Thursday, February 7, 2013

Peter S William's response to the Evil God Challenge

I really need to write a EGC part two paper to deal with popular responses to it. Maybe after Easter...


sam said...

Nothing original here, except maybe his Matrix analogy illustrating global skepticism and its analogous explanatory power with a view of objective reality. I didn't hear him respond properly to the questioner's point about Occam's Razor giving preferentiality to the later view.

It's a false analogy relative to the EGC. The good god hypothesis isn't significanly more reasonable than the evil god hypothesis.

Both fall far short in explanatory power relative to a 3rd hypothesis: the source(s) of all matter and energy are either a mix of good and evil (if teleological) or amoral (whether teleological or not).

If I see an oil painting composed of various shades of blues & reds, and I'm convinced that its creator belonged to an "omni-red-ist" aesthetic movement, I'd have to address the Problem of Blue. The hypothesis of an "omni-blue-ist" creator must address the Problem of Red.

The person who posits the existence of an unbiased source of the painting, like a deist or atheist relative to theistic hypotheses, has no need of theodicies.

I keep hearing this divine nature/character/essense response to the Euthyphro. Do any philosophers of religion (not apologists) take this response seriously?

These are the same people who (properly) point out the naturalistic fallacy when it arises. You cannot derive an ought from an is. yhwh's nature _is_ compatible with global drowning of babies, rape, genocide, slavery, etc. Just because that _is_ its nature, is that how it _ought_ to behave?

No one determined what yhwh's nature would be, as it was uncreated. Does this not mean yhwh's nature is arbitrary?

Enjoyed the heavy breathing, though.

Steven Carr said...

I had a debate with Peter S. Williams at Angels

He rather scared me by the irrationality of his beliefs.

His Final Response is particularly chilling in its disconnect from reality.

I just can't put myself in the mind of somebody who could write such words.

linford86 said...

Stephen -- I wrote a response to this here:

Anonymous said...

The posterior probability of a proposition is not determined by the likelihood terms alone. Thus, a good deity hypothesis may account for some data just as well as an evil deity hypothesis does, but this makes us none the wiser as to which is probably true. We need prior probabilities for this. And I am with Graham Oppy that things get a bit silly when we start saying someone is unreasonable or irrational for having the prior that they do. That's precisely the answer to the evil god challenge: it's significantly more reasonable to believe in a good deity that an evil one on the condition that one's prior dictates as much.

However, I advocate Polytheism--hopefully getting a case for Polytheism published soon--and don't think we need to entertain the ultimatum: there are both good and evil deities. I believe it's reasonable to infer the moral character of deities from our perceptual knowledge of them. You might say even if there were veridical religious experiences of deities that appeared to be good or evil, they could just be fooling us. But, I see no reason to think it's *irrational* to maintain our normal epistemic practice of trusting that things are as they appear to be until we have good reason not to.

Fergus Gallagher said...

I couldn't believe Williams thought Law was making an argument for an evil God.