How do we approach a new proposition?

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SEG
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Re: How do we approach a new proposition?

Post by SEG » Fri May 10, 2019 4:34 pm

captain howdy wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 4:10 pm
Rian wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 7:15 am

But Og, life isn't all about logic. I think you also need to address the very important issue of the heart, in a very real and vital sense, of that argument. Personally, I think these two guys are not bringing up this argument in a flippant manner, merely to discuss the logical argument side of things, and I think it speaks well of their character that they find this matter disturbing and troublesome. I certainly do.
Hello again Rian and thank you for the kind words. Gratuitous evil has troubled the human race since ancient times. It's hard enough to try and reconcile yourself to things like the Holocaust or school shootings like the slaughter of twenty 6-year-old children at Sandy Hook elementary school without trying to understand how a supposedly benevolent God could allow such cruelty. I can reconcile the existence of a benevolent deity with some types of evil. But gratuitous evil? I just can't see it. There are some things there just are no easy answers for, and it seems to me the problem of gratuitous or pointless evil is one of those things.
Yes, a supposedly benevolent God would not allow such cruelty. Also I don't think the Christian god concept could be considered just or forgiving when you consider Hell. No wonder a lot of Christians don't support it today. What do you think Rian?
Premise One: If a compassionate God exists, then he would do things just as a compassionate person would.
Premise Two: God doesn't do things as a compassionate person would.
Conclusion: Therefore, a compassionate God does not exist.

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Moonwood the Hare
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Re: How do we approach a new proposition?

Post by Moonwood the Hare » Fri May 10, 2019 5:50 pm

captain howdy wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 4:10 pm
Rian wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 7:15 am

But Og, life isn't all about logic. I think you also need to address the very important issue of the heart, in a very real and vital sense, of that argument. Personally, I think these two guys are not bringing up this argument in a flippant manner, merely to discuss the logical argument side of things, and I think it speaks well of their character that they find this matter disturbing and troublesome. I certainly do.
Hello again Rian and thank you for the kind words. Gratuitous evil has troubled the human race since ancient times. It's hard enough to try and reconcile yourself to things like the Holocaust or school shootings like the slaughter of twenty 6-year-old children at Sandy Hook elementary school without trying to understand how a supposedly benevolent God could allow such cruelty. I can reconcile the existence of a benevolent deity with some types of evil. But gratuitous evil? I just can't see it. There are some things there just are no easy answers for, and it seems to me the problem of gratuitous or pointless evil is one of those things.
It seems to me that your position is much more subtle than SEG's. As far as I can tells SEG's view is that in a properly ordered cosmos no one should be suffering even the mildest discomfort. You will allow that some pain and discomfort may have a purpose and hence not be gratuitous but I am not sure how you are making that distinction. Are you saying that in some cases you can see why something which seems evil or unpleasant can have a purpose such as when pain warns us to get our fingers out of the fire but in other cases like the ones you mention above you cannot see such a purpose. The problem I see there is that the same purposive process, the pain response, is operating in both cases. And as far as the role of the agents in such cases seems without purpose I disagree. I believe that all organismic actions, even distructive ones, have purpose but that these purposes sometimes misfire, sometimes conflicting with the intentionality of the agent, sometimes seeming to create that intentionality but as what Freud would call a rationalisation. However in order to understand what I am saying here, since I feelit may be obscure, you would need to have in mind a clear distinction between intention (something held in conciousness and which can be stated in language) and purpose (a broader category which includes any goal directed action, even when the goal is not held in the awareness of a concious being).

Or we could look at purpose in a much broader sense; in terms of some kind of ultimate or cosmic purpose.

Now I am very aware that resoning about these things always seems to trivialise them; Lewis's friend Charles Williams once humbled Lewsis by comparing Job'scomforters to the kind of people who write books about the problem of pain. And actually the best book I am aware of on this issue is John Hick's Evil and the God of Love but it is many years since I read that.

Does anything I have said seem worth clarifying or exploring further?

captain howdy
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Re: How do we approach a new proposition?

Post by captain howdy » Sat May 11, 2019 1:43 am

Moonwood the Hare wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 5:50 pm
captain howdy wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 4:10 pm

Hello again Rian and thank you for the kind words. Gratuitous evil has troubled the human race since ancient times. It's hard enough to try and reconcile yourself to things like the Holocaust or school shootings like the slaughter of twenty 6-year-old children at Sandy Hook elementary school without trying to understand how a supposedly benevolent God could allow such cruelty. I can reconcile the existence of a benevolent deity with some types of evil. But gratuitous evil? I just can't see it. There are some things there just are no easy answers for, and it seems to me the problem of gratuitous or pointless evil is one of those things.
It seems to me that your position is much more subtle than SEG's. As far as I can tells SEG's view is that in a properly ordered cosmos no one should be suffering even the mildest discomfort. You will allow that some pain and discomfort may have a purpose and hence not be gratuitous but I am not sure how you are making that distinction. Are you saying that in some cases you can see why something which seems evil or unpleasant can have a purpose such as when pain warns us to get our fingers out of the fire but in other cases like the ones you mention above you cannot see such a purpose. The problem I see there is that the same purposive process, the pain response, is operating in both cases. And as far as the role of the agents in such cases seems without purpose I disagree. I believe that all organismic actions, even distructive ones, have purpose but that these purposes sometimes misfire, sometimes conflicting with the intentionality of the agent, sometimes seeming to create that intentionality but as what Freud would call a rationalisation. However in order to understand what I am saying here, since I feelit may be obscure, you would need to have in mind a clear distinction between intention (something held in conciousness and which can be stated in language) and purpose (a broader category which includes any goal directed action, even when the goal is not held in the awareness of a concious being).

Or we could look at purpose in a much broader sense; in terms of some kind of ultimate or cosmic purpose.

Now I am very aware that resoning about these things always seems to trivialise them; Lewis's friend Charles Williams once humbled Lewsis by comparing Job'scomforters to the kind of people who write books about the problem of pain. And actually the best book I am aware of on this issue is John Hick's Evil and the God of Love but it is many years since I read that.

Does anything I have said seem worth clarifying or exploring further?
If SEG is saying that then he's probably arguing the logical problem of evil. I agree the logical argument overstates the problem evil poses for a (supposedly) omnibenevolent deity. I'm inclined to accept that Christian philosophers have largely answered the logical problem, but they have not solved the problem of gratuitous evil. It seems there occurs evils of such a nature and scale as to appear gratuitous, that is excessive or unnecessary or pointless. In fact, it seems to be commonplace. It doesn't seem enough that some good comes out of the Sandy Hook massacre, it has to be enough to morally justify the slaughter of twenty kids like seals. I mean, what kind of grand purpose requires twenty kids? Honestly, any God that requires something like that is completely unworthy of worship, and that's putting it nicely. (I'd like to drop an f bomb but I'm trying to cut back.)

Og3
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Re: How do we approach a new proposition?

Post by Og3 » Sat May 11, 2019 9:22 pm

captain howdy wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 4:10 pm
Rian wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 7:15 am

But Og, life isn't all about logic. I think you also need to address the very important issue of the heart, in a very real and vital sense, of that argument. Personally, I think these two guys are not bringing up this argument in a flippant manner, merely to discuss the logical argument side of things, and I think it speaks well of their character that they find this matter disturbing and troublesome. I certainly do.
Hello again Rian and thank you for the kind words. Gratuitous evil has troubled the human race since ancient times. It's hard enough to try and reconcile yourself to things like the Holocaust or school shootings like the slaughter of twenty 6-year-old children at Sandy Hook elementary school without trying to understand how a supposedly benevolent God could allow such cruelty. I can reconcile the existence of a benevolent deity with some types of evil. But gratuitous evil? I just can't see it. There are some things there just are no easy answers for, and it seems to me the problem of gratuitous or pointless evil is one of those things.
Okay, Captain, you have a strong point there, and if I may, I'd like to address it.

At Sandy Hook, some (20) six-year olds were shot and killed. It is absolutely a tragedy of epic proportion, and nothing that I say below is meant to make light of that nor to imply that the parents of those children do not have a right to be angry, nor to mourn. I validate and affirm their anger and sadness.

With that said, let us see this event without the emotional lens. We do, of course, feel angry when an innocent person dies. We do, of course, feel outrage when that person is young. That is part of the sense of justice that lives in all of us, and it screams that this act is so incredibly unjust. It screams that someone must be held accountable. It screams that someone must have failed to protect these children. And those screams are not wrong. But we must be careful where we point them. Just not only shrieks for someone to be held responsible, but also for the RIGHT someone.

So let us set the shrieks of justice aside for a moment and see only the facts, coldly and objectively. Let us select a victim at random and call her X. She rose that morning in peace, went to school happily, playing with her chums, and suddenly, without warning, died. Or perhaps there was a warning; a moment of terror, and then death. But very few of us on this planet shall pass as easily through the process of death as did X. And she would have faced this obstacle at some point: We all do. That's not to say that her death was by any means a good thing: It was an evil. But what kind of evil?

Since her death came suddenly, we cannot say that it was an experiential evil. Even a moment of terror before death would still make this, in the scale of deaths the world has seen, an easy passing. We can say that it was a moral evil -- it is immoral that someone should cause this -- but we cannot say that it is immoral that she should die at all, since that would have happened at some point. Some the moral agent whose failure caused this was not God, but rather the man with the gun.

We can debate whether there is or is not such a thing as spiritual good and spiritual evil. If there is, then this child being catapulted to heaven -- as X, not yet accountable for sins, would inevitably have been -- is a spiritual good that came out of a moral evil; God making right forever what a human did wrong for a moment. These light afflictions working a great eternal glory. And if not, then not: The point remains that the child's suffering came to an end quickly and suddenly.*

Of course it is not so for the parents. Robinson Jeffers, in his poem Hungerfield, says these words of his late wife, Una,
"My torment is memory
My grief to have seen the banner and beauty of your brave life
Dragged in the dust down the dim road to death."

And while the banner of bravery and beauty had not yet flown above these children, no doubt that bitterness of seeing their dreams so dashed, so irrevocably dashed, must haunt them forever. But this is the station we hold, we who are alive and human. We must witness the passing of many who do not yet deserve to go. We must suffer seeming defeats at the hand of death. And there would seem to be no bar against that inevitable failure. One by one, like so many dominoes, everyone we know will fall.

I have a unique perspective on this question: I have the curse of good genes and the misfortune to stand at the bottom of the funnel. I will attend a great many funerals before the one in which it is I who am honored and sent away. But still we must live. We weep, we decry the injustice, and we curse death. Grief is a real thing. But it is survivable. And it would have happened now or later, so the tragedy for the parents of X is not that she dies, but that she died before them.

And if we believe that this experiential evil relates somehow to a spiritual good, then we see again, as with the child whose abrupt death at the hands of an evil man leads to eternal life in abundance and fullness, that our grief today sets the stage for glory in a future time.

So if you believe that there is no god, then the death of X, while lamentable, is only status quo; and if you believe in God, then X and someday the parents of X will see their mourning turned into gold.

Again, I do not mean to make light of this tragedy.
EGO TE ABSOLVO, and there's nothing you can do about it.

captain howdy
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Re: How do we approach a new proposition?

Post by captain howdy » Sun May 12, 2019 4:41 am

Og3 wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 9:22 pm
Okay, Captain, you have a strong point there, and if I may, I'd like to address it.

At Sandy Hook, some (20) six-year olds were shot and killed. It is absolutely a tragedy of epic proportion, and nothing that I say below is meant to make light of that nor to imply that the parents of those children do not have a right to be angry, nor to mourn. I validate and affirm their anger and sadness.

With that said, let us see this event without the emotional lens. We do, of course, feel angry when an innocent person dies. We do, of course, feel outrage when that person is young. That is part of the sense of justice that lives in all of us, and it screams that this act is so incredibly unjust. It screams that someone must be held accountable. It screams that someone must have failed to protect these children. And those screams are not wrong. But we must be careful where we point them. Just not only shrieks for someone to be held responsible, but also for the RIGHT someone.

So let us set the shrieks of justice aside for a moment and see only the facts, coldly and objectively. Let us select a victim at random and call her X. She rose that morning in peace, went to school happily, playing with her chums, and suddenly, without warning, died. Or perhaps there was a warning; a moment of terror, and then death. But very few of us on this planet shall pass as easily through the process of death as did X. And she would have faced this obstacle at some point: We all do. That's not to say that her death was by any means a good thing: It was an evil. But what kind of evil?

Since her death came suddenly, we cannot say that it was an experiential evil. Even a moment of terror before death would still make this, in the scale of deaths the world has seen, an easy passing. We can say that it was a moral evil -- it is immoral that someone should cause this -- but we cannot say that it is immoral that she should die at all, since that would have happened at some point. Some the moral agent whose failure caused this was not God, but rather the man with the gun.

We can debate whether there is or is not such a thing as spiritual good and spiritual evil. If there is, then this child being catapulted to heaven -- as X, not yet accountable for sins, would inevitably have been -- is a spiritual good that came out of a moral evil; God making right forever what a human did wrong for a moment. These light afflictions working a great eternal glory. And if not, then not: The point remains that the child's suffering came to an end quickly and suddenly.*

Of course it is not so for the parents. Robinson Jeffers, in his poem Hungerfield, says these words of his late wife, Una,
"My torment is memory
My grief to have seen the banner and beauty of your brave life
Dragged in the dust down the dim road to death."

And while the banner of bravery and beauty had not yet flown above these children, no doubt that bitterness of seeing their dreams so dashed, so irrevocably dashed, must haunt them forever. But this is the station we hold, we who are alive and human. We must witness the passing of many who do not yet deserve to go. We must suffer seeming defeats at the hand of death. And there would seem to be no bar against that inevitable failure. One by one, like so many dominoes, everyone we know will fall.

I have a unique perspective on this question: I have the curse of good genes and the misfortune to stand at the bottom of the funnel. I will attend a great many funerals before the one in which it is I who am honored and sent away. But still we must live. We weep, we decry the injustice, and we curse death. Grief is a real thing. But it is survivable. And it would have happened now or later, so the tragedy for the parents of X is not that she dies, but that she died before them.

And if we believe that this experiential evil relates somehow to a spiritual good, then we see again, as with the child whose abrupt death at the hands of an evil man leads to eternal life in abundance and fullness, that our grief today sets the stage for glory in a future time.

So if you believe that there is no god, then the death of X, while lamentable, is only status quo; and if you believe in God, then X and someday the parents of X will see their mourning turned into gold.

Again, I do not mean to make light of this tragedy.


I don't think you're trying to make light of anything, and I'm sure Rian doesn't think that either. As far as Sandy Hook goes, ask yourself---what good has come out of the tragedy in the almost 7 years since it happened? Supposedly the community didn't want to just clean the site up and re-open; they had it torn down. Have school shootings declined? Has the gun lobby's death grip on American politics loosened? Jesus, Trump got elected with at least $30M of NRA's gun money. Dude---just look at the headlines from the last week or two. And as if that weren't enough, the families of those slaughtered kids get harassed by vultures like Alex Jones and Infowars among others. One family had to move 3 times because of the harassment from Jones and his brain-dead listeners. Not only was the slaughter of those kids gratuitous evil, it was intrinsic evil---that is to say, it was evil regardless of what good comes out of it. And let's face it---zero moral or ethical good has come out of the Sandy Hook massacre. Sandy Hook wasn't just an evil it was an obscenity and any omnipotent being that just sat on his hands and watched it unfold is not only not omnibenevolent but a creep nearly by definition. The existence of gratuitous evil is incompatible with the existence of an omniscient/omnibenevolent being, and such evil appears commonplace. God could have just as easily allowed those 20 kids into the very same heaven after allowing them to lead full and fulfilled happy lives too.


Besides, if the momentary evil of blowing them away is counterbalanced by an assurance of heavenly bliss, then I'm surprised at the well-known Christian opposition to abortion.






Edit to add: Here’s a couple of links to get a more detailed picture of this argument and the man credited with crafting it.

https://www.iep.utm.edu/evil-evi/

https://philosophynow.org/issues/47/William_Rowe

Og3
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Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2018 6:41 am

Re: How do we approach a new proposition?

Post by Og3 » Sun May 12, 2019 6:56 am

captain howdy wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 4:41 am
Og3 wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 9:22 pm
Okay, Captain, you have a strong point there, and if I may, I'd like to address it.

At Sandy Hook, some (20) six-year olds were shot and killed. It is absolutely a tragedy of epic proportion, and nothing that I say below is meant to make light of that nor to imply that the parents of those children do not have a right to be angry, nor to mourn. I validate and affirm their anger and sadness.

With that said, let us see this event without the emotional lens. We do, of course, feel angry when an innocent person dies. We do, of course, feel outrage when that person is young. That is part of the sense of justice that lives in all of us, and it screams that this act is so incredibly unjust. It screams that someone must be held accountable. It screams that someone must have failed to protect these children. And those screams are not wrong. But we must be careful where we point them. Just not only shrieks for someone to be held responsible, but also for the RIGHT someone.

So let us set the shrieks of justice aside for a moment and see only the facts, coldly and objectively. Let us select a victim at random and call her X. She rose that morning in peace, went to school happily, playing with her chums, and suddenly, without warning, died. Or perhaps there was a warning; a moment of terror, and then death. But very few of us on this planet shall pass as easily through the process of death as did X. And she would have faced this obstacle at some point: We all do. That's not to say that her death was by any means a good thing: It was an evil. But what kind of evil?

Since her death came suddenly, we cannot say that it was an experiential evil. Even a moment of terror before death would still make this, in the scale of deaths the world has seen, an easy passing. We can say that it was a moral evil -- it is immoral that someone should cause this -- but we cannot say that it is immoral that she should die at all, since that would have happened at some point. Some the moral agent whose failure caused this was not God, but rather the man with the gun.

We can debate whether there is or is not such a thing as spiritual good and spiritual evil. If there is, then this child being catapulted to heaven -- as X, not yet accountable for sins, would inevitably have been -- is a spiritual good that came out of a moral evil; God making right forever what a human did wrong for a moment. These light afflictions working a great eternal glory. And if not, then not: The point remains that the child's suffering came to an end quickly and suddenly.*

Of course it is not so for the parents. Robinson Jeffers, in his poem Hungerfield, says these words of his late wife, Una,
"My torment is memory
My grief to have seen the banner and beauty of your brave life
Dragged in the dust down the dim road to death."

And while the banner of bravery and beauty had not yet flown above these children, no doubt that bitterness of seeing their dreams so dashed, so irrevocably dashed, must haunt them forever. But this is the station we hold, we who are alive and human. We must witness the passing of many who do not yet deserve to go. We must suffer seeming defeats at the hand of death. And there would seem to be no bar against that inevitable failure. One by one, like so many dominoes, everyone we know will fall.

I have a unique perspective on this question: I have the curse of good genes and the misfortune to stand at the bottom of the funnel. I will attend a great many funerals before the one in which it is I who am honored and sent away. But still we must live. We weep, we decry the injustice, and we curse death. Grief is a real thing. But it is survivable. And it would have happened now or later, so the tragedy for the parents of X is not that she dies, but that she died before them.

And if we believe that this experiential evil relates somehow to a spiritual good, then we see again, as with the child whose abrupt death at the hands of an evil man leads to eternal life in abundance and fullness, that our grief today sets the stage for glory in a future time.

So if you believe that there is no god, then the death of X, while lamentable, is only status quo; and if you believe in God, then X and someday the parents of X will see their mourning turned into gold.

Again, I do not mean to make light of this tragedy.
I don't think you're trying to make light of anything, and I'm sure Rian doesn't think that either. As far as Sandy Hook goes, ask yourself---what good has come out of the tragedy in the almost 7 years since it happened?
You are making an assumption here, Captain, that we would know every good that arose as a result. We would need to survey first the Sandy Hook parents, then the siblings, then the community as a whole, and examine how Sandy Hook changed their lives. Even then, we might not see all of the effects. We simply do not know what evils were averted, or what goods came out of this event.

But you must admit that for any given X, the result is so tragic not because it happened but because it happened when it did for them.
Supposedly the community didn't want to just clean the site up and re-open; they had it torn down. Have school shootings declined? Has the gun lobby's death grip on American politics loosened? Jesus, Trump got elected with at least $30M of NRA's gun money. Dude---just look at the headlines from the last week or two. And as if that weren't enough, the families of those slaughtered kids get harassed by vultures like Alex Jones and Infowars among others. One family had to move 3 times because of the harassment from Jones and his brain-dead listeners.
It is a teaching of Christianity that we live in a fallen world that suffers under the curse of human depravity. And we see that humans are depraved. I think you agree with me that at least some humans -- the shooter, Alex Jones, infowarrites, etc. -- are depraved.

And the results of the depraved acts of evil people is evil action.
Not only was the slaughter of those kids gratuitous evil, it was intrinsic evil---that is to say, it was evil regardless of what good comes out of it.
It was morally evil of the shooter to do such a immoral and evil act. It is tragic that it cut off so many young lives. It is painful to the parents that they had to bury their children. No parent should bury their children. But to the victims, it was a brief moment; to the parents, even their grief will lessen in time.
And let's face it---zero moral or ethical good has come out of the Sandy Hook massacre.
That we know of. If we say that no good at all came from it we argue from silence.
Sandy Hook wasn't just an evil it was an obscenity and any omnipotent being that just sat on his hands and watched it unfold is not only not omnibenevolent but a creep nearly by definition.
Evil does not exist in a vacuum. We cannot suppose that it had no purpose because we do not know the purpose, just as a child cannot suppose Mummy to be evil because she takes away our candy. We necessarily argue here from ignorance. And if there is no actual damage to X herself, then it follows that there is no actual damage to X's 19 peers. Lacking actual damage, we cannot claim actual malice.
The existence of gratuitous evil is incompatible with the existence of an omniscient/omnibenevolent being,
To your eyes, speaking from our position of ignorance.
and such evil appears commonplace.
On that point I agree heartily. We live in a fallen and depraved world. There is evil on every street corner and evil in every heart. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn said this in The Gulag Archipelago: "The line dividing good from evil cuts through the heart of every man. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?"
God could have just as easily allowed those 20 kids into the very same heaven after allowing them to lead full and fulfilled happy lives too.
He could have. But without knowing his purposes, if any, we cannot then say that he Should Have.
Besides, if the momentary evil of blowing them away is counterbalanced by an assurance of heavenly bliss, then I'm surprised at the well-known Christian opposition to abortion.
Christian opposition to abortion is not based on the effect on the souls of the unborn, but on the souls of the mothers, the doctors, and the public who stand idly by and allow it to happen -- just as you accuse God of doing to the victims of Sandy Hook.
Edit to add: Here’s a couple of links to get a more detailed picture of this argument and the man credited with crafting it.

https://www.iep.utm.edu/evil-evi/

https://philosophynow.org/issues/47/William_Rowe
So noted.

With respect to the fact that we all die, Captain, I'd like to remark on something from Herodotus, if I can remember it well enough:
It seems that the Athenians found Draco's laws too Draconian, and appointed Solon, the wise man, to fix them. When he had done so, he immediately exiled himself for ten years, so that those opposed to his reforms would have time to adjust to them before he was forced to hear their complaints.

While in this exile, Herodotus tells us, he went to the court of Croesus, the richest and most fortunate man of his age. Croesus greeted him by crying out, "Tell me, Solon: Who is Olbios?" Olbios is a Greek word meaning something akin to "fortunate." Croesus expected Solon to answer that he, Croesus, was clearly the most fortunate of all men.

Solon then told a story of a man who was born in Athens, lived there all his life, went to war, came home with honor, married, raised children, and dies at home in his sleep at a goodly age. This man, said Solon, was fortunate. He lived well and died well. Croesus was not satisfied.

Solon then told another story, of two youths. Their mother was to go to a festival in honor of Hera, but as the ox was hitched to the cart, the ox died. The boys, not wishing to see their mother dishonored, took the yoke themselves, and pulled their mother to the festival. All of the women there were so impressed that they honored the young men and their mother, and permitted the young men to lie in the coolness of the temple of Hera to rest. There, they both died of their exertions. These boys did an honorable thing, and died at the height of their fame and glory, argued Solon. Thus they lived and died well.

Solon's point to Croesus was that we cannot say how fortunate a man is during his own life. It is after he has died that we can say whether he lived and died well. But I call to your attention a side point: Solon considered the youths who died young to be as fortunate as the old man who lived well for many decades. So in the question of whether a person has lived and died well, I pose this question to you: As tragic and as emotionally challenging as it is to see a child die, can we say that a person may live well and die well at the age of 6 as well as at the age of 16 or 66?

What constitutes dying well, and why, aside from the strong demands of justice, and the tragedy of their youth, can we say that these children did not die well?
EGO TE ABSOLVO, and there's nothing you can do about it.

Og3
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Re: How do we approach a new proposition?

Post by Og3 » Sun May 12, 2019 7:04 am

What I'm getting at with the Herodotus story, just to be clear: When you say that God could have allowed them to live happy and fulfilled lives... What exactly constitutes a happy and fulfilled life? And how can we say that their lives, to that point, were not happy and fulfilled?

We run the risk of saying that there is something that they were supposed to have done with their lives... That their lives had an intrinisc meaning. And that will lead you down a rabbit hole I doubt you wish to follow.
EGO TE ABSOLVO, and there's nothing you can do about it.

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SEG
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Re: How do we approach a new proposition?

Post by SEG » Sun May 12, 2019 2:16 pm

Og3 wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 7:04 am
What I'm getting at with the Herodotus story, just to be clear: When you say that God could have allowed them to live happy and fulfilled lives... What exactly constitutes a happy and fulfilled life? And how can we say that their lives, to that point, were not happy and fulfilled?

We run the risk of saying that there is something that they were supposed to have done with their lives... That their lives had an intrinisc meaning. And that will lead you down a rabbit hole I doubt you wish to follow.
Og3 wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 7:04 am
What I'm getting at with the Herodotus story, just to be clear: When you say that God could have allowed them to live happy and fulfilled lives... What exactly constitutes a happy and fulfilled life? And how can we say that their lives, to that point, were not happy and fulfilled?

We run the risk of saying that there is something that they were supposed to have done with their lives... That their lives had an intrinisc meaning. And that will lead you down a rabbit hole I doubt you wish to follow.
You disappoint me here Og. What happened to the bit about the murdered kids leading much better lives in Eternity being at the feet of God? That their physical pain was only miniscule in the scheme of things and that the killer did them and their grieving families a favour by delivering them early unto his awesomeness?
Premise One: If a compassionate God exists, then he would do things just as a compassionate person would.
Premise Two: God doesn't do things as a compassionate person would.
Conclusion: Therefore, a compassionate God does not exist.

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Moonwood the Hare
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Re: How do we approach a new proposition?

Post by Moonwood the Hare » Sun May 12, 2019 3:02 pm

captain howdy wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 1:43 am
If SEG is saying that then he's probably arguing the logical problem of evil. I agree the logical argument overstates the problem evil poses for a (supposedly) omnibenevolent deity. I'm inclined to accept that Christian philosophers have largely answered the logical problem, but they have not solved the problem of gratuitous evil. It seems there occurs evils of such a nature and scale as to appear gratuitous, that is excessive or unnecessary or pointless. In fact, it seems to be commonplace. It doesn't seem enough that some good comes out of the Sandy Hook massacre, it has to be enough to morally justify the slaughter of twenty kids like seals. I mean, what kind of grand purpose requires twenty kids? Honestly, any God that requires something like that is completely unworthy of worship, and that's putting it nicely. (I'd like to drop an f bomb but I'm trying to cut back.)
It seems to me that logical problems, and many other kinds of problems are objectively soluable but the problem you are highlighting by its very nature has no objective solution. As others have pointed out here it is very difficult to say any event is without purpose even if we can see no purpose in it. We may see good sometimes coming out of evil but can we ever say there was enough? And can we really say there was too little? Purpose is a very curious thing; we can see purpose on a small scale, we can see why people do things, why pain evolved but the larger the scale the harder it becomes to see even if we feel it is there or have some idea of a larger picture that tells us whether it is there.

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SEG
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Re: How do we approach a new proposition?

Post by SEG » Mon May 13, 2019 4:17 am

Moonwood the Hare wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 5:50 pm
It seems to me that your position is much more subtle than SEG's. As far as I can tells SEG's view is that in a properly ordered cosmos no one should be suffering even the mildest discomfort. You will allow that some pain and discomfort may have a purpose and hence not be gratuitous but I am not sure how you are making that distinction. Are you saying that in some cases you can see why something which seems evil or unpleasant can have a purpose such as when pain warns us to get our fingers out of the fire but in other cases like the ones you mention above you cannot see such a purpose. The problem I see there is that the same purposive process, the pain response, is operating in both cases. And as far as the role of the agents in such cases seems without purpose I disagree. I believe that all organismic actions, even distructive ones, have purpose but that these purposes sometimes misfire, sometimes conflicting with the intentionality of the agent, sometimes seeming to create that intentionality but as what Freud would call a rationalisation. However in order to understand what I am saying here, since I feelit may be obscure, you would need to have in mind a clear distinction between intention (something held in conciousness and which can be stated in language) and purpose (a broader category which includes any goal directed action, even when the goal is not held in the awareness of a concious being).

Or we could look at purpose in a much broader sense; in terms of some kind of ultimate or cosmic purpose.

Now I am very aware that resoning about these things always seems to trivialise them; Lewis's friend Charles Williams once humbled Lewsis by comparing Job'scomforters to the kind of people who write books about the problem of pain. And actually the best book I am aware of on this issue is John Hick's Evil and the God of Love but it is many years since I read that.

Does anything I have said seem worth clarifying or exploring further?
I would like you to clarify what you think about this comment in the Captain's link:
For if we assume that God must always choose the best, then our world must be, as Leibniz infamously stated, the best of all possible worlds (or the best world creatable by God). But this leads to the idea that our world, with all its holocausts and innumerable other evils, is the best that an infinitely powerful, infinitely wise and infinitely good being could do. And this idea, as you put it in one of your publications, seems to be an absurdity that merits the ridicule heaped upon it by Voltaire. Do you think, however, that the theist can avoid this outcome by rejecting the initial assumption that there is a best possible world (or a best creatable world)?

Yes, provided there are good reasons to think that instead of a best world, there is an unending sequence of increasingly better worlds. The other possibility is that there are a number of equally good worlds and none better, or perhaps worlds that are incommensurate in value. Consider what seems to be the favoured option to there being a best world, an infinity of increasingly better creatable worlds, and no best world. Since there is no best world for God to create, some claim he would be free to create any good world in the series, even the least good world. I’ve argued that it is impossible for there to be such a series, given the necessary existence of a being who is necessarily perfect, all-knowing, and all-powerful. For, given an infinite series of increasingly better creatable worlds, no matter what world a being might create, it would be possible that there be a being whose degree of goodness is such that it simply could not create that world given that there is a better world that it could create instead. If this principle is true, and I believe it is, then if there necessarily exists a being than which none better is possible, it cannot be that for every creatable world there is a better creatable world.
If this is the best God could do, he has failed miserably by leaving us with so many degrees of evil which he could have easily avoided. If he was only good enough to spare lives and tragedy on children under 5, he would be worthy of worshipping. But he can't/won't even do that.
Premise One: If a compassionate God exists, then he would do things just as a compassionate person would.
Premise Two: God doesn't do things as a compassionate person would.
Conclusion: Therefore, a compassionate God does not exist.

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