The Problem with the Problem of Evil

Argue for and against Christianity

Moderator: Moderators

Post Reply
williamryan
Apprentice
Posts: 151
Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2006 4:18 pm

The Problem with the Problem of Evil

Post #1

Post by williamryan »

I'm new to this site. I've surfed around a bit on this topic, and I've constantly run into incantations of the problem of evil. I've seen Juliod, among others, use it over and over. I hope this thread will isolate the real issues of contention and shed some light on this often misused and abused argument. I have learned much from William Lane Craig and Alvin Plantinga's writings on this matter, and much of what I say is from their writings.

There are two basic versions of the problem of evil: deductive and probalistic (aka inductive). The propontent of the deductive problem of evil attempts to show that the existence of Deductive looks like this:

1. If a God exists who is omnipotent (all powerful) and omnibenevolent (all loving),
2. and evil exists,
3. then God cannot be omnipotent or omnibenevolent.

This version of the argument has been almost completely abandoned by professional philosophers today. It lives on in its popular level form and is made immortal by producing this corpse of an argument between non-philosopher friends. Alvin Plantinga (a preeminent Christian philosopher at Notre Dame and past president of the Amer. Philosophical Assoc., which is the main association of professional philosophers) showed that this version of the problem of evil is logically untenable.

Alvin Plantinga presented a "defense" as opposed to a theodicy. A theodicy is an effort to explain why God would allow evil to exist. A defense, however, merely seeks to show that the atheist has failed to carry their case that evil is incompatible with God's existence. In other words, a sucessful defense with show that the atheist has failed to show that evil is logically incompatible with God's existence, while leaving us in the dark as to why God allows evil.

The deductive argument was destroyed because, in short, the atheist has assumed an overwhelming burden. Premises (1) and (2), above, are at not explicitly, logically inconsistent. An explicit, logically inconsistent statement would be that "God is blue, but God is not blue."

If the atheist thinks that premises (1) and (2) are implicitly inconsistent, then he or she must be assuming some hidden premise(s) that would make the inconsistency explicit. Those premises seem to be these:

(3) If God is omnipotent, then God can create any world that God desires.
(4) If God is omnibenevolent, then God prefers a world without evil over a world with evil.

Hidden premise (3) then is the view that if God is omnipotent, he could create a world that were all humans freely choose to do the right thing. This world would then be free of all moral evil: no lying, no cheating, no murder etc. So, because we can conceive of a world in which everyone freely chooses every time to do the right thing, and God is all-powerful, then God must be able to create it.

This links with hidden premise (4) because if God was powerful enough to create this type of world, then he certaintly would because he is all-loving. In other words, if God had the choice between creating a flawed, evil world like this one and creating one w/o any evil, then God would most certainly chose the latter. Otherwise, God would be evil to prefer that people experience pain and suffering when God could have given them happiness and prosperity.

In David Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, he summarized this last point when he asked: "Is he willing to prevent evil, but not able? then he is impotent. Is he able, but not willing? then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? whence then is evil?"

Plantinga and others object to hidden premise (3) with what he calls the free will defense. It goes like this: if it is possible that humans have complete freedom to make choices, then (3) and (4) are not necessarily true. If humans have freedom to make choices, then it is not necessarily true that God could have created another world in which no evil exists but people have complete freedom of choice. This is because God's omnipotence doesn't imply that God can do logical impossibilities like create a round triangle or make a married bachelor, or make someone freely chose to do something.

All God can really do is create a world in which a person may freely chose to act and then allow that person to make the free choice. This implies that there are possible worlds that are not feasible for God to create. Just like its not "feasible" for God to create a round triangle or a married bachelor. This does not impinge on God's omnipotence though, because God cannot be impinged for not being able to do a logical impossibility. Another example how how non-sensical this is, is for someone to say that God is not all-powerful because he cannot exist and non exist at the same time.

So, suppose that in every feasible world that God could create, free creatures sometimes choice evil. Here it is us, the creature, not God that is responsible for evil and God can do nothing to prevent their ability to choose the evil, apart from refusing to create such a world at all. Therefore it is at least possible that feasible world that God could create that contains free human beings is a world that has evil in it.

I'm about to say something that will seem crazy and you might be tempted to label be a total fundamentalist and crazy, but please keep reading past the next few sentences. As for natural evils (i.e. earthquakes, tornadoes, etc.) it is possible that these evils could result from demonic activity. Demons could have freedom just like humans and it is possible that God could not preclude natural evil w/o removing demons' free will. You might be thinking, "That is ridiculous!" and you might even think that it is a spurious, frivolous argument. But only let this thought last a few moments lest you confuse the deductive argument with the probabilistic arguments. I admit, ascribing all evil to demonic beings is improbable, but that is completely irrevelant to the deductive version of this argument. Probability only enters the calculus in the probalistic argument. All I must do here is show that such an explanation (both for the moral evil and natural evil) is merely possible.

In summary, hidden premise (3), that an omnipotent God can create any world he desires, is plainly not necessarily true. Therefore, the atheist's argument on this ground alone fails, which causes the whole argument to fail. But we can go further, what about hidden premise (4).

What about (4), the hidden premise that if God is all-loving then he would prefer a world w/o evil over a world with evil. Again, this is not necessarily true. By analogy, we allow pain and suffering to exist in a person's life to bring about some greater good. Every parent knows this. There comes a time when parents cannot protect their child from every mishap, or when the parent must discipline the child so the child matures. Similarly, God could permit suffering in our lives to build us or test us or others and to achieve some greater good. Therefore, premise (4) is also not necessarily true. And again the argument fails, this time on totally separate grounds. Notice that the atheist must show that both (3) and (4) are true, while the theist merely need show one is false.

If I may be permitted to read some of your minds, at this point you might be thinking, "Even if there is no inconsistency between God and evil, surely the existence of God is incompatible with the amount and kinds of evils that actually exist." What good, you might ask, could possibly come from a pregnant mother in the wrong part of town that is struck down by a stray bullet fired from a gang member's 9mm?

This as its own hidden premise, that God cannot have morally sufficient reasons to allow the amount and kinds of evil that exist. But again, this is not necessarily true, and all I must show is that it is possible that God has a morally sufficient reason. As terrible as some things about the world are, people generally agree that life is worth living, from which we could surmise that there is much more good that evil in the world, regardless of the amount and kind of evil actually present. As for the kinds of evil, it is possible that God has some overriding reasons to permit the kinds of evil that occur.

Again, you might think that that seems pretty unlikely. But this would confuse the deductive problem with the probabilistic problem again. To refute the deductive version, the theist doesn't have to suggest a likely solution--all he or she must do is suggest a possible solution.

In summary, the atheist assumes at least two hidden premises in the deductive version of this argument. He or she must prove both of those premises for this version to be true. I have shown that both of those hidden premises can be indenpendently refuted.

Further, because it is the atheist who claims to note a contradicition w/in the theist's truth claims, it is the atheist that bears the burden of proof to show that there is no possible world in which premises (1) and (2) are true. That is an incredibly heavy burden, which the atheist ultimately cannot shoulder. The deductive version of the problem of evil is impotent.


Probabilistic Version

After the deductive argument was destroyed, most who want to use the problem of evil (POE) to show that God cannot be all loving or all powerful moved to the probabilistic argument. The inductive version admits that it is possible for the traditional God of Christianity and evil to coexist, but it is highly improbable for them to coexist. The argument looks like this:

1. If a god exists who is all loving and all powerful,
2. yet evil exists,
3. then it is highly improbable or unlikely that a god exists who is all loving or all powerful.

Let me make a few observations. Notice that even if the Christian granted this argument, this argument does not show that God does not exist. It is, however, a step along that path. At most, this argument can claim that the type of God posited by traditional Christianity does not exist. Further, this argument cannot show that God is not all loving and not all powerful; it can only show that one of this is incorrect. But this is all only the case if we grant this argument, and there are powerful reasons not to grant it.[/u]

Given that this post is way too long already, I'll be brief here, and will flesh out my comments on this version as other posts come in (if anybody actually gets this far into the novel :)

(1) Given the full scope of the evidence for God's existence, it is far more likely than not that God exists.

(2) Because of our finite nature, we are not in a good position to asses with a sufficient confidence that God has no morally sufficient reasons for permitting the evils that occur.

(3) Christianity entails doctrines that increase the probability that God and evil coexist

I look forward to your comments.

User avatar
The Happy Humanist
Site Supporter
Posts: 600
Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2004 4:05 am
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
Contact:

Post #81

Post by The Happy Humanist »

juliod wrote:
It is possible to conceive of a universe created by a creator-being, not necessarily this one, who has ultimate power over that universe, except that he is constrained by the principles with which he created it.
It is equally possible to concieve of a creator that is not constrained by the principles he created. Remember, if we are just making thing up, we can imagine anything we want, including logical impossibilities.

You imagine a god that is constrained by logic. I image one that is not. My god is obviously more powerful than yours. Therefore your god isn't god at all, but some lesser being.

DanZ
You miss the point. My point is that in any given universe, including this one, my God might exist and yours might not. "Might" is the key word here, as we are dealing with possibilities. If you accept this (and how can you not), then you admit that it is not essential for a Supreme Being to be OMNIpotent. He could be merely ULTIpotent, and still fulfill the practical requirements of godhood.

(Good lord, you've got me arguing the theist position. Stop it! :anger: )

Seriously, though, I don't see this as a chink in the armor of the PoE. We've still got them over a barrel with omnibenevolence. Even a merely ultipotent being would be able to make the moral choice of whether to actualize a universe in which evil could potentially occur. I'll go into more detail in a later post.
Jim, the Happy Humanist!
===
Any sufficiently advanced worldview will be indistinguishable from sheer arrogance --The Happy Humanist (with apologies to Arthur C. Clarke)

User avatar
The Happy Humanist
Site Supporter
Posts: 600
Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2004 4:05 am
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
Contact:

Post #82

Post by The Happy Humanist »

juliod wrote:
It is equally possible to concieve of a creator that is not constrained by the principles he created. Remember, if we are just making thing up, we can imagine anything we want, including logical impossibilities.

You imagine a god that is constrained by logic. I image one that is not. My god is obviously more powerful than yours. Therefore your god isn't god at all, but some lesser being.

DanZ
Oh, and there's this: Surely an entity unconstrained by logic is of no use in a syllogism. Comparing your god's power to that of mine is nonsensical, since such comparisons necessarily invoke logic. No logical statement can be made about an entity that is unconstrained by logic. Your premise fails, and therefore so does your "therefore." Just for the record.

Oh, and what Tselem said. Which is basically what I said, only he did it in about 8 words.
Jim, the Happy Humanist!
===
Any sufficiently advanced worldview will be indistinguishable from sheer arrogance --The Happy Humanist (with apologies to Arthur C. Clarke)

User avatar
Melis
Apprentice
Posts: 133
Joined: Fri May 26, 2006 3:33 pm
Location: Europe

Post #83

Post by Melis »

I only claimed that there was no violation of physical laws by the creation of something out of nothing.
Yet, we still disagree on this - I still would claim that it does violate the laws of physics as we know them to create something out of nothing. We could probably ask some experts in physics, in order to avoid an endless debate.

Melis wrote:The science of physics does not describe supernatural - there is no law on angels, unicorns, hydras, etc.
Again, I never said this wasn't the case. My statements are that we do not know how advanced an ETI technology might appear. However, there would be a physical theory that could explain their ability to use this technology.
How do these two relate? I mean, my statement and ETI technology? I wanted to say that the science of physics does not talk about god, so the laws don't apply to god, and, therefore, god would most probably not be bound by the laws of physics in terms of the current mainstream science of physics.
These physical laws have been proposed to bring about the universe (e.g., Vilenkin's tunneling universe), and so collectively these laws are often called God because of pantheistic traditions.
Collectively called by whom? The pantheistic traditions are not part of the physics (perhaps some alternative physics, but here I'm referring to the mainstream widely accepted physics), and I haven't noticed in any of the physical books and texts that someone ever called some physical laws by the name of god.
If you have quantum laws that bring about the creation of the universe, then these laws according to pantheistic tradition is God. Of course, one could go further and say that an agent is required to "breath fire into the equations" of physics (as Hawking has suggested), but from purely a pantheistic perspective, one doesn't have to suggest a personal agent.
We don't have quantum laws that bring about the creation of the universe in the physics (or at least none of them has been widely accepted or proved), and also see above for the pantheistic tradition and god.

Also, I would kindly ask you as to address my question about the Casimir Effect from my previous post.

User avatar
Melis
Apprentice
Posts: 133
Joined: Fri May 26, 2006 3:33 pm
Location: Europe

Post #84

Post by Melis »

The Happy Humanist wrote:No logical statement can be made about an entity that is unconstrained by logic.
So, the statement: "An entity that is unconstrained by logic doesn't exist", would necessarily have to be illogical?

User avatar
The Happy Humanist
Site Supporter
Posts: 600
Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2004 4:05 am
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
Contact:

Post #85

Post by The Happy Humanist »

Melis wrote:
The Happy Humanist wrote:No logical statement can be made about an entity that is unconstrained by logic.
So, the statement: "An entity that is unconstrained by logic doesn't exist", would necessarily have to be illogical?
Touche'. But I think this conundrum could be overcome by simply stating that the set of "entities unconstrained by logic" is null. In this way, your negation can be applied to the set (a necessarily logical construct), rather than the entitity itself.
Jim, the Happy Humanist!
===
Any sufficiently advanced worldview will be indistinguishable from sheer arrogance --The Happy Humanist (with apologies to Arthur C. Clarke)

User avatar
juliod
Guru
Posts: 1882
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2004 9:04 pm
Location: Washington DC
Been thanked: 1 time

Post #86

Post by juliod »

My point is that in any given universe, including this one, my God might exist and yours might not.
Oh, wait. You're suggesting that we should not "just believe" in any particular deity, but decide whether one or more might actually exist based on evidence. Sounds like a good idea.
If you accept this (and how can you not), then you admit that it is not essential for a Supreme Being to be OMNIpotent.
But since we are just making this up (like the theists) there is no justification for assuming that the fully-omnipotent being does not exist.

That's why most theists claim god is omnipotent (without evidence). Any claim less than omnipotence would leave open additional claims of even more powerful beings. God ceases to be god.
Comparing your god's power to that of mine is nonsensical, since such comparisons necessarily invoke logic.
It doesn't necessarily invoke logic. It might invoke violence. My god squished your god. That's why there is no evidence that your god exists. (By contrast, there is no evidence of my god because my god "doesn't do tests".)
Why must god be necessarily unhindered by logic?
I wouldn't say that is a necessity. I observe that many theists do make that claim. I also say that's what omnipotence means, and claims otherwise mean god is finite. If god is finite, then you need to show why we should think he is god, and not just, for example, a rogue titan.

BTW, for the theists, wouldn't it be easier to show the evidence that gid is or is not constrained by logic? Isn't it true that the reason there is no such evidence is that god does not exist?

DanZ

User avatar
The Happy Humanist
Site Supporter
Posts: 600
Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2004 4:05 am
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
Contact:

Post #87

Post by The Happy Humanist »

Good to see you visit. Does the possibility of North Korea launching a nuke at the U.S. got you thinking about religion?

Yes, it has me praying for 2009 to come quickly, and for a true visionary to occupy the White House.
Jim, the Happy Humanist!
===
Any sufficiently advanced worldview will be indistinguishable from sheer arrogance --The Happy Humanist (with apologies to Arthur C. Clarke)

User avatar
The Happy Humanist
Site Supporter
Posts: 600
Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2004 4:05 am
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
Contact:

Post #88

Post by The Happy Humanist »

Oh, wait. You're suggesting that we should not "just believe" in any particular deity, but decide whether one or more might actually exist based on evidence. Sounds like a good idea.
Not in this conversation I'm not. I'm being completely hypothetical.
But since we are just making this up (like the theists) there is no justification for assuming that the fully-omnipotent being does not exist.
Yes there is. The justification is that it is not necessary to our purposes. We can deal with a merely ultipotent God, and still win the overall debate.
Why must god be necessarily unhindered by logic?
I wouldn't say that is a necessity. I observe that many theists do make that claim. I also say that's what omnipotence means, and claims otherwise mean god is finite. If god is finite, then you need to show why we should think he is god, and not just, for example, a rogue titan.
First, I agree with William Ryan that the vast majority of theists are not members of this board. We're here to debate each other, not "the rabble." (Sorry if that sounds elitist). Many of those same theists who bandy about words like "omnipotent," will not hesitate to admit that they don't really know what they're talking about, but that "minds greater than ours have this mostly figured out" and will refer you to places just like this. No different from the average person who accepts evolution but can't even pronounce "allopatric speciation;" they, too, will likely refer Creationists to places just like this. (I oughtta know, I'm one of them). Here is where the ball lies; play it.


Second, and my real point, is that this way lies madness, as Melis has demonstrated with his pointing out the paradox I inadvertently fell into. We can debate the meaning of omnipotence until we're tied up in a mental game of Twister, while missing a real opportunity to drive home the Problem of Evil. I say that even granting a "merely" ultipotent god, the problem remains. And I shall defend that position anon and anent.
Jim, the Happy Humanist!
===
Any sufficiently advanced worldview will be indistinguishable from sheer arrogance --The Happy Humanist (with apologies to Arthur C. Clarke)

User avatar
The Happy Humanist
Site Supporter
Posts: 600
Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2004 4:05 am
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
Contact:

Post #89

Post by The Happy Humanist »

I believe I'll start here.
Indeed, it would be a major philosophical achievement if Christians could show that relative to the ament of evil in the world alone, God's existence is not improbable. But the Christian theist is not stuck with such an arduous task. We must consider not just the evil in the world, but other evidence for God's existence also (i.e. the cosmological, teleological, ontological argument, the axiological argument for an ultimate personal God, as well as evidence concerning the person of Christ, the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus, the existence of miracles, and existential and religious experience).
Don't look now, but you just conceded the debate. The above is nothing less than an admission that the PofE is daunting, if not insurmountable. Thank you, we'll take our honorarium in the form of a donation to the Center for Inquiry.

This thread is not about the cosmological, the teleogical, the ontological, etc. etc. You are the one who proposed the topic, and you restricted it to the PofE. Not to mention the fact that all those other arguments can be dealt with quite handily (and individually - that's why we give them each a name, because they are separate arguments).
These truths about God's character become much more likely than not.
Sorry, the sheer number of "arguments" that one can concoct to support an irrational belief does not increase the belief's rationality. The arguments themselves must also be rational. This is not the topic in which to debate their rationality, but again, I would suggest that they don't belong in this topic in the first place. You challenged us on the PofE, and you, in effect, conceded.
2. We're Not in a Confident Possession to Assess God's Rationale

Lets assume that we only look at the background info of evil. What then? We are not in a good position to asses w/confidence the probability that God has no morally sufficient reasons for permitting the evils that occur. I have raised this w/Harvey1 before, but he seems to think this is not applicable to his argument. Yet, I cannot see how his argument side-steps this counter-argument. His, and others', arguments say that if god is omnipotent and omnibenevolent then we would cause there to be less suffering. But if God has sufficient reasons to allow the suffering that we see, then surely harevy1's argument is w/o merit.
The problem with this argument is that it is deceptively circular. Remember that the theists have, in effect, defined God as being so superior to us that his motives may well be unknown. Does that not strike you as remarkably "facile"? And, more to the point, does it not imply that no amount of evil that God allows - unnecessary, even fiendish acts on his part, can be excused by "We just can't know his motives"? Remember, what we are trying to do here is judge whether God exists as defined. How fair is it to then insist on defining him as being out of reach of our judgement?

In other words....

You: God exists. He is good.
Me: Then why is there evil?
You: We can't know. God operates on a level far beyond our analysis.
Me: Then how am I to evaluate your statements that "God exists" and "He is good"?
You: You can't. They must be taken on faith.
Me: Then why are we on a debate board?
You: But you must admit that it's possible.
Me: Only if you'll admit that it's also JUST AS POSSIBLE that God is really an impish demon from another universe who is just stringing us along. (Or better yet, that he doesn't exist.) After all, if we can't know that he has doesn't have good motives, then we can't know that he doesn't have bad ones.
3(a): The chief purpose of life is not happiness, but the knowledge of God and love of fellow creatures.

One reason that the PoE seems so intractable is that people assume that if God exists, then his purpose for human life is happiness in this world; the idea is that God's only role is provide a comforting environment for humans. But on the Christian view, this is false. We are not God's pets, and the goals that I enumerated above bring authentic human fulfillment. God's omnibenevolence urges us to become more fully human. this is the way it is done.
All of human experience would seem to be a striving for happiness. We see happiness as "good." There is not a soul on this earth who does not see things that way. It would seem to be the one universal that God planted in all of us (and in fact partially serves as the basis for a humanist ethical framework). Your job is to now show how it is not necessarily good to be happy, and that what God has in store for us is better than happiness - how, for instance, "authentic human fulfillment" would not lead to happiness. If it DOES lead to happiness, even in a spiritual realm, then you will be admitting that happiness is good. If happiness is good, then your omnibenevolent God must answer as to why he does not provide it on a continual basis.
3(b): Humanity is in a state of rebellion against God and God's purposes. Rather than submit to God and worship him, some decide to go their own way and so find themselves alienated from God and pursuing their own idols. The terrible human evils in the world are a testimony to man's depravity. All this only serves to heigthen humanities moral responsibilities to fight against evil and create more good.

3(c): God's purpose is not restricted to this life, but spills over into eternal life. According to christian theism, this life is but a blink in time; a small opening in a cave that opens into the cavernous expanse of eternity. We are a rose quickly fading, a vapor in the wind. Indeed much of the philosophies and religions of the world deal, at their base level, when how we should handle this truth. Even if there are evils in this world that serve no good at, that are entirely gratuitous from are view, but that God permits simply so that he might reward those in eternity for those that bear such evils with faith and confidence in God.

3(d): The knowledge of God is an incommensurable good. Imagine a huge scale and on one side there was the knowledge of GOd and the other was all the evil in the world. The knowledge of the supreme being and creator of all life is far greater than any of these evils.

3(d):
These basically break down to "God is good and we are bad", and "Wait till you see what's in store for us, you'll forget all about that bad stuff that happened." Aside from the fact that you are merely explaining a mystery with more mysteries (Why would a good God create entitites capable of turning against him, what level of goodness could overcome the eons of suffering humanity has experienced, etc.), the real point - and one we non-theists keep forgetting to make because we're so wrapped up in wrestling with these various theodicies - is that all of this piling of mythology on top of mythology makes SO LITTLE SENSE in comparison with the simple, elegant alternative: No god, stuff happens. Four little words...and suddenly the smoke clears, the fog lifts, and the entire human experience makes sense.

THAT is the real Problem of Evil: It's extremely unparsimonious when compared with the alternative.

William, you are eloquently imparting the Christian view to us. But do you truly understand it? Dig down deep...can you truly relate to it as a human being? Or are you taking it mostly on faith? Don't have to answer me...but at least be honest with yourself.
Jim, the Happy Humanist!
===
Any sufficiently advanced worldview will be indistinguishable from sheer arrogance --The Happy Humanist (with apologies to Arthur C. Clarke)

User avatar
otseng
Savant
Posts: 20609
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2004 1:16 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA
Has thanked: 197 times
Been thanked: 340 times
Contact:

Post #90

Post by otseng »

juliod wrote:
BTW, has anybody yet offered a working definition of "evil" for the purposes of this debate?
I don't think it is relevant. Like Lotan, I don't believe in evil. We can leave it to the theists.
It is quite relevant on several counts. First off, in all debates, it provides a common starting point for debates. If we don't even have an agreement on the definitions of the words used in the debate question, then we'll just be going round in circles. Secondly, the PoE is primarily an atheistic argument. That is, it is the atheist that is the prosecutor. And the theists are the defendents. And it is the prosecutors job to clearly lay out what is the nature of the case, not the defendents.
juliod wrote:If you start picking and choosing what is possible and impossible, you will enter the realm of Special Pleading.
Melis wrote:Also, logical and impossible as we understand it, obviously doesn't have to apply to god, as he might have his own logic.
Scrotum wrote:Im sorry Otsend, but i must agree, this is really no debate, Omnipotent MEANS being able to do ANYTHING, even aLogical things, else its/he/her is not omnipotent.
Let me try to clarify what I mean by illogical and impossible. I am not referring to what is contrary to the laws of physics. I do not believe God is bound by the laws of physics. So, God can do things that are physically impossible. (Perhaps this debate should be another thread?) But, God (and our discussions as well) is bound by the laws of logic. God is not able to make false equivalent to true. God is not able to do something that is logically impossible. If it were the case, and we logically arrived at a conclusion of God's existence, then the conclusion, whatever it may be, would not apply to God since it would not be bound by logic.

Suppose we concluded that God is not able to make a rock so big that it could not lift it. And that it is also not bound by logic. Since God is not able to do something, then it is not omnipotent. Therefore there is no God. But, since God is not bound by logic, then the logical conclusion that there is no God could be false. So, God then does exist.

As we can see, if we do not apply logic to our discussions and to God, then ultimately everything we conclude will be illogical.
The Happy Humanist wrote:After much consideration, I'm afraid I must reluctantly side with the theists on this one, for the following reason: It is possible to conceive of a universe created by a creator-being, not necessarily this one, who has ultimate power over that universe, except that he is constrained by the principles with which he created it. It is axiomatic that such a being would be constrained by logic; if not, there is no point to debating his existence, and this entire board is a waste of energy.
Another voice of reason. :)
Lotan wrote:Then this thread is in the wrong forum. The "Theology, Doctrine, and Dogma" forum was created specifically for this sort of nonsense.

MODERATORS - Can we move this thread to TDD since, according to williamryan, reality is inadmissable as evidence?
Uh, I think you might be overreacting a bit here. I see nothing that warrants moving the thread. Williamryan clearly stated "for purposes of this thread". Trying to help nail down definitions for a thread is appropriate. If you have alternative definitions, you can present those.

Melis wrote:a) you don't understand the current mainstream physics
b) you know more than the current mainstream physics - in this case I'd kindly invite you to share your wisdom with the rest of the world
Harvey1 and Melis, I'd suggest dropping the discussions on the Casimir effect and the Heisenberg uncertainty principle in this thread. Especially when trying to prove to the other who is more right.

Post Reply