The Myth of a Painless Existence
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14-10-2015, 12:42 PM
The Myth of a Painless Existence
One of the frequent suppositions even made by atheists is that a properly "benevolent" god would have designed a painless existence. Atheists presuming ANY property of god makes the same mistake theists make, but let that go, and examine instead the notion of existence sans pain.

I don't think it's logically possible.

Pain is an evolutionary adaptation that increases survival. Pain is the signal that something is awry, and it's uncomfortable to enforce its avoidance, and thereby avoid potentially fatal adversities. That is not "perfectly engineered" is only an artifact of its emergence through evolutionary adaptation, not that it's intrinsically "wrong".

Pain seems to be a universal property of any neurological system that has attained a particular degree of complexity. While we can't know for certain, I don't think a paramecium feels pain - at least in the sense that we do. But even a paramecium will react to avoid potentially fatal circumstances, and the "trigger" must be something that to a paramecium is less "comfortable" to it than not reacting, else it wouldn't bother to react.

Life isn't static. It is a process of continuous change. At some point of complexity the particular paths of change can be navigated, improving survival longevity beyond sheer chance. Some changes are more beneficial than others. The spurs to navigating them would be logically twofold: enhance the "reward" of more beneficial change, and enhance the "discomfort" of less beneficial and especially detrimental change. Ergo pain.

I apologize for not footnoting this - it's purely a product of a morning's rumination. So if I'm missing something it's because I haven't chased this notion in google. But I throw it out here as the reason I chafe at the notion that a beneficient god would have designed a means of existence sans suffering, and look forward to any discussion it might invoke. And leave alone why an atheist would presume a god would have a property such as beneficience - that's another discussion entirely.
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14-10-2015, 12:52 PM
RE: The Myth of a Painless Existence
(14-10-2015 12:42 PM)Airportkid Wrote:  One of the frequent suppositions even made by atheists is that a properly "benevolent" god would have designed a painless existence. Atheists presuming ANY property of god makes the same mistake theists make, but let that go, and examine instead the notion of existence sans pain.

I don't think it's logically possible.

Pain is an evolutionary adaptation that increases survival. Pain is the signal that something is awry, and it's uncomfortable to enforce its avoidance, and thereby avoid potentially fatal adversities. That is not "perfectly engineered" is only an artifact of its emergence through evolutionary adaptation, not that it's intrinsically "wrong".

Pain seems to be a universal property of any neurological system that has attained a particular degree of complexity. While we can't know for certain, I don't think a paramecium feels pain - at least in the sense that we do. But even a paramecium will react to avoid potentially fatal circumstances, and the "trigger" must be something that to a paramecium is less "comfortable" to it than not reacting, else it wouldn't bother to react.

Life isn't static. It is a process of continuous change. At some point of complexity the particular paths of change can be navigated, improving survival longevity beyond sheer chance. Some changes are more beneficial than others. The spurs to navigating them would be logically twofold: enhance the "reward" of more beneficial change, and enhance the "discomfort" of less beneficial and especially detrimental change. Ergo pain.

I apologize for not footnoting this - it's purely a product of a morning's rumination. So if I'm missing something it's because I haven't chased this notion in google. But I throw it out here as the reason I chafe at the notion that a beneficient god would have designed a means of existence sans suffering, and look forward to any discussion it might invoke. And leave alone why an atheist would presume a god would have a property such as beneficience - that's another discussion entirely.

Atheists are not presuming any property of god, rather they are pointing at the contradictions of a omnipresent, omnipotent, omnibenevolent god, as defined by most theists.

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14-10-2015, 12:59 PM
RE: The Myth of a Painless Existence
The feeling of pain is the way nature has "come up with" a solution of getting creatures to respond to threats, through evolution by natural selection. There is nothing to suggest that it's not logically possible for a response to threats to be achieved without pain and surely a supernatural supposedly perfect God should be capable of creating a painless solution, and furthermore a truly perfect god should be able to create a universe in where creatures don't even have threats to respond to.

A truly perfect god would engineer a perfect "heaven" right from the start.

From our experiences in the real world the way it is, the idea of a painless world seems understandably highly implausible - and it is. But that's not to say it's logically impossible. For it to truly be logically impossible then it would have to be impossible to describe a painless world without logical contradictions.

Something thought of as possible in the real world we live in in practical everyday terms, is very different to logical possibility.
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14-10-2015, 01:05 PM
RE: The Myth of a Painless Existence
Where exactly does it say in the bible (new or original) that G-d is omnibenevolent? I hear atheists bring this up all the time, but I'm not familiar with the passage, and it's not something that I've been taught in general.
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14-10-2015, 01:09 PM
RE: The Myth of a Painless Existence
I think the argument from Omnibenevolence is a variation of the argument from Omniscience/The TAG argument for God.

I think it's more popularized by annoying dipshit apologists like William Lane Craig and others, than it is by the actual Bible.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transcende...e_argument

It's of course, a fucking terrible argument that makes no sense.
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14-10-2015, 06:20 PM
RE: The Myth of a Painless Existence
The problem of saying it's not possible, at least in relation to many theists views, is that they believe that is a reality.

Their views of heaven are often a painless realm. That's why it's absurd for a theist to hold this view and if they did, claim omni-benevolence.

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14-10-2015, 08:10 PM (This post was last modified: 15-10-2015 07:00 AM by epronovost.)
RE: The Myth of a Painless Existence
(14-10-2015 12:42 PM)Airportkid Wrote:  One of the frequent suppositions even made by atheists is that a properly "benevolent" god would have designed a painless existence. Atheists presuming ANY property of god makes the same mistake theists make, but let that go, and examine instead the notion of existence sans pain.

I don't think it's logically possible.

Pain is an evolutionary adaptation that increases survival. Pain is the signal that something is awry, and it's uncomfortable to enforce its avoidance, and thereby avoid potentially fatal adversities. That is not "perfectly engineered" is only an artifact of its emergence through evolutionary adaptation, not that it's intrinsically "wrong".

Pain seems to be a universal property of any neurological system that has attained a particular degree of complexity. While we can't know for certain, I don't think a paramecium feels pain - at least in the sense that we do. But even a paramecium will react to avoid potentially fatal circumstances, and the "trigger" must be something that to a paramecium is less "comfortable" to it than not reacting, else it wouldn't bother to react.

Life isn't static. It is a process of continuous change. At some point of complexity the particular paths of change can be navigated, improving survival longevity beyond sheer chance. Some changes are more beneficial than others. The spurs to navigating them would be logically twofold: enhance the "reward" of more beneficial change, and enhance the "discomfort" of less beneficial and especially detrimental change. Ergo pain.

I apologize for not footnoting this - it's purely a product of a morning's rumination. So if I'm missing something it's because I haven't chased this notion in google. But I throw it out here as the reason I chafe at the notion that a beneficient god would have designed a means of existence sans suffering, and look forward to any discussion it might invoke. And leave alone why an atheist would presume a god would have a property such as beneficience - that's another discussion entirely.

I would say you are perfectly right when we talk about our reality where there is no deity of the sort concerned by the problem of evil. Pain would be useless sensation and concept if we were all indestructible, immortal, all powerfull and all knowing beings.

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14-10-2015, 10:48 PM
RE: The Myth of a Painless Existence
(14-10-2015 01:05 PM)Aliza Wrote:  Where exactly does it say in the bible (new or original) that G-d is omnibenevolent? I hear atheists bring this up all the time, but I'm not familiar with the passage, and it's not something that I've been taught in general.

It's something that the vast majority of Christian churches - or, at least, Catholic ones - teach. Or give lip service to, at least. Doctrine, I believe, rather than something explicitly spelled out in the Bible.

And that's why I've never bothered with trying to argue against omnibenevolence. It's a made-up, largely incoherent characteristic tacked on to a made-up, largely incoherent entity. It's not so much a portable goalpost as it is a pair of wheels with a goalpost attached. It can mean whatever the hell any given theist wants it to mean.

Arguing against omnibenevolence is pointless. Fortunately, we don't have to, since they haven't even bothered to establish that there is a god to be omnibenevolent.

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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15-10-2015, 06:04 AM
RE: The Myth of a Painless Existence
I think the expectation is that God would create an optimally good world. Therefore any and all suffering should be justifiable and explainable... preferably with more than a hand wave towards "mysterious ways".

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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15-10-2015, 06:45 AM
RE: The Myth of a Painless Existence
(15-10-2015 06:04 AM)Hafnof Wrote:  I think the expectation is that God would create an optimally good world. Therefore any and all suffering should be justifiable and explainable... preferably with more than a hand wave towards "mysterious ways".

See my previous comment about goalposts that come with wheels pre-attached.

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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