Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Problem of Evil and the Skeptic's Dilemma

This lecture deals with the "Problem of Evil," the most common argument against theism. Thus, it's relevant for both Christians and Muslims (and anyone else who believes in God).


mrdix said...

As an atheist, I admit that Christianity has values I share, despite disowning my belief several years ago, as a protestant.

But from an empirical understanding, nature is not all evil and brutal in its own right. Nature or the natural world is a two tier system.

Upper-tier: positive sum trade (win-win situation, such as trade)
This system of course is most preferable and we couldn't have western civilization without values that promote peace, moderate amount of tolerance and people didn't fight over squandering resources and used their mind to solve problems that ended famine and disease.

Lower-tier: zero sum trade (otherwise known in plain English as winner takes all)
This is the realm of evil, psychopaths want to live in. Where the winner cuts your throat and in-doctrines you into thinking that your insane to think that we can co-exist as they rob you and slaughter you.

Evil, is not as simply as religion likes to claim, based on their definition, but with a secular understanding (without resorting to authority ie God) to define evil actually is. People don't always come out and say that they are evil, they will deceive you into thinking what they're doing to you or others is right or justice.

You can learn more and get a good 10 minute introduction into these ideas without having to resort to scriptures every time. Of course this does not mean I'm ignorant of all the scriptures, some things in the Bible on morals and ethics are very similar or the same to those found in nature, such as positive-sum trade. - How can evil be defined - Will evil defeat good?

Introduction to natural law

How evil is disguised as a civil right, such as an abortion - Is abortion morally bankrupt?

Rights Don't Trump Responsibilities
In the Bible its known as "with free-will comes great responsibility"

Jesus is Lord said...

@David Connor: As a Christian and you an Atheist, I know we don't share the same view on different subjects related to life and the existence of a God. I really appreciate the fact that you seem to have a certain respect for Christianity compare to some who are quick to slander and disrespect our faith and/or scriptures so thanks for that humble approach! Btw, I will have a look at the links you provided above and give my feedback on it! Peace! :)

Unknown said...

Mr. DConnor,

Do you know why did you fail to be a good disciple of Jesus Christ, as you said you were Christian once? Judas Iscariot also failed like you to cross the finish line like all his other 11 Disciples of Christ. I believe you can remember your old faith. And you know Judas's end result suicide from a tree after realization his mistake accusing Jesus for the crime He did not commit for the value of only 30 silver coins.

Europe/America crossed their dark age since fourth century becoming Disciples of Christ and reach to today’s civilization thru value of Christ, which Judas Iscariot rejected. And now you are saying you found the truth nothing but whole truth which is non-existence of God. What a fool you are! You do not learn lesion from human history. Adam, the 1st human with influence from devil denied existence of God like you and we know consequence from the Bible.

You may not believe the Bible, it is up to you. What can you do if somebody believes that earth is flat? Can you show him the earth is round by walking? To understand God, you need knowledge about God and the Bible is the only source to know about God. Because nobody sees Him but feel Him like we feel air. If you want to defy God you have to talk with language of the Bible, not the science. Science is God’s tool to create this amazing Universe and life on earth. Only fool will say he/she knows everything to draw conclusion non-existence of God. We experience God from our surroundings and real life dramas that is happening everyday around the world.

Look at the recent heart breaking A.M.E. Church Massacre news at Charleston SC by an atheist ideology believer that took nine innocent lives within matter of minute, shattering nine families. Forget about your complex science and formula David Wood showed 2=1 in his video to understand Atheism, come to real world and find presence of God in our day to day life that is expressed in the Bible, if you have eyes to see and ear to hear. But Atheists rejected merciful God by their “Skeptic’s Dilemma” David Wood said in his video. Again look at relatives of victim families and their receiving comforts from God even after such terrible mishaps engineered by devil, by following command of Jesus Christ to forgive the killer 21 year old godless youth Dylann Storm Roof. May God bless those bereaved families with His comfort to move on!

Does your heart cry for innocent murder influenced by real evil? If yes, you will find presence of God in your heart. If you know the dark of life you will find Light of life that would complete your enjoyment even after great tragedy. Jesus is the cornerstone of all human life like corner stone of building. He is source of our life whether you believe Him or not. When you find Him with reality either with this physical body or after your death it would be too late to come back. Make hey while the sun shine.

Review your understanding again and I am sure you will find Him as David found. There is nothing absolute other than Jesus who is Alpha and Omega, first and last you know that. I just renewed your memory, nothing else. Choice is yours.

Unknown said...

According to Muslims God has moral, good reasoning for permitting evil in the world for the greater good of mankind.

Although this is a deep subject with varying opinions I take of the opinion where the universe is not this mechanical clock where God unwinds it then leaves it to work while having no involvement in the process. If God is wholly unconnected to evil then what can God to do lift it?

Human actions although occurring through our own free will, occur with Gods permission. When we take medicine to get better we attribute the results to God although the means with which we got better were accomplished by our actions.

From an atheist standpoint if there is nothing that exists beyond matter then we cannot trust our intelligence because it is just made of atoms and we are a victim of this blind evolutionary process that occurred over time. Consequently the decisions which we make are not from our own free will but it is our genes programming us to think & do certain things to enable the continuation of our species and encourage our survival. But that is clearly not the case because our senses tell us that it’s wrong to steal, rape, torture even if it’s to proliferate our species and promote its survival.

Anonymous said...

Hi David O'Connor,

I concur with Keith's comments and appreciate that you took the time to present your reasoning on this subject.

When I was an atheist I leaned strongly towards a pantheistic world view that was popular among scientists at the time. Science is my background and one of my passions and it actually was the reason I became a Christian. Weird, I know, but that's how it worked for me.

The patterns that I saw in nature, and the systems were overwhelmingly difficult to explain and I was a curious kind of students who asked a lot of questions of my lecturers. As an atheist I really didn't take well to be told over and over, 'there are things science can't yet explain' and 'we can't answer that question yet' as it smacked too much of the Roman Catholicism I'd known as a child.

The confidence you read in Scientific journals was belied by the lack of confidence and lack of conviction that I found in my lecturers who seemed resigned to shove a theory into your hands and move on. I studied life science and there were threads throughout creation that were just being tightly bundled together and tied off. Any scientists knows that everything has a source, but arriving at conclusions about sources seem to make scientists uncomfortable. This didn't seem reasonable, and I wondered why more research wasn't done into finding sources.

Suffice to say, I could not continue in science without admitting that there was evidence of design, and I could not continue in rational thought without admitting that design meant there was some form of designer. I guess that made me a deist at some point, but it wasn't long (3 hours later!) before I realized that this designer designed me and that I had personal traits, which meant the designer had to have personal traits. I wanted love, therefore he must want love.

I was perhaps the most reluctant believer around, but I realized I had no choice as a scientist and as a human being but to accept the rational evidence that was before me. Science reveals design (over and over), designs requires a designer (unless it is random which is was not), designer must have emotions and intellect because I, the product of design, does.

I had never opened a bible, but I knew God existed and that He loved me. I eventually read some of the bible and even went to bible college, but science, not scripture led me to believe in God.

That for me turned out to be the natural law of science.

PZBlog said...

I am not a physicist but i thought that virtual particles spontaneously arise in the vacuum all the time, so I guess you have to go deeper in this "Whatever begins to exist must have a cause". Besides, after Dawkins, what is the purpose of the blue color?

PZBlog said...

Ok once again on this cause thing. Dictionary .cocm says that cause i a producerr of an effect, following this there must be something that produced cosmos. The answer iis big bang, the cause of big bang is unknown yet, but don't worry science will get it right one day. Btw by yapplying this scepticism rule you would have to be extremely sceptic in order to say that god pushed stuff to explode at the begining, that's because before Darwin humans thought it's god who created everything, before idk Aristotele peple thougt that earth is round, and that gods live on the top of the mountains; yett science debunked all of that. So by extrapolatinhe data we should be expecting that science will solve the big bang mistery too.
2. If you undestand having a cause as having purpouse then it's hard to tell about tthe purpoee of the comos I guess. Youu can work arund and bring up stuff like this theory that life arises always when the environment is not to harsh, just because the larger the molecule is, the more energy it can dissipate, so the second law of thermodynamics is happy. But still, understanding having the cause as having the purpose is wrong.
3. I hope i make sense, sory for the english and bad spelling, but I'm eating lunch right now.
4. Get your things together D!

PZBlog said...

yeaaaaah you know what we can account for? We account for the strategy that will get us to the truth, it doesn't matter if it turns out that god exists or not, I (and I hope every atheist in the world) am just looking for the truth. It just looks like religion does not make any sense at all so we strayed away from it D. Next thing is that you can argue that religion makes sense, but I guess it makes sense due to it's definition - there is an omnipotent being that can account for everything. So your argument is invalid :D

Anonymous said...

Hi David,

Me again. I looked up the links you posted and really enjoyed listening to them. There is a very interesting argument that's being made and it is most certainly not invalid. If you have any other links I'd be very interested to listen to them.

I also think you're doing a pretty good job at trying to put this altogether. These are the issues I wrestled with. I'm not saying that you're going to become a Christian, but you sound like the type of person who won't be happy with loosely tied theories, be they scientific or religious.

Anyway, if you have any more links I'd really like to listen to them.



P.S. In discussions about science all rational IDEAS are supposed to be weighed equally. This is probably not true, and I have seen scornful responses from scientists who should no better. The best scientists, however, do speak more respectfully knowing that open discourse is required to arrive at agreement. Just a reminder!

Anonymous said...

That "just a reminder" comment was not meant for you David.

Unknown said...

@smbdy sbdy

"Whatever begins to exist must have a cause".

You are absolutely right. God in the beginning, for the purpose of maintaining vegetation, He created lastly Homo sapiens “Adam" in order to maintain vegetation. He created “Adam” also to communicate with him spiritually that was not possible with animal and plant kingdom. Finally God made Eve for companionship of Adam as well as for propagation purpose. If it does not make sense to you finding purpose of origin of life on earth then you have to wait billions of billions light years allowing original light to come to earth and capture by Hubble telescope to proof existence of God and creation of life on earth.

God did not create any garbage; everything is in need for our survival by maintaining ecosystem and food chain to sustain life on earth. See the pyramidal structure of “Food Chain”, any Homo sapiens can identify it is works of intelligence design, not by chance of survival.

God is omnipotent as you agreed and though He made Homo sapiens in resemble to His image but He kept us way short to be humble to Him, so that little Homo sapiens always worship Him with their whole heart, mind, soul and strength. Do you know about biblical figure “Job” in the book of Job in the Bible, if not please read and find out how Job was arrogant like you and finally he bowed down his head with repentance to God seeing awesome God. These are not science but facts of life. Everything cannot be measured by science then all other field of subjects would be obsolete and it is absurd. Israel was once slave to Egypt and mighty hand of God brought them from Egypt to Freeland of today, by 40 years by walking and separating mighty red sea. It is not imaginary story, but history.

Our life is short and our loving God gave us opportunity to be humble to Him up to last breath of ours, to be with Him in paradise. No one should wait to last minute to be humble to Him. Do it now. Otherwise you have to wait billions of billions light years for the original Big Bang light with grinding sound to reach on earth to proof existence of God for our life on this earth of today. Should you wait for that long??? Good luck!

Unknown said...

The only way a person can logically rule out the existence of God is if that person has total knowledge of everything: both within the universe, and without; in all places, and at all times; past, present and future.

Otherwise, there is always the possibility that God could exist somewhere and/or at some time, beyond either that person’s knowledge, or (crucially) their ability to know.

Our inherent limitations as human beings conspire to deny us total knowledge: the fact that we are born and eventually die, restricts the extent of what we can know; the fact that most of our knowledge arrives to us second-hand, and is therefore only as reliable as the person(s) providing it; and the fact that our knowledge is virtually always tainted to some degree, by our preconceptions.

Hence, we have the atheistic catch-22: for a person to have total knowledge - and therefore be able to rule out the existence of God - that person must be immortal, omniscient (all-knowing), and completely untainted by human limitation and imperfection.

In other words, by definition, that person would have to BE God.

Such a person disproves atheism.

Pretending to have total knowledge when that isn't the case is ignorant (by definition), arrogant (to the point of having a ‘God-complex’, ironically), and most importantly, dishonest.