The Instigator
Ryft
Pro (for)
Losing
29 Points
The Contender
TheSkeptic
Con (against)
Winning
54 Points

The 'Problem of Evil' never succeeds (Attempt 1)

Do you like this debate?NoYes+19
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Vote Here
Pro Tied Con
Who did you agree with before the debate?
Who did you agree with after the debate?
Who had better conduct?
Who had better spelling and grammar?
Who made more convincing arguments?
Who used the most reliable sources?
Reasons for your voting decision
1,000 Characters Remaining
The voting period for this debate does not end.
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/29/2010 Category: Religion
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 12,218 times Debate No: 11021
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (118)
Votes (24)

 

Ryft

Pro

==== FULL RESOLUTION ====

There are literally no versions of the Problem of Evil argument that succeed at proving the non-existence of God.

==== CONTENTION ====

From versions of the logical Problem of Evil to its evidential varieties, including all forms of the Problem of Suffering, not a single one of these arguments ever succeed at proving the non-existence of God. That is the position I am affirming and defending. Although some of them expose powerful demands for a coherent and consistent theodicy, [1] that is not the same thing as proving that God cannot exist (logical versions) or probably does not exist (evidential versions). In other words, no versions thereof ever succeed as an Argument for Atheism. [2]

Since there are countless versions of such Problem of Evil arguments, it would be impossible for me to make my case in the 8,000-character limitation imposed by this site. Therefore, I leave it to my opponent to employ whichever version of the argument they think does in fact succeed at proving the non-existence of God; to defeat me in this debate, they need to demonstrate the success of only one such argument. I repeat: if there is even one such argument that succeeds, my position is defeated.

NOTE: I will be presenting this debate repeatedly at this site, giving any interested parties the opportunity to defeat the debate proposition. At the close of each debate, if my opponent has failed to defeat the proposition then I will re-post it for another person to tackle. This is the first time I am presenting this debate, so it is labeled "Attempt 1." I look forward to the forthcoming challenges.

==== DEFINITIONS ====

1. In all my arguments, on this and any other matter, the term 'God' always refers to God as revealed in Christian scripture canon (viz. the 39 books of the Old Testament and 27 books of the New Testament) and possessing all the commonly recognized attributes thereof (e.g., trinitarian, omnipotent, righteous, sovereign, etc.). I have no interest in defending, nor do I even recognize the legitimacy of, any deity other than the God of Christian theism. If one wishes to argue against the deity of Islam or Deism, etc., they will have to seek a proponent thereof.

2. I am willing to confront any definition of Atheism; it makes no difference to me whether the 'strong' or 'weak' variety is employed. How my opponents define their Atheism is irrelevant to me, since this debate is not about Atheism so much as a specific type of argument for it; i.e., their task is to establish that some version of the Problem of Evil succeeds at proving the non-existence of God. I leave it to my opponent to define their Atheism, if they wish to make it known.

==== REFERENCES ====

1. The term 'theodicy' refers to arguments "concerned with reconciling God's goodness and justice with the observable facts of evil and suffering in the world" (Britannica Concise Encyclopedia. Encyclop´┐Żdia Britannica, Inc., 1994-2009. Answers.com. Web. http://www.answers.com...).

2. Arguments against the coherence of theism can never service an Argument for Atheism, and for what ought to be a rather obvious reason: proving that certain theistic models are incoherent does not thereby prove that God does not exist, because the one does not follow from the other (non-sequitur). It is entirely possible for a theistic model to be incoherent and yet God nevertheless exists. For example (to put the matter in less controversial terms), if I should propose an incoherent model for the existence of life on other planets, one cannot legitimately conclude from that incoherence that life on other planets therefore does not exist. Even if every single proposed model for extraterrestrial life were incoherent, such life could nevertheless exist.
TheSkeptic

Con

I thank my opponent for creating this debate - I am in high anticipation for the outcome of this debate, as it would seem to me a reasonable assumption that my opponent is well-versed in theodicies and the like. It's always a pleasure to debate with a knowledgeable theist.

As my opponent has noted, there are different versions of the argument of evil (logical and evidential versions being the two main categories). In this round, I will simply supply my argument but I won't go into intricate detail until the 2nd round - thus giving my opponent a fresh argument to attack (I'm always interested in seeing other criticisms, or one developed in other various ways). I will also observe that we both have a burden in this debate; my opponent's burden is to disprove my argument while my burden is to prove it.

The following is the most common formulation of the argument of evil (AE), an evidential version relying on the concept of gratuitous evil:

(1) Gratuitous evils probably exist.

(2) Gratuitous evils are incompatible with the God of theism (omnipotent, omniscient, all-good).

(3) Therefore, the God of theism probably does not exist.

This argument is logically valid and if the premises are true the conclusion must follow. Given it's evidential nature, it relies on probability rather than certainty, which is no rarity when it comes to philosophical arguments. I would suspect that the main point of conflict would be premise 1, the question of whether or not gratuitous evils exist. By gratuitous evil I mean evil that is unwarranted or unjustified[1]. In other words, the premise argues that there exists pointless evil, or evil that exists in which there is an insufficient moral reason to account for it.

This is a simple formulation of the argument, and I eagerly await my opponent's response.

---References---
1. http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
Debate Round No. 1
Ryft

Pro

INTRODUCTION:

I appreciate Skeptic's willingness to engage this debate. It is definitely a hot button issue, the Problem of Evil (PoE), being described so often as the strongest argument against the Judeo-Christian God. From articles online and books in print to university classrooms and church pulpits, from philosophers and theologians to atheists and theists, many seem to agree that it is a formidable problem. There was a time when I thought so, too, and clearly my opponent has confidence in its force. But I have to stress the absolute importance of what this debate is about, and perhaps to underscore what it is NOT about.

First, it is not my task to present arguments for the existence of God. I am not expected to prove he exists, nor to convince anyone that he does. If at the close of the debate anyone should happen to think I failed miserably at proving that God exists, then he or she will have missed what the debate was actually about. It is rather difficult for me to fail at something I was not trying to do in the first place. The biblical God of orthodox Christian theism is being assumed for the sake of argument; I am affirming his existence, while Skeptic must show that his non-existence is more probable using a PoE argument of his choosing. My resolution is that "there are literally no versions of the PoE argument that succeed at proving the non-existence of God." To defeat me, my opponent need only present one that does succeed. I REPEAT: The burden of proof lies with my opponent, who must show a PoE argument that does succeed. In order to defend the debate resolution, the only thing I need to do is show that his argument fails, being just one more in a constellation of others that fail.

Second, I am not here to convince anyone to believe in God, Jesus Christ, the Bible, or that Christianity is true, etc. If at the end of the debate you still reject God or Christianity or the Bible, that's fine—because it is completely beside the point. Moreover, to think that clever arguments could convince someone into the faith is an idea at odds with the Bible anyway. It doesn't work that way. And it is totally beside the point in the first place. The debate is about Skeptic showing that a PoE argument does succeed at proving the (probable) non-existence of God.

Third, I have invested several years in philosophy and Christian apologetics, going after the sharpest learned critics and searching out the strongest arguments against Christian theism I could find, subjecting my world view to the most powerful scrutiny available in order to test it, to see if it can withstand critical analysis. It has, and it continues to do so. Consequently, with all I have learned and experienced it became my passion to make a spectacle of this trial by fire for the benefit of fellow believers, in order to show them that the Christian faith is on firm foundations. By this I mean to say that my aim is not to convince or convert non-believers; they can stay non-believers if they like. My aim is to strengthen believers and glorify God, using the non-believers' own arguments to do so.

DEFINITIONS:

My opponent has agreed to the definitions I laid down (see the Comments area), that this debate will confront biblical Christian doctrine. Since he wishes to confront the Christian view under its own terms, he has left it in my hands to define the two contested terms: "evil" and "all-good."

Since "evil" is a moral term (sin, wrong, bad, etc.) it calls upon biblical meta-ethics, [1] which holds that moral order is grounded in the nature and character of God and expressed prescriptively in his commands. [2] As a result, evil is therefore a privative term expressing a want of conformity thereto; i.e., being contrary to his character or against his commands. Evil has no ontological substance; it is not a thing in itself, but is rather a term describing a breach of relationship between some entity or circumstance and the character and prescriptive will of God.

Given that moral order is grounded in the nature and character of God and expressed prescriptively in his commands, the term "all-good" refers to the immutable consistency of God, his character, and his commands. To say that God is infinitely benevolent, then, is to say that God possesses no malevolence (i.e., exhibiting or wishing malicious harm to others) against which his benevolence might compete, but leaves room for God to possess more attributes than just benevolence, such as his just wrath against sin. So he is all-good in the sense of his eternal, unchanging character; e.g., God is not sometimes just, he is always just. "As exercised with respect to the miseries of his creatures, it is mercy, pity, compassion; and in the case of impenitent sinners, long-suffering patience; as exercised in communicating favor on the unworthy, it is grace." [3]

FIRST ANALYSIS:

Skeptic presented what he classifies as an evidential PoE argument "relying on the concept of gratuitous evil." There is not much I can say toward an analysis of his argument because he has not fleshed it out quite yet (and on purpose, he notes). There are, however, two serious issues he will have to contend with in his following round, and they are related to the two premises of his argument.

My opponent asserts that "gratuitous evils probably exist," by which he means unjustified, pointless evils. However, by having assumed that gratuitous suffering exists, he has begged the question against the biblical God of Christian theism. How so? Quite simply: God is defined as omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent; consequently, given those attributes in concert, there can be no such thing as gratuitous suffering! They are mutually exclusive, in the same way that an Irresistible Force precludes an Immovable Object. Gratuitous suffering stands in logical contradiction to such a God. Either gratuitous suffering exists, or God exists; it is logically impossible—by the very definition of the terms involved—for them to both exist.

That's the sticking point. It is not just theologically untenable, a matter of being "incompatible with the God." It is a logical impossibility. (That is the error of his second premise: it is not a matter of incompatibility but rather impossibility. His evidential argument turns out to be a logical version.) Either one or the other is false, or they are both false, but it is impossible for them to both be true. This is why presupposing the existence gratuitous suffering commits the question-begging fallacy. Therefore my opponent must do far more than just assert that any evils are gratuitous; he must prove the probability of their gratuity without begging the question (i.e., keeping in mind the God at issue). If he can, then the Irresistable Force vanquishes the Immovable Object on the point of logic.

I look forward to discovering how my opponent contends with these issues in Round 2.

==== REFERENCES ====

1. Meta-ethics is a branch of philosophy concerned with identifying and understanding the origin and meaning of ethical concepts—"the nature of ethical properties, statements, attitudes, and judgments" (http://en.wikipedia.org...). See also: James Friesen. "Metaethics." Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Web. (http://www.iep.utm.edu...); Geoff Sayre-McCord. "Metaethics." Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Web. (http://plato.stanford.edu...)

2. Scott Rae. Moral Choices: An Introduction to Ethics. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1995 (pg. 32).

3. "Goodness of God." Easton's Bible Dictionary. Web. (http://refbible.com...)
TheSkeptic

Con

I thank my opponent for his insightful response, and I am glad that we can develop the argument from evil (AE) without being blocked by elementary counterarguments that even most informed theists would not contend. Instead, my opponent takes fault at my premise concerning gratuitous evil, as I have suspected. I will thus dedicate this round to constructing my argument around this premise, as it is both the most important and the most attacked.

I also agree that my opponent has perfectly outlined his position - his sole burden is simply to demonstrate all of my arguments from evil (which is just one) are unsuccessful. He need not prove anything else. Lastly, I will agree with my opponent's definitions concerning moral terms in a Christian framework. I am glad to see he has not fiddled with semantical rewiring, and that the intent of this debate has been kept pure.

====================
Argument from Evil - Gratuitous Evil
====================

Now, my opponent levels one major criticism of my argument on the onset - he charges that my argument takes formation as a logical attack rather than an evidential one. He claims that the existence of gratuitous evil and God is logically incompatible rather than it being an improbable critique. And yes, his conclusion is correct - that what I must do is to prove the probability that there are some evils which are gratuitous. I do want to point out that my argument IS evidential: it rests on the idea that even after careful inspection of an example in which evil has occurred, there would be no good reason to believe that God would have an adequate reason to allow such an instance.

Also realize that I never claimed that ALL evils are gratuitous - rather, that there are simply some which are. I propose examples such as natural disasters (famine, tsunamis, etc.) or the life of a baby who's life is mostly composed of suffering are instances in which there is no adequate reason to explain away such an event.

So here's the challenge to my opponent: I ask of him to provide an adequate explanation for natural evils or instances in which the majority of a baby's life is suffering. The point about the latter example is that a common theodicy is to say that some instance of evil was meant there to lead to some greater good - but if a baby's life is mostly suffering (such as African babies being born into starvation and hardship, then quickly dying) it would seem highly improbably for such a theodicy to work. If such examples do exist, which I would think to be quite uncontroversial, then my opponent would have to give an adequate moral reason for their existence.

====================
Conclusion
====================

As you can see, though logical possibility remains for the compatibility between evil and God if there is no adequate reason to explain an act of evil, then the probability of God existing is unlikely as well. Obviously, it doesn't preclude it in certainty but I never argued that, did I?

If we have no good reason to believe referring to God can excuse away such instances of evil, then the AE has fulfilled it's purpose - it has demonstrated the improbability of God.
Debate Round No. 2
Ryft

Pro

INTRODUCTION:

I have read a number of debates on this site since joining about a month ago, and I have to confess that Skeptic has quickly proven himself to be one of my favourite debaters here. His familiarity with significant philosophical issues, his stoic civility, and the intellectual honesty with which he treats his opponents is the exception to what is otherwise a disappointing rule. I have been engaging in online debates for longer than Skeptic has been alive, so I can say this with some confidence. I appreciate him as an opponent.

SECOND ANALYSIS:

As I had carefully explained in Round 2 and my opponent concured, the crux of his Problem of Evil (PoE) argument centers on his first premise, that "gratuitous evils probably exist." And as I further explained, the nature of his first premise turns his PoE argument into a logical version; that is, given the very definitions of the terms involved, it follows (necessarily) that if a God with the aforementioned attributes exists, then it is logically impossible for any evils to be gratuitous (unjustified, purposeless). And because they are mutually exclusive, notice that the inverse also follows (necessarily): if gratuitous evils exist, then it is logically impossible for a God with the aforementioned attributes to exist. (The only way gratuitous evils could exist is if God lacked one or more of the given attributes.) Consequently, if my opponent were to presuppose the truth of gratuitous evils, then he would illegitimately beg the question and consequently render his own argument invalid by reason of logical fallacy. [1]

If gratuitous evil exists, then it follows (by force of logical necessity) that the Christian God does not exist—indeed, cannot exist. This argument, by virtue of its being a logical form, is an extraordinarily strong one. If my opponent could prove the truth of his first premise, then he would easily defeat my resolution. But one thing must be kept in mind: the truth of the first premise is at issue. He cannot assume its truth (and thereby beg the question). He must prove its truth, which he has chosen to do on the probable score—i.e., that its being true has greater probability than does its being false. And because the crux of his PoE centers on this first premise, he has chosen to focus all his efforts on proving the probability of its truth.

So how did he go about doing so? By reasoning via an argument from ignorance, whereby he said that with "no good reason to believe" that some evil X does have a justification or purpose, then it can be considered as having no justification or purpose (gratuitous). In other words, we must accept as probable the truth of his first premise unless or until it is proven false; i.e., "a person regards the lack of evidence for one view" (there is justification) "as constituting proof that another view is true" (there is no justification). [2] Because this sort of reasoning is invalid, it can be dismissed. Consequently, my opponent's PoE argument is still waiting for him to prove, validly, that we must accept his first premise.

ADDENDUM:

Skeptic challenged me to provide "an adequate explanation" for some evil X, saying that a theodicy should be able to account for it. Curiously, my opponent seems to have forgotten what this debate is about. It is not my burden to reconcile God's goodness or justice with some given evil or suffering (theodicy); it is Skeptic's burden to prove that a PoE argument succeeds at proving the non-existence of God. From the debate resolution to the opening round, the burden of proof was established clearly. Some PoE arguments "expose powerful demands for a coherent and consistent theodicy," I admitted candidly, but "that is not the same thing as proving that God ... does not exist."

Moreover, he also said that theodicies commonly argue that some evils are meant "to lead to some greater good," but that some evil X makes it "seem highly improbable for such a theodicy to work." I should like to point out that an inability to conceive of a greater good coming out of some evil X does not count against a theodicy; the argument from personal incredulity is a form of the argument from ignorance. Being unable to imagine or conceieve of something does not constitute as evidence for (or against) anything. It is strictly biographical information.

And finally, it is indeed true that a "logical possibility remains for the compatibility between evil and God." However, there is zero logical possibility for compatibility between gratuitous evil and God, as I have argued clearly above and in the previous round. That is why proving that any evils are gratuitous will inescapably win this debate for my opponent.

==== REFERENCES ====

1. Douglas N. Walton, Ph.D. "The Essential Ingredients of the Fallacy of Begging the Question," in Fallacies: Classical and Contemporary Readings. Hans V. Hanson. and Robert C. Pinto, eds. Penn State Press, 1995. Print. pp. 229-239; "Begging the question." Wikipedia. Web. (http://en.wikipedia.org...); Robert Carroll. "Begging the question." The Skeptic's Dictionary. Web. (http://www.skepdic.com...).

2. Gary N. Curtis, Ph.D. "Appeal to Ignorance." FallacyFiles.org. Web. (http://www.fallacyfiles.org...); "Argument from ignorance." Wikipedia. Web. (http://en.wikipedia.org...).
TheSkeptic

Con

I want to thank my opponent for his philosophical tenacity (which I highly appreciate and admire) along with his soaring remarks for my talent; believe me, the sentiments are mutual. I hope that we can have this debate in the future, albeit with more rounds seeing as we have only delved into this issue halfway through, if not less.

My opponent claims two distinct ideas here: he first claims that my evidential formulation of the problem of evil is actually a logical one, and further he claims that I have committed several fallacies in my argumentation. I will thus do the following in reply: first I will demonstrate his error in understanding my argument, then demonstrate that he has been quick to label my arguments with such fallacies.

====================
Accusation that my AE is in fact logical rather than evidential
====================

According to my opponent, "the nature of [my] first premise turns [my] PoE argument into a logical version." He claims correctly, I would add, that God with the aforementioned attributes and gratuitous evil are are mutually exclusive. Indeed, for such a logical argument to be sound I must, as he has aptly pointed out, prove the truth of it.

The problem is that he forgets to take heed of the inclusion of the term "probably." My purpose isn't to demonstrate the certainty of this premise, rather I must show that it is PROBABLE that gratuitous evils PROBABLY exist. Yes, this sounds almost funny to argue for but when thought through it is coherent and sensible. Most theists and atheists will agree that it is NOT true that, by definition, God is incompatible with evil. God would not exclude all evil if He had morally sufficient reason for allowing some. However, what I am claiming is that the existence of evil, although logically consistent with the existence of God, counts against or lowers the probability of the truth of theism. The following paragraph from an article from the IEP (Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy)[1] makes clear the distinction:

"In evidential arguments, however, the evidence only probabilifies its conclusion, rather than conclusively verifying it. The probabilistic nature of such arguments manifests itself in the form of a premise to the effect that It is probably the case that some instance (or type, or amount, or pattern) of evil E is gratuitous." This probability judgment usually rests on the claim that, even after careful reflection, we can see no good reason for God's permission of E. The inference from this claim to the judgment that there exists gratuitous evil is inductive in nature, and it is this inductive step that sets the evidential argument apart from the logical argument."

Take note of the last sentence - it is the INDUCTIVE MOVE that enables us to call this an evidential argument.

====================
Accusation that my AE is fallacious
====================

At the onset, he claims that I commit the argument from ignorance (and on a specific instance, the argument from personal incredulity). I'm afraid this only occurs if he had a blurry inspection of my arguments. Most fallacies have exceptions to their rule, or of course more conditions that are needed to fulfill such a error in reasoning. Allow me to explain:

He accuses me of an argument from ignorance, but my reasoning was that if a baby's life was full of suffering then it is highly unlikely that there would be an amount of good in it's life that would overrule it before death. It is commonly stated by the theist that evils are commonly meant for a greater good, but what I am proposing is that there are many instances (starving kids in Africa, natural disasters, victims of unheard crimes, etc.) that are highly improbable to do so. If this is so, then such an evil is GRATUITOUS. It is thus now my opponent's burden (as such a thing can shift) to show me otherwise. An argument from ignorance only works if I ASSUME a premise is true because it can't be proven wrong -- this was not so. I proposed the claim and then reasoned that victim of unheard crimes (who will benefit from them each time?), victims of natural disasters (do we need that many people to die, and if so what good does it do?), etc. demonstrate that such evils are unnecessary. For my opponent to overrule this, he must demonstrate that a greater balance of good can be achieved from such instances. It is my argument that under his theological framework, he is unequipped to do this.

On a separate instance, he also claims that I am committing the argument from personal incredulity, which is the fallacy of asserting that a proposition must be wrong because he or she is incapable of accepting that it may be true. It's a very common version of the argument from ignorance. Is he right though? He reminds us that "being unable to imagine or conceieve of something does not constitute as evidence for (or against) anything," which is true...under another condition - that such a premise has no evidence for against it. He should remember that it is not only possible but COMMON for academic philosophers to argue that the inconceivability of X leads to the falsehood some other claim (philosophical zombies, modal argument for dualism, etc.).

My argument escapes the fallacy as well - for it proposes a claim and a reason behind it demonstrating that it's probably true. If there is an instance of evil that I have shown likely to be gratuitous, then it is my opponent's burden to demonstrate that this false. If he is empty of any reasoning, then I will have succeeded in showing such an instance to be evidence against the existence of God. IN LIGHT OF MY REASONING, the burden of proof shifts unto my opponent.

====================
Conclusion
====================

My opponent misunderstands my argument for what it's worth - it is an evidential argument precisely because of the inductive move it employs. Further, his fallacy labels fall apart seeing as my argument is not as simple as he presents them to be; many fallacies are inappropriately applied given certain conditions in one's argument. The inability to conceive CAN count as evidence is such a premise is set up correctly - this is shown to be a conventional issue in philosophical issues of the mind.

---References---
1. http://www.iep.utm.edu...
Debate Round No. 3
118 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by corynski 6 years ago
corynski
Having read and thought considerably regarding pedophile priests, or ministers by whatever name, I feel obliged to suggest the following:

If a God exists, pedophile priests, servants of the Lord, require God to be a witness to their pedophilia, and in a situation where the victim is praying to God to alleviate their suffering, and to punish the priest, we see that God ignores the innocent victim and permits the perpetrator to go free to abuse other children.

Anyone who could believe in the Christian God, a god who rewards pedophiles with their continued life, while ignoring the victims who will live an entire lifetime in shame, with the scars and torments of their abuse, is stupid.

Such a God obviously doesn't exist......
Posted by Ryft 7 years ago
Ryft
GeoLaureate - "If the Christian paradigm is assumed to be true, then you automatically win," you said. That is my argument, yes; on the Christian world view, there is no such thing as gratuitous evil. There are only two ways to engage the question: by presupposing either a non-Christian world view or the Christian world view. TheSkeptic has chosen the latter, to defeat my resolution using Christianity's own terms (i.e., he is taking the reductio ad absurdum approach).

Psychman - "[If you're going to base your argument on the Bible], then why not just say that in your definition?" If you will review the debate you will see that I did, sir—in numerous places and quite clearly. I said that in all my arguments "the term 'God' always refers to God as revealed in Christian scripture canon (viz. the 39 books of the Old Testament and 27 books of the New Testament)," and that "the biblical God of orthodox Christian theism is being assumed for the sake of argument," and that "my opponent has agreed ... that this debate will confront biblical Christian doctrine," and so forth. I'm pretty sure you reject the Bible as being authoritative; but (as I said) your rejection of the Bible is completely autobiographical and irrelevant to the debate at hand, and is dismissed as such.

P.S. I will no longer follow or respond to the comments at this debate. For any further discussion, please go to the Comments section of "Part 2" of the debate.
Posted by Ryft 7 years ago
Ryft
"Part 2" has been proposed -- http://www.debate.org...
Posted by Kinesis 7 years ago
Kinesis
I hope this topic doesn't die. :( . I'm hoping for a round 2 with Skeptic as well as one with Freeman.
Posted by psychman33 7 years ago
psychman33
So Ryft, since you claim to know the mind of God, lay it on me. I would love to be privy to that knowledge. If you are just going to regurgitate what is in the Bible, then spare me. I'm familiar with it. However, if that is what you have in mind, then why not just say that in your definition? Why do you assume that I wouldn't know the mind/nature of God, if you do? Do you have special divine revelation? That seems a very disingenuous statement to me. I could not honestly reject a world view without researching and understanding it.
Posted by TheSkeptic 7 years ago
TheSkeptic
"So how can you guys have this debate without both sides assuming their own paradigm to be true?"

I assume it's true, then show an absurdity that follows (in this case, via internal contradiction). http://en.wikipedia.org...
Posted by GeoLaureate8 7 years ago
GeoLaureate8
@Ryft

"it is logically impossible for any natural disaster to be evil"

Ok, if the Christian paradigm is assumed to be true, then you automatically win. Any and all evil, whether seemingly gratuitous or not, has a God-explained reason. If the secular paradigm is assumed to be true, then gratuitous evil is actually gratuitous, and thus, TheSkeptic automatically wins.

So how can you guys have this debate without both sides assuming their own paradigm to be true?
Posted by GeoLaureate8 7 years ago
GeoLaureate8
@Ryft

"P1. If E is without warrant or purpose, then E is gratuitous. (definition)
P2. E is without warrant or purpose. (premise)
C1. Therefore, E is gratuitous. (from P1 and P2)"

As you said, the debatable premise is P2. I can understand how you might say it begs the question to merely assert P2 as true without a reason, however it is ok in this particular instance. Let's say you see a rock on the ground. TheSkeptic says, "It's an ordinary rock." Then you come and say, "You're wrong. Actually, it's a chip off an asteroid from space." Well, TheSkeptic can't go any further to prove his position. The LACK of evidence to the contrary supports the TheSkeptic's assertion that it is a rock. It is what it is. You are making the claim that it's a chip off an asteroid, and thus have to provide evidence to support that.

So do you see how that relates to this? TheSkeptic is making the obvious statement that natural disasters happen simply for no reason. How can he go any further in proving this? You are making the claim that there is more to it than just that and is in fact the result of a "rebellion against God" (evil).
Posted by TheSkeptic 7 years ago
TheSkeptic
Ryft, we really need a part 2 to this debate - you've made many claims in the comment sections but I'm not much of a fan for debating in the comment sections.
Posted by Ryft 7 years ago
Ryft
Psychman - The definition supplied was unknowable and unintelligible only if given your world view. But in this debate your world view was not a given. In this debate the Christian world view was a given, and under that view the definition supplied is knowable and intelligible. Do you reject it? Quite likely—and quite irrelevant. The issue was never "the Christian view is at odds with Psychman's view," but rather that "the Christian view is at odds with itself."

And no, grounding moral order in the nature and character of God does not preclude evil altogether. Rather, it provides a coherent and consistent explanation for evil: any want of conformity to the character or prescriptive will of God. Although it is impossible for God to do evil (given his immutable character), it is entirely possible—and actual—for man to do evil, to do things that are contrary to God's character or prescriptive will.
24 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 6 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
RyftTheSkepticTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: "If there is an instance of evil that I have shown likely to be gratuitous, then it is my opponent's burden to demonstrate that this false. " - well present on both sides, however this is the crux of the argument.
Vote Placed by Dmetal 6 years ago
Dmetal
RyftTheSkepticTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by shadow835 6 years ago
shadow835
RyftTheSkepticTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Vote Placed by TheUncredibleHallq 6 years ago
TheUncredibleHallq
RyftTheSkepticTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:23 
Vote Placed by UnFascism 6 years ago
UnFascism
RyftTheSkepticTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:23 
Vote Placed by theoxilus 6 years ago
theoxilus
RyftTheSkepticTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by Neumax 6 years ago
Neumax
RyftTheSkepticTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:--Vote Checkmark3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:21 
Vote Placed by SnoopyDaniels 6 years ago
SnoopyDaniels
RyftTheSkepticTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by fineartstar 7 years ago
fineartstar
RyftTheSkepticTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by gr33k_fr33k5 7 years ago
gr33k_fr33k5
RyftTheSkepticTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30