• Relativist
    246

    I simply do not understand the validity of the argument. Given the omnipotence of God, He could create a world in which evil exists and there is a greater good created by the evil that exists. Let's just say that if He did create such a world, then the argument, the 'problem of evil' will not apply.
    You seem to be saying that it is possible that all this evil exists for the greater good. I'm not disputing that. What I'm saying is that the "best explanation" (i.e. applying abduction) for the evil in the world is that there is no 3-omni God. i.e. based on what we can know and perceive about the world, it appears unlikely that such a God exists. As I've said several times, I don't suggest this will change the mind of a committed believer - and that's because of the possibility you bring up. However, if someone is willing to entertain the possibility of God's non-existence, then this constitutes a reason to think God might actually not exist.
  • Relativist
    246
    Michael - I'll get back to you later.
  • Relativist
    246
    “Anyway, when the "problem of evil" is stated, there's over-emphasis on this physical world and its importance. Sure, this life matters, in the sense that how we conduct ourselves in it matters.

    But this life and this world are a blip in timelessness. In fact, the long but finite sequence of lives that you're in is likewise only a blip in timelessness.”

    The physical world’s existence is a universally held belief. The same cannot be said for the immaterial. Your claim that “this life and this world are a blip in timelessness” is an assertion that needs support – why do you believe this? Why should I believe it?

    “That’s an expression of your unsupported belief in the objective existence (whatever that would mean) of the objects that you believe in.
    .
    What you’re claiming has nothing to do with verifiability or observation. It has everything to do with unsupported assertion of doctrinaire, dogmatic principle.”

    Ontology is the branch of philosophy that deals with what exists. “Objective existence” just means it actually exists, rather than merely hypothetically existing. Unicorns can have a hypothetical existence. The cat sitting on my lap has objective existence.

    That there exists an external, physical world is a properly basic belief, an epistemological foundation for all else. We are not taught that there is an external world, we naturally recognize a distinction between our self and the external world of our perceptions. In other words, it is innate – practically everyone believes it. It is irrational to abandon a belief arbitrarily, or just because it is possibly false. Do you have an undercutting defeater for this belief of mine? Were you born with the belief that the external world is an illusion, or was your prior belief in an external world defeated by some fact you encountered?

    “you believe that there’s some (undisclosed by you) “ontic-reality” that can’t be explained by my explanation.”
    I can’t judge that, since I haven’t assessed the ontology that you have hinted at. However, I question why you should believe your ontology is true. For example, you asserted “this life and this world are a blip in timelessness” – why think that?
    “Alright, what ontic-reality that be? Can you verify that there is that ontic-reality?”
    I apply the principle of parsimony. The evidence for the existence of a physical world is extremely strong, so that is a strong starting point for an ontology. I can’t rule out non-physical things existing, but there’s no reason to believe it unless a good case can be made for it. Regarding “verification” – I rely on my sensory input, and the instinctual way my brain processes this input such that I can sufficient sense of it that I (and my ancestors) have managed to survive to procreate. That’s enough verification for me.

    “there are abstract implications, at least in the sense that we can speak of them”
    Sure, we can speak of them, but that doesn’t imply they have some sort of existence independent of the states of affairs in which they are instantiated. I know circular objects actually exist in the world. I do not know that “circles” exist independently of 1) circular objects 2) minds to contemplate states of affairs with the property “circular”.

    ““objectively real”, whatever that would mean.”

    It means that it actually exists as an entity. Ontology deals with what exists.
    “You’d have to be specific about what kind of “reality” or ontic status the physical world has”
    Specifically: the physical world exists (the is probably the least controversial ontological claim anyone can make).
    “and which isn’t had by the hypothetical setting of a hypothetical experience-story built of inter-referring abstract implications about hypothetical propositions about hypothetical things, and a mutually-consistent configuration of truth-values for those propositions.”

    Are you asking me to prove your ontology false? No can do. For the sake of argument (since I don’t know much about your ontology), I’ll assume your ontology is as coherent. That doesn’t make it true. I’ve examined D.M. Armstrong’s “States of Affairs” physicalist ontology and it also seems coherent. His seems much simpler, and more consistent with intuition than yours. Why should I accept yours?

    “You’re the one advocating some undisclosed special ontic-reality or ontic-status for something (this physical world). I make no such claim about anything that can be described.”
    Do you deny the existence of the physical world? The physical world is the only think I’m certain of. I don’t rule out the possibility that non-physical things exist, but it seems irrational to believe something just because it is POSSIBLY true. A case must be made for it, not merely a set of assertions.

    “It isn’t clear what you think I’m claiming that logic is.”
    I’ll refrain from guessing. Why don’t you tell me if you agree with the statement I made (“logic is an epistemological tool”) and tell me if you think there is anything more to it than that.

    “Do you think that physics doesn’t comply with logic’s abstract facts”
    Known physics is actually incoherent, so I’ll assume you’re discussing an idealized physics – the actual “natural law” of the universe. I expect that this idealized physics is coherent – it entails no contradictions. What other abstract facts of logic do you have in mind? But yes, of course, I believe that the operation of the universe throughout its history have been consistent with this idealized physics. But I think you’re overlooking the key point: physics (as generally discussed) is descriptive. The fact that 2 electrons repel each other is not dependent on an abstract law that makes it so; rather, it is due to the intrinsic properties of the electrons.

    “I don’t claim the objective existence of our surroundings independent of us, the experiencer, the protagonist of our life-experience story. I’ve already clarified that. You’re repeating an already-answered objection. I’ve been saying that Consciousness, the experiencer, the protagonist, is primary, fundamental, and central to the logical system that I call your “life-experience possibility-story”.
    Good for you. I disagree. Shall we agree to disagree, or do you think you can show that your view is more worthy of belief than mine?

    “Your objection about what they merely are, seems to be a way of saying that you believe that abstract facts would need to be something more ontologically powerful, in order to produce the objectively-existent “ontic reality” that you think that this physical world is. Is that your objection?”
    I’m saying that I believe abstractions are causally inert and they actually exist only in their instantiations and in the minds of intelligent beings as a product of a mental exercise.

    “I suggest that this life and the physical world in which it is set, are completely insubstantial”
    Why do you believe such a thing? This seems similar to someone claiming to be solipsist – one can’t prove them wrong, but there’s not really a good reason to abandon the basic world view that we have innately.
    “it would be meaningless to speculate about whether there’d be those abstract facts if there were no beings to whom for them to be apparent.”
    It is relevant when discussion the nature of abstractions. Some people think triangles exist as platonic objects in a “third realm” or in the mind of God; others believe they exist only in their instantiations. These controversies may, or may not, be relevant to you – but they are not inherently “meaningless".

    Relativist:
    “Your assertion isn’t the least persuasive, and in fact it merely seems dismissive – since you aren’t actually confronting the issues. “
    .
    Michael: ” I confronted the “problem of evil” by pointing out that the evil societal world to which you refer is only one of infinitely-many hypothetical possibility-worlds, which are settings for infinitely-many life-experience-stories.”

    At best, you are giving me a reason why you reject the argument from evil. You have given me zero reason to reject it, and I doubt you could persuade anyone because your position depends on accepting some rather unconventional beliefs. ,

    “As I said, all that is a blip in timelessness.”
    From my point of view, that is an incoherent statement. Timelessness is a term that I’ve seen applied to God and to abstract objects. Even if we assume those things exist, that doesn’t make the physical world a “blip in timelessness.” I accept that it probably makes sense in your world-view, but TBA – I don’t see anything of interest in it, since it seems pretty far fetched.
  • FreeEmotion
    122
    You seem to be saying that it is possible that all this evil exists for the greater good. I'm not disputing thatRelativist

    OK, Agreed.

    What I'm saying is that the "best explanation" (i.e. applying abduction) for the evil in the world is that there is no 3-omni God. i.e. based on what we can know and perceive about the world, it appears unlikely that such a God exists.Relativist

    I will address this below:

    As I've said several times, I don't suggest this will change the mind of a committed believer - and that's because of the possibility you bring up.Relativist

    Agreed.

    However, if someone is willing to entertain the possibility of God's non-existence, then this constitutes a reason to think God might actually not exist.Relativist

    Agreed.

    Right, now to the part I have difficulty with.

    What I'm saying is that the "best explanation" (i.e. applying abduction) for the evil in the world is that there is no 3-omni God. i.e. based on what we can know and perceive about the world, it appears unlikely that such a God exists.Relativist

    How do we know it is the best explanation? If God actually exists, we could put this question to him: Does it appear unlikely that You exist, based on what we can know and perceive about the world?
    If the answer is yes, that it appears unlikely to us, that still does not mean that God does not exist, since we have asked Him the question and he has answered yes. If the answer is no, then we have to make a judgement as to whether or not God is telling the truth or aware of the truth, both seem to be highly probable.

    My question is this: what is the basis on which we can make the judgement that God's goodness is incompatible with reality? Do we have the knowledge (or omniscience) and the authority to judge God?
  • Relativist
    246

    "My question is this: what is the basis on which we can make the judgement that God's goodness is incompatible with reality? Do we have the knowledge (or omniscience) and the authority to judge God?"
    The basis is our intuitive understanding of right and wrong and conceivibility: there are many bad things that occur for which there is no conceivable offsetting good. How does one make sense of the 14th century "black death" plague, in which 30-60% of Europe's population died?If we can't conceive of an offsetting good, why should we believe there is one? Abduction entails finding the best answer, and a non-answer can't be considered better than an actual answer.
  • Rank Amateur
    278
    If we can't conceive of an offsetting good, why should we believe there is one?Relativist

    The classic argument to this point is cognitive distance. If there was a compensating good, would/could we see it, and recognize it as such. We human beings have a very long history on not believing a whole bunch of things exist, that is, until we close the cognitive distance that actually allows us to see them. Because we can not perceive something with the tools we have, is not a very good reason to deny it's existence.

    The usual example given is:

    A chess novice is watching 2 chess masters playing - She see one of the players lose his bishop early in the game and the novice see this a a bad thing. However the master knows that the loss was part of a strategy and was actually a very good thing.

    If you have the time Dr. Hud Hudson does a very good job of on this issue in this lecture.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJbgnyFlW5M
  • Relativist
    246

    "Because we can not perceive something with the tools we have, is not a very good reason to deny it's existence."
    We shouldn't deny the possibility of existence unless proven impossible, but mere possibility is insufficient grounds for rational belief in something.

    Both God's existence and his nonexistence are epistemically possible, so clearly we need more than mere possibility to justify belief.
  • Rank Amateur
    278
    Both God's existence and his nonexistence are epistemically possible, so clearly we need more than mere possibility to justify belief.Relativist

    I always think the better question than "does God exist" is , is it reasonable to believe that God exists. The first question seems to require a level of evidence required of a fact. The second does not.

    but mere possibility is insufficient grounds for rational belief in something.Relativist

    i disagree with this, depending on the level of evidence, or the basis of belief.
  • Relativist
    246

    but mere possibility is insufficient grounds for rational belief in something.
    — Relativist

    i disagree with this, depending on the level of evidence, or the basis of belief.

    My statement refers to believing something solely on the basis that it is possible and without considering evidence. Do you really disagree with that?
  • Rank Amateur
    278
    My statement refers to believing something solely on the basis that it is possible and without considering evidence. Do you really disagree with that?Relativist

    Not sure it is actually possible to belief something is possible without evidence. How would concept of something's possibility enter ones mind in the absence of something that would pass as evidence.
  • Relativist
    246
    reply="Rank Amateur;198605"]

    There is no evidence of an offsetting good to the evil of the black death, so why believe there is an offsetting good?
  • Rank Amateur
    278
    There is no evidence of an offsetting good to the evil of the black death, so why believe there is an offsetting good?Relativist

    That is not a statement of fact. As above, the traditional argument is cognitive distance. Are you sure, that if there was a compensating good, you would see it and recognize it as such?
  • Relativist
    246

    Relativist:There is no evidence of an offsetting good to the evil of the black death, so why believe there is an offsetting good?

    That is not a statement of fact.

    On the contrary, "There is no evidence of an offsetting good to the evil of the black death"
    is a statement of fact, if true. Why think it false?
  • Rank Amateur
    278
    On the contrary, "There is no evidence of an offsetting good to the evil of the black death"
    is a statement of fact, if true. Why think it false?
    Relativist

    the factual statement would be, that we are not aware of any offsetting goods. That there are none is not a matter of fact. Your point assumes, that if there were compensating goods, we would see them and recognize them as such. I have challenged that point a few times now, without you addressing it.
  • Relativist
    246

    The belief "there is no evidence" is justified by the fact that I am aware of no evidence. Similarly, take any ad hoc possibility X: I am aware of no evidence for X, and that is sufficient to believe there is no X.
  • Rank Amateur
    278
    The belief "there is no evidence" is justified by the fact that I am aware of no evidence. Similarly, take any ad hoc possibility X: I am aware of no evidence for X, and that is sufficient to believe there is no X.Relativist

    You are more than free to believe by reason that there is no compensating good from the black death, because you do not see any compelling evidence that there is one,

    That is a very different statement than you made earlier.

    There is no evidence of an offsetting good to the evil of the black death, so why believe there is an offsetting goodRelativist

    This statement proposes as a matter of fact that there is NO evidence. Again just because you do not see any evidence, does not make it a fact that there is no evidence.
  • Relativist
    246

    You agree that I am justified in believing there is no evidence. Therefore I am justified in making the assertion "there is no evidence."

    "There is no evidence" is a proposition; it is either true or false. If true, it is a statement of fact. As fallible creatures, we don't generally have access to objective truth (exception: analytic truths), so any assertions we make are representations of belief. It's reasonable to ask me to justify the belief, and I did so. Therefore you ought to accept that my reasoning is valid.
  • Rank Amateur
    278


    maybe it would help if I format your point as I see it.

    Set up:

    (the traditional argument of evil) - Evil exists, If God was all good, all seeing, and all powerful He would see the evil, be motivated to stop it, and have the power to do so. However - evil exist therefor God does not.

    ( the traditional theist response) - For evil and an all good, all powerful, all seeing God to co-exist there must be compensating goods, or morally justifiable reasons why God allows the evils to exist.

    Your argument:

    P1. We are not aware of any compensating goods or morally justifiable reasons for the Black Death.

    P2. If there were compensating goods for the Black Death we would be aware of them, and recognize them as such.

    Conclusion - there are no compensating goods or morally justifiable reasons for the Black death.

    My challenge is to your implied P2. and therefor your conclusion. I am not arguing P1
  • Sam26
    984
    The argument from evil is an inference that a 3- omni God cannot exist, because this is inconsistent with the presence of so much evil in the world. Theists reject this with the "free-will" defense, which suggests that God "had" to allow evil because it is a necessary consequence of free will. My argument defeats this defense based in Christian doctrine:

    1. Logical contradictions do not exist.
    2. If x exists then x is not a logical contradiction (converse of 1)
    3. Omnipotence entails the ability to directly create any contingent entity whose existence is logically possible.
    4. There exist contingent free-willed souls in heaven who do not sin (e.g. the departed souls of faithful Christians). (Christian doctrine).
    5. Therefore God's omnipotence entails the ability to directly create free-willed beings that do not sin.
    6. Therefore God could have created a world of free-willed beings who do not sin
    7. In this world, evil befalls the innocent due to the sinful acts of free-willed individuals
    8. God created this world instead of a world of free willed beings that do not sin.
    9. Therefore God chose a world with needless pain and suffering.
    10. Therefore God is not omnibenevolent.
    Relativist

    I'm going to say a few things to add to the argument.

    I believe the argument has merit. First, it does seem that God (as most Christians define God), does have the ability to create beings with a free will, and who never sin. For example, supposedly God created the Angels in heaven with free will and yet some rebelled and some didn't. Given that, it would seem that an omnipotent being could have only created beings that have a free will, and only use that free will in benevolent ways. So God could have only created the Angels that he knew wouldn't choose to use their free will in evil ways. Presumably this is true of all persons.

    Second, if we have free will here on Earth, and we then go to heaven where we no longer have free will, would it still be the same person? Also taking away freedom of will would seem to go against God's desire to have beings that freely love him. Does God want robots, what kind of love can someone give who doesn't have the ability to choose otherwise?

    Christians seem to think (many Christians) that having a free will solves the problem of evil, but I think it adds to the problem. For example, God being omniscient would have to know who would choose him and who would reject him. Why even create beings that you know will choose to reject you? If you choose to create beings that you know will end up in eternal damnation what does that say about you? If I create a robot with a free will, knowing that robot would murder 1000 people, that makes me responsible. The free will argument that many Christians propose makes God responsible for evil.
  • Relativist
    246

    No, creating a strawman does not help. Respond to what I said in my immediately prior post. In particular, this comment:

    You agree that I am justified in believing there is no evidence. Therefore I am justified in making the assertion "there is no evidence."

    Do you see anything wrong with this?

    (My argument differs from your strawman because I'm applying abduction (inference to the best explanation) and it is to the world at large, inclusive of all the evils we perceive in it.)
  • Michael Ossipoff
    1.2k


    “Anyway, when the "problem of evil" is stated, there's over-emphasis on this physical world and its importance. Sure, this life matters, in the sense that how we conduct ourselves in it matters.

    .
    But this life and this world are a blip in timelessness. In fact, the long but finite sequence of lives that you're in is likewise only a blip in timelessness.”
    .
    The physical world’s existence is a universally held belief.
    .
    “Existence” is metaphysically-undefined. In any case, no one denies that this physical world is real in its own context, and that your life, and this physical world which is its setting, are real in the context of your life.
    .
    The same cannot be said for the immaterial.
    .
    I haven’t claimed existence or reality for anything describable, including the abstract facts that I’ve referred.
    .
    (Actually, I’ve said that many times.)
    .
    Your claim that “this life and this world are a blip in timelessness” is an assertion that needs support – why do you believe this? Why should I believe it?
    .
    There’s no such thing as oblivion. At the end of lives (or at the end of this life if there’s no reincarnation), you’ll never experience a time when there’s no experience. Only your survivors will experience a time when you aren’t.
    .
    At the end of lives (or the end of this life if there’s no reincarnation), obviously there’s sleep, but there’s no such thing as oblivion.
    .
    Eventually, during that sleep, there will be no knowledge, memory or perception that there ever was, or could be, such things as identity, time, or events.
    .
    The finality of that sleep at the end of lives, and the absence of any knowledge, memory or perception that there is, was, or could be, such things as identity, time or events, suggests the use of the word “timelessness”. And, because of that timelessness’s finality, compared to the temporariness of life, suggests that we can call timelessness the natural, usual state-of-affairs.
    .
    …a closer and closer approach to, but never quite a reaching of, the Nothing that is the backdrop to everything.
    .
    Comparing something of temporary finite duration to timelessness suggests the use of the word “blip”.

    .
    “That’s an expression of your unsupported belief in the objective existence (whatever that would mean) of the objects that you believe in.
    .
    What you’re claiming has nothing to do with verifiability or observation. It has everything to do with unsupported assertion of doctrinaire, dogmatic principle.”
    .
    Ontology is the branch of philosophy that deals with what exists. “Objective existence” just means it actually exists
    .
    That’s a bit circular.
    .
    , rather than merely hypothetically existing.
    .
    So all you’re doing is defining your “objective existence” as more than hypothetical existence.
    .
    I agree that that’s the best you can do toward specifying what you mean by “objective-existence”.
    .
    I asked you in what way you think the physical world is more than hypothetical, and your answer is that it’s more than hypothetical by being more than hypothetical.
    .
    The cat sitting on my lap has objective existence.
    [/quote]
    .
    …by which you mean that it’s part of this physical world. The things of this physical world are “objectively-existent” by being part of this physical world. And this physical world is “objectively existent” by being this physical world. And yes, that’s the best that you can do, to answer my question.
    .
    As I said, no one denies that this physical world is real and existent in its own context. You haven’t answered noncircularly my question about what you mean by “objective existence”, but that’s alright, because it isn’t metaphysically defined.
    .
    But thank you for clarifying and establishing that you don’t have an answer to my question about in what way you think that this physical world is more than what I said it is.
    .
    I asked you in what way this physical world is more than what I said it is, and your answer amounts to saying that you don’t have an answer. I acknowledge and accept your that answer.
    .
    It resolves and completes this discussion.
    .
    That there exists an external, physical world is a properly basic belief, an epistemological foundation for all else.
    .
    ...for Materialists, of course.
    .
    (But no one denies that the physical world is real and existent in its own context.)
    .
    Your experience is the epistemic foundation for all else. Your experience-story is uncontroversially modeled by a complex system of inter-referring abstract implications about hypothetical propositions about hypothetical things…with a mutually consistent configuration of hypothetical truth-values for those propositions.
    .
    (..though there’s no reason to believe that any of those hypothetical propositions are true.)
    .
    …with you as the protagonist/experiencer who is complementary to your surroundings in that experience-story, and thereby is central to that story, which is for you and about your experience.
    .
    And there’s no reason to believe that your experience of this physical world is other than that, or that this physical world is other than the setting in that hypothetical experience-story.
    .
    You’ve admitted that you don’t have an answer regarding in what noncircular way you think that this physical world is more than that. ”This world is more than just hypothetical by being more than just hypothetical.”
    .
    We are not taught that there is an external world
    .
    There’s undeniably an external world in our experience. That’s what our experience story is about.
    .
    We’re taught that this physical world is fundamentally, primarily, and objectively existent (without a definition of what “objectively-existent” means). …and that there’s an philosophically-meaningful distinction between physically-actual vs hypothetical but not actual. “Actual” legitimately means “Of, consisting of, part of, or referring to, this physical world.” …for the purpose of saying what’s merely hypothetical vs what’s actual. But that definition doesn’t address the matter of in what way this physical world is supposedly more than hypothetical.
    .
    We’re taught, from an early age, to be little Materialists and Science-Worshippers. Some of us never question that.
    .
    I was raised Atheist. When I was in elementary-school, I was a Materialist, and I used to argue Atheism to my Sunday-school teachers.
    .
    , we naturally recognize a distinction between our self and the external world of our perceptions.
    .
    Of course. We’re the protagonist and it is our surroundings. Of course we perceive the world from the point of view of the animal that we are, in our experience-story.
    .
    In other words, it is innate – practically everyone believes it.
    .
    Of course, your surroundings are complementary to you, in your experience-story.
    .
    It is irrational to abandon a belief arbitrarily, or just because it is possibly false. Do you have an undercutting defeater for this belief of mine?
    .
    Certainly not.
    .
    I’ve many, many times said:
    .
    I can’t prove that this physical world doesn’t have whatever (unspecified) ontic-status that you think it has, superfluously, as an unverifiable, unfalsifiable brute fact, alongside of, and duplicating the events and relations of, the uncontroversially inevitable logical system that I’ve described.
    .
    When saying that there’s no reason to believe that your experience and this physical world are other than what I’ve described them as, I’ve asked you for such a reason, and you haven’t given one.
    .
    Were you born with the belief that the external world is an illusion, or was your prior belief in an external world defeated by some fact you encountered?
    .
    As animals, we instinctively deal with our surrounding physical world as best we can. Kids, and most people, and (for all we know) all other animals leave it at that, and don’t ask what there really is, or why they’re in a life, or why there’s something instead of nothing.
    .
    …but that doesn’t support Materialism.
    .
    If you want to discuss philosophy, and the matter of what is, then you need to be willing to question your prior beliefs and assumptions.
    .
    “you believe that there’s some (undisclosed by you) “ontic-reality” that can’t be explained by my explanation.”
    .
    I can’t judge that, since I haven’t assessed the ontology that you have hinted at.
    .
    I’ve clarified, many, many times, that I don’t claim any reality or existence for anything describable. …including the abstract facts that I refer to, or the physical world. (…though obviously the physical world is real in its own context, and in the context or our lives.)
    .
    If there’s some ontological position that I left out, then feel free to specify it.
    .
    However, I question why you should believe your ontology is true.
    .
    What ontology do you think that I believe is true? You mean when I say that I don’t claim any reality or existence for anything describable, including the abstract facts that I refer to, or the complex inter-referring systems of them that I refer to, or this physical world?
    .
    On the other hand, neither do I claim that your unspecified, unparsimonious, unverifiable and unfalsifiable ontology isn’t true.
    .
    Saying that I don’t make ontological claims isn’t the same as saying that I believe in an ontology.
    .
    And, if you say that you don’t know what ontology I believe in, that might be because I emphasize that I don’t claim or assert one.
    .
    For example, you asserted “this life and this world are a blip in timelessness” – why think that?
    .
    I answered that above, where you first asked it, above in your post.
    .
    But it isn’t about an ontology. It was just a fairly uncontroversial comment about experience in life, and in the sleep at the end-of-lives.
    .
    (Though I haven’t experience the end of lives, there are nevertheless uncontroversial things that can be said about experience.)
    .
    “Alright, what ontic-reality that be? Can you verify that there is that ontic-reality?”
    .
    I apply the principle of parsimony.
    .
    It doesn’t support you. Materialism, with its big brute-fact*, fails the Principle of Parsimony.
    .
    *It’s like not noticing a big dog-dropping in the middle of your well-vacuumed carpet.
    .
    In contradistinction, what I’ve been saying is about things (abstract facts) that are uncontroversially-inevitable, for what they are, at least as discussion-topics (…even if not claimed to be existent and real).
    .
    The evidence for the existence of a physical world is extremely strong
    .
    As I’ve said, many, many times, no one denies that this physical world is real and existent in its own context and in the context of our lives.
    .
    In what other context or manner do you want or claim for it to be real and existent? What would that even mean?
    .
    You never answered regarding what you claim this physical world is, or gave any reason to say that it’s more than the hypothetical system that I described.
    .
    But no, there’s absolutely no evidence, no physics-experiment, to support a claim that this physical world is other than the hypothetical setting in your hypothetical experience-story, a complex abstract logical system.
    .
    …no evidence or physics-experiment to support a claim that the physical world consists of other than abstract logical and mathematical relational facts.
    .
    , so that is a strong starting point for an ontology.
    .
    What ontology would that be? That was the question that you haven’t answered. All you said was that the physical world is more than hypothetical, in the sense of being more than hypothetical…because it’s more than hypothetical.
    .
    I can’t rule out non-physical things existing
    .
    I made no claim of anything describable existing, including the abstract facts that I spoke of.
    .
    , but there’s no reason to believe it unless a good case can be made for it.
    .
    That’s okay, because I don’t claim it. …as I’ve said many, many, many times.
    .
    Regarding “verification” – I rely on my sensory input, and the instinctual way my brain processes this input such that I can sufficient sense of it that I (and my ancestors) have managed to survive to procreate. That’s enough verification for me.
    Verification of what? That your life and this physical world are real in the context of your life? No one denies that (…as I’ve said many, many times.)
    .
    Of course you experience from the point of view of the animal whose experience is your life-experience-story.
    .
    None of that supports a claim that this physical world is other than what I said it is.

    .
    “there are abstract implications, at least in the sense that we can speak of them”
    .
    Sure, we can speak of them, but that doesn’t imply they have some sort of existence independent of the states of affairs in which they are instantiated.
    .
    I don’t claim any existence for them. …as I’ve said many, many, many times.
    .
    I know circular objects actually exist in the world. I do not know that “circles” exist independently of 1) circular objects
    .
    See above.
    .
    […or independently of…]
    .
    2) minds to contemplate states of affairs with the property “circular”.
    .
    I addressed your Subjectivism argument in my previous post. There’d be no point in repeating it all here. I’ll just repeat that I have no disagreement with Subjectivism. I refer you to my answer to that, in my previous post.
    .
    ““objectively real”, whatever that would mean.”
    It means that it actually exists as an entity.
    .
    “Actual” is often defined as “of, pertaining to, consisting of, or part of this physical world. No one would deny that this physical world is “actual” in that sense.
    .
    No one denies that this physical world actually exists and is real in its own context.
    .
    As I asked above:
    .
    In what other context do you want or claim for it to be real and existent? …and what would that even mean?
    .
    When I asked, “What would it mean for this physical world to be “objectively real”, your answer was:
    .
    “It means that it actually exists as an entity.” That doesn’t answer anything. It just substitutes another word or phrase that you haven’t defined.
    .
    You’re not saying what you think this physical world is, other than what I said it is.
    .
    Ontology deals with what exists.
    .
    …but it doesn’t give license for unspecified claims using undefined words.
    .
    “You’d have to be specific about what kind of “reality” or ontic status the physical world has”
    .
    Specifically: the physical world exists (the is probably the least controversial ontological claim anyone can make).
    .
    Of course it exists in its own context. If you want to say that it exists in a context or way other than that, then specify that context or way.
    .
    If you want to say that it exists as something other than what I said it is, then specify what else it is.
    .
    “and isn’t had by the hypothetical setting of a hypothetical experience-story built of inter-referring abstract implications about hypothetical propositions about hypothetical things, and a mutually-consistent configuration of truth-values for those propositionswhich isn’t had by the hypothetical setting of a hypothetical experience-story built of inter-referring abstract implications about hypothetical propositions about hypothetical things, and a mutually-consistent configuration of truth-values for those propositions.”
    .
    Are you asking me to prove your ontology false?
    .
    Is that what I said? No, I was merely asking you what ontological status you believe that this physical world has, that isn’t possessed by the hypothetical setting of a hypothetical experience-story built of inter-referring abstract implications about hypothetical propositions about hypothetical things, and a mutually-consistent configuration of hypothetical truth-values for those propositions.
    .
    I’m not proposing an ontology in this discussion. I’m merely pointing out that there’s no reason to believe that the physical world is more than the setting in the experience-story logical system that I’ve described.
    .
    To propose an ontology, I’d propose that the physical world is nothing other than part of a logical system of inter-referring abstract facgs, and that the describable world consists of nothing other than that.
    .
    Maybe I should call that ontology/metaphysics “Ontic Structural Subjective Idealism” (OSSI).
    .
    But, in this discussion I’m not saying that. I’m only saying that there’s no reason to believe that this physical world and your experience of it are other than what I’ve said they are.
    .
    For the sake of argument (since I don’t know much about your ontology)
    .
    When emphasizing that I don’t claim that anything describable exists (including the abstract facts that I refer to), I’m not making ontological claims. It can’t be called an “ontology”. You’re the one with an ontology that you aren’t specifying or being clear with us about.
    .
    I’ll assume your ontology is as coherent. That doesn’t make it true.
    .
    I don’t know what ontology you’re talking about. You yourself said that you don’t either.
    .
    I’ve examined D.M. Armstrong’s “States of Affairs” physicalist ontology and it also seems coherent. His seems much simpler, and more consistent with intuition than yours. Why should I accept yours?
    .
    At least as discussion-topics, there uncontroversially are abstract facts. That would be a difficult thing to argue against (…but it wouldn’t surprise me if you tried.)
    .
    But, since I’m not claiming their existence or reality, or that of anything describable, then I’m not quite sure what “ontology” of mine you’re referring to.
    .
    (This post was too long to post and so I'm posting it in two installments. This is part 1.

    Part 2, the last of 2 parts, will be along next.)

    MIchael Ossipoff
  • Michael Ossipoff
    1.2k


    Part 2 of 2:

    “Physicalism” (a regrettable two-meaning word for Materialism (or for a philosophy-of-mind position)) is blatantly unparismonious, with its big, blatant brute fact. (…the alleged fact of this physical world being the ground of all being, the fundamental and primary reality, and constituting all of reality).
    .

    “You’re the one advocating some undisclosed special ontic-reality or ontic-status for something (this physical world). I make no such claim about anything that can be described.”
    .
    Do you deny the existence of the physical world?
    [/quote]
    .
    Of course not. It’s real and existent in its own context, and in the context of our lives. It’s just that I don’t claim any other existence or reality for it. Denying and not claiming aren’t the same thing.
    .
    And what did I say about:
    .
    “I don’t deny that this physical world has whatever ontological status you believe in, superfluously, as an unverifiable, unfalsifiable brute-fact, alongside of and duplicating the uncontroversially-inevitable logical system that I’ve described.”
    .
    The physical world is the only thing I’m certain of.
    .
    No one denies its existence and reality in its own context. But we can discuss is nature and origin.
    .
    I don’t rule out the possibility that non-physical things exist
    .
    I’ve repeatedly emphasized that I make no claim regarding the existence or reality of the abstract facts that I refer to.
    .
    But uncontroversially there are those facts in the sense that we can mention or speak of them.
    .
    , but it seems irrational to believe something just because it is POSSIBLY true.
    .
    And what do you think that I believe in. I’ve repeatedly emphasized that I make no claim regarding the existence or reality of the abstract facts that I refer to.
    .
    A case must be made for it, not merely a set of assertions.
    .
    …a case for what in particular?
    .
    What assertions have I not supported? I merely invited you to give a reason why this physical world must have whatever unspecified special ontic-status you’re saying it has.
    .
    You’re the one who believes in a ontology that is not only unsupported, but isn’t even specified. Yes, you say you believe in a special ontic status for the physical world, but you aren’t being clear about what it is.
    .
    I emphasize that, in this discussion, I’m not advocating an ontology or metaphysics. I’m merely pointing out that there’s no reason to believe in an ontology that says that this physical world is other than what I’ve said.

    .
    “It isn’t clear what you think I’m claiming that logic is.”
    I’ll refrain from guessing.
    .
    No, don’t guess. Just look at the postings that you’re replying to, and ask yourself what claims I’ve made, there, about logic.
    .
    Why don’t you tell me if you agree with the statement I made (“logic is an epistemological tool”)
    .
    Logic can be a useful tool for relating the truths of propositions, if that’s what you mean. It’s also useful in digital electronics, for studying and relating the 2- valued settings of circuit-components.
    .
    It’s also a subject of discussion.
    .
    I haven’t claimed more for logic.
    .
    As I’ve said, many, many, many times, I don’t claim any existence or reality for the abstract facts to which I refer, other than that we can refer to them, mention them, speak of them.
    .
    and tell me if you think there is anything more to it than that.
    .
    See directly above.
    .
    “Do you think that physics doesn’t comply with logic’s abstract facts”
    Known physics is actually incoherent, so I’ll assume you’re discussing an idealized physics – the actual “natural law” of the universe. I expect that this idealized physics is coherent
    [/quote]
    .
    Many expect that physics’ explanations will consist of an open-ended infinite-regression.
    .
    – it entails no contradictions.
    .
    Yes, because there are no such things as mutually-contradictory facts. The consistency of our physical world is .something that stands out about it, an empirical observation that agrees with and is explained by the fact that
    there’s no such thing as mutually-inconsistent facts. …including among the abstract facts that are the basis of an explanation for your experience of this physical world.
    .
    Yes, there have been seeming contradictions or anomalies in physics, like the black-body radiation’s predicted and observed energy-wavelength curve, the Michaelson-Morely experiment result, and the planet Mercury’s orbit’s seemingly anomalous rotation of apsides. These things have all been found consistent with new physics.
    .
    And now, currently, there are seeming anomalies too, such as the apparent acceleration of the recession of the more distant galaxies. I don’t suppose that anyone doubts that there’s physics that will explain that too, and which might be eventually discoverable by our physicists.
    .
    In fact, it maybe could be argued that no physical world can be proved inconsistent, because any seeming inconsistencies, anomalies or contradictions could be explained by as-yet undiscovered physics, or hallucination, delirium or dream, or mistaken memory of what happened (consider how much eyewitnesses can disagree).
    .
    What other abstract facts of logic do you have in mind? [in regards to physics]
    .
    A set of hypothetical physical-quantity-values, and a hypothetical relation among them (a physical law or theory), together comprise the antecedent of an abstract implication.
    .
    …except that one of those hypothetical physical-quantity-values can be taken as the consequent of that implication.
    .
    A mathematical theorem is an implication whose antecedent consists (at least partly) of a set of mathematical axioms.
    .
    But yes, of course, I believe that the operation of the universe throughout its history have been consistent with this idealized physics. But I think you’re overlooking the key point: physics (as generally discussed) is descriptive. The fact that 2 electrons repel each other is not dependent on an abstract law that makes it so; rather, it is due to the intrinsic properties of the electrons.
    .
    See directly above.
    .
    What you describe regarding those electrons needn’t consist of other than hypothetical things, hypothetical propositions about them and their relations, and abstract implications about those hypothetical propositions, for which there are various mutually-consistent configurations of hypothetical truth-values.
    .
    (…though there’s no reason to believe that any of those propositions are true.)

    .
    “I don’t claim the objective existence of our surroundings independent of us, the experiencer, the protagonist of our life-experience story. I’ve already clarified that. You’re repeating an already-answered objection. I’ve been saying that Consciousness, the experiencer, the protagonist, is primary, fundamental, and central to the logical system that I call your “life-experience possibility-story”.
    .
    Good for you. I disagree. Shall we agree to disagree…
    .
    That would be an improvement over the way these discussions usually end.
    .
    …, or do you think you can show that your view is more worthy of belief than mine?
    .
    What belief of mine are you referring to? If I made a controversial claim, what was it?
    .
    It’s just a matter of clarifying and listening to exactly what we’re claiming. When you said that you disagree, exactly which part do you disagree with? …my statement that the experiencer/protagonist is primary, fundamental and central to the logical system that I call your life-experience story?
    .
    So you aren’t central to your experience? Or you claim that there isn’t a complex hypothetical abstract logical system of inter-referring abstract implications about hypothetical propositions about hypothetical things, that are the events and relations of your experience (…even if this physical world of your experience is superfluously something else too)?
    .
    Sure, we can agree to disagree, but it’s good to clarify what we mean too,
    .

    “Your objection about what they merely are, seems to be a way of saying that you believe that abstract facts would need to be something more ontologically powerful, in order to produce the objectively-existent “ontic reality” that you think that this physical world is. Is that your objection?”
    .
    I’m saying that I believe abstractions are causally inert…
    .
    …and what exactly is it that you think they’d need to cause? I mean, your above-quoted statement of belief implies that this physical world possesses some unspecified special strong ontic-status that abstract facts can’t “cause” or be the basis of.
    .
    I’ve been saying that, upon metaphysical examination, there’s no reason to believe that this physical world isn’t insubstantial, in the sense of not having ontic status that can’t be explained by a basis of abstract facts about hypothetical propositions about hypothetical things.
    .
    and they actually exist only in their instantiations and in the minds of intelligent beings as a product of a mental exercise.
    .
    As I’ve been saying (quite a few times), I claim no existence or reality for the abstract facts to which I refer, other than that we can refer to, discuss, and speak of them.
    .
    But you believe in a physical world that’s more than that. A physical world that has some uspecified brute-fact ontic status different from that.
    .
    “I suggest that this life and the physical world in which it is set, are completely insubstantial”
    .
    Why do you believe such a thing?
    .
    I merely claim that there’s no reason to believe otherwise. I’ve been inviting you to give such a reason. The burden of verification is on the person who claims something about the “existence” of something, the person who claims special ontic status for something.
    .
    This seems similar to someone claiming to be solipsist – one can’t prove them wrong, but there’s not really a good reason to abandon the basic world view that we have innately.
    .
    Whose telling you to abandon it? It’s genuine, real and existent in its own context, and in the context of your life. What more do you want or expect of it?? That makes it real enough for all practical purposes.
    .
    What other reality do you want or believe for it to have?
    .
    one can’t prove them wrong
    .
    Exactly. But let’s be clear which of us is advocating an unverifiable, unfalsifiable proposition.
    .
    All I’m proposing for the describable world is uncontroversially-inevitable abstract implications.
    .
    You’re advocating, for this physical world, some unspecified special ontic-status additional to, over and above the uncontroversially-inevitable facts that I’ve referred to. …something that superfluously, unparsimoniously, unverifiavbly, and unfalsifiably duplicates the relations of that logical system.
    .
    So let’s get that straight.
    .
    “it would be meaningless to speculate about whether there’d be those abstract facts if there were no beings to whom for them to be apparent.”
    It is relevant when discussing the nature of abstractions. Some people think triangles exist as platonic objects in a “third realm” or in the mind of God; others believe they exist only in their instantiations. These controversies may, or may not, be relevant to you – but they are not inherently “meaningless".
    .
    No need to quibble about how or if the abstract facts exist. I haven’t claimed that they exist other than as subjects of discussion or mention.
    .
    I was referring to your Subjectivism objection. I too suggest that the subjective point of view is the relevant one.
    .
    In a previous post, I spoke at length about the complementarity between the experiencer and his/her experience story and the physical world that is its setting.
    .
    Saying that the abstract facts depend on there being someone to discuss them is meaningless, because there are inevitably infinitely-many experience-stories with their complementary protagonists, some of whom discuss abstract facts.
    .
    Does that sound bootstrap-circular? Fine, that’s ok. It’s a self-contained complete logical system.
    .
    Inevitably among the infinity of complex logical systems of inter-referring abstract implications about hypothetical propositions about hypothetical things, with all the configurations of mutually-consistent truth-values for those propositions, there’s an experience-story about you. That’s what this is.
    .
    …or at least there’s no reason to believe otherwise.

    .
    Relativist:
    “Your assertion isn’t the least persuasive, and in fact it merely seems dismissive – since you aren’t actually confronting the issues. “
    .
    .
    Michael: ” I confronted the “problem of evil” by pointing out that the evil societal world to which you refer is only one of infinitely-many hypothetical possibility-worlds, which are settings for infinitely-many life-experience-stories.”

    .
    At best, you are giving me a reason why you reject the argument from evil. You have given me zero reason to reject it, and I doubt you could persuade anyone because your position depends on accepting some rather unconventional beliefs.
    .
    By “unconventional beliefs”, I assume that you’re referring to what we were discussing above. I’ve been emphasizing that what I’ve been saying doesn’t include any assumptions, brute-facts, beliefs or controversial statements. It’s, rather, a questioning of unsupported (and even unspecified) ontic beliefs.
    .
    But an unnecessary adherence to what you perceive as the “conventional” isn’t helpful in philosophy.
    .
    But I like this part of your post better, because it gets away from the unnecessary disagreement about obvious and uncontroversial matters, and gets into the more difficult, but still discussable, subject of the problem of evil.
    .
    …a subject that deserves more space than would reasonably fit into this already-long post.
    .
    “As I said, all that is a blip in timelessness.”
    From my point of view, that is an incoherent statement.
    .
    …and presumably you’re going to justify that claim by what you say below?...
    .
    Timelessness is a term that I’ve seen applied to God and to abstract objects.
    .
    Fair enough. No disagreement there.
    .
    Even if we assume those things exist, that doesn’t make the physical world a “blip in timelessness.”
    .
    What makes this life (or finite sequence of lives) a blip in timelessness is the temporariness of this life or finite sequence of lives.
    .
    “But doesn’t there have be timelessness for us in order for you to validly say that?”
    .
    Sure, and I’ve mentioned the timeless sleep at the end-of-lives (or at the end of this life if there’s no reincarnation). …which, by its finality in our experience, and its timeless nature, is the natural, normal, usual state-of-affairs.
    .
    I’ve supported those statements by the uncontroversial statement that there’s no such thing as oblivion.
    .
    I accept that it probably makes sense in your world-view, but TBA…
    .
    What does “TBA” mean?
    .
    – I don’t see anything of interest in it, since it seems pretty far fetched.
    .
    …not a very specific objection.
    .
    Suit yourself. As Schopenhauer1 pointed out, no one is ever convinced here by anything that someone else says, because everyone evidently is only trying to support their already-chosen beliefs and positions. …as opposed to honest, open, interested discussion with willingness to question our assumptions.
    .
    Michael Ossipoff
  • wellwisher
    163
    Good and evil set a contrast to each other allowing one to be perceived via the other. A small match flame may not be obvious in the light of day, but appears quite bright in the darkness of night. Evil, like dark, creates a contrast allowing subtle good; light, to be perceived. If everyone was good, it would be like high noon, such that the light of our good would not be seen. If culture got dark, this same behavior is now every bright.

    If you started with a black background and wrote on that background with a light gray color, the light gray color will appear white due to the contrast with black. When thing are very evil, like in war, even intermediate evil starts to become good. If everyone was shooting each other to kill and you shoot only to wound, instead of kill, this is light gray or doing good under those black circumstances. In peacetime, shooting to wound is gray against white, which now makes the same action look evil.

    If you consider how laws are made, someone does an evil act first, then a law is created to help people know how to avoid the evil and do good. Good comes from evil, due to the contrast that is created. There is no need to avoid anything, until we decide it was evil. Then the contrast for good appears.

    In practical reality, it is easier to make mistakes than to be perfect. It is easier to act on compulsions than via deliberate choice. Making mistakes or acting hastily gives one the opportunity to set a dark contrast in memory, so one can learn to move closer to perfection; good.
  • Dfpolis
    325
    8. God created this world instead of a world of free willed beings that do not sin.
    9. Therefore God chose a world with needless pain and suffering.
    10. Therefore God is not omnibenevolent.
    Relativist

    This is a fallacious. It assumes that God could know, independently of actually creating, what free-will creatures would choose. This requires that free will choices can be known independently of the existence of the agents making them. That is contrary to the nature of free-will agency.

    The existence of free-will is convertible with the existence of creatures who are responsible for at least some of their own acts. But, no one is responsible for acts that must occur independently of their actual existence. So, in order to know what a free-will agent chooses, the agent must actually choose it. If this were not so, the agent would be pre-determined to the choice, and so not free -- at least not in the sense that would underwrite responsibility.

    Thus, while God can create a creature who does not choose to sin, God cannot know that the creature does not choose to sin in the absence of creating that creature. This does not contradict divine omniscience as God still knows all that actually is, and all that it is in His power to do. Note that God does not know creation by prediction, but by His self-awareness in holding creation in being throughout the space-time manifold.
  • Michael Ossipoff
    1.2k


    But yes, it seems to be time to agree to disagree.

    The topics of the ontological part of this discussion have all been well-covered, again and again.

    Michael Ossipoff
  • Relativist
    246

    " an unnecessary adherence to what you perceive as the “conventional” isn’t helpful in philosophy"
    Sure, but unconventional positions must be explained and supported, whereas conventional positions are generally understood. You are presumably criticizing my position, which is perfectly fine, but if your counter depends on some unconventional views, you have the burden of explaining and supporting them - and you haven't really done this. It has seemed more of a guessing game where you make some assertion and then I have to guess at what you mean, then you reply that I got it wrong and hint at some more things for me to guess at. I havent even discerned whether or not you are a theist.

    "no one is ever convinced here by anything that someone else says, because everyone evidently is only trying to support their already-chosen beliefs and positions. …as opposed to honest, open, interested discussion with willingness to question our assumptions."

    Seems like a false dichotomy. My views have absolutely altered as a product of discussions like these, and I think that is common. One learns by striving to understand alternative points of view. I am finding it a bit tedious to understand yours. Perhaps you feel the same, since you have questioned some of my terms. In particular, you have questioned my term "ontological status, so I'll clarify: the ontological status of X entails: does X actually exist? Does it exist hypothetically? What properties does X have, and what relations does it have to other things that exist? Does it exist necessaily or contingently?

    "I was referring to your Subjectivism objection."
    What subjectivist objection? I didn't know I made one, so this might be a misunderstanding on your part.

    "Saying that the abstract facts depend on there being someone to discuss them is meaningless, because there are inevitably infinitely-many experience-stories with their complementary protagonists, some of whom discuss abstract facts."

    It is relevant if someone claims the actual world is a consequence of abstractions, which I thought you had implied. Did I misunderstand?

    "if you say that you don’t know what ontology I believe in, that might be because I emphasize that I don’t claim or assert one."

    I gather that you don't claim or assert a complete ontological system (you and I have that in common), but you DID makethe ontological claim (or claims with ontological implications):
    "this life and this world are a blip in timelessness”
    This implies that timelessness exists, that this world exists, and that the latter's existence is within the broader context of tbe former. You added:

    "What makes this life (or finite sequence of lives) a blip in timelessness is the temporariness of this life or finite sequence of lives."
    This does not establish the existence of timelessness as a state of affairs, as something that actually exists as a context for the temporal world.

    "“But doesn’t there have be timelessness for us in order for you to validly say that?”
    .
    Sure, and I’ve mentioned the timeless sleep at the end-of-lives (or at the end of this life if there’s no reincarnation). …which, by its finality in our experience, and its timeless nature, is the natural, normal, usual state-of-affairs."

    Our short temporal lives exist within the context if the temoral existence of the universe. This therefore does not establish the existence of timelessness

    "timeless sleep at the end-of-lives (or at the end of this life if there’s no reincarnation). …which, by its finality in our experience, and its timeless nature, is the natural, normal, usual state-of-affairs."

    Please explain what you mean by your claim that our experience has a " timeless nature". It appears to me that our experiences are entirely temporal. Death seems to me the temporal endpoint of our consciousness, so I see no reason to think this entails "timelessness."

    "I’ve supported those statements by the uncontroversial statement that there’s no such thing as oblivion."
    What is "oblivion"?


    "Materialism, with its big brute-fact*, fails the Principle of Parsimony."

    You are confusing my position with materialism. I simply have the uncontroversial belief thst the physical world exists. I am agnostic regarding the existence of anything immaterial. That, of course, makes your assertion relevant to me: show that materialism fails the principle of parsimony - this could shift my view.

    "TBA" = is my autocorrect's translation of "TBH" = "To Be Honest". I apologize for my tablet.
  • Rank Amateur
    278
    that was not an attempt at a straw man, it was an attempt at identifying the concept we seem to be missing each other on.

    Your assertion that because you are not aware of any compensating goods, therefore there are none. Is not a fact, it is something you believe to be true, by reason. Which, I acknowledge is ok, and reasonable. However, so is my position that, there may well be compensating goods even if you are unaware of them.
  • Relativist
    246

    It not the simple inference you state, it's an inference to the best explanation.

    If a 3-omni God exists, then objective moral values exist and we have the capacity to discern right and wrong - not infallibly, but our moral judgments should be expected to be generally trustworthy. This provides grounds to judge God's actions and inactions against the objective moral values we are confident are correct. For example, we know that it is wrong to allow a person to die when we could have prevented the death - particularly if the act of prevention does not place ourselves, or anyone else, at risk. We might judge this erroneously on occasion, when there are extenuating circumstances of which we're unaware, but we can be expected to get it right most of the time. Out of the 100,000,000 who died in the black death, it does seems unlikely that we're judging it wrong each of those times. This is just one natural calamity, which I brought up because it was such a big one - but there's uncountably many of these throughout history. Children are born blind, or without limbs. Some are born with degenerative diseases, like Muscular Dystrophy, who grow more feeble each day of their short lives. Throughout history, countless people have suffered needlessly because modern analgesics and antibiotics didn't exist at the time. I could go on.

    There's no reason to think that an omnipotent God couldn't have created a world without these afflictions and without the various natural disasters that have occurred. If we assume God performs miracles on a few, why doesn't he perform miracles on everyone and eliminate the afflictions entirely?

    What is the best explanation for all the evil the world has seen and has continues to see? Is the best explanation an omnibenevolent God who chose to create a world with the many evils this one has, despite there being no apparent reason why he couldn't have create a world without these problems?
    Or is the better explanation that there is no such God - and nature simply takes its course?

    The latter answers all questions about the evil in the world. The former answers none of them. Sure, it's possible there are answers that we are simply not capable of seeing, but why believe this to be the case?

    My argument to the best explanation considers both God's existence and his non-existence, and concludes that his non-existence is more likely given the evidence. Your position seems to assume God exists, and rationalizes the evil he allows based on the mere possibility that there's a billion billion good reasons that we are simply incapable of discerning. If God exists, then that surely must be so. But start with a balanced view, as I did, and that rationalization doesn't make for a good explanation.
  • Relativist
    246

    According to Romans 6:7: " anyone who has died has been set free from sin"

    Do you agree this means that the souls in heaven do not sin? Don't they have free will, or does God remove our free will when we die?

    My point is that this suggests there can exist free willed beings who do not sin, despite your claims to the contrary.
  • BlueBanana
    866
    Throwing a random die can result in 6. Can God create a random die that will result in 6? No, because that'd not be random so although the existence of such a die is a logical possibility, its creation is not.
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