Andrea M. Weisberger
[ Author Bio ]
A popular response to the problem of evil contends that there is a necessary connection between free will and the existence of moral (or human-caused) evil. Alvin Plantinga, for instance, has advanced a concept of "transworld depravity"--essentially the idea that in any possible world where a given person has substantial free will, that person will necessarily commit at least one immoral act. In criticizing Plantinga's notion of transworld depravity, Clement Dore offers an alternative solution. But Weisberger argues that Dore's solution also fails because the existence of free will in no way necessitates either the human capacity to act wrongly or the excessive amount of moral evil we actually find in the world. Weisberger concludes that the free will defense utterly fails to undermine the argument from evil.
Several contemporary philosophers of religion have offered 'solutions' the problem of evil which insist that the world would actually be worse off than it currently is if there were no evil in it. Although John Hick's soul-making theodicy is the most prominent example of such a solution, Clement Dore has recently offered a theodicy that Weisberger dubs "the pollution solution." According to this response, evil is a necessary consequence of the 'polluting' natural machinery of the world. But as Weisberger points out, Dore fails to answer the critical question: Why couldn't God have created "nonpolluting" natural machinery? On the face of it, there is no reason to believe that such a world is logically impossible, and Dore offers no evidence to the contrary.