Doug Geivett’s Turnaround Argument on Evil as a Departure from the Way Things Ought to Be

(Redating this post due to clarification from Geivett regarding his argument)
For those of you who don’t know of him, Doug Geivett is a Christian philosopher at Biola University. I had the opportunity to meet him in 1997 at the I.I.-sponsored debate on the existence of God between him and Paul Draper. During that debate, I remember Geivett presenting a “turnaround argument” in response to Draper’s evidential argument from evil. In debate jargon, a “turnaround argument” is where you try to flip an argument on its head and use some portion of it to support the opposite conclusion.

As documented here, Geivett’s turnaround argument may be summarized as follows:

1. Evil exists.
2. Evil is a departure from the way things ought to be.
3. If there is a departure from the way things ought to be, then there is a way things ought to be.
4. Therefore, there is a way things ought to be.
5. If there is a way things ought to be, then there is a design plan for things.
6. If there is a design plan for things, then there must be a Designer.
7. Therefore, there must be a Designer.

Update (31-Oct-11): Geivett has provided some comments (see below) which clarify his argument.

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About Jeffery Jay Lowder

Jeffery Jay Lowder is President Emeritus of Internet Infidels, Inc., which he co-founded in 1995. He is also co-editor of the book, The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave.


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