More Evil, Less Good

John Zande, a colleague blogger has authored a book titled “On The Problem of Good.” It’s a bold and an eloquent exposition premised on the hypothesis that “there is no good, everything degenerates into evil” according to the author. It’s hardly a book for the regular reader because it’s highly philosophical or abstract and it’s backed by scientific facts. Many of you already know my position on Science.

The founder of Christianity asserts that there is none that is good except God (Mathew 19:17), so the author may not be far from truth except that he claims evil is the basis of existence, good is illusionary, hence there is nothing wrong with the world. Here I disagree. There is everything wrong with the world. When we speak of life or existence, we speak of living things and how they percieve their environment. I believe humans, in spite of all the evil in this world, gravitate towards good. No sane person dreams of war, violence, hate, death etc.

How could such virtues as peace, unity, love, compassion, genuine altruism etc be evil? What about people who devote their lives to taking care of orphaned children, the homeless, the sick, victims of abuse, the vulnerable etc. This acts appear good to me and contradict the Darwinian notion of “survival of the fittest”. The instinct to help eachother when in trouble, to form and maintain social ties, to strive for morality and fairness etc that’s one tiny way us humans are different.

I have personally witnessed good. I have seen mothers risk their lives to save their children from harm. I have seen fathers sacrifice their future so that their children could have one. I have seen strangers offer refuge to the afflicted. I have seen people donate all their wealth to the needy after their death. I have seen strangers pull out a trapped person from under a rubble without asking to be paid. I have seen a crowd carry an accident victim to a hospital without requesting anything material. What is responsible for such altruistic acts if all there is is evil? These acts tell me humans are equally capable of good. However, agreeably, there is more evil and less good.

Now I have two questions for the Author concerning his hypothesis of a maximally evil, omnimalevolent universe.

1. Is the world a case study for testing his hypothesis?
2. If the world is his case study, then his hypothesis cannot be proved.

Reason:
1. There is both good and evil in this world according to the experiences of the vast majority of people. This is irreducible to an all evil world. So John, if you are reading this how did you prove your hypothesis to be true? Forgive me but was it through confirmation bias?

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “More Evil, Less Good

  1. Hi there my learned friend, and thanks for the opportunity to discuss the subject

    First up, I do not say the Creator is evil. What is said is that from the perspective of all contingent things inside Creation looking out the Creator appears evil.

    Here is a brief section that touches on that and may explain it a little better:

    ”Who else but the perfect expression of debasement could set the conditions of a universe where suffering is not only inescapable, but growing, only to then cast Himself into that Creation, not to observe like some docile voyeur, but to experience directly? Who else but the embodiment of corruption would choose not only to inflict pain but also suffer pain by simultaneously playing the role of both predator and prey?

    Would not this act of perverted self-abuse be the very definition of absolute madness; of maximum evil?

    At one earth atmosphere the accusation might therefore indeed be profoundly meaningful, but this does not, however, necessarily mean the world-shaper, God, is in fact something that may be called mad, evil, wicked, or even malevolent.

    Not in actuality.

    Not in the only reality that matters: that of the Creator’s opinion of Himself, of His interests and His palate. The impression (be it accurate and faithful or not) is however undeniably cogent and immediate to all things outside the mind of God.

    An opinion, after all, is all that stands between pragmatism and hostility. A sentiment is all that differentiates entertainment from cruelty. An impression is the only thing that separates the stimulating from the terrifying. And a judgment, ultimately, is the only thing that disentangles the appalling from the delicious.”

    I then go on to give the example of delicious excrement as demonstrated in oxygen and surströmming.

    To your points.

    1. You did read the book, didn’t you? The case studies are presented. They are historical. Good leads inexorably to greater evil.
    2. I don’t see how this follows?

    As Paley observed:

    “Contrivance proves design, and the predominant tendency of the contrivance indicates the disposition of the designer.”

    The predominant tendency of the contrivance does not lie. It is historical. It is quantifiable, and that is why I have concluded this book with a challenge open to anyone, theist or atheist.

    I would be genuinely interested to see if you could answer the challenge.

    Like

    • I did read the book. It is not necessarily true that from the perspective of all contingent things inside Creation looking out, the Creator appears evil. The Creator appears good to some.

      In my opinion the case studies were insufficient and insignificant to justify such a conclusion and you mainly presented those that confirmed your opinion. Furthermore, are you not then confirming the existence of a designer-creator? What’s your opinion on that.

      In what context, did you use the word “good” and “evil” in your book? Lastly, in question 2, I’m asking how do you prove that there is no “good” because others claim the opposite. It seems you are using the terms “good” and “evil” in a context other than their conventional meaning. How will you explain that?

      Liked by 1 person

      • It is not necessarily true that from the perspective of all contingent things inside Creation looking out, the Creator appears evil. The Creator appears good to some.

        Really? Can you honestly say there is a single person (or creature) who looks at the world and cannot see it saturated with suffering? True, a precious few can live spectacular lives free from all pedestrian concerns, but the world outside that safe bubble is no different.

        In my opinion the case studies were insufficient and insignificant to justify such a conclusion and you mainly presented those that confirmed your opinion.

        Which is why I presented the challenge. If you can think of anything that can be shown with historically compelling evidence to unambiguously contravene the pattern/patterns demonstrated then I’d be thrilled to see it.

        Furthermore, are you not then confirming the existence of a designer-creator? What’s your opinion on that.

        Are you sure you actually read the book?

        The Creator created this artificial world (one of perhaps million, billion, or even trillions) to explore those things he, an uncreated aseitic being, cannot explore, or ever directly experience: death, and all the exotic abstractions associated to it.

        This a brief section that touches on that:

        ”Unable to die, powerless to be no more, incapable of even experiencing the thrill of the fear of approaching annihilation, and yet blessed with all the powers necessary to explore this fantastic anomaly, it was inevitable that a non-contingent aseitic being (that seminal consciousness: God) would come, eventually, to gather and focus His impossible powers to contrive artificial environments inside which He could cultivate all those things He, the Creator, could never directly experience in the actual world. Incapable however of even knowing the depth and scope of fear and terror and annihilation, such environments (tourable theme parks, in a manner of speaking) could never be built complete; not as some pre-packaged pits of despair inside which readymade sentient avatars could be released to suffer the full force of every ill imaginable.

        Such things would be unknowable, and being unknowable these artificial worlds could only ever be fashioned in such a way that they could self-experiment and freely evolve from some basal expression fixed between concepts He, the Creator, could never touch, but could impose on an artificial scape: a beginning, a middle, and an end.

        Inside these sealed-off worlds (these self-complicating petri dishes) profoundly ignorant avatars could be cultured and grown; evolving surrogates raised like experimental animals to probe and explore this extraordinary curiosity. And through these proxies, these naïve stand-ins, He, the Creator, could taste the fear He alone could never experience, feel the suffering He alone could never know, and meet every pedigree of oblivion denied to Him by dying vicariously.

        That is the social contract history informs us of, and it is a contract even Plantinga seemed to have recognised, stating:

        “God does not stand idly by, coolly observing the suffering of His creatures. He enters into and shares our suffering.”

        Albeit imagining a dramatically different relationship, one no doubt stitched-through with genuine compassion and sympathy, Plantinga’s observation appears accurate by every meaningful measure. The Creator enters into and shares our suffering, tapping into those veins, experiencing directly through surrogates what He alone could never experience directly.”

        In what context, did you use the word “good” and “evil” in your book?

        The definition of evil is on page 12: “Evil (here primarily defined as the ways and means by which suffering can be delivered and experienced) ) not only exists, but its capacity, variety and potency is increasing as God’s Creation faithfully fulfils its elemental instruction: to diversify and specialise, to migrate, to augment and to grow more complex over time.”

        I do not define “good,” not directly, but as stated in a number of places, we may take it to read as anything that is advantageous or pleasing or welcomed.

        I’m asking do you prove that there is no “good” because others claim the opposite.

        I have detailed many case studies demonstrating that good births greater evil. If you think you can challenge them, then challenge them. I’m happy to be challenged. I want to be challenged.

        Liked by 1 person

Share your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s