God, Free Will, Theodicy
Jerry Coyne returns to the theodicy debate. He quotes this Francis Collins paragraph:
The tragedy of the young child killed by a drunk driver, of the innocent man dying on the battlefield, or of the young girl cut down by a stray bullet in a crime-ridden section of a modern city can hardly be blamed on God. After all, we have somehow been given free will, the ability to do as well please. We use this ability frequently to disobey the Moral Law [note: Collins believes that the "Moral Law," the group of moral views that we all share, was instilled in us by God.] And when we do so, we shouldn’t then blame God for the consequences.
What Collins is implying is that the Holocaust was necessary so that Nazis could use their free will. Can there be anything more monstrous than this or any explanation more ludicrous? This would be simply silly if it weren’t so pathetic. Millions of innocent people died so that a small group of anti-Semites could work out their hatred on helpless victims? What kind of God has a plan like that? And couldn’t God have staved off the Holocaust without interfering with people’s “free will”? Couldn’t He just have prevented the conjunction of the particular sperm and egg that yielded the zygotic Hitler? Or must sperm have free will, too?