Benjamin Wiker on the Problem of Evil | Evolution News

If a given, concrete formulation of the argument from evil appeals tocases of intrinsically undesirable states of affairs that give riseonly to evidential considerations, rather than to an incompatibilityconclusion, then, although the existence of God may be improbablerelative to that evidence, it may not be improbable relative to one’stotal evidence. Theists, however, have often contended that thereare a variety of arguments that, even if they do not prove that Godexists, provide positive evidence. May not this positive evidenceoutweigh, then, the negative evidence of apparently unjustifiedevils?

Solution to the problem of evil? | Yahoo Answers

Johnson (eds.) Calvinism and the Problem of Evil Published: January 15, 2017

Solution to the problem of evil

If the ontological argument were sound, it would provide a ratherdecisive refutation of the argument from evil. For in showing notmerely that there is an omnipotent, omniscient, and morally perfectbeing, but also that it is necessary that such a being exists, it wouldentail that the proposition that God does not exist must haveprobability zero on any body of evidence whatever.

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Short of embracing compete inductive skepticism, then, it would seemthat an appeal to human cognitive limitations cannot provide ananswer to evidential versions of the argument from evil.

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The fourth and final approach, which has been set out by MichaelTooley, involves the idea of bringing a substantive theory ofinductive logic, or logical probability, to bear upon the argumentfrom evil, and then to argue that when this is done, one can derive aformula giving the probability that God does not exist relative toinformation about the number of apparent evils to be found in theworld.

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The problem, then, is that Plantinga not only started out by focusingon very abstract versions of the argument from evil, but alsomaintained this focus throughout. The explanation of this may lie inthe fact that Plantinga seems to have believed that if it can be shownthat the existence of God is neither incompatible with, nor renderedimprobable by, either (1) the mere existence of evil, or (2) theexistence of a specified amount of evil, then no philosophical problemremains. People may find, of course, that they are still troubled bythe existence of specific evils, but this, Plantinga seems to bebelieve, is a religious problem, and what is called for, he suggests,is not philosophical argument, but “pastoralcare” (1974a,63–4).[]

This week Inside Catholic republished an absolutely brilliant essay by Discovery Institute Senior Fellow Benjamin Wiker on the problem of evil

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The fundamental idea, accordingly, is that the way to determinewhether the inductive step that lies at the heart of the evidentialargument from evil is sound is by bringing serious inductivelogic—understood as a theory of logical probability—tobear upon the question.

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A Draper-style argument is one type of indirect inductive argumentfrom evil. It is important to notice, however, that in formulating anindirect inductive argument from evil, one need not proceed along theroute that Draper chooses. This is clear if one focuses upon Hume’sformulation, and then thinks in terms of the idea of an inference tothe best explanation of the “mixed phenomena” that onefinds. If one explains the fact that the world contains an impressivemixture of desirable and undesirable states of affairs by thehypothesis that the creator of the world was an omnipotent,omniscient, and indifferent deity, then nothing more needs to beadded. By contrast, if one wants to explain the mixed state of theworld by the hypothesis that the creator of the world was anomnipotent, omniscient, and morally perfect deity, one needs topostulate the existence of additional, morally significant propertiesthat lie beyond our ken, and ones, moreover, that are so distributedthat the mixed appearance does not correspond to what is really thecase. A theistic explanation is, accordingly, less simple than anindifferent deity explanation, and therefore, provided that one canargue that the a priori probability of the latter hypothesisis not less than that of the former, one can appeal to the greatersimplicity of the latter in order to conclude that it has a higherposterior probability than the theistic hypothesis. It then follows,given that the two hypotheses are logically incompatible, that theprobability of the theistic hypothesis must be less than one half.

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But if this is right, and the hypothesis that the first cause (orcauses) of the universe is neither good nor evil is more probable thanthe hypothesis that the first cause is perfectly good, then theprobability of the latter must be less than one half.