Link to the debate

Link to the peanet gallery viz. the thread to discuss the debate.

Wiploc’s Third Post

Deleet characterized my argument like this:

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1. God is omnipotent.

2. God is omniscient.

3. God is omnibenevolent.

4. God exists.

5. If (God is omnipotent and god is omnibenevolent and god is omniscient and god exists) then evil is nonexistent.

6. Evil exists.

7. God is essentially omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent.

8. Therefore, God does not exist.[/strike]

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Number five is the only one I can get behind. But, hey, #5 is the one Deleet is arguing against …

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…then necessarily I have to deny (5). This is exactly what I am doing.

…so that’s cool.

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I would have thought we were [here to discuss the “real” definitions of omnipotence, omniscience, and omnibenevolence.]

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No, I’ve already conceded that if we use other (perfectly legitimate) definitions, then the LPoE (logical problem of evil) won’t necessarily work. I’m not defending any version of the PoE but my own. So all that’s left to discuss is whether my version works.

If it bothers you that I define those words in that way, we can use other words instead. F’rinstance:

X-factor: able to do anything that doesn’t violate logic.

Y-factor: knows everything, including the future and counterfactuals.

Z-factor: totally, purely, infinitely, unconflictedly, opposed to the existence of tribbles.

In which case, the PoT (problem of tribbles) becomes this:

5. If a grilled cheese sandwich is x-factor, y-factor, and z-factor, and if the grilled cheese sandwich exists, then it follows that tribbles are do not exist.

That’s my case. It is patently unbeatable. So I can’t let myself be distracted by arguments over peripheral stuff like whether my definitions are “real.”

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It seems that Wiploc wants to force me to accept his definitions, but I don’t see why.

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I want to force you to deal with my argument. We can dispense with definitions altogether, if that helps:

If thing-A is able to do anything except violate logic, and also knows everything including the future and counterfactuals, and also desires (purely, totally, infinitely, unconflictedly) the nonexistence of thing-B, then thing-A and thing-B cannot logically exist in the same universe.

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Again, it seems to me that even given this, god could still have a morally sufficient reason not to remove evil.

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No way, because god is limited only by logic. If he wants a taco, he can have a taco plus no evil. If he wants a chinchilla, he can have a chinchilla plus no evil, Except for evil itself, he can have anything plus no evil. If evil itself is what he wants, then he isn’t z-factor. If there’s something other than evil that he can’t have, then he isn’t x-factor. Either way, if evil exists, the tri-factored grilled cheese sandwich does not.

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If Wiploc wants to define omnibenevolence in a way that makes a morally sufficient reason impossible he should say so.

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I’m telling you straight out that evil cannot exist if an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent god exists. I don’t know how I can be more clear.

Any theist who wants to rationally believe in a tri-omni god is going to have to disavow one or more of those definitions.

I’m told that there is a branch of Christianity that says that god doesn’t know the future. They still call him “omnibenevolent,” but they say he was just guessing when he picked which world to create. That’s fine. That works. They don’t have a problem with the PoE, and the PoE doesn’t have a problem with them. They can even use the PoE as a tool for winning more people to their belief. They get to tell anyone who believes god is omnipotent and omnibenevolent (as I have defined those terms) that god logically cannot also be omniscient (as I have defined that term).

Other theists back away from believing that god can do anything other than violate logic. Others yet say god isn’t all that opposed to evil. Some say there is no evil. Others simply admit that their religion doesn’t make sense.

Those are the five possible relevant responses to the LPoE. Everything else is evasion, obscurantism, equivocation, or distraction.

The LPoE is the tool we use to prove that a particular kind of god cannot exist. Not letting people distract us with irrelevant debate over other possible definitions is how we hold people’s feet to the fire for long enough that they have to admit that the LPoE works, that it’s bulletproof.

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… that being’s single highest wish is to remove all evil. Maybe this is what Wiploc means with the ‘unconflictedly’ above.

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I don’t care if the god has another goal, even an equally strong goal. Free will, for instance—there’s a nice goal. But if this other goal conflicts with the goal of eliminating evil, and if it is a strong enough goal that the god acts on it as opposed to acting on his goal of not having evil, then the god is not omnibenevolent.

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Given this definition … of omnibenevolence only the greater good defense would be left. … I think the LPoE is sound and ‘bulletproof’.

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Wow! You’re my hero. Do you know how many times I’ve had this debate with people who were just too stubborn to admit the obvious?

Morally Sufficient Reason:

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[An MSR] might even be unthinkable, non-imaginable and unknowable for humans but that doesn’t matter as long as it is logically possible.

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There are no secret rules of logic. The only thing that logically conflicts with the absence of evil is the presence of evil. If god wants the presence of evil, then he isn’t omnibenevolent. If he wants something else but isn’t strong enough to combine that with the absence of evil, then he isn’t omnipotent. Either way, he isn’t the tri-omni god.

Deleet’s Third Post

About the structure of the argument

Wiploc writes:

Number five is the only one I can get behind. But, hey, #5 is the one Deleet is arguing against

Sorry. Bad language choice by me. Here is a fix for you:

1. If God exists, then God is omnipotent.

2. If God exists, then God is omniscient.

3. If God exists, then God is omnibenevolent.

4. God exists.

5. If (God is omnipotent and god is omnibenevolent and god is omniscient and god exists) then evil is nonexistent.

6. Evil exists.

7. If God exists, then God is essentially omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent.

8. Therefore, God does not exist.

Your argument could be called a reductio because you show that assuming god exists implies a contradiction (evil and no-evil, or god and no-god), or you could view it as an extended modus tollens. Either way it’s valid.

Different LPoE’s

Wiploc writes:

No, I’ve already conceded that if we use other (perfectly legitimate) definitions, then the LPoE (logical problem of evil) won’t necessarily work. I’m not defending any version of the PoE but my own. So all that’s left to discuss is whether my version works.

Okay. I’ll then just remark that Wiploc has not proved what Wiploc set out to prove viz. the debate resolution:

The logical problem of evil proves the nonexistence of tri-omni gods.

What Wiploc have proven is that:

The logical problem of evil proves the nonexistence of tri-omni gods using special definitions that need not be “good” definitions and are chosen by Wiploc.

This doesn’t strike me as very impressive.

Theists and definitions

Wiploc remarks:

Any theist who wants to rationally believe in a tri-omni god is going to have to disavow one or more of those definitions.

But I don’t there are any theists that believe in a tri-omni god as defined by Wiploc. That’s why I think Wiploc’s proof is unimpressive: It’s simply not hitting the mark.

Closing remarks

I used the possible morally sufficient reason objection against Wiploc’s logical problem of evil. He responded to that by claiming it’s against the definition of omnibenevolence i.e. that all I was doing was redefining omnibenevolence. I pointed out that his definition is probably not what is commonly meant by theists or any theist at all. Wiploc conceded this to my surprise. We both agree that his argument works against the god it was supposed to work against. I don’t think that it really hits any god a theist believes in.

There was a bit confusion, or at least I was a bit confused. I think that we ought to better discuss the debate before engaging in it next time.

I think the space limit was a problem. It turned out only to be a problem with me first post though.

With these remarks I’d like to close the debate. Thanks to Wiploc for participating and thanks to FreeRatio.org for hosting it.

One Responses

  • A Theist

    Your friend says in his second statement:

    The second case deserves a closer look, if only because many people are unclear on the subject. Let’s say that god wants two things, X and Y. If god is omnipotent, he can have both at once unless they are logically incompatible. What is logically incompatible with X? Only not X (~X). If X is the absence of evil, then ~X is the presence of evil. Even an omnipotent god cannot have both of those. But an omnibenevolent god doesn’t want both of those. And an omnipotent god can have X plus any Y that isn’t ~X; he can have the absence of evil along with anything that isn’t the presence of evil. That’s what omnipotence is.

    X and ~X are certainly logical contradictions but the any of the two are also logically incompatible with anything that entails its negation. For instance, if X logically entails Y, then Y and ~X are contradictories. Yet your friend said that ONLY X and ~X are logically contradictories, and that is not always the case. Furthermore, an omnipotent God also cannot will true contraries into being. This means that for any p and its contrary s, God cannot will into being that both p and s are true although both can be false.

    So he argues quite prematurely that:

    The only thing that logically conflicts with the absence of evil is the presence of evil. If god wants the presence of evil, then he isn’t omnibenevolent. If he wants something else but isn’t strong enough to combine that with the absence of evil, then he isn’t omnipotent. Either way, he isn’t the tri-omni god.

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