Refuting "the problem of evil"
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20-08-2014, 05:42 AM
RE: Refuting "the problem of evil"
(20-08-2014 12:35 AM)phil.a Wrote:  
(19-08-2014 12:03 PM)Chas Wrote:  You seem to be saying that because 'evil' does not exist except in people's minds that this refutes the "Problem of Evil" argument.

That refutation seems to rely on god's non-responsibility for our mental states.

No, then I haven't managed to communicate it yet. My point is quite subtle even if (in my opinion) it's quite simple.

Consider Ian Brady and this lion.

If you had the choice to describe either as "dangerous" or as "evil", which label would be most descriptive for each entity?

I think most people would probably call Ian Brady "evil", whereas the lion would get the more objective and less value-laden label of "dangerous".

If that matches your opinion, can you explain what lies at the root of the differentiation?

Phil

Seriously?

Conscious intent.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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20-08-2014, 05:43 AM
RE: Refuting "the problem of evil"
(20-08-2014 12:45 AM)phil.a Wrote:  
(19-08-2014 12:25 PM)Impulse Wrote:  The "problem of evil" only makes sense in the context of the assumption by at least someone that there is a god of the omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent variety. No such god, no problem of evil because evil could exist without a conceptual conflict in that case. I would disagree with you though that there is no evil itself. Evil is the label that we humans apply to the worst violations of morality by humans. (If you need any convincing that morality exists without a god, there are plenty of previous discussions on this site.)

What you say is true from a perspective, but your argument does not evidence awareness of my perspective.

Can you please reflect back your understanding of my argument so that I can check your understanding of it? In a nutshell, my argument is:

An absence (of goodness) is not a presence (of evil).

A lack of one thing is not proof that something else exists in it's place.

Phil

And that has precisely nothing to do with the Problem of Evil.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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20-08-2014, 06:27 AM
Re: RE: Refuting "the problem of evil"
(20-08-2014 02:44 AM)phil.a Wrote:  
(19-08-2014 07:35 PM)ClydeLee Wrote:  Yeah... But you're not omnipresent in your example. So that's the distinction. And if you aren't able to be everywhere, clearly your power is limited, and you're not omnipotent.

If evil is the absence of the God, then the God is weak and back to the problem, undeserving of worship.

You can't ignore the important aspects of the question and say you solved it.

"God" is not "weak" simply because he's not present in an unreal reality.

If I have psychological projections, e.g. project irrational mirages (like "evil") into reality, those mirages aren't part of actual reality.

Phil

You're claiming this hold validity because?

In everyway, you are initially trying to say if humans can create something within the realm of an omnipotent/omniscient God, he is responsible. That God is still apart of all you protect out of your mind. That description of God is still apart of every thought projection, physiological madness within your brain. It's apart of every fictional story and in everything that exists or doesn't exist yet.. But could exist, because what created that, the God.

You're just proclaiming woo over another woo. There's no merit here but you limiting the classical stances of such a God.

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20-08-2014, 06:55 AM
RE: Refuting "the problem of evil"
(20-08-2014 05:36 AM)phil.a Wrote:  I'm not sure! Where specifically do you still see disagreement?
It's not so much that we disagree as much as I still don't know how you manage to reconcile the existence of excessive or unnecessary pain with the existence of God in classical theism.

Allow me to elaborate on the italic part: As indicated by my previous post, I recognize that pain serves an important function for humans and other animals; the "hot stove" scenario I mentioned can be used as an example to demonstrate why pain is a useful survival mechanism. In addition to that, receiving moderate amounts of pain can, paradoxically enough, provide pleasure to people with masochistic tendencies. I admit that I would be hard-pressed to draw a concrete line here, but I do think that pain can easily cease to serve either of these purposes, depending on the circumstances and amounts of pain. An entity like the one I referred to earlier, one that, by definition, can do everything and knows everything, would have been able to create a world in which this problem doesn't arise.

In other words, if this deity hadn't given us the ability to feel excessive pain, we would be unable to experience the suffering that arises from it.

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20-08-2014, 07:36 PM
RE: Refuting "the problem of evil"
Quote:Phil - Everything from God concepts such as the bearded man in the clouds to neo-platonistic apophatic theologia negativa, to Kabbalistic Ayn Sof's & non-dualities, to transcendental Platonistic universals. (Well technically it cannot be "everything" because we are always making up or discovering something possibly new and it is not possible to translate and understand everything)

Granted some of these concepts would by definition be agnostic and not atheistic then I would be identifying through a range of completely atheistic to agnostic positions.
However I have found naturalism to be sufficient with something along the lines of monistic/ontic structural realism, various forms of nominalism & pragmatism with combination of ideas from the rationalist and empiricist philosophies [in a nut shell].

I cannot disprove a "neoplatonistic eminationist panentheism" [in great technical jargon] so I would by definition have to be agnostic to any form of eminationism involving a negatively defined God such as the apophatic/via negativa traditions (in Kabbalah the Ayn Sof, Bhuddism Vipassana non-duality or neti-neti in Hinduist adveita brahamin traditions).


Quote:Cool, I appreciate the depth of your knowledge and reflection on this issue! So to clarify - on the subject of universal transcendentals, are you saying that you believe there are none, or simply that you are skeptical that they exist?

There may be platonism in mathematics and consequently a form of ontic structural realism as a metaphysics for science - something along the lines of "Nature's Metaphysics: Laws and Properties by Alexander Bird" basically science is more than just a human empirical description (i.e not Humean) but directs towards understanding real essences - the best example being increasing one proton to produce different atoms & properties as atomic number increases and consequently creating the patterns in the periodic table - this is more than just a description but real underlying properties producing mathematical patterns which humans can discover - there is something platonistic about this with verification from quantum mechanics, experiments, classical physics and exists regardless if humans ever discovered anything.

As for Universal transcendentals such as "the good, the beautiful and Truth"

- the beautiful: NO. Aesthetics is mind dependent human subjectivity. Evolution hard wires some of the perceptions of beauty so we may agree on many things as "beautiful" & culture has its influences - but not some absolute abstract universal transcendental. With relevance to this blog it also means "evil" and "good" are related to "ugly & "Beautiful" - but it gets very subjective and pinning down the definitions does not yield some universal transcendentals.

- The good: NO - there is a plurality of definitions for "good" and I am strongly against G.E. Moore & principia Ethica [i.e some universal abstraction as per Plato].
With relevance to this blog it means your definitions of evil as a lack of goodness does not make sense because I would view goodness in a more human mind dependent subjective, pragmatic, concrete, nominalistic concept. "Goodness" may end up being a relative concept in morality, subjective goal achievement, broadly linked to pain & pleasure etc. Some of these definitions are incompatible with each other. My take on it would be more like Wittgenstein's skepticism. (sorry for the name dropping - if your not aware of Hume, WIttgenstein or Moore then I can elaborate further)

Truth: - Yes as per my article above regarding platonism in mathematics and ontic structural realism in science - however the transcendentals are not "separate entities of abstractions" or "separate realms" or dualistic as per Plato but more like Aristotle&Spinoza as in the manifest & the abstract of part of the same essence. We can intellectually + rationally work out the abstract and empirically experience the manifest - but its all just "reality" independent of humans to some extent.
To elaborate the rainbow may have the color blue & a wavelength of about 475 nm in the electomagnetic spectrum. Blue is "real" only so far as animals have brains with the right connections to experience the color but the wavelength of 475 nm is part of the space-time pattern independent of any conscious being.

For that matter so is "evil" and "good" - outside a conscious being such as a human "good" & "evil" are just meaningless concepts.

A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence -
David Hume


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20-08-2014, 08:01 PM
RE: Refuting "the problem of evil"
Quote:HOWEVER -in all the above traditions, once the God is stripped of ALL attributes including omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence & omnibenevolence you are basically left with NOTHING.
So God is basically nothing. Kind of like a well polished atheism for the sophisticated Smartass.



Quote:Correct! But that's really just saying that "god" is "emptiness", or sunyata. So with that point, you aren't telling religion anything that it's not already telling you.

Yes - the absolute is "emptieness".

It's a commonly held scientific view that all the matter and energy in the universe cancels out, this means from an absolute (rather than relative) perspective - the universe is unmanifest (but again less this sounds like gibberish, only from an absolute not relative perspective). The universe sums to Zero, considering 4D spacetime as a single entity, it's a Zero. The experience we have of a solid "manifest" universe is essentially something of an iillusion caused by looking from a relative perspective, e.g. looking at reality from a particular spacetime location (our finite brain, existing at a finite point in history).

At a somewhat abstract level, i think you could define a "human being" as "spacetime looking at itself from a relative spacetime perspective".

Phil

The problem here is your being too anthropomorphic about this as if the universe has humans in mind.
My principle objection has to do with emergent properties of matter & energy which produce manifestations with "real" properties NOT illusions.
A "wave in the sea" is not an illusion because is just water and a few drops of water dont make waves (so waves are not fundamental therefore illusions).

Likewise sand dunes are not illusions because individual sand grains dont have dunes. - these are all fallacies of composition.

Likewise humans are not "emptiness" or "illusions" or "one" just because they are made of a space-time combination.
Likewise the totality of the universe is not an illusion or emptiness because in totality it has zero energy.

Likewise consciousness is not some supernatural property or abstraction but an emergent property of complicated brains.



...Take care and avoid the Deepak Chopra's of the world - they just poor out gibberish cloaked in sophistication.

Saying from an absolute perspective the universe in unmanifest - doesn't really mean anything.

Your assuming there is some "perspective" as if there is a conscious agent looking from outside (let me guess, its God) This is just a more pompous version of the man in the sky - just a little less naive.

Quote:Correct! But that's really just saying that "god" is "emptiness", or sunyata. So with that point, you aren't telling religion anything that it's not already telling you.

Yes - the absolute is "emptiness".

Yes, I lived religion/spirituality, studied it and it made me validate atheism both from within the religious systems (their 'spiritual' esoteric parts) and externally as an outsider of any religious/spiritual system.

I think that's why some religions discourage people to get involved with their esoteric systems - because they can easily lead to heresy & atheism !!!


A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence -
David Hume


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20-08-2014, 08:30 PM
RE: Refuting "the problem of evil"
(20-08-2014 06:55 AM)Vosur Wrote:  
(20-08-2014 05:36 AM)phil.a Wrote:  I'm not sure! Where specifically do you still see disagreement?
It's not so much that we disagree as much as I still don't know how you manage to reconcile the existence of excessive or unnecessary pain with the existence of God in classical theism.

Allow me to elaborate on the italic part: As indicated by my previous post, I recognize that pain serves an important function for humans and other animals; the "hot stove" scenario I mentioned can be used as an example to demonstrate why pain is a useful survival mechanism. In addition to that, receiving moderate amounts of pain can, paradoxically enough, provide pleasure to people with masochistic tendencies. I admit that I would be hard-pressed to draw a concrete line here, but I do think that pain can easily cease to serve either of these purposes, depending on the circumstances and amounts of pain. An entity like the one I referred to earlier, one that, by definition, can do everything and knows everything, would have been able to create a world in which this problem doesn't arise.

In other words, if this deity hadn't given us the ability to feel excessive pain, we would be unable to experience the suffering that arises from it.

Vosur - I totally agree. Excessive, Unnecessary pain is the key to justifying "the problem of evil" as a genuine problem.
As I am familiar with medicine I can go all night giving examples of some utterly stupid design if there was a God and that makes God very accountable for unnecessary torture.
The naturalistic evolutionary explanation is far simpler and leaves no problem of evil because there is no designer God to blame as incompetent, imperfect and damn right malevolent.

Take for example chronic pain conditions which are incurable:
...yes the pain warning has fired and now there is NOTHING that can be done - just continuous pain, unlike the stove example were pain has a biological use of learning not to touch hot stoves otherwise you will burn your skin.
Eg the bone pains from multiple myeloma do fuck all but torture people into extreme distress for no other reason than badly designed biology.

...also take into account when damage to the body is done AND THERE IS NO PAIN as a warning - what a stupid design. Numerous examples include tooth decay until its too late and all the enamel has been destroyed eventually affecting the nerve. Its not like there is some early warning system. Eg liver failure from alcohol - the liver has no pain sensing nerves so it continues to get damaged, using all its vast excess & reserves until finally with just 10% left the person goes into liver failure THEN there is pain as toxicity rises and the blood is poisoned - ITS TOO LATE ! You wouldnt design a computer to tell you its now irreparable after numerous opportunities possible earlier on as a warning.

Pain can therefore be:
1. Excessive [more than required for the warning]
2. Chronic [warning given but doesnt go away - eg advanced rheumatoid pain]
3. Vague [not accurately giving the message]
4. Not present until later destruction [failed to give warning]
5. Real but false signal [eg phantom limb pain]
6. Just pain irrelevant of any warnings [eg incurable metastatic cancer pains]

.....all the above just make any God a sick idea unworthy of worship, praise, glory and justify naturalistic understanding of phenomena.
All the above 1 - 6 can also overlap into suffering, in some cases just semantic & arbitrary language choice. Granted I do agree "suffering" is more of a negative psychological experience whilst "pain" better described as a neurological signal which does not necessarily have to be a negative psychological state. (eg pain produced for sadomasochism purposes or pain in a sports competition such as weight lifting may indicate a good workout 'no pain, no gain')

A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence -
David Hume


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21-08-2014, 01:11 AM
RE: Refuting "the problem of evil"
(20-08-2014 04:06 AM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  It is very rare to find someone who raises their hand and self-identifies as being evil.

I meant to comment on this - yes, I'd noticed that too. I think it supports the idea that "evil" is a product of a lack of awareness, e.g. "evil" is a lack. Humans can't see their own evil, they can only see it in other people.

And actually - there's a bit more to this! Here's a really interesting Hitler quote from "Mein Kampf":

"...the personification of the devil as the symbol of all evil assumes the living shape of the Jew. "

Hitler didn't think he was evil, he thought he was fighting evil.

I think this is a really common theme in history. Many of the most "evil" people in the history books actually thought they were fighting evil when they committed the atrocities they are famous for.

The fact that someone attacking evil itself may appear to other people as evil behaviour further supports the idea that the true nature of evil is that it's an erroneous perception, a lack of full and clear awareness.

Phil
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21-08-2014, 01:15 AM
RE: Refuting "the problem of evil"
(20-08-2014 05:42 AM)Chas Wrote:  
(20-08-2014 12:35 AM)phil.a Wrote:  No, then I haven't managed to communicate it yet. My point is quite subtle even if (in my opinion) it's quite simple.

Consider Ian Brady and this lion.

If you had the choice to describe either as "dangerous" or as "evil", which label would be most descriptive for each entity?

I think most people would probably call Ian Brady "evil", whereas the lion would get the more objective and less value-laden label of "dangerous".

If that matches your opinion, can you explain what lies at the root of the differentiation?

Phil

Seriously?

Conscious intent.

OK - same as EvolutionKills then, please see my response to his post.

I find "evil" something of an irrational, superstitious belief and like all irrational superstitious beliefs it is dispelled by knowledge.

I'd have said the required knowledge here is a bit of knowledge of human psychology, specifically - developmental psychology.

Phil
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21-08-2014, 01:31 AM
RE: Refuting "the problem of evil"
(20-08-2014 06:27 AM)ClydeLee Wrote:  
(20-08-2014 02:44 AM)phil.a Wrote:  "God" is not "weak" simply because he's not present in an unreal reality.

If I have psychological projections, e.g. project irrational mirages (like "evil") into reality, those mirages aren't part of actual reality.

Phil

You're claiming this hold validity because?

Because I have studied the theory of psychological projection, not just theoretically but also practically as it occurs in my own mind, and found it to be true.

Quote:In everyway, you are initially trying to say if humans can create something within the realm of an omnipotent/omniscient God, he is responsible.

Humans are "god". You seem to be operating from the premise they are somehow fundamentally separate entities, this isn't the case. You are the entire cosmos, furthermore - you at your deepest point are the creator of the cosmos. Of course, you are not the whole story because there are as many separate spacetime perspectives as there are separate entities in 4D spacetime, but from another perspective you ARE the whole story because 4D spacetime is an indivisible process unity.

Quote:That God is still apart of all you protect out of your mind. That description of God is still apart of every thought projection, physiological madness within your brain.

Granted, a projection is based on something real, e.g. there will be some kind of objective fact underpinning the perception.

But a projection is an interpretation of fact. It's a story about fact.

A projection always provides a false story about reality.

Phil
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