The Instigator
WriterDave
Pro (for)
Winning
24 Points
The Contender
SuburbiaSurvivor
Con (against)
Losing
19 Points

The argument from evil establishes the probable nonexistence of God.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 15 votes the winner is...
WriterDave
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/28/2012 Category: Religion
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,070 times Debate No: 22400
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (74)
Votes (15)

 

WriterDave

Pro


This debate is being set up to argue the resolution that the argument from evil establishes the probable nonexistence of God.

By "God," I mean the God of evangelical Christianity -- a god who is all-powerful, all-knowing, loves all human beings and wants them to have a relationship with him.

Since I am the one making the claim that the argument from evil establishes the probable nonexistence of God, I shoulder the burden of proof. Because I shoulder the burden of proof, it is appropriate that I have both the first word and the last word in this debate, as is common both in American courts and in other debates of this type. I will speak first, and I will speak last.

To compensate for this, the length of my closing statement should not exceed the total unused character count in my previous statements. To put it another way, the total character count of my three statements should not exceed 16,000, the same count that my opponent will have following this round.

The debate will proceed as follows:

Round 1: Acceptances.
Round 2: Pro's first statement, Con's first statement.
Round 3: Pros' second statement, Con's second statement.
Round 4: Pro's final statement, Con does not argue.

Con should copy/paste the following sentence into the final round: "By mutual agreement, no argument will be posted in this space."

There should be no games with semantics in this debate.

If SuburbiaSurvivor agrees to these terms, I will post my opening statement forthwith.
SuburbiaSurvivor

Con

I accept this debate and thank Pro for initiating it. The PoE is, in my opinion, perhaps the strongest argument against the existence of God and therefore I strongly look forward to the following exchange.

While Pro's terms are a bit unusual, I accept them as it will allow me to have two rounds to rebut Pro's arguments. Seeing as how I am not making my own argument for the existence of God, it will not be necessary to have a third round.
A note about the comments: I ask that all voters/commenters remain curteous when discussing this debate.

Once again, I look forward to the following exchange. Best of luck to Pro.
Debate Round No. 1
WriterDave

Pro

Although there are many arguments which call themselves “the argument from evil,” and debate rages as to which is most compelling, in this debate I will present and defend the following argument which comes from William Rowe[1]. Let us first define a couple of situations:

(E1) Lightning strikes a tree in a forest, causing a forest fire. A fawn is caught in this fire, and suffers intense agony for an extended period of time before finally dying. (This has undoubtedly happened many times in the Earth's history.)

(E2) A five year old girl is, by her mother's boyfriend, severely beaten, raped and strangled to death. (This is drawn from an incident in Flint, Michigan in 1986, but something like it has certainly happened quite a number of times.)

The argument:

(P) No good state of affairs that we know of is such that God, by bringing it about, is morally justified in permitting E1 and E2.

Therefore, probably:

(Q) No good state of affairs is such that God, by bringing it about, is morally justified in permitting E1 and E2.

Therefore, probably:

(R) God does not exist.


The inference from Q to R should be self-evident: if Q is true and God exists, God would not have permitted E1 and E2. But they did happen. I am not aware of any serious challenges to this inference. So there are two parts to defending the argument from evil: showing that P is true, and showing that the inference from P to Q is valid.

P is justified by the fact that every state of affairs we know about which are such that God, by bringing it about, is morally justified in permitting E1 and E2, upon reflection, either are obtainable by God without his having to permit both E1 and E2, and/or in obtaining would not morally justify God’s permitting both E1 and E2[2].

To justify the inference from P to Q, we appeal to the principle of induction. Making epistemic leaps from the known to the unknown is something that humans do every day, and is regarded as not only justified, but standard.

For instance, we see no thousand foot tall human beings; therefore, we are justified in concluding that no thousand foot tall humans exist. The strength of that justification depends on the exhaustiveness of the search. In the case of thousand foot humans, we have today seven billion normal sized humans who would no doubt speak up if they saw one, as well as various types of monitoring technology operating in and around the populated areas of the world. If a thousand foot human existed, we would probably know it.

In the case of Christianity, we have a history of two thousand years of scholars and theologians, having collectively spilled billions if not trillions of words of ink on the subject, trying to come up with a successful theodicy. If one existed, we would probably know it.

This basic principle is used by humans all the time. To argue against it is, in Rowe's words, "simply to encourage radical skepticism concerning inductive reasoning in general."[3] This holds for everything we observe in the natural realm, and since the existence of God would have observable consequences in this realm, there's no reason why it should not hold for that as well.

I contend, therefore, that the argument from evil is sound and establishes that God probably does not exist.


[1] As presented in "The Empirical Argument from Evil," in Audi, et al, eds., Rationality, Religious Belief, and Moral Commitment (Cornell University, 1986).
[2] William Rowe, "Ruminations about Evil," Philosophical Perspectives, 5 (1991); see also Michael Martin, Atheism: A Philosophical Justification (Temple University, 1992), Theodore Drange, Nonbelief and Evil: Two Arguments for the Nonexistence of God (Prometheus, 1998), Nick Trakakis, The God Beyond Belief: In Defence of William Rowe's Evidential Argument from Evil (Springer, 2007) for detailed discussions of such states of affairs.
[5] Rowe, 1991.
SuburbiaSurvivor

Con

First of all, a huge thanks to Pro for initiating this debate on such a controversial subject. The Evidential Argument from Evil is perhaps one of the most formiddable arguments agains the existence of God and that, coupled with a clearly skilled debator, should make for an invigorating debate.

Introduction: The Logical PoE Vs. The Evidential PoE

In Pro's opening argument, he advances this form of the PoE:
  1. No good state of affairs that we know of is such that God, by bringing it about is morally justified in permitting E1 and E2
  2. Therefore, probably, no good state of affairs is such that God, by bringing it about, is morally justified in permitting E1 and E2.
  3. Therefore, probably God does not exist.

Perhaps the main reason why this argument and others like it are so popular is the emotional shock value of the PoE. When one reads the argument, it immediately invokes a strong negative reaction. No one likes evil. No one likes rape, murder, or other seemingly unnecessary acts of evil. From there, we begin to ponder: "God is all-powerful, why didn't he stop all of this? Couldn't he have prevented this?". Emotionally, we are then struck with the seemingly sincere (and perhaps, desperate) conviction that God must not exist. However, as rational and logical beings, we are tasked to examine this argument for logical consistency and not judge it's validity purely on it's emotional appeal.

First, Pro provides two scenarios: E1 and E2. Pro claims that there is no morally sufficient reason that we know of in which God could allow these two events. However, this is only true of E2. E1 presupposes a hidden premise that God is capable of creating a universe in which beings have free will yet only choose to do that which is good. On the contrary, this is logically impossible, as the only way to ensure that human beings could truly have free will and yet still choose to do only that which is good would be to hinder a human being's ability to act in any way contrary to that which is good. However, this would interfere with a human being's free will. God is attributed with omnipotence, but omnipotence is not defined as being that which is logically impossible. Therefore the only way for God to create a state of affairs in which evil does not take place would be a scenario in which all beings are forced, against their will, to do that which is good. This is clearly morally wrong.

Thus let as define E1 as: An act of free will and E2: Not an act of free will.

In fact, E2 is really the main source of evidence in which to establish the probability of God's existence. Thus this is the main point to be adressing:

Probability Based On What?

Probabilities are always based on some type of background knowledge. In the example Pro provides, we are able to epistemically determine whether or not thousand foot tall human beings live on earth. This is because we have sufficient background knowledge of the anatomy of human beings and how it relates to earh's gravity and so forth. This relates to an example offered by Contradiction (1) in which one is asked to determine the probability of there being an elephant on a football field. All one has to do is look out to observe the football field and if no elephant is seen, then the probability is extremely low (if it exists it at all). However, if one were then tasked with determining the probability of there being a flea on the field, merely by looking at it, it would be epistemically inscrutable!

In regards to Pro's jump from P to Q, the same dillemma applies. We are able to epistemically determine from P that we do not know of a morally sufficient reason to allow evil, but in what way is this sufficiet background knowledge to determine that God probably has no morally sufficient reason to allow evil? It's epistemically inscrutable! The only way to determine such a probability would be to have acess to "The Big Picture" and thus possess knowledge of the ripple effects of all actions. One might think that a deer dying would be a bad thing. But suppose that deer lived and ate all of a particular plant. Imagine then that the lack of that plant caused the ecosystem to be unbalanced which caused human starvation in the future. If we knew that the deer living would cause this to happen, we would not see allowing that deer to live as being morally wrong at all.

Unfortunately, as human beings we do not have an access to "The Big Picture". We do not know what "could have happened" or what "would've happened" all we know is what did happen. What appears to us to be a horrible evil, may in fact be the lesser of an even greater evil.

Conclusion

The Evidential Argument from Evil fails to establish the probable non-existence of God because Q is epistemically inscrutable. We simply not in a good position to determine such a probability because of our lack of sufficient background knowledge.

I look forward to Pro's rebuttal!

[1] http://www.debate.org... (Round 3 under Evil)

Debate Round No. 2
WriterDave

Pro

I thank Con for his kind words and, based on his win percentage, must return the compliment.

Con's response to the argument from evil is twofold: first that free will is a good for the sake of which God is morally justified in permitting at least one of E1 or E2, and second that such goods, if they exist, are epistemically inscrutable by humans. These two positions are mutually exclusive. One cannot claim that the existence such of a good is epistemically inscrutable, and simultaneously that it does exist and is thus-and-such. Con can take one position or the other, but not both.

Nonetheless, I will consider both defenses on their merits.


Free Will Defense (FWD)

1) Con correctly states that the free will defense only applies to one of the two scenarios in the argument, the one in which a moral decision applies. Since a good for the sake of which God is morally justified in permitting both E1 and E2 is called for in this argument, and since by Con's own admission the free will defense, even if successful, would only apply to one of these scenarios, this defense fails on its face.

2) Moreover, the question of whether libertarian free will even exists is highly controversial. If an omniscient and infallible entity knows that I am going to do X, then it is not possible for me not to do X. Con might argue since I had reasons for doing X and made (or believe I made) the choice myself, I had free will in choosing to do X even if it was impossible for me to not to X. However, many philosophers would disagree.[1] Any free will defense must therefore be accompanied by a compelling argument for compatibilism, which Con has not provided.


Epistemic Inscrutability Defense (EID)

Con argues that we humans do not have access to "The Big Picture;" that is, we are not in an epistemic position to be able to ascertain the existence or nonexistence of evil-permitting goods, and therefore cannot justify the inference from P to Q based on the principle of induction. There are several replies to this; here are just a few.

1) If Con's argument were applied consistently, then we would not be in an epistemic position to ascertain (for example) the existence of goods for the sake of which God would be morally justified in lying to humans in John 3:16, and sending everyone, Christian and non-Christian alike, to Hell. Thus, we cannot say that John 3:16 is true.

In addition, employing this principle, we are unable to rule out the existence of goods which would permit God to have created the universe and everything in it in situ last Thursday. Thus, EID leads to radical and unacceptable (to Christians) theological and epistemological skepticism, and must be rejected.

2) EID also leads to radical moral skepticism. To extend Con's analogy of the deer: if a human were standing nearby, saw that the deer was about to die and was in a position to rescue it, he might reason as follows: "Why is God allowing this to happen? Being a good god, he must have a reason. Perhaps if that deer lived, it would eat all of a particular plant, thus causing an ecosystem imbalance which would lead to mass starvation in the future. That would be even more terrible! Of course, I can't see 'The Big Picture,' and have no way of knowing myself that that will happen. But obviously it, or something like it, is good enough to justify God's not intervening. Therefore, it's good enough to justify my not intervening! I don't want to be responsible for mass starvation, or for preventing whatever good God wants to bring about by allowing this deer to die!" And he walks away. This is obviously morally absurd; yet it is an unavoidable consequence of EID.

3) In any case, it is generally accepted that permitting another person's intense and involuntary suffering is immoral unless the positive conscious experiences of that other person plays a key role in the good for which that suffering is justified. For example, a mother permitting her son to endure the pain of a flu shot is justified by her son's positive experiences that winter in not having to endure the flu.

It follows, then, that any goods for the sake of which God might permit humans to suffer would consist of, or include, positive conscious experiences on the part of humans. And neither the humans who would suffer nor the positive conscious experiences that they would have are epistemically inscrutable to humans. So it seems that we are in an epistemic position to ascertain the goods for which God is justified in permitting suffering, and thus to make the inference from P to Q.[2]

4) If goods of the type mentioned in P and Q exist, and if the existence and nature of the goods were epistemically inscrutable to humans, then it is logical to assume that God would make his existence and/or his love sufficiently clear to humans so that we would know that Q is false. This stems from God's desiring a reciprocal loving relationship with all humans. To return to the flu shot analogy: even if the child were unable to comprehend the reasons for his mother allowing this suffering, a maximally loving mother would nonetheless make every effort she could to be consciously present to the child, so that she could give him assurances of her love and care for him.

So, too, a loving god would always be consciously present to us (at least to humans) when they are permitted to suffer for goods they cannot comprehend, giving assurances of his love and care. That this does not happen gives support for the P-Q inference sufficient to overcome EID.[3]

Each of the foregoing reasons, by itself, defeats EID. I conclude, then, that the argument from evil stands unscathed.


[1] cf. Vihvelin, K. ed., "Arguments for Incompatibilism," at Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, available at http://plato.stanford.edu... (2011).
[2] Rowe, W. "The Empirical Argument from Evil," in Audi, et al, eds., Rationality, Religious Belief, and Moral Commitment (Cornell
University, 1986).
[3] Rowe, W. Philosophy of Religion: An Introduction, 3rd ed. (Wadsworth, 2001).
SuburbiaSurvivor

Con

Once again, I'd like to thank Pro for creating this debate and for some intriguing objections to both the Free Will Defense, and the Epistemic Inscrutability Defense.

The Free Will Defense

I think that here my opponent is confused. I was not invoking the Free Will Defense to refute his entire argument, but merely one example given in his argument, that is, E2. E1 was refuted by the EID. While the EID applies to both E1 and E2, I personally find the Free Will Defense to be the most convincing in regards to E2.

Furthermore, Pro has failed to refute the Free Will Defense, in that he has failed to refute libertarian free will. It does not logically follow that because God knows I am going to do something, it is impossible for me to do anything else. All it shows is that I am going to do something, and God knows what it is. It is entirely possible that I could have done X, but instead choose to do Y. Simultaneously, it's entirely possible that God's knowledge of my actions is contingent on my choice of actions, rather then my choice of actions being contingent on God's knowledge of my actions. Therefore Pro's objection to the Free Will Defense fails.

Epistemic Inscrutability Defense

Here Pro makes four objections to the EID:
  • If the EID is valid, we can have no knowledge of God's reliability.
  • The EID leads to moral paralysis.
  • The EPoE follows because we can know positive consious experiences.
  • God should make his moral reasons apparent if he were just, he has not, therefore the EID fails.

Once again, these are merely generalizations of Pro's points. However, it's important to note that point (1) and (2) do not invalidate the EID nor do they validate the Evidential Problem of Evil. Similarl, points (3) and (4) use the same line of reasoning as the Evidential Problem of Evil itself.

The EID Leads Us To Question God's Truthfullness

First of all, even if this objection were valid, it would not invalidate the EID nor would it validate the EPoE. Even if this is were an actual implication of the EID it would not logicall follow that because we can not ascertain the validity of God's claims, therefore the Evidential Problem of Evil still stands.

However,in the beginning of this debate Pro defined God to be an all-good being in that he is morally perfect. He then goes on to imply that God could have a morally sufficient reason for doing something morally wrong. But this is logically impossible! One can not have a morally sufficient reason for doing something directly morally wrong because that would imply that it can be moral to be immoral, which is logically contradictory. Thus this objection does not stand.

The EID Leads To Moral Paralysis

Once again, even if this objection were valid, it would not invalidate the EID in regards to the EPoE nor would it validate the EPoE. If the EID leads to moral paralysis, it does not logically follow that therefore the EID is somehow false, or untrue.

However, it does not logically follow that because God has a morally sufficient reason for allowing evil, we have a morally sufficient reason for allowing evil. Imagine the given scenario: a father of two sons notices that the dishes have not been cleaned. He then remembers that they need to be cleaned in order to leave room for breakfast the next morning. However, the father does not clean the dishes because he wants to see if one of his sons will take responsibility and clean the dishes. When one of his sons comes down and notices the uncleaned dishes, the son would not be able to ignore them claiming "My Dad had a reason for not cleaning them therefore I have a reason for not cleaning them". Any reason that the father has does not carry down to the son.

Therefore the EID does not lead to moral paralysis.

Positive Conscious Experiences

First of all, this objection only really applies to E2, which has already been covered by the Free Will Defense. Animals are not considered morally equivalent or superior to human beings and therefore negative experiences that happen to animals are not relevant.

On the contrary, even if this did apply to E1, this objection shoots itself in the foot. If a positive conscious experience can be defined as not experiencing a greater negative conscious experience, then the EID still stands. If allowing a negative experience is morally justified if it prevents a greater negative experience, then we are still not in a epistemically sufficient position to determine the probability of God's existence. If allowing a person to be raped and then killed prevented them from living a life of misery (for example, with some painful and undetectable disease), then allowing that to happen would be morally justified. However, it would be impossible to know what the negative consequencs of not being raped were and killed because the mother and her daughter had already been raped and killed.

Pro's assertion that human beings can know all of their positive conscious experiences is unjustified. Because the only way to know all of the positive conscious experiences that one actually experiences would be to have a nearly-omniscient understanding of the ripple effects of all actions.

The Divine Hiddeness Argument

Here Pro invokes what is known as the "Divine Hiddeness Argument". However, he uses it in a form very similar to the EPoE. Here the dishes example still applies. The father isn't specifically telling his son what he wants him to do, because he wants his son to have the opportunity to choose it on his own. While the father may still love his son, in this instant he is specifically not telling his son his reason for not doing the dishes because he wants his son to choose to do the dishes on his own. Therefore the EID still stands because we are not in a position to determine the epistemic scrutability of whether or not God has a morally sufficient reason for allowing evil as well as whether or not God has a morally sufficient reason for not making his reasons clear to us.

However, this is not to claim that God does not attempt to make himself and his actions clear to us humans. Many monotheistic religions and their religious texts have accounts of people who claim to have experienced God in a way that is caring and loving as well as explaining why the state of the earth is the way it is. Of course, perhaps God has not revealed himself in such a way that satisfies Pro, but that hardly constitutes an argument against God's existence. By that point we're basing the probability of God's existence on Pro's arbitrary whim.

Conclusion

While Pro has offered some thought-provoking objections to the EID, he has failed to provide sufficient background knowledge to ascertain the epistemic scrutability of the EPoE. Therefore I conclude that the EPoE does not establish any probability in regards to God's existence.

Relevant but not cited sources:

[1] http://www.iep.utm.edu...

[2] http://faculty.fortlewis.edu...

[3] http://faculty.fortlewis.edu...


Debate Round No. 3
WriterDave

Pro

FWD

1) I have made one argument, the argument from evil, any defense against which must account for both E1 and E2. By Con's own admission, FWD does not refute this argument. Yet he made it anyway. So any confusion on my part is, I think, understandable.


2) By stating that I have failed to refute libertarian free will, Con is shifting the burden. He did not offer a case, even a prima facie case, for me to refute in his first argument, and offering such a case in the second might be construed as a new argument in the final statement. So Con has not given FWD even token support.


EID

1) Con argues that the objection I present regarding radical epistemological and theological skepticism does not, in itself, invalidate the EID, as it is logically consistent with EID being true. This reply might have force if I were making a logical argument from evil, but I am making an evidential argument, one that says that God probably does not exist. The debate resolution so reads. If to avoid the thrust of a given argument one is forced to commit to absurd views such as radical epistemological skepticism, then the argument in question is generally viewed as a success.

Con further argues that I am " imply(ing) that God could have a morally sufficient reason for doing something morally wrong." This is wrong in two respects. First, the implication is that God could have a morally sufficient reason for doing something that without that reason would be morally wrong. Second, I'm not implying it; EID is.


2) Con argues that the objection I present regarding radical moral skepticism again does not invalidate EID, as it is logically consistent with EID being true. This is addressed above.

Con suggests that God might not be preventing E1 and E2 because he is giving humans an opportunity to exhibit moral behavior. But Con can only say this if he is able to say that giving humans this opportunity is a greater good for the sake of which God is justified in permitting E1 and E2. However, EID prevents him from drawing that conclusion, or any conclusion about the existence or nonexistence of evil-permitting goods from God's inaction. Con doesn't have access to "The Big Picture." So as a defense of EID, Con's point is self-defeating.


3) Con argues that my objection regarding humans and their positive experiences being within our "scrutinized zone" only applies to E2, which has been covered by FWD, because "negative experiences that happen to animals are not relevant." In the first place, one can only hope that Con is not a pet owner, for his response suggests that he does not view cruelty to animals as immoral. In the second place, as I've argued above, Con cannot consistently argue both FWD and EID -- see first paragraph of my second statement.

Con further proposes to define experiencing positive conscious experience as not experiencing a greater negative conscious experience. But it cannot be so defined. From a moral standpoint they may be equally permissible, but a positive conscious experience is an experience, while an absence of a greater negative experience is not.

In any case, Con seems to have missed the point of this objection. The point is that positive conscious experiences -- and, for that matter, the absence of negative conscious experiences -- are things which fall into our epistemic realm. Further, I am not asserting that humans can know all of their positive conscious experiences, only that they are a type of good that we know, as are humans themselves. The point of this objection was that since goods which morally permit suffering generally involve positive conscious experiences of the sufferer, and since both sufferers and their positive conscious experiences are things that are not inscrutable to us, we have reason to believe that if there were goods that permitted God to permit E1 and E2 we would know about them. Con has not refuted this.


4) Again, with his father-son-dishes analogy, Con contradicts EID by presuming to know what the good which permits God to allow E1 and E2 is. Additionally, this analogy seems inapplicable since, to the sons, the existence of the father is not in question.

Con also argues, "this is not to claim that God does not attempt to make himself and his actions clear to us humans." However, the very definition of omnipotence entails that if an omnipotent being attempts to do something, it succeeds. Period. Perhaps what Con meant to say was that he does the best he can without thereby forfeiting another greater good. But this again commits he who would reject the argument from evil to absurdity. Con is asking us to believe that an infinitely powerful, completely omnipotent god is:
      1. Unable to prevent E1 and E2 without thereby forfeiting a greater good,
      2. Unable to enable the sufferers to know what that good is without thereby forfeiting another greater good,
      3. Unable to be consciously present to the sufferers, despite their despair and loneliness, without forfeiting yet another greater good, and
      4. Unable to enable the sufferers to know what that greater good would be without forfeiting still yet another greater good![1]
Logically possible? Sure. Inherently plausible? Not on your life.


Conclusion

In my opening, I made a prima facie case for the resolution. Con then presented two defenses against my argument, FWD and EID. In the ensuing discussion, I have shown that FWD fails on its face, and presented four objections to EID, any one of which is sufficient to reject it. I have defended these objections against Con's replies. The argument from evil therefore stands, and the resolution is affirmed.

I thank Con for an engaging and enjoyable debate. I thank the readers for their attention, and ask them to vote Pro.


[1] Trakakis, N., The God Beyond Belief: In Defence of William Rowe's Evidential Argument from Evil (Springer, 2007), pp. 196-197.
SuburbiaSurvivor

Con

By mutual agreement, no argument will be posted in this space.
Debate Round No. 4
74 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by WriterDave 4 years ago
WriterDave
SS, you don't get it. A defense that is merely logically sound only has strength against a logical argument. This is a probabilistic argument, and so yours was the burden to show that EID was both acceptable and probable in light of my objections. You didn't do this.
Posted by innomen 4 years ago
innomen
The PoE only takes traction on an immature and primitive notion of God. Otherwise, in a broader understanding of a higher power, it is not a problem in the slightest, but rather makes tremendous logical sense.
Posted by SuburbiaSurvivor 4 years ago
SuburbiaSurvivor
Actually no, your first two objections, as rebuttals to the EID, appealed to consequences. It doesn't matter if the EID leads to moral skepticism, and it doesn't matter it casts doubt on the omnibenevolence of God. It doesn't change the fact that the EID is a logically sound defense that destroys the EPoE. Your third and fourth arguments were basically attempts to reformulate the argument in such a way in which it appears that we do have sufficient background knowledge.
Posted by SuburbiaSurvivor 4 years ago
SuburbiaSurvivor
What are you referring to in regards to A and B?
Posted by WriterDave 4 years ago
WriterDave
My first and second objections to EID addressed A; my third and fourth addressed B.
Posted by SuburbiaSurvivor 4 years ago
SuburbiaSurvivor
wiploc, you're equivocating radical skepticism with skeptical theism. Skeptical theism is the belief that you can't ascertain probability without sufficient background knowledge. In this case, it's impossible to ascertain any probability because we lack sufficient background knowledge. The only way to argue against that is either A) You can ascertain probabilities without sufficient background knowledge (good luck with that one) or B) we do have sufficient background knowledge.
Posted by wiploc 4 years ago
wiploc
You can apply a radical skepticism, saying that nothing would make the world better because we don't know anything. But if you adopt that RS (radical skepticism) you ought to be consistent, and say that you don't know whether pigs fly, and you have no reason to think that drinking water will eas your thirst.

If you aren't consistent, then you are equivocating. Your argument reduces to, "If you pretend to be stupid at exactly the right times, then it seems like there is a god."
Posted by SuburbiaSurvivor 4 years ago
SuburbiaSurvivor
@RoyLatham, "we have apparent knowledge that the world would be improved if there were even slightly less suffering". This is a tricky statement. In actuality, we don't. Perhaps the world would better if human beings did not have free will, but then again, would it? Would a world where all beings are programmed to do good really be good? Perhaps you're talking about animal suffering, like the deer dying in the woods. But then again, would it really be good to stop that? Are you in a position to say? Do you have apparent knowledge of what would happen if that deer lived?

That's the point. We aren't in a position to say. We don't have apparent knowledge, as you claim we do. We have apparent knowledge that pigs can't fly, at least the species that we know. But we lack sufficient background knowledge in regards to suffering.
Posted by RoyLatham 4 years ago
RoyLatham
@suburbia, "The same goes for your example with the pigs. We know from the anatomy of pigs that pigs can't fly. We have sufficient background knowledge to determine this. But that doesn't apply to suffering. We don't have sufficient background knowledge because we lack any knowledge in regards to what would have happened if that suffering didn't happen the way it did. That's the entire point."

We have apparent knowledge that pigs can't fly just as we have apparent knowledge that the world would be improved if there were even slightly less suffering. In both cases the question is whether something is concealed from us, but known to God, that makes our apparent knowledge inadequate. Perhaps pigs have an ability to fly that that defies our common sense and past knowledge, but lies dormant as part of God's plan. If God wills that pigs could fly, they surely they could, even though we could not see how it was possible. In both the cases of flying pigs and necessary evil, the argument is that our experience and knowledge are inadequate to reach a conclusion because we are not privy to God's plan. The only difference is that you are ready to accept evil as part of God's plan, but you are not ready to accept fly pigs as part of the plan. since flying pigs would be less harmful than disease and famine, flying pigs logically ought to be a lesser leap of faith to accept given the assumption that God is good and omnipotent.

If God has a grand plan that is not revealed, that leads to the Argument from Non-Belief. It's clearly very important that humans understand why there is apparently unnecessary suffering in the world, yet God chooses not to reveal the reason. A God that is good would make his existence clear and make the plan clear.
Posted by WriterDave 4 years ago
WriterDave
And that's what what I addressed in addressing EID -- I won't be rehashing those arguments here.
15 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 4 years ago
16kadams
WriterDaveSuburbiaSurvivorTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I am to lazy to make a good RFD on why args are tied, but same as last vote. He had better sources.
Vote Placed by MikeyMike 4 years ago
MikeyMike
WriterDaveSuburbiaSurvivorTied
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Reasons for voting decision: This debate was extremely hard to judge. I vote it as a tie for the same reasons as GenesisCreation. The final round rule was lame, and seemed like an excuse to not give con a chance to rebut, but nonetheless, con agreed to it. Sources to Pro
Vote Placed by stubs 4 years ago
stubs
WriterDaveSuburbiaSurvivorTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro did not refute that the suffering could not be know gratuitous because of our limited perspective
Vote Placed by 1dustpelt 4 years ago
1dustpelt
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Reasons for voting decision: Both made great arguments. Con's sources were more accurate and why couldn't Con argue in the last round?
Vote Placed by KeytarHero 4 years ago
KeytarHero
WriterDaveSuburbiaSurvivorTied
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Reasons for voting decision: WriterDave's assertion about free will is simply false (God being omniscient does not preclude free will). As such, arguments against free will cannot be used to support the PoE. Pro's arguments actually prove too much, and leads to the argument from arrogance. His argument that no good state of affairs *that we know of* would not justify God permitting evil shows that there may be a good reason, we are just not privy to it. This is just as reasonable as the alternative.
Vote Placed by GenesisCreation 4 years ago
GenesisCreation
WriterDaveSuburbiaSurvivorTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Ammended vote. Writer Dave argued from a point of probability not factuality. Arguments tied. No absolute verdict can be established when assuming the burden of proof over probability. If you assert a probability, you must assert the opposite also. (It's probable that God doesn't exist, but since it's not factual, it's also probable that he does exist). Pro did not prove a higher probability, Con objectively argued this debate into a tie. Sources to pro. Excellent usage.
Vote Placed by MrBrooks 4 years ago
MrBrooks
WriterDaveSuburbiaSurvivorTied
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Reasons for voting decision: They both made excellent points. Pro stated his case well and Con punched quite a few holes in it, but after reading all four rounds I couldn't decide who made a more convincing argument. Con's sources were more reliable though, which is why he gets the 2 points in that catagory. Good debate overall.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 4 years ago
RoyLatham
WriterDaveSuburbiaSurvivorTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con pointed to possible arguments from free will, but did not show how they resolved Pro's examples. the appeal to the "big picture" is also not an argument in itself, but an invitation for someone else to imagine how such an argument along those lines could exist. Noe that Argument from Evil only refutes the O3 God, not other concepts of god.
Vote Placed by Stephen_Hawkins 4 years ago
Stephen_Hawkins
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Reasons for voting decision: I'd make a long explanation, but basically what vmpire said.
Vote Placed by Maikuru 4 years ago
Maikuru
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Reasons for voting decision: Con makes little attempt to establish a groundwork for the FWD, leaving only the EID. However, like Pro , I found Con's argument reducing to absurdity. A God capable of preventing these examples of evil (a permissible assumption, given the failure of the FWD) not only refuses to do so, but also gives humans (and animals) no capacity to understand the "greater good" or know his own presence. These acts appear inconsistent with God's nature and are thus dismissed. Arguments to Pro.