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Lecture 4

Lecture 4- The problem of Evil.docx

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University of Guelph
PHIL 1050
Patricia Sheridan

Lecture 4- The problem of Evil -Aquinas’s Intelligent Design argument -Does evil present a problem for theists? -The argument from Intelligent Design • Everything acts predictably and toward some goal • Natural things do not have knowledge or intent • Directed things are directed by an intelligence (having knowledge and intent) • There must be an intelligence behind all the ordered action in the world • This is God + Problem? • “What plan or planner determined that millions of humans would die without even a grave marker, for our first 200,000 years of struggling and desperate existence, and that there would only then at last be a ‘revelation’ to save us, about 3000 years ago, but disclosed only to gaping peasants in remote and violent and illiterate areas of the Middle East?” • Christopher Hitchens, “Does Science make belief in God obsolete?” +Voltaire, the Lisbon Earthquake, 18th century • “But how conceive a God, the source of love, Who on man lavished blessings from above, Then would the race with various plagues confound, Can mortals penetrate His views profound? Ill could not from a perfect being spring, nor from another, since God’s sovereign king; and yet, sad truth! In this our world ’tis found, what contradictions here my soul confound!” • 1755, 40, 000 dead • A large number of people sought refuge in a church, and died +Epicurus, 3rd century, B.C. • “Either God wants to abolish evil, and cannot; or he can, but does not want to. If he wants to, but cannot, he is impotent. If he can, but does not want to, he is wicked. If God can abolish evil, and God really wants to do it, why is there evil in the world?” +David Hume, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, 1779 • "[God's] power we allow [is] infinite: Whatever he wills is executed: But neither man nor any other animal are happy: Therefore he does not will their happiness. His wisdom is infinite: He is never mistaken in choosing the means to any end: But the course of nature tends not to human or animal felicity: Therefore it is not established for that purpose. Through the whole compass of human knowledge, there are no inferences more certain and infallible than these. In what respect, then, do his benevolence and mercy resemble the benevolence and mercy of men? “ +Sam Harris, Letter to a Christian Nation, 2006 • “Examples of God's failure to protect humanity are everywhere to be seen. The city of New Orleans, for instance, was recently destroyed by a hurricane. More than a thousand people died; tens of thousands lost all their earthly possessions; and nearly a million were displaced…what was God doing while Katrina laid waste to their city… These were people of faith. These were good men and women who had prayed throughout their lives. Do you have the courage to admit the obvious? These poor people [prayed for help and] died talking to an imaginary friend.” +Sam Harris, Letter • “Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make in the presence of unjustified religious beliefs…An atheist is a person who believes that the murder of a single little girl— even once in a million years—casts doubt upon the idea of a benevolent God.” +The problem of evil, Mackie • “In
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