The Instigator
emospongebob527
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
CriticalThinkingMachine
Con (against)
Winning
14 Points

The Problem of Evil (LPoe will be addressed, not the EPoe)

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 6 votes the winner is...
CriticalThinkingMachine
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/2/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,341 times Debate No: 26804
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (31)
Votes (6)

 

emospongebob527

Pro

My resolution: The existence of evil refutes the possibility of an omniscient, omnibenevolent, omnipotent God.

Rules-
Please no trolling or semantics.

Definitions-


Evil- morally wrong or bad; immoral; wicked.


Omniscient- having complete or unlimited knowledge, awareness, or understanding; perceiving all things.


Omnipotent- having unlimited authority or power.


Omnibenevolent- unlimited or infinite benevolence.


Problem of Evil-

the question of how to reconcile the existence of evil with that of a deity who is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent.


Logical Problem of Evil-

This argument is of the form modus tollens, and so is logically valid - if its premises are true, the conclusion follows of necessity. However, as it is unclear precisely how the existence of an all-powerful and perfectly good God guarantees the non-existence of evil, it is unclear whether the first premise is true. To show that it is plausible, subsequent versions tend to expand on this premise, such as this modern example:[2]



          1. God exists.







          1. God is omnipotent, omniscient, and perfectly good.







          1. A perfectly good being would want to prevent all evils.







          1. An omniscient being knows every way in which evils can come into existence.







          1. An omnipotent being, who knows every way in which an evil can come into existence, has the power to prevent that evil from coming into existence.







          1. A being who knows every way in which an evil can come into existence, who is able to prevent that evil from coming into existence, and who wants to do so, would prevent the existence of that evil.







          1. If there exists an omnipotent, omniscient, and perfectly good being, then no evil exists.







          1. Evil exists (logical contradiction).








Evidential Problem of Evil-















          • There exist instances of intense suffering which an omnipotent, omniscient being could have prevented without thereby losing some greater good or permitting some evil equally bad or worse.

























          • An omniscient, wholly good being would prevent the occurrence of any intense suffering it could, unless it could not do so without thereby losing some greater good or permitting some evil equally bad or worse.

























          • (Therefore) There does not exist an omnipotent, omniscient, wholly good being.[


            Other Evidential Problem of Evil-














                    • Gratuitous evils exist.

























                    • The hypothesis of indifference, i.e., that if there are supernatural beings they are indifferent to gratuitous evils, is a better explanation for (1) than theism.

























                    • Therefore, evidence prefers that no god, as commonly understood by theists, exists.

























































CriticalThinkingMachine

Con

Thanks to emospongebob527 for instigating this debate. I accept it.

After initially making this debate only available for debaters who have partaken in 60 or more debates, my opponent has now issued me a direct challenge after some persuasion. My apologies to those who made comments in the comment section showing interest before me (Phantom, Philochristos, Clash, Mizra). But let me assure you that this will be a good debate (albeit an unnecessarily long one – 5 rounds?) and you will not be disappointed by my arguments.

Mizra asked that the voting period be changed to one month long, but that is pointless, as after about three of four days of being in the voting period, this debate will have moved off the main page and debaters are not likely to notice it or care about it. A three day voting period is fine.

I would, however, like to ask my opponent to please not put so much space in between his arguments in following rounds, otherwise this debate will be long enough to stretch around the world several times. I would also like my opponent to properly number his arguments. I noticed that he listed eight premises for the logical problem of evil, but rather than numbering them 1-8, he put a number one next to each of them.

With that, I turn it over to my opponent.
Debate Round No. 1
emospongebob527

Pro

Thank you for accepting my debate challenge CTM and may we begin.

Omnipotent God
-

1. Would have the power to prevent all evils.

1a. Evil exists.
1b. Omnipotent God can not exist.

2. Would have the power to eliminate existing evils.

1a. Evil currently exists.
1b. Omnipotent God can not exist.

Omniscient God
-

1. Would know when, how, why, where all evils come into existence.

1a. Evil exists
1b. Omniscient God can not exist.

2. Would know how to eliminate all evils that come into existence.

2a. Evil is able to come into existence
2b. Omniscient God can not exist.

3. Would know the effects existent evil has.

3a. Existent evil exists and has atrocious affects on things.
3b. Omniscient God can not exist.

Omnibenevolent God
-

1. Would want all pre-existent evil and existent evil to not be in this world.

1a. Pre-existent evil comes into world
1b. Existent evil is in this world
1c. Omnibenevolent God can not exist.
CriticalThinkingMachine

Con

emo

I'm sorry but I'm going to have to formally forfeit this round. You see, I live in New York and I have lost power due to the second storm following Hurricane Sandy. I have not had internet access. Right now I am typing this by using the wifi in a Panera store, but I have to get to school. So you may naturally extend your arguments to the next round and hopefully I will get power back to respond in the next round. Maybe you should wait until the end of your 72 hours to submit your extension of arguments, as this will allow me more time before my 72 hours for the next round starts. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 2
emospongebob527

Pro

Extend my arguments.
CriticalThinkingMachine

Con

INTRODUCTION

I'm glad to be back on debate.org. Fortunately I have gotten my power back. As there are no more storms headed my way, I do not expect to lose it again, so I expect that I will be able to finish the rest of the debate.

In this round, I will respond to Pro's logical problem of evil.

ARGUMENTS

LOGICAL PROBLEM OF EVIL SUMMARY

Premise 1 An omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent God would have the power to prevent all evils, eliminate all existing evils, would know how, why, where evil comes into existence, how to eliminate or prevent all evil that comes into existence, would know the effects of evil, and would want all existent and pre-existent evil to not be in this world.
Premise 2 Evil exists.
Conclusion An omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent God cannot exist.

The conclusion does not follow from the premises. And this is because of the fact that having the ability to do X and wanting to do X does not entail that one would or should do X. In short, the argument has a missing premise, rendering it invalid.

The problem of evil, whether it be logical or evidential, must address four factors:
Power It must show that God has the power to do what He is being asked to do.
Desire It must show that God has the desire to do what He is being asked to do.
Existence It must be shown that evil exists.
Imperative It must be shown that God should act to prevent evil from coming into the world and eliminate evil that already exists.

My opponent has addressed the first three factors, but all four are necessary in order for the argument to be valid.

CONCLUSION

The way that my opponent has presented the problem of evil is invalid due to its missing premise, hence the argument fails and the resolution is negated.
Debate Round No. 3
emospongebob527

Pro

Response-

My missing premise is not relevant to my argument; Why? With an omnibenevolent being it is not a question, "Desire" it is a question of "Will".

An omnibenevolent being would do this;


Omnibenevolent God-


1. Is the most loving, selfless, giving being to exist.
1a. An omnibenevolent being doesn't have the ability to give anything less than relief from suffering, kindness, and love.
1b. Evil and suffering occur and exist and are able to come into existence, thus removing any potential of an omnibenevolent being.
1c. Since these do occur, the only thing a God is, is malevolent........ Extend to 2..............


2. A God that has the highest and most infinite desire for good and relief from suffering, would not allow suffering or evil.
2a. Suffering and evil exist.
2b. A God that would otherwise withhold relief from suffering and justice to people, is malevolent............... Extend to 3...........


3. Since said God allows evil and suffering to exist, he is malevolent.
3a. An omnibenevolent being can not be malevolent.
3b. A being that allows said suffering and evil is malevolent.
3c. Omnibenevolence and malevolence cannot coexist.
3d. Said malevolence has already been established with the existence of evil and suffering.
3e. Omnibenevolence where malevolence exists is impossible.
3f. Malevolence exists because evil and suffering exist.
3g. An omnibenevolent being is impossible.
3h. My opponent's argument from "Will to prevent evil" premise is defeated because said God is omnibenevolent.



Thank you CTM.
CriticalThinkingMachine

Con

INTRODUCTION

My opponent first says that his missing premise is not relevant to his argument. He is mistaken. Without it, the argument is invalid.

Summary of the Logical Problem of Evil
God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent.
Evil exists, therefore
God does not exist.

Cleary, the conclusion does not follow. We have to have a premise that states that God, considering his attributes, would actually act to get rid of evil. That premise is absolutely necessary. But this is a minor point, as my opponent has now presented it. There is no questioning the relevance of it. The only question is this: Is the premise true?

ARGUMENTS

I am not questioning everything about my opponent’s argument, just the premises stating that God’s omnibenevolence would entail that there would be no evil in the world (1a, 1c, 2, 2b, 3, 3b, 3f, 3g, 3h).

My opponent has given no argument for why those premises are true, but I will give an argument for why they are not true:

We can easily imagine scenarios in which having the ability and desire to do something does not entail that we should do it. A mother might not want her toddler to experience the pain of having a needle go into his arm, and she might be able to prevent it too, but this does not mean that she should or would prevent the needle from going into his arm. The reason why she might not do it is because the needle is a vaccination for a disease, and the child’s receiving of the vaccination would prevent him from contracting the disease. Hence, the mother’s desire (benevolence) to prevent the suffering of child, her ability (potency) to prevent the suffering of her child, and her knowledge (science) of the child’s suffering do not entail that she should actually prevent the suffering.

We can think of a million scenarios just like this. They demonstrate that the belief that one ought to perform some action does not follow from one’s desire and ability to perform the action.

Here is another important criticism of the argument: My opponent words his false premise more strongly when he says (in 1a) that God “doesn’t have the ability to give anything less than relief from suffering…” Doesn’t have the ability? So, in other words, God’s loving nature would force him to be good? That doesn’t sound very loving to me. If fact, it makes no sense. Part of being loving is having that love from a choice. In order for God to be truly loving (and especially all-loving), he must have the ability to allow evil, even perform evil. His loving acts must not be a compulsion. A loving God is a God who has the ability to do evil but does not always chooses not to, not a God who simply lacks the ability to do evil, as that makes no sense considering how love is understood and turns God into some kind of robot. It also contradicts God’s omnipotence.

CONCLUSION

My opponent has included all the relevant premises for his argument this time but has not explained why it is the case that God’s attributes would entail that he should or would prevent or eliminate evil. The argument is valid (the conclusion follows) but it is unsound (not all the premises are true) hence the conclusion has not been proved.
Debate Round No. 4
emospongebob527

Pro

emospongebob527 forfeited this round.
CriticalThinkingMachine

Con

emospongebob has (perhaps unsurprisingly) forfeited the last round in this debate. He has been doing a lot of that lately. I really thought he was going to see this one through to the end but some debaters would rather leave a debate altogether than gracefully lose.

My Evaluation of the Debate

conduct: con
Pro forfeited without a reason.

grammar/spelling: tie
Each of us had proper spelling and grammar.

arguments: con
When I pointed out that his formulation of the logical problem of evil was missing the most important premise, he provided it in his next post but then I showed it to be false, which is the point at which he forfeited.

sources: tie
Purely philosophical debate; no sources necessary.
Debate Round No. 5
31 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by CriticalThinkingMachine 4 years ago
CriticalThinkingMachine
I sent you a message refuting this.
Posted by DeFool 4 years ago
DeFool
I will restate your task, so that I can be more clear:

P1: An omnipotent thing can do anything

P2: An omnipotent thing can be evil

P3: If god is omnipotent, then god can be evil

C: If god can't be evil (because he doesn't want to be evil), then god has limits to his power that are inconsistent with omnipotence. Even if these limits are self-imposed, they still exist, and are still incompatible with omnipotence.

Your task was to disprove this argument. I have restated it, but this is what you were faced with. Obviously, there is no definition of "omnipotent" that allows for any limitations to that omnipotent power - not even self imposed limits. This is a well-known paradox (can an omnipotent being be weak? Only, in this variation, "weak" is switched out with "evil") that has bedeviled greater minds than ours for centuries. You have not beaten it, but neither could I have. We also would have been unable to argue for four-sided triangles.

You have not won this debate. You have won votes, but votes are not the same thing as having presented a winning argument in this case.
Posted by DeFool 4 years ago
DeFool
Critical Thinking Machine, you have confused a valid argument for a "true" argument.

You give an example of a "valid argument:"

Premise 1- The moon is made of cheese.
Premise 2- Cheese is smelly, therefore
Conclusion- The moon is smelly.

So far, so good. But then, this:

"In order to refute the conclusion, I do not have to refute both premises, just one. So I could argue that the moon is not made out of cheese, and even without mentioning the second premise, the conclusion is shown to not follow."

You have made a mistake here. Let me explain. A 'valid argument' does not have to be true - your argument example is perfectly valid - the final premise/conclusion does follow from the other premises. However, any of these premises can be 'untrue' without impacting the conclusion (the moon may both be smelly - factual conclusion - and also not made of cheese - untrue premise. So, see. You do in fact need to rebut the other premises.

When writing persuasively, you may hold to formal debate rules, or not. The score that I did not award you, to your chagrin, asked that I evaluate the strength of your argument. By answering only one premise, you left unmolested the others... which allowed your partners argument to survive - even without that premise.

I see that many other players on this site award 'convincing arguments' scores for forfeitures, adherence to formal debate protocol, or because they feel that other players have voted irresponsibly - but I do not. I award the 'convincing argument' score only for convincing arguments. This means that I might award the CA score even if a player forfeits the rest of the debate - as long as the argument survives rebuttal. For example, the argument "1+1=2" does not need a player to even finish the debate: if another player wishes to debate the topic, they simply will not win under any circumstances.
Posted by CriticalThinkingMachine 4 years ago
CriticalThinkingMachine
REFUTATION OF DEFOLL"S NEW VOTE REASON [PAGE ONE]

"This debate required that A) Con agree to contest the notion that "god" exists B) Agree that evil exists C) Agree that "god" is Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnibenevolent, and D) Perform A at the same time. This cannot be done, and was not done here."

Please explain why this is so.

"Con attempted to introduce a "Missing premise," which did not refute anything"

Why do you think that? Every other formulation of the problem of evil includes a premise stating that God, considering his attributes, WOULD stop evil. Pro simply forgot this in round three. It made the argument invalid. The bare fact that evil exists and God has the three attributes does not mean that God"s attributes WOULD entail that he stop evil.

"- and then ignored the "Omni" contradictions, which also required a response. For example, Con never explained how an Omnipotent being could lack the power to be evil and still be omnipotent."

I was not required to show that God LACKS THE POWER TO BE EVIL but is still omnipotent. I was required to show that God, with the three aspects, is COMPATIBLE with evil. I did this by explaining how the allowance of evil can lead to greater goods in the long run. Pro never answered this.

"Con also argued that a creature could be omnipotent, but still lack the ability (power) to do things that the creature did not want to do - which he unconvincingly argued was still "omnipotent."

Nope. I never said this. All I said was that God has reasons for not preventing or eliminating all evil. Pro never answered this.
Posted by CriticalThinkingMachine 4 years ago
CriticalThinkingMachine
REFUTATION OF DEFOOL"S NEW VOTING REASON [PAGE TWO]

"Con seemed to believe that if only the "evil" premise was answered, that this would answer the other portions of the argument as well. An unattainable argument, was agreed to in R1, and was lost."

That"s how formal logic works. You refute one premise and the conclusion is unproven. I did not have to refute his other portions (which stated that evil exists, God is omnipotent, God is omniscience etc). I agree with those portions.

Here is an example of how refuting one part of a formal argument leaves the conclusion unproven:

Premise 1- The moon is made of cheese.
Premise 2- Cheese is smelly, therefore
Conclusion- The moon is smelly.

In order to refute the conclusion, I do not have to refute both premises, just one. So I could argue that the moon is not made out of cheese, and even without mentioning the second premise, the conclusion is shown to not follow.
Posted by CriticalThinkingMachine 4 years ago
CriticalThinkingMachine
Pro's first formulation of the LPE had a missing premise. The argument is invalid without it. After that, Pro supplied the missing premise, but I demonstrated that it was false. In other words, I negated the resolution.
Posted by CriticalThinkingMachine 4 years ago
CriticalThinkingMachine
Defool

Thank you for finally providing a reason for your vote. Now it is LESS of a votebomb, but still a votebomb since

[1] I was not required to explain how an omnipotent God can be unable to commit evil. I only had to show that evil is compatible with the existence of the tri-aspect God. I did so.

[2] You say I did not even attempt to defend the three omni aspects in the face of evil. I guess you did not read the debate, because I explicitly did just that. I explained that God's omniscience, omnipotence, and omnibenevolence do not entail that he should do something which would prevent suffering, due to longterm benefits of it. Pro never responded to this, hence my argument stands.

Next time, read a debate before you vote on it.
Posted by DeFool 4 years ago
DeFool
In R1, Critical Thinking Machine agreed to the following terms:

The existence of evil will not be disputed.

The fact that such God used in this debate will have the attributes of omnipotence, Omni benevolence, and omniscience will not be disputed.

Once these premises were accepted, as they were, the contest becomes unwinnable. The following reasons are obvious:

-Con must explain how it is possible for an omnipotent being to be unable to be evil, and still be definably "omnipotent."

-Con agreed to establish that an omnipotent god could exist in the face of the existence of evil " but was also required to reconcile the "omni" attributes, which he agreed to do. This was never even attempted.

-Although the title of the debate mentions the question of evil, and repeated references to the LPOE are made throughout " this does not mean that the "Omni" attributes are never mentioned, and do not require an answer. Pro states that these are necessary conditions for a Con victory explicitly:
"This argument is of the form modus tollens, and so is logically valid - if its premises are true, the conclusion follows of necessity."

The "Omni" Premises were fairly and obviously presented, along with the distraction of calling this hypothetical being "god," and the frequent mentions of the LPOE. The focus of the debate was that the premises that were presented are contradictory: That the attributes of "god" as presented preclude that such a creature exists. Con chose to only challenge the assertion that "god is evil or does not exist," and ignored the remaining clearly stated conditions (That an "omni-creature" can exist as defined according to the strict parameters of this debate.)

After having agreed to these terms, this debate is not winnable on the Con side. I note the scoring. But I have good reasons to consider the score irrelevant to the outcome of this argument. Which I do.
Posted by DeFool 4 years ago
DeFool
I should make myself as clear as possible, since it seems that matters have been taken a bit too seriously.

I want to debate this matter with you, in an attempt to demonstrate clearly that you have failed to refute this argument. I can compose the precise wording that will illustrate my point sometime tomorrow, and present it to you as a challenge. If, after reflection, you continue to feel certain that your argument is solid - then please consider accepting my challenge.

I will argue that this conclusion: "An omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent God cannot exist" is sound.
Posted by DeFool 4 years ago
DeFool
Machine, you agreed to debate an impossible to win argument - a hypothetical logic game that includes self-negating conditions. Once these parameters were agreed to, "winning" against them is out of the question. I am sorry that you did not recognize the fact sooner, but that cannot affect your scoring potential.

I understand that my decision has upset you. If you feel that you have been vote bombed, please feel welcome to accept a challenge from myself - or ask for a trial. Otherwise, I am happy to reconsider my scoring if a good reason can be presented.
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by DeFool 4 years ago
DeFool
emospongebob527CriticalThinkingMachineTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: This debate required that A) Con agree to contest the notion that "god" exists B) Agree that evil exists C) Agree that "god" is Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnibenevolent, and D) Perform A at the same time. This cannot be done, and was not done here. Con attempted to introduce a "Missing premise," which did not refute anything - and then ignored the "Omni" contradictions, which also required a response. For example, Con never explained how an Omnipotent being could lack the power to be evil and still be omnipotent. Con also argued that a creature could be omnipotent, but still lack the ability (power) to do things that the creature did not want to do - which he unconvincingly argued was still "omnipotent." Con seemed to believe that if only the "evil" premise was answered, that this would answer the other portions of the argument as well. An unattainable argument, was agreed to in R1, and was lost.
Vote Placed by MochaShakaKhan 4 years ago
MochaShakaKhan
emospongebob527CriticalThinkingMachineTied
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Total points awarded:01 
Reasons for voting decision: forfeit
Vote Placed by Clash 4 years ago
Clash
emospongebob527CriticalThinkingMachineTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con successfully refuted Pro's argument from evil by saying that it doesn't have to be the case that God would or should eliminate evil. Pro didn't explain why it is the case that God?s attributes would entail that he should or would eliminate evil. Pro also forfeited his last round without any good reasons, in contrast to Con. Thus, the conduct and argument point goes to Con.
Vote Placed by truthseeker613 4 years ago
truthseeker613
emospongebob527CriticalThinkingMachineTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Conduct: On the one hand Pro F.F., on the other hand, Con was somewhat condescending in his intro to the final round. So it's even. Perhaps the point should go to Con because of Pro's round 1 spaces, but I'm not sure that qualifies as bad conduct. So for the time being I left that a tie. I didn't count cons missed round as a F.F. because a)It was not his fault. b)He wrote in and explained why he couldn't respond. S&G: Sorry, but I'll have to disagree with Con on this one. I take a point for Pro's continual usage of "can not". It's one word "cannot", not 2. More convincing argument: Obvious. Pro F.F. MRS: As Con wrote in R5 this was a philosophic debate, no sources were brought.
Vote Placed by CiRrK 4 years ago
CiRrK
emospongebob527CriticalThinkingMachineTied
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Reasons for voting decision: FF + unrefuted arguments
Vote Placed by AlwaysMoreThanYou 4 years ago
AlwaysMoreThanYou
emospongebob527CriticalThinkingMachineTied
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Reasons for voting decision: