Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

The Problem of Evil. Our Question Our question is: Does God Exist? Theism: God exists. Atheism: God does not exist. Agnosticism: “I don’t know.”  Weak:

Similar presentations


Presentation on theme: "The Problem of Evil. Our Question Our question is: Does God Exist? Theism: God exists. Atheism: God does not exist. Agnosticism: “I don’t know.”  Weak:"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Problem of Evil

2 Our Question Our question is: Does God Exist? Theism: God exists. Atheism: God does not exist. Agnosticism: “I don’t know.”  Weak: I happen not to know. Maybe someone else does.  Strong: No one knows (despite what they might think).  Super-Strong: It is impossible for anyone to know.

3 Agenda The (supposed) nature of God The nature of evil Incompatibilism and the atheistic argument from evil An argument for Incompatibilism

4 We Need Ground Rules To clarify the question: What sort of thing is God supposed to be? Both atheists and theists should be able to agree on the answer.

5 What Sort of Thing is God? God is supposed to be:  Powerful (Omnipotent, Almighty): God can do anything that can be done;  Knowledgeable (Omniscient): God can know anything that can be known; and  Good (Omnibenevolent): God loves and cares about all his creatures. Set aside: The paradox of the stone.

6 God is a Person Conclusion from our reflections: If God exists,  he can do things,  he knows things, and  he cares about things. If God exists, he is a person.

7 Mere Monotheism Mere Monotheism: the doctrine that there exists a person who is almighty, all-knowing, and all-good. God doesn’t have to look like this

8 Remarks on What Needs to be Shown Theists need to show that a certain kind of person exists. God, if He exists  is not a paperweight  is not the Big Bang  is not an idea  is not an emotion

9 Agenda The (supposed) nature of God The nature of evil Incompatibilism and the atheistic argument from evil An argument for Incompatibilism

10 There is Evil in this world (or at least bad) The problem of evil revolves around the claim that… … there is evil in this world.  cruelty,  jealousy,  pain,  depression,  torture,  injustice,  disease,  natural calamity of all sorts,  etc.,  ad nauseum.

11 Two Kinds of Evil Natural EvilArtificial Evil What is it? Examples Evil not caused by human actions Evil caused by human actions  cutting in line (injustice)  Making fun of your aunt for her weird dye-job (cruelty)  stealing a nickel from your Mom for candy (theft)  hurricanes  epidemics  tsunamis  earthquakes

12 Complicating the Distinction I: Natural Evil and Human Action Note: natural evil seems to require animal suffering. No suffering means no evil – examples:  paleozoic volcanic eruptions  that huge storm on Jupiter

13 Complicating the Distinction I: Natural Evil and Human Action (cont.) An upshot: some natural evils are made worse by human action. Examples:  building a city below the level of an adjoining lake  living at the base of a volcano  raising chickens or other livestock in great numbers

14 Complicating the Distinction II: Artificial Evil and Nature Artificial evil almost always requires the cooperation of nature. Examples:  the villain’s gun  The villain’s radio

15 Summary of the complications i.Some natural evils are bad (or made worse) because of human action. ii.Almost any artificial evil is bad because of the operation of natural laws. iii.Some cases are hard to classify. Examples:  global warming  the Dust Bowl  using bioweapons

16 Agenda The (supposed) nature of God The nature of evil Incompatibilism and the atheistic argument from evil An argument for Incompatibilism

17 Existence of God, Existence of Evil Incompatibilism: the doctrine that, if God exists, then bad things do not happen. Four positions: Does God exist? Do bad things happen? Yes No Compatibilist Theism Polyanna Theism Incompatibilist Atheism Polyanna Atheism Implausible! These are the only positions we will be considering

18 The Atheist Argument from Evil 1)Incompatibilism: If God exists, then bad things do not happen. 2)Our Assumption: Bad things happen (C) Atheism: God does not exist. We can generate an argument for atheism, if we can establish Incompatibilism: But why think Incompatibilism is true?

19 Agenda The (supposed) nature of God The nature of evil Incompatibilism and the atheistic argument from evil An argument for Incompatibilism

20 The Antidote Argument for Incompatibilism 1)The Antidote Principle: If God exists, then: a)He knows when bad things are going to happen; b)He is powerful enough to prevent bad things from happening; and c)He wants bad things not to happen. 2)The Bystander Limitations: If a person P does not prevent something from happening, then either: a)She didn’t know it would happen; b)She wasn’t powerful enough to prevent it; or c)She didn’t want it not to happen. (C) Incompatibilism: If God exists, then bad things do not happen. “God is the antidote to evil” “There are limits on what you’ll fail to prevent.”

21 The Antidote Argument for Incompatibilism 1)The Antidote Principle: If God exists, then: a)He knows when bad things are going to happen; b)He is powerful enough to prevent bad things from happening; and c)He wants bad things not to happen. 2)The Bystander Limitations: If a person P does not prevent something from happening, then either: a)She didn’t know it would happen; b)She wasn’t powerful enough to prevent it; or c)She didn’t want it not to happen. (C) Incompatibilism: If God exists, then bad things do not happen. All- loving Omnipotent Omniscient

22 Why Think the Bystander Limitations are true? The Bystander Limitations admit only three excuses: Ignorance:  Encyclopedia Brown Powerlessness:  Coyote Indifference:  You let your mother give your child a cookie How could you fail to prevent that from happening? I didn’t know I couldn’t do anything I didn’t care

23 The Antidote Argument for Incompatibilism 1)The Antidote Principle: If God exists, then: a)He knows when bad things are going to happen; b)He is powerful enough to prevent bad things from happening; and c)He wants bad things not to happen. 2)The Bystander Limitations: If a person P fails to prevent something from happening, then either: a)She didn’t know it would happen; b)She wasn’t powerful enough to prevent it; or c)She didn’t want it not to happen. (C) Incompatibilism: If God exists, then bad things do not happen. Indifference Powerlessness Ignorance

24 Leibniz Gottfried Leibniz (1646 – 1716) Leibniz was a mathematician, physicist, and philosopher. Leibniz is a compatibilist theist.

25 Agenda Leibniz’s Thesis The New Antidote Argument The Burden of Theodicy Three Objections

26 This is the best of all possible worlds 1)Whoever does not choose the best among several possible alternatives is lacking in power, in knowledge, or in goodness. 2)God is not lacking in power, knowledge or goodness. 3)God chose to create this world out of all of the possible worlds he could have created. Leibniz argues: this world is the best of all possible worlds. (C) This world is the best out of all possible worlds.

27 Leibniz’s Argument seems a lot like the Antidote Argument 1)Whoever does not choose the best among several possible alternatives is lacking in power, in knowledge, or in goodness. 2)God is not lacking in power, knowledge or goodness. 3)God chose to create this world out of all of the possible worlds he could have created. (C) This world is the best out of all possible worlds. … the Antidote Principle Reminds me of… … the Bystander Limitations

28 Leibniz: Bad Things Happen “[T]he best plan is not always that which seeks to avoid evil, since it may happen that the evil is accompanied by a greater good. For example, a general of an army will prefer a great victory with a slight wound to a condition without wound and without victory.” (p. 92, col. 1) Leibniz: I will tolerate “necessary evils.” Examples:  the wound is necessary for the victory  flu shots  high criminal burden of proof Leibniz’s Thesis: Each bad thing that happens in this world is necessary to secure a greater good.

29 Agenda Leibniz’s Thesis The New Antidote Argument The Burden of Theodicy Three Objections

30 How does this help with the Antidote Argument? How does the idea of a necessary evil help with the Antidote Argument? Necessary evils present counter-examples to Bystander Limitations:  The general allows the wound to happen, even though he knows it will happen, he could prevent it, and wants it not to happen.  I allow the prick to happen, even though, etc.  We allow the guilty to go free, even though, etc.

31 Bystander Limitations is False The Bystander Limitations: If a person P does not prevent something from happening, then either: a)She didn’t know it would happen; b)She wasn’t powerful enough to prevent it; c)She didn’t want it not to happen; OR d)Allowing it is necessary for her to secure some greater good. Leibniz holds that Bystander Limitations is simply false. There is a missing condition: we need to allow for necessary evils. Once you add this condition, Incompatibilism no longer follows.

32 The New Antidote Argument 1)The Antidote Principle: If God exists, then: a)He knows when bad things are going to happen; b)He is powerful enough to prevent bad things from happening; and c)He wants bad things not to happen. 2)The Bystander Limitations: If a person P does not prevent something from happening, then either: a)She didn’t know it would happen; b)She wasn’t powerful enough to prevent it; c)She didn’t want it not to happen; d)Allowing it is necessary for her to secure some greater good. (C) Incompatibilism: If God exists, then bad things do not happen. Here’s the old Antidote Argument: Here’s the new Bystander Limitations: (C) “Necessary Evil” Compatibilism: If God exists, then bad things do not happen, unless allowing them to happen is required in order to secure a greater good. The new argument gets a new conclusion: OR

33 Agenda Leibniz’s Thesis The New Antidote Argument The Burden of Theodicy Three Objections

34 Leibniz’s Thesis, Amplified Theodicy: an argument that the existence of evil is justified. Theist strategy: for any given evil, show that it is necessary to achieve a greater good. Leibniz’s Thesis: Each bad thing that happens in this world is necessary to secure a greater good.

35 How could evil be required to secure a greater good? The Free Will Theodicy : a world in which some crabbiness, cruelty, etc., is allowed, but in which some people choose goodness, kindness, sweetness and light is better than any world without crabbiness, cruelty, etc., but in which God forces his creatures to goodness, kindness, sweetness, and light. The Appreciation Theodicy : a world in which some misery is allowed, but in which people appreciate what contentment they may find is better than any world full of spoiled but contented ingrates.

36 Compatibilism, Weak and Strong Weak Compatibilism: God’s existence is compatible in principle with the occurrence of some bad things. Strong Compatibilism: God’s existence is compatible with the occurrence of all the bad things that there actually are. "I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidae with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of Caterpillars, or that a cat should play with mice." (Charles Darwin, Letter to American botanist Asa Gray, source: wikipedia entry for “Ichneumon”) source:

37 The Burden of Theodicy Make a list of all the bad things that have ever actually happened: B1: Hurricane Katrina, B2: the Haitian Earthquake, B3: World War II, … Strong Compatibilism says: God’s existence is compatible with B1; and God’s existence is compatible with B2; and God’s existence is compatible with B3; and … Strong Compatibilism: God’s existence is compatible with the occurrence of all the bad things that there actually are.

38 The Burden of Theodicy The Theist needs strong compatibilism. An theodicy is inadequate if a single instance of actual evil is incompatible with the existence of God. Strong Compatibilism: God’s existence is compatible with the occurrence of all the bad things that there actually are.

39 Agenda Leibniz’s Thesis The New Antidote Argument The Burden of Theodicy Three Objections

40 Three Objections: Agenda Pointless Suffering Why is All This Evil Necessary? The Distribution of Evil Leibniz’s Thesis: Each bad thing that happens in this world is necessary to secure a greater good.

41 Each and every bad thing? Pointless suffering: bad things that do not have compensating good effects. Examples (?):  100% fatal prehistoric natural disasters Leibniz’s Thesis: Each bad thing that happens in this world is necessary to secure a greater good.

42 Each and every bad thing? There are really two related objections here: i.Existence: some suffering is pointless. ii.Extent: God seems to be laying it on a bit thick Examples:  sports injuries  headaches Leibniz’s Thesis: Each bad thing that happens in this world is necessary to secure a greater good.

43 Three Objections: Agenda Pointless Suffering Why is All This Evil Necessary? The Distribution of Evil Leibniz’s Thesis: Each bad thing that happens in this world is necessary to secure a greater good.

44 Is that really necessary? Who makes the rules around here, anyway? God, if He exists, is powerful:  The general can’t secure a victory without a wound, but God can;  I can’t give someone an immunity to the flu without some discomfort, but God can. Leibniz’s Thesis: Each bad thing that happens in this world is necessary to secure a greater good.

45 A convenient misfire would have come in handy… Or a good, stiff cross-breeze. Is that really necessary? (vs. the Free Will Theodicy) Action Cause Misery Free Will:  the benefits of free will are secured by the time the agent executes her decision.  the misery has yet to be caused – that requires cooperation from nature.  a minor miracle could save the benefits and prevent the evil. Leibniz’s Thesis: Each bad thing that happens in this world is necessary to secure a greater good.

46 Is that really necessary? (vs. the Appreciation Theodicy) Appreciation Theodicy:  If God exists, it seems to be within his power to make us appreciate how good we have it without seeing (or experiencing) misery.  How about movies, or other fake misery, instead of real misery? Misery Causes Appreciation Gee Willikers, am I a lucky ducky! Leibniz’s Thesis: Each bad thing that happens in this world is necessary to secure a greater good.

47 Three Objections: Agenda Pointless Suffering Why is All This Evil Necessary? The Distribution of Evil Leibniz’s Thesis: Each bad thing that happens in this world is necessary to secure a greater good.

48 For the greater good? Whose good? The idea here is: some people bear the costs of the evil, and others get to reap the benefits. This seems unfair; and Inconsistent with love. Leibniz’s Thesis: Each bad thing that happens in this world is necessary to secure a greater good.


Download ppt "The Problem of Evil. Our Question Our question is: Does God Exist? Theism: God exists. Atheism: God does not exist. Agnosticism: “I don’t know.”  Weak:"

Similar presentations


Ads by Google