Why Must Children Suffer? [The Astonishing Sequel]
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02-09-2013, 01:11 AM (This post was last modified: 02-09-2013 01:25 AM by Reltzik.)
RE: Why Must Children Suffer? [The Astonishing Sequel]
(30-08-2013 11:04 AM)PleaseJesus Wrote:  
Quote: Well, certainly you can formulate the question. However, it's a much less natural question to ask, because most of us don't wish more people were deaf, and we aren't investigating why a premise which suggests that they should be deaf hasn't led to the expected outcome.

What do you mean “a much less natural question to ask”? That almost sounds like some kind of empirical evidence you’re offering to prove suffering is bad, but I’m not sure. Tell me more.

Some questions are more natural to ask than others. If I were to drop a rock and have it fall and plunk on the ground, I might wonder what causes gravity, but the question won't jump out at me. If it were to levitate instead, "Why's it doing that?" would be a much more natural question, because defied expectations provoke inquiry. Similarly for things that aren't the way we want them. However, things that we don't particularly desire or expect, we don't ask why they aren't happening. It's just not a natural question. That's "why aren't more people deaf." We neither want nor expect it. No deafness, though, that's desirable, and it contradicts a notion of God that we're interested in, so asking why THAT isn't so is more natural.

(30-08-2013 11:04 AM)PleaseJesus Wrote:  How do you know a lion or snake cannot make a conscious choice?

Conscious thought, as we think of it, arises from the cerebral cortex, which is fairly exclusive to mammals. The snake's stuck with a thought process that's pretty much pure instinct. Lions do have a cerebral cortex, and can make conscious decisions, but as I said they lack the empathy with their prey to recognize that they are causing suffering, and so can't comprehend the consequences of their actions. I will admit that I'm not a hundred percent on this point, so let me say that if they DO comprehend it, there is a measure of cruelty in their acts, but not pointless cruelty.

(30-08-2013 11:04 AM)PleaseJesus Wrote:  ... atheists seem rather pissed off when the Bible standards of man as steward and man as the pinnacle of creation are discussed. Why that dichotomy, do you think?

I can't speak for all atheists. It irks me for a few reasons. It creates an arbitrary divide beteween humans and the rest of nature, it speaks to ego in unhealthy ways, and it applies some sort of seal of approval to the human race above and beyond a recognition of the actual relative intellectual capabilities of the species. (And of course, the only thing that would make us stewards would be the appointment of some Creator that atheists don't believe in.) But more than that, we shouldn't be stewards, because we SUCK at it. We have better appreciation of the consequences of our actions compared to other animals, but that's still not saying much. Human evolution is already easilly in the top ten mass extinction events in the 3.7ish billion years life's been in existence on Earth, and it could still claim an uncontested #1 in a single afternoon of red buttons and thermonuclear detonation. But most of this has stemmed from actions where we DIDN'T understand the consequences. Einstein didn't realize that fooling around with the math of relativity would lead to the capacity to destroy the entire species being put in the hands of an increasing number of less-and-less stable polities. We didn't anticipate that burning gasoline would cause the climate destablization, or that phosphor fertilizer would render massive tracts of ocean biomes into hypoxic wastelands. Not only were we ignorant when we undertook these steps (and, really, those consequences would have been hard to anticipate at the beginning), but we went through a long denial stage because we didn't want to give up the toys, profits, and humanitarian benefits of some of these decisions. And then to top it all off, there's THIS doctrine, where humanity was given stewardship over Creation (well, men were, guess women are good for nothing but getting the shaft again). It's been abused over and over again to justify all sorts of stupid acts on the basis of, hey, we've got a RIGHT to drain that swamp for our own shortsighted purposes if we want to, because God said so! That, the way it's been abused, is what really pisses me off about it. (Of course, that's what pisses me off about most of Christianity.)
(30-08-2013 11:04 AM)PleaseJesus Wrote:  So, for example, if someone raped my teen daughter, you are proposing that I shouldn’t FEEL like they deserve punishment, which seems counterintuitive to me. Are you saying that logic is an evolved tool to overcome feelings? Or that I should have compassion on my enemies rather than compete with them in the Darwinist sense?

I think morality is about what we should and shouldn't do, rather than what we should or shouldn't feel. I certainly don't say that you shouldn't feel some sort of anger. For that matter, a demand for some sort of punishment is quite plausible from a moral standpoint, for, as I mentioned, reasons of deterrence or preventing further offenses. Whether you feel anger somewhere along the line doesn't change that. (My understanding is that it's particularly called for with rape, as rapists are more likely to be serial offenders than, say, murderers. Even if you only know about the one incident, odds are they've done it before and will again.)

Logic isn't entirely in contrast with emotion. Sometimes it tells us that our impulses are bad, and we should listen to it, but sometimes it tells us that they're good things, and again we should listen to it. I'd say that using logic to sort through emotional impulses and their consequences is better than relying on unexamined instincts... and even that someone of reasonable maturity should damn well better realize that NOT thinking things through is a choice with consequences of its own.

As for "Darwinian competition" being at ends with a measure of cooperation or forgiveness? That's a load of bull excrement, the sort I'm used to hearing from people who don't understand natural selection. There is, indeed, a measure of competition in the face of scarcity to be found in most evolutionary and survival pressures. But it's far from a zero-sum or negative-sum game. Cooperation, symbiosis, and communal survival are all extremely viable genetic survival strategies, and mindless combativeness is often disadvantageous for ALL parties involved. In any event, understanding how natural selection works doesn't mean I have to actually want my genes to pass on at any cost, or even no cost, and I hardly need base my individual actions on such a genetic perspective. This is what Dawkins refers to as the selfish gene -- the idea that a gene has goals distinct from the individual which carries it. (In a loose sense, of course. Genes aren't actually conscious.)

(30-08-2013 11:04 AM)PleaseJesus Wrote:  So, for example, you would commend an atheist who helped the poor or worked in medicine, rather than simply complain on a forum about suffering. I give income, time and instruct others to help the poor and needy. What advice would you give atheists on this forum who say god (if one exists) is responsible for our suffering and also that the same god would be responsible by implication for their own lack (some of them) of helping alleviate the suffering of our neighbors?

No particular advice, because I doubt they'd need to be told it, and pretty sure none of them think God's responsible for anything. But if I thought they did, it'd probably be something like "become the change you wish to see in the world". (Not my words, of course.) Don't sit idly by hoping for others to fix what you're bemoaning. That's a long wait for a train don't come. (Again, not my words.) But again, there's a difference between whining about something we dislike versus examining its implications.

(30-08-2013 11:04 AM)PleaseJesus Wrote:  If these kinds of ideas are subjective and vary from person to person, what then gives a person the right to know de facto what an omnipotent being should have done or must do in these areas that we ourselves find subjective?

Again, I'm not saying what a hypothetical god must do. I'm saying that there are certain things that if a god does them, and other things that if a god doesn't do them, would keep that god from qualifying as loving. Ascribe a moral imperative there if you wish, and doing so follows naturally from that conclusion, but it's going beyond the scope of the argument. I'm only saying that an omnipotent, omniscient god, if such a thing were to exist, can be shown by the evidence of suffering to not be loving. Taking it a step further and saying that God should be loving, is a can of worms that need not even be opened when discussing WHETHER God is loving. That's a separate topic entirely.

(30-08-2013 11:04 AM)PleaseJesus Wrote:  I see. So if touching a stove hurts 15 times as much as that itch, I would say, “Wow, an appropriately evolved evolutionary response to a greater stimulus,” and you would say, “god screwed this up, if he exists. The hotter the stove, the more the suffering, even though that is a NATURAL consequence.”

In other words, pain AND suffering are typically natural consequences of natural laws. And if you say “typically? Not every time?” then you are ascribing supernatural causes to suffering.

When did I say typically? It's the sort of thing I tend to sprinkle in as a hedge term, a bad habit that I try to fix in proof, but I don't see it. Or are you qualifying your own statement?

I wouldn't say that the hypothesized God would have screwed up with designing the stove (that's GE's problem), so much as by designing humans in a way that they could be easilly harmed by hot stuff. In other words, heat and heat transfer and its effect on our CHON bodies are natural laws, but the fact that we were supposedly designed with CHON bodies is not. (Also, exactly who is supposed to have authored those natural laws in the first place?)

(30-08-2013 11:04 AM)PleaseJesus Wrote:  
Quote: Problem of Suffering: I felt you were getting confused again by what I meant by this, so I'll repeat what I said earlier. When I talk about the problem of suffering, I am not saying that suffering is undesirable. (It is, but that's not what I'm referring to by the phrase.) I am referring to the specific way some creeds held by some Christians (that God is an omnipotent, omniscient, loving Creator) are inconsistent with the observable existence of suffering.

But that’s not my creed, nor the creed of any born again Christian I’ve met in decades. They ALL add “just” and even “wrathful” (!) and NO atheists ever add “just” to omnipotence and love until I prompt them about five times.

Irrelevant to this argument, unless you're proposing that being just or wrathful is WHY God created suffering. God could be just or not, wrathful or not, endowed with male genetilia or not, even a soprano or not, and the argument would remain the same. All that's needed for the problem of suffering to represent an inconsistency with the concept of God, is the notion that God is an omnipotent, omniscient, loving creator. (Now that I think about it, we can probably jetison creator from that mix as well.) Tacking on further restrictions doesn't effect the logical quandry I'm discussing. It might be relevant to OTHER arguments, but not this one.

And, if you are proposing that these are why God created suffering?

Code:
So God wanted to be just.  He did this through suffering.  He could have achieved it in another manner, just as thoroughly, without him needing people to suffer.  He was aware of this.  Yet of these two options, he chose to have people suffer anyway.  Did God have a purpose for this choice?  Yes/No

This echoes today in our own penal system, the idea that it's possible to have justice without the goal of inflicting suffering. ... of course, it's hardly the only philosophy at work there.

Code:
So God wanted to be wrathful.  He did this through suffering.  He could have achieved it in another manner, just as thoroughly, without him needing people to suffer.  He was aware of this.  Yet of these two options, he chose to have people suffer anyway.  Did God have a purpose for this choice?  Yes/No

You don't even have to assume omnipotence for this one. How many people have been extremely angry, but restrained themselves from hurting anyone for the sake of love or friendship?

(30-08-2013 11:04 AM)PleaseJesus Wrote:  We can love like 10-year-olds or we can evolve an informed viewpoint on love that sees it not as “love feels good and suffering feels bad” but rather, love makes sacrifices and tough calls. I LOVE my friends, so if I see them shooting heroin, I’ll yank the needle from their arm rather than sending them a greeting card sometime.

The problem with heroin isn't that it makes you feel good, so much as it causes a whole lot more long-term suffering than short-term pleasure. Also the analogy with a God breaks down when you reflect that, first, to all appearances God ISN'T yanking the heroin needle out of the arm and, second, God is supposedly the one who created opioids in the first place.

((Also, I'd disagree with method. Getting them off heroin, sure, but doing it by force, no. It's better to help get them off the drug in a way that they control, because self-control is going to be the only thing that keeps them off. Yanking the needle out of their arm just means they'll shoot up when you're not around, and do everything they can to leave you thinking the problem's solved when it isn't.))

(30-08-2013 11:04 AM)PleaseJesus Wrote:  “A loving god who sincerely cares for people will eliminate all suffering in this life. So that should they die and suffer in Hell forever, they had no clear warning and couldn’t even understand what the word “suffering” meant in their language when Christians warned them of Hell.”

Code:
So God wanted to warn us about the dangers of Hell.  He did this through suffering.  He could have achieved it in another manner, just as thoroughly, without him needing people to suffer.  He was aware of this.  Yet of these two options, he chose to have people suffer anyway.  Did God have a purpose for this choice?  Yes/No

... and is Hell somehow NOT part of the suffering that God supposedly created? Also, I thought the suffering of Hell was supposed to be incomprehensibly beyond mortal understanding.

(30-08-2013 11:04 AM)PleaseJesus Wrote:  I would agree with you on two counts: 1) as you wrote, the suffering caused by a loving being must not slide over into cruel territory. 2) The amazing parsing here you made in decision making is something you said above a mere animal cannot do. Isn’t it interesting that atheists also love to point out on this forum that people and not mere animals also seem to be the only ones with a god delusion? Doesn’t Occam’s Razor suggest that our heightened sense of morals, decision making, and choices naturally leads us to yearn for understanding about god?

Don't know about animals, haven't seen the others in the forum saying it, but I could easilly have missed it. It's certainly true that animals do demonstrate high levels of superstitious behavior, under reproducible lab conditions, and it's not clear whether they ascribe animate characteristics to natural phenomena like fires and lightning. (I'd say anthropomorphize, but that term's a bit too human-centric in this case.) I'd also say religion and communication about truly abstract concepts contained within it depends on communication abilities that few animals besides humans possess.

I don't see how the Occham's Razor enters into it, but yes, we instinctively seek to understand the world around us, to a degree, including the beliefs of the societies we live in. Sometimes that understanding involves recognizing that the belief is false.

(30-08-2013 11:04 AM)PleaseJesus Wrote:  I see your “basic arguments”.

30 God knew we would suffer after the Fall. Of course.

40 God has multiple purposes for inflicting suffering. Yes.

Etc.

The real problem of course, in all the lines of code the one that is moot, that cannot be a yes/no, is that assumption that an omnipotent being is able to create a universe with people in it who don’t suffer!

... if there is something that a being can't do, that isn't inherrently contradictory (like making people suffer without making them suffer), how does that constitute omnipotence? Are you saying that in all possible worlds, the existence of people would of inescapable logical necessity imply suffering? What do you expect to find in Heaven, then?

(30-08-2013 11:04 AM)PleaseJesus Wrote:  10 Is a part of omnipotence free will? Yes

20 Let’s be really sure about 10! Can an omnipotent being who cannot do what he wants (has no free will—is subservient to another being or a natural law of some type) be truly omnipotent? No.

Is the existence of people implying suffering that I was just asking about some sort of natural law?

(30-08-2013 11:04 AM)PleaseJesus Wrote:  30 If this omnipotent being can do what he wants and his nature is omni-good, will he take good actions most of the time if not all the time? Yes.

40 If people need to suffer for their immediate or their long-term benefit, will an all-omnipotent being with free will who also happens to have a very good nature CAUSE suffering willfully? Yes.

Agreed on 40, EXCEPT it's irrelevant. It's loaded with an assumption that there could exist a benefit that requires suffering to reach, with no non-suffering alternative. That's the condition on which you say a loving person could inflict suffering. And I agree with that part... except you are simply skipping over a key point of the argument. For an omnipotent, omniscient being, that condition will never arise, and all your attempts so far to illustrate how it might arise can be and have been rebutted by a fill-in-the-blank algorithm. (I'd call it an AI, but it's not even that!) You're not countering the program argument from earlier. You're just blithely assuming that it has already been countered and so ignoring it.

(30-08-2013 11:04 AM)PleaseJesus Wrote:  50 If Reltzik disagrees, as all atheists seem to do on the forum, that an omnipotent being is only omnipotent if they can do bad and good in equal measure, than what are the odds of being in a particular universe where there is suffering? 50/50.
60 50/50? Oh crap. We’re just in the wrong universe! I knew it!

NO idea where 50 came from. Okay, sure, "capable of doing bad" is required for omnipotence, but that still leaves the possiblity of "capable of doing bad but chooses not to", which is perfectly consistent with "omnipotent and loving" as well as "free-willed god" and is not something I've been picking at.

(30-08-2013 11:04 AM)PleaseJesus Wrote:  God is a moral being. People are moral beings. Discussing their abilities to choose makes no sense with free will being part of reality. And certainly, I can make a judgment call on god’s nature, since atheists always return to “If god makes children suffer he’s a bad god.”

I have resolved, “god makes people suffer because he’s a good god.” Get it?

I get that you've resolved that, and I see how you did it, and I'm pretty sure you got there by outright ignoring the logical contradiction of an omniscient, omnipotent being somehow ending up forced to choose between a world with no suffering and accomplishing some other objective, rather than having the option of saying, "HEY, HOW AM I BEING FORCED TO PICK BETWEEN BAD OPTIONS HERE, I'M FRICKING GOD!" and snapping his figurative fingers to instantly get every element of creation exactly the way he wants it with no compromises at all.

"If I ignore the alternatives, the only option is God; I ignore them; therefore God." -- The Syllogism of Fail
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02-09-2013, 01:28 AM
RE: Why Must Children Suffer? [The Astonishing Sequel]
Wow, SleazyJebus is still here, and he STILL has an incredible lack of imagination. I'm debating whether I should or should not be surprised...

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02-09-2013, 11:25 AM
RE: Why Must Children Suffer? [The Astonishing Sequel]
PJ, I can see why it would be important to not apply the morals [imaginary] god wants to apply to us. He wouldn't do very well.....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wc1Vt9S9v...8E36541DA4

Don't sell yourself short Judge, you're an incredible slouch.

Martin Luther was the "father" of two movements - The Reformation and Nazism.
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03-09-2013, 01:14 PM
RE: Why Must Children Suffer? [The Astonishing Sequel]
Quote:Many children do not enjoy anything, ever. They simply experience starvation and want from the first moment, until they die. Many are never aware of anything else.
Your god (were she to exist), provides them with NOTHING at all. Ever.
Oops. There's goes that argument. Your stupid "relative quantitative" (at least "some good") argument. That's the best your (religion) business can offer ? Not buying THAT crap.

Interesting. Yes, some are put in wastebaskets to starve or pine away, particularly at abortion clinics where people (who have no free will and it’s all god’s fault, really, right?) exercise their “choice”.

And as I said, interesting. A fellow atheist of yours on these threads said life itself was a gift, and then vigorously defended that stance when I challenged him. Do you disagree?

You do, for in the animal kingdom there are many young that are eaten soon after birth but as a naturalist who has a hypocritical base when discussing human life… I still am uncertain how it is you are able therefore, to place a subjective value on youth and life. Some positivist argument ad populum, perhaps.

Quote:As far as requesting "Jebus is lard" goes ...
Thanks for proving yet again SPJTJ ... you are not here to discuss anything. You want atheists to SUBMIT to the same unreasonable bullshit you bought when you bought the bill of goods. Whether they see it as a reasonable or sane thing to do is irrelevant. Just submit. Tell Jebus you trust him. That's all you want. Safety in numbers.

Get lost.

Huh? This thread is an exemplar of PJ discussing EVERYTHING and not nothing, responding to tripe and savory arguments alike from freethinkers.

Somewhere in your rambling above I noted you are unable to prove the scriptures wrong and add a Jesus is Lord to this thread.

Should I call the exorcists in?
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03-09-2013, 01:22 PM
RE: Why Must Children Suffer? [The Astonishing Sequel]
Quote:My niece suffered through spinal meningitis from the moment she was born until the day she died, 16 months later. The awareness she had of this life had to have been pain and hopefully some measure of relief from that pain from time to time. I know she smiled and played, but on the inside she was dying as this bacterial infection that covered her brain and spinal cord slowly ended her life.

I’m very sorry to hear that, and I’m sorry for the suffering that caused you and her family. As I wrote not all suffering has an obvious meaning we can glean, but I hope you will reunite with your precious niece in Heaven.

Quote:This natural world we live in has many wonderful things, but it also has deadly diseases and viruses and bacterial infections that are all NATURAL. And I'm glad they are, because that means we can defeat them. We can find cures and we have for many diseases. We have the potential to end much of the worlds suffering as time goes on, but only if people care more about others than they do about themselves.

Well, that’s the problem. Apart from an argument ad populum, you cannot justify positivist ethics such as do not kill (humans). There are tribes or groups of people throughout history from cannibals to Nazis who felt like they cared about their people group only and caused suffering to others.

To be more specific, one might use anything from a twisted Social Darwinist view to the Bible to justify slavery for the benefit of an elite, or so I’m told. Wink If you can prove that we “need” to care about others, than we can have a context by which to judge god for his lack of caring, the main point of this thread.

Quote:It would seem to me that the supernatural, (that which is beyond the natural) cannot effect the natural by it's own definition.

I can understand the skeptic’s association with the supernatural. 1) 99% of the Bible is not relating anything that can be called supernatural. 2) I don’t know that the Bible uses that term per se. There is nothing in the Bible miracles that cannot be explained by the harnessing of natural tools or natural causes.

Quote:Humans care for others and try to ease suffering. This is part of human nature. If something supernatural exists, it will not have this natural property.

Um, it’s not part of every human’s nature to try and ease the suffering of OTHERS. That is a positivist ethic that I’m asking again for those on this thread to justify beyond an ad populum (and it would have hardly been a populum argument in Genghis Khan’s empire).

But as for writing that something supernatural will not show love and care? Are you saying a supernatural event will have no natural properties within it? Than how can it be witnessed by natural man? And how would you define the loving miracles recorded in the Bible of healings and deliverance?
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03-09-2013, 01:23 PM
RE: Why Must Children Suffer? [The Astonishing Sequel]
Quote:Dude seriously needs some Imodium, like a triple dose.

Way to go! You’ve logically refuted the dozens of syllogisms, thousands of words, and dozens of salient points I’ve posted on these two recent threads.

Did you chair the debate team in your high school? Have you passed the bar yet to become a fully practicing attorney?
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03-09-2013, 01:34 PM
RE: Why Must Children Suffer? [The Astonishing Sequel]
(03-09-2013 01:14 PM)PleaseJesus Wrote:  And as I said, interesting. A fellow atheist of yours on these threads said life itself was a gift, and then vigorously defended that stance when I challenged him. Do you disagree?

Forum search to the rescue! Here is my "vigorous" defense of the "life is a gift" statement:

I definitely consider it a gift and I did say that in my first post; it is meaningful to me. But that only applies to me. For some, life is a horrible experience. I think where you struggle is accepting that I find meaning without a deity, god, or higher calling. I don't think we are important. I don't think the universe was created for us. I don't think the rest of the universe even knows we're here.

As you can see, my "defense" actually supports BB. Life is not a gift for all of us. Not even close. I've noticed that when we point out the "shit happens" aspects of life to you, you struggle to explain them and usually end up rephrasing them to something more manageable. Look at the contrast between your description of my "vigorous defense" and my actual comment. Go read the whole thread. It's like you're talking about a completely different thing.

I used to do the same thing as a theist; I understand why you do it.

If Jesus died for our sins, why is there still sin? If man was created from dust, why is there still dust? If Americans came from Europe, why are there still Europeans?
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03-09-2013, 01:40 PM
RE: Why Must Children Suffer? [The Astonishing Sequel]
(03-09-2013 01:14 PM)PleaseJesus Wrote:  Interesting. Yes, some are put in wastebaskets to starve or pine away, particularly at abortion clinics where people (who have no free will and it’s all god’s fault, really, right?) exercise their “choice”.

Wrong. Obvious attempt to change the subject. Some children SUFFER for years.
Stop trying to change the subject, troll. YOUR JEBUS, (would he exist, and he doesn't), would permit that life-long suffering. THAT is no "loving god". They are mutually exclusive. ANy rational person can see that. Obviously you are not rational. (But we already knew that).

The scriptures don't need "to be proven wrong". You have the burden of proof, and you have in no way proven them "true" about anything. So indeed, you DO want me to lie, and say Jebus is Lard. You people really are into that lie telling. You really have a stupid god, who wouldn't know what's true or not true. Don't bother to call in the exorcists. (ANother fake job, just like your's). There are no demons.
Read Dr. Elaine Pagels' "The Origins of Satan".
You really wallow in ignorance, don't you ?

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein
Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music - Friedrich Nietzsche
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03-09-2013, 02:03 PM
RE: Why Must Children Suffer? [The Astonishing Sequel]
Quote: Some questions are more natural to ask than others. If I were to drop a rock and have it fall and plunk on the ground, I might wonder what causes gravity, but the question won't jump out at me. If it were to levitate instead, "Why's it doing that?" would be a much more natural question, because defied expectations provoke inquiry. Similarly for things that aren't the way we want them. However, things that we don't particularly desire or expect, we don't ask why they aren't happening. It's just not a natural question. That's "why aren't more people deaf." We neither want nor expect it. No deafness, though, that's desirable, and it contradicts a notion of God that we're interested in, so asking why THAT isn't so is more natural.

Okay, but why can’t we rephrase the question, “Why would a loving, omnipotent god cause suffering?” to “Why can’t I be taller?” or “Why can’t there be more mozzarella cheese on my pizza?” In other words, when using our subjective viewpoint to judge an omniscient being, how do you know that suffering is any worse or better than not enough cheese or height?

I’ve demonstrated many times now that suffering does have positive purposes and outcomes, or at least most suffering, especially if there is a loving god who also judges… and rewards.

Quote:Conscious thought, as we think of it, arises from the cerebral cortex, which is fairly exclusive to mammals. The snake's stuck with a thought process that's pretty much pure instinct. Lions do have a cerebral cortex, and can make conscious decisions, but as I said they lack the empathy with their prey to recognize that they are causing suffering, and so can't comprehend the consequences of their actions. I will admit that I'm not a hundred percent on this point, so let me say that if they DO comprehend it, there is a measure of cruelty in their acts, but not pointless cruelty.

You are saying so much there is conjectural, I won’t try to refute it.

Quote: I can't speak for all atheists. It irks me for a few reasons. It creates an arbitrary divide beteween humans and the rest of nature, it speaks to ego in unhealthy ways, and it applies some sort of seal of approval to the human race above and beyond a recognition of the actual relative intellectual capabilities of the species. (And of course, the only thing that would make us stewards would be the appointment of some Creator that atheists don't believe in.) But more than that, we shouldn't be stewards, because we SUCK at it. We have better appreciation of the consequences of our actions compared to other animals, but that's still not saying much. Human evolution is already easilly in the top ten mass extinction events in the 3.7ish billion years life's been in existence on Earth, and it could still claim an uncontested #1 in a single afternoon of red buttons and thermonuclear detonation. But most of this has stemmed from actions where we DIDN'T understand the consequences. Einstein didn't realize that fooling around with the math of relativity would lead to the capacity to destroy the entire species being put in the hands of an increasing number of less-and-less stable polities. We didn't anticipate that burning gasoline would cause the climate destablization, or that phosphor fertilizer would render massive tracts of ocean biomes into hypoxic wastelands. Not only were we ignorant when we undertook these steps (and, really, those consequences would have been hard to anticipate at the beginning), but we went through a long denial stage because we didn't want to give up the toys, profits, and humanitarian benefits of some of these decisions. And then to top it all off, there's THIS doctrine, where humanity was given stewardship over Creation (well, men were, guess women are good for nothing but getting the shaft again). It's been abused over and over again to justify all sorts of stupid acts on the basis of, hey, we've got a RIGHT to drain that swamp for our own shortsighted purposes if we want to, because God said so! That, the way it's been abused, is what really pisses me off about it. (Of course, that's what pisses me off about most of Christianity.)

Then you’ll be pleased to learn Revelation and other scriptures say man is to be judged appropriately for being a poor steward.

Further, men and women are different. They really are, or are you a vegan? You eat animals, why not people? They are digestible, you know. Sounds like you have some positive ethics and strong feelings. Now if we can back them up with non-philosophical arguments we’re set. Not poking at you here, I just noticed that freethinkers constantly suggest ONLY empirical evidence is valid for supernatural events, god’s existence, etc. so why can we use philosophy to place values on human life such as the “innocence” of children?

Quote: I think morality is about what we should and shouldn't do, rather than what we should or shouldn't feel. I certainly don't say that you shouldn't feel some sort of anger. For that matter, a demand for some sort of punishment is quite plausible from a moral standpoint, for, as I mentioned, reasons of deterrence or preventing further offenses. Whether you feel anger somewhere along the line doesn't change that. (My understanding is that it's particularly called for with rape, as rapists are more likely to be serial offenders than, say, murderers. Even if you only know about the one incident, odds are they've done it before and will again.)

So, you’re saying that we can use a positivist ethic to go contrary to the emotional promptings caused by the prehistoric impulses. Christians pretty much agree with that.

Quote:Logic isn't entirely in contrast with emotion. Sometimes it tells us that our impulses are bad, and we should listen to it, but sometimes it tells us that they're good things, and again we should listen to it. I'd say that using logic to sort through emotional impulses and their consequences is better than relying on unexamined instincts... and even that someone of reasonable maturity should damn well better realize that NOT thinking things through is a choice with consequences of its own.

Agreed.

Quote:As for "Darwinian competition" being at ends with a measure of cooperation or forgiveness? That's a load of bull excrement, the sort I'm used to hearing from people who don't understand natural selection. There is, indeed, a measure of competition in the face of scarcity to be found in most evolutionary and survival pressures. But it's far from a zero-sum or negative-sum game. Cooperation, symbiosis, and communal survival are all extremely viable genetic survival strategies, and mindless combativeness is often disadvantageous for ALL parties involved. In any event, understanding how natural selection works doesn't mean I have to actually want my genes to pass on at any cost, or even no cost, and I hardly need base my individual actions on such a genetic perspective. This is what Dawkins refers to as the selfish gene -- the idea that a gene has goals distinct from the individual which carries it. (In a loose sense, of course. Genes aren't actually conscious.)

I’m familiar with the concept and with ideas underpinning ethics without a god and survivability of groups and the motivations (however pathetic) for altruism, for example, rather than sacrificing oneself utterly for another, one may not do to others what one fears.

However, this Dawkins gene is yet to be identified and marked by geneticists! Does it strike you as convenient to say “competition!” when we see it in the animal kingdom and then “socialization!” when we see something else in the kingdom? In other words, how come it’s not good for cannibals to eat people? Many species eat their own. How come it’s not okay to prey on the young? Most predators do—going after the eggs and so on.

Quote: No particular advice, because I doubt they'd need to be told it, and pretty sure none of them think God's responsible for anything. But if I thought they did, it'd probably be something like "become the change you wish to see in the world". (Not my words, of course.) Don't sit idly by hoping for others to fix what you're bemoaning. That's a long wait for a train don't come. (Again, not my words.) But again, there's a difference between whining about something we dislike versus examining its implications.

I accept that if you’ll accept as a reasoning person that this was the rubric also of the Nazis. They were absolutely fomenting the change they wanted to see. I’m still waiting (I have been for 20 years) for a skeptic to tell me concretely how they know that the Nazis are wrong and not right, and how they know that the amount of suffering in the world (all of which can be explained by natural causes) is wrong.

Can you think of a supernatural cause of suffering other then the judgment of Hell? If not, why blame god for it all? That makes no sense. Your new resolution would be “A loving and omnipotent god has no reason to create a natural universe where there are consequences to actions to cause suffering.” Not a good stance for a skeptic.

Quote: When did I say typically? It's the sort of thing I tend to sprinkle in as a hedge term, a bad habit that I try to fix in proof, but I don't see it. Or are you qualifying your own statement?

I wouldn't say that the hypothesized God would have screwed up with designing the stove (that's GE's problem), so much as by designing humans in a way that they could be easilly harmed by hot stuff. In other words, heat and heat transfer and its effect on our CHON bodies are natural laws, but the fact that we were supposedly designed with CHON bodies is not. (Also, exactly who is supposed to have authored those natural laws in the first place?)

Qualifying my own statement. You agree that all suffering has natural causes, and it can be demonstrated that they come on appropriate scale, eg, hotter or colder surfaces hurt to the touch more , but your logical preference is for a different outcome? Why isn’t your resolution, “Why didn’t god make a supernatural universe?”

I mean, the whole discussion of how god could have done things differently seems more like magical than rational thinking.

Atheists seem fixed on determinism for god and man without allowing god’s choice. An omnipotent being could have made Earth have one moon AND three moons in its gravity, but didn’t. And then atheists say god is trying to confuse us!

Quote: Irrelevant to this argument, unless you're proposing that being just or wrathful is WHY God created suffering. God could be just or not, wrathful or not, endowed with male genetilia or not, even a soprano or not, and the argument would remain the same. All that's needed for the problem of suffering to represent an inconsistency with the concept of God, is the notion that God is an omnipotent, omniscient, loving creator. (Now that I think about it, we can probably jetison creator from that mix as well.) Tacking on further restrictions doesn't effect the logical quandry I'm discussing. It might be relevant to OTHER arguments, but not this one.

And, if you are proposing that these are why God created suffering?

Of course it’s relevant. What the skeptics duck is the logical outcome of their assertions that if god exists, he is cruel, and then to follow that to its logical end. Because once we go there, we instantly discern the limits on suffering and must now resolve “Why would a cruel god make delicious food, sex, joy, happiness, etc?”

It’s relevant to have both a just and loving god in the discussion since 1) that’s the Bible playing field and I’d like to keep the unique Bible perspectives on suffering in play as germane to the topic 2) just is a modifier of what loving means as surely as omniscient has bearing on omnipresent or omnipotent.

Quote: This echoes today in our own penal system, the idea that it's possible to have justice without the goal of inflicting suffering. ... of course, it's hardly the only philosophy at work there.

Even the word “inflicting” is you modifier. If they take a rapist and chemically or physically castrate him, I would say he “inflicted” his suffering on himself because his actions led to a consequence.

Look at it this way. A person punches you so hard in the face, he breaks your jaw and his hand. He howls in pain. Are we still frustrated that a hypothetical god caused the person who punched you to hurt their hand and suffer? Really?

Quote: You don't even have to assume omnipotence for this one. How many people have been extremely angry, but restrained themselves from hurting anyone for the sake of love or friendship?

And god most of all. Would you like 100 or 200 Bible passages explaining where god said he was waiting patiently for repentance?

Quote: The problem with heroin isn't that it makes you feel good, so much as it causes a whole lot more long-term suffering than short-term pleasure. Also the analogy with a God breaks down when you reflect that, first, to all appearances God ISN'T yanking the heroin needle out of the arm and, second, God is supposedly the one who created opioids in the first place.

And here we go again! How come a shootist goes to jail for a crime only? The gun manufacturer “made the gun in the first place”. How come a rapist goes to jail only? The woman “made him feel feelings in the first place”. I get personally angry with anyone who blames rape on the woman, how about you?

Quote:((Also, I'd disagree with method. Getting them off heroin, sure, but doing it by force, no. It's better to help get them off the drug in a way that they control, because self-control is going to be the only thing that keeps them off. Yanking the needle out of their arm just means they'll shoot up when you're not around, and do everything they can to leave you thinking the problem's solved when it isn't.))

If you’d like I can think of a better example of when one causes pain or suffering to teach a lesson. The Bible says in Proverbs, “The wounds of a friend are faithful and true.”

Quote: ... and is Hell somehow NOT part of the suffering that God supposedly created? Also, I thought the suffering of Hell was supposed to be incomprehensibly beyond mortal understanding.

Do you have a Bible reference for this? I think it’s comprehensible and demonstrated clearly in the scriptures. Again, if there is a Hell, a world without suffering would indicate the cruelest possible, lying god.

Quote: Don't know about animals, haven't seen the others in the forum saying it, but I could easilly have missed it. It's certainly true that animals do demonstrate high levels of superstitious behavior, under reproducible lab conditions, and it's not clear whether they ascribe animate characteristics to natural phenomena like fires and lightning. (I'd say anthropomorphize, but that term's a bit too human-centric in this case.) I'd also say religion and communication about truly abstract concepts contained within it depends on communication abilities that few animals besides humans possess.

I don't see how the Occham's Razor enters into it, but yes, we instinctively seek to understand the world around us, to a degree, including the beliefs of the societies we live in. Sometimes that understanding involves recognizing that the belief is false.

I see. So you’re saying it’s the anthropomorphizing of natural causes to a being that is the delusion. I get it. It’s the first part of the argument I’d want to focus on also, since we agree a loving god must not slide over from causing mere suffering to cruelty.

Try this argument if you would, god appears before you while you are punching someone in the face and says, “Please stop.” After all, you’ve argued successfully in this post that we ought to stop people from certain actions by an appeal to altruism and logic above force. You keep punching the person in the face and say, “You made me do this, god.” Do you see the problem?

Quote: ... if there is something that a being can't do, that isn't inherrently contradictory (like making people suffer without making them suffer), how does that constitute omnipotence? Are you saying that in all possible worlds, the existence of people would of inescapable logical necessity imply suffering? What do you expect to find in Heaven, then?

I don’t understand this question.

Quote: Is the existence of people implying suffering that I was just asking about some sort of natural law?

Not sure I follow you here. My point was god has free will as an inherent subsection of his omnipotence.

Quote: Agreed on 40, EXCEPT it's irrelevant. It's loaded with an assumption that there could exist a benefit that requires suffering to reach, with no non-suffering alternative. That's the condition on which you say a loving person could inflict suffering. And I agree with that part... except you are simply skipping over a key point of the argument. For an omnipotent, omniscient being, that condition will never arise, and all your attempts so far to illustrate how it might arise can be and have been rebutted by a fill-in-the-blank algorithm. (I'd call it an AI, but it's not even that!) You're not countering the program argument from earlier. You're just blithely assuming that it has already been countered and so ignoring it.

No, I’ll address it. Let’s give an example for an alternative to suffering. For example, Jesus could appear and instruct people in person rather than causing pain and suffering. The problem is that feelings serve a purpose as does pain--something that is true in the natural world without god as alluded to in my first post.

What would you like god to replace your happiness with in his omnipotence? What would you like a sexual orgasm replaced with? Joy replaced with? Tasty food? Breathing fresh air? The answer is nothing and you want those feelings and are not disgruntled with god’s incompetence in allowing them. But each of those feelings has a heightened context BECAUSE of suffering. You might as well argue that we should only eat ice cream for our nutrition. Ah, but then we’d never know what the joy of ice cream really is.

Quote: NO idea where 50 came from. Okay, sure, "capable of doing bad" is required for omnipotence, but that still leaves the possiblity of "capable of doing bad but chooses not to", which is perfectly consistent with "omnipotent and loving" as well as "free-willed god" and is not something I've been picking at.

I appreciate that because a number of folks on this forum typed with a straight face that it’s not logically possible for an omnipotent being to choose only good.

Quote: I get that you've resolved that, and I see how you did it, and I'm pretty sure you got there by outright ignoring the logical contradiction of an omniscient, omnipotent being somehow ending up forced to choose between a world with no suffering and accomplishing some other objective, rather than having the option of saying, "HEY, HOW AM I BEING FORCED TO PICK BETWEEN BAD OPTIONS HERE, I'M FRICKING GOD!" and snapping his figurative fingers to instantly get every element of creation exactly the way he wants it with no compromises at all.

I understand that. You do know the Bible presents suffering and even Hell as a good and not bad option for good to enact? 1 Peter says in chapter 3, “Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed.”

I can indeed think of skeptics who say god made suffering for capricious reasons if he exists. But all born again Christians understand some of the many logical and necessary purposes for suffering.

Again, if you would, show me a natural or empirical reason why suffering is inappropriate other than a positivist ethic based on fear of retribution or hope of communal peace. Lion eat gazelles and we want/need the gazelle to go to fight or flight mode. Do you disagree?
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03-09-2013, 02:05 PM
RE: Why Must Children Suffer? [The Astonishing Sequel]
Quote: Wow, SleazyJebus is still here, and he STILL has an incredible lack of imagination. I'm debating whether I should or should not be surprised...

Well the cat in your signature line sums your apatheism, which is actually even more depressing to contemplate than mere agnostic atheism.

Reltzik and others and I are having a respectful and lively discussion, and using our brains… and hearts.
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