Heywood and epronovost on the Problem of evil
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14-10-2015, 12:08 PM
RE: Heywood and epronovost on the Problem of evil
I reject the premise that a good God would want to prevent all evil. A good parent will sometimes standby and watch their children make mistakes so that the child will learn from that mistake and grow from it. Short term suffering leads to longer term well being.

God's motivation might instead be to maximize the amount of good any human being can do. This would necessitate a world in which human beings can do good. Preventing extreme pain and suffering are good actions so it is not surprising that a Good God would create the world in such a way the human beings have both the opportunity and the motivation to prevent extreme pain and suffering.

Also you still have this problem in that "extreme" is completely subjective. God could have created a world in which the maximum amount of pain one can suffer is a hangnail In that world some would be cursing God for inflicting them with such "extreme" pain and suffering.

Really the problem of evil argument is only objective if you argue that a Good God would not allow any pain and suffering. Once you acknowledge that a Good God would allow some pain and suffering the problem of evil argument really just becomes a value judgement. It amounts to "A Good God can't exist because if I were a Good God, I would have created the world with less pain and suffering".
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14-10-2015, 05:06 PM (This post was last modified: 15-10-2015 06:58 AM by epronovost.)
RE: Heywood and epronovost on the Problem of evil
On your first paragraph, I would refer you again to post 11 and 21 about the firefighter/arsonist problem and the complete uselessness of extreme pain, anguish, terror, hopelessness, despair, etc.

On your second paragraph I would say that the motivations of the God you are referring too (I suspect it’s an anthropomorphic, omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent being that cares about humanity) are useless to our debate. Intentions can be good, but results horrible. If preventing extreme pain is a good action, causing pain is an evil one. If your being causes extreme pain, its evil. If he causes extreme pain to show us how wrong it is to cause extreme pain and attempt to teach us with that experience not to cause extreme pain, then he is an arsonist/firefighter. His magical powers gives him plenty of better options.

Extreme pain, despair, hopelessness, anguish, terror, etc. have clear definitions that pretty much everybody agrees on. Them being dependant our sensations and our capacity to analyse them is a moot point. Our ability to recognise feelings is more than enough to universally grant us the capacity to identify correctly those sensations just like you demonstrated in your first posts. You do not need to have experimented or witnessed extreme pain, hopelessness, anguish, terror, despair, etc. to recognise them or understand them. You only need a bit of insight. Even in a world where the most pain you could feel is a prick on a finger, you would understand this isn't «extreme pain» as we define it in our reality if those human had the capacity or potential to suffer it and were thought the concept. The definition of «extreme pain» might change, but it doesn't make the concept our current definition conveys stop to exist. The important part is not the word, it's its usage.

At least you are understanding the «problem of wrong» which, just like the Problem of evil, makes the existence of an anthropomorphic, omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent being that cares about humanity impossible in our reality because it would cause a logical contradiction and the weigth of the nirvana argument when placed against a fonctionnaly perfect being. I consider this a non sequitur argument, albeit an interesting one, to our debate and we should focus more on the Problem of evil from then on and leave the «Problem of wrong» for latter.

The Problem of evil is «objective» (your usage of the term seems incorrect, or at least not ideal, in that context). The same method that we use to judge people, animals, events and actions have been used to judge the actions and the person of an anthropomorphic, omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent being that cares about humanity. There is no other universally recognised, tested, impartial, method to judge the morality of a being, animal, event or an action by which the anthropomorphic, omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent being that cares about humanity could also be judge. Thus, we could verify if his claim to omnibenevolence in addition to all other characteristics was warranted. If you want to be objective, if you allow an omnibenevolent being to remain morally flawless even if he causes/allow carnages while he could stop them with no trouble or risk to his person, you must allow a human to be considered omnibenevolent even if he causes/allow carnages while he could stop them with no trouble or risk to his person. Do you see the slippery slope to moral nihilism that makes the term omnibenevolence meaningless?

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15-10-2015, 07:25 PM
RE: Heywood and epronovost on the Problem of evil
In my last sentence I should have said concept of omnibenevolence instead of term to be more precise.

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18-10-2015, 12:41 PM (This post was last modified: 18-10-2015 06:02 PM by epronovost.)
RE: Heywood and epronovost on the Problem of evil
I just had another thought about your comment about an anthropomorphic, omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent being that cares about humanity. Where do you see in that definition of a God, the need for him to rule humanity or «father» it. He might just as well be a simple friend or a «brother». Note that there is no mention of him being the master of humanity, only that he cares about it (which in that context means he wants to be involved with them). There is several definition of gods circulating in theology, philosophy and sociology. An anthropomorphic, omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent being that cares about humanity is one of them and the one disproved, amongst other thing, by the Problem of evil due to its logical contradictions. Another popular definition is that of a anthropomorphic, omnipotent, omniscient, master of all reality that cares about humanity. In the first one, the hierarchical position of the being compared to humanity is unmentionned. We only know that it has a relationship with humanity, is relatable and understandable (that's what anthropomorphic means). In the second one, the being is described as hierarchically higher than us. He has a relationship with human and is relatable and understandable, but he is also our indisputable ruler. All that to say, that even if you were correct about the anthropomorphic, omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent being that cares about humanity being allowed to use evil for «good» reasons and thus remaining omnibenevolent (which is an oxymoron considering omnipotent beings are not bound by any circomstances), placing him with an unalterable position of absolute ruler add an extra layer to the definition of God treated by the Problem of evil. Thus, you are taking the Problem of evil out of its context and not solving it. Furthermore, one could easily argue that an absolute ruler cannot be omnibenevolent by definition due to the constrain of that type of leadership. Note that Epicurus own beliefs made him believe that it was possible for a god to exist, but those gods were not the rulers of humanity. In resume you are conflating two different popular version of God. The first one as a type of being and the other one as a title of authority.

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27-10-2015, 02:09 PM
RE: Heywood and epronovost on the Problem of evil
The disconnect you and I are having is you are arguing about one type of God and I am arguing about another. The difference mainly being in the definition of Omnipotence. There are about a billion Catholics in the world and this is the definition for Omnipotence that they use:

Quote:Omnipotence is the power of God to effect whatever is not intrinsically impossible. These last words of the definition do not imply any imperfection, since a power that extends to every possibility must be perfect. The universality of the object of the Divine power is not merely relative but absolute, so that the true nature of omnipotence is not clearly expressed by saying that God can do all things that are possible to Him; it requires the further statement that all things are possible to God. The intrinsically impossible is the self-contradictory, and its mutually exclusive elements could result only in nothingness. "Hence," says Thomas (Summa I, Q. xxv, a. 3), "it is more exact to say that the intrinsically impossible is incapable of production, than to say that God cannot produce it." To include the contradictory within the range of omnipotence, as does the Calvinist Vorstius, is to acknowledge the absurd as an object of the Divine intellect, and nothingness as an object of the Divine will and power. "God can do all things the accomplishment of which is a manifestation of power," says Hugh of St. Victor, "and He is almighty because He cannot be powerless" (De sacram., I, ii, 22).

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11251c.htm

When I think about omnipotence I think about it as the ability to do all that is logically possible. My views on it are not that far off from the Catholics.

You are using a definition of omnipotence which suggests that God has the power to do the logically impossible. Now if God can do the logically impossible then logical impossibilities are well.....possible. If logical impossibilities are possible then a good God could allow evil. You can't give God the ability to do the logically impossible and then claim such a God can't exist because what He has done is logically impossible. That argument simply doesn't follow.

The problem of evil doesn't disprove the God you are referring too. The God you are referring is simply nonsensical. That was the point I was trying to make with the halting problem posts.

I'd like to discuss the problem of evil in the context of a God who can do all that is logically possible.
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27-10-2015, 03:00 PM (This post was last modified: 27-10-2015 03:55 PM by epronovost.)
RE: Heywood and epronovost on the Problem of evil
If you want to debate the Problem of evil, you have to use the definition of god presented in the Problem of evil unless you want to debate a strawman. The definition of omnipotence that Epicurus was refering to in his dilema was that of a being capable of doing anything he could ever want. He is bound by no circomstances, limited by no weakness and can effortlessly triumph from all difficulties. He can alter reality in fashion that is unique to him. Omnipotence is a capacity. It doesn't mean the being does everything. An omnipotent being could never eat bread, but would have the capacity to do so.

I would also question the criteria of what is «logicaly possible» for a god using your definition of omnipotent and what is not and ESPECIALLY why. I would also like to know if such a being can do the following things: predict the future with perfect accuracy, raise the dead, control weather and disease, manipulate minds, time travel, transform matter, alter the laws of gravity or mouvement, be everywhere at once and create matter and other complex thing out of absolutly nothing. I would like you to be very precise in what you think an omnipotent being could or could not do and I will ask you questions. It might be possible for your definition of omnipotent to reach a point where, to all intend and purpose, it could be considered compatible with the general definiton of the term (which allow a god to do the everything). All in all, if the being cannot stop evil because or if he lacks the power to prevent it, then he is not omnipotent according to the definition refered to by the Problem of evil and you have exited it by one of the prepared way.

Omnibenevolence isn't a capacity. It's a judgement of the character of the being. An omnibenevolent being is not a being that has the capacity to do only benevolent actions. At least not in the context of the definition of the Problem of evil. Think about it, if capacity for good was enough to qualify a being of good. Then Hitler was has much a good man than Martin Luther King. To be qualified of omnibenevolent you must do only benevolent things and certainly no wrong, let alone evil, things. This include being apathic to people sufferings, even the self inflicted ones, when you have the power to prevent with no risk to yourself and little requirements in term of time, effort and ressources.

PS: I will mention it again but the definition of god as an anthropomorphic, omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent being that cares about humanity is plagued with tons of logical contradiction and inconsistencies that makes its existence completly impossible in our reality. The Problem of evil is just one of the ways to demonstrate it, but there is dozen others which you and I might find much more efficient like the problem of divine hidenness or the problem of omnipotence (you just mentionned it above) that demonstrate the exact same thing than the Problem of evil in a different way. An anthropomorphic, omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent being that cares about humanity cannot exist in our reality. If you are not opposed to that conclusion, then this debate is over.

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28-10-2015, 01:04 AM
RE: Heywood and epronovost on the Problem of evil
(27-10-2015 03:00 PM)epronovost Wrote:  If you want to debate the Problem of evil, you have to use the definition of god presented in the Problem of evil unless you want to debate a strawman. The definition of omnipotence that Epicurus was refering to in his dilema was that of a being capable of doing anything he could ever want. He is bound by no circomstances, limited by no weakness and can effortlessly triumph from all difficulties. He can alter reality in fashion that is unique to him. Omnipotence is a capacity. It doesn't mean the being does everything. An omnipotent being could never eat bread, but would have the capacity to do so.

If such a being could do anything it wanted, it could be all good and allow evil if that is what it wanted to do.

Premise 1. If God exists then God can do anything He wants to do even if it is a logical contradiction.

Premise 2. It is a logical contradiction to be all good, all powerful yet allow Evil.

Conclusion: If God exists He can be All Good/ All powerful and still allow Evil.

The existence of evil is not a problem for an Epicurian God.

(27-10-2015 03:00 PM)epronovost Wrote:  I would also question the criteria of what is «logicaly possible» for a god using your definition of omnipotent and what is not and ESPECIALLY why. I would also like to know if such a being can do the following things: predict the future with perfect accuracy, raise the dead, control weather and disease, manipulate minds, time travel, transform matter, alter the laws of gravity or mouvement, be everywhere at once and create matter and other complex thing out of absolutly nothing. I would like you to be very precise in what you think an omnipotent being could or could not do and I will ask you questions. It might be possible for your definition of omnipotent to reach a point where, to all intend and purpose, it could be considered compatible with the general definiton of the term (which allow a god to do the everything). All in all, if the being cannot stop evil because or if he lacks the power to prevent it, then he is not omnipotent according to the definition refered to by the Problem of evil and you have exited it by one of the prepared way.

Predict the future with perfect accuracy would be dependent on the system. If God created a system in which future outcomes could not be predicted even by Himself then He could not predict future outcomes of that system with perfect accuracy.
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28-10-2015, 10:01 AM (This post was last modified: 28-10-2015 01:26 PM by epronovost.)
RE: Heywood and epronovost on the Problem of evil
Your premise 1 is faulty. The criteria used to determine what is good and was is not is independant of the being judged. That's why it's objective. Like I mentionned before, omnibenevolence is a judgement of a god (or other being) character and actions. An anthropomorphic, omnipotent, omniscient being that cares about humanity can consider himself has omnibenevolent. It doesn't mean he actualy is. For that, he has to demonstrate that he meets the criteria necessary to make him ommnibenevolent just like any person has demonstrate to lie only in exceptionnal circomstances or not at all to be considered honest. Could an anthropomorphic, omnipotent, omniscient being that cares about humanity be also omnibenevolent? Yes he could, but not in our reality because there is observable evil.

Furthermore, the term «logicaly impossible» employed in the conventionnal definition of the term and in the Problem of evil doesn't apply to oxymorons and logical contradictions. It refers to capacities that are impossible given the laws of nature or feasibility like seeing in the future, changing gravity, raising people back from the dead, regrowig limbs, traveling in time, controlling nature's forces, etc. An omnipotent being could not make a triangle with more than three angles without changing the definition of a triangle (which he could). If the standard by which we evaluate what is a triangle remain unchanged, it would remain an oxymoron and impossible even for an omnipotent being because he didn't use enough power to do it. He would have to manipulate our mind and remove our established notion of what a triangle looks like for something else or otherwise alter our perceptions in some fashion to meet the new reality he wants to create (or something alongst those line, you know what I mean). Could an omnipotent being change the criteria by which we can evaluate the benevolence of an action, event or character? Yes, he could change those criteria. For exemple, if the being makes everything indestructible, immortal and without pain than the criteria becomes useless and ridiculous or remove our capacity for empathie or change the objective of morality (which would rquire even more tinkering). Are we indestructible, immortal and without pain? I am affraid we are evidently not. The standard by which we evaluate good, evil, wrong, nice, benevolence, etc. remain unchanged. We can continue to legitimatly use it to see if the being meets those criteria and deserve the title of omnibenevolent. Thus, the if there is an anthropomorphic, omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent being that cares about humanity cannot exist in our reality. He must loose one of his caracteristic to remain consistent with the reality we can observe and feel.

I would also like to point out that the definition of omnipotence in the Problem of evil can be pretty elastic. For the epicurean dilema to work, you only need a being powerful enough to stop evil things from happenning that would not do it. That might not even require a being to be very powerful. If he could and had the opportunity to stop, let say ten suicide attempt and did not, he would be struck by the problem of responsability inherant to the Problem of evil. That doesn't require that much power since even human being can prevent suicide attempt and cure those people. We should expect that any being that be qualifed of omnipotent to be able to do much more, much more easily and quickly.

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01-11-2015, 04:03 PM (This post was last modified: 01-11-2015 04:07 PM by epronovost.)
RE: Heywood and epronovost on the Problem of evil
I was a little forgetful in my precedent response and since you haven't replied to it yet, I will allow myself to do this.

Premise 1. If God exists then God can do anything He wants to do even if it is a logical contradiction.

Premise 2. It is a logical contradiction to be all good, all powerful yet allow Evil.

Conclusion: If God exists He can be All Good/ All powerful and still allow Evil.

Taking that conclusion we can derive from it that since there can be a logical contradiction in what is good and evil, it's impossible to assess what is good and what is evil. The existence of the paradox created by the anthropomorphic, omnipotent, omniscient being that cares about humanity, makes the very concept of judging the morality of someone's character and actions useless and pointless since, thanks to him, a thing can be its opposite. Thus, you can't really call him omnibenevolent since that term is now devoid of any sense and refer to a characteristic that is self-contradictory and meaningless. You might as well declare that the being omniclapor or omnibidupok. You just exited the Problem of evil by one of its prepared way. The being isn't omnibenevolent. I explained this in post 17 a little bit.

I am also curious about something. Since we started our conversation, you have been questioning various point of the Problem of evil. You first started to present evil as necessary for good, which I demonstrated as a problem of fireman/arsonist. Then you negated the possibility of using pain as a barometer to determine the good of actions, events, animals and persons. Then, you questioned the pertinence of the title of omnipotence in an effort to exit the debate to start a new one on the Problem of omnipotence. I suspect that you can present arguments against the existence of omniscience and lead us in a debate on the Problem of omniscience, another one that deity can face. This leads me to ask the following question. When we started all this, did you have any real knowledge of the Problem of evil beside its very basic composition and more importantly, did you had a clear concise way to demonstrate that an anthropomorphic, omnipotent, omniscient being that cares about humanity, deserving off all those characteristics could also be and deserving of the title omnibenevolent (not just good, or very good)? I would be much more interested in discussing this than continuing to go further and further away from the subject of the debate.

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12-11-2015, 06:20 PM
RE: Heywood and epronovost on the Problem of evil
Since it has been over two weeks since the last answer of Heywood and over a week since my last intervention, I suspect that Heywood is cought up in something important in the real world. Since I also happen to be very busy for the next month or so, I would request an admin or moderator to close that thread and consider the debate over. I will try to post a poll to let people decide who between Heywood and me did better in that debate on the Problem of evil. I would like to thank Heywood for his participation and his sportsmanship and kindly ask him that if wants to debate again on this perticular subject, we can always make a round two at a latter point. Thank you.

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