Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Disaster prevention

Even if the freewill defense were a successful theodicy to account for moral evil, that still leaves the familiar conundrum of natural evil unaccounted for. A backup defense is the stable environment theodicy. We can’t make meaningful decisions unless our choices have predictable consequences.

By way of reply:

i) This theodicy doesn’t single out Arminianism. A Calvinist can help himself to the same argument.

ii) Arminians aren’t deists. They believe in miracles. So they don’t think the uniformity of nature is absolute. That being the case, what is their threshold for too much divine intervention in nature?

iii) Assuming (arguendo), that divine prevention of natural disasters would be too destabilizing, how does that hinder God from warning prospective victims of impending disaster?

After all, scientists try to devise early warning systems. We’re fairly good at predicting hurricanes.

In fact, don’t stability and predictability go hand-in-hand? If natural disasters were predictable, humans could plan accordingly. That wouldn’t make their lives less stable, but more so.

Suppose oceanographers learn to predict tsunamis, volcanologists learn to predict eruptions, meteorologists learn to predict tornadoes, seismologists learn to predict earthquakes, and so on.  Would Arminians oppose this early warning system on the grounds that it destabilizes human society?

But if it’s okay for scientists to give us advance warning of impending natural disasters, why hinders the Arminian God from doing the same?

iv) Yet we can take this a step further. How does preventing natural disaster render human existence less stable? For instance, don’t we have flood control technology to protect communities from a catastrophic deluge?

Suppose seismologists figure out how to prevent cataclysmic earthquakes by releasing a little pressure at a time. Wouldn’t that make human life more stable rather than less stable? Would Arminians oppose that technology?

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