Re: Evil ? (was: Hypostases

From: Brent Meeker <>
Date: Tue, 09 Jan 2007 20:51:13 -0800

John M wrote:
> Interleaving in* bold*
> John
> ----- Original Message -----
> *From:* Stathis Papaioannou <>
> *To:*
> <>
> *Sent:* Monday, January 08, 2007 4:55 AM
> *Subject:* RE: Evil ? (was: Hypostases (was: Natural Order & Belief)
> Tom Caylor writes:
> ---SKIP
> >
> Stathis Papaioannou:
> People disagree on lots of things, but they also agree on lots of
> things, many of which are on the face
> of it either incredible or unpleasant - because the /_evidence_
> /leaves them no choice. On matters of values and
> religion, however, they disagree far more frequently. In the case of
> values this is because they are not
> actually disgreeing about any empirical or logical fact:
> --*who's empiria and who's logic? Are YOU the ultimate authority?--*
> they are just saying this is the way I wish to live my
> life, this is what I hold to be good or important, this is what I
> would like other people to hold good or important.
> --*Doesn't everybody. including yourself?--*
> In the case of religion, people disagree because they are selective
> in the evidence they accept because they
> want to believe something.
> --*Everybody's prerogative.--*

I'm not so sure. Of course it is everyone's *political* right to base their beliefs on selective evidence - the institutions of government in liberal Western democracies recognize autonomy of thought. But isn't there an ethical duty base one's beliefs on all, or at least an unbiased sample, of the available evidence? If you don't rationally base your decisions that affect society, then I'd say you are a bad citizen - just as a person who sells his vote is a bad citizen. I think we are too tolerant of religious irrationality; in a way that we do not tolerate irrationality in any other field. Historically this is because we want to allow freedom of conscious; we mistrust government to enforce right thought. But just because we want to protect personal beliefs it doesn't follow that we should be tolerant of those beliefs when they are presented as a basis for public action.

> Jews believe that God spoke to Moses, but they don't believe that
> God spoke to Muhammed. I don't think there is evidence that God
> spoke to either of them, but if your standards of evidence are much
> lower than mine....
> --*who (else) told you which one is "lower"? Different, maybe. --*
> and you accept one, you are being inconsistent if you don't accept
> the other. That is,
> if you think the sort of evidence presented in holy books, reports
> of miracles, religious experience, strength of
> faith in followers etc. is convincing, then pretty well every
> religion is equally convincing.
> --*Logical flaw: different religions accept different 'holy' books
> (their own, that is) you are in the joke when two people meet at the
> railroad station and one sais: I am making a trip to a distant
> foreign country and the other sais: me too, so why are we not
> traveling together? --*

Your seem to imply that religions and their different teachings are just personal choices - like where to go on vacation. But in fact each one teaches that their holy books are objectively true and the values in those books (as interpreted by the appropriate religious authorities) are not subjective, but are mandated by god(s) for everyone.

> That is not the case if you compare the evidence for a flat Earth
> versus a spherical Earth, for example.
> *(Watch out: Einstein reopened the scientific allowance for not only
> a heliocentric, but a geocentric world with his NO preference in a
> relative world (math would be complicated)*

But Einstein didn't allow for a flat Earth.

> As for the Problem of Evil, that's easy: there is no evidence that
> there is a God; if there is a God, there is no
> evidence that he cares what happens to us; if he does care what
> happens to us there is no evidence that he intervenes in our lives;
> if he does intervene there is no evidence that things are any better
> than they would be if he didn't intervene.
> --*Again, you consider YOUR evidence in YOUR logic. You have the
> right to do so, but so has a religious person to his own ways. *
> *I am not an atheist, because an a-theist needs a god (theos) ** to
> deny and in my belief system (based on those natural sciences I was
> brainwashed into at college) I do not condone IN NATURE any
> SUPERNATURAL ideas. I just wondered why the 'god-designers' made
> their idol(s) with all those human fallibilities (vain, seek
> adoration, pick favorites, no criticism allowed, are vengeful,
> irate, not impartial, influenceable, cruel, punishing even unjustly
> (punishing for things by creational flaws etc.) **and assigning this
> world to a creator with such flaws... And yes, I am an agnostic,
> because I am not convinced about the superiority of MY ideas over
> the ideas of others. *

Brent Meeker
Atheism is not a religion, just as a vacant lot is not a type of
building, and health is not a form of sickness. Atheism is not a
        --- Jim Heldberg

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Received on Tue Jan 09 2007 - 23:51:34 PST

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