Intelligent Design

Vividbleau: The Problem of Evil is More of a Problem for an Atheist than a Theist

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VB sums his chain of reasoning below. And very nicely done reasoning it is too. And then comes this: The problem of evil is more of a problem for the atheist than for the theist. He is right of course. But can anyone tell me why his is right. EVERYTHING THAT FOLLOWS IS VB’S:

I am somewhat of an obsessive compulsive after a few months I started to ask uncomfortable questions. I know what I experienced but the mind is a funny thing and I recognized hey you are basing your life on this belief which is a serious commitment maybe I am deceiving myself “Am I sure?” and of course I was not sure I needed more.
One of my strengths, and is always the case can be one of my greatest weakness, is that I have a very open mind, its not empty but open. I also think that to confront ones doubts one must face the opposition and their strongest arguments honestly and without distortion. Its a blessing and a curse because it is very tough to engage arguments that are contrary to what you believe. This is important, I recognize that I am not objective, I am guilty of observational bias, by recognizing this I recognize that I have to fight that and the way to do that is to expose oneself to ideas opposite of your own. I remember once on this site I mentioned that I was prone to observational bias and someone was surprised by that (it was not you) and I thought “are you kidding me”? Its a human condition.

It took many years but in a nutshell here is where I have landed.

Evidence is a plastic word and needs to be defined, here is how I prioritize evidence.
1) My starting point is where all of us start, and where many are ignorant that they start there, which is a set of unprovable assumptions, everyone has them. Everyone starts with metaphysics! I assume the reliability of mind.

2) Reason and its sister Logic is superior to experience. Logic cannot tell us what is but it can tell us what is NOT.

3) Because everything starts with metaphysics faith is not unreasonable, nor is fideism the same as faith.

4) Every worldview is a set of faith assumptions about the nature of things ie is a metaphysical belief.

5) Every worldview has difficulties.

6) To echo KF we should adopt the worldview that has the least number of difficulties.

As to the materialist, atheist, agnostic I GET IT. I understand why when we look over history, the pain and suffering that exists in our world, the evil and mayhem, atheism to me is a reasonable position but entails more difficulties than theism.

Here is my answer as a theist to the problem of evil, I don’t have one nor does anyone else, Jonathan Edwards, one of the greatest minds America has produced, spent his whole life contemplating this question and could not answer it. Those who appeal to the free will of man etc, just demonstrate to me that they don’t gasp the extent of the problem, I am laying it all out here and I know this will rankle some theists here but that’s a fact. As an aside I think the problem of evil is more a problem for the atheist than the theist

114 Replies to “Vividbleau: The Problem of Evil is More of a Problem for an Atheist than a Theist

  1. 1
    jerry says:

    Evil does not exist. Or at least for an atheist it does not exist.

    I have asked in the past on this site for a definition of evil. I haven’t looked at any answers here for a couple years but I never saw anyone who could actually define evil. Most define it as bad stuff or the lack of good. Whatever that is. And the more bad it is, the more evil it is. But it is always a relative thing. Any unpleasant thing in this world is trivial because it is finite.

    For a Christian who believes in heaven, there is only one evil and it is absolute. That is deprivation of a direct relationship with God for eternity.

    So I guess I do not agree with the OP.

    PS – I am aware of the differences between natural and moral evil but since I am arguing that evil does not exist, the distinction just means how bad things to people originate.

  2. 2
    PaoloV says:

    Genesis 2:9

    And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

    Isaiah 5:20

    Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!

    Revelation 22:11

    Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.

  3. 3
    Barry Arrington says:

    Jerry,

    Evil does not exist. Or at least for an atheist it does not exist.

    The existence of a thing is independent of whether one believes it exists. If evil exists, it exists for atheists and theists alike. If evil does not exist, it does not exist for atheists and theists alike. So your statement that “at least for an atheist evil does not exist” is incoherent. Unless, of course, what you really mean is that an atheist does not believe evil exists. Assuming that is what you mean, then you are just wrong. All sane people, including you, live their lives as if they believe evil exists. Granted, a person may say they do not believe evil exists, and indeed that conclusion may even be compelled by their metaphysical premises, as it is in your case. But no one believes it.

  4. 4
    BobRyan says:

    Atheists do not believe in absolutes, at least that’s what they tell themselves and others. To the atheist, everything comes down to either/or. Either you support gay marriage, or you are a homophobe who hates homosexuals. It does not matter to the atheist that there could be a whole host of reasons for the opposition, including the dislike of redefining a word that has been around since at least ancient Egypt, which means it predates Christianity. All that matters is they believe they are on the side of right and anyone who disagrees must be on the side of wrong.
    They have picked their villains and heroes. War trials were held against National Socialists and Imperial Japanese, but no Soviet was ever put on trial for doing to Berlin what the Imperial Army did to Nan King. Che is held up as a hero, even though he was a mass murderer before he ever met Fidel Castro. Stalin was largely ignored and became the biggest mass murderer in the history of the world.
    Xi has been given absolute power in China. He has the same title and power that Mao held. There is silence on the crackdowns that started the moment he rose to power. The CCP is one of the most brutal governments in existence today and they ensure North Korea survives. Without China, North Korea falls into an economic abyss.
    They make excuses for the failure of socialism in Venezuela, since it is never the fault of socialism. They blame everyone except those responsible for the misery that currently exists in what was the wealthiest country in the region.

  5. 5
    Bob O'H says:

    So why does Vividblue think “I think the problem of evil is more a problem for the atheist than the theist”?

  6. 6
    Bob O'H says:

    BTW, Barry, in the OP did you mean Vividblue or vividbleau?

    Thank you Bob. BA

  7. 7
    jerry says:

    Barry,

    Without a definition how can something exist? Define evil.

    I have actually defined evil. It is the eternal separation from God.

    I have never seen anyone else do it here except to indicate it is just bad stuff happening to people. I believe you have agreed with me in the past that evil other than my definition does not exist. But since I am here so seldom in the last few years I do not know what has been said by you or others recently.

    Now for atheists, who say they don’t believe in God, the issue becomes whether God exists or not. If God does not exist, then evil does not exist, just temporary unpleasant unwanted circumstances. Of course they might say death is eternal and their non-existence is highly undesired.

    If God exists, then evil does exists depending on the nature of this God.

    Similarly for a believer, evil only exists if a certain type of God exists.

    That’s all for the moment. Doing this on an iPad early in the morning. I am sure there are some minor points that need to be restated for clarification but I am sure you get my reasoning. I can try to find the past discussion I am talking about but you could probably do it easier.

    By the way uncertainty about the existence of God and His nature is an absolutely necessary condition for a meaningful life. Otherwise we would be nothing but automatons.

  8. 8
    ET says:

    Perhaps it’s that “evil” is subjective with respect to atheists. After all, their morals are subjective. If Darwin was right it is all just living, reproducing and then dying. Everything else just is what it is- a means to that end.

  9. 9
    jerry says:

    Barry,

    You called it “icky stuff”

    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/the-argument-from-evil-explained/

    Barry: Jerry, you really need to work on honing your sarcasm detection skills.

  10. 10
    bornagain77 says:

    vividbleau:

    I think the problem of evil is more a problem for the atheist than the theist

    I think that statement is a severe understatement.

    Moreover, the problem of evil is far more of a problem for atheists when you throw Darwinian evolution into the mix than when you just look at materialism and/or naturalism by themselves.

    First off, materialism and/or naturalism, when taken by themselves, without Darwinian evolution thrown into the mix, is simply amoral. As Richard Dawkins put it, it is a world of “pitiless indifference.”

    “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

    And while the problem for straight up materialism and/or naturalism in its denial of objective morality is bad enough, since it denies the very existence of something that we all intuitively know to be true and real, namely the existence of objective morality itself,

    1. If God does not exist, objective moral values do not exist.
    2. Objective moral values do exist.
    3. Therefore, God exists.
    – The Moral Argument
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxiAikEk2vU

    ,,, And while the problem for straight up materialism and/or naturalism in its denial of the reality of objective morality is certainly bad enough, the problem of evil for atheists gets far, far, worse when we throw Darwinian evolution into the mix.

    Morally noble altruistic behavior of any type is simply completely antithetical to Darwin’s ‘survival of the fittest’, i.e. red in tooth and claw, theory. As Darwin stated, “let the strongest live and the weakest die.”

    “One general law, leading to the advancement of all organic beings, namely, multiply, vary, let the strongest live and the weakest die.”
    – Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species

    As should be obvious to everyone who is not a psychopath, not only is “let the strongest live and the weakest die” amoral, but it is completely ANTI-moral. Specifically. it is a direct violation of the golden rule, i.e. love your neighbor as you love yourself, and is in direct contradiction to how that ethic plays out in the Christian worldview. Namely, it is in direct contradiction to the Christian ethos of looking out for those who are less fortunate and/or ‘weaker’ than you are.

    Matthew 25:34-40
    “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
    “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
    “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

    Darwin himself bemoaned the fact that “the weak members of civilised societies propagate their kind.”

    “With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilised men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to small-pox. Thus the weak members of civilised societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.”
    – Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man

    Thus, clearly there is an inherent “ANTI-morality” that is central to Darwinian theory that is completely at odds with the Christian ethos of looking after those who are less fortunate and ‘weaker’ than yourself. As Sir Arthur Keith, wrote in his book Evolution and Ethics, “the two laws are at war with each other; the law of Christ can never prevail until the law of evolution is destroyed.”

    “for, as we have just seen, the ways of national evolution, both in the past and in the present, are cruel, brutal, ruthless, and without mercy.,,, Meantime let me say that the conclusion I have come to is this: the law of Christ is incompatible with the law of evolution as far as the law of evolution has worked hitherto. Nay, the two laws are at war with each other; the law of Christ can never prevail until the law of evolution is destroyed.”
    Sir Arthur Keith, (1866 — 1955) Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons – Evolution and Ethics (1947) p.15
    (Note the year that this was written was shortly after the German ‘master race’ was defeated in World War II)

    And indeed, as Hitler himself stated, “Nature,,, wipes out what is weak in order to give place to the strong.”

    “A stronger race will oust that which has grown weak; for the vital urge, in its ultimate form, will burst asunder all the absurd chains of this so-called humane consideration for the individual and will replace it with the humanity of Nature, which wipes out what is weak in order to give place to the strong.”
    – Adolf Hitler – Mein Kampf – pg 248

    Moreover, not only is Darwinian evolution at ‘war’ with what we intuitively know to be true, namely that we ought to look after those who are less fortunate and/or ‘weaker’ than we are, but Darwinian evolution is also at ‘war’ with what we now know to be true scientifically.

    Namely, (in a point that is made especially crystal clear by the current Corona virus scourge), if evolution by natural selection were actually the truth about how all life came to be on Earth then the only life that should be around should be extremely small organisms with the highest replication rate, and with the most ‘mutational firepower’, since only they, (since they greatly outclass multi-cellular organism in terms of ‘reproductive success’ and ‘mutational firepower’), would be fittest to survive in the dog eat dog world where blind pitiless evolution ruled and only the fittest are allowed to survive. The logic of this is nicely summed up here in this following Richard Dawkins’ video:

    Richard Dawkins interview with a ‘Darwinian’ physician goes off track – video
    Excerpt: “I am amazed, Richard, that what we call metazoans, multi-celled organisms, have actually been able to evolve, and the reason [for amazement] is that bacteria and viruses replicate so quickly — a few hours sometimes, they can reproduce themselves — that they can evolve very, very quickly. And we’re stuck with twenty years at least between generations. How is it that we resist infection when they can evolve so quickly to find ways around our defenses?”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....62031.html

    In other words, since successful reproduction is all that really matters on a neo-Darwinian view of things, how can anything but successful, and highly efficient reproduction, be realistically ‘selected’ for? Darwin himself stated, “every single organic being around us may be said to be striving to the utmost to increase in numbers;”

    “every single organic being around us may be said to be striving to the utmost to increase in numbers;”
    – Charles Darwin – Origin of Species – pg. 66

    The logic of natural selection is nicely and simply illustrated on the following graph:

    The Logic of Natural Selection – graph
    http://recticulatedgiraffe.wee.....35.jpg?308

    As you can see, any other function besides successful reproduction, such as much slower sexual reproduction, sight, hearing, abstract thinking, and especially altruistic behavior (such as the ‘strong’ taking care of the ‘weak’), would be highly superfluous to the primary criteria of successful reproduction, and should, on a Darwinian view, be discarded, and/or ‘eaten’, by bacteria, as so much excess baggage since it obviously would slow down successful reproduction.

    Yet, contrary to this central ‘anti-moral ‘survival of the fittest’ assumption of Darwinian evolution, instead of eating us, time after time we find micro-organisms helping each other, and us, in ways that have nothing to with their own ‘survival of the fittest’’ concerns.

    The following researchers said they were ‘banging our heads against the wall’ by the mutual cooperation that they had found among bacteria.

    Doubting Darwin: Algae Findings Surprise Scientists – April 28, 2014
    Excerpt: One of Charles Darwin’s hypotheses posits that closely related species will compete for food and other resources more strongly with one another than with distant relatives, because they occupy similar ecological niches. Most biologists long have accepted this to be true.
    Thus, three researchers were more than a little shaken to find that their experiments on fresh water green algae failed to support Darwin’s theory — at least in one case.
    “It was completely unexpected,” says Bradley Cardinale, associate professor in the University of Michigan’s school of natural resources & environment. “When we saw the results, we said ‘this can’t be.”‘ We sat there banging our heads against the wall. Darwin’s hypothesis has been with us for so long, how can it not be right?”
    The researchers ,,,— were so uncomfortable with their results that they spent the next several months trying to disprove their own work. But the research held up.,,,
    The scientists did not set out to disprove Darwin, but, in fact, to learn more about the genetic and ecological uniqueness of fresh water green algae so they could provide conservationists with useful data for decision-making. “We went into it assuming Darwin to be right, and expecting to come up with some real numbers for conservationists,” Cardinale says. “When we started coming up with numbers that showed he wasn’t right, we were completely baffled.”,,,
    Darwin “was obsessed with competition,” Cardinale says. “He assumed the whole world was composed of species competing with each other, but we found that one-third of the species of algae we studied actually like each other. They don’t grow as well unless you put them with another species. It may be that nature has a heck of a lot more mutualisms than we ever expected.
    “,,, Maybe Darwin’s presumption that the world may be dominated by competition is wrong.”
    http://www.livescience.com/452.....f-bts.html

    As the researchers’ surprise made clear, apparently mutual cooperation is completely contradictory to the central assumption of ‘survival of the fittest’ that is core to Darwinian thought.

    As the following article states, “‘survival of the friendliest’ outweighs ‘survival of the fittest’ for groups of bacteria. Bacteria make space for one another and sacrifice properties if it benefits the bacterial community as a whole.”

    Friendly bacteria collaborate to survive – 10 October 2019
    Excerpt: New microbial research at the University of Copenhagen suggests that ‘survival of the friendliest’ outweighs ‘survival of the fittest’ for groups of bacteria. Bacteria make space for one another and sacrifice properties if it benefits the bacterial community as a whole. The discovery is a major step towards understanding complex bacteria interactions and the development of new treatment models for a wide range of human diseases and new green technologies.
    https://news.ku.dk/all_news/2019/10/friendly-bacteria-collaborate-to-survive/

    Again, this is directly contrary to the central ‘survival of the fittest’ assumption of Darwinian evolution.

    Moreover, and again directly contrary to the central ‘survival of the fittest’ assumption of Darwinian evolution, we find that bacteria are also directly helping us in essential ways that have nothing to do with their own ‘survival of the fittest’ concerns:

    NIH Human Microbiome Project defines normal bacterial makeup of the body – June 13, 2012
    Excerpt: Microbes inhabit just about every part of the human body, living on the skin, in the gut, and up the nose. Sometimes they cause sickness, but most of the time, microorganisms live in harmony with their human hosts, providing vital functions essential for human survival.
    http://www.nih.gov/news/health.....gri-13.htm

    We are living in a bacterial world, and it’s impacting us more than previously thought – February 15, 2013
    Excerpt: We often associate bacteria with disease-causing “germs” or pathogens, and bacteria are responsible for many diseases, such as tuberculosis, bubonic plague, and MRSA infections. But bacteria do many good things, too, and the recent research underlines the fact that animal life would not be the same without them.,,,
    I am,, convinced that the number of beneficial microbes, even very necessary microbes, is much, much greater than the number of pathogens.”
    http://phys.org/news/2013-02-b.....tml#ajTabs

    In fact, directly contrary to Darwinian ‘survival of the fittest’ thought, bacteria are now known to transform the entire ecosystem of the earth for the apparent benefit of multicellular organism. A ‘miraculous’ transformation which certainly does not have anything to do with the bacteria’s own immediate ‘survival of the fittest’ concerns. As Paul G. Falkowski states, “Microbial life can easily live without us; we, however, cannot survive without the global catalysis and environmental transformations it provides.”

    The Microbial Engines That Drive Earth’s Biogeochemical Cycles – Paul G. Falkowski – 2008
    Excerpt: Microbial life can easily live without us; we, however, cannot survive without the global catalysis and environmental transformations it provides.
    http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/v.....8;type=pdf
    – Paul G. Falkowski is Professor Geological Sciences at Rutgers

  11. 11
    bornagain77 says:

    Likewise, viruses are also found to be essential to the ecosystem. “Viruses aren’t our enemies,” Dr. Suttle said. “Certain nasty viruses can make you sick, but it’s important to recognize that viruses and other microbes out there are absolutely integral for the ecosystem.”

    Trillions Upon Trillions of Viruses Fall From the Sky Each Day – Jim Robbins – April 13, 2018
    Excerpt: Whatever the case, viruses are the most abundant entities on the planet by far. While Dr. Suttle’s team found hundreds of millions of viruses in a square meter, they counted tens of millions of bacteria in the same space.
    Mostly thought of as infectious agents, viruses are much more than that. It’s hard to overstate the central role that viruses play in the world: They’re essential to everything from our immune system to our gut microbiome, to the ecosystems on land and sea, to climate regulation,,,. Viruses contain a vast diverse array of unknown genes — and spread them to other species.,,,
    In laboratory experiments, he has filtered viruses out of seawater but left their prey, bacteria. When that happens, plankton in the water stop growing. That’s because when preying viruses infect and take out one species of microbe — they are very specific predators — they liberate nutrients in them, such as nitrogen, that feed other species of bacteria.,,,
    Viruses help keep ecosystems in balance by changing the composition of microbial communities. As toxic algae blooms spread in the ocean, for example, they are brought to heel by a virus that attacks the algae and causes it to explode and die, ending the outbreak in as little as a day.,,,
    The beneficial effects of viruses are much less known, especially among plants. “There are huge questions in wild systems about what viruses are doing there,” said Marilyn Roossinck, who studies viral ecology in plants at Pennsylvania State University. “We have never found deleterious effects from a virus in the wild.”
    A grass found in the high-temperature soils of Yellowstone’s geothermal areas, for example, needs a fungus to grow in the extreme environment. In turn, the fungus needs a virus.,,,
    Tiny spots of virus on the plant that yields quinoa is also important for the plant’s survival. “Little spots of virus confer drought tolerance but don’t cause disease,” she said. “It changes the whole plant physiology.”
    “Viruses aren’t our enemies,” Dr. Suttle said. “Certain nasty viruses can make you sick, but it’s important to recognize that viruses and other microbes out there are absolutely integral for the ecosystem.”
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/13/science/virosphere-evolution.html

    Viruses: You’ve heard the bad; here’s the good – April 30, 2015
    Excerpt: “The word, virus, connotes morbidity and mortality, but that bad reputation is not universally deserved,” said Marilyn Roossinck, PhD, Professor of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology and Biology at the Pennsylvania State University, University Park. “Viruses, like bacteria, can be important beneficial microbes in human health and in agriculture,” she said.
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150430170750.htm

    Moreover, Darwin himself offered this following ‘anti-altruism’ standard as a falsification criteria for his theory, “Natural selection cannot possibly produce any modification in any one species exclusively for the good of another species”… and even stated that “If it could be proved that any part of the structure of any one species had been formed for the exclusive good of another species, it would annihilate my theory, for such could not have been produced through natural selection.”

    “Natural selection cannot possibly produce any modification in any one species exclusively for the good of another species; though throughout nature one species incessantly takes advantage of, and profits by, the structure of another. But natural selection can and does often produce structures for the direct injury of other species, as we see in the fang of the adder, and in the ovipositor of the ichneumon, by which its eggs are deposited in the living bodies of other insects. If it could be proved that any part of the structure of any one species had been formed for the exclusive good of another species, it would annihilate my theory, for such could not have been produced through natural selection.”
    – Charles Darwin – Origin of Species

    And yet, directly contrary to Darwin’s claim that “Natural selection cannot possibly produce any modification in any one species exclusively for the good of another species” or it would annihilate his theory, it is now known that ” “in thousands of plant species often entirely new organs have been formed for the exclusive good of more than 132,930 other species, these ‘ugly facts’ have annihilated Darwin’s theory as well as the modern versions of it.”

    Plant Galls and Evolution
    How More than Twelve Thousand1 Ugly Facts are Slaying a Beautiful Hypothesis: Darwinism2
    Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig – 7 September 2017
    Excerpt: in the case of the galls, in thousands of plant species often entirely new organs have been formed for the exclusive good of more than 132,930 other species, these ‘ugly facts’ have annihilated Darwin’s theory as well as the modern versions of it. The galls are not ‘useful to the possessor’, the plants. There is no space for these phenomena in the world of “the selfish gene” (Dawkins). Moreover, the same conclusion appears to be true for thousands of angiosperm species producing deceptive flowers (in contrast to gall formations, now for the exclusive good of the plant species) – a topic which should be carefully treated in another paper.
    http://www.weloennig.de/PlantGalls.pdf

    Moreover, to dive a little bit deeper into the molecular level, the falsification of the ‘survival of the fittest’, i.e. ‘selfish’ thinking occurs at the molecular level too.

    Richard Dawkins’ ‘selfish gene’ concept is more of less directly based on Darwin’s own ‘survival of the fittest’ thinking about competition. Yet genes are now found to be anything but selfish. Instead of being ‘selfish’, genes are now found to be exist in a holistic web of mutual interdependence and cooperation (which is the very antithesis of selfishness).

    What If (Almost) Every Gene Affects (Almost) Everything? – JUN 16, 2017
    Excerpt: If you told a modern geneticist that a complex trait—whether a physical characteristic like height or weight, or the risk of a disease like cancer or schizophrenia—was the work of just 15 genes, they’d probably laugh. It’s now thought that such traits are the work of thousands of genetic variants, working in concert. The vast majority of them have only tiny effects, but together, they can dramatically shape our bodies and our health. They’re weak individually, but powerful en masse.
    https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/06/its-like-all-connected-man/530532/

    Theory Suggests That All Genes Affect Every Complex Trait – June 20, 2018
    Excerpt: Mutations of a single gene are behind sickle cell anemia, for instance, and mutations in another are behind cystic fibrosis.
    But unfortunately for those who like things simple, these conditions are the exceptions. The roots of many traits, from how tall you are to your susceptibility to schizophrenia, are far more tangled. In fact, they may be so complex that almost the entire genome may be involved in some way,,,
    One very early genetic mapping study in 1999 suggested that “a large number of loci (perhaps > than 15)” might contribute to autism risk, recalled Jonathan Pritchard, now a geneticist at Stanford University. “That’s a lot!” he remembered thinking when the paper came out.
    Over the years, however, what scientists might consider “a lot” in this context has quietly inflated. Last June, Pritchard and his Stanford colleagues Evan Boyle and Yang Li (now at the University of Chicago) published a paper about this in Cell that immediately sparked controversy, although it also had many people nodding in cautious agreement. The authors described what they called the “omnigenic” model of complex traits. Drawing on GWAS analyses of three diseases, they concluded that in the cell types that are relevant to a disease, it appears that not 15, not 100, but essentially all genes contribute to the condition. The authors suggested that for some traits, “multiple” loci could mean more than 100,000.
    https://www.quantamagazine.org/omnigenic-model-suggests-that-all-genes-affect-every-complex-trait-20180620/

    Gene Pleiotropy Roadblocks Evolution by Jeffrey P. Tomkins, Ph.D. – Dec. 8, 2016
    Excerpt: Before the advent of modern molecular biology, scientists defined a gene as a single unit of inheritance. If a gene was found to influence multiple externally visible traits, it was said to be pleiotropic—a term first used in 1910.2 During this early period of genetic discovery, pleiotropy was considered to be quite rare because scientists assumed most genes only possessed a single function—a simplistic idea that remained popular throughout most of the 20th century. However, as our understanding of genetics grew through DNA science, it became clear that genes operate in complex interconnected networks. Furthermore, individual genes produce multiple variants of end products with different effects through a variety of intricate mechanisms.2,3 Taken together, these discoveries show that pleiotropy is a common feature of nearly every gene.,,,
    The pleiotropy evolution problem is widely known among secular geneticists, but rarely discussed in the popular media. In this new research report, the authors state, “Many studies have provided evidence for the ability of pleiotropy to constrain gene evolution.”,,,
    “Our study provided supportive evidence that pleiotropy constraints the evolution of transcription factors (Tfs).”,,,
    The authors state, “We showed that highly pleiotropic genes are more likely to be associated with a disease phenotype.”,,,
    http://www.icr.org/article/9747

    Such ‘holistic cooperation’ is, needless to say, the exact polar opposite of being ‘selfish’ as Dawkins had envisioned. (And should, if Darwinism were a normal science instead of being basically a religion for atheists, count as another direct falsification of the theory).

    In fact on top of genes existing in a holistic web of mutual cooperation, the genetic responses of humans are also designed in a very sophisticated way so as to differentiate between hedonistic (selfish) and ‘noble’ (altruistic) moral happiness:

    Human Cells Respond in Healthy, Unhealthy Ways to Different Kinds of Happiness – July 29, 2013
    Excerpt: Human bodies recognize at the molecular level that not all happiness is created equal, responding in ways that can help or hinder physical health,,,
    The sense of well-being derived from “a noble purpose” may provide cellular health benefits, whereas “simple self-gratification” may have negative effects, despite an overall perceived sense of happiness, researchers found.,,,
    But if all happiness is created equal, and equally opposite to ill-being, then patterns of gene expression should be the same regardless of hedonic or eudaimonic well-being. Not so, found the researchers.
    Eudaimonic well-being was, indeed, associated with a significant decrease in the stress-related CTRA gene expression profile. In contrast, hedonic well-being was associated with a significant increase in the CTRA profile. Their genomics-based analyses, the authors reported, reveal the hidden costs of purely hedonic well-being.,,
    “We can make ourselves happy through simple pleasures, but those ‘empty calories’ don’t help us broaden our awareness or build our capacity in ways that benefit us physically,” she said. “At the cellular level, our bodies appear to respond better to a different kind of well-being, one based on a sense of connectedness and purpose.”
    – per science daily

    That the genetic responses of humans are designed in a very sophisticated way so as to differentiate between hedonistic (selfish) and ‘noble’ (altruistic) moral happiness is very interesting since Darwinian evolution cannot even explain the origin of a single gene and/or protein, much less can it explain how it is possible for highly integrated gene networks to produce such morally nuanced responses between hedonism and altruism.

    Stephen Meyer (and Doug Axe) Critique Richard Dawkins’s “Mount Improbable” Illustration
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rgainpMXa8

    Moreover on top of all that, (as if that was not completely devastating to Darwian evolution already), if anything ever went against Charles Darwin’s claim that “Natural selection cannot possibly produce any modification in any one species exclusively for the good of another species”, it is the notion that a single cell can somehow became tens of trillions of cells that cooperate “exclusively for the good of other cells” in a single organism for the singular purpose of keeping that single organism alive.

    To claim that one cell transforming into the tens of trillions cells, (of extremely cooperative, even extremely altruistic, cells that make up our ONE human body), is anything less than a miracle is either sheer arrogance and/or profound and willful ignorance. (Or a mixture of both)

    One Body – animation – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDMLq6eqEM4

    As Jay Homnick put it, “Once you allow the intellect to consider that an elaborate organism with trillions of microscopic interactive components can be an accident… you have essentially “lost your mind.”

    “It is not enough to say that design is a more likely scenario to explain a world full of well-designed things. It strikes me as urgent to insist that you not allow your mind to surrender the absolute clarity that all complex and magnificent things were made that way. Once you allow the intellect to consider that an elaborate organism with trillions of microscopic interactive components can be an accident… you have essentially “lost your mind.”
    – Jay Homnick – American Spectator – 2005

    Thus, vividbleau’s claim that “I think the problem of evil is more a problem for the atheist than the theist” is a severe understatement. First, the ‘pitiless indifference’ of the amorality that is inherent in Atheistic materialism and/or naturalism itself is directly contradicted by what we intuitively know to be real and true, Namely, we intuitively know that objective moral values and duties really do exist. In fact, it is impossible for anyone to consistently live their lives as if they did not.

    And secondly, (and more importantly as far as science itself is concerned), the ‘anti-morality’ that is inherent when atheistic materialism is coupled with Darwin’s theory, namely when it is coupled with the core assumption of ‘survival of the fittest’, is directly contradicted by the scientific evidence at every turn.

    The empirical and scientific fact of the matter is, (the ravages of Corona virus not withstanding), that we live in a world of profound mutual cooperation and altruistic behavior. Indeed, life itself, especially the life of multicellular organisms, would not even be possible without such profound mutual cooperation and altruistic behavior.

    Thus in conclusion, and in short, the problem of evil is far, far, more of a problem for the atheist than the theist. It simply is devastating for the atheist.

    Verse:

    Matthew 22:36-40
    “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
    Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

  12. 12
    Barry Arrington says:

    Bob

    So why does Vividblue think “I think the problem of evil is more a problem for the atheist than the theist”?

    Do you seriously have no idea?

  13. 13
    jerry says:

    Jerry, you really need to work on honing your sarcasm detection skills.

    Barry, why don’t you try to define “evil.” You were touting coherent approaches above. How is it possible to discuss something that has no definition.

    We can then go from there. I have posted numerous times on the lack of a clear definition starting over 12 years ago. No one else has defined it in any coherent way. I have. If they have, point these definitions out.

    Your “icky stuff” just reflects my objections over the years to all the uses of the term.

    By the way thank you for restoring the editing function. It makes for more consistent posts with less typos and grammatical errors. Both of which I excel in.

  14. 14
    Seversky says:

    No, evil is not a problem for atheists. If there is no God then evil, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder and we, as beholders, are better-placed to decide what is evil than some mythical deity who doesn’t even deign to explain his reasoning concerning his morality to his most devoted followers.

    On the other hand, the very existence of theodicy as a well-established discipline in Christian scholarship is a measure of how seriously the problem of evil is regarded as a challenge to the faith. How do you reconcile the existence of evil with an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent and omnipresent Creator who, by definition, has the knowledge, power and disposition to prevent it? Why did God create a world in which the possibility of evil was part of its structure from the very beginning and has been allowed to persist to this day? How can any rational being offer the Fall as an explanation when Adam and Eve were behaving and could only behave as their Creator designed them to behave and, even further, being omniscient He must have known that they would behave?

    Verse:

    “You know, I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought, wouldn’t it be much worse if life were fair, and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them? So, now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe.”

    — Marcus Cole, Babylon 5

  15. 15
    jerry says:

    Why did God create a world in which the possibility of evil was part of its structure from the very beginning

    Why don’t you define evil? If it doesn’t exist, then the theodicy argument falls apart.

  16. 16
    Barry Arrington says:

    Seversky

    No, evil is not a problem for atheists. If there is no God then evil, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder and we, as beholders, are better-placed to decide what is evil than some mythical deity who doesn’t even deign to explain his reasoning concerning his morality to his most devoted followers.

    Sev disagrees. Every person is his own god and defines good and evil as he pleases. And if Mao defines good as murdering sixty million? Well, Sev wouldn’t define it that way, so isn’t he better than Mao? Of course not. Under Sev’s “different strokes” approach, there is, by definition, no standard by which to define “better.” Sev must admit that his conception of good is just different from — not better than — Mao’s.

    Note that Sev can’t seem to maintain this nonsense in the course of the same sentence in which he espouses it. Note his use of the word “better.” Given his premise, he has no logical right to use that word.

  17. 17
    Truthfreedom says:

    @16 Barry Arrington:

    Every person is his own god and defines good and evil as he please.

    Exactly.
    And the fact that every person has an instinctual perception of these abstract realities, is very telling.
    Where is the real standard of ‘goodness’ then? Hidden in the atheist’s neurochemicals? Sure. 🙂

  18. 18
    Bob O'H says:

    Barry @ 12 – no, I don’t think I’ve discussed it with Vividbleau. So I don’t.

  19. 19
    EDTA says:

    Nobody–no human philosopher or theologian or ethicist–has an airtight definition for either good or evil. There simply isn’t one that fully and perfectly delineates good from evil, such that we could understand or make use of it unambiguously in all circumstances.

    Having said that, my best definition is that evil equates to harm.

    There are several kinds of harm: natural harm (natural evil), which includes diseases that we do not intentionally acquire, and hurricanes, etc. There is unintentional harm, which comes through us (our will), yet we did not intend it. This includes such things as mis-treating a disesase because we mis-diagnosed it–something we cannot completely avoid because of our finite knowledge. Then there is intentional harm, which is what we commonly think of when we think of evil: people knowingly hurting other people.

    Harm must be defined, and I define that as “deviation from purpose”. Something is harmed when it is pushed off-course. We do harm to ourselves and/or others when we willingly go away from our intended path through life. _Fully_ knowing what that path is, is not possible for us as finite selfish beings. Only God fully knows what our purpose(s) in life are. Only He knows fully why we’re here, what we are supposed to do, and how we are supposed to be. If we are willing and seek it, we can approach it, but because we are finite (and sinners), we will not (in this phase of life) actually get completely on that path.

    Of course this definition is not perfect either, as it won’t allow us to perfectly delineate good from evil. But it does cause the definition to rely on God and His knowledge, rather than ours. And it does appear to encompass every form of evil philosophers have uncovered.

    This leads to the ultimate theodicy. If only God fully knows the reasons we are here and why evil is allowed to exist, then nobody can successfully argue that “because we can’t think of a reason, God must not have a good one.” For every such argument against a theodicy, it can always be countered that God may have reasons we are not aware of, and maybe that we can’t even comprehend! This undoes the most sophisticated arguments from evil that anyone as so far devised.

  20. 20
    john_a_designer says:

    As I have said here, many, many times before, moral subjectivism is a rationally indefensible position.

    What the moral subjectivist is really trying to argue is that there are no moral truths about anything. However, it is self-refuting to say there is “no ‘moral truths’ about anything,” because in doing so you’re making a universal truth claim about truth which takes the legs out from under the very argument you are trying to make…

    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/why-do-atheists-deny-objective-morality/#comment-648486

    Arguments with self-refuting premises don’t prove anything. So an atheists who subscribes to moral subjectivism (not all atheists do) has no argument. That’s a big problem.

    Again, very succinctly what the subjectivist is really trying to argue is:

    I don’t believe that there are any objective moral truths.

    Therefore, there are no objective moral truths for me or anyone else.

    I wouldn’t have a problem if the subjectivist simply claimed, “there are no moral truths for me.”

    Fine. If you want to believe nonsense that’s your choice. But your subjective moral beliefs are not morally binding on me or anyone else. And it’s not only irrational but hypocritical for you to push the beliefs on anyone else if they are not morally binding on anyone else.

    It would be better if the atheist followed Wittgenstein who wrote, “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.”

  21. 21
    Truthfreedom says:

    @19 EDTA:

    Harm must be defined, and I define that as “deviation from purpose”. Something is harmed when it is pushed off-course. We do harm to ourselves and/or others when we willingly go away from our intended path through life. _Fully_ knowing what that path is, is not possible for us as finite selfish beings. Only God fully knows what our purpose(s) in life are. Only He knows fully why we’re here, what we are supposed to do, and how we are supposed to be. If we are willing and seek it, we can approach it, but because we are finite (and sinners), we will not (in this phase of life) actually get completely on that path.

    Beautiful words. Thank you.

  22. 22
    vividbleau says:

    Jerry
    “Most define it as bad stuff or the lack of good. Whatever that means.”

    In your life is there anything good in a moral sense?

    Vivid

  23. 23
    john_a_designer says:

    This is Richard Dawkins view of natural evil:

    The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is beyond all decent contemplation. During the minute it takes me to compose this sentence, thousands of animals are being eaten alive; others are running for their lives, whimpering with fear; others are being slowly devoured from within by rasping parasites; thousands of all kinds are dying of starvation, thirst and disease. […] In a universe of 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 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. DNA neither knows nor cares. DNA just is. And we dance to its music.

    River out of Eden (1995) pp. 131–132

    Notice how the Covid 19 virus seems to be targeting the infirm and elderly. Maybe viruses are just nature’s way of “culling the herd.” Maybe then we should just let nature take its course. The young and fit are going to survive and develop immunities. The elderly, sick and infirm– well…

    That appears to be the view of bioethicist Ezekiel Emanuel who has said he doesn’t to live beyond the age of 75:

    Here is a simple truth that many of us seem to resist: living too long is also a loss. It renders many of us, if not disabled, then faltering and declining, a state that may not be worse than death but is nonetheless deprived. It robs us of our creativity and ability to contribute to work, society, the world. It transforms how people experience us, relate to us, and, most important, remember us. We are no longer remembered as vibrant and engaged but as feeble, ineffectual, even pathetic.

    Though he wrote this back in October of 2014 he was thinking of how we should respond to pandemics like we’re in the midst of now

    What about simple stuff? Flu shots are out. Certainly if there were to be a flu pandemic, a younger person who has yet to live a complete life ought to get the vaccine or any antiviral drugs.

    A big challenge is antibiotics for pneumonia or skin and urinary infections. Antibiotics are cheap and largely effective in curing infections. It is really hard for us to say no. Indeed, even people who are sure they don’t want life-extending treatments find it hard to refuse antibiotics. But, as Osler reminds us, unlike the decays associated with chronic conditions, death from these infections is quick and relatively painless. So, no to antibiotics.

    https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/joe-biden-coronavirus-adviser-ezekiel-emanuel-wants-to-die-at-75/

    Sounds a lot like eugenics, doesn’t it? Eugenics in the early 20th was justified as way of just helping natural selection along. Charles Darwin in The Descent of Man argued that one of the downsides of civilization is that it inhibited the effects of natural selection making us all less fit and weaker. Indeed, the fact is that eugenics never went away. It just got relabeled with euphemisms– something the secular progressive left is good at doing. For example, abortion is achieving most of the goals of the early eugenicists. Margaret Sanger, who abortionists still celebrate, was a eugenicist.

  24. 24
    vividbleau says:

    Jerry
    “I have asked in the past on this site for a definition of evil. I haven’t looked at any answers here for a couple years but I never saw anyone who could actually define evil. Most define it as bad stuff or the lack of good. Whatever that is. And the more bad it is, the more evil it is. But it is always a relative thing. Any unpleasant thing in this world is trivial because it is finite.”

    I do think you bring up good points regarding the definition of evil,, obviously you have given the subject matter thought and I am not under any illusion that I might add something that you have not seen before.

    I think the reason that evil is tough to define is because evil , like good, is not a thing, it is nothing having no independent substance. Evil is an action, activity if you will, of something that has being. Evil cannot exist unless good exists, if there is no evil there is no good.

    Vivid

  25. 25
    vividbleau says:

    Sev
    “No, evil is not a problem for atheists.”

    In some sense that is true, since there is no evil, thus there is no good, for the atheist other than personal preference then what’s the problem you keep bringing up about all the evil God is responsible for? How can you argue that something that does not exist is an argument against anything really?

    Vivid

  26. 26
    LarTanner says:

    Trying to parse out the arguments:
    (a) For a theist, the problem of evil is that it fatally undermines the idea of an all-good, all-loving, all -powerful deity.
    (b) For an atheist, the problem of evil is that morality is ultimately human invention, no matter how effective laws, reasoning, teachings, norms, and values are in a practical sense.

  27. 27
    vividbleau says:

    Lar,
    I don’t agree that the problem of evil is fatal for the theist.

    Only if good exists does evil become a problem. The presence of evil is an argument for the existence of good. The existence of good must be accounted for and the theist has an explanation for that accounting the atheist does not. The existence of evil as crazy as it sounds is actually an argument for the existence of God.

    Vivid

  28. 28
    jerry says:

    Vividbleau

    In your life is there anything good in a moral sense?

    Again “good” needs a definition.

    But using the term in its normal sense. Suppose I say I feel “good.” We all seem. to understand what is meant as we have all felt at times a state that we would call good. The four hormones that make up DOSE, Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin and Endorphins contribute to this feeling.

    But using the term in its moral sense it usually means something that leads to a desired objective or state hopefully with no harm to others. For example, education or training leads to the ability to sustain oneself in life with the ability to help others such as family members and friends.

    Also in a moral sense, something is good if it helps lead to the ultimate “Good” which for a Christian is salvation.

    if there is no evil there is no good

    My definition of evil is eternal separation from God Who is considered the ultimate good or the Good.

    I will now comment on the common use of the term “evil.” It could take a book. And I happen to disagree with nearly everyone who has written on the topic. But I will be brief.

  29. 29
    jerry says:

    Vividbleau

    I got interested in the concept of “evil” from readings in evolutionary biology. The day that changed the world was November 1st 1755 or the day of the Lisbon earthquake. People asked how could there be a God who let so many people die in a natural event. Especially as the churches in Lisbon were full that day which is a holy day in the Catholic religion.

    There then was a movement amongst philosophers to say that God didn’t cause this but the world was governed by forces set up billions of years ago and natural forces were just playing out. This event was about a hundred years after Newton’s work. Then some took the presence of natural forces to mean that there was no need for a God. Life and the biological world was seen as a refutation and then came Darwin.

    Part of the argument against God was the theodicy argument that pointed to natural evil as evidence that God does not exist. Atheism then started to thrive. Given that I believed in the Judeo Christian God, I started to examine the issue.

    What I found was that no one could define the concept of “evil” in any coherent way even though we including myself use the term all the time. I then looked at what was being called evil and found out it generally meant unpleasant or undesirable things happening to people. And these unpleasant things could be put on a scale from mildly unpleasant to extremely unpleasant. For example, a mildly undesirable thing would be stuttering while an extremely unpleasant thing would be a seven year old little girl having a brain tumor that keeps her in constant pain.

    You can certainly think of less undesirable things than stuttering or much worse things than what happened to the little girl. Who by the way was real. She died after a year of lots of pain. But all these unpleasant things are finite compared to the loss of salvation.

    I have probably posted 50+ times here on this topic since 2007 when I. commented on Francesco Ayala’s book on evolution which reference the Lisbon earthquake. The term “evil” is so ingrained into our culture and vocabulary that we do not think just what it means. But I found it helpful to question it. When you do, the whole theodicy argument falls apart.

  30. 30
    vividbleau says:

    “The day that changed the world was November 1st 1755 or the day of the Lisbon earthquake”

    After which Voltaire wrote “Candide”

    Vivid

  31. 31
    jerry says:

    After which Voltaire wrote “Candide”

    I once posted here about Voltaire and “Candide” which was written to undermine Leibniz’s “Best of All Possible Worlds” concept.

    By the way I highly recommend people visit Lisbon when the world gets sane again. And a must is the church whose roof collapsed. It is still there and now a museum. It is in the upper city and has a beautiful view from outside. See https://www.flickr.com/photos/govert1970/46073777084

    I maintain that one has to understand why ours is the best of all possible worlds and things like the Lisbon earthquake are necessary to make it so. I get a lot of push back on this but believe it is an essential concept for a meaningful world.

  32. 32
    ET says:

    Lar Tanner:

    (a) For a theist, the problem of evil is that it fatally undermines the idea of an all-good, all-loving, all -powerful deity.

    That’s nonsense. For those who practice Judaism, Christianity or Islam, evil is a given. It is how it is dealt with that they are judged.

  33. 33
    EDTA says:

    LarTanner @ 26,
    >(a) For a theist, the problem of evil is that it fatally undermines the idea of an all-good, all-loving, all -powerful deity.

    Only if you can define “good” and “loving” in a philosophically-rigorous way. Please give it a try.

    This is the problem with these arguments against God: they assume that he has one attribute (or a few related ones) in an infinite quantity. Then they reason from that point alone. But if God is more complex than a single attribute taken in infinite quantity, then the logic falls apart.

    Can anyone rigorously argue that God has no reasons for allowing evil to exist? Be sure to include an explanation for how you know for certain what God’s reasons are for creating us.

  34. 34
    kairosfocus says:

    LT,

    I am surprised that you are that out of date; Plantinga’s work is ab0out fifty years old now and decisively defeats the core, logical problem of evil.

    Let me clip a skeletal summary:

    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

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.]

    Nor is the possible world known as heaven a good counter-example. For, heaven would exist as a world in which the results of choices made to live by the truth in love across a lifetime have culminated in their eternal reward. This we may see from an argument made by the apostle Paul:

    Rom 2:6 God “will repay each person according to what they have done.” 78 But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. [NIV]

    Anticipating the onward response that in at least some possible worlds, there are free creatures, all of whom freely do what is right, Plantinga asserts a further possibility: trans-world depravity. That is, in all worlds God could create in which a certain person, say Gordon, exists; then that person would have freely gone wrong at least once. And, what if it is further possible that this holds for every class of created, morally capable being? (Then, there would be no possible worlds in which moral good is possible but in which moral evil would not in fact occur. So the benefit of moral good would entail that the world would contain transworld depraved creatures.)

    Moreover, Plantinga proposes that there is a possible state of affairs in which God and natural evil can exist. For instance, if all natural evils are the result of the actions of significantly free creatures such as Satan and his minions, then since it is logically possible that God could not have created a world with a greater balance of good over evil if it did not contain such creatures, God and natural evil are compatible.

    At this point, albeit grudgingly, leading atheologians (Such as Mackie and Williams) concede that the deductive form of the problem of evil stands overturned. Thus, a new question is put on the table.
    It is: But what if the world seems to contain too much evil, and evil that is apparently pointless, i.e. gratuitous? First, the greater good “absorbs” at least some of the evils. To this, the Christian Theist further responds that there are goods in the world that are left out of the account so far; especially, that the fall of mankind led to the greatest good of all: that God loved the world and gave his Son, setting in motion the programme of redemption as a supreme good that absorbs all evils. That is, it is rational for a Christian to believe there are no un-absorbed evils, even though the a-theologian may beg to differ with the Christian’s beliefs.

    However, it should be noted that there is an existential or pastoral form of the problem of evil (as we saw above): where the overwhelming force of evil and pain brings us to doubt God. To that, no mere rational argument will suffice; for it is a life-challenge we face, as did Job. And, as a perusal of Job 23:1 – 7, 38:1 – 7, 40:1 – 8, 42:1 – 6, God may be more interested in exposing our underlying motives and calling for willingness to trust him even where we cannot trace him, than in satisfying our queries and rebutting our pained accusations. That is, it is at least possible that God is primarily in the business of soul-making.

    Where then does the problem of evil stand today?

    On balance, it is rational to believe that God exists, but obviously there are many deep, even painful questions to which we have no answers. And, those who choose to believe in God will have a radically different evaluation of evil than those who reject him.

    KF

  35. 35
    bornagain77 says:

    LarTanner at 26 states:

    Trying to parse out the arguments:
    (a) For a theist, the problem of evil is that it fatally undermines the idea of an all-good, all-loving, all -powerful deity.
    (b) For an atheist, the problem of evil is that morality is ultimately human invention, no matter how effective laws, reasoning, teachings, norms, and values are in a practical sense.

    As to (a) and to add to what has already been stated in response to (a)

    (a) For a theist, the problem of evil is that it fatally undermines the idea of an all-good, all-loving, all -powerful deity.

    As has already been pointed out in this thread, the problem of evil, or more properly the existence of evil, does not ‘fatally’ undermine the fact that God is all Good, all loving, and all powerful simply because number 1, the existence of evil in and of itself presupposes the existence of a perfectly good moral standard that has been departed from.

    As CS Lewis stated,

    “My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?”
    – C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

    And as David Woods put it, “By declaring that suffering is evil, atheists have admitted that there is an objective moral standard by which we distinguish good and evil.”

    Responding to the Argument From Evil: Three Approaches for the Theist – By David Wood
    Excerpt: Interestingly enough, proponents of AE grant this premise in the course of their argument. By declaring that suffering is evil, atheists have admitted that there is an objective moral standard by which we distinguish good and evil. Amazingly, then, even as atheists make their case against the existence of God, they actually help us prove that God exists!,,,
    https://www.namb.net/apologetics/responding-to-the-argument-from-evil-three-approaches-for-the-theist

    And as Michael Egnor put it, “Even to raise the problem of evil is to tacitly acknowledge transcendent standards, and thus to acknowledge God’s existence. From that starting point, theodicy begins. Theists have explored it profoundly. Atheists lack the standing even to ask the question.,,,”

    The Universe Reflects a Mind – Michael Egnor – February 28, 2018
    Excerpt: Goff argues that a Mind is manifest in the natural world, but he discounts the existence of God because of the problem of evil. Goff seriously misunderstands the problem of evil. Evil is an insoluble problem for atheists, because if there is no God, there is no objective standard by which evil and good can exist or can even be defined. If God does not exist, “good” and “evil” are merely human opinions. Yet we all know, as Kant observed, that some things are evil in themselves, and not merely as a matter of opinion. Even to raise the problem of evil is to tacitly acknowledge transcendent standards, and thus to acknowledge God’s existence. From that starting point, theodicy begins. Theists have explored it profoundly. Atheists lack the standing even to ask the question.,,,
    https://evolutionnews.org/2018/02/the-universe-reflects-a-mind/

    Number 2, the atheist’s presupposition that God has no good reason for allowing evil to exist in this universe is simply false. As Ed Feser pointed out, “A parent may allow his child a small amount of suffering in frustration, sacrifice of time, and minor pain when learning to play the violin, in order to bring about the good of establishing proficiency. This is not to say that such minimal suffering is in any way comparable to the horrors that have gone on in this world. But the joy of establishing proficiency with a violin is not in any way comparable to the good that God promises to bring to the world.”

    This Theologian Has An Answer To Atheists’ Claims That Evil Disproves God – Jan, 2018
    Excerpt: In “The Last Superstition: A Refutation Of The New Atheism,” Feser, echoing Thomas Aquinas, notes that the first premise of the problem of evil is “simply false, or at least unjustifiable.” According to Feser, there is no reason to believe that the Christian God, being all-good and all-powerful, would prevent suffering on this earth if out of suffering he could bring about a good that is far greater than any that would have existed otherwise. If God is infinite in power, knowledge, goodness, etc., then of course he could bring about such a good.
    Feser demonstrates his reasoning with an analogy. A parent may allow his child a small amount of suffering in frustration, sacrifice of time, and minor pain when learning to play the violin, in order to bring about the good of establishing proficiency. This is not to say that such minimal suffering is in any way comparable to the horrors that have gone on in this world. But the joy of establishing proficiency with a violin is not in any way comparable to the good that God promises to bring to the world.
    In Christian theology, this good is referred to as the Beatific Vision: the ultimate, direct self-communication of God to the individual. In other words, perfect salvation or Heaven. Feser describes the Beatific Vision as a joy so great that even the most terrible horror imaginable “pales in insignificance before the beatific vision.” As Saint Paul once said, “the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
    Your Argument Assumes Its Conclusion
    I can already see the disciples of the Four Horsemen readying their keyboards, opening a copy of Dawkins’ “The God Delusion,” and preparing their response. An atheist may claim that he cannot possibly imagine anything in the next life that could possibly outweigh the Holocaust, children’s suffering, or any other instance of significant suffering in this world. According to Feser, this response is precisely the reason he states that the problem of evil is “worthless” as an objection to arguments in favor of the existence of the Christian God.
    The problem is that the only way the atheist can claim that nothing could outweigh the most significant suffering on earth is if he supposes that God does not exist and therefore there is no Beatific Vision. But he cannot presume that God does not exist in the premise of an argument that aims to prove the conclusion that God does not exist. By doing so, he is begging the question, or arguing in a circle, and therefore does not prove anything at all.
    As Feser goes on to demonstrate, the atheist is essentially stating: “There is no God, because look at all this suffering that no good could possibly outweigh. How do I know there’s no good that could outweigh it? Oh, because there is no God.”
    http://thefederalist.com/2018/.....oves-gods/

    And indeed the existence of evil in this universe allowed God to bring about the much greater good of Jesus’s victory over death.

    Exactly how was the greatest miracle ever witnessed on the face of earth, namely the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, possible if God did not first allow the evil of death to exist? If death did not first exist then clearly Jesus’s ‘much greater good’ of His victory over death simply would never have been possible.

    The evidence for the Shroud’s authenticity keeps growing. (Timeline of facts) – November 08, 2019
    What Is the Shroud of Turin? Facts & History Everyone Should Know – Myra Adams and Russ Breault
    https://www.christianity.com/wiki/jesus-christ/what-is-the-shroud-of-turin.html

    Turin Shroud Hologram Reveals The Words “The Lamb” – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Tmka1l8GAQ

    As James Stewart stated, “He (Jesus) did not conquer in spite of the dark mystery of evil. He conquered through it.”

    “It is a glorious phrase of the New Testament, that ‘he led captivity captive.’
    The very triumphs of His foes, it means, he used for their defeat. He compelled their dark achievements to sub-serve his end, not theirs.
    They nailed him to the tree, not knowing that by that very act they were bringing the world to his feet.
    They gave him a cross, not guessing that he would make it a throne.
    They flung him outside the gates to die, not knowing that in that very moment they were lifting up all the gates of the universe, to let the King of Glory come in.
    They thought to root out his doctrines, not understanding that they were implanting imperishably in the hearts of men the very name they intended to destroy.
    They thought they had defeated God with His back (to) the wall, pinned and helpless and defeated: they did not know that it was God Himself who had tracked them down.
    He did not conquer in spite of the dark mystery of evil. He conquered through it.”
    – James Stewart (1896–1990) was a minister of the Church of Scotland

    Thus the atheist’s argument that an all loving God would not allow evil in this universe falls apart. God has very good reasons for allowing evil to exist in this universe. And that fact is abundantly testified to by Jesus’s resurrection itself.

    Likewise Christians themselves are also encouraged to ‘not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.’

    Romans 12:21
    Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

    And indeed there are eternal rewards promised for those who overcome evil with good,

    MATTHEW 25:31-40
    “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
    “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, “I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
    “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
    “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”

    So again. the atheist’s presupposition that God has no good reason for allowing evil to exist in this universe falls apart. Indeed, the entirety of Christianity presupposes that God has very good reasons for allowing evil to exist so as to bring about a much greater good.

    Now to point (b) of LarTanner’s post at 26:

    (b) For an atheist, the problem of evil is that morality is ultimately human invention, no matter how effective laws, reasoning, teachings, norms, and values are in a practical sense.

    The fact that morality itself is subjective and illusory under atheistic premises is just the beginning of ‘illusory’ problems for atheists.

    Not only is morality illusory, but everything else turns out to be illusory under atheistic premises, (things that everyone, including atheists, consider to be concrete and real).

    Although the Darwinist firmly believes he is on the terra firma of science, (in his appeal, even demand, for methodological naturalism), the fact of the matter is that Darwinists are adrift in an ocean of fantasy and imagination with no discernible anchor for reality to grab on to:

    Basically, because of reductive materialism (and/or methodological naturalism), the atheistic materialist is forced to claim that he is merely a ‘neuronal illusion’ (Coyne, Dennett, etc..), who has the illusion of free will (Harris), who has unreliable, (i.e. illusory), beliefs about reality (Plantinga), who has illusory perceptions of reality (Hoffman), who, since he has no real time empirical evidence substantiating his grandiose claims, must make up illusory “just so stories” with the illusory, and impotent, ‘designer substitute’ of natural selection (Behe, Gould, Sternberg), so as to ‘explain away’ the appearance (i.e. illusion) of design (Crick, Dawkins), and who must make up illusory meanings and purposes for his life since the reality of the nihilism inherent in his atheistic worldview is too much for him to bear (Weikart), and who must also hold morality to be subjective and illusory since he has rejected God (Craig, Kreeft). Who, since beauty cannot be grounded within his materialistic worldview, must hold beauty itself to be illusory (Darwin).
    Bottom line, nothing is truly real in the atheist’s worldview, least of all, beauty, morality, meaning and purposes for life.,,,
    Darwinian Materialism and/or Methodological Naturalism vs. Reality – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CaksmYceRXM

    Thus, although the Darwinian Atheist firmly believes he is on the terra firma of science (in his appeal, even demand, for methodological naturalism), the fact of the matter is that, when examining the details of his materialistic/naturalistic worldview, it is found that Darwinists/Atheists are adrift in an ocean of fantasy and imagination with no discernible anchor for reality to grab on to.

    It would be hard to fathom a worldview more antagonistic to modern science than Atheistic materialism and/or methodological naturalism have turned out to be.

    2 Corinthians 10:5
    Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

    Thus again, the problem of evil is a far, far, greater problem for atheists than it is for theists. The problem of evil is simply devastating to atheistic presuppositions no matter which line of argumentation one may wish to invoke to try to make the argument work.

    Proverbs 21:30
    There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the LORD.

  36. 36
    Truthfreedom says:

    Naturalism holds the key to end the problem of evil. Just characterize the neurochemicals and structures of ‘evilness’ located in the brain and block/ remove them.
    With your unlimited, god-like powers, it should be incredibly easy.
    What is stopping your un-stoppable science?

  37. 37
    LarTanner says:

    Tracking responses to my earlier summary comparing the impact of the problem of evil.
    (1) Some claimed the problem of evil was not a problem for Abrahamic theism.
    * “The existence of evil [. . . ] is actually an argument for the existence of God.” This rejoinder mis-understands the claim, which is that the problem of evil undermines the argument for God’s absolute goodness, lovingness, and omnipotence.
    * “Plantinga’s free-will defense [. . .] allows us to effectively address the problem.” The free-will defense, by its existence, shows how serious a problem the problem of evil has been through the centuries; it also fails to solve the problem because (a) it only defers the problem; (b) it is subject to the paradox of free will, undermines the defense; (c) it seems inconsistent with the notion of divine simplicity; and (d) it relies on a multiverse, which is often strongly objected to on this site.

    (2) Some attempted to maintain that the problem of evil presented an issue for a non-theist:
    * “By declaring that suffering is evil, atheists have admitted that there is an objective moral standard by which we distinguish good and evil.” No, there is no granting, and no need to grant, there is any such objective, moral standard. As was said before in plain language and syntax: “morality is ultimately human invention.”
    * Nothing else of import to the argument was provided.

  38. 38
    jerry says:

    Tracking responses to my earlier summary comparing the impact of the problem of evil.

    Why don’t you define evil since you use it a lot. I maintain no one has a coherent definition of this term. Take a crack at it. Without a coherent definition, there can be no coherent discussion.

    Is the more interesting question – Why do people have long discussions over a term they cannot define?

  39. 39
    bornagain77 says:

    Lar Tanner at 37 (if he is a real person and not a neuronal illusion), basically hands waves off the devastating problems for atheists in their denial of the reality of morality. Typical non-response!

    Jerry, Instead of asking him to define evil, (although certainly a good question), I would instead, or in addition, ask him to define what he, as an atheist, exactly means by ‘reality’!

    Basically, because of reductive materialism (and/or methodological naturalism), the atheistic materialist is forced to claim that he is merely a ‘neuronal illusion’ (Coyne, Dennett, etc..), who has the illusion of free will (Harris), who has unreliable, (i.e. illusory), beliefs about reality (Plantinga), who has illusory perceptions of reality (Hoffman), who, since he has no real time empirical evidence substantiating his grandiose claims, must make up illusory “just so stories” with the illusory, and impotent, ‘designer substitute’ of natural selection (Behe, Gould, Sternberg), so as to ‘explain away’ the appearance (i.e. illusion) of design (Crick, Dawkins), and who must make up illusory meanings and purposes for his life since the reality of the nihilism inherent in his atheistic worldview is too much for him to bear (Weikart), and who must also hold morality to be subjective and illusory since he has rejected God (Craig, Kreeft). Who, since beauty cannot be grounded within his materialistic worldview, must hold beauty itself to be illusory (Darwin).
    Bottom line, nothing is truly real in the atheist’s worldview, least of all, beauty, morality, meaning and purposes for life.,,,
    Darwinian Materialism and/or Methodological Naturalism vs. Reality – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CaksmYceRXM

  40. 40
    Truthfreedom says:

    What is the difference between:
    – a schizophrenic that says the government is controlling him with a microchip implanted in his brain and
    – a naturalist that says he is controlled by his neuronal chemistry?

  41. 41
    john_a_designer says:

    Very simply the issue here can be defined by a two word proposition and a question.

    Evil exists.

    What are you (or we) going to do about it?

    Whether you can explain why evil exists is frankly irrelevant.

    To deny it exists is irrational.

    To recognize and do nothing about it is immoral.

  42. 42
    LarTanner says:

    Responses to responses:
    * Jerry at 38 says, “Why don’t you define evil since you use it a lot.” Jerry, I refer you to “The Concept of Evil” at https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/concept-evil. I trust the definition provided here will suffice for you.

    * Bornagain77 at 39 believes I am hand-waving off the “devastating problems for atheists in their denial of the reality of morality.” Bornagain77 further wants to know what, exactly, an atheist means by “reality.” My response now is to remind Jerry and Bornagain77 that the OP is about whether the problem of evil is more a problem for an atheist or a theist. I am showing that it appears to be much more a problem for an Abrahamic theist. To your strange insistence here on defining terms, I say, “Ah, you think definitions are your ally. But you merely adopted them; I was born in them, molded by them [. . .] Definitions betray you, because they belong to me!”

    * Truthfreedom at 40 makes a riddle whose answer must surely be “Jesus.”

    * John_a_designer at 41 proposes the matter rests, first, on the declaration that “Evil exists,” which is naturally consistent with a non-theist position–i.e., “morality is ultimately human invention.” Perhaps, though, some believe inventions do not exist. John_a_designer also poses the question, “What are you (or we) going to do about it [i.e., evil, which exists]”? John_a_designer concludes, rightly, that “To recognize (evil) and do nothing about it is immoral.” Hence, a great many theists in every generation cry, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” I would say this nails the case for the problem of evil being more a problem for the Abrahamic theist.

  43. 43
    bornagain77 says:

    At the heart of LarTanner’s irrational claim that morality must be illusory is his materialistic belief that consciousness itself is merely an emergent property of the material realm, In short, LarTanner holds that materialism is true. The direct implications of holding material particles to be the ‘true’ reality is that mind itself, (and therefore all properties of mind, such as morality), are held to be secondary and/or illusory in LarTanner’s definition of reality, i.e. materialism.

    There are two devastating problems with LarTanner’s belief in materialism. First and foremost, materialism has now been falsified by advances in quantum mechanics. For example,

    Quantum Physics Debunks Materialism (v2)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wM0IKLv7KrE

    The second devastating problem for materialism is philosophical, Namely, any definition of reality that we may put forth first requires that we must be first conscious of reality. The is no definition of reality that has ever been put forth that was not first derived from the conscious mind of some man. Unconscious rocks, and dead men, simply don’t form hypothesis and/or definitions about reality.

    As Eugene Wigner put it, “our knowledge of the external world is the content of our consciousness and that the consciousness, therefore, cannot be denied.”

    “The principal argument against materialism is not that illustrated in the last two sections: that it is incompatible with quantum theory. The principal argument is that thought processes and consciousness are the primary concepts, that our knowledge of the external world is the content of our consciousness and that the consciousness, therefore, cannot be denied. On the contrary, logically, the external world could be denied—though it is not very practical to do so. In the words of Niels Bohr, “The word consciousness, applied to ourselves as well as to others, is indispensable when dealing with the human situation.” In view of all this, one may well wonder how materialism, the doctrine that “life could be explained by sophisticated combinations of physical and chemical laws,” could so long be accepted by the majority of scientists.”
    – Eugene Wigner, Remarks on the Mind-Body Question, pp 167-177.

    To deny the primacy of consciousness in any definition of reality that we may put forth is simply, philosophically, insane:

    “In any philosophy of reality that is not ultimately self-defeating or internally contradictory, mind – unlabeled as anything else, matter or spiritual – must be primary. What is “matter” and what is “conceptual” and what is “spiritual” can only be organized from mind. Mind controls what is perceived, how it is perceived, and how those percepts are labeled and organized. Mind must be postulated as the unobserved observer, the uncaused cause simply to avoid a self-negating, self-conflicting worldview. It is the necessary postulate of all necessary postulates, because nothing else can come first. To say anything else comes first requires mind to consider and argue that case and then believe it to be true, demonstrating that without mind, you could not believe that mind is not primary in the first place.”
    – William J. Murray

    He goes toe-to-toe with science big wigs… and so far he’s undefeated. – interview
    Dr. Bernardo Kastrup: You see we always start from the fact that we are conscious. Consciousness is the only carrier of reality and existence that we can know. Everything else is abstraction; [they] are inferences we make from consciousness.
    http://www.skeptiko.com/274-be.....rialistic/

    Thus as far as philosophy and empirical science are concerned, LarTanner’s materialism is falsified, (regardless of whether LarTanner himself ever accepts those falsifications from science and philosophy)

    A few more quotes from some of the founders of quantum mechanics:

    “As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.”
    – Max Planck

    “No, I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”
    Max Planck (1858–1947), one of the primary founders of quantum theory, The Observer, London, January 25, 1931

    “Consciousness cannot be accounted for in physical terms. For consciousness is absolutely fundamental. It cannot be accounted for in terms of anything else.”
    Schroedinger, Erwin. 1984. “General Scientific and Popular Papers,” in Collected Papers, Vol. 4. Vienna: Austrian Academy of Sciences. Friedr. Vieweg & Sohn, Braunschweig/Wiesbaden. p. 334.

    “I think that modern physics has definitely decided in favor of Plato. In fact the smallest units of matter are not physical objects in the ordinary sense; they are forms, ideas which can be expressed unambiguously only in mathematical language.”
    Werner Heisenberg – As quoted in The New York Times Book Review (March 8, 1992). – “Uncertainty,” David C. Cassidy’s biography of my father, Werner Heisenberg

    Supplemental note:

    How Quantum Mechanics and Consciousness Correlate – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4f0hL3Nrdas

    Verse:

    Colossians 1:17
    He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

  44. 44
    jerry says:

    I refer you to “The Concept of Evil

    Try making it into a dictionary definition that all can agree to and not point to a long website. I maintain it doesn’t exist. Prove me wrong. I have been asking this same question on this site for over 12 years and no one has stepped up. I have asked it other places with the same responses.

    Generally what you get is unwanted unpleasant circumstances or the equivalent. And these unpleasant circumstances can be ordered in unpleasantness. See my comment about stuttering and brain tumor in a child above.

  45. 45
    LarTanner says:

    I admit I am amused.
    * Bornagain77 at 43 says “At the heart of LarTanner’s irrational claim that morality must be illusory….” This claim has not been made by me.

    * Jerry at 44 says “Try making it into a dictionary definition that all can agree to and not point to a long website.” This is moving the goalposts. You asked for a definition; I gave you one. End of story. I urge you to move forward and make a point.

  46. 46
    bornagain77 says:

    LarTanner at 45

    “Bornagain77 at 43 says “At the heart of LarTanner’s irrational claim that morality must be illusory…

    LT: .”This claim has not been made by me.”

    LarTanner at 26:

    (b) For an atheist, the problem of evil is that morality is ultimately human invention, no matter how effective laws, reasoning, teachings, norms, and values are in a practical sense.

    If morality is a human invention it is, by definition, not objective but subjective and illusory.

  47. 47
    LarTanner says:

    Bornagain77 at 46: Human inventions are not necessarily illusory. I assume you have been reading these posts, and responding to them, using the human invention called a “computer” and accessing another human invention, the “website.”

  48. 48
    bornagain77 says:

    LarTanner, the comparison to intelligently designed physical artifacts fails. What objective moral standard, apart from men, arbitrates the morality invented by Nazis as being evil? Without some objective moral standard apart from men, you simply have no way to differentiate different systems of ethics that were subjectively ‘invented’ by different men as being either morally better or morally worse. It is all subjective and illusory without some objective moral standard to judge by.

    As CS Lewis asked, ‘what was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?”

    “My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?”
    – C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

  49. 49
    Truthfreedom says:

    @47 LarTanner:

    I assume you have been reading these posts, and responding to them, using the human invention called a “computer” and accessing another human invention, the “website.”

    computers and websites are physical/ can be documented/ touched/ recorded
    morality can not. It is an abstract .
    Do you really thought it would be that easy?

  50. 50
    Jim Thibodeau says:

    @LarTanner If Jerry wants dictionary definitions wouldn’t the smart thing be to consult dictionary websites instead of asking random people on the Internet?

  51. 51
    vividbleau says:

    Jerry
    “Why don’t you define evil since you use it a lot. I maintain no one has a coherent definition of this term. Take a crack at it. Without a coherent definition, there can be no coherent discussion.

    Is the more interesting question – Why do people have long discussions over a term they cannot define?”

    Do you have a definition of good?

    Vivid

  52. 52
    vividbleau says:

    LT
    “This rejoinder mis-understands the claim, which is that the problem of evil undermines the argument for God’s absolute goodness, lovingness, and omnipotence.“

    And this claim has been addressed by EDTA in 33 as well as by BA and KF. No use in ploughing old ground.

    Vivid

  53. 53
    vividbleau says:

    LT
    “You asked for a definition; I gave you one. End of story. I urge you to move forward and make a point.”

    Amen, he asked you answered.

    Vivid

  54. 54
    MatSpirit says:

    B_77: ” What objective moral standard, apart from men, arbitrates the morality invented by Nazis as being evil?”

    Ahhh, the Golden Rule? I’m pretty sure that moral standard was invented by men. I know the Greeks had it long before Jesus was born. (Jesus liked it too!) That rule seems pretty objective to me. Would YOU want to be gassed and burned? I know I wouldn’t. I’m pretty sure the Jews didn’t. In fact, we arbitrate the morality of the Nazis as being BAD because they did needless things to others that they didn’t want done to themselves.

    That’s why we arbitrate so much of Christian morality as being BAD. If we were alive during The Flood, most of us would NOT want to drown or see our loved ones drown. (Did you ever notice that “They were all irredeemably bad” is the exact reason Hitler gave for killing the Jews? How come you never list Hitler as a Christian? After all, he was raised Catholic, he was a former altar boy and he dreamed of becoming a priest when he was a youth. Plus, he was still in the Church’s good graces when he put a bullet through his brain. Maybe committing suicide was the sin that tipped the balance?)

    Or how about Pharaoh’s peasants, How do you think they felt when “At midnight the Lord smote all the first-born in the land of Egypt, from the first-born of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the first-born of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the first-born of the cattle. And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where one was not dead.”

    Do you think all those Peasants wanted their oldest child to die? And WHY did they have to die? It’s not as if a Peasant had any influence on what the Pharaoh decided after all. And how about those Captives in the Dungeon? They certainly didn’t have any influence on Pharaoh’s decisions. Why did God kill their children?

    Of course, Pharaoh didn’t really have much of a choice, did he? As Exodus 11:9 says, “Then the Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh will not listen to you; that my wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt.”

    10 Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh; and THE LORD HARDENED PHARAOH’S HEART, and he did not let the people of Israel go out of his land.” It’s strange, but I don’t remember the nice ladies in Sunday School mentioning the many times when Pharaoh decided to let the people go and God then hardened his heart for him when they taught us about the miraculous Exodus from Pharaoh’s power.

    But I’m sure if you can just explain how the things I’ve described above can be justified by the Golden Rule, then we can cover some more of Christianity’s bad morals.

    I think the reason Christians enjoy talking about Morality so much is because they’ve had to talk about it for the last 2000 years and their Jewish forefathers for an additional thousand. During this time, they’ve NEVER been able to justify half the Bible via the Golden Rule, but they’ve gotten very good at muddying the debate with bogus claims like “absolute” morality.

    Atheists and other ordinary people, on the other hand, largely avoid wasting their time talking morality with somebody who honestly believes his God murders people in wholesale numbers and just content themselves with noting that they don’t meet the Golden Rule test.

  55. 55
    JVL says:

    Jerry: Why don’t you define evil since you use it a lot. I maintain no one has a coherent definition of this term. Take a crack at it. Without a coherent definition, there can be no coherent discussion. Is the more interesting question – Why do people have long discussions over a term they cannot define?

    Perhaps because the term is used by theists and atheists alike in an ongoing spat about the existence of God it’s difficult to define evil in a way that your ‘opponent’ won’t either object to or use to score points against you.

    Besides, is it so rare or negative that we spend a lot of time dealing with terms that we find hard to nail down precisely? Do you love your spouse and children? What is love by the way? Is it just a hormonal response generated by a evolved function that makes us want to reproduce? Is it a reaction we have when we find someone who sees the world the way we do, has many of the same reactions we do, wants to do the same things we do? Is it because there is some inexplicable tie that we can feel but can’t explain? We’ve all been in love but I bet we would all have different definitions of what love is. But we still talk about it; we know what someone means when they say they love their spouse, their mum, their children, even their dog (not sure about the cat though, I’m not sure that is a real thing . . . just kidding).

    Truthfreedom will no doubt make some sarky comment that the Darwinian view is that it’s just chemicals sloshing around in a meat sack and has no meaning. But I’m more interested in making the point that we all use terms that we would find hard to define precisely and, generally, we know what each other is talking about.

    Is it really worthwhile arguing about what evil is? We might not even agree on whether some things are evil, that’s pretty much a given. But we DO agree on many, many evil things. There’s lots we can work together to eliminate. Slavery, child abuse, wife beating, husband beating, rape . . . no one wants to have those things happen to them or their loved ones and only a few broken individuals want them to happen to any human being. Instead of arguing about WHY someone thinks they are evil let’s work, together, to eradicate them. The things we disagree on, let’s discuss those as separate issues and see if we can at least agree on sensible ways forward.

    Sorry for the lecture, or as a vicar in England might say, the lesson. But I do think we spend too much time focusing on our differences instead of our common ground.

  56. 56
    MatSpirit says:

    LT
    “This rejoinder mis-understands the claim, which is that the problem of evil undermines the argument for God’s absolute goodness, lovingness, and omnipotence.“

    Vivid:
    And this claim has been addressed by EDTA in 33 as well as by BA and KF. No use in ploughing old ground.

    Ah….It’s not enough to just “address” the question, you must actually explain it. EDTA just muddies the some more, in the Grand Christian Tradition.

    For instance: “Only if you can define “good” and “loving” in a philosophically-rigorous way. Please give it a try.” The problem of evil does not undermine “the argument for God’s absolute goodness, lovingness, and omnipotence” until you first define “good” and “loving” to EDTA’s satisfaction. Forget that Golden Rule stuff, we want rigorous definitions!

    And his last answer is a classic: “Can anyone rigorously argue that God has no reasons for allowing evil to exist? Be sure to include an explanation for how you know for certain what God’s reasons are for creating us.” That’s going to be pretty hard to do when the Christians say God is beyond human understanding and the atheists add, “because He doesn’t exist.”

    As for BA and KF, that gave me a little chuckle. Good luck plowing those rocky fields!

  57. 57
    JVL says:

    MatSpirit: Atheists and other ordinary people, on the other hand, largely avoid wasting their time talking morality with somebody who honestly believes his God murders people in wholesale numbers and just content themselves with noting that they don’t meet the Golden Rule test.

    Something I find really interesting is how much of the Bible different people consider the literal truth. For example, many, many people these days would consider the story of Adam and Eve to be more allegory than historical truth. Noah and the flood . . . maybe the split is a bit different. Moses parting the Red Sea . . . uh . . . I have read some ‘archaeological’ investigations that claimed to have found Egyptian chariots under the waves so clearly some do consider that one absolutely true. Did the walls of Jericho come tumbling down? Maybe it was a timely earthquake? Or . . . Did Jonah really live inside a ‘whale’ for quite a while? Was Lot’s wife really turned into a pillar of salt? There was a talking donkey in there somewhere as well wasn’t there? I don’t want to offend anyone but, for me, many of the Old Testament stories are powerful regardless of whether they actually happened. And I know a lot of Christians who don’t need to prove that one guy built a big boat and saved humanity and all of animal kind (except the dinosaurs and the unicorns, 😉 ) for their faith to be strong. I have no problem with someone of strong faith who says: Yeah, some of those Old Testament stories are pretty horrific (the foreskins of Phillistines, yuck) but my faith does not depend on those things being true so I’m not going to defend them as such. I know some of you do take them as actual historical events and I’m not trying to offend you here. But I probably won’t get too much involved in a discussion about that because I don’t think that’s where the real core of Christianity lies. Yes, I know, I was arguing about some of that stuff a few days ago on another thread but I’ve had a rethink and I’m not going to do that anymore.

    I think was is worth discussing, nicely, is the message and at least one event of the New Testament. The one event is clearly the resurrection since, without that, there ain’t no Christianity. Leaving that aside there is still lots that can be talked about in a fair and friendly matter. The resurrection will always be tricky and so I think we should approach the topic with caution and as much grace as we can.

    Again, let’s consider how much we do agree on, morality wise, and then approach the points of contention with kindness and understanding. I’m going to try anyway.

    Breaking news, the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has been admitted to the hospital. I’m not a fan but that’s not good. We live in interesting times.

  58. 58
    vividbleau says:

    JVL
    “Again, let’s consider how much we do agree on, morality wise, and then approach the points of contention with kindness and understanding. I’m going to try anyway.”

    Me too

    Vivid

  59. 59
    jerry says:

    Do you have a definition of good?

    You asked that above. I gave an answer using the term in three different ways. There are other ways to use. the term.

    When asking for definitions, one has to provide the exact meaning of the word they are using. For example the word “run” has numerous definitions. Someone in my distant past used it as an example of an imprecise term with almost 100 definitions So one has to specify how they want a word to be used if they are going to discuss it.

    And by the way providing a website is not providing a definition. That is an admission that one does not have a definition. The website does not provide a definition. It is over 13,000 words long but no definition. Should I rest my case.

    I have been down this path before many times and have yet to find someone who will provide a definition of the word “evil.” In order to have a discussion on a concept, one has to define it. Barry”s “icky stuff” is one sort of definition though he denies it is what he means but yet he fails to define the term.

    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, the 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.

  60. 60
    vividbleau says:

    Jerry
    Yes you are right you did.

    Could you clear something up for me in #1 your PS stated that evil does not exist, then in 7 you gave a definition of evil, by your definition of evil does evil exist? I’m not looking for a fight I am honestly trying to understand your position Thanks

    Vivid

  61. 61
    jerry says:

    Vivid

    I have been very clear and consistent in my thoughts on the concept of “evil.”

    I do define it by saying it is the “eternal deprivation of God.” I have done so in the past on several occasions. I have also said that there are no other useful definitions of the term. I am well aware that it is widely used and why it is used. But in all of these occasions, no one is able to define what they mean by the term they are using. Don’t you think that is interesting?

    If you go to the post I linked to above by Barry a year and a half ago, he uses the term “icky stuff” as a surrogate for the term “evil.” Now Barry says that is sarcasm. And I am willing to accept it is but why doesn’t he define it. Most people actually mean “icky stuff” when they use the term “evil.” This definition trivializes the concept but at the same time points out its weakness. Icky stuff is what we actually mean or some equivalent.

    There are lots of examples of icky stuff: the little girl in pain with the brain tumor, the holocaust, Black Death, Lisbon earthquake, mass shooting at Parkland HS, etc.

    Here is. what I said on the website 19 months ago.

    Evil has been discussed on this site since its beginning. A quote pointing to the inability to define evil from over 10 years ago

    We have discussed evil here many times and the same arguments seem to always come up. One of them is what is evil. There seemed to be a certain naivety as to what is truly evil.

    There is actually one true evil if you believe in the Judeo/Christian God. That is the eternal deprivation of the presence of God. All else is trivial in comparison. Of course if you do not believe in the Judeo/Christian God evil is just icky stuff we do not like and a meaningless concept.

  62. 62
    JVL says:

    Jerry: I do define it by saying it is the “eternal deprivation of God.”

    Does that mean if God doesn’t exist then all is evil? If God doesn’t exist then you cannot love your spouse or your child or your dog? If God doesn’t exist then there are no good deeds? Do you think it’s possible that God doesn’t exist and if so how does that affect your definition?

  63. 63
    jerry says:

    how does that affect your definition?

    You apparently didn’t read the whole comment. And there are many definitions of the word “good.”

  64. 64
    JVL says:

    Jerry: You apparently didn’t read the whole comment. And there are many definitions of the word “good.”

    Oh dear, many definitions of “good” . . . can we have a discussion about it then?

    I did read the whole comment and you only addressed the non-existence of God regarding the question of evil (yes, I did change that, sorry). So again . . .

    Do you think it’s possible that God doesn’t exist, the first question and then, if there is a possibility that God doesn’t exist then how does that affect your definition . . . given that I assume you have felt love and affection and beauty and such in your life. Can those things happen without God? If evil is the ‘eternal deprivation of God’ then can there be any kind of good assuming the ‘eternal deprivation of God’?

    Enjoy your dinner! (added later, obviously)

  65. 65
    vividbleau says:

    Jerry

    I’m not so sure we a very far apart in our thinking, from my post way back

    Vivid” I think the reason that evil is tough to define is because evil , like good, is not a thing, it is nothing having no independent substance. Evil is an action, activity if you will, of something that has being. Evil cannot exist unless good exists, if there is no evil there is no good.“

    It is a mistake to confuse “effects” as the evil IMO.

    Vivid

  66. 66
    vividbleau says:

    Jerry
    If I may
    “There is actually one true evil if you believe in the Judeo/Christian God. That is the eternal deprivation of the presence of God. All else is trivial in comparison. Of course if you do not believe in the Judeo/Christian God evil is just icky stuff we do not like and a meaningless concept.”

    I am not convinced that is the one true evil, you need to back up a step, the why of the eternal deprivation Is the evil.

    Vivid

  67. 67
    JVL says:

    Vividbleau: Evil cannot exist unless good exists, if there is no evil there is no good.“

    What do you think Vividbleau . . . if there is a possibility that God doesn’t exist can there still be good and evil? Don’t worry, I’m not going to try and beat you over the head with the point, just curious.

    I am not convinced that is the one true evil, you need to back up a step, the why of the eternal deprivation Is the evil.

    Don’t worry about my trivial comment. I’m really curious as to where you’re going with the above question. This should be really interesting!!

  68. 68
    jerry says:

    It is a mistake to confuse “effects” as the evil IMO.

    But it is the “effects” that is used in the theodicy argument. Two types of unpleasant events happen in life. Here I am using a replacement of the word “evil” with the expression “unpleasant events.”

    The ones cause by another actor or intelligence and the ones caused by the forces of nature which includes other species than humans. It is. the latter that is used in the theodicy argument to show God doesn’t exist. It is because God allows unpleasant events and these events are not desired that He does not exist.

    Have to go. We are having dinner.

  69. 69
    vividbleau says:

    JVL
    With you I am not worried you are going to beat me over the head LOL

    I think it’s important that we distinguish between a theological position which I don’t expect anyone necessarily to agree with and the overall metaphysical question separate from my theological position.

    First I think that 99% of atheists/ agnostics as to the effects of their actions put many theists to shame.

    If good does not have a objective existence it does not exist thus since evil is its deprivation it does not exist either. I think if good exists objectively and like evil not a thing, it must exist in a non material realm, it must have adequate grounding.

    Now for the non theist do they love, are they concerned for others, are they horrified by the actions like the Holocaust , etc,my answers is YES YES YES.

    Now here is my theological explanation, because morality is written deep into our hearts, all of us, it is undeniable because it is not what one believes intellectually that tells the tale, it is how do we live. If our actions bely our intellectual world view then the problem rests in our worldview.

    Vivid

  70. 70
    Barry Arrington says:

    Jerry,

    If you go to the post I linked to above by Barry a year and a half ago, he uses the term “icky stuff” as a surrogate for the term “evil.” Now Barry says that is sarcasm. And I am willing to accept it is but why doesn’t he define it.

    You keep coming back to this post.

    It is astonishing that you appear not to understand the post for what it was. It demonstrated the very thing that Vivid has been arguing. That the atheist argument from evil for the non-existence of God is utterly incoherent. Why? Because it is incoherent to argue that God does not exist on the basis that he does not arrange affairs to conform to one’s personal subjective preferences. And that is the only way an atheist can use the term “evil.”

    You are wrong that I have not defined evil in the past. I define it exactly as Vivid has here: the privation of the good. Neither Vivid nor I came up with that definition. It is a fairly standard definition among those who think and write about such things. That you do not appear to know this demonstrates that you have never — contrary to your claim — studied the matter in any depth.

    Most people actually mean “icky stuff” when they use the term “evil.”

    That is close to how I defined the term while satirizing the atheist argument. I actually said that atheists define it as “icky stuff I don’t like.” That “I don’t like” bit is important, because it is the point. Atheists must define evil — to the extent contra Dawkins they say it exists at all — in reference to their subjective preferences. Ironically, Dawkins can’t keep his story straight on this. He is one of the world’s most prolific moralizers — which is ironic for a person who says evil does not exist.

  71. 71
    MatSpirit says:

    BA77 @ 11
    And yet, directly contrary to Darwin’s claim that “Natural selection cannot possibly produce any modification in any one species exclusively for the good of another species” or it would annihilate his theory, it is now known that ” “in thousands of plant species often entirely new organs have been formed for the exclusive good of more than 132,930 other species, these ‘ugly facts’ have annihilated Darwin’s theory as well as the modern versions of it.”

    Plant Galls and Evolution
    How More than Twelve Thousand1 Ugly Facts are Slaying a Beautiful Hypothesis: Darwinism2
    Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig – 7 September 2017
    Excerpt: in the case of the galls, in thousands of plant species often entirely new organs have been formed for the exclusive good of more than 132,930 other species, these ‘ugly facts’ have annihilated Darwin’s theory as well as the modern versions of it. The galls are not ‘useful to the possessor’, the plants. There is no space for these phenomena in the world of “the selfish gene” (Dawkins). Moreover, the same conclusion appears to be true for thousands of angiosperm species producing deceptive flowers (in contrast to gall formations, now for the exclusive good of the plant species) – a topic which should be carefully treated in another paper.
    http://www.weloennig.de/PlantGalls.pdf

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gall
    Insect galls are the highly distinctive plant structures formed by some herbivorous insects as their own microhabitats. They are plant tissue which is controlled by the insect. Galls act as both the habitat and food source for the maker of the gall. The interior of a gall can contain edible nutritious starch and other tissues. Some galls act as “physiologic sinks”, concentrating resources in the gall from the surrounding plant parts.[3] Galls may also provide the insect with physical protection from predators.[4][5]

    Insect galls are usually induced by chemicals injected by the larvae of the insects into the plants, and possibly mechanical damage. After the galls are formed, the larvae develop inside until fully grown, when they leave.

    There’s a reason Wikipedia dropped Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig.

  72. 72
    ET says:

    Darwinian evolution doesn’t have a mechanism capable of producing plants. There’s a reason why evos are so desperate to ignore the evidence.

  73. 73
    Jim Thibodeau says:

    @matspirit Wow.

  74. 74
    ET says:

    Wow, what? Or is clueless cheerleading the best you can muster, Jim?

  75. 75
    bornagain77 says:

    MatSpirit at 54, much like Dawkins did in “the God Delusion”, from the position of ‘blind, pitiless indifference’ (Dawkins) no less, i.e. with no moral basis in which to make moral judgments,, morally rages against God for supposedly breaking ‘the golden rule’. Yet God, being morally perfect, and being, well, God Allmighty, is more than justified in His actions.. In the great flood, and every instance similar to it, God warned people repeatedly, over a long period of time, to repent of their sins or they would be destroyed because of their sins. Yet they stubbornly refused to repent. The unrepentant sinful condition of man is discussed on the following site for several instances in the Bible.

    Isn’t the God of the Old Testament Harsh, Brutal, and Downright Evil? – by Bodie Hodge on March 27, 2015
    “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
    (Genesis 6:5)
    https://answersingenesis.org/who-is-god/isnt-the-god-of-the-old-testament-harsh-brutal-and-downright-evil/

    Contrary to what Matspirit believes, God just does not willy nilly decide to destroy men. As Miroslav Volf noted, “God isn’t wrathful in spite of being love. God is wrathful because God is love.”

    “My last resistance to the idea of God’s wrath was a casualty of the war in the former Yugoslavia, the region from which I come. According to some estimates, 200,000 people were killed and 3,000,000 displaced. My villages and cities were destroyed, my people shelled day in and day out, some of them brutalized beyond imagination, and I could not imagine God not being angry.
    Though I used to complain about the indecency of God’s wrath, I came to think that I would have to rebel against a God who wasn’t wrathful at the sight of the world’s evil. God isn’t wrathful in spite of being love. God is wrathful because God is love.”
    – Miroslav Volf – Croatian theologian
    https://books.google.com/books?id=BkwnAgAAQBAJ&pg=PA59

    I wonder if MatSpirit (and Dawkins) would rage against God if God destroyed people who had repeatedly, and ruthlessly, sinned against Matspirit himself for years and years? Would not Matspirit feel that God was more than justified in destroying those who had so ruthlessly sinned against him personally for so long? Of course he would feel as such. It is called justice!

    The same justification holds for when God destroys men when the refuse to repent of their ruthless sins against Him after being repeatedly warned of the consequences for their sin.

    God, is just because of His holiness and great love, not in spite of it!

  76. 76
    bornagain77 says:

    Too funny, Matspirit at 71 is going to try to school Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig – Senior Scientist Emeritus (Biologist) at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research, Cologne, Germany – on Plant Galls. Might I suggest that Matspirit actually read the paper before he tries to criticize it?

    Plant Galls and Evolution – Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig – 7 September 2017
    How More than Twelve Thousand1 Ugly Facts are Slaying a Beautiful Hypothesis: Darwinism2
    (Page 4) Plant galls – a definition
    http://www.weloennig.de/PlantGalls.pdf

  77. 77
    Truthfreedom says:

    @76 Bornagain77:

    Too funny, Matspirit at 71 is going to try to school Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig – Senior Scientist Emeritus (Biologist) at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research, Cologne, Germany – on Plant Galls.

    When someone uses Wikipedia as their source of knowledge, you know they have nothing of substance to offer to any discussion.

  78. 78
    Truthfreedom says:

    @70 Barry Arrington:

    Because it is incoherent to argue that God does not exist on the basis that he does not arrange affairs to conform to one’s personal subjective preferences.

    That’s the issue with atheism. The core problem is: the-Universe-is-not-arranged-as-I-would-like-it-to-be-there-is-suffering-therefore-I-am-getting-angry-no-God.
    Kinda childish in my opinion.

  79. 79
    jerry says:

    Barry, define “good.” Then tell us what the privation of it means. Then compare your definition with what the typical person believes the term evil means.

    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. Especially if you then substitute your definition of good in the phrase. This might be a good exercise to prove me wrong rather than asserting I don’t know what I am talking about.

    That the atheist argument from evil for the non-existence of God is utterly incoherent.

    I agree because evil as the atheists use the term is meaningless in the world created by the Judeo-Christian God. That is my point. But they think their version of evil does exists and will point to examples. 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.

    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. Or even many Christians. You may claim that neither will mine but answer my objections first.

    The acceleration of the existence of evil as proof that God does not exist came after the Lisbon earthquake because of the supposed senseless death and misery that occurred. We see it all the time to refer to senseless pain and suffering and even to one animal’s destruction of another.

    The theodicy argument breaks down because their version of evil is meaningless. But I doubt atheists would accept your definition of evil. So how can you claim that their argument is incoherent based on it. Do you have evidence that atheists use your definition?

  80. 80
    bornagain77 says:

    JVL at 57,

    Something I find really interesting is how much of the Bible different people consider the literal truth. For example, many, many people these days would consider the story of Adam and Eve to be more allegory than historical truth. Noah and the flood .,,,,

    So what? Why do you not appeal to the scientific evidence rather than to popular opinion?

    The actual scientific evidence, not an opinion poll, supports both a historical Adam and Eve as well as catastrophic Global flooding in the not too distant past. (Shoot Darwinists can’t even explain where a single protein came from much less where humans came from!)

    February 2020 – Falsification of the population genetics used by Darwinists and Theistic Evolutionists
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/jon-garveys-new-book-argues-that-adam-was-one-among-many-early-humans/#comment-692463
    February 2020, major anatomical and genetic differences between chimps and humans
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/at-texas-m-last-week-theistic-evolutionist-joshua-swamidass-vs-id-proponent-michael-behe/#comment-693556
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/at-texas-m-last-week-theistic-evolutionist-joshua-swamidass-vs-id-proponent-michael-behe/#comment-693590

    Neo-Darwinism and the Big Bang of Man’s Origin – Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig – February 25, 2020
    Excerpt: “There is a popular image of human evolution that you’ll find all over the place, from the backs of cereal packets to the advertisement for expensive scientific equipment. On the left of the picture there’s an ape — …. On the right, a man … Between the two is a succession of figures that become ever more like humans … Our progress from ape to human looks so smooth, so tidy. It’s such a beguiling image that even the experts are loath to let it go. But it is an illusion.”
    – Bernard Wood, Bernard Wood, Professor of Human Origins at George Washington University,
    “Who are we?” New Scientist 176 2366: 44-47. 26 October 2002:,,,
    A Big Bang at Man’s Origin?
    To repeat the key points quoted above (from Darwinists themselves), we may emphasize that
    1. “differences exist on an unusual scale”
    2. “Homo sapiens appears […] distinctive and unprecedented”
    3. “There is certainly no evidence to support the notion that we gradually became what we inherently are over an extended period, in either the physical or the intellectual sense.”
    4. “…we evidently came by our unusual anatomical structure and capacities very recently.”
    5. “…a convincing hypothesis for the origin of Homo remains elusive”
    6. “[W]e should not expect to find a series of intermediate fossil forms with decreasingly divergent big toes and, at the same time, a decreasing number of apelike features and an increasing number of modern human features.”
    7. “No gradual series of changes in earlier australopithecine populations clearly leads to the new species [Homo sapiens], and no australopithecine species is obviously transitional.”
    8. “…early H. sapiens was significantly and dramatically different from earlier and penecontemporary [as well as coexisting] australopithecines in virtually every element of its skeleton and every remnant of its behavior.”
    9. “Our interpretation is that the changes are sudden and interrelated,” “a genetic revolution.”,,,
    “…a rather minor structural innovation at the DNA level” appears to be, for all that can be known at present, a rather unsatisfactory proposal for a comparable origin of some 696 new features (out of 1065) which distinguish man from chimpanzees, 711 from orang, 680 from gorilla, 948 from Gibbon (Hylobathes), presupposing a similar magnitude of different anatomical and other features (“distinctive and unprecedented”) from his supposed animal ancestor, “our closest extinct kin,” not to speak of 15.6% differences on the DNA level between man and his alleged closest cousin, the chimpanzee, which means, in actual numbers, more than 450 million bp differences of the some 3 billion bp constituting the genomes overall.28,,,
    Almost any larger science museum around the globe presents a series of connecting links between extinct apes and humans such as Homo erectus, Homo habilis, Australopithecus afarensis (“Lucy”), Ardipithecus ramidus, Orrorin tugensis and others. For a brief overview on such assumed links see Lönnig (2019).38 I include there a series of references to papers and books that do not simply presuppose evolution and neo-Darwinism as the final truth on the origin of species without any scientific alternative (as is common practice nowadays). Instead, these works critically discuss the relevant details, showing in depth the untenability of the evolutionary scenarios usually given to these would-be links generally put forward as indisputable scientific facts….
    98.5 Percent Human/Chimp DNA Identity?
    Although long disproved, the assertion that human and chimp DNA display approximately 98.5 percent identity is still forwarded in many papers and books. The present state of the art has been clearly articulated by Richard Buggs, Professor of Evolutionary Genomics at Queen Mary University of London. He asks, “What does the data say today in 2018, and how can it be described to the public in an adequate manner?” Key answer: “The total percentage of the human genome that I can know for sure has one-to-one orthology with the chimp genome is 84.4 percent” (“our minimum lower bound”)39, i.e., more than 450 million differences (15 percent of 3 billion bp = 450 million).
    https://evolutionnews.org/2020/02/neo-darwinism-and-the-big-bang-of-mans-origin/

    Humanpast.net
    Excerpt: Worldwide, we know that the period of 14,000 to 13,000 years ago, which coincides with the peak of abundant monsoonal rains over India, was marked by violent oceanic flooding – in fact, the first of the three great episodes of global superfloods that dominated the meltdown of the Ice Age. The flooding was fed not merely by rain but by the cataclysmic synchronous collapse of large ice-masses on several different continents and by gigantic inundations of meltwater pouring down river systems into the oceans. (124)
    What happened, at around 13,000 years ago, was that the long period of uninterrupted warming that the world had just passed through (and that had greatly intensified, according to some studies, between 15,000 years ago and 13,000 years ago) was instantly brought to a halt – all at once, everywhere – by a global cold event known to palaeo climatologists as the ‘Younger Dryas’ or ‘Dryas III’. In many ways mysterious and unexplained, this was an almost unbelievably fast climatic reversion – from conditions that are calculated to have been warmer and wetter than today’s 13,000 years ago, to conditions that were colder and drier than those at the Last Glacial Maximum, not much more than a thousand years later. From that moment, around 12,800 years ago, it was as though an enchantment of ice had gripped the earth. In many areas that had been approaching terminal meltdown full glacial conditions were restored with breathtaking rapidity and all the gains that had been made since the LGM were simply stripped away…(124)
    A great, sudden extinction took place on the planet, perhaps as recently as 11,500 years ago (usually attributed to the end of that last ice age), in which hundreds of mammal and plant species disappeared from the face of the earth, driven into deep caverns and charred muck piles the world over. Modern science, with all its powers and prejudices, has been unable to adequately explain this event. (83)
    http://humanpast.net/environme.....ent11k.htm

    Study: Deep beneath the earth, more water than in all the oceans combined – June 16, 2014
    Excerpt: And it’s a good thing, too, Jacobsen told New Scientist: “We should be grateful for this deep reservoir. If it wasn’t there, it would be on the surface of the Earth, and mountain tops would be the only land poking out.”
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/06/16/study-deep-beneath-north-america-theres-more-water-than-in-all-the-oceans-combined/

    Genesis 7:11
    “When Noah was 600 years old, on the seventeenth day of the second month, all the underground waters erupted from the earth, and the rain fell in mighty torrents from the sky.”

    What does Genesis 7:11 mean?
    Excerpt: We are told that on that day all the fountains or springs of the great deep burst forth. The picture is of geyser spewing its contents into the sky, implying that a great underground ocean had existed and had been under some amount of pressure since the beginning of creation. In addition, the “windows of heaven” were opened. Great torrents of rain poured from the sky.
    https://www.bibleref.com/Genesis/7/Genesis-7-11.html

    Let’s do a little more comparison between the predictions of Theism when compared to the predictions of Atheistic Materialism

    Here are a few comparisons:

    1. Naturalism/Materialism predicted space-time energy-matter always existed. Theism predicted space-time energy-matter were created. Big Bang cosmology now strongly indicates that time-space energy-matter had a sudden creation event approximately 14 billion years ago.

    2. Naturalism/Materialism predicted that the universe is a self sustaining system that is not dependent on anything else for its continued existence. Theism predicted that God upholds this universe in its continued existence. Breakthroughs in quantum mechanics reveal that this universe is dependent on a ‘non-local’, beyond space and time, cause for its continued existence.

    3. Naturalism/Materialism predicted that consciousness is an ‘emergent property’ of material reality and thus should have no particularly special position within material reality. Theism predicts consciousness precedes material reality and therefore, on that presupposition, consciousness should have a ‘special’ position within material reality. Quantum Mechanics reveals that consciousness has a special, even a central, position within material reality. –

    4. Naturalism/Materialism predicted the rate at which time passed was constant everywhere in the universe. Theism predicted God is eternal and is outside of time. – Special Relativity has shown that time, as we understand it, is relative and comes to a complete stop at the speed of light. (Psalm 90:4 – 2 Timothy 1:9) –

    5. Naturalism/Materialism predicted the universe did not have life in mind and that life was ultimately an accident of time and chance. Theism predicted this universe was purposely created by God with man in mind. Scientists find the universe is exquisitely fine-tuned for carbon-based life to exist in this universe. Moreover it is found, when scrutinizing the details of physics and chemistry, that not only is the universe fine-tuned for carbon based life, but is specifically fine-tuned for life like human life (R. Collins, M. Denton).-

    6. Naturalism/Materialism predicted complex life in this universe should be fairly common. Theism predicted the earth is extremely unique in this universe. Statistical analysis of the hundreds of required parameters which enable complex organic life to be possible on earth gives strong indication the earth is extremely unique in this universe (G. Gonzalez; Hugh Ross). –

    7. Naturalism/Materialism predicted it took a very long time for life to develop on earth. Theism predicted life to appear abruptly on earth after water appeared on earth (Genesis 1:10-11). Geochemical evidence from the oldest sedimentary rocks ever found on earth indicates that complex photosynthetic life has existed on earth as long as water has been on the face of earth. –

    8. Naturalism/Materialism predicted the first life to be relatively simple. Theism predicted that God is the source for all life on earth. The simplest life ever found on Earth is far more complex than any machine man has made through concerted effort. (Michael Denton PhD) –

    9. Naturalism/Materialism predicted the gradual unfolding of life would (someday) be self-evident in the fossil record. Theism predicted complex and diverse animal life to appear abruptly in the seas in God’s fifth day of creation. The Cambrian Explosion shows a sudden appearance of many different and completely unique fossils within a very short “geologic resolution time” in the Cambrian seas. –

    10. Naturalism/Materialism predicted there should be numerous transitional fossils found in the fossil record, Theism predicted sudden appearance and rapid diversity within different kinds found in the fossil record. Fossils are consistently characterized by sudden appearance of a group/kind in the fossil record(disparity), then rapid diversity within that group/kind, and then long term stability and even deterioration of variety within the overall group/kind, and within the specific species of the kind, over long periods of time. Of the few dozen or so fossils claimed as transitional, not one is uncontested as a true example of transition between major animal forms out of millions of collected fossils. –

    11. Naturalism/Materialism predicted animal speciation should happen on a somewhat constant basis on earth. Theism predicted man was the last species created on earth – Man (our genus ‘modern homo’ as distinct from the highly controversial ‘early homo’) is the last generally accepted major fossil form to have suddenly appeared in the fossil record. (Tattersall; Luskin)–

    12. Naturalism/Materialism predicted that the separation of human intelligence from animal intelligence ‘is one of degree and not of kind’ (C. Darwin). Theism predicted that we are made in the ‘image of God’- Despite an ‘explosion of research’ in this area over the last four decades, human beings alone are found to ‘mentally dissect the world into a multitude of discrete symbols, and combine and recombine those symbols in their minds to produce hypotheses of alternative possibilities.’ (Tattersall; Schwartz). Moreover, both biological life and the universe itself are found to be ‘information theoretic’ in their foundational basis.

    13. Naturalism/Materialism predicted much of the DNA code was junk. Theism predicted we are fearfully and wonderfully made – ENCODE research into the DNA has revealed a “biological jungle deeper, denser, and more difficult to penetrate than anyone imagined.”. –

    14. Naturalism/Materialism predicted a extremely beneficial and flexible mutation rate for DNA which was ultimately responsible for all the diversity and complexity of life we see on earth. Theism predicted only God created life on earth – The mutation rate to DNA is overwhelmingly detrimental. Detrimental to such a point that it is seriously questioned whether there are any truly beneficial, information building, mutations whatsoever. (M. Behe; JC Sanford) –

    15. Naturalism/Materialism predicted morality is subjective and illusory. Theism predicted morality is objective and real. Morality is found to be deeply embedded in the genetic responses of humans. As well, morality is found to be deeply embedded in the structure of the universe. Embedded to the point of eliciting physiological responses in humans before humans become aware of the morally troubling situation and even prior to the event even happening.

    16. Naturalism/Materialism predicted that we are merely our material bodies with no transcendent component to our being, and that we die when our material bodies die. Theism predicted that we have minds/souls that are transcendent of our bodies that live past the death of our material bodies. Transcendent, and ‘conserved’, (cannot be created or destroyed), ‘non-local’, (beyond space-time matter-energy), quantum entanglement/information, which is not reducible to matter-energy space-time, is now found in our material bodies on a massive scale (in every DNA and protein molecule).

    As you can see when we remove the artificial imposition of the materialistic philosophy (methodological naturalism), from the scientific method, and look carefully at the predictions of both the materialistic philosophy and the Theistic philosophy, side by side, we find the scientific method is very good at pointing us in the direction of Theism as the true explanation. – In fact modern science is even very good at pointing us to Christianity as the solution to the much sought after ‘theory of everything’

    allowing the Agent causality of God ‘back’ into physics, as the Christian founders of modern science originally envisioned,,,, (Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday, James Clerk Maxwell, and Max Planck, to name a few of the Christian founders),,, and as quantum mechanics itself now empirically demands (with the closing of the free will loophole by Anton Zeilinger and company), rightly allowing the Agent causality of God ‘back’ into physics provides us with a very plausible resolution for the much sought after ‘theory of everything’ in that Christ’s resurrection from the dead provides an empirically backed reconciliation, via the Shroud of Turin, between quantum mechanics and general relativity into the much sought after ‘Theory of Everything”. Here are a few posts where I lay out and defend some of the evidence for that claim:
    January 2020
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/welcome-to-the-brave-new-world-of-science/#comment-690569

    Verse:

    Colossians 1:15-20
    The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

  81. 81
    EDTA says:

    Sorry I’m late getting back into the stream of things…

    LarTanner @ 37,
    >This rejoinder mis-understands the claim, which is that the problem of evil undermines the argument for God’s absolute goodness, lovingness, and omnipotence.

    I’m not aware that any theist understands God’s goodness as being so absolute that he would wipe out all evil instantly, and thus it never would have existed. God has more qualities than just goodness. Yes, God’s goodness is not absolute to the exclusion of every other attribute/goal/desire of God.

    This misunderstanding is repeated on the plato/standford page you link, where they say,
    “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.”

    But as others have noted, the stanford philosophy page does not actually give a rigorous definition for evil, in the sense that particular acts can be clearly delineated as being good or evil. It _does_ support (by listing dozens of vague yet conflicting attempts at definitions) the contention here that there is no single agreed-upon definition that is useful enough to argue from. Just one example: “As Marcus Singer puts it “‘evil’ [in this sense] … is the worst possible term of opprobrium imaginable”. Not terribly helpful I’m afraid..

    MattSpirit @ 56,
    >And [EDTA’s] last answer is a classic: “Can anyone rigorously argue that God has no reasons for allowing evil to exist?…” That’s going to be pretty hard to do when the Christians say God is beyond human understanding.

    Bingo. That was my point. To try to argue that God doesn’t exist based on the existence of evil is futile.

  82. 82
    MatSpirit says:

    BA @ 75
    So God said they were all bad (including babies) and he warned them and then he killed them. Kind of like Hitler and the Jews. No thanks.

  83. 83
    MatSpirit says:

    BA77 and Truthfreedom

    Insects produce galls by injecting chemicals and eggs. They strike in the spring when the plant is growing and their secretions force the growing plant to form a gall. The plant is a VICTIM of the insect. This has been known at least since I was a boy.

    Lönnig even TELLS US THIS on page 14:
    “…there is now considerable evidence that gall development is largely controlled by genes of the galling insects and that galling indeed constitutes an adaptive manipulation of the hostphenotype”

    IF the plant was forming the gall by itself, for the benefit of the insect, then Darwin’s theory would be in question.

    But since it is the insect exploiting the plant, it no more violates evolutionary theory than an insect feeding on a leaf.

    I repeat, Wikipedia knew what it was doing when it dropped Dr. Lönnig.

    The plant is being mugged by the invading insect and the insect is rebuilding the plant to suit the insect’s purposes.

  84. 84
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry,

    You are right to highlight the significance of genuinely understanding a critical concept.

    The problem there, of course, is that in all the argumentation above, there is an implicit, inescapable appeal to intuitively known first duties of reason, to truth, to right reason, to prudence [so, warrant etc!], to sound conscience, to neighbour, to fairness and justice, etc. All of this points to the challenge of being governed by built in moral law, as significantly free, rational, responsible creatures. Thus, we face the gap between IS and OUGHT, which has deep implications for the root of reality and wellspring of worlds.

    For, on pain of ungrounded ought, these two must be bridged and inseparably fused in that root. Which, points where ever so many utterly refuse to go, to the point where some even preen themselves on proudly dismissing one of the best attested realities of C1 history. Namely, the historicity of Jesus of Nazareth. (BTW, this is one of the marks of utterly irrational selective hyperskepticism, and how it reflects the folly of walking away from the cardinal virtue, prudence as charioteer of the rational soul.)

    Now, to bridge IS and OUGHT in that root of reality, we must face the implication that we have a built in morally tinged governing law, implying that there is a cosmic lawmaker at that root level. We need a root that is necessary in being (so, causally independent and eternal), capable of being wellspring of worlds (great power and skill) AND inherently good and utterly wise. Which means, purpose is built into reality’s root.

    From that, we can see the relevance of the classic understanding of evil: the frustration, perversion or privation of what is, out of its proper end.

    For example, the mind’s proper end is manifestly about

    – wisdom,
    – soundness [so, truth and linked right reason and prudence],
    – right decision and action [so, moral government, sound conscience, neighbour, fairness and justice thence that civil peace of justice that duly balances rights, freedoms and responsibilities].

    So to frustrate such through lies, entrenched error, refusal of sound thought, imprudence, crushing conscience, disregarding neighbour, fairness and justice etc is evil. Which, among other things, implies that selective hyperskepticism — something that has become ever so clearly at work in the debates over HCQ etc as we face pandemic — is evil.

    In that context, BA77 is quite right to highlight that to object to evil is to imply the problem of good. Evil is ultimately meaningless in any worldview that lacks a reality root capable of bridging IS and OUGHT, thus implying deep purpose in our existence and significant freedom morally governed through built in law. That is, the problem of evil is a manifestation of the IS-OUGHT gap and reflects the moral hazard of responsible, rational agency.

    It is in that context that Plantinga’s defense makes solid sense. Notice, it is not a theodicy, an argument as to what is and thence to how God is justified [note the built in inescapable appeal to first duties], but instead exploits the power of possible worlds to identify that if a set of propositions are compossible in any one possible world, it is just that, coherent. So, once the theistic set id properly clarified, it is readily shown to be compossible thus coherent.

    The problem of evil in its formerly most powerful form, the logical, fails utterly. Fails, in a way that is instructive, pointing to a purpose for freedom. Namely, that a world with responsible freedom opens up a world of potential goods that overwhelm the evil that may well obtain transworld in any world with freedom. And immediately, we see that love, root of virtues, requires radical freedom. That which is of mechanical necessity and/or blind chance, exhaustively, cannot love.

    (Sci Fi fans can see this explored in Weber’s Safehold series and Dahak series. Merlin Athrawes and Dahak are AI creatures and the reader is invited to see them as loving, relating, heroically brave creatures.)

    In this context, it is worth noting that on the strength of his philosophical contributions including this Defense, Plantinga became a President of the American Philosophical Association. We are not dealing with a nobody, with a lightweight argument.

    KF

  85. 85
    kairosfocus says:

    LT, kindly, see the just above to Jerry. KF

  86. 86
    bornagain77 says:

    MatSpirit at 82,

    BA @ 75
    So God said they were all bad (including babies) and he warned them and then he killed them.

    He did not say that they were evil. HE SAW that every intent of the hearts of man was evil.

    “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
    (Genesis 6:5)

    Then MatSpirit states,

    Kind of like Hitler and the Jews. No thanks.

    Not at all like Hitler and the Jews. If a comparison is to be made with Hitler, then God’s wrath against unrepentant sinful man is much more like America, Britain, and even the atheistic Soviet Union, destroying Hitler and Germany because of their sins against humanity.

  87. 87
    bornagain77 says:

    MatSpirit at 83 tries to qualify his criticism of Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig’s – Senior Scientist Emeritus (Biologist) at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research, Cologne, Germany – paper on Plant Galls, and states,

    IF the plant was forming the gall by itself, for the benefit of the insect, then Darwin’s theory would be in question.
    But since it is the insect exploiting the plant, it no more violates evolutionary theory than an insect feeding on a leaf.

    To compare Plant Galls to merely “an insect feeding on a leaf” is a gross misrepresentation of what is actually going on. Only someone who is more interested in misleading rhetoric rather than finding the truth would try to characterize it as such.
    The plant is very much cooperating in a intelligently designed symbiotic relationship that is extremely beneficial to the insects themselves. The abstract of Lönnig’s paper itself makes this point clear and states, “To sum up: For insects, for example, the plants provide an unsurpassed five-star luxury hotel for free for the entire larval development (and often even more; see please below).”

    Abstract
    For more than 330 years now it has been known that the service provided by the plants for gall formation “results in their own disfigurement” (Malpighi 1679). Massive infestations can induce stunting, chlorosis, wilting, and even death in certain plant species. Diameter of stem and the total height can be distinctly reduced. We even speak of “gall disease” (cecidiosis) in the case of heavy infestations adversely affecting the plants in culture and/or in the wild.
    However, in almost all the cases of what may be called ‘slight infections’, the effects are not so strongly deleterious and the plants seem to control and survive the parasitic load without major damage.
    For the gallers the plants usually provide optimal nutrition (feed and house the larvae), administer excellent microenvironments, enemy escape, produce safe and comfortable homes protecting their hosts (inter alia by phenolic compounds as tannic and gallic acid, displaying antioxidant, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-fungal properties). In some cases, the plants even form “a closure similar to that of the ground-glass cap of a liqueur bottle” – to open exactly at the right time and in the optimal form – so that the parasite can easily press it out when ready for pupation. Also, some investigations have shown that proteins of inner-gall and plant tissue were “characteristic only for gall tissues”. Moreover, “the chlorenchyma cells within the nutritive tissue are generally homogenous and usually include a large nucleus, conspicuous nucleolus, high enzymatic activity, RNA richness, fragmented vacuole, numerous mitochondria, a dense/abundant cytoplasm, and the accumulation of carbohydrates (and lipids in some systems)” (Richardson et al. 2017); for additional special features, see text. As to a synopsis of the present state of the molecular investigations, cf. footnote 171 on p. 59. To sum up: For insects, for example, the plants provide an unsurpassed five-star luxury hotel for free for the entire larval development (and often even more; see please below).
    In short, entirely new organs (complex, refined, sophisticated, “high tech” galls), consisting of up to seven differentiated layers with diverse positive functions for the guests, are formed at the exclusive expense of the plant host, i. e. without any useful return by the animals (“fremddienliche Zweckmäßigkeit” (Erich Becher) – not easy to translate, but something like ‘extrinsic usefulness’, ‘disinterested suitability’, ‘well-directed extraneous utility’, closely akin to altruism; cf. p. 16).
    Now, Darwin formulated the following falsification criterium, among others, for his theory of natural selection – fully applicable to the modern neo-Darwinian versions of the theory as well, because: “Natural selection cannot possibly produce any modification in any one species exclusively for the good of another species; “… If it could be proved that any part of the structure of any one species had been formed for the exclusive good of another species, it would annihilate my theory, for such could not have been produced through natural selection.” Also: “Natural selection can produce nothing in one species for the exclusive good or injury of another; though it may well produce parts, organs, and excretions highly useful or even indispensable, or again highly injurious to another species, but in all cases at the same time useful to the possessor.”
    Inference reached on the basis of the evidence: Because in the case of the galls, in thousands of plant species often entirely new organs have been formed for the exclusive good of more than 132,930 other species, these ‘ugly facts’ have annihilated Darwin’s theory as well as the modern versions of it. The galls are not ‘useful to the possessor’, the plants. There is no space for these phenomena in the world of “the selfish gene” (Dawkins). Moreover, the same conclusion appears to be true for thousands of angiosperm species producing deceptive flowers (in contrast to gall formations, now for the exclusive good of the plant species) – a topic which should be carefully treated in another paper.
    http://www.weloennig.de/PlantGalls.pdf

    So much for Matspirit’s misleading claim that this “no more violates evolutionary theory than an insect feeding on a leaf.”

    As to Matspirit’s claim that this finding means that “Darwin’s theory would be in question.”

    That is a humorous claim. This is far from the only falsifying scientific evidence against Darwin’s theory that Darwinists simply blatantly ignore since it brings Darwin’s theory ‘into question’.

    Popper’s falsification criteria is considered the primary criteria in science for judging whether a theory is even to be considered scientific or not.

    “In so far as a scientific statement speaks about reality, it must be falsifiable: and in so far as it is not falsifiable, it does not speak about reality.”
    – Karl R. Popper, The Logic of Scientific Discovery

    Here are a few falsifications of Darwin’s theory that Darwinian atheists simply refuse to accept as falsifications of their theory,

    Darwin’s theory holds mutations to the genome to be random. The vast majority of mutations to the genome are not random but are now found to be ‘directed’.

    Darwin’s theory holds that Natural Selection is the ‘designer substitute’ that produces the ‘appearance’ and/or illusion of design. Natural Selection, especially for multicellular organisms, is found to grossly inadequate as the ‘designer substitute.

    Darwin’s theory holds that mutations to DNA will eventually change the basic biological form of any given species into a new form of a brand new species. Yet, biological form is found to be irreducible to mutations to DNA, nor is biological form reducible to any other material particulars in biology one may wish to invoke.

    Darwin’s theory holds there to be an extremely beneficial and flexible mutation rate for DNA which was ultimately responsible for all the diversity and complexity of life we see on earth. The mutation rate to DNA is overwhelmingly detrimental. Detrimental to such a point that it is seriously questioned whether there are any truly beneficial, information building, mutations whatsoever.

    Charles Darwin himself held that the gradual unfolding of life would (someday) be self-evident in the fossil record. Yet, from the Cambrian Explosion onward, the fossil record is consistently characterized by the sudden appearance of a group/kind in the fossil record(disparity), then rapid diversity within the group/kind, and then long term stability and even deterioration of variety within the overall group/kind, and within the specific species of the kind, over long periods of time. Of the few dozen or so fossils claimed as transitional, not one is uncontested as a true example of transition between major animal forms out of millions of collected fossils. Moreover, Fossils are found in the “wrong place” all the time (either too early, or too late).

    Darwin’s theory, due to the randomness postulate, holds that patterns will not repeat themselves in supposedly widely divergent species. Yet thousands of instances of what is ironically called ‘convergent evolution’, on both the morphological and genetic level, falsifies the Darwinian belief that patterns will not repeat themselves in widely divergent species.

    Charles Darwin himself stated that “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.” Yet as Doug Axe pointed out, “Basically every gene and every new protein fold, there is nothing of significance that we can show that can be had in that gradualistic way. It’s all a mirage. None of it happens that way.”

    Charles Darwin himself stated that “If it could be proved that any part of the structure of any one species had been formed for the exclusive good of another species, it would annihilate my theory, for such could not have been produced through natural selection.” Yet as Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig pointed out, “in thousands of plant species often entirely new organs have been formed for the exclusive good of more than 132,930 other species, these ‘ugly facts’ have annihilated Darwin’s theory as well as modern versions of it.”

    Charles Darwin himself stated that, ““The impossibility of conceiving that this grand and wondrous universe, with our conscious selves, arose through chance, seems to me the chief argument for the existence of God. Yet ‘our conscious selves’ are certainly not explainable by ‘chance’ (nor is consciousness explainable by any possible reductive materialistic explanation in general), i.e. ‘the hard problem of consciousness’.

    Besides the mathematics of probability consistently showing that Darwinian evolution is impossible, the mathematics of population genetics itself has now shown Darwinian evolution to be impossible. Moreover, ‘immaterial’ mathematics itself, which undergirds all of science, engineering and technology, is held by most mathematicians to exist in some timeless, unchanging, immaterial, Platonic realm. Yet, the reductive materialism that Darwinian theory is based upon denies the existence of the immaterial realm that mathematics exists in. i.e. Darwinian evolution actually denies the objective reality of the one thing, i.e. mathematics, that it most needs in order to be considered scientific in the first place!

    Donald Hoffman has, via population genetics, shown that if Darwin’s materialistic theory were true then all our observations of reality would be illusory. Yet the scientific method itself is based on reliable observation. Moreover, Quantum Mechanics itself has now shown that conscious observation must come before material reality, i.e. falsification of ‘realism’ proves that our conscious observations are reliable!.

    The reductive materialism that undergirds Darwinian thought holds that immaterial information is merely ’emergent’ from a material basis. Yet immaterial Information, via experimental realization of the “Maxwell’s Demon” thought experiment, is now found to be its own distinctive physical entity that, although it can interact in a ‘top down’ manner with matter and energy, is separate from matter and energy.

    Darwinists hold that Darwin’s theory is true. Yet ‘Truth’ itself is an abstract property of an immaterial mind that is irreducible to the reductive materialistic explanations of Darwinian evolution. i.e. Assuming reductive materialism and/or Naturalism as the starting philosophical position of science actually precludes ‘the truth’ from ever being reached by science!

    Darwinists, due to their underlying naturalistic philosophy, insist that teleology (i.e. goal directed purpose) does not exist. Yet it is impossible for Biologists to do biological research without constantly invoking words that directly imply teleology. i.e. The very words that Biologists themselves use when they are doing their research falsifies Darwinian evolution.

    Verse:

    1 Thessalonians 5:21
    Test all things; hold fast what is good.

    Besides Darwinists refusing to adhere to Popper’s criteria of falsification for their supposedly scientific theory, by any other reasonable measure that one may wish to judge whether Darwinian evolution even qualifies as a science or not, and as is shown in the following video, Darwinian evolution fails to meet those criteria as well:

    “There are five standard tests for a scientific hypothesis. Has anyone observed the phenomenon — in this case, Evolution — as it occurred and recorded it? Could other scientists replicate it? Could any of them come up with a set of facts that, if true, would contradict the theory (Karl Popper’s “falsifiability” tests)? Could scientists make predictions based on it? Did it illuminate hitherto unknown or baffling areas of science? In the case of Evolution… well… no… no… no… no… and no.”
    – Tom Wolfe – The Kingdom of Speech – page 17
    Darwinian Evolution Fails the Five Standard Tests of a Scientific Hypothesis – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7f_fyoPybw

    Simply put, Darwinian evolution simply fails to qualify as a rigorous and testable science by any reasonable measure one may wish to invoke and is therefore more properly classified as a pseudoscience, even as a religion for atheists, rather than ever being classified as a real and testable science.

    Matspirit then claims,

    Wikipedia knew what it was doing when it dropped Dr. Lönnig.

    That claim is a joke. Wikipedia has a long history of being notoriously hostile towards Intelligent Design. Attempts to correct misrepresentations about ID on wikipedia are overwhelmed by a army of atheistic trolls:

    Wikipedia’s Tyranny of the Unemployed – David Klinghoffer – June 24, 2012
    Excerpt: PLoS One has a highly technical study out of editing patterns on Wikipedia. This is of special interest to us because Wikipedia’s articles on anything to do with intelligent design are replete with errors and lies, which the online encyclopedia’s volunteer editors are vigilant about maintaining against all efforts to set the record straight.
    You simply can never outlast these folks. They have nothing better to do with their time and will always erase your attempted correction and reinstate the bogus claim, with lightning speed over and over again.
    ,,, on Wikipedia, “fact” is established by the party with the free time that’s required to wear down everyone else and exhaust them into submission. The search for truth (on Wikipedia) yields to a tyranny of the unemployed.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....61281.html

    Even the co-founder of wikipedia agrees that wikipedia is unfairly biased against ID:

    Larry Sanger, Co-founder of Wikipedia, Agrees That it Does not Follow its Own Neutrality Policy. – December 1, 2016
    Excerpt: Mr. Sanger posted an article today about media bias in which he alluded to the neutrality policy he drafted.
    I replied (see the combox of the article):“Wikipedia’s neutrality policy.” I’ve been reading Wikipedia articles for years, and from the evidence I would not have thought such a thing exists, or, if it does, the name is somewhat misleading, because the policy would read something like: “On all matters cultural and political, Wikipedia will endeavor to crush conservative viewpoints. Neutrality will not be tolerated.” Just read the post on, for example, intelligent design theory. It is written by the theory’s antagonists, and all efforts to correct the post to reflect the real theory, as opposed to the straw man caricature presented by its opponents, are ruthlessly suppressed.”
    In a response Mr. Sanger stated:
    “For the record, I agree with this. Wikipedia doesn’t live up to its policy and in fact deliberately misinterprets it on some issues. Although I founded Wikipedia, I’m also long gone from the organization and am now probably its biggest critic, so…”
    There you go folks. We ain’t making it up. The co-founder of Wiki agrees with us.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ty-policy/

    In fact, wikipedia itself states that it is, “not a reliable source for academic writing or research,”

    Wikipedia: Academic use
    Excerpt: Wikipedia is not a reliable source for academic writing or research. Wikipedia is increasingly used by people in the academic community, from freshman students to professors, as an easily accessible tertiary source for information about anything and everything, and as a quick “ready reference”, to get a sense of a concept or idea.
    However, citation of Wikipedia in research papers may be considered unacceptable, because Wikipedia is not a reliable source.[1][2][3]
    Many[4] colleges and universities (especially in some high schools and private schools) have a policy that prohibits students from using Wikipedia as their source for doing research papers, essays, or anything equivalent. This is because Wikipedia can be edited by anyone at any moment,,,
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W.....ademic_use

    Yes there is a reason that wikipedia dropped Dr. Lönnig, but that reason has nothing to Dr. Lönnig’s scholarship and expertise on Plant Genetics and has everything to do with the fact that an army of atheistic trolls are allowed to edit wikipedia at any moment.

  88. 88
    LarTanner says:

    EDTA @81: In this response, you seem to postulate a God who is imperfect as well as constrained in power. Do you believe in a God who could have elected not to create what you define as “evil”? Do you believe in a God who can elect to prevent “evil” (in your definition) from befalling those he favors?

    KF @85: Thanks for the pointer, but nothing in the post you cite does anything in particular for me.

  89. 89
    Truthfreedom says:

    @88 LarTanner

    In this response, you seem to postulate a God who is imperfect

    May I ask you, an imperfect H. sapiens creature, where did you get the idea of perfection from?

  90. 90
    LarTanner says:

    Truthfreedom @89: I have gotten and established my ideas of the concept “perfection” the same as anyone else: education and experience.

  91. 91
    Truthfreedom says:

    @90 LarTanner

    I have gotten and established my ideas of the concept “perfection” the same as anyone else: education and experience.

    Could you provide an example of ‘perfection’?

  92. 92
    LarTanner says:

    Truthfreedom @91. Yes, but I don’t want to play a game. Make a point, please, and be nice.

  93. 93
    Truthfreedom says:

    @92 LarTanner

    Yes.

    Please.

    but I don’t want to play a game.

    Neither do I.

    and be nice.

    I am always nice. 🙂

  94. 94
    LarTanner says:

    Examples of perfection: an equilateral triangle, a score of 300 in tenpin bowling, a major seventh chord.

  95. 95
    Truthfreedom says:

    @94 LarTanner
    Examples of perfection:

    an equilateral triangle,

    When have you seen a perfect equilateral triangle?

    a score of 300 in tenpin bowling,

    How is this ‘perfect’?

    a major seventh chord.

    Subjective.

  96. 96
    Truthfreedom says:

    @86 Bornagain77:

    Yes there is a reason that wikipedia dropped Dr. Lönnig, but that reason has nothing to Dr. Lönnig’s scholarship and expertise on Plant Genetics and has everything to do with the fact that an army of atheistic trolls are allowed to edit wikipedia at any moment.

    You always put a smile on my lips. 🙂
    Wikipedia is a non peer-reviewed, open source website. Good to take a peek and gain some understanding about certain topics. That is all.

  97. 97
    jerry says:

    Kf,

    Plantinga argument is for moral events not natural events. He tried to adapt it to natural events but most don’t believe successfully. I also don’t believe in any way that his adaptation is necessary to refute the God and evil argument.

    However, my argument is mainly aimed at natural events. Which is the primary source for the theodicy argument and which is mainly used in the argument against the Judeo Christian God.

    We have been down this path before. But I guess an occasional repeat is necessary to get people thinking. The real question which is behind all this is why does the world have unpleasant events and why it is necessary for this to be so. That is the “big question.”

    Completely unrelated question: What HTML does this website accept in the comments section? I know it takes the blockquote, bold and italics. What else is available? WordPress will take about anything but what applies to the comments?

  98. 98
    LarTanner says:

    Truthfreedom @94. In my imagination, I see perfect equilateral triangles; one cannot score higher than 300 in tenpin bowling; agree it’s subjective.
    Now, please make a coherent argument or get out of the way. I find it tiresome to answer buckshot questions. I will not indulge these any more. I know where you are trying to go. We all do. You can just get to the point and we could possibly proceed from there. For instance, you can elaborate on what seems to be a disdain for the subjective, which I hardly understand because the subjective is so wonderfully individual and human.

  99. 99
    Truthfreedom says:

    @98 LarTanner

    In my imagination, I see perfect equilateral triangles.

    In your imagination, you see an equilateral triangle. That what you are seeing is perfect is what you have to reason/ explain.
    Up until now, you are not even approaching the C level.

    one cannot score higher than 300 in tenpin bowling.

    Bowling rules can be changed.

    agree, it’s subjective.

    Good.

    Now, please make a coherent argument or get out of the way. I find it tiresome to answer buckshot questions. I will not indulge these any more.

    Be nice, remember? 🙂 This is JVL’s level of blah blah blah no games, etc. Translated it means: I can not defend my (poor) argument.
    Sorry that you thought this would be an easy task. It is not.

    I know where you are trying to go.

    Really?

    For instance, you can elaborate on what seems to be a disdain for the subjective,

    No disdain. What is subjective is just that, subjective. Beautiful and all that. But you can not pretend I am going to use your subjective yardstick to construct my interpretation of reality. Why should I?

  100. 100
    bornagain77 says:

    at 91 Truthfreedom asks LarTanner

    TF: Could you provide an example of ‘perfection’?

    At 94 LarTanner’s very first example of perfection is “an equilateral triangle,”

    LT: Examples of perfection: an equilateral triangle,,,,

    TF asks,

    When have you seen a perfect equilateral triangle?

    To which LT responds,

    In my imagination, I see perfect equilateral triangles

    So LT apparently agrees with Dr. Egnor that perfect triangles do not exist in physical/material reality? As Dr. Michael Egnor notes, “Mathematics is entirely about concepts, which have no precise instantiation in nature,,,”

    Naturalism and Self-Refutation – Michael Egnor – January 31, 2018
    Excerpt: Mathematics is certainly something we do. Is mathematics “included in the space-time continuum [with] basic elements … described by physics”?,,, What is the physics behind the Pythagorean theorem? After all, no actual triangle is perfect, and thus no actual triangle in nature has sides such that the Pythagorean theorem holds. There is no real triangle in which the sum of the squares of the sides exactly equals the square of the hypotenuse. That holds true for all of geometry. Geometry is about concepts, not about anything in the natural world or about anything that can be described by physics. What is the “physics” of the fact that the area of a circle is pi multiplied by the square of the radius? And of course what is natural and physical about imaginary numbers, infinite series, irrational numbers, and the mathematics of more than three spatial dimensions? Mathematics is entirely about concepts, which have no precise instantiation in nature,,,
    Furthermore, the very framework of Clark’s argument — logic — is neither material nor natural. Logic, after all, doesn’t exist “in the space-time continuum” and isn’t described by physics. What is the location of modus ponens? How much does Gödel’s incompleteness theorem weigh? What is the physics of non-contradiction? How many millimeters long is Clark’s argument for naturalism? Ironically the very logic that Clark employs to argue for naturalism is outside of any naturalistic frame.
    The strength of Clark’s defense of naturalism is that it is an attempt to present naturalism’s tenets clearly and logically. That is its weakness as well, because it exposes naturalism to scrutiny, and naturalism cannot withstand even minimal scrutiny. Even to define naturalism is to refute it.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2018/01/naturalism-and-self-refutation/

    I imagine that LT will argue, as he has done with morality, that mathematics is purely an invention of man’s imagination and that it has no objective existence apart from any material representation that man may construct.

    And yet herein is the irresolvable dilemma that mathematics presents to Darwinian materialists such as LT,

    Although Darwinian materialists deny that anything beyond the material realm objectively exists, Darwinian materialists need this immaterial “Platonic realm” of mathematics in order for their theory to even be considered scientific in the first place. But exactly why should something that is supposedly merely a product of man’s imagination, i.e. mathematics, hold authority over the material realm so as tell us which theories are scientific or not?

    This simply makes no sense under the premises of Darwinian materialism.

    As M. Anthony Mills explains, “And yet — here’s the rub — these “abstract (mathematical) objects” are not material. Thus, one cannot take science as the only sure guide to reality and at the same time discount disbelief in all immaterial realities.”

    What Does It Mean to Say That Science & Religion Conflict? – M. Anthony Mills – April 16, 2018
    Excerpt: Barr rightly observes that scientific atheists often unwittingly assume not just metaphysical naturalism but an even more controversial philosophical position: reductive materialism, which says all that exists is or is reducible to the material constituents postulated by our most fundamental physical theories.
    As Barr points out, this implies not only that God does not exist — because God is not material — but that you do not exist. For you are not a material constituent postulated by any of our most fundamental physical theories; at best, you are an aggregate of those constituents, arranged in a particular way. Not just you, but tables, chairs, countries, countrymen, symphonies, jokes, legal contracts, moral judgments, and acts of courage or cowardice — all of these must be fully explicable in terms of those more fundamental, material constituents.
    In fact, more problematic for the materialist than the non-existence of persons is the existence of mathematics. Why? Although a committed materialist might be perfectly willing to accept that you do not really exist, he will have a harder time accepting that numbers do not exist. The trouble is that numbers — along with other mathematical entities such as classes, sets, and functions — are indispensable for modern science. And yet — here’s the rub — these “abstract objects” are not material. Thus, one cannot take science as the only sure guide to reality and at the same time discount disbelief in all immaterial realities.
    https://www.realclearreligion.org/articles/2018/04/16/what_does_it_mean_to_say_that_science_and_religion_conflict.html

    Simply put, Mathematics itself, contrary to the materialistic presuppositions of Darwinists, does not need the physical world in order to exist. And yet Darwinian materialists, although they deny that anything beyond the material realm exists, need this immaterial “Platonic realm” of mathematics in order for their theory to even be considered scientific in the first place.

    Platonic mathematical world – image
    http://abyss.uoregon.edu/~js/i.....ysical.gif

    The predicament that Darwinists find themselves in regards to denying the reality of this transcendent, immaterial, world of mathematics, and yet needing validation from this transcendent, immaterial, world of mathematics in order for their materialistic theory to even be considered scientific in the first place, should be the very definition of a scientifically self-refuting worldview.

    Moreover, as should be obvious by now, the fact that man himself has access to, and can use, this transcendent, beyond space and time, immaterial world of mathematics to his great advantage for his ‘real world’ endeavors of science, technology, and engineering, offers fairly compelling evidence that man cannot possibly be a purely material being but that man must also possess a transcendent, beyond space and time, immaterial mind and/or soul.

    Dr. Ed Feser – The Immateriality of the Intellect – video
    Excerpt:
    1: Formal thought processes can have an exact or unambiguous conceptual content.
    However,
    2: Nothing material can have an exact or unambiguous conceptual content.
    So,
    3: Formal thought processes are not material.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNi0j19ZSpo

    As Charles Darwin’s contemporary, Alfred Russel Wallace himself stated, “Nothing in evolution can account for the soul of man. The difference between man and the other animals is unbridgeable. Mathematics is alone sufficient to prove in man the possession of a faculty unexistent in other creatures. Then you have music and the artistic faculty. No, the soul was a separate creation.”

    “Nothing in evolution can account for the soul of man. The difference between man and the other animals is unbridgeable. Mathematics is alone sufficient to prove in man the possession of a faculty unexistent in other creatures. Then you have music and the artistic faculty. No, the soul was a separate creation.”
    Alfred Russel Wallace – 1910
    https://evolutionnews.org/2010/08/alfred_russel_wallace_co-disco/

    Thus in conclusion, we see that LT’s example of the ‘perfect triangle’, i.e. his appeal to the immaterial “Platonic realm” of mathematics, in and of itself, refutes LT’s materialistic Darwinian worldview, and furthermore, mathematics itself instead offers fairly compelling proof that LarTanner himself must possess an immaterial mind and/or soul so as to be able to envision these perfect triangles in his imagination.

    I have a question for you LT,

    Verse:

    Mark 8:37
    Is anything worth more than your soul?

    Supplemental notes:

    THE GOD OF THE MATHEMATICIANS – DAVID P. GOLDMAN – August 2010
    Excerpt: we cannot construct an ontology that makes God dispensable. Secularists can dismiss this as a mere exercise within predefined rules of the game of mathematical logic, but that is sour grapes, for it was the secular side that hoped to substitute logic for God in the first place. Gödel’s critique of the continuum hypothesis has the same implication as his incompleteness theorems: Mathematics never will create the sort of closed system that sorts reality into neat boxes.
    http://www.firstthings.com/art.....ematicians

    KEEP IT SIMPLE – Edward Feser – April 2020
    Excerpt: Mathematics appears to describe a realm of entities with quasi-­divine attributes. The series of natural numbers is infinite. That one and one equal two and two and two equal four could not have been otherwise. Such mathematical truths never begin being true or cease being true; they hold eternally and immutably. The lines, planes, and figures studied by the geometer have a kind of perfection that the objects of our ­experience lack. Mathematical objects seem ­immaterial and known by pure reason rather than through the senses. Given the centrality of mathematics to scientific explanation, it seems in some way to be a cause of the natural world and its order.
    How can the mathematical realm be so apparently godlike? The traditional answer, originating in Neoplatonic philosophy and Augustinian theology, is that our knowledge of the mathematical realm is precisely knowledge, albeit inchoate, of the divine mind. Mathematical truths exhibit infinity, necessity, eternity, immutability, perfection, and immateriality because they are God’s thoughts, and they have such explanatory power in scientific theorizing because they are part of the blueprint implemented by God in creating the world. For some thinkers in this tradition, mathematics thus provides the starting point for an argument for the existence of God qua supreme intellect.,,,
    https://www.firstthings.com/article/2020/04/keep-it-simple

    August 2019 – Moreover, ever since modern science was born in medieval Christian Europe, science has had a history of looking for ‘platonic perfection’, and assuming the Mind of God to be behind that ‘platonic perfection’. That is to say, that science has a history of searching for perfect agreement between the immaterial mathematics that describe a facet of this universe and the experimental results that measure those mathematical predictions.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/physicists-need-courage-to-confront-the-collider-dilemma-says-boson-pioneer/#comment-682047

  101. 101
    Barry Arrington says:

    LT
    “the subjective is so wonderfully individual and human.”
    Say what you want about Eichmann’s subjective preference for mass slaughter, it was wonderfully individual and human. At least it had that going for it.

  102. 102
    LarTanner says:

    Truthfreedom @99: “But you can not pretend I am going to use your subjective yardstick to construct my interpretation of reality. Why should I?” You are not being asked at all to use my “subjective yardstick” to construct your interpretation of reality. Why do you think I am asking you to?

    Bornagain77 @100: Very little meat for so many words. “Is anything worth more than your soul?” This question is fantastical.

    Barry Arrington @101: So what?

  103. 103
    bornagain77 says:

    LarTanner is apparently a big fan of the fallacious “Argument By Dismissal”

    A List Of Fallacious Arguments – “Argument By Dismissal”
    http://www.don-lindsay-archive.....#dismissal

    Too sad. I was hoping that LT would at least try to be honest in this discussion.

  104. 104
    LarTanner says:

    Bornagain77 @103: Honest about what, exactly?

  105. 105
    Truthfreedom says:

    @103 Bornagain77:.

    LarTanner is apparently a big fan of the fallacious “Argument By Dismissal”.

    I always love when people think they are being innovative, that some certain tricks are going to help them to win an argument.
    Nihil novum sub sole, kids.

  106. 106
    Truthfreedom says:

    @100 Bornagain77:

    The predicament that Darwinists find themselves in regards to denying the reality of this transcendent, immaterial, world of mathematics, and yet needing validation from this transcendent, immaterial, world of mathematics in order for their materialistic theory to even be considered scientific in the first place, should be the very definition of a scientifically self-refuting worldview.

    But naturalism and self-refutation go hand in hand, merrily strolling along the path, like the two good old buddies they are.

  107. 107
    LarTanner says:

    Bornagain77 and Truthfreedom, I really am not trying to be dismissive. I don’t see what you want me to address. For example, in post 100 all I see is Bornagain77 making arguments on my behalf, then sweeping them away with assertions of self-refutation, and then a strange, quoted question about the soul. To me, you are posturing and not engaging in dialogue.

    This OP is about philosophical challenges posed by the “problem of evil.” I’ve argued that the problem of evil has been, and remains, a serious problem for Abrahamic theism. I’ve also implied (though not out-and-out argued) that for a non-theist, there is no “problem of evil” at all. I appreciated when someone raised the free will defense, even though to me it failed to resolve the main issue and created a new one.

    Maybe you both feel like you are on topic or that you are exposing fatal inconsistencies in this-or-that worldview, but that’s not what’s coming through to me. I would rather you just advance a specific claim and explain your reasoning.

  108. 108
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, I should note to 85 that quite often, the purpose of various things is fairly evident to the reasonable person. For example the eye is clearly designed for sight. KF

  109. 109
    kairosfocus says:

    LT, 88. Disagreement has little to do with the matter, a well founded worldview warranted on comparative difficulties does. So, what is your substance, why? And in particular why is it not patent to you — from the absolute and sweeping nature of your dismissal — that your own arguments depend for any force they have on known first duties to truth, to right reason, to prudence, to sound conscience, to neighbour, to fairness and justice, etc. And if you take it that we are not so bound, but appeal to our delusion that such obtains, what then does that point to? In all prudence, what then do you think we will find it advisable to do? KF

  110. 110
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, first, we must appreciate the difference between a defense and a theodicy. I have found that far too often, that distinction is muddled. The result is to set up and knock over a strawman. Which is unfortunately all too common. KF

  111. 111
    kairosfocus says:

    LT, you have no answer to the core free will defense as it is in fact logically demonstrative. If a set of propositions (suitably clarified) is consistent in a possible world, it is just that, consistent. Such a PW has been provided, some fifty years now. The attempt to resurrect and prop up a dead argument would be amusing, if it were not sad. KF

  112. 112
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: I also note the cogency of Dembski’s remarks on Boethius’ long standing point:

    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]

  113. 113
    EDTA says:

    LarTanner @ 88,

    1) “a God who is imperfect”. As with good/evil, we don’t have a definition of perfection. Sure, we say that God is perfectly good, perfectly just, perfectly this and that, but we say those things to exalt him, because it’s the best we finite beings can do. We don’t use the term “perfect” to absolutely circumscribe him in ways that we can then reason from.

    In particular, if he is perfect along multiple axes (justice versus mercy for instance), we don’t even know what that would mean in each specific circumstance in which it would apply. Which one wins out? We have no idea, except in the big picture where he offers salvation to all if they accept Christ (mercy wins). But in special, individual cases? We have no ability to juggle two infinite and sometimes-conflicting concepts. We don’t even know that those are the only two considerations in a situation. Those are just two boiled-down terms that we can sort of comprehend.

    So God is only imperfect if we look at just one axis–put all other attributes of his aside–and that from a human viewpoint, and then decide that God isn’t really absolute in that one aspect only. But that’s totally off-base.

    2) “a God who is…constrained in power.” I don’t know that to be the case either. But if he’s up to something vis a vis creation, then he may have prior commitments that involve holding back on one or more of his attributes for some purpose that we aren’t fully aware of. Again, our inability to reason about the possible constraints on a (very) higher being isn’t surprising.

    3) “Do you believe in a God who can elect to prevent “evil”…from befalling those he favors?” Yes, I think God could prevent harm from coming to those he favors. But he could have reasons I am not aware of for allowing it for a time.

  114. 114
    vividbleau says:

    EDTA
    “Which one wins out?”
    You touch on an interesting question, God cannot deny His being so anything He does must be consistent with His being. What many do not understand is the necessity of Christ’s life, death and the evidence that it was sufficient by the resurrection. There was no other way other than Christ that God could forgive man and at the same time it be consistent with His attributes.

    Did God change His standard that everyone must achieve? No, Christ kept the law ( Christ’s life was as important as His death )and all those who put their faith in him His work is imputed to us just as if we did it.

    Did God change the penalty for sin? No by Christ’s death His death has been imputed to all that believe, so if we have kept the law in Christ and have received the penalty of death in Christ we are “justified “ and it would be unjust for God to meet out the consequences of our rebellion.

    Did God compromise His justice, holiness or righteousness? No Romans 3:25–26 (ESV): whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

    Vivid

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