Refuting "the problem of evil"
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21-08-2014, 01:56 AM
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.


Yes I take your point. As mentioned earlier, from my understanding of "suffering", an I-constuct is required in order to have the "suffering" experience, I would not like to say that a conscious I is entirely lacking in the case of animals, but I certainly think it's true that animals lack the clear and profound sense of self-existence that humans possess. As a consequence of that, my hunch is that pain won't be experienced in such a personalised way for an animal.

Regarding human reflective self-awareness, what I find interesting about it is that on the one hand, existential knowledge opens the door for pain to create disturbing experiences of suffering, but on the other hand our self-awareness and attendant intelligence gives us tools to do something about it. We invent general anaesthetic and pain killers. We can choose euthanasia. So on the one hand, "God" has put us in a slightly nasty position, but on the other hand "he" has given us capacities to manage the problem, in fact - the capacity that opens the door to the problem is also the capacity which can resolve it.

Here's something else interesting, I have noticed that at the organism level I seem to have the capacity to decide wether to allow experience of pain in or not.

E.g. I had a motorbike accident a few years ago, someone pulled out in front of me and i drove into the side of their car. I didn't feel a thing at the time. I have a memory of driving into the side of the car but I only became aware of the broken bones when I actually discovered bits of me were pointing in the wrong direction, awareness of the serious bruising probably didn't occur for several hours. The same experience has been true in other accidents I've had.

My own interpretation of this is that it would not have added any value for me to experience the pain of the actual accident because it was occurring out of my control, but awareness of the damage did start to filter in at the point where that awareness was beneficial, e.g. at the point I'd survived the accident and needed to seek treatment and take care of my broken body. So I think there are mechanisms in there which attempt to sheild us from "unnecessary" pain, wether they always work or not is I guess another problem, but if the mechanisms fail to work, perhaps that could again be described in terms of a "lack" of god.

Phil
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21-08-2014, 02:02 AM
RE: Refuting "the problem of evil"
Well Phil, although you talk like a cult leader, I can at least agree that evil, IMO, is not "real". Or rather, it is usually used as a substitute where other "negative" words could have been used (e.g. Cruel, Immoral, selfish, apathetic). But in no way does this address the "problem of evil." Focusing on the word "evil" accomplishes nothing. The whole issue with the problem of evil is the rampant amount of negative things that happen (cruelty, murder, starvation, mass death via natural disaster).

If you are a sociopath who thinks those things are excusable, then that is on you. Just please keep your Kool-Aid away from me, my friends, and family!

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21-08-2014, 02:41 AM
RE: Refuting "the problem of evil"
(21-08-2014 01:56 AM)phil.a Wrote:  Yes I take your point. As mentioned earlier, from my understanding of "suffering", an I-constuct is required in order to have the "suffering" experience, I would not like to say that a conscious I is entirely lacking in the case of animals, but I certainly think it's true that animals lack the clear and profound sense of self-existence that humans possess. As a consequence of that, my hunch is that pain won't be experienced in such a personalised way for an animal.

Regarding human reflective self-awareness, what I find interesting about it is that on the one hand, existential knowledge opens the door for pain to create disturbing experiences of suffering, but on the other hand our self-awareness and attendant intelligence gives us tools to do something about it. We invent general anaesthetic and pain killers. We can choose euthanasia. So on the one hand, "God" has put us in a slightly nasty position, but on the other hand "he" has given us capacities to manage the problem, in fact - the capacity that opens the door to the problem is also the capacity which can resolve it.

Here's something else interesting, I have noticed that at the organism level I seem to have the capacity to decide wether to allow experience of pain in or not.

E.g. I had a motorbike accident a few years ago, someone pulled out in front of me and i drove into the side of their car. I didn't feel a thing at the time. I have a memory of driving into the side of the car but I only became aware of the broken bones when I actually discovered bits of me were pointing in the wrong direction, awareness of the serious bruising probably didn't occur for several hours. The same experience has been true in other accidents I've had.

My own interpretation of this is that it would not have added any value for me to experience the pain of the actual accident because it was occurring out of my control, but awareness of the damage did start to filter in at the point where that awareness was beneficial, e.g. at the point I'd survived the accident and needed to seek treatment and take care of my broken body. So I think there are mechanisms in there which attempt to sheild us from "unnecessary" pain, wether they always work or not is I guess another problem, but if the mechanisms fail to work, perhaps that could again be described in terms of a "lack" of god.

Phil
I must be missing something here, because I see no attempt at reconciliation. If anything, the last paragraph gives me the impression that you think the state of things can be better explained by the absence of (an omnibenevolent) God as well.

Would you care to elaborate on your stance regarding this matter?

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21-08-2014, 03:18 AM
RE: Refuting "the problem of evil"
(20-08-2014 07:36 PM)Baruch Wrote:  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.

OK I agree with your truth claims! And can I draw your attention to something in your writing that you may not be aware of:

You've talked about

* "the beautiful" (adjective)
* "the good" (adjective)
* Truth (noun)

Is it a surprise that only the noun refers to a transcendental? Although I would not say maths is Truth, I would say maths is "the true" (e.g. maths occurs in Truth, but in fact - Truth itself is fully abstract and cannot be reified in any way without relativising it and therefore stepping back from the underlying transcendental).

On the subject of "the beautiful", it's completely true that perceptions of "beautiful" are relative, it's related to a human perspective, as individuals we don't agree on what is beautiful (adjective)

However - all humans do experience "Beauty" (noun).

Similarly, with Goodness. We do not all agree on what constitutes "good" (adjective)

however - all humans do experience "Goodness" (noun)

There's even evidence of these qualities in non-human life, in the sense that we can experience goodness in the actions of a dog, likewise the dog seems to be drawn to our own manifestations of goodness towards it, e.g. dogs like being stroked.

As an aside, if I may be so bold as to deconstruct your perspective, in terms of Jean Gebser's human wordviews this seems to me to be specifically a rational worldview perspective because it finds primacy in Truth but depreciates the 2 other transcendentals.

Phil
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21-08-2014, 04:12 AM
RE: Refuting "the problem of evil"
(20-08-2014 08:01 PM)Baruch Wrote:  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.

Yes I agree with this, to be specific the perspective that the manifest universe is "an illusion" is a purely rational perceptive, e.g. it's a Truth perspective of simply noticing that in an absolute sense, all of the matter and energy in 4D spacetime energy sums to Zero.

And Truth isn't the whole "truth" because there's also Beauty and Goodness, which I have to ignore if I am to assert the universe is an illusion in an absolute sense. Beauty and Goodness confer real existential qualities upon reality.

And furthermore, the "unmanifest universe" is also an absolute perspective, not a relative perspective. It is relatively true that the universe exists as experiences of qualities of that universe.

I guess I could perhaps say that it's absolutely true that I do have a real experience of a real (relative) universe.

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

I agree consciousness is not "supernatural" (there is no "supernatural", that's an irrational concept), and I'd fully agree depth of awareness and complexity of perspective is an emergent property of complicated brains, but if consciousness itself is not some sort of fundamental property of matter, can you tell me where it comes from? Surely since a brain is made out of cells, consciousness in a rudimentary proto-sense must be some sort of attribute of cells? And since cells are made of molecules, surely consciousness must be some (yet further more abstract and dilute) attribute of chemical molecules? And so on, down into more elemental expressions of matter.

It seems to me that if I argue that there's no actual reality separate from the physical universe, then there's no position from which to argue that consciousness is not a fundamental attribute of all matter.

And since (as noted above) all matter and energy sum to Zero, then consciousness itself must be present in "Zero". If you agree with my reasoning there, consider the implications of that.

Quote: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.

If consciousness happens to be a transcendental there is a "conscious agent looking in"

Consciousness itself.

As an actual, practical experiment - if you choose to take the perspective that you are "consciousness", see if you can locate yourself.

Eg get consciousness to go looking for consciousness.

Phil
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21-08-2014, 04:22 AM
RE: Refuting "the problem of evil"
(21-08-2014 02:02 AM)Adrianime Wrote:  Well Phil, although you talk like a cult leader, I can at least agree that evil, IMO, is not "real". Or rather, it is usually used as a substitute where other "negative" words could have been used (e.g. Cruel, Immoral, selfish, apathetic). But in no way does this address the "problem of evil." Focusing on the word "evil" accomplishes nothing. The whole issue with the problem of evil is the rampant amount of negative things that happen (cruelty, murder, starvation, mass death via natural disaster).

If you are a sociopath who thinks those things are excusable, then that is on you. Just please keep your Kool-Aid away from me, my friends, and family!

OK, however it seems to me that you've replaced one value-lade term ("evil") with a bunch of other value-laden terms (Cruel, Immoral, selfish, apathetic).

Perhaps a slightly more objective description of "evil" might be "dangerous".

Hitler was dangerous, crocodiles are dangerous. But both hitler and crocodiles are just objective fact of the universe, they exist as entities or objects in 4D spacetime. So, from an objective perspective, neither are good nor bad just fact.

I would say that anyone who can't find that objective perspective is still stuck inside an irrational (e.g. emotion-based) perspective.

Phil
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21-08-2014, 04:29 AM
RE: Refuting "the problem of evil"
(21-08-2014 04:12 AM)phil.a Wrote:  I agree consciousness is not "supernatural" (there is no "supernatural", that's an irrational concept), and I'd fully agree depth of awareness and complexity of perspective is an emergent property of complicated brains, but if consciousness itself is not some sort of fundamental property of matter, can you tell me where it comes from? Surely since a brain is made out of cells, consciousness in a rudimentary proto-sense must be some sort of attribute of cells? And since cells are made of molecules, surely consciousness must be some (yet further more abstract and dilute) attribute of chemical molecules? And so on, down into more elemental expressions of matter.

It seems to me that if I argue that there's no actual reality separate from the physical universe, then there's no position from which to argue that consciousness is not a fundamental attribute of all matter.

Except for the little problem of there being absolutely no evidence for that, nor any conceivable mechanism. So, there's that.

You do not seem to appreciate the fact of emergent properties. Where do the properties of table salt come from?
It is a useful and necessary substance composed of a poisonous gas and an explosive metal. Do those atoms have 'saltiness' in them? Is 'saltiness' a fundamental attribute?
Do hydrogen and oxygen atoms have an essence of 'wetness' about them?

Quote:And since (as noted above) all matter and energy sum to Zero, then consciousness itself must be present in "Zero". If you agree with my reasoning there, consider the implications of that.

No, I don't agree. That is an incoherent concept. Matter exists and consciousness is an emergent property of complex patterns of matter and energy. If the sum of the mass/energy of the universe is zero, that speaks to its origin, but not to its existing properties.

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21-08-2014, 04:41 AM
RE: Refuting "the problem of evil"
(21-08-2014 02:41 AM)Vosur Wrote:  I must be missing something here, because I see no attempt at reconciliation. If anything, the last paragraph gives me the impression that you think the state of things can be better explained by the absence of (an omnibenevolent) God as well.

Would you care to elaborate on your stance regarding this matter?

OK I'm not totally sure where you still see the contradiction, but I think it perhaps exists in your conceptual separation of "god" from humans. I would say that separation isn't real, e.g. you are "god".

For example, I have been "created" by whatever (evolution, emergence, call it what you will). I find myself in this body, and inside a psychology, I find that I have a mind which has thinking skills, I find that i can mine my awareness for creative insight, as a consequence of all of this, I find that I can create electronic circuits - I am an electronic design engineer.

Whilst at a first order sense, my circuits are my creation, in a second order sense they are an indirect creation of my parents (who provided my physical body) and my university (who provided the knowledge I leverage).

Well that process of inheritance stretches right back to the big bang, if you believe in cause and effect. Or even "before" the big bang in the sense that the big bang "happened".

So, whatever context exists for the creation of the universe is actually indirectly (through me) in 2014 - designing electronic circuits.

Just for the sake of argument, let's label that context as "god".

Phil
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21-08-2014, 05:37 AM (This post was last modified: 21-08-2014 05:44 AM by phil.a.)
RE: Refuting "the problem of evil"
(21-08-2014 04:29 AM)Chas Wrote:  You do not seem to appreciate the fact of emergent properties. Where do the properties of table salt come from?
It is a useful and necessary substance composed of a poisonous gas and an explosive metal. Do those atoms have 'saltiness' in them? Is 'saltiness' a fundamental attribute?
Do hydrogen and oxygen atoms have an essence of 'wetness' about them?

I feel I do understand the phenomenon of emergent properties, the issue of emergence is one of my greatest interests. Whilst it is true that the properties of water are in no way visible in hydrogen and oxygen atoms, in my opinion it would involve magical thinking for me to suppose that the properties of a molecule are not in some sense present in it's constituent atoms. The properties of water become revealed when hydrogen atoms and oxygen atoms enter a process arrangement, but I don't think it's rational to suppose they are magicked up out of nowhere, I think it's more rational to suppose the properties are present in a somewhat out of sight manner in the constituent atoms.

In my opinion, any idea that the attributes of water have been summoned up out of completely nothing is pure magical thinking which denies cause and effect.

I would say however that emergent properties have nevertheless been summoned up out of a Zero (as has the entire universe) but it has not been summoned up out of a Null as you seem to be claiming (in the sense that Zero exists on a cartesian coordinate system whereas Null does not).

Quote:No, I don't agree. That is an incoherent concept. Matter exists and consciousness is an emergent property of complex patterns of matter and energy. If the sum of the mass/energy of the universe is zero, that speaks to its origin, but not to its existing properties.

Can you find truth in the idea that (a) consciousness is present in patterns of matter and energy, and (b) depth, or intensity of consciousness is relative to the complexity of the process arrangement of the matter and energy?

Because my point would be that emergent complexity amplifies or multiples but does not fundamentally create Consciousness out of nowhere, e.g. out of Null.

Also there is an issue here of assumed primacy, that consciousness emerges from complexity when I think it's just as reasonable to suppose that a move towards complexity is driven by consciousness.

E.g. it seems to be operating from the givens of a materialism perspective to suppose that one fathers the other.

Phil
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21-08-2014, 06:22 AM
RE: Refuting "the problem of evil"
This entire thread is nothing but mental masturbation and word games.

The "problem of evil" is addressing the bullshit logic of the mythological God claim.

Nature and evolution have always produced benefit and harm to individuals and groups. Nature has always produced cruelty and compassion. Nature has always produced conflict and cooperation. Nature has always produced sharing and theft. And just like the the dinosaurs went extinct, so shall our species, friend or foe. The planet will die and the sun will too and the universe will continue on with no record or care that we existed at all.

The "problem with evil" is apt in exposing a bullshit comic book villain and a bullshit comic book sky hero in the same manor no one believes Spiderman put us here to worship him while the Green Goblin was put here to fuck with the neurons in or brains to make us do bad things.

You not have to use the word "evil" in a comic book bullshit sense, to know there are things humans do that are physically and psychologically damaging that no one wants to go through.

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