Author Topic: A world devoid of evil would disprove God.  (Read 1037 times)

A world devoid of evil would disprove God.
« on: June 11, 2020, 12:34:49 PM »
From what I know of what some apologists argue, they would conclude that God did not exist if there was no evil at all in the world, or at least they would not be as sure that God exists.

How do I arrive at this strange conclusion? Some apologists like William Lane Craig tell us that evil in the world proves God. He argues that if we discern evil in the world, then morality must be objective, and if morality is objective, then God exists! If we look at this argument another way, if there was no evil in the world, then there would be no proof for God--or at least we would not have any of that great suffering that is evidence for God.

I see at least one fallacy in this argument. It equivocates on the word "evil." It starts out with evil understood as needless suffering. It then proceeds to use "evil" as our recognition of needless suffering rather than needless suffering itself.

Non sequiturs also appear in the argument.


Offline Baruch

Re: A world devoid of evil would disprove God.
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2020, 12:59:36 PM »
That is a bad argument, isn't it.  A world with some good in it, would be better.  Pessimists would say that a world with evil, or totally evil, disproves G-d (because G-d is presumed, to be pure good).  No wonder dualism (God plus Devil) is more popular.  Monotheism is hard to take ... there is a verse in the Bible that says the G-d is responsible for both good and evil.  Evil is allowed to test faith ;-(
Ha’át’íísh baa naniná?
Azee’ ła’ish nanídį́į́h?
Táadoo ánít’iní.
What are you doing?
Are you taking any medications?
Don't do that.

Re: A world devoid of evil would disprove God.
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2020, 01:34:49 PM »
That is a bad argument, isn't it.

Yes, it's obviously a bad argument. Did you catch the non sequiturs in the argument?

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A world with some good in it, would be better.

Many apologists say that God allows evil in the present in order to achieve a "greater good" in the future. If we try to decrease evil, then we are evidently opposing God's plan. God must be really pissed at all the doctors in the world!

I should also point out that there is far more good in the world than bad. As such, the good in the world as evidence against the existence of God outweighs the evil that is evidence for God.

Finally, if something really good happens to an apologist, does that good raise doubts in her mind about the existence of God?

Offline Baruch

Re: A world devoid of evil would disprove God.
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2020, 03:01:26 PM »
Yes, it's obviously a bad argument. Did you catch the non sequiturs in the argument?

Many apologists say that God allows evil in the present in order to achieve a "greater good" in the future. If we try to decrease evil, then we are evidently opposing God's plan. God must be really pissed at all the doctors in the world!

I should also point out that there is far more good in the world than bad. As such, the good in the world as evidence against the existence of God outweighs the evil that is evidence for God.

Finally, if something really good happens to an apologist, does that good raise doubts in her mind about the existence of God?

I assumed you had made an error in the text, or had a failed irony.

So what do you think?  Is the world good, evil or both?  You say both.  This is the majority opinion.  I don't like the "god's test of faith" argument at all.

Do you believe that the world has a cause other than nature?  If nature, then nature is both good and bad.  I have a hard time giving ethical agency to quantum mechanics.
Ha’át’íísh baa naniná?
Azee’ ła’ish nanídį́į́h?
Táadoo ánít’iní.
What are you doing?
Are you taking any medications?
Don't do that.

Offline SGOS

Re: A world devoid of evil would disprove God.
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2020, 12:40:54 PM »
1.  If God does not exist, objective moral values do not exist.  (here he throws in a distraction, "Even atheists agree.")
2.  Evil exists
3.  Therefore objective moral values do exist.
4.  Therefore God exists.

The distraction refocuses your mind from the logic to considering if atheists actually agree, but he keeps talking real fast so that no one can keep up with the logic, and you get a bunch of people nodding their heads without knowing what he's saying.

But in regards to non sequiturs, #3 does not follow from #2 because claiming evil exists can be subjective or objective. Objectivity is not required.  Just ask a Cristian to identify something evil.  He may say, "Walt Disney" or "video games."  Just because I say evil exists, does not make me objective.

I suppose you could claim that #3 does follow based on #1, but as first premise, #1 is a claim, which can't be verified.  It's validity is entirely dependent on God being a moral authority and that he actually exists, but you can't assume in the first premise what you intend to prove in the conclusion.  You may as well save some time and just say,
"God exists.  Therefore God exists."

#4 does not follow from #3 because #3 is a claim that is not supported.  God's existence (or not) does not require morality, either objective or subjective.

I think I have that right.  Often times I've torn apart someone's reasoning, and then listen to someone I consider an expert tear apart the same reasoning, and it doesn't sound at all like what I said.  lol


Re: A world devoid of evil would disprove God.
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2020, 04:50:53 PM »
Damn, I wish I had time to break that down properly, it'd be fun! But, alas, I haven't the time.
God Not Found
"There is a sucker born-again every minute." - C. Spellman

Re: A world devoid of evil would disprove God.
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2020, 07:31:57 PM »
I assumed you had made an error in the text, or had a failed irony.

Well, apologists may have committed a failed irony assuming they are good logicians.

Anyway, look for any conclusions in the argument that don't follow logically from their premise(s).

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So what do you think?  Is the world good, evil or both?  You say both.  This is the majority opinion.
 

I think there is a lot more good in the world than bad, and we people deserve credit for all the hard work we have done to create that goodness. It demonstrates that human nature is basically good.

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I don't like the "god's test of faith" argument at all.

If there is such a test, then I have failed it. I do not have the faith to believe in any gods.

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Do you believe that the world has a cause other than nature?  If nature, then nature is both good and bad.  I have a hard time giving ethical agency to quantum mechanics.

It seems to me that to assign a cause to the cosmos is a category error. "Causes" are events we humans say led to the occurrence of other events. Causes being events occur within the universe and over time. The universe obviously cannot have such a cause because if there was no universe than there would be no time as we know it and no universe for that cause to occur in!

By the way, Cal-Tech physicist Sean Carroll says that science does not concern itself with causes. There are just a series of events that happen over time. Causality, then, is more the province of philosophy than of science.

Re: A world devoid of evil would disprove God.
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2020, 07:57:07 PM »
1.  If God does not exist, objective moral values do not exist.  (here he throws in a distraction, "Even atheists agree.")
2.  Evil exists
3.  Therefore objective moral values do exist.
4.  Therefore God exists.

That's a very good summary of the argument!

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The distraction refocuses your mind from the logic to considering if atheists actually agree...

I don't agree that the objectivity of morality has anything to do with God. I tend to disagree with much the the Bible's "morality," and if that's objective morality, then I'm glad I don't have objective morality!

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...but he keeps talking real fast so that no one can keep up with the logic, and you get a bunch of people nodding their heads without knowing what he's saying.

Apologists tend to talk very quickly in debates. To be fair, such "rapid fire" is warranted considering that they have little time to make their points.

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But in regards to non sequiturs, #3 does not follow from #2 because claiming evil exists can be subjective or objective. Objectivity is not required.  Just ask a Cristian to identify something evil.  He may say, "Walt Disney" or "video games."  Just because I say evil exists, does not make me objective.

Again, the argument equivocates on the word "evil." It uses evil first as senseless suffering and then proceeds to use it to mean our perception of that suffering rather than the suffering itself. And you are correct that our perception of evil varies from person to person and is therefore very subjective. There simply is nothing objective about morality.

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I suppose you could claim that #3 does follow based on #1, but as first premise, #1 is a claim, which can't be verified.  It's validity is entirely dependent on God being a moral authority and that he actually exists, but you can't assume in the first premise what you intend to prove in the conclusion.  You may as well save some time and just say,
"God exists.  Therefore God exists."

Well, premise 1 is fine regarding the existence of God because God's existence is not asserted, but the  nonexistence of objective morality is conditioned on the nonexistence of God. That's where the premise gets into trouble--the existence of objective morality has nothing to do with God.

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#4 does not follow from #3 because #3 is a claim that is not supported.  God's existence (or not) does not require morality, either objective or subjective.

Again, even if we assume that objective morality exists, God's existence is not then proved. So the existence of objective morality does not require God's existence. (Your logic is correct, but you had it the other way around.)

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I think I have that right.  Often times I've torn apart someone's reasoning, and then listen to someone I consider an expert tear apart the same reasoning, and it doesn't sound at all like what I said.  lol

Your analysis is good. With a little polish, you could be another Richard Carrier!

Offline aitm

Re: A world devoid of evil would disprove God.
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2020, 11:24:30 AM »
If evil did not exist, had god not “create” it, what would be the default? Can there be good with no evil? Or is it just a nil?
As god itself has shown it’s willingness to be the hand of evil, how does the moral implications suggest god as the ultimate model of good when “do as I say not as I do”...is the default for moral behavior?

Perhaps there is neither, or perhaps there is both, at the same time. Neither can exist without the other, there can never be all good or all evil but both at all times. For only good can exist if evil does and versa.

Or perhaps, I’ll just have another beer.
A humans desire to live is exceeded only by their willingness to die for another. Even god cannot equal this magnificent sacrifice. No god has the right to judge them.-first tenant of the Panotheust

Re: A world devoid of evil would disprove God.
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2020, 05:32:31 PM »
If evil did not exist, had god not “create” it, what would be the default?

Many apologists try to save their faith by arguing that people created evil. (You know the story of the talking snake.) The world God created was perfect, but we messed it up, so it's all our fault.

I've often wondered how a perfect world could be messed up by people. If it was perfect, then it could not be damaged in any way.

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Can there be good with no evil? Or is it just a nil?

Sure. I often have good things with no attendant evil. Yet more Christians try to say you can't have the former without the latter.

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As god itself has shown it’s willingness to be the hand of evil, how does the moral implications suggest god as the ultimate model of good when “do as I say not as I do”...is the default for moral behavior?

The Christian god does not set a good example, now does he? If I acted like he is said to, then I would be in prison or dead.

Anyway, the "objective" morality apologists like to spout off about is really obedience to God's commands no matter what you think. Like Abraham, you should be willing to kill your own son if God tells you to.

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Perhaps there is neither, or perhaps there is both, at the same time. Neither can exist without the other, there can never be all good or all evil but both at all times. For only good can exist if evil does and versa.

I'll take all good, thank you. Since apologists think evil is so great, then what evil shall we grant them?

Re: A world devoid of evil would disprove God.
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2020, 07:40:39 PM »
The Christians were so avid to see the world as ugly and bad that they've made it ugly and bad.
Can't recall who said that.
God Not Found
"There is a sucker born-again every minute." - C. Spellman

Re: A world devoid of evil would disprove God.
« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2020, 10:19:14 PM »
The Christians were so avid to see the world as ugly and bad that they've made it ugly and bad.

Many Christians have done wonderful things for the world, but it seems that when they do so, they misinterpret their own religion. When they really get it right and take it seriously, that's when the trouble starts.

In any case, there is an obsession among many Christians that the world is, as you say, ugly and bad. I'm not sure if that attitude causes people to become Christians, or if being a Christian causes one to adopt such an attitude. One good way to muzzle Christians when they preach how evil the world is and ask if you agree that the Christian hope of the kingdom of God is better, just say no--you prefer the world as it is. This world is far from perfect, but at least we don't need to eternally scream the praises of a God whom we know is roasting most of the world's people.

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Can't recall who said that.

Friedrich Nietzsche:

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The Christian resolution to find the world ugly and bad has made the world ugly and bad.

Re: A world devoid of evil would disprove God.
« Reply #12 on: July 09, 2020, 06:00:00 PM »
1.  If God does not exist, objective moral values do not exist.  (here he throws in a distraction, "Even atheists agree.")
2.  Evil exists
3.  Therefore objective moral values do exist.
4.  Therefore God exists.

Yeah, pretty bad argument.

The argument fails at premise 1, for two reasons.

1. Even if there is a god, objective morality may still not exist. The definition of objective is, "not influenced by personal feelings or opinions". But wait, isn't morality, according to Christians, supposed to be the personal feelings or opinions of what Yahweh considers moral? Sometimes I get the idea that Christians confuse "objective morality" with "absolute morality".

2. There are forms of objective morality that do not require gods. Within these moral systems, the objective standards are the physical laws of the universe.

Example:

If morality is defined as, actions that are best for the well being of conscious beings, an objective moral system can be derived from this.

We all live in the same physical universe, with the same physical bodies and brains, subject to the same physical laws.

Since I know, that for me: life is preferable to death, health is preferable to disease, freedom is preferable to slavery, comfort is preferable to torture, keeping my things is preferable to having them stolen, etc, I can easily extrapolate, that the vast majority of others feel the same way. All these are in my best interest for my well being.


From this, it is easy to figure out, that the same (or very similar) things that are best for my well being, are also best for other's well being.

For example: it is objectively true, that lopping my head off is against my well being. In other words, with well being as the goal, it is objectively immoral to decapitate another person.

Objective morality, no gods required.



And if there were a God, I think it very unlikely that He would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence - Russell

Online Hydra009

Re: A world devoid of evil would disprove God.
« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2020, 06:18:05 PM »
Ever notice that most evangelical arguments involve tying something we value (morality, meaning, life itself) to some God and hoping that this'll cause people to value this God character?

Offline Sal1981

Re: A world devoid of evil would disprove God.
« Reply #14 on: July 09, 2020, 09:18:33 PM »
Ever notice that most evangelical arguments involve tying something we value (morality, meaning, life itself) to some God and hoping that this'll cause people to value this God character?
Co-option, the game.

If theists are unable to discern values independently, without relation to God, then I think they muddy those values.

When I still believed, it was second nature to ascribe meaning and values in relation to God. As an atheist I've grown to second-guess, doubt, all my values.

Doubt is considered a carnal sin in faith, when really only with doubt you're able to correct mistakes in the first place.
"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool" --- Richard P. Feynman