Great Pumpkin

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Evil God Challenge - two simple answers?
« Reply #15 on: February 21, 2012, 11:40:43 am »
RandyE wrote:
Quote from: GreatPumpkin
I don't think it fails.  Perhaps our reason isn't to be trusted - perhaps it leads some to believe in a Good God?  Perhaps it leads others to other Gods.

Obviously, to be rational means that we must trust our reasoning at some level, and I won't argue that our reasoning is fundamentally undermined (after all, I don't believe there is an Evil God; or Good God), so I feel I can rely on reason.

However, the Evil God believer could easily argue that the Evil God has given us the appearance of reasoning well, but with enough error to make us doubt it and come to other conclusions.

Let's flip your argument.  If there is a Good God that has given us the ability to Reason well, why do so many people not Reason well?

This is the same argument, flipped (as is the beauty of the Evil God challenge), and carries as much weight as the opposite.

Your claim is that with a Good God we can trust our reasoning.  I don't think this is true for everyone.
On theism, some people do not reason correctly because they are not functioning as intended (this can be for a variety of reasons, including: the fall of man, mental disabilities, etc.). But I think it misses the point. On the evil god challenge, we have a defeater for every belief. It doesn't matter that you don't subscribe to an evil god. What matters is that, supposedly, any argument for or defense against an objection to God's existence can be used for evil god. Since God would not design intentionally for us not to be able to trust reason in general, it's clearly not symmetrical. That some people cannot trust their beliefs in no way entails that all of us cannot trust our beliefs. This defense won't work for the evil god, for evil god ensures that all of us cannot trust at least some of our beliefs. But we can't know what those beliefs are; hence, we cannot know which of our beliefs are right, and knowing evil god, we actually have a defeater for all of our beliefs, including belief in evil god. Now it may be objected that just as we have insane people who do not function correctly, perhaps there are those who do not function correctly who instead have nearly impeccable-reasoning. This may be so, but notice something: they face the same epistemic problem (and, incidentally, they would know it, since they reason correctly). They would know there is an evil god, and he would want to deceive as many as he can given whatever morally-evilly-sufficient goals he may have. Knowing this, then, even if it seems to them to be good reasoning, they cannot affirm it, for they cannot, by definition, know if they are being rational in affirming that belief, so that even these exceptions, even if reasoning correctly, can only conclude they have a defeater for all of their beliefs.
Now one might claim that God may deceive people, but this is ex hypothesi false. As we have already discussed, that some people misfire on some of their beliefs, it does not follow that all of us misfire on all of our beliefs; that is, on a good God, there's no reason to suppose we have a defeater for all of our beliefs.

However, even with an evil god, good reasoning skills can be understood by the same argument Dr. Craig uses for the Problem of Suffering: that he may have a purpose for good reasoning that we don't understand.
But evil god must, by defintion of his necessary being, hold the property of being deceitful in a maximal way. That is, at least some deceit in trusting our beliefs must be exemplified (i.e., if there were a being with a maximal quality of deceit, then he would design all of his creatures to experience at least some deceit with respect to their belief, given their proper functionality). This is fully symmetrical with Good God's truth and benevolence, for example. But if deceit is properly functioning by design, the same asymmetrical problems attend. In that case, we have a defeater for every belief, including the belief that there is an evil god. No such epistemic problem holds for God.

1. If we can't trust our reasoning, God can't exist
2. We can't trust our reasoning
3. Therefore God doesn't exist.

Obviously this doesn't follow, but I believe this is your counter argument to an Evil God,

But your opposite is.

1. If we can trust our reasoning, God exists
2. We can (ultimately, somehow) trust our reasoning.
3. Therefore, God exists.

I don't trust your reasoning! :-)

I don't think simply not knowing the truth, or whether you can reason properly impacts reality.

Mental experiment:
Everything is as it is now.
Then, a brain eating microbe is unleashed by a terrorist organization.
Suddenly, no one can reason properly.
Does that change the actual state of affairs?



Likewise, there is reason to believe that the Evil God would keep good reasoning intact BECAUSE it is more evil: you can fully appreciate the dire situation of things after you die and fully realize your plight.

Also, if you believed your reasoning was always suspect, you could convince yourself (as you have, in a way) that it's all not true, and that a Good God would allow you to reason properly, and therefore that a Good God exists....

But wouldn't that position be the greatest deception of all?  It fits right in with an Evil God's plans....

I guess I don't see any traction to establish a Good God over an Evil One (and still a far cry from establishing ANY God over no God).
God is not the Father. At least, he's not apparent to me.

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Yuzem

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Evil God Challenge - two simple answers?
« Reply #16 on: February 23, 2012, 06:55:50 pm »
Hi, sorry for the delay, I couldn't find time to answer sooner.
It seems that RandyE has already addressed some of the objections but I want to respond anyway so here I go:

"1. There is nothing to preclude an evil god from creating minds that can reason."

Yes, of-course, but it may be that the evil god has created us with minds that can not reason.
If it is equally plausible that we can trust in reason than that we can not trust in reason then we have no very good grounds to trust in reason.
Of-course I hold that it is not equally plausible. Reason is a tool to attain knowledge, and knowledge is good. If god is evil he shall not want us to attain knowledge.

Let's flip your argument.  If there is a Good God that has given us the  ability to Reason well, why do so many people not Reason well?

Before addressing this objection let me make another argument since the same objection could be made for it:

1. If god is evil we can't rely on moral intuition.
2. It is false that we can't rely on
moral intuition.
3. Therefore, God is not evil.


So why some people not reason well?
Reason and moral intuition are tools, tools to reach some kind of truth.
Imagine you have a hammer and you are trying to drive a nail.
It may be that you don't know how to use the hammer, may be you are taking the hammer by the wrong extreme, you can harm your fingers if you miss the nail, maybe the hammer is not in good conditions but if the hammer is ok and you know how to use it correctly you will succeed.
Now, imagine that instead of a hammer you are using a candle. No matter what, you won't be able to drive the nail.

If God is good, then we have good grounds to believe that the tools of reason and moral intuition are adequate to reach some kind of truth and we can trust them, of-course we have to learn to use them correctly and it is worth the effort of trying to reason and trying to distinguish good from evil.
If god is evil, the tools of reason and moral intuition may not be adequate to reach any kind of truth and there is no point in trusting them. Even if we are able to reach some truth, in the end, this god will deceive us, since knowledge is good and he is evil.

2. Most creators? But not all. And  considering most people appear to be headed to Hell, according to  christianity, it appears that god may not be like most creators. Plus,  what other creators do we know besides human creators: is god now in the  image of man?

It is not according to Christianity but according to "some" christians and this is irrelevant since we are not talking about any specific religion here.
It is not arbitrarily that I am comparing God to other creators, the "Evil God Challenge" allows us to do that comparison since it grants God the quality of creator.

3. Again, not all fathers of all species care about their progeny. Take the largest population of life on the planet: insects.

I never said "all" fathers, I said "most" fathers.
I'm not an expert in insects but many insects do care for their progeny, they leave the eggs in a safe place and do what is necessary to protect them until there is no more necessity.
Anyway, I was speaking of fathers that are aware of their fatherhood, we can't say that insects are aware of their fatherhood.
I'm comparing the God that the challenge grants, the Evil God hypothesis grants God the quality of omniscience.

Agreed.  I was simply pointing out  that his argument presupposed a particular religion, and so to say "most  Creators" really just means the ones he means to point out to make his  point - cherry picking.

I'm not presupposing a particular religion, the "Evil God Hypothesis" is using exactly the same term: "Consider a different hypothesis. Suppose the universe has a creator." (page 4)
You can read it here.

Likewise, there is reason to believe  that the Evil God would keep good reasoning intact BECAUSE it is more  evil: you can fully appreciate the dire situation of things after you  die and fully realize your plight.

The Evil God could give us just the appearance of good reasoning or he could give us good reasoning for some evil purpose. If one possibility is not more plausible than the other, then we don't have good grounds to trust reason.

I want to add another argument to the list. If god is evil then all creation is in the end serving an evil purpose. Any good will ultimately serve a greater evil.

1. If god is evil, to be, is not preferable then not to be.
2. To be is preferable than not to be.
3. Therefore, God is not evil.

Or in another form:
1. If god is evil, life, isn't worth it.
2. It is false that life isn't worth it.
3. Therefore, God is not evil.

Sorry again for the delay, I will try to answer quicker next time.

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Great Pumpkin

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Evil God Challenge - two simple answers?
« Reply #17 on: February 24, 2012, 07:33:18 am »
There arr many objections i could provide, but the upshot is that just because an evil god might cause us to reason poorly, doesnt mean he doesnt exist.

   This is the over-rising fallacy of your position.

   

   You are trying to say, if an evil god exists, it would be bad, so it cant be true.
God is not the Father. At least, he's not apparent to me.

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Yuzem

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Evil God Challenge - two simple answers?
« Reply #18 on: February 24, 2012, 08:38:53 am »
Of-course, it doesn't mean he doesn't exist, it could be that there is an evil god and that life isn't worth it and that we can not trust in reason or moral intuition.
But if we do believe that we can trust in reason and moral intuition or if we do believe that life is worth it then there can't be an evil god.
If you don't believe that you can trust in reason there isn't much sense in demonstrating that an evil-god is just as reasonable as a good-God.

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Great Pumpkin

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Evil God Challenge - two simple answers?
« Reply #19 on: February 24, 2012, 08:50:39 am »
Yuzem wrote: Of-course, it doesn't mean he doesn't exist, it could be that there is an evil god and that life isn't worth it and that we can not trust in reason or moral intuition.
But if we do believe that we can trust in reason and moral intuition or if we do believe that life is worth it then there can't be an evil god.
If you don't believe that you can trust in reason there isn't much sense in demonstrating that an evil-god is just as reasonable as a good-God.

Then your arguments are not criticisms of the logical argument Law provided and we are done.
God is not the Father. At least, he's not apparent to me.

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Yuzem

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Evil God Challenge - two simple answers?
« Reply #20 on: February 24, 2012, 09:30:04 am »
Then your arguments are not criticisms of the logical argument Law provided and we are done.

Why not?
I'm providing logical arguments:

1. If god is evil we can't rely on reason.
2. It is false that we can't rely on reason.
3. Therefore, God is not evil.


You can of-course say that premise 2 is false and hold that we can not rely on reason but I don't think many people would want to take that road.
Nevertheless, I think there is a way of attacking this argument...

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Great Pumpkin

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Evil God Challenge - two simple answers?
« Reply #21 on: February 24, 2012, 12:41:04 pm »
Yuzem wrote:
Then your arguments are not criticisms of the logical argument Law provided and we are done.

Why not?
I'm providing logical arguments:

1. If god is evil we can't rely on reason.
2. It is false that we can't rely on reason.
3. Therefore, God is not evil.


You can of-course say that premise 2 is false and hold that we can not rely on reason but I don't think many people would want to take that road.
Nevertheless, I think there is a way of attacking this argument...

Sigh...

Me: "1. There is nothing to preclude an evil god from creating minds that can reason."

You: "Yes, of-course,...."


You yourself disagreed with your first premise.
God is not the Father. At least, he's not apparent to me.

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Yuzem

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Evil God Challenge - two simple answers?
« Reply #22 on: February 24, 2012, 01:23:02 pm »
I don't disagree with the premise:

You:
1. There is nothing to preclude an evil god from creating minds that can reason.


Me:
Yes, of-course, but it may be that the evil god has created us with minds that can not reason.
If  it is equally plausible that we can trust in reason than that we can  not trust in reason then we have no very good grounds to trust in  reason.



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Great Pumpkin

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Evil God Challenge - two simple answers?
« Reply #23 on: February 24, 2012, 02:55:31 pm »
Yuzem wrote: I don't disagree with the premise:

You:
1. There is nothing to preclude an evil god from creating minds that can reason.


Me:
Yes, of-course, but it may be that the evil god has created us with minds that can not reason.
If  it is equally plausible that we can trust in reason than that we can  not trust in reason then we have no very good grounds to trust in  reason.



but you agree there is nothing to preclude an evil god from creating minds that can reason.

So, it's reasonable to try to reason, whether we can reason or not.

Regardless, you are not disproving the evil god challenge.  Do you agree?  I don't want to rehash this whole thing again.
God is not the Father. At least, he's not apparent to me.

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Yuzem

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Evil God Challenge - two simple answers?
« Reply #24 on: February 24, 2012, 03:47:58 pm »
but you agree there is nothing to preclude an evil god from creating minds that can reason.

Yes there is "nothing to preclude" which means, as I understand it, that it is not impossible.
I'm not holding that it can't be that he has created us with minds that can reason, maybe it is, maybe it isn't.
Even if there were some reasons that can be proposed for an evil-god creating minds that can reason, if these reasons are balanced by other reasons against an evil-god creating minds that can reason then we have no very good grounds to trust in  reason.

If an evil-god exist: what reasons do we have to believe that he has created us with minds that can reason rather than with minds that can not reason?

If the reasons in one side are similar to the reasons in the other side then we have no very good grounds to trust in  reason.

So, it's reasonable to try to reason, whether we can reason or not.

If it is plausible to believe that reason was created to mislead us I don't see why it would be reasonable to try to reason.

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Great Pumpkin

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Evil God Challenge - two simple answers?
« Reply #25 on: February 24, 2012, 04:19:29 pm »
Yuzem wrote:
but you agree there is nothing to preclude an evil god from creating minds that can reason.

Yes there is "nothing to preclude" which means, as I understand it, that it is not impossible.
I'm not holding that it can't be that he has created us with minds that can reason, maybe it is, maybe it isn't.
Even if there were some reasons that can be proposed for an evil-god creating minds that can reason, if these reasons are balanced by other reasons against an evil-god creating minds that can reason then we have no very good grounds to trust in  reason.

If an evil-god exist: what reasons do we have to believe that he has created us with minds that can reason rather than with minds that can not reason?

If the reasons in one side are similar to the reasons in the other side then we have no very good grounds to trust in  reason.

So, it's reasonable to try to reason, whether we can reason or not.

If it is plausible to believe that reason was created to mislead us I don't see why it would reasonable to try to reason.

What other option would you have? You are welcome to not reason, after all.
God is not the Father. At least, he's not apparent to me.

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Yuzem

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« Reply #26 on: February 24, 2012, 05:08:10 pm »
What other option would you have? You are welcome to not reason, after all.

You can be irrational.
If you don't think we can rely on reason then there is not much sense in asserting that a good God is not more reasonable than an evil-god.

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Great Pumpkin

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« Reply #27 on: February 24, 2012, 07:36:25 pm »
Yuzem wrote:
What other option would you have? You are welcome to not reason, after all.

You can be irrational.
If you don't think we can rely on reason then there is not much sense in asserting that a good God is not more reasonable than an evil-god.
maybe, but I am choosing to reason because I believe it to be worthwhile - even if I'm wrong.

After all, maybe philosophers have found reasoning worthwhile and were wrong. Aristotle, for example.

I don't believe you can simply decide that reasoning in not worthwhile just because you arrive at the wrong conclusion in the end.

And, if an Evil God exists, we have arrived at the right one despite his efforts. - Just like if a Good God exists some of us have arrived at the wrong conclusion.
God is not the Father. At least, he's not apparent to me.

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Yuzem

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« Reply #28 on: February 24, 2012, 08:26:55 pm »
maybe, but I am choosing to reason because I believe it to be worthwhile - even if I'm wrong.

To what end is it worth it?
If God is good then reason is worth it to attain knowledge but if god is evil: what is the worth of reason?

And, if an Evil God exists, we have arrived at the right one despite his  efforts. - Just like if a Good God exists some of us have arrived at  the wrong conclusion.

Yes, and if we decide by throwing a coin some of us will arrive at the right conclusion.
Why not to throw a coin instead of reasoning? It is much easier.

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carter smith

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« Reply #29 on: February 27, 2012, 08:41:29 am »
Yuzem wrote:
maybe, but I am choosing to reason because I believe it to be worthwhile - even if I'm wrong.

To what end is it worth it?
If God is good then reason is worth it to attain knowledge but if god is evil: what is the worth of reason?
It's worth it to me.

And, if an Evil God exists, we have arrived at the right one despite his  efforts. - Just like if a Good God exists some of us have arrived at  the wrong conclusion.

Yes, and if we decide by throwing a coin some of us will arrive at the right conclusion.
Why not to throw a coin instead of reasoning? It is much easier.
[/QUOTE]

Maybe that's what we are doing? I prefer to think otherwise.

Either way, is you argument:

1. If reason isn't reliable, I don't like it.
2. If an evil god exits, reason isn't reliable.
3. Therefore, I don't like it... nope, not one bit.
But God doesn't exist.  How does that affect your arguments?