Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Epicurus Riddle

While going through Richard Dawkins' book The God Delusion, the argument that struck me a lot was in fact posted long back(Around 300 BC) by a Greek Philosophist, Epicurus. The argument is said to be the first argument for Atheism.

The argument goes like this (Epicurus, as quoted in 2000 Years of Disbelief):

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able, and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither willing, nor able? Then why call him God?

Isn't the argument a little bit different from the popular arguments for Atheism?

The other one came from Russell's Teapot argument, which goes like this :

If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.

Bertrand Russell clearly compared God with 'China teapot' that is preached in a way that cannot be disproved. Also, the accusition against the doubter is satirically criticised in his argument.

Is there any good answer to these questions (especially the first one) with anyone? I am yet to take a side.
Epicurus, Atheism

Labels: , ,

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home