Heywood and epronovost on the Problem of evil
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21-09-2015, 11:59 AM (This post was last modified: 21-09-2015 12:11 PM by epronovost.)
Heywood and epronovost on the Problem of evil
The problem of evil was first presented officially by Epicurus. Though there is several version of the problem of evil his is the most well-known and frequently debated. It puts a dent in a popular definition of God who's described has a anthropomorphic, omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent being who cares about humanity. Epicurus himself wasn't an atheist. He believed in the existence of at least one god, but that those gods had very little interests in human existence and thus would not seek or care about judging humanity before or after the death of one of its member. Thus, the problem of evil isn't an argument against god, but an argument against a specific kind of god.

For the benefit of this discussion, I would propose the following, very broad, definition of evil. Evil is the really bad stuff that happens to people for example anguish, atrocious pain and sufferings, despair, hopelessness, oppression, terror, etc. I would exclude the more minor variations of those feelings like discomfort, nervousness, doubt or sadness. These more minor variations wouldn't qualify has evil, but simply has unpleasant and useful in certain, limited context unlike the evil ones.

My thesis would be that an anthropomorphic, omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent being who cares about humanity cannot exist in our reality. The main problem that being would have to face is his criminal responsibility. A being aware of a crime or evil action about to be committed for example like the murder of miss Reynolds, with the power to stop it has to do it else face charges of complicity after the act. God being omniscient would necessarily know about the murder attempt. Being omnipotent, he can stop the murder without effort right before it happens. Since the murderer would present no threat to him this invalidate the only defence he has for not acting. Having such powers and knowledge at his disposal, God is faced with higher responsibility and standards of ethics than even the most powerful man or woman alive. Thus God is faced with the epicurian dilemma.

PS: I tried to keep it short tell me if you thought it was too long.
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21-09-2015, 12:00 PM
RE: Heywood and epronovost on the Problem of evil
I'm assuming this is supposed to be in the boxing ring??

Because I just moved it there


But as if to knock me down, reality came around
And without so much as a mere touch, cut me into little pieces

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21-09-2015, 12:10 PM
RE: Heywood and epronovost on the Problem of evil
(21-09-2015 12:00 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  I'm assuming this is supposed to be in the boxing ring??

Because I just moved it there

woops... forgive me Mother for I have sinned...
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22-09-2015, 12:51 AM (This post was last modified: 22-09-2015 01:00 AM by Heywood Jahblome.)
RE: Heywood and epronovost on the Problem of evil
(21-09-2015 11:59 AM)epronovost Wrote:  For the benefit of this discussion, I would propose the following, very broad, definition of evil. Evil is the really bad stuff that happens to people for example anguish, atrocious pain and sufferings, despair, hopelessness, oppression, terror, etc. I would exclude the more minor variations of those feelings like discomfort, nervousness, doubt or sadness. These more minor variations wouldn't qualify has evil, but simply has unpleasant and useful in certain, limited context unlike the evil ones.

Gaius snuck into the Etruscan camp with ease. He strolled right in carrying a bundle of firewood. The guards did not see the sword he carried under his tunic and mistook Gaius for an ordinary slave rather than the assassin that he was. Gaius spyed a man adorned with the finest of clothes. That must be his target, the Clausian King Lars Porsena who had laid siege to Rome he said to himself. Gaius approached his target, drew his weapon from under his tunic, and swiftly slaughtered the potentate....or so he thought.

The young assassin was immediately besieged by Etruscan soldiers who quickly subdued him. It was then that Gaius learned of his mistake. The man he killed was not the king, but only the king's scribe. The soldiers brought Gauis before the Estruscan king, who was now enraged by the news of the death of his loyal aid.

King Porsena ordered that the assassin be burned alive. "I am Gaius Mucius, a citizen of Rome. I came here as an enemy to kill my enemy" Gaius shouted back. "I am as ready to die as I am to kill. We Romans act bravely and, when adversity strikes, we suffer bravely." Gaius then voluntarily thrusted his right hand into a fire lit for sacrifice. He held it there until it was consumed.

We don't know if the above story is historical or mythical. But lets assume, for a moment, that it is true. The youth must have endured excruciating pain. Why do you claim "atrocious" pain to be evil and minor pain to be useful?
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22-09-2015, 07:01 AM (This post was last modified: 22-09-2015 08:57 AM by epronovost.)
RE: Heywood and epronovost on the Problem of evil
@Heywood

Because minor pain are unpleasant, not evil. There is a gradation in our vocabulary. Someone who's afraid is not has scared has someone whose terrorised. A bad person, isn't really nice, but an evil person is even worst. The problem of evil is about evil people and evil actions/events. We could make an academic discussion about the «problem of annoyance», but let say that the Problem of evil seems like a stronger and more compelling problem to discuss even if the «problem of annoyance» is very real and also challenge the existence of an anthropomorphic, omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent being who cares about humanity. In resume, I separated atrocious pain from physical discomfort because equivocating the two seemed wrong.

If I mentionned the potential usefulness of minor inconvenience earlier, it was a little mistake from my part. Minor symptomes of pain or stress for exemple can be useful to prevent hurting ourselves by accident, but this is only true in our reality where there is no anthropomorphic, omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent being who cares about humanity. If there was such a being, it would be useless too.
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22-09-2015, 12:36 PM (This post was last modified: 22-09-2015 12:40 PM by Heywood Jahblome.)
RE: Heywood and epronovost on the Problem of evil
(22-09-2015 07:01 AM)epronovost Wrote:  @Heywood

Because minor pain are unpleasant, not evil. There is a gradation in our vocabulary. Someone who's afraid is not has scared has someone whose terrorised. A bad person, isn't really nice, but an evil person is even worst. The problem of evil is about evil people and evil actions/events. We could make an academic discussion about the «problem of annoyance», but let say that the Problem of evil seems like a stronger and more compelling problem to discuss even if the «problem of annoyance» is very real and also challenge the existence of an anthropomorphic, omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent being who cares about humanity. In resume, I separated atrocious pain from physical discomfort because equivocating the two seemed wrong.

If I mentionned the potential usefulness of minor inconvenience earlier, it was a little mistake from my part. Minor symptomes of pain or stress for exemple can be useful to prevent hurting ourselves by accident, but this is only true in our reality where there is no anthropomorphic, omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent being who cares about humanity. If there was such a being, it would be useless too.

The Etruscan king was so impressed by Gaius that he released him and sent envoys with him to Rome to work out a peace. If pain could only be felt to a minor degree Gaius would have been executed. It was only because Gaius had the capacity to suffer extreme pain that peace was achieved. The Roman Senate was so grateful they rewarded Gaius with a farm.

Now suppose the story was a little different. Suppose Gaius had been caught stealing bread and the king ordered that his hand be placed in a fire until it was consumed. Surely you would agree that king's action now is horrible for making Gaius suffer such extreme pain.

My point? It is not pain and suffering that defines an event as evil or good. The capacity to suffer pain, including extreme pain is an evolved trait and presumably it conveys an advantage. God would be remiss if He did not create humans with the capacity to suffer.
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22-09-2015, 01:24 PM (This post was last modified: 22-09-2015 02:48 PM by epronovost.)
RE: Heywood and epronovost on the Problem of evil
I don't see how your objection to pain and suffering being a valid standard to establish what is good or evil is pertinent to that case. Since extreme amount of pain, suffering, fear and despair is a very common definition of evil, and the one that Epicurus was referring to, I think we should stick with it. Note that it's also on this principle that we judge the actions of people both in everyday life and in our justice system. Evil people are those who generate great amounts of pain, anguish, despair, etc. Good people are those who do the exact opposite and normal people sit a bit in the middle. It seems fair to judge an anthropomorphic, omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent being who cares about humanity in the same fashion, only with more severity since he has no excuses or weaknesses.

You didn't ask me my opinion on the original Gaius story. Would that be pertinent to your case?

WARNING: THIS POST HAS BEEN EDDITED TO BETTER REPRESENT MY POSITION.
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23-09-2015, 02:46 AM (This post was last modified: 23-09-2015 02:50 AM by Heywood Jahblome.)
RE: Heywood and epronovost on the Problem of evil
(22-09-2015 01:24 PM)epronovost Wrote:  I don't see how your objection to pain and suffering being a valid standard to establish what is good or evil is pertinent to that case. Since extreme amount of pain, suffering, fear and despair is a very common definition of evil, and the one that Epicurus was referring to, I think we should stick with it. Note that it's also on this principle that we judge the actions of people both in everyday life and in our justice system. Evil people are those who generate great amounts of pain, anguish, despair, etc. Good people are those who do the exact opposite and normal people sit a bit in the middle. It seems fair to judge an anthropomorphic, omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent being who cares about humanity in the same fashion, only with more severity since he has no excuses or weaknesses.

You didn't ask me my opinion on the original Gaius story. Would that be pertinent to your case?

WARNING: THIS POST HAS BEEN EDDITED TO BETTER REPRESENT MY POSITION.

I do not accept the premise that extreme pain and suffering or the capacity to feel such is evil. The reason I reject the premise is the ability to suffer extreme pain has utility. When I was growing up, my friends and I would have contest to see who could endure more pain. We would physically hit each other. Now suppose God had created the world so only minor pain could be felt. We would have taken these contest to the point where we seriously harmed our bodies.

The ability to suffer pain even in the extreme isn't evil but rather it is something good. Read this news article about a boy who can't feel pain.

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/meet-toddle...d=20658484
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23-09-2015, 07:15 AM
RE: Heywood and epronovost on the Problem of evil
I reject your argument, for you seem to be incapable of understanding where to draw the line between extreme pain and the other more minor forms of it. Severe pain, which is not evil because it's not as painful as extreme, is more than enough to make all self-inflicted painful activity stop due to concern for the body. In fact most damage to the body would only cause severe pain and not an extreme amount. Your argument commits a strawman fallacy by misrepresenting the concept of extreme pain and constitute an argument from incredulity has to other ways for a body to transmit signs of dangers to itself that may not exist in our reality.

Furthermore, the definition of pain presented earlier also included anguish, terror, despair, hopelessness, oppression and the mention etc. which stands for other terms similar to those that might have been overlooked all of which are psychological and don't mean to translate any form of bodily harm.

None of your example so far allow an anthropomorphic, omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent being who cares about humanity to dodge the problem of responsibility inherent to the problem of evil. Do you understand why and how this makes this creature impossible in our reality?

PS: By your answer, I judge that you aren't interested in reading my opinion on Gaius original or alternate story.
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23-09-2015, 12:40 PM (This post was last modified: 23-09-2015 12:43 PM by Heywood Jahblome.)
RE: Heywood and epronovost on the Problem of evil
(23-09-2015 07:15 AM)epronovost Wrote:  I reject your argument, for you seem to be incapable of understanding where to draw the line between extreme pain and the other more minor forms of it. Severe pain, which is not evil because it's not as painful as extreme, is more than enough to make all self-inflicted painful activity stop due to concern for the body. In fact most damage to the body would only cause severe pain and not an extreme amount. Your argument commits a strawman fallacy by misrepresenting the concept of extreme pain and constitute an argument from incredulity has to other ways for a body to transmit signs of dangers to itself that may not exist in our reality.

What makes you an expert on drawing the line between pain that has utility and pain that is evil? Once you accept that pain has utility, your argument that a Good God cannot exists crumbles into a personal opinion.

Let us suppose there is some optimal amount of capacity to feel pain that exists for human beings. Why wouldn't evolution settle on that optimal level? I tend to think it would. Too little capacity and we would be too reckless with our bodies and not survive long enough to reproduce. Too much capacity and we wouldn't be willing to take the risks necessary to take in order to survive. If there is a capacity that is "just right" I trust that evolution has found it rather than your "expert" opinion that the world has too much and therefore a Good God cannot exist.

(23-09-2015 07:15 AM)epronovost Wrote:  Furthermore, the definition of pain presented earlier also included anguish, terror, despair, hopelessness, oppression and the mention etc. which stands for other terms similar to those that might have been overlooked all of which are psychological and don't mean to translate any form of bodily harm.

When Kimber Reynolds was shot and killed who suffered? Kimber didn't suffer much, perhaps a few moments of fear before she lost consciousness. The people who suffered was everyone else, especially her family. That suffering wasn't physical, it was emotional. I presented this story for the purpose of discussing emotional pain.

Pain, and in the case of Kimber Reynolds emotional pain, is an effect of a cause. Kimber was killed causes us to feel bad. However that emotional pain is also itself a cause. Feeling bad caused us to take action that changed the way we prosecute criminals. The death of Kimber caused emotional pain. Emotional Pain caused political action, Political action lead to many states passing "3 strikes" laws. Physical and emotional pain have utility in this world because they cause us to do things. They motivate us to make this world better for us and that is good. Because of pain and suffering, humans create good.


(23-09-2015 07:15 AM)epronovost Wrote:  PS: By your answer, I judge that you aren't interested in reading my opinion on Gaius original or alternate story.

I'd be happy to read it. I am curious to know if you think one is an example of Good that comes from pain and if the other is an example of evil that comes from pain. If so I would be curious how it is the same circumstance of pain(the consuming of a hand in fire) can be both good and evil.
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