Thursday, 14 June 2007

The Problem of Evil

I've read Stephen Law's view on the Problem of Evil and other arguments for the atheism. In particular, this article:

"Why would a benevolent God do, or allow...?" Why wouldn't he? If God exists, there is no reason to suppose he has any regard for our interpretation of good and evil. As atheists we often argue that there is no good or evil, just things and events - the good or the evil being some human interpretation. So why should we then suppose there is a problem of evil at all? Shit happens, as they say.

Theists can conjure up any explanation they like to explain the problem of evil, and over the centuries they have manufactured many, so it's pretty useless labouring the point. Yes, it might cause them some minor embarrassment, but it doesn't take much effort for them to rationalise (sic) away any objections. They already have magic on their side, so the the problem of evil argument isn't going to win them over.

Stephen says:

"So it seems to me that there’s little evidence to suggest that God does exist. Indeed, the problem of evil provides powerful evidence in that He doesn’t."

I agree with the first sentence. I strongly disagree with the second. The problem of evil presupposes rationality in the theist position. There isn't any. I also agree with Ockham's razor, as descibed by Stephen - pick the simplest hypothesis. But Stephen then goes on to put this valuable tool to one side with:

"But the fact is that atheists don’t need to appeal to Ockham’s razor to justify their belief that there is no God. They already possess a very powerful justification for believing that there is no God the justification provided by the problem of evil."

It's not that powerful a justification - it's irrelevent. It's Ockham's razor that trumps the problem of evil, not the other way round.

There's no evidence for, and so no good reason to believe in God.

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