Wednesday, August 04, 2010

"The Darwinian problem of evil"

Over at DC, Neal is making life difficult for John Loftus. Too much logic gives Loftus acid indigestion.

Neal said...
I'm not sure why Loftus perceives animal pain as being a "problem". Let's look at this line of reasoning:

P1: If creatures sin, they will suffer.
P2: All creatures suffer.

C: Therefore, all creatures must be sinners.

How is Loftus not affirming the consequent?

August 4, 2010 11:15 AM

Neal said...
Very well...

(P) Any creature that sins must be aware of god's commands
(P) Animals sin

(C) Therefore, animals are aware of god's commands

Second premise is rejected by Christians.


(P) To be aware of god's commands, creatures must have received revelation from god
(P) Animals are aware of god's commands

(C) Therefore, animals have received revelation from god

Again, second premise is rejected by Christians.


(P) To not go to hell, a creature must accept Jesus as his/her personal savior
(P) All animals are creatures

(C) Animals must accept Jesus as their personal savior to not go to hell

Christians would reject the first premise since creatures who have not sinned will not go to hell.


(P) God created all creatures perfect and any who are not perfect (i.e. who sin) have been made so by their own free choice against god
(P) Animals are not perfect

(C) Animals have been made so by their own free choice against god (they have free will)


Your second premise here is ambiguous. What is meant by "not perfect"? Are you talking about moral perfection or something else? If you are talking about moral perfection, this premise is rejected by Christians as a non-sequitur. If you are talking about something else, then there is an equivocation with the way it was used in the first premise.


"Do you accept all of these conclusions? I see them as what follows if we go down your path. Most of the time Christians want to maintain quite the "healthy" divide between humans and animals because if evidence of consciousness, free-will, and morality were present in animals it would tend to reduce the need for a soul-hypothesis to separate us from them rather than positing a continuous transition via natural selection."

The distinction between humans and animals is in the former being God's image bearers. Animals are not moral agents. This is evident in the fact that we don't hold animals accountable for killing other animals. They're animals. They do what they do.

"Will they join us in heaven?"

I don't know, but if they do it will be based on factors other than moral accountability.

August 4, 2010 2:54 PM
Neal said...

After I posted my reply, it occurred to me that you may have misunderstood my syllogism. It wasn't an argument that I was presenting as my own, I was trying to summarize Loftus' objection. The conclusion is fallacious because it affirms the consequent. I think you and I are actually on the same page here.

Now perhaps Loftus would object that this isn't the argument he was making, but that raises the question as to exactly what argument he was trying to make. He rhetorically asks a number of questions, and most Christians would agree with the answers he gave for his questions 1-3. His answer to his forth question is offered without an argument.

August 4, 2010 3:37 PM

Neal said...
"Neal, I'm tired of your pseudo-logical thinking and misrepresenting of my arguments."

Your attempt to evade logical critique is noted.

"I doubt you even know what I'm making reference here to. Unless you do you're not worth my time."

Well you're one arrogant cuss aren't you? You seem to think you can turn bad arguments into good ones by dressing them up in the scientific method.

August 4, 2010 8:05 PM

Neal said...
"The existence of the Christian God is improbable given (2)."

By what criteria? What other unstated assumptions are you working with in order to come to that conclusion? What is your justification for holding those assumptions?

August 4, 2010 9:27 PM

Neal said...
"The bottom line is that there is no justification for this massive animal suffering in any of the Christian literature, none, and I've read extensively on it."

How exactly would you know what constitutes "justification"?

"You are either interested in my arguments and will read them for yourself or it won't be worth my time here with you."

I'm interested in the ones that you make on this blog, in which you make lots of ignorant claims, then insult people who dare to criticize your arguments. You can whine all you want about people not reading your book, but why should anyone care when you aren't even competent enough to defend the arguments you make here? You like to lob molotov cocktails at Christians then you start whining when people start throwing them back at you.

But then there are plenty of sycophants here to stroke your ego, so maybe that's all this is about anyway.

August 4, 2010 9:55 PM


  1. It's becoming abundantly clear by the number of fallacies he commits in every posting that he's a lightweight posing as a champion of science and rationality. Every criticism is met with his over-inflated ego which he employs to dismiss people "who are not worth his time". Yet he continues to blog; apparently it is gratifying to him to have sycophants who slobber all over the ground on which he walks.

  2. He is to atheism what Jim Bakker was to Christianity.