• Randal Rauser on failing to answer my problem of evil question

    So I was graciously asked by Randal Rauser on his blog recently to provide a synopsis of a few paragraphs to run in his series “Why I am an atheist” (or not a Christian. The series has been interesting and has elicited testimonies from Justin Schieber, Counter Apologist, Jeff Lowder, Ed Babinski and others.

    I have since asked Randal to return the favour and he gladly accepted, furnishing me with a much more lengthy expression of the reasons for his Christian belief. But before I create a post on that (probably tomorrow) I thought I would analyse a little what he said about my testimony. Here is what I provided:

    My name is Jonathan MS Pearce and I am a teacher, philosopher, author and blogger. I am an agnostic atheist in that I believe there is probably no God, though cannot prove it any more than a theist can prove that there is (it’s difficult to prove anything past cogito ergo sum). I came from a religiously apathetic house – no real persuasion either way. For this I am hugely grateful, now. This allowed me to make up my own mind, swinging from a confirmed Christian in my school days to rejecting God in my late teens. This was based initially on living and travelling around the world and seeing pain, suffering, inequality (I’m drinking a cup of tea now whilst thousands are starving in sub-Saharan Africa, none of which can be justified by compensation in heaven) and diverse beliefs first hand (later understood as the Problem of Evil and the Outsider Test for Faith). I realised my beliefs were a product of where I was brought up. This cast serious doubts. Living at university with scientists as a lone Arts student gave me a greater understanding of empirical arguments against God (they were all atheists). Later in life, as someone who has studied the arguments in depth, and as part of the Tippling Philosophers group which has included a notable published Christian philosopher and a theologian, I have interacted in great depth with all of the arguments for the existence of God. I find none persuasive, including (and, perhaps especially, the historical ones). I cannot even understand why an ontologically perfect being would have any needs or desires at all, especially to create something so apparently imperfect as us and this universe.

    In one of my books, I set out a cumulative case against the existence of God in 501 questions directly to him. One of my favourite questions for its simplicity in exposing design flaws and the Problem of Evil is this: Why don’t humans and all animals photosynthesise? Quite simple for an omniGod. In fact, due to the vastness of pain, suffering and death over millions and millions of years due to carnivorousness just so organisms can survive, why is it that organisms be designed to need energy at all? This kind of panoply of pain, designed in and actualised by a Creator, is surely unnecessary and best explained by a naturalistic universe.

    The core to my disbelief, though, is the philosophical incoherence of the idea of free will, upon which a personal deity supervenes. This should be THE most prevalent topic of debate in theology. Arguing about whether the dead saints really did parade around Jerusalem, meeting many people, never to be reported by anyone else on earth but Matthew; about whether it really happened is irrelevant if you can’t establish free will.

    Now I was brief because I was expected to be, and so did not expand on too many points, and I hope my case did not suffer as a result. Here was what Randal had to say:

    Jonathan has provided a very helpful and succinct overview of his disbelief, and I’m grateful for it. I’m going to respond to five sentences from Jonathan’s comments.

    I am an agnostic atheist in that I believe there is probably no God, though cannot prove it any more than a theist can prove that there is (it’s difficult to prove anything past cogito ergo sum).”

    David Hume, Bertrand Russell, and others pointed out that you may not even be able to prove the cogito with the kind of absolutely indefeasible proof that Descartes sought. At best, you may prove “there are thoughts” while inferring that there is a thinking substance underlying those thoughts. The thinking substance is precisely the assumption that a bundle theory of self would challenge. Suffice it to say, playing the hyper-skeptic threatens even Descartes’ cherished cogito.

    I came from a religiously apathetic house – no real persuasion either way. For this I am hugely grateful, now. This allowed me to make up my own mind,“.

    I find this to be a hugely important, and very revealing statement. Jonathan seems to equate apathy about x with the freedom to think critically about x. But there is no essential connection here. Indeed, apathy may completely obstruct proper thinking about a given subject matter. Let’s say that Jimmy is born into a family that is completely apathetic about a just society. Does this fact provide Jimmy with a greater critical objectivity to develop his own thoughts on a just society? To say the least: not necessarily. Indeed, apathy about justice can serve to obstruct proper thinking about justice, particularly if justice is precisely the kind of thing that should stimulate intense commitment and thoughtful engagement.

    By the same token, “a religiously apathetic house” doesn’t mean “a house that has equipped one to think in a critical, objective way about religion”, particularly if religion is the kind of thing that should stimulate intense commitment (one way or the other) and thoughtful engagement. At the very least, apathy is not a neutral, default position.

    So where is intellectual freedom found? It is found when intellectual virtues are encouraged, when people learn to examine their beliefs with some critical distance, to challenge their own penchant for confirmation bias and motivated reasoning, to learn to extend the hospitality of listening to others and seeing the world from their perspective. But all these virtues are fully compatible with a whole range of perspectives on and degree of commitment to various religions or beliefs about God.

    I realised my beliefs were a product of where I was brought up.”

    This is interesting. Often atheists make comments like “You’re a Christian because you were raised in a Christian household.” I wonder if Jonathan thinks he’s an agnostic-atheist because he was raised in a religiously apathetic household?

    This kind of panoply of pain, designed in and actualised by a Creator, is surely unnecessary and best explained by a naturalistic universe.”

    This is a comment not on Jonathan’s sentence but rather one occasioned by it: The problem of evil is the atheist’s best friend for provocative sound bites. “Why would God allow X?!” (applause) But it is much more difficult to formulate a viable argument from the problem of evil. And it seems to me (as it has seemed to many theists) that the very visceral reaction human beings have to the distribution and intensity of evil and suffering in the world, the sense that this isn’t the way things ought to be, is itself a fact that supports the theist’s intuition because that is precisely the view of the theist.

    The core to my disbelief, though, is the philosophical incoherence of the idea of free will, upon which a personal deity supervenes. This should be THE most prevalent topic of debate in theology.”

    Here I’ll simply note that Christian philosophers and theologians endorse the complete range of positions on free will from libertarianism to soft determinism (human beings have free will and are determined) to outright hard determinism (human beings don’t have free will and are determined, for which see philosopher Derk Pereboom).

    Given that Christians work comfortably within the full range of theories of free will, adopting one particular view of free will is not a ground to reject Christianity.

    I will now use some of my comments from his blog to formulate my response / how I responded.

    To start, a quick one on the cogito, it was just a succinct passing comment, and I did not expand on it so as to sidetrack discussion. My thoughts on the cogito are slightly confused by the notion that I actually refute a continuous “I” such that the cogito would actually conclude that some thinking entity exists, or that thinking exists. But you get my point. It is not one of the cogito, but that proving God’s existence or lack thereof is rather difficult.

    On to free will. Free will (LFW) is philosophically incoherent and empirically ‘disproven’. The Bible makes claims that only make sense in light of free will and God, as understood by the Bible and classic theism. These concepts and claims cannot be true in the light of the lack of free will. Moreover, they have weaker epistemic merit than the testable empirical claims of the denial of LFW. Therefore the biblical God is non-existent. Things like Open Theism give some better possibility to some aspects of theism. But not a lot.

    Disproven is in scare quotes to show that there is mountains of evidence to act towards showing it does not exist, or if it does, it inhabits a tiny area of the will so irrelevant as that it might as well not exist. Here’s a few nuggets of empirical data to start off:

    1) Libet style experiments whereby we know that the nonconscious brain is active to a ‘decision’ before the conscious brain.
    2) We can predict behaviour and attainment of people 10-20 years later based on delayed gratification research of 4-6 year olds
    3) We can predict criminality of people 20 years later based on fear conditioning at age 3-4
    4) We can assess prison places based on school literacy levels
    5) We can to some degree predict educational attainment using genetic markers
    6) We can predict who you will vote for based on disgust sensitivity
    7) We can use TMS to make the brain choose a certain thing and then watch the mind invent conscious intention ex post facto (this is the same as recorded for people with hemispheres that have been severed)
    8) We can prime people in ALL SORTS OF WAYS to think that they have chosen something but they have actually have non-conscious primes (disgust, language etc etc) – these can control moral judgement
    9) We can adjust people’s moral judgement using TMS (transcortical magnetic stimulation)
    10) certain autistics are less likely to believe in God, as are men (ie there is a causal link in some way)
    11) A the low-functioning BDNF met variation is a risk factor for suicidal behaviour (ie suicide is genetically influenced)
    12) poor cerebral cortex functioning leads to impulsive behaviour

    And so on, ad infinitum.

    What amazes me is that all this data is PREDICTED by determinism. It fits like a glove. It is NOT predicted by LFW. Indeed, you have to ad hoc rationalise to make the two aspects coherent.

    The crux of the matter is this, though: Randal failed to answer one of my most substantive points: Why weren’t all animals designed to photosynthesise? As another commenter John pointed out:

    Excellent post, Jonathan. Well done.

    ” In fact, due to the vastness of pain, suffering and death over millions and millions of years due to carnivorousness just so organisms can survive, why is it that organisms be designed to need energy at all? This kind of panoply of pain, designed in and actualised by a Creator, is surely unnecessary and best explained by a naturalistic universe.” – Jonathan

    I noticed in Randal’s eloquent response to your post that he didn’t touch upon the actual crux of this section (i.e. the reality of carnivorousness and the resulting pain, suffering and death). I am under the impression that Randal believes in an “old” (i.e. ~13.7 Billion years) universe and an “old” Earth (~4.5 Billion years). I am also under the impression that Randal believes homo sapiens have only been around for (approximately) several hundred thousand years – (WLC accepts those data points in case Randal doesn’t). If so, it would seem difficult for a Christian theologian to claim carnivorousness was a result of the “Fall of Man”, since homo sapiens arrived much later than other species on Earth known to be carnivorous. Thus, it appears Randal’s “Creator” created carnivores to behave just as they did before mankind arrived on Earth. If wonder if Randal has objections re. a “Creator” who would create predators and live prey (i.e. species of animals who were systematically hunted, apprehended, and bitten and/or clawed and/or squeezed to death before being consumed). Also, paleontologists believe over 99% of species that ever dwelt upon Earth have gone extinct. Many of those extinctions happened long before homo sapiens arrived. Perhaps YHWH simply wanted an ever-changing “variety” on the menu when it came to species of plants and critters???

    And that’s pretty much the sum of it. Largely evaded my point! Thanks, though, to Randal for running the series. I will have his piece up tomorrow or the day after.

     

    Category: AtheismPhilosophical Argument Against GodPhilosophy of ReligionProblem of Evil

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    Article by: Jonathan MS Pearce

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    • Daydreamer1

      I find this to be a hugely important, and very revealing statement. Jonathan seems to equate apathy about x with the freedom to think critically about x. But there is no essential connection here. Indeed, apathy may completely obstruct proper thinking about a given subject matter. Let’s say that Jimmy is born into a family that is completely apathetic about a just society. Does this fact provide Jimmy with a greater critical objectivity to develop his own thoughts on a just society?

      This would need a neurobiologist to pull apart properly but Randal’s choice of example doesn’t surprise me here. There are great examples of cultural disgust, things like eating insects or rotten flesh. The delicacy of letting meat ferment until it is pungent with ammonia and considering it a delicacy, or allowing milk to ‘go bad’ and turn to cheese – something I love, but is considered disgusting in Asia. And don’t get me started on eating grasshoppers or scorpions. These are not complex ideas like social justice, but they demonstrate the types of reaction we all grow into depending on what culture we are raised in.

      Over the last 7 years I have had the most whopping building argument with my parents and family. One big issue has been this sort of cultural conditioning – something that has currently lost me my brother and sister. It all stems from this reality – that we can easily be blinded by our culture. I had to face realities about my family that I never saw throughout my childhood, my adolescence or twenties. Not until I met my wife and she had trouble integrating and spoke to my parents friends and found that they had trouble as well (but were overlooked in the interest of friendship because they don’t have it 24×7) – and then I had to make a choice, either analyse only from within the culture of my family where everything was fine or look at everything from the outside and see that it was not. For my wife I stood up and looked at it from the outside, and now, with regards to that, I am a traitor.

      I say that though because culture blinds, and it does it through various brain mechanisms. We may well have too small a frontal cortex and too large a set of adrenals, but we are also highly affected by culture and upbringing. A by-product of the evolutionary success of group bonding perhaps (???), but with it comes responsibility.

      Randal might not mean it (in previous comments I have made he often doesn’t mean how I read him), but it seems to me that he is ignoring this complexity. His example of social justice is far more affected by the above mechanisms than measured objective reality. When we talk about history and what we can confidently say about it, or about evolution, or physics, they are subjects much less easily overstepped by defences deferring to more easily culturally conditioned aspects of personality.

      Randal is right in that there are examples where apathy is not the best environment for culturally conditioning children. Therefore in aspects of personality where cultural conditioning are important, such as group moralities or the degree to which we find something innately disgusting or outrageous cultural conditioning is important and corresponds with outcomes. But in circumstances that determine how well children can rationalise information, or how biased they are towards information high impact cultural conditioning is much less fitting.

    • John Grove

      Excellent points Johnny, I’m glad you expanded what you had written for further clarification. I agree with everything you have written (the facts of determinism, comments on cogito, etc.)

      One minor quibble:

      “The Bible makes claims that only make sense in light of free will and God, as understood by the Bible and classic theism”.

      I would say you have a point ONLY if you believe in the omni-attributes of God, as most Christians do. But as some theologians have noted, the Bible seems to have been hijacked by Aristotelian philosophers with regard to those attributes because the Bible is silent with respect to them. It doesn’t say that God has those attributes.

      Calvinism as a system seems to work fine for many Christians, and they do not believe in LFW. The commands that “seem” at face value to imply free will can be understood as God commanding something to which man cannot accomplish in order to show man their sinfulness and inability. For instance God commanded Israel to keep the commandments of the law. Did he know they couldn’t actually do this? Yes, but as the New Testament said, the “law” was a schoolmaster to bring them to Christ. In other words it exposes men and shows that they are guilty. This answer is one possible theological take on it at least. I’m not saying it is rational or correct but it is one they could potentially give.

      Universalism seems to also work, and it works with God’s Omni-attributes. Now, of course, I agree that the facts of determinism make this “god” unfair (unless Universalism is true) so with that you make a strong argument. But again, if God choose Israel out of all the nations to bless, than God does have his favorites anyhow. Thus, by the Bible itself God is not really fair anyhow.

      My point being is that Randal may come to see the facts of determinism. He seems smart enough not to continually reject it, and as the facts keep getting piled on in favor of it with Neuroscience, it is becoming in my opinion inescapable. Determinism is simply a cold hard fact, whether we like it or not. We have to learn to live with it. Though in my opinion, the fact of determinism tends to make people less judgmental of others and give us greater empathy. So, will this knowledge make people reject Christianity? I seriously doubt it.

    • Andy_Schueler

      Let’s say that Jimmy is born into a family that is completely apathetic about a just society. Does this fact provide Jimmy with a greater critical objectivity to develop his own thoughts on a just society? To say the least: not necessarily. Indeed, apathy about justice can serve to obstruct proper thinking about justice, particularly if justice is precisely the kind of thing that should stimulate intense commitment and thoughtful engagement.

      I think there is a crucial difference between thinking about justice and thinking about religion – I find it inconceivable to never experience something while growing up, that challenges your preconceived ideas about justice and thus leads to reflection (and possibly questions directed at your parents about this issue), while it is perfectly possible to grow up in a secular society without ever wondering about Religion at all.
      I was nominally a member of the German Lutheran Church (it´s quite common in Germany and many other european countries that you automatically join a church as an infant) and I had religion classes in school – but it never dawned on me that anyone actually still believes this stuff, it seemed to me to be just a mixture of tradition and myth (and for many churchgoers where I live, Christianity actually is just that). I only started thinking seriously about Religion and whether some religious claims might be true after 9/11 (because religious fundamentalism started being a huge issue and was extensively discussed everywhere) and because I became interested in Biology and stumbled upon the religious objections to Evolution.

      • John Grove

        Andy,
        I have been to Germany once to give a software demo near a place called Munster (I think it was). It was like land of the giants. This military base I went to (no joke), every German was like 6 foot 5, even the women. I felt like I was a miniature in a land of giants being the 5 foot 9 inch guy I am. I felt like the women there could have taken me on if they wanted to.

        • Andy_Schueler

          I have been to Germany once to give a software demo near a place called Munster (I think it was)

          Hey, that´s exactly where I live at the moment!

          This military base I went to (no joke), every German was like 6 foot 5, even the women. I felt like I was a miniature in a land of giants being the 5 foot 9 inch guy I am.

          I´m only 5 foot 10. We have military bases from the USA, UK and the Netherlands here in Münster, and since the dutch are the tallest people in the world on average – it´s possible that you´ve actually seen dutch soldiers ;-)

          • John Grove

            Some big mo fo’s out there man! Münster is a beautiful town, in some places cobblestone streets and the hotel I stayed out was 5 star.

    • Clare45

      Can I address the photosynthesis question? I was taught in early biology classes that one of the differences between animals and plants was the ability of plants to photosynthesize. Thus if animals could do it (with a few exceptions) they would be plants, not animals.

      • John Grove

        I’m no biologist, but didn’t they discover that the spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) photosynthesizes?

        http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/stories/salamander-is-worlds-first-photosynthetic-vertebrate

        • Clare45

          I did say there were some exceptions.

        • Reginald Selkirk

          “On a lark, I decided to take a long-exposure fluorescent image of a
          pre-hatchling salamander embryo,” said Kerney. After backing that
          experiment up using transmission electron microscopy, he confirmed his
          suspicion. There were algal symbionts located inside the salamander
          cells.

          So the photosynthesis is actually being done by algae, not the salamander itself. A similar phenomenon is known in Elysia chlorotica, a sea slug. link

          • John Grove

            “it photosynthesises with genes “stolen” from the algae it eats.”

            Fascinating, gene theft.

      • Andy_Schueler

        I was taught in early biology classes that one of the differences between animals and plants was the ability of plants to photosynthesize.

        That is largely true, but it is not a defining characteristic – many bacteria, archaea and fungi can photosynthesize as well (and it is very likely that oxygen production due to photosynthesis was an inevitable requirement for the rise of multicellular life).
        Also, there are rare cases of animals gaining energy from photosynthesis, but those are very rare exceptions – pea aphids are able to gain some energy from a photosynthesis like process (they got this ability due to horizontal gene transfer of fungal genes) and some sea anemones have light as their primary energy source – but they don´t photosynthesize themselve, they live in symbiosis with green algae that do the photosynthesis.

        • I think they have recently found a wasp that can, too.

          • Andy_Schueler

            All animals photosynthesizing is an interesting thought experiment. But to be feasible – there has to be no reproduction (or a mixture of short life spans and low reproduction rates), else this would end in a pretty severe overpopulation problem ;-)

            • The fact is, God can do anything on most theisms, including perpetual miracles. So unless death by carnivorousness is NECESSARY for a greater good, then it appears gratuitous and unloving.

            • John Grove

              If we remove omnipotence from the equation and assume for the sake of argument that carnivorousness was necessary for producing say multicelluar sentient creatures complex enough to develop a rationality and morality of their own, wouldn’t that suggest that “evil” is necessary?

              (Just playing devil’s advocate for the sake of a good discussion)

      • Honest_John_Law

        Clare45,

        I believe the gist of Jonathan’s point is that an onmiGod could have created a world in whatever fashion He desired, yet our world is filled with many animal species that must rely upon carnivorousness to survive. It is difficult for many skeptics to accept that a loving being (as Christians depict YHWH) would create such a world. Carnivorousness is a fact of life, and it can be brutal to behold. Animals of prey being torn to shreds and eaten alive is a reality in the animal kingdom (there are plenty of graphic videos of it on YouTube if you are curious to observe it). Certainly a loving omniGod could have created a different format for life.

    • Reginald Selkirk

      I can’t take Randal Rauser seriously. He’s still pushing Intelligent Design like it’s 2004 and Kitzmmiller v. Dover never happened. Even the local IDEA club had given up on Behe’s “Irreducible Complexity” years ago, before they disbanded.

      • John Grove

        I like the quote, “ID is just creationism in a cheap tuxedo”. Note also that Behe has even conceded, “You can’t prove intelligent design by experiment”. It is a subjective inference. A shady one at that.

        Intelligent design lacks consistency, violates the principle of parsimony, is not scientifically useful, is not falsifiable, is not empirically testable, and is not correctable, dynamic, provisional or progressive. It fails as a science. This explains that no reputable science organization endorses it.

    • Clare45

      But I thought that animals have no souls and were put here just for man’s benefit, so why would god care if they ate each other?

      • I suppose the question is this:
        Is the world a better or worse place if I kills a dolphin? Would the world be a better place if all of those animals lived but did not kill each other to merely survive – that they all got on like a house on fire?
        Is the needless death of animals good or bad?

      • Honest_John_Law

        Clare45,

        If you have a few minutes, how about viewing this YouTube video (~ 5 minutes in length) and considering if this live footage of the animal kingdom bothers you. If you choose to view this, please be sure to have a good set of speakers turned on with sufficient volume so you can hear the various prey screaming in terror and pain as they are torn apart and eaten alive. Also note the reactions of the human observers that can be heard at various places throughout the video (I assume some portion of this video was filmed at a preserve where observers could observe the animal kingdom at work in its natural habitat). These sorts of episodes have been going on regularly as long as predators and their prey roamed the earth.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8pUohDkRFY

        • Clare45

          Domestic dogs aren’t much better. Have you seen what they can do to sheep? Cats “play” with mice before eating them, and quite often they do not even bother to eat them. Yes, animals can be cruel, but only by our human standards of morality. Obviously they have different ones.
          By the way, I don’t think you caught the sarcasm in my previous comment.

          • Honest_John_Law

            “Domestic dogs aren’t much better. Have you seen what they can do to sheep?” – Clare45

            I have seen video footage of wild dogs in Africa that are rather graphic. I suppose “domestic” dogs will resort to their natural instincts to kill soon enough if they aren’t provided with a regular source of food.

            “Yes, animals can be cruel, but only by our human standards of morality. Obviously they have different ones.” – Clare45

            Well, many Christians proclaim that “God” is the ultimate source of morality. If so, it is hard for many skeptics to accept the notion that a loving God (as characterized by many Christians) would create life throughout the animal kingdom that must resort to this ongoing behaviour just to survive. And, for what its worth, I think seeing carnivores like lions and hyenas etc. slowly stave to death because they can’t get enough food is also a brutal aspect of nature.

            “By the way, I don’t think you caught the sarcasm in my previous comment.” – Clare45

            I guess not. My bad. I originally thought you might be a Christian apologist here to challenge Jonathan’s positions. I will try to be more observant.

            • John Grove

              I cannot watch this video and think there is an all loving god. I just cannot.

            • Honest_John_Law

              John, the section beginning around 2:45 of the video made me sick to my stomach. Imagine what life on earth was like (i.e. long before humans arrived) when it was filled with dinosaurs that preyed upon other animals and ripped them to pieces.

              As a note to Jonathan, I did not intend to offend any of your guests by posting this video. This video is just a cold, hard fact of life on a planet filled with predators that must do this to survive. I find it hard to imagine how any Christian theologian who believes in an “old” Earth and evolution can accept this reality from a loving YHWH without asking why this is necessary. An omniGod certainly should be able to devise a format for life where this is not necessary.

            • John Grove

              You’re absolutely right.

            • I agree completely. But we need to be articulate about why. It is pretty obvious to me, but some people seem unable to see it. So here it is:

              (1) God could easily eliminate the pain of the warthogs, buffalo, etc. Easily: make them die a quick death, flood their nervous systems with a powerful analgesic, give the lions the ability to survive without having to kill, just to name a few ways that an all-powerful being could do this. (2) The pain is gratuitous, it is not necessary for any greater good nor is it necessary for the prevention of any evil equally bad or worse. Even if it were necessary that the animals die so the the lions don’t starve, God could nonetheless eliminate the pain of the dying animals. (3) A goog God would not allow the occurrence of any gratuitous evil.

              I know that you agree with me. But I cannot for the life of me figure out why some people refuse to see this. What explains that?

            • Honest_John_Law

              Good summary, Jason. Good points.

            • John Grove

              Perhaps because they think they have an answer theologically (i.e, man’s fall, result of sin) that to them, is a somewhat satisfying and convincing answer to the problem. But the bigger issue I think is that they are simply afraid or feel it blasphemous to ask certain questions like Johnny poses in his book of unholy questions.

              But once you have the courage to ask these very questions, which in effect, question the very god they are suppose to “fear”, they will see (provided they believe in the omni-attributes of God) that out of all the possible combinations that an all good God could have actualized, he actualized a world with untold suffering and cruelty.

              I think the evil god challenge that Stephen Law offers is a valid challenge that few theists have at this point actually logically considered since every argument that theists offer could very well point to an evil god instead of a good one. Even know Stephen is doing this to simply show that the god postulate suffers as an explanation, it shows that it could very well point to an evil god.

            • Honest_John_Law

              “Perhaps because they think they have an answer theologically (i.e. man’s fall, result of sin)…” – John Grove

              In this day and age when the evidence for an “old” universe and evolution is abundant, I hope theologians are not still hiding behind that argument. Predators roamed the earth for eons before humans arrived. It would seem hard to blame the reality of carnivorousness and pain and death on Earth on the “fall of man” when these things occurred long before the human race actually existed.

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