Thursday, July 26, 2012

Atheist reactions to real research

I'm still thinking about the lunacy on CARM. how silly thier appraoch to all kinds of God-oriented thinking is. None more absurd than the 200 studies on religious expedience and the M sale. Remember the M scale is invented by Dr. Hood and it's rapidly becoming standard procedure becuase it has such great vaildation form other studies. Even so an atheist yesterday said "you have never shown any actual empirical proof of these studies. They are studies published in peer reviewed academic journals they are their own empirical proof. The M scale has been validated by a dozen or so other studies. they don't know the basics of social science research.

Here's another comment from Deist.

Originally Posted by Deist View Post
Hood is a kook. He even looks like a kook. Just because someone has a "D" at the end of his name doesn't mean anything. He's a religious zealot. He's not an unbiased researcher. He has an agenda, and he made a third grade test that any atheist here or in Iran would test the same on.
defense of M scale

two major researchers in the field:

Dale Caird
originally in journal for the Scientific study of religion 1988, 27 (1) 122-126

"Research into mystical experience has been greatly facilitated over the last decade by Hood (1975). Utilizing the conceptual framework of Stace (1960) he devised a 32 item questionnaire tapping eight categories of mysticism. This questionnaire the M scale was shown by Hood to have respectable internal consistency and reasonable construct validity.

Michael E. Nielsen, Ph.D.
Georgia Southern University
feb 2000

"Ralph Hood (1998), a major figure in American psychology of religion, suggests six psychological schools of thought regarding religion. The psychoanalytical schools draw from the work of Freud, and attempt to reveal unconscious motives for religious belief. Although Freud reduced religious belief to a natural, if ultimately flawed, attempt to cope with life's stresses, contemporary psychoanalytic interpretations are not necessarily hostile to religious faith. Analytical schools find their inspiration in Jung's description of spiritual life. Most psychologists, however, consider such descriptions to be undemonstrated by scientific research, and therefore it plays a limited role in psychology. Object relations schools also draw from psychoanalysis, but focus their efforts on maternal influences on the child. Each of these three schools rely on clinical case studies and other descriptive methods based on small samples, which runs counter to the prevailing practice of psychology in America." \\

"Modern social scientific evidence does not refute the possibility that some mystical experiences are associated with scientifically unknown processes. Parapsychologists have accumulated a body of evidence supporting belief in paranormal phenomena (Broughton 1992). Even though their evidence has been criticized, the existence of universal features within collections of mystical experience accounts supports the argument that some forms of these perceptions are not fully cultural products but have important impacts on religious belief (Hufford 1982, McClenon 1994)"

post 30
backup, I did read that. Meta doesn't understand that meditation alone, which is done by non believers, will bring about states of heightened awareness, oneness, peace, calm, etc., and that hypnosis can do the same thing. My wife was a hypnotist. The mind can do many things, and religious zealots want to use what the mind does as some sort of evidence for the existence of their imagined personal type God.
This is a silly argument. Meditation can be done by anyone of cousre, but it began as a religious practice. that also evokes mystical experience, (it's a trigger not a cause) is not proof that mystical is not connected to God, it merely proves that pathways can be open if you evoke the triggers.

That someone would suggest God believers in different countries report similar experiences as evidence of anything other than that a generic God is the same the world over tells me that humans, even those with PHDs are either stupid, liars, or at a minimum, dis ingenuous. I mean, what ELSE would a belief in a god mean? Are these idiots saying a Christian God isn't similar to a belief in a muslim God? This is beyond ridiculous. It's inafantile.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Religous people have higher self esteem, is it only in religous countries?

Jochen Gebauer

This argument has been noised about on message boards of late: religious people only have high self esteem in countries where religion is valued. So then of course the cause is only due to the value of religion in that culture, they feel good about themselves because religion in valued.

Huffington Post's Athiest propaganda page
July 30, 2012

Are religious people happier? Studies have shown that God-fearing folks tend to have higher self-esteem than nonbelievers, but new research published in the January issue of Psychological Science adds some nuance. It shows that religious belief is linked to high self-esteem only in countries that emphasize religious belief.

Researchers at three European universities looked at the religious beliefs and self-esteem of users of an online dating service across 11 countries, from the devoutly Catholic Poland to the
world's least religious country, Sweden.

The analysis showed that in religious countries, self-esteem was higher among believers than nonbelievers. That was consistent with previous research. But in countries where religion is not central to the culture, the self-esteem of religious people was lower than that of nonbelievers.

The researchers offered a possible explanation for their finding: Religious people feel better about themselves in religious countries not because they're religious, but simply because they fit in with the crowd.

"We think you only pat yourself on the back for being religious if you live in a social system that values religiosity," Jochen Gebauer, Research Associate at Humboldt University of Berlin, said in a written statement. "The same might be true when you compare different states in the U.S. or different cities. Probably you could mimic the same result in Germany, if you compare Bavaria where many people are religious and Berlin where very few people are religious."

The original research
Psychological Science

Religiosity, Social Self-Esteem, and Psychological Adjustment

On the Cross-Cultural Specificity of the Psychological Benefits of Religiosity

  1. Wiebke Neberich3

Studies have found that religious believers have higher social self-esteem (Aydin, Fischer, & Frey, 2010; Rivadeneyra, Ward, & Gordon, 2007) and are better psychologically adjusted (Koenig, McCullough, & Larson, 2001; Smith, McCullough, & Poll, 2003) than nonbelievers. Is this relation true across cultures—which would attest to the robustness of religiosity as a wellspring of psychological benefits—or is it found only in specific cultures—which would attest to the relativism of religiosity and its embeddedness within a larger cultural framework? The religiosity-as-social-value hypothesis sides with the latter possibility.

The religiosity-as-social-value hypothesis posits that religiosity receives high social valuation in most societies (Sedikides, 2010) and that, consequently, religious believers are highly valued members of most societies (Sedikides & Gebauer, 2010). Being socially valued is associated with psychological benefits (e.g., social self-esteem, psychological adjustment; Rokeach, 1973; Sedikides & Strube, 1997). The hypothesis predicts, then, that believers will enjoy more psychological benefits in cultures that tend to value religiosity more; alternatively, the less a culture values religiosity, the more likely it is that believers and nonbelievers will enjoy equivalent psychological benefits. Here, we report a study in which we tested this hypothesis.

here's their methodology:

(47% female, 53% male; mean age = 37.49 years, SD = 12.22) included in the eDarling data set (Gebauer & Neberich, 2011). They completed the measures discussed here while setting up profiles at the eDarling online-dating site. Respondents were from 11 European countries, and sample sizes were similar across countries.

Personal religiosity

Our measure of personal religiosity was the response to a single item: “My personal religious beliefs are important to me” (1 = not at all, 7 = very much). Single-item religiosity measures are common (Norenzayan & Hansen, 2006). An online validation study (N = 347) showed …

That's just left up to the person to answer. Now when the atheists on CARM find that the M scale asks people if they had a given experience and use that as an index to mystical experience, well go agpe. they say the people are lying. they say all the people saying that they have good experiences are just making it up. you can't trust surveys you can't trust people. Yet this study is based upon surveys and people just saying it so they must be lying.

In fact if we examine their data it seems there is no representative sample reflected. We are given no basis in understanding how representative these people are of their general culture. Their religious orientation is self selected and self described. That's very different from "I had this experience." There's a big difference in saying "this happened to me" and "Yes I am religious." If they are so affected as to equate being religious being good they might tend to say "I am religious" when what they really means Is "I'm a good person." Since we don't have a measurement of the norm for that culture we don't have anything to compare to. The data also comes form dating sites. How representative of a culture is its dating sites? What exactly is being measured?

Moreover, we are not given a good basis in what was used to measure self esteem. They don't use standard self esteem models or measurement techniques just a few questions about depression. edarling the dating site related to eHarmony uses slight measurements of self esteem and religiosity, but these are people putting on their best face to attract the opposite sex. It's not detailed and it's not based upon deep heavy psychological data.

It also might be true, and I'm sure this will encourage atheists if you go out of your way to make people feel bad about being religious it coutner balances the positive effects to some extent, but is that really a fair test?

Counter evidence:

They use Sweden as the standard of "non religio
Linkus." The Jagodzinski and Greely study shows that Sweden is not all that non religious.

The Demand for Religion
"hard core Atheism and Supply Side Theory"

Wolfgang Jagodzinkski (University of Cologne)
Andrew Greeley

This paper examines the conflict between the "secularization" theory of religious decline and the economic model of religion which assumes a fairly constant need for religion and attributes variation in devotion to variation in the supply of religious services. First the analysis reveals that the number of "hard core" atheists (those who firmly reject the existence of God and the possibility of life after death) in seventeen countries are a relatively small proportion of the population. Then it turns to Norway to determines that one can hardly describe that country as "unreligious." Next it discovers that there is a higher level of Catholic religious practice in the competitive environment of Northern Ireland. Finally it considers the one thoroughly secularized country – East Germany – and concludes that the "demand" for religion can be diminished considerably if a ruthless government takes control of the process of religious socialization.

According to the study
  1. The proportion of Hard Core atheists is relatively small in all the countries except East Germany (42.7%)
  2. The proportion is above 10% only in former socialist countries (12.4% in Russia, 13.9% in Slovenia, and 11.3% in Hungary) and in the Netherlands (11.4%) and in Israel (12.1%).
  3. In the other eleven countries, the highest rates of Hard Core atheism are in Norway (6.7%) and Britain (6.3%). Thus if latent demand for religion is excluded only from the Hard Core atheists, there is still the possibility of a large clientele for those firms which might venture into the religious market place in such supposedly "secularized" countries as Norway and Britain.
  4. There are not all that many Hard Core atheists in the countries studied, nor indeed all that many soft core atheists either.
  5. The "Softest Core" Atheists are less than a third of the population in every country except East Germany. They are more than a fifth of the population only in four former Socialist countries – East German Russia, Hungary and Slovenia. With the exception than of East Germany more than two thirds of the population of the countries studied are willing to admit the existence in some fashion of God and the likelihood of life after death. Devout many of them may not be but on the two central issues they are more religious than not. They then may be considered as part of the religious market place if not always enthusiastic consumers.
East Germany is the only country where the spread of socialism meant a saturation of hard core atheism in the general population. Sweden is more religious than it is usually assumed.

Welfare and Values in Europe:
Transitions related to Religion, Minorities and Gender
Overview of the national situation
by Ninna Edgardh Beckman
Page 2

Based on its very low figures of religious attendance and traditional religious faith, Sweden has a reputation of being one of the most secularised countries in the world. True as this might be, what the image conceals is the strong and complicated role that religion still plays in Sweden, not least through history and culture. The modern history of Sweden has its foundation in national homogeneity, grounded in the principle of one people and one faith. This principle is closely connected to the Lutheran majority church, to which nearly 80% of the Swedish population still belongs, even though formally state and church were separated in 2000. The recent presence of other world religions and official policies tending towards multiculturalism adds new religious aspects to Swedish culture. Religion thus continues to play an interesting role in Sweden, behind the seemingly straightforward image of a country on its way towards complete secularisation

The Swedish welfare state was built after the Second World War, based on the idea of ‘the home of the people’ (folkhemsidén). The basic principle of the model is that the state and local authorities guarantee the basic needs of all citizens. This principle is based on strong values of solidarity and shared responsibility. Decades of success for the system have since the 1990s been replaced by growing problems with keeping up the high level of benefits and services, a development, which is increasingly questioning also the values underpinning the whole welfare structure. Immigration is one factor, among many, challenging the system and immigrants have also been among those most affected by emerging new forms of poverty

The study is overestimating the depth of secularism in Sweden and that forms the basis of its comparison for self esteem.

Loftus Is Projecting Again

Below in no particular order are what I consider the ten marks (or characteristics) of a deluded person. I think even some Christians will agree with some of them. You might want to consider from this checklist how many of them apply to you. To the degree that more of them apply then the more likely you are deluded by your faith. Now it's quite possible than Christians can be deluded and yet their faith is true, in the same sense that a person might be brainwashed or indoctrinated into believing the truth. But the point is that if you're deluded then you have no reason to believe.

A deluded person is more likely than not one who...

1) Was born and raised into his or her religious faith. Just taking the odds at face value this is non-controversial and undeniable given the number of religions propagated around the globe and adhered to with utter and complete confidence as the one true faith.
By that logic someone who is born into a particular culture is more likely to be deluded than one born outside of any culture. That's practically no one. Religion is basically cluture. Why would someone raised in a partuclar view point be anymore deluded than coming to it form anther view point. Sure the outsider would have criticism the insider doesn't see but he would also have biases form his own culture and his own view point.

What assumptions is Loftus making bout religion anyway? He's assuming htat it's delusion to begin with. That's his given.

2) As an adult never adopts nor cultivates the adult attitude of doubt. All adults must revisit the religious faith taught to them by their parents, since #1 above is undeniably true. That means they must doubt. Doubt is the adult attitude.
Atheist love to laud their childish doubt. they think this "an adult trait" it's nothing more than cynicism. The form of doubt atheists imbibe is not true doubt. Atheist nourishes all negativism and cynical hate of hope. Real dobut is a shadow that vanishes in sunlight. The adult thing is to be well adjusted in one's cluture and to understand it's short commings while at the same time knwoing the strengths it offers and how to come to peace with it's problems. That's the only way to rotationally seek solutions.

Atheist do no allow a rational seeking of solutions becuase they demand hatred of religion. They want allow an answer to be fond answers are delusions and must be resisted. Because atheists must nurture doubt they can't allow solutions and answers to work. They can't allow answers to suggest themselves. Above all else doubt but be preserved and feed and nurtured as a primary value.

Joseph Campbell said "cynicism appears as insight to the cowardly mind." This is a profound observation that I have seen with the atheist a million times. They must preserve doubt and keep it growing they must deny answers. Cynicism seeks to snuff out answers. The cowardly mind fears risk. Thus the coward sees cynicism as insight becuase it gives him an excuse not to try.

3) Never reads widely or is exposed to other points of view in the media. I'm talking about non-fiction works about the sciences, different cultures, different faiths, and those written by skeptics or non-believers. To escape from being deluded believers should read books that are written by people within different cultures and faith communities, and watch programs on the History Channel, National Geographic Channel, Discovery Channel, PBS, 60 Minutes, Dateline, and yes, YouTube.

Atheists on message boards are the most illiterate and badly read band of know nothings I've ever seen. How many times have I documented atheist saying "I don't need to read theology because i know it's stupid?" Bigoted anti-intellectual don't confuse me with the facts. Look at the cowardly and stupid way they deal with the M scale. they jsut refuse to accept that it's good scinece even in the face of quote from experts in the field saying "Hood revolutionized the field" they still just mock and ridicule as though it's total crap.

4) Does not travel widely including travel into different cultures. A deluded person only experiences a small slice of the pie. One must experience the world to see how others live. The more the better.

I've been to Nicaragua. I bet Loftus hasn't been there.

5) Stays within the social confines of like-minded religious people. The Amish are the extreme examples of this. Many believers only have believing friends. Even if believers cannot travel the world they can still step outside their social grouping to meet other people who think differently. Most believers do not trust people of different faiths or non-believers. Seek them out. Attend a freethinker's group meeting. Get to know them. Become friends with them.

how many atheists seek out dialogue with theists? most of them seek to ridicule religious people that's not dialogue.

6) Never studies deeply into the nature of his or her adopted faith. The more you know the less you believe, the less confident you become, the more you doubt.

why "adopted?" atheist will never have room to talk as long as the anthropoids on carm treat the evidence like shit. AS long as they respond to the studies with mocking and ridicule they have no room to talk. Look their attitude to evidence about Lourdes.

7) Preaches to people who think differently rather than rationally engaging them. I am constantly amazed, bewildered, frustrated, and bored with the kind of responses I see from believers who comment here at DC. They come here preaching. They pontificate. They quote mine from the Bible. They even say we're going to hell with glee. Many of them merely mouth the words of the creeds and affirm what they believe rather than actually engaging us with a rational discussion about the basis for believing in the first place. They come here preaching to us from an ancient superstitious set of texts we don't believe rather than showing us why we should believe it.

Think of all the minor idiotic "bible contradictions" they come up with and how steadfastly they refuse to learn about JDEP or textual criticism. they can't understand when I use textual criticism to the benefit of the faith it just throws them for a loop.

8) Claims he or she does not need evidence to believe. Take notice Alvin Plantinga and Bill Craig! This is utterly delusional thinking especially when we consider all of the things they must take as properly basic beliefs coming from the witness of the Holy Spirit. Anyone who claims their faith does not need evidence, even if true, ought to take a reality check.

He misunderstands the concept of proper basically. It was not invented by Plantinga. What's really rich all the talk he does above about being well read and being willing to consider your presuppositions and critique your own culture, then they act like their atheism is inviolable and its' a given there's no questioning it. He acts like this stuff he doesn't understand and hasn't studied is just some stupid pile of mush. He's clearly not willing to consider his own words and put in the time for study.

What's wrong with the concept?It's not proof. It's not put over as proof, it's warranting basis for a belief. It fits Toulmins theory of warrant. Atheists don't have the concept of warrant becuase their ideology wrongly applies scinece in such a way that enables them to assume their ideology i facts and pre given. Meaning they are just begging the question.

9) Must be convinced that his or her faith is impossible before seeing it as improbable. Time after time believers will claim I have not proved that their faith is impossible, and so lacking this kind of proof they still claim to have a reason to believe. However, we're always talking about probabilities, so even if it's still possible to believe in light of a number of problems for faith it's still an improbable faith.

This is more hypocrisy becuase I see atheist constantly assuming in the face of God arguments that if they suggest an alternative that's possible then they can assume it's a given that that must be it no matter how improbable. I think he's making an unwarranted assumption to think that Christians deamd that faith be proved impossible. The contradiction he sees between impossible/improbable is a conditional either/or and he doesn't understand that. Atheitss do that all the time as well.

10) Must denigrate the sciences in order to have faith. This is what I see time after time. Believers denigrate the sciences is a number of ways in order to believe. That's because faith demands it. Some believers don't even know what I'm talking about. That's what I think. Since science tells us prayer doesn't work then it doesn't work. It tells us the universe is 13.7 billion years old. It tells us we evolved. It tells us there was no Israelite Exodus from Egypt. It tells us the Nativity stories in the Gospels could not be true. It tells us virgins do not have babies. It tells us that dead people do not bodily rise from the grave. Christians must denigrate science in order to believe. Science or Faith? Science has a track record. Faith flies planes into buildings. Science all the way, hands down. End of story.

That is utter bullshit after the way the atheists on carm have shamefully ridiculed the great Hood who had revolutionized reserach in psychology of religion those ignorant children refuse to even consider the explains I give. I go into elaborate detail about how the research works and they refuse to even consider and revert to mocking every time. No atheist will ever have a justification to say what he said because of the way those carm ideologues have routinely mocked and ridiculed real scinece which they don't understand.

Loftus's assertion that scinece has disproved prayer is juvenile and nothing short of a lie. He can't possibly understand the actual research if he thinks that. He doesn't get the distinction between a particular study that control for outside prayer and actual disproof. There can't be any disproof if there can't be controls. There can't be controls on outside prayer. Empirical study of payer is better; that is demonstrated at Lourdes.

so here we have an ideological linty of excuses where the atheist tries to blame the theist for what he is guilty of himself.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Review of Craig A. James's The Religion Virus


The Religion Virus: Why We Believe in God: An evolutionist Explains Religion's Incredible Hold on Humanity. By Craig A. James (John Hunt Publishing 2010).

James has a Masters degree in Linguistics and AI at Stanford. Worked in computer industry.

A friend brought to my attention an add he saw for this book, an endorsement by the Amazing Randy which claims it was the most significant atheist book ever. this is the one that is going put religion away. These glowing endorsements are from the ad on the book's portal.

"Ingenious ... Craig James has cracked open the mystery of religion's tenacity. What Guns, Germs and Steel did for anthropology, The Religion Virus does for faith. It puts the pieces together into a fascinating, coherent model that makes sense!"

Dan Barker, president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, and author of Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists

"I don't say this about very many books, but Craig A. James's The Religion Virus can facilitate a wholesale change in the way we think about religion ... an engaging, entertaining, and educational journey ... packed with a lot of good information."
Secular News Daily book review

"The Religion Virus will open your mind, offering a perspective on religion and social evolution that few have presented, and none with such delightfully reasoned enthusiasm and varying analogies. ... This book will keep you awake and engaged. I learned something new on so many levels that it was truly enjoyable and informative reading, and the ideas presented reverberated in my mind for days after each chapter. So much so, that as I sat down to write this review, I decided to read it all over again, just for the sheer joy of it."
– Julie Clayton, New Consciousness Review

After reading large portions it from the preview on Google books, it seems to be a brightly colored back age, tinsel and pretty colors, making the same old BS. This one has the advantage of a bright shiny technological sounding gimmick that always impresses Dawkies, the "meme." When we strip away the shiny stuff and the gimmick and get to the real point it's nothing more than this: religion is meme and that's why it survived. The actual account itself is no better than any other atheist account of religion and it really just amounts to saying "people want to believe they will go to heaven and their enemies go to hell," so that's why we have religion.

It's really a gimmick within a gimmick. It metaphorically casts the role of religion in the guide of an organism vying to survive in cold cruel nature, and demonstrates how the law of survival of the fittest determines which ideas ("organisms") survive. That gimmick is jacked up a step by calling these ideas "memes" and strapping on the useless metaphor of a virus that makes it seem disease-like.

This is nothing more than the very same things I've seen atheists bandy about on message boards for years. I can think of several mediocre posters with whom I argued who said the very same things James is saying. The whole lynch pin of the book is this Meme gimmick. It does a lot of the heavy lifting for Jame's ideas when we get down to it it's really saying nothing more than that religion wont out over other ideas. Since the New atheists are determinants they think humans are mindless robots anyway. They are highly impressed by the illusion of technique so if one disguises an old piece of dung in brightly colored shiny metallic seeming metaphors then they reductionists are fascinated with them. What is a "meme?"

Google definition

memesplural of meme (Noun)

  1. An element of a culture or behavior that may be passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means, esp. imitation.
  2. An image, video, etc. that is passed electronically from one Internet user to another.


A meme (play /ˈmm/; MEEM)[1]) is "an idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person within a culture."[2] A meme acts as a Linkunit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols or practices, which can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals or other imitable phenomena. Supporters of the concept regard memes as cultural analogues to genes in that they self-replicate, mutate and respond to selective pressures.[3]


[meem] Show IPA
a cultural item that is transmitted by repetition in a manner analogous to the biological transmission of genes.

The important thing to notice is that this concept is just a metaphor. The real pervayers of it such as Dawkins don't for a minute believe that it's really a disease or an organism. Some more naive types think it works like a computer virus but it's not even that. It's just a way of talking about idea that enables one to sarcastically dismiss them by implying they are diseases but what's really being said is just a loose parallel and bad argument from analogy. Notice the use of the term "analogous" in that last definition. It's not an organism, it's like a computer virus in the mind, it's merely an analogy.

The disease model is cleary put to use by James: it blends so well the survival of the fittest idea.

From Google Books Preview: it is passed from on person to the next;Ideas compete with each other for "space" in your brain; ideas compete for reproduction time by being told to the next person. The best jokes are the survivors the worst jokes become extinct. As we will see the same principle applies to religious ideas. The fittest religious ideas survive, the unfit one's become extinct. And by Fittest we do not mean ideas that are true. Rather these are the ideas that make people want to believe them, weather true or false, beneficial or harmful. An idea can be a survivor becuase it appeals to our hopes, our vanity, or the promise that heaven awaits. (21)

Why would ideas that seem to be horrible notions, like hell, have this kind of appeal? "An idea can also be a survivor becuase it plays on fears, and prejudices. We are afraid of eternal punishment in hell, we need protection form our enemies we are afraid of dying and we are afraid of the unknown."(ibid). So in other words ideas when out when they are ideas we want to believe and also when they are not. In other words, they are not saying anything. they have both ends covered so they are not telling us anything we didn't already know. The idea that some jokes win out over others is hardly a mystery those would be the fun jokes. The answer is obvious: people tell the jokes they laugh at and they don't tell the one's they don't laugh at. The bother to learn, remember and passion ideas they like and that makes sense and that they think are true, and they don't pass on the ideas they think are BS.

Atheists can't put it in stark terms like this it would tends to drive home the point that religion just might be successful becuase there' a reality behind it. James tries to ward off this possibility by stipulating that the survival of memes is not based upon the idea being true. Yet there's no reason not to assume that's a major factor. Not just that it's true but that it strikes a cord, it hits home and seems true becuase it explains things and fist one's experience. There's a lot of evidence that religious experince of the type known as "mystical" stands behind the worlds great religions.

Gackenback, Transpersonal States:
"The experience of pure consciousness is typically called "mystical". The essence of the mystical experience has been debated for years (Horne, 1982). It is often held that "mysticism is a manifestation of something which is at the root of all religions (p. 16; Happold, 1963)." The empirical assessment of the mystical experience in psychology has occurred to a limited extent."
That would be a good reason why an idea survives because people have powerful reasons based upon person experience to consider it true. But of course the point of using the disease model is to explain its success while implying some negative taint attached to the idea.

Book after book by atheists appears to be nothing but a gimmick, a big shiny package hiding a bunch of hot air. The meme idea itself, in addition to being gimmicky is just a ruse. Of course ideas spread from one person to another. That's how humans communicate. Of course the better ideas are kept becasue people want truth, so they keep what seems to true to them. That's easy to confuse with the "beguiling nature of an idea" if we are stuck on the unpopular notion and we are tiny minority that can't accept it's own fringe status.

One very important study that needs to be read by all is by a major religion researcher at U. Chicago, Andrew Greely, The Demand for Religion. Greely disproves a very sophisticated notion of the simple idea that James is trying to sell, this is the supply side notion of religion. A demand is created by the supply side.

This paper examines the conflict between the "secularization" theory of religious decline and the economic model of religion which assumes a fairly constant need for religion and attributes variation in devotion to variation in the supply of religious services. First the analysis reveals that the number of "hard core" atheists (those who firmly reject the existence of God and the possibility of life after death) in seventeen countries are a relatively small proportion of the population. Then it turns to Norway to determines that one can hardly describe that country as "unreligious." Next it discovers that there is a higher level of Catholic religious practice in the competitive environment of Northern Ireland. Finally it considers the one thoroughly secularized country – East Germany – and concludes that the "demand" for religion can be diminished considerably if a ruthless government takes control of the process of religious socialization.
I urge the reader to read this study first then read the Google book preview of the Religious virus. Linked above.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Brain Washing and Socialization


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

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

Encyclopedia of Sociology Volume 1,

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

Coercive persuasion and thought reform are alternate names for programs of social influence capable of producing substantial behavior and attitude change through the use of coercive tactics, persuasion, and/or interpersonal and group-based influence manipulations (Schein 1961; Lifton 1961). Such programs have also been labeled "brainwashing" (Hunter 1951), a term more often used in the media than in scientific literature. However identified, these programs are distinguishable from other elaborate attempts to influence behavior and attitudes, to socialize, and to accomplish social control. Their distinguishing features are their totalistic qualities (Lifton 1961), the types of influence procedures they employ, and the organization of these procedures into three distinctive subphases of the overall process (Schein 1961; Ofshe and Singer 1986). The key factors that distinguish coercive persuasion from other training and socialization schemes are:

  1. The reliance on intense interpersonal and psychological attack to destabilize an individual's sense of self to promote compliance

  2. The use of an organized peer group

  3. Applying interpersonal pressure to promote conformity

  4. The manipulation of the totality of the person's social environment to stabilize behavior once modified

Thought-reform programs have been employed in attempts to control and indoctrinate individuals, societal groups (e.g., intellectuals), and even entire populations. Systems intended to accomplish these goals can vary considerably in their construction. Even the first systems studied under the label "thought reform" ranged from those in which confinement and physical assault were employed (Schein 1956; Lifton 1954; Lifton 1961 pp. 19-85) to applications that were carried out under nonconfined conditions, in which nonphysical coercion substituted for assault (Lifton 1961, pp. 242-273; Schein 1961, pp. 290-298). The individuals to whom these influence programs were applied were in some cases unwilling subjects (prisoner populations) and in other cases volunteers who sought to participate in what they believed might be a career-beneficial, educational experience (Lifton 1981, p. 248).

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, July 20, 2012

Atheists Have No Meaning in life, That's the Way They Like It


Atheists and theists have had a long running battle on message boards, the issue surfaces now and then about meaning in life. The theist claims that belief in God gives meaning and purpose the atheists argue that they have their own meaning and don't need God to give them meaning. I have always argued that atheist meaning is by definition and of necessity localized, temporal, something that can and will be discorded easily and soon. It will have no meaning or purpose when we are worm food. Life ends, no one remembers we might as well not be conscious. Atheist always balk and insist that their meaning is true meaning and it's perfect and gives them warm fuzzies. I am not assuming that all atheists agree with the same vision of a meaningful life or lack there of. But finally some atheists no CARM just come out and admit they have no meaning and they don't care.

CARM July 11
Godless panther

It's established that there is no purpose nor meaning in my life. Do I ever wish there were? No.

Absolutely not. I look at G2U -- one who does have purpose and meaning in his life and he is unable to grasp the simplest concepts because he is so busy mindlessly repeating that other people have no purpose and meaning in their lives like some sort of demented parrot or a broken record in a bad dream.

So, in light of seeing one whose life is filled with purpose and meaning, I must say that I am incredibly grateful that my life has none.I feel so lucky. I feel like celebrating. Pop open a bottle of champagne an toast to my life having no purpose and no meaning -- CHEERS!
I understand that he's trying to be cleaver. He's not really saying "I have no meaning" he's saying "get off my back about the meaning you think you have, my meaning is good for me. " I"m sure that's true but look how carried away the they get with it. It's really just an attempt to mocks others for having meaning. As each one in succession makes a declaration of no meaning it becomes apparent they really know they have no meaning and they don't care.


This is my world view, and preference, just to be clear.

Do I have some grand meaning or purpose? No.
Do others have some grand meaning or purpose? No.
Do others believe they have some grand meaning or purpose? Sure.
Does the authenticity of that meaning or purpose matter? Doesn't appear to.
Do I WANT some grand meaning or purpose? No, I don't value it in any way.

I asked G2U to clarify exactly what kind of benefit that having meaning or purpose brings, and explain why we should value that, needless to say I didn't get a direct or coherent response.

Furthermore it doesn't appear that the basis for the meaning and purpose in peoples lives needs to be grounded in reality to have whatever value G2U seems to think it has, so there's nothing to really stop atheists from inventing their own meaning and purpose and cite whatever source they please.

There's no such thing as eternal purpose or meaning. There's just what you choose for how long you keep it.
don't ask me what that means


My "meaning" lives for as long as I exist or as long as the universe exists - whichever is longer. Either I continue to exist (it doesn't matter where; both heaven and hell promise eternity) and so the effect of my existence continues to happen, or I die and stop existing, but the impact I've had on the universe (even if it is simply the exact distribution of atoms) exists until the universe ends, assuming that it does. Both situations promise eternal meaning and purpose.
In other words, meaning is relative and discordable, atheist "meaning' is not meaning in any real sense. Whatever happens happens and he doesn't care.

Howard Holmes

If a life of only five years has no meaning, what could give meaning to a life of ten?
If a life of only eighty years has no meaning, what could give meaning to a life of forever? What will you be doing a million years from now that has more meaning than what you are doing now?

Of coure there doesn't seem to be any sort of real attempt to think about what goes into the life to make it meaningful. They don't seem to connect with what purpose is. They don't have a purpose so they can't imagine having one. These guys seem really pointless in their existence. They don't have sense of living fo anything except maybe monetary pleasure. That's ok I don't mind that. It does seem kind of empty they can't really seem to understand that there are people who are not content with that. It's there business how they want live, if they are happy being cynical and burned out that's their business but they can't accept that not everyone is that way. I get the feeling they think something's wrong with you if you are not cynical and burned out.

God gives us hope these guys are without hope. They are just ready to become worm food or fertilize the garden and it makes them feel good to think about non existence. That just seems burned out and hopeless. They mock adn ridicule the idea of having hope. Look at the things they are saying about "what kind fo meaning is it to have a 80 year life?" What did you put into it? What will you be doing in a million years that you are not doing now? O beholding the essence of truth and reality face to face, maybe traveling the universe in the twinkle of an eye understanding all mysteries and grooving on the basis of love and goodness. These are all turn offs for these guys. They can't imagine wanting that.

The meaning argument is not much good. It really is a subjective matter, and you really can't prove to someone "your meaning is not meaningful, mine is better." As a statement of personal testimony it's a good thing to talk about. We can't think of it as a "proof" of anything but it may important to let people know that our relationships with God do give us meaning and purpose.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Prayer Studies and Atheist Echo Chamber


François-Bernard Michel,
Lourdes Medical committee and National Academy Medicine

The atheist propaganda machine is cranking away. I try to look for "studies that prove prayer works" I get a bunch of blogs about how prayer is stupid and doesn't work. There's a good article in Christianity Today talking about the limitations of double blind prayer studies. Then at least one blog registering disgust with the article. the basic argument in the article is we can't control for God's actions so we can't study it. They even quote C.S. Lewis saying this.

C.S. Lewis anticipated a carefully designed prayer study, but did not think it would show any positive, measurable "results." "The trouble is that I do not see how any real prayer could go on under such conditions," Lewis said. "Simply to say prayers is not to pray; otherwise a team of properly trained parrots would serve as well as men for our experiment." He argued that this approach to prayer treats it "as if it were magic, or a machine—something that functions automatically"—an accusation unintentionally but prophetically aimed at STEP and the other well-meaning attempts to measure the effects of prayer. If Lewis is right, such attempts always end up trying to measure something more akin to magic than a real movement of God.

The atheist attitude: hey don't confuse me with the facts of all that methodology stuff. Prayer didn't work all we need to know, can the details.

Here's a humanist piece that actually admits you can't control for outside prayer (the CT article says 91% of the anti-prayer study they considered said they had outside prayer.

Hector Avaelos (my old nemesis
form Loftus's blog)
Council for Secular Humanism

The problem with this and any so-called controlled experiment regarding prayer is that there can be no such thing as a controlled experiment concerning prayer. You can never divide people into groups that received prayer and those that did not. The main reason is that there is no way to know that someone did not receive prayer. How would anyone know that some distant relative was not praying for a member of the group that Byrd had identified as having received no prayer? How does one control for prayers said on behalf of all the sick people in the world? How does one assess the degree of faith in patients that are too sick to be interviewed or in the persons performing the prayers? Even Byrd acknowledges these problems and admits that "'pure' groups were not attained in this study." Since control groups are not possible, such purported scientific experiments are not possible.*
Of course this is ignored by atheists on message boards so they can argue that the study actually disproves prayer.

The Dawkies express hatred for religious thinkers and source connected to theological institution. can't believe the Lourdes stuff because they must be liars since they have religious people on the committee.

For example I quote on my miracle page on Doxa this quotation by a respected secular reporter who writes about the good rules the Lourdes miracle committee uses:



The paradox of human miracle assessment is that the only way to discern whether a phenomenon is supernatural is by having trained rationalists testify that it outstrips their training. Since most wonders admitted by the modern church are medical cures, it consults with doctors. Di Ruberto has access to a pool of 60 - "We've got all the medical branches covered," says his colleague, Dr. Ennio Ensoli - and assigns each purported miracle to two specialists on the vanquished ailment.

They apply criteria established in the 1700s by Pope Benedict XIV: among them, that the disease was serious; that there was objective proof of its existence; that other treatments failed; and that the cure was rapid and lasting. Any one can be a stumbling block. Pain, explains Ensoli, means little: "Someone might say he feels bad, but how do you measure that?" Leukemia remissions are not considered until they have lasted a decade. A cure attributable to human effort, however prayed for, is insufficient. "Sometimes we have cases that you could call exceptional, but that's not enough." says Ensoli. "Exceptional doesn't mean inexplicable."

"Inexplicable," or inspiegabile, is the happy label that Di Ruberto, the doctors and several other clerics in the Vatican's "medical conference" give to a case if it survives their scrutiny. It then passes to a panel of theologians, who must determine whether the inexplicable resulted from prayer. If so, the miracle is usually approved by a caucus of Cardinals and the Pope.

Some find the process all too rigorous. Says Father Paolino Rossi, whose job, in effect, is lobbying for would-be saints from his own Capuchin order: "It's pretty disappointing when you work for years and years and then see the miracle get rejected." But others suggest it could be stricter still.

There is another major miracle-validating body in the Catholic world: the International Medical Committee for the shrine at Lourdes. Since miracles at Lourdes are all ascribed to the intercession of the Virgin Mary, it is not caught up in the saint-making process, which some believe the Pope has running overtime. Roger Pilon, the head of Lourdes' committee, notes that he and his colleagues have not approved a miracle since 1989, while the Vatican recommended 12 in 1994 alone. "Are we too severe?" he wonders out loud. "Are they really using the same criteria?"

Atheist Troll "Backup" transforms the secular journalist Van Beema who is well respected into a "religious person" becasue he needs him to be one since he documents the good rules of the Lourdes Medical committee. Of cousre the implication being as a "religious nut" he's lying. They don't really have those rules because he's religious so he must lie.

This highlights how these Dawkies never listen to any source but their own. I have made a practice in my reserach of mostly using non Christian sources so they can't charge bias. Yet they have called Thomas Kuhn (one of the most highly respected secular thinkers) a "creationist." He was probalby an atheist or at least agnostic. He was most certainly a Darwinian.

On a few topics I use religious people because they did the work. This is met with the Bromide "he's a religious person he must be lying." If I said this about the atheist nut job Harris or Dawkins of course Dawkies would have a fit.

they actually can't see that Harris is the Craig of atheism and Dawkins is the Pat Robertson of atheism.

None of them can critically evaluate the nature of evidence. they just dogmatically assume any religious source has to be lying. They would resent that kid of analysis of their own most biased sources.

These guys are ghettoized. they just listen to their own guys and no one else.

On today's edition of Metacrock's Blog I post my essay "Analysis of Correlation and Causality in Miracle Hunting" which makes the point that claims of miracle are as much an epistemological problem as they are a scientific question, or even more so.

Hooks says:

"It's suspicious to say there's a professor on the medical committee. This must be a lie because no professor would ever support belief in healing," (of course they could still be on the committee--they actually use skeptics on the committee). Of the atheists are assuming the job of the committee is to "make up" or rubber stamp "miracles." If they they actual studied their work they would see this is foolish. There are 7000 "remarkably cases" that were rejected and only 67 miracles that made it to that status. If it's really a rubber stamp why don't they have 7067 miracles?

Here's a quote that proves they use professors:

"Professor François-Bernard Michel, co-chairman of the International Medical Committee of Lourdes and a member of the French Academy of Medicine, said in a March 2006 statement “there is no sick person coming to Lourdes who has never received treatment, and that is how it should be. This pushing forward of medicine has achieved such a degree of sophistication that it is more difficult than ever to appreciate in a cure what is applicable to treatment and what is attributable to an inexplicable medical phenomenon.”

Read more:

O but it's from a catholic source it must be a lie. cant' reserach it or find out becuase it has to be a lie because it's in a Catholic site. all religious people lie. atheist never do.

here is a site of the french academy of medicine. we see Dr. Michel is on the board got his picture there.

could the catholic site just lie and say he's on the Lourdes committee when he's not? do you think the don't have libel laws in France?

*I removed fn 8 from this quote because it was no longer available on the net.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Catching up with Atheist Comments

Just a couple of comments I think deserve the spot light, so I can debunk them! :-)

thanks for your comments.

May 28, 2012 5:36 AM

Blogger Josip Kuleš said...

The fact is that the Bible does encourage violence, you talk of evidence, when you have none either. Atheists do not believe in things without evidence, you do, that is the only difference. Don't get me wrong, atheists that say they know god does not exist is equaly annoyng as fundamentalists. The only problem i have with people like you is that you think everything you don't like is religious persecution. No one ever didn't get a job because they were christian, but that happens to atheists, that is persecution, but if i call your religion stupid that is my opinion and i have a right to express it, if it offends you that is not my problem. (sorry about my grammar, english is not mi first language). My name is Josip Kules, and i don't care if you delete this.

The Bible dos not encourage violence. There is no passage that says "make ye some violence." It dos say things like "blessed are the peace makers," and "be not a fighter or brawler." Ancinet Israel emerged from a very violent milieu in a bloodthirsty era. They had to fight to survive. The OT is largely based upon the nationalism they mustered in order to foster that survive. So depict heroic battles with the children of Israel standing up to the bullies. It's not more encourage violence than it is encouraging peace.

Atheists claim to believe in evidence, but when they need some propaganda of a scientific theory it doesn't matter weather they have evidence or not. there is no empirical evidence of the Multiverse. None there is none at all not one little centiliter. They need the multiversse to beat fine truning and CA so they talk about like it's a proved fact. It's way way way beyond proved. They are pulling universes out of their you know whats.

You have no idea what my attitudes are toward rebellious persecution. There is genuine persecution n message boards but I'm not sure that's a big deal.It's only a big deal if you are a message board addict like me. you don't know anything about who gets jobs. yu have no empirical reserach. You are assuming no one is turned away for being a Christian. I'm sure you could find that somewhere. For one thing it happens in sociology.

You have a right to express your opinion and say that religion is stupid if you think it is but:

(1) It's an expression of bigotry and hate. Weather you have a right to express it or or not. You probalby have a right to express racism too, but I'm willing you wont cling that one so vehemently. Doesn't make you any less bigoted just becuase you have a right.

(2) when you express that on a message board where Chrsitians ware restraining themselves and trying to conduct a serious discussion it's disruptive and unfair.

(3) probalby an expression of hate.

(4) you don't have a right to get personal. you try to attack teh person rather than the idea because they are religious (you stereotype people a because you are narrow minded). That's not right you don't' have a right to do that.

I didn't delete your comment you didn't attack anyone personally.

Old friend and Loyal oppoent Bill Walker:

Hi Meta, EVERYONE was born an atheist. Then, depending on parents & geography, you get one dumped on you by your parents, who got it from theirs, etc. Religions - ALL of them, are dragged through the centuries, sort of like a cosmic security blanket. I realize that I'm one of a small minority. But take a look at Scandinavia, the Netherlands, Canada, Australia, & most of Western Europe. Our hotbed of Xianity, has a much greater incidence of crime than everyone else. I have wondered if Xianity is too forgiving. We non-believers have to live with all of our deeds & misdeeds. Perhaps this is why only one fifth of one percent of everyone in prison is a professed atheist in the U.S.A. . We have over 3 million in our prison system. That's a huge disparity. Oddly enough, the 'bible belt' has a much greater percentage of prisoners in out penal system than the more secular states.
Everyone is not born an atheist. That is a misconception and ignores what we now know about the God modul (so called). That's a misnomer but there is scientific evidence that there's an innate concept of God that all or most of us are born with.

You have an interesting spin on the crime issue. Some try to say that athist northern Eroupe is more free of crime than Christian America. You try to sell it as America being too lenient due to Christian background. The conservatives would (see comment section) argue that it's the liberals that are too lenient. Surely atheists are supposed to think that Christians are narrow minded and want to kill criminals.

Your assertions about prison population have been disproved. The atheist website that makes that arguemnt the bogus atheist study that makes it are lies. They are proved to be lies and the statistics they are are fabricated. I caught them and also caught them before me in the lie. this is proved. They changed the data to grossly underestimate the numbers of atheists in prison.

It's no secret that not all chruch going people understand that being a Christian is a personal relationship with God not just going to chruch and reading the bible. Way too many "Chrsitians" understand it only a set of rules and behaviors. Only about 33% of the 73% who identify as Christians actually claim to be "born again."

A lot of those in prison begin claiming they are Christians to get parole or to get things easier in jail. Many are no doubt scared. So they are caught they think back to going to chruch a few times as a kid and say "I went to chruch as a kid didn't do me any good I don't' really believe that stuff." A couple of months latter they find themselves in prison with all the violent people aground and fearing everything. They start saying "I'm a Christian" in hopes God will protect them. The prison statistics don't reflect the time line on conversion.

click here for proof atheists fabricated prison stats.

click here for link to God on the Brain (not born atheists)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Frank Admittion from Atheists that they refuse to consider ideas oppossed to thier own

Op is pretty long. CARM it's about the Tillich argument argument that truth is a prori, they can't even agree to that.
Deist says "it's not op it's a book."

Anyone can cut and paste bible quotes or book chapters. It's original thoughts that seems difficult for you and the resident Christians.

Rarely do you see non believers pasting book chapters into an OP. The non believers here so outclass the Christians here that you would be far better off cutting and pasting their wisdom. The truth doesn't need to be cut and pasted.

if you read the Op you see it's not cutting and pasting it's actually summarizing an article I read.

Big Thinker:

We refuse to read it because its a meaningless, garbage attempt at looking more intelligent and thoughtful than you are.
All of your long OP's are undone with short, simple concepts.
And we really don't care why you believe what you believe. What we are interested in is whether or not you can demonstrate (outside of your imagination) that God exists outside of your imagination. The rest is pretty much meaningless.

On another thread I used that to say "you don't want truth" here's what they said there.

God wants us to search for truth. The reason is because when we search we interlinear the values of the good. without that we would resent the answer when we discover there's really no alternative to God existing.

Atheist refuse to search. they want it handed to them, they want to be forced. That's a childish pout. that's a tactic it's not truth seeking. if they wanted truth they would seek.
I can't reason using your special rules of logic that basically say whatever you believe is correct.
Talking to me is a waste of your time because your logic and reasoning is inconsistent.
Boy I'll sure go along with you on that one. you sure can't.


Its not about perfect agreement, its about truth. Are there "shades of gray" between not-truth and truth?

God is not going to "hand it to you" because God is imaginary... Meta's claims about God are nonsense (bsjkvbeuleije).

Originally Posted by Metacrock View Post
Atheist refuse to search. they want it handed to them, they want to be forced. That's a childish pout. that's a tactic it's not truth seeking. if they wanted truth they would seek.

Mary Jane:
Of course, you have no support for this claim. Similarly, I could claim that you refuse to seek the truth and if you did seek the truth, you would realize that there is no God. Of course, that would be a silly argument, just like your claim is silly.

These guys waste a huge amount of mental energy hiding from the logic and facts that support the Christian faith.

What Does the "God Particle" Mean for God Talk?


We have all heard the news that the so called "God particle" has been found through a "atom smasher" and this confirms our basic view of the universe. This is the Higgs Boson particle that gives mass to the universe. Actually, it's only confirmed to be "a Higgs Boson," there are about five types it's too soon to say which type. The discoveries helps to anchor the basic theory now has prominence in big bang and sub atomic particles. Atheists are quick to jump on the bang wagon declare this a victory over religion. On the CARM board an atheist postor called "Jagella" says:
"God particle found" posts 5 and 10
Crock, the apparent discovery of the Higgs boson demonstrates that science, once again, is the way to know the world we live in. As we make such discoveries, we keep closing the gaps that some people put gods into. To maintain belief in whatever god you believe in, you often need to ignore or deny these kinds of scientific discoveries.

The Higg's boson also known as "the God particle" is a hypothetical subatomic particle that has been reported to have been recently discovered. Bosons are particles that carry forces such as the strong nuclear force. The Higg's boson reputedly gives mass to objects. Mass is a measure of inertia or the tendency of a body at rest to stay at rest or a body in motion to stay in motion.

So what might the discovery of the Higg's boson have to do with atheism? Well, I suppose that now we can safely say that no god gives mass to objects! Broadly speaking, the more we know about nature, as Carl Sagan has said, the less there is for God to do. Scientists are quickly closing the gaps that one god or other used to fit into to "explain" some aspect of nature. I predict that the Higgs boson will continue this trend, and a full, naturalistic explanation for existence will soon be available if it isn't already available.

Now we can say safely that no god gives mass to objects? That conjures up the ancient view of God opening doors in the volt of heaven to pour water through into rain. I've always known that the atheist straw God was basally a big man in the sky but this is absurd. This "Jagella" person must be desperate to get God out of the picture. I guess if the wind blows form the West that totally disproves God. Or if moss grows on the north side of a tree this person rests easy form the fear of hell. The truth of it is this has nothing to do with God at all. Calling "God particle" hardly makes it a test of God's existence. It's still a problem to determine where the particle came from the basic set of laws and the whole set up that could produce a particle. That assumes that the real reason to believe in God is based upon the need to explain things. When will get it the point that the only thing scinece is going to tell us about God is the potential nature of the way he did things.

There are a couple of more important points to be made about the discovery. First we should notice the tenuous nature of the language used to describe it:

CBC News

"We can safely conclude something new is there. … All the evidence suggests it's the Higgs boson, but the results released today just aren't strong enough to conclude that it is the Higgs."

Sinervo said he expects the CERN research teams to have two to three times more data to analyse by the end of the year.

"Will we be able to conclude that it is the Higgs by the end of the year? It depends what you mean by 'conclude,' but we'll at least have some strong data," he said.

Does this mean they don't really know now? why does it have to be confirmed? Why can't they conclude it now?

National Geographic Daily News

Although preliminary, the results show a so-called five-sigma of significance, which means that there is only a one in a million chance that the Higgs-like signal the teams observed is a statistical fluke...

CERN head Heuer called today's announcement a "historic milestone" but cautioned that much work lies ahead as physicists attempt to confirm the newfound particle's identity and further probe its properties...

For example, though the teams are certain the new particle has the proper mass for the predicted Higgs boson, they still need to determine whether it behaves as the God particle is thought to behave—and therefore what its role in the creation and maintenance of the universe is...

A two-sigma finding translates to about a 95 percent chance that results are not due to a statistical fluke.

While that might seem impressive, it falls short of the stringent five-sigma level that high-energy physicists traditionally require for an official discovery. Five sigma means there's a less than one in a million probability that a finding is due to chance.

That all really sounds pretty uncertain.I'm not suggesting that we can't trust it. The point is they don't get a microscope that's really powerful and take a picture of the particle. They have not seen the particle itself. They smash atoms together and try to identify what comes out, the only way to do that is to judge by the effects it probably has upon larger particles. They can only do that by determining that what those particles are doing is indicative of it.
"The Higgs boson is the only one that remains undetected in experiments because it lives for only a tiny fraction of a second before decaying into other subatomic particles, such as photons, muons or leptons. The only way to measure it is to measure the products of its decay." (CBC News ibid)
It's the effect upon other practicals and its consistency with theory that tells them what's going on. I have said before that scinece doesn't prove (according to Popper) it only disproves or offers explainations. Those explaintions don't give us truth they give 'verisimilitude.' That's the appearance of truth through probability. That's what this is. No one is going to have a bunch of hoopla about verisimilitude. Can you see thee guys at CERN making a big deal out "We have verisimilitude!" Ho ray!

Another important aspect that this discovery holds for us in relation to real God concepts is this is another illustration of the concept of c0-detmerinate. I have previously illustrated the co-determinate through the relation between sub atomic particles and theory, by using the neutrino. In the same way neutrinos are not found directly but it is their effect upon other particles that indicate their presence. The co-determinate is like the relationship between the footprint in the snow and the foot that made it. The two always go together and one indicates the presence of the other. The relation between Higgs boson and other particles is another example of a co-determinate.

Of course the atheists all say "O but you are just assuming a relationship between experience and god you can't really prove it's there. The theroy of Higg's assumed a relatinoship before it could prove that boson was there. It's because the test meets the assumptions that we can assume it fulfills theoretical expectations and that is the predictive power of scinece. The thing applies in the co-determine in any issue. The theoretical relationship between divine and experience is there due to the place of the experince in the creation of religion. So then finding the experience and the effects it produces is just fulfillment theoretical expectations; meaning, scientific predictive power helps to demonstrate the rational warrant for belief.