My favorite version of the argument from evil is Paul Draper's evidential argument from evil, which focuses on the biological role of pain and pleasure. The naturalistic explanation for this is obvious. If animals are the products of evolution by natural selection, we would expect physical pain to aid survival. But not all physical pain and pleasure aids survival. For example, think of the horrible pain that inflicts many people with terminal illnesses. If the hypothesis of indifference is true, this is what we would expect: evolution by natural selection is not an intelligent process; there seems to be no way for creatures to have evolved so that they only feel pain when it will aid survival. In contrast, if theism were true, God could "fine tune" humans so that they experience pain only when it is necessary for some greater good. If God did exist, what possible reason could he have for allowing people with terminal illnesses have to endure such agonizing pain until they finally die? The chances that such a reason would intersect with the biological goal of survival is pretty slim. Thus, the biological role of pain and pleasure is more likely on the hypothesis of indifference than on theism.
i) “If animals are the products of evolution by natural selection, we would expect physical pain to aid survival.”
a) Why does Jeff imagine that natural selection selects for survivability? Don’t Darwinians tell us that 90% of species became extinct?
b) Why assume that pleasure must aid survival? Must chocolate mousse or chocolate gelato aid survival? Evolutionary psychology often reduces to unintentional parody.
ii) “In contrast, if theism were true, God could ‘fine tune’ humans so that they experience pain only when it is necessary for some greater good.”
a) Why must it be necessary for some “greater” good? Suppose it’s necessary for a mere good, rather than a greater good? Is that insufficient? If so, why so?
b) Jeff seems to think it’s a matter of engineering a body to be impervious to gratuitous pain. But that artificially isolates a body from its environment. How do you fine-tune a foot to enjoy the sensation of waking barefoot on the beach, but be insensate to stubbing your toe?
This seems to be one of those cases where atheists make thoughtless claims about optimal design without bothering to think through their position.
iv) “If God did exist, what possible reason could he have for allowing people with terminal illnesses have to endure such agonizing pain until they finally die?”
That’s a pretty dense objection. The real issue isn’t why terminal illness is a painful, but why some people suffer from a terminal illness in the first place. That involves the doctrine of the Fall, as well as a theodicy for the Fall.