Lampion Press recently released a book titled God and the World of Insects, edited by Josh Shoemaker and Gary Braness. I contributed to the book by writing a chapter titled, ‘Are Insects Capable of Suffering?’
In the chapter I explore the question of whether insects are able to feel pain. This is important from a Christian perspective because if insects are capable of suffering, then this would exponentially multiply the problem of animal suffering, which is the philosophical claim that God most likely does not exist since it seems that so much animal suffering has occurred.
In the chapter, I first describe two philosophical Christian views of animal minds: neo-Cartesianism and Thomism. After this I discuss the scientific study of animal consciousness, pain, and self-consciousness. Next, I explain the current scientific consensus regarding whether insects are conscious, feel pain, and are self-conscious. Finally, I conclude that the scientific evidence indicates insects do not add to the problem of animal suffering regardless of whether someone holds to a neo-Cartesian or Thomistic view.
This book is mainly a scientific exploration of the world of insects. The first part of the book discusses the design and nature of insects from a Christian perspective. The second, smaller part, considers theological topics such as the purpose of insects and humanity’s role as caretakers of insects.
Other contributors include Ann Gauger and Paul Nelson from the Discovery Institute, Fazale Rana from Reasons to Believe, and many more people who are much smarter than me!