The Instigator
Illegalcombatant
Con (against)
Losing
4 Points
The Contender
gizmo1650
Pro (for)
Winning
6 Points

Evil proves God does not exist

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
gizmo1650
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/5/2011 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,723 times Debate No: 14677
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (18)
Votes (4)

 

Illegalcombatant

Con

My opponent will argue that "Evil proves God does not exist"

I will be arguing that the existence of evil does not prove Gods non existence.

If you have any problems or concerns with this debate, please refer to them in the comments section first, so we can come to an agreement and make any changes to the debate before starting the debate.

Definition of God - Its existence is uncaused, morally good, all powerful, all knowing, personal, the prime/first mover

Opening Statement..........

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.

This argument can be summarized as...........

1) Evil can only exist if God does not exist
2) Evil does exist
3) Therefore God does not exist

But why accept the mutual exclusivity of the first premise ?

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 of God existing and evil existing. If some one claims that evil existing proves that God does not exist, then they must be assuming some hidden premises which bring out this implicit contradiction.

In the absence of proving this mutually exclusivity, at the very least God existing and evil existing is shown to be possible.

My counter argument for now is......

1) God existing and evil existing has not be shown to be mutually exclusive.
2) Therefore its possible that God exists even if evil exists.
3) Therefore the claim that "Evil proves Gods' non existence" is false.

Seeing my opponent is the one arguing for Gods non existence based on evil existing I will leave it to them to make this argument in the affirmative.
gizmo1650

Pro

Before we begin this debate, it is important to know exactly what we are talking about. According to Con, God has the following properties:
G1) uncaused
G2) morally good
G3) all powerful
G4) all knowing
G5) personal
G6) first/prime mover

I propose that we define 'moral' as the action which caused the least pain/most pleasure. With all forms of pain/pleasure scaled as they are in the mind of the recipient.
And evil is defined as something that causes unnecessary pain.
Morally good would then mean taking the most moral actions.

Let us assume for the moment that God does exist, based on the above properties, we can determine the following

A0) God exists (assume)
A1) God would want to take the most moral action (G2)
A2) God can do anything (G3)
A3) God can put the universe in any state (A2)
A4) there exists a state where no evil exists
A4.1) Currently there are places where there is evil, and places where there is not
A4.2) If these regions were to be removed, then evil would not exist at that point in time
A4.3) This can be done at all points in time
A5) God can put the universe in a state where no evil exists (A3,A4)
A6) God would want to put the universe in such a state (A1)
A7) The universe would be in such a state (A6, A2)
A8) Evil exists
A9) Therefore, our assumption that God exists must be false
Debate Round No. 1
Illegalcombatant

Con

I thank Pro for their response.

Pro had said "I propose that we define 'moral' as the action which caused the least pain/most pleasure. With all forms of pain/pleasure scaled as they are in the mind of the recipient."

I don't agree to that and I will explain why. When it is said that God is morally Good, what is meant is that God does what is good and doesn't do what is evil.

Now there is a problem here, cause what the good thing to do is, may not necessarily be what results in the least pain. As such I won't accept that definition.

Consider this, if your definition of morality is true, it would be moral for me to kill you and lets assume I kill you painlessly, cause if you are dead you can't suffer, and thus my action resulted in you not suffering nor being able to suffer anymore, and by your definition that is the definition of a morally good act.

At this point I don't know if Pro will drop their definition of what is morally good, and tweak their arguments, or if they will defend their definition of morally good. So I will move on and come back to this depending on what Pro says.

Pro says "And evil is defined as something that causes unnecessary pain."

Now notice here Pro doesn't say that evil is something that causes pain, but rather evil is something that causes UNNECESSARY pain. This means according to Pro there are two kinds of pain..........

1) Necessary pain
2) Unnecessary pain (what Pro says is evil)

This would seem to me to imply that necessary pain is good.

Unnecessary pain (what Pro says is evil)
Necessary pain (what Pro implies is good)

Also consider according to Pro, good and evil have causal power, since they cause necessary and unnecessary pain respectively.

Now if good has casual power, how powerful is it as a casual agent ? A bit powerful ? kinda powerful ? All powerful ?

Is their any reason why this "good cause" can't be personal ?, rather than say an impersonal cause like gravity.

Consider this argument.........

1) Good exists and has casual power (assumed by Pro)
2) Goods' causal power could be all powerful
3) Goods' causal power could be personal
4) Good could be all knowing
5) Good could be the prime/first mover
5) Good exist uncaused
4) Thus God (uncaused, morally good, all powerful, all knowing, personal, the prime/first mover) could exist.

The conclusion that God could exist, refutes any claim that says or implies God can't exist, such as the claim that "Evil proves God does not exist"

I look forward to Pros response.
gizmo1650

Pro

Con launches a valid objection to my definition of morality. To clarify, negative values of pain exist, we often call them pleasure. With this clarification we can see that if you were to kill me, i would not have the time to get more negative pain. If the net total of my pain was positive, (ie. i would live an on-average unhappy life) I would say that it would be moral for you to kill me.

Con is correct when he says that divide pain into 2 groups, necessary, and unnecessary.
I do not mean to imply that necessary pain is good, only necessary, and i would (and did) argue that if God existed than there would be no necessary pain.

I never said that good and evil cause necessary/unnecesary pain. Good and evil are words I use to describe actions.

Cons numbered argument is a very interesting piece of logic. First, i never assumed that good has casual power, it is only a word used to describe actions. Good has no mind, so i fail to see how it can be all knowing. By definition, good requires some amount a pleasure in order to exist, therefore before good exists, a sentient being must already exist. Good is, by definition, caused. It comes into existence to describe an action. This action had to be initiated by some other object.

I would like to see con refute my arguments against God's existence, which basically gos, if God exists, no pain would be necessary (all powerful). Therefore all pain would be unnecessary, or evil. because he is morraly good, God would want to prevent evil, and because he is all powerful, he would be able to do so. Therefore, there would be no evil. Becuase there is evil, God cannot exist.
Debate Round No. 2
Illegalcombatant

Con

I thank Pro for their response.

Pro says "I would like to see con refute my arguments against God's existence, which basically gos, if God exists, no pain would be necessary (all powerful). Therefore all pain would be unnecessary, or evil. because he is morraly good, God would want to prevent evil, and because he is all powerful, he would be able to do so. Therefore, there would be no evil. Because there is evil, God cannot exist."

Your first premise of your argument states "if God exists, no pain would be necessary (all powerful)."

But why accept this assumption, I could just assume that if God exists some pain is necessary. Do you have a reason to justify this assumption ?

You also state " because he is morraly good, God would want to prevent evil, and because he is all powerful, he would be able to do so."

But I rejected your definition of morality that stated the moral thing to do, is that which results in the less pain. I would also note you claim evil is unnecessary pain.

You objected when I said that your claim of evil = unnecessary pain means that good = necessary pain.

But you see, you attached a moral value to one description, in this case the description being unnecessary pain and attaching the moral value of evil to it. All I did was take the opposite of that description and attached the opposite moral value, thus good = necessary pain.

Unnecessary pain (what Pro says is evil)
Necessary pain (what Pro implies is good)

If evil exists, then good exists, since evil is contrary to what is good.

Seeing that good exists, isn't is possible that there is a good that is uncaused, all powerful, all knowing, personal, the prime/first mover ?

Without any logical proof, it must be conceded that Gods existence is possible, thus the claim that evil proves God does not exist is false.

I look forward to Pros response.
gizmo1650

Pro

Cons first objection is to my statement "If God exists, no pain would be necessary"
I believe I proved this in my first post
"A3) God can put the universe in any state (A2)
A4) there exists a state where no evil exists
A4.1) Currently there are places where there is evil, and places where there is not
A4.2) If these regions [which contain evil] were to be removed, then evil would not exist at that point in time
A4.3) This can be done at all points in time
A5) God can put the universe in a state where no evil exists (A3,A4)"

As this answers Cons objection, and has yet to be acknowledged, i feel it is sufficient, I will elaborate and/or revise when I know what (if any) Cons objections are.

Con repeats his objection to my definition of moral, again i would like to hear an alternate, however regardless of the definition of moral, can we agree that evil does exist, and that evil would be contrary to the wishes of a morally good being.

Con:"You [pro] objected when I said that your claim of evil = unnecessary pain means that good = necessary pain.

But you see, you attached a moral value to one description, in this case the description being unnecessary pain and attaching the moral value of evil to it. All I did was take the opposite of that description and attached the opposite moral value, thus good = necessary pain."

First of all, evil is not the opposite of good, bad is the opposite of good. I would say that all pain is bad, however evil refers only to that subset of pain which is unnecessary. Good, being the opposite of bad, would refer to those actions which cause pleasure. IE. bad=pain therefore good=pleasure. One could imagine defining an anti-evil word, rightous, to refer to that subset of good which is unnecessary, this would be the opposite of evil.

"If evil exists, then good exists, since evil is contrary to what is good."
I have objections to this, but I think this is a perfect time to say, 'so what'. I already agree that good exists, it is completely irrelevant to evil disproving God.

I would like to leave Con with some questions
1) Is God capable of creating a universe with no evil?
2) Would God want to create a universe with no evil? (even if you said he could not, he could still want to)
Debate Round No. 3
Illegalcombatant

Con

I thank Pro for their response.

A premise of Pros argument is "A3) God can put the universe in any state (A2)"

I challenge this premise. Do you mean God can put the universe in any possible state, or any state. If you mean any possible state then I have no objection. If you mean God can put the universe in any state then this is false. Consider this example, God creates an Immovable objection and a force that moves anything. But what happens when the two meet ? either the object will be moved (thus its not unmovable) or the force won't move it (thus the force doesn't move everything). The point being you can't demand that God not doing a contradiction some how refutes its existence, since contradictions can't happen.

Pro says "I do not mean to imply that necessary pain is good, only necessary, and I would (and did) argue that if God existed than there would be no necessary pain."

God can't get rid of necessary pain cause its necessary, to get rid of something that is necessary is a contradiction.

I think this refutes Pro claims that ""If God exists, no pain would be necessary"

Pro says "Con repeats his objection to my definition of moral, again I would like to hear an alternate"
To do the right thing = Moral , To do the wrong thing = Immoral, is that good enough ?

Pro says "First of all, evil is not the opposite of good, bad is the opposite of good. I would say that all pain is bad, however evil refers only to that subset of pain which is unnecessary"

You claim that bad is the opposite of good, I seek clarification on this, does saying something is bad have a moral value attached to it ? If it does, isn't this just a reword of evil ?

Pro says "Good, being the opposite of bad, would refer to those actions which cause pleasure. "
I reject this moral theory, some people get pleasure out of raping children, under this moral theory its "good".

I anticipate an objection along the lines that its not good cause the child being raped doesn't enjoy it and experiences pain. But what if the pleasure of the rapist is of greater amount of the pain experienced by the child ? is the act of rapeing the child good or bad ? According to this good = pleasure...... bad = pain view.

Pro says "One could imagine defining an anti-evil word, rightous, to refer to that subset of good which is unnecessary, this would be the opposite of evil."

I don't understand this, please reword and rephrase it.

Pro says "I have objections to this, but I think this is a perfect time to say, 'so what'. I already agree that good exists, it is completely irrelevant to evil disproving God."

No, it seems to me your only agreeing that good exists as you defined it, obviously I am challenging that. I don't accept your concept of "good"

I am asked two questions, which I will answer, and also ask a counter question.

Pro asks "1) Is God capable of creating a universe with no evil?"

Yes

Counter question Is it possible that God could create a world where evil and or suffering exist ?

2) Would God want to create a universe with no evil? (even if you said he could not, he could still want to)

I plead ignorance to answer this, but I would concede on the surface it makes intuitive sense that God would want to create a universe with no evil in it.

Counter question - Isn't is possible that God could have sufficient reason and moral justification for creating a universe where evil and or suffering exists ?

I look forward to Pros reply.
gizmo1650

Pro

Cons first objection is to point A3. This point is not a premise, but derived from your premise that God can (by definition) do anything. Putting the universe in any given state, possible or not, is a thing and therefore God could do it. However that disproof of God is not relevant to this debate, and when I say any state, I mean any possible configuration of atoms, which would still contain states where no evil exists. Regardless, this can be changed to God can create a universe with no evil, which my opponent has agreed to in the end of his last post.

"God can't get rid of necessary pain cause its necessary, to get rid of something that is necessary is a contradiction."

As shown in point A4.x, if God were to exist, then no pain would be necessary, so all pain would be considered evil, however, the sense I have is that you agree that evil does exist, so, unless you want to correct me on that, i see no reason to peruse this.

"To do the right thing = Moral , To do the wrong thing = Immoral, is that good enough ?"
Sure. Do you have an objection to me calling the 'right thing' the action which causes least pain, and the 'wrong thing' that which causes the most pain, again with negative values of pain used for pleasure.

"You claim that bad is the opposite of good, I seek clarification on this, does saying something is bad have a moral value attached to it ? If it does, isn't this just a reword of evil ?"

I'm afraid I don't understand the question. The action of saying something is bad would have a (probably tiny) moral value, although i don't no what it is. I think your confusion is in the subtleties I am trying to address in my definitions. In the context of this debate, i would claim that all 'bad' falls into the subset of evil, but when pain becomes necessary, (which I believe to be impossible with God existing) then evil becomes a subset of bad.

"Pro says "Good, being the opposite of bad, would refer to those actions which cause pleasure. "
I reject this moral theory, some people get pleasure out of raping children, under this moral theory its "good"."
A perfect example of why i often include seemingly irrelevant subtleties. You are correct of my objection that the rapists pleasure might be greater than the victims, (which I find very unlikely). In that case, I would say that it was a morally good action, assuming it were to happen in a vacuum. By that I mean. while the rapist might have more pleasure than the victim pain, he might cause others to rape, where the rapists have less pleasure than the victims pain. Although because the rapists could not be expected to know the societal impact of his one action, I can not hold that against him. What the question of rape really comes down to is, how often does the rapist have pleasure anywhere near the victims pain?

"Pro says "One could imagine defining an anti-evil word, rightous, to refer to that subset of good which is unnecessary, this would be the opposite of evil."

I don't understand this, please reword and rephrase it."
I was using this to counter your statement that good is the opposite of evil. Basically i was saying that if evil is the subset of bad that is unnecessary, than righteous would be the subset of good which is unnecessary, and the proper opposite of evil.

"Pro says "I have objections to this, but I think this is a perfect time to say, 'so what'. I already agree that good exists, it is completely irrelevant to evil disproving God."

No, it seems to me your only agreeing that good exists as you defined it, obviously I am challenging that. I don't accept your concept of "good""
Would you mind formally providing your definition of 'good' so that i know what you are talking about?

In the end of the previous round, Con has granted one key point for me, God can create a universe with no evil.
Con pleads ignorance to question 2, so allow me to explain why I think the answer is yes.
If any of God's properties are in contradiction to each other, God is internally contradictory and can therefore not exist.
Therefore, if we assume God does exist, we can assume that he is morally good, without exception.
By definition evil is a morally bad thing.
By definition, a morally good being would want to prevent morally bad things.
Therefore, God would want to prevent evil.

To respond to Con's question.
No.

As I showed in A4.x, It would be possible for God to keep ALL of the good in the universe, and remove ALL of the bad. Therefore, if moral is defined as most good and least bad, then there could be no moral reason to leave in the bad, and removing it would be morally good. To leave the bad in would contradict God's morally good property.
Debate Round No. 4
Illegalcombatant

Con

I thank Pro for their response.

Pro once again, defines what is moral and what is immoral, with what causes pleasure and pain. I think my child rapist illustration sufficiently shows this concept of morality as false.

Previously I asked Con if God could have sufficient reason for allowing evil to exist. Con answers no and says "It would be possible for God to keep ALL of the good in the universe, and remove ALL of the bad"

But you see I already conceded what God "could" do (in the power sense) the question is what God should or should not do (in the moral sense). You have not given any justification for your claim that God can't have sufficient reason for allowing evil.

Pro makes the the following argument............

1) By definition evil is a morally bad thing.
2) By definition, a morally good being would want to prevent morally bad things.
3) Therefore, God would want to prevent evil

Premise 2 implies that their is no possibility God could have sufficient reason for allowing evil. But why accept that ? Why for instance isn't it possible that God has sufficient reason to allow evil for a certain amount of time ?

Consider this argument.........

1) God would have no sufficient reason for allowing evil to exist
2) Evil exists
3) Therefore evil proves God does not exist

But premise 1 is just an assertion by its self. I can assert the negation which is.......

1) God has sufficient reason for allowing evil to exist
2) Evil exists
3) Therefore evil does not prove God does not exist.

Pro claims that God can't exist if God has internal contradiction, but If God has sufficient reason for allowing evil to exist then their is no internal contradiction between God being all power, all knowing, all good, etc and evil existing.

Unless proven otherwise, God might have sufficient reason for allowing evil, thus it must be conceded that God could exist even if evil exists, which refutes the claim that "evil proves God does not exist"

Vote Con

I thank Pro for participating in the debate.
gizmo1650

Pro

Much to my surprise, we were actually able to get to a heart of the matter on this debate.

Con's only objection to my argument is premise 2, "By definition, a morally good being would want to prevent morally bad things."

As con has still not offered a new definition of morality, (technically he did, but that just shifted the definition to good and bad, which he failed to define.) Because of this I am forced to continue using my definition, which can easily be derived from Con's morality, and my good/bad (to which Con had the opportunity to offer a substitute)

By definition, a moral good being would take the most moral actions.
By definition, the most moral action would be that action which causes the most good/least bad net outcome
As Con agreed, God could remove all the bad from the universe while leaving all of the good.
That possible universe would clearly have less bad than this universe. (good being the opposite of bad, this also meens more good)
By definition, it would be morally good to create the second universe.
Being morally good, God would want to create the second universe.

Put another way, under the definition of morality I use, which I actually live by (as in i did not create to win a debate), by definition there can be no reason that a morally good reason would not want to prevent evil for anything other than good. You have agreed that evil can be removed without lessening good. Therefore there is no reason a all moral being would not want to create a universe with no evil.
Debate Round No. 5
18 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by gizmo1650 5 years ago
gizmo1650
"You could keep all the existing good, remove all the bad and in doing so end up with less good, that is one of the main arguments to justify necessary evil. When you remove the bad you also remove the good that would have been created by the bad. As an obvious example, inflicting suffering on an individual as punishment is itself inherently bad, but as a consequence it can create good. By an extention, removing all suffering removes all character, this is Hick's argument for suffering."

True, except that an all-powerful being would be able to start off with our universe. Isolate those region (in space and time) that cause pain, and remove those regions while leaving the others unaffected. Sure it would require God to interfere with every atom, at every moment in time, but God is all powerful, so that doesn't matter.
Posted by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
"con said he conceded that God had the power as a direct response to a statement that explicitly said "It would be possible for God to keep ALL of the good in the universe, and remove ALL of the bad" If that isn't conceding that God could do it, I don't know what is."

You could keep all the existing good, remove all the bad and in doing so end up with less good, that is one of the main arguments to justify necessary evil. When you remove the bad you also remove the good that would have been created by the bad. As an obvious example, inflicting suffering on an individual as punishment is itself inherently bad, but as a consequence it can create good. By an extention, removing all suffering removes all character, this is Hick's argument for suffering.
Posted by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
"But I do object to where Gizmo implied I had argued along the following lines of ""the lord is mysterious in his mysteriousness""

I implied that, it was a paraphrase of "I merely made the argument that God COULD have sufficient reason to allow evil ..." I would have liked to see you at least explore this a bit more.

Just consider for example if I argued a rapist was committing a good act by rape, and you, considering me fairly insane asked what I was possibly thinking of.

I replied, well it is possible that he could have some good reason - yes it is possible, anything is possible (even the existence of God) however you have to at least make some kind of argument more than just noting it is possible.

There are four traditional arguments which extend the could part of why God would allow evil (necessary for character, necessary for greater good, necessary for free will, not possible for us to understand due to our limitations).

There are well deveoped counter arguments to all of these, and counters to the counters, though the majoriy have settled that the free will argument of Platinga defeats the resolution.
Posted by gizmo1650 5 years ago
gizmo1650
@Cliff.Stamps
I don't care who else made the same argument that con made, it is completely irrelevant. Ignoring my proofs as to how God could remove evil without touching good the good, con said he conceded that God had the power as a direct response to a statement that explicitly said "It would be possible for God to keep ALL of the good in the universe, and remove ALL of the bad" If that isn't conceding that God could do it, I don't know what is.

@Illegalcombatant
I never meant to imply that you were making an appeal to mystery, you are current that i have the burden of proving that God, necessarily, would remove all evil. However, when I did that, you offered no rebuttal. (And I am still waiting on your definition of good/moral)
Posted by Illegalcombatant 5 years ago
Illegalcombatant
I think Cliff gave a well thought out evaluation.

But I do object to where Gizmo implied I had argued along the following lines of ""the lord is mysterious in his mysteriousness"

I never appealed to any kind of mystical emotive argument. Yes I understand others use that kind tactic to defend/explain evil, but I am not a fan of that defense.

I merely made the argument that God COULD have sufficient reason to allow evil, as opposed to Pros argument that God COULD NOT have sufficient reason.
Posted by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
I don't see that as directly conceding, Con apparently was attempting William Craig's defense of evil, and in that defense he concedes that God could remove all evil - however this does not imply that all good is not lessened, that is the very crux of the argument.

However, I don't fee Con pressed this hard enough, he simply repeated "the lord is mysterious in his mysteriousness" and there is a further extension to this argument which has to be made, however from your arguments it looked like you had the answer to that as well.
Posted by gizmo1650 5 years ago
gizmo1650
Beggining of round 5

"Previously I asked Con if God could have sufficient reason for allowing evil to exist. Con answers no and says "It would be possible for God to keep ALL of the good in the universe, and remove ALL of the bad"

But you see I already conceded what God "could" do (in the power sense) the question is what God should or should not do (in the moral sense). You have not given any justification for your claim that God can't have sufficient reason for allowing evil."
Posted by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
"You have agreed that evil can be removed without lessening good. Therefore there is no reason a all moral being would not want to create a universe with no evil."

Where was the first point conceded?
Posted by USRugbyfan 5 years ago
USRugbyfan
Harlequin, if you want to debate this one, I will go Con!
Posted by The_Harlequin 5 years ago
The_Harlequin
>.< Curses. I wanted this one.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by MrCarroll 5 years ago
MrCarroll
Illegalcombatantgizmo1650Tied
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Vote Placed by ThePhilosopher 5 years ago
ThePhilosopher
Illegalcombatantgizmo1650Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: The Contender was able to defend his argument. The Instigator was never able to actually defeat the argument.
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
Illegalcombatantgizmo1650Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: See comment.
Vote Placed by Danielheaven 5 years ago
Danielheaven
Illegalcombatantgizmo1650Tied
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