Saturday, April 25, 2020

The Future of Atheism

All other arguments besides Flew’s presumption argument are obsolete in view of Nielsen’s prior moral criterion argument in his book Ethics Without God (either edition, 1973/1984), and by implication its abstract generalization in terms of a prior truth criterion.

1 To know that God is good requires a prior standard of goodness to make that identification. Hence goodness without God is already there as a prerequisite, even to drive the discussion of the issue itself in terms of what is a good argument about goodness, whether that goodness is said to be the goodness of God or anything else.

2 To know anything to be true requires a prior standard of truth that not only does not need God but necessarily precludes God as a belief-determining factor. All arguments are based on God-precluding logical/rational rules of thinking.

These two arguments are the future of atheism, even though atheists have almost to a person not even noticed the original argument about morality, first published almost 50 years ago in the first edition of Nielsen’s 100-page book.

The only other argument essential to atheism going forward is Flew’s presumption argument which accurately concludes that the burden of proof on any kind of claim that some non-obviously-apparent being exists is on the believer, on pain of raising an infinite number of Great Pumpkin claims to equal legitimacy, and other logically fatal errors.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

The Fake Problem of Evil

THERE IS NO PROBLEM OF EVIL. It’s logically impossible. There cannot be a problem of evil whether you believe in God or not. To believe there is a problem of evil is to depend on an assumption that there isn’t one. It will also make you a miserable person.

There cannot be evil, much less an argument for evil, if any notion of goodness beyond merely liking something, any transpersonal or transworld goodness, is in question.

The mutual darling of believers and nonbelievers, possibly the most obvious logical mistake in the entire history of human thinking is the so-called problem of evil.

The basis of this fake problem of evil is the unjustified, unquestioned, but merely assumed existence or reality or actuality of evil.

Notice that when this issue arises in a conversation, questions are avoided or bypassed about what precisely evil means and what we must assume in order to recognize evil. That avoidance is a clue that there simply isn’t any such thing as evil in the first place, nor can there be, if any good beyond mere human liking or affinity is in question.

Only a standard of goodness that is necessarily assumed already, could possibly drive what evil means in this fake problem of evil. And that is the direct contrary of the intended conclusion of this fake problem of evil, that there IS no such standard, embodied in a being or not!

The key to that last statement is Kai Nielsen’s Prior Independent Moral Criterion Argument, one of the two new arguments for atheism which make up the Third Frontier.

As Schopenhauer said about pantheism: you don't add anything to the world by calling it God. And you don't add anything to something disliked by calling it “evil” and capitalizing the first letter of that word.

To recognize anything to be evil, bad, or negative in any sense beyond mere human dislike, requires a problem-free trans-personal standard of goodness to contrast the alleged evil to and thereby justify it’s claimed reality and give it meaning and recognizability as having a reality beyond that mere dislike.

Any claim that there is some kind of problem of evil bypasses the problem of the meaning of the word evil through this lack of up-front clarity and precision and honesty about the meaning of the word and where that meaning comes from. One must assume there is no problem of evil in order to argue that there’s a reliably identifiable problem called evil.

Evil can be recognized as evil only in the light of a contrasting already-existing problem-free transpersonal idea of goodness that gives evil its notoriety as something that has some kind of additional reality and negativity beyond humans not liking it.

Without some concept of perfect goodness or goodness per se, you don't get to add the dramatic "evil" label to the mere fact that everyone dislikes something, and get out of that anything more than the fact that everyone dislikes it. To recognize imperfections assumes the perfect is known. That idea of the perfect is the only thing that enables us to identify deviations from it. All fault-finding is based on an ideal, some concept of perfection or perfect goodness.

So the whole argument for the problem of evil, by both believers and nonbelievers, is definitionally dependent, and contradicts its own intended conclusion by implicitly using and thereby affirming some kind of trans-personal goodness (the negation of the conclusion trying to be proved: that there is no such goodness) and using that same goodness as an unstated premise to give evil its reality, so that goodness can then be denied, whether as a principle or as a being who embodies that principle.

Evil cannot inveigh against the good if its defined by that good in order to have a reality of its own in the first place.

This is something you do when you need evil so much, and have no basis for asserting it, that you're willing to steal its standard of meaning and it’s reality from the concept of ultimate perfect goodness to even get to the first step of knowing that anything is evil to begin with, so that you can deny that same ultimate perfect goodness that you used as true and valid and legitimate and problem-free, to give evil its reality in the first place.

The implicit standard that gives evil its reality is what the problem of evil argument is supposed to get rid of.

The problem of evil is not an objection to the good at all. It assumes it. The problem of evil necessarily assumes perfect goodness.

And if it’s necessary to have a transpersonal good, merely for the sake of argument or not, that dependency is already still telling to this point. What must be derived from what?

The central initial question is always: what makes something evil?

The problem of evil already assumes perfect goodness in asserting the recognizable existence of evil in the first place. We can be aware of evil only if we already have the idea of perfect goodness, only if we have within us some idea of perfect transpersonal goodness to compare with in order to identify defections from that perfect goodness and call those defections evil.

A final note on the so-called problem of evil for nonbelievers is that it implies that no one can be a good parent since they force a human being into a world that contains evil.

The emphasis or even preoccupation with the problem of evil is an indicator that someone’s not reading the atheist literature, and not simply because generally the more sophisticated atheist thinkers either realize that the so-called problem of evil is a self-contradictory goodness-dependent mistake in logic, or else at least see the futility of it as an argument that decisively proves the non-existence of God.

The only real problem of evil is the avoidance of questions about what the word evil means, what it assumes, and the standards by which it’s recognized.