Joined: June 2007
So i went and was more or less disappointed. full house however. my thoughts below:
moderator Julian Reece from some campus intervarsity fellowship guy introduces Plantingna and Gale. spent several moments giving props to AP, then says "also wish to thank Dr Gale" more or less as an afterthought. Says "we welcome and honor skeptics and their questions" and I wonder why this is even necessary to say. says this 'conversation' is laid out for AP to give his argument why evil is not a defeater for the omni-max version of god, then Gale to play his self-professed role as "provocateur and antagonist".
AP opens by saying philosophy has bad press, largely because philosophers as philosophers must think of 'disgusting things'. for example, brains in vats. then digresses into discussing "solipcism" which he defines as "I exist, everything else is a figment of my imagination" and then proceeds with several even more ludicrous overstatements to poison the epistemological well. by the sound of the crowd they have all been drinking muddy water anyway so I settle in for a long slog. summarizes by saying "I am not going to talk about solipcism" although this is the distillation of his anti-realist view, supervened over the metaphysical 'mercy of god that permits knowledge'.
AP defines pain and suffering as distinct from evil, "encompassing pain and discomfort from disease, physical disfigurement, unrequited love, emotional longings unfulfilled, depression, physical ailment, and the like". Evil he defines as "free creatures doing their own thing". This glib definition is literally all that he ever considers for 'evil'. Claims 20th century "most evil yet", lists holocaust, '70 year marxist experiment in eastern europe', Pol Pot, etc etc as examples.
AP then opens with Hume version of Epicurean dilemma: Willing and not able? Able but not willing? Willing and able? claims that until 20 or 25 years ago this argument was introduced as a defeater for the theist argument, since it implied a contradiction (as in omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, loving: pick two). Then follows this claim with the claim that 'nowadays' this argument is used as an evidentiary or probabilistic argument against the existence of god (here he has begun sneaking in the christian conception of god and is not talking about theism per se).
AP asks "is the 3 pronged epicurean evidentiary argument sufficient?"
claims since it's possible that "what i may believe to be improbable might be true, it is possible for irrational beliefs to be true" and gives a convoluted example of an american speaking chinese, which is improbable, but might be true. this seemed to me to be a categorical error but he didn't belabor the point. Next he says, well, what about the claim that the existence of god is improbable when considering the total evidence then cavorts to the high ground that we must tally all evil and all good before we have sufficient grounds for evaluating such a claim (later on he claims that there is no metric or quantitative scale for 'good' or 'evil' but that it remains qualitatively possible to make this judgment.)
next example: I am dealt an Ace while playing poker. this, according to AP, is an improbable event (1 in 13). but the belief that one holds an ace is not dependent upon the probability belief for warrant, that warrant is derived from another source (the perception that one holds an Ace. I see it!) He then claims that experience or perception of god may not be rational and uses this false equivalency of holding an ace in ones hand as analogy.
AP why are we unable to see the reason for evil, and does this mean that god has no reason? He answers by saying "I look in my tent and there is a St Bernard there. I see it. Later I look in my tent and there is no St Bernard, but there are no-see-ums (ceratopogonidae, but he didn't say that). I can't see them, but they are there. perhaps there is a similar thing going on with god's reason. no one answered this claim in questions, but shit you can see ceratopognids just fine with a microscope.
longwinded discussion of job and the reasoning of god. boring.
now discussion of what constitutes a 'good' world. AP says that any world with Incarnation and Atonement is better than any world without Incarnation and Atonement, including a world equal in every respect sans I&A. Also horrible worlds with I&A are better than any world maximally good without I&A. HE claims this is true no matter how many perfect-choosing free creatures there are, and how much sin and suffering is present in this possible world, by virtue of the magnitude of I&A. If no evil or sin, no atonement is necessary, so a good world must contain sin and evil. References some catholic recitation "O felix culpa" O beautiful sin. Boiled to: God wanted a really good world, all really good worlds contain incarnation and atonement.
Now Richard Gale takes over and says he will point out problems with AP argument and take questions from audience. bad idea, because there are some thick headed bots out there that drag the time out so that we never get through all the problems. design inference?
RG raises the issue of "what about a world with all evil and no good? does this argument [from what RG calls 'theistic skepticism' wrt AP theodicy] remain valid? AP claims that god would not create such a world because it is contrary to his nature. I am not seeing the threads of the emperor's robe here, but the peanut gallery is mostly silent here.
audience member says "what about a world with mostly evil and only a limited atonement? that would seem to be less good than the world that exists as you claim, therefore it seems that the argument from theistic skepticism is defeated since god could have made the world in such a manner". AP answers that hell may not be eternal (cites Timothy and Romans, I was flabbergasted as that seems to be in direct opposition to the rest of the body of calvinist views). Also, AP claims it may be that god only creates people that will turn to him in the long run, given many sequential opportunities.
RG steps in and says he does not accept AP characterization of totally evil world as impossible since modal ontological proof implies that god is present in every world. AP answers, "did not say it is impossible, but perhaps God is a necessary being in all worlds and thus would not permit it" and I am wondering what the hell all this bullfuzz is about at this point. says "maybe the world couldn't be any more good than it already is" (again implying a quantity he before and aft says is not quantifiable).
Audience: what about the failure of individual choice, ie free individuals choosing evil when they could have chosen good. God could have created an individual that would have made the good choice. AP responds that doesn't imply it is necessary that a person could exist who would have made that choice, it may be that such a choice is inevitable in the situational context.
and from there it got even more boring. if anyone is interested i have the rest of the notes, they cut RG short after 2 hours was up and he was not finished. lot of youth pastor dweebs running around in polo shirts, khaki shorts and cheap tennis shoes. made me wanna spit tobacco juice in the floor but I behaved.
You're obviously illiterate as hell. Peach, bro.-FtK
Finding something hard to believe based on the evidence, is science.-JoeG
the odds of getting some loathsome taint are low-- Gordon E Mullings Manjack Heights Montserrat
I work on molecular systems with pathway charts and such.-Giggles