Here is a link:
Consider the following argument for atheism. We start with a premise that’s plainly true given the content of TI where TI stands for:
(Necessarily, God permits undeserved, involuntary human suffering only if such suffering ultimately produces a net benefit for the sufferer):
(1) If God exists and TI is true, then, necessarily, all undeserved,
involuntary human suffering ultimately produces a net benefit
for the sufferer.
Next comes a conditional claim similar to one endorsed by Jordan:
(2) If, necessarily, all undeserved, involuntary human suffering ultimately
produces a net benefit for the sufferer, then (a) we never
have a moral obligation to prevent undeserved, involuntary human
suffering or (b) our moral obligation to prevent undeserved, involuntary
human suffering derives entirely from God’s commands.
Although I have my own response below, here is a link to an article by Justin McBrayer that seeks to answer the problem of evil by relying on rcent work in epistemology in context and contrast:
The following is taken from Michael Tooley's article from SEP on The Problem of Evil:
... Rowe's response is then as follows:
My answer is that we are justified in making this inference in the same way we are justified in making the many inferences we constantly make from the known to the unknown. All of us are constantly inferring from the As we know of to the As we don't know of. If we observe many As and note that all of them are Bs we are justified in believing that the As we haven't observed are also Bs. Of course, these inferences may be defeated. We may find some independent reason to think that if an A were a B it would likely not be among the As we have observed. But to claim that we cannot be justified in making such inferences unless we already know, or have good reason to believe, that were an A not to be a B it would likely be among the As we've observed is simply to encourage radical skepticism concerning inductive reasoning in general. (1991, 73) Finally, Rowe points out that:
… in considering the inference from P to Q it is very important to distinguish two criticisms:
In view of the last point, Rowe concludes that “one important route for the theist to explore is whether there is some reason to think that were a good to have J it either would not be a good within our ken or would be such that although we apprehend this good we are incapable of determining that it has J.” (1991, 74)
So, the answer is, it depends on whether the theist is making a claim like 1., or 2. If 2., then the answer is no. If 1., then the answer is yes.
What Animals Are Self-Aware? (The Mirror Test As Evidence):
There have been approximately 8.7 million different species in the history of the Earth (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/30/science/30species.html?_r=0) 99.9 percent of which have gone extinct, and so far only .000000103448275862068965517241379 percent of those have the capacity for some level of self-awareness. This doesn't mean we can do anything we want to animals, but following Draper, since none of our 'standard' theodicies seem to apply to animals and infants, we wouldn't expect them to suffer as much as developed human beings on theism, but we would expect this on the hypothesis of indifference. So, which hypothesis does the data support?
Animals that have passed the mirror test include:
O2 , second part of O3. By Draper's own lights, if animals do not suffer in the relevant manner, then this makes theism more probable than HI. Well, look at what William Lane Craig has to say: In his book Nature Red in Tooth and Claw, Michael Murray explains on the basis of neurological studies that there is an ascending three-fold hierarchy of pain awareness in nature:
Level 3: Awareness that one is oneself in pain
Level 2: Mental states of pain
Level 1: Aversive reaction to noxious stimuli
Here is a link to a grerat Article by Daniel Howard Snyder that both presents Draper's argument in a clearer fashion than Draper does himself, and offers critique that is in many ways different from my own:
Our Cognitive Faculties are Wired with an Overriding defeater to Apparent Pointless Suffering in the World
More support for the post below can be found by listening to the following interview: http://www.thinkatheistradio.com/albums/matthew-hutson/
(Taken from http://atheismblog.blogspot.com/2007/06/we-are-wired-to-resist-truth-about.html)
Here are a couple of conclusions discovered in psychological studies that have profound importance for God believers and non-believers who are considering the question of gratuitous and inscrutable evil and the existence of God.
First, Daniel Gilbert in Stumbling on Happiness points out that, “research shows that when people are given electric shocks, they actually feel less pain when they believe that they are suffering for something of great value.” The study he’s referring to is P.G. Zimbardo “Control of Pain Motivation by Cognitive Dissonance,” Science 151: 217-19 (1966).
A Mutation of the Problem of Evil in light of Skeptical Theism; Divine Silence, Evil, Jesus, and Skeptical Theism
While I think the Skeptical Theist's position is an adequate undercutting defeater to the problem of evil, it is not sufficient to deal with a mutation of the argument from evil that atheists often raise as a defeater-defeater of the skeptical theist's response to the argument from evil:
“ What happens when a loving parent intentionally permits her child to suffer intensely for the sake of a distant good that cannot otherwise be realized? …In short, during these periods of intentionally permitted intense suffering, the child is consciously aware of the direct presence, love, and concern of the parent, and receives special assurances from that parent, if not why, the suffering (or the parent’s permission of it) is necessary for some distant good.”
By William Lane Craig
Michael Tooley has developed a very complicated argument against God’s existence based on concrete examples of terrible evils in the world like the famous Lisbon earthquake. Alvin Plantinga has remarked that Tooley has thereby done us a service, for if an argument as carefully developed as his fails, it’s very unlikely that any better argument from evil against God’s existence will be found. Here is part of my response to Dr. Tooley’s argument: Dr. Tooley argues that the evil in the world renders God’s existence improbable. I disagree. I think his argument has multiple weaknesses.