The Problem of Evil (POE)

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(IFF) an individual detects an act that seems, from their perspective to be an injustice (OR) may very soon lead to a perceived predictable injustice (AND) they can imagine that they could possibly intervene to prevent or significantly mitigate the injustice or the immediate consequences of such (AND) they determine the foreseeable cost of that action to be proportional to the benefit of the injustice being prevented or the consequences of such an injustice significantly mitigated (THEN) they should take action or suffer the consequence of being held morally culpable only to themselves and only by themselves.

As individual citizens, we are not legally responsible for the health and safety of all members of our society. Our laws generally reflect the consensus moral viewpoint of our society. There are certain agents within our society like police and firefighters who are held to a higher standard of expectation to take action to prevent harm or potential harm.

An individual standard of moral culpability would not seem to be a strong enough standard to hold someone morally responsible for an action or inaction. I would propose that the standard should be rather a reasonable expectation that a jury of their peers would consider them to be morally culpable to be much more relevant.

On the other hand, this self prescribed moral standard would seem to carry a bit more substantial weight if we imagine that "god" is the inactive observer of an injustice.

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Comments 37

Well, at least I can always count on my old pal cheetah!!

24.09.2019 21:07

Its good to have friends.

Intervening in complex systems isn't quite as easy as we might suppose, and so I propose that the 'fairest' way for a parent or Creator to bring something into existence would be to set the rules and abide by them (or in a Creator's case, let them run their course).

26.09.2019 16:58

I think we end up blaming the child.

26.09.2019 18:05

I have managed a lot of work places.
I enjoy taking positions in organizations that are not performing well.
Often the problems are because nobody takes any responsibility for what they they do, let alone what they see.
When the dust settles and everyone is taking responsibility for what they see, the place runs itself. We need a similar transformation within Steemit

24.09.2019 21:00

Please explain.

24.09.2019 21:10

It seems that people feel incapable of challenging the status quo here. As if their own objections will be completely meaningless and irrelevant to others.

There are many obvious abuses that go on here and most people just turn a blind eye.
I fear that if things go on like this for much longer without a serious correction that it will be over for Steemit.

The witness selection here is just so open to abuse and it is abused. Yet people say nothing!

Yet we are all responsible

24.09.2019 21:38

Hi Joe Public,

I'd like to give feedback on that:

It seems that people feel incapable of challenging the status quo here. As if their own objections will be completely meaningless and irrelevant to others.

I don't feel incapable. Count me in :) My objections are meaningful and have relevance. I may not get an immediate response or may be ignored. Nevertheless what I say has always an impact. I can't manipulate the impact but when I say something without a harmful intention, I can be certain that my message will be received. Though the person I talked to may never talk back to me.

26.09.2019 12:37

Hi @erh.germany that is a very uplifting comment. Thank you.

I have some concerns regarding our witness selection process. Every account gets 20 votes. Some individual people here literally hold thousands of accounts. It is hardly the ideal democratic process for witness selection. Have you been thinking about this at all? Do you see it as a big problem? care to share your thoughts?

27.09.2019 04:29

I gladly share my thoughts on this. I think almost everyone here is thinking about this topic. But may not express it explicitly.

That's right: the election of witnesses is not based on democratic rules. I have dealt with this issue on a number of occasions and have come to the conclusion that this platform does not prepare the ground for it. ...

In any case, the Internet is unsuitable for democratic processes as long as, for example, you do not have to give your identity card or fingerprint for identification and authentication. This in turn has data protection relevance and nobody will put this very sensitive data in a room that can be hacked.

A social media platform is therefore only ever perceived as good through voluntary self-restriction, self-censorship and consideration of fundamental ethical interactions if one can read off a predominantly positive mood. People are not used to dealing with so much freedom, although they constantly call for it.

But a lawless space like the Internet, with all its cross-cultural variances, offers a great deal of conflict potential, probably precisely because individuals take it too lightly when they think of their expressions and comments. No one really takes themselves seriously unless they have thousands or millions of followers and believe (erroneously) that they are not role models. I think this is one of the biggest mistakes of all. You are always a role model, just like in the offline world. The silent observation of everyone who sees you driving a bus, shopping and interacting in public space has an effect. I would say that official feedback is just the tip of the iceberg, that silent inner observation and memorizing things you encounter always and everywhere is the part underneath in the water.

Steemit is like a big experimental field where users try to deal with this freedom for the first time, because there is no legislative, executive and judiciary here through officially appointed representatives. This is a problem in all social media spaces and only reflects what is happening in the offline world. There is no explicit freedom, no wild west just as there is no explicit captivity. I'm talking exclusively about modern societies that live by economic principles.

If you want to try to influence, you can do that, you need groups and others who share this interest with you and give you security through group strength. If you don't manage this, you may have the impression of being all alone.

Community building is such a front door through which people want to represent a certain interest. But if you are not a group type, you can also let go of the idea of actively making a difference. You can then simply write about topics that have aroused your positive interest. To be seen, for example, it is advisable to publish scientific articles about the steemstem tag. I'd think of this space of something which takes years if not decades to mature into something more adult. It's not the money chase, actually. I don't think people really care so much about it, it's "attention". Money is only the means for getting it. But the best feeling, I guess, is to free oneself from the urge to be seen in public light all the time.

I hope, this comment was not too long. I tend to write long comments. :)

Greetings to you.

27.09.2019 06:02

I enjoyed reading your reply.

''No one really takes themselves seriously unless they have thousands or millions of followers and believe (erroneously) that they are not role models. I think this is one of the biggest mistakes of all.''
That is so true, i am fond of saying that we literally shape each other just by being present.

It seems to me that there must have been a democratic intention behind witness voting. i would be happy to verify my identity for witness voting, just not bio-metrically.

if we can bring about a democratic process for top twenty witness selection, we can enforce certain changes that would bring about the mass adoption that many of us want.

if we take care of this problem, there will be no stopping this platform

27.09.2019 22:10

Thank you.
.... I don't know, I'm afraid you won't like what I say, but I don't think masses will come here, especially not if they are seen as vicarious agents - anonymous drivers - to fulfill desires and longings. Personally, I don't like to be coveted as a millionth, as an attention booster to join a room where the ones left throw themselves at me newbie and just want my quantitative support and fresh confirmation. A bit like selling two million copies of a book and people cheering, but not reading the book. ... I'm a bit tired today. And I'm beginning to feel unhappy about the subject

... write what warms your heart and keeps your head cool.

Good night from here.

27.09.2019 23:15

"police ... are held to a higher standard of expectation to take action to prevent harm or potential harm."

I submit the opposite of this is true. Police are not held to even minimal standards of conduct as a rule by our present overlords, and often are shown to commit terrible crimes without being sanctioned.

This begs the question of how to protect your society from evil overlords. Do not forget that you are a social animal, dependent for your happiness on the good company of your fellows. This means that it is not merely your own judgment that will reward or sanction you for failing to oppose evil when it impacts society, but the state of your society that will exist due to your actions, or lack of actions, to protect it from evil.

Failing to note your dependence on society will prevent reasonable understanding of the consequences of evil, and seems to have impacted your statement herein.

25.09.2019 17:14

I agree, but what I'm specifically highlighting is that there's a greater social expectation that a police officer and or a firefighter will not stand idly by when they see someone in danger.

Thanks for the comment! I'd give you an upvote, but I'm currently conducting some delegation experiments.

25.09.2019 18:46

Well, I don't need an upvote, but I do need a free and prosperous people.

Go forth and prosper for a long time, and that is all the reward I shall seek.

26.09.2019 05:56


27.09.2019 15:51

Why the opposite? Both is happening, so both is true.

25.09.2019 20:58

The expectation is not the implementation. It is the implementation that results in actual societal effects. As a rule, police do not prevent crimes. Potential victims do, when crimes are prevented. Police are basically tax gatherers, and the lack of understanding of their role does not matter societally, other than to those that would lick their boots anyway, just because cops are armed and have a badge.

The implementation is what is actually happening, and that is what actually impacts society. This is why I disagree that both are true and happening.

26.09.2019 05:54

I object. Expectation already influences behavior, so it generates the implementation you are talking about. What does your experience tell you?

Did you have a fixed negative expectation in dealing with a person and what if that person behaved differently than you expected?

When did someone surprise you and are you open for such surprises, for the unexpected?

Like if you don't trust a child and its abilities and already classify its actions internally as failure, what influence do you think you have on the child? Will it notice that you distrust its abilities? Will he or she become more skillful or clumsy as a result? Will it still trust itself if it feels your distrust?

Surely you are already aware of the phenomenon of the observer influencing the observed object?

Don't you think that every person, every situation deserves to be treated anew as unexpected?

Which country do you live?

I come from Germany. I have made good experiences with police. They impressed me by staying calm and supportive during encounters where people freaked out.

I have often been very impudent and unfriendly towards the police. Once I was stopped during a night drive. Totally annoyed that I had to bring my boyfriend to work. I was driving unsteadily and made mistakes because I was tired. The police stopped me to check if everything was okay with me. I answered grumpy: "I don't know! I'm tired and annoyed and can't find my way home!" The policeman remained friendly and described the way home to me.

Another time I was stopped on a trip because I hadn't noticed that my back-lights had failed. One was already defective at the departure and the other one broke during the trip. I was still twenty kilometres away from home. Instead of shutting down my car, the police offered to escort me all the way home by driving behind me. I was totally relieved and grateful to have escaped all the stress of parking and repairing and picking up my car.

26.09.2019 07:07

You have asked waaaay too many questions to answer one by one, so I will try to respond to your general point.

As a child I was feral. I was raised on an island in Alaska, and learned to forage for food due to neglect, and a love of nature and freedom. Unable to shake the lure of civilization, I was nonetheless dismayed by bullies, and such tendencies in society. When I was in my early teens all I wanted to do was party, so ended up in unsavory company.

I learned that a kilo of cocaine was being crowdfunded and a guy I knew was going to go get it. When he returned he died, and no one claimed to have found the cocaine. The police reported he committed suicide by shooting himself twice in the heart with a lever action rifle (the kind cowboys used). Suddenly the police were selling cocaine.

It is very difficult to shoot yourself in the heart with a rifle, and impossible to do so twice. I understood he had been murdered by the police in my little hometown so that they could steal his cocaine and sell it. No one that cared had the power to do anything about it.

This is not the result of my expectations, but of murder and corruption that is protected from prosecution because it is done by the police and government agents themselves. It is not a unique event, and a bit of research will reveal that kind of corruption in practically every jurisdiction in the world. Corruption is endemic in government, and the more powerful government is, the less ability civilians have to curtail it. A criminal intent on getting away with crimes will certainly be interested in being a cop, so that they won't be investigated for the crimes they commit.

While there may be individual police that aren't criminals, and the vast majority of acts undertaken by even the most nefarious criminal aren't criminal acts, as a rule cops are criminals, because that's what the system is designed to do. Government is a vector for corruption, first and foremost.

You might think that this cannot be, that a horrible murdering criminal could not be nice to kids and pets, but you are wrong to think so. It is demonstrable that Pablo Escobar was beloved in his hometown for donating to charity, helping poor people, and generally being a nice guy. He was a born politician (I think he even ran for office), and all the cops worked for him because he paid them more. Think about what this means in relation to rich philanthropists and smiling politicians shown on TV over and over doing nice things.

When you were driving home with a tail light out corrupt cops were nice to you. That doesn't mean that if they found a kilo of cocaine on the seat next to you when they pulled you over they would have been nice to you. It means you have no knowledge of corruption because you are not involved in it. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Just because you haven't seen it doesn't mean it isn't real, especially if you're not looking for it.

When I was a kid cops gave me booze and cocaine. They were nice to me. That doesn't mean they weren't criminals, murderers, and drug dealing scumbags. I learned they wanted me to sell cocaine for them, so I left town. I don't like bullies, even if they're nice to me.

My expectations are subject to correction due to real world experiences. Things are what they are whether or not I want them to be that way. Wanting a thing does not make it be. In order to attain a goal, one has to do more than want. One has to act. If you want police to be escorts for sleepy, irritable drivers, then hire escorts and call them police. If you give a group of young men guns, and a commission to protect people from criminals, don't be surprised when criminals weasel their way into your group and commit crimes. Criminals aren't more stupid than the rest of us, and the smartest of them are those that pay government agents to commit crimes for them, rather than be cops themselves.

Hitler was nice to his dog Blondi, and Blondi loved him.

Blondi was not a Jew.

27.09.2019 17:44

I said in the beginning: both is happening, so both is true.

27.09.2019 19:01

Illusions are not real. They are not happening, even if the hallucinator believes they are.

28.09.2019 07:32

Perhaps if we are to hold bystanders of a crime morally culpable, we too ought to hold ourselves accountable on behalf of those who shall have to live in the world we're creating for them. The bystander of a homicide's inaction leads to a death. What does our inaction, and additionally our action in giving power to destructive systems, lead to? I think the answer to that question is to be found somewhere between a river of a tears and a passage into adulthood.

25.09.2019 21:04

Perhaps [IFF] we are to hold bystanders of a crime morally culpable, we too ought to hold ourselves accountable on behalf of those who shall have to live in the world we're creating for them.

Great point. I call this, "The Mother's Dilemma".

Is a mother responsible for her unborn child's practically inevitable lifetime of pain and suffering?

And from a more theological perspective,

Is a creator responsible for their uncreated being's practically inevitable lifetime of pain and suffering?

26.09.2019 12:16

Yes and yes. But responsible too for all the joy and laughter, and for the limitless opportunity. And so much more. I believe we all have far more responsibility than any of us would care to accept. But we also have the free will to ignore that responsibility, or better yet, to pretend we don't have any or as much as we know we do.

05.01.2020 22:47

The Standard Argument Against Free-Will (TSAAFW)

1) Determinism is incompatible with free-will (an inevitable outcome is not a willful choice).
2) Indeterminism is incompatible with free-will (a random or probabilistic outcome is not a willful choice).
3) No clever mix of the two solve either incompatibility.

Therefore, free-will is an incoherent concept.

06.01.2020 14:22

Why do you limit yourself, brother?

You can decide right now whether or not you want to reply to this. You have this experience. Why convince yourself with words that you have no control over your existence? Why convince yourself there is no God or Creator? You have painted for yourself an awfully grey existence. Why not throw a bit of colour on there?

I fear that you underestimate the boldness of your third point. Such a statement seems out of place in a godless world.

15.01.2020 23:22

If an action is willed, if an action is intentional, then it has a goal.

If your actions are intentional, you are taking action for a REASOn.

That REASOn CAUSES your intentional action.

Therefore, your action is not FREE.

You do not choose your desires (your will serves your desires).

You do not choose your beliefs (you only believe what you are CONVINCED of).

I don't believe in freewill because I'm not CONVINCED it's logically coherent.

Please save your post-hoc emotional appeals (bit of colour) for another occasion.

16.01.2020 14:11

That was quite the harangue. To whom do you think it was truly aimed?

I am going to make this my last comment to you on this matter because I intend to post about my current concept of free will rather soon.

If the reason is your choice, the action is free. But, I don't even know why we are using words such as action or reason. This is an over complication of a simple concept. Free will, is "the freedom to choose." We don't have to say "the freedom to choose a reason so that we can have an action that is free." It's just.. too many useless words which can then be used to confuse the issue.

I am not entirely sure what you mean by our will serves our desires. But I know that my will conflicts my desires. It seems to me, someone can have only one will, but many desires, and often their desires serve as a mere consolation prize for not realising their will.

I also disagree that you cannot choose your beliefs. We have a tool named logic that we use for exactly this purpose; to convince ourselves of whatever it is we want to believe. Some of us are better logicians than others. And some of us are just better at lying to ourselves, and don't even hold a reasonable narrative for our beliefs. But, ultimately, we are all constantly choosing our beliefs.

I see not what you consider emotional, but I care not either. I always say what I want to say, that won't change. My comment about colour was suggesting that you use this magnificent gift - the ability to choose what you believe, to add more colour to your world. In a symbolic sense of course. I mean only that you've reduced your reality to the least you can convince yourself it is. Why?

18.01.2020 00:35

If the reason is your choice, the action is free.

The whole point is that you don't choose your desires.

YOu also don't choose your circumstances.

But I know that my will conflicts my desires.

Of course, because you have a hierarchy of desires. You desire some short term comfort and some long term comfort. You don't "choose" which desire you "want more", but your will manifests your most powerful subconscious desire.

I also disagree that you cannot choose your beliefs. We have a tool named logic that we use for exactly this purpose; to convince ourselves of whatever it is we want to believe.

You can't "choose" to believe in Santa Claus, can you?

You can only believe what you are convinced of.

Logic is a tool to find critical errors in systems. It is not a tool for manufacturing false beliefs.

I see not what you consider emotional,

Here's an example, "why do you hate Santa Claus so much? If you believed in Santa Claus, you're life would be so much happier (and filled with colourz)!!

"You must be soooo depressed without Santa Claus in your life!! (you poor sad little lost soul)."

Anyway, do you see the "appeal to emotion" now?

20.01.2020 21:09

We tend to want others to be more confirming to the set of laws we have adopted. Be it parents or teachers or priests or Police. Ideally each of us need to be as good or atleast actively try to behave More conservatively (on the safer side) than we expect others to act.

The famous example here is of Jesus - Let him throw the first stone..

26.09.2019 18:41

Good example.

26.09.2019 19:26

I never had a problem applying the problem of evil to god because it seems that an omniscient, omnipotent and omnibenevolent being that doesn't interject to help is indeed evil... but is inaction truely 'evil' is what i wonder... to me this should just be the problem of 'indifference' we have an emo god - he's not a bad guy he's just really depressed cause he's a shitty creator.

27.09.2019 04:46

I love it. There may be some god(s) hanging around but they just can't be bothered to review their old work. I mean, it makes sense, they were probably totally into Earth for the first 7 days, but then when the upvotes turned worthless, they were probably like, screw this, I'm gunna populate some planets in the Andromeda system! And that'll get, like, tons of upvotes!!

27.09.2019 12:30

lol yea! :D

27.09.2019 14:35