The Instigator
theodebater42
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
tfroitz1
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points

The Problem of Suffering

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/6/2018 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 224 times Debate No: 115076
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (2)
Votes (0)

 

theodebater42

Con

I maintain that the existence of suffering does not disprove the existence of an all loving, all powerful, and all knowing God. I will defend this claim by proposing a version of the free will defense, namely that it is unjust for God to force people to be in union with Him in heaven and therefore He must allow people to journey towards a relation with Him. This free journey though allows for people to deviate and therefore commit actions that result in suffering. More can be said about all of this, but I will allow an opponent to respond to see how this argument holds up.
tfroitz1

Pro

I have to first begin with agreeing with you to some extend as I also think that it isn"t possible to actually disprove the concept of god as it is inherently impossible to prove the non existence of an entity. Therefore I would hold to say that the problem of suffering contradicts the proposition of the existence of such an all loving, all powerful and all knowing god and allows us to dismiss this god concept as not fitting the data of our surroundings.

I have with your argumentation so far a few problems but to be sure to not misrepresent your argument I still need some explanation. Therefore I will just state my thoughts on the things you touched on in the knowledge that I may misinterpret your strand of argumentation.

To begin I think that it is problematic to argue with free will, because we do not actually have any evidence from any science that such a thing as free will, especially libertarian free will, can exist or for that matter does. Therefore I would directly doubt your argument on the basis that if we boil down in our study of the way we think and seem to make decisions it does not support the prediction that your argument makes, namely that there is free will.

Then I think it is also problematic to square an omniscient god, who knows everything with the thought of free will. If god knows all of the future which it means for him to be omniscient you can"t actually freely choose to do something else than he already knew you would do. This wouldn"t then be free will anymore. Else you would lose the property of omniscience.

Now to the question of suffering itself. If god is omnibenevolent and wishes only the best it again contradicts his seemingly open acceptance of both suffering in this world and especially the next one. To just say that it is unjust or not moral to force people into a union with him is not really an argument as the proposition of the god also includes that his rulings are what is morally right or wrong meaning that it is just a matter of taste on gods part whether he prefers the save way of a union or the seemingly inefficient way of free will. And if we here include again his all loving character we see that it seems way more reasonable to argue that a save way would be preferred by such a god.

If we accept that god for some reason preferred a free society it still doesn"t show how this squares with the scope of suffering there is. The whole animal kingdom is filled by suffering and evolution, the mechanism that build us, is also as cruel as it gets. There is nothing in all of this that would even hint at an omnibenevolent being behind it all as it is unnecessary suffering. Now If you want to argue that we can"t know how much suffering is needed as we do not know gods mind and that this may be the best configuration to achieve a maximum number of people accepting god, it would be enough to show one possible world that would be even a bit better to refute it, as an omniscient, omnipotent god would have been able to do it that way too. It is absolutely obvious that there is so much suffering in the world that if it weren"t there wouldn"t have any impact especially in the animal kingdom but also in humans. If just before a person dies of some horrible disease it would always stop their perception of that suffering, even without communicating it to anyone else it would be a better world. It wouldn"t make any difference to the outcome but would be less cruel. Therefore an omnibenevolent god should if existing have rather picked that one. This is not to say that this specific example is important but the general idea behind it.

I am looking forward to your reply.
Debate Round No. 1
theodebater42

Con

Thanks for accepting the debate, Pro.

Pro says: "To begin I think that it is problematic to argue with free will, because we do not actually have any evidence from any science that such a thing as free will, especially libertarian free will, can exist or for that matter does. Therefore I would directly doubt your argument on the basis that if we boil down in our study of the way we think and seem to make decisions it does not support the prediction that your argument makes, namely that there is free will."

In response, I think that libertarian free will is highly defensible, as to me it seems to be the way that my will actually works. Now Pro and some others may not agree, but libertarian free will only needs to be possible in order for the free will defense to work because the free will defense is just a 'defense'. I am not claiming to be able to prove that people have free will, only that it is possible that they do and therefore the free will defense remains a legitimate option.

Pro says: "Then I think it is also problematic to square an omniscient god, who knows everything with the thought of free will. If god knows all of the future which it means for him to be omniscient you can"t actually freely choose to do something else than he already knew you would do. This wouldn"t then be free will anymore. Else you would lose the property of omniscience."

In response, knowing something will happen does not make it happen in the same way that something being true or false from all eternity does not make it happen. For example, it was true from all eternity that I would type this sentence (since it is happening), but that does not make the act of my typing this sentence unavoidable. It only means that it is a true fact that at this moment I would type this. Now, God knows all facts/truths, including how people will freely use their will. So, I see God's omniscience as being entirely compatible with free will.

Pro says: "Now to the question of suffering itself. If god is omnibenevolent and wishes only the best it again contradicts his seemingly open acceptance of both suffering in this world and especially the next one. To just say that it is unjust or not moral to force people into a union with him is not really an argument as the proposition of the god also includes that his rulings are what is morally right or wrong meaning that it is just a matter of taste on gods part whether he prefers the save way of a union or the seemingly inefficient way of free will. And if we here include again his all loving character we see that it seems way more reasonable to argue that a save way would be preferred by such a god."

In response, Pro seems to argue that theism holds that God decides what is right or wrong. I disagree with this because if that is the case then God could just decide that suffering is fine and the problem of suffering wouldn't be a logical problem. Rather, I think while the standard of justice resides within God, God did not arbitrarily decide what is just or unjust. So, if something is truly unjust, God cannot commit that act. So if it is truly unjust for God to force people into a relation with Him, then He cannot do that.

Pro says: "If we accept that god for some reason preferred a free society it still doesn"t show how this squares with the scope of suffering there is. The whole animal kingdom is filled by suffering and evolution, the mechanism that build us, is also as cruel as it gets. There is nothing in all of this that would even hint at an omnibenevolent being behind it all as it is unnecessary suffering. Now If you want to argue that we can"t know how much suffering is needed as we do not know gods mind and that this may be the best configuration to achieve a maximum number of people accepting god, it would be enough to show one possible world that would be even a bit better to refute it, as an omniscient, omnipotent god would have been able to do it that way too. It is absolutely obvious that there is so much suffering in the world that if it weren"t there wouldn"t have any impact especially in the animal kingdom but also in humans. If just before a person dies of some horrible disease it would always stop their perception of that suffering, even without communicating it to anyone else it would be a better world. It wouldn"t make any difference to the outcome but would be less cruel. Therefore an omnibenevolent god should if existing have rather picked that one. This is not to say that this specific example is important but the general idea behind it."

In response, I agree that animal suffering also needs to be accounted for. This is where the argument gets more complex. I maintain that it is entirely possible that God created angels (as many theists hold) some of which turned bad as they too have free will.

Furthermore, God could have allowed the angels to help 'decide' what the laws of physics would be in order to reciprocally co-create with God. In doing so, God instituted laws that reflect the collective will of all of the angels and therefore the laws instituted by God are imperfect, not because God wanted them to be, but because some of the angels wanted them to be. Therefore, the natural world does not work the way that God would have wanted, but in God's love He allowed the angels to help Him decide the laws of physics.

Now obviously this solution is not a commonly held one, but this type of solution does have support from some major thinkers through the ages. So I think it is a serious option that one has to contend with, as one must remember that the theist is proposing a possible solution which for all we know could be true. I am not claiming that I can prove my defense correct, rather I am saying that my defense is possibly true.

I look forward to hearing Pro's response.
tfroitz1

Pro

First to the existence of free will. I do agree that I can"t disprove your justification of suffering by showing that free will doesn"t exist, unless I could somehow prove that it is impossible, which on the basis of our current knowledge isn"t possible. But it is still a good reason to doubt this justification if we see no scientific evidence of or even possibility for the free will you predict with your argument. I think it is rather easy to show that especially the thought of a libertarian free will doesn"t fit the evidence we have. We know that our actions are controlled by our brain and that our brain is build of particle we understand in the way they work. We know how they can be influenced and we know through the research in particle physics that there is nothing left that can influence those particles to the extend needed. This is not to claim that we know the exact workings of the brain, but rather the certainty in particle physics that the only things we have missed do interact so weakly and have such a minor impact that they just don"t accumulate to the impact on the brain needed. This shows that as we know both what allows our actions and understand what the thing that allows them, namely the brain, is made of, we just do not have any space left for a "mind" force to actually impact our actions in a way needed to call it free will. It was well versed by princess Elizabeth of Bohemia in a letter to Rene Descarte as she questions the possibility of an immaterial mind effecting a material body (https://plato.stanford.edu...).
Furthermore it can be experienced directly. If you just try to establish in hindsight how you came to think a certain thing. Just ask yourself as some point: Why have I thought that? And then again why you have thought that? And so on. You will see that you will get maybe some steps, but then have no idea. And if you then think honestly whether you have actually in any of those cases actively chosen to think the thing you have you will see that you haven"t, but rather where brought to the thought just by the last one and the influences of your experience. This shows rather well that what we think and do is not a choice some "mind" makes but rather the result from earlier experience and thought. Therefore we see again that there is neither evidence nor possibility for free will which is at least evidence against your argument.

Now to gods omniscience. The problem is that it is actually not really compatible to have an omniscient being and a free choice. This also by the way applies to god himself making him not free. If an omniscient being knows that you will do a certain thing in the future you can"t do anything else, because if you would do something else the omniscient being, which by definition knows everything from past to future, would have been wrong. This is impossible for an omniscient being, which is why you can either have an omniscient being or free will which depends on the ability to choose differently, but not both.

We come to the morality of suffering. Here you get into a problem. The theistic believe has as one of its main components the assumption that god does not just have the justice in his hand but actually acts as a moral lawgiver which is needed to give a basis for divine command theory. If you say that god has to abide to certain standards that are really right or really wrong one has to ask about what imposes those standards. While on the one hand this again contradicts his omnipotence as he can"t make his moral law to be right, it also shows again that the god concept is actually man-made as the thing you are saying is that god enforces moral rules, but those rules are the ones that human societies have developed over time in the enlightenment. Therefore your god isn"t actually the one deciding what is right or wrong, but just the enforcer of the moral laws we have devised making him nothing more than a court room. Therefore I stand by the analysis that if there is a god and he makes the moral law, which is the basis of the theistic hypothesis, he also can decide whether suffering is right or wrong.

Now to turn to your explanation about the angels allowing for god to create a non perfect world that wouldn"t be according to his omnibenevolence, because he so wants to include some angels, is just the attempt to say that "yes, we see no evidence that our fare fetched claims about god are true and we have no way of actually defending them, but we just take some wild story which by definition can"t be refuted and claim that this explains it, while it is actually only an attempt of us not to admit the obvious". But again also this analysis fails. If you have again an omnibenevolent being you can"t square it with him wanting to use some evil angels. If he is omnibenevolent and omnipotent he firstly wouldn"t create them as there is no reason for him as an omniscient being not to know what they will do and not to know that they will act against his own omnibenevolence. Secondly there is no reason for him to actually allow those "bad angels" then to actually create anything with him. Therefore there is no use in just saying that there are some angels to do all the bad, stupid and malicious mistakes for god and quiet honestly I think that the whole discussion of just taking some angels to solve the problem is stupid and rather reflects the thoughts in superstitious people of the dark ages.

To sum up I think it is important to remember that searching for the truth in a claim is not about searching for some obscure, untestable and stupid explanation in order to be able to keep your believes but that it needs honest questioning of one"s thoughts and the search for testable and falsifiable hypothesis.
Debate Round No. 2
theodebater42

Con

Con made a lot of points, so I will try to respond to each one.

In regards to free will, Con argues that "our actions are controlled by our brain".

I disagree with this, at least in the strict sense, as it simply describes the belief of materialistic determinism. Con has not disproven the existence of an immaterial mind (which interacts with a material brain) and free will only has to be reasonably possible in order for the free will defense to work.

Yet, Con then argues that after introspective reflection one can recognize that their thoughts are really just the product of past memories and thoughts etc. So free will isn't compatible with our experience of how our thoughts originate etc.

In response, while I agree that our thoughts are influenced by things outside of us and we can't control what thoughts pop into out minds, this does not entail that we lack the freedom to choose how we respond to these thoughts. I think we choose between these thoughts. This consideration has not been disproven and I think it makes more sense of my personal experience in how I will decisions.

Yet, Con still maintains that God's omniscience is incompatible with free will because a person can't do other than what God knows that they will do.

Again, I see no strict conflict here. God knows what one will freely decide. This knowledge does not make or prevent a person from making a specific choice, rather it entails that God knows how a person will use their free will. From all eternity a person 'could' have chosen otherwise, but God knows how they actually 'will' choose. God simply knows what one will do, but that truth could have been rendered differently had that person chosen differently. God knows how that person will choose.

Then Con argues that theism is necessarily committed to divine command theory. Yet, theists have traditionally not held to divine command theory and it is in fact historically become popular more recently. Even some divine command theorists would say that God's command must still meet the standard of justice. Regardless, I don't think theism requires the belief in divine command theory. I hold to natural law theory of ethics and that God must in fact act in accordance with justice. Again, though if I did maintain divine command theory (in the strict sense) then the problem of suffering wouldn't be a problem because God can just command anything

Then Con argues that the explanation offered about angels is a far fetched claim. Of course, whether one thinks a claim is far fetched does not make it false though.

Con argues that the explanation does not work though because God shouldn't create evil angels. Yet, in response, God creates humans who will use their will for evil. God does not refuse to create people simply because of how they will use their will. God creates people and allows them to choose to journey towards Him or away from Him.

Con argues that it would not make sense for God to allow angels to help with creation though. However in response, it is due to God's love that He allows creatures to help Him create.

If Con does not like appealing to angels though, the approach can be recast by appealing to human will and arguing that God creates a world that is consonant with the collective human will, which results in a world with imperfect physical laws etc.

Con might argue that this would be unjust, BUT again perhaps it is due to God's love that He allows His creatures to help Him co-create.

Con then concludes talking about the importance of searching for the truth, I totally agree.
tfroitz1

Pro

Let us again begin with the argument about the existence of free will. You say rightly that the observations of science and the study of our brain is not a prove that an immaterial mind doesn"t exist. The problem here is that philosophy about whether or not a mind is possible won"t bring us any further which is why it is important to use the scientific method and look at what the evidence shows us. I have argued with the field of particle physics and I may explain it a little further. What we have right now is the standard model of particle physics and this model is scientifically proven to the extent that we have observed all the predictions in experimented mostly at the LHC. Now this model includes the four physical forces and those too have been shown to be true. The thing we are doing now is still searching for particles and even forces we have missed, but we know with absolute certainty that those forces and particles will be very insignificant to our daily lives as it requires extreme conditions to produce them. Therefore we can safely conclude that we know all the particles that make up our daily life and that we know all the forces they act by. This also is true for the brain as we know that the brain is made up of exactly those particles. Now we have to use Occam"s razor. We can account with our model which is conclusively proven for all the actions of all particles in our daily lives. We haven"t found any reason to believe that there would be an additional force needed in our daily lives and we are searching for exactly those fervently all the time. Now this is the simplest and complete explanation which is why to invoke now an immaterial mind that itself has to exert a force is just an additional axiom that doesn"t increase the explanatory power at all. Therefore it can be reasonable dismissed. If one were to think that there where such a thing as an immaterial mind the person would have to show some evidence that there is something missing or something more needed which doesn"t happen. Without this the believe that there is some additional immaterial mind is similar to most of your argument just an assertion that can"t be disproven and can"t be opposed directly by philosophy, because most of those questions are not questions about philosophical thought and can"t be answered by it, but needs scientific inquiry.

Now to the point that our actions are decided by our brain. This is again not a philosophical question and isn"t helped by armchair philosophizing about whether or not it could be logically possible, but again a scientific question about what it is we see if we look at the data. And again the science is absolutely unambiguous. We know the mechanism by which our actions are controlled by the brain which is namely our neuronal network and while we do not fully understand how this net of neurons decides our actions we can again be absolutely certain that it does so because of my first point that there is nothing there that could do it but the brain and its circuits of neurons. We know that if we manipulate the brain in a certain way we have a direct impact on the actions. All this again doesn"t prove that it is impossible, but as it is clearly a scientific and not philosophical question this is not surprising and again I would ask you to if you wish to convince someone that free will is possible, provide evidence. So far you only make a claim that in general can"t be disproven but this is something else then to say that it is actually true. Quiet on the contrary you have all of science in opposition to you because your claim would entail that all of science is wrong, while only your assertion is right.

Now to the question whether if the thoughts we have are provided by our brain we can still choose between them. Firstly if you take the first part as true as you have done, the thing you are describing isn"t free will anymore as the maybe most important thing to decide, namely what you think is already taken from you. It also then doesn"t make sense for god then later to punish in his commandment that one shouldn"t desire another ones wife, as desire is as well just a thought we can"t prevent. This therefore also contradicts your explanation for suffering because surely hell and eternal punishment should be then classified as suffering and is not inflicted by any free choice but by the by god designed workings of our brain. But to get back to the point about choice in what your actions are after you where provided by a certain thought, it doesn"t seem to square with our observation that brain scans show a later action before the person has even realized that he is going to make this action. Some easy actions we can even predict from a brain scan before the person knew it. All of this does strongly contradict the thought that we can decide about our actions. Additionally there doesn"t seem to be that much of a difference between thought and action because you can ask the same questions for actions that you can ask for thoughts and will come to the conclusion that again there is a clear chain of thoughts leading to an action.

The assumption of free will is that you can chose at any moment whatever you want. For example if you go right or left. And it is not decided before the action what your choice will be, to say that it wasn"t already certain that you did chose for example right. An omniscient being can"t be wrong about what he knows because else he wouldn"t have been omniscient and he has to know everything as it is literally in the word. And also to say that he just would have known a different thing if you would have chosen differently doesn"t work as you choose in the moment and omniscience implies that he knew it before the choice was made. That means if he knew for all eternity that you would chose right and he can"t be wrong about it you can"t choose left. Meaning you do not have free will in your actions. I think it is perfectly clear that omniscience and free will are mutually exclusive.

It is not important whether or not it is divine command theory or natural law theory (it is true that theism allows both), because both take as the basis a god prescribed morality. It is still god who prescribes the morality as a law and doesn"t just act as enforcing agent but is the standard of the morality itself. This means that he decides what is morally good or bad. If this weren"t the case he wouldn"t as explained above be omnipotent. And all of it is exactly your point that he can decide what is right and therefore to assume that suffering doesn"t contradict his ability to decide you need in both divine command theory and natural law theory the assumption that he accepts the suffering as good as we observe it. If he didn"t accept it that would go against his omnipotence as he could have just changed the way he made us or the world as I have explained to prevent needless suffering even without cutting short of your explanation by free will. Therefore as he didn"t build the world differently, it shows that if he is omnipotent and issues the moral laws, his omnibenevolence doesn"t work with our observation of needless suffering and the other way around.

Again your argument about how angels could explain the obvious discrepancies between the expectation in a perfect loving god and the one we observe, shows that also you see the problem, but you do instead of going by the evidence just search for some ex post facto explanation for the observables which can"t be philosophically disproven but again doesn"t have any evidence on its side. Both creating imperfect cruel angels and creating suffering humans doesn"t fit with omnibenevolence, which is why we should again use Occam"s razor and just take the easy explanation that god just didn"t create humans instead of piling on wild claims that can"t be tested about him. Also the thought that it is human will instead of the will of angels doesn"t help as needless suffering isn"t a human wish.
Debate Round No. 3
theodebater42

Con

To summarize, Pro seems to argue that while it is possible that we have free will, there is no evidence for it. Furthermore, free will is a scientific question, and yet physics has not found a need to appeal to free will, so Ockham's razor weighs against the existence of free will.

In response, I would say that we have not found empirical evidence for free will because it is in principle not a material phenomenon. The notion of an immaterial mind goes beyond what physics could detect. So it is outside of the domain of physics. So, I think it is a philosophical question and philosophers deal with it most commonly.

Pro raises the difficulty of why coveting another person's spouse is considered a sin when one can't control their thoughts.

In response, this topic is a separate debate, but traditionally Christians at least have understood coveting to be a sin when a person chooses to dwell upon the covetous feelings, not merely having a thought pop into their mind.

Pro also raises the consideration that brain scans can predict what a person will choose.

In response, I think this would only demonstrate that a person has begun sub consciously choosing before they have fully realized it. For example, if a person is asked 'are you going to grab an apple?' And the brain scans revealed that the person was going to reach for an apple, then that would only indicate that the person was subconsciously beginning to think about choosing the apple. Admittedly, I have not studied these experiments at length, but I know they have different interpretations and I am skeptical that they disprove free will, as are some who have studied the experiments.

Pro continues to argue that omniscience is incompatible with free will. Pro specifically says: "The assumption of free will is that you can chose at any moment whatever you want."

In response, I am not sure I agree with Pro's description of free will. I define free will as the ability to have chosen otherwise than what you chose. Yet, if Person A is placed in Circumstance B, I think Person A would still choose the same way every time they were in that hypothetical circumstance. So, the fact that God knows what Person A would choose in Circumstance B, does not entail that Person A could not have chosen any differently than they did. Person A could have willed otherwise, but God would know that as well. So, it's not that God's knowledge constrains Person A. Rather, it's that God is simply aware of what Person A would do in Circumstance B. God knows that fact just like God knows 1 + 1 = 2. God is aware of all truths. The truth of what Person A would do could have been different if Person A would use their will differently in that circumstance. The causality here is reversed because of course God knows what Person A would do before Person A is even created, but that is because God knows everything about His creation even before He creates it.

Pro still maintains that theism entails that God "decides what is morally good or bad. If this weren"t the case he wouldn"t as explained above be omnipotent."

In response, I disagree that theism entails that God must decide what is morally right and wrong. I don't think God decides truths of logic or math, rather He knows them. Similarly, God does not decide moral truths, He simply knows them. The standard of morality is derived from God's nature, but God did not decide it. I don't see that this compromises His omnipotence though because God did not have to decide truths in order to be omnipotent. Rather, I define omnipotent as meaning that God is the creator/sustainer of all things. Many theists would agree with this.

Pro argues against the claim that angels could account for the natural suffering by arguing that there is no evidence in its favor and it's ad hoc.

In response, I agree that there is no evidence in its favor. Yet, it is something beyond the physical universe, so there could be no evidence in its favor. Rather, IF one thinks it is reasonable to believe in God, then it is a possible consideration. Since, the problem of suffering is working with the assumption that God exists, then I think a defense can propose hypothetical solutions which maybe wouldn't be proposed otherwise. This is because a defense is attempting to square two pieces of a puzzle. So, I don't see a problem with a theist appealing to angels as part of the explanation. I do agree though that my proposal about appealing to human will in regard to natural evil, may not hold up as well, however I think appealing to angels is still a legitimate approach.

Pro also argues that an all loving God would not create evil angels.

In response, I think it is reasonable that God does not refuse to create people just because they reject Him and refuse to obey the moral law. If God were to deny the angels the possibility of helping create, then God would perhaps be denying the angels part of their nature. It would perhaps be unjust for God to do this and so due to His justice God permits it, even though He knows that some angels will rebel. In the end though God will make everything right in heaven for those who choose to be in union with Him. So God can rectify suffering on earth.

So, in conclusion, Pro has made some interesting objections, but I still see the free will defense working as a viable solution in answering why an all powerful, all loving, and all knowing God could allow suffering. I thank Pro for the debate and look forward to hearing their conclusion.
tfroitz1

Pro

The question what influences both our actions and our thoughts seems to be obviously a question for science as both are obviously physical phenomena. Now how one comes to those actions I think I have as well shown to be a physical mechanism, namely the workings of our brains. And the claim of free will is a clear statement about the properties of those physical mechanisms and fall therefore also into the realm of scientific inquiry. I have explained earlier why I think that our current knowledge of the physics that the particles in our brain are working by, give good evidence that the mechanism of free will you proposed isn"t fitting the data we have and I have also explained how one can easily experience the limitations of the seeming free choices in the brain by analyzing the way those are come to. Especially I think it is important to see that also actions are based in the same mix of different causes in the earlier experience which shows that not just thoughts but also actions and the decisions for them aren"t actually free but rather the affect of a huge array of causes from our earlier experience that are assessed by our brains.

On the point about the implications of saying that thoughts are not controlled but only the choice of going on to think about them is free, it is important to notice that not thinking about something or choosing not to think about something is everything from very hard to impossible. I think that everyone experiences certain thoughts that he goes on and on about which he absolutely and deliberately chooses and wants not to think about, showing that also this is not really a decision as it is our brain that is circling those things back at us again and again. This also goes for the example of coveting another man"s wife (as it is particularly stated only in this way).

Now in your next response you are coming away even further from what free will actually is. Now you say that besides our inability to freely choose what one thinks (and as I explain above by your criterion also does do), you also subconsciously begin choosing before you do it deliberately. This is just to say that it isn"t you in your consciousness which could be everything you define as the "immaterial mind" doing it but your brain prepares the decision before your "immaterial mind" than has the thought or seems to decide an action. This explanation is pretty much exactly what I say is the way our thoughts work aside from the point that I think that all thoughts and actions are build in this way by the brain. This doesn"t need an immaterial mind for which we have no evidence and this also doesn"t need free will which we have no evidence for either and accounts perfectly well for our subjective experience of choosing while there actually is a brain with its processes doing it.

And with your next point you stress even more that what you say is free will describes actually nothing other than a deterministic process. You say that a Person A if placed in a Circumstance B will always choose a certain way and that the only way for A to choose something else would be to change the circumstance. This means that in a certain environment at a certain point in time (which is nothing else then a circumstance) your decision is determined to always that one choice. This is exactly what you would say from a neuropsychological view but it has nothing to do with free will, as there is no choice at all left in this determined scenario. In neuropsychology it can be seen that the later action of thought directly depend on your surroundings in where you are, your previous history and your memories and experiences as well as your gens and the way your environment has shaped you. All of this constitutes the circumstance and from this circumstance on it is determined what you choose. This is exactly what you describe and it is true but it has nothing to do with free will. God as an omniscient being still would stop you to do anything but the decision you were going to make based on that surroundings as it is still logically fallacious to do something else due to the omniscience, but this isn"t anymore important as you do not anymore talk about free will. This also holds for the free search for god that you need in order to make god free of his obligation to, as an omnibenevolent being, prevent suffering, as it is always just a circumstance that decides.

Your position that morals aren"t explicitly set up by god is certainly far from the believe of most believing theists and it fits as this is one of the only questions where there is a reasonable agreement that theism achieves something namely objective moral values on a cosmic scale. The way you define omnipotence goes along with this. But if god had to abide by those rules in his actions it again questions his omnipotence in his obvious inability to build a creature that abides by morals which brings us back to free will, for which I have explained earlier why I do not think that even your position actually is free will.

I do not agree that a defense is to try to square two pieces of a puzzle at least not if it goes over the realm of what can be evaluated on its truth or possibility. If you just say that it is a problem that is out of the realm that can be evaluated it is the same as saying that you believe anything that is not logically impossible. This means that you can with an omnipotent and omniscient being believe in literally anything as it is impossible to show that it is logically impossible. This then is not an argument for your case that suffering is compatible with god but a mere believe that suffering is compatible with god. While I cannot disprove it, I want to refer to two things. Firstly again Occam"s razor as it is again the easier explanation of our experiential data to just say that an omnibenevolent god does not exist than to add some ad hoc story about how angels could make it possible. And secondly I appeal just to your sense of what is rational and what isn"t which is build by your understanding and observation of the world around you, and which shows, that it does not help to hold to an idea for the sake of the idea itself but that evidence in favour of that idea allows us to form useful thoughts.

I think that it doesn"t square with gods omnibenevolents to allow impotent angels to create just as it is not omnibenevolent to even create them this way in the first place. And also to say that he can rectify doesn"t allow for suffering in this world as it is important not to forget that he is claimed to be perfect.

Therefore I want to conclude that I do not think that the free will defense for suffering in the world works. While it can"t be proven to be false it is as with most of the theistic arguments the case that all the available evidence points to the contrary. There is no evidence of free will and you actually affirmed that by yourself proposing a model that has nothing anymore to do with free will, there is a logical fallacy in having both free will and omniscience and there is a problem with a god who decides morality as in almost all of theism from which his approval for our circumstance is shown and his omnibenevolence. And lastly there is a contradiction between his omnibenevolence and the obvious existence of needless suffering that also can"t be dissolved by just postulating some evil angels. Therefore I conclude that free will is no reasonable explanation for the suffering in the world.

I thank you for the interesting debate.
Debate Round No. 4
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Posted by tfroitz1 2 months ago
tfroitz1
The last part I will have to go into further in the next one because I ran out of characters.
Posted by canis 2 months ago
canis
Suffering is suffering. Nothing else..Try not to..
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