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Does the Presence of Natural Evil Preclude the Existence of God? A Christian Response Richard Deem.

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1 Does the Presence of Natural Evil Preclude the Existence of God? A Christian Response Richard Deem

2 Argument Against God from Evil 1.God is all-powerful, loving, and perfect. 2.A perfect, loving God would create a universe that was perfect (e.g., no evil and suffering). 3.The universe is not perfect but contains evil and suffering. Therefore, an all-powerful, loving, and perfect God does not exist. 1.God is all-powerful, loving, and perfect. 2.A perfect, loving God would create a universe that was perfect (e.g., no evil and suffering). 3.The universe is not perfect but contains evil and suffering. Therefore, an all-powerful, loving, and perfect God does not exist.

3 Kinds of Evil Moral Evil – Bad things that happen to us that are perpetrated by moral agents (e.g., human beings) Natural Evil – Bad things that happen to us that are the result of the nature of the universe Moral Evil – Bad things that happen to us that are perpetrated by moral agents (e.g., human beings) Natural Evil – Bad things that happen to us that are the result of the nature of the universe

4 Natural Evil and God’s Existence “Although an omniscient, omnipotent, perfectly good God could be justified in allowing moral evil, such a God is never justified in creating a world in which natural evil occurs.” Brian Marston, atheist philosopher “Because natural evil is gratuitous, its existence is incompatible with the existence of God.” Fëdor Mikhailovich Dostoevski “Although an omniscient, omnipotent, perfectly good God could be justified in allowing moral evil, such a God is never justified in creating a world in which natural evil occurs.” Brian Marston, atheist philosopher “Because natural evil is gratuitous, its existence is incompatible with the existence of God.” Fëdor Mikhailovich Dostoevski

5 Rejected Christian Arguments 1.Satan (or demons) are responsible for all natural evil 2.The Fall of mankind, due to sin, caused God’s physically-perfect creation to become imperfect, resulting in moral and natural evil (young-earth argument) 3.Natural evil is always due to God’s judgment 4.Natural evil is required for spiritual growth (not completely rejected) 1.Satan (or demons) are responsible for all natural evil 2.The Fall of mankind, due to sin, caused God’s physically-perfect creation to become imperfect, resulting in moral and natural evil (young-earth argument) 3.Natural evil is always due to God’s judgment 4.Natural evil is required for spiritual growth (not completely rejected) Examples: The great flood, drought Earthquakes, drought, famine, asteroid, hail, fire, disease Example: Satan harassed Job and his family through fire and wind The Bible clearly indicates that the current laws of physics were operating prior to the fall (e.g., the laws of thermodynamics)

6 The Primary Reason for Existence of Natural Evil The physical laws and processes that are required for human existence produce, on occasion, instances of natural evil. Without these laws, God’s purposes for mankind could not be accomplished on earth The physical laws and processes that are required for human existence produce, on occasion, instances of natural evil. Without these laws, God’s purposes for mankind could not be accomplished on earth

7 Argument For Natural Evil There exists an omnipotent, omniscient, wholly good Being. An omnipotent, omniscient, wholly good Being would prevent the occurrence of any intense suffering it could, unless it could not do so without thereby losing some greater good or permitting some evil equally bad or worse. It is not the case that there exist instances of intense suffering which an omnipotent, omniscient Being could have prevented without thereby losing some greater good or permitting some evil equally bad or worse. There exists an omnipotent, omniscient, wholly good Being. An omnipotent, omniscient, wholly good Being would prevent the occurrence of any intense suffering it could, unless it could not do so without thereby losing some greater good or permitting some evil equally bad or worse. It is not the case that there exist instances of intense suffering which an omnipotent, omniscient Being could have prevented without thereby losing some greater good or permitting some evil equally bad or worse.

8 Natural Evil (According to Atheists) Collisions in the universe (Crabtree, 2007) Earthquakes (Tattersall, 1998, Marston, 1998, Crabtree, 2007) Volcanic eruptions (Marston, 1998, Crabtree, 2007) Landslides (Tattersall, 1998) Floods (Marston, 1998, Crabtree, 2007) Hurricanes (Marston, 1998) Tornadoes (Marston, 1998, Crabtree, 2007) Lightening strikes (Rowe, 1979) Fires (Tattersall, 1998) Painful death from an incurable terminal disease (Marston, 1998) Infectious disease (Crabtree, 2007) Animal pain (Rowe, 1979, Marston, 1998) Collisions in the universe (Crabtree, 2007) Earthquakes (Tattersall, 1998, Marston, 1998, Crabtree, 2007) Volcanic eruptions (Marston, 1998, Crabtree, 2007) Landslides (Tattersall, 1998) Floods (Marston, 1998, Crabtree, 2007) Hurricanes (Marston, 1998) Tornadoes (Marston, 1998, Crabtree, 2007) Lightening strikes (Rowe, 1979) Fires (Tattersall, 1998) Painful death from an incurable terminal disease (Marston, 1998) Infectious disease (Crabtree, 2007) Animal pain (Rowe, 1979, Marston, 1998)

9 God’s Requirements for the Universe 1.The universe must allow for the existence of sentient creatures 2.These sentient creatures must have the ability to make moral choices 3.The universe must operate by physical laws that are reliable, so that the sentient creatures can interact reliably with their surroundings and each other 4.The universe must declare the power and glory of God 1.The universe must allow for the existence of sentient creatures 2.These sentient creatures must have the ability to make moral choices 3.The universe must operate by physical laws that are reliable, so that the sentient creatures can interact reliably with their surroundings and each other 4.The universe must declare the power and glory of God

10 Requirement 1: Sentient Creatures Humans to rule over the earth: And God blessed them, and God said to them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth. (Genesis 1:28) The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. (Genesis 2:15) …You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. (Psalm 8:3-9) Humans to rule over the earth: And God blessed them, and God said to them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth. (Genesis 1:28) The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. (Genesis 2:15) …You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. (Psalm 8:3-9)

11 Requirement 1: Sentient Creatures Humans to be in relationship with God: "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. (Deuteronomy 6:5) "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16) "Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments; (Deuteronomy 7:9) and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Romans 5:5) But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8) But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. (Romans 8:11) For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39) Now I urge you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God for me, (Romans 15:30) Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16) Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. (2 Corinthians 13:11) The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. (2 Corinthians 13:14) But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:4-7) Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: "He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us"? (James 4:5) keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. (Jude 1:21) Humans to be in relationship with God: "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. (Deuteronomy 6:5) "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16) "Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments; (Deuteronomy 7:9) and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Romans 5:5) But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8) But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. (Romans 8:11) For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39) Now I urge you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God for me, (Romans 15:30) Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16) Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. (2 Corinthians 13:11) The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. (2 Corinthians 13:14) But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:4-7) Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: "He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us"? (James 4:5) keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. (Jude 1:21)

12 Requirement 2: Moral Choice "I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, (Deuteronomy 30:19) "If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." (Joshua 24:15) "Let us choose for ourselves what is right; Let us know among ourselves what is good. (Job 34:4) Do not envy a man of violence And do not choose any of his ways. (Proverbs 3:31) "He will eat curds and honey at the time He knows enough to refuse evil and choose good. (Isaiah 7:15) This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:3-4) The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9) "I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, (Deuteronomy 30:19) "If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." (Joshua 24:15) "Let us choose for ourselves what is right; Let us know among ourselves what is good. (Job 34:4) Do not envy a man of violence And do not choose any of his ways. (Proverbs 3:31) "He will eat curds and honey at the time He knows enough to refuse evil and choose good. (Isaiah 7:15) This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:3-4) The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)

13 Requirement 3: Reliable, Fixed Physical Laws Fixed physical laws are required for sentient creatures to reliably interact with the world and each other God fixes the laws of the universe: “Do you know the ordinances of the heavens, Or fix their rule over the earth?” (Job 38:33) Thus says the LORD, Who gives the sun for light by day And the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, Who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar; The LORD of hosts is His name: “If this fixed order departs From before Me,” declares the LORD, “Then the offspring of Israel also will cease From being a nation before Me forever.” (Jeremiah 31:35-36) Fixed physical laws are required for sentient creatures to reliably interact with the world and each other God fixes the laws of the universe: “Do you know the ordinances of the heavens, Or fix their rule over the earth?” (Job 38:33) Thus says the LORD, Who gives the sun for light by day And the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, Who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar; The LORD of hosts is His name: “If this fixed order departs From before Me,” declares the LORD, “Then the offspring of Israel also will cease From being a nation before Me forever.” (Jeremiah 31:35-36)

14 Requirement 4: Universe Must Declare the Power and Glory of God For the choir director; on the Gittith. A Psalm of David. O LORD, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth, Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens! (Psalm 8:1) The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. (Psalm 19:1) Be exalted above the heavens, O God; Let Your glory be above all the earth. (Psalm 57:5) And blessed be His glorious name forever; And may the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen, and Amen. (Psalm 72:19) The heavens will praise Your wonders, O LORD; Your faithfulness also in the assembly of the holy ones. (Psalm 89:5) Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples. For great is the LORD and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols, But the LORD made the heavens. (Psalm 96:3-5) The heavens declare His righteousness, And all the peoples have seen His glory. (Psalm 97:6) For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. (Psalm 103:11) Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, And Your glory above all the earth. (Psalm 108:5) The LORD is high above all nations; His glory is above the heavens. (Psalm 113:4) To Him who made the heavens with skill, For His lovingkindness is everlasting; (Psalm 136:5) Let them praise the name of the LORD, For His name alone is exalted; His glory is above earth and heaven. (Psalm 148:13) And one called out to another and said, "Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory." (Isaiah 6:3) "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:9) Thus says the LORD, "If the heavens above can be measured And the foundations of the earth searched out below, Then I will also cast off all the offspring of Israel For all that they have done," declares the LORD. (Jeremiah 31:37) For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. (Romans 1:18-20) For the choir director; on the Gittith. A Psalm of David. O LORD, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth, Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens! (Psalm 8:1) The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. (Psalm 19:1) Be exalted above the heavens, O God; Let Your glory be above all the earth. (Psalm 57:5) And blessed be His glorious name forever; And may the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen, and Amen. (Psalm 72:19) The heavens will praise Your wonders, O LORD; Your faithfulness also in the assembly of the holy ones. (Psalm 89:5) Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples. For great is the LORD and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols, But the LORD made the heavens. (Psalm 96:3-5) The heavens declare His righteousness, And all the peoples have seen His glory. (Psalm 97:6) For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. (Psalm 103:11) Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, And Your glory above all the earth. (Psalm 108:5) The LORD is high above all nations; His glory is above the heavens. (Psalm 113:4) To Him who made the heavens with skill, For His lovingkindness is everlasting; (Psalm 136:5) Let them praise the name of the LORD, For His name alone is exalted; His glory is above earth and heaven. (Psalm 148:13) And one called out to another and said, "Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory." (Isaiah 6:3) "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:9) Thus says the LORD, "If the heavens above can be measured And the foundations of the earth searched out below, Then I will also cast off all the offspring of Israel For all that they have done," declares the LORD. (Jeremiah 31:37) For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. (Romans 1:18-20)

15 Is Natural Evil a Necessity Under All Possible Creations? Is natural evil necessary given the current laws of physics? Could God have used other laws of physics to accomplish the same goals, but without the possibility of natural evil? Is natural evil necessary given the current laws of physics? Could God have used other laws of physics to accomplish the same goals, but without the possibility of natural evil?

16 Fundamental Forces of Physics 1.Strong nuclear force (keeps protons within atomic nuclei from flying away) 2.Weak nuclear force (responsible for phenomena within the atomic nucleus, such as radioactive decay) 3.Gravity (attraction between masses) 4.Electromagnetic force (which governs interactions of charged particles) 1.Strong nuclear force (keeps protons within atomic nuclei from flying away) 2.Weak nuclear force (responsible for phenomena within the atomic nucleus, such as radioactive decay) 3.Gravity (attraction between masses) 4.Electromagnetic force (which governs interactions of charged particles)

17 Can the Laws Be Tweaked? ParameterMax. Deviation Ratio of Electrons:Protons1:10 37 Ratio of Electromagnetic Force:Gravity1:10 40 Expansion Rate of Universe1:10 55 Mass of Universe1:10 59 Cosmological Constant1: These numbers represent the maximum deviation from the accepted values, that would either prevent the universe from existing now, not having matter, or be unsuitable for any form of life.

18 Let’s Try to Eliminate All Forms of Natural Evil Can’t change the fundamental forces of nature significantly and retain life Can attempt to eliminate underlying causes of natural evil Elimination of natural evil must not cause additional evil Elimination of natural evil must not negatively impact God’s requirements for the universe Can’t change the fundamental forces of nature significantly and retain life Can attempt to eliminate underlying causes of natural evil Elimination of natural evil must not cause additional evil Elimination of natural evil must not negatively impact God’s requirements for the universe

19 Natural Evil from Extraterrestrial Sources

20 Meteorites Every year, a few people are killed by falling meteorites Couldn’t God just eliminate all space “junk” in the Solar System? Produces a contradiction, since planetary systems are produced by accretion of material A solar system without any small objects would be telling a lie about the way it was formed (Violates requirement #3) Every year, a few people are killed by falling meteorites Couldn’t God just eliminate all space “junk” in the Solar System? Produces a contradiction, since planetary systems are produced by accretion of material A solar system without any small objects would be telling a lie about the way it was formed (Violates requirement #3)

21 Create the Earth Another Way? God could have created only one star and one planet? Violates requirement #4, since the universe would not declare God’s glory God could have created only one star and one planet? Violates requirement #4, since the universe would not declare God’s glory

22 Natural Evil Due to Tectonic Activity

23 Earthquakes On average, thousands of people are killed every year by earthquakes. How do we prevent the earth from shaking? On average, thousands of people are killed every year by earthquakes. How do we prevent the earth from shaking?

24 Earth Science 101 The earth’s continents are floating on a molten mantle When the plates that make up these continents drift into each other, stress builds up until one of the plates gives Energy released results in an earthquake The earth’s continents are floating on a molten mantle When the plates that make up these continents drift into each other, stress builds up until one of the plates gives Energy released results in an earthquake

25 Eliminate the Earth’s Molten Interior? None of the other rocky planets in the solar system have a molten core Also removes the earth’s magnetic field, eliminating the Van-Allen radiation shield Resulting radiation results in a greater evil. None of the other rocky planets in the solar system have a molten core Also removes the earth’s magnetic field, eliminating the Van-Allen radiation shield Resulting radiation results in a greater evil.

26 Get Rid of All Radiation? Nuclear fusion (which produces heat and radiation) is required to produce elements heavier than helium (for rocky planets) Fusion cannot be made radiation-free without messing with the weak nuclear force, which would prevent life from existing at all Nuclear fusion (which produces heat and radiation) is required to produce elements heavier than helium (for rocky planets) Fusion cannot be made radiation-free without messing with the weak nuclear force, which would prevent life from existing at all

27 Earthquakes are Good! Without movable continental plates, no dry land would exist on earth. Colliding continental plates build mountains and volcanoes Without land-building processes, erosion would result in a waterworld Advanced spiritual life is not possible in purely aquatic animals (contradicts requirement #4) Without movable continental plates, no dry land would exist on earth. Colliding continental plates build mountains and volcanoes Without land-building processes, erosion would result in a waterworld Advanced spiritual life is not possible in purely aquatic animals (contradicts requirement #4)

28 Fault Zones and Civilization 13 out of 15 of the first civilizations developed in the vicinity of earthquake fault zones (the exceptions being ancient Egypt and China) Due to: More abundant underground water supplies Rich volcanic soils 13 out of 15 of the first civilizations developed in the vicinity of earthquake fault zones (the exceptions being ancient Egypt and China) Due to: More abundant underground water supplies Rich volcanic soils

29 Tsunamis Tsunamis occur when earthquakes happen under large bodies of water Energy released by the earthquake is transferred to the water, resulting in a very large wave Can’t get rid of earthquakes or oceans and still have advanced life Tsunamis occur when earthquakes happen under large bodies of water Energy released by the earthquake is transferred to the water, resulting in a very large wave Can’t get rid of earthquakes or oceans and still have advanced life

30 Volcanoes Are caused by plate tectonics Relatively minor impact on human populations, with some notable exceptions Cannot be stopped without serious impacts to the land masses of the earth Are caused by plate tectonics Relatively minor impact on human populations, with some notable exceptions Cannot be stopped without serious impacts to the land masses of the earth

31 Natural Evil Due to Weather

32 Landslides Every year Californians experience landslides due to sporadic heavy rains Dozens to hundreds of people are left homeless and occasionally people are killed In order to eliminate landslides, one would have to eliminate mountains (i.e., plate tectonics) or rain Every year Californians experience landslides due to sporadic heavy rains Dozens to hundreds of people are left homeless and occasionally people are killed In order to eliminate landslides, one would have to eliminate mountains (i.e., plate tectonics) or rain

33 Floods Kill an average of 146 people in the U.S. every year Caused by flat land and excessive rain Cannot eliminate the water cycle It is unclear how atheists propose that both floods (flat land) and landslides (not flat land) can be eliminated simultaneously Kill an average of 146 people in the U.S. every year Caused by flat land and excessive rain Cannot eliminate the water cycle It is unclear how atheists propose that both floods (flat land) and landslides (not flat land) can be eliminated simultaneously

34 Floods are Good! Some rivers throughout the world used to flood every year (e.g., the Nile) Flooding brought much needed silt and minerals to the surrounding land, making it more fertile In New Orleans, control of flooding (levees) has caused the delta to sink, since all the silt is funneled into the Gulf of Mexico Some rivers throughout the world used to flood every year (e.g., the Nile) Flooding brought much needed silt and minerals to the surrounding land, making it more fertile In New Orleans, control of flooding (levees) has caused the delta to sink, since all the silt is funneled into the Gulf of Mexico Gulf of Mexico New Orleans Silt

35 Hurricanes/Cyclones/Typhoons Are tropical storms that gain energy over warm waters to produce winds in excess of 100 mph Caused by uneven heating of the earth, so that they are found in tropical locations Are tropical storms that gain energy over warm waters to produce winds in excess of 100 mph Caused by uneven heating of the earth, so that they are found in tropical locations

36 Fixing Uneven Heating Multiple Suns? Cannot be made to orbit each other to produce even heating on the earth Multiple Suns? Cannot be made to orbit each other to produce even heating on the earth

37 Orbital Parameters: Obliquity 23.5° 0° Both Poles Freeze 90° One Pole Freezes

38 Tornadoes Although most tornadoes occur in the Midwest part of the United States, they can occur in numerous locations throughout the world Wind speeds can exceed 200 mph Tornadoes cannot be prevented except by preventing storms or preventing uneven heating of the earth Although most tornadoes occur in the Midwest part of the United States, they can occur in numerous locations throughout the world Wind speeds can exceed 200 mph Tornadoes cannot be prevented except by preventing storms or preventing uneven heating of the earth

39 Lightning Lightning strikes from thunderstorms kill ~100 people every year in the United States Lightning is caused by the differential charges generated within clouds Eliminate lightning? Eliminate storms Reduce the electromagnetic force constant (violates requirement #1) Lightning strikes from thunderstorms kill ~100 people every year in the United States Lightning is caused by the differential charges generated within clouds Eliminate lightning? Eliminate storms Reduce the electromagnetic force constant (violates requirement #1)

40 Lightning is Good! High energy electrical discharge results in the splitting of molecular nitrogen and oxygen, When these atoms recombine, they form nitric oxide, which is delivered to plants in the rain Molecular nitrogen is inert, so other than the action of some prokaryotes, is the way in which nitrogen becomes available for use by plants High energy electrical discharge results in the splitting of molecular nitrogen and oxygen, When these atoms recombine, they form nitric oxide, which is delivered to plants in the rain Molecular nitrogen is inert, so other than the action of some prokaryotes, is the way in which nitrogen becomes available for use by plants 2NOON Lightning  )( 22

41 Wildfires In California, wildfires cause millions of dollars in destruction and usually a few fatalities every year Atheist William Rowe used the example of fire as natural evil, in which lightning started a fire in a forest, which eventually burned a young deer (read "Bambi") that suffered for several days before dying In California, wildfires cause millions of dollars in destruction and usually a few fatalities every year Atheist William Rowe used the example of fire as natural evil, in which lightning started a fire in a forest, which eventually burned a young deer (read "Bambi") that suffered for several days before dying

42 Get Rid of Fires? Fire requirements: Fuel Heat Oxygen Can’t eliminate any sources of fire Cellular metabolism is form of combustion C 6 H 12 O 6 + 6O 2 →6CO 2 + 6H 2 O + Heat Fire requirements: Fuel Heat Oxygen Can’t eliminate any sources of fire Cellular metabolism is form of combustion C 6 H 12 O 6 + 6O 2 →6CO 2 + 6H 2 O + Heat

43 Biological Forms of Natural Evil

44 Genetic Diseases Caused by mutation Some genetic diseases are “good” (i.e., adaptations) Sickle-cell disease Mutation in hemoglobin gene Confers resistance to malaria (which kills 1 million people/year) Homozygous individuals die young Heterozygous individuals suffer minimal morbidity Caused by mutation Some genetic diseases are “good” (i.e., adaptations) Sickle-cell disease Mutation in hemoglobin gene Confers resistance to malaria (which kills 1 million people/year) Homozygous individuals die young Heterozygous individuals suffer minimal morbidity

45 Malaria Life Cycle Sporozoites Mosquito injects sporozoites Into human blood stream Sporozoites infect liver cells Merozoites Merozoites infect red blood cells Merozoites multiply In red blood cells Some merozoites develop into male and female gametocytes Mosquito drinks blood containing gametocytes Liver cells Gametocytes Male Female Male Female Sperm Egg Fertilized Egg Salivary gland Human Host Sperm and egg develop from gametocytes Ookinate Sporozoites migrate To salivary gland Fertilized egg differentiates and moves into stomach Oocyst Sickle Cell Trait

46 Cancer Caused by mutation (or viruses) which cause cells to replicate uncontrollably Couldn’t God have done a better job designing life so that mutation was not possible? Caused by mutation (or viruses) which cause cells to replicate uncontrollably Couldn’t God have done a better job designing life so that mutation was not possible?

47 Mutation Error Rate ParameterHumansBacteria Replication rate60 bp/sec500 bp/sec Error rate~2.2x10 -9 per base per generation ~1x10 -8 per base per generation Slower replication results in fewer errors However, given the laws of thermodynamics, there is no way to make the error rate zero Slower replication results in fewer errors However, given the laws of thermodynamics, there is no way to make the error rate zero

48 daughter chromosomes 5’ 3’ 5’ 3’ 5’ 3’ Origins of DNA replication (every ~150 kb) 5’ 3’ 5’ Bidirectional replication Fusion of bubbles replication bubble How DNA Replication Occurs

49 DNA ligase DNA polymerase I Helicase primase DNA gyrase  subunit “sliding clamp” Dimeric replicative DNA polymerase Okazaki fragment SSB Primer SSB Molecular Machines Required for DNA Replication

50 Bacteria Single-celled prokaryotes Indispensible to the biomes of the world, recycling carbon and minerals from dead organisms Present at greater than 10 7 organisms/g in soil Greater than bacteria on earth First trophic level in a food chain Single-celled prokaryotes Indispensible to the biomes of the world, recycling carbon and minerals from dead organisms Present at greater than 10 7 organisms/g in soil Greater than bacteria on earth First trophic level in a food chain

51 Bacteria in Humans 10X more bacteria than human cells Colonize the intestinal tract Metabolize “indigestible” material Prevent the overgrowth of pathogens Make biotin and vitamin K for us Pathogens Recent, poorly adapted bacteria Usually originate from other species in which they are better adapted Can’t prevent bacteria from translocating 10X more bacteria than human cells Colonize the intestinal tract Metabolize “indigestible” material Prevent the overgrowth of pathogens Make biotin and vitamin K for us Pathogens Recent, poorly adapted bacteria Usually originate from other species in which they are better adapted Can’t prevent bacteria from translocating Neisseria gonorrhoeae

52 Viral Diseases Obligate intracellular parasites Probably originated as prokayotic parasites that lost much of their molecular machinery, since they could exploit the hosts’ molecular machinery Mycoplasma genitalium is an obligate intracellular parasite that can no longer exist as a free-living bacterium No way to prevent virus formation other than direct intervention when they arise Obligate intracellular parasites Probably originated as prokayotic parasites that lost much of their molecular machinery, since they could exploit the hosts’ molecular machinery Mycoplasma genitalium is an obligate intracellular parasite that can no longer exist as a free-living bacterium No way to prevent virus formation other than direct intervention when they arise H1N1 virus

53 Viruses are Good! ~10 30 viruses in the ocean These viruses positively impact the marine nutrient cycle Dell’Anno, A., et al Major viral impact on the functioning of benthic deep-sea ecosystems. Nature 454, Rohwer, F. and R. Vega Thurber Viruses manipulate the marine environment. Nature 459: ~10 30 viruses in the ocean These viruses positively impact the marine nutrient cycle Dell’Anno, A., et al Major viral impact on the functioning of benthic deep-sea ecosystems. Nature 454, Rohwer, F. and R. Vega Thurber Viruses manipulate the marine environment. Nature 459: H1N1 virus

54 Animal Pain Produced by carnivores on their prey Elimination of carnivores would result in over-population of herbivore populations and starvation Starvation is much more painful than being eaten Produced by disease Removes weak members Strengthens gene pool Produced by carnivores on their prey Elimination of carnivores would result in over-population of herbivore populations and starvation Starvation is much more painful than being eaten Produced by disease Removes weak members Strengthens gene pool

55 Pain is Good! Pain is produced by pain receptors, which transmit the signal via nerves to our brain Tell us that something is wrong People with genetic disorders that prevent pain reception must be constantly watched so that they don’t do things that destroy parts of their bodies Pain is produced by pain receptors, which transmit the signal via nerves to our brain Tell us that something is wrong People with genetic disorders that prevent pain reception must be constantly watched so that they don’t do things that destroy parts of their bodies

56 Extent of Natural Evil Natural evil% People Affected/Year Meteorites0% Earthquakes0.02% (Northridge, 1994) Volcanoes0.2% (Mt. St. Helens, 1980) Landslides0.02% Floods0.03% Hurricanes1% (Katrina, 2005) Tornadoes0.006% Lightning % Fires0.1% Genetic diseases1.3% Cancer0.5% Infectious diseases0.06% (deaths) Total3.2%

57 Natural Evil Conclusions All physical processes that produce natural evil are required for the proper functioning and existence of life on earth It is not the case that there exist instances of intense suffering which an omnipotent, omniscient Being could have prevented without thereby losing some greater good or permitting some evil equally bad or worse. All physical processes that produce natural evil are required for the proper functioning and existence of life on earth It is not the case that there exist instances of intense suffering which an omnipotent, omniscient Being could have prevented without thereby losing some greater good or permitting some evil equally bad or worse.

58 The Tinkering God? Yes, God can (and has) intervened in the laws of physics to prevent some natural evil (i.e., miracles) Why couldn’t God intervene to prevent all natural evil? People would become complacent, expecting God to rescue them whenever they messed up The laws of physics would be deemed unreliable, since God would be constantly breaking them Yes, God can (and has) intervened in the laws of physics to prevent some natural evil (i.e., miracles) Why couldn’t God intervene to prevent all natural evil? People would become complacent, expecting God to rescue them whenever they messed up The laws of physics would be deemed unreliable, since God would be constantly breaking them

59 Different Laws of Physics? Nearly all natural evil is the direct result of the laws of thermodynamics Eliminate the laws of thermodynamics no stars no electromagnetic radiation (including light no machines (including biological ones) that depend on heat/energy flow Nearly all natural evil is the direct result of the laws of thermodynamics Eliminate the laws of thermodynamics no stars no electromagnetic radiation (including light no machines (including biological ones) that depend on heat/energy flow

60 The Perfect Universe CharacteristicImplication There will be no Sun or moon or stars No thermodynamics No more death, suffering, pain No thermodynamics No seaNo water cycle Gravity will be absent or greatly reduced Heaven does not contain matter (?) Believers will receive a spiritual, non-physical body Heaven does not contain matter (?) No sinLimited free will?


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