-assed." Indeed, it could not possibly be ad hominem to characterize the work as half-assed, precisely because it is a characterization of the work, not of the person who produced the work. In fact, you'll note that when I talked about the people who produced this work, I noted that they were generally intellectually somewhat capable. So my only characterization of the people was basically positive. My characterization of the work was negative. Spoken to Doom. As a way of explaining my view about that work. It couldn't be further from fallacious. Now, when I talked about Sam Harris, I did indeed include some stuff that one might view as directed at the man. I stand by what I said, but I have no time or interest in defending those claims to you. You may accordingly dismiss them as unsupported. (Of course, I was talking to Doom, who I happen to know agrees with me about Sam Harris. If I were interested in trying to convince someone to reject Harris's idiotic nonsense, then I'd have to do a little more work in offering evidence for my assessment. But I'm not interested.)


To quote you: "Standard criticisms of theism from atheistic philosophers are just so completely half-assed that it's kind of embarrassing. I'm not talking about the kind of juvenile nonsense that rabble rousers like Sam Harris write. (That generally is wholly un-assed.)"

You don't think that is an ad-hominem? You think that is polite? I absolutely feel compelled to respond to those claims. There is another irony, when people who believe in supernatural universe creators and supernatural realms based on ancient books tell me the atheistic challenges are "idiotic" and "juvenile". How would you feel if a scientologist said you were juvenile and idiotic for rejecting Lord Xenu? I know this comparison will offend you, because you think your beliefs are legitimate while scientology and mormonism are silly. But to people like me, they are the same.

I think Sam Harris is incredibly gifted, rational and has made compelling cases that disprove theism and challenge religious belief. I tend to think the Christian apologists are inventive and less logical. But I haven't called W.L. Craig "juvenile".

Quote:
What sort of proof would you like that I know these philosophers? Notes from class? E-mails from my Professors?

I can send you the syllabuses from philosophy courses taught this year if you really want to doubt me here...

FYI, I am wary to share personal information for safety reasons.

gherkin wrote:
I don't blame you in the least for wanting to keep your personal information off the web. I follow the same rule myself. It's just good sense. But here's the thing. Because I am not willing to provide evidence for my educational background or other such stuff, I don't invoke it in arguments. Again, mentioning certain things to Doom, who already knows who I am and what I do, is one thing. But trying to impress you with my fancy credentials is foolishness if I'm unwilling to cough up the credentials when challenged. As such, no credentials get mentioned. I'd recommend the same course to you. Follow the "put up or shut up" rule. You know lots of fancy philosophers, huh? And you think that this claim gives your posts some credibility here? Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzt! Sorry. Tell us who you know, and how you know them, and why we should think that your reports about what they believe are correct. If you're unwilling to produce the goods, don't mention the fancy philosophers that you're allegedly so chummy with. See how easy that is?


I don't need to produce fancy credentials (and if I did you'd find some way to denigrate them).

FYI, I studied philosophy at Princeton, with folks such as Peter Singer, Gideon Rosen, Gilbert Harman, Michael Smith, Frank Jackson, Hans Halvorson, and Kwame Appiah. It's arguably the first or second best philosophy department in the world. Of course, now I open myself up to all sorts of criticisms (this class was stupid, the teacher was wrong, oh this is a basic undergraduate course, how do we know he didn't just reject the problem of evil as silly when he introduced it, liberal bias and so on).

I'm attaching a syllabus of the intro philosophy course which addresses the problem of evil here. I can also produce e-mails from the above professors...

I did my independent work under Dan Garber about modern physics and theism (and their incompatibility). Garber worked under Hilary Putnam back in the day. I literally had a meeting yesterday with Hans Halvorson about modern physics and theism/atheism, regarding string cosmology, quantum loop cosmology and relativity.

There was a debate between Gideon Rosen and John Lennox (princeton philosopher and oxford mathematician) a few weeks ago hosted by Harvard's Veritas forum at Princeton. It was on the problem of evil. So your statement that the problem of evil (or the logical one) was ignored, not taken seriously, etc. is all not true, I'm afraid.

I can't demonstrate this any more clearly. Would it even matter if I were a famous, published philosopher? If I were say, Peter Singer, arguably the most influential and famous philosopher alive? No. You'd just say "Singer is stupid and wrong."

You want me to demonstrate authority and then you'll reject it. Whereas I've been advocating that ideas, not authority, should do the talking. Then you say you didn't invoke your authority, you just seconded someone who 'apparently' had authority about the state of philosophy of religion. Now you're doing anything possible to deny my claims to hold on to your belief that he was correct. Rosen/Lennox debate happened a few weeks ago. Refute that. Do you want the link?

Is that enough evidence? The Rosen/Lennox debate alone should be enough. But if the syllabus and the meeting with Halvorson yesterday doesn't do it (I can send you the poster of the event), I can send you an e-mail from any of the above names...

I'd appreciate if you'd take me at my word from now on.


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 Post subject: Re: The Problem of Evil - What is your theodicy?
PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2012 12:50 am 
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dschiff wrote:
I could look for some polls, but I can tell you that my whole atheist group, my atheist friends, and the general view points of the mainstream organizations are not relativistic. American Atheists, the American Humanist Association, the Secular Student Alliance, and so on are all essentially consequentialist, egalitarian, humanitarian even loosely utilitarian I would say.
Moral relativism is compatible with all these things you mentioned. For example, I've personally talked to atheists who said that they don't believe in objective morality, but are utilitarian, virtue ethicists or follow Rand for various reasons. I suspect if you asked them flat out whether there is such a thing as objective morality, they'll say that there isn't one.

dschiff wrote:
I don't know if this is enough, but what should be enough is the knowledge that many examined atheists become quasi-realists or adopt objective morality. Take a professional philosopher like Gideon Rosen, an atheist who argues for objective morality. It's not a fringe view at all - I hope that's sufficient proof for you.
No, it isn't I'm afraid. You flat out said that most atheists are not moral relativists. You can't get anywhere near close to proving that with one atheist - I could just as easily cite this one theist I met who was a moral nihilist. On the other hand, I have evidence for you that what you claimed isn't true: http://www.reddit.com/r/atheism/search? ... rict_sr=on

The amount of debate within the atheist community is significant, I'm sure you'll agree.

dschiff wrote:
Well I don't know what to say to people who think suffering and pain are good. I think suffering can lead to good consequences, but does anyone argue that pain itself is good? Really?
First of all, why is pain-in-and-of-itself as a feeling/sensation, not good? Second of all, if suffering and pain can lead to good consequences and you have any sympathies towards consequentialism, then I'm sure you'll agree that suffering and pain can be good.

dschiff wrote:
What is the big bad then? Disobedience of the God? Lack of believing it exists? Lack of obeying certain commandments? I'm curious what you mean by this.
You'll have to ask religious people.

dschiff wrote:
Sam Harris has an example. He imagines a universe where every sentient things suffers as much as possible for eternity. He says, could you imagine something worse than this?

"Imagine a universe devoid of the possibility of consciousness… entirely constituted of rocks… Value judgments don’t apply. For changes in the universe to matter, they have to matter… to some conscious system.

What about well-being? …Imagine a universe in which every conscious creature suffers as much as it possibly can for as long as it can… [This] is bad. If the word ‘bad’ applies anywhere, it applies here. Now if you think the worst possible suffering for everyone isn’t bad… [then] I don’t know what you’re talking about… And I'm pretty sure you don't know what you're talking about. The minimum standard of moral goodness is to avoid the worst possible suffering for everyone."


First of all, this is a strange hypothetical and I would argue it's inappropriate. One could definitely argue that what's 'evil' here is the fact that this suffering goes on for eternity, not that suffering and pain exists at all. The length of time is at issue here. There are atheists who argue that heaven would be horrible, because heaven goes on for eternity, even though almost by definition heaven would be a pleasant and great place to be in. So it would seem that it is not pleasure or pain that determines good and bad for some people.

Second, note that he doesn't have the best response in the world to someone who thinks that 'the worst possible suffering for everyone isn't bad'. He simply asserts, and it is an assertion, that the opponent doesn't know what he's talking about and then presents his view of what moral goodness is. That's his opinion.

Third, the way he sets out the conditional is just bad, and almost misrepresents moral relativism. The point of moral relativism is that you can't just blithely say that this is good or bad, you have to say this is good or bad in relation to something e.g. individual opinion. It's not so much that moral relativists don't think pain and suffering is bad, it's that they don't think it's bad (or good) per se. They may well agree that pain and suffering is bad in every instance, but they'll do so with the caveat that it is a subjective judgement. It doesn't matter if everyone who ever existed, exists now or will exist, consider pain and suffering bad, that does not make suffering and pain objectively bad any more than slavery would be good if they held that opinion instead.

Even if we feel pain and suffering as 'bad', on an instinctual, feeling based-level, that does not make pain and suffering objectively bad for the same reason that suicide is not objectively bad, even though most people shy away from it. Biology is not objectivity. If we had evolved to welcome death, perhaps because we were plants who could best spread our genes by being eaten, then we would jump at the chance to die. And if we did not have any pain receptors at all, then I think it'd be meaningless to speak of pain as bad, if they was no one around to feel pain.

Finally, Sam Harris' hypothetical isn't really appropriate to questions of theodicy, although he probably wasn't think of theodicy when he said what he did. Theodicy applies to here and now, not an imaginary world where everyone is born into endless suffering of the worst kind. If it is somehow true that suffering the worst possible suffering forever is bad, it decides nothing. Because what we have here on Earth is not that sort of suffering.


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 Post subject: Re: The Problem of Evil - What is your theodicy?
PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2012 5:32 pm 
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dschiff wrote:
sunmumy wrote:
Welcome back, Dschiff.

You ask a lot of pertinent questions but most are very basic. I think as folks above have said, CS lewis or Chesterton would be a good place to begin. I highly recommend that you get Mere Christianity in CD form. CS Lewis is more conversational than writerly.


Thank you for the welcome!

One thing. I would prefer if you stick with discussing the topics rather than pointing me to sources or challenging my knowledge. While I am interested in hearing your theodicy, I don't necessarily buy it. That is, I'm here for friendly discussion, including challenging your ideas, not just to accept your ideas immediately. I think you'll find that what you see as 'simple answers' that I should know or look up, I think are invalid or illogical claims. To see why your approach is mildly offensive, note that I do not tell you to "look up basic moral philosophy or philosophy of religion" when I see you as making mistakes either. I just share those various ideas from moral philosophy.




Sorry, I didn't answer because I didn't see this before..... I apologize if I appeared dismissive. That is not my intention. It is simply that unlike the guys, who focus on the intellectual components of faith, I am more interested in psychology. Now the guys think you need some connections made for you intellectually. I think CKC is doing an excellent job of getting you to do that for yourself -- However, I think there are writers who have been given a grace that transcends the written material and so if I point you to them, it is not 'merely' the basic answers that I am pointing you to. I don't think I can explain that any more at this time.... Anyhow, carry on the good work.....


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 Post subject: Re: The Problem of Evil - What is your theodicy?
PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2012 7:58 pm 
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dschiff wrote:
Of course my opinion doesn't entail truth or falsity. But reasserting your opinion doesn't help your case either.
I rejected the privation argument for logical reasons.

I don't care if evil is defined as the absence of good and it doesn't impress me because it doesn't affect the power of the problem of evil in refuting theism. A child is tortured to death, a baby is raped (these things happen). It was a "lack of good". God allows this "lack of good" to happen. Hence he is not omnipotent or not benevolent. Same argument stands.


Again, you seem to be using the term "omnipotent" equivocally so lets define the term before we continue.

To say that God is omniscient or omnipotent mean that there can be no real barriers to God's knowing or acting. Apart from Himself, God has created everything there is to be known and sustains it in being. So it is impossible to think of something as thwarting God's will, that is and I can't say this any more clear,...
UNLESS God HIMSELF ALLOWS THE THWARTING-as in the human free choice to sin.

But that is a circumstance that requires omnipotence, and therefore is not an argument against it.

Yes, these things happen, but they happen because of the choices of people, not because of the choice of God. You're demanding that God act contrary to Himself and how He created us. You're demanding that God be a tyrant and thus act contrary to love and goodness in order to prove His goodness.

Basically you're demanding that God contradict Himself.

dschiff wrote:
How do I know? These are just claims, we can't prove this either way. How do you know there is a metaphysical reality of 'evilness' and that you aren't just making up words an attaching them to things you observe? My version works well with physics and how the natural world appears. Your version brings in complex, undetectable ontologies, moral fields or some such. Occam's razor tends towards my explanation. The person with the larger ontology has the burden of proof.

You're only asserting Occam's razor because you conveniently and a priori "shave away" God as a possibility. You also ignore contradictions in your assertions.

Lastly, the person who usually says "the burden of proof lies with" those who they oppose are usually the one with the weak position. You came here, to a Catholic forum, asserting your beliefs. So the fact is that the burden of proof lies with you because you are the one asserting your assumptions about the problem of evil.

Therefore the burden lies with you.
dschiff wrote:
Mithrandir wrote:
Never mind, we have to properly define what good is before we can have any insight as to how evil is a privation of what is good. I'll treat with that in a little bit...

There are two objections here based on misunderstandings. The first has to do with the word you used when referring to the Fall: "implicated". You're still treating these principles such as "good" & "evil" or "law" and "justice" in the positive sense instead of the natural sense. It's like the question Plato posed to an objector, "Do the gods command a thing because it is pious, or is it pious because the gods command it?" The evil we choose to do has nothing to do with something placed upon us, it is a part of our nature-it was inherited. It is this fallen nature that we are born with. It is this nature that clouds our reason and darkens our intellect so that we see evil as something good and desireable. Instead of our reason directing our wills and subduing our passions we allow our passions to subdue our reason and dictate our wills. It is called concupiscience.

I don't buy original sin... Do you have any support for this other than ancient texts? Scientific evidence that we aren't just evolved from primates with animalistic tendencies, moderated by human rational behavior?

You see the evil in the world. You have no problem expounding this data as "proof" about God's supposed non-existence, yet you deny original sin and assert Darwinism?

So then would you also agree with the idea that you can get more from less? That you can get human rationalism from animalistic tendencies?
dschiff wrote:
Mithrandir wrote:
You assume the position that based on your experience people are generally good in their behavior. The fact is that people are not good in their behavior. People because of selfish longings and desires make bad decisions constantly; everything from adultry and murder to stealing office supplies from your work and lying to your wife on while on the cell phone about where you are at. We rationalize and justify our bad choices under various reasons yet these acts are evil. Even infants and toddlers selfishly desire their favorite toys even to the point of inflicting pain on their siblings. You have newborn babies screaming their heads off just so they can be given a bottle of formula. As parents we have love and pity for them and we endure it but the bottom line is that we are born as pure ids and superegos(to use Frued's terminology). The total domination of the self over others(be they things or even people) is the antithesis of love goodness.

Actually, I am more of a Hobbesian. I am impressed by people's selfishness, cruelty and malevolence and have a more negative than positive view of human nature. For a simple reason - we are animals.

So it seems we share this in common.


No, we are not animals. But we can, and do, succumb to base desires in mimmickry of animals and the fallen world. We were made ,and are called to, a higher degree of life that is evidence by our ability to reason and our desire for good.
dschiff wrote:
mithrandir wrote:
As far as God, He is NOT a tyrant. He could not make us do anything, not without violating our nature. God is absolute Truth so what you're suggesting-that God would contradict himself-is absurd. He does guide us; its called the human conscience which is the law of God(the law of Love) written on our hearts or that little "voice" we hear in ourselves that supports us when we do good or rebukes us when we do evil. This is also part of our nature. But sadly people, who continually make one evil decision after another, make it a constant habit to suppress and ignore that voice until it is no longer heard in themselves. Our consciences, like our intellects, must be informed to work properly. When you ignore your conscience and fail to inform it, you make it subject to your passions instead.

Okay, I see this is your religious position. This doesn't jive with a deterministic world at all though. People don't choose to be born with bad souls or good souls, to bad families or situations. So, God doesn't intervene to save babies from being killed, but he did intervene to do some miracles thousands of years ago? He did intervene, right? That's how we know all this stuff about him... But he doesn't intervene any more. That entails the 'tyrant' position, strong language though.

In order to argue determinism you must prove materialism. You have yet to prove that materialism is true so essentially you're begging the question.

Secondly, I never said that people are born with good souls or bad souls. In fact I said that all people are created good, then they choose bad acts.

God's intervention into time does not either mean He's a tyrant because it presupposes His omniscience and omnipotence. He chose to intervene because He knew the dispositions and hearts of those He was intervening for and against. He knew what the response-their choices-would be to His intervention and he knew the consequences that would follow from that intervention and how all would follow according to His plan. That's the advantage of being a Divine Being in eternity-you see all times at once in their present as they happen.

You argue, that He doesn't intervene anymore? How do you know? Have you done a study, a survey?


dschiff wrote:
Ending malaria doesn't change our free will to sin or not.
Stopping babies from dying in hurricanes doesn't change our freedom to be good people or not.
Why doesn't God help these people?


Again, why don't you?

Hurricanes don't kill people. It's the people who know they live in an area of high risk for hurricanes who accept that a hurricane may or may not kill them. Its as rediculous as the person who lives in the shadow of a volcano and one morning wakes up surprised to find a lava flow in their back yard.

Basically, how do you know He doesn't? Or better, who are you to determine what is defined as "help"?
dschiff wrote:
mithrandir wrote:

The value of free will has to do with Love. For love to be truly love it has to be totally free. But this love is not the generally mistaken modern notion of passionate love. The love that God wants is the highest form of love: the classic "agape"-free and total self-giving love. We could not enjoy perfect love and blessedness unless were were fully free to choose it. We must be fully free to choose God and self-giving love or total selfishness and therefore not-God.

Remember, our faith places the eternal as obviously more important as the temporal-our souls are more important than our bodies. We don't believe that physical death is the end of the person, so neither is the death of innocents(although we can only assume their innocence-we have no real way of knowing who would choose God and who would not-only He can know) is the end of their existence. As far as any such people we pray for them and place them in His care and mercy with the confidence that He will judge them justly and mercifully.

This doesn't justify the death of innocents to me, or the allowance of that.

I find it funny that you think you're in the position to make a judgement on the matter. Or that God has an obligation to justify it to you. Seems to me that you have an inclination to put yourself in the place of God.
dschiff wrote:
mithrandir wrote:
If you think a world of mindless robots is more valuable than a world of people with free will then that is totally lost on me. I see such a mindset as the sad consequence of complacency living is a free country such as we have. There's no way I would trade the supposed total elimination of evil(I say "supposed" because there is no way that you could presume that such a world you suppose would be free of evil) and remove from the world the millions of opportunities and experiences of total self-giving love

I wouldn't call us mindless robots, but it's not about it being valuable. It's about whether it's true. It's not a mindset. There is reality, and we learn about it and then accept it or do not.

Again, you're presupposing materialism and begging the question.

dschiff wrote:
So I don't assume animals have emotions. I am absolutely confident that they do, and can back this up with biological research.
To quote Peter Singer:
"Nearly all the external signs that lead us to infer pain in other humans can be seen in other species, especially the species most closely related to us –the species of mammals and birds. The behavioral signs include writhing, facial contortions, moaning, yelping or other forms of calling, attempts to avoid the source of pain, appearance of fear at the prospect of its repetition, and so on. In addition, we know that these animals have nervous systems very like ours, which respond physiologically as ours do when the animal is in circumstances in which we would feel pain: an initial rise of blood pressure, dilated pupils, perspiration, an increased pulse rate, and, if the stimulus continues, a fall in blood pressure. Although human beings have a more developed cerebral cortex than other animals, this part of the brain is concerned with thinking functions rather than with basic impulses, emotions, and feelings. These impulses, emotions, and feelings are located in the diencephalon, which is well developed in many other species of animals, especially mammals and birds. "


Singer here is equivocating feelings and emotions. What he describes are things felt-external stimuli-and he is abstracting that those must translate to internal subjective emotions. He's making the mistake that similiarity necessarily implies descent. He makes these assumptions because he is a utilitarianist and a materialist. He's in effect reading his philosophy into his science.

BTW, this is the same utilitarianist-who unabashedly advocates abortion and euthanasia-who when his mother was sick with a supposedly terminal illness, elected to care for her rather than follow his philosophy and euthanize her.

His excuse? He didn't admit that his theory was wrong, he merely said, "that doesn't mean my rules are wrong, it only means that I disobeyed them in the case of my mother, and acted unethically."http://oldarchive.godspy.com/issues/WHATS-LOVE-GOT-TO-DO-WITH-IT-The-Ethical-Contradictions-of-Peter-Singer-by-Dr-Peter-J-Colosi.cfm.html

Yet Singer I guess forgot that he wrote on page 2 of his book Practical Ethics, where he asserts, "...ethics is not an ideal system that is noble in theory but no good in practice."

dschiff wrote:
mithrandir wrote:
And yes it does presume metaphysics and life after death. That could be the topic of another thread but I would quickly ask you here if there is not human soul how do you explain the ability of the human person(the subject) to objectify the body?

I don't even know what this means, to objectify the body?

I'll start a thread in the Lyceum on it.
dschiff wrote:
I don't see how science can justify a soul.

If by "science" you mean empiricism then you're not even raising an argument. You're merely recognizing the limits of the empirical.
dschiff wrote:

Do you think only humans have souls and that animals don't?

No, I make a distinction bewteen the types of souls they have.

At which point do you think the soul entered humans? A whole generation at the same time, or that each new 'sufficiently-human' creature was granted a soul?
Was it for:
Australopithecus afarensis
Australopithecus africanus
Australopithecus garhi
Australopithecus bahrelghazali
Homo habilis
?[/quote]
Again, I don't deny the existence of a type of soul in animals. As far as "sufficiently human" you're assuming that these species are each and all "human" as we are which begs the question.

I'm not in the habit of interpreting data to suit my philosophy.

dschiff wrote:
I am assuming materialism. I see no evidence of anything else. I see no reason for science of logic to extend to supernatural, non-material things, and no justification for doing so. If you think materialism is false, demonstrate the truth of supernatural, non-material things. (I don't know how you would do this, as I think you only live in a material world, only experience material things, and only have material evidence, by definition).


No, you're assuming empiricism, and it is an a priori and self-contradictory doctrine. It is not empirical enough.

dschiff wrote:
So you tried to blame suffering on us. I've mentioned many other examples. Babies killed in hurricanes. Death during childbirth. Spina bifida. Autism. Cancer. We can't blame these all on humans, especially in the majority if our history, in the pre global politics, pre modern medicine era. God permits this. Why does letting an infant's brain appear outside the skull so it suffers horribly and dies bring about a greater good?


Again, "babies killed in hurricanes"?-somebody made the choice to live there.

Death during childbirth? Spina bifida? Autism? Cancer? We can't blame these on humans? So my father who smoked all his life, did drugs, and got cancer is "innocent"? That he refused to take care of himself after receiving his stem-cell infusions and died from an infection isn't his fault?

I also watched my father die a peaceful and holy death despite all of his pain and suffering. And I believe that in some mysterious way what he endured in some way redeemed others as well as himself.

The bottom line is that all of your examples can and do trace back to human decisions, human free will, not God. So your argument fails.



dschiff wrote:
mithrandir wrote:
You cannot come up with any definition of omnibenevolent that you want.

Here's the common sense definition of God as "all-good". God is the source of all that we recognoze as good. In fact we say that God is the source of all Being. Therefore God cannot be evil in any way, for whether an evil is moral or physical, it is properly understood in terms of what should be there but is not. A thing is good of its kind(and the qualification is important) if it succeeds in being that kind to the fullest. It is bad if it fails.

Now there can be no question of failure on the part of the Creator; God is to the fullest. And insofar as goodness is oone with perfect being, God is therefore perfect good.

God is perfectly good in Himself. We are good only so far as we perfectly cooperate with that goodness that is in Him. God, because of His love for us and free will cannot force us to act contrary to our wills despite His desire for us to act in cooperation with His goodness. By doing so he would destroy our wills and in effect destroy how He created us, and act contrary to Love.

He can compell us no more than a parent can compell their drug-addicted son or daughter to go into rehab-through Love and understanding and by informing them of their self-destructive ways. It STILL boils down to free-will; the addict still has to make the choice to change(to repent and do the good they know they ought to do. God, as a loving Father, informs us the Bible. He informs us by showing us the mistakes our forerunners made and gives us the perfect example of self-giving love through the example of His perfect divine Son.

So we have demonstrated that "omnibenevolence" when referring to God means the perfect goodness of God in Himself.

So God is the source of good and perfect goodness. And allows children to die and suffer horribly. The problem of evil stands.

Wrong. Your argument amounts to cutting off your head to stop a nosebleed. Your argument fails because without a good God then you have no way of making a judgement about what evil is or not.

Without Perfect Goodness good and evil are subjective and relative terms. By even calling evil "evil" you implicitly bear witness to a supreme Goodness.


dschiff wrote:
You think the infants of Amalek were sinners and deserved to be put to death? The children deserved to be wiped out in the flood? That none of the infants were innocent? I don't think this is morally sound.

There are two things I know for sure: there is a God, and I'm not Him. I make no assumptions, I go by what happened. What I think is morally sound is irrelevent.

dschiff wrote:
mithrandir wrote:
It makes me wonder, that is if you know the pentateuch so well, how you can expect any generation following would have some miraculous change of heart and the whole society-or even the world- all of a sudden repent of the lives and acts and even worship of their fathers before them and turn back to the God they spurned. I can understand that it may take a great faith than you may be used to to see that a temporary death is a mercy when compaired to an eternal death.

I wasn't exactly trying to convince the whole generation of religious people to abandon their gods. But it is possible. People deconvert and become atheists all the time. Sometimes they have trouble coping, and sometimes they are much better and happier off! There are support groups for the former and great new things for the latter.

You're running from the argument. We all know that, even in this time of the modern nuclear family, that when a grandfather was abused then it was that much harder for him not to abuse his son, and later for that father not to abuse his son. Sin always is proliferated from one generation to the next. Even more so when you have the families of the ancient times when multiple generations of families would live in the same house.

dschiff wrote:

mithrandir wrote:
Maybe as much as I see now that it, at least to me, takes a greater faith to see this world as it is, and know that it ought to be better(which itself presumes a knowledge of Something that is supremely perfect), and yet remain an atheist. Because to see this world as its is and call it "proof" and say "there is no God" seems also to accept a notion that the world is destined to remain as evil as it is now or worse, and then to live and die without any hope of anything changing.

Instead, I would say that I see this world with a standard of evidence, as accurately as I can. That I think all gods are made up by men in their stories, and that we, collectively, have a responsibility to help each other and make the world a better and less evil place. This is a beautiful notion to me, not a despairing one.

A "standard" that is false is not a standard.

Secondly, about your charge that man "made up" God, I'll say this: If God DID exist, we'd invent atheism anyway. And we did.

I don't know what you're like, but I know what I'm like. And I know what God is like-at elat the God I say I believe in. That God is infinite; and He's all-wise, so He knows everything about me. He's all-good, too, and all-righteous, and perfectly holy. And He commands me to be perfectly holy too. Since he's all-wise, He knows exactly when I'm not very holy or good, and He judges me based on what He knows. And He's immutable too, so He'll never change. He'll always be the way He is now; so He'll always hold me to the same standards; and He's going t ojudge me by every idle word I utter.

That kind of God threatens my present state of existence and my lifestyle. If I were going to invent a God, I'd probably make one more congenial to my whims. [b]And if I didn't have the sense to invent him that way in the first place, I'd at least invent a God who could change his mind.

The lesser gods-like those of the ancients like the Egyptians, the Syrians, the Greeks, even the Romans-they were invented gods. It was obvious because in the stories that proclaimed them they were essentially human: petty, jealous, lustful, greedy, etc. And all of these ancient cultures also espoused a form of your determinism; the people who believed in these gods believed that they had no control over their lives and were entirely subject to fate. That should tell you something.


dschiff wrote:
2) I'm talking about millions of toddlers and infants who haven't sinned at all. You think their suffering and death is justifiable. I claim it is not.
3) I do emphasize the natural world, as I disbelieve in supernatural realms. I don't think heaven justifies the suffering of the infants who died.


As long as you disbelieve in "supernatural realms" while presupposing materialism you're begging the question. At best you can only assert a certitude for the non-existence of heaven, you cannot demonstrate or prove it.
[/quote]
Burden of proof is on you here. You claim heaven exists. Your evidence of this supernatural realm is a material book that you read with material eyes.[/quote]
Again, see above on this charge. Within this context, the burden is on you. You're the one making the assertions.

Secondly, that I have material eyes, while important, is not an argument against the existence of heaven. The material eyes do not produce the immaterial "I" the self. Yes, it is an argument based on authority. But there is ample evidence-such as the thousands of NDE's-that can amount to a convincing amount of converging clues.

dschiff wrote:
Consider: I have an invisible dragon in my garage. At best you can assert it doesn't exist, you cannot demonstrate it does not exist. Does this make it logical to believe in the dragon? Does it make it a sensible step? Why do you reject the dragon and not heaven?

The "wishful thinking" argument. Basically your saying that there is no scientific evidence for heaven so then there is no heaven.

There no scientific evidence for the notion that nothing exists except what is proved by scientific evidence. You assume that whatever there is no scientific evidence for, does not exist. But there is no scientific evidence for the assumption. It is simply an arbitrary decision to narrow the bounds of reality to the bounds of materialism and the scientific method. This is a decision of the will, not the intellect.

Nor for many other ideas that everyone admits are valid, even the scientist. When the scientist closes his laboratory and goes home and kisses his wife, he does not believe there is nothing there but hormones and neurons and molecules.
dschiff wrote:
mithrandir wrote:
I have no right to claim anything as "justifiable", I can only read that it happened, accept it as history, and presume in faith that the God of justice, love and mercy knew what He was doing. The same as you have no right to say that it was unjustifiable because there is no possible way you can know that with certainty.

If you accept it on faith, then you are not using evidence. You can use faith to accept any religion. This is as much as admitting that you can't logically support this position but must simply accept it is true despite a lack of convincing evidence.

No, I'm making an argument based on authority. Not all arguments are accepted only on material evidence. Some are accepted on philisophical insight, some on authority, some on converging clues.

Naturally arguments based on authority are not as "powerful" as those based on evidence. But it doesn't mean that the argument is unproven. You have yet to show ANY evidence of its impossibility. All you have been able to say is that you see no (material) evidence. Which goes to the abouve reply.

All knowledge is based on faith in some sense, whether emotional, intellectual, or volitional. One demands proof when the one who he is trying to obtain knowledge from is untrustworthy. Naturally, if I were to say "I believe in God" and yet demand proof from that same God would be absurd. Because for God to be God by definition He must be Truth itself. And if He would lie He would be a contradiction and therefore not God.

My conclusion follows from the data I have and IS logical and valid. You burden is to prove that materialism is the only "game in town". Which you have not. And until you do, you're arguing in a circle.

dschiff wrote:
If you think infants can be sinners, I don't know how to respond. Do you think beating babies is okay? Throwing them in jail? Of course not. They can't talk, they can't walk. They can't know any better. Blaming them is silly. It doesn't apply. You can't blame animals or babies without rational capacities. Similarly, calling them sinners is silly. Do you not think so?

I've already given the definition of what sin is, and it is that definition I go by when making the determination about infants being sinners. For the sake of breveity I suggest you go back and read it again. It is not a positive notion but a natural and inherent reality. So it is not "silly", in fact it a rather serious thing. Something that theists can take much more seriously that atheists.

You're other objections are as laughable as they are absurd. They're emotionally driven and inflammitory.
dschiff wrote:
mithrandir wrote:
If you don't think heaven is better then life on earth then I pity you, seriously. But I understand, because while everyone presumes to know what hell will be like not many people have considered what heaven will be like. I've aske many protestants the question, "what do you thnk you will do in heaven?" and I get various subjective answers from the pious(I'll get to be with Jesus all I want) to the funny(a never-ending Longhorn vs Sooner football game).
If you think that eternal life full of happiness, peace, joy, and love is in no way preferrable to this life full of pain, frustration, and empty pursuits then I really feel sorry for you.

I mean, I think heaven is a fabrication. Just like Valhalla and Hades and Elysium. People want to be immortal, so their respective cultures invent other worlds where they can do so.good


I have several replies to this one:
a) The heaven of the Bible does not correspond to our dreams or wishful thinking. It is selfless, self-forgetful love and saintliness, not the gratification of selfish desires; the death of egotism rather than its ratification; holiness rather than indulgence; adoration and self-forgetful worship of God rather than self-carressing autoeroticism; spiritual love rather than physical love.
b) Even the physical details or symbols of heaven do not correspond to the popular Bible picture. When you consider the details in the Bible or the details in the experiences of the saints or patients who have had NDE's the experience of heaven is always a surprise and a shock.
c) Even if there is a correspondence between our innate wishes and the idea of heaven, that correspondence could equally well be explained by God's having designed us for heaven rather than by our having designed heaven for ourselves. The glove could have been made for the hand, or the hand could have been made for the glove.
d) Your reasoning is fallacious. It argues: If there were no heaven, we would have to believe in one(because we need and want it so much); and we do(have to) believe in one; therefore there is no heaven. This is you affirming the consequent. You might as well say that if there were no earth, we would still have to believe in it(because it appears to our senses); and we do(have to) believe in it; therefore there is no earth.
e) If an effect cannot exceed its cause, how can the idea of heaven, perfect and beautiful as it is, be caused by our fallen, foolish, fallible, finite minds?


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 Post subject: Re: The Problem of Evil - What is your theodicy?
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 11:49 am 
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dschiff wrote:
You don't think that is an ad-hominem? You think that is polite?

Do I think it is polite? Not particularly. Do I think it is ad hominem? Well, I already admitted that the bit about Harris includes some lines that could be taken as ad hominem, but it is absolutely and perfectly clear that the earlier bit just doesn't. You appear to be conflating impoliteness with ad hominem. If you are that confused about what ad hominem argumentation is, then that explains why you're having trouble properly characterizing my post.
Quote:
I absolutely feel compelled to respond to those claims. There is another irony, when people who believe in supernatural universe creators and supernatural realms based on ancient books tell me the atheistic challenges are "idiotic" and "juvenile". How would you feel if a scientologist said you were juvenile and idiotic for rejecting Lord Xenu? I know this comparison will offend you, because you think your beliefs are legitimate while scientology and mormonism are silly. But to people like me, they are the same.

If you think so, then this is evidence that you don't understand Christianity. That's no surprise.

Quote:
There was a debate between Gideon Rosen and John Lennox (princeton philosopher and oxford mathematician) a few weeks ago hosted by Harvard's Veritas forum at Princeton. It was on the problem of evil. So your statement that the problem of evil (or the logical one) was ignored, not taken seriously, etc. is all not true, I'm afraid.

I have already corrected you on this, yet you persist in your error. It shows you are not very teachable. I have clearly and repeatedly distinguished the logical from the evidential argument from evil, and I have pointed out that no philosopher who knows anything about post-1960's philosophy of religion really takes the logical problem of evil seriously anymore. But I have also repeatedly pointed out that lots of people take the evidential argument very seriously. Your response is to mention a debate about the problem of evil as though that somehow refuted my claim. But it's totally irrelevant, unless (1) they were, in the course of that debate, taking the logical problem of evil seriously and (2) they are knowledgeable about the literature in the philosophy of religion since the 60's. You have given no evidence to support either claim. And as it happens, Rosen doesn't even pretend to be especially knowledgeable about philosophy of religion. He doesn't publish in the area. He doesn't claim it as an AOS or even as an AOC on his CV. https://philosophy.princeton.edu/compon ... sen_cv.pdf (This is a bit outdated, but it's what he's got up.) Being a really smart guy--even a really smart guy who teaches philosophy at Princeton--doesn't make you an expert on philosophy of religion. Nor does being a smart mathematician, for that matter.

Quote:
I can't demonstrate this any more clearly. Would it even matter if I were a famous, published philosopher? If I were say, Peter Singer, arguably the most influential and famous philosopher alive? No. You'd just say "Singer is stupid and wrong."

You want me to demonstrate authority and then you'll reject it. Whereas I've been advocating that ideas, not authority, should do the talking.


I want you to provide evidence to support the claims you make. (Like, for example, your repeated assertions about what I would say. What's your evidence for these counterfactuals you so gratuitously assert?) I assure you that I would not be talking to you about your alleged connections if you didn't keep trying to beat us up with them. You repeatedly insist on your close connections with fancy philosophers, because you appear to believe that this gives you some cache. I simply point out that if you want to throw your weight around due to your fancy associations, you need to give us some reason to believe that you have those associations. That leaves open entirely the question of whether those associations should matter. But that's a second question, and doesn't need to be addressed until the first is answered.

Quote:
Then you say you didn't invoke your authority, you just seconded someone who 'apparently' had authority about the state of philosophy of religion. Now you're doing anything possible to deny my claims to hold on to your belief that he was correct.

I mentioned Quentin Smith, an atheist philosopher of religion who very clearly is an authority about the state of that sub-discipline. I also mentioned William Alston, who is among the two or three most important philosophers of religion of the last half century. Apparently you don't recognize either name, which tells me a good deal about how well your fancy associations have taught you about recent philosophy of religion.

Anyway, I wasn't arguing from authority. I wasn't arguing at all. I was simply talking to Doom about that point. You can accept what I say or reject it as you wish. It's of no consequence to me. But I think you need to pay much closer attention to what's being said here (since you pretty consistently get that wrong) and to whom it is being said (since you seem to ignore that, as though it were irrelevant). If you try a bit harder to follow along, you'll find things go better for you.

Quote:
Is that enough evidence? The Rosen/Lennox debate alone should be enough. But if the syllabus and the meeting with Halvorson yesterday doesn't do it (I can send you the poster of the event), I can send you an e-mail from any of the above names...

I'd appreciate if you'd take me at my word from now on.

Sorry, no, none of that matters in the very least. Not because I don't believe you (I do), but because having studied philosophy at Princeton or elsewhere doesn't make you an expert. Even if you get emails from your professors, that doesn't actually clothe you with their mantle. You're still just a joe schmoe. So let's just make it about the ideas--which is what you say you're interested in anyway--and leave all your fancy teachers out of it. Simple, huh? Here's how that would work. If you wanted to rebut my claim that people don't take the logical problem of evil seriously anymore, you could, instead of attempting to impress me with all the philosophers you know, provide some citations of philosophers actually knowledgeable about recent philosophy of religion who are pressing specifically the logical problem of evil. That would make it about the facts, not about your alleged expertise.

By all means, you can instead point out that I have provided no real evidence for my own claims about the logical problem of evil. And since I've made the assertion, the burden of proof falls to me. That would be a fair observation--provided you also bear in mind that, again, I wasn't arguing for my view, I was simply stating it, to Doom, not to you. And I decline to do the work I would have to do to support it. As such, you are welcome to simply dismiss it. That's fine. As I say, I wasn't talking to you about it in the first place. So your ignoring it doesn't hurt my feelings. But if you elect to try to rebut my claims, then I'd suggest you do so by way of some actual evidence, and not your reports about what your Princeton pals allegedly think. :fyi:


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 Post subject: Re: The Problem of Evil - What is your theodicy?
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 8:15 pm 
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Original sin is only the first mystery in dealing with the apparently unjust distribution of evil, the second is Vicarious Atonement. Just as the sins of the guilty harm the innocent, so can the sufferings and virtue of the innocent can help redeem the guilty.

The problem of evil is created by us and is solved by God because God took all of the world's evil and bore it Himself in Christ.

All of the sufferings that will ever exist in the world were also suffered by God in Christ.

He was not just a good man who died terribly. He was God who took upon Himself all of the world's evil while being perfectly innocent. He was God who became a man so as to lift the world's suffering from something that seems pointless to something that is not merely necessary but effectual and redemptive, becaue He lifted what He suffered into eternity and allowed us to unite our sufferings to His. For the Redeemer was literally our brother, and His suffering saved His whole family.

To a materialist, suffering is pointless. And it is pointless because you in your philosophy have eliminated God.

Sufferings do not automatically do anyone any good. They must be willed, accepted, believed, offered up, and joined to Christ's. Much suffering can be wasted, and is.

But any suffering can do someone good. God would not allow it otherwise.

dschiff, you do have the deepest form of atheism. Your problem is not with God per se, but with the world He created. It's too complex and mysterious for your rationalistic mind. Just as Ivan Karamazov in The Brothers Karamazov. Ivan's brother is found guilty of a murder he didn't commit, while Ivan is not punished for a murder he was responsible for, and he cannot accept this. Along with Dostoyevsky's Bothers Karamazov, I suggest you read Charles Williams's Descent into Hell, C.S. Lewis's Till We Have Faces, & J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.


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 Post subject: Re: The Problem of Evil - What is your theodicy?
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 9:22 pm 
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Some Poor Bibliophile
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Mithrandir wrote:
Original sin is only the first mystery in dealing with the apparently unjust distribution of evil, the second is Vicarious Atonement. Just as the sins of the guilty harm the innocent, so can the sufferings and virtue of the innocent can help redeem the guilty.

The problem of evil is created by us and is solved by God because God took all of the world's evil and bore it Himself in Christ.

All of the sufferings that will ever exist in the world were also suffered by God in Christ.

He was not just a good man who died terribly. He was God who took upon Himself all of the world's evil while being perfectly innocent. He was God who became a man so as to lift the world's suffering from something that seems pointless to something that is not merely necessary but effectual and redemptive, becaue He lifted what He suffered into eternity and allowed us to unite our sufferings to His. For the Redeemer was literally our brother, and His suffering saved His whole family.

To a materialist, suffering is pointless. And it is pointless because you in your philosophy have eliminated God.

Sufferings do not automatically do anyone any good. They must be willed, accepted, believed, offered up, and joined to Christ's. Much suffering can be wasted, and is.

But any suffering can do someone good. God would not allow it otherwise.

dschiff, you do have the deepest form of atheism. Your problem is not with God per se, but with the world He created. It's too complex and mysterious for your rationalistic mind. Just as Ivan Karamazov in The Brothers Karamazov. Ivan's brother is found guilty of a murder he didn't commit, while Ivan is not punished for a murder he was responsible for, and he cannot accept this. Along with Dostoyevsky's Bothers Karamazov, I suggest you read Charles Williams's Descent into Hell, C.S. Lewis's Till We Have Faces, & J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.



A trilogy of winners, from three of my people.

GKC


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