My Chapter in TCD is the Inspiration for Someone at Debate.org

I hope The Instigator on this forum does well with it. He begins:
In this debate, I shall argue that the existence of vast amounts of animal suffering is a compelling reason to reject the existence of a theistic, omni-benevolent, omnipotent and omniscient God. This debate is targeted specifically at Christians, and Christian responses to the argument. For those who are interested, the inspiration for this debate comes from the chapter "The Darwinian Problem of Evil" in the recent atheistic anthology The Christian Delusion

7 comments:

David Allred said...

Thanks for linking this. It's really a familiar argument and one that's not likely to be settled there.

It seems like inherent to all theodicy debates are a few assumptions that go unmentioned:

1. This is not the best of all possible worlds. Meaning, God could have and should have done better.

2. Philosophical monism is refused, meaning there is not just one thing in the universe, but many. Keep in mind that materialism is ultimately a monist world view, so the question from that vantage point naturally dismantles itself.

3. Time is constant, meaning what has happened has happened this way in total essense and can never be changed or undone. Our timeline is the timeline fovermore.

4. No benevolent 'ends' would ever justify the 'means.' (And natural selection, with life subsisting on life, is clearly a huge part of the means.) In other words, the result of charity is in no way worth the equation of poverty, etc.

It seems to me that the question begs itself really. If there is life, it arose from the product of adaptation and natural selection. If adaptation and natural selection, then environmental pressures, general empirical malaise, death, reproduction, competition, ad nausem.

If not these things, then no life. If no life, then what's the question?

So an omnipotent God could have used some other means to generate life? I have my doubts about that, like saying God can create a square circle.

Even if it doesn't, omni-benevolence demands suffering because to be all good, one must embody charity, and charity demands that something be lacking. Being all good demands that one have the property of forgiveness, which requires some kind of fault.

One who hasn't embodied charity has not embodied all that is good. One who has never forgiven has not embodied all that is good. Just like a life which has not undergone pressure from the environment doesn't increase complexity as much as one that does.

Chuck O'Connor said...

David you've just argued for the parsimony of atheistic evolution. Thanks for agreeing (finally) that your silly superstitions have no real value.

David Allred said...

Chuck,

Once again, it might be best for you to go ahead and outline for me what these silly superstitions might be, since you obviously have become a self-appointed authority on my belief structure.

I also think its facinating that you can so easily assume to know what I value and why I value it. Is it because I fully accept evolution that I thereby must value the things you value?

I'm trying to understand the steps you've taken to reach your conclusions about my values.

Chuck O'Connor said...

David

Your tactics are transparent. You are a garden variety christian apologist. I don't know what your values are but I estimate the worth (value) of your superstitions to be low. I base this on your rhetoric and inability for you to see how that telegraphs your worldview. Do you think you are the first person to forward the arguments you present?

David Allred said...

Chuck,

The first person? Oh my God, if we could only get back to the first people who have worked on this kind of crap and run it through the grinder a thousand times. Then we wouldn't be here making the same old arguments over and over again.

I'm going to spell out where I come down and just walk away, because I see no reason to continue really.

At least this way you can see my superstition for what it is:

I am a philosophical monist, leaning on the ideological side of the see-saw, probably mostly like Spinoza.

I am practically speaking a transhumanist, leaning toward Singularitarianism because of the anthropic prinicple, but rejecting a few of those tenants in favor of Spinozian theology, as well as some of de Chardin's writing.

I am existentially speaking a Christian, probably left of center.

I am historically speaking a skeptic and deconstructionist, riding the wave of Derrida. I apply this skepticism to the New Testament.

Eschatologically speaking, I am again a transhumanist.

What I am not is shoddy atheist who's adopted a single world view to capture all of life's complexity. You see, such thinking is nothing more than a "God of the Gaps" ontology working from the opposite direction.

As Heisenberg once said, "Now we know that we're never going to really know."

Have a nice night. ;)

Chuck O'Connor said...

David

You are a pretentious and defensive little boy who assumes my worldview without asking. You also are employed as a full-time Christian clergy-man in the US South and I seriously doubt you would present yourself as you have above to your congregants (nor have your arguments here offered any inside knowledge to the pretense you state).

Andre said...

David A is correct when he says that the debate so far seems a bit light (from Fournier's side), and that is hardly likely to be conclusive. That is because Fournier seems to be using a standard evangelical "God is love and light" defence, which really is most unhelpful. But let's wait and see, hopefully things improve.

And this chapter by John under discussion here effectively highlights this particular headshot against the Christian faith. There is simply no plausible answer to it. And David Aller, please distinguish between the possible and the probable. All this talk about "possible worlds" and so on is one of the main reasons why even the Templeton Foundation still acknowledges that the PoE still exists, stil, hurts Christianity in a big way. There is no solution - other than the one we are proposing.

John ran a discussion here a week or three ago. Please have a look at that, and the links from there, or else we will need to recycle all the same old same old here.

Christianity has a major, possibly unsolvable problem here. I have made up my mind to just politely ignore people who disagree with the fact that this problem exists, arguing as if the problem exists because certain "possibilities" are ignored.

I will however gladly discuss suggested solutions to your problem.