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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Leon Festinger

During the Easter weekend there was some of the usual debate about the historicity of the Resurrection. For the record my position is not that we can prove the resurrection, but merely that the facts and the evidence point to that conclusion, that he was raised from the dead. Weather not that is the case can't be demonstrated, and it is a matter of paradigm. The atheists tend to argue their paradigm of naturalism agaisnt it as an even as the sort of thing that never happens. Therefore we should not believe that it happened. I say First, it's a tenet of faith its' not necessary to use it as apologetical fodder. Evidence dose point to it and one accepts the "God exists and does things" then one can accept it as warranted for belief. To this they argued the follow quote about how unscientific it is. They are only saying "O isn't a shame that you don't subscribe to my paradigm?" That's all that argument means. No it's not a shame. It's a shame you don't know God.

But this argument did not unfold as it should have. There was some of their usual rejection of Popper, whom they adore at other times, and their misconceptions that scinece is about piling up a fortress of facts. That's the context, here's my post, begining with the statement that set me off:

Originally Posted by Keith View Post
(On CARM where else?)

It's ashamed that here we are in 2014, and after all our developments in the fields of science, people still believe somebody came back from the dead and floated up into the sky, and is still alive today in outer space somewhere.
what's ashamed is that people touting scinece as their world view are so unscientific. Here are some hard facts that must be faced about scinece:

(1) Science is not about proving things.

Read Popper! Science does not give atheism a fortress of facts.

(2) Science is not a means to spelling out all possibilities in the world.

(3) Science is not an ideology that spells what we may and may not believe.

Science is not a guide line that spells out belief systems.

(4) Science is a method that tests hypothesis by negating them not by proving them.

It's about disproving not proving hypothesis.

science does not give us truth. The best it can do is the appearance of truth, or verisimilitude.

(5) We know the resurrection is improbable by definition, it's a miracle that makes it impossible seeming. for Science to negate the res it has to prove it didn't happen.

To make science kill the resurrection you would have to disprove it. Not prove it's improbable. we know that. it should be improbable to be a tenet of faith.

In fact the real way to kill the disprove the resurrection would be to prove that it happens all the time.

To disprove the resurrection you have to go back in time and watch it fail to happen. That would be the only really scientific way to disprove it. The statement that it's such a shame that people still believe in such things in a scientific age is a affiliation of faith in an ideology, not science. It's not a scientific statement.

(6) Science is not a faith, It's not a replacement for god, not a religion it's salvation fro angry God, its not enforcement mechanism for atheism. It's not the fortress of facts.

(7) don't even think about saying I'm a "science denier." I'm more scientific then the person who said the statement above. It's unscientific to make scinece into an ideology.
This led to a lot of statments that the resurection is totally improbable. My protestation that it should be so because its a miracle. Them not getting that and not understanding it and reiterating that it's improbable then saying things like 'You don't get it, scinece disproves this by showing it's improbable. you are not playing the game right.' Ok that last bit is just my paraphrase of what they are really saying.

One poster got on to the 500 witnesses and his quip was that Paul just made them up. They were just "some dude told him this" or he made them up.

 Originally Posted by Metacrock View Post
it's quite silly to think Paul would make up 500 people seeing the resurrection when he didn't see it himself. that's putting motives on them that can't be proven. If we accept those motive you have to the guys not an idiot he would some sense of what claims could be made. that claim if not based upon anything would be eaten up with one visit to Slammer.
It's like the Jesus myth idea. one trip to Jerusalem, hear one person say "Jesus who?" and it's all over.
Which totally explains why cults disappear after their leader has been exposed as a fraud.

Except that they don't.

 what does he mean by this mysterious crack? As it will turn out he's arguing that ala Leon Festinger's theory of cognitive dissonance, when prophesy fails cults don't fold they become stronger. Then they will argue to affirm the consequent that, therefore, that the success of Christianity proves the failure of the resurrection.Cognitive says says that if one has invested enough in something then failure is not the end of the matter, one must then  justify one's expense, so we re double our commitment to a re-written set of predictions or expectations. Festinger infiltrated a flying saucer cult in the 1950s, one which latter becasue part of dionetics, L.Ron Hubbard's empire. In those early says this cult said that the world was going to end and a flying saucer would save members of the cult. This message was delivered to a certain woman in automatic writing. Festinger was a psychology graduate student. He got wind of this cult and infiltrated it by joining it. He then brought in so many accomplices infiltrators that the data was totally contaminated: there's a good chance they kept the cult going just to continue the study, and there infiltrators to do that. They became the cult and kept it goign to study themselves infiltrating it.

I gave several reasons why the 500 were not made up and he never answered one of them. He merely asserted that since I'm a Christian I'm stupid to understand Festinger (actually I was studying Festinger in a sociology class when I got saved. I made a very through study of it, he doesn't understand the contamination of data). Festinger's book about the incident where he unveils his theory of cognitive dissonance is When Prophesy fails.

 Originally Posted by Arnold Chiari II View Post
Follow the argument with your finger: Paul could have made up the 500 witnesses, and even if someone cried foul, nobody may have cared, because cults don't always collapse when they are shown to advance untruth. Thats; the nature of cultic belief.
Especially when it comes to prophecies. Religious groups can engage in all types of tactics to avoid collapse when a prophecy fails. When one is having to grapple with the fact that one's supposed Messiah has does, without doing much of what the standard Jewish account of Messiahs prophecied they'd do, those tactics will likely come into play.

"When Prophecy Fails and Faith Persists: A Theoretical Overview"

 In terms of the Feistenger thing, they tried to turn it into proof that the resurrection failed. So they are arguing that since cults don't fold when their prophecies are disproved but people actually become more committed, then the fact that Christianity succeeded is proof that the Resurrection failed.
I argued that is affirming the conquest. Just becuase some times cults dont' fold when their predictions fail is no proof that they always and only succeed when their predictions fail. So their success is not proof that the predictions failed. After I pointed out the affirming the consequent the dropped it like a hot rock.

Here is my article on Festinger from Metacrock's blog. this was in relation to the prediction about the Myan end of the world.

So we are all still here hu?

I notice the world didn't end over the weekend. I had a plan but had it too late to carry it out. I was going to secretly contact all the Christians posting on CARM atheist and have them not post or show any presence on the net for several days after so that the atheists would begin to wonder "have they been raptured?" I didn't think of it until Saturday. So much for my whimsical contribution to the mockery of a bad idea. You can still read the warning on
I expect the guy who started all that, especially the guy who gave his savings to buy the posters, I expect them to become more committed to the idea than ever. This is a classic case of cognative dissonance, a major theory in psychology started by Leon Festinger.

Cognitive dissonance is an uncomfortable feeling caused by holding conflicting ideas simultaneously. The theory of cognitive dissonance proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance. They do this by changing their attitudes, beliefs, and actions.[2] Dissonance is also reduced by justifying, blaming, and denying. It is one of the most influential and extensively studied theories in social psychology. A closely related term, cognitive disequilibrium, was coined by Jean Piaget to refer to the experience of a discrepancy between something new and something already known or believed.
Experience can clash with expectations, as, for example, with buyer's remorse following the purchase of an expensive item. In a state of dissonance, people may feel surprise,[2] dread, guilt, anger, or embarrassment. People are biased to think of their choices as correct, despite any contrary evidence. This bias gives dissonance theory its predictive power, shedding light on otherwise puzzling irrational and destructive behavior.

Notice the guy who started the idea also predicted it in 94. Being wrong once didn't prevent him from trying again, he was probably more attached to the idea. This is exactly what happened int the original case where Festinger developed the theory.

Festinger's original work was published in a book called When Prophesy Fails. The book was about Festinger, then a graduate student, who infiltrated a flying saucer cult. The cult began when a women in the mid west started receiving automatic writing from spirits who predicted the end of the world. The cult wound up believing that aliens were coming in flying saucers to save them. They were actually watching episodes of the classic tv sci fi show "Captain Video" to get "secret" messages form the aliens. The remarkable thing is several times the date came and went for the end of the world and yet the group became more committed each time, went out and got more members each time. Festinger contaminated his data because he asked so many questions and brought in so many "new members" (other graduate students and professors) that they began to suspect that he was an alien. They started taking opportunities in private to say "come on you can tell me I want tell the others, you are one of them aren't' you?" The cult finally disbanded the major people wound up in Scientology.


Of course very few Christians expected this guy's thing to be real. My feeling was if Jesus says he doesn't know the day or the hour, (only the Father does) what chance does this guy have of knowing it? As most of these things go this guy had some bogus theory about how to calculate secret messages from the Bible. His prmise is wrong on face value because he was calculating from the Flood, judging literal years (no way to know even if the flood was literally real--which it was not) when it happened. So there was no basis upon which to calculate anyway. Then he decided for himself that it could be traced that way, no Bible passage says it can be.

What is the basis for such foolish notions? First there is the kind of instruction in Bible reading that many people get in churches. When I turn past (I do mean past) televangelists almost without fail what I hear is total ignorance when they discuss how to study the Bible and how to read the Bible. They are the one's who set up this foolishness of secret codes and private meanings, becuase they don't know the basic scientific means of exegesis or textual criticism. American Christianity is based upon an revolution of anti-intellectualism led by harbingers of frontier life against the early Calvinist elites who founded the big schools in the east (such as Harvard and Yale). This revolution was called "the second great awakening" and it's legacy has been the sanctioning of uneducated guesswrok in reading the Bible and a profound suspicion and distrust of academic learning.

Although there may be broader ramifications for anti-intellectualism in America:

Anti-Intellectualism in American Life
book by Hofstadter (quoting reader review on Amazon)
Hofstadter is careful to define what he means by the intellect and intellectuals. The intellect is the critical, creative, contemplative side of mind that examines, ponders, wonders, theorizes, criticizes, questions, imagines. It is the province of writers, critics, skeptics, professors, scientists, editors, journalists, lawyers and clergymen. Just being a "mental technician" in these fields is not enough; one also acts as an active custodian of values like reason and justice and truth.

Unfortunately, America's practical culture has never embraced intellectuals. The intellectuals' education and expertise are viewed as a form of power or privilege. Intellectuals are seen as a small arrogant elite who are pretentious, conceited, snobbish. Geniuses' are described as eccentric, and their talents dismissed as mere cleverness. Their cultured view is seen as impractical, and their sophistication as ineffectual. Their emphasis on knowledge and education is viewed as subversive, and it threatens to produce social decadence.

Instead, the anti-intellectuals believe that the plain sense of the common man is altogether adequate and superior to formal knowledge and expertise from schools. The truths of the heart, experience, and old-fashioned principles of religion, character, instinct, and morality are more reliable guides to life than education. After all, we idolize the self-made man in America.
my money is on this reaction of the second great awakening.

This common man stuff and common sense and so on usually means popular misconceptions and prejudices are enshrined as "common sense." When I was a kid the old people said "it's just common sense to keep the races apart." The same goes for the Bible, people want to feel that God is talking directly to them from the pages of the book and they don't some snob with a degree telling them what he says.

The other aspect of the equations, why we have this sense of "end times," in the first place, rooted in theology. Why does time have to "end?" Jurgen Moltmann, a major theologian of the twentieth century, explores this idea in this work Theology of Hope. (summary of book). He shows that the Israelites journey is spacial, through the desert toward the physical goal of a promised land. What happens once they reach it? Now the journey become temporal. They are no longer searching for the land, now it's a journey of time. They journey through history. Thus the bench mark of the end of times becomes the temporal goal. This theory might be in doubt due to modern scholarly notions that the journeying of the Israelites as been historically disproved. Lawrence H. Shiffman, Ethel and Irvin A. Edelman Professor in Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University, says this is not a consensus. There is still a large segment of scholars who don't accept this idea.

Shiffman writes:

Further, this theory must explain away the historical and archaeological evidence. Numerous cities from this period show a cultural change at precisely the point when the Israelites are said by the Bible to have appeared. Indeed, the newcomers, since they came from the desert, show a lower level of material culture than the Canaanites whom they displaced. This situation fits well the notion of Israelite conquest and infiltration. Second, the Israelites, throughout their history in the land, were concentrated in those areas easiest to defend against the superior arms of the Canaanites, a fact that supports the notion that they were invaders. Third, the doubters have claimed that few cities from this period show evidence of armed destruction. But careful consideration of the biblical narrative, with due attention to the account in Judges and the evidence that the Canaanites were never entirely displaced, eliminates this inconsistency fully. Indeed, the archaeological record supports a reconstruction of the historical events of the conquest when both Joshua and Judges are studied together. Finally, these scholars often claim that the Bible is the only source supporting the Exodus. But they forget that several different accounts of the Exodus exist in the Bible, in books written at different periods, thus providing corroborative evidence for the basic scheme of events.

Still it seems there would be more to the idea of end times than just enshrining it in Hebrew Hopes. The early chruch got into the act when the gentile churches, not aware of the apocalyptic genre of writing, took literal the symbolism of Revelation. No doubt all of that plays a role. Yet it seems there must be a psychological pay off that people long for. There must be an end to this vial of tears we call "the world." This seems especially acute when we wake of and hear of tragedies like what happened in Joplin last night.
People need a goal they need a pay off, other than death. Yet the wrong prediction that sucks others into false hope is not the way to go. We do not have false hope. We have to cultivate the inner life in a relationship with God to understand the reality of the true hope we do have. We need to be aware of God's reality in our lives so the present nature of eternity is always pressing upon us. We should live a position which is aware of two points at once, the concrete now which is here in life, and the eternal which we will someday join. I probably look too lovingly at the past, but being a historian I can't help but think that knowing the past is a good way to demarcate the present.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Atheist Reduction of Knolwedge to science part 1

  photo Wieseltier_zpse524414a.jpg
 Leon Wieseltier
           The Scientistic movement cuts across many boundaries. It includes, but is not limited to, atheism. One major facet of its ideology which has been especially important to atheism is the transformation of knowledge to technique. I refer to Barrett’s concept of the illusion of technique, of which I spoke in chapter one. The first move is a reduction of knowledge from a multiplicity of forms to one thing only, scientific knowledge. Then scientific knowledge lends itself to the working of technique in shaping our understanding by manipulating reality and thus truth. This reduction of knowledge to scientific data, is reflected on the popular internet site One such question asked: “is science the supreme form of knowledge?” The answer it gives us is, “Science is the only form of knowledge. There is no way to know something without it being scientific in some way.”[1] It goes to ask “what is science knowledge the answer is “science knowledge is the understanding of everything around us how they process or work. To have Science knowledge it will allow you to have good explanations of many things…”[2] It reads like it’s written by a third grader. Science knowledge is everything, nothing escapes it, and it gives good explanations of many things, not all things? It gives a little testimonial just incase the definition doesn’t sound quite right. That its good for explaining things.
            In popular terms, the site “” has a debate on the question “is science the only source of true knowledge.” That should at least reflect the fact that people are asking the question. Their straw poll, which is of course not scientific and not representative, shows 44% of people who visited the sight, says yes science is the only form of true knowledge.” 56% say “no.” It’s true that even with a specialized computer going audience the ‘no’s’ have it, yet 44% is a large percentage.[3] They quote Hume:
“If we take in our hand any volume; of divinity or school metaphysics, for instance; let us ask, Does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number? No. Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence? No. Commit it then to the flames: for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion.”[4] English Commedian Ricky Gervias is featured in a piece for Wall Street Journal, “why I am an Atheist.” He says:
People who believe in God don’t need proof of his existence, and they certainly don’t want evidence to the contrary. They are happy with their belief. They even say things like “it’s true to me” and “it’s faith.” I still give my logical answer because I feel that not being honest would be patronizing and impolite. It is ironic therefore that “I don’t believe in God because there is absolutely no scientific evidence for his existence and from what I’ve heard the very definition is a logical impossibility in this known universe,” comes across as both patronizing and impolite.[5]
That’s an example of how deeply this kind of thinking as been absorbed by the popular level.
            Austin Cline is a blogger and an expositor of atheist opinion. He writes about the nature of scientific knowledge defending the statement “God does not exist,” as a scientific statement. If we examine his view it turns out that the reason he says it is because he’s reduced the nature of knowledge to his understanding of science. He says that objecting to the statement on the grounds that God is beyond scientific proof is a misunderstanding of what the statement means. The statement, “God does not exist” (as a scientific statement) means that it can’t be proved by scientific means. If it can’t be proved then it doesn’t exist. That’s the same as saying “my view is all there is.”
When a scientist says "God does not exist," they mean something similar to when they say "aether does not exist," "psychic powers do not exist," or "life does not exist on the moon."
All such statements are casual short-hand for a more elaborate and technical statement: "this alleged entity has no place in any scientific equations, plays no role in any scientific explanations, cannot be used to predict any events, does not describe any thing or force that has yet been detected, and there are no models of the universe in which its presence is either required, productive, or useful." [6]
I’ve never actually seen a scientist who says that, except for the professional atheists such as Dawkins. Even Dawkins doesn’t actually say that he’s making a scientific statement. One might think that the comparison to aether is not valid, seeing the Michaelson/Moraelly experiments as disproof of the possibility of aehter. Technically all they really did was fail to find any evidence in favor of aether and the modern scientific understanding of the universe failed to produce a place for it.[7] That’s really the point Cline makes, science doesn’t have to disprove God, just not finding a place for God means God doesn’t exist (for scientism) because scientism only accepts that for which science makes a place. In other words, by this method, knowledge is reduced all other forms to science alone, or least to their reading of science alone. Cline himself rejects an absolutist position (of disproof) on the part of science. “What should be most obvious about the technically accurate statement is that it is not absolute. It does not deny for all time any possible existence of the entity or force in question.”[8] Of course it doesn’t have to. Since it has mandated a methodology that excludes God sense it only allows that which is found in sense data, then God will never meet the requirement unless he wants to submit to scientific scrutiny. God seems to have his own ideas about being in charge, so this is not likely. The effect is only things that compare to scientific methods can be considered knowledge. That is only a good argument if one only accepts religious belief as a scientific hypothesis. The assumption is clearly that science is the only from of knowledge and if it’s not scientific then it’s not worthy to be known. The point is that for scientism (and New atheism)  science is the only valid form of knolwedge.
            Jerry A. Coyne argues that science is the only valid form of knowledge and he doesn’t mind castigating the arts in doing it. On his blog[9] he takes to task Patrick MacNamara, the professor in Neurology at Boston University who edits the series of books on Where God and Science Meet.[10] In the course the discussion Coyne begins to argue that science is the only from of knowledge, only scientific knowledge can be validated. He says:
First, music, literature and poetry don’t produce any truths about the universe that don’t require independent verification by empirical and rational investigation: that is, through science (broadly interpreted).  These fine arts don’t convey to us anything factual about the world unless those facts can be replicated by reason, observation or experiment.  All of the other “truths” from the arts fall into the class of “emotional realizations.”
I may, for example, feel a oneness with humanity from reading Tolstoy, or a feeling that I need to “seize the day” from watching Never Let Me Go. While one might consider these things worthwhile knowledge, with “knowledge” defined broadly, they are not what we atheists—and many of the faithful—mean by “truths.”[11]
His reasoning is pretty convoluted. Literature and poetry don’t produce truths because they don’t require independent verification. That’s a statement not in evidence. Just because they don’t require his kind of verification doesn’t mean they don’t require any. That may be what personal experience is for. Or that may be what other literature is for. Moreover, who says that knowledge has to be verified to be knowledge? That’s only the case if you already accept up front that scientific knowledge is the only kind. I think that writers like Coyne are merely demonstrating the failure of our educational system to instill within the students in its charge a love of learning or a sense of the humanities. At the very least his position is begging the question. He doesn’t understand the nature of literature or what it does for you, and he takes it very literally and tries to approach it like science. We can see this in his statement:
when you read a novel like Anna Karenina, you know it’s fiction: if from the endeavor you realize things about yourself, or about human emotions, you are not required to sign onto the genuine physical existence of Count Vronsky or Karenin.  In contrast, emotional realizations that derive from faith require absolute belief in a number of ridiculous, incorrect, or unverifiable propositions.[12]
He does understand that fiction is fiction but then why can’t he extrapolate from that to the nature of religion? He thinks religious belief has to be literal. It can’t refer to emotions or internal states. That feeling stuff is not truth that’s just stories.  He issues his own challenge to believers: “tell me exactly what ‘knowledge’ religion has provided that is not derivable from secular reason.  Like Hitchens, I still have not received an answer.” [13]He sure will. I’ll send him a copy of this book.  Why would anyone think that reality one discovers in God is not knowledge or that it’s not “real?” Why shouldn’t it be verifiable? But why must it be verifiable in scientific terms? Spiritual knowledge is real; Knowledge of God is real knowledge. Noetic knowledge from mystical experience is real. Historical knowledge is real knowledge that can pertain to religious teaching. It’s absurdly silly to say that science is the only true knowledge.  I’ll go into greater elaboration on this in the chapter on supernatural. This will all be discussed in the chapters on supernatural (chapter nine) and perspective (chapter 10).
            Peter Atkins writes, in “Science as Truth,” that “…there can be no denying that science is the best procedure yet discovered for exposing fundamental truths about the world…This claim of universe competence may seem arrogant, but it appears to be justified.”[14] He points to science’s experimentation guided by elaboration and improvement of theory as the basis of scientific acuity. He points to the function, the success, the “science works” aspect to demonstrate the truth of science. “No other mode of discovery has proved to be so effective or to contribute so much toward the achievement or aspirations of humanity.”[15] Like Atkins those who defend Scientism and who seek to reduce all human knowledge to one form of knowledge, scientific, usually claim to do so in the name of humanity. Yet in so doing they threaten to destroy not only some of the most cherished aspects of human knowledge but humanity itself. This is no ideal threat. There are four major harms impending as a result of this movement:
(1) Loss of the arts as a valid understanding of human being
(2) Loss of human freedom as a value in society,
(3) Loss of humanity itself in the face of technological augmentation
(4) Separation from God.
            The process of reducing knowledge to just scientific knowledge alone was at work eroding the value of the arts through most of the twentieth century. George Richmond Walker wrote a fine article for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, way back in 1964. In that article, “Art, Science, and Reality,” he demonstrated that civilization has always assumed that knowledge spread over a wide variety of subject matters and disciplines. Knowledge belongs to all the endeavors of humanity, they were all worthy of being called by that name, especially the arts. As sited in the first chapter, Dewy and the positivists were skeptical that the arts provide knowledge, yet, “in times past there have been many thinkers who asserted or assumed that art as well as science reveals something of the true nature of the actual world.”[16] He cites Plato and Aristotle who say that art is a form of knowledge. I would not expect Plato and Aristotle to cut much ice in this day and age. He adds, “religion was understood and is still generally believed to be concerned with reality of some kind.”[17] He quotes the philosopher Bosanquet “the spirit of art is faith in ‘life and divinity with which the external world is inspired so that the idealizations that are characteristic of art are not so much imaginations that depart from reality as they are revelations of the life and divinity that is alone ultimate reality.’”[18] Richmond argues that modern science is giving us an exacting knowledge of the external world but through quantum theory we know that the essential substance of the world is mathematical not physical and external. Thus he grounds true knowledge in experience of the world, which is reflected through the arts as well as science. He sites Whitehead in saying that neither physical nature nor life can be understood without understanding the interconnections that can only be understood through experience. He bases this view in a monism that speaks of the interconnections of all things, thus to screen off just one aspect such as the objective quantifiable aspects that science provides and ignore the experiential that the artistic provides is merely to miss the whole. We are not missing just one aspect but the whole.[19] All knowledge is generated by experience and the only thing we know of that brings experience to the table is humanity. He makes the point that we don’t know what we are approaching as a species or what we are unleashing but we do know we can’t escape being human. We are finally confined to our humanity and art is our unique expression as humans that reflect our experience in ways that allows us to bridge the known.
            Leon Wieseltier, literary editor of the New Republic, gave the commencement address at Brandeis University in 2013. Peter Lawler wrote an article for The Standard based upon that speech.[20] He pointed out the threat to the arts and thus to freedom from scientism and technologism. He points to Neuroscientists who seek to displace theology, philosophy, poetry. This is the idea that there is a ready genetic explanation for all we do and that understanding brain function is to understand all that there is to know. We can see that through Cyone’s literalistic approach to literature. The technologism of which he speaks is a good example of what I talk about in chapter one under the heading of “illusion of technique.” the idea that we can do anything, we can manipulate the world to match our desires, thus we control meaning and truth. Yet this only applies to one form of knowledge, science, and all other forms will all but wither away. This is because science feeds technology, the basis of manipulation and control.
            Reduction of knowledge to science will only result in a loss of freedom; free speech, freedom of action, political freedom. Back in the 1970s B.F. Skinner achieved fame and notoriety with his work Beyond Freedom and Dignity[21], in which he argued that freedom and dignity were concepts holding us back from saving the planet. He pointed to pollution and world hunger and agued that we were not doing the things needed to be done because ideas of human freedom stood in the way. We are not willing make the impositions on the individual that need to be made to illicit the proper human behavior. He advocated using operant conditioning. Skinnerism found a wide audience for a time but then I think society began to take a real look at what he was talking about and decided human freedom and dignity were worth keeping. Skinner’s school of thought made an impact in clinical psychology, the giving tokens for rewards in exchange for behavior, this school was called “behaviorism.” We began to figure out that freedom and dignity are two of the things that make life worth living. Losing them is losing some of the thing for which we want the world made safe and preserved so that we might enjoy them. Saving the world at the expense of those is like destroying the village to save it. Wieseltier points to Marxism as an example of what the scientistic mentality does to freedom.[22]
            Determinism is the outcome of scientism: because we know it all we can study and understand what causes everything, thus we have proved that there is No free will. Because there’s no free will there is no problem taking away political freedom. All we need to do is tell the sheep they won’t miss it because they only think they want it anyway. There is no greater threat to freedom then the philosophical twaddle that rationalizes it’s loss with a lot of nonsense about how veg the concept of freedom is. Daniel Dennett tries to answer by showing that he believes in freedom politically and lives free in a deterministic world because determinism cuts down on randomness. Randomness is what destroys freedom because you can’t predict the future in reliable way,[23] while determinism doesn’t mean inevitability.[24] To pull this off Dennett uses some slick tricks. To prove determinism is not inevitable but allows freedom he does two things; first, he uses the analogy of a bullet, its trajectory is inevitable if unblocked, but we have a bullet proof vest the striking is not inevitable. Of course the problem is that it assumes we can think freely to act. If our thoughts and desires are also controlled, then we can’t act freely to wear the vest. With Harris’s ideas of determinism, for example, all causes are the same as determinism and for him free will is just a illusion.[25] Thus we can’t think freely to wear the vest. The second thing Dennett does is to compare scientific determinism to belief in God. He refers to aspects of belief a lot. He refers to the Deus ex Machina[26] (don’t look now, not a Biblical concept). The reason is because he expects us to accept that by comparison scientific determinism is less inevitable and controlling than the concept of fate, which he links to God or the divine. A large portion of the book is aimed at disproving notions of free will, which means he’s just doing the reductionist trick (see chapter “reductionism,” chapter 5) reducing reality to the bit he can control then claims that’s all there is. Loss of free will isn’t a problem because free will is not very expansive anyway. Based upon this lackluster performance of its defense we can assume it is in grave danger. One can only imagine how this tactic would be applied by the real purveyors of power in a world ran by the dictates of scientism.
We have to wait until Friday to find out

[1] “Is Science the Supreme form of knowledge?” Internet resource:  (accessed 12/27/13). is owned by the Answers corporation began in Israel. The name domain name was purchansed by Bill Gose and Hendrick Jones. The domain name sold to guru net based in Israel.
[3] Debate.Org, “Is Science the Only True Source of Knowledge?” owned by Juggle, LLC   online resource:
[4] Ibid.
[5] Ricky Gervais, “Ricky Gervais: Why I am An Atheist.” Wall Street Journal: Arts and Entertainment. (Dec. 19, 2010). Online copy:   accessed 12/31/13.
[6] Austin Cline, “Scientifically God Does Not Exist: Science allows us to say God Does not Exist, there is role for God in science, no explanation that God can provide.”, Agnosticism/Atehism. Online publication:  accessed 12/27/13.
[7] Richard Staley, (2009), "Albert Michelson, the Velocity of Light, and the Ether Drift", Einstein's generation. The origins of the relativity revolution, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, ISBN 0-226-77057-5
[8] Ibid.
[9] Jerry A. Coyne, “Once Again, Does Religion Produce Knowledge,” Why Evolution is True,  blog, Mya 4, 20/11. URL:  accessed 12/27/13. Coyne Ph.D. , is professor of Ecology and Evolution at University of Chicago. From his blog: “Coyne has written over 110 refereed scientific papers and 80 other articles, book reviews, and columns, as well as a scholarly book about his field (Speciation, co-authored with H. Allen Orr). He is a frequent contributor to The New Republic, The Times Literary Supplement, and other popular periodicals..”
[10] Patrick McNamara ed., Where God and Science Mee:How Brain and Evolutionary Experiences Alter Our Understanding of Religion, volumes I-III. Westport CT:Praeger Publishers, 2006.
[11] Coyne, Op. Cit.
[12] Ibid.
[13] Ibid.
[14] Peter Atkins, “Science as Truth,” History of the Human Sciences,  Volume 8, no 2 (1995) 97-102
Attkins is former professor of Chemistry at Oxford, author of many books, scholarly and popular. He’s well known as an atheist and speaks and writes on behalf of atheism.
[15] Ibid.
[16] George Richmond Walker, Op. cit. 9.
[17] Ibid.
[18] Ibid.
[18] Ibid.
[20] Peter Augustine Lawler, “Defending the Humanities,” The Weekly Standard, Jun 17, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 38, 2013.  from the Online copy Jan 1, 2014  accessed 1/1/14.
[21] B.F. Skinner, Beyond Freedom and Dignity, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1971. 1.
[22]  Quoted in Lawler, Op. Cit.
[23] Daniel C. Dennett, Freedom Evolves, New York: Penguin Books, 2004, 13, 309.
[24] Ibid, 56.
[25] Sam Harris, Free Will,  New York: Free Press, 2012.,10.
[26] Dennett, Freedom Evolves, Op cit. 47.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Atheists Rally around their own, even when hate filled and Fascistic

This morning see my Easter essay (New and original) "Did Mark Invent the Empty tomb?"
On Metacrock's Blog!

I confronted Deist with his support of Hogbosian and his agreement that he would persecute Christians if he could. He says:

Originally Posted by Deist View Post
Wrong, I would allow Christians to babble about talking snakes, God plopping down a fully formed human, even him offing an entire human race in a do over, but if Christians threatened others with hell, damnation and tried to convince they were worthless sinners, I would toss them in the pokey with mandatory decompression and brain cell reordering. I would leave it to the doctors to determine if a lobotomy was needed.

exactly, you would be on a par with Hitler. you are an oppressor. also a hypocrite. It's ludicrously silly to control belief even if you find it repugnant. That just proves you are a dictator.

Even the white citizen's councils of the deep American south didn't try to make wanting integration illegal.

 Originally Posted by Radio1ogy View Post
Sorry Meta you have no evidence that your God has any more validity than the oft-abused flying spaghetti monster. We have evidence to support the claims we make. You do not. That is the simple fact here, and I don't see that changing anytime soon. As usual, I'll ignore the insults.
obviously I do. 200 studies from peer reivewed journal done by shrinks, that's good evidence.

nip it in the bud, he's got to nip in the bud they can't afford to have people know that there is such overwhelming evidence.

 Originally Posted by Radio1ogy View Post
As already established, your 200 studies either don't exist or don't support your thesis. Sorry.
aahhahahaahahaha you are uninformed. you made a muck of debunking one study. that's the only one you've seen.. I told you it was not an important one I specif d the fine tiny little minor things I use it t document and they weren't major parts of my thesis. based upon that one work, which you do not understand becasue you underrate it as a study. you colluding "tis' been established that they are all bad!
Here the cretins go at it again. "they either don't exist or don't support the ideas. If they don't exist how can you read them to know they don't support the ideas? I've proved they exist by quoting them in other published sources. That's absolute proof. I also give all of their sources.

thank you for once again proving that atheism is about being ignorant, not thinking, refusing to consider the facts, and supporting ideological brain washing.

the handlers say you must oppose those studies. don't need to thread them, the atheist masters say they are bad.

One study, "it has been established." by your wishful thinking.

 Originally Posted by Deist View Post
One of the central themes of Christians has to do with "experiences". I put it in parenthesis because the word is defined by those claiming to have had them. I think THE most important thing one can do is to examine their beliefs critically and then determine why it is they hold those beliefs, and if they are worth holding onto. Often, we go through life just accepting what others have to say without challenge or scrutiny.

Ignorance stikes again! the guy who know nothing about hte subjec ti jsut convienced he doesn't need to read a think. He can tell jus sniffing the air around it that it's no good. He doesn't need to read Maslow, he's convened Maslow is a Chrsitain, anyone who believes the tiniest little bit that realign is ok is a Chrsitain, but at the same time Deist believes there is no standard Christianity. Thus is failure to know hat Maslow is one of the most important, accomplished, famous and greatest anthropologist/sociologists of all time, and is well known not be a christian, makes his little outburst as just that.


Let us examine this definition, which is one that Meta touts as the central theme and reason he believes there is a generic type God. I say generic because this is also what most Christians do as well. They MEAN the Christian God, but almost all the time the God they refer to is a generic one that could be anything...even the God of Islam, or just a ground of being, which also is left undefined. 
Of that's BS. Most Chrsitians (especially the fundie kind--here in Texas we have them in abundance) think Allah is evil and is satan. They think Buddha is a competing God, they the toa is a competing God. They think Nomai yo ho ringe quo is a competing God.


Peak experience defined by Abraham Maslow (1962) as the most wonderful experience or experiences of your life, happiest moments, ecstatic moments, moments of rapture
of course he doesn't document Malow saying this. That's because it's totally unscientific. Maslow never said any such thing. he's just reducing the concept to "happy" which is their constant tatic. they can never honestly deal with a concept on it's own terms. they always have to reduce it something else, otherwise it's off script. they can't deal something their atheist handlers have not brain washed them on.


If YOU wanted to be in the group, wouldn't it be advantageous for you to CLAIM a "peak experience"? Who could challenge you, right? Perhaps many of the group have claimed that THEY have had one, and yet they never really explain what the experience was. So, you realize YOU can do the same thing, be considered important, and be a card carrying member of the group. If I were to use the above definition, even I have had more than one "peak experience". Since I would never be called upon by the group to explain my alleged "peak experience" (because they don't want to have to explain theirs, either), I get to be perceived as special and important, perhaps even chosen by the number one entity that the group claims they worship. I'm "in" like flint with no further discussion. 
He's spouting this drivel about this stuff that he has never experienced for himself. He's talking about it as though it' so stupid you just don't need to confront it when you are awake. Go take a nap and see what's wrong with it. he's deeply insightful he doesn't have to read books to know everything.

Blythely unaware that it's scientific. Of course he doesn't read anything so how could he know it is? Because he keeps himself unaware so wont have to confront how wrong he is and really study about it. They don't have 200 studies (plus) for nothing. It's because it is a complex subset that has been scientifically a great deal. There's a huge body of empirical work about it.


Conversely, if I never had a "peak experience", I may be considered less than the others; an outsider, perhaps unworthy, uneducated, need to read the bible more, not devoted. Thus, one MUST have had a "peak experience" to be in the clique, and there is no downside to claiming one, because claims are a dime a dozen and go unchallenged by the group. 
His silliness leads him to assume that having such an experience is some kind of mark of spiritual acumen in the chruch. He has no concept how what churches ar4e like. If you that I invent to go to first Baptist in Dallas and tell them you had a peak experience and see who salutes you. Totally rampant ignorance.


I assert I've had MANY "peak experiences". I don't believe in your Christian God, or ANY God that is personal or imparts anything to me or in me. I, and I alone give myself my feelings. 
Perhaps you have had a peak experience, but the fact is that people who do have them are not disrespect mocking creep who deal honesty with other people's experiences. They studies show that people have them are more open to others, more understanding, intuitively compassionate, caring, willing to accept others, no silly know it alls who refuse to learn. They are better educated, more successful and tend to grow a social conscience. I find it highly unlikely that you have had such an experience. The fruits are not there.

I do see some green eyes looking longingly at what I have and what Christians have and some sour grapes.


 A note on defintion
 where Deist got his definition:

this guy starts off with an anecdotal quoteefined as “moments of highest happiness and fulfillment,” not only does he then write a whole article about it but Malow himself wrote a whole book about it. So we find can a more sceitnfic and exacting definition if we cared to. In that book Maslow does link to religious experience and mystical experience. I've documented that before in answering Backup's charge that Peak is not mystical and not religious.

 "Abraham Maslow, Religions, Values and Peak Experiences."
by  Tim Knepper, 2001. accessed today.

in that artilce Maslow's defintion is summarized:

And, in Maslowian-speak, peak-experiences are identified as temporary moments of self-actualization; the peak-experiencer “becomes in these episodes most truly himself, more perfectly actualizes his potentials, closer to the core of his Being, more fully human” (TBP, 106). It should also be noted that Maslow recognizes a new type of “peak” experience in RVPE – the plateau-experience. Unlike peak-experiences, plateau-experiences are serene and clam, always possess a noetic and cognitive element and – as the name indicates – are temporally distended.

As for the relationship between peak-experiences and organized religion, Maslow believes that the origin, core and essence of every known “high religion” is “the private, lonely, personal illumination, revelation, or ecstasy of some acutely sensitive prophet or seer” (RVPE, 19). “That is to say,” continues Maslow, “it is very likely, indeed almost certain, that these older reports, phrased in terms of supernatural revelation, were, in fact, perfectly natural, human peak-experiences” (RVPE, 20). Nevertheless, world religions tend towards polarization, with the privately religious “peakers” on one side and the institutionally religious “non-peakers” on the other. Maslow goes so far as to call peakers and non-peakers “the [two] religions of mankind” (RVPE, 28). Moreover, public organized religion is not only secondary but also harmful to private peak-experiences (RVPE, 28).

Finally, Maslow is of the opinion that all peak-experiences are essentially the same: “To the extent that all mystical or peak-experiences are the same in their essence and have always been the same, all religions are the same in their essence and have always been the same. They [religious practitioners] should, therefore, come to agree in principle on teaching that which is common to all of them, i.e., whatever it is that peak-experiences teach in common (whatever is different about these illuminations can fairly be taken to be localisms both in time and space, and are, peripheral, expendable, not essential). This something common, this something which is left over after we peel away all the localisms, all the accidents of particular languages or particular philosophies, all the ethno-centric phrasings, all those elements which are not common, we may call the ‘core-religious experience’ or the ‘transcendent experience’” (RVPE, 20). Where descriptions of peak experiences differ, Maslow pays “no attention to these localisms since they cancel one another out,” “taking the generalized peak-experience to be that which is common to all places and times” (RVPE, 73). Moreover, Maslow believes the data from peak-experiences may one day offer a solution to the problem of cultural relativity insofar as the “B-values [the values inherent in Being-itself] derived from peak-experiences, as well as from other sources, may supply us with a perfectly naturalistic variety of ‘certainty,’ of unity, of eternality, of universality” (RVPE, 95). “B-values may well turn out to be defining characteristics of humanness in its essence, i.e., the sine qua non aspects of the concept ‘human’” (RVPE, 95).
Deist wants to turn him into a Christian but he is well known as an atheist and close to being a Buddhist.  

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Atheist go over the edge on pretense of disproving God

 photo pWorlds.png

Atheists have basically taken over the possible world's business. Possible worlds were initially a means of demonstrating the concept of necessity and contingency. Several Mathematicians and philosohpers developed their own versions of them.

Although ‘possible world’ has been part of the philosophical lexicon at least since Leibniz, the notion became firmly entrenched in contemporary philosophy with the development of possible world semantics for the languages of modal logic. In addition to the usual Boolean sentence operators of classical logic such as ‘and’ (‘∧’), ‘or’ (‘∨’), ‘not’ (‘¬’), and ‘if...then’ (‘→’), these languages contain operators intended to represent the modal adverbs ‘necessarily’ (‘□’) and ‘possibly’ (‘◇’). Although a prominent aspect of logic in both Aristotle's work and the work of many medieval philosophers, modal logic was largely ignored from the modern period to the mid-20th century. And even though a variety of modal deductive systems had in fact been rigorously developed in the early 20th century, notably by Lewis and Langford (1932), there was for the languages of those systems nothing comparable to the elegant semantics that Tarski had provided for the languages of classical first-order predicate logic. Consequently, there was no rigorous account of what it means for a sentence in those languages to be true and, hence, no account of the critical semantic notions of validity and logical consequence to underwrite the corresponding deductive notions of theoremhood and provability. A concomitant philosophical casualty of this void in modal logic was a deep skepticism, voiced most prominently by Quine, toward any appeal to modal notions in metaphysics generally, notably, the notion of an essential property. (See Quine 1953 and 1956, and the appendix to Plantinga 1974.) The purpose of the following two subsections is to provide a simple and largely ahistorical overview of how possible world semantics fills this void; the final subsection presents two important applications of the semantics. (Readers familiar with basic possible world semantics can skip to §2 with no significant loss of continuity.)[1]
Atheists have just gone hog wild creating bogus silly impossible worlds that they think are possible merely because they can conceive of a general idea.


 I've never understood why the impossibility of God doesn't enjoy more support on this forum. The consensus is that God does not exist but that it's not impossible for God to exist. From there is goes that if God is not impossible, then God is possible, but not probable. When asked what the difference is between possible and probable, you get it could be the case verses it's likely the case. So God is possible, but with subjective degrees of "unlikely". For example, a "strong" atheist would say that the existence of God is highly unlikely, while a "weak" atheist would say that the existence of God is somewhat unlikely. All would compare the existence of God to Santa Claus, which is also unlikely, but certainly not impossible. The same is true for Sasquatch, although I'd guess that, while it's unlikely that Sasquatch exists, it's probably considered more likely to exist than Santa Claus or God. These "positions" are considered "reasonable".

So I wanted to ask our Atheist forum members this question: Is it possible that God is impossible or is it not possible that God is impossible? Why or why not? (For the purpose of this thread I'm talking about the Judeo-Christian God.)


 Yes, God is impossible.Why? Because God is contingent. And to be God, He must be necessary and non-contingent.However, I can conceive without contradiction of a possible world in which there is no God, so he cannot be logically necessary.

Secondly, God, like any other contingency, would be himself contingent upon and conditioned by necessary truths such as mathematical and logical truth. Since there are things which transcend and condition God, the very concept of God is incoherent and impossible.

 Originally Posted by Metacrock View Post
arbitrary nonsense. contingent means contingent upon something. that's what contingency is.
Fleet's first argument (can conceive of a world without God) is really based upon his general doubt about God in this world, which is really begging the question. He's asserting the point of contingent in order to prove his position on the point of contention, which is what he's using as proof. that's totally circular.

you have to do more to say that you conceive of a world without God, you have to actually have a contradiction in the concept of God. He thinks he has it with no but that's also fallacious. No two is based upon the idea if God creates then his being creator is contingent upon his act of creation and thus he is contingent. The answer is that doesn't effect God's essence it only effects a title and relationship not God himself. To be contingent God's very existence must depend upon something higher than himself, which there is nothing, or it must be able to fail or cease to be, neither of which is possible if God is real.

That just leaves us back at the beginning of the modal arugment where God is either necessary or impossible. It does not make God contingent.

You are wrong. Logical contingency is not contingency upon something. That is not what logical contingency is.

bait and switch. First the atheist switched the kind of broadly logical necessity that the Modal argument uses for a priori reasoning. Now you do another switch where contiguity is not based upon the meaning of the word but upon your little a prpori reasoning that is not prat of the modal argument.

you are kidnapping the terms and demanding that they have to be used your way so you can reverse all the stuff you can't disprove.

contingent has always meant dependent upon some priro thing. that still does.

even if it didn't you have given no reason for God to be contigne.t you just want him to be so you assert he must be.

you are tired of beating your head against the brick wall. this is your cynical parody of thew you think the OA is doing.

we have to give up truth and forget it because you can't accept it.
In other words he's using the wrong definition of Necessity and contingency and he's doing it becuase it's the only way he has anything to say.

Originally Posted by fleetmouse View Post
God in the relevant sense must be non-contingent - which is to say, not dependent upon anything else for his existence. God must be uncaused.

However, a Godless possible world is logically conceivable.

No it's not. you are just asserting that by begging the question about this world.

you never answer that. I've said that over and over and you never never answer it. you have lost until you answer that.
Since there are one or more possible worlds that are Godless 

truly that is based upon the fallacies I discuss above.
No they are not. that is a just an assertion for which you have no basis. until you answer my point about begging the question on this world, you lost. you can't win if you don't answer the argument. you lost the arguemnt because you answer the point that beats your point.

show some proof for a change.
if God is to exist at all, he must do so contingently, in some but not all possible worlds - and according to the principle of sufficient reason, there must be something different about those possible worlds that causes or allows his existence. 


that makes no kind of sense God can't be contingent or he's not God. He must be necessary and it's ridiculous to say that unless he contingent he can't exist. There's no reason given.

(1) you have no basis for assertion of a possible world that is Godless.

(2) It's a matter of dispute bewteen the leaders of the field as to whether or not a possible world is continued by merely conceiving it.

(3) I don't accept you have conceived it. no more than you have conceived of square circles. you can say the words "I have conceived of a world made of square circles." that does not mean you have.

But this is impossible, given that God is defined as non-contingent.
Therefore, the only "gods" that could possibly exist are beings like Zeus - god-like beings with god-like powers, but which are nonetheless contingent and non-transcendent. (I could make a parallel argument about non-transcendence, but I leave it to the intelligent reader to work that out for himself)

of course that assume what you are not willing to prove. you are begging the question on this world and using that as the basis for a projection to other worlds "without god," supposedly.

*how are you going to have a concept of a world without something is beyond our understanding?
if you don't understand it anyway, your conception of it not being is nothing more than just not to penetrate the vial of ignorance.

* If God is being itself then God must be found where ever there is being. that means there can't be world without god. How do you conceive of a world in being which has no being?

 [1] Christopher Menzel, "possible worlds and model Logic."First published Fri Oct 18, 2013; substantive revision Mon Oct 21, 2013 on line
one section in an article "Possible Worlds"