Friday, March 29, 2013

The Anti-God Argument Industry: J.L. Schellenberg Arguments

 photo pWorlds.png
possible worlds

Over the last couple of decades atheists have been so put up on by God arguments and the success of thinkers such as Plantinga, Alston and Hartshorne that they have become radicalized in their attempts at making anti-God arguments. I have hunch that they basically see God arguemnts as a trick. I've actually seen atheists at the popular level refer to logic as a trick. They don't take God arguments seriously yet seem intimidated by the use of logic. This has led to a plethora of attempted anti-God arguments, disproofs that seek to pit the concepts of religious thinking against each other to produce seeming contradictions. One of the more legigitate academic attempts in this vain is due to the efforts of J.L. Schellenberg, who is a philosopher form Canada. Some of his published works include:

Prolegomena to a Philosophy of Religion. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2005.

The Wisdom to Doubt: A Justification of Religious Skepticism. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2007

The Will to Imagine: A Justification of Skeptical Religion. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2009.

Schellenberg is one of the leading voices in the atheist attempt to flood the net with ant-God arguments hat seek to turn dobout toward conflicting concepts and questions regarding the logic of God arguments. Below are a few examples of his and  other arguments. These are arguments I've seen atheists use on boards that are attributed to Schellenberg. The teaches at Mount Saint Vincent University, in Nova Scotia.

The Argument from Horrific Suffering (J. L. Schellenberg):

Horrific Suffering (def.) = that most awe-full form of suffering that gives the victim and/or the perpetrator a prima facie reason to think that his or her life is not worth living.

(1) Necessarily, if God exists, finite persons who ever more fully experience the reality of God realize their deepest good.
(2) Necessarily, if God exists, the prevention of horrific suffering does not prevent there being finite persons who ever more fully experience the reality of God.
(3) Necessarily, if God exists, the prevention of horrific suffering does not prevent there being finite persons who realize their deepest good. (from 1, 2)
(4) Necessarily, if God exists, there is horrific suffering only if its prevention would prevent there being finite persons who realize their deepest good.
(5) Necessarily, if God exists, there is no horrific suffering. (from 3, 4)
(6) There is horrific suffering.
(7) God does not exist (from 5, 6)

....This argument seems to turn on a hidden premise that God allows suffering and evil so that some ultimate good might exist. That's the really premise as to why God would allow suffering, the argument asserts a second hidden premise that a good God would stop the worse forms of pain and suffering if his aims could be achieved without. It then cliams to know what that ultimate good is, thus asserts the stated premises that the good could be achieved without allowing such suffering. The argument as a whole says God can allow us to know him fully and achieve the highest good without allowing the worst forms of suffering, thus their existence in the world is an arguemnt against God's existence.
....P1 asserts that the greatest good is knowing God: "finite persons who ever more fully experience the reality of God realize their deepest good." It shows asserts that this can happen without the most horrific forms of suffering, thus such forms of suffering in so far as they do exist stand out against God's existence. There's a lot wrong with this argument:

(1) It asserts to know things we don't. We an asserting knowing God is our highest good but how that plays into God's plan for creation we can't assert to know so confidently as to assert to know that it can b acheied without allowing horrifc evil.

(2) It asserts to know that the most horrific forms of evil are not prevented. We don't know the most horrific forms. If God is protecting us and preventing the most horrific forms of evil how can we know? they don't exist in our world so we don't know.

(3) The argument is basically taken out by my soteriological drama which says that God wants us to search for truth so that we can internalize the values of the good. The risk that we make the wrong choices must be open or there's no search. Thus it's  not a matter of balance good against evil, nor is it a matter of needing evil to know good, but of risking evil so we can choose the good freely. In so doing the most horrific forms of evil (that we know of) must be part of the risk. If God habitually prevented the most horrific kinds of evil it would soon become apparent that there is a supernatural force protecting us and there would be no search.

(4) the argument turns upon premise (5) "Necessarily, if God exists, there is no horrific suffering. (from 3, 4)" what does these say?

(3) Necessarily, if God exists, the prevention of horrific suffering does not prevent there being finite persons who realize their deepest good. (from 1, 2)

(4) Necessarily, if God exists, there is horrific suffering only if its prevention would prevent there being finite persons who realize their deepest good.

....P3 is where I get the notion of hidden premises. Why would the prevention of horrific suffering be said to prevent finite persons realizing the deepest good? He must be expecting an answer of this as the reason for the allowing of horrific suffering...yet it doesn't preclude the need to run the risk in order to internalize the values through the search. So the objection stands but in a somewhat different from, one that his argument doesn't prevent. P4 this an explicit statement of what I felt was a hidden premise that the conflict is bewteen realizing the deepest good vs allowing horrific evil. The whole argument turns upon asserting that horrific evil can be prevented and the deepest good be accomplished. We don't need the most horrific evil so good God would not allow it. That doesn't answer the issues that I've raised. That we might question if the most horrific evil does exist, (after all, Hitler didn't win WWII, the cold war didn't produce nuclear war, and George Wallace did not win the 1968 Presidential election) and that there is still need to risk the doing of abhorrent evil in order to necessitate the search.

This next argument is still really a version of the first one, it's just tweaking it to induce the aspect of hiddeness.

Argument from Divine Hiddeness (Also from J.L. Schellenberg):

(1) If a perfectly loving God G exists, then for any human subject S at time t, if S is at t capable of relating personally to G, S at t believes that G exists on the basis of evidence that renders the existence of G probable, except insofar as S is culpably in a contrary position at t.
(2) There exists at least one human subject S who at time t does not believe that G exists on the basis of evidence that renders the existence of G probable and who is not culpably in a contrary position at t.
(3) No perfectly loving God exists.

....He's made it more complex with the use of symbols. I know this is done to make it more efficient to disuses repeated concepts but it doesn't. I have quoted he original argument so I will re word in a way that I think makes it more understandable.
....This argument is essentially saying that if there is an individual who doesn't find God to be real on the basis of evidence then we can asserting there is no loving God because if God was loving he would want everyone to know. There are numerous problems. Again a hidden premise, that God's love means everyone must believe at the same time. Of course the background assumption that we must have instant gratification, life is not a journey so that everyone must believe at all times and have the same outcomes. It would also seem that this argument is made to counter a more traditional view of Christianity that sees hell and damnation and eternal conscious torment as the consequence of unbelief. If we take that result out of the picture and look at life as journey of learning which culminates in our own successful search for the answers, then there is no need to assert that everyone must believe at the same time or there's no good God.
....It would also seem that he's missed the point about hiddeness. If my guess is right and Gods apparent hiddeness is in order to facilitae the search so that we might internallize the values of the good, then there is no ultimate contradiction between God's hiddeness and the need for salvation. The apparent hidden state of God is not an impediment to belief but rather an inducement to search.

This one is not by Schellenberg, but Mark Walker, New Mexico State University.

The Anthropic Argument against the existence of God (Mark Walker):

This argument uses a moral scale. 0 is perfectly immoral and 10 is perfectly moral S is the set of all possible worlds which is populated only by beings greater than 5 on the scale.

(1) God is omnipotent
(2) So, it is possible for God to actualize a member of S
(3) God is omniscient
(4) So, if it is possible for God to actualize a member of S, then God knows that He can actualize a member of S
(5) So, God knows that He can actualize a member of S
(6) God is morally perfect
(7) So, a morally perfect being should attempt to maximize the likelihood of moral goodness and minimize the likelihood of moral evil in the world
(8) If God knows He can actualize a member of S, then every world in which God exists is a member of S
(9) Therefore, every world in which God exists is a member of S
(10) Therefore, if God exists in the actual world then the actual world is a member of S
(11) The actual world is not a member of S
(12) Therefore, an omnipotent, omniscient, morally perfect God does not exist.

And then there's the Argument from Dwindling Probabilities (Alvin Plantinga) in which he concludes "The conclusion to be drawn, I think, is that K, our background knowledge, historical and otherwise (excluding what we know by way of faith or revelation), isn't anywhere nearly sufficient to support serious belief in G."

An abstract version of the argument from Sophia:

If God is morally perfect then He must perform the morally best actions, but creating humans is not the morally best action. If this line of reasoning can be maintained then the mere fact that humans exist contradicts the claim that God exists. This is the ‘anthropic argument’. The anthropic argument, is related to, but distinct from, the traditional argument from evil. The anthropic argument forces us to consider the ‘creation question’: why did God not create other gods rather than (...)[1]

....Here we have an example of the flawed possible worlds thinking that atheists have employed to overwhelm Plantinga's possible world's argument. I use a version of Plantinga's possible worlds argument on my 42 argument list on Doxa. It's no 14 on my list. The argument essentially says that God is such that he can't just be necessary in one possible word but if he exists he must be necessary in all possible worlds. That means he has to be necessary here,  in this world. the issue is there's nothing to stop the cocnept that God is necessary in all possible worlds. The argument turns upon the premise that there has to be some possible world in which God is necessary. If there is such a world then for him to be God and to be necessary in a true sense he must have to be necessary in all possible worlds, including this one. The issue is that this is mandated, it is the case logically speaking so it' snot something that can be negated if the premise are true. The point of the argument is to drive home the implication of the model argument that there is no maybe with God; either God is necessary or impossible but since he can't be contingent there's no "maybe he exits and maybe he doesn't. He exists for sure or he can't exist logically becuase he's impossible. Thus if he's not impossible then he has to exist.
....The atheists decided what we have to do is come up with a world in which there could not possibly be a God. They assert this can be done by imagining it because the foolishly assume that "possible world" means any world i can imagine. They assume they are imagining such a world by thinking about his one because they dont' believe in God anyway. Since the point is to prove that God must exist in this world that's actually circular reasoning n the atheists part. These anti-God possible world arguments all do this, they assume that the formation of an imaginary world that is imagined without God, without having to work out all the other philosophical details that build God arguments, based upon the pretense that we live in such a possible world (without God--when in fact that's what is under dispute) controls the essence of God and makes him not exist, so to speak. The shape the concept of God around the need to imagine that we are in a possible world in which there is no God.
....The problems with the above arguemnt are several. The argument  is a good example of an arguemnt in when they try to just imagine into existence a possible world of no God becuase they  model it on their disbelief.

(1) It's three arguments in one that each is nested in the other to make it hard to deal with them as one coherent arguemnt. It really should be broken up. It's a moral argument, its about contradictions of omnipotence and omniscience, it's about possible worlds.

(2) The omniscience and omnipotence are used as "plan spikes" (we use to call them in debate) to negate possible answers; God must know this is goign t be the case and has to negate it or he's not just trying becuase he would know and he would be able to. That ignores the real reasons for taking the risk that we make the wrong choices (of course God would know we are going to). Again, my soteriological drama, free will is necessary to morality so that we may freely choose the good; we can't make moral decisions without freely choosing to. Not a matter of God not knowing it, it's a matter of having to take the risk because we must be allowed to choose; they never calculate the fact that God can understand the balance sheet and see that it's worth it. That point alone destroys the whole argument.

(3) the argument turns upon this premise: (9) "Therefore, every world in which God exists is a member of S. S is the perfectly moral world populated only by those whose morality exceeds 5. He doesn't use the scale in the actual argument. We also don't know the values that make up the scale so that might tip the argument if we knew what he was calculating.

(4) P9 is the turning point and it means it's also the defeat of the argument. It's based upon the question begging premise. To be true P9 must assert the conclusion of the argument to make the argument, that God would only allow possible worlds with S content. If god must risk our evil choice as a matter of our freely choosing the good they can  hardly restrict planetary formation to S worlds.

(5) The argument doesn't account for the search. It's assumes static worlds where everyone has achieve moral perfection at the same time. It doesn't take life as a journey or individual lives as individual searches for truth. Everyone has to be in the same place at the same time.

(6) Edward Feser has some important things to say about these possible worlds arguments; they have it backwards, the essence of God is not controlled by possible worlds.

It is also often said that for God to be a necessary being is for Him to exist in every possible world. This too is at least very misleading. It leaves the impression that there are these things called “possible worlds” that have some kind of reality apart from God, and it turns out – what do you know! – that God happens to exist in every one of them, right alongside numbers, universals, and other necessarily existing abstract objects. To be sure, since possible worlds other than the actual one are themselves mere abstractions (unless you are David Lewis), they would not exist as concrete entities that God has not created. But the “possible worlds” account of God’s necessity nevertheless insinuates that that necessity is grounded in something other than God Himself – that what is possible or necessary in general is to be determined independently of God, with God’s own necessity in turn defined by reference to these independent criteria. For A-T, this is completely muddled. The reason God is necessary is that He is Pure Act or Subsistent Being Itself, not because He “exists in every possible world.” And since God just is Being Itself – rather than “a being” among other beings, existing in one possible world or in all – all possibilities and necessities whatsoever are themselves grounded in the divine nature, rather than in anything in any way independent of God.[2]

....All of these argumetns, this entire approach, the moral conflicts anti-God arguments the possible worlds anti-God argumetns, with their attempt to control God's essence by indexing it to possible worlds rather than vice versa, it's a grand example of what Tillich talked about when he said that if we know being has depth we know God has to be. That means if there is more to being alive and existing thus just the mere fact of existence then we know there has to be God becuase God is the depth of being, God is that "more to it." The atheist thinking on this score is a good example of what Tillich talks about when he speaks of the "surface level." The atheist says life is just a straight up proposition of it exists or it doesn't, either the world is morally perfect as an extension of a moral perfect creator or it's not, in which case there is no morally perfect creator. That's just the surface level of existing or not existing. It fails to take into account the meaning of life, the meaning of what it means to be. What it means to be is to be the creature of a necessary creator, thus our contingency is proof of a transcendent necessity that makes the "something more."
....They can't assert that their unbelief is proof of a Godless universe then use that as a proof of a possible world of no God, especially when they mere ignore the depth in being that tell us there more to being than just the surface issue of apparent existence. The nature of possible worlds does not determine the nature of God, it is God who determines possible worlds. Philospher J.N. Findlay was the first to tray and reverse the ontological argument as a disproof of God. He admitted at the time that Hartshorne had convienced him that his argument led to a ready inversion that this is what set up the realization that if God is at all possible then he must be necessary. The original attempt winds up in disproof of the reversal and brings the modal argument back rightly.

Professor Hartshorne has, however, convinced me that my argument permits a ready inversion, and that one can very well argue that if God's existence is in any way possible, then it is also certain and necessary that God exists, a position which should give some comfort to the shade of Anselm. The notion of God, like the notion of the class of all classes not members of themselves, has plainly unique logical properties, and I do not now think that my article finally decides how we should cope with such uniqueness.[3]
That's still the case now and it will always be so.

[1] Mark Walker, "Anthropic Argument Againt the Existence of God," Sophia, 48 (4) 351-378

[2] Edward Feser, "God and Possible Worlds," Edward Feser Blog (June 6, 2010): URL:

[3] J.N. Findlay, "Can God's Existence Be Disproved?" Di Text URL:

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Atheist Cheat on evidence: atheist build mythology of Slander

two statements made by atheists on carm recently, dealing withe slavery in the Bible issue I discussed some time ago:

Originally Posted by Nonprofit View Post
Bad scholarship for misrepresenting your source. I don't need to quote counter experts, the plain text of the bible supports my position, and that text has been quoted. Your pedantic attempts to redefine chatell to mean having no rights
His own reference from the Christian Think Tank shot him down concerning chattel slavery and rights... (the part he removed from his post) But he won't admit to it because as he is always "winning"...

 these were said in reference to the Garnsy quote on the slavery debate. The issue in the second is that there were brackets on the Burke website and Burke put in the term Chattel just before the quote.

that's a valid thing to do becuase he was just pointing to the context of the quote which was not spelled out. That's valid and permitted and nothing wrong with it. that's the proper use of brackets. Unless you find the original which I did you have to trust.

Of cousre these atheists want to turn it their advantage so they made as though I put the braketts in

then they want to drop big statments like "you are so dishonest about sources." they totally remain silent and jsut sneak when I confront them with the original and prove I'm right which I have done several times.

I did this time by getting the Garnsy book and showing that the quote is on page 2 and the contest is indeed chattel and he actually use the term just a few sentences latter. They are wrong I am right, I am vindicated but they wont admit it.

also the same thing with the Tillich issue on Tillich saying god is not less than personal. see my signature for that. in that case too Sky snuck and didn't say a thing.

the quote I got from Burke was in page 1 the quote on 2 is in the same context. Talking about the same thing, chattel.

page 2 he says:

"there were other types of unfree" that backs up what I said about different types of servitude. then he says:

"Chattel slavery has been historically a rare mode of unfreedom." that would be in sink with the idea that Israel didn't have it, although that by itself doesn't prove the point.

It is in the same context of the things he speaks of before which includes the quote wit the brackets. This proves he's talking Chattel.This just disproves their position completely. Of course the atheists are not going to accept that. They can't possilby accept it becuase their whole self esteem and the truth of their ideology is riding on everyone of them feeling that he's smarter than everyone of us. Let's look at their ratinalizations.

Skylurker knows hes beaten so he shifts to other grounds to claim a consolation prize:

I can't make out a coherent line of reasoning in that above.

Again the reference that was identified as THE definitive source does not use the word Chattel in the sense you stridently claimed was so. The phrase "chattel slaves" means humans that are slaves as in property who could be provided some protection. End of story on this one... you are just digging the hole deeper.
 First he claims he can't figure out what I'm saying, but he figured it out well enough to try and argue that the original didn't say what it dos. But yes, it does I quoted it ver batium.

 then he says:
 My beef with you and Tillich was his position on the supernatural... you thought he struggled against those who opposed the supernatural when the opposite was the case and he himself rejected supernatural theism.

 Of course his real beef was the issue that Tillich didn't accept any sort of peronal God. He just believe God was an imperosnal force like magnatism. Then I quoted Tillich form his systematic theology saying:

 Tillch: "personal God does not mean that God is a person. It means that he is the ground of everything personal. HE CARRIES WITHIN HIMSELF THE ONTOLOGICAL POWER OF PERSONALITY.he is not a person BUT HE IS NOT LESS THAN PERSONAL."
--Paul Tillich, Systematic theology vol 1, 245

notice he backs off completely and falls back o the supernatural issue. 

Bigthinker, chimes in with the old chestnut:

Another failure to demonstrate that God exists outside of the imagination.

 Meta: you always know they know they have lost when they fall back to position no 1. They never see the importance of an argument, so they see they lost on some point fall back to the basic atheist's fetal position. "Who cares if I can't prove this slavery stuff, you still can't prove there's a God." All roads lead to Rome.

look what the lying scum bags say
Originally Posted by MFFJM2 View Post
This thread is just too funny. The king of misrepresenting sources calls the kettle black.

this lying jerk is calling me the king of misrepresentation when he's too lazy to click on the link and scroll to page 2 and see that it's proved in front of his ignorant little face.

The real lesson here is that they have tried to build a mythology of my dishonesty. They lie constantly about myuse of sources. They tried to argue that I added  a word in brackets to change the meaning of the quote and I proved I did not. So they can't that they are wrong. they go building the myth. the impression has been created they don't bother to correct it. This is another exampel their brown shirt tactics.

they attempted slander and when prvoed wrong they just refuse to accept their wrong doing.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Are Christians More Likley to Go to Prision? ( Vol III)

For years atheists have been making a simplistic analysis that we can assume a causal inference bewteen the percentage of prisoners who are Christians and the effect of Christianity on behavior. The assumption is being a Chrsitains make you more likely to go to prison. The classic page on this is Holy which I have discussed on Atheist Watch as pure propaganda. The page demonstrates a set of spurious data supposedly showing that there are many more times Chrsitains in prison than non Christians. I've raised questions about the validity of the data. Even an atheist site calls it a questionable source.[1]
....This same site recoginizes the fact of the Pew study on Chaplins that there are atheists then thought prevoiusly:

Last week, the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life released the results of a survey of professional prison chaplains across the United States. The results (PDF) offer some insight into the religious lives of prisoners. But keep in mind it’s not necessarily accurate — they’re asking chaplains across the country what they think the religious makeup of the prisoners is.
Although chaplains, like all observers, undoubtedly bring their own perspectives and predilections to bear, they also occupy a valuable vantage point as correctional workers who have regular, often positive interactions with inmates and take a strong interest in the role of religion in inmates’ lives.(ibid)
 While I laud his honestly in acknowledging that the percentage of atheists is higher than Swift's 2% (putting it up at 11%) he misses the real import of the Pew study (not to criticize an honest man). The real import is that it shows that prisons switch their faiths a lot. So there's no evidence that all of the Christians in prison at any given moment were Chrsitians when they went to prison. That means they can't argue Christianity is a moral failure. It's true that there are many nominal Chrsitains who mouth the words but don't have the experiences. It's only a correlation in the first place, there's no real way to make into a viable indictment of Christian life, but how what we know prisons are not even going in as Christians necessarily the data becomes totally useless.
....The Study is "Religion in Prisons: 50 state survey of prison chaplains," by the Pew Research [2] Of course the atheists have already begun the cry of "this is not accurate becuase they chaplains so they lie (see comment section of friendly atheist site), the Chaplins have access to prison stats which are not typically available to the pubic.

A majority of chaplains surveyed report that the prison where they work has a formal system in place both for documenting the religious affiliation of inmates (84%) and for documenting changes in religious affiliation (76%). However, such records typically are for in-house use only. As previously noted, official statistics on the religious affiliation of the state prison population generally are not publicly available. Thus, the Pew Forum survey provides a unique look —based on the chaplains’ own estimates — at the relative size and growth of religious groups behind bars.

The Chaplains show that switching groups religiously is quite common and that growing of both Islam and protestantism is due to largely to switching.

A majority of chaplains say that attempts by inmates to convert or proselytize other inmates are either very common (31%) or somewhat common (43%), while 26% say such attempts are not too or not at all common...Still, a majority of chaplains say that there is either “a lot” of religious switching (26%) or “some” switching among inmates (51%). About one-fifth (21%) say that switching occurs “not much” or not at all in the prisons where they work.

I'm sure the survey is not as unbiased or accurate as it could be. Yet there's just as much confusion about surveys asking prisoners directly for their affiliation. They still dont' include a place in the data for conversion history nor do they try to ascertain the person's affiliation before prison. The conclusion is corroborated by the book Religion, the Community, and Rehabilitation of Criminal offenders. "The most common reason for conversion in prison is seen as protection. So then it's not surprising that religion as a form of protection is closely connected with the deprivation of security."[3] This is a study of original research. although they do point out that their research does not support the parole theory of insincere conversion.[4] This applies to insincere this doesn't' mean that there isn't sincere conversion.
....As to the question about convesion for parole, while the O'Connor evidence doesn't agree two other studies show that this might be a factor. Two studies on race and religions show that religion could be a factor.

Parole board members (PBMs) decide whether to release inmates on parole. Decisions may be affected by in-group bias or stereotypes regarding religion and race. Two experiments investigated whether religious conversions/secular lifestyle changes and race affect mock PBMs' release decisions, emotions, and perceptions. Mock PBMs read a case file of an inmate who was eligible for parole and decided whether to grant parole. Study 1 manipulated whether the inmate had converted to Christianity or Islam, had a secular lifestyle change, or had no lifestyle change. Study 2 also varied race (African American or Caucasian). Race was not a significant factor, possibly because the manipulation was not strong enough to influence participants or because participants did not want to appear racist. Conversions to Islam and Christianity impacted the parole decision, and effects were mediated by believability of the conversion. Secular lifestyle changes affected release decisions and were mediated by perceptions of the inmate and beliefs about his likelihood of recidivism. Such inmates were the most likely to be released and were perceived most positively; their conversions were the most believable. Inmates who made no changes were perceived least positively, indicating that any lifestyle change is better than none. Importantly, no bias towards either religion (Islam, Christianity) was found. Furthermore, conversion type affected how scared PBMs were of the inmate, but this fear did not impact release decisions.[5]

[1] Friendly Atheist URL:
[2] The Study is "Religion in Prisons: 50 state survey of prison chaplains," by the Pew Research, Form the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. URL:
[3]Thomas P. O'Connor and Nathaniel J. Pallone, Religion, the Community, and Rehabilitation of Criminal offenders.Routlege, 2013, also published as Journal of Offended Rehabilitation vol. 35, numbers 3/4 2002.
[4] ibid.
[5]Monica K Miller, Samuel C Lindsey, and Jennifer A Kaufman. Legal and Criminological Psychology: The religious conversion and race of a prisoner: Mock parole board members' decisions, perceptions, and emotions. (vol 18, issue 1) First published online 26 SEP 2012 URL:

Friday, March 22, 2013

Instructive exmple of athiest ideology used as propganda to evoke the reducitionist ploy

Originally Posted by Dr Pepper View Post
The human brain like that of other mammals is composed of cells that are capable of directing a body. It functions so as to keep the organism alive and see to it that it reproduces or insures that related members which share its DNA will survive and reproduce. It accomplishes this through instincts coupled with emotions. We are all familiar with those basic instincts that we share with other mammals.

Fear, anger, love are all emotions that are shared by most if not all social mammals and are part of the brain. Humans are a bit more complicated in that they form complex social and cooperative relationships necessary for survival. In addition, they are born in an immature state and require years of nurturing in order to successfully reach reproductive age. Again, those emotions related to love and empathy are paramount in this activity. We love our offspring and our parents. This is biological and can be observed in the behavior of other mammals. We even share altruistic tendencies where an adult will put itself in danger to protect offspring. There are many examples of other animals that do this.

Knowing what we know about humans and human social behavior how is it that Gods also exhibit many of these exact emotions and behavioral characteristics? In general Gods are not social and do not posses an organic brain designed with emotions for its survival. They are immortal. Why would they “love”, support or nurture anything?

So why do we find in Gods the same instincts found in biological organisms? Gods can be angry, jealous, selfish, and loving of their offspring. Can anybody explain why a god that needs nothing, is non social, can create an entire universe out of thin air, is all powerful, all knowing, and exists outside of time would share any animal instincts with humans and other animals? Is God an animal with an animal brain that is responsible for survival and reproduction of a species?

This is just another one of those cases where the atheist is trying to evoke atheist ideology as though it's an epistemological gate keeping exercise. If you can't meet our criteria then you fail the knowledge test, like not knowing baic math or something.It's nothing more than a propaganda device. there's no reason why we should have to meet that criteria becuase its' not part of our theory of knowledge,. God is not given in sense data so he can't be subject to scientific scrutiny. All you are saying is "I want to put God over here in a category I can deal with." that's the basic ploy of reductionism. reduce all knowledge the one I can control.
 ,,,,Of course God is portrayed by humans as having human-like qualities becuase how else could we relate to God? How are we going to relate to something that's beyond our understanding? We are always looking for patterns that we can understand and that make sense to us. That's what science does. No scientist says "the universe is beyond our understanding, we are just imposing the patters we want to see so that we can pick out and that make sense but in reality there is no sense to be made." Even scientific schools that go far enough as to say there are no rational pattern, we impose the pattern don't say, "therefore we can't understand the universe so let's forget scinece."
.....God is beyond our understanding, but we have to speak of the divine because we are verbal and social animals. So we bridge the gap between known and unknown by drawing analogies to what we know. We know the father figure so we see God as a father. We know from experiencing God's presence there is some point of contact there.

I have no need of that hypothesis

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Atheist ideology is a fact

I find more and more atheists arguing form the fortress of facts fallacy. The fortress of fact is based upon ignoring the facts the other side uses. One of those facts is that you can't have a mass idea shared by millions of people and perpetuated through mass media without an ideology forming.

Look at the concept of Ideology. let at what it is:


    Definition of IDEOLOGY
: visionary theorizing
a : a systematic body of concepts especially about human life or culture
b : a manner or the content of thinking characteristic of an individual, group, or culture
c : the integrated assertions, theories and aims that constitute a sociopolitical program ([B]Websters)[/B]


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[ahy-dee-ol-uh-jee, id-ee-] Show IPA
noun, plural i·de·ol·o·gies.
the body of doctrine, myth, belief, etc., that guides an individual, social movement, institution, class, or large group.
such a body of doctrine, myth, etc., with reference to some political and social plan, as that of fascism, along with the devices for putting it into operation.
Philosophy .
the study of the nature and origin of ideas.
a system that derives ideas exclusively from sensation.
theorizing of a visionary or impractical nature.
Origin: Agnosticism, Atheism.

Typically, an ideology is the creation of some identifiable group (political, cultural, economic) for the purpose of spreading or maintaining its perspective on reality among themselves and others. In effect, an ideology creates the assumption that this dominance is natural and desirable. For example, some Marxist critics talk about embourgeoisement, which involves the ideological suppression of differences between social classes by getting all people to simply assume that the values of the middle class are best and normal.

an article by Marxist Andrew Brown (himself an atheist) arguing that new atheism is an ideology (in the Guardian):

now you can object that you don't have a sociopolitical program but sure you do. Dawkins calls for massive ridicule of Catholics, you

*have 50 major legal battles against religion

*(meaning gobs of money flowing to atheist organizations)

*Huge publishing industry

*thousands of websites

Obviously that denotes major organization. where you have an organized body of ideas being propagated you have an ideology.

Here's how to tell it's an ideology:

(1) you are angry because I say it's a movement.

the anger is palpable. Why should it make them angry that I say they have a movement? I say I have a movement. I've been in movements all my life. i was in the civil rights movement, the anti-war movement (2 different wars--two different movements) and many others. I don't care. it doesn't make me angry to say I am in a movement. i don't even care if they say Christianity is a movement. I was in a movement and it had an ideology (communism) I was a commie!

I know what movements look like. I know what ideology looks like. I have trianed all my life to spo this. I've been in movements, been a communist, (the paradigm of all movements and father of all ideologies) and I'm a historian of ideas. I was also an atheist. I nkow a movment when I see one. I also know that' it's not normal for people to become angry when you say they are in a movement. Why would they ? Atheists ract as though I've said theya re drugs adicts or soemthing.

(2) they all give the same answer

they all answer in exactly the same way. they never very there's no individuality. Its' always "the absence of any god or gods." There's never any individualist variation as though they have all read the same thing and all been told to say this phrase. I know they have probalby been told to say the phrase, but somehow in the way they process the information when they convence themselves to follow this movement they just learn it by wrote like the phrase really matters.

I am still looking fo all this individuality they claim to have. I can't find it. I see them saying the same things and marching in lock step. last week I had a hesitation where atheists would not admit that appeal to popularity was wrong. some of them even warned to say it wasn't wrong unless was in favor of Christianity. One of them argued form populaity saying that I could not right becuase I'm a member of a tiny minority (the minority being people with my exact outlook thus confessing the idea of group membership with the opinion one holds).

Isn't a dead give away, think about it. They actually believe that if you hold single idea differently from the group you are in a different group. Then on what basis can they claim that atheist are all different and that they have individualist opinions? As if that isn't frighting enough, they would not bring themselves to dennounce argument from popularity, but then actualy tried to say that I had argued that! They tried to attribute their comrade's statement to me! Now is that for confused?

I've demonstrate that its' a movement and only an idiot could fail to see it. I've shown that they have a concerted effort for court cases involving 30 major law suits (which would cost millions, who is paying for it)? They have a vast propaganda machine. They work on the destruction of Christian academic credibility at the expense of academic learning. They have a vast propaganda organziation in the form of several publications, think tanks and a scam pretending to be a convocations of schoalrs who are actually just Jesus mythers with no real academic standing.

Freedom From Religion Foundation:

    Won the first federal lawsuit challenging direct funding by the government of a faith-based agency
    Overturned a state Good Friday holiday
    Won a lawsuit barring direct taxpayer subsidy of religious schools
    Removed Ten Commandments monuments from public lands
    Ended bible instruction in public schools after 51 year practice
    Halted prayer at public institutions
    Stopped direct subsidy to religious schools
    Ended commencement prayers at a Top Ten University after 122 years of practice
    Ended distribution of Gideon bibles in public schools.
    Brought nearly 30 First Amendment lawsuits since 1977, and keeps several Establishment law challenges in the courts at all times.

(18 Feb. 2007).
Approach Used to Spread Agenda

    Files lawsuits!
    Publishes Freethought Today
    Sponsors annual high school and college atheist based essay competitions with cash awards
    Conducts, annual national conventions, honoring the "Freethinker of the Year" for state/church activism, a "Freethought Heroine" and student activists
    Bestows "The Emperor Has No Clothes" Award to public figures for their criticism of religion
    Promotes freedom from religion with educational products, bumperstickers, music CDs, winter solstice greeting cards and literature
    Publishes useful atheist books
    Provides speakers for events and debates
    Established a freethought book collection at the University of Wisconsin Memorial Library as well as a 2,000-volume office collection

- University Graduation Invocations Ended at Top Ten University
- Prayers Stopped at Public Institutions
- Public Sponsorship of Nativity Pageant Halted
- Crosses Downed from Public Land
- Abuse by Preacher Exposed
- City Sponsorship of Knights of Columbus Signs Ended
- Ethics Probe Called for Preaching Governor
- Proselytizing Crossing Guard Fired
- Post Office/Catholic Entanglement Ended
- De Facto Sports Chaplaincy Stopped
- School Boy Scout Subsidy Stopped
- Bible Proclamation Rescinded
- Illegal Public Help Halted for "Our Lady of the Rockies"
- Creationism Removed from City Zoo
- Discount for Catholics Ended
- Red Rocks Easter Service Subsidy Ended
- Nativity Scene Moved Off Government Land
- Ten Commandments Monuments Moved from Public Property
- Religion Removed at Playground

Who has time to work on this? All of these struggle take big money and big legal talent. These are not things pulled off by a diverse group who share nothing more than the lack of a belief. This is clearly a vast political organization it has to be.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Atheist Brown Shirt Tactics: Dawkin's Call to Harrass Catholics

....  photo belgrade_battle.jpg
this is not an actual event pertaining to the story. Just symbolic of conflict

....This happened at the "Reason Rally" in 2012. It's old news. It's worth thinking about again. Dawkins called for atheists to mock and ridicule Catholics with every chance one gets.

Disclaimer: the above graphic struggle depicted did nt happen. the call to harass Catholics verbally did happen there. The graphic is eye candy.
“Don't fall for the convention that we're all 'too polite' to talk about religion,” Dawkins said, before urging rally attendees to ridicule Catholics' faith in the Eucharist.
“Religion makes specific claims about the universe which need to be substantiated, and need to be challenged – and if necessary, need to be ridiculed with contempt,” he told the cheering crowd on the National Mall.
“For example, if they say they're Catholic: Do you really believe, that when a priest blesses a wafer, it turns into the body of Christ? Are you seriously telling me you believe that? Are you seriously saying that wine turns into blood?”
If the answer is yes, Dawkins suggested atheists should show contempt for believers instead of ignoring the issue or feigning respect.
“Mock them,” he told the crowd. “Ridicule them! In public!”[1]

He urged this on the basis of any social situation. “When you meet somebody who claims to be religious, ask them what they really believe,” Dawkins suggested. “If you meet somebody who says he's Catholic, for example, say: 'What do you mean? Do you just mean you were baptized Catholic, because I'm not impressed by that.'” "'But those who hold to the doctrines of their faith should be openly ridiculed,' Dawkins said." (ibid.) The Catholic News agency also reports increase in hate crimes agaisnt Catholics in that month:

The report, from the Austria-based Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe, summarized incidents ranging from vandalism and insults to the suppression of religious symbols, desecrations, “hate crimes” and religiously motivated violence.
Dr. Gudrun Kugler, director of the observatory, said studies suggest that 85 percent of hate crimes in Europe are directed against Christians.
“It is high time for the public debate to respond to this reality!” Kugler said.
In Scotland, 95 percent of religiously motivated violence targets Christians. In France, 84 percent of vandalism is directed against Christian places of worship.
The observatory has also monitored professional restrictions on Christians. A restrictive definition of freedom of conscience means that professions such as magistrates, doctors, nurses, midwives and pharmacists are “slowly closing for Christians.”[2]

 Of course this is merely argument from sign, there's no proof that Dawkins statements led to or contributed to these actions, or that ahtist atheist's attitudes are leading to them. It might be reason for further research. Nor dose the lack of causal inference excuse Dawkin's statements.
....Dawkins is always trying to play theologian. He knows nothing about theology, he's almost famous for his ignorance of theology as he is for his selfish genes, but he undertakes to make the pronouncement that if one disagrees with the Catholic chruch one is no longer a catholic.[3] Speaking at a pulbic interview at the National Concert Hall in Doublin, he proclaimed:
He said he was intrigued by this week’s Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll showing almost two thirds (62 per cent) of Catholics believed the bread and wine which was blessed during Mass “only represents the body and blood” of Christ.
Just 26 per cent said they believed the bread and wine transformed into Christ’s body and blood in accordance with the doctrine of transubstantiation.
“If they don’t believe in transubstantiation then they are not Roman Catholics,” Prof Dawkins said. “If they are honest they should say they are no longer Roman Catholics.”
The survey finding “should come in for a fair degree of ridicule,” he added. “I wouldn’t hold back on the ridicule”.

 Of cousre Dawkins is far from being an expert on what makes one a Catholic. Shooting off mouth in both Australia and Washington he called upon people to confront Catholics about their belief in transubstantiation.

He told Cardinal Pell that he could be charitable and accept that the Cardinal might believe that the host came to symbolize the body of Christ, but to think that it became really the body of Christ was absurd. The wafer does not become the body of anyone, he said, given “normal English usage” of the word “body.” [4]
The problem is if you don't believe transubstantiation you are not a Catholic. If you do, you are an idiot. That's what we might call "double bind." Then of course Dawkins is not a theology student we can trust that he doesn't really undersatnd the doctrine. This might cause growing concern about just whom the real idiot is. For example he wants normal English usage of the term "body" when the doctrine is based in Latin and comes from the Greek and uses the Platonic concept of substance, so it' snot saying that bread is the physical body of Christ in the sense that my body is in this chair now, but that it is the substance of what made Christ's body psychically the body. Then of course there's a whole theological issue about being Catholic and accept transubstantiation.
....That's a huge can of worms anyway, Dawkins is trying to work up the greatest amount of strife that he can.Daniel Fincke defends Dawkins's statements by asserting that he's lauding the intelligence of Catholics in his suspicion that they mostly reject transubstantiation. He further asserts that he just wants to make them think by questioning their commitment.

He wants nominal Catholics to reconsider why they so reflexively call themselves Catholic and thereby identify themselves as holding beliefs that upon the slightest introspection or incredulous challenge they will find they do not really find remotely plausible. Most importantly (and conveniently ignored by his opponents), Dawkins cited reputable survey data to support the notion that more people in England identify as Christian for reasons such as “wanting to think of myself as a good person” than for actually using religious teachings as their moral guide in life. The Christian leaders use their claim to great numbers of believers as the clout with which to bully politicians and society in general. Dawkins wants the Catholics whose beliefs the Church does not really represent to start grappling with this fact and with the disconnect between what they really believe and the institution they reflexively claim has authority over their beliefs and practices (to their own potential detriment).[5]

 That's not really a defense. What gives him the right to undertake to test the sincerity of the faith of others? He tries to spin it so that it seems a call to reason, but he essentailly admits it's a call to mock and ridicle:

While Dawkins explicitly calls for ridicule and contempt for patently absurd beliefs, he is equally explicitly not recommending a simplistic, dismissive “point and laugh” strategy aimed at (impossibly) marginalizing believing people as citizens. He is, rather, recommending something that true believing Catholics should not be threatened by or insist on exemptions from; namely, that they be demanded to affirm their Church’s beliefs or stop calling themselves Catholics.
But it's a good kind of ridicule. That's like the guy on Seinfeld trying to make the term "phony" sound like a complement. "I like Jerry, hes' so phony." This is obviously just a single to step up the kind of belligerence atheists have become famous for over the past decade or two. Nothing is going to turn it into reasoning, but embed within the defense is the assumption that they have already accepted mocking and ridicule as a valid approach. This should mark hate group atheism as a Brown shirt tactic as much as anything short of beating people up. He then asserts: "in fact, if Catholics had the slightest confidence in their more absurd teachings, they wouldn’t be threatened at all by the prospect of atheists routinely asking them (or their brethren) if they actually believed what Catholicism teaches." (ibid) In other words they are just asking for it, blame the victim. That's like saying "if they weren't' so stupid we wouldn't need to make fun of them."

 And if they thought Dawkins was really making a strawman of Catholicism, or a weak man argument against it, for either mocking the doctrine of transubstantiation as irrational or for treating belief in that irrational doctrine as a litmus test for true Catholicism, then they should have either explained either why it is perfectly reasonable for a Catholic to believe in the doctrine on rational grounds or explained why one can reject the transubstantiation doctrine while still remaining Catholic.(ibid).
That's really some defense. That's just saying "if they don't like it let them fight back." This is really promoting reason. One doesn't reason by inviting a retaliation for unjust and unsocially acceptable forms of communication. This is pretty good proof that this guy knows it's violence and antagonism.
....This is no different than brown shirt tactics where synagogues were attacks and Jewish windows were broken and Jews were derided and mocked in public. This is what results when people take their ideology so seriously that they lose the ability to value the rights of their opponents. Of course this guys is combing the net to find weather or not Catholics have reasonable answers. Who is really to be looking for reason when they are in a mocking tone? It's clear what they are trying to do. We should not be willing to have the social fabric ripped apart so that the hate group segment of atheism can get the their bully rush and overcome theirs feelings of inadequacy.

[1] Staff, "Dawkins Calls for Mockery of Catholics at Reason Rally." Catholic News Agency, March 27, 2012. URL:

[2] Kevin J. Jones. "Report on Europe Finds Numerous anti-Catholic Actions." Catholic News Agency, March 21, 2012

[3]Joe Humphreys, "Dawkins Calls for Catholic 'Honesty,'" The Irish Times.Wed June 6, 2012. On line copy: URL:

[4] William E. Carroll, "The Dawkins Challenge," The Catholic Thing. Wednessday, June 13, 2012.

[5] , "In Defense of Dawkins's Reason Rally Speech,"  Camels with Hamers. April 1, 2012

Friday, March 15, 2013

Slavery in the Bible and in Atheist Thinking

....I had a big debate on slavery in the Bible. Those always run on and on becuase they atheist just cherish that argument. They hope for a slam dunk big victory, one argument that will wipe out as much of Christianity as possible. This is one of three or four that they think is a slam dunk. They will fight for it tenaciously and never admit it's beatean.
....My strategy is to minimize it. I can't wipe it out and I can't argue the kind of shlock that made me retreat from fundamentalism in my youth, such as "O they deserved to be slaves because they were pagans," or "slaves were really happy." No one makes that one much any more it was big in the south at one time. I am not an inerrentist so I don't mind arguing that a lot of the Biblical use of the concept is based upon tainted views of temporal power and not divine. I also take a progressive stand, in other words, God is revealing morality progressively through history, he's allowing the growth of social consciousness over time. The atheists argue "well id the Bible was divinely inspirited and if God is good then he would have a denunciation of slavery in the OT." My answer is the times were not right for it. They weren't sufficiently evolved socially to understand the evils of slavery. So God reveals these things over time as humans grow into a position where they can understand it. So you don't have a sharp denunciation in the OT. But It's not as though there's no denunciation. It does condmen kidnap slavery. It says not to kidnap someone and make them a slave."He who kidnaps a man, whether he sells him or he is found in his possession, shall surely be put to death." (Exodus 21:16). It doesn't say this is limited to Hebrews.
....Another argument I make as evidence of the progressive outlook stems around the fact that Hebrew slaves were given rights while slaves in other cultures were not. In that same vain I argue that there was chattel slavery in Hebrew culture. The difference being "chattel" slaves had not right of any kind. Hebrews slaves had rights. Now the atheists argue that he rights were only for Hebrews who were salves (they were actually of Hebrew blood). That's not true. It is true that a distinction was made and it is true that slaves belonging to Hebrews who were of Hebrew blood were not slaves but merely bond servants. what is not true is the idea hat the basic rights didn't pertain to Hebrews owned slaves descended from other cultures. Foreign slaves belonging to the Hebrews did have rights. The atheists raised a real stink arguing that there's no such thing as Chattle slavery. AT one point they said I just made it up. That seems to be one of their favorite ploys when they are confronted with documentation they don't have. Here's the quote I used:

Johnathan Burke

Chattel slavery did not exist under the Law of Moses. There was no form of servitude under the Law of Moses which placed them in the legal position of chattel slaves. Legislation maintained kinship rights (Exodus 21:3, 9, Leviticus 25:41, 47-49, 54, providing for Hebrew indentured servants), marriage rights (Exodus 21:4, 10-11, providing for a Hebrew daughter contracted into a marriage), personal legal rights relating to physical protection and protection from breach of contract (Exodus 21:8, providing for a Hebrew daughter contracted into a marriage, Exodus 21:20-21, 26-27, providing for Hebrew or foreign servants of any kind, and Leviticus 25:39-41, providing for Hebrew indentured servants), freedom of movement, and access to liberty (Exodus 21:8, 11, providing for a Hebrew daughter contracted into a marriage, Leviticus 25:40-45, 48, 54, providing for Hebrew intendured servants, and Deuteronomy 15:1, 12; 23:15, providing for Hebrew or foreign servants of any kind).
The source for this quote: Peter Garnsey, ‘Ideas of Slavery from Aristotle to Augustine’, 1996, page 1, as quoted by Glenn Miller, ‘Does God condone slavery in the Bible?’, 2005. Garnsey is not a Bible Scholar but a historian. As a history he's a qualified expert on the life and hsitoyr of ancinet Israel but he's also sans the biases of the fundamentalist that atheists fear from every qualified Bible scholar.
....Yet in this debate they refused to even admit that I had quoted him! Several of them just flat out denied that I ever quoted this source. I quoted it several times.  Even the guy who is billed (self billed) as a professional scholar (he actually is just a grad student with an Masters degree--like me) says I didn't quote it. Then when I confront him on the fact that I quoted the same guy seveal times he says:

Originally Posted by Ben Hakkore View Post
I don't have the time to read every post in the thread. Your opening post contains nothing more than a link to an apologetics website, no citations of your own of scholars whatsoever. You later provided a handful of snippets, primarily from Westbrook's 2003 edited volume A History of Ancient Near Eastern Law here, none of which support the statements of yours I have critiqued. If there is something else to which you refer, kindly use the link feature and I'll review them. Thanks.

If you don't have time to erad it maybe you shouldn't make accusations you have not checked out.

Ben says:

Sorry, Meta, but the texts cited are clear that poor treatment of slaves, specifically foreign ones who may be enslaved perpetually, is an acceptable practise in ancient Israelite law. None of your interlocutors here, myself included, has argued or needs to argue that the texts prescribe the brutal treatment of slaves in order to draw the sound conclusion that the texts cited (Exod 21.20, 21; Lev 25.44-46) allow for such.
That's exactly what they said because that's the issue of chattel slavery in a nut shell. I said Israel didn't have it, the meaning of the term is no right at all the whole way (50 posts) they have been insisting that Israel didn't have it. In other words I was arguing my position they didn't have chattel slavery which is slaves have no rights at all of any kind. The atheists had been saying of cousre they had that for about 50 posts. He comes on and says "no one has argued that." that's what the whole thread was about at that point. He says: "I've nowhere asserted that foreign slaves had no rights at all.." Everyone else has.

The first has been your continued insistence that foreign slaves were not chattel. The comment you made here that I initially responded to was this: "even foreign ones had rights and could be freed. so that means they can't be chattel by definition." That is clearly not the case as foreign slaves were bought and sold, bequeathed to successive generations and are expressly referred to as possessions (Hebrew: אֲחֻזָּה) in Lev 25.45, 46. Your second problematic assertion was made here when you stated: "you have no passage that [sic] says 'the passage about rights going to foreigners does n' [sic] apply to foreign slaves.'" It is implied (feel free to correct if that is not the case) that you think the protections afforded free foreigners do apply to foreign slaves. Well, they don't... slaves, foreign or otherwise, are not afforded the same protections as free Israelites and non-Israelites, as I demonstrated by the failure of the law to apply the lex talionis on behalf of slaves who are seriously injured.

Notice the problem with that? He still has not produced a passage that says "foreign slaves will have no rights at all." That's the whole issue in a nut shell that we are arguing about. He asserts they don't and acts huffy like I'm obviously wrong, but where's the evidence? He still doesn't quote a passage. I contend that the general injunctions about treating foreign with the same rights would still apply even to slaves. Besides he just got through saying "I never said foreign slaves have no rights at all." That's the definition of chattle! That would mean he agrees with me that they didn't have Chattle, yet here he says they did. This guy is the best they have! The worst, silliest argument, I said chattle means they are just animals, total property you could kill one if you wanted to, and the atheist says "animals have protected rights now."
....One standard ploy they tried throughout the debate is to refuse to accept the fact that historians and anthropologists use the definitions such as bond slave or chattle. They claimed I made it up. That's their move to assert that they had chattle slavery, to deny that such a thing exists so a slave is a salve is a slave. That's the major context in which they tried to deny that I even quoted my main source Garnsey.
Gary Harris quoted a dictionary but didn't document which one saying that Chattle means property and all slaves are property, therefore, all slaves are chattel. Of cousre historians using that term are just speaking in a special sense. That's why the Clark article started out laying out the definition of the terms. That's why they asserted that I didn't quote Garnsey because he says they didn't have chattle, becuase the way he's using the term it means no rights at all. That's part of being property. There's really no conflict and Harris's dictionary is acutely backing up my view: chattel means property with no rights.

‘A [chattel] slave was property. The slaveowner’s rights over his slave-property were total, covering the person as well as the labor of the slave. The slave was kinless, stripped of his or her old social identity in the process of capture, sale and deracination, and denied to capacity to forge new bonds of kinship through marriage alliance. These are the three basic components of [chattel] slavery.’
Peter Garnsey, ‘Ideas of Slavery from Aristotle to Augustine’, 1996, page 1, as quoted by Glenn Miller, ‘Does God condone slavery in the Bible?’, 2005
They claim I didn't quote this guy. One of them,"nonprofit" says "Have you any sources with out a decided bias and interest in whitewashing biblical history?" I've already told them Gersney is a historian not a Bible scholar. That's a good example of atheist sloughing off evidence. anything that contradicts their BS is automatically "that's whitewashing."Nothing can ever count against their view, if it does that's sure proof of bias. There can be no such thing as a Bible scholar who doesn't hate Christianity. Of course when you quote a scholar who is not a Bible scholar they don't know you quoted it.
 They also tried confusing idealized history with historical fact.  They quoted from the conquest of canon where they are taking women and children captive after destroying their cities, yet we know form history that most of that never happened. Those are idealized accounts written by slaves in Babylon. The real irony of all of this is these passage about slaves are written by slaves. They are talking about how to treat foreign slaves, while they were owned themselves by foreigners in a foreign land. They could not distinguish between the conquest of canon and the latter period.
....None of them ever even acknowledged my arguments about progressive revelation or dialectics. My argument was that there is no wholesale denunciation of slavery in the OT because people weren't ready for it. There is in the new testament where the slave trade is classed with the worst of sinners:

1 Tim 1:

We know that the law is good when used correctly. For the law was not intended for people who do what is right. It is for people who are lawless and rebellious, who are ungodly and sinful, who consider nothing sacred and defile what is holy, who kill their father or mother or commit other murders. 10 The law is for people who are sexually immoral, or who practice homosexuality, or are slave traders[c] liars, promise breakers, or who do anything else that contradicts the wholesome teaching 11 that comes from the glorious Good News entrusted to me by our blessed God.

Of course that made no difference to the atheist. The demand a big denunciation when they get it they don't even acknowledge it. If trade in slavery is a sin then the slave trade itself is a sin, and if the slave trade is a sin then owning slaves is a sin since owning them is taking part in the trade, assuming they must be bought at some point.
....Here's the evidential block I laid down. the purpose of this block is to show that scholars see distinctions between kinds of slavery and that ancinet Hebrews didn't have the worst kind (chattel).

"Scholars do not agree on a definition of "slavery." The term has been used at various times for a wide range of institutions, including plantation slavery, forced labor, the drudgery of factories and sweatshops, child labor, semivoluntary prostitution, bride-price marriage, child adoption for payment, and paid-for surrogate motherhood. Somewhere within this range, the literal meaning of "slavery" shifts into metaphorical meaning, but it is not entirely clear at what point. A similar problem arises when we look at other cultures. The reason is that the term "Slavery" is evocative rather than analytical, calling to mind a loose bundle of diagnostic features. These features are mainly derived from the most recent direct Western experience with slavery, that of the southern United States, the Caribbean, and Latin America. The present Western image of slavery has been haphazardly constructed out of the representations of that experience in nineteenth-century abolitionist literature, and later novels, textbooks, and films...From a global cross-cultural and historical perspective, however, New World slavery was a unique conjunction of features...In brief, most varieties of slavery did not exhibit the three elements that were dominant in the New World: slaves as property and commodities; their use exclusively as labor; and their lack of freedom..." [Encyclopedia of Cultural Anthropology (4 vols), David Levinson and Melvin Ember (eds), HenryHolt:1996.:4:1190f]

"Freedom in the ancient Near East was a relative, not an absolute state, as the ambiguity of the term for "slave" in all the region's languages illustrates. "Slave" could be used to refer to a subordinate in the social ladder. Thus the subjects of a king were called his "slaves," even though they were free citizens. The king himself, if a vassal, was the "slave" of his emperor; kings, emperors, and commoners alike were "slaves" of the gods. Even a social inferior, when addressing a social superior, referred to himself out of politeness as "your slave." There were, moreover, a plethora of servile conditions that were not regarded as slavery, such as son, daughter, wife, serf, or human pledge." [A History of Ancient Near Eastern Law (2 vols). Raymond Westbrook (ed). Brill:2003.1.40]
The definitive work on ANE law today is the 2 volume work  (History of Ancient Near Eastern Law). This work (by 22 scholars) surveys every legal document from the ANE (by period) and includes sections on slavery. A smattering of quotes will indicate this for-the-poor instead of for-the-rich purpose for most of ANE slavery:

§         "Most slaves owned by Assyrians in Assur and in Anatolia seem to have been (originally) debt slaves--free persons sold into slavery by a parent, a husband, an elder sister, or by themselves." (1.449)

§         "Sales of wives, children, relatives, or oneself, due to financial duress, are a recurrent feature of the Nuzi socio-economic scene…A somewhat different case is that of male and female foreigners, called hapiru (immigrants) who gave themselves in slavery to private individuals or the palace administration. Poverty was the cause of these agreements…" (1.585)

§         "Most of the recorded cases of entry of free persons into slavery [in Emar] are by reason of debt or famine or both…A common practice was for a financier to pay off the various creditors in return for the debtor becoming his slave." (1.664f)

§         "On the other hand, mention is made of free people who are sold into slavery as a result of the famine conditions and the critical economic situation of the populations [Canaan]. Sons and daughters are sold for provisions…" (1.741)

§         "The most frequently mentioned method of enslavement [Neo-Sumerian, UR III] was sale of children by their parents. Most are women, evidently widows, selling a daughter; in one instance a mother and grandmother sell a boy…There are also examples of self sale. All these case clearly arose from poverty; it is not stated, however, whether debt was specifically at issue." (1.199)

So this work by 22 scholars is what the atheists call "you didn't have any sources."
skylurker says:
Yes he did. You just won't listen. He answered you using primary source material. It is bit difficult to wiggly from under language such as;

"they will become your property and you may bequeath them to your children after you as property possessed, you may enslave them perpetually, but over your brothers -- fellow Israelites -- a man may not rule over his brother with violence"

This is not a leap in assumption! The contrast between countryman and slave is there clear as can be.
In in other words they quoted old testament passages that aren't specific enough to apply. That quote doesn't say the rules for having them that were already spelled out are set aside. Of cousre they are property that doesn't' mean they had no rights. the basic rights I'd already documented are not very extensive. So they are using the same quotes I've already dealt with. This what Ben Hakkore says to the evidental block above:

...quote, properly, biblical scholars who directly counter the claims made by the two scholars I (properly) cited. I'll be waiting...
Who did he quote? I can't find them.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

My Answer To Jeff Lowder on Bayes, Part 2

His part 2 answer to mine is here

....Before getting into specifics I think it's important to understand the basic difference between the orientation of a believer and a skeptic. The kind of skeptics that tend to make up most of the atheist ranks on the net are scientifically inclined people who view the world through the lens of some kind of scientific orientation. Believers tend to be more "liberal arts"oriented in that their top concerns are not scientific proof. I have observed time after time the atheist constantly a mistake in thinking that the reason to believe in God is because one needs to explain that world. That is catered to by God argument, but God arguments are attempts to reach out to others so they embody the concerns of non believers. The reason for belief in God is not to explain the world. Atheist think this so they always oriented things in those terms. This is will be important in the discussion below becuase Mr. Lowder is constantly saying things about hypothesis. one of my major arguments is that belief is not an hypothesis. It' snot an attempt to explain the world, at least not in the same kind of scientific terms. Thus the arguments he makes taht embody the idea of competing explanatory power are non applicable.
 ....Lowder never comes to terms with my core reason for assuming that Bayes can't deal with God. He seems to understand the basic reason itself but rather than answering it he puts it into a frame work that tries to cast aspersions on it then uses red herrings and white rabbits to divert attention form the inadequacy of not answering the issue:

Again, Metacrock claims that we can’t use BT to measure the probability of God’s existence. Why? Because BT is not good
for determining the answer to questions about reality that are philosophical by nature and that would require an understanding of realms beyond, realms of which we know nothing.
In other words, Metacrock seems to embrace a kind of so-called “skeptical theism,” according to which we don’t have sufficient knowledge in order to measure the probability of certain items of evidence on theism (such as, but not limited to, evil). That position is a double-edged sword, however, for it implies that we also don’t have sufficient knowledge to conclude that certain items of evidence (such as, say, fine-tuning) are more probable on theism than on naturalism.

 I'll accept that assessment provisionally for now. In response to it Lowder argues that we can use Bayes to undrstand God's existence. In so saying he's already lost becuase he doesn't understand where I'm coming from, which Tillich, and that means we can't speak of God "existing." So it sounds like he's got hold of the actual argument but really he doesn't deal with it. He's right that I think Bayes can't used to access the reality of God becuase God is beyond our understanding and not subject empirical data. He says this is wrong but then instead of proving other wise he shifts to a bait and switch. He says:

As Doug Hubbard writes, “We use probabilistic methods because we lack perfect data, not in spite of lacking it. If we had perfect data, probabilities would not be required.”[1] Furthermore, “It is a fallacy that when a variable is highly uncertain, we need a lot of data to reduce the uncertainty. The fact is that when there is a lot of uncertainty, less data is needed to yield a large reduction in uncertainty.”
 But that's in a different sense really. It's true that probability is used becuase we don't have specifics and we trying to find a general range by extrapolating inductively. That is not a guarantee that we can find it. Probability can only pertain to that which is within our grasp empirically. If we do not have empirical data of something we can't make a probability for it. On the other hand, if we have other reasons to see it as a certainty then it has no probability. A certainty is not probable. These are two separate reasons why BT can't tell us about God's reality. Especially since the certainty can't be understood in the empirical way that scinece demands. Just becuase we say we are getting at something doesn't' mean we really are. How can we know if we are, if it's beyond our understanding?
....O yes and here Lowder tries to play off Bayes using apologists and philosophers of religion:

Again, Metacrock argues that we don’t have empirical evidence about God and, again, Bayesian philosophers of religion (including theists, agnostics, and atheists) must disagree with him. Metacrock needs to study Richard Swinburne’s classic, The Existence of God.[3] Although I disagree with his conclusions, I largely agree with his overall Bayesian approach.

 No doubt I should study Swinburne. I know I'm missing a lot by not knowing his works. That's a real failing on my part. That doesn't mean that he's right here. It also doesn't mean that Lowder isn't sort of pulling a fast one by assuming Swinburne really thinks he has a certain method of proving God's "existence." Not know more about how he does it he could just be setting up co-determinate as I spoke of in the part. I'm not opposed to that method at all. Find a reason to think some aspect is a trace of God, such as religious experience, then use that as the indicator that you are dealing with God. That's not "proof" but it's "warrant for belief." The problem is if these philosophers of religion really think Bayes is just a direct root to proving God exists then that actually proves we can't be certain though Bayes. Lowder disagrees. Two schools are squared off, they both use this amazing mathematical miracle that's suppose to guarantee scientific truth for us and yet the results are broken down long ideological lines. Doesn't that really kind of indicate that people just see what they want to see and there's scientific precision there?
....Then he quotes me about the prior:
Where we set the prior, which is crucial to the outcome of the whole thing, is always going to be a matter of ideological assumption.
then he says:

With all due respect to Metacrock, this statement reveals that he simply doesn’t know what he is talking about. He needs to study the philosophy of science and specifically confirmation theory. According to the epistemic interpretation of probability, the probability of a statement is a measure of the probability that a statement is true, given some stock of knowledge.
 I'm glad he has such respect for me.I'm not sure what it's based upon. what it should be based upon is this: I did 10 years of Ph.D. work and half of that was in history ideas studying the history of scinece. He doesn't understand he history of scinece. He doesn't know what he's talking about because he's playing bait and switch. Look what he's done. He assumes that because he has a phony "confirmation theory" it aims at doing something that's proof that it does. Are we still talking about getting new information God. I don't think so. He's assuming we don't need new information because there's no God there to get info on so we know all about God we need to know. So he's just substituted the way the prior works in Bayes actual thinknig for an quick ideolgoical fix. He totally abandons the new information issue and asserts that because he has theories they must be true. He goes on:

 In other words, epistemic probability measures a person’s degree of belief in a statement, given some body of evidence. The epistemic probability of a statement can vary from person to person and from time to time (based upon what knowledge a given person had at a given time).[4] For example, the epistemic personal probability that a factory worker Joe will get a pay raise might be different for Joe than it is for Joe’s supervisor, due to differences in their knowledge.

 That's pretty useless. Epistemic probability is a measure of the degree of belief. I believe my stuff so I guess it's real probable.  None of this is a guarantee that we are going to get new info about God.
....Here he pulls an even more deeply seated bait and switch. He substitutes the assertion of rival explainations, where as they are not rival explain at all. They do not seek to explain the same things. Religious belief doesn't' seek to explain Newtonian physics or the reason for expansion of the singularity. When was the last time you heard a scientist try to explain sanctifying grace, or supererogatory merit? The only reason he can try to make them seem like rivals is through the reductionism of atheist ideology where all knowledge is reduced to the level that the reductionist can control. There's only one form of knowledge in that view, not scientific but only the exact science that supports atheist assertions. Thus anything else we just lose the phenomena then it doesn't exist it need not be considered. This part of the same tendency that reduces God to just one more fact in the universe. He thinks if he disbelieves God his universe is just like mine except minus one thing, God. When God is being itself the very fabric of the universe is altered if God is taken out. God is not just another fact but the basis of the whole. Since that can't be accessed through empirical means but must be experienced we are talking apples and oranges in a huge way on a huge scale. To then assert that we can stretch out knowledge over into this realm that is beyond us merely because we wish to is ridiculous. it's obvious what's really being done is the reductions hatchet job. Whatever aspects of reliability we can't subject our methods of truth regime building we just hack off and pretend like it doesn't' exist.
....Inside the deeper level bait and switch (the switch is the reductionist move the bait is talk about rival hypthesies) the quotes Drapper again:

The degree of modesty of a hypothesis depends inversely on how much it asserts (that we do not know by rational intuition to be true). Other things being equal, hypotheses that are narrower in scope or less specific assert less and so are more modest than hypotheses that are broader in scope or more specific.
 See the problem?  "other things" are not equal. We are comparing empirical data to "the heart" we are comparing scientific domain to philosophical, religious, and mystical domains, we are comparing objective to subjective, physical to spatial. There is no equal footing not epistemological, not noetically, no ontologically, not in any way. Then further he's speaking as everything is a hypothesis. Every aspect of knowledge and experience has to spindled, folded and mutilated and made to fit into the realm of science as a "hypothesis." I don't remember Madame Guyon every referring to sense of God's presence as "an hypothesis." I don't recall Dōgen Zenji calling satori "hypothesis." By the time you make the step to reduce reality to competing hypotheses you've already lost the phenomena and reduced away the mystical. To even formulate the issue in those terms is to create a palimpsest on the topic that has ruled out the very methodology through which new information about God could come. The other quotations he makes form Draper suffer form the same limitations. To put them into the form of competing hypotheses means a prori one is writing off through which the new information of God would come. This goes back to my observation at the top, the reason to believe in God is not explain the universe.

 The next quote form Drapper brings this home:

The degree of coherence of a hypothesis depends on how well its parts (i.e. its logical implications) fit together. To the extent that the various claims entailed by a hypothesis support each other (relative only to what we know by rational intuition), the hypothesis is more coherent. To the extent that they count against each other, the hypothesis is less coherent. Hypotheses that postulate objective uniformity are, other things being equal, more coherent than hypotheses that postulate variety, either at a time or over time
 There's no way one can make a rational comparison of God experience to objective data in those terms. They are going to work together and since the requirement is for an alien state of affairs from the point of view of new God info, that's going to be ejected up front. So you have two clashing world views and one has to subdue the other. The one you favor is going to bias the whole outcome. The only logical answer is not to seek God in scientific terms. Seek God on the terms has given us to seek him; in the heart. Either you are in or you are out. If you are out just say "I am out." don't try to pretend like "I have triumphed beaten the other side."
....Yet human nature will persist in it's insatiable quest to triumph and vanquish the foe. Lowser says:

The upshot is that the intrinsic epistemic probability of a hypothesis is entirely objective, not “a matter of ideological assumption” as Metacrock claims.
Holy proclamation Batman! What he really means is "we don't want it to be that way!" Maybe it will be?  Look at what assumptions have to be made to read the point of that statement: He thinks he can just declare that it's not ideology and it wont be because he says its not. If it is of course that statement is pure propaganda. Epistemic probability is entirely objective. That may be but objectivity itself is a pretense. There is no objectivity form a human standpoint. Obviously this bares the marks of a truth regime to just declare that it's objective. That is not grantee that it is. Moreover, just becuase the philosophical move he terms "epistemic probability" is objective doesn't rule out the bait and switch that got us to this point in the first place. It's based upon comparing world views as though they compete to explain the same things when they don't. That means the one he values is lauded as the better explanation becuase it's per selected to explain that which he deems should be explained. The reality the "competing" explanation explains are not not what he wants explained so he deems those "unimportant. non existence. imaginary, wrong," assumed this is their disproof.
....In effect here's what he's doing, it's really circular. He asserts that the only valid explanation is his becuase only his explains what he wants explained. That gives them the false ground to assume it's better when in reality it's not competing. Now the bits of his world view that actually conflict with God belief are not science, they are either philosophy or ideology. Those are not the same things but I'm sure his view, like mine, contains both. So he sets up this truth regime that assumes there's only one form of knowledge and of cousre that's the one he feels he has going for his view because it explains what he wants to explain, the other stuff is not there.
....He pulls the Drapper hypothesis idea in arguing against my statement hat a prior at 50-50 would yield a high probability of God. I documented those how have done the work to show it's possible. He's already undermined his own argument. He has this whole group of philosophers who argue for God with the BT. Of cousre he would argue he can beat them but all that proves is that it's not as cut and dried as scinece, it's not precise it's not a done deal, it depends upon your assumptions. Notice he sort of guides us away from the admission that where you set the prior is going to deterine things and that setting the prior is going to involve ideology and opinion and bias. To avoid that admission he sticks ins this propagana about Draper and how great certain kinds of hypothesis are. Yet he has to make the kinds of assumption I'm indicting to get tot tha point where he can assert the objectivity.
....Here's another form of the switch, what's being swtiched is differing domains and differing aims of the explainations:

This is refuted by Draper’s objective criteria explained above. Since metaphysical naturalism and (metaphysical) supernaturalism are equally modest and equally coherent, it follows that they have equal intrinsic epistemic probabilities. Since there are other options besides naturalism and supernaturalism, however, it follows that the intrinsic probabilities of both naturalism and supernaturalism are less than 1/2.

 The fact that they they are both modest and coherent so they must be the same, the fact that explain different aspects of reality is totally left out. They don't compete. Of if they do compete it's in areas more directly empirical than belief in God. The insertion of "other options" is also bogus because at this point we have been doing this switch to comparison of apples and oranges. now there's a possibly that other fruit is involved. This really can't be the way to go about it.  He pulls the rug out from underhimself:

Unlike naturalism and supernaturalism, however, naturalism and theism are not symmetrical claims. Theism entails supernaturalism but is not entailed by it; theism is one of many variants or more specific versions of supernaturalism. Thus, theism is less modest than supernaturalism. Furthermore, theism is not epistemically certain given supernaturalism. So metaphysical naturalism has a higher intrinsic epistemic probability than theism
 This is really problematic he's just juggling labels. first of all I'm not a theist. I'm a panenthiest. Secondly, in making his admission he sort of undoes what he did above. He has supposedly equal hypothesis even though explain different aspects of reality, now he brings the comparison into the range of unequal hypothesis. All red herring becuase none of it get's around the fact that they explain different things, they use different methods, they do do not share the same domains of magisteria, there's no reason to compare them to each other. One can be scientific and use materialist analysis of economic and society and biology and phsyics without being an atheist or refusing belief in God.
....Not to even mention the issue about the meaning of the term "supernatural." In the enlightenment "supernatural" because a pejorative to be little chruch dogma. That's even more the case today. It's a way for atheists to make a king's x on their views because they are sanctioned by science, naturalism, hard concrete the fortress of facts, and to cast aspersions on Christian beliefs as 'magic.' Chrsitains can be labeled as silly and unreal because they are "supernatural" which is like wave a red flag to a bull; read "stupid, pretend, made up, unprovable." The term was employed by  Pseudo-Dionysus in around 500AD it refereed to the power of God to raise human nature to the higher level of spiritual wisdom and moral perfection. It did not mean magic, it did not mean psychic powers or unseen realms. The upshot of this is that the materialist bifurcates reality so God can't work in the natural. Anything of God is automatically supernatural becuase for the atheist it is "imaginary." The believer understands that God is working in the ordinary world all the time. The prevalence of "naturalistic" evidence in connection with God sign (such as brain chemistry with religious experience) is not proof of a purely naturalistic origin becuase God works in the natural and through the natural. Yet that labeling of natural/supernatual is the atheist way of dismissing evidence that's not convenient and cant be denied. That means when it comes to setting the prior the atheist never has to accept any prior set by a believer because it's automatically tainted just being about God. Being about God makes it "supernatural" that translates to "pretend, unreal. stupid."
....Never does he disprove he notion that where you set the prior is crucial to the outcome. Moreover, there  is no fair UN-baised way to set it. He does the bait and switch with reductionism to get around that by trying make them be about the same thing then ruling that which doesn't' explain what he wants explained. That's not actually a disproof of my original argument. Philosopher Victor Reppert says:

How in blazes do you calculate probabilities? Probability theory tells you how you get from a prior probability to a posterior probability. What it does not tell you is what prior probabilities are correct. Hence I can begin with a probability of 1 for the Resurrection and end up with a probability of 1 for the resurrection. Ditto for a probability of zero. So telling me to think exclusively in terms of probabilities tells me squat. Probability theory does tell you how, given enough evidence and a small enough split between probabilities, we can come to an agreement about whether something is true or not. But if there is a large split between antecedent probabilities, we can easily have rational people taking opposite beliefs to their graves.

I happen to think that there are no right or wrong antecedent probabilities. We start with the probabilities we have and go from there. My view is that a Bayesian-rational person can conclude that Jesus rose from the dead.[1]

 That essentially backs what I've said. If you don't have new information (the kind of new info one has available on God is not the kind that Lowder will accept as information) the end result is going to be biased. What does he say that actually disproves this? He says a bunch of theoretical stuff about making hypothesis that assume that you can treat religious belief and mystical experience the same way you would an hypothesis about mockingbird feeding habits in the south. Obviously that's not the case. Bringing different kinds of fruit into it (other ideas that are neither Christian or atheist) doesn't help any because they are going to have the same split. Bodi Darma never refereed to enlightenment as "hypothesis." Spiritual reality is experienced but it is not empirical in the scientific sense.
....At this point he deals why my statements about Unwin's book. I present several "topics" that he uses to illustrate the kinds of thing one would use to set the prior. Here we have an example of how Athiests slay me. Here's a guy who not read the book, admits he has not, he's trying to lecture guy who has read the book how he's wrong about what he read.

I say:
Stephen Unwin tries to produce a simple analysis that would prove the ultimate truth of God using Bayes. The calculations he gives for the priors are as such:

Uwin says:
Recognition of goodness (D = 10)
Existence of moral evil (D = 0.5)
Existence of natural evil (D = 0.1)
Intra-natural miracles (e.g., a friend recovers from an illness after you have prayed for him) (D = 2)
Extra-natural miracles (e.g., someone who is dead is brought back to life) (D = 1)
Religious experiences (D = 2)[10]

Lowder says:

Metacrock’s article reminds me that I need to add Unwin’s book to my list of books to read. Since I haven’t read it, I cannot yet comment on how he justifies these values. I do, however, have one nitpick. Metacrock refers to these values as “priors,” but that is obviously wrong for the simple reason that probability values, regardless of one’s philosophical interpretation of probability, are by definition always real numbers between 0 and 1 inclusive. It would appear that the D values quoted by Metacrock are what is known as “Bayes’ factors.”
I read the book and Lowder didn't. Unwin says, I quote from the book:

The inconvenience of employing any kind of systematic approach to analysis is that it demands the establishment of a system. Let's begin by establishing our system. We have Six evidentairy areas to consider:

(1) the recognition of Goodness
(2) The existence of moral evil
(3) the existence of natural evil
(4) intro-natrual miracles[2]

These are the issues Unwin uses to do the calculation to set the prior. These are the issues he uses for the whole busienss of the BT in relation to probability of God. Who is to say this is the exhaustive take on issues? The formulation I quoted with the numbers is the result of the palimpsest. It's the understanding of goes into that that is at issue. The assertion that final result is valid and it proves soemthing is not a done deal merely becuase it's blessed by mathematics. Unwin himself says his numbers are subjective.
 ....My argument, which Lowder does not deal with, is simply that these are not done deals. Many skeptics want to see these issues as done deals, there's evil in the world, therefore there can't be a God." if that's true than the whole busienss of making a probabilistic calculation is a farce. If it is true that if evil is in the world there can't be a God we don't need to quantify how much of life invovles evil to disbelieve God. If that's all there is to it why even bother with the math. evil exits, therefore, there is no God. These are not done deals they are issues for theologians. Is it true that "if Evil, then no God?" I think few theologians would have some things to say about that. The standard atheist dismissal would the Dawkinsian refusal to accept theological answers on the grounds that "since they are stupid I don't have to know what they are." Of cousre the miracles, trying to put a number on that would be sheer stupidity. That's going to be the most contentious arguemnt of all. In part one I talk about he circular reasoning of atheits in dealing with miracles. Lowders wants to believe they don't think that way but I've been doing this internet atheist war stuff for 15 years I've dealt with thousands of argumetns with atheists about miracle I know do think that way. "We have never accepted it before so we can't accept it know" rather, "we don't have to." They create a false history of no miracles by pretending all the claims of the past have been over turned, when in reality many of them were merely assumed to be untrue based upon dismissal of the past. One can probably trace that back and back an back to the first miracle claim.[3]
....They can't accept that there could be miracles if they did they wouldn't be atheist any more. To have miracles in the first place there must be some form of the divine. So that's like asking a creationist to make open ended findings that might prove evolution is real. It's like saying "would you please be willing to be booted out of your club to day and to admit that your world view is wrong?" A lot of people find that a tough one. Looking back over the issues he has never answered or even come to terms with my most basic argument: belief in God is about obtaining scientific proof of a new fact in the universe, the addition of God to that universe. It's a phenomenological of reality as a whole such one comes to understand noetically one's place in being. That is a journey one takes inside one's self, it is not lined with road markers from the world of scientifically empirical data but with road markers not accessible to those outside one's head. Naturally there touchstones in reality in the form of inter-subjectivity that make it possible for us to share aspects of the journey with the link minded. There's no way to share it with those who will not accept even it's existence. My argument has been that you can't base a mathematical probability for a reality of something that is only apparent though phenomenal apprehensions and world views that are only shared inter-subjectively. The atheist's game is one of reductionism. They want to reduce all knowledge to one thing, that which they control. They can never control the world of the phenomenological.
....If we had the empirical evidence of God we need to make calculations of probability we would not need calculations of probably. The fact that we don't have it cannot be construed as a low probability for God  any meaningful way because it's not meaningful that there is a low probability in those terms. For those who have experienced the reality of God it's a certainty need to probablizing. For those who refuse to find God God's way and who demand that methods under control are the only form of knowledge and the way to know the certainty of God's reality si a close book. It was at one time a closed to me as well, I was an atheist. It doesn't have to remain one but it' snot a book that will be opened by mathematics. One one guy who opens cosmically sealed books.

[1] Victor Reppert, "how shall we follow probabilities" Dangerous Idea Blog. oct 28, 2012
[2] Stephen D. Unwin, The Probability of God a Simple Calculation That Proves the Ultimate Truth.New York, New York: Three Rivers Press,2003, 93.
[3] Unwin doesn't argue about miracles he merely assumes them as a matter of course for the sake of the calculation: "I will decline to speculate as to weather not authentic extra-natural miracles have occurred I have no way of knowing the answer..." (122) he then assumes based upon the reports for the sake of the calculus. I think that's fair but that much signifies the subjective nature of the issues, as one might also argue the evidence is better than skeptics are willing to admit. There are skeptics who might not accept this appraoch at all.