Sunday, September 02, 2007

Reductio Ad Absurdum- Theodicy and Freewill

I have decided to post some of the e-mails from the expansive archives of the ongoing conversation between D.S. Martin and other friends and myself. Here is the next installment of: Quantum Contemplations: Deus Ex Paradoxon

>-----Original Message-----
> >From: "S. Starr"
> >To: D.S. Martin
> >CC: Chuck
> >Subject: reductio ad absurdum Date: Tue, 02 May 2006 19:54:57 -0500

Theodicy (adjectival form "theodicean") is a specific branch of theology and philosophy that attempts to reconcile the existence of evil or suffering in the world with the assumption of a benevolent God —ie. the problem of evil. Theodiceans use this to reconcile the co-existence of evil and God may thus be called "a theodicy".

> >{cut and is this stuff requires some real thinking ..but
>in these links is the riddle of "paragraph 1"...all dreadfully on topic}
> >
> >I find myself to be only safe in my theodicy of freewill...all else
> >is...well...puzzling to say the least...
> >
> >digest and then comment...
> >
> >There are a great many variants of the problem of evil, including
>inductive variants, logical variants, evidential variants, soteriological
>variants, arguments from natural law, pain and pleasure, and more.
> >
> >Epicurus is credited with first expounding this problem, and it is
> >sometimes called the Epicurean paradox (or the riddle of Epicurus) -
> >although the argument is not really a paradox or a riddle, but rather a
> >reductio ad absurdum of the premises. Epicurus drew the conclusion that
>the existence of evil is incompatible with the existence of the gods. More
> >generally, no paradox or problem exists for those who do not accept the
> >premises, in particular the existence of a god or gods (or their
> >benevolence if they do exist).
> >
> > "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, as they say, God can abolish
>evil,and God really wants to do it, why is there evil in the world?"
> as quoted in 2000 Years of Disbelief)
> >
> >
> >
(this one is a real brain teaser)
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
S. Starr
Sent : Tuesday, May 2, 2006 8:44 PM
To : D.S. Martin
Subject :RE: reductio ad absurdum

check this weblog:

"The free will defense is offered to show that there is a viable way in which God can
co-exist with moral evil...."

>From: Chuck
>To: S. Starr
>Subject: RE: reductio ad absurdum
>Date: Mon, 17 Jul 2006 09:38:31 -0500
>As you insinuate in your other missive, freewill is the answer to the
>question of pain and suffering. If we didn't have the prerogative to
>do idiotic things, there would be very little suffering in the world.
>But we do, and there is. This is unsatisfying to many, but it is the
>only answer that makes sense.

>From: "D. S. Martin"
To: "S. Starr"
Subject: RE: RE:The Augustinian Theodicy
Date: Tue, 16 May 2006 19:21:45 -0500

So, what was your opinion of the questions listed, to Augustine's Theodicy?

  1. If Satan and his angels led Man astray, how can we account for the fact
    that Satan
    himself exists?
    Isn't God here responsible for creating an evil

    This is what I have been asking you. What is the solution?
    And Why can't satan repent and no longer do those mean things that got us into this pickle? Why is it "slanderous" to denounce satan (Jude 8-10)?
  2. Are well-behaved robots better than ill-behaved free agents? Yes, well-behaved robots are better than ill-behaved free agents, if you "need" some work done around the Creation. And no, well-behaved robots are not better than ill-behaved free agents, if you "desire" freely given love, trust and devotion.
  3. If God cannot intervene without harming free-will, does this mean that he cannot intervene at all? Would this then make him not as powerful? Again, yes, because "God cannot create a stone that he is unable to lift." And again no. And I firmly believe, with all of my heart, that God cannot do nothing! He proved it by not doing nothing with France! I suspect that He will not do nothing with Palestine too, but there we get into prophecy.
    On this same point, it may be said, that God is limited by reason, which implies, that He is in fact, not a woman! Sorry, that's just not right.
  4. What would be the difference between a God who could not intervene and a God who did not exist? The difference would be a very 'mean' hanging curve ball. I really don't see how a nonexistent God could measure up in the "Big leagues." Therefore, my assessment is that a non-interventional God would beat a nonexistent God for the lead pitcher position... No contest! Steroid use notwithstanding. If we were to allow steroids into this argument it would be difficult to say, so emphatically. The nonexistent God on steroids could be a serious contender for the Cy Young Award. But, we would have to put an asterisk by His Holiness. The only real question is, if the salary caps would put either "God" out of reach, so to speak. My point is that this question is about as valid as my foray into baseball nonsense. We don't have enough information to make any assessment.
  5. Does the fact that God sends Christ to redeem the world make up for the existence of evil? Could God have expressed His love any other way? Yes. And yes. He shows us this in many "other ways." However, the quintessential example of His Love is shown in Jesus.
  6. Does the fact that evil exists still cause problems for these arguments? It does create difficulties, if it were otherwise, I think that faith would not be required; we would just calculate it with our Radio Shack calculator. But, at some point the answers must cease and faith must begin. Consider mathematicians; these poor fellows have to deal with "pi", in faith.
    Critical mathematical formulas for understanding the physical universe hinge on a value that cannot be actually ascertained. It can only be approximated. "Close but no cigar" is just fine for figuring the area of a circle or the volume of a sphere. But, we don't live in an approximation of reality. There is no digital universe, we live in an analog universe.
    We see, taste, touch, hear, smell, and touch in, good old fashioned, analog. Its seems absurd that minds which cannot define the three dimensional universe in "real" mathematical terms attempt to discount dimensions even beyond the ones they are eternally stumped by.


    > > From: S. Starr To: D.S. Martin Subject: RE:

    >RE:The Augustinian Theodicy> Date: Fri, 12 May 2006 10:40:16 -0500> > > >

    >> >

    From: S. Starr

    Sent : Friday, May 19, 2006 10:39 AM

    To : D.S. Martin

    CC :

    Subject : predestination and freewill

    Right now I am reading this book:

    The consensus seems to be that God does not assert and does limit the full range
    of his omniscient, omnipotent powers to create a situation whereby humans
    are morally responsible and liable for their own actions and in each moment
    a choice for good or evil is made as required by freewill theodicy.
    This then can resolve the questions of evil as to pre-destination or
    determinism or pre-ordination. That is what I believe.

    here is more on topic:

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