The REAL “Problem of Evil”

[moderator’s note: Nonlin.org produced this at about the same time as his “Miracles” post. I delayed this, so that they could be discussed one at a time. I’m now publishing this one.]

[a note to nonlin – if all of your post is one block, it is hard to add a “more” break. Maybe a short introductory sentence as a first block would make that easier]

  1. “Problem of evil” is supposed to disprove God because,
    • a) A God that is all powerful would be able to prevent evil.
    • b) A God that is all knowing would know that evil happens.
    • c) A God that is all loving wouldn’t want evil to happen and would take needed action to stop it.
    • d) Evil happens.
    • e) Since evil happens, these statements are contradictory.
    • f) An all powerful, all knowing and all loving god cannot exist while evil continues.
    Although short, this argument fails repeatedly:
    • c) A God that is all loving wouldn’t want evil to happen, but would not necessarily take needed action to stop it due to other, higher reasons.
    • d) Evil happens only in a theist universe. The true materialist would not believe in evil, hence this whole argument proposed by him/her would be meaningless and self defeating.
    • e) There is no contradiction given the c. and d. counterarguments.
    • f) Because there is no contradiction per e. counterargument, f. does not follow.
    • g) And f. would not follow even if a. to e. were true, because the conclusion may miss some unspecified additional evidence, such as the fact that the human brain is not good enough to judge God, rendering this and many other such arguments false throughout.
  2. How would we know ‘the good’ without ‘the evil’? We wouldn’t! Therefore Evil is inescapable as experiences are continuously normalized to include good and bad. There’s always a ‘too cold/too hot’, ‘too loud/too quiet’, ‘too much/too little death (who wished historical tyrants lived longer?)’, and so on. Whatever the range, there’s always an extreme good/bad. Cut the range in half and, what was moderate before, becomes extreme. Therefore, God tolerates the [necessary] evil to a certain extent and for a good reason, also as part of the free will deal He offered mankind. For those that say “there’s no need for this much evil”, the question is: “ok, then how much evil should there be?” In addition, the Book of Job clearly explains that it is not up to the lowly humans to second guess God. Those that did not understand this (Nazis, Communists, Eugenists, and many more) have tried to do better than God. But their dreams of evil-free societies invariably turn into nightmares full of evil.
  3. Evil should mean nothing to the materialist because of the determinism belief (despite the clearest experimental evidence that determinism is dead). And this is the REAL Problem of Evil. A problem only materialists should face since, according to any coherent materialist, not only were Stalin, Mao, Hitler not evil, but they also had no choice due to determinism. Yet mankind insists on calling those individuals evil and with good reasons. Seeing this dilemma, some argue for word substitution – suffering to evil – not noticing that the argument would thus go from bad to ridiculous. After all, God let Adam and Eve know ‘suffering’ will happen after the Original Sin transgression, and most people accept “no pain no gain”, hence suffering for a good reward. Others claim evil makes sense in “humanist morality”, clearly forgetting that, as determinists, they shouldn’t have the free will to do anything morally or immorally, just as stones and animals do not abide by any moral standards. Hume got this one thing right: you can’t derive ‘ought’ from ‘is’, therefore good and evil are incompatible with materialism.
  4. Is the concept of Evil just a human “evolutionary” adaptation? That doesn’t work because ‘ought’ was derived from ‘is’. The “original ought-is sin” is when materialists imagine the first RNA randomly happening and then, hocus-pocus, “evolution” with its ‘oughts’ takes over. The second is when we see no evil in the lion eating the gazelle alive, or the wasp turning the cockroach into a zombie food supply, the weasel killing all the chickens, peer violence, or even cannibalism, and infanticide. Yet we see evil in the human behaving like these (although infanticide against the unborn is OK – go figure). We do not need the concept of evil to avoid harm. But, aside from the mentally impaired, psychopaths, and a few hypothetical primitive cultures that supposedly do not know evil, all modern humans including the materialists know and oppose evil. Even communists are for “social justice” and fascists for the improvement of society, eugenists for the betterment of mankind and abortionists for “choice”. Not one of these stands for evil despite killing and persecution of the innocent. All these go to great length to hide, and minimize their evil deeds and often argue that – in fact – their opponents are the evil ones. “Sure, you have to break a few eggs to make omelet, right”? “But that’s not evil” is their argument.
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480 thoughts on “The REAL “Problem of Evil”

  1. Alan Fox:
    I see nobody has managed to come up with a coherent idea of “evilness” yet.

    Right. But they can still blame God for it.

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  2. DNA_Jock: Introduce any High School student of even middling intelligence to the story of Job, and their reaction is “Wow! That’s an awfully convenient load of cobblers.”

    Since you think anyone can opine above their pay grade, when was the last time you asked for for your cat’s opinion? If not, why are you such a specie-ist? Yes, atheist brainwashing should be pretty much complete by high school, but not everyone is a dumb drone like those that think “evolution” did it.

    Alan Fox: You’re not just an atheist

    I consider myself agnostic and also apatheistic.

    Then atheist you are. 1 of 1

    Alan Fox: Physicalist in that we haven’t exhausted physical explantations and haven’t found any non-physical ones useful.

    Same thing. 2 of 2
    then 3 of 3
    If not free will denier and not determinist, where is free will coming from? If artifact of “evolution” or similar, that’s 5 of 5.
    Your rant at the end makes you a socialist. So 6 of 6
    then 7 of 7 and 8 of 8.
    Pretty darn good!

    Kantian Naturalist: That’s really funny coming from you.

    Example?

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  3. phoodoo: Alan Fox:
    I see nobody has managed to come up with a coherent idea of “evilness” yet.

    Right. But they can still blame God for it.

    He’s looking for a definition. Until then, he thinks Hitler/Stalin/Mao was a cool guy.

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  4. Nonlin.org: What is your point again?

    Encore. My point is that, to quote myself:

    […] “some evil is necessary” and “evil exists because of our free will” are arguments that don’t mix well, because in the former God is responsible for the current state of affairs, whereas the latter clearly places all responsibility with us.

    .. or you could argue that free will is the reason why evil is necessary, like KN did, but I haven’t seen you make that argument.

    Nonlin.org: So you’re on strike.

    I’d like some appreciation for the fact that I am one of the few persons around here that tries to parse your (for want of a better word) logic.

    Nonlin.org: crime is happening because not everyone is in prison already

    Who is guilty of a crime? Is it the criminal or the warden? In the free will argument, evil is our own fault, and not obviously part of the Divine plan.

    Nonlin.org: What do you even care about God’s reasons?

    I don’t. I care about what people think are God’s reasons.

    Nonlin.org: Moderately funny.

    My pleasure.

    Nonlin.org: More importantly, did I nail you at least 80%?

    I think the more insightful observation here, is that if I take the list of antonyms, that 100% describes you. Does that tell you something?

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  5. phoodoo: That’s all you would get rid of, and THAT would fit your definition of a world made by a God that is not evil?

    I didn’t say that the single example I made up would make the world contain no evil at all, all I said was that it would rather obviously be an improvement, which it would. The fact that I imagine a way in which the world could be improved by having less evil in it is a problem for you, not for me. Whether that improvement brings us to a world entirely without evil or not is irrelevant. The world I imagined would have less evil in it than the one we are currently in, hence it is easy to imagine ways to reduce evil in the world.

    First off, you yourself, given that world would still find more than enough to complain about.

    Yes I would. Even with that one example of evil removed from the world, there’d still be much more to be done. That’s a problem for YOU, not for me. You’re essentially making my argument for me. There is still MUCH to complain about. Your omnipotent God better get off his lazy, non-existent arse and do something about it, or keep appearing like he either doesn’t care, or doesn’t exist.

    Secondly, why would you consider a world where people can go blind from disease perfectly ok for the suffering of man?

    I don’t and didn’t say I did, and it doesn’t follow from anything I’ve written that I do.

    What the heck is your standard, you have none.

    My standard is my position on suffering. Does it take place? Is it avoidable? Is it necessary? If it happens, is avoidable with omnipotence, and isn’t necessary, then it should go. That’s my standard. Simple, really.

    Why are all your putative gotchas and rhetorical questions so easy to answer? Are you genuinely unable to think on this topic, or just pretending?

    You just don’t want animals to take long to die?

    At the very least, I don’t want them to suffer unnecessarily. That goes for all sentient beings. And it is clear and obvious that unnecessary suffering happens. So that’s a problem for you who think a good God exists. If your God is okay with unnecessary suffring, then your God isn’t actually a good God. It’s a-moral, or possibly immoral. God could be a sadist for all we know. Or maybe there just isn’t one.

    So again, I say, you really can’t articulate a world that is free from suffering, and has any meaning at all

    Sure I can. I can imagine a world where nobody suffers, but God created them to be happy. God used his omnipotent to create sentient beings that were intrinsically happy and felt their lives had meaning. God created them explicitly for the purpose of experiencing happiness. The very meaning of their lives were to experience happiness.

    That’s omnipotence for you. It’s magical. If you think this is a silly concept, take it up with your fatuous religion, not me.

    instead, you just say why doesn’t God interfere in a few cases you wish he would. Not all cases, just a few you would like.

    I can do that too. Both options are available to me.

    I can complain about the world not being perfect, and I can complain about the world not being better than it is even if that would not make it totally perfect. Both of those are logically coherent options available to me, and I am doing both because it’s rather easy and obvious. And the religious only have poor answers and flailing, just like you’re doing now. Making a fool of yourself for all to see.

    Religious people who can’t see the problems with the idea of a perfectly good and moral God who is omnipotent, are fools.

    But you have no rationale for why you don’t want him to interfere in every case.

    But I DO want him to interfere in every case. I want God to remove all unnecessary suffering in the world. All of it without exception. And he could start by doing what I suggested in the example of animals who suffer unnecessarily in forest fires. Then he could move on to other examples, and remove them one by one until there were none left.

    But probably if pushed you would come up with ONE MORE case where you would want him to interfere, and then you would come up with another, and then another

    Yes, definitely. I could keep coming up with examples of sentient beings who suffer unnecessarily. That just means God has a lot of work ahead of him. But I hear he’s omnipotent, and can read minds, and see the future, so we could basically just skip to the end where the job was fully done.

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  6. phoodoo: Well, if free will is a necessary component of the world, and the laws of physics are also part of the world, then it is probably just the way it has to be.

    So God could not make the burning animal not suffer unnecessarily? He’s omnipotent, but can’t do that?

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  7. Rumraket: Then he could move on to other examples, and remove them one by one until there were none left.

    A world with nothing.

    That would be better?

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  8. nonlin

    And not being omnipotent, you know nothing about God’s reasons

    Jock wrote:

    It strikes me that the apologetics that we see here at TSZ is generally rather poor. They can’t even keep their omni-‘s straight. Self-selecting samples and all that.
    I will note that non-lin has retired to the safety of the “God moves in a mysterious way” defense, foreshadowed in point 2 of his OP and the Book of Job.
    Introduce any High School student of even middling intelligence to the story of Job, and their reaction is “Wow! That’s an awfully convenient load of cobblers.”
    Later, s/he will notice that the same rebuttal applies to all theology.
    So nonlin, the reality is that the Colorado River Toad God hates mammals. How dare you second guess his grand plan for eliminating them?

    Nonlin wrote:

    Since you think anyone can opine above their pay grade, when was the last time you asked for for your cat’s opinion? If not, why are you such a specie-ist? Yes, atheist brainwashing should be pretty much complete by high school, but not everyone is a dumb drone like those that think “evolution” did it.

    You misunderstand. I was in a High School Religious Instruction class full of Christians, being taught by a chaplain. Given that we had all been raised (myself included) to accept the “this life is a test” variant of Anglican theodicy, we were comfortable with the existence of rape and murder, etc. as necessary consequences of free will.
    However, the use of the story of Job to explain
    1) Why bad things happen to good people, and, critically
    2) God does not explain
    struck pretty much everybody as fucking transparent. The Chaplain, a smart chap, was reduced to talking of allegory, narrative framing, and the possible motivations of the writers of that particular OT book.
    To be candid, we didn’t learn about earthquakes, tsunamis and fires until French class.
    I note that nonlin has failed to address the problem that anything he might do or say faces the same “you cannot know God’s will” rebuttal. His argument renders theodicy moot.

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  9. Here is a reading of a lecure by Rudolf Steiner on the problem of evil where “a few tentative steps” are taken to frame the problem.

    He discusses its history from the Stoics, through St Augustine who sees it as just the absence of good, and Reginald John Campbell in The New Theology agrees with:

    It is still the fashion to declare this problem insoluble, but I have the audacity to believe that it is not so; mystery there may be, but it is not chiefly mystery. I will even go so far as to assert that the problem had been solved in human thought before Christianity began. What I have to say about itvnow is ancient thinking confirmed by present-day experience.

    Evil is a negative, not a positive term. It denotes the absence rather than the presence of something. It is the perceived privation of good, the shadow where the light ought to be. “The devil is a vacuum,” as a friend of mine once remarked to the no small bewilderment of a group of listeners in whose imagination the devil was anything but a vacuum. Evil is not an intruder in an otherwise perfect universe; finiteness presumes it. A thing is only seen to be evil when the capacity for good is present and unsatisfied. Evil is not a principle at war with good. Good is being and evil is not-being. When consciousness of being seeks further expression and finds itself hindered by its limitations, it becomes aware of evil.

    Plotinus believed that the involvement of spirit in matter is the source of evil, and Nakae Tôju, a Japanese pupil of Wang Yang-ming had a similar belief. Entanglement in matter brings with it will, and this will gives rise to desire, and from desire comes the potential for evil.

    Rudolf Steiner on Evil
    (Hermann) Lotze (1817-1881) concerned himself with the origin and nature of evil. His books include various important philosophical works such as the outstanding, “Microcosm”. He was a philosopher in whom heart forces were particularly well developed. He believed that the reality of evil in the world and in ourselves cannot be denied, but rejected the idea of its necessity to our evolution and education. This latter view held that evil and wickedness had to be part of a life. For otherwise the human soul would not have any means of purifying and developing itself. No counterforce to oppose so as to educate itself. Lotze was an athiest but assumed the existence of God as a divine force permeating and imbuing the world so he questioned these views in the following terms. If we assume that God needed evil and wickedness to enable us to develop and gain freedom of soul, this could only happen through our own inner work, through our own inner experience of developing and distancing ourselves from evil so that we could eventually become self-aware, conscious of our true being and worth. But he said what about the animal kingdom in which we see evil and wrong manifest in many ways? In the animal kingdom we can find all sorts of acts of cruelty which if they enter human life become the most dreadful depravity and vice. But education cannot be sited as a real possibility for the animal kingdom. One cannot re-educate animal instincts. So Lotze rejected this idea. In particular he drew attention to the fact that the education view contradicted the idea of God’s omnipotence. For it would only be necessary to develop from a worse to a better condition if the worse was already present rather than an indictment it seemed to him of God’s creation.

    Lotze rejects the justification for the presence of evil given by Leibniz, that even though evil exists, this is the best possible of all worlds. Lotza’s way out of the dilemma was to postulate that the cosmos as a whole is ordered and harmonious, but the specific instances of evil must be due to a divine wisdom that from our limited position we cannot fathom.

    Jacob Boehme’s solution was that In order for the Divine Being to know itself it must set up an opposition, it must create its own opposite in order to become self-aware. The beings that have been created form this necessary opposition.
    Steiner wanted to show how puny our attempts to solve the problem of evil has been. He believed that to come close to solving the problem of evil will take more than we can attain by sense bound thinking.

    The same Steiner lecture, but with a different translation can be found here, “Spiritual Science as a Treasure for Life: The Evil”

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  10. phoodoo: A world with nothing.

    That would be better?

    A world with no unnecessary suffering would be better than a world with unnecessary suffering, yes. Definitely. I’m not saying the world has to be empty, as in nothing exists. I am merely talking about unnecessary suffering.

    A world with a million different types of unnecessary suffering, is a worse world than one with 999.999 different types of unnecessary suffering. Obviously. It has one more type of unnecessary suffering, and could thus be improved by removing that one extra type. And then another, and another, and so on.

    Unnecessary suffering that a putatively omnipotent God could do something about. Yet doesn’t. But we’d expect a good person to do so. Still, God obviously refrains. It is only rational to conclude that there probably isn’t such a God after all.

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  11. keiths: Not even when the animal is a human being?

    If I could do something to help that person from experiencing the horror and pain of being burned alive, I would. I know that someone else is responsible, and carries the blame of setting him on fire. But even so, if I could, I would help him.

    I would even go so far as to say that anyone present, with means and opportunity, is under some obligation to try to help him if they can, or prevent that situation from happening in the first place.

    God doesn’t, yet presumably is able to, at no risk to himself. If God exists I am a better person than it. I think most human beings are.

    Ironically the people torching him are theists, following what they believe to be God’s moral law. Until theists can clean up their own acts, they should shut their pieholes about morals when speaking to atheists.

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  12. Rumraket,

    Unnecessary suffering that a putatively omnipotent God could do something about. Yet doesn’t. But we’d expect a good person to do so. Still, God obviously refrains. It is only rational to conclude that there probably isn’t such a God after all.

    The assumption is the suffering is unnecessary. Maybe it is necessary as Gods own Son suffered. The Messianic prophecy-Isaiah 53.

    Who has believed our message
    and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
    2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
    and like a root out of dry ground.
    He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
    nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
    3 He was despised and rejected by mankind,
    a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
    Like one from whom people hide their faces
    he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
    4 Surely he took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
    yet we considered him punished by God,
    stricken by him, and afflicted.
    5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
    the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.
    6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
    each of us has turned to our own way;
    and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.
    7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
    yet he did not open his mouth;
    he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
    and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
    so he did not open his mouth.
    8 By oppression[a] and judgment he was taken away.
    Yet who of his generation protested?
    For he was cut off from the land of the living;
    for the transgression of my people he was punished.[b]
    9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
    and with the rich in his death,
    though he had done no violence,
    nor was any deceit in his mouth.
    10 Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
    and though the Lord makes[c] his life an offering for sin,
    he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
    and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
    11 After he has suffered,
    he will see the light of life[d] and be satisfied[e];
    by his knowledge[f] my righteous servant will justify many,
    and he will bear their iniquities.
    12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,[g]
    and he will divide the spoils with the strong,[h]
    because he poured out his life unto death,
    and was numbered with the transgressors.
    For he bore the sin of many,
    and made intercession for the transgressors.

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  13. Nonlin.org:
    Entropy: Stop calling everybody a retard

    Nonlin the idiot: Not everybody. Just you and a few other dimwits like you. And only when deserved. Which is almost always.

    Well, well. So this “omnipotent” god forgot to instill the “you shall not lie” “ought” on you. Quite the useless “oughts” for theists. They could not care less about following them, yet they want everybody to imagine that they’re “oughts” just on their say so.

    You started calling everybody retards and dimwits, while showing very little self-awareness of your own idiocy. So, let’s keep quoting your supposed “oughts”:

    Matthew 7:
    3 “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 “Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? 5 “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

    You surely love making a fool out of yourself.

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  14. Nonlin.org: Pretty darn good!

    Pretty darn ad hominem. No big deal but the rules here ask that you take what interlocutors write at face value.

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  15. colewd: The assumption is the suffering is unnecessary.

    Are you seriously suggesting that the suffering of an animal caught in a forest fire it can’t escape, is necessary for something? If so, what is it necessary for, and how do you know it is?

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  16. One wonders how colewd decides what is unnecessary and what is not.

    And finally we get to the rub. Christian hospitals with people like this making decisions on peoples health care.

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  17. phoodoo:
    Right. But they can still blame God for it.

    I don’t. It’s useless to blame imaginary beings. I just point to the incoherence of believing in a magical being who is supposedly good and omni-everything, yet allows excessive suffering to occur.

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  18. Rumraket,

    Are you seriously suggesting that the suffering of an animal caught in a forest fire it can’t escape, is necessary for something? If so, what is it necessary for, and how do you know it is?

    You’re making an argument from ignorance. There is no way you have the proper perspective is indeed we are in a created universe. It is impossible for us to judge individual events and how they fit into the big picture. See the story of Job in the Old Testament,

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  19. Corneel: […] “some evil is necessary” and “evil exists because of our free will” are arguments that don’t mix well

    I already explained in 2. and you’re not clear why you disagree.

    Corneel: In the free will argument, evil is our own fault, and not obviously part of the Divine plan.

    What?!? That makes no sense.

    And as said before, why don’t you address the REAL problem of evil? From the materialist’s perspective. Sorry, physicalist. Physicist? Physician?

    Corneel: Nonlin.org: More importantly, did I nail you at least 80%?

    I think the more insightful observation here, is that if I take the list of antonyms, that 100% describes you. Does that tell you something?

    So you wouldn’t answer… Interesting. Let’s count that as 100%.
    I am an open book, but… not all those have [single] antonyms. So it’s not clear what you want (other than antagonize).

    The point is: atheists are wrong (a-gain) when claiming disbelief in God is the only thing that links them, instead of an entire philosophical system (religion). Do you agree? The few data points collected right here confirm.

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  20. DNA_Jock: I note that nonlin has failed to address the problem that anything he might do or say faces the same “you cannot know God’s will” rebuttal.

    Huh? That’s my rebuttal to your claim that you can second-guess God.
    That’s what Job is partly about. The fact that you had a poor teacher and/or you were a poor student is irrelevant.

    DNA_Jock: we were comfortable with the existence of rape and murder, etc. as necessary consequences of free will.

    Rape and murder are NOT “necessary consequences of free will”. Again, poor student/teacher.

    Totalitarians like to point out rape and murder are rare in their societies because “rape and murder are necessary consequences of freedom”. Would you rather live in a totalitarian society?

    Rumraket: A world with no unnecessary suffering would be better than a world with unnecessary suffering, yes.

    But to the materialist/physicalist, the world just is. No ifs, buts, un/necessary, better/worse, etc. So how do you even get the idea of a “better” world?

    Entropy: “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye,

    No retard. I love you, brother… and want you to do well. That’s the only reason I am spending my precious time telling you the truth. Try being less of an idiot in the future.

    Alan Fox: No big deal but the rules here ask that you take what interlocutors write at face value.

    I do, and asked for an explanation. Because you’re incoherent in your belief in both free will and physicalism. I would like to know where the incoherence originates. As far as socialism, I am simply disagreing with your assessment based on your own words.

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  21. Nonlin.org:
    Entropy: “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye,

    Nonlin the idiot: No retard. I love you, brother… and want you to do well. That’s the only reason I am spending my precious time telling you the truth. Try being less of an idiot in the future.

    You cannot read your own book of “oughts.” Check again ass-hole. That was not about love but about your lack of self awareness. Still, you surely have a very interesting way of showing that your imaginary friend’s “oughts” are nothing of the sort. Good job in ridiculing yourself and debunking your own “points.” Keep at it. Thanks to imbeciles like yourself it’s very easy to demonstrate that your religion is far from being a foundation for ethics and morality. Good thing that society continues domesticating your religion so that it does less and less harm.

    ETA: and that makes you a tiny little chihuaha barking and barking, thinking that it must sound like a wolf, yet making people laugh.

    What were you barking about authentic “oughts” little chihuaha? That they’re really real? Sure, sure. You show us how real they are little chihuahua. Show us. We’re impressed by your majestic barking.

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  22. Nonlin.org:
    I do, and asked for an explanation.

    There was an explanation, you illiterate buffoon:

    Alan Fox:
    Nope. Physicalist in that we haven’t exhausted physical explantations and haven’t found any non-physical ones useful.

    In the words of the idiot who wrote the OP: read again! If you don’t understand the answer, then ask for clarifications, but try and read for comprehension first.

    Nonlin.org:
    Because you’re incoherent in your belief in both free will and physicalism. I would like to know where the incoherence originates.

    The incoherence originates in your misunderstandings of atheism, physicalism, determinism, and maybe about free-will. You have to demonstrate first that physicalism means that there cannot be anything else but determinism. So far you have only claimed that to be the case. Claiming is not the same as demonstrating. Again, in the words of the idiot who wrote the OP:

    Nonlin.org:
    Are you aware claims without some backing are worthless? Even when repeated.

    I have explained, as have others, that physicalism is but an observation about the nature of what exists. So, a physicalist would think that everything is physical. Nowhere does that imply that everything is deterministic. Nowhere does that imply that everything is random either.

    Your turn: how does physsicalism imply that everything is deterministic? While you’re thinking about it (if you can think at all), try and remember that experiments showing randomness in quantum mechanics, for example, are experiments in physics!.

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  23. colewd: You’re making an argument from ignorance.

    I am making an argument from what we observe: The animal suffers in a situation where it’s suffering appears unnecessary.

    There is no way you have the proper perspective is indeed we are in a created universe. It is impossible for us to judge individual events and how they fit into the big picture.

    Then by definition you do not have a good reason to think that these events are necessary or justified.

    See the story of Job in the Old Testament

    I’m sorry but it doesn’t say in the story of Job why animals appear to suffer for no reason, and to the extent the story can be interpreted to constitute a fits-all excuse for why God allows apparently unnecessary suffering, I have no reason to believe the story is true. I don’t even buy the purported justification that the story offers. It seems to me wholly unnecessary that sentient beings go through some of the suffering that they do, in order for them to also experience some of the goods that they do.

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  24. Rumraket: The animal suffers in a situation where it’s suffering appears unnecessary.

    Is a baby shark with an upset stomach necessary or unnecessary suffering?

    Furthermore, as a materialist, it follows that a baby shark is just a certain arrangement of chemicals, so why should it matter what happens to those chemicals? They just become other chemicals eventually.

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  25. Nonlin.org: I do, and asked for an explanation. Because you’re incoherent in your belief in both free will and physicalism. I would like to know where the incoherence originates. As far as socialism, I am simply disagreing with your assessment based on your own words.

    Returning to your OP, I commented to point out there can be no problem of “evil” unless there is some idea of what “evilness” is. You haven’t addressed this and those that have have failed to establish a category that distinguishes evil from not-evil.

    Side-tracking from this by suggesting folks who are (or who you frame as) atheists, materialists, socialists (and – heaven forfend – abortionists) are somehow incapable or incoherent is ad hominem smoke screening.

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  26. Alan Fox,
    Alan, your point is so ridiculously misguided-expecting a theist, who doesn’t think the world is evil, to come up with a definition of evil to the atheists who claims evil is a problem for God.

    If you don’t think evil exists, great, then you agree with him, it is not a problem.

    However, for those who think it IS A problem, I guess it is for them to define what they mean, not him!

    How could you possibly get it so backwards.

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  27. Nonlin.org: Corneel: In the free will argument, evil is our own fault, and not obviously part of the Divine plan.

    Nonlin: What?!? That makes no sense.

    That’s interesting. I didn’t expect you to object to that. It seems quite clear to me that the entire story about A&E in the Garden of Eden is about humans corrupting God’s perfect creation by disobeying Him. In Augustinian theodicy, this point is made explicit : “The entry of evil into the world is generally explained as punishment for sin and its continued presence due to humans’ misuse of free will. God’s goodness and benevolence, according to the Augustinian theodicy, remain perfect and without responsibility for evil or suffering. ”

    Who bears that responsibility in your view?

    Nonlin.org: why don’t you address the REAL problem of evil?

    Because everytime I try to do that, you tell me off.

    Nonlin.org: I am an open book, but… not all those have [single] antonyms. So it’s not clear what you want (other than antagonize).

    What I want is to make you aware of your tendency to pigeonhole all people that disagree with you into your one-size-fits-all “atheist bad guy” category. Frankly, that strikes me as a bit immature.

    Nonlin.org: The point is: atheists are wrong (a-gain) when claiming disbelief in God is the only thing that links them, instead of an entire philosophical system (religion). Do you agree? The few data points collected right here confirm.

    The “few data points” that I have collected in my lifetime lead me to utterly reject your childish us-against-them view. Just because people disagree with you on one single topic doesn’t mean you can automatically assume they disagree on everything else. Look at yourself: you forced Alan into your atheist stereotype when he was telling you half of the terms didn’t apply to him! Do you really have trouble dealing with more than two types of people?

    2+
  28. Rumraket,

    Then by definition you do not have a good reason to think that these events are necessary or justified.

    Sure I do as it is all a component of free will. Suffering in this world is temporary. You are labeling it as unnecessary and this is simply an assertion you are making from a very limited perspective.

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  29. Apparently believing in the existence of God and the soul is the only thing that prevents theists from agreeing with Dr. Manhattan: “A live body and a dead body contain the same number of particles. Structurally, there’s no discernible difference. Life and death are unquantifiable abstracts. Why should I be concerned?”

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  30. Kantian Naturalist:
    Apparently believing in the existence of God and the soul is the only thing that prevents theists from agreeing with Dr. Manhattan:

    Next time put in a spoiler warning please! Some of us are getting the info from the TV series only and I don’t think he has directly spoken those words yet (although his ex has implied that that is his opinion).
    😃

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  31. colewd: Sure I do as it is all a component of free will. Suffering in this world is temporary. You are labeling it as unnecessary and this is simply an assertion you are making from a very limited perspective.

    I vaguely remember someone saying:

    “It is impossible for us to judge individual events and how they fit into the big picture”

    If it is impossible for Rum to know, then so it is for you. If you are right, then people and animals could very well be suffering for no good reason.

    Now, I am pretty confident that you don’t believe that to be true. So why do you use the argument that we cannot judge God’s actions, whereas you do exactly that whenever you decide that God is good?

    1+
  32. Corneel,

    Now, I am pretty confident that you don’t believe that to be true. So why do you use the argument that we cannot judge God’s actions, whereas you do exactly that whenever you decide that God is good?

    We have evidence about Gods overall plan. It’s called the Holy Bible. How familiar are you with this document?

    0
  33. Kantian Naturalist:

    That’s his line from the 1987 comic book!

    I figured that was from the comics. I gave up on them after my early teen Spiderman phase in the late 60s, but I believe I am missing out on good literature in the newer stuff, given that the genre is now called graphic novels.

    Anyway, speaking of reductionists, here is a special issue of Australasian Philosophical Review with Shaun Gallagher fighting for the good in a phenomenology-based, non-reductionist cognitive sciencee. Of course, he has to face the onslaught of reductionist evil-doers like Hohwy. Luckily, such evil is not a problem for him.

    0
  34. colewd:
    Corneel: Now, I am pretty confident that you don’t believe that to be true. So why do you use the argument that we cannot judge God’s actions, whereas you do exactly that whenever you decide that God is good?

    cloewd: We have evidence about Gods overall plan. It’s called the Holy Bible. How familiar are you with this document?

    I don’t know about Corneel, but I am very familiar with that book of fables. But, to the point: you say that we cannot judge, but then come back with a book filled with horrendous commands from some magical and vengeful being, as an answer about why this god is supposedly good. Are you familiar with that book yourself? Do you rather choose and reinterpret everything in it to fit current ethical standards? Do you ignore the old testament? Do you ignore the nasty parts of the new one? Isn’t this judging without having all the elements, yet based solely on your determination to forfeit your reason when dealing with this “being”?

    If we cannot judge “God” then we cannot judge either way. Neither as good, nor as evil. If we can judge, given the horrendous book, then we can judge either way. You cannot have it both ways.

    0
  35. Nonlin.org,

    DNA_Jock: I note that nonlin has failed to address the problem that anything he might do or say faces the same “you cannot know God’s will” rebuttal.

    Huh? That’s my rebuttal to your claim that you can second-guess God.

    Yes! That’s right!

    That’s what Job is partly about.

    Yes! It is!

    The fact that you had a poor teacher and/or you were a poor student is irrelevant.

    Like I said, your apologetics is poor. Oblivious as you are, I will try to explain the problem you face. You argue that I cannot know God’s will; specifically, “you know nothing about God’s reasons”. This is also an important point in Job – God does NOT explain to Job the reasons behind his suffering (Job is in fact the victim of a “Trading Places”-style wager).
    Here’s your problem nonlin: if I, DNA_Jock, cannot know God’s reasons, then neither can you, nonlin. So any and all claims that you might make about God’s intentions are groundless. Hence my assertion about the Colorado River Toad God and his plans for the human race.

    DNA_Jock: we were comfortable with the existence of rape and murder, etc. as necessary consequences of free will.

    Rape and murder are NOT “necessary consequences of free will”.

    Yes, I am glad that you agree! Rape and murder are NOT necessary consequences of free will. But the “this life is a test” variant of Anglican theodicy reckons that you need a bit of rape and murder around in order for life to be a real test – that was what I was brought up to believe. Silly, isn’t it? These days, I reckon that Cutting in line (a.k.a. queue-barging) would be sufficient level of evil and suffering to achieve the needed morality test – there’s no need for violence at all. That’s a minor blemish on the ‘free will’ theodicy. In French class, I learnt about the earthquakes, tsunamis and fires (especially those in 1755), and as an adult I studied inborn errors of metabolism; so for me, it is suffering unrelated to moral choices that is the problem.

    Totalitarians like to point out rape and murder are rare in their societies because “rape and murder are necessary consequences of freedom”. Would you rather live in a totalitarian society?

    They do? Really?
    ROFL

    ETA: somewhat ninja’d by Corneel. To respond to colewd: we appear to be more familiar with the Book of Job than you guys…
    ETA2 and by Entropy, dammit!

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  36. BruceS: Anyway, speaking of reductionists, here is a special issue of Australasian Philosophical Review with Shaun Gallagher fighting for the good in a phenomenology-based, non-reductionist cognitive sciencee. Of course, he has to face the onslaught of reductionist evil-doers like Hohwy. Luckily, such evil is not a problem for him.

    Did you notice that I had a response to him there? 🙂

    0
  37. Kantian Naturalist:
    Apparently believing in the existence of God and the soul is the only thing that prevents theists from agreeing with Dr. Manhattan: “A live body and a dead body contain the same number of particles. Structurally, there’s no discernible difference. Life and death are unquantifiable abstracts. Why should I be concerned?”

    I am aware that you are at least open to the possibility of a supernatural (or immaterial) existence, but for those who are married to their materialist-atheist views, then of course there is no difference.

    Any appearance otherwise is just an illusion. Just as is consciousness. Its just what some chemicals do occasionally.

    But (wink, wink) we know no ones believes that. Let them pretend.

    0
  38. DNA_Jock,

    ETA: somewhat ninja’d by Corneel. To respond to colewd: we appear to be more familiar with the Book of Job than you guys…

    What you appear not to understand is how it relates to the rest of the Bible. Your claim about competent readers not understanding anything about Gods will is false. I do have to admit you are making progress :-). Can you figure out why your claim is false? Here is a place to start.

    https://youtu.be/d0A6Uchb1F8

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  39. Kantian Naturalist: Did you notice that I had a response to him there?

    Nope — I should have scrolled down before shooting my mouth off.
    .
    The papers I linked are on my to-read list, but I had a look at yours and it makes sense to me overall, although I do have my usual concerns about making room for PP-sytle representations and processing. Also, I think there is a need for more explanatory approaches than relying solely on DST. For examples,I think scientists can empirically justify studying isolated subsystems of a on overall EEE cognitive architecture.

    I better post something on topic to balance my diversion of the thread.

    0
  40. DNA_Jock: if I, DNA_Jock, cannot know God’s reasons, then neither can you, nonlin. So any and all claims that you might make about God’s intentions are groundless.

    If theists are not trying to provide a full fledged theodicy, but rather only a defense of the reasonableness of belief, all they need claim is that some aspects of God’s actions are unknowable.

    It’s up to the theologians to then explain what humans can know about God and about human morality. I’ll plead ignorance on how they do that. But it’s not needed for the defense.

    0
  41. BruceS: If theists are not trying to provide a full fledged theodicy, but rather only a defense of the reasonableness of belief, all they need claim is that some aspects of God’s actions are unknowable.

    True, but off-topic.
    nonlin, phoodoo, and colewd are most certainly attempting a full fledged theodicy. And they are really really bad at it.
    nonlin asserted “you cannot know God’s will”.

    0
  42. colewd: What you appear not to understand is how it relates to the rest of the Bible. Your claim about competent readers not understanding anything about Gods will is false. I do have to admit you are making progress :-). Can you figure out why your claim is false? Here is a place to start.
    [link to youtube video about Isaiah…WTF?]

    No, silly billy. It’s nonlin‘s claim that you cannot know God’s will, not mine. Although I am enjoying your late addition of the qualifier “competent”.
    Let me guess, “competent” will turn out to be synonymous with “agrees with whichever of the mutually exclusive exegeses that colewd was indoctrinated with”.
    It’s an improvement over nonlin’s self-defeating argument, I guess.
    Perhaps you meant to link to this video, which is on Job, although given what it says at 3:30 – 5:00, perhaps not.
    😮

    1+
  43. Alan Fox: You haven’t addressed this and those that have have failed to establish a category that distinguishes evil from not-evil.

    So you don’t know good from evil? 3 month old does, but you don’t. Because definition?

    Alan Fox: Side-tracking from this by suggesting folks who are (or who you frame as) atheists, materialists, socialists (and – heaven forfend – abortionists) are somehow incapable or incoherent is ad hominem smoke screening.

    You’re mixing things.
    First point was that you have a belief system. Not just one belief as you wrongfully stated.
    Second, the coherence problem (which you have yet to address), is your belief both in free will and materialism (or whatever you call it).

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  44. Corneel: according to the Augustinian theodicy, remain perfect and without responsibility for evil or suffering. ”

    Who bears that responsibility in your view?

    You can’t see I am, not and do not represent Augustine?

    What has “responsibility” to do with the REAL problem of evil? Namely, how the heck does a materialist even have a knowledge of said evil? Quit dancing.

    Corneel: Because everytime I try to do that, you tell me off.

    Do your thing and don’t let anyone “tell you off” if indeed true. Which it isn’t. Given I asked you repeatedly to clarify.

    Corneel: What I want is to make you aware of your tendency to pigeonhole all people that disagree with you into your one-size-fits-all “atheist bad guy” category.

    Not the point, as explained repeatedly.

    Corneel: Just because people disagree with you on one single topic doesn’t mean you can automatically assume they disagree on everything else. Look at yourself: you forced Alan into your atheist stereotype when he was telling you half of the terms didn’t apply to him! Do you really have trouble dealing with more than two types of people?

    Wrong from A to Z:
    1. Who the heck cares about “us-against-them”? This is about exchanging ideas and learning something.
    2. Ditto “more than two types of people”.
    3. Are you indeed disagreeing on a single topic? Don’t lie.
    4. Let Alan speak for himself. He’s doing OK without help.
    5. Back to the topic. And quit dancing.

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