THE PROBLEM OF ANIMAL SUFFERING AND SATAN: RESPONSE TO MICHAEL MURRAY

Abstract
The aim of this paper is to argue that Michael Murray has not offered a successful justifying explanation (or what he calls “CD”) for why God allows animal suffering as it relates to Satan. In other words, Murray’s explanation of animal suffering that invokes Satan is an unsound explanation.
The Problem of Animal Suffering Explained

Animal suffering is something that has been happening, according to many scientists and biologists, for millions of years. However, this was not known with the confidence level that we now have with discoveries in contemporary science. For example, now we have various dating methods to verify the ages of various things, including the earth and the existence of animals. Given that the earth has now been seemingly confirmed to be very old and given that we know animals have suffered through a very long history of earth, this raises the issues of what justification God could have (or possibly have) for all the animal suffering in our actual world (hence, there is a big intersection here between theology, science, and philosophy). Also, we now know most animals that have ever existed (and suffered) are extinct because of evolution.[1]

Does this picture of animal suffering not count as good evidence that God probably does not exist? Does animal suffering make belief in theism irrational? Philosopher Michael Murray argues that we should not conclude that God probably does not exist from the fact of animal suffering, nor should we conclude that animal suffering makes theistic belief irrational.[2] He does this by offering several explanations or what he calls “CD”. The aim of this paper is to argue that Michael Murray has not offered a successful CD/explanation justifying why God allows animal suffering only with respect to Murray’s particular CD involving Satan and demons. However, I am not claiming in this paper that animal suffering shows that God probably does not exist; rather, what is being said is that Murray, overall, has not offered a compelling case in response to the problem of animal suffering, insofar as Murray has invoked Satan and demons as a particular CD/explanation for animal suffering.  There may still be other good explanations/CDs for animal suffering, including other explanations given by Murray that are not identical to Murray’s Satan explanation of animal suffering.[3] Moreover, this paper is not offering every popular objection that one might think of against the Satan CD.

Murray himself sets criteria for what he thinks counts as a good explanation/justification for why God allows seemingly gratuitous animal suffering.[4][5] Murray does not think offering a theodicy or defense is of any good with the problem of animal suffering. A theodicy is not very plausible to Murray because he thinks many of God’s reasons for allowing suffering (amongst other things) are unknowable.[6] He also does not like the defense approach because it does not really answer the problem at hand. The reason the defense approach does not work is because a defense of suffering is aimed at the logical argument from evil. However, Murray is looking at the evidential argument from evil.[7] The former attempts to show that God’s existence is logically incompatible with the existence of evil, whereas the latter tries to show that suffering counts as good evidence against the existence of God. Specifically, the evidential argument usually focuses on the existence of apparently gratuitous (pointless) suffering, which is suffering that appears to serve no greater good. The existence of pointless suffering is something that is usually believed to be incapable of being demonstrated to be true through a deductive argument; therefore, it is something that is going to be shown inductively, and that is why it is called an “evidential argument”. Murray, along with many philosophers of religion, are, nowadays, focused on the evidential argument from evil.[8]

So, instead of coming up with a theodicy or defense, Murray wants to focus on a Causa Dei (CD).[9] The basic notion of a CD seems to be similar to the concept of an undercutting defeater. A CD says that we are not epistemically allowed (at least some of us are not justified) to infer that certain CDs are false, or, we are epistemically allowed to not reject some CDs of animal suffering as being true. And since we do not know whether some of the CDs are false, then we should not accept the conclusion of the evidential argument from animal suffering that God probably does not exist. The upshot is that in light of what we know (or justifiably believe) we are not justified in concluding that animal suffering makes theism improbable or irrational. With a CD, one’s explanation that gets God “off the hook” for animal suffering need not be plausible or probable. An explanation being probable would be more of a theodicy. Instead, Murray says that the explanation of animal suffering (i.e. “CD”) needs to be more plausible than not, overall.[10] The key word is “overall”, which seems to indicate that the explanation might not be plausible with respect to one’s knowledge of animal suffering alone. However, the CD could still be more plausible than not given other beliefs that we hold or our total background of beliefs.

Accordingly, Murray does not attempt to show that his CDs for animal suffering are true. Rather, he seems to be arguing a conditional premise that “if p then q”, or “if this CD is true, then God cannot be blamed for animal suffering”, or “if this CD is true, then God’s existence isn’t improbable relative to the existence animal suffering”. However, Murray seems to be even more focused on arguing that if a particular CD or CDs is/are true, then the existence of animal suffering does not make belief in theism irrational. With this in mind, it would seem that what would count as a persuasive CD for animal suffering will depend on one’s further background beliefs; this might seem modest of Murray and/or not really significant in the relevant sense. I will comment somewhat on this later, but for the purpose of this paper, we are going to go with Murray’s model and see whether a good explanation can come out on the other side.
The Problem of Animal Suffering and Satan

One CD that Murray endorses has to do with what Murray labels “The Fall”. This CD will be the main focus of this paper.[11] Murray thinks that there are various CDs under this category of “The Fall” that end up not being good CDs at the end of the day. Or, at the very least, they will not be at all convincing to most people (particularly theists). For instance, the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Even (as given in the book of Genesis) as a successful CD faces many problems if we are looking for a serious answer to the problem of animal suffering. Mainly, in light of modern science, the Fall of Adam CD does not seem to be plausible, and the main reason is because animal suffering seems to pre-date the fall of Adam and Eve.[12]

If animal suffering came before the sin of Adam and Eve, then how can we possibly try to explain animal suffering by reference to Adam and Eve? Murray thinks that a more promising CD having to do with the Fall will not focus on the fall of Adam, rather it will focus on the fall of Satan and demons.[13] To be sure, such an explanation seems to mainly be a theological explanation, but not every theological claim must necessarily be viewed as in conflict with some modern scientific findings; we could also view such an explanation in a broader sense, and the result is that the Satan CD could also be philosophical in the same way that questions about God can be philosophical (and theological as well). Certainly, we can see the philosophical implications of a successful Satan CD for animal suffering. Murray seems to grant that appealing to Satan to explain animal suffering, instead of the fall of Adam, might not be the traditional view in theology, but it certainly is not something that is recent in theology. As a result, Murray thinks the Satan CD should not be seen as something that is ad hoc. In addition, it avoids some of the problems having to do with the Adam CD like, for example, the existence of animal pain before humans.[14]

The result is that the Satan CD does not obviously conflict with modern science in the way that an Adam CD might, at least in some respects (we will see later on how one might challenge Murray on this). That is because, on the Satan CD, demons existed before the advent of animal suffering.

But what exactly is a full-fledged successful Satan CD of animal suffering going to look like? Well, Murray first knocks down various Satan CDs that are not going to work because of various problems. But, first we need a very basic explanation of the Satan CD as a whole and see whether even a general Satan CD will work. The fundamental and general idea with the Satan CD is that before the Fall of Adam, there was a fall of Satan. The Fall of Satan is what is used as an explanation of why animal suffering occurs. But how? Perhaps, Satan messed with the natural order after the Fall of Satan (and other demons) took place. Specifically, one could say that Satan could have messed around with evolutionary processes. One can get more or less detailed, but the point of a Satan CD is to bring in Satan as an explanation for animal suffering.

Murray thinks that there are some objections that can be raised against the Satan CD. For one, he says one can challenge whether Satan exists.[15] If Satan and demons do not exist, then what good is this particular CD for animal suffering? One could respond that the existence of animal suffering, diseases, (like cancer) or disasters like hurricanes are evidence for Satan and demons. But is that not the very issue at hand? Therefore, the response comes across as circular, because one would be saying that the evidence for demons is that animal suffering exists, at the same time, one would be saying that the explanation for the existence of animal suffering is demons.[16] This is viciously circular which is obviously an informal logical fallacy.  The Christian could say that there are other ways one can have grounds for thinking that Satan exists, and these grounds for belief in Satan and demons are independent grounds (independent of the data having to do with animal suffering) which means one would avoid the charge of begging the question. For instance, the Christian could appeal to Scripture in order to demonstrate that Satan exists.

However, the problem here is that the skeptic does not accept Scripture as a reliable tool in order to understand reality, which means that this response also might come across as question begging. But, can Christians still be rational in believing that Satan exists? Well in order to the Satan CD for animal suffering to get off the ground, the Satan figure in question is going to have to be a literal figure that actually exists. Though, many Christians do not believe in a literal/historical Satan. In addition, many Christians and theologians are not going to just grant that a literal Satan and his demons have the ability to just change the laws of nature which then lead to animal suffering. Sure, it is logically possible, but since we are looking at the evidential argument from (animal) suffering, logical possibility is not going to be of much use here.

One other thing in particular that Murray thinks that the Satan CD has going for it (apart from the fact that it would also have an explanation of how there was animal suffering prior to humans rebelling against God) is the supposed recognition that it is not ad hoc.[17] In other words, according to Murray, the Satan CD was not plucked out of the air in order to explain animal suffering after Darwin seemingly undercut (once and for all) the notion that animal suffering came after Adam and Eve. Instead, Murray reminds us that the notion of a Satanic fall, that is relevant for the Satan CD to work, was something that was believed in by some before Darwin was born. However, the theologian might object that such a view was not/is not exactly mainstream or orthodox. Murray’s response might be similar to what he concludes at the end of his chapter on the Satan CD. He might say, “Well, the Satan CD is only going to be convincing to some”. But at the rate we are going, someone might reply that it does not look like said CD will be convincing to many at all, including most Christians! Consequently, Murray’s whole strategy regarding what is a successful CD (or response) for animal suffering might need to be something that needs to be revised.

An additional issue with Murray’s response to the charge of the Satan CD being ad hoc is that it misses the point. While it is true that some people believed in some sort of fall of Satan before Adam and Eve, very few probably believed that animal suffering is due, at the end of the day, to the Fall of Satan, because the dominant view before Darwin (and still popular today) was that animal suffering and suffering in general was due to Adam’s sin. If we took those people before Darwin and showed them all the evidence that points to animal suffering before Adam, many theologians and Christians would change their mind, and they should change their mind because of the evidence that animal suffering pre-dated humans is overwhelming. Moreover, some/many of these same people will plausibly then turn to the Fall of Satan as an explanation for animal suffering. In that case, we can see how the Satan CD can be ad hoc, which means the question of whether the Satan CD is indeed ad hoc seems to “depend”. More specifically, it depends on who you are talking to and if they changed their mind to the Satan CD “at a whim” in light of Darwin.[18] Therefore, at the very least, there does seem to be grains of truth in the objection that the Satan explanation for animal suffering is ad hoc or contrived.

The main problem with Murray’s Satan explanation: Simplicity

And what else can be said about the Satan CD as it relates to modern science? Does not, for example, the germ theory of disease explain diseases? If, according to modern science, we now have a scientific explanation for germs, then what is the use in also postulating supernatural entities into our mix? In this case, it would seem to violate Ockham’s razor to also postulate Satan and demons behind diseases.[19][20] This does not mean that demons do not exist or that germs disprove that demons exist; rather, the idea is that demons are not needed as an explanation for diseases in light of our current scientific understanding, which is the germ theory of disease. Another example of animal suffering comes in the form natural disasters like earthquakes.  But, do we need Satan and demons to explain natural disasters like earthquakes? Once again, it does not seem like we do. According to modern science, earthquakes have to do with plate tectonics. Since this is the case, there is no reason to also invoke Satan and demons as an explanation. The plate tectonic theory of earthquakes is a much simpler theory than invoking a theory that involves both plate tectonics and Satan/demons.

One response to this might be to make a distinction between scientific explanations and personal explanations, as Richard Swinburne does.[21] What this means is that a personal explanation like God is not incompatible with a scientific explanation like God. For example, if I ask my mom why the washing machine is on, then she could reply in two different ways. One is to give a personal explanation. The personal explanation will say that the reason that the washing machine is on is because she wanted to wash all of the dirty clothes around the house; however, there is another explanation. My mom could also give a scientific explanation (imagine in our analogy that the mom is also a scientist) of how the washing machine is on and how it functions to do what it does.

What the analogy shows, at the very least, is that God being involved in scientific affairs is not logically impossible. On the other hand, I am not quite sure how that is relevant to Ockham’s razor, which means that the analogy and distinction would not really address the issue at hand having to do with Satan and demons being a less simple hypothesis. Back to the analogy, one might need a human being, for instance, to turn on the washing machine, but we do not need a human being to personally intervene in order for the machine to keep going for 40 minutes straight. Likewise, we do not need Satan to explain animal suffering or other similar things.

Another reply might be to say, “Well, you still have not shown that it is implausible that Satan was responsible for the animal suffering that we see in nature”.[22] This objection would be a confusion because it would be confusing an objection which seeks to show that something is false with an objection that seeks to show that something should not be believed. In regards to simplicity and parsimony which is the point being used against Murray’s CD, the latter is what is mainly what is being looked at. The upshot is that the Satan CD has not been shown with certainty to be false, but that there is no reason to believe Murray’s Satan’s CD and reason to not believe/disbelieve (i.e. simplicity, parsimony). But, nevertheless, if simplicity is a reliable guide to truth, then it also follows that the Satan CD is probably false as well, all things considered.[23] Whether simplicity is a reliable guide to truth is beyond the scope of this paper, but I do not think many people (or Murray) claim that there are zero reasons/grounds to think that simplicity is a reliable guide to truth.[24][25] And if there are reasons, it follows that we have reasons to claim that the Satan CD is false. At the very least, from an epistemic point of view, one would treat the CD as if it was false. Thus, we should deny (believe it is false) and reject (not believe it is true) the Satan CD.

Moreover, what if we flipped the Satan explanation for animal suffering? To explain, imagine that angels are responsible for the flourishing of animals and the experience of pleasure in animals (and other natural flourishing that happens). If angels are not a good explanation for the good things that happen to animals, then why are demons a good explanation of animal suffering and the bad things that happen to animals?[26][27] If we view natural flourishing more generally beyond just animals, then we might be able to see the point even better. Suppose I take some medicine and my headache goes away soon after. A good explanation is that the medicine got rid of my headache, but another explanation is that angels got rid of my headache. Clearly, I do not need to invoke angels as an explanation for why my headache went away.

Similarly, I do not need to invoke Satan and demons to explain why I got a headache in the first place given what we know in contemporary science about the body in the fields of biology, chemistry, etc. One also does not need angels to explain why the planets orbit the sun, nor does one need angels to explain why the season of spring and summer exist, and nor does one need angels to explain why animals (some) have “good” (or preferable) features like eyesight, fur, hearing, etc. To get more detailed, one does not need angels to explain why dolphins experience pleasure when having sex or why any animal experiences pleasure at all. If the angel hypothesis is not going to work to explain animal pleasure and well-being, then why would one accept the demon hypothesis when it comes to the suffering of animals?

Murray could end up rejecting both the angel and demon hypothesis when it comes to animal suffering and flourishing, but why would Murray want to get rid of the Satan hypothesis so quickly? He would not plausibly do so because the Satan hypothesis/CD is what Murray has been arguing for. On the other hand, Murray could bite the bullet and accept both the Satan/demon hypothesis and angel hypothesis as true, or one could commit themselves to the similar position that we cannot reasonably deny/reject both of these hypotheses (they could be true, for all we know). However, this option really stretches the imagination and is not going to be seen as very credible to contemporary scientists and theologians. In fact, it would also stretch the imagination to the point of being incredible if Murray said the angel hypothesis is “true for all we know”, because while we might not be absolutely certain that the angel hypothesis is false, that does not mean we cannot reasonably believe (or know) that it is false, and it does not mean that we cannot reject the hypothesis as being true. Similarly, I might not be absolutely certain that Holocaust denial is a false view of reality, but I can still reasonably believe or know that it is false, or I can reject such a view as being true. But notice that what is being proposed as untenable in this context is not that angels exist; rather, it is the suggestion that angels are what are responsible for the pleasure and flourishing of animals.

Murray could also accept the Satan CD of animal suffering but reject the angel hypothesis of animal flourishing. But what reason would he have for doing so? What is the difference? If Murray does not have any reason for accepting one explanation/hypothesis while rejecting the other, then Murray would be guilty of special pleading. Murray might suggest that there are some differences. He might try to say that we have no reason to think angels could be responsible for animal pleasure or that God would give angels the powers to do so. But the whole point is that, for the skeptic of Murray’s Satan CD, they would raise the same sort of objections. There might be relevant different between the Satan explanation for suffering and the angel explanation for pleasure, but as of right now I cannot see a relevant difference.

So what is really going on when we encounter animal suffering? My suggestion is that we have a properly basic belief that the animal suffering in our experiences is not due to demons. What seems to be happening is that I form the belief “That animal’s suffering is just the result of nature and its workings.” Absent any reason to think this belief is false, one should go with their immediate seeming on the matter. The mere possibility that there might be demons behind nature that are causing this animal’s suffering should not be enough to defeat my belief that the animal’s suffering is only due to natural causes. By way of analogy, just because it is possible that I am a brain in a vat is not enough to overturn one’s belief that other minds outside of their own exist. The upshot is that even if some particular theist is epistemically permitted in accepting the Satan CD for animal suffering in light of their total background knowledge, they still should not go ahead and accept that it is true (and reject that it is true). To repeat, the simplest explanation does not need to invoke Satan.

Similarly, by way of another analogy, some person might be epistemically permitted to accept (or not deny) that aliens helped built Stonehenge in light of said person’s background knowledge. However, by way of Occam’s razor, they ought to go with a simpler explanation that does not involve aliens. In addition, we might even expect the person to know better than to postulate entities beyond necessity, even if they do not quite understand the concept in a formal way.[28] With even greater force, we would expect someone like a scientist or theologian/philosopher to know better precisely because they also explicitly know that we should not multiply entities beyond necessity.

Further problems with Murray’s case

Another critique one can make at Murray’s case is to challenge the scope of his case. What exactly do I mean to say here? Well, Michael Murray’s use of Satan and demons as an explanation for the problem of animal suffering, or the evidential argument from animal suffering, is targeted at gratuitous suffering.[29] However, one can run a version of the evidential argument from evil that does not rely on gratuitous or pointless suffering, unlike Rowe’s argument.[30] For instance, one can look at the amount of animal suffering, the types of animal suffering, (e.g. horrendous suffering) or animal suffering in general that exists in the world we live in. Then, one can ask whether theism or metaphysical naturalism better explains these pieces of data in the world.[31][32] When the evidential argument from animal suffering is cast in this light, it is hard to see how the Satan CD is going to succeed at any level.

Furthermore, one is also not just looking at bare theism or classical theism when one invokes the concept of Satan; rather, one is looking at Christian theism, and Christian theism is just one type of theism out of a category of many types of theism (e.g. pantheism, panentheism, deism, pandeism, Islamic theism, etc.). And, when it comes to classical theism, Christian theism is also not the only type in that category.[33] Even more so, the concept of a literal Satan (and demons), which is what is needed in order for Murray’s Satan CD to be successful, is just one view of Satan in the Christian religious tradition. In addition, there are various views of a literal Satan and his actions in the world, which includes whether Satan is or is not responsible for animal suffering.

Murray might object that he is only focusing on the evidential argument from animal suffering as it relates to pointless suffering, and that this was his only intent in his project. But intent aside, the skeptic will argue that Murray might very well be ignoring the strongest arguments from animal suffering that are out there, and that would be a problem.

At least, (as of now) it is hard to see how metaphysical naturalism does not better explain animal suffering than theism[34], but Murray does not address this issue because he has a narrower focus which includes only one formulation of the evidential argument from animal suffering. However, animal suffering is just one piece of evidence against the existence of God. We also have to look at the total evidence, which includes looking at the other arguments for and against God’s existence.[35] Maybe Murray is willing to grant that animal suffering, and suffering in general counts as at least some evidence (if not strong evidence) in favor of naturalism over theism.[36] I say this because earlier in his book (Nature Red in Tooth and Claw) he does note that an indirect way of replying to Rowe’s evidential argument/inductive argument from evil, (which also applies to other evidential arguments from evil) for the theist, is to appeal to our total evidence or background information regarding the existence of God.[37] It is true that Murray does not really look at the problem of animal suffering in terms of being formulated into an abductive argument or indirect inductive argument (like Draper’s argument). But the skeptic will say, once again, that this is the main problem with Murray’s project![38]

My worry is that the skeptic will also not be convinced by many of Murray’s explanations for animal suffering that are offered by Murray, particularly the Satan explanation/CD! Murray might recognize this and point us to the fact that his project can be seen as defending the rationality of theistic belief in the face of animal suffering. But the issue with animal suffering, at the end of the day, does not seem to be with the rationality of theistic belief. The issue is whether or not animal suffering counts as evidence or strong evidence against the existence of the God of traditional theism. Thus, the skeptic might say that Murray’s overall project (with animal suffering) might be missing the mark to an extent. It will not be just atheists who are not convinced by Murray’s explanations for animal suffering, but it will also be agnostics (and any other type of non-theist) who are not convinced by Murray’s arguments.

But it can be granted quickly that Murray’s project is modest in some respects. For example, Murray is not trying to offer some theodicy that is going to sound likely to most parties or all people involved in the conversation of animal suffering. On the other hand, one wonders if Murray sacrifices relevancy in order to get to modesty. As previously mentioned, one might wonder if much even follows if Murray’s project is successful.[39] Not to mention, some will question whether Murray’s explanations for suffering/CDs even meet Murray’s own criteria of a successful CD. As we saw with the Satan CD, it would seem that a good case can be made that is not a successful CD. Or, Murray has not done enough to show that the Satan CD can plausibly be a successful CD.[40]
And, can the Satan CD possibly be salvaged in any capacity? One might say that it could be successful in a cumulative case. Given what I have argued here in this paper, I do not see how the Satan CD can succeed in a cumulative case. Perhaps, it is possible. But I have argued that the Satan CD fails as an explanation of animal suffering in general, and we should reject the Satan CD. It would even be harder to argue that the Satan CD could work for individual instances (or some instances) of animal suffering like, for example, Jones going up and beating up his pet. If we are justified in dismissing Satan and demons as responsible for animal suffering, then there is probably not a cumulative case to be made that includes (in part) Satan and demons.[41] But of course, if one were justified in not rejecting the Satan CD, then we could see ways in which the Satan CD can be used in a cumulative way. So, let us suppose that I am wrong in my objections given in this paper. In that case, we would be justified in not rejecting the Satan the CD, which means that Satan and demons are responsible for animal suffering. The implication is that the truth of Satan and demons being responsible for animal suffering could be merged with other CDs that Murray gives.[42]
Conclusion

In conclusion, this paper has looked at the problem of animal suffering and one of Michael Murray’s responses to the problem of animal suffering or the “evidential argument from animal suffering”. More specifically, Michael Murray’s response to the problem of animal suffering or “CD” involving Satan and demons was examined. The verdict is that Murray’s response, involving Satan and demons to explain animal suffering, is a response that is ultimately not successful and not very convincing overall. However, that is not to say that the rest of Murray’s book on the problem of animal suffering is a failure or not novel. Going forward, Murray would be better suited not endorsing the Satan CD in response to animal suffering. Instead, Murray could focus more on his other CDs that he gives in the book that are, at the very least, more plausible or have a much better chance of succeeding (in my estimation) than the Satan CD.[43][44]

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Notes

[1] I only mean to suggest that, at the very least, I think the current scientific evidence suggests an old earth view and an evolutionary picture that extends beyond what has been labeled “micro-evolution”. One could argue that the biblical evidence points to a young earth.

[2] Murray, Michael J. Nature red in tooth and claw: theism and the problem of animal suffering. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. Chapter 1: Problems of and Explanation of Evil.

[3] Dougherty, Trent. The Problem of Animal Suffering: A Theodicy for all Creatures Great and Small. Palgrave-Macmillan. 2014.

[4] I say “seemingly” because Murray invokes skeptical theism as a general response to the evidential argument from pointless suffering. Skeptical theism challenges our ability to go from the appearance of pointless suffering to the conclusion that pointless suffering actually exists.

[5] Murray, Michael J. Nature red in tooth and claw: theism and the problem of animal suffering. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. Chapter 1: Problems of and Explanation of Evil.

[6] I think a lot of theodicies are not very plausible. Although, some theodicies are more plausible than others

[7] Murray, Michael J. Nature red in tooth and claw: theism and the problem of animal suffering. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. Chapter 1: Problems of and Explanation of Evil.

[8] That is not to say no philosopher of religion is interested in the logical argument from evil

[9] Murray, Michael J. Nature red in tooth and claw: theism and the problem of animal suffering. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. Chapter 1: Problems of and Explanation of Evil.

[10] Murray, Michael J. Nature red in tooth and claw: theism and the problem of animal suffering. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. Chapter 1: Problems of and Explanation of Evil.

[11] Murray, Michael J. Nature red in tooth and claw: theism and the problem of animal suffering. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. pg. 73-106

[12] Murray, Michael J. Nature red in tooth and claw: theism and the problem of animal suffering. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. pg. 73-106

[13] Boyd, Gregory A. Satan and the problem of evil: constructing a trinitarian warfare theodicy. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2002.

[14] Murray, Michael J. Nature red in tooth and claw: theism and the problem of animal suffering. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. pg. 73-106

[15] Murray, Michael J. Nature red in tooth and claw: theism and the problem of animal suffering. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. pg. 73-106

[16] Swinburne, Richard (1978). Natural evil. American Philosophical Quarterly 15 (4):295 – 301.

[17] Murray, Michael J. Nature red in tooth and claw: theism and the problem of animal suffering. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. pg. 73-106

[18] Many Christians today, once they accept that animal suffering came before Adam, would be immediately tempted to fall back to a Satan CD for animal suffering

[19] Engel, Mylan. “Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.” Nature Red in Tooth and Claw: Theism and the Problem of Animal Suffering // Reviews // Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // University of Notre Dame. Accessed April 18, 2017.

[20] This objection was also given by Engel. I decided to expand on it.

[21] Swinburne, Richard. The Existence of God. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2011.

[22] This is a hypothetical objection.

[23] For instance, not only do I lack a belief that aliens or chimpanzees (or my wife) helped make my morning coffee, but I also believe that they did not help make my morning coffee.

[24] Baker, Alan, “Simplicity”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2016 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2016/entries/simplicity/&gt;.

[25] Fitzpatrick, Simon. “Simplicity in the Philosophy of Science.” Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Accessed May 05, 2017. http://www.iep.utm.edu/simplici/.

[26] This point is inspired by Stephen Law’s ”evil-god” challenge

[27] Law, Stephen. “The Evil-god Challenge.” Religious Studies 46, no. 3 (2010): 353-73. http://www.jstor.org/stable/40927250.

[28] Greco, John and Turri, John, “Virtue Epistemology”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2016 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2016/entries/epistemology-virtue/&gt;.

[29] Unless one is going to argue that belief in pointless suffering is a properly basic belief, it is hard to see how one can show that pointless suffering really exists

[30] Rowe, William, 1979, “The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism,” American Philosophical Quarterly, 16: 335–341.

[31] Seacord, Beth Anne, “Unto the Least of These: Animal Suffering and the Problem of Evil” (2013). Philosophy Graduate Theses & Dissertations. 36.

[32] Draper, Paul, 1989, “Pain and Pleasure: An Evidential Problem for Theists,” Noûs, 23: 331–350, reprinted in Howard-Snyder 1996b.

[33] Ibid.

[34]Draper, Paul, 1989, “Pain and Pleasure: An Evidential Problem for Theists,” Noûs, 23: 331–       350, reprinted in Howard-Snyder 1996b, 12-29.

[35] Tooley, Michael, “The Problem of Evil”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2015 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2015/entries/evil/&gt;.

[36] Or some similar hypothesis to naturalism.

[37] One might also find skeptical theism to be a cogent response to the evidential argument from evil. If that is the case, it is not clear why skeptical theism would not also apply to animal suffering particularly.

[38] It seems that the strongest argument from animal suffering will be an abductive argument, and one of the reasons is because abductive arguments from suffering quite plausibly escape the well-known skeptical theism reply by theists.

[39] But this is not to say Murray has not accomplished what he wanted, nor is it to suggest that Murray has not accomplished anything with regards to animal suffering.

[40] This is not to be confused with Murray showing that an explanation (like the Satan CD) is likely, which is not his goal.

[41] Accounting for some instances of animal suffering by one explanation and then bringing in another explanation (or CD) to account for other instances, might be seen as just one type of cumulative case. Murray might say that he is focused on a cumulative case in terms of covering all the “bases” in terms of people’s justified acceptances. Even here, though, I have argued that we ought to reject to the Satan CD. So, it is hard for me to see a cumulative case being made that involves the Satan CD.

[42] Perhaps the Satan CD could be combined with the neo-cartesiansism CD. The idea would be that Satan is responsible for the origin of animal suffering. Nevertheless, animals only appear to suffer in the same way the humans do.

[43]Although Michael Murray did not introduce the evidential problem of animal suffering, nevertheless, Murray’s book on the problem of animal suffering is a fantastic introduction to the problem. Not to mention, his book is one of (if not the) main reason why the problem has gained a ton of traction in recent years.

[44] I want to send a special thanks to Thomas McCall for helpful comments on this paper.

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