The Darwinian Problem of Evil Visualized

This is an excellent graphic video about natural evils and the problem of animal suffering that was made by Rhetorical Bullshit based on my chapter in The Christian Delusion. Just ask yourselves while watching it: 1) What did animals do to deserve their sufferings? (Hint: nothing); 2) What moral lessons are they supposed to learn from their sufferings? (Hint: none); 3) Will they all be rewarded in heaven for their sufferings? (Hint: What about parasites?); 4) Can a perfectly good God be reconciled with this amount of suffering? (Not a chance!).



[First posted 5/10]

22 comments:

louisressler.com said...

John,

I don't mean to diminish your argument from animal suffering, but some theists simply posit that animals have souls, thus they are in the same shoes as humans. How do you respond?

-Louis

John W. Loftus said...

Louis, what do you mean, and who makes this kind of argument? Process theologians? Which ones? If so, I didn't specifically address that in my book. But first, what do you mean?

Breckmin said...

"1) What did animals do to deserve their sufferings? (Hint: nothing);"

What do Christians do to "deserve" the eternal glory of God? (Hint: nothing).

At some point I hope you will begin to realize the pattern that is emerging here - not only with the English word "deserve" and applications of it..but also the absolute knowledge that fairness doesn't exist and is not a valid concept to appeal to.

"2) What moral lessons are they supposed to learn from their sufferings? (Hint: none);"

What would even be the purpose for their learning if they cease to exist? They are part of a temporary creation that is perishing.

shane said...

Breckmin.

You said, "what do christians do to deserve the eternal glory of heaven"?

Gee let me think-christians must believe in Jesus Christs meesage, that He actually died for sins, that He really was resurrected from the dead, and now sits at the right hand of the father.

Christians must be faithful unto death and endure in the face of torture if necessary.

Christians must hate there own lives and reject loved one's if they will not also believe.

Christains must refrain from all earthly pleasures even natural one's (sex outside of marriage) as if procreation has to be done within strict bonds.

I see many conditions Breckmin.

Christians must

louisressler.com said...

John,

Jim Spiegel, for example, believes that animals have souls and have a unique relationship with the creator. I don't know how strong his case is biblically or theologically, but he makes it nonetheless. For this reason he practices what he calls a "cruelty-free diet" (doesn't eat any meat produced on factory farms, etc.).

John W. Loftus said...

Yes, I've read a post of his on this and refuted his Biblical case.

But what bunk. Until he can make a serious case for this I'll just laugh. Did Jesus die for them too? The lengths Christians will go to defend their beliefs truly reminds me of flat earthers.

John W. Loftus said...

Louis, Here is the link.

Hendy said...

I find it a non sequitur that animals having souls would make everything work out. How exactly? Does soul = free will? Every theodicy I've heard seems to home in on one or more of the following:

- god won't override our free will

- we're "refined" and thus made more virtuous by suffering

- two worlds comprised of different goods which such that the sum of the goods is greatest but neither world enjoys all of them

- some other "morally sufficient reason" but we have no idea what it is

What does animals having souls satisfy of this? Are they made more virtuous? Can they now sin and thus having souls allows them to give their lives to Christ and be saved from those sins? Is there some other morally sufficient reason for them to suffer?

I just don't get it... If animals don't have some sort of free will I can't see how any of this applies. I also see them having souls as completely ad hoc. Is there even the slightest Biblical reason to suspect it?

Emory said...

@Breckmin
Have you considered what "eternal glory of God" means?

It is the shortness of our life while on this planet that gives life meaning. If there are no tears in heaven, and no suffering, no pain, no sleepiness, nothing at all unknown (i.e., we'll know as He is known), etc., etc., then what is the point? (Hint: Nothing)

That's why eternity never made sense to me. I became an ex-christian at 40 years old.

No one and no thing "deserves" anything. Certainly no one "deserves" to spend an eternity in a stupor.

Neal said...

I'm not sure why Loftus perceives animal pain as being a "problem". Let's look at this line of reasoning:

P1: If creatures sin, they will suffer.
P2: All creatures suffer.

C: Therefore, all creatures must be sinners.

How is Loftus not affirming the consequent?

Hendy said...

@Neal:

Very well...

(P) Any creature that sins must be aware of god's commands
(P) Animals sin

(C) Therefore, animals are aware of god's commands

---

(P) To be aware of god's commands, creatures must have received revelation from god
(P) Animals are aware of god's commands

(C) Therefore, animals have received revelation from god

---

(P) To not go to hell, a creature must accept Jesus as his/her personal savior
(P) All animals are creatures

(C) Animals must accept Jesus as their personal savior to not go to hell

---

(P) God created all creatures perfect and any who are not perfect (i.e. who sin) have been made so by their own free choice against god
(P) Animals are not perfect

(C) Animals have been made so by their own free choice against god (they have free will)

---

Do you accept all of these conclusions? I see them as what follows if we go down your path. Most of the time Christians want to maintain quite the "healthy" divide between humans and animals because if evidence of consciousness, free-will, and morality were present in animals it would tend to reduce the need for a soul-hypothesis to separate us from them rather than positing a continuous transition via natural selection.

Should we employ legal systems to begin governing animals from immoral behavior since they are sinning?

Should we attempt to evangelize them so they can stop their evil ways and avoid the consequences like natural disasters that follow?

Will they join us in heaven?

Is there biblical record to support animals having a "fall" of their own? Does each species have its own "Adam and Eve" such that original sin can be perpetuated through the generations via intercourse?

Neal said...

Very well...

(P) Any creature that sins must be aware of god's commands
(P) Animals sin

(C) Therefore, animals are aware of god's commands

Second premise is rejected by Christians.

---

(P) To be aware of god's commands, creatures must have received revelation from god
(P) Animals are aware of god's commands

(C) Therefore, animals have received revelation from god

Again, second premise is rejected by Christians.

---

(P) To not go to hell, a creature must accept Jesus as his/her personal savior
(P) All animals are creatures

(C) Animals must accept Jesus as their personal savior to not go to hell

Christians would reject the first premise since creatures who have not sinned will not go to hell.

---

(P) God created all creatures perfect and any who are not perfect (i.e. who sin) have been made so by their own free choice against god
(P) Animals are not perfect

(C) Animals have been made so by their own free choice against god (they have free will)

---

Your second premise here is ambiguous. What is meant by "not perfect"? Are you talking about moral perfection or something else? If you are talking about moral perfection, this premise is rejected by Christians as a non-sequitur. If you are talking about something else, then there is an equivocation with the way it was used in the first premise.

---

"Do you accept all of these conclusions? I see them as what follows if we go down your path. Most of the time Christians want to maintain quite the "healthy" divide between humans and animals because if evidence of consciousness, free-will, and morality were present in animals it would tend to reduce the need for a soul-hypothesis to separate us from them rather than positing a continuous transition via natural selection."

The distinction between humans and animals is in the former being God's image bearers. Animals are not moral agents. This is evident in the fact that we don't hold animals accountable for killing other animals. They're animals. They do what they do.

"Will they join us in heaven?"

I don't know, but if they do it will be based on factors other than moral accountability.

Neal said...

@Hendy,

After I posted my reply, it occurred to me that you may have misunderstood my syllogism. It wasn't an argument that I was presenting as my own, I was trying to summarize Loftus' objection. The conclusion is fallacious because it affirms the consequent. I think you and I are actually on the same page here.

Now perhaps Loftus would object that this isn't the argument he was making, but that raises the question as to exactly what argument he was trying to make. He rhetorically asks a number of questions, and most Christians would agree with the answers he gave for his questions 1-3. His answer to his forth question is offered without an argument.

John W. Loftus said...

Neal, I'm tired of your pseudo-logical thinking and misrepresenting of my arguments.

Here's one:

If hypothesis A is true then experiment B obtains.

Experiment B obtains.

Therefore hypothesis A is true.

I doubt you even know what I'm making reference here to. Unless you do you're not worth my time.

Hendy said...

@Neal:

Nevermind... I re-read your argument and thought you were making a point that since animals suffer, they must have sinned. I was extending what I took to be your argument because I was pretty sure a lot of issues arise if we start thinking that animals have the ability to sin. I guess I'm not positive what you were trying to accomplish with your post, then...

Neal said...

"Neal, I'm tired of your pseudo-logical thinking and misrepresenting of my arguments."

Your attempt to evade logical critique is noted.

"I doubt you even know what I'm making reference here to. Unless you do you're not worth my time."

Well you're one arrogant cuss aren't you? You seem to think you can turn bad arguments into good ones by dressing them up in the scientific method.

John W. Loftus said...

Neal, pffft, you are ignorant.

1) The Christian theistic God is believed to be omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenelovent.

2) Massive ubiquitous suffering takes place in the animal world among creatures who cannot be blamed for their sufferings, nor learn any moral lessons to speak of from them, nor be rewarded in heaven for them.

3) The existence of the Christian God is improbable given (2).

Neal said...

"The existence of the Christian God is improbable given (2)."

By what criteria? What other unstated assumptions are you working with in order to come to that conclusion? What is your justification for holding those assumptions?

John W. Loftus said...

Neal someone as ignorant as you who purposely mischaracterized my argument without a thought to what I actually have argued will not listen to me if all I can do here is write a few sentences here and there about why I think this is the case. And I need not re-invent the wheel here anyway, for I wrote a chapter about it for "The Christian Delusion." The bottom line is that there is no justification for this massive animal suffering in any of the Christian literature, none, and I've read extensively on it.

You are either interested in my arguments and will read them for yourself or it won't be worth my time here with you.

Cheers.

Neal said...

"The bottom line is that there is no justification for this massive animal suffering in any of the Christian literature, none, and I've read extensively on it."

How exactly would you know what constitutes "justification"?

"You are either interested in my arguments and will read them for yourself or it won't be worth my time here with you."

I'm interested in the ones that you make on this blog, in which you make lots of ignorant claims, then insult people who dare to criticize your arguments. You can whine all you want about people not reading your book, but why should anyone care when you aren't even competent enough to defend the arguments you make here? You like to lob molotov cocktails at Christians then you start whining when people start throwing them back at you.

But then there are plenty of sycophants here to stroke your ego, so maybe that's all this is about anyway.

Gandolf said...

Hey Neal seeing you are so worried about folks using any assumptions.

And given the fact that animals suffer.

Without use of assumption ,what evidence and proof do you use to be sure its a fact rather than an assumption that God exists.

Gandolf said...

John said..
1) What did animals do to deserve their sufferings? (Hint: nothing);

2) What moral lessons are they supposed to learn from their sufferings? (Hint: none);

3) Will they all be rewarded in heaven for their sufferings? (Hint: What about parasites?);

4) Can a perfectly good God be reconciled with this amount of suffering? (Not a chance!).

-------------------------

Neal puts the argument forward as..

I'm not sure why Loftus perceives animal pain as being a "problem". Let's look at this line of reasoning:

P1: If creatures sin, they will suffer.
P2: All creatures suffer.

C: Therefore, all creatures must be sinners.

How is Loftus not affirming the consequent?

-------------------------


In my opinion Johns line argument seems to be, how do folks figure? maybe a all powerful all knowing and all loving God can be reconciled to actually exist ,if he would create and allow a world where animals who had nothing to do with Adam and Eves disobedience.Must still also need suffer the way they do.

Johns line of argument seems to me to suggest, it seems far "more likely" God dont exist, and so more likely wasnt even involved in any of the situations that have unfolded.


-----------------------------

Neal seems to try and twist this argument around to try suggesting John is suggesting ,if creatures sin they will suffer, animals suffer,so therefore it means animals must be sinners.

-----------------------------

In my opinion this has little to do with it, and all Neal does here is try screwing the argument.Trys confusing matters.

John argument is simply asking where does the need for animals needing to also suffer for human mistakes, fall into line with the idea of the fall created by the humans Adam and Eve ,and a God thats suggested to be all powerful all knowing and all loving.

Why leave animals to suffer?.

Sure punish humans if God must.But why let animals suffer too?

-----------------------------

To me Neal is a prime example of deceitful manipulative tactics we often see used by many faithful folks.In my opinion Neal is a pretty close morror image of a Pope type, who just couldnt even simply be straight up about preistly child molestors ,instead they gotta turn and twist it.A pretty close mirror image of the Ergun Caner type, who try and bend it to suit if he think maybe he might get away with it to try to further the cause.

Neal says.."How is Loftus not affirming the consequent?"

Yeah John you naughty atheist, next time! remember to add "in my opinion" to keep the faithful "truth police" happy.After all these truthful folks of faith never state shit without truthful fact to back it up.There holy babble aint even about affirming the consequent

IE

1,Some folks said Jesus existed

2,Jesus existed and spoke about heaven and hell

3,Therefore heaven and hell exists too

Neal i happen read ! you tricky faith gits like im reading a open book .I know all ! your manipulative devide and rule tatics, even better than i know my way around the bush when tracking down venison.You might be smart with words and educated and great at manipulation and be highly skilled in the fine art of use of rhetorical bullshite like many faith preachers are, but your educated tricks dont impress me i think its a joke.

Seems like Neal the truth policeman anti "affirming the consequent fallacy" policeman, feel like he himself aint ever into any involvement in the fallacy of affirming the consequent.

1,On another previous thread Neal had kinda suggested, Theists morals tend to coincide with morals also recorded in some human written holy babble book they read.

2,Atheists dont have any holy babble books that coincide with their morals

3,Therefore theist morals must be more objective than atheists morals will ever be.