The pollution solution: A critique of Dore's response to the argument from evil

Sophia 36 (1):53-74 (1997)
There is yet one more proposed solution to the argument from evil which merits attention. Though it does have elements in common with other proposed solutions in that it postulates a justifying end to account for the existence of all evil, it is different in that evil is viewed as nothing more than a polluting by-product of the proper functioning of the laws of nature in their industrious manufacture of the summum bonum. The unimpeded functioning of the laws of nature is seen as necessary for the production and creation of a justifying (indiscernible) end and evil or suffering is merely a foreseen but unfortunate by-product of this natural machinery. The place and function of evil in this solution is what is novel: it is not a greatness-making property, nor is it a punishment or warning from on high, nor is its usefulness an aesthetic or contrasting one, nor is it the result of free will. Evil is admitted as just plain evil; it itself plays no role to serve the valuable end, which is precipitated by the unimpeded operation of natural laws upon the universe. Evil here is seen to play the same role that pollution might: it is a foreseen and unfortunate consequence of the means used to produce the coveted final product. Professor Clement Dore, in his book entitled Theism,[1] introduces this solution in which evil itself plays no role to serve an enormously valuable end, yet is necessitated by this end. However, in order for the theist to be in a position to defend Dore's claim, a viable interpretation of the justifying, indiscernible end, must be proposed. To assess the validity of Dore's schema, four apparently exhaustive interpretations of the justifying end will be presented. It will be argued here that each of these possible interpretations is, in one respect or another, inadequate. The result is that the concept of the justifying, indiscernible end and its relation to Dore's overall schema lacks lucidity. In addition, other problems with this solution will be discussed in order to show that severe flaws exist in the solution as a whole.
Keywords Argument from Evil  Philosophy of Religion
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DOI 10.1007/BF02786043
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