Monday, October 7, 2013

Scientific Evidence and God Arguments part 1


One should not be fooled into thinking that we need to "prove the existence of God." This a fools errand not even on them menu of reason. Like reality itself God is not something that can be demonstrated through empirical means. Scientific evidence can only be empirical. That means there can't be any evidence, not of a direct nature. Atheists capitalize on this with their contrast mantra demanding scientific proof and trying pretend that they have a scientific view point while denying that they have an ideology. If one has been following my posts on philosophy of science and religion one will see immediately the problem; to say "we have the scientific vie point" is by its nature an ideology. Thus to make that boast atheists are demonstrating that they have an ideology then dyeing they have one.

How is scientific data used in relation to God arguments when God is not given in sense data? The point is not to prove the existence of God, which is a contradiction in terms if one uses Paul Tillich's understanding of divine reality. Instead we want to demonstrate that belief is rationally warranted. Thus we can use scientific to establish premises. One of the primary examples of this would be the cosmological argument. Several of its' incarnations thrives upon understanding modern cosmology and that is certainly the result of scientific data. See my God argument list no's:1, 31, 42, and others. The fine tuning argument relies quite heavily upon scientific data and it's conclusion is rooted entirely in the empirical. There's a quite a bit of data there.

The God pod argument is rooted in scientific data. Researchers study how chemical dye travels through the blood vessels of the brain and coordinate that with ideas the people are thinking about to correlate ideas with the parts of the brain that are stimulated when they think bout them. They find that thoughts about God talk stimulate the brain in ways nothing else does. Based upon that many propose that ideas of God are innate, or that they are result of genetic endowment. That's not really born out yet. It's too early to tell. There two really good books on it. One is Why God Wont Go Away by Andre Newberg. Newberg is one of the pioneers of the field although this book is written on a popular level. A lot of atheists have compared about it becuase they don't feel like they are getting big time scientific stuff since it doesn't read like a big time scientist wrote it. That doesn't mean that Newberg's research is not important. The other book is:

Lee A Kirckpatrick, “Religion is Not An Adaptation,” in Where God and Science Meet: How Brain and Evolutionary Studies Alter Our Understanding of Religion Vol I: Evolution, Genes, and Religious Brainm .Patrick McNamara (ed). London, Westport Connecticut: Praeger. 2006. 159-180,
The Kirckpartick book is written in a much more scientific seeming way and includes a great deal more research. It's an anthology and has articles form many researchers. The two books are at odds in that Newberg argues that there is a gene for religion, far from seeing that as counting against belief in God he sees it as a reason to believe in God. Several authors in the Kirckpatrick book argue that there is no nearly enough data yet to establish a gene for religion and that the explanation could be a spandrels, a combination of genes coming together to produce a certain behavior. Whichever is the case what is clear that they all agree upon there a lot of evidence that belief is a result of some kind of genetic endowment in some way.

There are atheists who argue this a counter to belief but I it's much more likely to be a good reason to believe. A God argument based upon this evidence would center around the fact that innate ideas are considered impossible but here is an innate idea. this clearly innate idea that is clearly part of our "wiring"just happens to be around the one thing perpurts to give us meaning and exaplin everything. Since innate ideas are supposed to be impossible that's a good to think some higher aspect of reality "designed it in to us in some way." Newberg says:

A skeptic might suggest that a biological origin to all spiritual longings and experiences, including the universal human yearning to connect with something divine, could be explained as a delusion caused by the chemical misfiring of a bundle of nerve cells. But …After years of scientific study, and careful consideration of the a neurological process that has evolved to allow us humans to transcend material existence and acknowledge and connect with a deeper, more spiritual part of ourselves perceived of as an absolute, universal reality that connects us to all that is. Newberg(ibid 7-10)
…Tracing spiritual experience to neurological behavior does not disprove its realness. If God does exist, for example, and if He appeared to you in some incarnation, you would have no way of experiencing His presence, except as part of a neurologically generated rendition of reality. You would need auditory processing to hear his voice, visual processing to see His face, and cognitive processing to make sense of his message. Even if he spoke to you mystically, without words, you would need cognitive functions to comprehend his meaning, and input form the brain’s emotional centers to fill you with rapture and awe. Neurology makes it clear: there is no other way for God to get into your head except through the brain’s neural pathways. Correspondingly, God cannot exist as a concept or as reality anyplace else but in your mind. In this sense, both spiritual experiences and experiences of a more ordinary material nature are made real to the mind in the very same way—through the processing powers of the brain and the cognitive functions of the mind. Whatever the ultimate nature of spiritual experience might be—weather it is in fact an actual perception of spiritual reality—or merely an interpretation of sheer neurological function—all that is meaningful in human spirituality happens in the mind. In other words, the mind is mystical by default.(newberg Ibid, 10)
He goes on to destroy the convenient little atheist pretense of the pile of scientific facts secuaring thier world view:

The medieval German mystic Meister Echkart lived hundreds of years before the science of neurology was born. Yet it seems he had intuitively grasped one of the fundamental principles of the discipline: What we think of, as reality is only a rendition of reality that is created by the brain. Our modern understanding of the brain’s perceptual powers bears him out. Nothing enters consciousness whole. There is no direct, objective experience of reality. All the things the mind perceives—all thoughts, feelings, hunches, memories, insights, desires, and revelations—have been assembled piece by piece by the processing powers of the brain from the swirl of neural blimps. The idea that our experiences of reality—all our experiences, for that matter—are only “secondhand” depictions of what may or may not be objectively real, raises some profound questions about the most basic truths of human existence and the neurological nature of spiritual experience. For example our experiment with Tibetan mediators and Franciscan nuns showed that the events they considered spiritual were, in fact, associated with observable neurological activity. In a reductionist sense this could support the argument that religious experience is only imagined neurologically, that God is physically ‘all in your mind.’ But a full understanding of the way in which the brain and the mind assemble and experience reality suggests a very different view.(ibid.34)
The atheist pile of facts is high selective and dishonestly arranged to screen out facts that count against it.  There's a huge fortress of pr God facts that make up the God arguments on my list, but of course when it comes to those  "you don't understand scinece." In other words, in their science means atheism. Here are links to some arguments:

The M Scale and the Universal Nature of Mysticism

Empirical Evidence of Supernatural

Part 2 next Monday.

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