The Instigator
Pro (for)
14 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
11 Points

The argument from evil (AE) is sound

Do you like this debate?NoYes+6
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 8 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/18/2012 Category: Religion
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 7,330 times Debate No: 24772
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (159)
Votes (8)





God - By God, I mean an omnipotent, omniscient, wholly good, personal being who created the universe, and is (to a greater or lesser extent) active within the universe.

Evil - Anything which in and of itself, rational creatures would universally seek to avoid, ceteris paribus. Examples of such things include suffering, pain, disability and death.

The argument will try to show that at least some of these evils are gratuitous (not logically necessary for an adequately compensatory good), and this will be (I suspect) the main contention in the debate.


I want to thank Reason Alliance (Con) for agreeing to debate me again, this time in a situation where I have the opportunity to present the affirmative case. We will be discussing what I take to be the best and most interesting argument in the philosophy of religion - the argument from evil. It is an issue I am sure we have all pondered at one time or another, even if not perhaps in philosophical terms, so I hope this debate will appeal to even those among us who maybe don’t regard philosophy as a primary area of interest.

As this round is merely for preliminaries and acceptance only, I want to set the stage by covering some pre-debate nomenclature.

Burden of proof and debate rules

As the affirmative party, the burden of proof will be on me to show that the argument can be justified. I will need to show that each premise is probably true, if I am to carry the resolution.I would simply point out to Con and to the readers that while I undoubtedly start with the BoP, once I do present justification for the argument, the task for Con will be to show that my reasoning is deficient in some way. As such, the BoP is dynamic rather than static, but I will of course be tasked with setting the ball rolling.

Any arguments dropped will result in a conduct violation. Numerous such offences will result in a forfeit.

Lastly, I would ask Con not to make any arguments in R1. The first round is merely for is for preliminary purposes only. With that in mind, all that’s left is to introduce the version of the argument I will be defending.

WSA evidential PoE (1)

The argument I will defend in this debate will be as follows:

(P1) If there were an all-powerful and all-good God, then there would not be any evil in the world unless that evil is logically necessary for an adequately compensating good.

(P2) There is lots of evil in the world.

(P3) Much of that evil is not logically necessary for any adequately compensating good.

(C) Therefore, there is no God who is all powerful and all good.

In the main, I will refer primarily to pain and suffering as the evil most pressing in my mind, but this argument as not limited to them, as my definition suggests. In the course of my second round, I will hope to justify each step above, and thus the conclusion.

Lastly, I would simply request that Con (eventually) engage with the points I make in the debate. Although I understand if he wants to solely concentrate on a generic case against the argument in R2 (after all, this practise is standard), I do think we owe it to the readers to with engage each other directly. With this in mind, I look forward to a great debate, and providing an insightful exchange of ideas on a very interesting and distinguished topic.


1. God? Debate between a Christian and an Atheist, William lane Craig and Walter Sinnott Armstrong, 2004, Oxford University Press, p84.


Thank you UnitedAndy for yet another interesting debate. It is my intention to generate a deeper discussion on regarding the the Problem of Evil.


As Pro says, his goal is to show that the evil in the world is “not logically necessary for an adequately compensatory good” and that this somehow disproves theism. In my response to P1 of this argument I shall be presenting a Theodicy along with an argument for the "Consistency of Suffering with Divine Love (an argument which I'll designate as "S+DL" hereafter). Against P3, I'll present a case for Skeptical Theism. The work I'll be consulting from the theistic camp regarding the problem of evil or pain is thus:

Theodicy (contra P1)-

S+DL (contra P1)-

Problem of Evil Extended to Hell (if it's brought up)-

Natural Evil Regarding Beasts (if it's brought up)-

Skeptical Theism (contra P3)-
"Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview"
Kvanvig's accusation of Argumentum ad Ignorantiam

I also draw from the work of Alvin Plantinga regarding free will.

... Now that citations are out of the way, my parlance in the rounds to come will be dedicated to whatever arguments I've cahsed out from the work just metioned, together with my own thoughts.


From all this and from my own philosophical work on the matter, I've loosely constructed two contentions for this debate,

1) In principle, aparent gratuitous evil is experienced in this life wouldn't furnish a proof against theism, but (2) in fact, there really is no good reason for thinking the evils in the world are actually gratuitous.

I’ll be defending these two contentions against Pro's argument and, if successful, would seem to force our denial of the resolution, if we are to remain reasonable. My ‘in principle’ contention (1) involves both a Theodicy and the S+DL (remember that S+DL is, "the argument for the consistency of Suffering with Divine Love"). Whereas my ‘in fact’ contention (2) involves a Skeptical Theism of sorts.

Finally if space remains, I'll argue something to the effect of what I think to be the rightful place for any Problem of Evil; i.e., the arena of negative existentialism and not the arena of a positive ‘proof against theism.’ However, if no space remains for this then I'll just save it for a forum discussion or whatever.


Divine Love: God’s way or path of pursuing the intrinsic good of happiness where the nature of which is just and when consulted in choosing something for the sake of happiness, results in justly achieved happiness.

Perfect-Complete Happiness: the proposed end, aim or purpose of human life which is sought by sharing & participating in the way of Divine Love.

Wholeness: the state of having been made Whole in order to experience Perfect-Complete Happiness through the way of Divine Love.

Self-Forming-Choice (SFC): Those moments of indecision during which people experience conflicting wills. Robert Kane discusses this here,

Debate Round No. 1


In this round, I want to try and defend the argument I laid out in R1.

Defending P1

Put simply, P1 states that if God exists, then gratuitous evils do not.

Given the definition in R1, God knows about all the evil in the world (omniscience), has the power to wipe out the evil in the world (omnipotence), and has the motivation to do so (wholly good). It follows inescapably, therefore, that any evil in the world must have a morally sufficient reason, if God exists.

The problem in denying P1 is that gratuitous evil has no morally sufficient reason to be permitted, because, well, it's gratuitous! We see that once we even begin to unpack God conceptually, P1 seem to follow inescapably from God’s nature.

At the very least, we can suppose that P1 is more plausible than its denial. As Christian philosopher Daniel Howard-Snyder remarks,

"on the face of it, the idea that God may well permit gratuitous evil is absurd. After all, if God can get what He wants without permitting some particular horror (or anything comparably bad), why on earth would He permit it?" (1)

If Con really wants to argue that God would permit gratuitous genocide, for example, then all I'll say for now is that it's an argument I would want to see.

Defending P2

If P1 is virtually undeniable, P2 is even more so. It is clear that there is lots of suffering, pain, disability and death in the world. I doubt Con will dispute this, so I’ll say no more about it here.

Defending P3

This premise states that there is at least one instance of gratuitous evil. Remember, that given what I’ve argued, if P3 is more likely than not (>50%), the conclusion follows, and the resolution is affirmed.

Before I defend P3, I want lay out 2 examples (of which there are many more), which are fairly typical of the evils I’m talking about:

E1 - "Many babies each year are born with Down's syndrome . . (and) have intestinal obstructions that will kill them . . . dehydration and infection will cause these babies to wither and die over a period of hours and days.” (2)

Another example given by Rowe is that of animal suffering:

E2 - "Suppose in some distant forest lightning strikes a dead tree, resulting in a forest fire. In the fire a fawn is trapped, horribly burned and lies in terrible agony for several days before death relieves its suffering. So far as we can see, the fawn's intense suffering is pointless." (3)

What reasons do we have to believe these evils are actually gratuitous? The first is what we might call the prima facie case, and this is not a belief we should give up lightly. From absolutely everything we know, the evils seem gratuitous. A baby destined to die suffered days of seemingly unnecessary, excruciating pain, with relatives helplessly looking on in many cases. Given the fact that no hint of any reason at all seems evident to allow these babies to suffer, let alone the conditions of P1, it is reasonable to conclude on this basis from the appearance of gratuitous evils, to the fact of gratuitous evils. As critic Stephen Wykstra reasons,

"For if an instance of suffering appears not to have a point, that is a reason for thinking it has no point." (4)

Secondly, it is difficult even to conceive of some examples of evil being morally permissible. In the case of the Rowe's fawn, there seems to be no conceivable reason to allow the extent of the suffering, nor any benefit which could even come from it. As Rowe points out,

"In light of our experience and knowledge, of the variety and scale of human and animal suffering in our world, the idea that none of this suffering could have been prevented by an omnipotent being without thereby losing some greater good or permitting an evil at least as bad seems an extraordinary, absurd idea, quite beyond our belief." (5)

The difficulty even to conceive of a plausible, morally sufficient reason to permit some evils also supports P3.

Third, the nature of the evils themselves point strongly towards gratuity.

Evil is abundant in the world. Sentient beings have suffered for millions of years, and the sheer volume of evil is just staggering. The way this evil is dispersed is also horrific. As E1 illustrates, there have been many children whose sole experience in life is that of seemingly pointless, excruciating pain before their inevitable death. Also, many evils are necessary, as long as there are sentient beings. The evolutionary process is just a litany of predation and extinction, where animals have to tear each other apart just to survive. Indeed, the vast majority of species which have inhabited the Earth have perished. For many of them, life is as Hobbes described - solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short. Lastly, many people suffer without God‘s comfort to sustain them. Divine silence in the face of horrendous evils is something even Mother Theresa expressed upon witnessing evil (6), and is again something rather pervasive in the world.

None of these points are controversial, yet they strongly and unequivocally point to a universe callously indifferent to the suffering of its inhabitants. Given that theists posit a benevolent deity, this seems overwhelming evidence to the contrary. The fact that evil has these features, often simultaneously, is massive evidence in favour of gratuity, and thus P3.

Another reason I want to add could perhaps best be termed epistemic consistency. In essence, this simply means applying the same or similar standards to the PoE as we do to normal beliefs, and only to take seriously beliefs which are at least plausible. Sinnott-Armstrong explains the absurdity of abandoning this standard,

"Would it benefit my family in the long-run if I were to burn down our house tonight? Possibly. Does that possibility make it reasonable to believe that we would benefit? No. Why not? Because we do know one thing: Burning down my house would cause serious problems in my family in the short term. Those known costs set up a presumption or burden of proof that needs to be overcome before contrary beliefs can be reasonable." (7)

The same is true of evil. Given the massive short-term cost it causes, and (as well as we can judge), it's seeming ability to lead to long-term costs, we have a massive burden to believe that evil is primarily destructive, and this is a burden that Con must overcome, before we even consider an alternative explanation.

The futility of contrived scepticism, retreats to the possible or fanciful ad hoc storytelling constructed cynically to deal with P3 given this point is pretty apparent. Only an epistemically consistent standard is feasible for the theist here.

In order for Con to defeat P3, he must first tear down the 4 justificatory points I have offered, as well as provide a plausible theistic account of the data. I wish him the best of luck in doing so.


In order to refute the argument, Con must present both a plausible and coherent account of why the argument is unsuccessful. I invite him to make his case, closing with the words of the prominent Christian scholar N.T.Wright:

"If you think you have solved the problem of evil, lie down. It will pass." (8)

1. Howard-Snyder, Daniel, and Frances Howard-Snyder. 1999. "Is Theism Compatible with Gratuitous Evil?" American Philosophical Quarterly 36: 115-29.
2. God? P84
3,5 Rowe, William, The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism, American Philosophical Quarterly 16: 335-41.
4. Wykstra, Stephen J. 1984. “The Humean Obstacle to Evidential Arguments from Suffering: On Avoiding the Evils of ‘Appearance’,” International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 16: 73-93.
7. God? P184
8. (debate with Ehrman can be found here).



Theodicy: In principle, any apparent gratuitous evil wouldn't disconfirm Christianity

WSA says “theists cannot simply point to some small compensation … it must be not only important enough but also fair.” My Theodicy fits this! Consider if we know (in part) God’s justification for permitting any apparent gratuitous evil, which involves knowledge of God’s purpose for Man; a Good great enough to justify any evil in the world, thus providing no evidence against Christianity.

I propose that God’s teleos for man is to share in Divine Love, from which perfect-complete happiness follows. Say Wholeness is a prerequisite for God’s purpose since if we’re ‘broken’ then our purpose can’t logically be met. Any appearance of gratuitous evil would therefore be compatible with theism given our limited, broken epistemology.

There seems to be two ways to pursue happiness: True Love is the way of Divine Love, & false love is a counterfeit of the just way to pursue happiness. Complete happiness must be sought with the former. Such Love is oriented to God & others, is commitment-based where happiness follows welcomed as a by-product, where God’s standard of justice doesn’t lower but Grace enables us to meet meet it. This God of true Love is worthy of worship which itself upgrades our capacity for intimacy & freedom. This then is the paradigm of genuine Love, for such Love involves the Law of Accelerating Returns.

But if our pursuit of happiness is of a false love, an unjust path, then such a path to happiness is a counterfeit: A self-oriented, satisfaction-based life where commitment follows un-welcomed as a by-product. A choice of false love almost always involves a movement towards sexual immorality & rejects Grace thereby disabling us to meet God’s standard of justice. False love yields for us a worship disorder which degrades our capacity for intimacy. This then is the corruption of genuine Love, for such a counterfeit involves the Law of Diminishing Returns.

Theodicy: Out of a demonstration of true Love, suppose God created free creatures (as Whole) to share in & enjoy God & his creation in Divine Love forever. But man’s freely willed moral evil (brokenness through a choice of false love) estranges us from God’s Divine true Love. However if such evil can be not only defeated by justice, but also out-balanced with complete-perfect happiness that follows from participating in Divine Love, then any evil experienced for a finite time poses no threat to the existence of God. Yet broken selves must first become Whole.

If happiness is sought in an unjust way in this life, & the last possible return is obtained with no further prospect of happiness. Then perhaps God ‘gives us over to our sins’ for the obscure effect of hitting absolute bottom so that, paradoxically, we would experience the worst so that we may not only desire & actually know the best but also so that God’s Love justly gives us our provision through Grace making us Whole in the process; in order to experience complete-perfect happiness. (An important & fair compensation for the evil experienced.)

So if the necessary condition for a breakthrough from the self-formed choice of estrangement from God is precluded with a problem (see prodigal son), it follows then that the evil we freely chose has a fail safe for good at some point, even if at the expense of the temporary happiness of others (Mat.18:12-13).

O Felix Culpa: Were God to create free creatures capable of giving / receiving Divine Love, which entails their capacity of one or many falls, it would be most logical to permit necessary evils to prevent future falls, i.e. more evils than a “first-fall only.” In this way, God’s creation is not only made Whole & shares in Divine Love with God with the quale of complete-perfect happiness as a by-product, but also that quale is realized with the eternal prospect of unlikely future falls. Therefore, a first fall, which may well involve gratuitous evils, would be the fortunate fall, given an eternal frame.


Koons questions "whether it makes any sense to suppose that God is aiming at maximizing anything on a global, as opposed to local, scale." Meaning he’s "doubtful that pain, suffering and death are bad simpliciter, as opposed to bad for or to those who suffer them ... [since] God has no special reason to aim at minimizing pain as such, or at maximizing the overall balance of pleasure over pain. [This is] consistent with God’s being perfectly loving and compassionate."

Koons argument is supported by the Existential Presupposition of Love (EPL) which states that “If x’s action A is a logically necessary condition of y’s existence, then x’s doing A cannot count decisively against the claim that x loves y.”

Skepticism: In fact, there's no reason to believe in apparent gratuitous evils

Just as fundamental physics are often complex to ascertain, so also is the iceberg of moral ontology. Why think in a broken world that such truths would magically rise through the waters on theism?

So Pro’s challenge remains to accurately infer from the appearance of no Divine justification, its reality. All he can do is assume an epistemic principle that if we don’t discern God’s morally sufficient reason, then it’s probable there is none: which is a fallacy of Argumentum ad Ignorantiam-- "if it does not appear to you that p, & you have no grounds for doubting the accuracy of your perceptual state, then it is reasonable for you to believe not-p.”

Kvanvig submits that it doesn’t appear to him that there are extraterrestrials, but that doesn’t make it more reasonable to think there actually aren’t any aliens! Likewise, why think that if every evil had a point we would know it... & would we even need to in order for God’s purposes to be fulfilled?

Craig submits that “our failure to discern the morally justifying reason for the occurrence of various evils gives very little ground for thinking that God—especially a God equipped with middle knowledge—could not have morally sufficient reasons for permitting evils.”

I submit that if God’s purpose for us is happiness sought on our own terms, & yet the quiddity of complete perfect happiness is necessarily rooted in God’s just Divine Love (if he created us to experience that love)-- & not the unjust pseudo-love spoken of earlier: if this is the case, then there’s no contradiction in supposing certain amounts of evils as well as goods present a necessary distinction for not only a non-neutral existence, but also one in which a fortunate fall is greater than many unfortunate falls.

Also, are we justified in inferring the non-existence of an All-Evil Deity from the copious amounts of good in the world? I see no reason to think we can, for the events in the world seem to offer little in the way of a positive proof against any external events. Rather it appears we ought to place events in the world such as the evil and good in the proper context of existentialism.

PoE’s Rightful Place

WSA’s argument breaks down to, “why should we love or worship a God who does such things?” He pragmatically affirms our ignorance regarding moral standards with respect to God’s middle knowledge, “we need to use our own standards, because we cannot understand any others.”

The WSA EPoE, then, lands in the arena of a negative defense for atheism, in the sense that we ought to prefer atheism solely on the basis of apparently better worlds. But this is not to be thought of as a positive offense against theism- so suggesting would inflate the conclusion.

If I had more room I’d argue, existentially, that Christianity is still to be preferred (given objective virtues of meaning, purpose, value, etc) if we’re to remain reasonable; despite evil’s constant presence in this life.


I've presented a simple sketch of my contentions against any problem of evil in this round. Next round I'll unbox my contentions as Pro objects while offering critiques of his defense of the WSA EPoE.
Debate Round No. 2



Con’s second round consists largely of 2 general arguments against AE. The massive of problem for Con however is that I already anticipated many of his points in my second round. As such, much of his case has been pre-empted, while other criticisms (particularly of P1) are irrelevant. Also, Con fails to engage with my justification for the premises directly, meaning that the support I laid out for my argument in R2 is unscathed.

Defending P1

Con completely ignores my defence of P1. Extend argument.

Remember, all P1 states is that if God exists, gratuitous evil does not.

Con offers 2 similar criticisms of P1.

First, Con argues that we should reject P1 because, following Koons, he is "doubtful that pain, suffering and death are bad simpliciter, as opposed to bad for or to those who suffer them ... [since] God has no special reason to aim at minimizing pain as such”.

The problem for Con is that P1 has nothing to do with God minimising evil, nor holding that all evil is bad simpliciter. Instead, P1 states that God would have to eliminate a particular kind of evil (gratuitous evil), because such evil would be wholly bad by definition, locally or globally.

Next, Con attacks P1 by supposing that a gratuitous evil “be the fortunate fall” (felix culpa) for some good. All I would say is that if an evil is allowed by God as a necessary by-product of an adequately compensatory good (character building/free-will), then it isn’t gratuitous (again, by definition). I never said that evil (or even lots of it) is problematic for God per se. I emphasised pointless, unnecessary evil as the problem, and it‘s this (if it exists) that can’t be reconciled with God.

Given that Con’s points are irrelevant to P1, and my defence of it has been ignored, P1 is affirmed.

Defending P2

Con doesn’t dispute this (nor could he). P2 is also affirmed.

Defending P3

Attentive readers will remember I gave 4 justificatory points to affirm there were gratuitous evils:

1. Prima facie case
2. Rowe’s noconceiveum
3. The nature of evil
4. Epistemic consistency

Unfortunately, Con didn’t directly engage with any of these points at all. Extend arguments.

As such, much of his case has been undermined already. Con gives 2 broad criticisms of P3 - sceptical theism and a theodicy.

Before I deal with them individually, I think it worth noting that it seems contradictory to assert both. Either God’s actions are beyond our ken OR we are knowledgeable enough to know that each instance of evil can be plausible reconciled with God. Con can’t have it both ways.

Sceptical Theism (ST)

Con accuses me of arguing from ignorance by accusing me of reasoning “if we don’t discern God’s morally sufficient reason, then it’s probable there is none”.

I already anticipated this response in R2. Firstly, I actually gave 4 extensive points to support P3, so to characterise my argument as merely “negative” is just dreadful straw-manning. Second, as even the principle architect of ST, Stephen Wykstra highlights, the AE uses “a proper, indeed primary and indispensable, principle of justification (the principle of credulity)”, as such, he says

"if an instance of suffering appears not to have a point, that is a reason for thinking it has no point." (1)

As such, even the prima facie case I offered doesn’t argue from ignorance, much less the 3 additional arguments for P3.

Second, Con makes the much more serious criticism of epistemic limitation - basically that gratuity, like certain knowledge in physics, is too “complex (for us) to ascertain”, and as such, P3 fails.

Again, I’ve addressed this point in my last post, particularly epistemic consistency (as well as my general case for gratuity). I’ll just add a few points.

The first is that it just doesn’t follow that because we are epistemically limited, we can make NO judgement whatsoever. I have severe limitations in predicting the future, but I’m fairly certain Bill Clinton won’t win the 2012 election. Similarly, beliefs I have about evil can certainly be formed probabilistically, despite these limitations. In fact, I’ve given 4 justifications, and Con should at least engage with these before declaring such pessimism.

Second, ST leads to devastating consequences, such as moral paralysis. Any moral choices we make rely on inductive judgement with epistemic limitations, no less than AE. As Scott Sehon notes,

"the result is that, if I were to take sceptical theism seriously, I should be morally paralysed." (2)

Thus, we lead ourselves into sceptical mire of indecision and absurdity that we can't escape. Ironically, if Con really believed God’s actions were completely beyond our ken, he would be similarly sceptical about the resurrection. Yet he is not sceptical in either count, strongly suggesting his scepticism is cynically contrived.

But we need not speculate. Con actually defends a whole argument based on nothing more than perception. Even if my only argument was that perceived gratuity = actual gratuity, as Con says,

“our perception . . . stands within the absence of any apparent defeater.” (3)

So when we perceive gratuity, it stands until we have a defeater.

Lastly, ST dissolves God as unfalsifiable, which is another reason to reject ST. Indeed, Con even admits this, saying that both evil and good “offer little in the way of a positive proof” regarding cosmic benevolence or indifference.

Con‘s failure to engage with my argument directly has him offering these erroneous criticisms. If he’d tailored his criticisms to my argument specifically, this could have been easily avoided.


Con seems to construct a character building type theodicy mixed with a free-will response, where our choices “entails our capacity of one or many falls (evils)“, in order to receive the greatest good (divine love), and that evil is “outbalanced” with eternal, “complete-perfect happiness“.

There are a couple of problems with this response. First, it’s abstract. At no point does Con try to apply this to any of my examples. As such, it’s a nice just-so story, but no more than that at this stage. Second, it’s woefully limited in scope. Indeed, I hardly focused on moral evils at all in my argument. Free-will may be necessary for certain goods, but it doesn't apply to natural evils. Third, evil seems to beget evil, fostering character destructive qualities (hate and vengeance). Lastly, even if gratuitous evil was massively outbalanced by eternal bliss, this doesn’t make said evils any less gratuitous.

There are a few more problems with Con’s theodicy, but I’ll let him resolve these first, closing with the words of Alvin Plantinga:

“…most attempts to explain why God permits evil — theodicies, as we may call them — strike me as tepid, shallow and ultimately frivolous.” (4)


Con’s last move is to target WSA personally, when he says that “we have to use our own standards” when judging God’s goodness. I confess to being perplexed. This is a point even Christians routinely make:

“if we shroud God in total mystery, the claim the God is good becomes compatible with any motives or behaviors or commandments we might possibly attribute to God. But if that is right, what are we saying when we say God is good?” (5)

The fact is we have no alternative if we are to speak about God at all, and if there is an objective good (as Con believes), then there is only one standard anyway.


1. Wykstra, 1984.
taken from



First, P1 ignores that omnipotence is poorly understood. At best theologians consider God to be omnipotent just if he can, "actualize any state of affairs that is not described by counterfactuals about the free acts of others and that is broadly logically possible for someone to actualize, [with the same conditionals]" (Philosophical Foundations). Pointless moral evils & theism are compatible with this definition.

Second, we're given no reason to think that "God can get what He wants without permitting some particular horror." With such a BoP it would seem that a simplistic view of omnipotence & a sloppy theodicy on God’s purpose for man only hurts Pro's case. God's ultimate & proximate teleos are distinct. The latter may well involve permitted evils due to a binding resolution not to interfere with human freedom unless there's a significant religio-context (petitionary prayer) which serves God's Teleos.

Koons contention breaks Pro's argument down to a cas par cas from which Pro attempts to make an argument, this boarders a fallacy of accident. P1 charges that any evil must be necessary for an outbalance of Good. If one thinks hard about it following the implications to their ends, my theodicy readily answers P1.

P3 presupposes first that we stand in a good epistemic position to make probability judgements regarding moral ontologies. There's reason to doubt this when compared to an all-knower. Upon surveying the 6 cognitive limitations under which impair such judgments Alston writes, “The judgments required by the inductive argument from evil are of a very special and enormously ambitious type, and our cognitive capacities are not equal to this one. . . . it is in principle impossible for us to be justified in supposing that God does not have sufficient reasons for permitting evil that are unknown to us” (Alston 1991). So prior to Pro arguing that evil counts as evidence against theism, he must first show that we can make such judgements either way since we're attempting to disconfirm an all-knower as partial-knowers.

For E1, an all-knower would seem to have morally sufficient reasons to permit infant-death had he known the relevant counterfactuals of what that baby would have grown into (a more painful life with an inability to properly choose, say). If one entertains the idea of infant reincarnation into a properly functioning fetus then this objection wouldn’t be a problem. This idea wouldn't seem apparent yet why think that it would?

For E2, the matter of suffering beasts is beyond our cognitive purview since we lack both knowledge of the beast's nature & its teleos for which they exist. We lack knowledge of their teleos because we lack knowledge of their natures. We don’t know anything about their psychological makeup or their wills. Can the claim, “the fawn’s suffering appears unjustified” itself be justified, especially without knowing it’s nature or purpose? Whether its suffering is justified or unjustified is in principle beyond our ken. But in fact a beast lacks higher-order access to its own 1st-order experiences of pains. Glenn Ross & MJ Murray write,

“Some non-human creatures have states that have intrinsic phenomenal qualities analogous to those possessed by humans when they are in states of pain. These creatures lack, however, any higher order states of being aware of themselves as being in first-order states. They have no access to the fact that they are having a particular feeling, though they are indeed having it.”

All creatures with few exceptions lack function in the frontal lobe which enable the higher order awareness of pain. This alone rebuts Pro's 3rd point regarding the history of animal suffering, since “there is simply no victim, no subject for whom it can be said that there is a way it is like for it to be in such a state of pain” (Murray, Ross).

For “epistemic consistency,” Pro fallaciously reasons by analogy in comparing a Man-to-God moral epistemology with a Man-to-Man's. The fallacy is unavoidable for Pro since he presupposes that God’s proximate (vs. ultimate) teleos for Man ought to be (what we want now) physical longevity & complete happiness. I'm not appealing to mystery when I doubt WSA's wanting to use our own moral standards. Rather I'm bringing to light his argument from analogy. Such fallacious reasoning forgets that we're partial-knowers. In this light it's perfectly legitimate to claim knowledge of partial truths of God.

Pro just asserts pointless evils on a cas par cas citing that the instrinsic probability of theism on these perceived pointless evils alone disconfirm theism. But first probabilities are calculated along with background information. Christianity's background not only affirms intense & seemingly pointless suffering, but also makes it more probable given a fallen world, Calvinism, etc. Second, we've no basis for affirming actual gratuitous evil from its appearance! To say so would simply be the faith of a partially knowing atheist against an all knowing God. How uninteresting.


*God’s purpose for us is happiness sought on our own terms, & the essence of complete-perfect happiness is necessarily rooted in God’s just Divine Love. Now Jerry Walls argues Plantinga is really a theodicist since he's committed to the reality of libertarianism as God’s actual justification for permitting evil. Plantinga argues he's a defender yet concedes that for all he knows, there may be a justification other than libertarian freedom, he just fails to see a justifying good other than libertarian free will (he's a Calvinist). I claim partial knowledge of Man's Teleos. Now ultimate Teleos & action/non-action flowing from proximate teleos aren't identical. Thus I can affirm both partially knowing God's purpose for man while also not fully comprehending His lack of physical intervention whence percieved gratuitous evils occur.

Pro dodges from one answer to another yet my theodicy involves a basis from which many different complex & variegated answers can be made to what seems like pointless suffering. I've even applied it to E1-2 easily enough. Pro's just working from a cas par cas position here.

Lastly, any evil is justified if it's outbalanced & first defeated, i.e., if its responded to in a virtuous manner (justice). Moral evils that are committed are distinct from suffered evils. Committed evil is defeated in a life wherein choosing rightly, one seeks to avoid tempting situations but if they succumb then the defeat of evil occurs through repentance (true Love’s way).

With suffered evil, choosing rightly seeks not to return wrong for wrong but overcomes evil with good (Rom.12:17, 21). Suffered natural evils are defeated if there’s a virtuous response to both potential & actual victims. Christians believe that part of man’s fall into moral sin included limited cognitive faculties which would entail our partial inability to know when & where natural phenomena occur, though such phenomena result from the conditions needed for life so such evils cannot logically count against theism anyway.


I never said we can make no judgements whatsoever, but just that such judgements are limited, & so one ought to consult the full scope of evidence. P3’s inference is tenuous since the most important factor in weighing whether the suffering in the world is really gratuitous will be whether God exists. For probabilities are always relative to background knowledge. If one has more compelling grounds for theism, then the appearence of gratuitous evil isn’t a problem (Howard-Snyder).

PoE’s Rightful Place

Pro charges ST is is unfalsifiable, but so is the claim that gratuitous evil exists. Yet falsifiability is one of many criteria & just because evil & good in the world can merely be existential, it doesn't follow that theism is therefore unfalsifiable. Christianity can be shown to be logically incoherent or the bones of Christ found, etc.

Debate Round No. 3



In this last round, I want to try and end the debate by systematically resolving any outstanding issues, showing that my argument is indeed sound. I’ll only focus on P1 and 3, given we both accept P2.

Before I do this however, I want to return to a crucial debate rule I laid out in R1:

“Any arguments dropped will result in a conduct violation. Numerous such offences will result in a forfeit.”

Given that Con has dropped 3 whole arguments from my P3 (as well as others), this must result in his forfeiture of arguments and conduct.

Con’s sourcing is also deficient. Books are referenced without page numbers, and some sources (Alston, 1991) aren’t even specified, making it impossible to check context. This vote however is discretionary.

Defending P1

Remember, P1 states that if God exists, gratuitous evils do not.

I supported this with conceptual analysis, and defended it from 2 previous objections, which Con has now largely dropped.

He offers 3 more criticisms:

Con’s first attack is that P1 depends on a poor understanding of omnipotence, and proceeds to give Craig‘s definition of it instead.

The problem is Con’s “new” definition is fully compatible with P1. God would still be able to actualise a world without gratuitous evil, given that it is both broadly logically possible and isn’t “described by counterfactuals about the free acts of others”. Craig even admits this, saying,

“The Christian theist is committed to the truth that Evil exists, but not that Gratuitous evil exists.” (1)

Second, Con says that P1 is false because God may have a “binding resolution not to interfere with human freedom” to prevent evils.

Con unwittingly supports P1 here, as even in his example, God permits necessary evils for the greater good of preserving free-will. Again, Pro seems to be denying only that gratuitous evils exist, but this simply isn’t relevant to (and is fully compatible with) P1.

Lastly, Con charges that I commit the fallacy of accident, but P1 is a conceptual point, not an empirical generalisation, so this irrelevant as well.

P1 is thus affirmed.

Defending P3

Readers will remember I offered 4 justifications for P3.

Con failed to respond to:

- Prima facie case
- Rowe’s Noconcieveum
- Nature of evils

Extend arguments. Resolution affirmed.

Epistemic consistency

The only criticisms Con offers here are his very general epistemic limitations point (see below), and accusing me of mistaking proximate and ultimate goods.

In reality, I’m open to considering any good, so long as it’s adequate and probable. I certainly don’t dismiss ultimate teleos without consideration, so this is just posturing from Con.

Nowhere does he directly engage with my analogy or my argument really, except in very general, indirect ways, so this also stands with barely any scrutiny.

General criticism

I previously said that holding that God’s ways are beyond are ken while asserting reasons for evil was contradictory. Con responds that he has partial knowledge of teleos, while not understanding why certain evils occur.

First, this again ignores some the points I’ve made (theological scepticism). But also, what this amounts to is theistic whack-a-mole. When Con is feeling brave, he’ll spin us a just so story. When this falls apart, then comes the mystery card. It's contrived nonsense.

Sceptical Theism

Readers will remember that Con offered 2 criticisms here.

Arguing from Ignorance

I gave 2 refutations of this: that I provided 4 lines of evidence to support P3 and that the PoE utilises the principle of credulity, which is “primary and indispensable“.

Con hasn’t responded. Extend arguments.

Epistemic limitation

Con also makes the epistemic limitations argument again, arguing P3 can’t affirm gratuity.

I answered this in R3. I gave 4 justificatory points for P3 to argue for gratuity (above) and criticised ST (below) to deal with this objection. I address Con’s responses/drops to these elsewhere.

Apart from this, I provided the Clinton analogy to demonstrate that even if we are limited, it doesn’t mean we can’t make reasonable inferences (e.g. Obama is more probable to be president than Bill).

Con’s response to this is to say that such judgements are limited and we have to consult background evidence.

First off, limited knowledge can’t be a just criticism of AE. If it were, science and everything else would be equally dismissed as incomplete. Con’s view would have to amount to inductive scepticism to deny AE. As for background evidence, it’s pretty obvious that this debate assumes ceteris paribus. If not, Con would still have to argue that God’s existence is more probable than gratuitous evils, and he hasn’t even tried to do this, so the background evidence for the purposes of this debate is 50/50 anyway. Lastly, you don’t need background evidence to make a prima facie case, or a conceptual case, so 3 of my justifications would still be intact regardless..

ST criticisms

Con dropped:

- moral paralysis and theological scepticism
- his hypocrisy on perception

Extend arguments.

As for ST making God unfalsifiable, Con says that certain things could still falsify theism conceptually.

In essence, Con wants to discount the evidence of evil by making God totally insular from “events in the external world”. But given Con believes in the resurrection, for example, we know this standard is contrived. Second, as Flew notes:

“Someone may dissipate his assertion completely without noticing that he has done so. A fine brash hypothesis may thus be killed by inches, the death by a thousand qualifications.” (2)

Con’s position makes his undetectable being no different from a non-existent one.

Animal suffering

Con seeks to avoid this, arguing “there is no victim”, because animals don’t have a higher awareness of pain.

The problems here are obvious. First, it’s almost certain that many animals do feel pain, at least to some extent, which eviscerates Con’s point .Various pain behaviours and physiological changes (heart and brain activity), as well as the evolutionary continuum are 3 obvious defeaters for this point as it relates to mammals.

Second, the only justification for this is Murray’s form of dualism, which Con didn’t even try to defend, and which is hugely implausible anyway, as his own source notes (3).


Just-so story
Character destructive point

Con never responded. Extend arguments.

Con provides a theodicy for babies with an intestinal blockage, saying we can entertain the idea that they may be reincarnated to a have a future life. He also mentions the defeat of evil through character building and hints at a laws of nature theodicy

The problems with this are not only does it fail to account for the baby suffering, we know it’s well within God’s capability to fix such problems, because we can, with a simple operation. Also, the suffering of the infant simply isn’t accounted for, even if Con’s story were even plausible. In reality, even Con admits it’s not apparent, so I think we can say it’s purely contrived.

As for the defeat of evil through a virtuous response, these babies couldn’t build character - they died after days of suffering. Also, again see my character destructive point Con never responded to.


Con’s last attack was to say that we couldn’t apply our moral standards to God. I pointed out that goodness is both an objective feature of reality and that Con has to use our concept to speak intelligibly to God.

Con responds that we’re partial knowers, so it‘s “fallacious” to judge God by our standards.

Again, my 2 points above are ignored. Extend arguments.

I’ll just add that even if Con were right here, theism would be meaningless, if we can’t conceive of what “good” means. Moral perfection isn’t a relative term.





Not only was my Theodicy given an uncharitable hearing but Pro lies that I dropped arguments while he attempts to refute them under seperate headings.


P1: Yes, the theist isn't committed to actually gratuitous evils, but I've affirmed its appearance which I’ve argued is compatible with Christianity & omnipotence, hence ~P1. Pro doesn’t defend against this but straw mans, thus P1 is false & the resolution won.

P3: I then deny the inference to actual gratuitous suffering from it's appearance, given my theodicy + ST. The fallacy of accident charge stands if Pro's examples are maintained since he applies a general rule (God wouldn't permit gratuitous suffering) to an irrelevant situation (a baby / fawn who aren't known to have pain awareness like us).

I responded to all P3 justifications. For ‘prima facie’ I showed its both an argument from ignorance & analogy. Pro just repeats 'no' without any further justification. For Rowe's non conceivium I showed that the fawn's 'suffering' is irrelevant since beasts lack the necessary frontal lobe to have a higher order awareness, so at best we're ignorant on such matters. Pro says dualism is presupposed here but if one thinks there’s a PoE, they must affirm there’s an irreducible & teleological mind as a substance that exists to be wronged in the first place! Pain quale can’t exist only as causal inputs & outputs for there to be a PoE, it must be irreducible to physical states, hence at minimum a denial of functionalism & eliminativism must occur, which makes my response 100% legitimate.

For nature of evils, Koons argued there's no reason to consider global suffering as bad simpliciter, Pro conceded. Epistemic consistency not only confirms my existential PoE, but I've argued it's a fallacious argument from analogy if it were used any other way than existentially.

I argued our moral epistemology is limited on an all knower [AK], but justified on partial knowers [PK], so I agree PK's can reasonably consult appearance when it comes to other PK's. But Pro's trying to disconfirm an AK. Such reasoning is fallacious from the start. (& how would science halt, does science disconfirm God or postulates of his creation? Only the latter) Pro then concedes my point that the EPoE isn't a problem for the warranted theist. My evil qua existential also makes this inference to non-theism irrelevant.

Pro just repeats himself against infant reincarnation. Who was the victim when my infant-self experienced the pain of birth? I claim no awareness of it, & if I had died & later reincarnated as a functioning infant, then where’s the evil? On theism either infant reincarnation or salvation occurs -all while the infant is never pain-aware like he is well into development: Graciously designed, their frontal lobe isn’t fully functional until long after birth. Pro chose a poor example yet I'm following the implications of the nature of God in relation to the possibilities of his free creation, which isn't contriving.

So I deny knowledge of infant/beast higher order pain awareness, not that they don't feel it. 3rd order awareness of 1st order pain comes late in the infant / evolutionary game, but is necessary to experience the goods of which my theodicy describes. Metaphysical evil is non-moral, intrinsic pain whereas physical evil is moral & extrinsic. The latter is a case where God would unjustly allow a sentient creature to experience the former. But “there is nothing morally unjust about allowing a beast that is not self-conscious and is unable to represent itself as experiencing pain to experience such a quale and its intrinsic, metaphysical evilness” (Goetz).


My theodicy was shown to be a basis from which many complex answers can be made. I then applied it to E1-2 thereby answering Pro’s ‘just-so-story’ charge. Kane’s definition of an SFC shows how Pro’s character destruction point affirmed my theodicy. For a person who freely chooses a destructive way of life in the pursuit of happiness cannot justly experience perfect-complete happiness. But remember the ‘fail-safe’ of which I spoke of in this life? Pro never responded to this paradox. Thus his point concedes part of my theodicy.

God has no reason for preventing any person’s essence into existence despite His resolution not to interfere with freedom & the possibility of gratuitous suffering. For God would know that the abundance of goods faced in the world in which my theodicy describes (Wholeness, Divine Love, complete happiness, first fall only, atonement) all out-balances any evil. Even so, God’s effective freedom of intervening can be limited only by a divine binding resolution, of good reason. But God’s prevention of bad things would’ve violated this resolution in a particular way so it provides God with an overriding moral reason not to intervene. So God’s love doesn’t provide a compelling reason for God to do anything that would violate such a resolution, nor can he have compelling reasons for logically incompatible actions. Thus God’s Love & apparent gratuitous suffering is compatible. P1 is false & the resolution is won.

So it’s possible for experiences of pain to be unjustified in this life but God’s teleos spills over into the next life. Paul lived with this eternal perspective; more time in eternity results in a decrease in this life’s sufferings (2 Cor.6:4-5 / 4:16-18). Complete-Perfect Happiness is nothing but pleasure & if this pleasure quale continues with the prospect of forever then evil is out-balanced, this is intrinsically sufficiently attractive now to make immortality desirable.

O Felix Culpa: The atonement not only implies that created persons can be saved from the consequences of their choosing wrongly, but also that they know that they’re saved from themselves by such an obvious demonstration of true Love. In this way any future ‘fall’ back into sin would be virtually inconceivable- thereby allowing God to create a sustained world of free creatures with minimum evil by only an initial fall where the atonement fixes man’s brokenness forever.


I didn't drop ‘moral paralysis,’ I defended my position. Pro claims I'm a hypocrite but the context of my quote he uses was within a Pk's existential condition. The resurrection can be falsified by PK's, it also had religio-context, a fly forcefully mating with another fly doesn’t. So far from making God undetectable, I’ve shown existentially that things with religio-context can be disconfirmed thereby disconfirming the religion associated with whatever event is in question. Flew himself became a theist upon observing the fine-tuning of (& not in) the universe. Anyhow, necessarily, we’re limited in applying what we partially know of moral ontology to what an AK would know of moral ontology. But just because our discovery of such truths are limited that doesn't mean it’s meaningless to talk of them. So also Pro’s conclusion that “theism would be meaningless” is not only unsupported, but overly dramatic & unreasonable.

Existential PoE

Pro needs us to believe that the PoE is an evidential problem but it's an existential problem masquerading as evidential, that is, we don't prefer pain & so we should’t prefer a God who allows it. But why reject theism because questions like, “what is the meaning of this pain” are often left unanswered in this life?


What makes my theodicy so potent against Pro is 1st that it’s a Christian response, & 2nd that God is also presented with a choice subsequent to his creation’s fall. He can choose indifference letting the destructive nature of our false love run its course, or instead demonstrate true Love by saving us from ourselves by letting us use him as the ultimate sacrifice to atone for us.

What cosmic amour, the greatest love story ever told, that All Love lay down His life for his friends so that we may know him. An eternity of God’s creation & true Love: the àpropos for perfect-complete happiness.

Debate Round No. 4
159 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Man-is-good 4 years ago
An interesting debate. The debate does represent quite a jarring juxtaposition of two different styles, one economical, the other well-developed but rather verbose. Nevertheless, the debate is to be judged on the matter of cogency and the persuasive power of the arguments presented, two of which can be identified: the AE identified, particularly focused upon the absence of any moral benefit to subscribe to as the repercussion of such an event, as opposed to the cohabitation of theodicy as well as other epistemological and philosophical precepts extended, in the act of asserting that the limited epistemological positions precludes full perception and formulation of perception judgments, in reference to the moral repercussion, as well as the conceptualization of life, in such a framework, in the terms of a supposed consummation to which avenues allowing man to trespass his former estrangement are formulated.

Con's performance was noticeably poor; the construction of the base of his arguments unfortunately led him to side-track his opponent's arguments, an obvious concession of much of the former points that merit a conduct deduction; nevertheless, in reference to such, he appears to extend such principles of epistemological limits to undermine the underlying precepts in Pro's round, which however is negated by the fact that such limits would undermine all assertion and categorical expression of knowledge, let alone itself. Certainty is undermined, but any uncertainty—or entertainment of possibility however is not, and thus not a valid point of contention, as seen in Pro's own exposition; thus Con's extension of this basic principles proves to be fruitless, and, in the act of repeating such points, fails to demonstrate how Pro's contention is explicitly drawn upon such moral judgments to constitute as being directly affronted by such a challenge.
Posted by Man-is-good 4 years ago
His attempt to deconstruct the first premise by upholding a definition of omnipotence that apparently opposes that of the first premise lacks major offense. Not only does the gratuitous evil may be fashioned by virtue of the scenario to fit the logical plausibility apparently mandated by such a definition to be actualized, but the failure to identify the difference between the two versions of omnipotence lends little offense to such an arguably major contention (as a demonstration of such).

In regards to the examples, which I will survey quickly, that Unitedandy has provided, it should be noted that they do display, in itself, do demonstrate such a concept; the pervasiveness of evil whether in the framework of the evolutionary litany, is affronted by a stifling divine indifference, supposedly explained by the mechanics of the theodicy provided, as a particular powerful example; Con's response, which was to craft an entire story whose internal mechanism would somehow justify both the primary harmful effect, as to transition to a far superior repercussion to endure—which unfortunately does not affront the mere fact that the repercussion should be individually separate from the act, as in an immediate response, or to sterilize the issue by eliminating any signs of victimization; this is tantamount, as Maikuru has stated, to a forfeit for it does not resolve any issue of the necessity imparted—an explanation under the framework for theodicy does not, unfortunately, establish any underlying necessity—nor does it remove any sense of suffering in the attempt to downplay the tragic proportions the two examples signify. Pro's discussion implies necessity to elicit meaning to an act, and the failure to provide such highlights one of Con's fatal weaknesses of his case.
Posted by Man-is-good 4 years ago
Conduct: Con's initial arguments dropped the early contentions as he opted to make a prefatory round, in a sense, from which to base his arguments; this forfeiture however is stipulated as a deduction of points for conduct...
Spelling and grammar: Tied. I had originally wished to provide a point for spelling and grammar as a proxy point for organization but given the indefinite standards—utility vs. appearance, I decided to leave it as a tie. Con's structuring was not confusing enough to generate misapprehension, as I originally felt when reading his arguments, lol.
Sources: Tied. This provides for a comparison; while it is apparent, as Pro even notes, that Con uses a few poor referencing techniques, I cannot find his sources to make for an accurate comparison, especially in context of the debate and the arguments he used.
Posted by unitedandy 4 years ago
Apparently, Reason's no longer here (at least temporarily). Ah well, I enjoyed our exchanges. Hopefully, he'll find his way back.
Posted by Man-is-good 4 years ago
Posting as to remind myself to vote...tomorrow.
Posted by Reason_Alliance 4 years ago
Well alright you're losing by 18 points on that debate & I see your scratch for one point worthy of my removal of the conduct if you didn't mean it as an insult. Next time be more careful with your dirty grammar their captain wipe.
Posted by Reason_Alliance 4 years ago
"you'll vote against me every time ..."

Congress didn't make that call, I did... plus I retired my camo-undies.
Posted by wiploc 4 years ago
: "a declaration of war"
: Whoops, I don't know what I got myself into! ... guess you'll don the camo-undies & down a 5-hr at
: your overused keyboard and search my every debate out and look for whenever is spell [no] god's
: name wrong.

I'm not the one who declared war. You're the one who said you'll vote against me every time I use proper grammar when writing about generic gods.

: If you meant it as no insult, why call me a religious brownshirt when you left a 'not so involved' RFD on my debate? ... right.

I meant no insult in my spelling of the word "god." My calling you a brownshirt is a different matter, but of course by then you had already insulted me.

: Get lost wiploc.

I will if you will.
Posted by Reason_Alliance 4 years ago
"a declaration of war"

Whoops, I don't know what I got myself into! ... guess you'll don the camo-undies & down a 5-hr at your overused keyboard and search my every debate out and look for whenever is spell [no] god's name wrong.

If you meant it as no insult, why call me a religious brownshirt when you left a 'not so involved' RFD on my debate? ... right.

Get lost wiploc.
Posted by wiploc 4 years ago
You have, in an unrelated thread, announced that you will vote conduct against me every time I write the word "god," uncapitalized. It's not just a votebomb, it's a declaration of war.

Your announced motive is that you think writing "god" is disrespectful. I mean no disrespect, but you choose to assume an insult where none exists. You choose to enforce your standards of propriety on people who does not share them.

It's not exactly Kristallnacht, but it is boorish, a very mild grade of cultural terrorism.

I take pains to distinguish between generic gods and Jehovah. When I mean Jehovah, I use his name, and I capitalize. When I don't mean him, I use the generic term "god," and I don't capitalize. Not that I owe you or anyone else an explanation.

You can vote against me every time I fail to capitalize "god," if you want. I can vote against you if you capitalize it. I can start uncapitalizing jehovah. You can get people to vote against me, and I can get people to vote against you.

If the moderators won't see to this, and if this is your idea of sport, then, since I can't stop you, I'll play the game right along with you.

But it will be bad for DDO. If you don't care about DDO, and really enjoy abusing nonChristians, then knock yourself out. It's your choice.
8 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 4 years ago
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 
Reasons for voting decision: The prima facie case follows from the definitons of good and evil. Con needed to show that the divine purpose would be upset if even one less infant spared a painful death. His arguments were clouded in religious jargon and didn't come to grips with the need to preserve every bit of evil. The AE doesn't disprove theism, only a particular God concept.
Vote Placed by Man-is-good 4 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 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:40 
Reasons for voting decision: See impending RFD in the comments. I will attempt to use a purely practical way of analyzing the debate, and will refrain from making comments that indicate a preexisting belief, suasion, etc.
Vote Placed by stubs 4 years ago
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 Checkmark3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:00 
Reasons for voting decision: Counter Wiploc EDIT: Wiploc removed vb so I removed counter
Vote Placed by wiploc 4 years ago
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 Checkmark3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:00 
Reasons for voting decision: Right back at you, you religious brownshirt. ETA: I think my counter votebomb was warranted, but given that Stubs countered it, I am withdrawing it.
Vote Placed by KRFournier 4 years ago
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 Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:24 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in Comments.
Vote Placed by SuburbiaSurvivor 4 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 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 Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:14 
Reasons for voting decision: Detailed RFD coming soon. As a commentary, debate-wise, in Round 2, Con did not *directly* address many of Pro's arguments, which Pro spent far too much time highlighting. That being said, Con clearly spent more time developing a well-rounded case (good for forum debating) while abandoning the point-by-point style. Mostly we see an issue of style clash, but content-wise, Con takes the win. Though I would advise him to be more direct, though he did address all relevant arguments.
Vote Placed by Maikuru 4 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 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:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Most of the debate ignores the single valid voting issue: Pro's examples of suffering. While Con argues infant death is a result of future knowledge, he loses by failing to mention the necessity of their suffering - the crux of Pro's case - until the final round. Con's dismissal of animal suffering as unknowable also ignores their suffering and is tantamount to a concession anyway. Given R1 rules, Con loses conduct for dropping at least character destruction and hypocrisy of perception.
Vote Placed by Axiom 4 years ago
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: Pro should not have dismissed Con's P1 so readily as irrelevant. I found it very relevant to establish Con's presupposed a priori assertion. I felt this is where Pro dropped the ball, but also I would've liked to see Pro address this assertion in a more effective manner, "Lastly, any evil is justified if it's outbalanced