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The Evidential Argument from Evil

Daniel Howard-Snyder, ed. (Indiana University Press : Jan 1996) 357pp.

Is evil evidence against the existence of God? Even if God and evil are compatible, it remains hotly contested whether evil renders belief in God unreasonable. “The Evidential Argument from Evil” presents five classic statements on this issue by eminent philosophers and theologians and places them in dialog with eleven original essays reflecting new thinking by these and other scholars. The volume focuses on two versions of the argument. The first affirms that there is no reason for God to permit either certain specific horrors or the variety and profusion of undeserved suffering. The second asserts that pleasure and pain, given their biological role, are better explained by hypotheses other than theism. Contributors include William P. Alston, Paul Draper, Richard M. Gale, Daniel Howard-Snyder, Alvin Plantinga, William L. Rowe, Bruce Russell, Eleonore Stump, Richard G. Swinburne, Peter van Inwagen, and Stephen John Wykstra. ~ Product Description

Anyone interested in the debate over the evidential argument from evil simply must have this book. It includes two influential but distinct formulations of the argument — those by William Rowe and Paul Draper — followed by a number of essays written in response to one another. The list of authors who contributed to the anthology is impressive… I was also somewhat disappointed by the demographics of the book (10 of the book’s 16 articles were theistic). Despite this flaw, I was still so pleased with the book that I rated it with 5 stars. Any serious student of the problem of evil will want their own copy of this book. ~ J.Lowder of the Internet Infidels

Table of Contents

    • Preface
    • Introduction: The Evidential Argument from Evil (Daniel Howard-Snyder)
    • 1 The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism (William L. Rowe) 1
    • 2 Pain and Pleasure: An Evidential Problem for Theists (Paul Draper) 12
    • 3 Some Major Strands of Theodicy (Richard Swinburne) 30
    • 4 Aquinas on the Sufferings of Job (Eleanore Stump) 49
    • 5 Epistemic Probability and Evil (Alvin Plantinga) 69
    • 6 The Inductive Argument from Evil and the Human Cognitive Condition (William P. Alston) 97
    • 7 Rowe’s Noseeum Arguments from Evil (Stephen John Wykstra) 126
    • 8 The Problem of Evil, the Problem of Air, and the Problem of Silence (Peter Van Inwagen) 151
    • 9 The Skeptical Theist (Paul Draper) 175
    • 10 Defenseless (Bruce Russell) 193
    • 11 Some Difficulties in Theistic Treatments of Evil (Richard M. Gale) 206
    • 12 Reflections on the Chapters by Draper, Russell, and Gale (Peter Van Inwagen) 219
    • 13 On Being Evidentially Challenged (Alvin Plantinga) 244
    • 14 The Evidential Argument from Evil: A Second Look (William L. Rowe) 262
    • 15 The Argument from Inscrutable Evil (Daniel Howard-Snyder) 286
    • 16 Some (Temporarily) Final Thoughts on Evidential Arguments from Evil (William P. Alston) 311
    • Bibliography 333
    • Contributors 351
    • Index 353