On Reductios and the Argument From Evil

I have said that one of the most asinine Christian arguments is probably the one where it's argued I cannot use the argument from evil as an atheist without having an ultimate moral standard for good and evil, seen here. I stand by that. Let me comment on a couple of others who have weighed in on the matter...

Let's say I press the argument from evil upon the Christian theist. I argue that based upon her own beliefs (not mine) that it's improbable that her Omni-God exists. As I've already argued it's asinine to say I cannot make that argument. Even Vic Reppert has weighed in that I can do this, here, at least theoretically.

Now, over at The Prosblogion Blog we read:

The basic point here is this: The theist can always get out of the atheist's argument by rejecting something that the atheist thinks is nonsense or contradictory--and how can the atheist complain about that?

But this is just silly on a few levels. In the first place it's not an atheist argument at all, as I've argued, especially since it doesn't lead one to atheism if it's sound, and Christians themselves must deal with it even if atheists never argued for it.

Moreover, can the theist "always" get out of this problem? Many theists have become Process thinkers because of it, and many others have become atheists because of it, although it doesn't necessarily lead to atheism. No, theists cannot "always" get out of this problem. Many do, of course, but many do not. The force of the argument is pretty powerful.

Surely Trent Dougherty is talking about tactics here, isn't he? That, tactically speaking, the theist always has an out. Well, in my opinion, a Holocaust denier always has an out too, as does a Flat Earth Society member. Just because there is always an out doesn't mean much to me, for I'm talking about probabilities here, not possibilities. Is it logically possible that a good omnipotent God exists? Yes, it's probable that this is possible, although I even have my doubts about this. But given my argument it's not probable an Omni-God exists given the amount of suffering in this world, and probabilities are all we have to work with. After all, Jim Carrey in the movie "Dumb and Dumber" still thought he had a chance to get the girl of his dreams after she said he didn't have a one in a million chance, too.

Then Trent asks how an atheist can complain when the theist rejects his argument. That too is silly. In the first place, who's complaining, and about what? Besides, if the theist rejects my argument, so what? That's within his epistemic rights. Arguments are rejected all of the time. Am I then to just walk away from the argument at that point? Why should I? I still think it's powerful even if a particular theist or group of theists reject it. Do theists walk away from an argument when an atheist rejects it? No! She regroups, reformulates it better, and comes back for another go of it, and so do I.

Sheesh. Sorry, but these kind of thinking skills baffle me. Where's the substance? That's what I want to know. With thinking like this no wonder there are believers.