Saturday, November 18, 2017


A recent exchange I had with an atheist:

There are a few issues here, first a pedantic one, calling the apparent evils "mysterious" somewhat begs the question, as on many hypotheses said evils are not mysterious at all, but instead exactly what one would expect, e.g. an evil god hypothesis, or an amoral natural universe hypothesis etc.

On your amoral natural universe hypothesis, what's the basis for calling anything morally "evil"?

then Evil doesn't magically become inconsistent with the hypothesis, instead Evil is just the observation of something people subjectively judge as evil, i.e. apparent evil, or evil by convention etc.

i) In which case, atheists can't deploy the argument from evil on their own grounds. At best, they can try to show that it's inconsistent on theistic grounds. But that's the very question at issue.

ii) Since no one believes in a perfectly evil god, whether Christian or atheist, that's a diversionary tactic. Why should we take the evil God hypothetical any more seriously than brain-in-vat hypotheticals? Suppose we couldn't disprove the evil God hypothetical? So what? What makes that any more significant than the inability of philosophers to disprove other skeptical thought-experiments? It's just a mind-game.

how about you engage in the argument/rebuttal

What argument in particular? The evil god hypothesis? That's just a poor man's version of the Cartesian demon. Steven Law didn't bring anything new to the table.

If the evil god existed, that would be a defeater for atheism no less than Christian theism, so assuming we're supposed to take that thought-experiment seriously, the onus lies on the atheist as much as the Christian. 

If the evil god exists, there's nothing anyone can do about it. Arguments are futile in that event. If the evil god doesn't exist, arguments are unnecessary in that regard.

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