The problem with Evil

DMNknight

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Yeah, I'm going to need some evidence for that claim.
Quid pro quo. You answered "yes" to a rather lengthy question on how you know that what a benefit is, when it has no meaning due to being predetermined.
A question which did not require a yes/no answer but instead an explanation, which is often a lot longer than yes.

You answer that seriously and I'll do my level best to do the same.
 

Geoff.D

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And the earth is flat. I'm surprised these silly arguments are still doing the rounds. I mostly though people moved on from the 90s when the internet just caught on.
The Internet if anything has made it worse. If there was a way to purge the Internet of all BS, we might be able to kill off the stupid and inaccurate comments, claims and statements. But there isn't
 

DMNknight

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The Internet if anything has made it worse. If there was a way to purge the Internet of all BS, we might be able to kill off the stupid and inaccurate comments, claims and statements. But there isn't
So in relationships, there is a dynamic that even a non-answer is effectively a no. This goes for all relationships.
So when there's an argument, all the one side of the argument has to do is tear down or stall the other viewpoint and they will get their way.
Stalling is an especially useful tactic because you're not saying no and required to explain, you simply keep stalling/not committing which never requires an answer except another stall.
So if you disagree with something, just don't say no until it is no longer a yes.

People have found this to be very powerful, because it requires absolutely no effort except stubbornness. If you stall long enough, people give up and you can get your way and there's no accountability to anyone because they've left.

This is how I differentiate "truths" from "falsehoods". If you observe people who seek truth, it's always a building exercise. Very much like scientists.
When facts change, then there's no holding on to what was. But the work is generally positive in nature, it builds on other work.
Most importantly, people who seek truths are generally open to having theirs minds changed. While not always happy that they have to relearn what they thought they knew. This people are usually governed by the 2nd thought process, after the initial uncomfortable response of the 1st thought process.

It is not so for those who have a vested interest in a specific viewpoint. There's a lot of negativity that surrounds these kinds of people, they generally don't build information but question anything at every turn. You often get the crab bucket effect, where they are unable to stand on their own, so they drag others down with them. In fact, the usual goto is to try and tear down that which threatens the particular view they hold in a very US vs Them manner (which is primarily a 1st thought response)

This is purely based on observation of human behaviour and in no way makes me an expert.
 

Geoff.D

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The problem with evil is then not only can we not find a common definition that we can all agree on, but that if we are not careful it simply overwhelms us regardless of our own actions.

Certainly, my definition of evil is derived from my upbringing in a fairly religious family. As kids, we were always in church. It did not matter what church or religious order. We stayed in may smaller places where there was a limited choice anyway. The only constant therefore was the Bible as that seemed to be pretty common throughout. As you grow older, you start questioning the interpretations of the various Christain faiths af the very same book. At some point, you either settle down and accept a particular branch (or is it just that one gives up?), or you become agnostic. I chose the latter, but have never imposed that view on any of my kids or my wife.
One of the reasons is how each faith interprets "evil". What gets condoned for whatever reason, and what gets enforced when it comes to Goodness or evil.

So for me, there is a continuum with absolute Good on the one end, and outright evil at the other end. And we all hope that we err towards the Good end knowing full well that it is a goal we will probably never realise. The important part then is to always move to towards absolute and unfailing "Good".
 

Prawnapple

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How do you measure benefit?
Benefit is subjective meaning relative to the information in the meaning of "beneficial". Implied meaning of benefit relative to non-benefit, which is a subjective comparitive measurement of benefit over non-benefit, which requires you to make a choice.
Do you choose benefit or do you choose to act against your self interest and choose otherwise and tell your boss to shove it because it's meaningless?

According to you, the outcome of "deciding" to accept praise is predetermined, you always will and would have done exactly what you did.
The relative measurement of beneficial against non beneficial would therefore lack any meaning whatsoever.
Without meaning, there is not information (for comparison) and therefore no choice.

So how is it that you're conscious of subjective meaning and comparative information, if you didn't choose to be benefitted?
Sounds like a loaded question, but I'll try my best.

My stance was pretty well mentioned previously in this thread and other threads. I don't believe in libertarian free will. Physics, science, tells us we don't have free will. Objects, the universe as a whole, everything we know to be true which we've observed by using the scientific method, biology, our brain chemistry, everything is governed by the laws of cause and effect. There is no free will. When I speak about making decisions which would benefit me, it's because I've created an idea of what beneficial means to me, and I am deciding to act upon. The fact that I can decide to do something, doesn't make me any more free than if I was, say, tired and running on auto-pilot after like 3 Red Bulls.
 

Prawnapple

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The problem with evil is then not only can we not find a common definition that we can all agree on, but that if we are not careful it simply overwhelms us regardless of our own actions.

Certainly, my definition of evil is derived from my upbringing in a fairly religious family. As kids, we were always in church. It did not matter what church or religious order. We stayed in may smaller places where there was a limited choice anyway. The only constant therefore was the Bible as that seemed to be pretty common throughout. As you grow older, you start questioning the interpretations of the various Christain faiths af the very same book. At some point, you either settle down and accept a particular branch (or is it just that one gives up?), or you become agnostic. I chose the latter, but have never imposed that view on any of my kids or my wife.
One of the reasons is how each faith interprets "evil". What gets condoned for whatever reason, and what gets enforced when it comes to Goodness or evil.

So for me, there is a continuum with absolute Good on the one end, and outright evil at the other end. And we all hope that we err towards the Good end knowing full well that it is a goal we will probably never realise. The important part then is to always move to towards absolute and unfailing "Good".
Can it has be time for a "the problem with "good" thread" now? Or maybe a "What is "good"" thread?
 

DMNknight

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Sounds like a loaded question, but I'll try my best.

My stance was pretty well mentioned previously in this thread and other threads. I don't believe in libertarian free will. Physics, science, tells us we don't have free will. Objects, the universe as a whole, everything we know to be true which we've observed by using the scientific method, biology, our brain chemistry, everything is governed by the laws of cause and effect. There is no free will. When I speak about making decisions which would benefit me, it's because I've created an idea of what beneficial means to me, and I am deciding to act upon. The fact that I can decide to do something, doesn't make me any more free than if I was, say, tired and running on auto-pilot after like 3 Red Bulls.
It seriously wasn't a loaded question. It's a question from a viewpoint that differs.

Have you run into Quantum Gravity or the emergence theory yet? I mentioned it in my post as being the theory (so far) that is able to tie standard physics and general relativity together.
The theory firstly, is required because standard physics and general relativity both use the speed of light as a measurement device. However, the exact speed of light is unknown.
I am not going to go into huge detail, I can post a video if you want (I have posted it a few times already in different places, for brevity i'll post a summary of information below.).
Something that is becoming increasingly accepted amongst physicists is that reality is made up of information. Those that don't agree, also do not have an alternative theory.
Information implies meaning.
Meaning is a comparison, a perception of of something relative to something else. (beneficial or damaging)
Therefore meaning is subjective and requires choice.
For meaning to be subjective, it needs to be perceived or measured by some form of consciousness.

Consciousness, along with non-determinism, is one of the clues given by nature and used in Emergence Theory.

So I would agree with you, were this universe only dictated by Standard physics, but it is not. Quantum physics and Quantum Gravity have come along and tipped over the pot.
 

Gingerbeardman

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Sounds like a loaded question, but I'll try my best.

My stance was pretty well mentioned previously in this thread and other threads. I don't believe in libertarian free will. Physics, science, tells us we don't have free will. Objects, the universe as a whole, everything we know to be true which we've observed by using the scientific method, biology, our brain chemistry, everything is governed by the laws of cause and effect. There is no free will. When I speak about making decisions which would benefit me, it's because I've created an idea of what beneficial means to me, and I am deciding to act upon. The fact that I can decide to do something, doesn't make me any more free than if I was, say, tired and running on auto-pilot after like 3 Red Bulls.
https://aeon.co/ideas/you-thought-quantum-mechanics-was-weird-check-out-entangled-time

Science doesn't say any such thing. Philosophical assumptions regarding the way causality works, originating ~2300 years ago, might say that, but these assumptions have been refuted experimentally thanks to investigations into the way quantum mechanics works.

https://www.quantamagazine.org/closed-loophole-confirms-the-unreality-of-the-quantum-world-20180725/

https://phys.org/news/2017-07-probability-quantum-world-local-realism.html

Basically, what you think you know about cause and effect is wrong.
 

DMNknight

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Basically, what you think you know about cause and effect is wrong.
Essentially not wrong, because what PrawnApple believes is true. In counterpoint, not believing what's in your own mind leads to insanity ;) . If he has not been exposed to the quantum sciences and the effect they have on standard physics, then he is correct in belief, if not in fact.

Part of the reason why we have these interesting discussions.
 

Gingerbeardman

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Essentially not wrong, because what PrawnApple believes is true. In counterpoint, not believing what's in your own mind leads to insanity ;) . If he has not been exposed to the quantum sciences and the effect they have on standard physics, then he is correct in belief, if not in fact.

Part of the reason why we have these interesting discussions.
Huh?

So Prawnapple is right about what science tells him that rules out free will because... if he didn't believe it he'd be insane? o_O
 

Gingerbeardman

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You're misrepresenting what I said.
No, I'm trying to get at what you were trying to say, because I can't make head or tail of what you were saying. I took my best guess, if that's wrong, why don't you clarify what you meant?
 

DMNknight

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No, I'm trying to get at what you were trying to say, because I can't make head or tail of what you were saying. I took my best guess, if that's wrong, why don't you clarify what you meant?
Sorry, I have a hangup about using statements like "you're wrong" which essentially creates a transaction ego state of Parent Agent, Child respondent.
I like for discussions to stay at an Adult - Adult level, because then the most interesting and engaging discussions come about.

Under standard physics, it is not a wrong statement to say that if you know where every particle is and it's state, then you can extrapolate what will happen next.
Like hitting balls on a pool table. If you know where to hit with enough energy you can probably clear the board in a single shot. Its finite and predictable.

In that case, it's not wrong. Incomplete or uninformed maybe?
 

Geoff.D

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Surely cause and effect is determined by what we all experience every day of our lives in our real world? Does that never change?

We climb on the roof. We jump off. We get hurt. Cause we jump. The effect is we get hurt. We don't know why
until Science tells us about gravity and all that and can measure all sorts of things for us, forces, acceleration etc.
But we still don't really know why until the next level of physics comes along and explains it all better. and so on.
If we never bother to study physics it does not change our perception that if we jump off a roof we are going to get hurt?
 

Gingerbeardman

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Surely cause and effect is determined by what we all experience every day of our lives in our real world? Does that never change?
I linked you to scientific experiments that show that our intuitions regarding cause and effect are inaccurate. Particularly, the first experiement I linked to shows how the future influences the past. Does your model of cause and effect, the one that you use to rule out free will, tolerate this sort of brute fact?

Here's more:
https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/bjbknz/ancient-starlight-just-helped-confirm-the-reality-of-quantum-entanglement
On Monday, a group of researchers from MIT published the results from recent experiments that used the light from stars emitted 7.8 billion and 12.2 billion years ago to help confirm the reality of quantum entanglement.

These results help settle a long standing debate in physics about whether entanglement is just an illusion that can actually be explained using principles of classical physics. These new results suggest that entanglement actually occurs because if it didn’t exist the universe would somehow have to have “known” 7.8 billion years ago that these MIT scientists would perform these experiments in 2018.
https://physicsworld.com/a/quantum-mechanics-trumps-nonlocal-causality/
Quantum mechanics wreaks even more havoc with conventional ideas of causality than some have suspected – according to a team of researchers based in Australia, with collaborators in Scotland and Germany. They have shown that even allowing causality to be nonlocal – so that an event in one place can have an influence on another, distant place – is not enough to explain how quantum objects behave.


Without cause and effect, science would be impossible. You could never use an observation to deduce anything about the underlying mechanism that caused it. But quantum mechanics challenges our commonsense picture of causality – for example by implying that some things happen at random, with no apparent cause, or that an action in one place can seem to have an effect elsewhere, even if the two locations cannot interact.


This kind of nonlocality has become widely accepted in quantum theory, thanks to experiments on so-called entangled states. Here two or more quantum entities, such as photons of light, acquire interdependent properties, revealed by correlations in the measured values of their properties. For example, pairs of polarized photons can be entangled so that, if one has horizontal polarization, the other has vertical polarization.
When experiments violate your intuitions, do you hang on to your intuitions despite the results, or do you allow the results to make you re-evaluate your intuitions?
 
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DMNknight

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I linked you to scientific experiments that show that our intuitions regarding cause and effect are inaccurate. Particularly, the first experiement I linked to shows how the future influences the past. Does your model of cause and effect, the one that you use to rule out free will, tolerate this sort of brute fact?

Here's more:
https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/bjbknz/ancient-starlight-just-helped-confirm-the-reality-of-quantum-entanglement


https://physicsworld.com/a/quantum-mechanics-trumps-nonlocal-causality/


When experiments violate your intuitions, do you hang on to your intuitions despite the results, or do you allow the results to make you re-evaluate your intuitions?
Thanks, very interesting stuff.
 

Arksun

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Before you get to discuss a god, you need to define a god. The god defined in the OP is the generic Christian god. With that being said, I think you can all agree with me when I say Christians unanimously claim that God gave humanity free will. That right there tells you everything you need to know about this particular debate.

Sure. Anyone can say a god that is good would stop evil, like striking down a rapist right there and then before committing the crime, saving the victim from a horrific ordeal. But the god in question doesn't interfere with human free will under any circumstances, as the Christian so vehemently proclaims. Stopping a rapist would interfere with his god-given free will, even if it's to rape.
 

Geoff.D

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Thanks will read the links before contributing anything more. my example is quite simple and covers the concept of the future interfering with the past. I know if I jump off the roof I am going to get hurt. If I don't want to get hurt, I don't jump off the roof, I climb down instead?
Does that cover not understanding the new theories? (in the short term anyway).
Note, I am NOT trying to shoot down the theories. I am just saying I don't need to right now read and understand them before I decide not to jump off the roof.


As to the last post above.

Christian belief ( as I interpret it) says God created everything. God is by definition good and is not evil. God does not interfere. So then how to account for evil in the world?

Well easy. God must have given humanity free will. At least it balances the equation and sorts out the dilemma of Good versus Evil.

Easy isn't it. But then if you have faith and belief as your mantras in life, then why bother about trivialities of reality and understanding anything simply have faith. And that is the problem I have with Religion.
 

DMNknight

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Before you get to discuss a god, you need to define a god. The god defined in the OP is the generic Christian god. With that being said, I think you can all agree with me when I say Christians unanimously claim that God gave humanity free will. That right there tells you everything you need to know about this particular debate.

Sure. Anyone can say a god that is good would stop evil, like striking down a rapist right there and then before committing the crime, saving the victim from a horrific ordeal. But the god in question doesn't interfere with human free will under any circumstances, as the Christian so vehemently proclaims. Stopping a rapist would interfere with his god-given free will, even if it's to rape.
I don't know of any god described in scriptures that is not a morally good one? Why specifically point out christians?
And no, seeing as Quran also has concepts such as free will and foreknowledge, it wouldn't be unanimously christians that claimed god gave them free will.
Which means the statement says nothing bout this particular debate.

Do you have an axe to grind with christians?

Agreed on the last point though. That would be the Free will paradox.
 

Gingerbeardman

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Thanks, very interesting stuff.
Here's the problem as I see it. We can't gain empirical evidence of cause and effect, so which model of cause and effect we use has to be adopted axiomatically. But axioms aren't something that can be proven, either, so it's something we have to select. The problem arises when it comes to free will, because the claim that there is no free will based upon the axioms of a philosophical model is effectively the same as saying "I choose that I can't choose," and that is absurd.
 
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