Sunday, February 28, 2016

Is Belief in God Magical Thinking?


 photo Relativity_zps62e63e9b.jpg



On Huff post there is an article by Matthew Hutson, author of The Seven Laws of Magical Thinking. The article is called "All Paths Lead to Magical Thinking." (Posted: 09/19/2013 8:32 pm).

In recent years, psychologists have come to understand religion and paranormal belief as resulting, in most people, from simple errors in reasoning. You believe in God or astrology or a purpose in life because you apply ideas about people -- that they have thoughts and intentions -- to the natural world. Some display this tendency more than others, but it's there in everyone, even atheistic heathens like me. What has not been clarified is exactly how the various cognitive biases interact to produce specific ideas about the supernatural -- until now.

He presents a tour de force in the form of a bunch of studies that supposedly prove that religious belief is magical thinking. "In the November 2013 issue of Cognition, Aiyana Willard and Ara Norenzayan of the University of British Columbia report on the relative influence of three cognitive tendencies on three types of supernatural belief, as well as the role of cultural influence." This study supposedly shows that "cognitive biases explain religious belief."
 several studies show that people who think more intuitively are also more susceptible to magical thinking. One intuition that's been proposed as a foundation for religious thought is Cartesian mind-body dualism, the idea that a mind can exist independently of a body. (See chapter 5 of my book The 7 Laws of Magical Thinking, "The Soul Lives On.") This proposition allows for souls, ghosts, spirits, and gods, all made of disembodied mind-stuff. Explanations for dualism include belief in free will and the mutual inhibition of brain areas responsible for pondering feelings and physics.
Of cousre that doesn't say that any of these studies show that religious belief is magical thinking. Instead they present a possibility based upon the notion that more intuitive people are susceptible   to magical thinking. So that says "if you are not careful you  might do some magical thinking." Nor is a link provided between being more intuitive and religious belief. Although I would not doubt that believers are more intuitive, but the lack of prevision of that link is telling.

There just brings up a bait and switch that the Aiyana and Norenzayan study is pulling off. They discuss their methodology:

We used a path model to assess the extent to which several interacting cognitive tendencies, namely mentalizing, mind body dualism, teleological thinking, and anthropomorphism, as well as cultural exposure to religion, predict belief in God, paranormal beliefs and belief in life’s purpose. Our model, based on two independent samples (N = 492 and N = 920) found that the previously known relationship between mentalizing and belief is mediated by individual differences in dualism, and to a lesser extent by teleological thinking. Anthropomorphism was unrelated to religious belief, but was related to paranormal belief. Cultural exposure to religion (mostly Christianity) was negatively related to anthropomorphism, and was unrelated to any of the other cognitive tendencies. These patterns were robust for both men and women, and across at least two ethnic identifications. The data were most consistent with a path model suggesting that mentalizing comes first, which leads to dualism and teleology, which in turn lead to religious, paranormal, and life’s-purpose beliefs. Alternative theoretical models were tested but did not find empirical support.
Notice that anthropomorphism is not linked to religoius beilef but they are going to use it anyway because it's involved in belief. In fact all of these things are descriptions of various overlapping historical artifacts form religious thought because it goes back so far in human history. Most of them have not been disproved, none of them are magical thinking. What's the link bewteen teleology and magical thinking? Teleology means an end goal,  so religious thinking is teleological if and only if it assumes there's a creator who has a plan that's being fulfilled. Why is that in itself magical thinking? It's just logical if there is a creator. Has teleological thinking been proved to always be wrong? No, of course not and it's logical if there is a creator. So actually they are just begging the question. They are assuming there can't be a creator so therefore anything connected with belief must also be connected with magical thinking. This probably goes back to the biases of anti-clerical prejudice, that religion is superstition. So they start with the assumption religious beilef must be magical thinking because it's superstition, thus they just look for typical aspects of religious thought (many of which are connected to ancinet religious texts) and assume it's all magical thinking. No psychological link is provided that proves that teleological thinking is magical thinking.

When he says "several studies" he links back to his own website for the book 7 Laws of Magical Thinking (he uses the number 7 rather than writing "seven" seems infantile). So his article is just a rehash of his website. What are these studies what do they really show? Those are the ones that supposedly show that intuitive thinkers are apt to be suckers for magical thinking if they are not careful, but does it access the percentage of the time that they are not careful? Can't we still check the results by our own logic and empirical data?

One such satment in disclosing these "several studies:"

Psychologists who study the origins of religion say belief in God relies on several intuitions, including a teleological bias (the assumption that certain objects or event were designed intentionally) and Cartesian dualism (the belief that mind can exist independently of the body). So to become an atheist one must second-guess these automatic ways of thinking. And recently a number of studies have supported the idea that belief in God is influenced by cognitive style–how much of a second-guesser you are.
Why is teleology "intuitive" any more than it is logical? If God is what you believe in then is it not logical to assume God has a purpose in crating? it's not prove that necessarily intuitive. Not that they link intuitive thinking with magical thinking. His comment about Cartsteian thinking is ironic since major aspects of atheist thinking is also based upon Cartesian thinking. E.O. Wilson's world view is largley Cartesian and he produced evolutionary psychology which is important to atheist thinking.

One such  study: paper published last year in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General by Amitai Shenhav studuents took cognitive reflection test and answered questions. This is so telling he says "The number of intuitive (incorrect) responses they gave on the CRT was correlated with their belief in God and immortal souls," so in other words intuitive means "wrong." How could one possibly study the validity of intuitive thinking when one defines it as "wrong form the outset? Moreover, they are judging it wrong because it's connected to God, is that not also what makes it "intuitive?" They are just running around in circles demanding that what they believe has to be true and using their baises as the basis for proof. When we look at the actual tests on the study (see link above) we find that the real way they administer it (reported badly by Hustson) was to compare math answers arrived at intuitively with the persons individual belief in God. They compared believers answers to non believers answers. We are infer that the believers missed more. Actually that would mean that intuitive thinking does not correlate to belief in God and that the better intuitive thinking is done by non believers. Why? Because they got more math problems right by intuitive means. That would destroy their link from intuitive thinking to magical thinking. Wouldn't it also matter what one used intuitive sense for? Perhaps intuitive sense is better at God finding than at mathematics. What if that's what it was made for? Massimp Pigliucci sights research and argues that intuition is domaion specific. Some things lend themselves to it and some don't.[1]  
Moreover, both studies demonstrated that intuitive CRT responses predicted the degree to which individuals reported having strengthened their belief in God since childhood, but not their familial religiosity during childhood, suggesting a causal relationship between cognitive style and change in belief over time. Study 3 revealed such a causal relationship over the short term: Experimentally inducing a mindset that favors intuition over reflection increases self-reported belief in God. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)[2]
So in other words because they have some evidence that initiative thinking is part of the stronger religious belief that means that religious belief is produced by intuitive thinking which is mostly wrong and is magical thinking. There are a number of things wrong with that methodology. That's not the same as proving that religion itself is derived from intuitive thinking. That is not even investigating the logic that goes into it. Nor does it investigate the right answers in one's personal life that lead to believe, they don't even offer a theological measuring devices for such answers. Putting up a bunch of math problems is not valid. People don't arrive at belief by just saying "I sense that God is really there." There is a sense of God's presence that people  have and they are totally confusing that sense with 'intuitive' thinking,' they don't have it they don't know how it feels or works so they assume it's "intuitive." Moreover, the term "intuitive" can refer to different things. There's no link that the kind of intuitive thinking (guessing) about the math is the same kind done by religious thinkers.


 There's an article in N.Y. Times that illustrates scientific work depending upon and being  conformed by intuitive thinking. The article is a chapter form a book by Philip Lieberman, Eve Spoke,Human Language and Human Evolution.[3]  The book is based upon scholarly work.

Over the past thirty years my colleagues and I have studied monkeys, chimpanzees, infants, children, normal adults, dyslexic adults, elderly people, and patients suffering from Parkinson's disease and other types of brain damage. We have also examined the skulls of our fossil ancestors, comparing them with those of newborn infants and apes. The focus of these studies has been the puzzle surrounding human evolution. Why are we so different from other animals, although we are at the same time so similar?...In some deep, unconscious way we "know" that dogs, cats, chimpanzees, and other intelligent animals would be human if they could only talk. Intuitively we know that talking = thinking = being human. The studies discussed below show that this intuition is correct.
 This may upset young earth creationists, which I don't  mind doing, but it doesn't disrupt my Christian faith because I don't see evolution as a disruption. Nor does it disprove the existence of the soul because that depends upon answering the question "why is it we did evolve to talk and other animals did not? There are two points that refute Hutson's ideas: (1) not only does religious belief depend upon intuitive thinking of a kind (at certain points) but so does scinece as well. (2) this scientist thinks that the intuitive thinking is proved correct by the scinece. So intuitive thinking is not always wrong. Some studies backing this up have shown that the correct results of intuitive thinking, while not better than other forms of knowing, are not worse.[4]

 U.S. Navy reserach has yielded so much scientific data backing the notion that there is an intuitive sense that aids troops in battle that they started a program to teach troops how to be more intuitive.

 Research in human pattern recognition and decision-making suggest that there is a "sixth sense" through which humans can detect and act on unique patterns without consciously and intentionally analyzing them. Evidence is accumulating that this capability, known as intuition or intuitive decision making, enables the rapid detection of patterns in ambiguous, uncertain and time restricted information contexts, that it informs the decision making process and, most importantly, that it may not require domain expertise to be effective. These properties make intuition a strong candidate for further exploration as the basis for developing a new set of decision support training technologies.[5]
 Ivy Estabrook, program manager at the office of Naval Resarch, says, "There is a growing body of anecdotal evidence, combined with solid research efforts, that suggests intuition is a critical aspect of how we humans interact with our environment and how, ultimately, we make many of our decisions."[6]

 Published in Popular source Sarah Moore form Alberta School of Business and colleagues from Duke and Cornell have produced research that proves that the first choice one makes is often the right choice. [7] That certainly implies an intuitive choice. While Trisha Greenhalgh discusses research that shows that intution is a valuable aid in medical diagnosis and that it improves with critical thinking about the process.

Intuition is not unscientific. It is a highly creative process, fundamental to hypothesis generation in science. The experienced practitioner should generate and follow clinical hunches as well as (not instead of applying the deductive principles of evidence-based medicine. The educational research literature suggests that we can improve our intuitive powers through systematic critical reflection about intuitive judgements--for example, through creative writing and dialogue with professional colleagues. It is time to revive and celebrate clinical storytelling as a method for professional education and development.[8]
 Not only is it not unscientific, not only can it assist in medical care, but it there's a large body of literature that shows it can be improved. How can it be improved (meaning the answers are right) if it's no good and it never works and it's just magical thinking?


Summary 

(1) None of the studies demonstrate a real link between intuitive thinking and religious belief. They make an unsupported assertion that teleology and other quasi religious ideas are intuitive thinking. The closest thing to a link is one study that shows that believe was strengthened apart form family tie, but that does rule out logic, empirical data, discussions with friends and individual thought.

(2) The studies that claim to link religious belief with magical thinking are doing a bait and switch whereby the substitute intuitive thinking. They don't bother to consider the venue or the domain but merely assume that if intuitive thinking is wrong for math then it must be wrong for all things. They assume intuitive = magical, probably because they think belief in God is magic or supernatural is magic. Then they assert that since intuitive thinking doesn't work in one domain it work in any domain. Since that tag that as religious thinking then religious thinking is wrong. They actually prove nothing at accept that they are biased against religion.

(3) A vast body of scientific research disproves the idea that intuition is always wrong and doesn't work. It's not only backed by science it's part of science. I give examples of scientific work that is based upon intuitive thinking. It's not more special and unique to religious thought than is logic. Nor is it always wrong. The scientific reserach shows it has it's place where it's right, that including not only some scientific work but also medicine.


sources


[1]Massimo Pigliucci, Answers for Aristotle: How Science and Philosophy Can Lead Us to A More Meaningful Life , New York: Basic books, 2012.

Massimo Pigliucci (Italian pronunciation: [ˈmassimo piʎˈʎuttʃi]; born January 16, 1964) is the chair of the Department of Philosophy atCUNY-Lehman College.[1] He is also the editor in chief for the journalPhilosophy & Theory in Biology.[2] He is an outspoken critic ofcreationism and advocate of science education.

[2] Shenhav, Amitai; Rand, David G.; Greene, Joshua D. "Divine intuition: Cognitive style influences belief in God." abstract on line:Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Vol 141(3), (Aug 2012), 423-428 abstract on Apa Psychnethttp://psycnet.apa.org/journals/xge/141/3/423/  accessed 10/2/13.
[3] Philip Lieberman, "The Mice Talked at Midnight," except from Eve Spoke: Human Language and Human Evolution, New York: W.W. Norton, published in New York Times, on linehttp://www.nytimes.com/books/first/l/lieberman-eve.html  accessed 10/2/13
[4]AJ Giannini, ME Barringer, MC Giannini, RH Loiselle. Lack of relationship between handedness and intuitive and intellectual (rationalistic) modes of information processing. Journal of General Psychology. 111:31-37 1984.
[5] Office of naval research Basic Research Challenge: Enhancing intuitive deicsion making.
Solicitation Number: 12-SN-0007
Agency: Department of the Navy
Office: Office of Naval Research
Location: ONR
  https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&tab=core&id=be0a1ab47e05fe0f9c2bd0ffd5e40b1a&_cview=1 
 accessed 10/2/13.
[6] Ivy Estabrook, uoted in Channing Joseph, "U.S. Program to Study How Troops Use Intuition," New York Times, Wednesday (Oct 2, 2013) story filed March 27, 2012, 5:09 pm on line
 http://atwar.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/27/navy-program-to-study-how-troops-use-intuition/?_r=0
 accessed 10/2/13.
[7]Leon Watson ."why we are right to trust out gut intincts:Scientists discover First Decision is the Right One." Mail online updated 30 (August 2011)
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2031848/Why-right-trust-gut-instincts-Scientists-discover-decision-IS-right-one.html accessed 10/2/13
[8]Trisha Greenhalgh, "Intution and Evidence--Uneasy Bedfellows?"BJGP:British Journal of General Practice. 52, (478) May (2002) 395-400. On line articlehttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1314297/  accessed 10/2/13

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Christian apologist sued by atheist, needs our help

This is from JP Holding Tekton Apologetics
  I now have a page set up with a Christian version of GoFundMe, at


https://www.fundedjustice.com/en/projects/28507-Tekton-TheologyWeb-Legal-Defense-Fund

 [note I have changed this URL since it's original posting]



Please post where you can and ask others to do the same. I have a brief explanation below you can use as you please.

***
This special edition of the Tekton Newsletter will come out of left field, though the reasons for any delay in reporting the matter will become clear.


     
In July 2015, 20 members of the TheologyWeb forum were named as targets of a “libel” lawsuit by a former atheist member.\

 So far only one (me, James Patrick Holding) has been served with complaint and summons, and litigation is in process. Of the remaining 19 people, many are vulnerable because of their limited incomes, or because of serious health issues for themselves or their family. The parties include my ministry partner, Nick Peters, as well as several owners and moderators at TheologyWeb. I was targeted first as the most prominent of the group.
An attorney has been hired, and for the past several months has been working on the case. A win for me in court will help shield the other 19 targeted defendants.
 Needless to say, I am not free to share many more details on the matter, other than the obvious point that by fighting the suit, we indicate that we do not believe it to have any merit.

The purpose of this special newsletter is to humbly ask for the assistance of others in defending ourselves from this lawsuit.

Any funds gathered will be used as follows:

1)      To defray my attorney expenses.  Currently we are working on a motion to dismiss the case based on lack of personal jurisdiction (I do not live in the same state as the Plaintiff). My expenses so far have been $7700, of which $600 was covered by TheologyWeb. The uses for the funding are:


To To fund the jurisdiction defense;
To prepare a similar defense for any of the others in the group, should they be served with a suit.

3)      To prepare an alternate defense, should either the jurisdiction motion fail, or should one of us be sued in our own home state.

I have started a page with GiveForward (a sort of Christian variation on GoFundMe) at:


Thank you so much, and I am able to answer some questions about this issue by email if requested.

God bless,

JP

I don't really know the details but thinking back over the years at things atheists have said to me that I might try to sue for:

*my mother was a heroin addict

*I never went to graduate school]

* I paid someone or plagiarized my Schweitzer article

*called a liar numerous times

*libeled and  tried to destroys my reputation in a hundred different says

* said my penis is too little (she didn't know)

*claimed this site is a hate site (because it's exposing the hate of others)

*had the site black listed by some blackmailing premeasure group (their stamp of disapproval as untrustworthy  site is just black mail and extortion)

I have never seen JP say anything like this I'm whatever it is, is BS/




 

Answer to Atheists's Rejoinder: Another Version of Argument from Indcredulity


Photobucket
from Adherence.com
This is from Metacrock's blog. 2011, don't know how I missed bringing it over. The great thing is my friend Mike, himself am atheist, supports me in the comment section against his fellow atheist. His comments are funny and we had a great dialogue; thus he gives an example of the great friendship atheists and Christians can have and the good exchanges we could be having. I preserve the comments here.
 
 
The poster known as "atheist" made a longer and more involved rejoinder. I don't intend to make answering this person my life's work but it does afford an opportunity to clear up some long held atheist ignorance.

You are a typical theist who uses a lot of words to dance around the simple and undeniable facts. Using a lot of words as a smoke screen is really all the theist has to work with in his little arsenal of deceptions.
Translation: I have the educational background to really understand Metacrock's arguments but the brain washing tells me I must be right so I"m just going to assert it.



Of course I simply ignore the atheist bashing that is so typical of militant theists. The ad homs just make you look angry. I might be a bit angry too if I didn’t have anything to support my beliefs.

What has she really said so far? The opening gambit about "big words" is a frank admission that she doesn't have my education level and doesn't really understand my arguments. She's trying to use anti-intellectual feelings to cast suspicion upon a fine education and sophisticated thinking. In this comment she's trying to establish atheism (3% of U.S. Pop--and 3% world) as the status quote and portray Christians as some fringe hate group that are always rude. The opposite is the case.
Atheists are the fringe hate group, the overwhelming majority of people around the world the world believe in some notion of God, belief counts in favor of belief. The fact that religious traditions have different concept doesn't not count against Christianity it counts against having no concept.

She quotes me:
metacrock: “Of cousre this is not a guarantee that the particulars of one's beliefs are true, yet no one sets out to believe falsehood.”
Then responds:

But it does, in fact, show that they do not know the truth. If you knew the truth you would have no need for the belief/faith.

This is obviously a fallacious line of reasonnig that plays off of literalism. She wants, or the brain washing of the atheist ideology leads her to believe that a strident, arrogant line is a mark of having truth. She wants the brash bully approach "I am right, I hae the truth! my ideas are not mere beliefs they are facts." This is what I call the great atheist fortress of facts. We see it on carm all the time. Our world view is a big pile of facts guaranteed by scinece so therefore everything we say is true and right. Of this is just a ruse, a facade, it's a rhetorical appeal not a fact in itself. The so called "facts" of the fortress is all selective, it excludes tons of facts that disagree with their view. For example it is a fact that 200 empirical studies done by psychologists and published in peer reviewed academic journals say that religion is physiologically very good for you. Of the atheists on carm have creaetd a mythology of lies claiming "they've all been disproved" when in fact ehy have not read a single study. That's the natre of the entire lie about the fortress of facts. there is no fortress of facts, in fact, point of fact, it is not scientific. The concept of the fortress of facts, everything we say is a fact, is not a scientific concept. Science does not believe only things that are proved, if it id it couldn't hypothesize.

Moreover, the pathetic rhetorical appeal she is using (that's just what it is, not logic, not facts, rhetoric) turns on a misuse of the concept of belief.She totally misses the meaning of my argument. I said belief is not used as a euphamism for "made up" it's used as a humble substitute for narrow mindedness. In other words, rather than say "we have the all the truth" (as some theists have been know to say) to say "it is our belief that" is a means of beng humble and giving respect to other ideas. We don't claim to have all the truth,we don't claim we are always right, we don't say we can't learn form other people. She is saying those things of her own group by inditing that 'If you have the truth you would be arrogant in your appeal.'

Atheists complete misconstrue the nature of faith. Faith is placing confidence in a hypothesis. It doesn't mean making stuff up, it doesn't mean believing without evidence or without reasons. No believes anything without a reason. Something leads people to conclusions about religious belief that "something' is a reason. Atheists denude faith and belief of their rational and humble dignity and turn them into dirty words. That's the only way the fortress of facts lie can work is by asserting that he who is not being a bully must be a weakling. This is the philosophy of the fascist. It's part of the Orwellian nature of atheism. Of course there are atheists who don't think this way just as there are Christians who are not followers of Pat Robertson. We need to work with fellow liberal counter parts in atheism to skew extremism rather than joining the extremists in name calling. There are certainly Christians that lean toward the fascistic side of things, but there are such atheists too.

Now she tries to get tricky:

Since you went through all the trouble, I will use some of your post to clarify my position. I will use the three example of belief from Webster Dictionary.
these are examples from the Webster definition I used for belief.

1: There is growing belief that these policies will not succeed.
she says:


(There would be evidence that the policies will not succeed, perhaps they have failed in the past)
no there doesn't need to be evidence, but the statement quoted as an example by dictionary is not excluding the possibility of evidence. The person writing the dictionary article is not aware that this is going to be used by a narrow minded dawkie so the author desn't spell out the possibility of evidence. The point of quoting the definition was that it shows us that anything you think is true is a belief. The idea that you don't believe in god because you see no evidence is a belief. The idea that the Bible is contradictory of itself is a belief, even if you have example, even if you can prove it. Anything you think is the case is a belief. Because doesn't belief does not mean "false." Nor does it mean "to accept something without evidence." notice those two were not in the definition.


2: He gets angry if anyone challenges his religious beliefs.
(He likely displayed previous anger when someone challenged his beliefs)

That's a hate group assumption based upon disparaging concepts about religious people and the atheist brain washing that caters to the need to feel superior. Remember the studies I showed that demonstrate the major reason for being an atheist is poor self esteem. Dawkametnalists need to tell themselves constantly that they are superior as a means of feeling better about themselves. Let's remember Atheist opinions are beliefs.


3: We challenged his beliefs about religion.
(His beliefs were of an unbelievable nature so we challenged them)

See that is how belief works. There has to be some evidence to support it.

Of cousre this is ingeniousness because when support is given the atheist throws a tantrum and says "this doesn't fit the atheist template so it can't be a true proof." Then they impose the argument incredulity "I refuse to believe it no matter what."

I went out and got 200 empirical studies from academic journals that say religion is good for you and the atheists refuse to read even one article because they can't understand them and they are afraid to be disproved. That is a fortress of facts. 200 studies is a fortress. I have the fortress of facts atheist do not. Yet of cousre they refuse ever accept a single pro faith fact because they can't. Their ideology is so constructed that if they accepted one fact that would destroy the fortress of fact concept for them.


e.g. I believe my brakes will stop my car because they have stopped me in the past. I believe there is life on other planets because there is life on earth. I believe it will be cold out tomorrow because that is what the weatherman is predicting and he has successfully predicted the weather accurately many times in the past..

See how all of these have a "because" in them? Now lets try it with a god.
This is even more disingenuous of course because seems to assert that theists have arguemnts for God, no reason to believe in God. Do we really need to belabor that point? IF this person thinks there are no pro God arguments are facts, and Christians never have any reasons to believe then why does she start out talking about my use of big words and my arguments and so on? This is just another version of atheist incredibility, which actually the only argument they know how to make. The basic incredultiy arguemnt says "I refuse to believe, therefore it can't be true." This one says theists arguemnts are also weak it's like they don't have any so I'll just assert that they believe for no reason. That manifests itself in the atheist bromide "faith is belief without evidence.


I believe Zeus exists because _______
I believe Allah exists because _______
I believe God exists because _______

See, there is nothing tangible to put in the blanks of these statements that is valid. To believe for the sake of belief is invalid. Go ahead, you try to fill in the blanks and see what you come up with.



This is priceless. Seldom have a I seen such brash display of illogical and special pleading. This "person" actually constructs a straw man argument then it dumb enough to think because she didn't fill in the blank in a straw man argument then there is no theist anywhere in the world who has an actual reason to believe. Look at the facts, she's making a straw man argument, why would she put something of good substance in the blank? It's obvious the blanks have nothing in them becuase she doesn't it in there.

Like most bullies she's a coward and thus is afraid to use real arguments.

that defintion again:


be·lief
noun \bə-ˈlēf\
Definition of BELIEF
1
: a state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in some person or thing
2
: something believed; especially : a tenet or body of tenets held by a group
3
: conviction of the truth of some statement or the reality of some being or phenomenon especially when based on examination of evidence
Belief is placing confidence in a hypothesis, the reason for doing so is open ended. It neither rules out nor explicitly acknowledges evidence or logic as a reason for confidence. Of course the fact is, and it is a fact, believers have reasons for belief. Nothing in that definition says anything about being without evidence. The actual empirical fact is people do have reasons for believing. My initial reasons are discussed on my website Doxa, and over time I have developed 42 reasons. In fact there are thousands of reasons. I'm now working on the concept of personal realization of God's reality which invovles thousands of reasons. Atheists need things spelled out concretely especially the Dawkamatnalists, the atheist fundies, becasue they are not subtle people.

Thus I can say "I believe in Jesus because I have 200 studies, empirical, academic, published in peer reviewed journals, that show that religious belief gives one transformation.*

I have 42 arguments proving that belief in God is rationally warranted.
_________________

*watch for my coming book which will discuss these studies at length. The whole book is about the studies and the arguments I construct from them. In the mean time nd read all the links at the top.here's some material that plays off of that body of work. Be sure a

More on the stuides

see also empirical evidence of the Supernatural

Several hundred more studies showing that religious participation is good for the individual and society.

22 comments:

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...
You are a typical scientist who uses a lot of words to dance around the simple and undeniable facts. Using a lot of words as a smoke screen is really all the scientist has to work with in his little arsenal of deceptions.

You are a typical System Administrator who uses a lot of words to dance around the simple and undeniable facts. Using a lot of words as a smoke screen is really all the System Administrator has to work with in his little arsenal of deceptions.

You are a typical atheist who uses a lot of words to dance around the simple and undeniable facts. Using a lot of words as a smoke screen is really all the atheist has to work with in his little arsenal of deceptions.


It is precisely because I don't have your education level that I don't try to refute most of your arguments. In the same way, I don't try to argue surgical procedures with a surgeon.
Metacrock said...
Thanks Mike. I hope the atheist realizes you are an atheist too.

I think you show the foolishness of that anti-intellectual canard really well.
Mike aka MonolithTMA said...
Yup, I'm an atheist.
Metacrock said...
But you are one of the good ones.

Not a Dawkamentalist
Mike aka MonolithTMA said...
I tend to not be a diehard follower of anyone or anything. Years of certainty as a conservative Christian taught me a lesson.

Nope, definitely not a Dawkamentalist or Hitchensian. I have yet to find an atheist that I even come close to agreeing with 100%.
Metacrock said...
the correct nomenclature is "Hitchenista."
Mike aka MonolithTMA said...
Ha!
Atheist said...
Mike aka MonolithTMA : I have yet to find an atheist that I even come close to agreeing with 100%.

atheist: Maybe your not an atheist? How do you define an atheist and why do you claim to be an atheist?
Metacrock said...
Atheist said...

Mike aka MonolithTMA : I have yet to find an atheist that I even come close to agreeing with 100%.

atheist: Maybe your not an atheist? How do you define an atheist and why do you claim to be an atheist?

8:01 PM


I thought you got the hell out of here?

This is rich, you are arguing "I am more blasphemous than thou," rather than "holier than thou."

He's an atheist. If not he's been pulling my leg for a long time.
Metacrock said...
Mike has blogs, where he talks about atheism. look them up.
Mike aka MonolithTMA said...
Maybe I'm not an atheist? I don't believe any gods of any sort exist, hard to get much more atheistic than that.
Metacrock said...
Maybe I'm not an atheist? I don't believe any gods of any sort exist, hard to get much more atheistic than that.

Yes but the thing is you just disbelieve. you disbelieve with the proper hatred of God and all religious people to satisfy this atheist. Therefore you are not a TRUE unbeliever.

after all you are not foaming at the mouth.
Mike aka MonolithTMA said...
I don't know about all that. Certainly I don't hate things that I don't feel exist. I do find certain concepts of god abhorrent, and even more so, what some people do in the name of their god.

On the other hand, I know some wonderful people who live lives that involve a vibrant faith and some of them even manage to follow the Bible and not be dicks about it. ;-)

If religion or a magic feather are the catalyst to make someone a better person, then so be it. Some people need that, and some don't.

I've seen religion turn people into decent human beings, and I've seen escape from religion do the same thing.
Mike aka MonolithTMA said...
I should also mention that I have little interest in god arguments. They didn't lead me to my past faith and they didn't lead me out of it. A salesperson has never sold me anything that I hadn't already intended to buy, and a god argument/sales pitch won't make me magically believe in god.

At times I find religion fascinating, partially because of it's potential for both good and evil. I know quite a bit about some areas of religion and next to nothing about others.

Theology is all theoretical from my viewpoint. I tend to lean towards psychology, body, and brain chemistry as explanations when hearing of religious phenomenon. I know very little about theoretical astrophysics, yet I don't dismiss it's findings. We have yet to explore a black hole, yet I have no trouble believing they exist.

It's easy to dismiss Johnny Sunday School and his Bible thumping, but not so easy to dismiss the person who lives a life of service because of their faith.

Clearly people are getting something out of religion, and that's why it won't go away, even if, in many instances, I wish it would. Sort of like "reality" TV. ;-)
Metacrock said...
Mike your aversion to God arguments is not out of any inability to think or understand. In a way I sort of agree with you really. they don't prove anything, they are not meant to prove anything. They are more important as a means of learning how to think about God (or not) rather than proving anything.
Mike aka MonolithTMA said...
I agree. It's just that too many on both sides of the argument treat god arguments as attempts to prove something.
Kristen said...
"Maybe your not an atheist? How do you define an atheist and why do you claim to be an atheist?"

Now this is decidedly odd. Over and over again, atheists have told me that atheism is nothing more than a simple lack of belief in a god or gods. Atheists often use this argument whenever anyone talks about the problems of certain belief systems that include atheism, such as communism. So how could Mike not be a "true atheist" just because he doesn't agree with other atheists? Could it have something to do with the fact that atheists do have larger belief systems which include atheism as one piece, just as Christianity is a larger belief system that includes theism as one piece?

Are atheists expected to toe some party line as far as everything else they believe? And if so, how is it not hypocritical to assert that atheism is nothing more than a simple disbelief in a diety?


PS. I recognize that "Atheist," posting here, does not speak for all atheists. But neither is it true that every Christian out there speaks for me. :)
Metacrock said...
I agree. It's just that too many on both sides of the argument treat god arguments as attempts to prove something.

two things Christianity is suffering from.

(1) Calvinism preaching hate and bullism disguised as 'love"

(2) bad apologetic.
Atheist said...
Kristen: Over and over again, atheists have told me that atheism is nothing more than a simple lack of belief in a god or gods.

Atheist: Other atheists do not speak for me. That is the dictionary meaning of atheist. It's too bad Webster got it wrong. It was clearly written by a theist. Truth be told, an atheist is simply someone who rejects the theist claim. No belief or disbelief is required on the part of the atheist. There are many possible reasons for rejecting the theist claim. That is why it looks like there are so many different types of atheists. Some atheists have valid reasons for rejecting the theist claim and some don't, so just claiming you are an atheist doesn't mean you really are one. e.g. The person who claims to be an atheist because they are mad at their god(s) are not really atheists inspite of their claims. They are in a state of rebellion against something they believe exists.

Kristen: Atheists often use this argument whenever anyone talks about the problems of certain belief systems that include atheism, such as communism.

Atheist: Theists go on and on ad nauseam about how atheism is a belief system. Once again, the truth is, atheism is not a belief system. That is not to say there aren't people out there who believe they are atheists when they are, in fact, just confused theists. And that is not to say there aren’t a lot of theists who “believe” atheism is a belief system. They have shown a great tendency to “believe” in things that are not true. Theism is based on belief in things that are not true.

Kristen: So how could Mike not be a "true atheist" just because he doesn't agree with other atheists?

Atheist: See example above. That is why I am asking mike "why" he is an atheist. Perhaps he is just a confused theist. Here is a snippet from Mike's profile: "I think some part of me still clings to Christianity in a very loose, irrational sense, but I do not believe anymore and consider myself an Agnostic Atheist." Here he claims he doesn't believe anymore but he doesn't say why he doesn't believe anymore? Has he found the truth as I have or is he just mad at his god(s)? The only way I know of to find out is to ask him.
Mike aka MonolithTMA said...
Nothing like typing a detailed response, only to have blogger eat it.

I'll re-write it later.
Kristen said...
Atheist, again you have misunderstood everything I said. I didn't say atheism was a belief system. I said atheism was one part of a belief system, and that so was theism. I think apples should be compared with apples, and oranges with oranges. Comparing atheism with Christianity is comparing a piece of a belief system with a whole belief system. It's fundamentally an incorrect approach.

If you are now going to say that atheism means rejecting the theists claim-- then you still can't say Mike is not a "true atheist." He does reject the theist's claim. There is nothing in that definition about why a person rejects the claim. You can't have it both ways.
Mike aka MonolithTMA said...
Kristen said... "Over and over again, atheists have told me that atheism is nothing more than a simple lack of belief in a god or gods."

Atheist said... "Truth be told, an atheist is simply someone who rejects the theist claim. No belief or disbelief is required on the part of the atheist."

Interesting, one definition requires theist claims, the other does not. I would lack belief in a god or gods, regardless of the claims of theists, or even whether or not theists existed.

By the way, here is my complete profile:

"I'm an ex-Christian, but I think some part of me still clings to Christianity in a very loose, irrational sense, but I do not believe anymore and consider myself an Agnostic Atheist. I think spirituality is a personal thing and should be between the individual and whatever he or she chooses to focus on. In that regard, I respect others views regardless of whether or not I agree with them. I simply do not experience anything in my life that I would identify as God, but wouldn't ignore a grand revelation."

The bold part is why I am an atheist.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Dialogue with an Atheist, Greg Billford

2/22/2016 09:37:00 PM
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This is an exchange with an atheist on Cadre blog. Apparently I had used Bigfoot as an example on some thing he read by me. I didn't even remember it but was intent on setting it straight.

The rest he's assuming I'm YEC defending literal Geneses. Why? God only knows but I guess he equates criticism of atheists arguing from science with creationism. Who is Billford? No idea. this is an unremarkable dialogue but if we can learn from it it is in observ n how off  the mark he is making standard assumptions
 
Blogger Joe Hinman said...
Greg Billford I am an atheist, and Bigfoot is nothing more than a hoax about as supernatural as a garbage can.

Metacrock=> bigfoot is not important. you don't seem to understand the issue involved.


Greg Billford A valid argument against SN is that it is an illegitimate category. If God existed, no reason to think he is less natural than the moon.


Metacrock=> No it's not, that's a totally invalid argument. First there is reason why it would be an Invalid category. what the hell are you thinking? Obviously God would not be natural because all things natural are contingent and God not contingent, The most important is because SN does not mean opposed to nature. you didn't read the article I advertised this morning.

Greg Billford Bigfoot, were he not an obvious hoax, would not be supernatural, but simply a cryptid, a real animal not yet classified by science.

Metacrock=>  who said he was? In fact who talked about Bigfoot.

2/20/2016 11:47:00 PM
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Greg Billford You claim you can test the supernatural, I'd like to know what criteria you use for deciding whether a miracle-claim is likely true or likely false.

 Metacrock=> The criterion of the meaning of the term SN. It did not include miracles. Read the article The Original Christian Concept of The SN



Greg Billford Do you think the rules of evidence used in a court of law in the effort to get at the truth are a good idea? Or do you pretend to think they aren't good merely because you know your case goes right down the toilet if you use legal standards of evidence?

Metacrock=> Courtroom evidence is not suited to the issue of SN since it's not about transcendent reality.

Greg Billford Is hearsay generally inadmissible in court, solely because Court is an official proceeding? Or is it inadmissible because second-hand reports are more consistently unreliable than first-hand reports?

Metacrock=> I have no hearsay evidence. All my evidence is based upon empirical studies in academic journals.



2/23/2016 02:10:00 AM
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Blogger Joe Hinman said...
Part 2 my responses in bold

And you also don't seem to care that it is perfectly rational for the busy atheist parents of two kids to justify ignoring all miracle claims on the grounds that they could never provide for their kids or have a life if all they did was go around chasing down every miracle claim. Your liberal view that atheists will be saved too justifies dismissing Christian claims.


They don't have to. First of all no one is asking them to. Secondly I've done it for them Team of medical historians analyze Lourdes miracles and, Medical historian given access to Vatican Archives



How much time have you ever devoted to disproving the Muslim concept of hell? NONE, right? If that's wrong, give the link to your article in which you address the question of whether the Muslim version of hell is real.

how much time is needed I think it can be polished off pretty quickly:

(1) Disprove Islam disprove Muslim hell. Disproof of Islam: Isaac was given the promise not Essay. the promise was Messiah (Jesus) so no revelation supersedes that.,(2) I don't believe in Christian hell why should I believe in anyone else's?




"the Genesis story of creation" would not have read to the originally intended Israelite audience as a case of the earth forming by reason of a giant explosion controlled by laws of physics.


No creed and not Bible passage says we must accept Genesis creation story


How the originally intended audience would have understood the text as 'grammar' and 'context', and has grave implications for modern people who are so utterly deaf to Jesus that they actually think he required his followers to prioritize bickering about apologetics more than their simple preaching of the word and doing the sort of good works that don't involve indulging their sinful lust to argue.

yea what I've been trying to tell them. The only problem is atheists wont allow simple gospel they will mock and ridicule and make us take their arguments apart like I'm doing now.

"the story of Adam and Eve" - the major signal for fable is when animals communicate in human language, or communicate to human beings in human language. So the serpent's discussion with Eve about eating the forbidden fruit assures us that the author never intended the story of Eden to be taken as literal history, and therefore, if Christianity interpreted it to be real history so as to necessitate a Savior from sin, then it's theological basis is incorrect.

yea what I've been telling them

2/23/2016 02:39:00 AM
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Blogger Joe Hinman said...
"a 6,000-year-old earth" - It is reasonable for atheists to avoid this kind of stupidity given how easy it is to find bible believing Christians who are old-earth creationists. Not only do you people disagree about theology, you also disagree on geology.

I'm NOT ANY KINMD OF CREATIONIST I'm AN EVOLUTIPNIST.




"efficacy of intercessory prayer" - You mean that absurd Randolf Byrd prayer-test that you were trounced on at CARM back in 2001?

that's total bull shit. I mean you silly understanding that Byrd was not good. He had a fine study. what those CARM idiots know about study method ology you should write large on the bum of a fly. Byrd is a funny example because illustrates the silliness of message board arguments I began arguing that we could control for outside prayer and that was the big objection the atheists argued that one could not. When some studies suggested prayer doesn't';t work they started saying you could contro9k for outside prayer and I said you could hot.

as soon as they had a motive they switched positions but so did I; In the end I discorded all such studies because I don't need them. A more direct empirical methods offers better evidence see the articles I linked above.

One of the worst spicules the most hilarious those morons on CARM trying to argue study methodology.




"as well as paranormal phenomena like near-death experiences, telepathy, and precognition." - Sure is funny how the fundamentalist Christian apologists, who obviously realize they stand to gain much by defending that stuff, never dare. What's next, Sherlock? Ron Wyatt's claim of finding Pharaoh's chariot wheel at the bottom of the Red Sea is true because skeptics cannot prove it false?

you don't think some little minor consideration like truth might get in the way?

Apparently, why you believe what you believe is not even convincing to most Christians, when in fact their choice to believe biblical claims removes most of the presuppositions that otherwise prevent them from seeing things your way, and if they are saved, then salvation is supposed to give them a slight edge over atheists in detecting truth.

I am only responsible for my own beliefs. all I can do is make reasons clear and if others don't ace[t that is between them and their maker.
2/23/2016 02:39:00 AM
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