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Liz Goodnick

Liz Goodnick is an associate professor of philosophy at Metropolitan State University of Denver. She received her PhD from the University of Michigan in 2010 with a dissertation on "The Role of Naturalistic Explanation in Hume's Critique of Religious Belief." She is also the author of numerous professional articles on topics ranging from pedagogy, the immorality of the doctrine of Hell, naturalistic explanations for religious belief, and intelligent design creationism.

Published on the Secular Web

Modern Library

Review of The Problem of Animal Pain

In The Problem of Animal Pain: A Theodicy for All Creatures Great and Small, Trent Dougherty claims that animal suffering is a logically necessary part of a world that contains the greatest goods—expression of the saintly virtues. He claims that even animal pain will be defeated insofar as animals will be resurrected as persons (think of the talking animals of C. S. Lewis' Narnia) who will come to embrace their role (including their suffering) in the drama of creation. Dougherty claims that if he can show that his saint-making theodicy makes the existence of animal pain unsurprising given the existence of God, and if he can show that his theodicy doesn't reduce the prior probability of God's existence, then he will "screen off" the disconfirmatory power that the existence of evil bears on the existence of God. In this review, Liz Goodnick deftly questions Dougherty's reasoning, particularly since the saintly virtues are only appropriate responses to a world that contains the kinds and as much suffering as this world does in the first place, and independently may not be worth that tremendous cost.