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Problem of animal pain

popculturepooka
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6/12/2015 10:10:17 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Ok, let's just assume that certain theodicies/defences working in diffusing the problem of evil/suffering for humans (free will, soul making, "it's the devils fault", etc etc).

That still doesn't even touch the problem of animal pain, which is a far bigger problem, imo, than most traditional theists think it is. If we accept the theory of evolution (as we should), then for millions of millions of years before modern humans came onto the scene there were billions and billions of animals capable of some degree of significant suffering. Evolution is an incredibly harsh process - the vast majority of animals DO NOT flourish and a significant portion of them experience an amount of pain that would seem to make their lives "not worth it". Free will? Animals (at least most of them) aren't rational actors in the same ways humans are and thus they don't have the same capacity to make deliberative choices in order to form their moral character as humans. I'm not even sure most animals are even capable of understanding WHY they are suffering, which is crucial in cases of humans dealing with their suffering.

Theists, how do you solve this conundrum? If the traditional theodicies/defences don't work in the case of animals, what possible reason would God have for creating beings who are capable of such great suffering? Seems cruel, doesn't it?
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popculturepooka
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6/12/2015 10:12:25 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Honestly, I think if it Is actually that case that God created such beings capable of great suffering for no justifed reason, then that's a good a case that can be found against the existence of an all-good, all-powerful, all-knowing God.
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Fly
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6/12/2015 12:39:30 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Good question. Young earth creationists/Scriptural literalists and creation museum curators have this one all stitched up in their minds. They believe that "lions laid with lambs" before the Fall of Man. It is actually one of the great arguments for being a fundamentalist.

Then there is CS Lewis, an author whom I respected in my college years, who questioned if animals are even able to feel physical, let alone emotional pain in the way humans can. That's just messed up...
"You don't have a right to be a jerk."
--Religion Forum's hypocrite extraordinaire serving up lulz
popculturepooka
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6/12/2015 1:52:16 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/12/2015 12:39:30 PM, Fly wrote:
Good question. Young earth creationists/Scriptural literalists and creation museum curators have this one all stitched up in their minds. They believe that "lions laid with lambs" before the Fall of Man. It is actually one of the great arguments for being a fundamentalist.


I agree. I think it would be a fairly strong argument for their particular reading of the bible - as it avoids certain thorny theological issues - but, unfortunately for them, the evidence for evolution is too strong.

Then there is CS Lewis, an author whom I respected in my college years, who questioned if animals are even able to feel physical, let alone emotional pain in the way humans can. That's just messed up...

This is actually a more common strategy these days to lessen the problem here. William Lane Craig appeals to it:

http://www.reasonablefaith.org...
http://www.reasonablefaith.org...
http://www.reasonablefaith.org...
http://www.reasonablefaith.org...

And so does Michael Murray (who WLC draws from):

https://ndpr.nd.edu...

I find these responses borderline denying the obvious.
At 10/3/2016 11:49:13 PM, thett3 wrote:
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Fkkize
Posts: 2,149
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6/12/2015 1:55:14 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/12/2015 10:10:17 AM, popculturepooka wrote:
Seems cruel, doesn't it?

Usually I include anmial suffering when presenting the problem. The typical response I get is that there are no moral obligations towards animals.
Descartes "solved" it by claiming that animals don't suffer, they're just automatons....
and then he kicked a cat around and performed biopsies on unanesthetized dogs.
I took a quick look at Dougherty's solution. However I doubt many Christians would find it compelling.
https://ndpr.nd.edu...
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: space contradicts logic
popculturepooka
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6/12/2015 2:01:38 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/12/2015 1:55:14 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 6/12/2015 10:10:17 AM, popculturepooka wrote:
Seems cruel, doesn't it?

Usually I include anmial suffering when presenting the problem. The typical response I get is that there are no moral obligations towards animals.
Descartes "solved" it by claiming that animals don't suffer, they're just automatons....
and then he kicked a cat around and performed biopsies on unanesthetized dogs.
I took a quick look at Dougherty's solution. However I doubt many Christians would find it compelling.
https://ndpr.nd.edu...

I actually read the book a couple months back. I think its the best answer we (theists) have now. I find it fairly compelling now though I found the idea of his theodicy outrageous before I read it.
At 10/3/2016 11:49:13 PM, thett3 wrote:
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drpiek
Posts: 589
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6/12/2015 2:01:58 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/12/2015 10:10:17 AM, popculturepooka wrote:
Ok, let's just assume that certain theodicies/defences working in diffusing the problem of evil/suffering for humans (free will, soul making, "it's the devils fault", etc etc).

That still doesn't even touch the problem of animal pain, which is a far bigger problem, imo, than most traditional theists think it is. If we accept the theory of evolution (as we should), then for millions of millions of years before modern humans came onto the scene there were billions and billions of animals capable of some degree of significant suffering. Evolution is an incredibly harsh process - the vast majority of animals DO NOT flourish and a significant portion of them experience an amount of pain that would seem to make their lives "not worth it". Free will? Animals (at least most of them) aren't rational actors in the same ways humans are and thus they don't have the same capacity to make deliberative choices in order to form their moral character as humans. I'm not even sure most animals are even capable of understanding WHY they are suffering, which is crucial in cases of humans dealing with their suffering.

Theists, how do you solve this conundrum? If the traditional theodicies/defences don't work in the case of animals, what possible reason would God have for creating beings who are capable of such great suffering? Seems cruel, doesn't it?

I see pleasure and pain as motivators of action. Pain is a protective measure that keeps animals alive and away from danger. It seems logical to me.
Illegalcombatant
Posts: 4,008
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6/12/2015 8:45:43 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/12/2015 10:10:17 AM, popculturepooka wrote:
Ok, let's just assume that certain theodicies/defences working in diffusing the problem of evil/suffering for humans (free will, soul making, "it's the devils fault", etc etc).

That still doesn't even touch the problem of animal pain, which is a far bigger problem, imo, than most traditional theists think it is. If we accept the theory of evolution (as we should), then for millions of millions of years before modern humans came onto the scene there were billions and billions of animals capable of some degree of significant suffering. Evolution is an incredibly harsh process - the vast majority of animals DO NOT flourish and a significant portion of them experience an amount of pain that would seem to make their lives "not worth it". Free will? Animals (at least most of them) aren't rational actors in the same ways humans are and thus they don't have the same capacity to make deliberative choices in order to form their moral character as humans. I'm not even sure most animals are even capable of understanding WHY they are suffering, which is crucial in cases of humans dealing with their suffering.

Theists, how do you solve this conundrum? If the traditional theodicies/defences don't work in the case of animals, what possible reason would God have for creating beings who are capable of such great suffering? Seems cruel, doesn't it?

""The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is beyond all decent contemplation. During the minute that it takes me to compose this sentence, thousands of animals are being eaten alive, many others are running for their lives, whimpering with fear, others are slowly being devoured from within by rasping parasites, thousands of all kinds are dying of starvation, thirst, and disease. It must be so. If there ever is a time of plenty, this very fact will automatically lead to an increase in the population until the natural state of starvation and misery is restored. In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won't find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference." -Richard Dawkins

But of course you already knew that.
"Seems like another attempt to insert God into areas our knowledge has yet to penetrate. You figure God would be bigger than the gaps of our ignorance." Drafterman 19/5/12