Video of Lowder’s Debate with Frank Turek on Naturalism vs. Theism

Topic: "What Better Explains Reality? Naturalism or Theism"Link: to Specific Elements of Debate:Moderator's Introduction: Lowder's Opening Statement (20 minutes): Turek's Opening Statement (20 minutes): Lowder's First Rebuttal (10 minutes): Turek's Firs … [Read more...]

A Very Unscientific Survey of Some Popular Responses to the Problem of Evil

I recently defended Paul Draper's evidential argument from evil (specifically, facts about pain and pleasure) against William Lane Craig's popular objections. (LINK) I decided to browse his website discussion forum devoted to the problem of evil. I was struck by some of the responses used by the people posting there (who should not be confused with Craig himself). Putting aside the posts which tear down strawman versions of the argument from evil, versions not defended by any atheist philosopher … [Read more...]

In Defense of an Evidential Argument from Evil: A Reply to William Lane Craig

Abstract: In a popular article about general arguments from evil against the existence of an all-powerful, all-knowing, and perfectly good God, William Lane Craig raises objections to such arguments that are consistent with those he earlier raised against Paul Draper's evidential pain-and-pleasure argument from evil in an oral debate with Draper in 1998. In this article Jeffery Jay Lowder considers whether Craig's points have any force in rebutting Draper's writings on his pain-and-pleasure … [Read more...]

Black Holes and the Problem of Evil

Data produced by the Hubble Space Telescope show that the brightest supernova ever recorded was actually a star being torn apart by a black hole in what is being called the ASASSN-15lh event.This has a high “coolness factor” for astronomy enthusiasts. But I couldn't help but wonder a little whether there were any planets in that ill-fated solar system with life on them. Suppose such a catastrophe were to befall Earth – what would be the theological implications? This would be a purely hyp … [Read more...]

How to Use the Argument From Evil

The problem of evil can be used in two different ways.  It can be used offensively; that is, in an attempt to criticize and undermine theistic belief, to show that theism is false and that belief in God is unfounded. But it can also be used defensively, i.e., to show that atheism is epistemically warranted, justified, or reasonable.  Of these two distinct uses, the first is by far the most common. But I think that the almost exclusive use of the problem of evil as part of an offensive attack has … [Read more...]

The VICTIMs of Christian Apologetics

My latest video, "The VICTIMs of Christian Apologetics: The Things Apologists Falsely Say Depend on God, But, if God Exists, God Depends on Them," is now available on YouTube. It is a narration of some of the many hundreds of PowerPoint slides I created in preparation for my recent debate with Frank Turek on naturalism vs. theism.This video presentation is a (roughly) 2 hour 30 minute critique of Frank Turek's latest book, Stealing from God: Why Atheists Need God to Make Their Case. T … [Read more...]

Our Knowledge of Gratuitous Evil

How do we know that some instance of evil is gratuitous? I think that there is much to say in favor of the idea that we simply see that the evil is gratuitous. That is, in observing some bad event, I observe directly that this event is neither necessary for the occurrence of some compensating good nor for the prevention of some worse evil. I see, for example, a child fall while trying to climb a tree and then start crying because of a sliver stuck in the palm of her hand. I don’t think, “Well, ma … [Read more...]

An Evidential Argument from Evil: Natural Inequality

I want to quickly sketch an evidential (aka "explanatory" aka "abductive" aka "F-Inductive") argument from evil, one which focuses exclusively on natural inequality.  The argument is not mine; it belongs to Moti Mizrahi.The key point of Mizrahi's argument, which he credits to an insight of John Rawls, is this: ... natural endowments are undeserved.Now, if natural endowments are undeserved, then the fact that one person is more innately endowed than another is arbitrary from a moral point of … [Read more...]