Here is my talk to the Dorset Humanists given this last week. It was really well received and got great feedback from audience and organisers alike. The video is of good quality though you may need to turn it up to hear some of the questions a little more clearly. The chops are out and looking mighty bushy, so all seems to have gone well.
Tag problem of evil
So sorry to Skepticule podcast for being behind on plugging the podcast! I, as you may well know, contribute to the Skepticule podcast by recording a counter-apologetics segment for them, Pearced Off. My segment is always followed by an interesting discussion of ideas brought up by the ‘panel’ of Pauls.
After having looked at Randal Rauser’s reasons for being a Christian, and having had my reasons and his defences intensely debated on his blog, I have in a previous post offered Dr Vincent Torley’s account. Some readers may know Vincent from the Uncommon Descent website which attempts to refute evolution. I have argued with him at length when I used to write for John Loftus more often at Debunking Christianity. Here is his bio:
Some think it could be urban legend, but we do think that this actually happened in Auschwitz concentration camp during the Second World War. The Jews, holding a covenant, a legally binding agreement if you will, with God, decide that God has broken the covenant. After all, how can bad things happen to good people; but not any old good people – God’s chosen people? Surely such preference entitles the Jews to a little safer passage along Earth’s historical timeline, though persecution after persecution? The only logical thing to do, it appeared, was to put God on trial for breaking such an agreement.
After having looked at Randal Rauser’s reasons for being a Christian, and having had my reasons and his defences intensely debated on his blog, I would like to offer Dr Vincent Torley’s account. Some readers may know Vincent from the Uncommon Descent website which attempts to refute evolution. I have argued with him at length when I used to write for John Loftus more often at Debunking Christianity. Here is his bio:
As mentioned in my last post, 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 has gladly accepted, furnishing me with a much more lengthy expression of the reasons for his Christian belief.
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:
[This is a post I created last year, but I screwed up embedding the video. So viola un autre fois.]
Here is a video I did some time ago which I think sums up the Problem of Evil is one fell swoop. The question sidesteps free will theodicies, especially as it applies to the rest of the animal world. See what you think.
Randal Rauser, with whom I have had a radio debate about the Nativity, is running a series on his blog asking atheists why they are atheist (or not Christian). He has asked several atheist bloggers and authors, including myself, to produce a paragraph. Justin Schieber, Counter Apologist and Ed Babinski did a little more than that, so I added a tiny bit extra to mine, but it still remained more concise than theirs! See what you think – it is hard to be super concise:
This is an excellent piece from a blog I came across through a post on facebook (H/T Sergio Paulo Sider,…
Of course, on his logic, it is the children’s fault for building their houses and schools in a tornado area.
Oh no, they are only children.
So Randal has responded to my response to Part 1 of his response to my review of his book. But I have not yet had the chance to respond to his Part 2 of his response to my review of his book.
Anyway, this will combine responding to his Part 2 and commenting on his further reply.
The other day, I posted my first take on John Loftus’ and Randal Rauser’s debate book God Or Godless? recently. Randal Rauser has now posted two responses to the post:
In this return fire, I will be inter-paragraphically (that might be a new word) commenting on his claims and views. Thanks to Randal for engaging in this debate. For those who don’t know, we have some history in debating the Nativity on radio. Please comment below on what you think.
“And I want to suggest to you that it is not only tiresome, when otherwise intelligent people speak this way, it is morally reprehensible. This kind of faith is the perfection of narcissism; God loves me, don’t you know? He cured me of my eczema. He makes me feel so good while singing in church. And just when we were giving up hope he found a banker who was willing to give my mother a mortgage.
So Christians dismiss the Problem of Evil, at times, using spurious logic and dodgy grasps of causality. JohnM, regular Creationist commenter here, does this alot.
If you, like me, were at the Stephen Law vs William Lane Craig debate, your jaw will have dropped when Craig, in defence of God vis-a-vis animal suffering and the problem of evil, claimed that animals don’t suffer pain.
He claimed that most animals didn’t have the conscious awareness of pain that humans and other primates do. He was solely relying on the work of Michael Murray in Nature Red in Tooth and Claw: Theism and the Problem of Animal Suffering. This book sets out that there are, broadly speaking, three levels of pain suffering and related awareness, amoebas in the first, humans in the last, and most higher animals in the middle. They feel pain but are not consciously aware of it in the same way as humans are.
Matt Dillahunty, renowned presented of the Atheist Experience, disconnected a Christian caller when they retorted, when discussing a rape case, that the girl was “just as evil as you”, and thus implying that she deserved it.
To be fair, in many understandings of Christianity, this is the natural conclusion that many must come to, given some of the problematic premises. This is how The Raw Story reports it:
Isn´t it interesting how the same argument can be very powerful and persuasive for some people while being completely uninteresting for others? The problem of evil is one of the most powerful arguments against the existence of an all-loving God for many Atheists, but I never cared much about it. I´m not sure why, maybe because I never believed in a God anyway, for other reasons, so speculations about what an omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent God would or would not do always seemed kind of moot to me. But nevertheless, I recently thought about the problem of evil when I had a discussion with our local young earth creationist JohnM.
So why am I writing about this? Well because, statistically, it means that anywhere up to 75% of all pregnancies, of all fertilised eggs, die. This is a staggering number of pregnancy losses (for example, it is estimated that 3 out of 4 eggs that are fertilized do not fuse their DNA correctly, and therefore either do not attempt to implant or fail at implantation – see attached image taken from here). Of course, being exact on these numbers is rather academic. Whether it be 50 million a year in the US or 25 million is irrelevant since both numbers are ridiculously high!
The reason for talking about this is twofold. Firstly, for people who critique abortion on religious grounds, it makes somewhat of a mockery of their arguments. Secondly, again from a religious perspective, it does make God look a little callous. Nay, brutal and unloving.