The Instigator
DakotaKrafick
Pro (for)
Losing
10 Points
The Contender
Illegalcombatant
Con (against)
Winning
21 Points

The problem of evil has no valid defense.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 10 votes the winner is...
Illegalcombatant
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/6/2012 Category: Religion
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,171 times Debate No: 20893
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (9)
Votes (10)

 

DakotaKrafick

Pro

I thank my future opponent and the viewers for making this debate possible.

The problem of evil is an argument against a specifically-defined type of deity, and is as follows: It is logically impossible for both evil to exist and for an omniscient, omnipotent, and benevolent deity to exist simultaneously in this universe.

The reasons being are fairly simple: only a deity who is intrinsically malevolent (or at least apathetic) would both be aware of the atrocities in the universe and be able to put an end to them, yet do nothing about them. And a deity who is benevolent would only allow these atrocities to continue if it is either unaware of their existence or unable to stop them, or both.

By accepting this debate, my opponent must agree to the following axioms/definitions:
1. Evil exists.
2. Omniscient: having knowledge of everything.
3. Omnipotent: capable of doing anything.
4. Benevolent: of a kind and caring nature.

The problem of evil is the only argument I shall put forth in this debate; the rest is up to my opponent to refute it, and for me to refute the refutations. (Note: my opponent doesn't have to prove that an omniscient, omnipotent, and benevolent deity exists, only that such a being is not logically contradictory in the same presence as evil.)

My opponent may use the first round to present his/her case.

I look forward to an interesting discourse.
Illegalcombatant

Con

I thank DakotaKrafick for creating this debate

Resolution/What this debate is about

I as the Con will seek to show that there is no logical contradiction and/or impossibility of the existence of God and the existence of Evil. If I can show this, then this would show that the problem of evil does have a valid defense and thus the resolution is negated.

The existence of God and the existence of Evil

Pro claims that the existence of evil and the existence of God is a logical contradiction, but there is no EXPLICIT logical contradiction in these two claims.

An additional premise of the possibility of God having morally sufficient reason to allow evil helps highlight the logical compatibility of the existence of God and the existence of Evil.

1) God exists
2) It is possible for God to have morally sufficient reason to allow evil to exist
3) Evil exists

In order to claim that the existence of evil proves God does not exist, Pro would have to prove that it is impossible for God to have morally sufficient reason to allow evil.

Until proven other wise, the possibility that God has morally sufficent reason to allow evil is a valid defense to the problem of evil and thus the resolution is negated.

Over to you Pro.

Debate Round No. 1
DakotaKrafick

Pro

I thank my opponent for his speedy response.

He asserts that "there is no EXPLICIT logical contradiction in [the problem of evil]." I must disagree, however, as I've already explained the contradiction in detail. My opponent offers no basis at all for this objection. If there is something specific concerning the problem of evil that he does not understand, I urge him to point it out and I will clarify. Otherwise, it remains valid until challenged in a meaningful, substantiated way.

Now on to my opponent's main argument for why evil exists in the face of an omniscient, omnipotent, and benevolent deity:

"It is possible for God to have [a] morally sufficient reason to allow evil to exist."

I commend this argument for its remarkable vagueness. My opponent asserts that if I cannot prove there is some possibility that God would have a morally sufficient reason for allowing evil to exist, then it stands as a valid defense. However, I can only repeat what I've already said: I HAVE given a reason why a deity (with the properties mentioned) and evil cannot both exist in the universe. Therefore, I disagree with this premise; there is NOT a possibility for God to have a morally sufficient reason to allow evil to exist, and it will remain so until my opponent actually gives us a reason, not just wishful thinking.

This argument is logically equivalent to "it is possible for a circle to be a square, and the truth of this statement stands until my opponent proves otherwise". Well, evil and an omniscient, omnipotent, and benevolent deity logically clash as much as a circle being a square, and the reasons for you to believe it could be differently remain nonexistent until a reason is given.

In his next round, I urge my opponent to elucidate on his obscure statement. That is, I want him to give us a valid defense for the problem of evil, not just a statement proclaiming there might be a valid defense (as such a proclamation is worthless without something to support it–namely, an actually valid defense).

Until then, your vote should undoubtedly go to Pro.
Illegalcombatant

Con

I thank Pro for their response.

The possibility of God having morally sufficent reason to allow evil is the same as the possibility of a square being a circle ?

Pro says..."This argument is logically equivalent to "it is possible for a circle to be a square, and the truth of this statement stands until my opponent proves otherwise". Well, evil and an omniscient, omnipotent, and benevolent deity logically clash as much as a circle being a square, and the reasons for you to believe it could be differently remain nonexistent until a reason is given."

This is an inept analogy, a necessary condition of a shape being a square is that the shape have 4 right angles. A circle does not have 4 right angles thus it is not a square.

As such there is no logical equivalence here between the claim that its possible for a square too be a circle and the claim that it's possible for God to have morally sufficient reason to allow evil.

There is no explicit contradiction of God exists & Evil exists

Pro says about me..."He asserts that "there is no EXPLICIT logical contradiction in [the problem of evil].""

Yes I am, too be more exact, I am arguing that there is no EXPLICIT contradiction in these two premises....

1) God exists
2) Evil exists

There is no more contradiction in these two premises as there are in say....

1) Rabbits exist
2) Turkeys exist

It should be obvious that there is no explicit contradiction here in these claims.

But to give an example of claims that are EXPLICIT in their contradiction consider the following.......

1) The earth is flat
2) The earth is not flat

&

1) It is possible for God to have morally sufficient reason to allow evil
2) It is not possible for God to have morally sufficient reason to allow evil

But what about an IMPLICIT contradiction between the existence of God and the existence of evil ?, as Pro says..."therefore, I disagree with this premise; there is NOT a possibility for God to have a morally sufficient reason to allow evil to exist, and it will remain so until my opponent actually gives us a reason, not just wishful thinking."

First, lets dis regard the "wishful thinking" slur, lets deal with the substance of the argument, the argument here is about the logical compatibility or lack of between the existence of God and the existence of Evil. As William Craig puts it..."According to the logical problem of evil, it is logically impossible for God and evil to co-exist. If God exists, then evil cannot exist. If evil exists, then God cannot exist. Since evil exists, it follows that God does not exist.

But the problem with this argument is that there's no reason to think that God and evil are logically incompatible. There's no explicit contradiction between them. But if the atheist means there's some implicit contradiction between God and evil, then he must be assuming some hidden premises which bring out this implicit contradiction. But the problem is that no philosopher has ever been able to identify such premises. Therefore, the logical problem of evil fails to prove any inconsistency between God and evil." [2]

Now that we have fleshed out where the IMPLIED contradiction is between the existence of God & Evil in Pros argument as Pro now claims..."there is NOT a possibility for God to have a morally sufficient reason to allow evil to exist," we can forumulate Pros argument as such...

1) It is impossible for God to have sufficent moral reason to allow evil to exist
2) Evil exists
C) Therefore God does not exist

Trouble is Pro doesn't have anything to justify premise 1 other than their own assertion. It gets worse for Pros argument As wikipedia explains..."A logically possible proposition is one that can be asserted without implying a logical contradiction. This is to say that a proposition is logically possible if there is some coherent way for the world to be, under which the proposition would be true." [2]

The logical possibility that God has sufficent moral reason to allow evil refutes Pros premise 1. As such my argument can be formulated as such....

1) It is possible for God to have sufficent moral reason to allow evil
2) Evil exists
C) Therefore the existence of evil is logically compatiable with the existence of God

With this "valid defense" the resolution is negated.

Sources

[1] http://www.reasonablefaith.org...
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 2
DakotaKrafick

Pro

I thank my opponent for his response, though unfortunately it seems to be only a repeat of the last one.

He has this to say concerning my comparison of the problem of evil to a circular square: "This is an inept analogy, a necessary condition of a shape being a square is that the shape have 4 right angles. A circle does not have 4 right angles thus it is not a square." So far so good. He goes on: "As such there is no logical equivalence here between the claim that its possible for a square too be a circle and the claim that it's possible for God to have morally sufficient reason to allow evil."

I find it regrettable that I must say this again, so I will do so as articulately as I possibly can, and I will do so in the same manner as my opponent did to explain other logical contradictions:

For example...
1. This shape is a circle.
2. This shape has four sides.
We recognize this is a logical contradiction once we understand that a "circle" is a "shape with zero sides".

Equally...
1. God is benevolent.
2. God does not stop evil.
We also recognize this is a logical contradiction once we realize that "benevolent" means "of a kind and/or caring nature".

My opponent quotes William Lane Craig, who also admits to seeing no contradiction between the existence of God and the existence of evil. Without any further information, there IS no contradiction between evil and God. However, we are talking about a specific kind of deity, one with these properties:
1. Omniscient.
2. Omnipotent.
3. Benevolent.

A deity CAN exist in this universe alongside evil. All that we can infer from that would be the deity does not have one or more of the properties listed above. It could be ignorant of the evil; it could be unable to stop it; it could be malevolent; or it could be all three.

He says I have nothing to support my premise that "It is not possible for God to have a morally sufficient reason for allowing evil to exist". My reasons are those mentioned above and in my previous arguments (specifically, in my first round, where I concisely explain the problem of evil).

Ironic considering it is my opponent who has made a claim without support: "It IS possible for God to have a morally sufficient reason for allowing evil to exist". He has given us no idea what this "morally sufficient reason" could be, nor has he even given us a reason to believe there's a reason.

In conclusion, seeing as how my premise is actually supported by logical evidence, and my opponent's is not, I must assert that your vote should still go undoubtedly to Pro. I look forward to my opponent's next response.
Illegalcombatant

Con

I thank Pro for their response.

Circles, Squares and God

Pro says..."1. This shape is a circle.
2. This shape has four sides.
We recognize this is a logical contradiction once we understand that a "circle" is a "shape with zero sides"."

But here is the question, what is it that Pro understands about "God" and "Evil" that means the existence of one excludes the possibility of the others existence ?

There is no explicit contradiction of God exists & Evil exists

Pro responds that the God they are talking about is..."1. Omniscient.2. Omnipotent.3. Benevolent.", yes I understand that, my argument about "God" already assumed that. Consider the two following claims....

1) God an (1. Omniscient.2. Omnipotent.3. Benevolent.) being exists
2) Evil exists

Once again, there is no EXPLICIT contradiction here. All my previous arguments still apply here. If I really have to repeat my self.....

1) An (1. Omniscient.2. Omnipotent.3. Benevolent.) being could have morally sufficient reason for allowing evil
2) Evil exists
C) Therefore the existence of evil is logically compatible with the existence of an (1. Omniscient.2. Omnipotent.3. Benevolent.) being.

Pro says..."He says I have nothing to support my premise that "It is not possible for God to have a morally sufficient reason for allowing evil to exist". My reasons are those mentioned above and in my previous arguments (specifically, in my first round, where I concisely explain the problem of evil). "

I invite anyone to re-read Pros round 1 argument. At no point did they prove that it is IMPOSSIBLE for God to have sufficient moral reason to allow evil as Pro says..."The reasons being are fairly simple: only a deity who is intrinsically malevolent (or at least apathetic) would both be aware of the atrocities in the universe and be able to put an end to them, yet do nothing about them. And a deity who is benevolent would only allow these atrocities to continue if it is either unaware of their existence or unable to stop them, or both."

Pro already assumes here that its impossible for a benevolent entity to have morally sufficient reason to allow evil. Pro has not presented it as an option to be ruled out cause they already excluded it. In other words Pro is trying to prove that its impossible for God to have morally sufficient reason to allow evil cause they already assumed its impossible for God to have morally sufficient reason to allow evil...circular reasoning.

Possibilities vs Impossibilities

We have a problem here, cause we are both making claims that are EXPLICITLY contradictory, those being....

1) It is possible for God to have sufficient moral reason to allow evil
2) It is impossible for God to have sufficient moral reason to allow evil

Take for example the claim that it is possible it will rain tomorrow. Now this is a modest claim, it doesn't claim it WILL rain, just that its possible. But what if some one in response was to say, I don't think its even possible, cause it is impossible it will rain tomorrow.

As you can see, the impossibility claim has a heavy burden to carry, cause it has to rule out any and all possibilities that it will rain tomorrow in order to be justified. As long as its even remotely possible that it will rain tomorrow, the claim that its impossible it will rain is unjustified. Like-wise the claim that its impossible for God to have sufficent moral reason is unjustified as long as the possibility of God having sufficient moral reason is around.

Conclusion

Until proven other wise, the mere possibility of God/ An 1. Omniscient.2. Omnipotent.3. Benevolent. being having moral sufficient reason to allow evil, makes the existence of God and Evil logically compatible and thus is a valid defense to the logical problem of evil that assumes that the existence of evil is logically incompatible with the existence of God.
Debate Round No. 3
DakotaKrafick

Pro

Thank you, Illegalcombatant, for your response.

The contradiction between an omniscient, omnipotent, and benevolent God and evil (again)

My opponent asks "what is it that Pro understands about "God" and "Evil" that means the existence of one excludes the possibility of the others existence?"

God: the only thing I claim to know about our hypothetical deity is that it knows everything, is capable of doing anything, and is of a kind and caring nature.

Evil: without even rigidly defining which acts constitutes "evil", it should be evident that evil is, at the very least, the opposite of good. This was not meant to be a debate on what constitutes "good" or "evil", so I felt common sense could guide us adequately. Apparently, I was wrong.

An evil act is, by its nature, a morally wrong act. And someone who is morally good (or "of a kind and caring nature") would want to prevent morally wrong acts when it's within his/her power to do so.

The contradiction: why, then, would it be that a morally good (benevolent) deity would allow acts of evil to continue in the universe? There are only three possibilities:
1. It doesn't know of the evil.
2. it cannot stop the evil.
3. It neither knows of nor is capable of stopping the evil.

If it is in any way, be it with a different structure or diction, possible to articulate the contradiction posed by the problem of evil clearer than I have in this debate, then I'm sorry, but I just don't know it.

My opponent then tries to put my position in an unreasonably rigid light, by comparing the impossibility of a logical contradiction to exist with the impossibility of precipitation tomorrow. This analogy would be far more fitting if it specified the location of the precipitation to exist on, say, the sun.

It seems I have only repeated what I've already said for the third time in this debate, but only because my arguments continue to remain unchallenged in a substantiated way. I urge you to consider the validity of both of our arguments and to vote accordingly.

Thank you, Illegalcombatant, for debating this with me. It was fun after all these months to battle philosophies again.




Illegalcombatant

Con

I thank Pro for their last reply.

Possibilities vs Impossibilities

Pro nit picks at the details of my example of will it rain when looking at what it means to say something is possible or impossible. This doesn't deal with the substance of the point which was to show how the possibility of something until proven otherwise refutes that same something as impossible, in other words...

If X is possible, then its false that X is impossible.

As such the mere possibility that God has sufficient moral reason to allow evil is enough to prove Pros claim that its impossible for God to have sufficient moral reason to allow evil as false.

There is no explicit contradiction of God exists & Evil exists

Pro says..."The contradiction: why, then, would it be that a morally good (benevolent) deity would allow acts of evil to continue in the universe? There are only three possibilities:

1. It doesn't know of the evil.
2. it cannot stop the evil.
3. It neither knows of nor is capable of stopping the evil."

I was surprised that Pro goes back to their original argument, albeit presented in a different way, as it only proves what I said in the last round, that being..."Pro already assumes here that its impossible for a benevolent entity to have morally sufficient reason to allow evil. Pro has not presented it as an option to be ruled out cause they already excluded it"

I have presented a 4th possibility that being......4. God has morally sufficient reason to allow evil

As such the "possibilities" of why a "morally good (benevolent) deity" allows evil to exist include...

1. It doesn't know of the evil.
2. It cannot stop the evil.
3. It neither knows of nor is capable of stopping the evil."
4. It has morally sufficient reason to allow evil

Pro says..."An evil act is, by its nature, a morally wrong act. And someone who is morally good (or "of a kind and caring nature") would want to prevent morally wrong acts when it's within his/her power to do so."

Well no argument there about a person even a God of a kind and caring nature would want to prevent evil, I would go even further and say that God would prevent that evil...UNLESS it choose not too due to having morally sufficient reason for allowing the evil to exist.

Suffice to say, Pro is dead wrong to say there are only 3 possibilities. We can grant Pro that the first 2 options are impossible and the 3rd option is just the first two options added together, but Pro hasn't shown the impossibility of the 4th option. As such this makes the existence of God and the existence of Evil logically compatible.

Closing

I submit that not only is there no explicit contradiction between the existence of God and the existence of Evil, but also that the logical compatibility of the two is shown in the premise that "It is possible that God has sufficient moral reason to allow evil to exist". As such this is a "valid defence" to the logical problem of Evil that assumes that if Evil exists then its impossible for God to exist.

The resolution that there is no "valid defense" to the problem of evil is negated. I ask the vote go to the Con.

I thank Pro for the debate.
Debate Round No. 4
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by LokiLoks 5 years ago
LokiLoks
"Benevolent" denies permitting evil to come to pass. This is particularly true when one considers that he has infinite power (it would cost him basically nothing to prevent the evil) and infinite knowledge (there's no way for him to not have a solution to the issue).

By not addressing the term benevolent, the Con position seems to have failed, he simply offered a statement that says "he might have a moral reason for doing it" which was no argument at all.
Posted by SuburbiaSurvivor 5 years ago
SuburbiaSurvivor
DakotaKrafick, you articulated yourself very well. You just failed to prove God can't have a moral reason for allowing evil, that's all.
Posted by DakotaKrafick 5 years ago
DakotaKrafick
I explained the contradiction in every single round. If Con or any of the viewers didn't understand it, then I'm sorry, but there was no possible way it could have been clearer.

I'm just surprised that someone can potentially win a debate on here by saying little more than "You might be wrong."
Posted by Doulos1202 5 years ago
Doulos1202
suburbia is exactly right...
Posted by SuburbiaSurvivor 5 years ago
SuburbiaSurvivor
Pro, the BOP is on you as the instigator. Con made the argument that God can be benevolent and omnipotent and have a moral reason for allowing evil. Con could have made a stronger argument attacking your narrow definition of benevolence, however you did not prove that a God can not be benevolent and also have a moral reason for allowing evil. Thus you did not meet your BOP, and Con won. It was not necessary for Con to provide a specified moral reason for God allowing evil, simply for him to make that argument that it is possible. If it is possible, then your resolution that it is impossible for evil and God to coexist is negated.
Posted by DakotaKrafick 5 years ago
DakotaKrafick
I'm surprised so many people consider Con's non-argument a valid argument lol
Posted by RoyLatham 5 years ago
RoyLatham
A better statement of the argument from evil (AE) is "If an O3 god exists, the world would have less evil than it does." "Evil" means "any bad thing" including natural disasters, accidents, and disease. Thus con must argue why logically why God should not have prevented a tsunami or an auto accident that killed school children.

The heavy-duty reference for the subject is Theodore Drange's "Nonbelief & Evil: Two Arguments for the Nonexistence of God" The argument from non-belief is that a beneficent God would convince atheists of his existence if it were necessary to save them. Drange sustains both arguments.
Posted by Doulos1202 5 years ago
Doulos1202
Hmm I believe Con does have an arguement however may need to figure out a way to explain it better. It appears that Pro is claiming to know the mind of God. Evil is merely subjective without a transcending absolute that holds its individual standard. This is a very broad debate. The definition of Evil should have been stated in the rules. This is a battle of opinions.
Posted by LokiLoks 5 years ago
LokiLoks
I suppose I could do some sort of devil's advocate thing, but I don't see me being able to put up much of a real fight. The two are logically incompatible in my mind.
10 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by LibertyCampbell 5 years ago
LibertyCampbell
DakotaKrafickIllegalcombatantTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con definitely could have explained his position a little better---I'm sure if I didn't already know what he was talking about it wouldn't have made sense. But I think he won. But I'm obviously biased. So I won't vote, but instead put my opinion here.
Vote Placed by Doulos1202 5 years ago
Doulos1202
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Reasons for voting decision: see comments
Vote Placed by THEBOMB 5 years ago
THEBOMB
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Reasons for voting decision: See comments
Vote Placed by KRFournier 5 years ago
KRFournier
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Reasons for voting decision: The resolution is that the PoE has no valid defense. Con offered a logically valid defense. Pro denied the defenses by simply asserting (rather than arguing) that it's just not an option. Argument goes to Con on this one.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 5 years ago
16kadams
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Reasons for voting decision: I believe all of the args, SG, and co duct are tied. Con gets sources because he had some.
Vote Placed by royalpaladin 5 years ago
royalpaladin
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Reasons for voting decision: Sources to Con since Pro used none and Con used two. Con's point about the fact that God could have a morally significant reason for permitting evil was completely dropped. It also struck a dent in the Pro case since Pro insisted that there were only three possibilities even after Con offered a fourth.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 5 years ago
RoyLatham
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Reasons for voting decision: The Con argument is that a logical resolution might exist, but is unknown. Pro pointed out could be argued in favor of resolving any logical contradiction. to be convincing, the resolution must be presented.
Vote Placed by Greyparrot 5 years ago
Greyparrot
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Reasons for voting decision: Im supirsed Pro did not bring this up, but it seems like Con deliberately glossed over the BENEVOLENT God part of the resolution. I believe Pro wins this.
Vote Placed by Maikuru 5 years ago
Maikuru
DakotaKrafickIllegalcombatantTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con's two claims - no initial contradiction exists and God's sufficient moral reasoning - both fail in light of Pro's opening parameters. The definitions accepted in Round 1 hold a self-evident contradiction and demonstrate the impossibility of Con's morality claim. Elaboration on the latter contention may have helped a seemingly non-intuitive claim. Arguments to Pro.
Vote Placed by SuburbiaSurvivor 5 years ago
SuburbiaSurvivor
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Reasons for voting decision: Sources to Con, and arguments to Con for providing a logical and valid defense against the problem of evil.