This is the website/blog of Philosopher Stephen Law. Stephen is Provost of Centre for Inquiry UK, Reader in philosophy at Heythrop College, University of London, and editor of the Royal Institute of Philosophy journal THINK. He has published several books (see sidebar). For school talks and media email: think-AT-royalinstitutephilosophy.org
Parts 3 and 4 will be up shortly but if you can't wait here is my response to Milbank's reply now (ie part 3):
Thanks to John Milbank for responding to my opening piece on
God and science. I initially suggested many God beliefs are empirically - and
even scientifically - refutable in the sense that we might establish beyond
reasonable doubt, on the basis of observation, that the belief is false. I gave
three examples: belief there's a God that answers petitionary prayer; belief
that there's a God who created the world 6,000 years ago; and belief there's a
God that's omnipotent and omni-malevolent.
I then suggested that, for similar reasons, we can reasonably rule out a god
that's omnipotent and omni-benevolent.
John rejects that last suggestion and defends the view that
his particular omnipotent, omni-benevolent
God is indeed off-limits to any sort of empirical or scientific refutation. So
what is his counter-argument?
like, share, and retweet quite a bit of left-wing stuff. Why?
Well, I am aware
that doing so is often just indicative of cognitive bias - pay attention
to that which supports your preferred narrative ignore what doesn't.
Am I guilty of that? Almost certainly - we all are.
However, the MAIN
reason I like and share political stuff is that:
(i) I am also aware that
in certain academic circles people self-censor on this
stuff given social/peer pressure, and I'm afraid that brings out the
rebel in me (I'm wired in such a way that if I feel I am under pressure
not to say something, I'm more likely to say it), and
(ii) MOST IMPORTANTLY, because I am VERY sure that the dominant narrative across
the media is very skewed to the right and narrow in focus, so feel I
need to do my bit to get other messages and evidence out there and
discussion going. It's about moving the Overton Window.
Here's something I
wrote back in 2012 on this subject.
Here's the penultimate draft of something in Free Inquiry, out now.
Evil God and Mirror
problem of evil is perhaps the best-known objection to standard monotheism,
that's to say, to belief in God defined as omnipotent (all-powerful), omniscient
(all-knowing), and omnibenevolent (all-good). In fact there are two problems of
evil, the logical and the evidential. Here I focus on the 'evidential' problem,
which is often presented as follows:
gratuitous evil exists, then God does not exist.
God does not exist.
in this context comes in two varieties: (i) moral
evils such as the morally bad things we do as free moral agents (we start wars,
murder, steal, etc.) and (ii) natural
evils such as natural diseases and disasters that cause great suffering. So-called
'gratuitous' evils are evils for which there exists no God-justifying reason. Perhaps God has good reason to allow some
evils into his creation if that is the price that must be paid for greater
goods (there are examples below). But surely God, as defined above, won't allow
pointless, gratuitous evils: evils he
lacks a good reason to allow. So it appears the first premise of our argument is
true: if gratuitous evils exist, then God does not exist.