DBT01: Peter Hurford vs. cl On Needless Suffering

Posted in (A)Theist Debate League, DBT01, Debate on  | 1 minute | 9 Comments →

Our first debate of the year is officially scheduled as follows:

  • Opening Statement by Peter Hurford (2000 words), due February 15th.
  • My rebuttal (1500 words), due February 19th.
  • Peter’s rejoinder (1500 words), due February 23rd.
  • My second rebuttal (1500 words), due February 27th.
  • Peter’s closing statement (1000 words), due March 2nd.
  • My closing statement (500 words), due March 8th.

As explained on the debates page, Peter will argue that needless suffering exists, ergo belief in the traditional Abrahamic God is not justified (NOTE: in our email chain, Peter and I agreed—for whatever reason at that time—that we would not be debating the “ergo” part). The judges for this debate are Daniel Vecchio (Theist), Andrés Ruiz (Agnostic), and Matt DeStefano (Atheist).


  1. Great choice on Daniel as a judge, I’ve enjoyed my correspondence with him a lot.

  2. I’m really excited for this, and honored to be your first debate. Hopefully we can set a really high standard for all debates to follow!

  3. I’m excited for this. But it seems to me that the contention is too broad; to know that the evidential argument from evil makes belief in God unjustified is to know that the cumulative evidence for God is insufficient to overcome it, which will require discussing more than just the facts of evil.

  4. joseph


    Vox Dei didn’t want to judge ;-) Looking forward to this one, any plans for a set, agreed, definition of suffering before you start btw?

  5. It’s no doubt my limitation in imagination, but I can’t see how the question of whether we have libertarian free will isn’t the only real issue.

  6. Daniel


    A great topic to start off this new focus on debates here at TWIM. Who doesn’t love evil? I look forward to seeing some great arguments on both sides!

  7. Hi cl. I’ve posted a substantive critique of the moral argument found in your post, “The Quest for Second Best” on my blog here:


  8. cl


    So it just dawned on me that I somehow ended up with 1,000 less words than Peter. That’s exactly the kind of unexpected challenge I like :)

  9. Haha, I think that’s more of a word inequality than I ever intended. I know the opening statement is larger because it was theoretically supposed to be 500 words of introduction / laying the scene and 1500 words of argument.

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