The Cowboy Philosopher on free will and theodicy

The Cowboy Philosopher has made two satirical videos: one on the problem of consciousness, and this one on theodicy and its “solutions.” He’s Plantinga on horseback!

h/t: Phil

30 Comments

  1. AC Harper
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    Nice soul you got there. Be a pity if anything bad happened to it, forever.

    ~ The God Godfather

    • Roger
      Posted July 5, 2018 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

      “Free Will.” –Jack Sparrow

      • AC Harper
        Posted July 6, 2018 at 2:51 am | Permalink

        Can’t help feeling that ‘eternal damnation’ *or* ‘eternal bliss’ loads the dice when exercising ‘free will’.

  2. Ken Kukec
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    OT, but I see Scott Pruitt got 86’d from the EPA just now.

    • yazikus
      Posted July 5, 2018 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

      I also saw. Did you see his resignation letter?

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted July 5, 2018 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

        Just found it and read it. Bizarre. What a self-serving and brown-nosing tool.

        Were it not for all the scandals, this guy would’ve probably ended up as attorney general of the United States. Pretty sure Trump kept him around as long as he did despite the scandals just in case the shit hit the fan and he needed to slip Pruitt temporarily into the Justice Department to do the dirty work of canning Rosenstein and Mueller.

        • yazikus
          Posted July 5, 2018 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

          Just a taste for those who haven’t read it:

          Truly, your confidence in me has blessed me personally

          It is extremely difficult for me to cease serving you in this role first because I count it a blessing to be serving you in any capacity,

          I believe you are serving as President today because of God’s providence. I believe that same providence brought me into your service. I pray as I have served you that I have blessed you and enabled you to effectively lead the American people

          Okey-dokey then, Pruitt.

          • Mark R.
            Posted July 5, 2018 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

            I wish I hadn’t read that. Must rinse mouth now.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted July 5, 2018 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

            Goes to show, in Trumpworld, the 14th corruption scandal is the charm.

          • Jenny Haniver
            Posted July 5, 2018 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

            If I hadn’t seen ample evidence of the loathsome obsequiousness of those who profess to serve our country but in reality pledge allegiance to Trump personally, I’d have taken this as a very bad parody; but it rings true. Trump has become a kind of fetish object (perhaps in all senses of the word – anthropological, Marxist, Freudian), and is fetish priest at the same time. Linking his name with God and speaking as if he is a deity with blessing emanating from his beneficence. I remember the way, some months ago a group of Republicans, were they members of congress?” paid obeisance to him like the idol worshippers that they are. That letter is truly sickening — and from what a despicable character — yeah, the blessings sure did flow from Trump’s permissiveness as long as P didn’t become too much of a problem, because P was doing Trump’s bidding.

            • Posted July 5, 2018 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

              I have to think that those Republicans that bow down and kiss Trump’s ring (or wherever), do so at great pain and only in order to survive politically. Trump seems to have absolute power over their re-election. We’ve seen that those who are not in an elected office or are retiring are happy enough to speak out against his policies. The question is whether Trump can maintain this power. If a big enough crack develops, the whole dam bursts.

              • nicky
                Posted July 6, 2018 at 4:53 am | Permalink

                They haven’t learned yet that if you stand up to a bully with some determination, he’ll generally deflate.

            • nicky
              Posted July 6, 2018 at 4:58 am | Permalink

              I think it is excellent parody, why do you think it is bad parody?

  3. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Some have suggested that Plantinga rides an invisible pink unicorn rather than a horse.

  4. Posted July 5, 2018 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    This cowboy rocks!

  5. Posted July 5, 2018 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Sounds like Sterno-influenced philosophy to me, though I liked “God is like a double-barreled shotgun.”

    I see parallels between The Cowboy’s claim that the US Constitution was inspired by the bible and Jordan Peterson’s similar claim about atheists.

    • nicky
      Posted July 6, 2018 at 4:55 am | Permalink

      But our cowboy is being facetious, while I think Mr Peterson actually believes his crap.

  6. Randall Schenck
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    Did he say theology was a craft or crap? I think the later. Such a load of BS I guess the side by side shotgun makes him feel better.

  7. Posted July 5, 2018 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    Wowza, what a weak thinker in a khaki shirt. Pointing a shotgun at you and explaining that, under this threat, you still have free will to choose when in fact NO ONE could justly say that you have free will under that circumstance.

  8. Posted July 5, 2018 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    This is a special type of satire, in that it has the possibility that those it is satirizing take it seriously.

    • Posted July 5, 2018 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

      Wait. Is this satire? It wouldn’t be the first time that I missed the memo…

      • nicky
        Posted July 6, 2018 at 4:56 am | Permalink

        Yes, it is satire.

  9. Diane G
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    Surely one of those satirizations that’s so well done, people take it as genuine.

    What a kick!

  10. jahigginbotham
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    Thought it was going to be Will not Wilson on free will.

  11. Patrick
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    This is great. Sounds just like some of my relatives, except they are serious. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Greg Fromson
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    I believe there is a solution to the problem of evil which allows of God’s existence. God is described as omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent, yet plenty of evil exists, and those subject to such evil are usually unable to employ their own free will. This clearly makes no sense.

    What is needed here is another omni. In addition to the usual three, I propose that God is also omni-insipient, or all-foolish. This would explain many things about the nature and actions of God.

    I eagerly await the future gratitude I shall receive from theologians.

    • Carey
      Posted July 5, 2018 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

      The Greek gods are a good example of foolishness at the godly level. Much more believeable than the Christian god.

      • John Dentinger
        Posted July 5, 2018 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

        All hail the great god Sheogorath, who is well and truly the mad god. Also fun.

        • W.T. Effingham
          Posted July 5, 2018 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

          Hope someone besides Carnival hosts cruises to the Shivering Isles.

  13. Vaal
    Posted July 6, 2018 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Fun video. I don’t think I’ve seen that gentleman before.

    IMO free will theodicies have never worked, even for trying to explain human-born free will.

    Even Plantinga’s celebrated Free Will defense rests on presuming Libertarian free will. But that could only be successful insofar as Libertarian free will makes sense….and it doesn’t.

    Worse, there is an apparent contradiction right at the heart of the defense.

    It’s generally accepted even among theologians that a Good God would not create or allow gratuitous evil (that is after all, why theodicies are created – to give some plausible moral excuse for what appears to be gratuitous evil in the world).

    So now we have to ask of, by creating the type of free willed beings who would so often do evil – humans – God hadn’t been responsible for creating gratuitous evil.

    The now-standard-concept of God’s omniscience is that God can do anything logically possible. As long as it’s not some pure self-annihilating contradiction in logic, God can make it so.

    Therefore it follows God could create any “logically possible” being – any being that does not involve contradictions.

    So now let’s look at what type of beings are logically possible, given other Christian presumptions.

    Does God ever choose evil and sin?

    Virtually all Christians will answer: no.
    God in the form of Jesus, for instance, never chose to sin.

    Ok. So does God have Free Will?

    Most Christians will answer: yes. Of course.
    (Jesus for instance wasn’t a robot – God/Jesus has free will).

    Well, it would follow from those propositions that God never chooses to sin yet has free will, and that the Christian must accept there is no logical contradiction in a being who has free will but never sins.

    Therefore, God could have created logically possible morally noble beings who do not choose to do evil, yet have free will. There is NO contradiction there IF you accept the standard model of the Christian God.

    So it follows that by creating beings who were far more susceptible to choosing evil, when He could have made free willed beings who never do evil, that God would have knowingly made a choice that creates gratuitous evil.

    Therefore God ain’t good, or a Good God doesn’t exist.

    The general ways out of this end up being special pleading for God “it’s only in GOD’s case that He can only ever do good and yet have free will…not for anyone else.”

    Alternatively you can bite the bullet (and a few Christians actually do this) and say, yeah, ok God doesn’t actually have free will like we do. His nature determines that His choices will always be The Good.

    But then, if God, the very paradigm of value and goodness, does not posses free will….how can one say Free Will is of such absolute value, such that it warrants the creation of evil in order to get it? If the ultimate manner of Being is to have no free will, then you’ve thrown away the value of free will and made it simply an arbitrary point in an argument.


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