The real advantages of the simulation solution to the problem of natural evil

Religious Studies (forthcoming)
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Nick Bostrom has famously defended the credibility of the simulation hypothesis – the hypothesis that we live in a computer simulation. Barry Dainton has recently employed the simulation hypothesis to defend the ‘simulation solution’ to the problem of natural evil. The simulation solution claims that apparently natural evils are in fact the result of wrong actions on the part of the people who create our simulation. In this way, it treats apparently natural evils as actually being moral evils, allowing them to be explained via the free will theodicy. Other theodicies which assimilate apparently natural evils to moral ones include Fall theodicies, which attribute apparently natural evils to the biblical Fall, and diabolical theodicies, which attribute them to the activity of demons. Unfortunately, Dainton fails to give compelling reasons for preferring the simulation solution to Fall or diabolical theodicies. He gives one argument against diabolical theodicies, but it has no force against their best version, and he does not discuss Fall theodicies at all. In this article, I attempt to rectify this. I discuss several problems faced by Fall and diabolical theodicies which the simulation solution avoids. These provide some reason to prefer the simulation solution to these alternatives.



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