Instigator / Pro
Points: 4

The Problem of Evil

Voting

The participant who scores the most points is declared the winner

The voting period will end in:
00:00:00:00
Debate details
Publication date
Last update
Category
Philosophy
Time for argument
Two weeks
Voting system
Open voting
Voting period
Two weeks
Point system
Four points
Rating mode
Rated
Characters per argument
15,000
Contender / Con
Points: 7
Description
Topic
Resolved: The Problem of Evil is a sound argument against an omnibenevolent and all-powerful God.
Definitions
The Problem of Evil:
If an omnipotent, omnibenevolent and omniscient god exists, then evil does not.exist
There is evil in the world.
Therefore, an omnipotent, omnibenevolent and omniscient god does not exist.
Evil: In this context, there are 2 types of evil I want to talk about: moral evils and natural evils. Evil is that which causes significant and unnecessary harm.
Structure
R1: Opening Statements
R2: Rebuttals
R3: Defense
R4: Summary/Close
Rules
1. No k's
2. No trolling
3. Cite all your sources within the text of the debate either as a hyperlink or as a full URL.
Round 1
Published:
Many thanks to Nemiroff for accepting this debate! I'm looking forward.

I. The Formulation of the Argument

P1: If an omnipotent, omnibenevolent and omniscient god exists, then evil does not exist
P2: There is evil in the world.
C1: Therefore, an omnipotent, omnibenevolent and omniscient god does not exist.

“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?” -Epicurus

As noted in the description of the debate, I will be defending two major types of evil: moral evils and natural evils. 

II. Defense of P1

Premise 1 is relatively straightforward and should be uncontroversial. An all-loving and all-good God who is perfect cannot allow evil because these are two completely contradictory and incompatible properties.

III. Defense of P2 

Any god who is all-powerful has the ability to stop childhood cancers, genetic disorders, and Hitlers from committing genocide, yet he does not. I want to go further in depth.

A. Moral Evils

In WWII, Hitler killed over 6 million Jews and other "undesirables" [1]. Where was God then? Stalin also killed over 12 million of his own people and sent them to Gulags [2]. Again, where was the all-good God? In 1994 over 800,000 Tutsis were killed in Rwanda [3]. Again, where was God? In just the 20th century, over 100 million people were killed needlessly by dictators and wars [4]. Think about it: If you were God, would you permit this to happen or would you step in and actually prevent these deaths. 

What about free will? The free will theodicy fails because a God who is all-powerful and all-good can certainly prevent evil while still allowing some free will. 

B. Natural Evils

God is supposedly an intelligent designer, but when you look at the genetic disorders, you quickly realize how unintelligent creation really is. According to the American Childhood Cancer organization, 15,780 children are diagnosed with cancer each year [5] and according to a January 2019 article from Childhood Cancer Statistics, 1,190 children will die this year of cancer [6]. That is equivalent to 3 children every day. Again, where is God? Cancer is caused by uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body. Cancer develops when the body’s normal control mechanism stops working [7]. Thus cancer is literally caused by a design flaw in an all-knowing, all-good intelligent designer. 

There are many other genetic disorders. For example, Down syndrome is caused by an extra copy of Chromosome # 21 [8] and results in about 17,000 deaths globally [9]. 

One must pause to wonder why an all-good and all-powerful god would allow design flaws such as these. 

IV. Conclusion

I think I laid out a decent case in defense of the Problem of Evil. If I were an all-powerful and all-loving God, I certainly would not allow this and can easily come up with a better design than God did. 

V. Sources
Published:
My stance is that there is no contradiction. A good god may logically make 2 choices: 1. Free will, the result of which was moral evil. And 2. A knowable reality that is stable, with knowable rules, which resulted in natural evil. 

Natural evil is overestimated. It is the lesser of the 2. As far as natural brutality, man has it easy, and that has been likely true since our earliest classification as man. A popular "overkill" hypothesis, evident by the sole remaining existing megafauna being in africa where the highly intelligent and extremely paranoid elephants evolved with the supreme predator: man. Macro nature has never been a problem in general.


Disasters are minor events that do massive damage, but deaths are limited... with the exception of drought causing famine, but many famines become disasterous due to human choices like wars that often accompany them. There was enough supply to feed most locally. Morallity covered later.

Disease is often cited as major, but again, we were given all the tools to deal with them, with major epidemics not being events of nature, but of trade. This includes the black death, and small pox.

Genetic defects which cause great suffering are a result of creation via a knowable world, and afflict an extremely small minority. It could be possible that noone could suffer. It could be possible that many more. Currently those affected with congenital problems are a fraction of a percentage, unless perhaps we look at highly contaminated areas... which would be free will. Mutations are a key aspect to the function of the world. It could not be eliminated, but it was efficiently minimized. 


Human evil is explained by free will. One will argue: why we were designed so evil, and i will reply, we were not. Precivilization man lived in tribes, communities where everyone relied, and shared with each other as the rule (as in rule vs exception, not an actual law). War would be meaningless at this point. Dominated as it may be, nature was still a threat. 

With the advent of civilization, ambitious men took control, and twisted our morality in the process. Their will could have not been the common will. And this path need not have been our only path. Today, as then, most people just want to live a calm, but not too boring, ok life with their family and friends. Despite the money worship of capitalism constant temptations. This was not our only possibility. We could have been better. And we could still be better. In the history of humanity, this could be just the very beginning. It may be quite glorious in the long term. 
Round 2
Published:
Thank you for your speedy reply. I pretty much touched upon most of con's rebuttals in the opening round. Just a helpful hint, your arguments will be easier to understand if you use headings for each of your major points. With that said, let's touch upon con's theodicies. 

(1) Free will, which results in moral evil

I already refuted this point in my opening statements. My arguments against this are dropped so please extend this across the board. To recap, the free will theodicy fails because a God who is all-powerful and all-good can certainly prevent evil while still allowing some free will. 

Let's draw an analogy: Imagine a parent that leaves their child in a room with an AK-47 and the ability to kill their brother. Would this be a good parent or a bad parent? This would obviously be a bad parent for allowing their child with access to such a weapon. As such, an all-good god would not allow dictators to rise to power and butcher 12 million+ of their own citizens.

(2) Natural evil is overestimated

Tell that to the parents who are watching their 8-year old die of cancer, to the people living in cardboard boxes after a hurricane, the people who are begging for a cure for cancer, to the people with genetic abnormalities like Proteus syndrome, Epidermodysplasia verruciformis, down's syndrome, sickle cell Amina, and many many other diseases that cause unimaginable pain and suffering in life.  When you think of it that way, this argument completely falls flat. All of these are caused by design flaws in God's own intelligent design. 

I really don't understand your last paragraph. 

In summary, con's two theodicies clearly fail. 
Published:
Thank you for the advice, I am often debating on mobile, I do stress spacing. I shall try to add titles but please be patient with some limitations. I do try to make my arguments clear.

It is my understanding of the debate structure that R1 is opening arguments. My first round was not in any way a rebuttal as I tried to make it an independent opening argument, leaving rebuttals to this round. Please correct me if I misunderstood.

DEFENSE
1. free will = moral evil
what is this "some free will?" and will these restrictions render free will pointless?

2. Most certainly, to the *individual* afflicted with cancers such as leukemia, and those around them, it is a tragedy that defies a sensible creator. Cancer is a consequence of cell division. Cell division is at the heart of biology and evolution. It is necessary for the function of the world. My argument that the numbers of afflicted are miniscule. In any situation you could say "why not better" or "why not worse." Some damage was unavoidable, The damage appears to have been kept to an extreme minimum.

Sickle cell is an adaptation which prevents malaria infection. It is a manageable condition, its main concern was racism of medical institutions that thought people were faking the pain and not providing proper treatment. 


Some pain killers, IV fluids, and Supplemental oxygen help return the cells back to their proper shape preventing further damage. I suspect asthma and a diet primarily with sugary drinks are hurting the oxygen/fluid balance, both mostly unnatural.

3. The last paragraph said that many norms were forced on people via strongmen at the dawn of civilization. strongmen who tended to be violent, greedy, and ambitious. Those qualities do not necessarily represent humanity, even today in a culture that worships money many above a certain minimum are content living a moderate life. The violent history that was moral evil was not a necessity, but a result of our choices / inaction.


My opponents "some free will" solution sounds more like the existence of a pet, without choice. Solving all our woes through magic with inexplicable methodologies leaving no purpose to research, discovery, or innovation. just passive existence. The suffering may be less to nonexistent, but it hardly sounds "good." The rarity of such defects speaks to a world that may be as good as it could get, while maintaining our independence. The theodicies clearly succeed.
 

REBUTTAL

P1 is an assumption that is not true by default, as demonstrated in my opening statement.
P2 most certainly.
C1 without P1, C1 does not follow.

A. MORAL EVILS
What did you want, god to physically step in and kill hitler? All of your solutions suggest a direct intervention. "Where was god?"
Perhaps non intervention is the overall best strategy, it was a human evil, and humanity, eventually stopped it. How low of a bar should we set for divine intervention? British non intervention in the potato famine? second industrial revolution? great depression? Unfortunate as it may be, proper creation followed by non intervention may be the best strategy. Furthermore, most versions of god state that he is beyond time, meaning hes already seen, planned for, and modified all of time to its optimum. overall humanity has steadily progressed to better social norms, improved morals, and expanded fundamental rights with time. It is good.

B. NATURAL EVILS
This (genetic disorders / cancers) was addressed in my opening statement and defense, those points were not themselves addressed. 

Re: Conclusion
By all means, come up with a better design. Your early solution of "some free will" requires elaboration and doesn't sound particularly functional.


Sorry for minimal sources, as far as I can tell these are all philosophical arguments based off common knowledge. Happy to elaborate and cite any questionable claims.
Round 3
Published:
Thank you for the speedy replies. 

(1) Moral Evils

Yes, I do in fact want God to step in and stop Hitler. Just like I'd expect a good parent to take away an AK-47 from a two-year-old, I'd expect God to step in before Hitler can butcher 12 million + people. " How low of a bar should we set for divine intervention?" Any form of evil and unnecessary suffering should be stopped by God. 

That being said, there is no contradiction between having free will and not being able to choose to do evil. If I couldn't do evil, I'd still have the ability to choose what to do. 

(2) Natural Evil

My opponent is correct that the mutation for sickle cell anemia provides protection for Malaria. This is exactly what the Theory of Evolution would predict. The mutation is a double-edged sword, but because it provides protection from malaria, it gets passed down because it's a more favorable trait than not. This is the work of evolution, not an intelligent designer. 

It's interesting that my opponent chooses to bring in modern medicine as a defense. Isn't it funny that man can perfect what an intelligent designer broke?

But it gets worse for con. My opponent completely concedes point 2, so really all that I have to do is premise point 1. As the trilemma states:

“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?” -Epicurus

My opponent seems to be taking the second horn of the trilemma. God is able to prevent evil, but is unwilling; therefore, God is malevolent. 

My opponent challenges me to come up with a better design. If I'm an all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-good God, I can easily create a world with free will and not evil. It's well within my all-power. If he is unable to do so, then he is not all-powerful. Even if I concede the free will defense, which I do not, it still doesn't fully address the existence of natural evils like cancer. On a biological level, I can easily create a world without cancer and without harmful mutations. Again, if I'm an all-powerful designer, then I can easily do it. 

I did not drop any of con's contentions. 



Published:
Rebuttal:

Moral evils:
My opponent advocates for direct interference for "any form of evil and unnecessary suffering" but does not define what constitutes unnecesaary suffering. He essentially wants god to solve all problems with magic leaving us to be pets completely reliant on god to solve all issues, particularly ones we create. 

Sure a parent should take responsibility for their children, but after a certain point the children become adults and should bear their own responsibility. PRO wishes to be cuddled until the end of time. Helicopter parenting has not been shown to be good. We will never learn this way. Humanitys progress towards more morality, empathy, and expanded human rights was not addressed.

I disagree that we can have free will without the choice to do evil. That is a contradiction that my opponent refuses to elaborate on. Just repeatedly ststed his original opinion that it can. You say it is still freedom, i say it is not. Please elaborate on your assertion of how you can be free without this choice.

Natural evil:
Evolution could be the work of a designer. We are debating a god with the following qualities: omnipotence, omniscience, omnibenevolence, and maybe other omni qualities. We are not reliant on the mythology nor interpretations of any specific religion. Thus the christian denial of science is not relevant. This fits perfectly within my premise that a good god would want to create a world understandable to us. Thus my argument stands. Those diseases are an unavoidable, but minimized, consequence of our knowable universe. 

Yes, science, which exists thanks to the knowable world. That is why i am saying a world that works via understandable physics is more good then a perfect world functioning on magic where we can be little more then passive observers wasting time until death.

My opponent seems to be taking the second horn of the trilemma. God is able to prevent evil, but is unwilling; therefore, God is malevolent. 
My opponent ignores my entire argument of a knowable world. To eliminate evil compeltely god would need to customize the world outside of physics to be completely beyond comprehension, and for daddy to solve all of our problems for us. That is not good. If my opponent feels that these will lead to something good, please elaborate instead of restating your opening opinion.

My opponent challenges me to come up with a better design. If I'm an all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-good God, I can easily create a world with free will and not evil. It's well within my all-power. ....On a biological level, I can easily create a world without cancer and without harmful mutations. Again, if I'm an all-powerful designer, then I can easily do it. 
In other words, my opponent has no idea what this perfect world looks like, and does not dispute my claim that such a world would be terrible. Certainly one can eliminate cancer by making the body work via magic instead of cell division, but that would eliminate any attempt to learn about the body. All answers to all questions would be "god did it" end of story. Does that sound good to anyone in the audience? It does not sound good to me.
Round 4
Forfeited
Published:
A final rebuttal

Moral and natural evils are easy for a good god to address... however the outcomes would be far from good. 

End moral evil is to eliminate free will. Im not sure how one can eliminate the choice of evil without eliminating free will. My opponent said it can be done, but did not elaborate on a possible scenario appealing to the fallacy of ignorance stating "if i was omniscient, i could figure it out".

End natural evil is easy. Make the world run on magic with no illness or natural disasters with all answers regarding how or why being "god did it, and it was good". No science, no exploration, no risk, no reward. I say, not good. 

The damage from natural causes is usually minimal. It certainly does not feel minimal to the people directly experiencing it, but the vast majority of the population is minimally affected. Natural non lifestyle diseases like childhood cancers are extremely rare, showing that while they may not be completely avoided, a good god would minimize the damage. Natural disasters do not usually have large casualties, except famine, but those would be far less devestating if they werent often accompanied by war.

This may very well be the best of all possible worlds. Thank you for your time. 
Added:
--> @ethang5
*******************************************************************
>Reported Vote: ethang5 // Mod action: [Not Removed]
>Points Awarded: 3 points awarded to Nemiroff
>Reason for Decision: "Pro seems to have based his argument on his assumptions of how God should be. That is not grounds for a logical case against God. Pro's foundational claim is that the existence of evil is impossible if God exists. But his reason for this belief is based on his personal taste, not logic.
Con makes a convincing argument that there is no inherent contradiction between the existence of evil and the existence of God, and he offers several examples of such a situation when he says...
"My stance is that there is no contradiction. A good god may logically make 2 choices: 1. Free will, the result of which was moral evil. And 2. A knowable reality that is stable, with knowable rules, which resulted in natural evil."
Pro never overcomes these credible possibilities and thus con's argument does establish that a good God can be compatible with the existence of evil."
>Reason for Mod Action: The voter has proffered a borderline vote. It is by no means a comprehensive evaluation of the debate, but it doesn't explicitly violate the Voting Guidelines to my mind.
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#15
Added:
--> @WhoPutYouOnThePlanet
*******************************************************************
>Reported Vote: WhoPutYouOnThePlanet // Mod action: [Removed]
>Points Awarded: [7 points awarded to Virtuoso]
>Reason for Decision:"Pro clearly has a more sound argument"

>Reason for Mod Action: a) The voter is not eligible to vote per the Voting Guidelines because he has not completed 2 debates nor has he made 100 forum posts. b) The RFD does not adhere to the minimum standards used to award points in any category (i.e. arguments, S&G, etc.) For more information, please consult the Voting Guidelines located in the CoC:
https://www.debateart.com/rules
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#14
Added:
--> @ethang5
Also, I can only remove votes that have been reported anyway, so I couldn't remove it even if I wanted to.
#13
Added:
--> @ethang5
Per the Voting Guidelines, you had to summarize Con's and Pro's argument. If you explained how Con justified his stance by positing that god's actions aren't immoral, but granting free will to humans brings about evil (which was his central contention), then your vote would be justified. Your new vote essentially meets this standard to my mind, so there is nothing to worry about. Thank you for changing it.
P.S. If you have a question about a mod decision, please list me as a receiver or PM me so that I can remedy a problem if I made a mistake or if you have a pertinent question.
#12
Added:
The voter's recollection of Con's arguments was nebulous. What are the "several examples" presented in Con's case that disprove's Pro's premise?
That would require me repost the argument itself! Basically you are asking I argue con's case again.
Pro said God is incompatible with evil, but show no logical reason why this had to be so.
#11
Added:
--> @ethang5
*******************************************************************
>Reported Vote: ethang5 // Mod action: [Removed]
>Points Awarded: 5 points awarded to Nemiroff
>Reason for Decision:
"Pro seem to have based his argument on his assumptions of how God should be. That is not grounds for a logical case against God. Pro's foundational claim is that the existence of evil is impossible if God exists. But his reason for this belief is based on his personal taste, not logic.
Con makes a convincing argument that there is no inherent contradiction between the existence of evil and the existence of God, and he offers several examples of such a situation."
>Reason for Mod Action: a) The voter failed to justify the S&G and conduct points. b) The voter's recollection of Con's arguments was nebulous. What are the "several examples" presented in Con's case that disprove's Pro's premise? Why are the Con arguments incontrovertible in the context of the debate? Remember, the primary arguments need to be addressed in the RFD per the Voting Guidelines:
"In order to award argument points, a voter must explicitly, and in the text of their RFD, perform the following tasks:
Survey the main arguments and counterarguments presented in the debate
Weigh those arguments against each other (or explain why certain arguments need not be weighed based on what transpired within the debate itself)
Explain how, through the process of weighing, they arrived at their voting decision with regard to assigning argument points
Weighing entails analyzing how the relative strength of one argument or set of arguments outweighed (that is, out-impacted) and/or precluded another argument or set of arguments. Weighing requires analyzing and situating arguments and counterarguments within the context of the debate as a whole."
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#10
Added:
--> @crossed
Apples dont have ingredients. Apples are an ingredient. What % of an apple is pectin?
Apples rot. Do you think that is because of good germs? Will a rotting apple be healthy for you to eat? What does it mean to rot?
Contender
#9
Added:
--> @Nemiroff
pectin is a key ingredient in apple's.
https://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-apple-pectin.htm
Inanimate objects can not choose between good and bad.
If a gun kills a bad Adolf Hitler and not a good small child.
it was not the gun who made the choice to kill the bad Hitler and not the good child. But the gunner
If the apple feeds the good germs and not the bad.
It was not the apple who made the choice to feed the good germs and not the bad germs.But the creator who designed the apple to do that.
#8
Added:
--> @crossed
Im not talking about pectin, im talking about the apple. The apple is a lot more than just pectin and itnis delicious to many germs, good and bad. That is why apples rot, all kinds of germs are having a feast. Dont eat a rotting apple.
Contender
#7
Added:
--> @Nemiroff
"All germs feed on the same sugars. The apple does not select between germs. What are you talking about?"
" Pectin is the key ingredient that encourages growth of good bacteria and reduces "bad" bacteria"
https://ignitenutrition.ca/blog/apple-cider-vinegar-for-gut-health/
I am saying god selected the germs.Because you have to be an intelligent being to have knowledge of good and evil.The apple can not select to feed the good germs but not the bad germs.Only an intelligent being can do that.So god created the apple to feed good germs but not the bad germs.
#6
Added:
--> @Nemiroff
"As you say all germs feed on sugar."
Why does it only feed the good germs and not the bad germs.
How can the creator be intelligent and able to select between good germs and bad germs.How can it have knowledge of good and evil.Only an intelligent being can have knowledge.This is one of the requirements i have to prove that the creator is intelligent.
" Pectin is the key ingredient that encourages growth of good bacteria and reduces "bad" bacteria"
https://ignitenutrition.ca/blog/apple-cider-vinegar-for-gut-health/
The creator has knowledge.Thus the creator is intelligent.This meets one of the criteria of intelligence knowledge and thinking
#5
Added:
--> @crossed
All germs feed on the same sugars. The apple does not select between germs. What are you talking about?
Contender
#4
Added:
Comment part 2
only an intelligent being can tell the difference between good and bad germs so god must have did it.
An apple can not choose to fall on a bad person head and not a good person head.
The intelligent being that is throwing the rock can.
The apple feeds the good germs and not the bad.
The intelligent being must have created the apple to help the good germs and not the bad. Because an laminate object can not have knowledge of good and evil.
#3
Added:
--> @Virtuoso
I wonder how my god created morality debate's would fit in this .Because The creator would have to have knowledge of good and evil when he created the universe.The creator is intelligent he can tell the difference between good and evil.
The apple feeds the good germs not the bad germs.
The immune system helps good germs but not the bad germs.
https://www.debateart.com/debates/1374/god-created-morality
Only an intelligent being can tell the difference between good and bad. Literally no one knew the difference between good and bad beside god until Adam ate from forbid an fruit from tree of knowledge of good and evil
#2
Added:
--> @Virtuoso
Im essentially arguing that this is the best of all possible worlds. Or potentially i may switch to this is becoming, through natural and social evolution, the best of all possible worlds. Although the outcome depends on human choice, the reason it is the best possible outcome is because of the existence of human choice, and the ability to grow.
Contender
#1
#1
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
"Pro seems to have based his argument on his assumptions of how God should be. That is not grounds for a logical case against God. Pro's foundational claim is that the existence of evil is impossible if God exists. But his reason for this belief is based on his personal taste, not logic.
Con makes a convincing argument that there is no inherent contradiction between the existence of evil and the existence of God, and he offers several examples of such a situation when he says...
"My stance is that there is no contradiction. A good god may logically make 2 choices: 1. Free will, the result of which was moral evil. And 2. A knowable reality that is stable, with knowable rules, which resulted in natural evil."
Pro never overcomes these credible possibilities and thus con's argument does establish that a good God can be compatible with the existence of evil.