Questions for the pixelated poster who knows he'd be a more moral god than the One in Whom I believe, at least with regard to one and only one subject

Lucian

Active member
But you gave one example earlier, you would stop and/or not allow cancer. I think you would also go further along the same lines, given the chance.
I don’t know what you mean by ‘go further along the same lines’.
The reason you're uming and ahing about this as far as God is concerned, is that you know God not doing anything about these things puts Him in a bad light and goes against your idea of what God's about.
I’m not aware I’ve shown any hesitation. I know no such thing, and neither does anyone, when you think about it.
You're bending over backwards. An omnipotent God would not be so restrained as you make out.
I don’t know what you mean by either of these sentences.
Can you explain that, because I don't see how you can know it.
There’s little to explain: if God exists, then since he is by definition perfectly good, he must possess morally sufficient reasons to permit evil. The question is rather whether he exists.

On that point, what is your argument to the effect that evil shows, or suggests, that God doesn’t exist?
 

Lucian

Active member
I don't think it's any of those things.

As a Christian who believes they've got a good sense of what's right and wrong, you can see things happening in every day life that you'd like to change but are unable to. As God, you could change them. Child rape, for example; you'd stop that. The method is almost irrelevant, because as God, you'd know how to stop it without causing other problems (such as interfering with free will, etc).

And thus, the question is NOT impossible to answer.

Is it relevant? The problem of evil is very much relevant, evidenced by the fact that Christian apologists and philosophers have not been able to successfully fix that problem over the last 2000 years.

As for incoherence, I honestly don't understand what you meant by it. Everyone here understands the question and what it's asking.

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I say it's impossible to answer, inter alia, because it's impossible to put oneself in God's shoes. I can say what I would do if I were a more powerful human than I am; but I can't say what I would do if I were omnipotent, omniscient and perfectly good, because those qualities are too far beyond my experience.

This is precisely the problem with many versions of the problem of evil: they involve an assertion that God could not have a good reason to justify the existence of evil. But it's quite possible that to a being such as God there are reasons that we not only do not understand, but could not begin to understand. How is one able to conclude that these reasons are absent, or more likely than not to be absent? It just seems reckless to infer from 'I can't think of a good reason why God should allow the rape of children' to 'God doesn't have a good reason to allow the rape of children', given our own epistemic limitations.
 

The Pixie

Well-known member
I say it's impossible to answer, inter alia, because it's impossible to put oneself in God's shoes. I can say what I would do if I were a more powerful human than I am; but I can't say what I would do if I were omnipotent, omniscient and perfectly good, because those qualities are too far beyond my experience.

This is precisely the problem with many versions of the problem of evil: they involve an assertion that God could not have a good reason to justify the existence of evil. But it's quite possible that to a being such as God there are reasons that we not only do not understand, but could not begin to understand. How is one able to conclude that these reasons are absent, or more likely than not to be absent? It just seems reckless to infer from 'I can't think of a good reason why God should allow the rape of children' to 'God doesn't have a good reason to allow the rape of children', given our own epistemic limitations.
I would accept that the Problem of Evil is not proof that there is no perfectly good, omniscient god, but I think it is nevertheless very good evidence to support that position. Given the Problem of Evil (and no good evidence to the otherwise), it does seem fairly likely that there is no such god.

You will probably respond by asking how we can assess the probability, and of course we cannot. We can only make best guesses based on the evidence that we have.
 

Lucian

Active member
I would accept that the Problem of Evil is not proof that there is no perfectly good, omniscient god, but I think it is nevertheless very good evidence to support that position. Given the Problem of Evil (and no good evidence to the otherwise), it does seem fairly likely that there is no such god.

You will probably respond by asking how we can assess the probability, and of course we cannot. We can only make best guesses based on the evidence that we have.
If we can't assess the probability, then you can't say what's likely on the evidence.
 

Lucian

Active member
We could be living in a simulation. God could have created the universe ten minutes ago and given us all false memories. We have no way of assessing the probability in either case. Can we therefore not say that either scenario is unlikely?
If you truly believe that we've "no way of assessing the probability in either case", then of course we can't say either scenario is unlikely: you can't say something is unlikely if you can't assess its probability!
 

The Pixie

Well-known member
If you truly believe that we've "no way of assessing the probability in either case", then of course we can't say either scenario is unlikely: you can't say something is unlikely if you can't assess its probability!
I do not think that. I was pointing out that that is where your argument gets us to.

My position is that we can look at the world around and use that to give a rough guide to what is likely and what is not. I think it unlikely we are living in a simulation. I think it unlikely God created the world three hours ago. I think it unlikely a perfectly good and all-powerful God has a reason to not prevent cancer in kids.

Your position appears to be that if we have insufficient data on which to base our probabilities, we cannot say one way or the other ("If we can't assess the probability, then you can't say what's likely on the evidence.")
 

Lucian

Active member
I do not think that. I was pointing out that that is where your argument gets us to.
I don't see how so.
I think it unlikely a perfectly good and all-powerful God has a reason to not prevent cancer in kids.
That's incoherent: a perfectly good and all-powerful God must have a (good) reason to not prevent cancer in children.

Perhaps you mean to say that God could not have such a reason, and so doesn't exist. I'm eager to understand how you learned this, however.
Your position appears to be that if we have insufficient data on which to base our probabilities, we cannot say one way or the other ("If we can't assess the probability, then you can't say what's likely on the evidence.")
Sure: if we can't assess probabilities, we can't say what's likely (probable). That's almost tautologous, so I'm not sure what you're objecting to.
 

The Pixie

Well-known member
I don't see how so.

That's incoherent: a perfectly good and all-powerful God must have a (good) reason to not prevent cancer in children.
Or he does not exist. The point here is that children dying of cancer is good evidence against the existence of such a god.

Perhaps you mean to say that God could not have such a reason, and so doesn't exist. I'm eager to understand how you learned this, however.
See above.

Sure: if we can't assess probabilities, we can't say what's likely (probable). That's almost tautologous, so I'm not sure what you're objecting to.
So then - in your view - we cannot say that it is unlikely that God created the world five hours ago, right?
 

Lucian

Active member
Yeah, I get that you think that. I'm trying to understand why, as it's far from clear to me and many others that it's evidence at all.
No, that's not my view. Rather, I've said simply that if we can't assess probabilities, we can't say what's likely (probable). That's almost tautologous, so I'm not sure what you're objecting to.
 
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The Pixie

Well-known member
Yeah, I get that you think that. I'm trying to understand why, as it's far from clear to me and many others that it's evidence at all.

No, that's not my view. Rather, I've said simply that if we can't assess probabilities, we can't say what's likely (probable). That's almost tautologous, so I'm not sure what you're objecting to.
I do not think we can assess the probability that God created the world nearly seven hours ago. However, despite being unable to assess the probability, I still find that to be unlikely. How about you?

Either you can say that we cannot assess the probability, and therefore we cannot say it is unlikely - which is analogous to what you are saying with the Problem of Evil - and we can agree to disagree.

Or you can say that we cannot assess the probability, but nevertheless we can say it is unlikely - which is analogous to my position.

Or do you take another position entirely?
 

Lucian

Active member
I do not think we can assess the probability that God created the world nearly seven hours ago. However, despite being unable to assess the probability, I still find that to be unlikely. How about you?
I'm afraid not: you're contradicting yourself here, saying on the one hand that you can't assess the probability, while then proceeding to do so.
Either you can say that we cannot assess the probability, and therefore we cannot say it is unlikely - which is analogous to what you are saying with the Problem of Evil - and we can agree to disagree.

Or you can say that we cannot assess the probability, but nevertheless we can say it is unlikely - which is analogous to my position.

Or do you take another position entirely?
To be honest, I'm not really interesting in expressing a position on this sort of scepticism.
 

The Pixie

Well-known member
I'm afraid not: you're contradicting yourself here, saying on the one hand that you can't assess the probability, while then proceeding to do so.

To be honest, I'm not really interesting in expressing a position on this sort of scepticism.
That just looks like evasion to me. And that is fine; I a happy to do likewise. I have no further interest in expressing my position beyond what I already have.
 

stiggy wiggy

Well-known member
Do you think we should stop treating children who have cancer?

No.

That would seem to be the natural conclusion from your position - that they are dead off dying from cancer.

"Dead off?" Hittin' the bottle again?

And yet you later say that we should indeed treat children for cancer.

Correct.

You gave an example of how something good came of it. Are you saying both you and your wife are better off with her dying of cancer than not?

SHE sure is. I'm not, but I defer to her when it comes to personal joy.

Of course not, and you seem to be pretty upset that I even suggested that.

Nah, it takes a lot to upset me, and you don''t have it in you.

So your argument is that childhood cancer is a good thing?

Only if you're a selfish oncologist with a boatload of debt.

Oh, and aren't you supposed to be using that sophisticated search skill to bring up the quote where I supposedly said that I felt joy when my wife died? The MODS graciously granted me a five day vacation, giving you plenty of time to complete your task, and STILL NOTHING?
 

Lucian

Active member
That just looks like evasion to me. And that is fine; I a happy to do likewise. I have no further interest in expressing my position beyond what I already have.
Where have I have been evasive? On the contrary, I’ve answered your questions frankly. But if you’re going to endorse contradictions and wander off topic, it’s going to be difficult to talk to you.
 

The Pixie

Well-known member
Where have I have been evasive? On the contrary, I’ve answered your questions frankly. But if you’re going to endorse contradictions and wander off topic, it’s going to be difficult to talk to you.
When you said: "To be honest, I'm not really interesting in expressing a position on this sort of scepticism."

To me, the three situations are analogous. In each we case we have insufficient data to determine probability, and yet in each case I think we can still say what is likely. It is likely this is not a simulation. It is likely God did not create the world yesterday. It is likely there is no good reason for an all-powerful, perfectly good god to allow kids to die of cancer.

If you want to discuss the third, tell me what your position is on the others so I can see where you are coming from. Or evade, and that is fine too, and I will do likewise.
 

stiggy wiggy

Well-known member
It is likely there is no good reason for an all-powerful, perfectly good god to allow kids to die of cancer.

And yet I presented you with an actual real life and death situation where such a good reason for an adult to die of cancer existed.

Meanwhile, speaking of probabilities, I'm left to wonder what the probability is that when you claimed that I "felt joy" when my wife died that you KNEW that that was untrue, or rather was it an honest hallucination on your part?
 
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The Pixie

Well-known member
And yet I presented you with an actual real life and death situation where such a good reason for an adult to die of cancer existed.
...
And then when I pointed out that you had presented that, you called me a liar, and ended up getting banned. You really want to do that again?

Meanwhile, speaking of probabilities, I'm left to wonder what the probability is that when you claimed that I "felt joy" when my wife died that you KNEW that that was untrue, or rather was it an honest hallucination on your part?
You said your wife's death brought joy. I think it perhaps brought some joy, but I am pretty sure it brought more misery than joy.
 

stiggy wiggy

Well-known member
And then when I pointed out that you had presented that, you called me a liar, and ended up getting banned.

Correct. So instead of calling you a liar again, and risking you narcing on me again, I'll just point out that you have been miserably incapable of supporting your scurrilous untruth that I said I felt joy when my wife died.
 

stiggy wiggy

Well-known member
You said your wife's death brought joy. I think it perhaps brought some joy, but I am pretty sure it brought more misery than joy.

When you walk into a room with no light whatsoever and flip on a light switch, flooding the room with light, which is greater: the previous darkness or the new light? Is the light lighter than the dark is dark? Do you not see how dumb is the question, "Which is greater, the misery or the joy?"
 

Lucian

Active member
When you said: "To be honest, I'm not really interesting in expressing a position on this sort of scepticism."

To me, the three situations are analogous. In each we case we have insufficient data to determine probability, and yet in each case I think we can still say what is likely. It is likely this is not a simulation. It is likely God did not create the world yesterday. It is likely there is no good reason for an all-powerful, perfectly good god to allow kids to die of cancer.
Again, your position is inscrutable: if "we have insufficient data to determine probability", we clearly can't "still say what is likely", unless we're being consciously irrational. I assume you don't take yourself to be so?

I don't think God created the world yesterday (not least because I don't think he exists), and don't generally believe the word was created yesterday (and reject all comparable sceptical scenarios). I think these scenarios are extremely unlikely. If you agree with me (and it seems you do), then you can't say that "we have insufficient data to determine probability", because that's just what you're doing.

Again, you claim it's "likely there is no good reason for an all-powerful, perfectly good god to allow kids to die of cancer", and I remain eager to learn how you've reached this conclusion.
 
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