An audio record of a miraculous healing.

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captain howdy
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Re: An audio record of a miraculous healing.

Post by captain howdy » Sun Nov 18, 2018 1:34 pm

Og3 wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 8:35 pm
This premise is the crux of the argument, imho. ....
I am making a blood oath, here and now, that any time I spend more than 15 minutes crafting a reply to somebody I will click "save draft".

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marcuspnw
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Re: An audio record of a miraculous healing.

Post by marcuspnw » Sun Nov 18, 2018 5:58 pm

captain howdy wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 1:34 pm
Og3 wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 8:35 pm
This premise is the crux of the argument, imho. ....
I am making a blood oath, here and now, that any time I spend more than 15 minutes crafting a reply to somebody I will click "save draft".
I copy back and forth from word or excel.

captain howdy
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Re: An audio record of a miraculous healing.

Post by captain howdy » Sun Nov 18, 2018 6:36 pm

Og3 wrote:
captain howdy wrote: As regards the problem of gratuitous evil (or as it's more commonly known---the evidential problem of evil) you have tried to defend against it by way of the soul-making theodicy. Whether or not that is successful against moral evil it ignores natural evil entirely and fails as a result. The example frequently seen of gratuitous evil is a fawn being trapped in a forest fire and being horribly burned but not killed outright. Instead the fawn suffers intensely for hours until death finally ends its misery. The fawn's suffering is gratuitous. From the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy's article on it---
a. An Outline of Rowe’s Argument
In presenting his evidential argument from evil in his justly celebrated 1979 paper, “The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism”, Rowe thinks it best to focus on a particular kind of evil that is found in our world in abundance. He therefore selects “intense human and animal suffering” as this occurs on a daily basis, is in great plenitude in our world, and is a clear case of evil. More precisely, it is a case of intrinsic evil: it is bad in and of itself, even though it sometimes is part of, or leads to, some good state of affairs (Rowe 1979: 335). Rowe then proceeds to state his argument for atheism as follows:
There exist instances of intense suffering which an omnipotent, omniscient being could have prevented without thereby losing some greater good or permitting some evil equally bad or worse.
An omniscient, wholly good being would prevent the occurrence of any intense suffering it could, unless it could not do so without thereby losing some greater good or permitting some evil equally bad or worse.
(Therefore) There does not exist an omnipotent, omniscient, wholly good being. (Rowe 1979: 336)
This argument, as Rowe points out, is clearly valid, and so if there are rational grounds for accepting its premises, to that extent there are rational grounds for accepting the conclusion, that is to say, atheism.
https://www.iep.utm.edu/evil-evi/#SH2a
"An omniscient, wholly good being would prevent the occurrence of any intense suffering it could, unless it could not do so without thereby losing some greater good or permitting some evil equally bad or worse."

This premise is the crux of the argument, imho.
It has several problems. As I have already shown, the use here of Good is ambiguously defined to mean both spiritually good, i.e. holy and benevolent; and at the same time experientially good, i.e pleasing to the senses, or preventative of pain. It further ambiguously uses could. It is like the schoolground conundrum, "Could God make a rock so large that he could not lift it?" which is an improper question because of its two mutually exclusive assumptions (omnipotent God and immovable rock).

But even if that were not an improper question, "could" might mean "lacks the ability" or "chooses not to because of a self-imposed rule" -- that is, God could choose not to move a certain rock, and thus could not by a self-imposed rule; likewise, God could choose not to prevent suffering and thus "could not" by a self-imposed rule. So the premise as stated is fatally flawed from the beginning.
Here's the argument again, with premises and conclusion labelled for clarity--
Premise 1: There exist instances of intense suffering which an omnipotent, omniscient being could have prevented without thereby losing some greater good or permitting some evil equally bad or worse.

Premise 2: An omniscient, wholly good being would prevent the occurrence of any intense suffering it could, unless it could not do so without thereby losing some greater good or permitting some evil equally bad or worse.
(Therefore)
Conclusion: There does not exist an omnipotent, omniscient, wholly good being.
You have objected to premise 2, which is odd. The article I cited explains why [emphasis added]---
b. The Theological Premise
The second premise is sometimes called "the theological premise" as it expresses a belief about what God as a perfectly good being would do under certain circumstances. In particular, this premise states that if such a being knew of some intense suffering that was about to take place and was in a position to prevent its occurrence, then it would prevent it unless it could not do so without thereby losing some greater good or permitting some evil equally bad or worse. Put otherwise, an omnipotent, omniscient, wholly good God would not permit any gratuitous evil, evil that is (roughly speaking) avoidable, pointless, or unnecessary with respect to the fulfillment of God’s purposes.

Rowe takes the theological premise to be the least controversial aspect of his argument. And the consensus seems to be that Rowe is right – the theological premise, or a version thereof that is immune from some minor infelicities in the original formulation, is usually thought to be indisputable, self-evident, necessarily true, or something of that ilk. The intuition here, as the Howard-Snyders (1999: 115) explain, is that “on the face of it, the idea that God may well permit gratuitous evil is absurd. After all, if God can get what He wants without permitting some particular horror (or anything comparably bad), why on earth would He permit it?”
Since you seem to have a problem with premise 2, please answer that question: "....on the face of it, the idea that God may well permit gratuitous evil is absurd. After all, if God can get what He wants without permitting some particular horror (or anything comparably bad), why on earth would He permit it?" As to your objection that the argument uses ambiguous wording to describe God's attributes and actions, the argument is aimed at the orthodox theist view of God's goodness and uses language similar to that used by theists to describe it, so I have a hard time taking the ambiguity objection very seriously.
Og3 wrote:The argument seems reasonable at first blush (despite the flaws in the premise) only because we cannot conceive of a purpose which suffering (or declining to move a certain rock) might serve. So the question becomes whether an experiential evil ("natural evil" as used above) can still indicate benevolence, i.e. spiritual and moral goodness and good will in regards to humans and creatures. As a final cause of this argument, the question also includes whether gratuitous suffering of animals and humans is consistent with the Christian God as described in the Bible.
This is skeptical theism and it is problematic as a defense. First of all, if our limited understanding and intellect prevent us from determining that any given evil is gratuitous then it is likewise impossible for you to use the mysterious healing of somebody's voice as an example of God's goodness since for all you know the person whose voice was restored miraculously could very well use that restored voice to order a hit on his ex-wife. IOW, if you can't determine that a particular instance of evil is gratuitous because of the limitations of your intellect then you are likewise prevented from coming to any other conclusion about God's nature or attributes based on your observation of the world. In fact, you would be prevented from determining anything as being good or evil. If a bystander stood idly by and watched a small child drown in a lake without attempting to render aid, how convincing would you consider his defense that he was unable to determine with his limited intellect whether the child's death was a good or bad thing since for all he knows the child might grow up to start world war III?




I'm going to post this reply in sections to prevent another block of my writing from disappearing down the rabbit hole. Again.

captain howdy
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Re: An audio record of a miraculous healing.

Post by captain howdy » Sun Nov 18, 2018 7:22 pm

marcuspnw wrote:I copy back and forth from word or excel.
That's the worst part of it. It's pretty easy to prevent and I've had it happen before, so I can't even plead ignorance. I'm like the guy that will trip over something half a dozen times before he'll kick it out of the way.

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SEG
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Re: An audio record of a miraculous healing.

Post by SEG » Sun Nov 18, 2018 8:40 pm

If it takes you to the login page before you have copied your post, don't logon! Press the back button and save your gems of wisdom :)
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.

captain howdy
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Re: An audio record of a miraculous healing.

Post by captain howdy » Sun Nov 18, 2018 9:47 pm

SEG wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 8:40 pm
If it takes you to the login page before you have copied your post, don't logon! Press the back button and save your gems of wisdom :)
I kind of suspect what's causing this is that my password manager isn't playing nice with the word editor. I'm gonna disconnect lastpass from the forum because this isn't the kind of p/w you really need a p/w manager for. But thanks---if it does happen anyway I'll try backing out of the sign-in page.

Og3
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Re: An audio record of a miraculous healing.

Post by Og3 » Mon Nov 19, 2018 6:33 am

captain howdy wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 1:34 pm
Og3 wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 8:35 pm
This premise is the crux of the argument, imho. ....
I am making a blood oath, here and now, that any time I spend more than 15 minutes crafting a reply to somebody I will click "save draft".
So let it be written. So let it be done.
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Og3
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Re: An audio record of a miraculous healing.

Post by Og3 » Mon Nov 19, 2018 7:17 am

captain howdy wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 6:36 pm
Og3 wrote: "An omniscient, wholly good being would prevent the occurrence of any intense suffering it could, unless it could not do so without thereby losing some greater good or permitting some evil equally bad or worse."

This premise is the crux of the argument, imho.
It has several problems. As I have already shown, the use here of Good is ambiguously defined to mean both spiritually good, i.e. holy and benevolent; and at the same time experientially good, i.e pleasing to the senses, or preventative of pain. It further ambiguously uses could. It is like the schoolground conundrum, "Could God make a rock so large that he could not lift it?" which is an improper question because of its two mutually exclusive assumptions (omnipotent God and immovable rock).

But even if that were not an improper question, "could" might mean "lacks the ability" or "chooses not to because of a self-imposed rule" -- that is, God could choose not to move a certain rock, and thus could not by a self-imposed rule; likewise, God could choose not to prevent suffering and thus "could not" by a self-imposed rule. So the premise as stated is fatally flawed from the beginning.
Here's the argument again, with premises and conclusion labelled for clarity--
Premise 1: There exist instances of intense suffering which an omnipotent, omniscient being could have prevented without thereby losing some greater good or permitting some evil equally bad or worse.

Premise 2: An omniscient, wholly good being would prevent the occurrence of any intense suffering it could, unless it could not do so without thereby losing some greater good or permitting some evil equally bad or worse.
(Therefore)
Conclusion: There does not exist an omnipotent, omniscient, wholly good being.
Well, the first premise has a problem in relation to the second premise, in that they have mutually contradictory implications. One need not make the mutually contradictory inferences, but the author should have specified which case he intends us to accept ad argumentum, that God could prevent the evil without incurring a greater evil, or that to prevent the evil might cause a greater evil. But if we ignore the two problematic clauses, and the ambiguity, the argument appears to follow. Thus the remaining type of problem -- and the problem that is most troublesome here -- is that one or more of the premises may be untrue.
You have objected to premise 2, which is odd. The article I cited explains why [emphasis added]---
b. The Theological Premise
The second premise is sometimes called "the theological premise" as it expresses a belief about what God as a perfectly good being would do under certain circumstances. In particular, this premise states that if such a being knew of some intense suffering that was about to take place and was in a position to prevent its occurrence, then it would prevent it unless it could not do so without thereby losing some greater good or permitting some evil equally bad or worse. Put otherwise, an omnipotent, omniscient, wholly good God would not permit any gratuitous evil, evil that is (roughly speaking) avoidable, pointless, or unnecessary with respect to the fulfillment of God’s purposes.

Rowe takes the theological premise to be the least controversial aspect of his argument. And the consensus seems to be that Rowe is right – the theological premise, or a version thereof that is immune from some minor infelicities in the original formulation, is usually thought to be indisputable, self-evident, necessarily true, or something of that ilk. The intuition here, as the Howard-Snyders (1999: 115) explain, is that “on the face of it, the idea that God may well permit gratuitous evil is absurd. After all, if God can get what He wants without permitting some particular horror (or anything comparably bad), why on earth would He permit it?”
I call to your attention the last seven words, "why on earth would He permit it?” which merely restates my objection to the argument: There is an unstated axiom that we can understand the mind and will of God. (cf. Lewis, C.S. and Helen J., Till We Have Faces, q.v., where it is argued that we cannot reasonably raise an accusation against God because we would be unable to understand the response).
Since you seem to have a problem with premise 2, please answer that question: "....on the face of it, the idea that God may well permit gratuitous evil is absurd. After all, if God can get what He wants without permitting some particular horror (or anything comparably bad), why on earth would He permit it?"
Ignoring the answer already given, that a "Why?" question wrt God is absurd on the face of it, as we be definition could not understand the answer: We need only suppose that what God wants is for us to understand the horrors induced by sin. Then the question becomes simply meaningless, like asking what flavor is seven, and what time is blue. It requires us to assume that sin causes a form of suffering that must be experienced to be understood, and then assuming that we need not experience it to understand it. Thus even if we excuse all of the problems in the argument itself -- and I realize that the argument was meant to be informally phrased for comprehension's sake, but that does not excuse it from having to hold water -- we still have a meaningless conclusion.
As to your objection that the argument uses ambiguous wording to describe God's attributes and actions, the argument is aimed at the orthodox theist view of God's goodness and uses language similar to that used by theists to describe it, so I have a hard time taking the ambiguity objection very seriously.
Very well then, since it should be obvious what goodness means, will you please define goodness as it is used here? The fact that others have indulged themselves in inaccuracies does not mean that we must, and as you will know, being a logician, to use ambiguous language is what gives rise to paradoxes. I posit that every known paradox is a result of ambiguity.

I further posit that if the argument you cite requires ambiguity, then it is not valid in form nor certain in its conclusion.

In legal terms, "There is no charge to answer."
Og3 wrote:The argument seems reasonable at first blush (despite the flaws in the premise) only because we cannot conceive of a purpose which suffering (or declining to move a certain rock) might serve. So the question becomes whether an experiential evil ("natural evil" as used above) can still indicate benevolence, i.e. spiritual and moral goodness and good will in regards to humans and creatures. As a final cause of this argument, the question also includes whether gratuitous suffering of animals and humans is consistent with the Christian God as described in the Bible.
This is skeptical theism and it is problematic as a defense. First of all, if our limited understanding and intellect prevent us from determining that any given evil is gratuitous then it is likewise impossible for you to use the mysterious healing of somebody's voice as an example of God's goodness since for all you know the person whose voice was restored miraculously could very well use that restored voice to order a hit on his ex-wife. IOW, if you can't determine that a particular instance of evil is gratuitous because of the limitations of your intellect then you are likewise prevented from coming to any other conclusion about God's nature or attributes based on your observation of the world. In fact, you would be prevented from determining anything as being good or evil. If a bystander stood idly by and watched a small child drown in a lake without attempting to render aid, how convincing would you consider his defense that he was unable to determine with his limited intellect whether the child's death was a good or bad thing since for all he knows the child might grow up to start world war III?
In such a case we see the asymmetrical nature of good and evil. No one does evil for evil's sake; we do evil because we wish for a good. A thief steals (universally a moral evil) because he wishes to possess goods (which are experiential goods). But a man can save a drowning child, a moral good, for no other reason than that it is a moral good. He can do it expecting no experientially good result, and can even do it expecting to bring about his own death, an experiential evil.

Moreover, we humans necessarily act in ignorance, not knowing the child's history, nature, or future; still we can posit that it is a moral good to save the child. Further, we have set as a moral rule that not to act when it is within our power, knowing our limitations of knowledge, is morally and legally evil: We call it depraved indifference. Thus by any system of morality, we are assured of the moral good of the act, even though jumping into the water will make us cold, and wet, and subject to drowning (experiential evils).

But suppose that we knew the child to be evil and to have committed evil acts against us and our families. Still we are constrained to return good for evil, on the grounds that it is morally good to return good for evil. So the given example is absurd at three levels. Nonetheless, we are forced to acknowledge that evils can bring greater goods, as in the case of forest fires that have cleared undergrowth and enabled the reseeding and refertilization of forests. Three years ago, a bad thing happened in my life; one that I acted with all of my power to prevent. Now, I can look back and be glad that it happened, as it has led to a greater good that could not have occurred without the prior bad experience.

So by example, we know that the form of my argument is valid; At best the only weakness is in the implied premise that all or nearly all experiential evil brings about some future form of good, experiential or otherwise. We might also debate the degrees of good, and whether one particular good outweighs its preceding evil, but we would be down to the division of coneys.*
I'm going to post this reply in sections to prevent another block of my writing from disappearing down the rabbit hole. Again.
That is a consummation devoutly to be wished.

__________________________
* Division of coneys, i.e., splitting of hares (closed captioned for the humor impaired)
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captain howdy
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Re: An audio record of a miraculous healing.

Post by captain howdy » Tue Nov 20, 2018 5:32 am

Before I go any further I want to thank you for your patience. And now....on with the show---
Og3 wrote:
captain howdy wrote:Here's the argument again, with premises and conclusion labelled for clarity--
Premise 1: There exist instances of intense suffering which an omnipotent, omniscient being could have prevented without thereby losing some greater good or permitting some evil equally bad or worse.

Premise 2: An omniscient, wholly good being would prevent the occurrence of any intense suffering it could, unless it could not do so without thereby losing some greater good or permitting some evil equally bad or worse.
(Therefore)
Conclusion: There does not exist an omnipotent, omniscient, wholly good being.


Well, the first premise has a problem in relation to the second premise, in that they have mutually contradictory implications. One need not make the mutually contradictory inferences, but the author should have specified which case he intends us to accept ad argumentum, that God could prevent the evil without incurring a greater evil, or that to prevent the evil might cause a greater evil. But if we ignore the two problematic clauses, and the ambiguity, the argument appears to follow. Thus the remaining type of problem -- and the problem that is most troublesome here -- is that one or more of the premises may be untrue.
Submitted for your approval---
Premise 1: X exists.
Premise 2: A wholly good and omniscient being would prevent X.
Conclusion 3. A wholly good and omniscient being does not exist.


Is that a valid argument or not? If it is just insert "gratuitous evil" for X and off you go; where's the contradiction? If 1 contradicts 2 then the argument is not valid regardless of what value you insert for X. Objection overruled.
Og3 wrote:
captain howdy wrote:You have objected to premise 2, which is odd. The article I cited explains why [emphasis added]---
b. The Theological Premise
The second premise is sometimes called "the theological premise" as it expresses a belief about what God as a perfectly good being would do under certain circumstances. In particular, this premise states that if such a being knew of some intense suffering that was about to take place and was in a position to prevent its occurrence, then it would prevent it unless it could not do so without thereby losing some greater good or permitting some evil equally bad or worse. Put otherwise, an omnipotent, omniscient, wholly good God would not permit any gratuitous evil, evil that is (roughly speaking) avoidable, pointless, or unnecessary with respect to the fulfillment of God’s purposes.

Rowe takes the theological premise to be the least controversial aspect of his argument. And the consensus seems to be that Rowe is right – the theological premise, or a version thereof that is immune from some minor infelicities in the original formulation, is usually thought to be indisputable, self-evident, necessarily true, or something of that ilk. The intuition here, as the Howard-Snyders (1999: 115) explain, is that “on the face of it, the idea that God may well permit gratuitous evil is absurd. After all, if God can get what He wants without permitting some particular horror (or anything comparably bad), why on earth would He permit it?”
I call to your attention the last seven words, "why on earth would He permit it?” which merely restates my objection to the argument: There is an unstated axiom that we can understand the mind and will of God. (cf. Lewis, C.S. and Helen J., Till We Have Faces, q.v., where it is argued that we cannot reasonably raise an accusation against God because we would be unable to understand the response).
and
Og3 wrote:
captain howdy wrote:Since you seem to have a problem with premise 2, please answer that question: "....on the face of it, the idea that God may well permit gratuitous evil is absurd. After all, if God can get what He wants without permitting some particular horror (or anything comparably bad), why on earth would He permit it?"


Ignoring the answer already given, that a "Why?" question wrt God is absurd on the face of it, as we be definition could not understand the answer: We need only suppose that what God wants is for us to understand the horrors induced by sin. Then the question becomes simply meaningless, like asking what flavor is seven, and what time is blue. It requires us to assume that sin causes a form of suffering that must be experienced to be understood, and then assuming that we need not experience it to understand it. Thus even if we excuse all of the problems in the argument itself -- and I realize that the argument was meant to be informally phrased for comprehension's sake, but that does not excuse it from having to hold water -- we still have a meaningless conclusion.
Again,from the article---
Being finite beings we can’t expect to know all the goods God would know, any more than an amateur at chess should expect to know all the reasons for a particular move that Kasparov makes in a game. But, unlike Kasparov who in a chess match has a good reason not to tell us how a particular move fits into his plan to win the game, God, if he exists, isn’t playing chess with our lives. In fact, since understanding the goods for the sake of which he permits terrible evils to befall us would itself enable us to better bear our suffering, God has a strong reason to help us understand those goods and how they require his permission of the terrible evils that befall us. ---William Rowe, 2001
I find no fault in this man. Prof Rowe, that is. It seems to me it would be hard to argue with the above.
Og3 wrote:
captain howdy wrote:As to your objection that the argument uses ambiguous wording to describe God's attributes and actions, the argument is aimed at the orthodox theist view of God's goodness and uses language similar to that used by theists to describe it, so I have a hard time taking the ambiguity objection very seriously.
Very well then, since it should be obvious what goodness means, will you please define goodness as it is used here? The fact that others have indulged themselves in inaccuracies does not mean that we must, and as you will know, being a logician, to use ambiguous language is what gives rise to paradoxes. I posit that every known paradox is a result of ambiguity.
Hmmm. Then allow me to retort: perhaps a better way of phrasing it would be "There is no paradox you can't define your way out of if your lexicon is malleable enough".
Og3 wrote:I further posit that if the argument you cite requires ambiguity, then it is not valid in form nor certain in its conclusion.

In legal terms, "There is no charge to answer."
AFTA (Again From The Article)---
b. Good and Evil
Clarifying the underlying conception of God is but the first step in clarifying the nature of the problem of evil. To arrive at a more complete understanding of this vexing problem, it is necessary to unpack further some of its philosophical baggage. I turn, therefore, to some important concepts and distinctions associated with the problem of evil, beginning with the ideas of "good" and "evil."

The terms "good" and "evil" are, if nothing else, notoriously difficult to define. Some account, however, can be given of these terms as they are employed in discussions of the problem of evil. Beginning with the notion of evil, this is normally given a very wide extension so as to cover everything that is negative and destructive in life. The ambit of evil will therefore include such categories as the bad, the unjust, the immoral, and the painful. An analysis of evil in this broad sense may proceed as follows:

An event may be categorized as evil if it involves any of the following:

some harm (whether it be minor or great) being done to the physical and/or psychological well-being of a sentient creature;
the unjust treatment of some sentient creature;
loss of opportunity resulting from premature death;
anything that prevents an individual from leading a fulfilling and virtuous life;
a person doing that which is morally wrong;
the "privation of good."

Condition (a) captures what normally falls under the rubric of pain as a physical state (for example, the sensation you feel when you have a toothache or broken jaw) and suffering as a mental state in which we wish that our situation were otherwise (for example, the experience of anxiety or despair). Condition (b) introduces the notion of injustice, so that the prosperity of the wicked, the demise of the virtuous, and the denial of voting rights or employment opportunities to women and blacks would count as evils. The third condition is intended to cover cases of untimely death, that is to say, death not brought about by the ageing process alone. Death of this kind may result in loss of opportunity either in the sense that one is unable to fulfill one’s potential, dreams or goals, or merely in the sense that one is prevented from living out the full term of their natural life. This is partly why we consider it a great evil if an infant were killed after impacting with a train at full speed, even if the infant experienced no pain or suffering in the process. Condition (d) classifies as evil anything that inhibits one from leading a life that is both fulfilling and virtuous – poverty and prostitution would be cases in point. Condition (e) relates evil to immoral choices or acts. And the final condition expresses the idea, prominent in Augustine and Aquinas, that evil is not a substance or entity in its own right, but a privatio boni: the absence or lack of some good power or quality which a thing by its nature ought to possess.

Paralleling the above analysis of evil, the following account of "good" may be offered:

An event may be categorized as good if it involves any of the following:

some improvement (whether it be minor or great) in the physical and/or psychological well-being of a sentient creature;
the just treatment of some sentient creature;
anything that advances the degree of fulfillment and virtue in an individual’s life;
a person doing that which is morally right;
the optimal functioning of some person or thing, so that it does not lack the full measure of being and goodness that ought to belong to it.
Turning to the many varieties of evil, the following have become standard in the literature:

Moral evil. This is evil that results from the misuse of free will on the part of some moral agent in such a way that the agent thereby becomes morally blameworthy for the resultant evil. Moral evil therefore includes specific acts of intentional wrongdoing such as lying and murdering, as well as defects in character such as dishonesty and greed.

Natural evil. In contrast to moral evil, natural evil is evil that results from the operation of natural processes, in which case no human being can be held morally accountable for the resultant evil. Classic examples of natural evil are natural disasters such as cyclones and earthquakes that result in enormous suffering and loss of life, illnesses such as leukemia and Alzheimer’s, and disabilities such as blindness and deafness.
Og3 wrote:
captain howdy wrote:This is skeptical theism and it is problematic as a defense. First of all, if our limited understanding and intellect prevent us from determining that any given evil is gratuitous then it is likewise impossible for you to use the mysterious healing of somebody's voice as an example of God's goodness since for all you know the person whose voice was restored miraculously could very well use that restored voice to order a hit on his ex-wife. IOW, if you can't determine that a particular instance of evil is gratuitous because of the limitations of your intellect then you are likewise prevented from coming to any other conclusion about God's nature or attributes based on your observation of the world. In fact, you would be prevented from determining anything as being good or evil. If a bystander stood idly by and watched a small child drown in a lake without attempting to render aid, how convincing would you consider his defense that he was unable to determine with his limited intellect whether the child's death was a good or bad thing since for all he knows the child might grow up to start world war III?
In such a case we see the asymmetrical nature of good and evil. No one does evil for evil's sake; we do evil because we wish for a good. A thief steals (universally a moral evil) because he wishes to possess goods (which are experiential goods). But a man can save a drowning child, a moral good, for no other reason than that it is a moral good. He can do it expecting no experientially good result, and can even do it expecting to bring about his own death, an experiential evil.

Moreover, we humans necessarily act in ignorance, not knowing the child's history, nature, or future; still we can posit that it is a moral good to save the child. Further, we have set as a moral rule that not to act when it is within our power, knowing our limitations of knowledge, is morally and legally evil: We call it depraved indifference. Thus by any system of morality, we are assured of the moral good of the act, even though jumping into the water will make us cold, and wet, and subject to drowning (experiential evils).

But suppose that we knew the child to be evil and to have committed evil acts against us and our families. Still we are constrained to return good for evil, on the grounds that it is morally good to return good for evil. So the given example is absurd at three levels. Nonetheless, we are forced to acknowledge that evils can bring greater goods, as in the case of forest fires that have cleared undergrowth and enabled the reseeding and refertilization of forests. Three years ago, a bad thing happened in my life; one that I acted with all of my power to prevent. Now, I can look back and be glad that it happened, as it has led to a greater good that could not have occurred without the prior bad experience.

So by example, we know that the form of my argument is valid; At best the only weakness is in the implied premise that all or nearly all experiential evil brings about some future form of good, experiential or otherwise. We might also debate the degrees of good, and whether one particular good outweighs its preceding evil, but we would be down to the division of coneys.*
In the case of the fawn, the forest didn't get refertilized because Bambi suffered from agonizing burns prior to dying pitifully. Bambi's suffering was a side effect and any good that came from Bambi's death could have come just the same if his agony was just one hour shorter. The question isn't does evil sometimes result in good down the line? Some evil does, but our experience tells us that some evil is pointless and gratuitous.No, the question is: Is at least some of the evil we see in the world pointless? The sheer magnitude and volume of the seemingly gratuitous suffering we see in the world is suggestive that some evil really is gratuitous. And if the deity you proclaim may or may not prevent gratuitous evil, what basis do you have to call him good?




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* Division of coneys, i.e., splitting of hares (closed captioned for the humor impaired)
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Og3
Posts: 965
Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2018 6:41 am

Re: An audio record of a miraculous healing.

Post by Og3 » Tue Nov 20, 2018 1:24 pm

captain howdy wrote:
Tue Nov 20, 2018 5:32 am
Before I go any further I want to thank you for your patience. And now....on with the show---
Og3 wrote:Well, the first premise has a problem in relation to the second premise, in that they have mutually contradictory implications. One need not make the mutually contradictory inferences, but the author should have specified which case he intends us to accept ad argumentum, that God could prevent the evil without incurring a greater evil, or that to prevent the evil might cause a greater evil. But if we ignore the two problematic clauses, and the ambiguity, the argument appears to follow. Thus the remaining type of problem -- and the problem that is most troublesome here -- is that one or more of the premises may be untrue.
Submitted for your approval---
Premise 1: X exists.
Premise 2: A wholly good and omniscient being would prevent X.
Conclusion 3. A wholly good and omniscient being does not exist.
Is that a valid argument or not? If it is just insert "gratuitous evil" for X and off you go; where's the contradiction? If 1 contradicts 2 then the argument is not valid regardless of what value you insert for X. Objection overruled.
The form of the argument now follows, which meets one of three criteria for a solid conclusion. The form is valid.

Now, in order for the conclusion to be reliable, we need unambiguous terms, and premises that we know to be true.

"Gratuitous" remains poorly defined. Evil exists -- each of the three kinds -- but I will not concede that it is gratuitous. So with the removal of the word "gratuitous" I will accept that premise 1 is true and well-defined.

Premise 2 is still where the biggest problem lies.
Captain Howdy wrote:
Og3 wrote:
captain howdy wrote:You have objected to premise 2, which is odd. The article I cited explains why [emphasis added]---
I call to your attention the last seven words, "why on earth would He permit it?” which merely restates my objection to the argument: There is an unstated axiom that we can understand the mind and will of God. (cf. Lewis, C.S. and Helen J., Till We Have Faces, q.v., where it is argued that we cannot reasonably raise an accusation against God because we would be unable to understand the response).
and
Og3 wrote:
captain howdy wrote:Since you seem to have a problem with premise 2, please answer that question: "....on the face of it, the idea that God may well permit gratuitous evil is absurd. After all, if God can get what He wants without permitting some particular horror (or anything comparably bad), why on earth would He permit it?"


Ignoring the answer already given, that a "Why?" question wrt God is absurd on the face of it, as we by definition could not understand the answer: We need only suppose that what God wants is for us to understand the horrors induced by sin. Then the question becomes simply meaningless, like asking what flavor is seven, and what time is blue. It requires us to assume that sin causes a form of suffering that must be experienced to be understood, and then assuming that we need not experience it to understand it. Thus even if we excuse all of the problems in the argument itself -- and I realize that the argument was meant to be informally phrased for comprehension's sake, but that does not excuse it from having to hold water -- we still have a meaningless conclusion.
Again,from the article---
Being finite beings we can’t expect to know all the goods God would know, any more than an amateur at chess should expect to know all the reasons for a particular move that Kasparov makes in a game. But, unlike Kasparov who in a chess match has a good reason not to tell us how a particular move fits into his plan to win the game, God, if he exists, isn’t playing chess with our lives. In fact, since understanding the goods for the sake of which he permits terrible evils to befall us would itself enable us to better bear our suffering, God has a strong reason to help us understand those goods and how they require his permission of the terrible evils that befall us. ---William Rowe, 2001
I find no fault in this man. Prof Rowe, that is. It seems to me it would be hard to argue with the above.
It seems to merely restate the same. Rowe concedes that we cannot be expected to know what God knows, and then suggests that for God to simply tell us would be sufficient for us to understand.

This neglects, again, the difference between our understanding and that of God's. It is like a dog who does not understand why humans may urinate indoors but he cannot: No amount of explanation will resolve the matter in the dog's mind. Eventually, he must simply trust the human to have a reason larger than his understanding.

That is not to say that God has not tried to explain. The entire book of Job is an essay into such an explanation, and into why understanding the explanation is beyond human comprehension. In the end, we have to admit that we cannot draw out leviathan with a fish-hook, nor guide the bear and her satellites in their season. We eventually have to accept Paul's explanation that these light and transient afflictions work a great eternal glory. Experiential evil seems to cause moral and spiritual goodness.
Og3 wrote:
captain howdy wrote:As to your objection that the argument uses ambiguous wording to describe God's attributes and actions, the argument is aimed at the orthodox theist view of God's goodness and uses language similar to that used by theists to describe it, so I have a hard time taking the ambiguity objection very seriously.
Very well then, since it should be obvious what goodness means, will you please define goodness as it is used here? The fact that others have indulged themselves in inaccuracies does not mean that we must, and as you will know, being a logician, to use ambiguous language is what gives rise to paradoxes. I posit that every known paradox is a result of ambiguity.
Hmmm. Then allow me to retort: perhaps a better way of phrasing it would be "There is no paradox you can't define your way out of if your lexicon is malleable enough".
Touche.

But I would add that to be malleable is to permit shape-changing; definition prevents it.
Og3 wrote:I further posit that if the argument you cite requires ambiguity, then it is not valid in form nor certain in its conclusion.

In legal terms, "There is no charge to answer."
AFTA (Again From The Article)---
b. Good and Evil
Clarifying the underlying conception of God is but the first step in clarifying the nature of the problem of evil. To arrive at a more complete understanding of this vexing problem, it is necessary to unpack further some of its philosophical baggage. I turn, therefore, to some important concepts and distinctions associated with the problem of evil, beginning with the ideas of "good" and "evil."

The terms "good" and "evil" are, if nothing else, notoriously difficult to define. Some account, however, can be given of these terms as they are employed in discussions of the problem of evil. Beginning with the notion of evil, this is normally given a very wide extension so as to cover everything that is negative and destructive in life. The ambit of evil will therefore include such categories as the bad, the unjust, the immoral, and the painful. An analysis of evil in this broad sense may proceed as follows:

An event may be categorized as evil if it involves any of the following:

some harm (whether it be minor or great) being done to the physical and/or psychological well-being of a sentient creature;
the unjust treatment of some sentient creature;
loss of opportunity resulting from premature death;
anything that prevents an individual from leading a fulfilling and virtuous life;
a person doing that which is morally wrong;
the "privation of good."

Condition (a) captures what normally falls under the rubric of pain as a physical state (for example, the sensation you feel when you have a toothache or broken jaw) and suffering as a mental state in which we wish that our situation were otherwise (for example, the experience of anxiety or despair). Condition (b) introduces the notion of injustice, so that the prosperity of the wicked, the demise of the virtuous, and the denial of voting rights or employment opportunities to women and blacks would count as evils. The third condition is intended to cover cases of untimely death, that is to say, death not brought about by the ageing process alone. Death of this kind may result in loss of opportunity either in the sense that one is unable to fulfill one’s potential, dreams or goals, or merely in the sense that one is prevented from living out the full term of their natural life. This is partly why we consider it a great evil if an infant were killed after impacting with a train at full speed, even if the infant experienced no pain or suffering in the process. Condition (d) classifies as evil anything that inhibits one from leading a life that is both fulfilling and virtuous – poverty and prostitution would be cases in point. Condition (e) relates evil to immoral choices or acts. And the final condition expresses the idea, prominent in Augustine and Aquinas, that evil is not a substance or entity in its own right, but a privatio boni: the absence or lack of some good power or quality which a thing by its nature ought to possess.

Paralleling the above analysis of evil, the following account of "good" may be offered:

An event may be categorized as good if it involves any of the following:

some improvement (whether it be minor or great) in the physical and/or psychological well-being of a sentient creature;
the just treatment of some sentient creature;
anything that advances the degree of fulfillment and virtue in an individual’s life;
a person doing that which is morally right;
the optimal functioning of some person or thing, so that it does not lack the full measure of being and goodness that ought to belong to it.
Turning to the many varieties of evil, the following have become standard in the literature:

Moral evil. This is evil that results from the misuse of free will on the part of some moral agent in such a way that the agent thereby becomes morally blameworthy for the resultant evil. Moral evil therefore includes specific acts of intentional wrongdoing such as lying and murdering, as well as defects in character such as dishonesty and greed.

Natural evil. In contrast to moral evil, natural evil is evil that results from the operation of natural processes, in which case no human being can be held morally accountable for the resultant evil. Classic examples of natural evil are natural disasters such as cyclones and earthquakes that result in enormous suffering and loss of life, illnesses such as leukemia and Alzheimer’s, and disabilities such as blindness and deafness.
One could raise nit-picking with the definitions above, but it would be nitpicking. I am gratified enough that the author makes a distinction between moral good and evil versus so-called natural good and evil, but in the end all of the evils listed are experiential evils.

This does nothing to answer my earlier point that moral and even spiritual good may arise from an experiential evil. Case in point: If I work hard at difficult jobs, endangering my health and well-being, and perhaps even shortening my natural lifespan, so that my children may be well-educated, well-fed, clothed and sheltered, thus preventing them from enduring the same, then my fairly mild "natural evil" (experiential evils by my terms) have brought about the moral and spiritual improvement of my children, which is also an experiential good.

As no man is an island, so also no deed nor circumstance is an island, and a thing cannot be fully understood in and of itself without considering the totality of its implications. I refer the curious, for a parallel point, to Herodotus and the meeting of Solon with Croesus, in which Croesus greets Solon with the question, "Who is Olbios?"

I also object pro forma to the distinction that natural evil is necessarily distinct from moral evil, as assumed by Rowe, in case it arises later.
Captain Howdy wrote:
Og3 wrote: In such a case we see the asymmetrical nature of good and evil. No one does evil for evil's sake; we do evil because we wish for a good. A thief steals (universally a moral evil) because he wishes to possess goods (which are experiential goods). But a man can save a drowning child, a moral good, for no other reason than that it is a moral good. He can do it expecting no experientially good result, and can even do it expecting to bring about his own death, an experiential evil.

Moreover, we humans necessarily act in ignorance, not knowing the child's history, nature, or future; still we can posit that it is a moral good to save the child. Further, we have set as a moral rule that not to act when it is within our power, knowing our limitations of knowledge, is morally and legally evil: We call it depraved indifference. Thus by any system of morality, we are assured of the moral good of the act, even though jumping into the water will make us cold, and wet, and subject to drowning (experiential evils).

But suppose that we knew the child to be evil and to have committed evil acts against us and our families. Still we are constrained to return good for evil, on the grounds that it is morally good to return good for evil. So the given example is absurd at three levels. Nonetheless, we are forced to acknowledge that evils can bring greater goods, as in the case of forest fires that have cleared undergrowth and enabled the reseeding and refertilization of forests. Three years ago, a bad thing happened in my life; one that I acted with all of my power to prevent. Now, I can look back and be glad that it happened, as it has led to a greater good that could not have occurred without the prior bad experience.

So by example, we know that the form of my argument is valid; At best the only weakness is in the implied premise that all or nearly all experiential evil brings about some future form of good, experiential or otherwise. We might also debate the degrees of good, and whether one particular good outweighs its preceding evil, but we would be down to the division of coneys.*
In the case of the fawn, the forest didn't get refertilized because Bambi suffered from agonizing burns prior to dying pitifully. Bambi's suffering was a side effect and any good that came from Bambi's death could have come just the same if his agony was just one hour shorter. The question isn't does evil sometimes result in good down the line? Some evil does, but our experience tells us that some evil is pointless and gratuitous.No, the question is: Is at least some of the evil we see in the world pointless? The sheer magnitude and volume of the seemingly gratuitous suffering we see in the world is suggestive that some evil really is gratuitous. And if the deity you proclaim may or may not prevent gratuitous evil, what basis do you have to call him good?
As before, I distinguish three goods: Experiential, Moral, and Spiritual.

The forest may not have benefitted from the fawn's slow and painful death. But you by imagining it are moved to pity, and arguably improved thereby. If that pity then caused you to act to reduce suffering, then good would come from that evil.

Now, we are again hampered by our mental limitations, and the presumption that we can know what evil is, and judge it as gratuitous, without knowing its purpose, if any. We acknowledge that the pain and suffering of the fawn is an evil, possibly natural and possibly moral by Rowe's definitions (depending on the source of the fire). We can imagine circumstances in which the fawn's suffering might be the cause of a greater good. So the question becomes whether God can be good despite the pain and suffering of the fawn. Let us see if we can build such a circumstance, again opposing the strong denial with weak affirmation.

Suppose that the fire was set by a man, and that the pain and suffering of the fawn was an inevitable result of the fire. We postulate also a fact we cannot know, namely, that God did not end the suffering of the fawn prior to its inevitable end. But ad argumentum, we so assume. The fire and the death had a cause, and it is possible that the purpose might be that the extent of the man's moral evil might include responsibility for the fawn, as an example. Now, let us further suppose that immediately upon being taken from this life, the fawn is then and forevermore inserted into a forest of bliss, where the grasses are always sweet, the waters cool, and the trees never burn. Can the relative moments of suffering, compared to decades, scores, centuries, forever of bliss be called evil? Could we charge God with evil, or would we say that He had balanced His books? Would not that God, if judged on the fawn alone, be called good?

So we are left to ponder, again, the relative value of one evil versus one good, or this kind of evil versus that. And again we see that we simply do not have the mental equipment, in this life, to state that any event is necessarily gratuitously evil.

Moreover, if there are things that are gratuitously evil -- evil with no seeming purpose -- then it would seem to follow that there are things that are gratuitously good. That is to say, they are good for their own sake, as the beauty of a sunrise or the melodious laughter of children at play. If we posit that God cannot be good because there is "gratuitous" evil, then can we also posit that God cannot be evil because there is gratuitous good? If we suggest that God cannot exist because of evil, doesn't that imply that He must exist because of goodness? But we digress.

But your question was how I can call God good when evil exists. The answer is simple: I can call him good in the same way that a dog calls his human good, even though the human makes the dog do his business outside, in the cold and the rain. I can call him good as a dog calls his human good, even though the human exposes him to danger by making him sniff out explosives. I see the goodness of God, and I trust Him that the evil we experience has a higher purpose and meaning.
EGO TE ABSOLVO, and there's nothing you can do about it.

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