by Daniel Adams
I wrote in my last email
"Mr Guthrie is quite correct in stating that I do not believe in the gnome. He is wrong however in stating that I have evidence to support my assertion. Because, basically, I have no assertion. I am not stating I believe that he does not exist, but rather that I fail to believe that he exists. Since I have been shown no evidence for the gnome's existence, I do not believe in him."
To which Mr Guthrie replied
"This is so because the assertion to which he is referring (e.g. a gnome with a low degree of prior probability) is incredible."
What, and the existence of an omnipotent being who created a massive universe just for a few bickering lifeforms isn't incredible? I for one find it incredible. In-credible. Not credible.
"I simply argue that this example is a false analogy and does not apply to the existence of God. It would be question-begging to assume that 'God exists' is equally tenable as 'a gnome exists.' Thus the dilemma he sets up is inapplicable here."
No, until proof is presented for either, they are both equally untenable. What exactly is it that makes a belief in God more tenable than a belief in a gnome? Certainly, a belief in a God is more accepted in society today, but its popularity does nothing to confirm its veracity.
I wrote in my last email:
"Mr Guthrie fails completely to see that an all-powerful, all-loving God could have prevented the rape from occuring in the first place. Why would an all-poweful, all-loving God feel it necessary for a man to rape a child before he could believe in God. An all-powerful, all-loving God would have foreseen that the rape were going to occur and have intervened, preventing it from happening. We are left with a few alternatives."
and Mr Guthrie replied;
"Even if alternatives were possible, it does nothing to show how God and evil are logically incompatible. But maybe Adams is now arguing that there are other possible worlds in which the same good effects occur but with no evil causes. Now, I cannot even begin to test a hypothesis that suggests that another chain of causality is possible in producing the same maximally good events. How does one do this? So Adams suggests that God could at least "intervened, preventing it from happening." But I do not think that it is necessarily true that God would want to create a world with no suffering. After all, if God wanted to have a world with free creatures then if He intervened every time we made a bad decision, there would be no rational behavior. This would mean that we could be as irresponsibly destructive or irrationally self-serving as we want because God would always rescue us from impending harm."
Mr Guthrie makes two very revealing points here. He suggests that God does not wish for there to be a place without suffering and also implies that God does not wish to interfere with our lives. So you don't accept that heaven exists? ANd anyway, does it matter whether he WANTS to? DOes he not recognise that we are self-aware just as he is? Why should we be granted less rights than he?
But God did not have to make us so that we sought harm anyway! HE did not have to make us capable of harm. He did not have to make us at all.
Mr Guthrie continues;
"But in order for God to create a world with functioning natural laws, certain repercussions would inevitably result from any disobedience."
There are no "natural laws" for an omnipotent being such as God - such a being would determine exactly which laws were "natural". This brings into question the whole nature of an "ominpotent" (meaning all-powerful) being such as a God. If God is anything less than infinitely powerful, he is not a God, since there is the potential at leadt for other life forms to gain similar power. God, if he existed, would therefoer by necessity be omnipotent. Yet omnnipotence is meaningless, there can be no such thing. For example, could an all-powerful God create a rock so massive that even he could not lift it? If he could, then by subsequently failing to lift such a rock, he is not all-poerful. If he is not poweerful enough to create a rock that he cannot lift, then he is not all-powerful. Whether or not he can create such a rock, then, a being cannot be omnipotent. Therefore a God cannot exist.
Mr Guthrie writes;
" This may even be the preferred case since not only does rational, responsible behavior result, but evil may even be therapeutic to one's personal, moral character."
Still not getting th point - ok, accepting for just a second that "evil" can be "character-building", we did not have to be designed in such a way that this was necessary. An omnipotent God could have created us so that it was not necessary for us to ex[erience evil in order to "build our character".
Mr Guthrie wrote;
"I then suggested that the existence of evil actually bespeaks God's existence by supplying the premise "If objective moral values exist, then God exists." Adams even agrees when he says, "Such classification obviously denotes some sort of arbiter of 'good' and 'bad' valued"."
Those are indeed my words, but in the next sentence I stated that I did not believe there to be an objective morality, the point is negated.
When I wrote in my last email;
"There is however, nothing absolutely 'evil' about the rape of a small girl. I do not believe that there is any such thing as evil"
Mr Guthrie replied;
>I submit that this is a patently false view of ethics. Anyone who thinks that raping little children is not evil is morally handicapped. Now he suggests that "it is 'bad' in the mind of the girl, it is 'bad' in my mind and 'bad' in the minds of most people" as the proper view of the little girl's rape. But what does "bad" mean if not "evil"? This is just a switch of terms in order to avoid the moral implication evinced in this hypothetical occurrence and represents a classic case of making a distinction without a difference. So the question now becomes: What objective basis does Adams have to support the view that the little girl's rape is "bad"? If there is moral objectivity here, then Adams has demonstrated the existence of God.<
Once again. I deny that there is a moral objectivity. No action is absolutely bad. There can be a general consensus in a population about what is "evil" and what is "good" , but there are no absolutes. When I say that I believe rape is bad in my mind, I mean;
"I would prefer to live in a society where rape does not occur. I recognise that the girl being raped experiences mental and physical pain that I do not believe is justified by the pleasure experienced by the rapist. I recognise the girl as a fellow human being and do not wish to see her suffer. I wish there to be general laws against rape. This would mean that a rapist would see that his actions would lead to punishment and would be deterred fom committing rape of the girl, and deterred from raping my wife and daughter"
That is what I mean when I say "rape is bad in my mind". It implies no God, and is a personal morality. It is based upon the philosophy of "live and let live". Let each person do freely whatever he wishes so long as it does not impose upon another's freedom.
Mr Guthrie continues by arguing again that the Universe must have had a "first cause", that first cause being God. However, such a suggestion is flawed. It simply moves the emphasis from "the universe must have had a first cause" to "the universe's creator must have had a first cause".
We must accept that we do not know if, or exactly how the universe began. The fact that we do not know does not mean that we must automatically default to "God did it"
I have shown that a "God" cannot exist because omnipotence is an impossible attribute. I have shown that there is no objective "evil", yet that there is "pain", "death" and "badness" (bad experiences on a personal level) and that this invalidates the claims of an all-loving God.