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  #61  
Old Apr 11, '12, 3:44 am
tonyrey tonyrey is offline
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Default Re: Why would God include carnivory, parasitism, and disease in creation?

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Originally Posted by Blacksword View Post
Yes, now let's please get back to the philosophy!! Sair, or others taking the contrary position please chime in if you have anything to add to further this discussion. I grow weary of every single interesting thread on the basic issue of the Problem of Evil or animal suffering or similar issues being hijacked into a morass of young earth creationism v. evolutionary theory and science in general. Especially when Tonyrey has made some good points and hopefully I've contributed at least something of worth for thought.
You certainly have! The objections to carnivory, parasitism, and disease are based on the unsubstantiated assumption that they are unnecessary. No one has explained why they are unnecessary and how they could be prevented.
  #62  
Old Apr 11, '12, 4:28 am
Sair Sair is offline
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Default Re: Why would God include carnivory, parasitism, and disease in creation?

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You certainly have! The objections to carnivory, parasitism, and disease are based on the unsubstantiated assumption that they are unnecessary. No one has explained why they are unnecessary and how they could be prevented.
That isn't an argument that can be upheld in conjunction with the idea that God's ways are necessarily beyond human comprehension. It isn't necessary, in order to attack the idea that this is the best of all possible worlds, to describe in precise detail how it could have been constructed in order to avoid premeditated, accidental and 'natural' evils. It is necessary only to notice that things could be better than they are - from the perspective of the sentient beings in which God is supposedly interested - and suggest ways that this could be accomplished, if we had vast powers at our disposal.

Bear in mind alongside this argument, that from an atheist's perspective (and likewise from the perspective of naturalistic pantheism) there is no need to posit a philosophical problem of evil - there is no personal, interested god involved to counter the obvious occurrence of suffering and (what we perceive to be) injustice in the world. Thus, the problem of evil - be it 'natural' or 'moral', becomes one of applied ethics, not a challenge to religious belief.
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  #63  
Old Apr 11, '12, 6:47 am
Gaber Gaber is offline
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Default Re: Why would God include carnivory, parasitism, and disease in creation?

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Originally Posted by Sair View Post
~~~
Bear in mind alongside this argument, that from an atheist's perspective (and likewise from the perspective of naturalistic pantheism) there is no need to posit a philosophical problem of evil - there is no personal, interested god involved to counter the obvious occurrence of suffering and (what we perceive to be) injustice in the world. Thus, the problem of evil - be it 'natural' or 'moral', becomes one of applied ethics, not a challenge to religious belief.
That is well said, and would seem to hold up as well for panentheism as well, Design as a concept, it skirting the issue of the 'disigner" as well, is similarly to materialism, a least likely hypothesis.
  #64  
Old Apr 11, '12, 8:01 am
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Default Re: Why would God include carnivory, parasitism, and disease in creation?

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To suggest that the possibilities of creation are limited, rather than the capacities of the creator, would seem to imply that the creator had only certain materials with which to work - but what materials? Did God create all else that exists, or did he work with pre-existing stuff? This ties in with the idea that if God is limited by laws of logic, then God did not create these laws, but was subject to them all along.
No it doesn’t. Again, your working under the unproven, and I would submit essentially unprovable, assumption that the laws of reality, given the first principles of maximization of freedom in creation and so forth, could have been different. It in fact seems rather dubious to me when taking this basic principle, freedom in creation, that an intelligible universe could have been possible without such features as disease, predation and so forth being interwoven into the tapestry. This, again, does not “limit” God anymore than it does to assert that God cannot create a square circle.

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Love has just as much power to enslave as to liberate - anyone who forms a genuine relationship of affection and respect with another knows this, but it has to be said that if we are fortunate enough to have a caring social education by loving parents/guardians (which is certainly not guaranteed) we go into such relationships (assuming we are lucky enough to have more than one!) with an awareness that the rewards may well be greater than the sacrifices. Would the rewards of creating a universe of complete harmony - at least, from the perspective of sentient beings - outweigh those of creating a universe subject to complete freedom, when that freedom entails the freedom to abuse others? That's something we'll never know, because we certainly don't have the former.
This is semantics, not logic. Changing the definition or understanding of “love” does allow it, in a sense, to enslave. But that’s not the use of the term that I, or most of us, would have in mind when asserting that “love” has at its foundation the desire for freedom for the object of that love. Don’t think “love” as in “obsession”, but rather “love” as in the Greek “agape”.

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What is more, violence and assault - which, it can effectively be argued, predation and parasitism are - limit freedom more than they enable it - especially since, for wild animals, the perpetrators don't have options. Some animals are so constituted that they cannot survive in any other way than by preying upon or parasitising other animals - this is apparently a product of the evolution which was supposedly designed by a benevolent designer, to bring about the extreme 'good' of human existence. Then, from a particularly human perspective, one person's freedom to commit murder or rape, for example, impinges more deeply upon the freedom of their victim(s) than the inability to abuse another would impinge upon the potential murderer's or rapist's freedom - any bodily assault, be it a beating, a rape or a murder, inflicts scars upon the victims and the victims' families and friends, that last a lifetime, whilst the perpetrator may be rehabilitated and get over the crime they have committed. The infliction of such abuses also has a strong tendency to brutalise the victims, unless they are unusually strong in themselves or offered support from others, who, themselves, must be unusually strong. Fair? Just? Hardly. The fiction of eternal life, with its heavenly rewards and hellish punishments, has to be brought in to square the ledger in such cases, in order to give God a free pass.

One of the strongest points in favour of the argument from evil, against the existence of a benevolent and powerful god, is that the degree of suffering imposed by those who are, supposedly, exercising free will, is far greater than the rewards brought about by such freedoms. People are free, according to most monotheistic worldviews, to make choices, and those choices include options that don't impinge upon the rights or the bodily integrity of others. But they also include choices that irrevocably destroy the lives of others. Is the extreme suffering of one person a fair price to pay for the freedom of choice granted to another person? Are murder, butchery and gang rape a fair exchange for universal human freedom? Where is the supposedly benevolent and all-powerful God of Classical Theism when such abuses occur? Waiting in the wings to punish after the fact?

Whoa, “fiction” of eternal life? Obvious unproven and unknowable assertion. But as for your main point here; please articulate for me how one could truly be “free” at all if, at a foundational level of free will, said freedom did NOT include the possibility for one to determine to harm, butcher, rape, or kill others and then to act on that determination? How would such a “freedom” work? You are free to act as you will because God wills it so out of love for you, but only insofar as you act only in accordance with His moral laws and precepts? Let’s not be silly, clearly we are either free to act virtuously or heinously as WE decide, or we are not really free at all. To take away the choice in attempt to save others from the terrible harms we might do is to make us automatons, not humans. So, from God's perspective, apparently the answer is "Yes". Freedom IS worth the price of the potential to inflict suffering on others, because it couldn't rationally be any other way, and here I must say I'd have to agree...would you rather be a computer, after all?
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  #65  
Old Apr 11, '12, 8:52 am
tonyrey tonyrey is offline
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Default Re: Why would God include carnivory, parasitism, and disease in creation?

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Originally Posted by Sair View Post
Quote:
You certainly have! The objections to carnivory, parasitism, and disease are based on the unsubstantiated assumption that they are unnecessary. No one has explained why they are unnecessary and how they could be prevented.
That isn't an argument that can be upheld in conjunction with the idea that God's ways are necessarily beyond human comprehension. It isn't necessary, in order to attack the idea that this is the best of all possible worlds, to describe in precise detail how it could have been constructed in order to avoid premeditated, accidental and 'natural' evils. It is necessary only to notice that things could be better than they are - from the perspective of the sentient beings in which God is supposedly interested - and suggest ways that this could be accomplished, if we had vast powers at our disposal.

Bear in mind alongside this argument, that from an atheist's perspective (and likewise from the perspective of naturalistic pantheism) there is no need to posit a philosophical problem of evil - there is no personal, interested god involved to counter the obvious occurrence of suffering and (what we perceive to be) injustice in the world. Thus, the problem of evil - be it 'natural' or 'moral', becomes one of applied ethics, not a challenge to religious belief. That isn't an argument that can be upheld in conjunction with the idea that God's ways are necessarily beyond human comprehension. It isn't necessary, in order to attack the idea that this is the best of all possible worlds, to describe in precise detail how it could have been constructed in order to avoid premeditated, accidental and 'natural' evils. It is necessary only to notice that things could be better than they are - from the perspective of the sentient beings in which God is supposedly interested - and suggest ways that this could be accomplished, if we had vast powers at our disposal.

Bear in mind alongside this argument, that from an atheist's perspective (and likewise from the perspective of naturalistic pantheism) there is no need to posit a philosophical problem of evil - there is no personal, interested god involved to counter the obvious occurrence of suffering and (what we perceive to be) injustice in the world. Thus, the problem of evil - be it 'natural' or 'moral', becomes one of applied ethics, not a challenge to religious belief.
You are still assuming that even with vast powers it is possible to make things better than they are and achieve the same goals. You also have to specify what you mean by "better" - which presupposes a value judgment based on an obscure criterion...
  #66  
Old Apr 11, '12, 10:15 pm
Poseidon Poseidon is offline
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Default Re: Why would God include carnivory, parasitism, and disease in creation?

Sair, you've pretty much nailed my original question. Well said, and I'm really hoping that there will be some good answers to it. So far I haven't really seen anything that can really rectify the proposition of an omnibenevolent, omnipotent being and all the suffering in the world.
  #67  
Old Apr 12, '12, 12:48 am
tonyrey tonyrey is offline
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Default Re: Why would God include carnivory, parasitism, and disease in creation?

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Sair, you've pretty much nailed my original question. Well said, and I'm really hoping that there will be some good answers to it. So far I haven't really seen anything that can really rectify the proposition of an omnibenevolent, omnipotent being and all the suffering in the world.
So far I have seen nothing whatsoever that justifies the proposition that the suffering in the world disproves the existence of the omnibenevolent, omnipotent Creator of this immensely valuable universe in which there are beings who have the power to deny and reject the very Source of goodness, freedom, justice, beauty and love in favour of the blind Goddess....
  #68  
Old Apr 12, '12, 6:16 am
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Default Re: Why would God include carnivory, parasitism, and disease in creation?

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Originally Posted by Poseidon View Post
Sair, you've pretty much nailed my original question. Well said, and I'm really hoping that there will be some good answers to it. So far I haven't really seen anything that can really rectify the proposition of an omnibenevolent, omnipotent being and all the suffering in the world.
Really? I haven't seen a cogent refutation of the points we theists have made here. The points made may not make you feel warm and cozy, but they stand regardless.
__________________

Behemoth is my serving man!
Before the conquered hosts of Pan
Riding tamed Leviathan,
Loud I sing for well I can
RESVRGAM and IO PAEAN,
IO, IO, IO PAEAN!!
Now I know the stake I played for,
Now I know what a worm's made for!

TIBER SWIM TEAM 2011
  #69  
Old Apr 12, '12, 6:33 am
Gaber Gaber is offline
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Default Re: Why would God include carnivory, parasitism, and disease in creation?

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Why would God design some animals to painfully kill and eat others? Why would he design animals to live inside and on other animals and leech their nutrients until they die slowly and painfully? Why would he create killer viruses and bacteria that cause so much death and pain?
We all see faces in woodgrains and animals in clouds, so I guess it is "natural" to make up some story that our univers and we in it are "designed." I've even hear of people massing to geve devotions to an image construed to be Jesus or Mary in a slice of pizza, so it would follow that some might expand that to the incomprehensibly vast universe. But such a proposition is, to be both kind and tactful, immature. It also demeans God by anthropomorphising That which is unknowable by th human brain and its astonishing ability to devide in order to comprehend what is whole. It ain't gonna happen by those means, science notwithstanding. There is another thread on here relative to this idea that might better be called "Powerful (lack of) evidence for Design." Perhaps a more useful word for what is happening might be discovered by those who are using "design?'"
  #70  
Old Apr 12, '12, 6:39 am
tonyrey tonyrey is offline
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Default Re: Why would God include carnivory, parasitism, and disease in creation?

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We all see faces in woodgrains and animals in clouds, so I guess it is "natural" to make up some story that our univers and we in it are "designed." I've even hear of people massing to geve devotions to an image construed to be Jesus or Mary in a slice of pizza, so it would follow that some might expand that to the incomprehensibly vast universe. But such a proposition is, to be both kind and tactful, immature. It also demeans God by anthropomorphising That which is unknowable by th human brain and its astonishing ability to devide in order to comprehend what is whole. It ain't gonna happen by those means, science notwithstanding. There is another thread on here relative to this idea that might better be called "Powerful (lack of) evidence for Design." Perhaps a more useful word for what is happening might be discovered by those who are using "design?'"
Perhaps you are imagining that you are reasoning but you may well just be the product of purposeless events and your thoughts are merely meaningless electrical impulses...
  #71  
Old Apr 12, '12, 9:10 am
Gaber Gaber is offline
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Default Re: Why would God include carnivory, parasitism, and disease in creation?

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Perhaps you are imagining that you are reasoning but you may well just be the product of purposeless events and your thoughts are merely meaningless electrical impulses...
Thanks, Tonyrey, for remiding me that what we speak confesses our own condition.
  #72  
Old Apr 12, '12, 10:22 am
tonyrey tonyrey is offline
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Default Re: Why would God include carnivory, parasitism, and disease in creation?

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Thanks, Tonyrey, for reminding me that what we speak confesses our own condition.
Don't you think we have any choice regarding our condition?
  #73  
Old Apr 12, '12, 10:23 am
Poseidon Poseidon is offline
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Default Re: Why would God include carnivory, parasitism, and disease in creation?

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Really? I haven't seen a cogent refutation of the points we theists have made here. The points made may not make you feel warm and cozy, but they stand regardless.
Everything that has been said to rectify the two propositions either assumes that God couldn't have created the world and made it work without all the suffering, or that the suffering is necessary in order to provide a greater good - human free will.

The first point is fallacious. God is omnipotent. To say that there is something he couldn't do means that he is not omnipotent. A world without suffering is not a logical absurdity like a square circle. We've already shown that diseases aren't necessary for life to work. We eradicated smallpox, and nothing but good has come of it. I would argue that the tapeworm is not necessary for any other life form to exist - nothing eats it (to my knowledge). It does nothing but slowly starve its host.

The second point may make sense in a certain limited context, i.e. the freedom of humans to commit harm to one another, but in the grand scheme of things the vast majority of suffering is completely devoid of meaning. If a deer is caught in a forest fire, somehow manages to barely survive with horrible burns, and then lies down on the forest floor to die in slow agony, its suffering is all for naught. It doesn't feed any other animal by its suffering. It certainly has no bearing at all on human free will. Certainly God can't be happy at seeing one of his creations in that state, so why would he allow it?
  #74  
Old Apr 12, '12, 10:42 am
tonyrey tonyrey is offline
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Default Re: Why would God include carnivory, parasitism, and disease in creation?

[quote=Poseidon;9174575]
Quote:
Everything that has been said to rectify the two propositions either assumes that God couldn't have created the world and made it work without all the suffering, or that the suffering is necessary in order to provide a greater good - human free will.
1. God could have created the world without all the suffering but it would not have contained sentient beings.

2. Suffering is not "necessary in order to provide a greater good - human free will".
Suffering is the inevitable consequence of the abuse of free will.

Quote:
The first point is fallacious. God is omnipotent. To say that there is something he couldn't do means that he is not omnipotent.
Omnipotence does not entail inconsistency. God chooses not to do anything that defeats the purposes for which He created the universe.


Quote:
A world without suffering is not a logical absurdity like a square circle.
A world without suffering is a physical absurdity where there are sentient beings.

Quote:
We've already shown that diseases aren't necessary for life to work. We eradicated smallpox, and nothing but good has come of it. I would argue that the tapeworm is not necessary for any other life form to exist - nothing eats it (to my knowledge). It does nothing but slowly starve its host.
Diseases are the inevitable consequence of an immensely complex system in which there are countless living beings pursuing different goals.

Quote:
The second point may make sense in a certain limited context, i.e. the freedom of humans to commit harm to one another, but in the grand scheme of things the vast majority of suffering is completely devoid of meaning. If a deer is caught in a forest fire, somehow manages to barely survive with horrible burns, and then lies down on the forest floor to die in slow agony, its suffering is all for naught. It doesn't feed any other animal by its suffering. It certainly has no bearing at all on human free will. Certainly God can't be happy at seeing one of his creations in that state, so why would he allow it?
As even the archsceptic David Hume conceded, misfortunes are inevitable in an orderly world with natural laws.
  #75  
Old Apr 12, '12, 11:38 am
Poseidon Poseidon is offline
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Default Re: Why would God include carnivory, parasitism, and disease in creation?

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1. God could have created the world without all the suffering but it would not have contained sentient beings.
Why would it not have contained sentient beings? Are people not sentient in heaven? Are angels not sentient? And yet there is no suffering in heaven. Clearly God CAN create a realm that contains sentient beings but does not contain suffering.
Quote:
2. Suffering is not "necessary in order to provide a greater good - human free will".
Suffering is the inevitable consequence of the abuse of free will.
The abuse of free will is only one of the many causes of suffering. Nature is designed to cause itself to suffer. Are you saying that lions are abusing free will when they tear a zebra apart? No, they're just doing what they're designed to do. They have no choice in the matter. Likewise, natural disasters such as fires and tsunamis cause immense suffering and death to people and animals, but there was no will involved there at all. If anything, the "will" that controls nature would be God's will, because he designed it that way.
Quote:
Omnipotence does not entail inconsistency. God chooses not to do anything that defeats the purposes for which He created the universe.
I fail to see how preventing unnecessary suffering defeats the purpose of the universe.
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A world without suffering is a physical absurdity where there are sentient beings.
Why? Does suffering make us sentient? And again, there's the problem of heaven, which is full of sentient beings but has no suffering.
Quote:
Diseases are the inevitable consequence of an immensely complex system in which there are countless living beings pursuing different goals.
They wouldn't be inevitable if an all-powerful being didn't want them to be.
Quote:
As even the archsceptic David Hume conceded, misfortunes are inevitable in an orderly world with natural laws.
I agree with that point. But that only tells me that there are physical laws ruling the universe. I'd think that if there was an omnibenevolent being calling all the shots, he would overrule the physical laws when they were about to do harmful things.
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