Sunday, 22 January 2017

Why does God allow evil?

Here's a thing. The Problem of Evil is a terrible terrible argument philosophically. It's terrible. Rubbish. Just awful. It's an emotional knee jerk reaction to stuff people don't like. It hasn't got any actual weight as an intellectual problem. 

But people are hung up on it. And we shouldn't be surprised about that. People in general do favour their emotions over rationality.

It's human nature to put our feelings first, even when reason points in a different direction. When you do philosophy, you have to get in the practice of switching off emotion for a while, otherwise you can cloud your judgement. It's not always easy, and in tricky subjects like the worldwide suffering of humanity, it can seem cold and heartless. But them's the breaks.

Quite often, the Problem of Evil won't even be presented as any kind of logical philosophical argument or syllogism. It'll usually just be the question "Why does God let bad things happen?"
You don't have to have studied philosophy for long to know that a question is not the same as an argument!
A question is looking for an answer. You don't know how to explain something, so you ask someone else if they can. An argument is an attempt to make an explanation that you already have stick.
So given that there's this big question casting a large dark shadow of doubt over people, we should wonder if there's an answer.

And this is a thing that plagued me before I began my journey into Christianity. There were so many questions like this that were in common knowledge, yet nobody seemed to even have the beginning of an answer. We'd say "If God exists, why do bad things happen to good people?" and then shrug our shoulders and move on thinking "I guess we'll never know".
There was a time where I thought it was perfectly reasonable when I heard people saying stuff like "I think it's likely that there was a man in history called Jesus who was a good teacher, but I don't know for sure."
But then I discovered these things called 'reading' and 'research' and 'critical thinking'. It was amazing the results that I got. Answers are out there. Just go have a look.
So, after that lengthy sidetrack, let's get on with the question of the day. "If God exists, why does he let bad things happen to good people?"

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Atheism Is Not The Null Hypothesis

I briefly covered my dismay at the phrase 'atheism is the null hypothesis' before, but I've decided to give it a brief revisit.

The null hypothesis is a term used in science to help weed out parts of theories that can be shaved by Ockam's Razor. When performing a scientific test, the null hypothesis refers to a specific variable that you can assume is not necessary to the success of the test. If it was removed, the test would work as well as it does when it is present. So when it comes to describing the test and its method, you needn't even mention the variable, because it has no effect whatsoever.

This is how atheists feel about the universe and God. They see atheism as the null hypothesis, with God as the useless variable, because they see that the universe runs just fine without him.

But isn't that quite clearly concluding atheism based on the presupposition of atheism? Yes. Yes it is.