Monday, June 27, 2011

Thomas Crisp's Evolutionary Objection to the Problem of Evil



Jake said...

Perhaps I'm a bit dense at this late hour, but I have an issue with the argument here, aside from general concerns with evolutionary debunking arguments. It seems to me that the sort of PoE arguments that fall prey to this debunking argument are of the external sort, leaving the internal PoE's untouched. That is, while one might not be able to affirm (1) from a naturalistic perspective, one is still able to affirm (1) from a theistic perspective, if not only because under theistic assumptions one should be able to be more confident in one's philosophical results (which I only grant for the sake of the argument). If a person operating with theistic assumptions (or perhaps just for the sake of argument) comes to affirm (1), then the PoE is alive and kicking, or so it seems to me.

m said...

I agree with the above. This paper is a problem for atheists who are atheists solely or mainly because of the PoE. If the PoE is the only reason you are an atheist, and if the paper's argument is sound, then you are unjustified in your atheism. Does it follow that you ought to be a theist? No, only that you shouldn't be an atheist. Maybe you should be an agnostic.

JS Allen said...

@m - But that is accomplishing quite a lot, isn't it? I'm not sure it accomplishes even that, though. IMO, the weakest part in the argument is his assumption that generally reliable truth mechanisms that evolved for survival cannot be trusted in application to "recondite" problems.

Alex said...

Yup agree with Allen on that. If you accept Plantinga's argument then all else (may) follow. If you reject it however, then the argument falls. I don't see why any naturalist is forced to accept it.

I'd add it might be interesting to do a variation of this argument that draws on the sources of Christianity. Christianity has always maintained that cognitive faculties have been irreparably damaged by The Fall and are really limited. Indeed, skeptical theist arguments rest upon this basis. Why should we believe, given theism, that we have reliable cognitive faculties of the sort claimed by people who make this argument. That one is free for anyone who wants to use it!

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