Down below, Derek writes:
Honeycomb’s statement is imprecise, but otherwise accurate. You can prove some negatives, so I state it rather wordily: you can’t deductively prove an absolute negative of general existence.
Honeycomb is flatly wrong, and you are, too. Here’s Abel’s deductive proof of the nonexistence of a general algebraic solution to the quintic equation:
There are countless other examples, but as a guy with a math degree, this is the first thing that came to mind.
This is pedantic: the evidence is overwhelmingly against its existence. We can construct a (nearly) universal, deductively sound argument against the monster’s existence. This is not, however, the case for God. There is enough evidence of God to make unsound proof claims of God’s non-existance.
I don’t even know what this means.
Before we can answer this question, let’s break theodicy down to two different related, but mutually exclusive, (simplified) claims:
1) Gratuitous evil exists, therefore God does not exist.
2) God exists, therefore there must be a non-gratuitous explanation for the existence of evil.
The believer in #1 thinks that those things are all examples of gratuitous evil and the believer in #2 thinks that they are not. Both believe mutual exclusive propositions. This has a certain circularity: each believer’s belief “disproves” the other believer’s belief.
You’re complicating the argument unnecessarily, and adding superfluous premises. I also suspect you didn’t read my original article, or perhaps you didn’t understand it.
To put it as simply as I can, gratuitous evil might exist, but the burden of proof is so high on the atheist that he can’t show it exists without a time-travel machine and a light speed spaceship.
My point in that article was merely to illustrate the weakness in the common atheological arguments. It wasn’t a profession of faith or non-faith. Not only are atheological arguments weak, they’re actually no stronger (structurally speaking) than theological ones.
Your arguments here aren’t compelling, but neither are theirs. In fact, I’d posit that no arguments, pro or contra the existence of God, are compelling enough to get even a leaning atheist or leaning believer to change his mind. Basically, if someone has a credence level of .49, your arguments aren’t even compelling enough to get an educated man to .5. The same goes for the Dawkins types, who approach a leaning believer.
I believe you wanted me to disprove the premise (“gratuitous evil exists”), but I’d rather disprove the conclusion (“God does not exist”). This still addresses your main questions, just not the preferred way.
You believe wrong. I wanted you to respond, but don’t care about your attempts at a proof. You’re not a very good proof-writer, and your attempts don’t make any sense. That’s not an insult, by the way. I regularly talk to anthropologists and philosophers who are way brighter than I am, but who have had your sort of training, rather than mine.
I mainly wanted to see a Christian priest talk about theodicy. I can learn something useful from that sort of thing. If you want to post an essay on it sometime (not a response, but your own working out of the problem) I’d love to read it.
More generally, you (and Honeycomb) ought to be grateful for these atheological arguments. They aren’t particularly compelling, but they still provide you with an opportunity to clarify some of the implications of your belief.