Tuesday, February 26, 2013

On Atheist Default Assumption

   photo bizarro_atheists.jpg

Default: the assumption that, lacking sound belief for religious claims, one must assume a "default" and resort to a natural lack of belief. Atheists sure insist upon the notion that atheism is just a natural lack of bleief in something, yet nothing could be further from the truth. Almost every dictionary definition before the 1990s said that Atheism was the rejection of belief in God.

Now most include two things (1) rejection (2) mere lack. Why? Because with the advent of the internet age atheism got a new lease on life and was givien this organizing tool, it began crowding out agnosticism. Agnosticism began to appear in the guise of "weak atheism." Then atheism became a mere lack of belief that sees itself as a natural default position. Atheists love to think that all people are born natural atheists, which is obviously disproved by the recent studies about brain structure and innate ideas of God.

Atheism has never been merely a lack of bleief. If you were honest about what you really think, your behavior and tendencies, it always accompanies certain assumptions about the nature of the world, about naturalism and about physical laws.Atheism is clearly more than just the lack of a belief, which really should be called "agnosticism."

I've always thought the atheist default position was pretentious and presumptive,and designed by someone who just lionized atheism. But there should be a religious default position to the extent that there's no particular reason to assume naturalism over any other position. The world doesn't come to us wrapped in philosophical labels. We have to go to school and learn them, and most of the time they play on our prejudices. There's no reason to validate one over another form the outset. There is no base line for comparison from which one can say unaccountably, "there is nothing beyond the material realm," and thus no basis for comparison such that we can say materialism is the natural state. But my religious a prori argument would argue that religion is not derivative from other disciplines but is a valid thing in itself own right. As such we can assume the properly basic nature of religious belief as a 'default" position

1) The notion of something from nothing violates basic assumptions of materialism

a. materialism is based upon cause and effect

Dictonary of Philosphy Anthony Flew, article on "Materialism"

"...the belief that everything that exists is either matter or entirely dependent upon matter for its existence." Center For Theology and the Natural Sciences Contributed by: Dr. Christopher Southgate: God, Humanity and the Cosmos (T&T Clark, 1999) http://www.ctns.org/Information/information.html Is the Big Bang a Moment of Creation?(this source is already linked above)

"...Beyond the Christian community there was even greater unease. One of the fundamental assumptions of modern science is that every physical event can be sufficiently explained solely in terms of preceding physical causes. Quite apart from its possible status as the moment of creation, the Big Bang singularity is an offense to this basic assumption. Thus some philosophers of science have opposed the very idea of the Big Bang as irrational and untestable."

b) Something from nothing contradicts materialism

Science and The Modern World, Alfred North Whitehead.

NY: free Press, 1925, (1953) p.76

"We are content with superficial orderings form diverse arbitrary starting points. ... science which is employed in their development [modern thought] is based upon a philosophy which asserts that physical causation is supreme, and which disjoints the physical cause from the final end. It is not popular to dwell upon the absolute contradiction here involved."[Whitehead was an atheist]

c) Causality was the basis upon which God was expelled from Modern Science

It was La Plase's famous line "I have no need of that Hypothesis" [meaning God] Which turned the scientific world form believing (along with Newton and assuming that order in nature proved design) to unbelief on the principle that we dont' need God to explain the universe because we have independent naturalistic cause and effet. [Numbers, God and Nature]

2) Materialism Undermines Itself

a) Big Bang contradicts causality (see quotation above)

b) QM theory seems to contradict cause/effect relationship.

c) Rejection of final cause

3) Probabilistic Justification for assumption of Cause

We still have a huge justification for assuming causes inductively, since nothing in our experience is ever uncased. The mere fact that we can't see or find a cause isn't a proof that there isn't one.

4) Therefore, we have probabilistic justification for assuming Final cause

Thus, the basis upon which God was dismissed from scientific thought has been abandoned;the door to consideration of God is open again. The reliance upon naturalistic cause and effect in consideration of ultimate origins is shattered, but this does not make it rational to just assume that the universe popped into existence with no cause. Since we have vast precedent for assuming cause and effect, we should continue to do so. But since naturalistic cause and effect seems unnecessary at the cosmic level, we should consider the probability of an ultimate necessary final cause.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Atheist fear of Gardening


Recently I was posting on a message board and I made the remark that the search for God is in the heart. An atheist responded by saying "I don't make decisions based upon emotionalism." That response made me angry becasue it's so pretensions. The very same guy, Mr. Rational thought will turn right around and wail in the most emotional tirade about how deeply he hates the Bible and hates God for telling him what to do. The Audacity of this God person! Atheism has a strong tendency to reduce everything deep, complex, and richly textured to the most banal they can get. They constantly reduce "life transformation," the upshot my religious experience arguments to "gett'n happy." Once when going on about the empirical scientific studies from academic peer reviewed journals an atheist said this was ministers emailing their people and asking them to report on how they are "gett'n happy." This reminds me of how everything the atheists have going, their entire project is nothing more than an attempt to hide the phenomena and reduce everything to such a truncated view of reality that all one has left to turn to is their shallow and simplistic view.

They do this by mocking and ridiculing the concepts of depth, being, and faith that are required to believe. They do it by arguing that the only form of knowledge is science, the only valid scinece is empirical evidence, the only valid form of empirical evidence that which agree with their views (the religious experience studies are empiric and scientific but they mock and ridicule them as "ministers emailing their flock." It makes sense that they would think of "the heart" as "emotionalism." That's becuase their greatest fear is "the subjective." That is, feelings. they are terribly afraid of feelings. That's becuase if they allow themselves to feel they will be convicted of their sin. I've seen atheists actually deny the concept of "the heart." They have ridiculed it as "the heart pumps blood." So the whole idea of an inner life is abhorant to them. That's probably because if they dealt with the inner life they would have no choice but to be convicted and believe. It is entirely essential that the believer cultivate the inner life. Inner is what faith in God is all about. There is no real point in belief in God without the inner life. Before discussing the nature of inner life let me remove the charge of emotionalism.

First the concept of the heart is not ridiculous, not based upon magic, not difficult to prove. The idea of the "heart" is merely based upon the Greek term "cardia." The Greeks did not see the brain as the seat of the intellect they saw the chest as the place of the intellect. This is because when one feels emotions deeply one can feel a palpable constriction in the chest, the pulse races, the blood pumps faster and that gives the link between the blood pump in the chest, the Greek term "cardia" which we adopted to refer to the pump but the Greeks used to refer to the "inner being" as the seat of feelings and emotions. The Biblical term heart, which atheists confuse with spirit or soul and thus react to indignantly (as they react to everything) is just the will, the desire, the sense of conviction in deep seated ideas we care about. Secondly, this is not "emotionalism." There's a lot ore to "the inner life" than just being emotional. What most people mean when they say "emotionalism" is not an organized philosphy that says based decisions upon feelings. The term is a pejorative destined to mock and ridicule anyone whose decision making process is other than the atheist ideology. There is much more to the "inner life" than just emotion. Existentialism and the concepts of self authentication are included in "inner life." The intellect is part of the inner life. Going about the business of the intellectual life style, reading, thinking, mediating, this is all part of inner life.

No one actually bases decisions upon raw feelings, as an example of inner life. Immature people make rash decisions based upon raw feelings, but that's not the aim of Christian life. When we speak of "the heart" in connection with decision making, such as faith based decisions, we are talking about conviction. Conviction can be borne of deep intellectual analysis, logic, and deliberation as much as it can "feelings." Feelings per se are not necessarily 'emotionalism' either. One doesn't make decisions based upon "I hate X therefore I will not do X." Actually feelings can play different roles in decision making and belief but they must always be grounded in reason. The most important feeling in relation to faith is a sense of conviction that is beyond a mere physical sensation or emotion. Conviction is reducible to just emotion. Conviction stems from the deep seated assurance that a course is correct, that comes from reasoning it out as well as determining actual "feelings."

Atheists will try to mock and ridicule the notion of the inner life. This is because they mock and ridicule anything that doesn't stack up to their ideology about truncated reality. They must collapse reality to eliminate possibles, so one doesn't seek God.the way they do this is to prescribe only one aspect aspect of reality as real, that which is empirically derived from scientific observation. Now a good deal of empirical scientific data disproves atheism but of they can't allow that. Evidence which does not support their conclusions they reduce to their canon of prescribed reality by indicting it's scientific nature in all manner of bogus ways. They have to create the idea that only that which supports the ideology is valid. To do this they cling to the surface of reality. Things are only what can be gleaned form surface level facts of existence of physical objects and nothing else. There is no depth of being, they must create confusion about the very concept of being. They will call it abstraction and say it's pretend and so forth. Just as they label faith as "pretending" and what have you. Everything feeds back into the central thesis; reality is surface level only. That is the level of reality for them because that's what their knowledge controls. Anything deep requires thought, and thought is liberating. If one begins to think about reality and what depth means one begins to unravel the mythology that says only transcribe scientifically derived things can be in existence. To unravel that is to step onto the road to belief and they must avoid that at all costs.

For the believer the situation is just the opposite. Not that the believer needs to pretend, quite the contrary. Pretense in belief is deception. Faith is not about pretending it's about seeking truth. If we are not seeking the TRUTH with a capitals we are not living in faith. We are not cultivating the inner life if we ware not seeking truth. Even if that means digging up some deeply rooted and cherished misconceptions we still have to do it. That statement is not some radical prescription I got form Paul Tillich, it's a statement I got from very conservative A.W. Tozer in The Pursuit of God. The situation is the opposite of that described as "atheist tactics" above because it means expecting that there is more to reality than meets the eye and that finding it will entails a search based upon global knowledge, not just one method. My "global" in don't mean the occult I mean both science and philosophy as well as a phenomenological approach and mystical experience. The mystical is not someone one can control so that should come under the heading "phenomenology." A phenomenological approach would work best with mystical experience; allow the phenomena to suggest it's own categories.

The inner life requires cultivation. We can't just expect to stop with belief, nor can we imagine that constant argument and constant apologetic is spiritual nourishment. The ability to do a sustained apologetically debate requires a strong inner life, it not a source of inner life. That's not say that doing apologetic on a regular basis doesn't' help build the inner life. Yet it can't all be oriented around arguing about God's existence. The primary aspect of innerl ife that is the water for the roots of the plant of faith is prayer. I'm going to start mixing metaphors here but prayer is the nourishment of relationship with God and relationship with God is the foundation upon winch one is able to conduct a successful apologetically approach. We have to draw a line in the sand and ignore the atheists, forget the arguments, move away from that and go into your own space and deal with God. We have to do this every day. You don't have to get down on your knees and shut our eyes real tight. You don't have to speak in a stilted King James fashion, you don't have to even do discursive inner monologue, just focus on God.

I find that the thing that works best is the old fashioned prayer and praise. That may sound incongruous with all my high and mighty liberal theology, but the hold over from my old charismatic days is that prayer and praise works best to bring in the sense of God's presence and open one up to the possibilities of God. There's no formula, once might experiment and find what really excites one on an individual level. For me it's praise thing. It's very repetitious but singing works. The older hymns are more meaningful, they have more concepts in them. Repetition is good too though because it's like a mantra, enables focus. Meditating upon the presence of God is important. When you feel a sense of presence however slight, dwell on it, think about it, cultivate the contact with it. Study the Bible ever day and pray every day. Prayer is not a list of wants. There's a time in prayer for presenting petitions. First get into the spirit, praise God and mediate on God until you feel close to the divine and then present wants when you feel led to. We should all pray at lest two hours a day as a minimal effort. Do I do that? NO! Sometimes I do. It goes in phases. I went through a phase a couple of times when I prayed four hours in row every day. That's not even accomplishment there are people who pray much more than that.

It's a discipline, the firsrt time you try it will be hard to make five minutes. Do it at a regular time every day and increase by a few minutes every day. There are endless schemes for Bible study. Don't just look up answers to atheist attacks that's as bad as doing the atheist thing and only reading it to find problems. Read what speaks to you and dweel on it. Meditate on the ideas the thoughts. There are endless books on all manner of meditation. Meditation doesn't always mean eastern style with mantra. Discursive reasoning can be meditation. Cartesian style meditation is through development of ideas. Mark out a passage, look up every word, read a long way around before and after to get the context. Ask basic questions about context, what's the point of this? Why was it written? Who is it speaking to? There are tons of study guide things on the bible one can find. For internet message board people who are arguing with atheists one of the major hang up is going to be overcoming the doubt tape atheists have constantly tried to imprint on your brain. You are going to have to learn to respect the word of God all over again. I recommend that book Models of Revelation by Avery Dulles. That's not a sprituiaized study guide has nothing to do with bible study. It's on the nature of academic work about the nature of Biblical revelation. It's important because it will sharpen one's sense understanding about the nature of the Bible and enable one to endure the problems encounter in the Bible. One of the major helps it bestows is in understanding that it doesn't matter if there are problems in the Bible. Problems is not a reason to trash the Bible the way the atheist have attempted. The intellectual and philosophical approach si part of the inner life.

For the average person the spiritual aspects are going to be more accessible than the intellectual. One can educate oneself academically but there is no substitute for learning in a university environment. People guy reference books for bible study, works like Strong's Concorde. That stuff has gotten so popular it's much more available online than in hard copy. There's no substitute for taking Greek. Those references books are biased by doctrine and they are all written by conservatives and biased by their doctrines. Take some Greek classes and use the secular Greek Lexicon of Classical Greek (Lidell and Scott) along with Strong's. It's hard to give yourself a college education. It's a good idea to take of seminary classes if you are lucky enough to be in a town with a seminary. I really don't understand why atheists refuse to study. They would be more effective as atheists. That makes me think their real purpose is just emotional (ironically sense they are afraid of being emotional) they are just looking for a place to vent.

The perennial danger is always deception. The potential of making a mistake probably scares a lot of people off from spiritual life. One must stay grounded. Get grounded then stay grounded. We do that in three ways: fellowship, Bible study, prayer, in reverse order. "Fellowship" has huge drawbacks. Churches are rough. We are social creatures and social support is necessary. Just a small group can be a big help. Look for a place where they are not condmening or legalistic and where they treat people right and seeking God is their top priority. Don't fear mistakes so terribly because Grace covers a multitude of sins.

Don't let atheist destroy your faith. Don't allow mocking and ridiucle to discourse you from seeking God. There are intellectual answers to every intellectual issue. The real issues that kill faith are daily living issues for that we need to be strong in a daily living sort of way. That's what prayer strengthens us in. The intellectual life takes care of itself if you cultivate it, and the inner life includes the intellectual life. The spirit and the intellectual are not contradictions. The two can be integrated and working on the integration is a great project for the inner life. It's something we work on every day and it's a major focus of our lives. It gives us meaning and fulfillment. I am reminded of the phrase at the end Voltaire's Candide. He says several times, "we must tend our garden." The context is speaking of a literal garden where several aging and starving castaways have wound up living together and pulling for mutual survival after a life of carnage and hardship. The phrase is usually taken as a metaphor, mainly it's the last thing said in the book and repeated. The metaphor implies the cultivation of an inner life, or a life of the mind just as one tends and cultivates a garden. It must be tended and cultivated every day, this is what keeps up alive, as the physical garden kept Candide and his friends alive at the end. Don't let atheists stop you from tending your garden.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Public ridicule of Christainity beings in American life

The big atheist fad has turned the corner and the tipping point is here. Now we begin to see open ridicule of Christianity. At least according to Fox news, which is notoriously right wing. Aside from Fox hysterics here's what they sight:

*Paody of Quentin Tarantino style blood bath mocking Christ 3 days after lint. Of course it's hard to say if it's aid at mocking Jesus or moching Tarantino.

*NBC Sports blogger Rick Chandler wrote a scathing smear against a prominent Christian church in Dallas. Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2013/02/19/nbc-declares-war-on-christians/?intcmp=obnetwork#ixzz2LjkEzSgU of this that just that one blogger? First Baptist in Dallas is worth making fun of it, I make fun of it a lot.

*"NBC medical editor Nancy Snyderman infamously denounced the religious part of Christmas during an episode of Today.
“I don’t like the religion part,” said Snyderman. “I think religion is what mucks the whole thing up.”

a number remarks here and there but certain people. Does it mean anything? It clearly has been popular among young people for the last 10 years o think of Christianity as some shameful think they don't want to be associated with.  All the while the atheist ridicule and mocking has been heating up more and more every day all over the net.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Tegmark's New Discovery: Fundamentalist Atheists.

....I always find it hilarious when an atheist get's a little bitty taste of what we Christians get on every message board all the time where atheists and Chrsitains meet. The famous MIT Physicists, Max Tegmark, himself and atheist and he bright shinning new hope of atheism to overcome the cosmological argument, releases findings of a opinion survey he had conductive, and is confronted by Dawkamentalists.

Max Tegmark
Huffinton post blog
"Religion, Scinece, And 
the Attack of the Angry Athiests"

I'd been warned. A friend cautioned me that if we went ahead and posted our MIT Survey on Science, Religion and Origins, I'd get inundated with hate-mail from religious fundamentalists who believe our universe to be less than 10,000 years old. We posted it anyway, and the vitriolic responses poured in as predicted. But to my amazement, most of them didn't come from religious people, but from angry atheists! I found this particularly remarkable since I'm not religious myself. I have three criticisms of these angry atheists:

 ....Tegmark tells us that there were three major concerns in publishing the data. First to delineate the controversies: one such controversy is between atheists and religious people. Thee other is between religious group that 'attack science' and those that do not." At least he recognizes that there are those who are religious and accept evoltuion. His use of the term "attack science" is ideological. Scientist (the worship of scinece) has produced this term that anyone who dares critique or citizen atheist misuse of scinece is a "science denier," or is "attacking science." While I accept that term as a valid point about some fundamentalists who resist evolution to the point of actually  attacking science, I've seen atheists confuse it doing philosophy of scinece. This is the language of their movement. It would be like a black Panther calling a policeman "pig" or a feminist calling some idea she didn't like "sexist." Not to say that there aren't plenty of sexist ideas running around.
....He goes up against Gallup Orgnaization with his survy: "Although 46% of Americans believe that humans were created less than 10,000 years ago according to a Gallup poll, our survey showed that merely 11% of Americans belong to a religion openly rejecting evolution or Big Bang cosmology, so the mainstream religions representing the majority can be a powerful ally against the anti-scientific fundamentalists." Well will have to get the two surveys and compare. A lot depends upon how the question was asked.
....The second aspect dealt with is the point he makes that we as a species, "we" meaning physicists do not know everything about reality. There's a huge portion of it out there that's beyond our understanding.
 If I've learned anything as a physicist, it's how little we know with certainty. In terms of the ultimate nature of reality, we scientists are ontologically ignorant. For example, many respected physicists believe in the so-called Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum mechanics, according to which a fundamentally random process called "wavefunction collapse" occurs whenever you observe something. This interpretation has been criticized both for being anthropocentric (quantum godfather Niels Bohr famously argued that there's no reality without observation) and for being vague (there's no equation specifying when the purported collapse is supposed to happen, and there's arguably no experimental evidence for it).
 Let's compare the ontological views of Niels Bohr to those of a moderate and tolerant religious person. At least one of them is incorrect, since Bohr was an atheist. Perhaps neither is correct. But who's to say that the former is clearly superior to the latter, which should be ridiculed and taunted? Personally, I'd bet good money against the Copenhagen Interpretation, but it would be absurd if I couldn't be friends with those believing its ontology and unite with them in the quest to make our planet a better place.

So his second point is tolerance.
....His third point is that atheists should be into pace and trying to make a better word, they would act like people who want to make a better world. These are good points they are well taken. He's right to emphasizes the points about tolerance and getting along in spite of disagreement. Yet he also gives indications of supporting the ideology that produces such conflict. Not only is he using the language of the atheist ideology but he's helping to build their propaganda. At the bottom of the page he includes a thing scientists and they all atheists. He doesn't include single famous scientist who is not an atheist, or if eh doesn't make it clear they are not. He does not include Alan Standard or Polkinghorn or Fritz Shaffer or any of those who are Chrsitians and have made names for themselves in scenic, and there have been many.

 from my page Doxa:

Fritz Shafer, nominated for Nobel Prize in Chemistry, University of Georgia, himself a Christian: "it is very rare that a physical scientists is truly an atheist."
Martin Rees at Cambridge: "The possibility of life as we know it depends upon a few basic values which are constants. And it is in some aspect remarkably sensitive to their heir numerical values. Nature does exhibit remarkable coincidences."
Arthur Schewhow, Nobel prize winner from Stanford, identifies himself as a Christian. "We are fortunate to have the Bible which tells us so much about God in widely accessible terms."
Charlie Towns Nobel prize winner: "The question of science seems to be unanswered if we explore from science alone. Thus I believe there is a need for some metaphysical or religious explanation. I believe in the concept of God an in his existence."
John Pokingham, theoretical physicist at Cambridge, left physics to become a minister. "I believe that God exists and has made himself known in Jesus Christ."
Allan Sandage, The world's greatest observational cosmologist , Caregie observatories won a prize given by Swedish parliament equivalent to Nobel prize (there is no Nobel prize for cosmology) became a Christian after being a scientist, "The nature of God is not found in any part of science, for that we must turn to the scriptures."

Sunday, February 17, 2013

You Can't Make that Argument Until You've Proven It."

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There are two really silly debate ploys that people sometimes use. I don't say they are peculiar to the atheist camp, but since I am more familiar with their arguments, than those of creationists, for example, I will use them. My aim is to raise consciousness about these fallacies in an attempt to get people to stop using them.

these two fallacies exist in an interchange, a sublational interplay where one builds upon the other.

The two fallacies are:

(1) privileging one's own position

(2) Truth by Stipulation.

As it turns out the kids who offer the $500 to prove Jesus existed employ no. 1 fallacy in spades. They have erased the comments but before they did so they informed one contestant that he could not use Raymond Brown as an authority because Brown was a priest. It's just so obvious that a Priest is not objective, and they said explicitly that no one with a theology degree could be used. What's really buzzer is that they themselves use religious thinkers all the time, and they use them to support their own views? It has not yet dawned on them that they are quoting liberals and that liberals have the own faith. One striking example of this is their use of Bualtmann. They even declared "Rudolf Blutmann is a non Christian." The reason they thought he wasn't a Christian is because he doesn't take the Bible literally. So they know so little about theology they dot' even know that there is a liberal wing of the theological world. All they know of Christianity is the funds, and yet they are so sure they know all about it, so much so that they can dims Ray Brown as "subjective." Rayon Brown is one of the top textual critics in the world, or he was before his death (1998). But they wont allow him in the discussion because he was a priest. As though this immanently rational scholar just goes gaga when he sees the Bile, but he can still learn Greek, decipher manuscripts in ancient script, do hard textual criticism, but somehow his judgment is so impaired that he's just out of control.

I made the same mistake in my youth, so I cannot judge these guys too harshly. Stung by an encounter with a preacher who taught at a local preaching school, who wiped me out in a debate with the use of Josh McDonnell (I was fresh out of high school and McDowell's Evidence that Demands a Verdict was still pretty new), I went in search of Biblical scholars who would counter McDowell. I discovered Brunet Hillman Strutter. Strutter published The Primitive Church in 1924, he was killed in a plain crash in India in the 40's. He was the cancan reader at Cambridge in the 20s-40s. One of the finest scholars of the early part of the 20th century. Streeter was a liberal of his day, meaning, a ninetieth century style liberal. He did, however, have a strong faith which manifested itself in mystical consciousness. He even found Saudi Sunder Sing, an interesting case of Christian mystic who had grown up a Ski in India and had a Damascus Road experience in which Jesus spoke to him out of a great light. Streeter was very impressed with Sing and cultivated a friendship. I was heartened to find his book on the Primitive Church. He seemed to tear the Bible to pieces. Little did I know he loved the Bible, he was not tearing it at all but merely preparing the reader to read it intelligently. The Primitive Chruch rapidly became one of my favorite books.

One day as I read Streeter I came across a statement he makes in which he declares his faith and speaks in a devotional manner about "our Lord." I was stocked! he was a believer after all! How could this be? He tears the Bible to pieces. He even say it has mistakes in it. He must be mad. That was when I realized there's a lot more to the theological world than I realized. It's not all just a matter of Christians are stupid fools with simplistic little zombie brains and atheist are all smart little bastards like me (as I was then). That realization was truly schocking to me, and it was one of the first stepping stones that put me on the apth to conversion. But some atheists, the less adapt at argumentation, have learned to privilege their position, and they do so in such a way that the create a simplistic formulation along the lines of their own ideological conceits: objectivity is good, our side is objective. Subjectivity is bad, their side is subjective. We good, they bad. That privileging is seen at work creating a king's x to rule out the use of any epistmic authority of scholarly expertise that would coition against their position. In this sense fallacy 1 bleeds into fallacy 2 as it becomes truth by stipulation. The privileging of the position works itself into truth by stipulation.

We can see this dichotomy of privilege at work in the exclusion of the NT as any sort of artifact in evidence of the historical Jesus. The atheist community (SEC Web, infidel guy) have it down to a point where the New Testament, especially the Gospels are almost irrelevant to any discussion of the historical Jesus. Once the potentates of mediocrity at the SW decided to declare the Gospels fictional (truth by stipulation) they just wiped out any need to use them. Any references to them are just met with the magical king's X, this is wiped away because we declare it to be fictional and end of comment. A snowball effect occurs whereby the privileging leads to stipulating and the stipulating under girds the privileging. Before long they just ignore anything any Christian has to say. We see this already happening in the exclusion of any priest or anyone with a theology degree. Of course their ignorance binges theologians back into the picture but only because they are haplessly unaware of their own fumbling. How cod anyone logically fight such a syndrome? If we try to play the same game and stipulate our side it's just mattress taste in conflict. If we try to remain steadfast to the scholarship they have that ignored and it doesn't matter to them. So little by little they cut themselves off from any rational discussion. How ironic for the children who call themselves "The Rational Response Squad." Those are the one's offering money to prove that Jesus existed. They could save their money and read my historical Jesus pages, but we will let them find that out for themselves.

Fallacy no two I have seen employed in many ways at many times. It was most recently employed at CARM in arguing about religious experience studies. But I have it used a lot in every God argument. I called this "truth by stimulation" but it works in a particular way. It works out to be truth by stipulation, but it begins with the assertion "you can't make that argument until it is proven." I first encountered it in making a God argument. The atheist says 'you can't start an argument by referring to God because that's assuming God exits.' I say "but this argument is an argument to prove God exits. So how do I speak of God in order to prove he exists," "you can't, you must first prove he exists, otherwise you are begging the question." I swear that's what he said. It doesn't take a rhetorical genius to see that if this is taken literally or seriously one can never make an argument. To make an argument one must first make it, then the making of it proves something. But how can you prove an argument before you make it? But the fact is, that's what these guys want. They want a cheap way to shut up talk of God because they know they can't go toe to toe on the logic of God arguments. That's why God arguments are back. So this position works itself out to be a stimulation, "there is no God" period, no need for proof, that's just the way it is. That means you can't begin a discussion about God becasue even to prove God that would beg the question.

Both of these fallacies are arrived at from a basic starting point in the subject/object dichotomy. That starting point is one of fear. These people fear anything subjective, so much so that they have to plac themselves in a strict position of stipulation that no subjectivity must ever cross their path. Of course they privilege their own guys as good and objective. That means that they use their own subjective taste to affirm the objectivity of their camp. As it turns out their critical principle is nothing more than supreme arrogance. This kind of atheist, I shall call them the stipulationists, assert their view point based upon the assumption that all knowledge is empirically derived and inductive. Thus only objective observation can be used to understand knowledge. Subjectivity has no plac ein knowledge, because knowledge must be absolute. There is no room for error.

Of course the amusing part is, they have no objective data for any of their views. They are so horribly subjective they don't even know that there are liberal theologians. They are so horribly subjective that their basic myther position is made up almost entirely of an argument form silence, lacks any kind of objective data. The Christian position on historical Jesus has a lot data behind it than the myther position does. We have sources from the first century that at least assert that Jesus was a guy in history. But the mythers have not one single source that denies this, not until the eighteenth century! The reason the stipulationists must privilege their position and wipe out all evidence that counts again them by stipulating it under the King's X is becuase they are afraid to actually argue honestly.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Are Atheists Autistic?

New study findings really don't suggest this but there are interesting aspects to the study. The issue is that it seems there may be a connection between the inability to conceptualize what can't be seen and religious bleief, and autism.

Mentalizing Deficits Constrain Belief in a Personal God


  • Ara Norenzayan mail,

  • Will M. Gervais,
  • Kali H. Trzesniewski


Religious believers intuitively conceptualize deities as intentional agents with mental states who anticipate and respond to human beliefs, desires and concerns. It follows that mentalizing deficits, associated with the autistic spectrum and also commonly found in men more than in women, may undermine this intuitive support and reduce belief in a personal God. Autistic adolescents expressed less belief in God than did matched neuro-typical controls (Study 1). In a Canadian student sample (Study 2), and two American national samples that controlled for demographic characteristics and other correlates of autism and religiosity (Study 3 and 4), the autism spectrum predicted reduced belief in God, and mentalizing mediated this relationship. Systemizing (Studies 2 and 3) and two personality dimensions related to religious belief, Conscientiousness and Agreeableness (Study 3), failed as mediators. Mentalizing also explained the robust and well-known, but theoretically debated, gender gap in religious belief wherein men show reduced religious belief (Studies 2–4).

 They selected 12 subjects and matched them on SES and demographics. Families of autistic children were contacted through organizations. They used registered clinitions to diagnose the autism for the study, "based on DSM-IV criteria and were free of additional diagnoses.."

 Participants rated their agreement (1–7) with four different statements (I believe in God; When I am in trouble, I find myself wanting to ask God for help. Reversed-coded items: When people pray they are only talking to themselves; I don't really spend much time thinking about my religious beliefs). One additional item (“I just don't understand religion”) was dropped, because it correlated poorly with the overall scale in this sample, leaving a four-item Intuitive Belief in God scale (α = .65, M = 5.03, SD = 1.37). (Retaining this item did not significantly alter the overall pattern of results). In previous research [34], this measure correlated very highly with other scales measuring religious devotion, such as the Intrinsic Religiosity Scale [40] (r = .65, p<.001), and the Spiritual Well-Being Scale [41] (r = .82, p<.001). Belief in God was non-normally distributed and negatively skewed (Kolmogorov-Smirnov p = .08, skewness = −.82). Therefore, this variable was median-dichotomized into high believers (60%) and low believers (40%).

 In study 2 they completed a web based questionnaire. There were actually four studies done.


We again measured and controlled for age, educational attainment, frequency of religious attendance, and added a 3-item measure of interest in math, science, and engineering (IMSE, α = .69, on a 1–7 scale). IMSE was included to assess the possibility that the relationship between autism and belief in God, or gender and belief in God, are byproducts of greater levels of scientific interest among those high on the autism spectrum.


In study 1 they intended to compare autism diagnosis with control group vis belief, the small sample size made this "unfeasible." (their word) They then tried to use IQ as an indicator fur found no connection. This may be another study that's that shows no connection bewteen IQ and belief.

Figure 1. Study 2: Mentalizing, but not systemizing, mediated the effects of both autism spectrum (A) and gender (B) on belief in God (N = 327).
p<.10, *p<.05, **p<.01, ***p<.001. Note. OR = odds ratio; β = standardized beta; b = unstandardized beta. Values in parentheses are mediated effects. Autism Analysis Covariate: Gender. Gender Analysis Covariate: Autism Spectrum.

study 2 used sample of Canadian Children,, measured belief by self reporting compared mentalizing and systematizing with belief. The study 3 used an American sample and did the same.

gure 2. Study 3: Mentalizing, but not systemizing, mediated the effects of both autism spectrum (A) and gender (B) on belief in a personal God (N = 706).
*p<.05, **p<.01, ***p<.001. Note. OR = odds ratio; β = standardized beta; b = unstandardized beta. Agreeableness, or Conscientiousness (not shown) also failed as mediators. Values in parentheses are mediated effects. Autism Analysis Covariates: Gender, Age, Education, Income, Religious attendance. Gender Analysis Covariates: Autism Spectrum, Age, Education, Income, Religious attendance.
study 4 replicated study 3.

The findings suggest that boys don't mentalize (imagine mental iamges0 as well as girls, and tendency to believe less in God than girls. This holds true more so for autism. An alternative hypothesis suggest is that autistic children have less attendance in religious instruction due to their problems of adjustment due to autism. The researchers recognize that the data is not broad enough to draw sweeping conclusions from. They also acknowledge that rejection of religion to brieve is too complex to explain through one factor.

Finally, we emphasize that our data do not suggest that religious disbelief solely arises through mentalizing deficits; multiple psychological and socio-cultural pathways likely lead to a complex and over-determined phenomenon such as disbelief in God or gods. Therefore, mentalizing deficits are one pathway among several to disbelief. Analytic cognitive processing that suppresses or overrides the intuitions that make theism cognitively compelling [34] and exposure to secular cultural contexts lacking cues that one should believe in God or gods [35] also likely promote religious disbelief. In other words, the present results suggest that disbelief can result from mentalizing deficits, but it can also arise from multiple other sources, holding constant mentalizing tendencies.

A complete scientific account of religious belief and disbelief therefore requires consideration of not only cognitive underpinnings such as mentalizing and other core cognitive biases such as dualistic intuitions and teleological or purpose-driven thinking [12], [36]. Equally important in explaining their cultural prevalence, supernatural agent beliefs­once cognitively available-can be co-opted for motivational and social functions, because of both their palliative effects on existential anxieties [1] and their facilitative effects on cooperation in large, anonymous groups in a cultural evolutionary process [37], [38]. Finally, the prevalence and content of supernatural agent beliefs, although constrained by core social cognitive capacities, respond to and fluctuate with socio-demographic conditions across time and cultures [39]. Within this broader theoretical landscape, these studies present new evidence for a social cognitive mechanism underlying one source of individual differences in religious belief.

Yet they do see a possibility that autism spectrum is associated with interest in math, science and engineering which "in turn reduces religious belief." While the data is really pretty useless if one is seeking to learn weather atheists tend to be autistic or not it has a couple of interesting aspects. First, it shows no connection between IQ and belief. There are already plenty of studies that do that but here's anther one. Moreover, it also might lend credence to the idea that different kinds of intelligence are reflected in bleief or unbelief. I already had proposed that if there is an intelligence difference it s in kind and not degree. So in other words believers are no smarter than unbelievers nor or they less smart, but use different types of intelligence. The unbeliever would e math/scinece oriented and the believer might be more verbal. In any case that unbelievers tend to be autistic is a possibility suggested by the data but not a probable one.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Brain Washing and Socialization


When I stated that atheist ideology was brain washing an atheist asked "when was I taken in a back room and worked over with a rubber hose while having bright lights shined in my face?" This is a crude understanding of a crude concept "brain washing." There's really no such thing, one of my sociology professors way back in undergrad school identified it as a socialization process. We can see that socialization process working all the time on any message board where atheists congregate. It consist mocking and ridicule against anyone who disagrees with their view. Hasn't it occurred to anyone to ask why atheists do all this mocking and ridicule? I chalked up to their fragile self esteem and their need to feel big by making other small. I think that's part of it it but it's only half the story.

The other half is that mocking an ridicule serve the function of destabilizing the personality and making the target vulnerable to socialization. I've pointed this out before as well. The Encyclopedia of sociology has some instructive things to say on this score.

Encyclopedia of Sociology Volume 1,

Macmillan Publishing Company, New York By Richard J. Ofshe, Ph.D.

Coercive persuasion and thought reform are alternate names for programs of social influence capable of producing substantial behavior and attitude change through the use of coercive tactics, persuasion, and/or interpersonal and group-based influence manipulations (Schein 1961; Lifton 1961). Such programs have also been labeled "brainwashing" (Hunter 1951), a term more often used in the media than in scientific literature. However identified, these programs are distinguishable from other elaborate attempts to influence behavior and attitudes, to socialize, and to accomplish social control. Their distinguishing features are their totalistic qualities (Lifton 1961), the types of influence procedures they employ, and the organization of these procedures into three distinctive subphases of the overall process (Schein 1961; Ofshe and Singer 1986). The key factors that distinguish coercive persuasion from other training and socialization schemes are:
  1. The reliance on intense interpersonal and psychological attack to destabilize an individual's sense of self to promote compliance
  2. The use of an organized peer group
  3. Applying interpersonal pressure to promote conformity
  4. The manipulation of the totality of the person's social environment to stabilize behavior once modified
Thought-reform programs have been employed in attempts to control and indoctrinate individuals, societal groups (e.g., intellectuals), and even entire populations. Systems intended to accomplish these goals can vary considerably in their construction. Even the first systems studied under the label "thought reform" ranged from those in which confinement and physical assault were employed (Schein 1956; Lifton 1954; Lifton 1961 pp. 19-85) to applications that were carried out under nonconfined conditions, in which nonphysical coercion substituted for assault (Lifton 1961, pp. 242-273; Schein 1961, pp. 290-298). The individuals to whom these influence programs were applied were in some cases unwilling subjects (prisoner populations) and in other cases volunteers who sought to participate in what they believed might be a career-beneficial, educational experience (Lifton 1981, p. 248).

We see these same aspects at work among atheists on message boards. Intense interpersonal attack to destabilize sense of self, that's the mocking and ridiculing. That's the use that's made of it, it's brain washing. Organized peer group, of cousre the atheists band together and form a united front, they never break ranks. Interpersonal pressure to promote conformity.

Statements supportive of the proffered ideology that indicate adaptive attitude change during the period of the target's involvement in the reform environment and immediately following separation should not be taken as mere playacting in reaction to necessity. Targets tend to become genuinely involved in the interaction. The reform experience focuses on genuine vulnerabilities as the method for undermining self-concept: manipulating genuine feelings of guilt about past conduct; inducing the target to make public denunciations of his or her prior life as being unworthy; and carrying this forward through interaction with peers for whom the target develops strong bonds. Involvement developed in these ways prevents the target from maintaining both psychological distance or emotional independence from the experience. (Ibid)

I've seen this on boards many times. Someone who seems like a normal Christian will be mocked and ridicule. Suddenly they start consider the atheist might have a good point, next thing you know they way they are an atheist. This is always followed by a denunciation of of their former belief system and big confessions about how narrow minded they were and how wrong and bad they were to be Christians.

They create a sense of dependency upon the group, threaten the stragglers with ridicule if they say unacceptable things, and destabilize others weak targets to so they can take them over. First the destroy self esteem then promise new self esteem based upon self acceptance. When one announces that he's come over, o man do they make a big deal. Out comes the welcome wagon they all start patting him on the back. I remember a girl on CARM a few years ago. She seems fairly strong as a Christian and at least convinced. She began voices a few doubts. They began calling her names telling her how stupid she is. always saying little snide things to indicate "your are not good enough." She kept growing in doubts. Finally she announced he was an atheist and they began saying "I knew you were intelligent all along." The same little pigs who told her how stupid she was began making over her Einstein-like mind.

When you see atheists just sort of idling just saying one banal stupid thing after another all oriented around mocking Chrsitians and mocking beliefs, that's the brain washing in progress. Its' a socialization process that offers the lonely outcast a social support net work as long as they illustrate that they can spout the ideology. When they are repeating the slogans of atheism they are showing that they belong in the group. When others join them they are recognizing their membership.

Friday, February 8, 2013

  photo rmcn84l.jpg

I recently wrote a long essay with a lot of research illustrating the reasons for my own view of the super natural (SN) as opposed to what I consider to be the enlightenment countrified view, the continental idea that atheists attack. That essay, "The Empirical Supernatural," I posted on CARM. I had dropped the link in several posts over a long period, no one ever read it and no one ever understood what I was referring to. So I just put the whole thing in the text box and posted it direly on the board. Here are the reactions of atheists, as they just steadfastly refused to consider the evidence.

not an atheist (screen name-he is an atheist in terms of the alliances he keeps)

Don't post a wall of text and expect people to take it seriously.

Really, just don't. I'd say the same if it were an atheist posting long paragraphless quotes of people who agreed with him or her. If you've got something to say, say it with economy.

Mike WC

Request, Meta: cut out all the stuff about biography and credentials. It adds a great deal of needless length to a forum post. Don't really need footnotes in an OP, either. 

william Rea
Huge cut and paste jobs combined with hubris? Well that's a winning formula!

If you really knew your subject you'd be able to explain it to anyone.

Quit whining and man up.
This moron says this in response to a 13 page paper with 21 foot notes that he did not read. Where does he get the idea that I'm not explaining? It's such a detailed explanation it takes 13 pages but he didn't read them so how does he know I didn't explain?


 and what then? we just believe? your so arrogant that you think your posts on a forum will refute any atheists argument against it that they will have nothing left to do but submit and start believing in god! how long have you been on these forums doing the same thing over and over again? 10 years you say? more?
I've got 21 foot notes dumb ass. you might look at the evidence rather than refusing to read it. that might give you a clue as to why you should believe it.

 I think is the same guy:

do you know what the definition of insanity is? look it up and take note, your living in the past.
I assume he has reference to a truism (not the official definition) about doing the same thing over agian. Since he didn't read the essay does he know i'm doing that? Unless of course he means just trying to show them the facts is insane becuase they are too stupid to care and too inept to look. I guess I am insane then because I still keep hoping some them will grow some brains and read the evidence.

 I haven't read this yet as I don't have time at the moment... but will try to read it later.
I don't think he ever did.He at least new he would make better mileage if he promised to read it.
However do any of these descriptions or justifications of the supernatural pertain to things like the spontaneous growth of a new set of lungs in response to a prayer request to a God or some demi-god (a Catholic saint) and that allegedly happen in greater frequency at some "special" geographical location such as Lourdes? These are examples of supernatural I have pressed you with in the past.

I suspect we are continueing on with the Tillich thing and his opposition to the supernatural. From what I have skimmed in your write-up here is that the description of the supernatural pertain to human awareness, experience and love and not miracle healing and such.
That's more or less the case. In fact, this proves my point form the Tillich discussion that he was not against the model of SN that I construct in the essay, that model does not preclude miraculous healing. It changes the concept of what's happening with miraculous healing. No long is it seen as breaking in and violating natural law (indeed how could lit violate a law that is purely descriptive?) but is the result of harmony between the two sides of the one reality, the natural and the SN. In fact Tillich alludes to this concept.

from my AW post Friday Jan 18
2013 "Was Paul Tillich Anti-Supernatural?"

Student: Well, in catechism in Sunday school, we learned that miracles imply a "suspension of the laws of nature." I suppose that is as good a definition as any.
Dr. Tillich: Where did you learn this? It is very interesting. Because this is precisely the idea which I fiercely combat in all my work, whenever I speak of these things. Was that really taught in your catechism, or by the Sunday-school teacher, who could not do better because she had learned it from another Sunday-school teacher who also could not do better?
I wrote a lot more about that in that post.

 so many stupid excuses to keep from reading it. they could have read enough to know what it says by now. but they would rather just bad mouth it and pretend it goes away. tomorrow these same people will be saying the same incorrect disproved clap trap about the SN because they refuse to study it and find the turth.

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Atheist IQ Scam Part 1

Einstein believed in God.

There's a huge lie being propagated about the net that religious people have lower IQ's than atheists. This is one of the major points being made the site that we looked at last time, the Psychology Today blog tended by Satoshi Kanazawa. That article and study are cited everywhere. They are repeated on every atheist blog and website ad infinitum, not always approvingly.I promised I would deal with the IQ scam and I shall. The Study sited by Kanasawa is the Lynn, Harvey, Nyborg study. Nyborg is the main the figure. There are actually two studies by this same group. One of them deals with data gathered by department of labor (National Longitudinal surveys) the other study takes the data an analyzes it country by country. So one is about do religious children have higher IQ's version atheist (of course they say "no!"). The other one (linked above) is about do religoius countries have more smart people than atheist countries (of cousre they say not, atheist countries--wherever those are--have more smart people). These studies are ubiquitous. From this one set of data that the alleged researchers did not compile the vast army of atheists are willing to pat themselves on the back and assume they are smarter than people who believe in God.

The fact that the group did not collect their own data but used department of labor statistics is a problem because they data was not gathered from a study designed to measure or compare the intelligence of believers vs. non believers. There is no study design there. Before turning to that, however, it would be more helpful to examine the old data. Before the Nyborg study there was an atheist website that tried to prove the same thing, it got a great deal of attention, until I destroyed it. I proved that they lied about one of the studies.

The original data was from "Free Inquiry" Spring of 1986. This forms the basis of the whole IQ scam. It's been floating around for years and thousands of atheists have been brain washed by its' lie. It is a lie as I am about to demonstrate. It's been floating around in the form of several websites that take their ques from this one. The sites its on is called 'the liberalism resurgent, by Steve Kangas." That's the site I linked to for my rebuttal page way back years ago when I first put it up. All he does is list a bunch of studies that supposedly show that atheists have higher IQs than religious people. These were all done with school children, so there's no way to know how many of the same kinds in the study who said they were atheists became religious in adulthood.It's an easy guess that many did because that happens a lot so it would be important to know that. Moreover, notice he places the Hoge study (#15) Hastings and Hoge, 1967, 1974 (actually two studies) in the category of those that back his view. But I received literature form Dr. Francis a researcher in UK university who did several studies on the issue, this literature showed that Hoge showed no correlation between intelligence and religious belief, which contradicts the study and indicates that Kangas either lied or made a blunder. One can see from the rest of the literature that the thesis Kangas is working on is totally ravaged by the facts from just listing the studies that Francis sent in his study:

What follows is reproduction of my page:
The site also presents 17 studies giving the impression that all 17 support the thesis that more successful and higher scoring students tend to be non-believing students, while religious students score lower. Then they actually argue that this is a reliable guide to which world view is correct! (Appeal to success, similar to appeal to authority!)

But if we divide them into categories according to what they actually say, we see a much different picture. The first number is the counting number, to show how many are in each section, the number in parenthesis is the actual number given in the list on the website.

Studies too Veg to Draw a Conclusion

1. (#7) Donald Gragg, 1942
Reported an inverse correlation between 100 ACE freshman test scores and Thurstone "reality of god" scores.

2. (#9) Michael Argyle, 1958
Concluded that "although intelligent children grasp religious concepts earlier, they are also the first to doubt the truth of religion, and intelligent students are much less likely to accept orthodox beliefs."

3. (#14) Robert Wuthnow, 1978

Of 532 students, 37 percent of Christians, 58 percent of apostates, and 53 percent of non-religious scored above average on SATs.[but wait, there's no comparison of the scores, so even though only 38% of Christians as opposed to 58% of apostates scored above average, what if the Christians scored way above average and the apostates only slightly?]

4. (#16) Norman Poythress, 1975
Mean SATs for strongly anti religious (1148), moderately anti-religious (1119), slightly anti religious (1108), and religious (1022). [From what sample group? All of them? Doesn't say!]

The few studies that actually seem to support the conclusion

1. (#1.) Thomas Howells, 1927
Study of 461 students showed religiously conservative students "are, in general, relatively inferior in intellectual ability."

Doesn't show how conclusion was arrived at 2 (#2.) Hilding Carlsojn, 1933
Study of 215 students showed that "there is a tendency for the more intelligent undergraduate to be sympathetic towards atheism."

Doesn't really say "sympathetic" means self-identified as atheists, nor does it show how he arrived at his conclusion.

3 (3.) Abraham Franzblau, 1934
Confirming Howells and Carlson, tested 354 Jewish children, aged 10-16. Found a negative correlation between religiosity and IQ as measured by the Terman intelligence test.

4 (11.) Young, Dustin and Holtzman, 1966
Average religiosity decreased as GPA rose.8. Brown and Love, 1951 At the University of Denver, tested 613 male and female students. The mean test scores of non-believers was 119 points, and for believers it was 100. The non-believers ranked in the 80th percentile, and believers in the 50th. Their findings "strongly corroborate those of Howells."

5 (13.) C. Plant and E. Minium, 1967
The more intelligent students were less religious, both before entering college and after 2 years of college.[Doesn't say how they determined this]The interesting thing about this is, there are actually more studies that have counter findings than there are supporting the thesis, which give enough information to be clear about how they obtained it (with four that are too vague about this to consider).

6. (#4) Thomas Symington, 1935
Tested 400 young people in colleges and church groups. He reported, "There is a constant positive relation in all the groups between liberal religious thinking and mental ability There is also a constant positive relation between liberal scores and intelligenceŠ"Note: This guy with the website habitually assumes that liberal religious views are not religious views and counts liberal religious thinkers as unbelievers, which is absurd and dishonest; he does it with this study and on page 2, you will see he does it a lot.

Studies presented that actually count as evidence counter to the claim.

1. (#5) Vernon Jones, 1938

Tested 381 students, concluding "a slight tendency for intelligence and liberal attitudes to go together." [This doesn't say anything about religious belief or lack thereof. He's equating "liberal" with non-religious.]

2. (#6) A. R. Gilliland, 1940
At variance with all other studies, found "little or no relationship between intelligence and attitude toward god."[Obviously its not really at variance with "all" others since I just listed several others that don’t make those findings, and little or no relationship counts as negative evidence.]

3.(#10) Jeffrey Hadden, 1963
Found no correlation between intelligence and grades. This was an anomalous finding, since GPA corresponds closely with intelligence. Other factors may have influenced the results at the University of Wisconsin. [counts against his assumption that grades = intelligence so he can't measure intelligence through the studies that make that assumption. Also, what does he site in the face of this one to prove that graces indicate intelligence? And what about motivations?] (I suggest a sentence such as [This study discounts his assumption…)
4.(#12) James Trent, 1967
Polled 1400 college seniors. Found little difference, but high-ability students in his sample group were over-represented.[so they polled them? What did they use as a measure of intelligence? Doesn't say. But it does say they found no relation, or little, and virtually admit the sample is worthless so this counts as negative or at best as inconclusive.]

5. (#15) Hastings and Hoge, 1967, 1974
Polled 200 college students and found no significant correlations.[negative correlation is clearly negative evidence, there is no relation] Notice: the Francis study lists Hoge under the category of those that show no correlation between intelligence and religion, but that website lists it as positive to their thesis.
6. (#17) Wiebe and Fleck, 1980
Studied 158 male and female Canadian university students. They reported "nonreligious S's tended to be strongly intelligent" and "more intelligent than religious S's."[dosen't hint at how this was determined]

Studies not on the web site (listed by Francis) which found either no corrollation or postive corrollation

No Correllation

1) Feather (1964)Critical reasoning test and religious attitudes scale to 165 male psychology students. "He found no significant relationship between these measures."

2) Feather (1967) replicated in among 40 students.

3) Young et al., (1066) 32 item scale by Holtzman and young (66) five percent random sample of native born full time students at University of Texas, "where they found no significant relationship between mean attitude scores and cumulative grade points."

4) Dodrill (1976) 20 Christians, 24 non Christians, "This study found no significant differences between the two groups using the Westchester Adult Intelligence scale."

5) Francis (1979)using frequency of prayer and church attendance) 2272 school children between 9-11,"found no relationship between school assigned IQ's and religious behavior after controlling for paternal social class."

6) Fracis'('86 replication) findings replicated in second study among 6955 students.

7) Francis ('98) the study these studies are sited in, using sample of 711 students, the Francis Religious attitude Scale and standard IQ tests Francis again found no correlation.

Positive Correllation

1) Pratt (1937) among 3040 students at regional state college, taking denominational affiliation as sign of religiosity, "found that non-affiliates recorded lower mean scores on the American council Examination than any students affiliated to any denominational group."

2) Rummell (1934) also using denominational affiliation 1194 students at University of Missouri. "He found that non-affiliates recorded lower mean scores on his scholastic index compared with Methodists and Episcopalians."

3) Corey (1940) 234 Freshmen University of Wisconsin positive correlation between scores on the Ohio State Psychological Examination and the Thurstone scale of attitude toward God. "'The more intelligent were more favorably inclined toward God.'"

4) Kosa and Schomer (1961) 362 students at a Catholic undergraduate college: taking participation in campus religious activities as scale of religious attitude "intensive participants recorded significantly higher scores than non-participates on OSU aptitude Test and OSR reading comprehension test.

6 studies find negative correlation.

17 find positive or no correlation.

[Leslie J. Francis, University of Wales Lampiter, "The Relationship Between Intelligence and Religiosity Among 15-16 year olds," Mental Health, Religion & Culture, Volume 1, Number 2, 1998]

Counting all the studies together, both those presented as negative and those presented by Francis which are either neutral or positive, 17 to 6 in favor of the thesis being unproven. But more importantly, Hoge was listed wrongly, so what else can we not trust about those studies? Moreover, the sample size for the positive or neutral correlations are much larger in many instances. None of the negative sample sizes come close.

negatives: 1448, 532, 354, 315, 613, 400 (not all listed)

Largest positive or neutral:381, 1400, 200, 158, 165, 44, 2272, 711, 3040, 1194, 362.

The Positive or neutral studies would tend to be the better studies since they have more with larger samples sizes, and Francis controls for the Freudian bias which taints all the negative studies. Poythres (1975) sets the differences within the context of psychoanalytic theory.(Francis 188). We also notice that the negative studies tend to be older, ranging mainly form the 1930s to 1968, while all of the positive or neutral studies tend to be set in the 1960s to the 80s and one as recent as 98. This is explained by Hoge in terms of increasing socioeconomic status and greater exposure of religious people to new ideas at a younger age.

"The long discussed shock of freshmen encountering Atheistic professors at college and the transition problems from childhood beliefs to intellectually defensible beliefs have been reduced in recent years. Today the shock comes earlier and with less force than in decades past."(in Francis 188). (This capitalization is a matter of mild controversy. If Atheism is a religion, then it is capitalized as Buddhist, Moslems and Christianity are.)

We really have to ask ourselves, in studying students, especially freshmen in college, they are getting kids when they are the most rebellious? For those in early college they are going off to school for the first time, away from home, no longer under the strictures of Mom and Dad, they tend to rebel against Mom and Dad. It's a time of experimentation. Naturally we should expect to find that bright kids are experimenters, that they are willing to try new ideas. Secondly, how long did these kids remain unbelieving? How many are no in middle or even old age having had a life time of religious commitment gained in graduate school or beyond? Not a single one of these studies gave any indication of being longitudinal! That is extremely important, because it makes sense that students in late high school and early college will be rebellious and more inclined to question their upbringing. How many of them were actually still atheists 20 or 30 years latter? We don't know and not a single one of the studies even tried to find out. For all we know the vast majority of them might have become believers in 10 years out of college! In fact we have good reason to suspect that this is the case; after they got married and started raising families, they probably began to believe again, and this seems to be the pattern. That conclusion would also be supported by the quotation form Hoge above, the shock of leaving home, encountering atheist professors, dealing for the first time with serious challenge of new ideas could for time lead the unwary into doubt, but latter they recover.

In part 2 I will deal with the current study, Nyborg in a couple of days.