Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Does Inequality Make God Improbable?


 photo financial_wealth_pie_chart.png
most problems of inequality are man made




On secular outpost Jeff Lowder makes an F inductive argument using the new problem of increased microcephaly to argue for the improbability of God. It really just boils down to saying that God is less likely because if God was moral and loving he would not distribute gifts unequally. The argument is about probability not proof. Children with microcephaly are examples of a larger problem of inequality of distribution of gits. The augment is made by Moti Mizrahi. Lowder is just amplifying the argument.[1]

Lowder statres:

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 view. In that case, if one person has more natural talents or is more talented than another person, then that is an unequal distribution of natural talents. From a moral point of view, it is not fair that one person is taller, healthier, faster, thinner, more intelligent, more beautiful, more agile, and otherwise more naturally endowed than another person. Both did not deserve their shares of natural talents (or lack of natural talents, for that matter). The talented do not deserve to be talented just as the untalented do not deserve to be untalented. More generally, the haves do not deserve to have just the have-nots do not deserve not to have. (p. 6) [2]
First of all I disagree that this has anything to do with morality. There is no "distribution" there is natural evolutionary disposition,All God is doing is letting it ride. There may be certain people who are given gits because they are give the opportunity to serve God in some great way . Not all people could be the leader of the civil rights movement, Not all people were given the gifts of Martin Luther King., It's not unfair or immoral that God raises up a Martin Luther King, not everyone is willing to make the sacrifices that go with the gifts. Since gifts are part of certain aspect of the Christian tradition there is a theology of gifts. Now if God was willing to let the distribution of gifts ride so to speak, letting nature distribute them why would that be unfair. The recipients would not be receiving them out of any kind of special favor but by accident, except in rare cases where more is demanded of the person being given them.

The argument is based upon probability it's not proof. It's about likelihood. A concept of God that posits a loving God who makes unloving universe is less likely to be the case because of the inconstancy. Yet, the probabilistic nature of the argument does not negate the for sound premises I the distribution of gifts is not a moral failing the argument is not sound. That will soon be demonstrated.



Mizrahi frames the natural inequality version :
Now, since moral arbitrariness in the distribution of natural endowments gives rise to unequal distributions, which are unfair because they are undeserved, as when some (e.g., Albert Einstein) get all the cognitive goods, whereas others (e.g., microcephalics) get nothing, the problem is to say how could God—who is supposed to be omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent—allow for this sort of natural inequality. In other words, if God is morally perfect, why is the distribution of natural endowments so unequal? How could an all-good God be so unfair in distributing natural endowments? This is the problem of natural inequality, which is a new evidential (not logical or incompatibility) problem of evil, or so I argue. (pp. 6-7) [3]
I think the issue of microcephalics is is mis-categorized. It's not a matter of gift distribution, Normal endowments are not gits in the conventional sense, it's a matter of impediment acruel. That may seem like splitting hairs but I think it matters. There's a reason why we have to take the risk of nature with everything in life. That is based upon my concept I call soetriological drama. The purpose of creation (according to my theory--speculative only) is so that free moral agents will willingly choose the good. Choosing the good means primarily giving our lives to Christ but it also includes all aspects of being good, This requires a search for truth because of God just announced his presence we would resent it, we only seek to be good when we seek truth and find it ourselves. The most important thing therefore is the viability of the search. If nothing bad every happened to us and we were all equal inabilities we would not seek we would not need to seek truth. We would know God was real and we would resent God's commands. That may seem unrealistic to some but if one just thinks about the attitudes of people how many o us really want to be denied our own way? So the bottom line is we have to play out this search for truth amide a real world which is neutral in terms of God evidence. There are clues but leap of faith is always necessary. Read more about my theory. [4]


He sums up the issue:



But if theism is true, God is neither indifferent nor incapable of distributing natural endowments evenly. God is capable of distributing natural endowments evenly because God is by definition all-powerful. God is interested in the distribution of natural endowments because God is both loving and morally perfect. God’s love for his creatures, as well as his moral perfection, entails that God allows a state of affairs to obtain only if he has a good moral justification for doing so. But, as noted by both Rawls and Mizrahi, natural endowments are not morally justified. For example, there is nothing Michael Phelps did to deserve to be born with the kind of physiology which made his athletic achievements possible, just as there is nothing Nick Vujicic did to deserve to be born with no limbs.

That is not a reason why God should make everyone equal in ability. I can see the problem in abnormality like disease but interments of normal endowments there is no  nature should be Standa clause or why god should equalize all gifts. Natural endowments are a matter of random chance and they have to be to have a neutral world and maintain the search. It's nat a matter of salvation but...


Mizrahi connects it to salvation:
Furthermore, as Mizrahi notes, the lack or minimal presence of natural endowments relating to intellectual ability, such as microcephaly, can prevent people from responding to God appropriately. So the distribution of natural endowments, in some cases, also causes important restrictions on people’s ability to have a relationship with God. Again, blind nature is both indifferent to (and incapable of) taking such factors into account while conducting what Rawls calls the “natural lottery,” but God has no such limitations.[5]

That does not make it a matter of salvation, We do not need to be great theologians to be saved, Anyone can be saved anyone can have a Revelations with God, all relationships do not have to be the same. We are only accountable for the light we are given, We don't have to live up to more than we conceive of. Relationships with God can be extremely simple as long as they are honest, to the best of one's ability. Thinking that salvation is affected by one's intellectual ability makes salvation a meritocracy. Theological no no in Christianity,

God is not rendered less probable because the theory for the argument is wrong,


God wants free moral agents who willingly choose the good to live in amoral universe (one in which they are free to seek the good). Just sticking people in life and directly mandating the search would only result in resentment on the part of the creature. WE have to have free will to truly desire the good (and to love) but having free will means resenting the imposition of other minds.
But the search for good results in internalizing the values of the good then we don't resent God's rules. As Jesus said he who is forgiven much loves much. When we seek the truth and find it ourselves we have no problem with God's laws. But if the world is constructed such that we all know up front God is real then we have no search and we resent the rules.
so we need a neutral world in which one searches for truth






Sources

[1] Jeffery Jay Lowder, "An Evidential Argument from Evil: Natural Inequality," Augst 21,2016. Blog URL: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularoutpost/2016/08/21/an-evidential-argument-from-evil-natural-inequality/

[2] Ibid

[3] Ibid


[4] two articles on religious a priori

Soteriological drama: http://religiousapriori.blogspot.com/2011/04/answer-to-theodicy-soteriological-drama.html

12 angry Stereotypes  http://religiousapriori.blogspot.com/2011/04/twelve-angry-sterio-typesanswering-mark.html



[5]the rest of Lowder's argument is as follows:

I find Mizrahi’s paper very convincing, but I think it is also incomplete, since it never actually states the logical form of his evidential argument. But this problem is easily solved. Using the generic structure for F-inductive arguments, this passage (and the paper as a whole) inspire the following F-inductive version of the problem of natural inequality.
Let E = a statement about known facts about natural inequality: the unequal distribution of natural endowments (such as height, health, speed, weight, intelligence, beauty, agility, and so forth).
(1) E is known to be true.
(2) Theism is not much more probable intrinsically than naturalism, i.e., Pr(|T|) is not >! Pr(|N|).
(3) E is much more likely on the assumption that naturalism is true than on the assumption that theism is true, i.e., Pr(E | N) >! Pr(E | T).
So, (4) Other evidence held equal, theism is probably false, i.e., Pr(T | E) < 0.5.
Assessment
Premise (1) is beyond reasonable doubt.
Premise (2) is eminently plausible, for reasons which I have discussed on this blog many times before. (See the recent guest post by Paul Draper for a primer.)
This leaves premise (3). The justification for (3) may be summed up as follows:
On naturalism, E is just what we would expect. If naturalism is true, all animals are the byproducts of unguided evolution by natural selection, which is both indifferent to the distribution of natural endowments and incapable of distributing them fairly. Everything else held equal, on naturalism, we would expect natural endowments to be distributed randomly (such as in the shape of a bell curve)....



This leaves (4), which is the inference drawn from (1)-(3). 4 follows deductively from (1)-(3) as a natural consequence of Bayes’ Theorem.
I conclude that the problem of natural inequality, especially as manifested in individuals with microcephaly or other severe intellectual disabilities which prevent a relationship with God, is strong, prima facie evidence against God’s existence
-


 Jeff Lowder,"F inductive Arguments a New Type of Argument," The Secular Outpost , blog, March 21, 2014



“F-inductive argument”: an argument in which the evidence to be explained favors one explanatory hypothesis over one or more of its rivals, i.e., P(E | H1 & B) > P(E | H2 & B). Explanatory arguments are F-inductive arguments and have the following structure.1. E is known to be true, i.e., Pr(E) is close to 1.2. H1 is not intrinsically much more probable than H2, i.e., Pr(|H1|) is not much greater than Pr(|H2|).3. Pr(E | H2 & B) > Pr(E | H1 & B).4. Other evidence held equal, H1 is probably false, i.e., Pr(H1 | B & E) < 0.5.Good F-inductive arguments show that E is prima facie evidence — that is why (4) begins with the phrase, “Other evidence held equal.” They leave open the possibility that there may be other evidence which favors H1 over H2; indeed, they are compatible with the situation where the total evidence favors H1 over H2.F-inductive arguments are “stronger” than C-inductive arguments insofar as they show E not only adds to the probability of H2, but that E is more probable on the assumption that H2 is true than on the assumption that H1 is true. They are weaker than P-inductive arguments, however, because they don’t show that E is ultima facie evidence — they don’t show that E makes H2 probable.One final point. Although I believe I am the first to give F-inductive argument a name and place within Swinburne’s taxonomy of inductive arguments, the structure for such arguments is not mine. Paul Draper deserves the credit for that.
what may be more instructive is in an argument he makes "a good indiuctive argument for theism"
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularoutpost/2014/03/22/a-good-f-inductive-argument-for-theism-based-on-consciousness/

that would bevF inductive argument for theism naturalism. Supposedly naturalism is more inductive of secular thought and so the existence of natural world makes God less probable. But another argument forThwism of the kind would say consciousness makes God more probable because consciousnesses is inconsistent with naturalism.

The standards he's setting are arbitrary. There's no reason to think that nature is not indicative of God. It's a cultural constrict to think that spirit and nature are opposed. The whole problem with his method is that the standardanswers fortheodisy still line up agaisjnt his arguments,

24 comments:

Ryan M said...

The crucial premise for you to dispute is premise 3, but you don't seem to actually do that in your response. Despite noting the argument is an F-inductive argument it appears you still treat it as a deductive argument.

Uzza said...

Jesus Christ dude, I waited three days for THIS? With an hour and a bottle of Jack Daniels I could have scribbled that out.

Mike Gerow said...

‘Now, since moral arbitrariness in the distribution of natural endowments gives rise to unequal distributions, which are unfair because they are undeserved, as when some (e.g., Albert Einstein) get all the cognitive goods, whereas others (e.g., microcephalics) get nothing, the problem is to say how could God—who is supposed to be omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent—allow for this sort of natural inequality. In other words, if God is morally perfect, why is the distribution of natural endowments so unequal? ’

Yes, speaking NT-wise, it's quite a mystery why God allows some to be born wealthy, "high ID'd", and with so much "wisdom in their own eyes" as to seem virtually "unsavable." (Even though we should add, yeh, as Christ says, "with God, all things are possible." ;-) )

I think you've understated the theological case against exactly such 'priviledge' as the argument just assumes is desirable when it comes to Xian ideas of redemption, Joe. In the Gospels, it's a downright disadvantage, and that idea is reaffirmed later on (in one way or another) by pretty much all the "apostolic" NT authors....

And even beyond that, even assuming a more secular POV, I still think "advantage" as is defined here might turn out to be quite a bit harder to judge and measure than the argument rather naively assumes...

"After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing, after all, as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true." - Mr. Spock.

Joe Hinman said...

Ryan M said...
The crucial premise for you to dispute is premise 3, but you don't seem to actually do that in your response. Despite noting the argument is an F-inductive argument it appears you still treat it as a deductive argument.

clearly wrong. the most important things to negate the oink between inequality and morality, that is what I did

Joe Hinman said...

zza said...
Jesus Christ dude, I waited three days for THIS? With an hour and a bottle of Jack Daniels I could have scribbled that out.

lighten u on the Jack Daniels you pissed out too many brain cells to understand the argument

Joe Hinman said...

I have given a perfectly valid reason to disrupt the link between equality distribution and morality, but they are so delighted with their own methdos they don't even bother to consider the issue.

Uzza said...

Maybe you'd like to define whatever it is you think is "morality", and whether it has anything in common with Jeff's definition.

Joe Hinman said...

I don't know how Jeff defines morality He didn't explain that.I use it the term the way it's used in common by thinkers like Kant, G.e. More, John Rawls, Alisdaire McIntyre and other.My students weren't confused my my use of the etm.

Ryan M said...

Joe,

Jeff very clearly gives reasons for why he thinks any data is evidence for naturalism and against theism. He has never asserted that "nature" is evidence for naturalism over theism and that anything in the natural world must be evidence for naturalism over theism. There is nothing arbitrary about Jeff's standards; You are simply strawmanning Jeff.

I'd like to see you defend your claim that {consciousness exists, naturalism is true} forms an inconsistent set. If {consciousness exists, naturalism is true} literally forms an inconsistent set then supernaturalism must be true since consciousness exists. If you can show your claim is true then you can show that naturalism is certainly false.

Joe Hinman said...

eff very clearly gives reasons for why he thinks any data is evidence for naturalism and against theism. He has never asserted that "nature" is evidence for naturalism over theism and that anything in the natural world must be evidence for naturalism over theism. There is nothing arbitrary about Jeff's standards; You are simply strawmanning Jeff.


I think you misunderstood me,l I probably wasn't clear, however I quote that right out of his argument consciousness is argument for theism,

I'd like to see you defend your claim that {consciousness exists, naturalism is true} forms an inconsistent set. If {consciousness exists, naturalism is true} literally forms an inconsistent set then supernaturalism must be true since consciousness exists. If you can show your claim is true then you can show that naturalism is certainly false.

no my point that dicotomy is false you can be a naturalist and believe in consciousness and you can believe in God and be basically a naturalist in a sense except for beloief in god,

Joe Hinman said...

link

Joe Hinman said...

cut and pasted right out of the above link by Lowder


In the cosmological argument against theism, I pointed out that naturalism entails a physical universe whereas theism does not. Since a physical universe exists, it follows that the universe is evidence favoring naturalism over theism.

The parallel argument based on consciousness goes like this. Theism entails that consciousness exists whereas naturalism does not. Since consciousness does exist, it follows that consciousness is evidence favoring theism over naturalism.


an exact quote using it to explain f inductive. example., simple example, I;m saying the formulation is mere an ideological approach to theology

Ryan M said...

What is wrong with Jeff's example? It seems to logically follow by the rules laid out by the logic of F-inductive arguments.

Joe Hinman said...

there is no reason why physical world is indicative of no God or consciousness indicative of God. God is being itself all o being is indicative of God and atheists can believe in consciousnesses, the dichotomy is ideological.

Ryan M said...

Do you simply not understand Jeff's post?

Let us look at Jeff's layout of an F-inductive argument structure:

1. E is known to be true, i.e., Pr(E) is close to 1.
2. H1 is not intrinsically much more probable than H2, i.e., Pr(|H1|) is not much greater than Pr(|H2|).
3. Pr(E | H2 & B) > Pr(E | H1 & B).
4. Other evidence held equal, H1 is probably false, i.e., Pr(H1 | B & E) < 0.5.

We will use two different pieces of data separately; 1. a material world exists and 2. consciousness exists.

T = theism
N = naturalism
M = material world
C = consciousness

First let us examine the F-inductive argument for theism based on C. While N and C are logically compatible, N does not logically imply C. We could say that on naturalism there are possible worlds where consciousness exists and possible worlds where consciousness fails to exist. Since naturalism is logically compatible with C but does not imply C it follows that the Pr(C | N) is less than 1 but greater than 0. In contrast, T logically implies C. If God exists then God necessarily is conscious. As a result, in every world where God exists, consciousness must also exist. So the Pr(C | T) = 1.

Following the F-inductive format we get this:

1. C is known to be true, i.e., Pr(C) is close to 1.
2. N is not intrinsically much more probable than T, i.e., Pr(|N|) is not much greater than Pr(|T|).
3. Pr(C | T & B) > Pr(C | N & B).
4. Other evidence held equal, N is probably false, i.e., Pr(N | B & C) < 0.5.

The crucial premise is 3, and Jeff is correct in his analysis of it. Jeff is correct since Pr(C | T) = 1 whereas the Pr(C | N) < 1.

Second, let us look at whether M is evidence for N over T. This case is like the reverse of the consciousness case. N logically implies M, so Pr(M | N) = 1. In contrast, T is logically compatible with M but T does not imply M since God could create worlds with no material at all, or God could not create any world at all. As a result, the Pr(M | T) is less than 1 but greater than 0. So again, if we follow the structure of F-inductive arguments then we get this:


1. M is known to be true, i.e., Pr(M) is close to 1.
2. T is not intrinsically much more probable than N, i.e., Pr(|T|) is not much greater than Pr(|N|).
3. Pr(M | N & B) > Pr(M | T & B).
4. Other evidence held equal, T is probably false, i.e., Pr(T | B & M) < 0.5.

Again, Jeff's reasoning works since Pr(M | N) = 1 whereas Pr(M | T) < 1.

Jeff's arguments work from the following assumptions:

Assumption 1 - [The logic of F-inductive arguments]
Assumption 2 - [a set of standard definitions of naturalism, theism, a material world, and consciousness]
Assumption 3 - [The logical implications of the definitions of naturalism, theism, a material world, and consciousness].

To dispute Jeff's arguments you need to dispute one of the assumptions. Assumption 1 won't work unless you want to scrap inductive logic. You would realistically need to dispute the second assumption but honestly that isn't fruitful either.

Joe Hinman said...
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Joe Hinman said...
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Joe Hinman said...
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Joe Hinman said...

Ryan, all I see is I say "i can see flaws in your ideas." you say "that doesn't count because you have not phrased it in the right format. I don't do analytic philosophy, I do continental. These re ideas they can be discussed in discursive ways. Iv you can't discuss them in this way they just gimmicks. You have mystification of knowledge. wrap your ideas in a certain for of presentation matching that form is all that counts with you.

simply put the whole issue is one if God is good and all powerful why does he allow pain,suffering and evil. This does not require a comparison of hypotheses weighed against each other for probability.

If I know a reason why God must allow these things that reasons renders moot any argument based upon comparison of the probability of hypotheses. No probability needed. God must allow suffering, Pain and evil, no getting around it, He must risk the possibility that we will all make evil choices. It is just that simple. That doesn't make God less probable because its necessary given the ends.

Ryan M said...

When doing inductive arguments, "E" usually stands for "data" which many people refer to as "evidence". It is misleading to call it evidence since F-inductive arguments are a test to see if data in fact is evidence for a proposition. i.e. it trades upon two different senses of "evidence".

I will rephrase the F-inductive argument using plain language.

(1.) Some specific data is known to be true, i.e., Probability of the Specific data is close to 100%.
(2.) Hypothesis 1 is not intrinsically much more probable than its negation, hypothesis 2, i.e., Probability of Hypothesis 1 is not much greater than the probability of Hypothesis 2.
(3.) The Probability of the specific data given both (hypothesis 2 and our background knowledge) is greater than the probability of the specific data given (hypothesis 1 and our background knowledge).
(4.) Other evidence held equal, hypothesis 1 is probably false, i.e., Probability of hypothesis 1 given our background knowledge and specific data is less than 50%

I will just focus on the F-inductive argument for theism.

God, if God exists, is necessarily conscious since God possesses properties which require some form of consciousness. i.e. God is omniscient and knowledge is only possessed by conscious beings, so since God is necessarily omniscient it logically follows that God is necessarily conscious.

Since God is necessarily conscious the probability that consciousness exists given theism is 100%. On naturalism, if consciousness is possible it is still (As far as we know) a metaphysical possibility that it fail to exist. As a result, the probability that consciousness exists given naturalism is less than 100%.

Now we can just sub in the relevant terms into the F-inductive argument structure. For simplicity I will only use line 3:

(3.) The Probability of that consciousness given both(theism and our background knowledge) is greater than the probability that consciousness exists given both (naturalism and our background knowledge).

As stipulated here, the probability that consciousness exists given theism is 100% whereas it is less than 100% if naturalism is true, so the probability of consciousness is greater given theism than naturalism. As a result, as I show by subbing in the relevant details in premise 3 we obtain an F-inductive argument for theism based on consciousness.




Joe Hinman said...

Ok you have not said anything here that I did not think was beings aid, I wasn't sure in some things but you generally confirmed that I was on the right tack., so since I do understand at least generally why you understand my point?

The assertion that Consciousness is less probable if the world is naturalistic, I do not buy, I think it;'s obvious I am conscious, I don't know about you, You may bv a PZ I am not. to me consciousness is a done deal either way.

Does that not throw off the F inductive finding?



Joe Hinman said...

btw I appreciate your patience, i was confused about E because I saw where Jeff called it evil once and then other sources said evidence, I think the deals evil in the case the argument he is doing is evidence,rather he said a certain kind of evil Come to think of it it was of a n evidential sort.

In the matter of the problem of evil. All versions of the argument turn on the dilemma that God is either not good or not all powerful if he allows evil. My view allows for God to be all powerful in certain way but hot in the sense of violating logical necessity and not in the sense of just doing anything with no constraints. Does that not afect the argument?

Ryan M said...

I will explain the consciousness point again.

Statement 1 - If theism is true then consciousness exists.
Statement 2 - If naturalism is true then consciousness exists.

Statement 1 is true but statement 2 is false. Statement 1 is true because consciousness existing is a logical implication of God existing. If God exists, then God necessarily is conscious. Since it is logically impossible for God to exist yet consciousness to fail to exist then the probability of consciousness existing given theism is 100%.

Now contrast that with naturalism. If naturalism is true then consciousness is possible. However, on naturalism there are possible worlds where no conscious beings exist. i.e. [there are possible worlds where no conscious beings ever come into existence]. Since naturalism can be true while consciousness fails to exist it follows that naturalism does not imply the existence of consciousness so statement 2 is false. As a result we cannot conclude that the probability of consciousness existing given naturalism is 100%, but rather we must conclude that the probability of consciousness given naturalism is greater than 0% but less than 100%.

From what we can see here, the probability that consciousness exists given theism is greater than naturalism. As a result, premise 3 in the F-inductive argument is successful.

Joe Hinman said...

ok I see the problem. I was only thinking about the world we live in not possible worlds. But I still don't why my argument on evil isn't right.