Saturday, March 14, 2009

Natural and Moral Evil

• Philosophers typically divide evils into moral evils, which are the direct result of evil actions by human persons, and natural evils, which are not directly produced by human actions.
• The fact that Hurricane Katrina hit the gulf coast with the force that it did would be an instance of natural evil, although the fact that the levees were not adequately maintained and broke, and the fact that Brownie did a “heck of a job” might be regarded as instance of moral evil.


Finney said...

Hm. I don't know if you read my argument; i basically argued that natural evil is like moral evil, and so within naturalism, since natural evil is uncaused by any persons, natural evil doesn't exist. How will your point bear on natural evil and the existence of God? Do you think your point means that natural evil can't be used in a moral argument against him, or something else?

Phritz said...

so within naturalism, since natural evil is uncaused by any persons, natural evil doesn't exist

The premises of the POE (Log, or Evi.) obviously do not presume naturalism, but supernaturalism, like, the existence of God (at least for the sake of illustrating the inconsistencies of the premises).

So within the context of religion (and the POE), "natural evil" would exist (ie plagues, disease, earthquakes): an omnipotent God would have by definition permitted the black plague, so He would be inseparable from a tyrant (as Smith also pointed out). His Injustice cannot be squared with his supposed Just nature (that may not be a contradiction, but inconsistency: just as a judge would be held guilty for a crime)

Since that's rather absurd (unless you want to worship an evil tyrant--as many monotheists do, arguably), God's existence seems unlikely. Not real deep, but troubling to most sunday schoolers, so they attempt to wiggle out of it in various ways (There is one way a churchies can get around it: by saying the victims are redeemed/accounted for in an Afterworld. When a churchie can show snapshot of Heaven, consider that "possible world" confirmed).

In other words, the POE actually shows the plausibility of naturalism. That a plague or epidemic is therefore not "evil" in theological sense does not mitigate the tragedy, or suffering, pain.

(the idea that only God can provide a basis for law or ethics may be one of the greatest errors of fundamentalists. The constitution suggests otherwise)

Most of this was pointed out by Perezoso, before he demanded someone confirm the ""God is Omni--" premises, and the webmeister banned him.

Finney said...

A tyrant doesn't allow things to go of its own motion, he forces his will upon it. Permission of nature to misbehave is not the equivalent of forcing it to behave a particular way, so God's being analogous to a tyrant is unproven here.