-The usual, natural way in which people come to belief in God: they seek refuge from the unrelenting misery and uncertainty in the world in a Being that transcends it, hoping for relief from it in this life and an afterlife.
-The “War of Nature”: the whole realm of biological organisms is at war, competing with each other to survive.
-Humans can escape much of this war by combining to form societies, and thus protect themselves against it.
-However, once they escape it in this way, they immediately create new forms of misery.
-the misery they create with superstitious beliefs
-the misery of interpersonal conflict
-Furthermore, there are other forms of misery that the human race can’t escape:
-psychological misery: remorse, shame, fear, anxiety, etc.
-misery from mental and physical sickness and disease
-These forms of misery are constant and universal
-Furthermore, all of the goods that life has to offer combined barely make life worth living
-And the lack of any one of them makes life unhappy
-Even the best things that the world has to offer aren’t very interesting or enjoyable – at least not for any significant amount of time
-proof that everyone is miserable: when someone is asked if they would live the last twenty years of their life over again, they almost always say “No”.
-Objection: People can’t be that miserable, for if they were, they would commit suicide to escape it.
-Reply: No. They don’t commit suicide because, although they are miserable, they are more afraid of death
-Even a life of retreat from the world is miserable. For then one is confronted with the miseries of boredom, languishing, and regret.
-Thus, the misery of the world is inescapable.
-But if so, then if one were to take an honest look at the world – a world in which there is a war of nature, constant, universal, inescapable misery, and in which the good things in life provide no deep and lasting satisfaction or enjoyment -- they must admit that this isn’t the world that they would expect the God of theism to create.
-But if not, then it is improbable that such a God exists
-A better hypothesis: whoever or whatever is responsible for the world’s existence is indifferent to our welfare.
-Its only goal is the bare propagation and preservation of the species.
-For nature accomplishes no other end, such as human or animal happiness
-Even on the few occasions that it does, it appears so briefly and infrequently that it appears to be either an accidental byproduct of nature, or perhaps a begrudging allowance to ensure that the species are propagated and preserved.
We can use the logical machinery employed in the fine-tuning design argument to characterize Hume's argument here:
Data (D): A world in which there is a war of nature, constant, universal, inescapable misery, and in which the good things in life provide no deep and lasting satisfaction or enjoyment.
H1: D is due to an all-knowing, all-powerful, perfectly good God.
H2: D is due to causes that are indifferent to our welfare.
1. We'd expect D if H2 were true.
2. We wouldn't expect D if H1 were true.
3. If we'd expect D if H2 were true, but we wouldn't expect D if H1 were true, then H2 is more probable than H1.
4. Therefore, H2 is more probable than H1.
As we saw in the previous post , Morriston's (2000) paper, " Must the Beginning of the Universe Have a Personal Cause? " cr...
0. Introduction 0.1 Mackie argues that the problem of evil proves that either no god exists, or at least that the god of Orthodox Judaism, ...
Notes on Swinburne’s “Why God Allows Evil” 1. The kinds of goods a theistic god would provide: deeper goods than just “thrills of pleasure ...
In this post, I’d like to sketch a new (or at least under-explored) version of the problem of evil, which I will dub the problem of teleolo...