Wednesday, July 26, 2006
A Challenge to Advocates of the Argument from Evil
I'd like to make an methodological point in discussions of the problem of evil, a part of the Plantingian legacy. If the theist begins by offering explanations of the existence of evil, and the discussion focuses on the adequacy of these explanations, the theist puts themselves at an unfair disadvantage. If I as a defender of the argument from reason were to say that since we don't now have a detailed explanation of the evolution of the brain, the argument from reason succeeds, I would be rightly criticized. The same principle applies here to the argument from evil. The correct procedure, it seems to me, is to ask the atheist to present his/her argument against theism. Is it a logical argument, a probabilistic argument, or some other kind of argument. Show me the argument, let me see what the premises are and what the conclusion is. Then an explanation, or a possible explanation, for evil might be required. Or not, depending on the structure of the argument. So I'm going to issue a challenge to atheists. Give me your version of the argument from evil. Numbered premises please.