Stephen Law Doesn’t Get It.

In the subsequent posts he’s written in defense of the ‘evil-god challenge’, which he previously thought was a knock-down argument against theism, it’s pretty clear Stephen’s now being willfully obtuse.

Stephen says:


“[Dr. Craig is] playing the skeptical card, insisting that empirical observation can give us no grounds for supposing there’s no good or evil god. This is (a) implausible, and (b) received no decent supporting argument. In addition, (c) even if Craig could establish that kind of skepticism, the onus would STILL be on him to show why belief in Craig’s good God is significantly more reasonable than (the absurd) belief in an evil God. “ [Since both concepts are equally plausible, they are both implausible.]


Stephen is a good philosopher. Obviously. You don’t get to enjoy the type of academic tenure Stephen does without having proven your worth. So it’s rather infuriating that he’s arguing this way, which to me seems like pure sophistry. He needs to make up his mind on exactly what he’s saying, because the above contradicts the other things he said on the matter, like:

“Again no. I don’t suppose the moral properties of god are inferred on empirical-inductive grounds. Obviously.”

Then why argue that good God is implausible based on empirical observations of “gratuitous” evil, Stephen?

Then Stephen goes on to say:

“But you’d better have a justification for that radical and highly counter-intutive degree of skepticism (that what we observe can gives us no clue AT ALL about the moral properties of god/s – good, bad or otherwise). Craig didn’t.”

Oh, but he did! Craig argued that, given our epistemic position, we are unable to infer the moral character of God through empirical observations of the world!

Firstly, Stephen, basing your argument on what some Christians believe is weak since the theologians you’re arguing against don’t hold to such a belief.

Secondly, it has already been argued that, given our epistemic position, we are not capable of ascertaining future outcomes bearing these kinds of complexities. Since YOU’RE the one making a positive claim that we can, then the burden is on YOU to show why God cannot have morally sufficient reasons for allowing evil.

You couldn’t have possibly missed it, so I’m wondering why you’re acting as though you did. Anyway, to repeat Craig’s argument:

“Suppose we concede for the sake of argument that an evil Creator/Designer exists. Since this being is evil, that implies that he fails to discharge his moral obligations. But where do those come from? How can this evil god have duties to perform which he is violating? Who forbids him to do the wrong things that he does? Immediately, we see that such an evil being cannot be supreme: there must be a being who is even higher than this evil god and is the source of the moral obligations which he chooses to flout, a being which is absolute goodness Himself. In other words, if Law’s evil god exists, then [good] God exists. “


Now, Stephen, it’s like this: Craig is arguing that objective moral values can only be grounded in God. We DON’T have immoral obligations, we have moral ones. So if you’re a moral realist, which you admit in your writings that you are, then those objective moral values prove that God, not anti-god, exists.

Now, you can say this is all poppycock. Fine. But what you cannot say is that no sufficient argument has been made, and so you win. When presented with a deductive argument, you have to deal with the premises to show how it’s false. And, no, saying that some theologians don’t agree with Craig’s moral argument is not an argument. If you don’t make your own argument, then bolstering your non-existent argument with an appeal to authority will be doubly ridiculous.

What irks me is that when Stephen is pressed on the seeming contradictions of what he’s been saying of late, he’ll respond with something akin to “you just misunderstood my argument!”. Then he’ll go on to explain the “argument” and affirm one’s done nothing of the sort.


Posted on November 10, 2011, in apologetics, philosophy, Religion and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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