Evolution and the Problem of Evil

In the opening chapter of The Blind Watchmaker, Richard Dawkins penned the following words:

An atheist before Darwin could have said, following Hume: “I have no explanation for complex biological design. All I know is that God isn’t a good explanation, so we must wait and hope that somebody comes up with a better one.” I can’t help feeling that such a position, though logically sound, would have left one feeling pretty unsatisfied, and that although atheism might have been logically tenable before Darwin, Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.

Creationists have quote-mined this statement ad nauseam in a bid to prove – admitted by the archbishop of atheism, Richard Dawkins himself! – that accepting evolution requires one to give up belief in God. But if they use this statement for that purpose, they haven’t read it very carefully. What Dawkins is actually saying is something different: not that Darwin made it necessary to be an atheist, but possible. Before Darwin, there was no compelling reply to the argument that only a supernatural creator could have brought about the well-adapted diversity of life. Now there’s an alternate explanation, one that does not require any godly intervention. A believer could say that God used evolution as his means of creation, but an atheist can just as well say that evolution happened in God’s absence.

Of course, if it’s a vital tenet of your religion that the Earth is 6,000 years old and was created in seven days, then there’s no help for it: evolution contradicts your religious beliefs. But that doesn’t mean evolution was dreamed up by a bunch of nefarious atheists seeking to undermine faith. It just means you foolishly placed your religious beliefs out where science had something to say about them. If it’s a vital tenet of your religion that lightning and thunder are the strike of Thor’s hammer, then modern meteorology will likewise seem to you to be an atheistic conspiracy invented to turn people away from belief in your god. That’s your fault, though, not the meteorologists’.

As I’ve written before, I despise the idea of hiding my true beliefs for the sake of political expediency. If I really did believe that evolution necessarily and inevitably implied atheism, I would say so. But I don’t believe that.

As I said, evolution does disprove clumsy, literalist interpretations of theism, although no more so than any other branch of science. Just as Richard Dawkins said, it also robs the force of the argument from design, providing a powerful means of producing complex life that does not require the intervention of a deity.

It does not, however, prove that no deity exists. No branch of science, evolution included, can ever fully rule out the idea of a god who works behind the scenes to control the course of events in a way indistinguishable from natural law and coincidence. Certainly, it’s possible that God has been subtly guiding the evolution of life over the eons, nudging molecules at the right time to create just the right mutations that would shape the future to his will. There’s no way to disprove that, although I also don’t see any reason to believe it.

That said, I don’t think this gets theism completely off the hook. One could postulate a god like the kind I described – but then one is also faced with the unavoidable problem that a god which controlled evolution would be a god who deliberately brought about enormous amounts of suffering, terror, death and extinction to achieve his goals. Evolution proceeds by the death of the losers, and those organisms that are weak or cannot defend themselves are ruthlessly exploited. Infectious disease, parasitism, and predation are the rule at every level and in every niche of life. It’s quite amazing that this process of ceaseless struggle and violence has brought forth living things as beautiful, intricate and diverse as the ones as we see. We can appreciate that beauty, but we shouldn’t forget what lies behind it. This is just what Darwin meant when he wrote about the parasitic wasps who implant their hungry larvae in a caterpillar’s living body, and how he could not persuade himself that a benevolent god would have deliberately designed such a thing.

In this respect, I think evolution does pose a problem to believers in God. Of course, Darwin didn’t invent all the pain and ugliness in the world. The ruthless amorality of nature is an observed fact, not subject to debate. Even if evolution turned out to be false or had never been proposed, theists would still face the challenge of explaining it.

With that in mind, my conclusion is this: Evolution does not disprove the existence of God. It does add force to the atheist’s argument from evil, but it’s just one point in a larger picture, and the problem as a whole would remain even if evolution were to fall. A person who accepts evolution and still believes in God can do so consistently. But evolution does cast into sharper relief the problem of evil, a recurring problem for theism of all varieties. It doesn’t create a problem for theism where none existed previously, but it does further drive the point home.

About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, Broken Ring, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • mikespeir

    I was reading Stephen Jay Gould’s “Nonmoral Nature” in A World of Ideas not to long ago. It deals a lot with this very subject. It’s fascinating to see how suffering in nature was glossed over and even twisted in attempts to actually make it attest to the benevolent design of God by apologists and even early naturalists.

    The essay can also be found here: http://www.stephenjaygould.org/library/gould_nonmoral.html

  • James B

    For Christians who understand and believe evolution, take for example, Ken Miller. I can also recommend his book, “Finding Darwin’s God”.

  • Steve Bowen

    I would assume the apologists answer to this would be that nature “red in tooth and claw” has no morality since only humans have souls. An animal can’t be evil.

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    Another apologist tactic is to blame the state of nature on the sin of Adam and Eve. Everything was nice in the garden until those two messed it all up, and therefore it’s all humanity’s fault. What a distasteful argument.

  • Samuel Skinner

    OMGF you don’t understand- you do not fully comprehend the power of stupidity and this fully armed and operational battlestation.

    Opps. Anyway, the latest argument is to say evolution doesn’t explain evil.

    (For those who can’t think of the answer instantly- it is because morality is an add on to minds. And it only applies to species that live in groups or cooperate with others.)

  • Chris

    I don’t think evolution has any bearing on the problem of evil (I think “problem of suffering” is a better term, because it applies to many situations where “evil” is not a meaningful description of the phenomenon *unless* it is purposeful, which is assuming one of the propositions intended to be decided). If there is a god (or more than one), he (or she or it or they, but that’s too long to say over and over) either directly designed scarlet fever and the Ichneumonidae and all the rest, or he created a blind, amoral, chaotic, wasteful process that, in turn, created those things.

    It’s really no different an argument for scarlet fever and Ichneumonidae than it is for lightning bolts (or hurricanes, as even some modern preachers attempt to claim once in a while). Either someone is aiming them and likes to hit small children every so often, or they’re not actually aimed at all; they’re clearly *not* being used as an instrument of divine justice, unless the divinity has a very warped sense of justice.

    Now, of course, some religious books are quite consistent with the idea that their god is a raging asshole. But it does raise the question of why anyone but the worst sort of contemptible, obsequious, bootlicking coward would *worship* such a being.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org Ebonmuse

    It’s really no different an argument for scarlet fever and Ichneumonidae than it is for lightning bolts (or hurricanes, as even some modern preachers attempt to claim once in a while). Either someone is aiming them and likes to hit small children every so often, or they’re not actually aimed at all; they’re clearly *not* being used as an instrument of divine justice, unless the divinity has a very warped sense of justice.

    Well said!

    mikespeir: Your comment reminded me of a passage from Paley’s Natural Theology, in which he tried to argue from nature to God’s benevolence by concluding that most wild animals seem to him to be extremely happy in their daily lives, including aphids, fish fry, and shrimp. I’m not making this up.

    Here’s an amusing excerpt:

    Plants are covered with aphides, greedily sucking their juices, and constantly, as it should seem, in the act of sucking. It cannot be doubted but that this is a state of gratification. What else should fix them so close to the operation, and so long?

    …If we look to what the waters produce, shoals of the fry of fish frequent the margins of rivers, of lakes, and of the sea itself. These are so happy, that they know not what to do with themselves.

    …Walking by the sea-side, in a calm evening, upon a sandy shore, and with an ebbing tide, I have frequently remarked the appearance of a dark cloud… When this cloud came to be examined, it proved to be nothing else than so much space, filled with young shrimps, in the act of bounding into the air from the shallow margin of the water, or from the wet sand. If any motion of a mute animal could express delight, it was this: if they had meant to make signs of their happiness, they could not have done it more intelligibly.

    An argument not hampered by this obvious theological bias would have concluded that hunger, aggression and mortal terror are the predominant emotional states of most wild animals if anything is.

  • http://thechapel.wordpress.com the chaplain

    A person who accepts evolution and still believes in God can do so consistently. But evolution does cast into sharper relief the problem of evil, a recurring problem for theism of all varieties.

    This had quite a lot to do with my de-conversion. I believed in theistic evolution for years. As I learned more about how evolution actually works, however, I realized that it posed some difficulties for believing in the benevolent god of Christianity.

  • MS (Quixote)

    But it does raise the question of why anyone but the worst sort of contemptible, obsequious, bootlicking coward would *worship* such a being.

    The only thing remotely intriguing regarding this question is the irony it produces: bravery created by the anonymity of the internet…

  • http://mcv.planc.ee mcv

    Colin McGinn makes the same kind of argument on Atheism Tapes, that it’s not that science made God impossible, it’s just that science made life without God possible.

  • mikespeir

    “…it proved to be nothing else than so much space, filled with young shrimps, in the act of bounding into the air from the shallow margin of the water…”

    Weird take Paley has on this. Couldn’t we even more easily guess that the shrimps are trying feverishly to escape the water, where they know they’ll probably be eaten? I mean, if we’re going to anthropomorphize…

  • http://www.yunshui.wordpress.com yunshui

    Maybe Paley’s shrimps are leaping from the water because they don’t like being wet? That would demonstrate a really sick sense of humour on God’s part. Perhaps flying fish are hydrophobic too.

    I’m going to have to get hold of a copy of Natural Theology now, it sounds like a laugh riot.

  • watercat

    Evolution bolsters the argument from evil, but isn’t a bigger problem that it undermines claim of a personal god? Evil is defined ethnocentrically, so whatever is good for me and those like me is what has god’s approval. No religion claims members of some other sect are god’s chosen people. An “intellectually fulfilled” Xian believes god loves him personally as one of the chosen few, superior to everyone else. Evolution demotes him, to a position of equality. Just as heliocentrism in an earlier era, evolution threatens believers with a loss of status which they see as intolerable.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org Ebonmuse

    This had quite a lot to do with my de-conversion. I believed in theistic evolution for years. As I learned more about how evolution actually works, however, I realized that it posed some difficulties for believing in the benevolent god of Christianity.

    Hey Chaplain – I caught your recent interview on Another Goddamned Podcast. I thought you did a great job explaining this view in detail, so I recommend it to anyone who’s interested. Plus, I’m always curious to hear what people sound like. :)

  • K Brown

    “I would assume the apologists answer to this would be that nature “red in tooth and claw” has no morality since only humans have souls. An animal can’t be evil.”

    If you are really intrested in the apologist answer, I recomend you this esay: http://www.christian-thinktank.com/natevl.html Is one of the best I have read and it doesn’t quite rely on the fall of men to explain natural evil agents.

    (BTW, how do you finish quote tags?)

  • mikespeir

    Seriously, it would behoove everyone to take a look at K Brown’s link. There you get an example of “high level” Christian apologetics. And it falls so laughably short of sensible!

    Example:

    Deservedness presupposes some metaphysically ‘real’ ethical structure of the universe, and only the kind that can be associated with the absolutes of a God who can ‘build’ natural consequences (e.g. landslides) into ethical actions. All other systems have a ‘human contractual’ character–hardly something physical laws of plate tectonics should be expected to honor!!! Picking an ethic and agreeing on it, or ‘actualizing it’ (whatever THAT means!) by sincerity, will, etc. hardly is going to affect global weather patterns that produce hurricanes or tornadoes (unless, of course, one can get the wing-flapping, chaos-leveraging butterfly to flap its wings in the necessary way to steer the hurricane into uninhabited areas of sea…).

    So, IF ‘deservedness’ requires a God anyway (to even make sense of the concept at all), then you sorta cannot use the same thing to argue against Him, now can you?!

    That section is summed up like this: “The net of this analysis is that the ‘undeserved’ issue presupposes God already, and is un-intelligible, un-usable, and too imprecise to be taken very seriously as a ‘complaint’ against God.”

    Nonsense! Miller has got the thing reversed. “Deservedness,” for sure, would require the decree of someone (not necessarily God). But that’s not the issue, is it? The issue is “undeservedness.” All that’s required for that is for humans to observe that certain cases of pain aren’t occasioned by any obvious delinquency on the part of the sufferer. To speculate that the victim does,in fact, “deserve” his fate would require that we assume there is someone with the knowledge and authority to decree standards of good and evil and to enforce them. Why make that assumption? It’s Miller who is assuming his conclusion.

  • K Brown

    I don’t quite get the point you are making. To say that something is undeserved implies a sense of deservedness that the author is criticizing, you can’t have some things undeserved unless you have other things deserved as well.

    Regarding your comment about ‘pain not caused by a delinquency of the sufferer’, this is exactly the point Miller is tackling at that part of the essay. Why should we expect the pain to be proportional to our bad deeds? This assumes that nothing can happen to us that is not perfectly correlated with what we have done in life; wich, as Miller shows, would have some rather odd consequences.

    And I’m glad you find the essay so amusing, perhaps you will be able to address the rest of the points instead off pointing to the one wich seems easiest to debunk. Specifically, is important to note that the author shows how most sources of natural disasters are vital to the existence of life (water, fire, gravity, etc) and he shows why pain is necessary to avoid our own destruction.

    Regarding some ‘extreme’ sufferin agents: He shows how evil is usually parasitic among the good and it presupposes a vast amount of it. He shows that those terrible cases are statistically infrequent situations, and he shows how horrible experiences are usually dwarfed by the ‘experience’ of excessive goodness, aside from causing a “greater good” in some cases (yes, I know the greater good defence is not a good theodicy by itself, but the main argument does not relly on it).

    And last, but not least, he shows that suffering is too complex and fuzzy as a concept to use harshly as theistic objections. It is so broad that any ‘rules’ we might make would also have negative consequences…it is just not that simple and clear how to turn this into a meaningful objection against theism.

    To Ebon: Sorry for leaving your post at the ‘world in shadows’ thread unreplyed. You were right, and I guess I was just presenting a modified version of the ‘soul making theodicy’; wich you addressed in “all posible worlds” (yes, I did read it)

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    Seems to me like Miller is trying to have his cake and eat it too in the quoted passage. He’s saying that “deserved” things happen because there is a god, but nature cares not for what is deserved, so it can be evil. Problem is that this nature supposedly came from god.

  • mikespeir

    K Brown:

    And I’m glad you find the essay so amusing, perhaps you will be able to address the rest of the points instead off pointing to the one wich seems easiest to debunk. Specifically, is important to note that the author shows how most sources of natural disasters are vital to the existence of life (water, fire, gravity, etc) and he shows why pain is necessary to avoid our own destruction.

    Don’t you think my post was long enough as it was? I wasn’t looking for a straw man. I simply took Miller’s first argument as an example. And, no, I’m not likely to write an equivalent-length essay here to refute his. Instead, I’ve joined you in inviting the others to take a look. I think its problems are easy enough to spot.

    Now, I suppose one could suggest that the feeling that one is undeserving of some pain is as much as saying one deserves to be free of pain, as though “deserves,” ironically enough, owes its conception to its antithesis. But how does God enter into this picture? What Miller is trying to do is introduce the Moral Argument in disguise. (What else could “Deservedness presupposes some metaphysically ‘real’ ethical structure of the universe, and only the kind that can be associated with the absolutes of a God who can ‘build’ natural consequences (e.g. landslides) into ethical actions” mean?) Our sense of undeserving, he might say, is simply a contrast of the sense of desert God has placed within us. But the Moral Argument doesn’t withstand scrutiny, as has been demonstrated over and over. For the same reasons, Miller’s assertion here doesn’t either. One doesn’t have to presuppose God to see that pain is, well, painful–undesirable for no other reason that than it is unpleasant. That one might anthropomorphize brute circumstance and become angry at what seems an injustice does nothing to argue for a purposeful ethic governing the cosmos. Indeed, if our supposedly “divinely instilled” sense of right and wrong so revolts at what God is said to have done (or allowed), then how can that argue that it is this same God who gave us that sense of what is deserved and undeserved?

  • K Brown

    Hmmm…Can annyone tell me how to end quote tags??? If I quote someone, the quote goes for the rest of the message -_-

    Thanks

  • mikespeir

    K Brown

    It’s:

    item quoted

    Just make sure not to put the spaces between the less-than and greater-than symbols or you’ll end up with something like the above.

  • mikespeir

    Well, doggone it! It quoted it anyway. (The comment preview had it right.) I’ll write it out:

    Less-than sign “blockquote” greater-than sign item-to-be-quoted less-than sign slash “blockquote” greater-than sign

    (Don’t put the quotes around “blockquote”; don’t leave spaces between the signs and “blockquote”)

    Now, that should make it more confusing than ever.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org Ebonmuse

    K Brown, you can close tags like this:

    <blockquote>
    quoted text here
    </blockquote>

    And now, a further comment:

    And I’m glad you find the essay so amusing, perhaps you will be able to address the rest of the points instead off pointing to the one wich seems easiest to debunk. Specifically, is important to note that the author shows how most sources of natural disasters are vital to the existence of life (water, fire, gravity, etc) and he shows why pain is necessary to avoid our own destruction.

    So, you’re saying that there will be natural disasters and pain in Heaven, since those things are vital to the existence of life. Is that correct?

  • goyo

    All of the apologetics aside, it doesn’t really matter, when anytime there is a disaster everyone prays to god to avert it, that means if god can intervene, he is ultimately responsible.
    And by the way, how does he do this exactly? Does he use his powerful breath, or simply move threatening clouds out of the way with his hands?
    Or, does he protect his chosen few with a protective shield?
    And, as has been pointed out before, apparently before the fall of man, animals were different than they are now.
    Where are the fossils of the carnivores without flesh-ripping teeth?

  • Brock

    Hi all! just trying it out!

  • Polly

    @goyo,

    Where are the fossils of the carnivores without flesh-ripping teeth?

    No, no, no you see those big sharp teeth and claws, those were actually for rooting around for tubers and gnashing through the tough skins of fruits…(wait a minute fruits?)…yeah, and vegetables, too. It’s only after the Fall that animals found an alternative use for all those appendages, but it’s not the way the good Lord intended it. Would god purposely set out to make dangerous predatory animals like tigers and bears so cute and cuddly? Of course not.

    Oh and claws are also for climbing trees. yeah. You’ve seen big cats climb trees, right? They obviously just love fruiting plants and leaves.

    What? What’s that you say about the digestive tracts of carnivores as compared to herbivores? Well, we believe in “MICROevolution”, just not that silly old Macro kind.

  • goyo

    Good one, Polly. Yeah, it’s amazing how all apologists have to admit that microevolution exists, but somehow the macro doesn’t.

  • Thumpalumpacus

    “Specifically, is important to note that the author shows how most sources of natural disasters are vital to the existence of life (water, fire, gravity, etc) and he shows why pain is necessary to avoid our own destruction.” — K Brown

    Given that this is true, how does that affect your views on the deity? It seems to me that any deity working within limitations is quite obviously not omnipotent.

  • Thumpalumpacus

    “No, no, no you see those big sharp teeth and claws, those were actually for rooting around for tubers and gnashing through the tough skins of fruits…(wait a minute fruits?)…yeah, and vegetables, too. It’s only after the Fall that animals found an alternative use for all those appendages, but it’s not the way the good Lord intended it.” — Polly

    This entire passage smacks of PandasThumbism. I hope your prayers tonight are extra-fervent. :P

  • http://www.ciphergoth.org/ Paul Crowley

    There’s another sense in which evolution contradicts religion.

    Dennett, in Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, argues that to believe in an evolutionary history directed by God is to miss the whole point – that the whole point of Darwin’s idea is that design can take place without the intervention of a designer.

  • K Brown

    So, you’re saying that there will be natural disasters and pain in Heaven, since those things are vital to the existence of life. Is that correct?

    There is no “life” in heaven, at least no biological one.

    Is there any other objection? Or does this argument reduces to the old “why didn’t God made of in heaven in the first place?” (wich I’m not intrested in discussing) Do you concede that pain and evil agents are necesary to sustain life here?

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    No, I don’t concede that at all since it is you that contends these things are necessary, nor do I find your explanation of ‘no “life” in heaven’ to be satisfactory in the least. I take it that you think we have souls and that our souls will be what lives on in heaven. Do you not think that there is such a thing as emotional pain? Isn’t that what our souls experience in your mythology? Perhaps you could explain how heaven is different and why it doesn’t require pain and evil and then explain why this world does.

  • K Brown

    If you do not concede that suffering is neccesary to sustain life on earth then you better present an objection to it. I already stated that I didn’t wanted to discuss heaven stuff for now.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org Ebonmuse

    There is no “life” in heaven, at least no biological one.

    So, you concede that Miller’s argument is wrong and that conscious, free-willed existence does not require the existence of pain and suffering. Correct?

    If you do not concede that suffering is neccesary to sustain life on earth then you better present an objection to it.

    We already did, in case you didn’t notice. Your own theology, as described by you, proclaims that human beings in heaven do not need to suffer in order to sustain life. Clearly, then, human beings on earth don’t need to either.

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    What Ebon said.

    I might also add that it seems rather odd that an omnipotent god (and don’t forget omnibenevolent) would not be able to conceive or create life that didn’t rely on suffering. I see no reason why we should have to have pain and suffering in order to be alive, because honestly, there is no reason for it. You can trot out all the CS Lewis that you like, but all the rules go out the window when god can make the rules. god could have made a different mechanism than pain to alert us to bodily danger, for instance. These things are simply not necessary.

  • goyo

    There is no “life” in heaven, at least no biological one.

    And you know this…. how?

  • K Brown

    So, you concede that Miller’s argument is wrong and that conscious, free-willed existence does not require the existence of pain and suffering. Correct?

    Off course conscious free-willed existence does not requires it. Conscious free-willed LIFE does.

    Your own theology, as described by you, proclaims that human beings in heaven do not need to suffer in order to sustain life.

    Again, there is no biological life in heaven, we have no bodys.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org Ebonmuse

    Again, there is no biological life in heaven, we have no bodys.

    So why didn’t God just make us that way from the beginning?

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    K Brown,
    It’s nice to see how you twist your own theology around when it suits your purposes. Our souls are tied to our bodies according to your mythology, and our souls feel our pain, do they not? Don’t they feel our mental anguishes either way? I see you ignored that objection. Any way you slice it, however, we live in a world where we do have bodies and where there is pain that is given to us by god. god inflicts pain.

  • K Brown

    I might also add that it seems rather odd that an omnipotent god (and don’t forget omnibenevolent) would not be able to conceive or create life that didn’t rely on suffering.

    Are you sure about that? For suffering not to exist God would have to eliminate fire that could burn us (that means no sun), liquid in which we could drown (no water!), most chemical reactions that involve high or low PH substances… he would have to eliminate even gravity! Among plenty other stuffs. I can hardly see how life could be maintained in a world like that.

    Ebon: The point I meant to debate was whether suffering and suffering agents were necessary to sustain material life. Why did God made that kind of life is not something I feel able to defend. I had already stated that I didn’t wanted to discuss evil in heaven for now; since there appears to be no other objection aside from that one, I rest my case.

  • Mrnaglfar

    K brown,

    Are you sure about that? For suffering not to exist God would have to eliminate fire that could burn us (that means no sun), liquid in which we could drown (no water!), most chemical reactions that involve high or low PH substances… he would have to eliminate even gravity! Among plenty other stuffs. I can hardly see how life could be maintained in a world like that.

    Yes, I am sure of it. Every wonder why fire has to burn our skin? Do you think it’s beyond god’s power to make our skin incapable of being burned by fire or chemical substances?
    Or how about the simple sensation of pain? Have you ever wondered why such a thing is needed in the first place? Couldn’t those things just not make us feel pain?

    How about hunger; have you ever understood why god would create a being that needs to eat? Couldn’t we just absorb solar energy, or have our own supply that doesn’t require us to eat so no one would starve or feel the pain of hunger again?

    Birth defects are a nice one too; god created DNA I assume? Why do you suppose he made something that occassionally breaks or changes, resulting in a lifetime of dysfigurement from people?

    There’s also the issue of viruses and bacteria; surely, we could live without HIV, or small pox, or anthrax, or any number of viruses that seemed designed to infect and destroy our body for their benefit. Don’t you think god could have elimentated those too?

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    K Brown,

    Ebon: The point I meant to debate was whether suffering and suffering agents were necessary to sustain material life. Why did God made that kind of life is not something I feel able to defend. I had already stated that I didn’t wanted to discuss evil in heaven for now; since there appears to be no other objection aside from that one, I rest my case.

    You rest your case?!?!?! You’ve simply asserted that pain is necessary and then refused to entertain our counterarguments, and now you claim victory? This is pretty shoddy work I have to say. Not only have I and others (like Mrnaglfar just above this comment) raised objections as to why pain is necessary, but you still haven’t answered the question as to how you know there are no bodies in heaven and why that even matters!

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org Ebonmuse

    I have to say, I love the debating tactic that says you can wave away objections which fatally undermine your argument by announcing that you just don’t feel like discussing them at the moment.

    I think this thread has run its course.