The Instigator
Illegalcombatant
Con (against)
Winning
6 Points
The Contender
Humchuckninny
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points

Evil proves God does not exist (4)

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Illegalcombatant
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/19/2011 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,241 times Debate No: 16034
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
Votes (1)

 

Illegalcombatant

Con

4 Rounds
8,000 Character limit
72 Hours to respond
1 Month voting period

NO VIDEO LINKS
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PROBLEMS ?

If you have any problem with the debate please post in the comments section first so we can try to come to an agreement before starting.
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EXPECTATIONS

It is expected that both parties act in good faith, eg no semantics, no cheap shots.
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Round 4

Round 4 is the last round, no new arguments are to be made in round 4. Only rebuttals, counter arguments of the previous arguments, and summaries.
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DEFINITIONS

Definition of God = Its existence is uncaused, morally good, all powerful, all knowing, personal, the prime/first mover
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Opening Statement & What this debate is about

The existence of evil has been used as a "proof" against Gods' non existence for a long time, by arguing the impossibility of God existing and evil existing.

According to wikipedia.... "In the philosophy of religion, the problem of evil is the question of how to explain evil if there exists a deity that is omnibenevolent, omnipotent, and omniscient (see theism).[1][2] Some philosophers have claimed that the existence of such a God and of evil are logically incompatible or unlikely"" [1]

It should be noted, that this debate is about the logical incompatibility of evil existing and God existing.

Is there an explicit contradiction between God existing and evil existing ?

What if I was to argue the following....

1) If rabbits exist then aliens from another world don't exist.
2) rabbits do exist.
3) Therefore aliens from another world don't exist.

Even if everyone agrees that rabbits exist, this argument doesn't work, because there is no explicit contradiction between rabbits existing and aliens from another world also existing.

Now consider this argument......

1) If evil exists then God does not exist.
2) evil does exist.
3) Therefore God does not exist.

Once again, this argument doesn't work, even if we all agree that evil exists, there is no explicit contradiction between evil existing and God existing.

As William Craig says when addressing the existence of evil and God.... "According to the logical problem of evil, it is logically impossible for God and evil to co-exist. If God exists, then evil cannot exist. If evil exists, then God cannot exist. Since evil exists, it follows that God does not exist.

But the problem with this argument is that there’s no reason to think that God and evil are logically incompatible. There’s no explicit contradiction between them. But if the atheist means there’s some implicit contradiction between God and evil, then he must be assuming some hidden premises which bring out this implicit contradiction.." [2]

Seeing Pro is the one arguing that evil proves God does not exist, I shall await their argument.

I look forward to Pros response.

Sources

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://www.reasonablefaith.org...
Humchuckninny

Pro

I'd like to thank Illegalcombatant for hosting this debate. Although this is my first debate on here, I hope to provide some intellectual stimulation and make a decent case for why we must affirm the resolution: Evil proves God does not exist.

Clarification: Although I am arguing Pro, I would like to clarify that I am arguing with Con on the existence of God ex hypothesi. In order to make for a coherent debate, I will be using the context Con set forth in his opening argument. I presuppose the existence of God purely as a linguistic constraint, meant to further the debate, and nothing more.
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DEFINITIONS

i. Objections:

In the 'Definition of God' it is stated that "morally good" is one of the attributes of God. Rather than reject this definition, I instead ask for clarification.

Proposed definitional change: To say that God is morally good is to say that God is essentially, perfectly good. To use possible world semantics, this would mean that God is perfectly good in all possible worlds.

ii. Addendums:
a) God is omnipotent if God is able to bring about any logically possible state of affairs.
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OBSERVATIONS and SUMMARY

i. Con proposes the question, "is there an explicit contradiction between God existing and evil existing?" Naturally, it is Pro's burden (which is my burden) to affirm this interrogative.

The argument is then put out formally, as:

1) If evil exists then God does not exist.
2) evil does exist.
3) Therefore God does not exist.

It is important to note (as Con did implicitly) that this is a valid argument, modus ponens. The validity is not in question; rather, Con asks whether or not this argument is sound. Indeed, Con denies the first premise as being a true conditional - "there is no explicit contradiction between evil existing and God existing."

ii. Additionally, given the definition of God, it is assumed that EACH of the listed attributes are essential (otherwise they would not be given in a definition). In other words, it is NOT my burden to show how the existence of evil contradicts the entirety of God's attributes; rather, I merely need to show how the existence of evil contradicts any number of the attributes. Even if it can be shown that the existence of evil is contradictory to even a single attribute of God as defined, my burden has been upheld and we must affirm the resolution.
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I have three main arguments that I would like to put forth. Each argument has the aim of helping show that we are more reasonable to accept that premise 1) is true than we are to accept it as false.
(1) Illuminate the famous trilemma from Epicurus, in order to form a conditional proof for Con's initial argument.
(2) Argue from the notion of "natural evil."
(3) Discuss how 'evil' may contain irreconcilable conceptual issues.
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(1) The "problem of evil" first arose with Greek philosopher Epicurus (341 BC – 270 BC). He questioned the logical possibility of the God we are debating here.

British Philosophy David Hume broke the trilemma down for us:
1. if God is unable to prevent evil, he is not omnipotent
2. if God is not willing to prevent evil, he is not good
3. if God is willing and able to prevent evil, then why is there evil?

The purpose of illuminating the trilemma is to highlight what Con would call the "implicit" contradiction between evil and the existence of God. I hope to make it more explicit.

I would like to use these highlights in order to make a conditional proof (CP) for the proposition in question: "If Evil exists, then God does not exist."

1) if an agent is all-powerful, that agent can bring about any logically possible state of affairs.
2) it is a logically possible state of affairs for evil to be prevented.
3) Therefore, if an agent is all-powerful, that agent could prevent evil. [1, 2, Leibniz's Law]
4) if an agent is morally good, then that agent would desire to prevent evil, all things being equal.
5) if an agent both desires and is able to carry out some act, all things being equal, then that agent will carry out that act.
6) If God exists, he is both all-powerful and morally good.
7) If God exists, he both desires and is able to prevent evil.
8) If God exists, he will prevent evil.
Begin CP: 9) Evil exists. (i.e., evil is not prevented)
10) God does not exist. [Modus Tollens, 8 and 9]
Close CP
/ 11) If evil exists, the God does not exist.

My second point briefly addresses one of the main concerns with this proof.
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2) Argument from "natural evil."

Here I draw heavily upon Peter Singer's argument on the problem of evil - the idea of natural evils such as suffering.

Peter Singer points out that there are instances of "evil" in world - namely, the suffering of non-moral entities such as animals and severely handicapped humans. The argument is very basic - to willingly permit unnecessary suffering is evil. When applied to nature, wherein no human agents can interfere, this can be referred to as "natural evil."

I bring this up in anticipation to a possible objection to my second premise: 2) it is a logically possible state of affairs for evil to be prevented. The objector may state that perhaps not ALL evil could be prevented - there may be circumstances under which evil is necessary.

One possible response would be to take 2) and imply, via existential generalization: 2e) it is a logically possible state of affairs for at least one instance of evil to be prevented.

Natural evil provides us with the instantiation of 2e). Indeed, we are more reasonable to believe that outside of the conduct of a moral agent, the suffering of non-moral agents such as animals ought to be avoided. In other words, natural evil is an instance of a type of preventable evil.

Albeit being a more modest claim, the proof will stand in light of this objection.
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3) The final argument takes a different route, involving the definition of God as "personal." I will argue that God's other attributes (particularly morally good and all-powerful) cannot coincide with God being a personal being, if evil exists.

A personal being is a being which is able to choose to act. So it follows that if a personal being is all-powerful, they could choose to act in any way that is consistent with all logically possible affairs.

Here is where we get into this new contradiction: Many evil acts, say, maliciously telling a lie, are not only logically possible - such acts have actually happened, and frequently (i.e., evil exists). However, if God is morally good, then engaging in malicious behavior would contradict himself.

There are two outcomes: a) God is not omnipotent,by definition, since there are logically possible states of affairs which God could not bring out, and/or b) claim God is ABLE to maliciously lie, but is determined not to. If he did, God would cease to be God (by definition). This creates a paradox for God as being a personal being; "choosing" to maintain an inability to choose. If this is so, then humans are able to "choose" their actions to an extend that God cannot - thus making humans greater moral agents than God.
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Thus we see that there is a contradiction between the existence of evil and the existence of God. Evil proves God does not exist.
Debate Round No. 1
Illegalcombatant

Con

I thank Pro for their opening arguments.

Before I begin, Pro joined 8 months ago but this is their first debate ? what's up with that ? Just out of curiosity

Definitions

I accept the definitions/descriptions that Pro makes to Gods omnipotence and Gods moral goodness.

Countering Pros first argument

--- 1b) Countering David Humes argument ---

Allowing me to give a possible answer to David Humes question where they say "3. if God is willing and able to prevent evil, then why is there evil?"

Possible answer: Cause God has moral sufficient reason to allow evil to exist

---1c) Countering Pros first argument expanded ---

Premise 4 of Pros argument states "4) if an agent is morally good, then that agent would desire to prevent evil, all things being equal."

But are all things equal ? that is the question.

But what if all things aren't equal ?, a world where evil exists is different than a world where evil doesn't exist (this is trivially obvious).

Within the differences between these two worlds could be the moral sufficient reason/s that a moral being could have for allowing evil to exist. Until it is proven that any differences between the two worlds would not allow for any moral sufficient reason/s to allow evil, it must be conceded that the existence of evil does not prove that God or a morally good being capable of preventing evil does not exist.

Countering Pros second argument

Pro says "Peter Singer points out that there are instances of "evil" in world - namely, the suffering of non-moral entities such as animals and severely handicapped humans. The argument is very basic - to willingly permit unnecessary suffering is evil. "

Notice the foundation that this argument is built on as Pro says... "The argument is very basic - to willingly permit unnecessary suffering is evil. ", this equates unnecessary suffering with evil.

But this raises two questions.......

1) What is the difference between necessary suffering and unnecessary suffering ? as this distinction is implied in the argument.
2) On what basis is unnecessary suffering evil ?

Now, this may seem like a strange counter argument, after all no one likes suffering, but you see, you can't get a moral value just from describing something that happens in the world.

For instance, imagine I describe that an apple is red. This would be a description statement (the "is")

Now imagine I describe a situation with lots of suffering, again an "is" statement. But I then say or imply this should not happen.

But the claim or implication that something "ought" or "ought not to be" from the "is" (the description statement) is very problematic as Wikipedia explains David Humes "Is-"Ought" problem........."Hume calls for caution against such inferences in the absence of any explanation of how the ought-statements follow from the is-statements. But how exactly can an "ought" be derived from an "is"? The question, prompted by Hume's small paragraph, has become one of the central questions of ethical theory, and Hume is usually assigned the position that such a derivation is impossible"

Now if Peter Singer and Pro argue that suffering in some way "ought" not to happen, then they must have some reason for this as Pro says "Indeed, we are more reasonable to believe that outside of the conduct of a moral agent, the suffering of non-moral agents such as animals ought to be avoided." As no reason has being provided why suffering "ought" not to happen, I look forward to Pro giving one.

Countering Pros third argument

Now Pro tries to justify this claim that If God is incapable of telling a malicious lie that this makes God not all powerful. But as Pro says being all powerful only means being able to do the logical possible, not the logically impossible (eg contradictions)

For example can God both exist and not exist ? and if not, doesn't this show that God is not all powerful ? The answer is no cause it is asking God to do a contradiction.

Now consider, Can an all morally good God commit an evil action ? and if not, doesn't this show that God is not all powerful ? The answer is no, cause it is asking God to do a contradiction.

If God is good due to its own good nature/essence, and to have a good nature/essence means that God is unable to tell a malicious lie due to that being a contradiction, then Gods omnipotence is left in tact, as the argument rests on getting God to do a contradiction.

Pro also argues that Gods inability to choose and do evil some how makes God "lesser" moral agent than a being such as human who can choose and do evil. But there is a hidden assumption that the ability to do evil is of greater value than the ability to only do good.

Well maybe its of greater value to only do good than to be able to do evil.

I look foward to Pros reply.
Humchuckninny

Pro

Humchuckninny forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
Illegalcombatant

Con

Hopefully Pro has not left the debate. I won't make any new arguments in this round so if they do come back we still have had the same amount of rounds to argue our case.
Humchuckninny

Pro

Humchuckninny forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Illegalcombatant

Con

I am not above taking a win by forfeit. :)

Vote Con
Humchuckninny

Pro

Humchuckninny forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
It is generally accepted that the logical problem of evil has been refuted, however the evidential problem which is much weaker is still a concern. As you noted, the current argument is that the evil we observe is simply best explained by natural direction rather than an omni-max being. Not that it makes it impossible, just unlikely. Unitedandy has a very strong argument in support of this claim, popculturepooka has a very strong defense, you could challenge him as well and expore the topic from both sides with two very strong opponents.
Posted by Illegalcombatant 5 years ago
Illegalcombatant
United dandy did offer me a challenge, but it was on a probability of God not existing due to evil as opposed to the logical impossibility of God existing due to evil. I will get around to it but, I have developed some of my opening arguments, but there are still area's to be filled in. Its on my to do list.
Posted by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
IC, you should challenge unitedandy to this, he has one of the strongest Pro AoE on the site.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by XimenBao 5 years ago
XimenBao
IllegalcombatantHumchuckninnyTied
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: forfeit