Intelligent Design

The Argument from Evil is Absurd

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Jerry and I are having a constructive exchange on the problem of evil.  My argument starts when Jerry asks me to define “good.”

Jerry, the issue is not how one would define “good” in any particular situation.  The issue is whether it is possible to define good in a way that is not grounded in subjective preferences.  The only way to do that is if there is some objective standard of good.  Such an objective standard would necessarily stand over and above all men’s subjective preferences.  The character of God is advanced as the source of that objective standard. 

The argument goes like this:

The good is that which is consistent with the objective transcendent standard grounded in the character of God.

Evil is the privation of the good.

Evil exists. 

Therefore, the good, of which evil is the privation, also exists.

Therefore, an objective transcendent standard grounded in the character of God exists.

Therefore, God exists. 

Thus, as Vivid has noted, the existence of evil – if the word “evil” means anything other than “that which I do not subjectively prefer” — is powerful evidence for the existence of God.

This all boils down this: Objective evil exists only if objective good exists. Objective good exits only if God exists. Objective evil exists. Therefore, God exists.

Now this does not necessarily mean that evil in the objective sense (i.e., the privation of the transcendent standard grounded in God’s character) exists.  It may be that “evil” means nothing except “that which I do not subjectively prefer.”  And if evil in the objective sense does not exist, the argument for the existence of God from the existence of evil (which implies the existence of objective good) never gets off the ground.

BUT, the atheist argument from evil never gets off the ground either. This should be plain from the my other post to which you have already alluded. 

If you use your definition and not use the word evil but the phrase,. “privation of the good” then you will end up with nonsensical arguments.

False.  One may agree or disagree with the argument I set forth above.  It is not nonsensical. 

But they [i.e., atheists] think their version of evil does exists and will point to examples.

It is certainly correct that all sane people, including atheists, understand that evil exists.  That is why I am constantly saying that no sane person lives their life as if materialism is true. 

So the standoff is to use logic to show that their definition is meaningless in the context of what the Christian God promise. That is what I am doing.

The challenge is to show that the atheist’s definition of evil is incoherent in any context.  And I have done that in the prior post.

I doubt your definition, which come from Augustine, will win many converts because it does not sync with the typical atheist’s use of the term. 

I advance arguments.  The arguments stand or fall based on whether they are grounded in logic and evidence.  A sound argument is sound regardless of whether it results in “converts.” 

Yes, my definition of evil does not sync with the typical atheist’s use of the term.  My project is to point out that when the typical atheist uses the term, they invariably do so in a way that is incoherent.  By this I mean that they invariably argue that God, if he exists, has “done evil thing X” or “allowed evil thing X to happen,” and since God would not do that, God does not exist.  The problem is that for the argument to work, “evil thing X” must actually be objectively evil.  And for the atheist “evil thing X” means “that which the atheist does not subjectively prefer.”  And it is incoherent to argue “God does not exist because he does not arrange affairs in a way I subjectively prefer.” 

The theodicy argument breaks down because [atheist’s] version of evil is meaningless.

If by the “theodicy argument” you mean “the argument from evil,” we agree.

 But I doubt atheists would accept your definition of evil.

Of course, their premises preclude them from accepting my definition.

So how can you claim that their argument is incoherent based on it.

Perhaps “incoherent” is the wrong word.  Absurd is probably better.  To argue that God does not exist on the ground that he does not arrange affairs in a way I subjectively prefer is not incoherent.  All one has to do is advance the following syllogism:

Major Premise:  If God exists, he would prevent evil (defined as “that which I do not subjectively prefer) from happening.

Minor Premise: Things that I do not subjectively prefer happen all the time.

Conclusion:  Therefore, God does not exist.

The argument is not incoherent.  Rather, it is based on an absurd major premise. 

Do you have evidence that atheists use your definition?

You raise an interesting point.  When they argue from the problem of evil, atheists implicitly use my (i.e., Augustine’s) definition of evil.  Otherwise, as anyone who thinks about it for two seconds can see, the argument is absurd (see the absurd syllogism above).  What does this mean?  It means that atheists cannot adhere consistently to their own premises.  And that is not surprising (no sane person . . .).  Instead, as is often the case, they reject the existence of objective evil while smuggling that very thing in through the back door when they argue from the “problem of evil.”

154 Replies to “The Argument from Evil is Absurd

  1. 1
    Yarrgonaut says:

    Couldn’t they be accepting Augustine’s definition for the sake of argument?

  2. 2
    Barry Arrington says:

    Yarrgonaut, no, because accepting it for the sake of argument would undermine their argument. IOW, accepting for the sake of argument that a proposition is true (“God exists”) is something you cannot do if one is trying to argue that God does not exist. It results in the following incoherence: Assume for the sake of argument God exists, blah blah blah, therefore, God does not exist.

  3. 3
    chuckdarwin says:

    Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
    Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
    Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
    Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?
    Epicurus said it first, said it best and it cannot be refuted by playing sophistic games of “objective” vs. “subjective” morality. The so-called dichotomy of “no good without evil” begs the questions “from whence cometh evil” (obviously God if you are a theist) and “what is evil” (that which is not good, thus spinning us off into tautology land…).
    Morality, by definition, is objective because morality is a social construct–it defines the rights and duties of each person vis a vis every other person. Another word for objective morality is law which derives by force (from the sovereign) or consensus (from the people). The fact that morality, i.e. the law, can change in one of these two ways does not make it “relativistic” or “subjective.”

  4. 4
    Barry Arrington says:

    Chuck writes

    Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?

    Let us insert the atheist’s definition of “evil” into this question:
    Is God willing to arrange affairs in a way that I subjectively prefer, but not able?
    The question is absurd Chuck. Why should anyone care about whether God is able to arrange affairs to please you. Or anyone else.
    As you know, your own premises dictate that your conception of evil is yours only. And if Eichmann has another conception, you have no ground on which to argue that yours is superior to Eichmann’s.
    Let’s have another go at your question from Eichmann’s perspective.
    “Is he able [to allow me to continue to completion the mass slaughter of the Jews], but not willing? Then he is malevolent.”
    Again, absurd.
    You see, Chuck, just as I demonstrated in the OP, your argument works only if there is objective evil. And objective evil exists only if there is objective good. And objective good exists only if God exists. Therefore, your argument works only when it does not work. In a word, it is incoherent.
    Now it is fair to ask why God allows objective evil to exist. But it is incoherent to argue from the existence of objective evil to the non-existence of God.

  5. 5
    Barry Arrington says:

    Chuck:

    Another word for objective morality is law which derives by force (from the sovereign)

    The Holocaust was legal. Far from violating any internal law of Germany, it was pursued pursuant to the law of Germany.
    There you have it folks: Accordingly to Chuck the Holocaust was objectively moral.
    Chuck, if your premises lead to absurd conclusions, you should re-examine your premises.

  6. 6
    jerry says:

    Barry,

    I am having a problem wrapping my mind around your argument. I maintain that evil does not exist except for the one instance I have indicated. Since all other designations of events as evil do not exist I believe it then negates your argument. But it also negates the argument against God because of the existence of evil. Are we playing semantics. Maybe. I don’t believe I am but admit I could be persuaded.

    Aside: I have no proof that this evil I believe in exists. But if it does exist then this only form of evil cannot be used in an argument to disprove God.

    You could say that this evil which I believe in is the privation of the Good in one basic way, the separation of an individual from that Good for eternity.

    No one is using the deprivation of God from eternity as the reason there is no God. They are using unpleasant events in this world as the basis of that proof. Primarily natural events not moral ones.

    But what everyone else is calling evil, I do not believe are really evil. They are just unpleasant or undesirable things. All are finite and temporary and are insignificant compared to eternity.

    I am sure this could be expressed better. But basically there is nothing evil except the eternal privation of God. All other things called evil are just unpleasant events and are finite. As such they can not be used to negate God because these finite events exist when God is promising literally something infinitely more.

    Further aside: we could have a debate about why these unpleasant events exist. I believe they must exist to have a meaningful world. I believe in Leibniz’s “Best of All Possible Worlds” proposition. The then related question is what has to be to make this proposition valid. That is the much bigger question.

  7. 7
    vividbleau says:

    Jerry
    As I said yesterday I don’t think we are very far off in our thinking.

    Let me pose this scenario. Immediately after the fall, before any progenitors , while still in the garden, before any effects of the fall were visible, did evil exist? I say yes

    Vivid

  8. 8
    Yarrgonaut says:

    Barry Arrington, what about “If God exists, then Evil exists, blah blah blah therefore the existence of God results (allegedly) in contradiction.”?

  9. 9
    Barry Arrington says:

    Jerry,
    I tend to think that the issue you have is one of categories. My argument is ontological (the nature of reality; being). It seems to me your are responding from an epistemological (knowing and how we know) point of view.

    This is what I mean. As I said above, the argument for the existence of God from the existence of objective evil does NOT depend on knowing whether any particular thing is evil. In other words, it is not an epistemological argument. Instead, the argument is based on the possibility of whether objective evil can exist. In other words, it is an ontological argument.

    The argument goes like this:
    Objective evil does not have independent existence.
    Instead, objective evil is the privation of the objective good.
    Therefore, the existence of evil is derivative of the existence of the objective good of which it is the privation.
    Objective evil exists.
    It follows from the above, that if objective evil exists, then objective good also exists.
    But objective good cannot exist apart from an objective and transcendent standard.
    Therefore, if objective evil exists, an objective and transcendent standard must also exist.
    The source of an objective and transcendent standard is the character of God.
    Therefore, God exists.

    Note that I did not have to conclude that any particular thing is good or evil to make this work. The argument works if objective evil exists, whatever particular thing one considers to be objective evil.

    Therefore, if anything — no matter what that thing is — is objectively evil, the argument works and leads to the conclusion that God exists.

  10. 10
    Fasteddious says:

    Here is a somewhat different take on the problem of evil; not as sophisticated as many Theodicy arguments and philosophical treatices, but possibly helpful for some: https://thopid.blogspot.com/2020/02/the-problem-of-evil-theodicy-101.html

  11. 11
    harry says:

    Barry Arrington @ 9,

    That was an excellent post.

    From a Christian perspective evil and suffering can be understood, I think, by way of the following story:

    A father of a big family had to leave the care of his family to his eldest son since he had no choice but to be away for a couple of years. The father knew that things were going to become very difficult while he was gone. He asked the eldest son to do whatever it took to care for his younger siblings, and warned him in advance that doing so would entail much suffering on his part.

    And so it happened. Years later the eldest son’s younger siblings find out about those two years; they realized that they had been shielded from all distress and had been oblivious to what their elder brother had suffered for their sakes. They were upset with their father. They said to him “Why didn’t you tell us what was going on? We would have helped out! Why did you think so little of us?”

    Christians who experience evil and suffering must realize that our Heavenly Father, unlike the one in the story, thinks very highly of us. He expects us to share the burden of carrying the cross with His Son, Who explicitly told us that we must take up the cross and follow Him.

    As St. Paul put it “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church …”
    — Colossians 1:24

    Even though Paul’s remark is mysterious and leaves us wondering “What could possibly be lacking in the sufferings of Christ?”, it makes sense if we realize that we were all meant to share with our Elder Brother the burden of the cross.

    Our sufferings and the evil we endure have redemptive value if we unite them to the sufferings of Christ. One of the verses of Amazing Grace says it well:

    Must Jesus bear His cross alone, and all the world go free?
    No, there’s a cross for everyone, a cross for you and me.

  12. 12
    vividbleau says:

    Fast
    Yes people give little thought to the “how “God could prevent the evil actions of moral agents, I doubt they would not like it very much.

    Vivid

  13. 13
    EDTA says:

    Old arguments of course, and all off-base:

    >Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
    Perhaps willing and able, but not ready to put a stop to it yet, for reasons we are not fully privy to.

    >Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
    Able? Yes. But unwilling to do it right now and to our satisfaction does not make him malevolent.

    And the remaining questions become superfluous.

  14. 14
    ET says:

    Evil is our doing. Evil is our responsibility. We are judged by how we deal with it. That’s just the way it is.

  15. 15
    jerry says:

    Barry,

    You said:

    Objective evil exists

    How do you know that evil exists? I certainly do not know that for sure. I maintain that it doesn’t exist unless there is a God who has provided the opportunity of an eternal union with Him and somehow that union is denied. Then that is the only evil that exists in our creation.

    But that assumes the Judeo Christian God exists which I believe and think probable but it certainly isn’t absolute. If it were absolutely clear then there would be no atheists. But if there is no God, the concept of evil in anyway makes no sense. And if the Judeo Christian God exists, then the eternal deprivation from Him is the only evil that exists.

    Whether God exists or not, the average person will say unwanted events happen. That’s life. This person will then call some of these unwanted events evil. But that is arbitrary. And we have the conflation of different definitions into the one word which makes the discussion incoherent.

    But that is not what you are talking about. It seems you are saying evil exists because God or Good exists. But that is an assumption.

    What I am doing is not proving there is a God. That is not my objective. What I am doing is proving that the existence of unwanted events or what the average person calls evil is not a proof there is no God. I prefer to steer clear of concepts such as ontological and epistemological. I believe the logic is much simpler.

    Given all that, the average person desperately wants to use the word “evil.” Just look at the comments on these two OP’s and past OP’s that discussed evil. It is so ingrained in us to think of the world this way. So I don’t expect many will stop using the term.

  16. 16
    Barry Arrington says:

    Jerry,

    How do you know . . .

    Again with approaching the question from epistemology.

    If you are unwilling to consider the ontology of evil, you will never understand the argument.

    It seems you are saying evil exists because God or Good exists. But that is an assumption.

    You are getting closer, but you are not quite there. I am saying that IF objective evil exists, then God exists. That is not an assumption. It is a deduction.

    the average person desperately wants to use the word “evil.”

    Of course they do. Because every sane person knows that objective evil does exist. And that is why our atheist interlocutors twist themselves into such knots when they try to deny it.

    I prefer to steer clear of concepts such as ontological and epistemological. I believe the logic is much simpler.

    My argument from the ontology of objective evil is quite simple. A bright child can understand it.

  17. 17
    Barry Arrington says:

    Harry,

    He expects us to share the burden of carrying the cross with His Son

    “I want to know Christ and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings,” Paul also said.

  18. 18
    harry says:

    Barry Arrington @ 17,

    Yes, and Philippians 3:10-11, which you cited:

    … that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that if possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

    sound a lot like Romans 8:16-17:

    … it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

    Both make willingness to share in Christ’s sufferings quite necessary in order to “attain the resurrection” and to be “glorified with him.”

  19. 19
    kairosfocus says:

    BA, the basic challenge is that we are at first principles which are mutually entangled. It’s like looking at facets of a jewel, the whole is in the part and the part in the whole. From rational freedom and first duties, we see that moral government is embedded in reality from its roots up. In that context, such can only be grounded in the inherently good, utterly wise. As we explore onward, we see that we need necessary, maximally great being, which embraces all that is great-making and nought that is not. God is not a trickster or capricious, etc. In that context we gradually understand his goodness as stemming from and bound up in his pure, maximal love that cherishes and opens up a world in which there are creatures who albeit finite, can love and so are free. Perfect maximal love working out in thought, word, deed is the heart of goodness and as we appropriately respond and reflect such, goodness flows from us too. In that context evil stems from self-centred abuse of freedom and frustrates, perverts, despoils, wrecks what is from its proper end. Which is the heart of evil. Which also will be fundamentally incoherent. KF

  20. 20
    BobRyan says:

    Socialists live in a world of contradictions. They view themselves as morally superior to those who are less enlightened. They are the ones who want to decide what is right and what is wrong. They want to use government to force people to submit through any means necessary. They see people as nothing more than animals in need of control.
    Japan and Germany had high ranking people put on trial for committing war crimes, but ignored the same actions taken by the Soviet Army. Stalin was a socialist and they want to give him a free pass. They go so far as to limit just how many people he murdered. Stalin was the biggest mass murderer in history.

  21. 21
    BobRyan says:

    Those who believe there are no moral absolutes must believe there is no free will. If there is no free will, there should be no laws. Without free will, no one can be held accountable for anything. They are just doing what their brains have been programmed to do.

  22. 22
    jerry says:

    Note that I did not have to conclude that any particular thing is good or evil to make this work. The argument works if objective evil exists

    Two things:

    First – I do not agree that your argument works because I don’t believe you have shown that evil exists. I doubt you could find a school child who would understand it. I am more interested in adults who can understand it.

    Second – You seem to be saying that there are no examples of evil in this world only that it somehow exists?

    For a term that is used a lot it is strange that there are no examples. First time I ever encountered that observation in my life time.

  23. 23
    Barry Arrington says:

    Jerry,

    I do not agree that your argument works because I don’t believe you have shown that evil exists.

    You do not understand my argument if you think it depends on showing that evil exists.

    You seem to be saying that there are no examples of evil in this world only that it somehow exists?

    I said nothing remotely like this. Again, you do not understand the argument.

  24. 24
    jerry says:

    Again, you do not understand the argument.

    Agreed!

    But just as an exercise why don’t you provide some examples of evil.

  25. 25
    Truthfreedom says:

    @20 BobRyan:

    Stalin was the biggest mass murderer in history.

    True.

  26. 26
    Truthfreedom says:

    @9 Barry Arrington:
    Excellent post.

    Note that I did not have to conclude that any particular thing is good or evil to make this work. The argument works if objective evil exists, whatever particular thing one considers to be objective evil.

    (Emphasis added).
    Atheists focus on how evil is instantiated and overlook the fact that it exists. (Ontology vs epistemology).
    And hence all the conundrum.

  27. 27
    bornagain77 says:

    TF,

    BobRyan: “Stalin was the biggest mass murderer in history.”

    Truthfreedom: “True.”

    Actually, this researcher claims that “Mao beat out Stalin” in monstrous evil.

    Chairman MAO: Genocide Master (Black Book of Communism)
    “…Many scholars and commentators have referenced my total of 174,000,000 for the democide (genocide and mass murder) of the last century. I’m now trying to get word out that I’ve had to make a major revision in my total due to two books. I’m now convinced that Stalin exceeded Hitler in monstrous evil, and Mao beat out Stalin….”
    http://wadias.in/site/arzan/bl.....de-master/

    Moreover, although it took them far longer, a case can be made that Muslims, via their continual ‘holy’ jihad against non-believers, exceeded even these atheistic tyrants in terms of monstrous evil:

    Tears of Jihad – Mar 3 2008 | by Bill Warner
    Excerpt:,,,120 million Africans,,,
    ,,,60 million Christians,,,
    ,,,80 million Hindus,,,
    ,,,10 million Buddhists,,,
    This gives a rough estimate of 270 million killed by jihad (since Islam was founded).
    https://www.politicalislam.com/tears-of-jihad/

    Verse

    Matthew 5:21-22
    Murder Begins in the Heart
    21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.
    https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+5%3A21-22

  28. 28
    Truthfreedom says:

    @27 Bornagain77:
    Thank you for the data. The competition is really fierce.

    Murder Begins in the Heart. Matthew 5:21-22

    Right now is: murder begins in the brain neurochemicals (and it’s an illusion ).
    We owe so much to the barnacle collector and his followers.

  29. 29
    vividbleau says:

    Jerry,
    Did you miss my post #7 or was it just not worthy of your response? ( don’t know how to do the smiley face thingy)

    Vivid

  30. 30
    Truthfreedom says:

    @29 Vividbleau:
    Blank space + two points followed by end parenthesis.
    How is your daughter-in-law doing?

  31. 31
    vividbleau says:

    TF
    Thanks for asking. She is getting better but it comes and goes, she feels good for a few hours then not so good. Last week was rough chills, fever, body feeling like it’s on fire, Severe nausea, really bad headaches, etc.
    What is so puzzling is that her Covid test came back negative and her common flu test came back negative, we are all trying to figure out what the heck she has.

    Vivid

  32. 32
    jerry says:

    Did you miss my post #7

    I saw it but didn’t know exactly what you meant by it. Since I only believe there is one evil for humans and that is eternal separation from God, that obviously existed as a possibility before the Fall and after the Fall. So I am not sure what the timing of the Fall had to do with it. I don’t know what I was supposed to say other than what I just did.

    So evil in my definition of it, is a possibility for every person that ever existed and will exist. The Fall has no relevance to it existing as a possibility. I am aware that some say the only reason we have natural disasters or anything naturally bad is because of the Fall.

    The only reason I assign the word “evil” to my definition is because it is eternal.

    We have a tendency to use the same word, “evil”, for numerous situations and then assume we are discussing the same thing. But we are not and that is the main problem with the word. It is why I ask people to not use it and then use the definition one has in mind to express the same idea. I often use the phrase, “unpleasant events.”

    If everyone here was asked not to use the word “evil” but some equivalent word or phrase in its place, then maybe we could be on common ground. So I look at “lack of the good” or something like it to be a start but then I would ask for the replacement of “good” with its definition since I can find a lot of ways this term is used. The objective is to reduce ambiguity.

    That way we could all be on the same page. But we are not. We are just talking past each other with our own definitions kept safely in our heads as we conflate very different concepts with the same word.

  33. 33
    vividbleau says:

    Jerry
    “The only reason I assign the word “evil” to my definition is because it is eternal.”

    I don’t know what to make of this, the only thing that is eternal ( no beginning ,no end, etc) is God ,so evil exists in God? Somehow I don’t think that’s what you mean.

    Vivid

  34. 34
    jerry says:

    the only thing that is eternal

    I suggest you look up the common usage of the term, “eternal.”

    There’s eternal bliss and eternal damnation. And a lot of other common usages. All taught in Christianity.

  35. 35
    vividbleau says:

    Jerry

    I said that did you miss it ? Now I know what you meant. I suggest you not be so condescending

    Vivid

  36. 36
    jerry says:

    I suggest you not be so condescending

    I apologize. I didn’t mean to come across as condescending.

  37. 37
    BobRyan says:

    bornagain77 @ 27

    There were millions sent to the gulags, which was a death sentence without actually being called a death sentence. Those who died pushed Stalin up to around 100,000,000 dead, which beats out Mao by about 20,000,000. Had Mao been given more time, he would have passed Stalin.

  38. 38
    bornagain77 says:

    BobRyan at 37, for Darwinists, what’s a few more 10 million dead here or there? As Dawkins said, “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. ”

    “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, River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life

    Oh well Mr. Dawkins, Que sera, sera!

    The unimaginably horrible consequences of Darwinian ideology imposed at the government level is simply lost for each individual person with such large numbers.

    Hitler, Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Mao – quotes – Foundational Darwinian influence in their ideology (Nov. 2018)
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/historian-human-evolution-theorists-were-attempting-to-be-moral-teachers/#comment-668170

    Here’s what happens when Atheists/evolutionists/non-Christians take control of Government:

    “169,202,000 Murdered: Summary and Conclusions [20th Century Democide]
    I BACKGROUND
    2. The New Concept of Democide [Definition of Democide]
    3. Over 133,147,000 Murdered: Pre-Twentieth Century Democide
    II 128,168,000 VICTIMS: THE DEKA-MEGAMURDERERS
    4. 61,911,000 Murdered: The Soviet Gulag State
    5. 35,236,000 Murdered: The Communist Chinese Ant Hill
    6. 20,946,000 Murdered: The Nazi Genocide State
    7. 10,214,000 Murdered: The Depraved Nationalist Regime
    III 19,178,000 VICTIMS: THE LESSER MEGA-MURDERERS
    8. 5,964,000 Murdered: Japan’s Savage Military
    9. 2,035,000 Murdered: The Khmer Rouge Hell State
    10. 1,883,000 Murdered: Turkey’s Genocidal Purges
    11. 1,670,000 Murdered: The Vietnamese War State
    12. 1,585,000 Murdered: Poland’s Ethnic Cleansing
    13. 1,503,000 Murdered: The Pakistani Cutthroat State
    14. 1,072,000 Murdered: Tito’s Slaughterhouse
    IV 4,145,000 VICTIMS: SUSPECTED MEGAMURDERERS
    15. 1,663,000 Murdered? Orwellian North Korea
    16. 1,417,000 Murdered? Barbarous Mexico
    17. 1,066,000 Murdered? Feudal Russia”

    This is, in reality, probably just a drop in the bucket. Who knows how many undocumented murders there were. It also doesn’t count all the millions of abortions from around the world.
    http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/NOTE1.HTM
    From 1900-1987 over 250 million dead through Atheism’s grasp for domination:
    http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/COM.TAB1.GIF
    http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/COM.ART.HTM

    Who Killed More: Hitler, Stalin, or Mao? – Ian Johnson
    https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2018/02/05/who-killed-more-hitler-stalin-or-mao/

    Atheism’s Body Count *
    https://www.scholarscorner.com/atheisms-body-count-ideology-and-human-suffering/

    Atheist Murderers
    http://www.thomism.org/atheism.....erers.html

    etc… etc… etc…

    My opinion is that nobody will ever know the real numbers for deaths. But it is interesting to note that every time a revision is made to the numbers of dead (with some certainty) that the revision is almost always in the upwards direction. Never a revision downwards.

  39. 39
    JVL says:

    Bornagain77: for Darwinists, what’s a few more 10 million dead here or there? As Dawkins said, “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. ”

    But he’s not saying he doesn’t care!! He’s not saying it’s a good thing! He’s just saying that’s the way it is. “[N]or any justice.” He doesn’t like it anymore than you do. He’s saying that unguided processes cannot care or take pity, we have to make up the difference.

    The unimaginably horrible consequences of Darwinian ideology imposed at the government level is simply lost for each individual person with such large numbers.

    I don’t know any biologist or atheist that thinks Darwinian ideology should have anything to do with government policy except when dealing with mutating pathogens and nearly extinct life forms.

    Here’s what happens when Atheists/evolutionists/non-Christians take control of Government:

    Most Germans in the 1930s were not atheists, they elected the fascists and then afterwards found out what a colossal mistake they had made. Most of the Russians who supported the revolution during the 1910s were not atheists, they supported what they thought was strong leadership and then afterwards discovered that they should have done things a bit differently.

    Unscrupulous and pathological individuals are always quick to exploit a situation where things are in flux and they have some support. Being atheists isn’t what made them evil (if I am allowed to use the term this once!), they were sick and broken and not enough people stood up to them when they got the reigns of power.

    And sometimes ideas born out of fear get people to behave very badly. I just heard recently that during the Black Plague people all over Europe, not knowing what was causing the wholesale deaths, decided to blame a group of people they had decided were the cause: the Jews. Whole Jewish enclaves were wiped out because people were scared and were desperate to stop the slaughter. The Jews themselves seem to suffer fewer deaths which may be down to better hygienic practices but it made them look even more responsible. A sad, sad chapter in European history. Nothing to do with evolution or atheism.

    It’s not atheism or Dawinists you should fear. Fear fear and those who choose to exploit it.

  40. 40
    bornagain77 says:

    JVL “But he’s not saying he doesn’t care!!”

    But alas, since, under Darwinian premises, Dawkins himself is purely a material being with no free will, i.e. with no moral agency, then it directly follows that Dawkins cannot possibly care.

    Tell me, exactly where is the ‘meat robot’ of Dawkins, since he has no free will, going to step in to impose justice on a unjust world? The denial of free will, moral agency, by atheists is insane!

    “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 rest of your argumentation in your post is similarity superficial and insane so I will not even bother.

  41. 41
    JVL says:

    Bornagain77: But alas, since, under Darwinian premises, Dawkins himself is purely a material being with no free will, i.e. with no moral agency, then it directly follows that Dawkins cannot possibly care.

    That’s why I don’t participate in the free will discussion. I believe Dr Dawkins does love and care and wants to protect other people from plagues and pestilence and such. If that means he’s wrong about free will then he’s wrong.

    Tell me, exactly where is the ‘meat robot’ of Dawkins, since he has no free will, going to step in to impose justice on a unjust world? The denial of free will, moral agency, by atheists is insane!

    You’ll have to argue with him about that.

    The rest of your argumentation in your post is similarity superficial and insane so I will not even bother.

    Fine. Why did you participate in the discussion? One of three things was going to happen: I was going to stand my ground which you find ‘insane’, I was going to run away with my tail between my legs or, just maybe, I was going to admit I was completely mistaken. Since the third option was pretty unlikely I suspect you were anticipating one of the others to come about. If that was the case then what did you hope to get out of the conversation? I like to find out what and how other people see the world. I like to get to know people. What about you? Why did you bother?

  42. 42
    bornagain77 says:

    JVL

    That’s why I don’t participate in the free will discussion.

    Later on

    Why did you participate in the discussion?

    LOL, well for you, the denial of free will is insane and refutes your atheism. so it is obvious why you would refuse to participate. For me, I have much better things to do than argue with someone who refuses to address the evidence honestly. Moreover, you did not start nor were you part of this discussion to begin with. I was addressing TF, vivid, BobRyan, and Jerry. Perhaps they have time to waste on you.

  43. 43
    JVL says:

    Bornagain77: Moreover, you did not start nor were you part of this discussion to begin with. I was addressing TF, vivid and Jerry. Perhaps they have time to waste on you.

    Okay!! Stay safe, stay healthy.

  44. 44
    Truthfreedom says:

    @43 Bornagain77:

    Perhaps they have time to waste on you.

    Until adversaries of some caliber arrive. Sparrings have their purpose too.

  45. 45
    Truthfreedom says:

    @41 JVL

    That’s why I don’t participate in the free will discussion.

    You do not participate because it is one of the most difficult ones. Most people do not even understand the implications of this. That’s why you (and others) hide behind the ‘I’m not interested’ quote. And you are fooling no one.

  46. 46
    vividbleau says:

    “Perhaps they have time to waste on you.”

    Sigh, we can be better than this.

    Vivid

  47. 47
    JVL says:

    Truthfreedom: Until adversaries of some caliber arrive. Sparrings have their purpose too.

    Thanks for your support.

    You do not participate because it is one of the most difficult ones. Most people do not even understand the implications of this. That’s why you (and others) hide behind the ‘I’m not interested’ quote. And you are fooling no one.

    I choose not to participate because I can’t parse the arguments for there being no free will; it feels like I do have free will so I have nothing to contribute. I’m not hiding at all. I’m being honest. I guess I’m not of a high enough caliber then.

  48. 48
    JVL says:

    Vividbleau: Sigh, we can be better than this.

    And I thought the atheist would be the one telling others their opinions and views don’t mean anything!!

    Anyway, I’m not taking it personally. Bornagain77 I know has very strong opinions and views and I respect that; he(?)’s been very, very consistent over a long period of time. Truthfreedom seems to enjoy sniping at views he(?) doesn’t agree with just for the pleasure of it which means I probably won’t respond to his(?) posts much in the future.

    I don’t mind being disagreed with! That’s fine. But, if in the back of your mind you think “This person is just another one of those materialist nutters who can’t think” then don’t waste my time and yours responding. As I’ve said before, I like getting to know people and finding out why they think the way they do. I don’t expect to come to an agreement. I hope to build some respect and consideration so that we can move forward on some important issues that will require compromises from every one.

    I don’t know how many of you remember the TV series The Ascent of Man presented by Jacob Bronowski (it came out a long time ago). At the end of one of the episodes he travels to the Auschwitz camp and appeals to all of us to stop treating each other as lesser beings then ourselves. He mentions that the pond there contains the ashes of some of his own family and he implores us all to get to know each other. I still find that moment extremely powerful. And I’m trying to take it to heart: I don’t want to write anyone off as insane or so wrong they’re not even worth talking to. I don’t want to live in a society where we’re just shouting at each other. I want everyone to be able to speak and be heard. It’s the least we can do for each other.

  49. 49
    bornagain77 says:

    vivid,

    Sigh, we can be better than this.

    The belief that “we can be better than this” presupposes free will, i.e. moral agency.

    I rest my case.

  50. 50
    vividbleau says:

    “The belief that “we can be better than this” presupposes free will, i.e. moral agency.”

    I certainly agree but are any of us perfectly consistent in living out our worldview beliefs?

    Vivid

  51. 51
    Truthfreedom says:

    @48 JVL

    And I thought the atheist would be the one telling others their opinions and views don’t mean anything!!

    Again, opinions are of no value unless you address why you hold them (meaning you are addressing the underlying reasons ). Those underlying reasons can be easily destroyed if they do not stand logical scrutiny (that is why logic is so beautiful, because it is objective. Logic is a UNIVERSAL tool).
    Opinions: in the tavern.
    Facts: at UD. 🙂

  52. 52
    bornagain77 says:

    vivid:

    but are any of us perfectly consistent in living out our worldview beliefs?

    As a Christian I can live perfectly consistently with the fact that I am not morally perfect but that I am a sinner saved by grace. I fail to be morally perfect, or even to be morally acceptable to others, very often. It is part and parcel with being a Christian!

    On the other hand, it is impossible for the atheistic materialist to live his life consistently as if his worldview were actually true, i.e. as if he had no free will, no moral agency, whatsoever.

    Here are quotes from leading atheists admitting that it is impossible for them to live consistently as if their worldview were actually true. As Nancy Pearcey comments, they have “abandoned all hope for a unified, logically consistent worldview.”

    Darwin’s Robots: When Evolutionary Materialists Admit that Their Own Worldview Fails – Nancy Pearcey – April 23, 2015
    Excerpt: Even materialists often admit that, in practice, it is impossible for humans to live any other way. One philosopher jokes that if people deny free will, then when ordering at a restaurant they should say, “Just bring me whatever the laws of nature have determined I will get.”
    An especially clear example is Galen Strawson, a philosopher who states with great bravado, “The impossibility of free will … can be proved with complete certainty.” Yet in an interview, Strawson admits that, in practice, no one accepts his deterministic view. “To be honest, I can’t really accept it myself,” he says. “I can’t really live with this fact from day to day. Can you, really?”,,,
    In What Science Offers the Humanities, Edward Slingerland, identifies himself as an unabashed materialist and reductionist. Slingerland argues that Darwinian materialism leads logically to the conclusion that humans are robots — that our sense of having a will or self or consciousness is an illusion. Yet, he admits, it is an illusion we find impossible to shake. No one “can help acting like and at some level really feeling that he or she is free.” We are “constitutionally incapable of experiencing ourselves and other conspecifics [humans] as robots.”
    One section in his book is even titled “We Are Robots Designed Not to Believe That We Are Robots.”,,,
    When I teach these concepts in the classroom, an example my students find especially poignant is Flesh and Machines by Rodney Brooks, professor emeritus at MIT. Brooks writes that a human being is nothing but a machine — a “big bag of skin full of biomolecules” interacting by the laws of physics and chemistry. In ordinary life, of course, it is difficult to actually see people that way. But, he says, “When I look at my children, I can, when I force myself, … see that they are machines.”
    Is that how he treats them, though? Of course not: “That is not how I treat them…. I interact with them on an entirely different level. They have my unconditional love, the furthest one might be able to get from rational analysis.” Certainly if what counts as “rational” is a materialist worldview in which humans are machines, then loving your children is irrational. It has no basis
    within Brooks’s worldview. It sticks out of his box.
    How does he reconcile such a heart-wrenching cognitive dissonance? He doesn’t. Brooks ends by saying, “I maintain two sets of inconsistent beliefs.” He has given up on any attempt to reconcile his theory with his experience. He has abandoned all hope for a unified, logically consistent worldview.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....95451.html

    Richard Dawkins himself admitted that it would be ‘intolerable’ for him to live his life as if his atheistic materialism were actually true

    Who wrote Richard Dawkins’s new book? – October 28, 2006
    Excerpt:
    Dawkins: What I do know is that what it feels like to me, and I think to all of us, we don’t feel determined. We feel like blaming people for what they do or giving people the credit for what they do. We feel like admiring people for what they do.,,,
    Manzari: But do you personally see that as an inconsistency in your views?
    Dawkins: I sort of do. Yes. But it is an inconsistency that we sort of have to live with otherwise life would be intolerable.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....02783.html

    In what should be needless to say, if it is impossible for you to live as if your worldview were actually true then your worldview cannot possibly reflect reality as it really is but your worldview must instead be based on a delusion.

    Existential Argument against Atheism – November 1, 2013 by Jason Petersen
    1. If a worldview is true then you should be able to live consistently with that worldview.
    2. Atheists are unable to live consistently with their worldview.
    3. If you can’t live consistently with an atheist worldview then the worldview does not reflect reality.
    4. If a worldview does not reflect reality then that worldview is a delusion.
    5. If atheism is a delusion then atheism cannot be true.
    Conclusion: Atheism is false.
    http://answersforhope.com/exis.....t-atheism/

  53. 53
    vividbleau says:

    BA

    “As a Christian I can live perfectly consistently with the fact that I am not morally perfect but that I am a sinner saved by grace. I fail to be morally perfect, or even to be morally acceptable to others, very often. It is part and parcel with being a Christian!

    On the other hand, it is impossible for the atheistic materialist to live his life consistently as if his worldview were actually true, i.e. as if he had no free will, no moral agency, whatsoever.”

    Could not agree with you more, the inconsistency I was referring to was to the acting out towards others in Christian charity, attack ideas not the person.

    I should not have said that we all are inconsistent in our worldview beliefs because the Christian is not,. For instance in the past I have been a hypocrite, I am sure I will be a hypocrite in the future, this is not inconsistent within the Christian worldview.

    Vivid

  54. 54
    JVL says:

    Truthfreedom: Again, opinions are of no value unless you address why you hold them (meaning you are addressing the underlying reasons ). Those underlying reasons can be easily destroyed if they do not stand logical scrutiny (that is why logic is so beautiful, because it is objective. Logic is a UNIVERSAL tool).

    Do you love your spouse? Why? Do you love your children? Why? Do you love your pets? Why? What is your favourite band? Why do you like them? What’s your favourite meal? Why? Do you think John Grisham is a great author? Why?

    How many of your opinions can you defend logically? If you can’t does that make them worthless?

    I didn’t strongly try and defend my opinions; I honestly reported them as such and I gave some reasons why I was led to them but I admitted they might be incorrect.

    For that I get vilified.

  55. 55
    JVL says:

    Bornagain77: As a Christian I can live perfectly consistently with the fact that I am not morally perfect but that I am a sinner saved by grace. I fail to be morally perfect, or even to be morally acceptable to others, very often. It is part and parcel with being a Christian!

    On the other hand, it is impossible for the atheistic materialist to live his life consistently as if his worldview were actually true, i.e. as if he had no free will, no moral agency, whatsoever.

    Why is consistency more important than your feelings? In my experience most Christians have had a significant life experience which led them to Christ. Experiences which cannot be logically explained or scrutinised. Do you examine those with the same critical eye for consistency? Did you do so during or after your experience? I am not calling the experiences into question; I’d just like to know how they fit into your logical, justified worldview?

    Can we just trust in our heart of hearts that some things are true even if we cannot logically defend them? Is consistency the most important criteria?

  56. 56
    kairosfocus says:

    BA77, the belief that we can infer conclusions on evidence and logic rather than following unconscious but fundamentally non rational dynamics implies a belief in fundamental, significant freedom. Freedom in turn implies moral government and a root that grounds the good. KF

  57. 57
    vividbleau says:

    JVL
    “Can we just trust in our heart of hearts that some things are true even if we cannot logically defend them? Is consistency the most important criteria?”

    I don’t think so. The consistency has to do with , for lack of a better term, intellectual worldview consistency. If your intellectual worldview is inconsistent with your experience then something is wrong with your worldview.

    Secondly experience is a bad test for whether something is true, jump up does the floor move under your feet ? The world is spinning around at thousands of miles per hour but you don’t experience that you experience the opposite.

    Finally logic cannot tell us what is true but it does tell us what cannot be true regardless of experience. One of the greatest divides on this sight is the primacy of evidence, logic or experience, I say the former. Also I am hard pressed to think of any experience that is illogical., but keep in mind logic does not tell us what is true but rather what cannot be true, big difference.

    Vivid

  58. 58
    EDTA says:

    JVL,
    >What is your favourite band? Why do you like them?

    Those are just subjective opinions, and they don’t really matter. I don’t even mind when someone makes fun of my favorite band. 🙂

    >How many of your opinions can you defend logically? If you can’t does that make them worthless?

    Opinions I don’t need to defend. But my stances on issues I can almost always defend logically. If I can’t, then I don’t engage in discussion of them until I’ve thought them through. Or I am very tentative in what I express. If I cannot defend them, then yes, they are pretty much worthless. In things that matter, I try to hold defensible positions. I try to hold positions that are more likely to be correct than the positions I reject. I prefer to hold positions that I think others ought to join me in agreeing with for sound reasons that they should be compelled to accept. These matters (philosophical, political, religious) are extremely important to life, and therefore important that positions be defensible.

    >Why is consistency more important than your feelings?

    Feelings can change by time of day, because of the weather, because of who I last spoke to or how bad traffic was today. In other words, they are my most ephemeral aspect. If I followed my feelings more than my intellect, I would get myself into more trouble than I can imagine. I would do things I would hate myself for moments after I did them. My feelings are therefore subordinate to my intellect as much as I can make that the case.

    >In my experience most Christians have had a significant life experience which led them to Christ. Experiences which cannot be logically explained or scrutinised.

    Yep, those are extremely ephemeral also. I would be concerned that later life experiences could just as quickly make them non-Christians. In fact, most of those I know who have left the church did it for emotional reasons, not intellectual ones.

    I do examine my feelings and experiences, but always in light of what I can best determine is/was true. My feelings do not guide my search for truth, as far as I can prevent them.

    >Can we just trust in our heart of hearts that some things are true even if we cannot logically defend them? Is consistency the most important criteria?

    Having a consistent worldview is very important to me. I know how my feelings can fluctuate, and do not trust them as a guide to any sort of truth. I see feelings lead people into all sorts of pain and dysfunction. Feelings are also incredibly easy to manipulate, and I see demagogues and lotharios manipulating people’s feelings often, to the victim’s ultimate harm. Please place less emphasis on feelings. I think it will improve the outcomes in your life. Make those feelings subordinate to facts.

  59. 59
    Seversky says:

    It seems to me that the concept of “worldview” is too vaguely defined to be of much use.

    If it refers to the sum total of the knowledge we acquire as we grow and age and the inferences we derive from that knowledge then they are almost bound to be inconsistent since there is so much we still don’t know about ourselves and the Universe in which we find ourselves.

    If it refers to some sort of notional framework theory or more general explanation then the same caveat applies. As Karl Popper wrote, while we may each differ in the amount we know in different areas, we are all alike in our infinite ignorance.

    In physics, integrating relativity and quantum mechanics has so far proven to be an insuperable obstacle and there doesn’t seem to be any radical new approach on the horizon which will subsume them both.

    Christianity is riddled with inconsistencies to put it mildly. The current benevolent versions of the faith can only be sustained by discarding or, at least, ignoring a lot of the Old Testament.

    So, when the charge of inconsistency is leveled by someone at the worldview of another with the intention of trying to undermine it, I would answer, let him who is without that particular “sin” cast the first stone.

  60. 60
    vividbleau says:

    Sev
    Thanks for sharing some of your worldviews.

    Vivid

  61. 61
    vividbleau says:

    Sev
    “So, when the charge of inconsistency is leveled by someone at the worldview of another with the intention of trying to undermine it, I would answer, let him who is without that particular “sin” cast the first stone.”

    Yikes, this coming from someone that constantly tries to undermine theism and Christianity. Since we are appealing to scripture I would suggest “ first get the mote out of your own eye”

    Vivid

  62. 62
    ET says:

    The current benevolent versions of the faith can only be sustained by discarding or, at least, ignoring a lot of the Old Testament.

    You are entitled to your opinion, no matter how convoluted it is. Your ignorance, while amusing, is not an argument.

  63. 63
    kairosfocus says:

    Sev,

    Worldview is pretty much as described in the word itself:

    world·view (wûrldvy)
    n. In both senses also called Weltanschauung.
    1. The overall perspective from which one sees and interprets the world.
    2. A collection of beliefs about life and the universe held by an individual or a group.
    [Translation of German Weltanschauung.]

    The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

    This describes a complex but vital fact of life which is central to living, working and thinking together. It should be unsurprising that how we think about ourselves and our world or wider reality is not a simple thing. Even Geometry or Arithmetic and Algebra should prepare us for that. Or even, learning to play Chess.

    A key insight involved, pivots on the structure of warrant and what we face as finite, fallible, morally struggling and too often ill-willed creatures who obviously come with a wide range of takes on what reality is and what entities are real vs perceived or assumed etc. To accept A as so, we ask, why. B. But, why B? C, then onward.

    We face three unpalatably humbling options identified long since: impossible infinite regress of warrant, circularity that begs big questions, finitely remote start-point that rests on first plausibles not subject to further proof and sustained on comparative difficulties [global factual adequacy, logical & dynamical coherence, balanced explanatory power . . . neither simplistic nor an ad hoc patchwork]. Of the three, the only defensible one is the third, responsible, reasonable faith resting on a well thought through faith point.

    In a world that has committed the gross fallacy of imagining hyperskepticism an intellectual virtue (being put in the place of prudence) being forced to admit to having unprovable or unproved first plausibles or presuppositions that vary from person to person and which include inescapable first principles and duties of reason is often a shock. One, that will be resisted in the imagination that big-S Science has the answers. However, it turns out that evolutionary materialistic scientism is both question-begging and irretrievably, utterly incoherent. This then taints fellow traveller views.

    What is self-referentially incoherent is necessarily false by way of refuting itself and undermining ability to have confidence in chains of implication — the principle of explosion. In this case, there are multiple ways in which such a view undermines the credibility of mind. Often, this is projected to others, classically through Marxists’ dismissal of class conditioning, or Freud’s pointing to potty training or Crick’s imagined bag of nerves and electrochemistry etc. In every case, a subtle personal exception of expertise is imagined, revealing the incoherence in the face of self-referentiality.

    So, no, the worldview concept is complex because it has to address reality rather than ideology. Where the most central branch of Philosophy is Metaphysics, in effect critically aware analysis of worldviews, including study of the logic of what is, being. That is, Ontology.

    KF

  64. 64
    BobRyan says:

    Socialists like to pick their evils. Hitler was evil, but silent about Stalin being evil as well. The Imperial Japanese Army was evil for how they carried out actions, but the Soviets did many of the same thing. The rape of Nanking led to prosecutions for war crimes, but no one was prosecuted for the rape of Berlin.
    If free will does not exist, then how can anyone truly be guilty of anything? Without free will, there is no choice in violation of any laws. Man is simply acting on nature and the idea of any government existing at all should be abhorrent to socialists. Government stands in the way of man’s nature, since governments create laws that stand in the way of being able to act as we must, but our nature alone.

  65. 65
    Truthfreedom says:

    @63 Kairosfocus

    being forced to admit to having unprovable or unproved first plausibles or presuppositions that vary from person to person and which include inescapable first principles and duties of reason is often a shock.
    One, that will be resisted in the imagination that big-S Science has the answers. However, it turns out that
    evolutionary materialistic scientism is both question-begging and irretrievably, utterly incoherent. This then taints fellow traveller views.

    Nail. Hammer. Head.

  66. 66
    Truthfreedom says:

    @59 Seversky

    So, when the charge of inconsistency is leveled by someone at the worldview of another with the intention of trying to undermine it, I would answer, let him who is without that particular “sin” cast the first stone.

    So you are saying that all worldviews are equally inconsistent?

  67. 67
    kairosfocus says:

    TF,

    irretrievable incoherence is the death of a worldview, but insofar as a worldview has become a powerful ideology with cultural agenda and influence, it dies hard. Fascism had to be beaten by war and lived on in various states for a generation or more. Today, it seems blended in into states that nominally follow its sister ideology Marxism. That one, in turn took a prolonged global cold war with economic stagnation and in mutant form [cultural marxism] dominates the academic, educational and media worlds.

    We can use possible worlds speak to characterise a worldview as a candidate possible world, CPW, comprising a sufficiently comprehensive assemblage of propositions w1, w2, . . . wn. These define the entities proposed as in the core of reality, and how that core generates a world, with dynamics and a narrative framework for how the CPW unfolds. It has to be sufficiently plausible that it will attract one or more adherents who have to live in an actualised world AW. That means, flaws and breakdowns, factual gaps, incoherence, failure to achieve explanatory balance must be somewhat subtle and perhaps may be suppressed by power wielders in AW.

    In that context, the tension between CPW and AW will work its way out through a Lakatos-like separation of a protected core of assertions that if shattered would be instantly fatal, and an armour belt of in the end expendable auxiliary assertions that are more directly in touch with circumstances. That is, w1 to n is partitioned into a core and belt structure. If there are aspects of these propositions and frameworks that support significant success of power centres then that can help to reinforce the CPW. Of course, even when they clash, neighbouring worldviews may overlap considerably. In this context, A version of the Kuhn, Lakatos, Feyerabend type picture of competing paradigms can be seen as a component of said views.

    In that context, the key issue is to break through the protective belt to the core, where part of a given CPW will be characterisations of other views and their adherents. A capital example is how Dawkins and other “New/Gnu Athiests” view Christian Theists as ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked. The world of secret societies also shows an onion pattern, motivated on managing hoi polloi.

    In this context, fatal contradictions will be hard to face, given an effect. If a critical mass are induced to make a crooked yardstick their standard for straight, accurate, upright, then what is genuinely so will never conform to the crooked standard. Experience shows that even a naturally straight and upright plumb line, will be questioned. Obviously, propagandists seek to get crooked yardsticks so established. (Hence, BTW, the danger in appeals to consensus of experts.)

    I have come to two main conclusions on this side of things: self-evident, inescapable first truths and duties of reason are absolutely pivotal as plumb lines, and that those who have been led to distort or dismiss such will only change through social system collapse. Things have to go over a cliff and things have to hit rock bottom hard enough to shatter the core. That may lead to spectacular magazine explosions such as took out three British Battlecruisers at Jutland.

    This pandemic, of course, is such a challenge, at least potentially.

    And, when you see advocates of worldviews trying to suggest that all worldviews are incoherent, that is a strong sign of a fatal crack in their own. Projection, after all, is notorious.

    KF

  68. 68
    Truthfreedom says:

    @67 Kairosfocus:

    And, when you see advocates of worldviews trying to suggest that all worldviews are incoherent, that is a strong sign of a fatal crack in their own. Projection, after all, is notorious.

    And this is another key point. 🙂
    Thanks for the post.
    Off topic:
    Today is Holy Friday.

  69. 69
    jerry says:

    advocates of worldviews trying to suggest that all worldviews are incoherent

    Kf

    What is the name for this fallacy? I don’t think it is projection. Is it like the self referential fallacy? Which means my statement too must be false so that the statement actually implies there must be one coherent one. So is the originator of the statement a believer that there is one correct worldview?

    Is it similar to the claim that all cultures are equal which means the culture that claims others are inferior must be accepted and we get incoherence.

    I am sure this will generate a lot of nitpicking incoherence. But nitpicking incoherence seems to be the bane of the modern world. Maybe it always was. Humans haven’t changed much just the tools to do what is in their nature.

    There should be an award for nitpicking comment of the month and nitpicker of the month.

  70. 70
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, the technical fallacy is tu quoque, you are another. [I must be slipping . . . ] However it is not so much a fallacy ad a defense mechanism of projecting to the other so “if you live in a glass house, don’t throw stones.” Translation: unwilling to engage comparative difficulties. KF

  71. 71
    kairosfocus says:

    TF, Good Friday indeed . . . and I need to get around to the persistent attempt to dismiss historicity of Jesus; which cropped up in a recent exchange here. KF

  72. 72
    jerry says:

    https://uncommondescent.com/laws/should-we-recognise-that-laws-of-nature-extend-to-laws-of-our-human-nature-which-would-then-frame-civil-law/#comment-724228

    evil has no independent existence, yes. It parasites on and perverts or frustrates the good.

    Meaningless because it has no definition that relates to our world.

    Vague in any sense of the word in any world. Be specific in what is evil.

    ‘’Frustrates the good” could mean anything.

    Anytime the word is used about something in this world, it is accusing God of being inferior.

  73. 73
    William J Murray says:

    So, someone explain this to me.

    If “evil” is the lack of good, and good is a transcendent quality of God, then a “lack of good” necessarily means a “lack of God.” To deprive a thing of good is to deprive it of God.

    How is it possible to deprive a thing of God? I mean, isn’t God omnipresent? You can’t deprive anything that exists of God, or else that thing – whatever it is – wouldn’t exist, correct? Is there an “outside of God?” Did God mix something into creation that is “not God?” Where did the “not God” stuff come from?

  74. 74
    William J Murray says:

    On another note, does this account not have the capacity to submit a new post? I don’t see any mechanism on my interface for submitting a new post. Has it changed recently? If my post submission privileges have been revoked, I understand and that’s cool. I’m just wondering.

  75. 75
    jerry says:

    I am starting a list of past discussions of evil. Certainly not complete but which raise the problem of the definition of the term and its common usage everywhere. Especially when there are many implied understandings of the term, often different between two individuals engaging each other using the term.

    First, just what does the term mean. Discussed above, see actual OP here.

    Second, “evil” just mean bad things happening to people. See discussion recently and from a couple years ago.

    If you want to discuss “icky stuff” I am willing to do so. As I said most people define it as unpleasant circumstances or the equivalent. If one wants to use a similar definition, then I am willing to proceed. But I can tell you it will not lead to anywhere productive. So people will prefer to use the nebulous term instead.

    I have defined “evil.” But I do not think it is what people want. They’re more interested in icky stuff.

    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/vividblue-the-problem-of-evil-is-more-of-a-problem-for-an-atheist-than-a-theist/

    From over 13 years ago.

    So what I stumbled on is that a lot of what is considered evil is relative. Something that is not hard to understand but which I found few even considered. This is not a unique discovery by myself since I have since read many much more intelligent people than myself who have discussed this issue throughout history.

    Supposedly the main issue in Christianity is salvation and given that, there is only one true evil, the lack of salvation. So are the other things which are considered evil only worldly things and not really truly evil but only reflect our squeamish feelings and what makes us squeamish changes as we get more technological advanced.

    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/the-science-rule-the-christian-darwinist-doesnt-want/#comment-146116

    Then, there is moral vs natural evil. Which is more important for the existence of Judeo/Christian God or for proving He doesn’t exist? Answer – natural evil. But then the attacks are for not recognizing specific moral evil acts act as evil which is absurd but is standard. By not using the term “evil” in no way implies countenance of such acts. Such is the logic here though.

    More links later, there are plenty of them. Off to a hockey game.

  76. 76
    jerry says:

    This comment is tucked out of view and interest so I don’t expect much response if any. But the issue of just what is “evil” brings up a lot of issues. This comment justs sums up some of the issues involved. There have been over a hundred discussions of this over the years on UD. Here are some issues and links:

    1. Just what is a working definition of “evil?” I don’t believe there are any as various attempts to provide one always come up short. Too vague, too irrelevant, too contradictory, too cultural bound. This led to an attack on me by Barry who called me a nihilist.

    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/lets-see-if-graham2-sticks-to-his-nihilist-guns/

    There is also this thread and then there is this from last year that preceded it by a couple weeks.

    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/vividblue-the-problem-of-evil-is-more-of-a-problem-for-an-atheist-than-a-theist/

    2. The interest in the preciseness of the concept of “evil” is because of the Theodicy argument. This argument more than any other is used to show God does not exists. It is an illogical argument but has a lot of traction with people as they fail to think very clearly on the issues and it sounds very reasonable.

    The issue of evil is central to this argument. That is the Judeo Christian God, if he exists would not allow evil things to exist. However, if somehow what is called evil is really non existent or trivial the Theodicy argument falls apart.

    The issue of evil in the world is central to the TE’s (theistic evolutionists) defense of Darwinism. See my exchange with StephenB beginning at

    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/alister-mcgrath-on-theistic-evolution/#comment-594690

    and lasting over several comments.

    3. A case in point is Leibniz’s “best of all possible worlds’ ” argument. It was immediately attacked because there is obviously many evil or bad things in this world so just eliminating one bad thing or adding one good thing would make it a better world. Argument over says the materialists, QED.

    But if you believe God is omnibenevolent, omnipotentent and omniscient how could He or why would He not create the perfect world. Since it obviously isn’t, there is no God with these attributes and no Judeo Christian God. QED

    But is this a valid response to the “best of all possible worlds?”

    But if all the so called evil in this world was trivial, then this argument against the best of all possible worlds falls apart.

    I just ordered Nadler’s book, The Best of All Possible Worlds: A Story of Philosophers, God, and Evil

    https://www.amazon.com/Best-All-Possible-Worlds-Philosophers-ebook/dp/B0052Z5W5Q/ref=sr_1_9?dchild=1&qid=1614640907&refinements=p_27%3ASteven+Nadler&s=digital-text&sr=1-9&text=Steven+Nadler

    4. What would a world look like if it was the best possible world according to those who doubt and mock this thesis? Are there issues that would make such a world undesirable. For example, could one living in what was considered the best possible world from from their standpoint have free will?

    5. Does the world have to appear that there is no God for this world to be meaningful? Would we have free will in a really perfect world? Would any of our actions have any merit is such a world?

    Interesting proposition – Did God create a world such that it would not be obvious that He existed. In other words does this best of all possible worlds have to be such that it looks like He may not exist. It has to look imperfect to actually be perfect. Or the

    “apparently imperfect but perfect world.”

    6. There are some very interesting discussion in the past on this and one set of posts is over 12 years ago by Steve Fuller. Here is the link to all his posts which unfortunately are only a few

    https://uncommondescent.com/author/steve-fuller/

    A start to this discussion of whether there is a Science of God is

    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/introduction-to-a-science-of-god-fathoming-the-intelligence-behind-intelligent-design/

    There were six more in this series. Steve Fuller last posted here 5 years ago.

  77. 77
    jerry says:

    Here is a discussion of the concept of “evil.”

  78. 78
    jerry says:

    I already explained, there are three kinds of evil: Physical evil, moral evil and metaphysical evil From that, we can observe degrees of evil in each category.

    A new one, metaphysical evil.

    But added were degrees of evil. Does that mean there is a max evil? And is everything just on a spectrum of more evil than another with a max for each? If so, then is there some place on this spectrum that separates degrees from each other in terms of evil?

    What is bad for someone is a certain degree of evil – more or less.

    What is meant by bad? Or is everything bad because it is not “good?”

    That someone desires something that is bad for someone is a certain degree of good, more or less.
    Every object has some shade of light – from 0 to 100. We don’t say “it’s got some light so everything is light”. The same with darkness. Everything may have some dimness in lighting. We don’t say “everything is dark”.

    This is back to things happening to someone. Are all things on a spectrum? If so is everything evil but some are more evil? Is evil just bad or unwanted things happening to people?

    As for subjective: We start with metaphysical evil and recognize that Being relates to Goodness and deprivation of being is a flaw in perfection, to some degree or another.

    I’m confused. What is deprivation of being? I have never heard this before and I do not understand what it is.

    It’s the same with knowledge – we have degrees of what we know and there can be ideas entirely false. Just because something gives a partial understanding of the truth (privation of good) we don’t say “it’s entirely false”.

    I have no idea what you are saying with this or how it might even be relevant.

  79. 79
    jerry says:

    So everything is evil but some are more evil?

    It’s your view that “everything is evil”, not mine. So, you have to explain it.
    I tried to respond to your view:

    I was using your definition or sort of definition:

    The only thing that does not possess some “privation of good” (a term for evil) is God

    Isn’t that a definition of the “evil?” This means everything else by your assessment is some privation of good or is then evil. I don’t believe the word “evil” describes anything in this world. I have maintained that for years and have been very consistent.

    It’s like saying “there’s only one color of red – if it’s got any red in it, we have to call it red.”

    So, we can’t say orange, or purple, or pink – it’s all red. “So everything is red except some is more red?”

    I assume you mean that there are gradations of something.

    I maintain there are gradations of unwanted things in this world. For example, dropping a fork and having to pick it us is unwanted and so it having a brain tumor that causes constant extreme pain unwanted. One is more unwanted than the other.

    A question arises: How could God create anything that is not perfect?
    God cannot create another perfect supreme Being. He can’t create another one of Himself. There are limits on what God can create. Every created Being necessarily has those limits. That’s just reality.

    I’m sure how this is relevant.

    God cannot create a world with free, moral, rational agents without evil (falsehood, deprivations). It’s just not logically possible – just like a square circle is not.

    I have no idea what you are trying to say.

    Are you saying that any world God creates has to contain evil? Why does adding free, moral, rational agents make evil in the world? Was it already “good” till that step?

    Are you saying that our world is evil or was good before people were introduced?

  80. 80
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Jerry

    Why does adding free, moral, rational agents make evil in the world?

    This is the basis of Bradley’s argument. He claims that it is “logically possible” to have free, moral, rational agents without evil. He never explains how that is possible.
    I am saying it is logically impossible.
    Let’s start with Logic. That is necessary for “rational agents” to exist. Otherwise, they would not have rational minds, if there was no way to construct logical understanding. So, Logic is necessary for rationality.
    What is a first component of Logic? An absolutely necessary component of rational argument?
    The statement: “Error exists” is a simple way to say it.
    If there was no error or no falsehood then there could be no rational thinking, no logic.
    God created rational beings – so, error and falsehood have to exist. It’s necessary, and impossible to avoid this. Like a square circle is impossible.
    Why does Logic require evil?
    Errors and falsehoods are a “privation of truth” – they are Evils. By degree – more or less.
    A falsehood, is an evil. A deliberate falsehood can be a very severe evil.
    But falsehood is necessary for Logic.
    The Logical formula A = A must necessarily be true and to follow it by saying “therefore A does not equal A” is a necessary falsehood, or an evil, or a privation of good, or a limit to perfections.
    Rational understanding – the created rational mind (not God’s mind) requires logic and therefore requires that evil (falsehood) must exist.
    The only way around that, as Bradley revealed because he is trapped by that argument, is to say “it’s better that people do not have freedom”.
    So, he’s saying it would be better if we were not rational creatures. Because he knows that rationality requires evil. God is not “creating evil”, but it’s just a necessary by-product.
    It’s as I said elsewhere – God has limits on what He can create.
    He cannot create another perfect, supreme, non-contingent, first cause God.
    It’s just impossible.
    He also cannot create moral free-will rational creatures without evil.
    Moral choices require the possibility of evil – otherwise they are not moral choices. They are just deterministic events.

  81. 81
    jerry says:

    without evil

    I do not believe what you are saying has anything to do with what Bradly is saying.

    You want to use the term “evil” and I maintain it doesn’t exist. I ask for a definition and then you deny it’s your definition. I maintain there is no coherent definition.

    Unwanted things exist. They are gradated in how unwanted they are. But everything, literally everything, could be unwanted by someone. So is everything evil?

    You apparently as well as everyone else do not understand what is going on. This all has to do with the Theodicy argument against God. That’s what the Bradly argument was all about.

    If falls apart immediately if there is no evil or if the unwanted things that are called evil are trivial.

    But people from the time they were very little have heard the term and have used it themselves without really understanding what it means. To nearly everyone it just means unwanted things. But that definition has problems especially with the Theodicy issue which is an attack on the Christian God.

    The answer is not convoluted. It’s very simple. There is no evil. Yes, there are bad things but all are trivial. Even a painful death is trivial compared to what the Christian God is offering.

  82. 82
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Jerry

    There is no evil.

    I see a lot of problems with that.

    Yes, there are bad things but all are trivial.

    I see that as a dangerous idea – it could mean a serious lack of compassion for what people suffer, the severe evils in the world. I can’t imagine considering them “trivial”.

    Even a painful death is trivial compared to what the Christian God is offering.

    You’re referencing Christianity – but the New Testament uses the term “evil” and Christians have had an understanding of it for a long time.
    What Jesus suffered in His death by crucifixion was a great evil – a severe injustice. In no way can that be viewed as trivial.

  83. 83
    jerry says:

    I see a lot of problems with that

    I see none. In fact I see the elimination of a lot of problems.

    I see that as a dangerous idea

    I see it as a very positive idea.

    You apparently have no idea what I am saying or have been saying for years. A million dollars is trivial compared to a trillion dollars. No one would say a million dollars is trivial per se but in comparison it’s trivial.

    I make no lightness of the hardships and incredible I’ll fortune many have suffered. In fact I have often used the little girl in a local school who developed a brain tumor at 7 and spent the rest of her life in constant pain as example of extremely bad luck. She died at 10.

    Christians have had an understanding of it for a long while

    I am aware of just about everything written on evil. They are not consistent in how they treat the term.

    What I propose in extremely coherent. No one has been able to dispute it yet. Though they tried. It in no way undermines Christian theology.

    I constantly ask for a definition and it goes nowhere. Shouldn’t that be a clue.

    Jesus suffered in His death by crucifixion was a great evil – a severe injustice

    But it was planned by God. There are these words spoken by Jesus

    Father, forgive them for they not know what they do.

    You are not using the term in any consistent way. The reality is there is no consistent way to use it. But people love using the word. Try substituting your definition any time you e]want to use word and see what happens.

    Aside: a funny story. After high school, I got a summer job with a local construction company in their billing office. One of the secretaries just got married a couple months before. It turns out it was the week after Easter. She brought in her wedding album to show everyone. There was a photo of her and her husband running out of church after the wedding all in smiles. Next to them rushing out of church was a sign which said “Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing.”

  84. 84
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    😆 If there is no evil :
    1. Why Jesus came? No evil =no sin=no ontological degradation of humans.
    2.Why gave us the morality/commandments ?
    3. Why send people to Hell ?
    4. Devil is good ?
    5. We are all deluded except you?

    But it was planned by God.

    😆 Nope. To know about an event is not the same as to plan it.

  85. 85
    jerry says:

    We are all deluded except you?

    You haven’t a clue what I am saying.

    You just made a lot of stuff up. For example, I never said there was no sin. Never said it, never believed it.

    Everything else is nonsense too.

  86. 86
    vividbleau says:

    SA and Jerry

    What is evil

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzrC7KuMj6o

    Vivid

  87. 87
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, from OP:

    The good is that which is consistent with the objective transcendent standard grounded in the character of God.

    Evil is the privation of the good.

    Evil exists.

    Therefore, the good, of which evil is the privation, also exists.

    Therefore, an objective transcendent standard grounded in the character of God exists.

    Therefore, God exists.

    Thus, as Vivid has noted, the existence of evil – if the word “evil” means anything other than “that which I do not subjectively prefer” — is powerful evidence for the existence of God.

    This all boils down this: Objective evil exists only if objective good exists. Objective good exits only if God exists. Objective evil exists. Therefore, God exists.

    Now this does not necessarily mean that evil in the objective sense (i.e., the privation of the transcendent standard grounded in God’s character) exists. It may be that “evil” means nothing except “that which I do not subjectively prefer.” And if evil in the objective sense does not exist, the argument for the existence of God from the existence of evil (which implies the existence of objective good) never gets off the ground.

    BUT, the atheist argument from evil never gets off the ground either. This should be plain from the my other post to which you have already alluded.

    I commented at 19:

    the basic challenge is that we are at first principles which are mutually entangled. It’s like looking at facets of a jewel, the whole is in the part and the part in the whole. From rational freedom and first duties, we see that moral government is embedded in reality from its roots up. In that context, such can only be grounded in the inherently good, utterly wise. As we explore onward, we see that we need necessary, maximally great being, which embraces all that is great-making and nought that is not. God is not a trickster or capricious, etc. In that context we gradually understand his goodness as stemming from and bound up in his pure, maximal love that cherishes and opens up a world in which there are creatures who albeit finite, can love and so are free. Perfect maximal love working out in thought, word, deed is the heart of goodness and as we appropriately respond and reflect such, goodness flows from us too. In that context evil stems from self-centred abuse of freedom and frustrates, perverts, despoils, wrecks what is from its proper end. Which is the heart of evil. Which also will be fundamentally incoherent.

    This at 1 and 2 also helps:

    1
    Yarrgonaut
    April 6, 2020 at 8:14 am

    Couldn’t they be accepting Augustine’s definition for the sake of argument?
    2
    Barry Arrington
    April 6, 2020 at 8:16 am

    Yarrgonaut, no, because accepting it for the sake of argument would undermine their argument. IOW, accepting for the sake of argument that a proposition is true (“God exists”) is something you cannot do if one is trying to argue that God does not exist. It results in the following incoherence: Assume for the sake of argument God exists, blah blah blah, therefore, God does not exist.

    3 and 4 show we have come full circle in an off topic tangent in the current discussion, note who intervened here and the failed argument he advocates:

    3
    chuckdarwin
    April 6, 2020 at 10:33 am

    Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
    Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
    Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
    Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?
    Epicurus said it first, said it best and it cannot be refuted by playing sophistic games of “objective” vs. “subjective” morality. The so-called dichotomy of “no good without evil” begs the questions “from whence cometh evil” (obviously God if you are a theist) and “what is evil” (that which is not good, thus spinning us off into tautology land…).
    Morality, by definition, is objective because morality is a social construct–it defines the rights and duties of each person vis a vis every other person. Another word for objective morality is law which derives by force (from the sovereign) or consensus (from the people). The fact that morality, i.e. the law, can change in one of these two ways does not make it “relativistic” or “subjective.”
    4
    Barry Arrington
    April 6, 2020 at 12:03 pm

    Chuck writes

    Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?

    Let us insert the atheist’s definition of “evil” into this question:
    Is God willing to arrange affairs in a way that I subjectively prefer, but not able?
    The question is absurd Chuck. Why should anyone care about whether God is able to arrange affairs to please you. Or anyone else.
    As you know, your own premises dictate that your conception of evil is yours only. And if Eichmann has another conception, you have no ground on which to argue that yours is superior to Eichmann’s.
    Let’s have another go at your question from Eichmann’s perspective.
    “Is he able [to allow me to continue to completion the mass slaughter of the Jews], but not willing? Then he is malevolent.”
    Again, absurd.
    You see, Chuck, just as I demonstrated in the OP, your argument works only if there is objective evil. And objective evil exists only if there is objective good. And objective good exists only if God exists. Therefore, your argument works only when it does not work. In a word, it is incoherent.
    Now it is fair to ask why God allows objective evil to exist. But it is incoherent to argue from the existence of objective evil to the non-existence of God.

    In the spirit of classical reference, WmAD on Boethius, who was a favourite for many centuries due to the power of his Consolation of Philosophy, written while awaiting execution due to a lawless power play:

    In his Consolation of Philosophy, Boethius states the following paradox: “If God exists, whence evil? But whence good, if God does not exist?” Boethius contrasts the problem that evil poses for theism with the problem that good poses for atheism. The problem of good does not receive nearly as much attention as the problem evil, but it is the more basic problem. That’s because evil always presupposes a good that has been subverted. All our words for evil make this plain: the New Testament word for sin (Greek hamartia) presupposes a target that’s been missed; deviation presupposes a way (Latin via) from which we’ve departed; injustice presupposes justice; etc. So let’s ask, who’s got the worse problem, the theist or the atheist? Start with the theist. God is the source of all being and purpose. Given God’s existence, what sense does it make to deny God’s goodness? None . . . . The problem of evil still confronts theists, though not as a logical or philosophical problem, but instead as a psychological and existential one [as was addressed above] . . . .

    The problem of good as it faces the atheist is this: nature, which is nuts-and-bolts reality for the atheist, has no values and thus can offer no grounding for good and evil. As nineteenth century freethinker Robert Green Ingersoll used to say, “In nature there are neither rewards nor punishments. There are consequences.” More recently, Richard Dawkins made the same point: “The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference.” [“Prepared Remarks for the Dembski-Hitchens Debate,” Uncommon Descent Blog, Nov 22, 2010]

    KF

    PS, note my response to CD pointing to an attempt to refute Plantinga:

    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/has-anyone-else-noticed-the-blatant-political-flavor-of-many-sciencey-mags-these-days/#comment-749044

    right at outset, a strawman which seems to pivot on misunderstanding
    differences between defence and theodicy, as well as misunderstanding
    the difference freedom brings . . . inter alia the possibility of love
    thus of virtue and the possibility of actual reason:

    Plantinga, however, ignores clauses (a) and (c), and targets only
    clause (b), that involving God’s omnipotence. He sketches a scenario
    according to which God did his best to create a world without evil but
    had his plans thwarted by the freedom-abusing creatures he had created.
    “Given these conditions,” he argues, God could not have created a world
    free of evil. This “despite” his omnipotence. True, moral and natural
    evil exists. But that’s up to us, and Satan, respectively. It isn’t “up
    to God.” So Plantinga claims.

    Nope.
    Here is a summary, note, an outline:

    Plantinga’s free-will defense, in a skeletal form, allows us to
    effectively address the problem. For, it is claimed that the following
    set of theistic beliefs embed an unresolvable contradiction:
    1. God exists
    2. God is omnipotent – all powerful
    3. God is omniscient – all-knowing
    4. God is omni-benevolent – all-good
    5. God created the world
    6. The world contains evil
    [–> Notice, NOT ignored, that is false, and in context
    willfully misleading]
    To do so, there is an implicit claim that, (2a) if he exists,
    God is omnipotent and so capable of — but obviously does not eliminate
    — evil
    . So, at least one of 2 – 5 should be surrendered. But all of
    these claims are central to the notion of God, so it is held that the
    problem is actually 1.
    [–> again, not ignored]
    Therefore, NOT-1: God does not exist.
    However, it has been pointed out by Plantinga and others that:

    2a is not consistent with what theists actually believe: if the
    elimination of some evil would lead to a worse evil, or prevent the
    emergence of a greater good, then God might have a good reason to
    permit some evil in the cosmos.

    [–> Notice, the issue of misunderstanding]
    Specifically, what if “many evils result from human free will or
    from the fact that our universe operates under natural laws or from the
    fact that humans exist in a setting that fosters soul-making . . . [and
    that such a world] contains more good than a world that does not” ?
    In this case, Theists propose that 2a should be revised: 2b:
    “A good, omnipotent God will eliminate evil as far as he can without
    either losing a greater good or bringing about a greater evil.” But,
    once this is done, the alleged contradiction collapses
    .
    Further, Alvin Plantinga – through his free will defense — was
    able to show that the theistic set is actually consistent. He did
    this by augmenting the set with a further proposition that is logically
    possible (as opposed to seeming plausible to one who may be committed
    to another worldview) and which makes the consistency clear. That
    proposition, skeletally, is 5a: “God created a world (potentially)
    containing evil; and has a good reason for doing so.” Propositions 1,
    2b, 3, 4, and 5a are plainly consistent, and entail 6.

    [–> if p1, p2 . . . pn are alleged to be inconsistent but if
    augmented by e become clearly consistent, p1 through pn are necessarily
    consistent already]
    The essence of that defense is:

    “A world containing creatures who are significantly free (and
    freely perform more good than evil actions) is more valuable, all else
    being equal, than a world containing no free creatures . . . God can
    create free creatures, but he can’t cause or determine them to do only
    what is right. For . . . then they aren’t significantly free after all
    . . . He could only have forestalled the occurrence of moral evil only
    by removing the possibility of moral good.” [NB: This assumes that
    moral good reflects the power of choice: if we are merely robots
    carrying out programs, then we cannot actually love, be truthful, etc.]
    [From: Clark, Kelley James. Return to Reason. (Grand Rapids, MI:
    Eerdmans, 1994), pp. 69 – 70, citing Plantinga, God, Freedom and Evil,
    (Eerdmans, 1974), p. 30.]

    So, the attempted dismissal fails.
    The deductive or logical form problem of evil fails, and with the
    goods of reason, love, virtue and redemption etc, the inductive form is
    countered. The existential form is a matter of counselling, not logic.

    (I of course am going on to cite enough to substantiate the pivotal point.)

    KF

  88. 88
    jerry says:

    The good is that which is consistent with the objective transcendent standard grounded in the character of God

    Whatever that means?

    Dropping a fork on the floor is such an event. Therefore the dropping of the fork is an evil event.

    Explain why it isn’t. This may sound silly but I am using an extremely trivial event to illustrate the problem with using the word. Anything or everything is evil.

    Just the fact that you use over a 2,000 words to describe a four letter word makes my point. Till someone provides a simple easily understood definition, I will maintain none exists.

    The really ironic thing is that no one seems to understand my objective in all this is. That is to clarify the Theodicy issue.

  89. 89
    jerry says:

    What is evil

    The answer is apparently in an hour long video.

    I may watch at some time but why not summarize what is in it so all can understand.

    Until that is done, I maintain the word has no useful definition.

  90. 90
    jerry says:

    Aren’t people embarrassed that they cannot provide a definition they can defend?

    From above about attempted definitions of evil.

    Just what is a working definition of “evil?” I don’t believe there are any as various attempts to provide one always come up short. Too vague, too irrelevant, too contradictory, too cultural bound

    Instead there are personal attacks from supposedly Christians, belittling of what are my short criticisms with nothing relevant, opinions that something is wrong with no justification for such opinions.

    To clarify, I maintain this world is full of unwanted events. The little girl with a brain tumor that ended her very short pain filled life. The dropping of a fork. Both unwanted.

    No one is denying that. But are both evil? Nearly everyone would say what happened to the little girl is but not the second. Why?

    Is there a gradation line of unwanted events such that those on one side are evil and those on the other are not? That is absurd and should get people thinking.

    I suspect this will remain fallow till I bring it up again.

  91. 91
    asauber says:

    Jerry,

    I think your stance “Evil Isn’t Adequately Defined = There Is No Such Thing As Evil” is a Non Sequitur

    It’s akin to “Universe.” It can’t be scientifically defined, yet here we are and we perceive it all around us.

    Andrew

  92. 92
    jerry says:

    I think your stance “Evil Isn’t Adequately Defined = There Is No Such Thing As Evil” is a Non Sequitur

    True!

    But in order to understand a concept, one first has to define it. Especially when it deals with a proof of the existence of God.

    So I challenge anyone to show that something exists before they use the concept. A good first step is defining it. So far no one has stepped up and done so.

    You and apparently everyone else have not followed what this is all about and what is behind my reasoning. It has to do with the proof that the Judeo/Christian God does not exist because evil exists.

    That is what this is all about.

    So I am saying the real non-sequitur here is the assumption that evil exists. It’s especially a non-sequitur when they cannot define the word or show examples of its existence.

    No one wants to define it because any examples they give will be incompatible with their definition. Hence, no one answered my example of dropping the fork. (I usually use stubbing a toe – but tried some equally extremely trivial event instead)

    It’s akin to “Universe

    But I can give a zillion examples of the universe. And the universe is also finite.

    Part of my argument is what people mean by evil is unwanted events. And they are always by definition finite or trivial.

  93. 93
    asauber says:

    “But I can give a zillion examples of the universe. ”

    Jerry,

    I’m not sure what you mean here. A “universe” is one thing. What examples can you provide?

    Andrew

  94. 94
    jerry says:

    A “universe” is one thing. What examples can you provide?

    Just a single particle is an example or any collection of particles is another example. The universe is a collection of things.

    If you want to add forces or energy or other things you can.

    A discussion of the nature of the universe is a distraction unless you see relevance.

  95. 95
    asauber says:

    “Just a single particle is an example or any collection of particles is another example. The universe is a collection of things.”

    Jerry,

    Looks to me like you think a universe could be anything. Definitionally, that’s pretty absurd.

    Andrew

  96. 96
    jerry says:

    Looks to me like you think a universe could be anything. Definitionally, that’s pretty absurd.

    Interesting comment!

    Why make it? It has nothing to do with the discussion. Especially since I did not say anything close to what you implied.

    If you want to say the universe has no definition go right ahead. I will not argue with you.

  97. 97
    asauber says:

    Jerry,

    “It has nothing to do with the discussion.”

    It has everything to do with the discussion. You don’t like the definitions you see for evil, but anything goes for universe and it’s ok to use. I’m just saying that I think your demand for a definition of evil that you like enough is a little unreasonable.

    Andrew

  98. 98
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Jerry

    There is no evil. Yes, there are bad things but all are trivial.

    You’re just substituting the term “bad things” for “evil”.
    You claim you can’t define what evil is (and it doesn’t exist) but then you say that “bad things” exist.

    But in order to understand a concept, one first has to define it.

    Please define the word “bad” that you used in the previous statement.

  99. 99
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Jerry

    Is there a gradation line of unwanted events such that those on one side are evil and those on the other are not?

    There are degrees of perfection. That’s classic theistic philosophy.
    When we work through philosophical concepts we shouldn’t oversimplify just to throw away the problems that we encounter. We have to make distinctions and then refinements.

    Saying “there is no evil” as you have done goes against the work of philosophy and Christian theology. Jesus Himself used the term “evil” many times. We would have to believe that He is wrong but you’re right?

  100. 100
    jerry says:

    Please define the word “bad” that you used in the previous statement.

    I use the term “unwanted” for “bad.” For some “unwanted” could be a horrible death, for others it could be having freckles or just dropping one’s fork.

    Saying “there is no evil” as you have done goes against the work of philosophy and Christian theology.

    But yet you refuse to deal with anything specific I say.

    I have written probably 500+ comments on this topic in the last 15 years. No one has argued that I have been inconsistent. Everybody desperately wants a gotcha because they use the word without thinking.

  101. 101
    jerry says:

    It has everything to do with the discussion.

    No, it doesn’t. Again an interesting response.

    You are like everyone else that continues to avoid anything I say and brings in extraneous issues.

    Want a working definition of the universe, go to a dictionary. I will accept this for example,

    noun (the universe)
    all existing matter and space considered as a whole; the cosmos. The universe is believed to be at least 10 billion light years in diameter and contains a vast number of galaxies; it has been expanding since its creation in the Big Bang about 13 billion years ago.

    If you want to use a definition of evil from a dictionary, we can go from there. I have been through this before several times and it ends up nowhere.

    By the way it isn’t only “evil” that suffers from a definition problem, “evolution ,” “life,” and “species” also has definitional problems.

  102. 102
    asauber says:

    “all existing matter and space considered as a whole”

    Jerry,

    We don’t know what matter or space are.

    Andrew

  103. 103
    jerry says:

    We don’t know what matter or space are.

    OMG!

    Talk to some cosmologists.

  104. 104
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Jerry

    I use the term “unwanted” for “bad.” For some “unwanted” could be a horrible death, for others it could be having freckles or just dropping one’s fork.

    So “everything is bad” and therefore the word is useless according to your own standard.
    The word “bad” can mean “evil” so you’re using the same word that you’re claiming cannot be defined.

    Everybody desperately wants a gotcha because they use the word without thinking.

    The gotcha is that you exchanged the word “bad” for “evil” and you won’t define “bad”.

  105. 105
    asauber says:

    Jerry,

    “Talk to some cosmologists.”

    LOL. I’m sure you have some names ready for me to reach out to.

    Andrew

  106. 106
    jerry says:

    The gotcha is that you exchanged the word “bad” for “evil” and you won’t define “bad”

    But I did define it.

    Actually on a thread a couple years ago the phrase “icky stuff” was used but Barry said he used that phrase in sarcasm. So take your pick – bad, unwanted events, icky stuff, or evil. Explain the difference.

    Do you want me to define “unwanted” or “icky” too?

    You desperately want a gotcha too. And you never deal with the underlying issue.

    As I said these are all interesting responses.

  107. 107
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Jerry

    So take your pick – bad, unwanted events, icky stuff, or evil.

    Ok, I’ll try. You said:

    There is no evil. Yes, there are bad things but all are trivial.

    According to you, “there is no evil, but there are bad things”.
    Then you say ” So take your pick – bad, unwanted events, icky stuff, or evil. ”

    So, “there is no evil, but there are bad things, and take your pick, bad … evil, I’ll use them in my definitions.”

    Got it. There’s no evil. But there’s “bad”. And “bad” is a word for “evil”.

    You’re talking in circles, really.

  108. 108
    jerry says:

    You’re talking in circles, really.

    No I am not.

    If you want to use the word “evil” for “bad” or “unwanted” events. Be my guest. (By the way the title of a great song)

    That will be ok with me. It completely changes the texture of the discussion.

    We are then in an entirely different discussion. When the word “evil” is equated with “unwanted” or “bad” then the focus is on the events. That is where I want the focus to be. Because if it is, then the whole argument against God because of evil falls apart.

    Let’s reframe the argument against God to be

    Because there are unwanted events in our world, it means that God cannot exist.

    A God that allowed unwanted events is not omni-benevolent. Therefore the Christian God does not exist.

    The whole argument gets absurd. But because we allowed an undefined word, “evil” to be used the argument seems to have merit. But it doesn’t, the argument is still absurd.

  109. 109
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    Jerry
    Do you want me to define “unwanted” or “icky” too?

    😆 The jig is up.

  110. 110
    jerry says:

    The jig is up

    Define “jig.”

    Define “up.”

    Or as Bill Clinton said define “is.” And don’t forget “the.”

    Define “define.”

    Does anyone here realize that inane irrelevant replies provides credence to my argument?

  111. 111
    vividbleau says:

    Jerry
    “Aren’t people embarrassed that they cannot provide a definition they can defend?”

    Evil is whatever is not good.

    “I may watch at some time but why not summarize what is in it so all can understand.”

    The first 15 minutes is relevant to your question but here is a quick down and dirty.

    Evil is not, evil is no thing, evil is nothing but it is an action of something that is a thing, an activity of some being and cannot be defined without the backdrop of good. Evil is whatever is not good..

    Vivid

  112. 112
    jerry says:

    Evil is whatever is not good.

    That’s everything in the world.

    So dropping my fork is evil. Explain why it is not evil. Again, I recognize that this is a silly example but it is made to make a point that extremely trivial things are evil under the definition above and offered by others.

    I appreciate that you are answering in good faith. I have been down this same path before several times here and it always ends up in the same place. No explanation of what evil is.

    The thing I find most interesting is not that anyone cannot define evil, it is that they come after me personally with absurdities and misrepresentations and refuse to deal with what I am saying. If I am wrong it should be easy to dismiss what I am saying through evidence and logic.

  113. 113
    vividbleau says:

    Jerry
    “So dropping my fork is evil. Explain why it is not evil.”

    Explain why it’s not good?

    “The thing I find most interesting is not that anyone cannot define evil,”

    Not so , I defined it , that you don’t like my definition or you see problems with it is a different matter.

    Vivid

  114. 114
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    Vividbleau
    Evil is whatever is not good.

    Evil is related EXCLUSIVELY to immorality . Everything else can be categorized as tragedies or unpleasant but not evil.

  115. 115
    jerry says:

    Explain why it’s not good?

    You avoided the question. Why?

    It’s not the Good or God. – then evil

    It’s got dirty -that not good – then evil

    I had to lean down to pick it up – that’s not good – then evil

    Also what does the word “good” mean?

    I defined it , that you don’t like my definition or you see problems with it is a different matter

    It leads nowhere because you cannot point to something and say whether it’s evil or not. For example, you would not make a judgment about the fork. Why?

    Dropping the fork is a very minor inconvenience. But it is definitely something not desired or else the world would be dropping forks constantly.

    The interesting question now becomes why no one will answer the question or a similar question. Do they immediately see the implications of what their answer would be?

    The dropping of a fork is a minor negative for people. Having a terminal and painful brain tumor is a major negative. People would have no trouble saying the brain tumor is evil. But why not the fork incident or stubbing a toe, or a failure to get out of one’s way as they come through a doorway?

    Why no answer?

    The ironic thing is the answer gets rid of one of most frequent reasons people use for not believing in the Christian God.

    But yet avowed Christians act as if it’s shall I say “evil.”

  116. 116
    vividbleau says:

    Jerry
    “You avoided the question. Why?”

    Now who is questioning one’s motives? To avoid your question would be deceptive on my part. Is deception on my part a good thing?

    “It’s got dirty -that not good – then evil”

    You started out with “dropping a fork” now not only did you drop a fork but the fork got dirty, you had to bend over etc. so the fork got dirty so what get another fork. And no you did not need to bend over you could have left it wherever it fell.

    To be clear so we won’t talk past each other I am defining moral evil and moral evil requires intent.

    “But yet avowed Christians act as if it’s shall I say evil”

    Why did Christ have to die for the non evil acts of individuals?

    Vivid

  117. 117
    vividbleau says:

    Jerry
    “To be clear so we won’t talk past each other I am defining moral evil and moral evil requires intent.”

    The Bible describes sin, which in the eyes of God is evil as ungodliness, unrighteousness, any act not in conformity to Gods law or character etc

    Vivid

  118. 118
    jerry says:

    To be clear so we won’t talk past each other I am defining moral evil and moral evil requires intent

    Ok.

    Natural evil is at the core of the Theodicy issue – why? Because natural evil is on God, he allows it so its God’s fault.

    But both types of issue are subject to the same analysis. Dropping a fork and leaving it there for someone else to pick up is both moral and natural evil. Dropping it is not by intention but it causes minor problems. Leaving there is intentional and causes unnecessary discomfort on another even though it is small. So both are minor.

    It is possible to rank various things that are natural and moral by the severity of their effect. There may not be 100% agreement but the trend will be fairly similar from individual to individual. But there is a maximum and it is finite. So for either one, whatever it is, the effect is finite even it it causes a horrendous death.

    Everything I have said is obviously true. The interesting thing is why the fight why the nitpicking. And why the personal objections.

    Aside: no where have I argued against sin, that it doesn’t exist or doesn’t cause harm to oneself and to others. It has nothing to do with this discussion.

    Aside2: the crucial date in history is November 1, 1755. This is the day of the Lisbon earthquake where tens of thousand were killed including many who were in Church that day because it was All Saints Day. Here is a photo of that church. It is a beautiful ruin but notice the roof that isn’t there which fell on. the worshipers.

    https://www.americangeosciences.org/static/earth/benchmarks-november-1-1755-earthquake-destroys-lisbon/group_CarmoChurchRuins2_TrevorHuxham_CCBYNCND20.jpg

    https://www.earthmagazine.org/article/benchmarks-november-1-1755-earthquake-destroys-lisbon/

    After this day, the thinking on God changes dramatically. How could God allow for such destruction on a holy day? So many began their disbelief in God that day.

    https://theconversation.com/is-god-good-in-the-shadow-of-mass-disaster-great-minds-have-argued-the-toss-137078

    Aside3: Lisbon is my second favorite city in Europe after Barcelona. I highly recommend it to those planning on trips to Europe in the future.

  119. 119
    vividbleau says:

    Jerry
    “Aside2: the crucial date in history is November 1, 1755. This is the day of the Lisbon earthquake where tens of thousand were killed including many who were in Church that day because it was All Saints Day. “

    Yes Voltaires Candide and the infamous Dr Pangloss .

    Vivid

  120. 120
    EDTA says:

    Main points from my understanding of evil:

    Evil is harm.
    Harm is defined as deviation from purpose, where things and creatures have purpose(s).
    Only God knows 100% what our purposes are, and hence whether we are deviating from them. We can have a good idea, but we can never be perfectly certain. So God is ultimately the definer of what evil is. By our finiteness, we cannot have a perfect definition of it.
    All sin is evil, but not all evil is sin. (I.e., evil is a superset of sin). A person can harm another without necessarily sinning.
    We know that evil exists because God states that it does, and describes many things as evil.
    It would seem to be a continuum, where the amount of harm/deviation from purpose would determine how evil something was.

  121. 121
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, there is also June 7, 1692 OS on which date the richest, wickedest city in the world was suddenly destroyed by earthquake. A quake, viewed as divine judgement on the Buccaneers and enablers in their nest, Port Royal. We live in a tectonic world and may be ignorant or negligent about hazards. We often cut corners to squeeze profits. Disasters happen. BTW, a surgeon who drops an instrument, rightly, will not stoop to pick it back up but will expect another to do so [and set it aside], showing that there are priorities of value and clashes that force choices that are morally freighted and lead to the issue of lesser evils; which are not transmuted into goods, they still have damaging consequences that need to be managed. There are natural as well as moral evils. Evils can be identified through examples and we can evaluate the common thread, leading towards concept. Evil is not meaningless and points to the good it frustrates, perverts or diverts etc. KF

  122. 122
    jerry says:

    Kf,

    Thank you! You just supported everything I have been saying for years. But you don’t know it. You just want to use the word “evil” for unwanted events. Or you could replace it with bad things. Or Barry’s sarcastic “icky things.”

    showing that there are priorities of value and clashes that force choices that are morally freighted and lead to the issue of lesser unwanted events; which are not transmuted into desired events, they still have damaging consequences that need to be managed. There are natural as well as moral unwanted events. Unwanted events can be identified through examples and we can evaluate the common thread, leading towards concept. Unwanted events are not meaningless and points to the desired events it frustrates, perverts or diverts etc

    Or

    showing that there are priorities of value and clashes that force choices that are morally freighted and lead to the issue of lesser icky things; which are not transmuted into better things, they still have damaging consequences that need to be managed. There are natural as well as moral icky things. Icky things can be identified through examples and we can evaluate the common thread, leading towards concept. Icky things is not meaningless and points to the better things it frustrates, perverts or diverts etc

    All you said in your desire to show you are right and I am wrong is prove I am right.

    Again, thank you.

    PS – the use of the surgeon dropping a scalpel was a great way to illustrate my example of dropping a fork is evil according to your understanding.

    See how simple it can be to make a point. It doesn’t take 2,000 words.

    Better English

    showing that there are priorities of value and clashes that force choices that are morally laden and lead to the issue of lesser but still undesired happenings; which are still not desired happenings, they still have damaging consequences that need to be managed. There are natural as well as moral undesired events. These undesired events can be identified through examples and we can evaluate the common thread, leading towards a better understanding. Unwanted events are not meaningless. They point to the more desired events that are frustrated, perverted or diverted etc

    Still a little awkward.

  123. 123
    asauber says:

    Sorry Jerry,

    God has provided a structure by which evil can be perceived and evaluated. Not sure it’s a great idea to continue to try and deny it.

    Andrew

  124. 124
    jerry says:

    Not sure it’s a great idea to continue to try and deny it

    What am I denying?

    Kf just agreed with me.

    He wants to use the word “evil” but I have pointed out what he means by the word. He essentially means undesired events and they range from dropping your fork to the killing of millions or his often used example, the torturing of a little child.

    We can all try to rank these unwanted events. There would be a fair amount of consistency.

    Again, you have no clue what I am saying.

    I am showing the fallacious reasoning in the argument against there being a God because there is evil.

    That is all this is about and so far everyone is against trying to do that with specious reasons.

    I find it ironic that everyone objecting is playing into the hand of the atheists.

  125. 125
    asauber says:

    “What am I denying?”

    Jerry,

    It seems to me you are denying there is real evil at work here in everyday life in the universe. If you don’t actually think that, it seems to me you are just playing word games.

    Andrew

  126. 126
    asauber says:

    “We can all try to rank these unwanted events.”

    Jerry,

    Yes, and we can never do it perfectly, as human beings. But God did give us a framework to perceive and evaluate and respond to evil with good. That’s what Christianity is for.

    Andrew

  127. 127
    jerry says:

    seems to me you are denying there is real evil at work here in everyday life in

    You just used the magic word in a completely different way.

    The magic word used this way would be laughed at by the atheists. Is that what you want? They would just say your God did that, not some invisible bogey man or what they would affirm is that it all just happened naturally.

    Then you say something completely unrelated.

    Yes, and we can never do it perfectly, as human beings. But God did give us a framework to perceive and evaluate and respond to undesired events with the elimination of them and providing much more desirable events/things in their place. That’s what Christianity is for

    God made a world of a zillion imperfects. Why?

    Every time a reason for this gets put forward it gets ignored or denied. Nobody wants to discuss it.

    An by the way, I in no way deny the presence of Satan. But invoking that gets nowhere. Better yet, point out there must be undesirable events for some reason. But these events are always limited, even the killing of millions.

    You are way off track here

    You offering nothing but opinions. Ok but not justified by anything.

  128. 128
    asauber says:

    “The magic word used this way would be laughed at by the atheists.”

    Jerry,

    I’m not sure why you think Atheists (of all people) should determine word usage. Or why you think getting laughed at must be avoided. You are way off track here, Jerry.

    Andrew

  129. 129
    asauber says:

    “You offering nothing but opinions. Ok but not justified by anything.”

    Jerry,

    I’m not offering mere opinion. I’m pointing to Christianity.

    Andrew

  130. 130
    jerry says:

    I’m pointing to Christianity.

    And yet I am trying to justify the Christian God who created this world with a zillion unwanted events/things. And this would include the Lisbon Earthquake.

    Your appeals as I said supports the atheists. I am trying to undermine them.

    I don’t think so. But you seem to be trying to appease Atheist sensibilities for some reason

    You got to be kidding. What I am. doing is making their arguments look stupid. How is that appeasing their sensibilities, by calling their objections nonsense.

    I will continue to do so.

  131. 131
    asauber says:

    “Your appeals as I said supports the atheists.”

    Jerry,

    I don’t think so. But you seem to be trying to appease Atheist sensibilities for some reason.

    Andrew

  132. 132
    asauber says:

    “What I am. doing is making their arguments look stupid.”

    Jerry,

    No you’re not.

    Andrew

  133. 133
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Andrew

    I’m not sure why you think Atheists (of all people) should determine word usage. Or why you think getting laughed at must be avoided. You are way off track here, Jerry.

    That’s a direct hit on the target – nice job. We don’t change the definitions of words because atheists don’t like them. They should not set the agenda. Classic arguments for the existence of God and for an understanding of evil are solid. Many atheists convert to Christianity and they realize that.
    We’ll talk in circles and tie our heads in knots trying to say that “there is no evil”.

  134. 134
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, no. The classic understanding that evil is a parasitical distortion, frustration, perversion, privation of the good out of its due and often naturally evident end, is antecedent to its chaotic consequences or repulsiveness etc. That classic understanding identifies that evil is not a primary entity that you can order by the boxcar load etc. It is instead, a failing to be aligned with due end, which then leads to recognising that due ends are embedded in our world. Thus, we see a way to recognise the good. Yes, we can and do recognise the evil from its chaotic and destructive, repulsive consequences — famously in a form of the Categorical imperative, or from capital cases in point such as Nazism and Communism as they played out in living memory then from family resemblance and from seeing degrees and escalations, but that is different from identifying its substantial nature. this is not merely about word usage, we are dealing here with the is-ought gap as enconscienced creatures, where that gap can only be properly and effectively bridged in the root of reality. KF

    PS, observe SEP:

    Since World War II, moral, political, and legal philosophers have become increasingly interested in the concept of evil. This interest has been partly motivated by ascriptions of ‘evil’ by laymen, social scientists, journalists, and politicians as they try to understand and respond to various atrocities and horrors, such as genocides, terrorist attacks, mass murders, and tortures and killing sprees by psychopathic serial killers. It seems that we cannot capture the moral significance of these actions and their perpetrators by calling them ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’ or even ‘very very wrong’ or ‘very very bad.’ We need the concept of evil.

    To avoid confusion, it is important to note that there are at least two concepts of evil: a broad concept and a narrow concept. The broad concept picks out any bad state of affairs, wrongful action, or character flaw. The suffering of a toothache is evil in the broad sense as is a white lie. Evil in the broad sense has been divided into two categories: natural evil and moral evil. Natural evils are bad states of affairs which do not result from the intentions or negligence of moral agents. Hurricanes and toothaches are examples of natural evils. By contrast, moral evils do result from the intentions or negligence of moral agents. Murder and lying are examples of moral evils.

    Evil in the broad sense, which includes all natural and moral evils, tends to be the sort of evil referenced in theological contexts, such as in discussions of the problem of evil. The problem of evil is the problem of accounting for evil in a world created by an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good God. It seems that if the creator has these attributes, there would be no evil in the world. But there is evil in the world. Thus, there is reason to believe that an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good creator does not exist.

    In contrast to the broad concept of evil, the narrow concept of evil picks out only the most morally despicable sorts of actions, characters, events, etc. As Marcus Singer puts it “‘evil’ [in this sense] … is the worst possible term of opprobrium imaginable” (Singer 2004, 185). Since the narrow concept of evil involves moral condemnation, it is appropriately ascribed only to moral agents and their actions . . . .

    Evil-skeptics believe we should abandon the concept of evil. On this view we can more accurately, and less perniciously, understand and describe morally despicable actions, characters, and events using more pedestrian moral concepts such as badness and wrongdoing. By contrast, evil-revivalists believe that the concept of evil has a place in our moral and political thinking and discourse. On this view, the concept of evil should be revived, not abandoned (see Russell 2006 and 2007).

    Someone who believes that we should do away with moral discourse altogether could be called a moral-skeptic or a moral nihilist. Evil-skepticism is not as broad. Evil-skeptics believe the concept of evil is particularly problematic and should be abandoned while other moral concepts, such as right, wrong, good, and bad, are worth keeping.

    Evil-skeptics give three main reasons to abandon the concept of evil: (1) the concept of evil involves unwarranted metaphysical commitments to dark spirits, the supernatural, or the devil; (2) the concept of evil is useless because it lacks explanatory power; and (3) the concept of evil can be harmful or dangerous when used in moral, political, and legal contexts, and so, it should not be used in those contexts, if at all.

    Ask yourself, why so many are uncomfortable with even identifying a concept of evil.

  135. 135
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS, I see the defining of the good is something hard to find online, a bad sign for what our day is like, one can find discussion of evil far more than discussion of the good. Okay, let’s do a rough cut:

    good or goodness first speaks to moral and/or aesthetic perfection and/or purity or the approach thereto, includes beneficence [and especially loving compassion and generosity], can express fitness or aptness for purpose, exemplary state or conduct or performance, or can relate to things or states of affairs that reflect such and related things. A good mango tree gives good fruit, often in this region the Julie is the standard of perfection or at least of reference; though I take the Bombay as preferable absent the defect of being thin skinned and prone to wrigglers (hence the eat it in the dark joke). A good tool is apt to carry out a job effectively if rightly used. A good island is happily situated, well watered, lush, has wonderful beaches etc. A good person is of exemplary conduct; Jesus of Nazareth is perhaps the generally accepted yardstick. A good God is one who is supreme in perfections and especially in moral excellence and generous beneficence, letting his rain fall on the just and the unjust, etc. A good creature is moving towards fulfillment of its due ends, especially where that is more than the mere common average. And much more. We here see that yardstick examples help us flesh out our concept and this then controls discussion as what cuts across key cases will be error.

    Notice, good vs evil brings in the issue of purpose, achievement or progress towards that, and even perfection, purity, beneficence, example and more.

  136. 136
    jerry says:

    Ask yourself, why so many are uncomfortable with even identifying a concept of evil.

    But yet you and others never answer anything I say. Why?

    What have I said that is untrue? Nothing!

    Your responses are long and incoherent. When I point out that they support what I say you do not respond to that. You go off on some other tangent which is hard to decipher.

    What is it that some feel so threatening. I espouse nothing that is not part of Christian theology. I just point to the use of a word which has no consistent meaning but is used in ways that atheist use to undermine the existence of God. And for that I am attacked by several.

    I find this ironic from those who call themselves Christian.

  137. 137
    asauber says:

    “used in ways that atheist use to undermine the existence of God”

    Jerry,

    Of course. Atheists position everything that way or they couldn’t and wouldn’t be Atheists.

    Andrew

  138. 138
    Silver Asiatic says:

    KF

    In defining good, also from the metaphysical level – God is the only non-contingent being. Therefore, on the scale of perfection, He is perfect Being with no defect. That’s the supreme good.
    So, we can align good with Being. It’s the same with Truth – which is aligned perfectly with God.
    Creatures in their temporal life on earth have defects. These defects are removed when they are united with God in heaven. So, even though they are contingent upon God, in heaven they are “completely good” because they fulfill what they were created for.

  139. 139
    jerry says:

    Of course. Atheists position everything that way or they couldn’t and wouldn’t be Atheists

    A little background:

    This started with a reference to someone named Bradley who was making an argument for atheism based on the obvious presence of evil. I doubt he was using a definition “perversion of the good” as the basis for his argument of what is evil.

    Second, most Christians believe in Evolution by natural means and have signed on natural mechanisms for OOL as well. One reason is it absolves God for the origin of evil.

    But events such as the 1755 Lisbon earthquake refutes a lot of their beliefs and causes a lot of consternation and loss of beliefs. Their idea of evil was bad things happening to people.

    So using a definition of “perversion of the good” gets you no where and leads to all sorts of inconsistencies as I have pointed out.

    I will continue to stress these obvious issues which people here refuse to address.

    But when people continue to make personal aspersions rather than address the actual issue has always been a loosing argument.

  140. 140
    asauber says:

    SA,

    “They should not set the agenda.” Indeed.

    I think Jerry is letting that agenda influence his thinking about this.

    Andrew

  141. 141
    jerry says:

    I think Jerry is letting that agenda influence his thinking about this

    Another aspersion without foundation.

    My thinking about this is on record for over 15 years without anyone able to challenge it other than essentially, “I don’t like it.”

    I have left a very detailed forensic trail on purpose.

  142. 142
    Sandy says:

    God will ask us about our own sins not about the sins of others , not about the sins of atheists , etc.
    Our own sins are the biggest evil in the world. Here you have the definition of evil.

  143. 143
    EDTA says:

    I never included natural evil under the ‘perversion of the good’ category…

  144. 144
    jerry says:

    never included natural evil under the ‘perversion of the good’

    But it is natural evil that is at the heart of the argument from evil.

    Interesting thing is that some believe I am attacking their cherished beliefs when in fact I am strengthening them. They just won’t read or address what is being argued.

  145. 145
    asauber says:

    I think what Jerry is missing is that Atheists’ hostility towards God precedes this or that definition of Evil. Jerry might think his idea of how evil should be defined or not defined at all could or would diminish or remove this hostility. That’s an extremely naive thing to think.

    Andrew

  146. 146
    jerry says:

    I think what Jerry is missing is that Atheists’ hostility towards God precedes this or that definition of Evil

    This has zero to do with anything I am saying or care about.

    The issue is the actual argument itself. So why make things up?

    Interesting is the continual misrepresentation and zero interest in understanding.

    The target of the argument has always been those who are not atheists. I’m showing why this argument is built on fallacies.

  147. 147
    Seversky says:

    What theists seem to have difficulty in grasping is that atheists feel no hostility towards God since they regard Him as being as much a fictional character as Emperor Palpatine or the Dark Lord Sauron. The hostility trope is just theists attempt to explain to themselves why atheists don’t share their beliefs.

  148. 148
    asauber says:

    Jerry: “The magic word used this way would be laughed at by the atheists. Is that what you want?”

    You made Atheists relevant to the discussion.

    Andrew

  149. 149
    asauber says:

    “atheists feel no hostility towards God”

    Sev,

    Yes, they do.

    Andrew

  150. 150
    Seversky says:

    No, they don’t.

  151. 151
    asauber says:

    “No, they don’t.”

    Hostile enough to deny His existence. Hostile enough to troll ID blogs.

    Andrew

  152. 152
    Seversky says:

    Denying the existence of something you don’t believe exists does not require hostility, just a statement of belief.

  153. 153
    asauber says:

    “Denying the existence of something you don’t believe exists does not require hostility, just a statement of belief.”

    Sev,

    Prolly doesn’t require hostility, but the hostility is still there.

    Andrew

  154. 154
    EDTA says:

    Sev,

    What theists seem to have difficulty in grasping is that atheists feel no hostility towards God since they regard Him as being as much a fictional character

    There is hostility somewhere in there; just read Bradley’s argument or visit PZ Meyer’s site. Maybe it’s hostility at a concept, but it is hostility in any case.

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