If Richard Dawkins Was An Historian

Sorry for the delay. I’ve been waiting for Peter to clarify himself, but I think I’ll just go ahead and post what I wrote last week.

I closed Round 1 of DBT01 by addressing Peter Hurford’s claim that, “knowledge of germ theory of disease contained in the Bible […] would prove God’s goodness and glory beyond a shadow of a doubt.” I supplied examples of Old Testament hygienic commands which I argued were consistent with Peter’s gauntlet, enough that he had no rational alternative but to abandon his atheism and acknowledge the God of the Bible. Peter proudly claimed that he “busted” my proof, but as we’ll see, he misrepresented my argument more than once and his response is chock full of irrelevant links suggesting that his history is on par with Dawkins’ philosophy.

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DBT01: Peter On The Bible & Germ Theory

Hey all. I don’t have anything new to post so I thought I’d shoot you over to Peter’s blog where he’s finally gotten around to confronting my claim that the Bible provided precisely what he asked for when he wrote,

…knowledge of the germ theory of disease contained in the Bible rather than left to be discovered by fallible scientists would have saved billions of lives. Why [God] didn’t do so, given that it would prove [God’s] glory and goodness beyond a shadow of a doubt, is unknown.” [see Point Three under the section, Is Suffering Necessary for Consistent Physics?]

So if you’re interested, go read Peter’s response. All I’ll say for now is that I’ve noticed Peter getting increasingly cocksure lately. True to the trend, before even hearing what I have to say in response, he concludes his response with,

…this is enough to say that Cl’s proof is busted. Looks like I did have a rational alternative after all — The Bible’s medical knowledge is nowhere near remarkable as Cl made it sound, and this alleged overwhelmingly compelling superargument turned out to really just incomplete research.

Hardly. The show’s just getting started! Although, I’ll give him one thing: my original argument was incomplete. After all, it came as little more than a closing thought at the end of my opening piece and I had a very short amount of words to do so. Soon—and by “soon” I mean sometime this week, not three months from now like it took Peter—I’ll post my “more complete” version of the argument.

We’ll see how “busted” my proof is then.

DBT01: Closing Comments

Matt and Andrés both told their side of the DBT01 judging fiasco here, so now I guess I have to tell mine. First, I’d like to explain why I believe I effectively won the debate, despite officially forfeiting out of frustration. A few weeks ago, Peter Hurford dropped the following comment:

… it is not true that if God exists, removing any instance of suffering must make everyone net worse off. Thus, I hereby recant all the essays I wrote in which I argued this position. …the Problem of Evil, as traditionally conceived, fails. (source, bold orig.)

That says it all. A debate aims to show who created the more persuasive arguments. Regardless of my concession that needless suffering existed per Peter’s definition, I was ultimately arguing that the POE was impotent, and Peter ultimately agreed. Plain and simple, his recanting should carry more weight than my concession.

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DBT01: The Official Verdict

I can’t stomach the thought of waking up to this mess another day, so I’m making an executive decision: DBT01 is officially over. I’m no longer interested in continuing. Call it a forfeit, call it a loss, call it whatever you want. The judges awarded Round 1 to Peter (they gave him 3 perfect scores). Neither Matt nor Daniel awarded me a full score, so we don’t need to wait for Andrés to post his score. I lose. DBT01 is in the history books.

DBT01, Round One: cl

I’ve concluded that needless suffering exists. On my view, sin caused death, suffering and so-called “natural evil.” According to Genesis, God made the world good and humans had eternal life. Sin entailed a fall from the highest possible good. It was not necessary, God did not desire it. The suffering sin produced cannot possibly be logically required for the higher good to obtain because the highest possible good had already obtained. Criticisms that God “could have made a world without suffering” are nullified.

Even though suffering is needless, eliminating suffering doesn’t eliminate any higher good. Suffering isn’t necessary to produce goods. Obviously, Jesus didn’t believe that removing suffering eliminated higher good, else no sick would have been healed, nor would commands to heal be issued. In fact, we would have been commanded to ignore suffering. This defangs Peter’s “obstruction of divine justice” argument on the spot.

This might complicate judging, but that’s where the logic lead. I’ll counter as many of Peter’s arguments as I can, and see where the second round takes us.

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DBT01, Round One: Peter Hurford

Hello. I am Peter Hurford, I am the author of Greatplay.net and I am an atheist. I am here because I am involved in a debate with Cl, the author of The Warfare is Mental and somewhat of a Christian theist. While I think there are many reasons to not believe in various gods and many additional reasons to not believe in specifically benevolent gods, we are here to talk about only one part of one issue: the existence of needless suffering.

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