Monday, March 15, 2010

there is nothing like sophiticated Intellectual argument: not in the atheist camp anyway

Ophir on CARM argues that Pentecostals are drug addicts because they are addicted to the brain chemicals that they get when they jump up and down. I said accountants are addicted the brain chemicals they ge when they do numbers, and musicians to the chemicals they get when paying music and so on so it's a meaningless statement.

He then goes off on some diatribe about how Moses was doing mystical experiences and he was hooked on brain chemistry.

Your data that there is a qualitative difference between genuine mystical experiences and some pharmocological and neurochemical experiences is irrelevant. The differences I agree are there, but they are small. I'll give you some real-world examples to show how the overlap of religious experience and mental illness is quite wide. (This overlaps with your point that real mystical experiences "change lives" and exogenous molecules like DMT don't.)

When Moses was in Egypt, he witnessed a Jewish brother being mercilessly beaten by an Egyptian soldier. Incensed, he killed the soldier. There was no real shame in what Moses did. He killed a rogue warrior who lorded brute power over an innocent man. He deserved to die.

Years after Moses' divine experience during The Wandering, Moses was given a divine order to kill Midian -- not the girls, just the boys. When the Jewish army returned with the male infants, Moses became very angry. Instead of having mercy on those boys, many of whom had just seen their parents slain, he ordered them brutally killed (probably by sword. I mean, why not, right?).

That's a sufficient counterargument to your claim that genuine mystical experiences change lives (and exogenous molecules do not). There are many other examples of mystical experiences doing anything but changing a person from bad to good. IMHO, Moses is a very profound one, testing the very boundaries of our morality. It also seriously puts to question whether there is any great distinction between a divine experience and, say, a DMT dump.
 here this genius is arguing that a single example is more important than quantitative analysis and the single example he chooses to outweigh 200 studies is that of Moses?!!! MOSES! he's assuming we can use Moses to counter 200 empirical studies! Just the premise that he thinks a single example outweighs quantitative analysis proves he's a idiot.

He's also making all kinds of stupid assumptions, that Moses was doing mystical experience, when he was not, that miracles are mystical experience, that Moses must have been insane (although since he won one would think the Moses story in general proves God is real, how else do you explained the 10 plagues and parting the red sea?).


so you actually accept the historicity of Moses and the account in Exodus as accurate enough to base a clinical study upon? That's amazing becuase I don't! I see that as mythology. No real shrink would ever prefer that sort of amateur psychologizing to real study the data. The concrete data based upon real people who we know existed and whose life stories have been researched in scientific studies are demonstrated clearly to be more socially conscious and have greater compassion and care more about social issues. What you are arguing is worse than anecdotal because most scholars do not accept it as history. So arguing mythology against actual empirical studies.
that was post 12.

post 14 Ophir:

You mean Moses didn't really exist? What are you saying?

 Meta: (15)

I don't know, did he? how can you prove that? Maybe he did but can you prove what his mystical experiences were? That's another point actually we can't give Moses the M scale so oddly enough we can't prove he had a mystical experience.


You're unsure of the existence of the most important patriarch in Judaism next to Abraham? You represent a brand new stage of evolution in Christian thought: a conservative believer agnostic about the historicity of the Jews. I have to understand your belief system before I start discussing the authenticity of mystical experience with you.

those are the breaks man. Go to a modern liberal seminary as I did and learn some theology

BzzzZZZZZzzzzzz where does this "conservative" come from?


I assumed from some of your posts you were conservative. I was wrong. Do you accept or reject the evidence for cosmological and biological evolution? I was curious about that, but can't find anything on your site about it.

Here's his answer on the issue that Moses is not representative for human beahvior, can't be proved to be real and that the 200 empirical studies out weigh:

Wrong. I don't need valid studies from journals to determine that Egyptian pharoahs didn't receive marching orders from war gods. That's a possibility to you?
That war gods determined the military affairs of some ancient cultures?

 then he says:

I don't need a liberal theology degree to figure out that Moses didn't do many of the things attributed to him. Why? Because they reek of fantasy and invention so common for the day. The logistics and huge population described in the exodus screams embellishment and superstition. Obviously I cited him as a historical figure because I assumed a Christian would think he was historic. Jesus refers to his specific acts has a meeting with him and Elijah, for criminy! =) First and foremost, I wanted to show you a well-known example of mystical experience making someone much worse, not better. You said they predominantly change lives for the better.

So after this big sermon that Moses is fictional and the bible story is wrong you would think that he would drop the idea that Moses proves something about human behavior,since he admitted that he's fictional. Right? I mean wouldn't you? But did he?

Meta:I reiterate that he can't what aspects of Moses if any where historical and that he's already admitted that so how can he use him for any evidence? Here's his answer:


I'll check it out. For now, we're at an impasse while I figure out why you defend Moses' order to kill babies as possibly coming from true divine experience rather than the obvious conclusion. The sanity of anyone who orders babies killed with swords is suspect. You wouldn't conclude anything else if you encountered such people today or throughout history. Or would you?

here's his answer to my arugment that Moses parting the red sea is not a mystical experience:


Right, I get it; it's a feeling. And you're saying Moses didn't have "feelings" when issued certain orders or when he communicated with God? What the HELL are you talking about, meta?
He thinks I'm saying Moses didn't have feelings, rather than saying mystical experience is a feeling not working miracles.

as to the historicity of Moses:


The Bible says He did. Christians apologists have traditionally defended His decision to do so. You have a lot of explaining to do if you're gonna claim that something the Bible says God and Moses definately DID they actually did NOT do. =)

I argued that he's making a bait and switch, substituting Bible stories for mystical experiences so he can ridicule mystical experience with the atheist assumptions about the Bible.
It's not a bait and switch. I explained why I brought up Moses and his moral actions. Now you're saying Moses didn't have mystical experiences, and that's just downright BIZARRE. Defend your position that the Bible doesn't record Moses having mystical experiences.

I had been saying Moses didn't have mystical experience since the first post of the thread. He acts like he's never heard it before but clearly I talk about it above and i had said it in every exchange. what is really bizarre is he's arguing that Moses had mystical experience but in that last exchange he says he didn't. So what is his argument?

Meta; (about Moses historicity)
Yes. so? As I said, prove any of that happened.

Yes, but I'm not talking to Moses. I'm talking to you. see? I'm not talking to the guy who supposedly got the order, I'm talking to someone who is trying to use a mythological event as a real historical event and then extrapolate form that to prove something he's not qualified to judge.

see if you were using Napoleon's return form Elba as the proof it would not be valid because that's not how psychology is done. No modern shrink would undertake to make big sweeping conclusions about human behavior form one anecdote in history.

you are basically just really acting in a totally amateurish and unthoughtful manner.

It is not a "sweeping conclusion" to judge an infanticidal military leader
mad. Let's make this fun. Let's choose three secular psychiatrists or psychologists and ask them if a man who says God ordered the slaying of baby boys is mad. That's of course assuming the Midian campaign occured as described in the Bible, which we now know you've determined as being pure myth. The question still remains what Jesus wanted Christians to get from hearing a major Jewish patriarch killed babies because God told him to!

still ignoring the issue of historicity and assuming all the details of Moses are real. Which makes it hard to know what he thinks about the parting the red sea bit. he's clearly trying to have it both ways, to blame Moses for some things and yet not have it all be true.

Actually I started with a simple argument. I witnessed Pentecostal and charismatic Christians work themselves into a religious frenzy, and I called it a form of drug use. Instead of agreeing that endorphins can be abused as drugs by some Christians, you decided to repost your Argument from Mystical Experience OP. I then cited Ellen White and Moses to demonstrate that your claim that mystical experiences change lives for the better is ludicrous. One look at history shows that the inverse of that is just as true. ie your argument has no fangs.

So he's still assuming Moses really did x,y,z and that this can be used for social science research and outweighs real scientific study. He seems to be oblivious to the shortcomings of his approach.


you yourself doubt it don't you? so you should be able to figure out in the first place the inadequacy of trying to base psychological analysis on a figure you know may not have existed. What difference would it make if I was a fundie and thought he did exist? would that suddenly make him exist? It doesn't prove anything about religious people just because you can speculate and issue tired bigoted bromides about them.
your entire argument is a polemic and it is dishonest by nature beause you are willing to put your prejudices above raw scientific data. that is dishonest a priori.
Even if we assumed Moses was real that would not give the green light to use anecdotal evdience to make sweeping generalizations about religious people. That's just one guy and you are not qualified to psychoanalyze him. As it so happens the fact you can't prove his existence is crucial because it means you can even use him as anecdotal evdience, he's not kind of evdience at all. it doesn't matter you thoughts bout me that doesn't make Moses real.

you have no data to support that assertion. you are merely assuming that's what they doing because it would ridicule them adn you want to ridicule them. you have no good reason to assert it and it's disprove by a host of studies.

here's his answer on Moses being historical:


Mythology isn't rocket science. You're differentiating these phenomena to try to make it more complicated than it is and then arrogantly proclaim you're more educated than anyone who doubts them.

Hu? he's been arguing that he can use the Moses story to prove something about human behavior now he seems to admit that it's mythology then charging that I'm denying that miracles are mystical experience just to make it more complex. he just doesn't seem to realize that I'm going by what they study people say. I have 200 studies and they assume certain things about what mystical experience is and I'm just going what they say it is. Here's his answer on the distinction between Moses working miracles and msytical experince.


Name ONE (1) study that verifies a vision as being authentic. What did that person see? What was the divine communique embedded in that vision? I genuinely want to know.
I've been arguing the whole thread that visions are not mystical experience. I said the studies do not consider it so and they are not studying visions, he turns around and says show me a study that says visions are authentic. well they aren't studying visions! Oi vey!

Quote Originally Posted by Ophir View Post
Mythology isn't rocket science. You're differentiating these phenomena to try to make it more complicated than it is and then arrogantly proclaim you're more educated than anyone who doubts them.

MetaLook it's simple, you can't prove you have any evidence of human behavior from looking at Moses. I am not the one who tried to draw scientific conclusions form Moses, you did. It's not a good idea. you lose.

I was born without legs. Making fun of people's handicaps is not something I normally do, and I'm ashamed that I did it to you. I'm sorry I made fun of your dyslexia.

Ok I understand. we get worked up in the heat of battle. I don't think you are a bad guy, in spite of the crack about my parents. let me tell you man I passed up a lo of good one lines on that that would have gotten me banned. ;-)

I was wrong to mock your dyslexia, and again I'm sorry for that. Still, if you're going to laud academic integrity, you should give the articles on your site a more professional sheen by running them through spell check. That's no slam on your IQ. It's a great piece of advice if you want more people to read your articles. Spellcheck is a doddle.

I have been spell checking the site for years. But there's too much there and no one will help me. Now I can't work on it anymore.

Sure I do. Humankind unfortunately is predisposed to inventing stories about everything from gold plate-delivering angels to Marian apparations. Name ONE (1) study that verifies a vision as being authentic. What did that person see? What was the divine communique embedded in that vision? I genuinely want to know.

you are still trying to replace mystical experience, which is why my studies are about, with visions and miracles and bible stories so you can get the prejudices of atheists worked up against it. But those things are not mystical experience. visions are not mystical. That's not what the studies are about. So it does not apply! none of the things about visions and miracles and bible stories apply.

And what's the divine communique embedded in a phantom shoulder touch? Why the shoulder and not the thigh or head?

you can't expect a mystical experience to be a communique. It's not like and every little bit of qualia is there to spelling out some message. You have to look to the overall experiences as a whole, their effect and the noetic quality they leave behind. Noetic means things they teach. So mystics do feel they learn from their experiences but not in the sense of Biblical prophets saying "thus says the lord, go down Moses." But in the sense of the impressed that the experience itself imparts. One very common sense of the noetic function is all pervasive love, or the undifferentiated unity of all things.

So if I went back to college for 6 years, it'd all be clear to me? Your deriding others' lack of education is childish. Plenty of dumb people with degrees. Plenty of geniuses without. This is ad hom pure and simple, and if morality means anything to you, you will cut it out. You must know it's wrong to do that.

Yes you are right I don't mean to demean your intelligence. It's not a lack of intelligence, I did intend to say that. It's a lack of information. you are to well versed in the topic. Just going to school will give good background but you are going to have actually make an effort to learn some theology and the history of mystical thinking. When my book comes out I'll let you know, that would be a good place to start. It's going to be called "The Trace of God" by J.L. Hinman.


"anecdotal:" when someone says "that is anecdotal evidence" they mean it's just one example. One example doesn't prove anything because scientific study requires a random sample that is representative of a whole population. That has to be selected in a scientific way. you can't just use one guy.

Like when they do a poll and say "50% say they want health care" they can't just up to two people on the street and ask them and one says yes and one says no so they say "O ok that's 50%." They have to chose a sample that represents a whole group, statistically.

The larger the sample size the more accurate the study. That is assuming it's selected randomly and is representative.

a non representative sample chosen at random is not valid. Here's an example, my brother once tried to start a business making salt free hot sauce. He didn't do any market research, he just when by what his friends said. So the stuff bombed (it did actually taste real good). Turns out the kind of people who use that sort of hot sauce don't' care about watching their sodium intake so the salt free aspect was not a big hook. His sample was not representative of people who want salt free.

So you can't draw conclusions from an example of one guy not even if he's in the Bible.

I didn't call mystical experiences miracles. That's your language. All I've done is assume the communiques between God and Moses were mystical in nature. That's a stretch? How can one be devoid of numinous emotion when communing with the Author of the Universe?

you are assuming they are communication. that's a false assumption. That's becuase when I gave you examples of what they are you didn't read it carefully or listen. The girls get out of bed and goes to the window and looks at the river and the mountains and trees,she feels at one with the world. She has a sense of great reality lying behind it all and that her life root din that time and place are touching a greater reality that touches all times and places. That's not an explicit communication, it's not a vision it's not words in her hearing, but it's imparted a sense f an idea and a feeling and the results of that experience bear lots of fruit in many ways. She becomes a better person, she starts seeking God, she has other experiences and she developed a sense of knowing God's presence and eventually becomes a nun. that's one of the examples I gave.

Nothing in that experience was words that says "thus says the Lord, God down Moses and let my people" or anything like that. So we can't read into the story of Moses any sort of mystical experience where it's not explicit and we can't read into things that are not part of mystical experience such as parting the red sea or beating the Egyptian magicians.

 So I shamed him into apolizing for going after my parents and my spelling so then he decides (after apolgoing) to attack the look of my web site:

You can't be serious. When I visit ANY site that lauds academic integrity but looks unprofessional, I move to another. I'm not picking on you.

Think of it this way: any record executive who hears out-of-tune guitar on a demo throws that demo in the bin within seconds. Why? Because today it's easy to tune a guitar with a tuning pedal. Letting that error through bespeaks a lack of professional integrity. In your case it's worse because your posts are filled with noise about your opponents' lack of academic credentials and integrity. At the very least, the content on your site should be run through a spell checker. All you do is turn away visitors by not taking this simple step.

Any college professor will tell you this. It has NOTHING to do with IQ. I'm a bad speller, too, but I made sure all my college papers were diligently proofread before submitting them. Same deal here. Given the import of your claims and the cost of not believing in the supernatural, revising the site to look more professional is warranted.

how about that 'any college professor will tell you' really wow I've never net a college professor of cosure. He assumes I haven't because he's fucking stupid he can't tell form the level of my discourse I have been to graduate school and he's a coward so he wont take up my offer to put him in touch with the secretary so he can have proof.

talking to these moronic cowardly pieces of shit is just useless. they are hopeless. They are nothing but cowardly little thugs. the thing is if this was 20 year ago this guy would be going to chruch and assume Christianity is true because the society around him said it was and he would be ridiculing people about other things.

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