Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Did Anyone Exist in The First Century? (part 1): The Peter Myth

The Jesus myther thing is funny. They wanted to be totally sure they wouldn't go to hell so they convinced themselves Jesus just didn't exist. Actually they got the idea from 18th and 19th century people such as Bruno Bauer who did not have benefit of more recent scholarly developments. It was an age of unbelieving super liberal scholarship where thinkers like Von Harnack were more common and believing scholars like Lightfoot and Wescott were less common. Atheists are already skeptical of any counter evidence and it's really the final solution of atheism to erase Jesus from history. But Paul proves Jesus existed. He met his brother and some of his best friends, and speaks of his fleshly nature and earthly linage. But not to worry, Paul didn't exist. That's right there is actually a big movement (by Jesus myth standards) to say Paul didn't exist. But Paul is proved to have existed because the author of Peter's epistles, whoever he was, said he did. Guess what? There's a group of peter mythyers. Dare I pointed out that Clement of Rome seemed to suggest that he saw both Peter and Paul, what do you think they would say?

The author of There was no historical Paul the Apostle is a brave skeptic who objectively imposes the most demanding standards of skepticism upon all but his own views. When considering the Bible he bravely informs us to be skeptical and critical think. He forgot to do that with his own stuff. I notice he's an Acharya S-ie.(like a "Moonie")he says:
Acharya is operating basically within the right paradigm, in which all the figures are approached as essentially mythological. Like most scholars, she has only a lower type of grasp of esoteric religion, but she knows that whatever esoteric religion, mysticism, and gnosis amounts to, Christianity was that rather than a literalist scenario. She argues that the apostles are all mythic-only, and more notably, argues that Paul is ahistorical.
Who is Ashara S and what is her Paradigm? She's a major Jesus myth person who was given a very important mission, that of destroying Christianity. Who gave her this a mission? Moscow? No. Castro? No. The Underworld? no,. Little gray space aliens*. That being said I think we skip over the paradigm. The myther movement is full of crack pots and non professional scholars. The most scholarly they have are the band of 19th century people. i'm going to lay out the sources that I think are their best and deal withy them. Since most of us have probably heard a lot of Jesus myth stuff I will deal withy only the Paul and Peter myth stuff.

Something like real scholarship on the Peter myther scene is Arthur Drews (1865-1935) author of The Legend of St. Peter. Historian, Philosopher, representative of Monism in Germany. He was at the tail end of that pack of people who denied Jesus[' existence whom Schweitzer debunked and put to flight..[1] That's why Drews has been described as "forgotten." There's an online version of his Witness to the Historicity of Jesus (1912) is online.[2] I will deal with that one soon, but looks pretty standard. A recent translation of his St. Peter books is available on Amazon...[3]

Despite the fact that Drews was areal scholar his information is out of date because we was working a hundred years ago. Every assumption he made and all of his information it's all horribly out of date. His basic working method is a joke today. I respect him greatly for what he did in his day; that was great learning he was very learned. But in this day it's all so anachronistic. I've always observed that atheists on message boards, so many of their arguments are rooted in the 19th century. Allo of Drews's arguments are based upon a kind of associative word play where if two stories use te same word, such ads "stone," one story must come from the other. Every little nuance is jam packed with hundreds of associations like this so that Peter is called Cephus and Mithra was born from rock, therefore, peter is copied after Mithra. This was the kind of methodology that was used back then because they didn't know as much as we do. They made outmoded assumptions like all religioms are mythical, all religions barrow from each other. Barrowing doesn't happens in ideas it happens in imagery and word play from mythological narrative. Akk of his arguments are like this:

Dupuis was the first scholar to identify St. Peter as Janus [the term janitor, originally keyholder, derives from janus]. Janus in turn derives fron Dianus (>> day), a god of the daylight hours, male form of Diana, the famous lunar- and wildlife deity. Janus was considered the god of all doors, especially responsible for the portal to heaven. The month January is named after Janus.

One star in Virgo is called Janus. This implies astromythical imagery. In the old days, Janus was at the Medium Coeli at sunrise around the winter solstice, thus opening a new year. Janus was not only competent for opening and closing days and years, but also war and peace. Janus was here seen as superior to Jupiter, the father of the gods. As Janus leads the annual circle of the zodiacal signs, St. Peter leads the twelve apostles of Roman Christianity.

Hercules is called a mace bearer, but key and mace can be expressed as synonymous in Latin: Hercules is thus a key holder like Janus.

The regions of the near East get most rain in winter. This leads to the picture of Janus as a ferrymen across the invernal flood. Argo, called the ship of Janus, was back then seen in the medium coeli during rain time. Janus as a ferryman again alludes to Peter's activity as a fisherman.

Janus was depicted not only with the key to heaven, but also with a long staff that can be reinterpreted as the shepherd's staff with which St. Peter watches over the 'sheep' of the Catholic church.

Janus was depicted as two-faced, watching both ahead and back, from horizon to horizon.

This is why the Jesus myth crowd are stuck on the dying rising savior thing and the copy cat savior thesis. They respect these guys, they think they are forgotten geniuses, and they are. There' a reason why they were forgotten. They pend all their time reading this stuff and very few Christians know how to answer it. When they hear Christians say these guys aren't scholars they know better. They were scholars they are just outmoded. Schweitzer said Bauer was a genius. But he also said he was wrong. Atheists spend so much energy shouting that theology is stupid they really think that theology is about this stuff they refuse to learn.

Think about all the things that have changed since Drews wrote. First, since they discovered the Dead Sea Scrolls we can see the New Testament is really a lot more Jewish than they thought. My apologist comrades and I have always wondered why they can't see that all the elements of the Jesus story are in Judaism. Because they are reading stuff from a time when scholars thought that the NT was all Greek and gnostic, The assumption of Gnosticism was because they didn't have Naghammadi to compare to. Now that tendency to see Gnosticism in the NT was alive and well as late as the end of the 20th century with Elaine Peaggles book. But what people don't know is that the scholars were cringing at bad the book I was in the classes of some of those scholars.,

Let's look at some of the specifics of his argument. After an absurd land slide of associative connects that human being thinks in, we have two emblems that link Jesus to pagan gods and they all are given by him to Peter (in the quotation of he summary above): the Shepard's staff, and Keys to the kingdom. In addition he's linked to Mithra because they both have some tangential relation to rocks. Mithra was a Shepard, Peter as Shepard of the church is also linked through Janus as Ferryman and Peter as fisherman. They both have boats. No one thinks this way. No one would say "I'm going to make up a Pal for Jesus and Janus reminds me of Shepherds so I'll have him be a bishop of the church." Notice the association is made to Jesus giving Peter a staff but no such thing happened. Jesus tells Peter, "feed my sheep,' but it says nothing about a staff. It's like James Joyce playing charades. A stream of consciousness mae up of Freud-like associations.

Another unknown in the days of Drews was the real belief system of Mithrism. It began in Persia but Mithra is thought to be a mythological figure from India. The Persian cult traveled to Rome. Even in Drews day they knew that they had no written materials from the cult. They were guessing about the importance of sheep and the comic bull. No proof that the Roman cult had Mithra the Shepard Mithra, the links to Jesus and Peter just evaporate. They that solders in Jerusalem took Christianity back to Rome and thus Christianity influenced Mithraism. The most damaging fact is what they did not know because it was discovered by David Ulancy (Mithra scholar par excellence) in the 1980s: The Roman cult was a front for another cult. They weren't even serious the rock or any of it. That sort of cuts down on thye odds that they would be influencing Jews in Palestine. There are two statements that need to be understood concerning Mithrism and Christianity, the totally disprove the idea that Jesus was patterned after Mithra. The first is by David Ulansey the major scholar of Mithrism:

Owing to the cult's secrecy, we possess almost no literary evidence about the beliefs of Mithraism. The few texts that do refer to the cult come not from Mithraic devotees themselves, but rather from outsiders such as early Church fathers, who mentioned Mithraism in order to attack it, and Platonic philosophers, who attempted to find support in Mithraic symbolism for their own philosophical ideas. "At present our knowledge of both general and local cult practice in respect of rites of passage, ceremonial feats and even underlying ideology is based more on conjecture than fact." [5]
Fanz Cumont was a major scholar, he often shows up on the bibliography of every major Jesus myther (he's on Kane's and Frick and Ghandy). He was a real scholar and a major scholar, but the mythers apparently don't read his entire book:
"There is no real evidence for a Persian Cult of Mithras. The cultic and mystery aspect did not exist until after the Roman period, second century to fourth. This means that any similarities to Christianity probably come from Christianity as the Soldiers learned of it during their tours in Palestine. The Great historian of religions, Franz Cumont was able to prove that the earliest datable evidence for the cult came from the Military Garrison at Carnuntum, on the Danube River (modern Hungary). The largest Cache of Mithric artifacts comes form the area between the Danube and Ostia in Italy." [5][6]
" The connections from Mithrism to Jesus evaporate, and thus the connections from Mithrism to Peter as well. This and much more is carefully documented on my Mithrism pages. There are more big surprises there. It also would not hurt to see my Jesus Christ Copy cat savior? pages, In fact here is my whole Jesus myth menu. My historical Jesus Menu.
I don't know much about Janus but I have researched several of the figures used by mythers for the (alleged) patterns of the Jesus figure. They always evaporate when we move out of tye fairyland of myther books and read real mythology books such as Hamilton and Bullfinch. Not Christian apologists. Real secular schools of myth and folklore.

Nex time I'll deal with a couple more writers whom I consider to be challenging and scholarly and the one tangible bit of evidence outside the NT that documents the existence of both Paul and Peter.


[1] Albert Schweitzer, The Quest of The Historical Jesus. [2]Author Drews, Witness to the Historicity of Jesus (Joseph McCabe Trans.) Original publication 1912. online URL: accessed 12/1/15Atheist Press 1997 [3]____________,and Frank Zindler The Legend of St. Peter. American Atheist Press(Trans. Frank Zindler) 1997 (original 1910). [4] Klaus Schilling's summary of "Die Petruslegende" by Arthur Drews on Theory of ego website. Online resource URL: 12/1/15. Thisi a summary of the book. The whole thing reads like that. [5] David Ulansey, Mithraic Studies: Proceedings of the First International Congress of Mithraic Studies. UK:Manchester U. Press, 1975. ,437. [6] (Franz Cumont, The Mysteries of Mithra Chicago: Open Court, 190), 87ff.

* this is from the link to the thing by8 Holding. Radio talk show the subject was extraterrestrials. The calls says clearly he is discussing extra terrestrials. Caller: "Ok Mohammed also met one of them in a cave…a similar type of being. And also in the book of Isaiah, Daniel…all the extra-biblical texts talk of the same type of beings and other cultures talk of the same type of beings. I'm wondering how they all would describe the same thing…"

Acharya: "Well, I can tell you I've had beings around me too and they are telling me to put this information out there. So I'm not disagreeing that there are beings. But it takes a great deal of knowledge and refinement of that knowledge to realize what you're looking at and unfortunately most people don't have the platform from which to be viewing this information necessarily. So they…there's all kinds…The speculation that starts getting in becomes quite tortured…"

see the link at top

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

speak up

I need to know there are people out there reading this stuff. stat talking! I've opened up postingg to all and removed moderation.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Defection of a Christian Apologist

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Kyle Roberts, Professor of Theology at  United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, writes about "Dr. Steven Davis, Christian apologetics professor who, after becoming an atheist, recently resigned his position at Manhattan Christian College. He had been at MCC for 15 years and prior to that was a pastor for 14 years." [1] There is an interview of  Davis in which he enumerates five guiding principles that helped him decide  for abandoning the faith. I will comment on these reasons and upon the observation Roberts makes about them.  First, Roberts expresses admiration for Davis in that he had the guts to own up to his true feelings about his life's career and commitment of faith that has grown cold. Roberts expresses the notion that this is more honest than living a lie. Of course it is and I have to kind of admire that too, although he threw away security, his income and someth9ing he worked away his youth to achieve in the first place. Why did he seem convinced about God in the first place. Think of 1st John, "they went out from among us because they were not really of us."

On the other hand it's heart breaking to see this happen. It's always easy to answer other people's doubts, not so easy to get them to accept the answers, It's also easy to think "all he had to do was read my book." Really all the answers, facts, and logic are of no avail when someone wants to leave the faith., Who are we to say their reasons are not equal to my answers? Years ago (sometime around 2001-04) when the CADRE [2] was still just a band of message board warriors, we lost an apologist, gave up the faith right in the middle of our heated battles. The irony was he had been touted by a member who brought him into the group. "my friend is a fine apologist, he'll give those atheists what for..." Our arguments were getting better, the atheists were getting stupider (to hear us tell it) and so on. This guy just gives up. Why? He had personal reasons we did not know about, and I suspect that's the case with most such cases. Atheist like to flatter themselves that they are paragons of reason, I would be willing to bet that true reasoning rarely decides the matter either way.

The first of Davis's principles:

(1) “The Truth has Nothing to Fear.”  "We should seek 'unadorned truth,' no matter the cost or no matter where it leads." Sure no one says "I just want to be wrong, hopefully falling prey to deceptions." Truth may have nothing to fear but deception not so much. What happened to the truth he accepted as the Gospel before? He is going to play a game with this concept of truth, as we will see, It seems his hidden assumption is that if he is seeking the truth he can't be deceived but there was a time when he thought Jesus was truth.

(2) 'Humans are Not Objective.'
Rather, we are interpreting beings who operate on the basis of received assumptions about the way the world really is. He doesn’t use this word, but my assumption is that by being “not objective,” he is simultaneously acknowledging that humans are thoroughly subjective creatures–people whose subjectivity shapes, influences, limits, and colors our perception of reality.  Thus, there is no reality as such (unmediated, pure, “objectively” accessible); rather, there is only reality as it appears to me. I’m saying more than Davis said there, perhaps, so he can correct me if I’ve imported something he doesn’t say or believe.  
Note that saying 'there is no truth' and 'we are subjective' are not the same things. There has to be a nature of the case if there is any semblance of reason or order in reality. If there is not then what the hell are all of these atheists doing talking about science? There could be truth but we can't find it. Then which general direction is closer to it might become the paramount issue. This means one could go in a better or worse direction; if we equate truth with 'better.' So the fact that we are subjective does not mean there is no truth or that it does not matter in which way we turn. I've preached  for years that there is no objective truth (meaning from human perspective) I also accept the correspondence theory of truth [3] so there is a "nature of the case," then it matters how close we can come to understanding that nature, or the correspondence to reality.

I think he will find that atheists do not appreciate the notion of subjective truth. It is my experience from 15+ years of message boarding that, even though there are different kinds of atheists a hallmark of the "new atheists" (aka Dawkamentalists, or "Dawkies,") is their fear of subjectivity. They need to believe that science gives them the objective truth. They tend to equate subjectivity with emotionalism which they see as the worst aspect of life, they seem to equate it with sheer stupidity. There is also the concept of inter-subjectivity. [4] By this notion we can correlate our subjective experiences with each other. Paul Tillich had a major aspect of his theological method that was based upon the correlation between scripture and doctrine, scientific data, an d personal experience. Tillich holds that understanding the human condition is a philosophical task the Philosopher must draw upon interpretive materials from all realms and aspects of culture, this includes science. This vast array of material is given focus by one central question "what does it mean to exist?" Science cannot deal with this issue. Science does not deal with questions of meaning, that is a philosophical issue. Such a question is totally beyond the domain of science. [5]

(3)  “Religious beliefs have been socially constructed.”
He refers there to The Social Construction of Reality by Berger and Luckmann, making the point that religions are disseminated, passed on, through the mechanisms of cultural inheritance and social influence. The problem is that many people are not quite aware of the way religious beliefs get passed on to them (or of how they come to believe this or that) and so they have naive assumptions about and unfounded certainty in those beliefs. And this is no doubt true.
.I have not read Berger and Luckman but this notion of social constructs is all over postmodernism. One of the major influences is Derrida, and it probably goes back to structuralism or post structuralism. [6] A lot of people seem to equate "construct" with "made up." Construct does not mean fictional. It means that a concept is understood in cultural terms. Everything is a construct even true things are constructed in that our concepts of them are filtered through cultural understanding. One example is the idea of separate restrooms for men and women. It is not a fact of nature than the sexes should segregate what the commercials call "the go." A compound construct (my term) is the idea of representing the restrooms by pictorial symbols such as a butterfly and a crab. Which is which? I bet every readers knows: men = crab, women = butterfly. How do we know? Our culture has so construed the difference and communicated it to us in so many subtle ways that we just know. That is a construct.

Why would that equate to falsehood? If our concept of God is constructed and taught to us though culture, does that make it untrue? How else would it be passed on? What he's missing is the fact that science itself is a pile of constructs. Science works by paradigm shifts paradigms are nothing but constructs

The claim that the consensus of a disciplinary matrix is primarily agreement on paradigms-as-exemplars is intended to explain the nature of normal science and the process of crisis, revolution, and renewal of normal science. It also explains the birth of a mature science. Kuhn describes an immature science, in what he sometimes calls its ‘pre-paradigm’ period, as lacking consensus. Competing schools of thought possess differing procedures, theories, even metaphysical presuppositions. Consequently there is little opportunity for collective progress[7]. 

One of the most crucial concepts in science is cause and effect. This Davis wants to call himself an "empiricist" and apparently he hasn't read Hume (the most important empiricist), because the concept of cause as Hume construed it is nothing but a construct. He says we don't see causes the whole point of empiricism is the construal of cause based upon tight correlation and how that feeds into probability in the construction of inductive methods in science.[8] If he is scraping belief in God because it's s construct and he's becoming an empiricist because he thinks that guarantees a factual approach free from constructs, I have some sad news for him. Empiricism is itself a construct. If he argues that he doesn't think empiricism guarantees objectivity but it's closer than belief in God, I still have news; I not only can remain a Christian and use empirical scientific data  to bolster my view, but I have done so in my book, The Trace of God: Rational Warrant for Belief (available on Amazon).[9] 

(4) “the necessity of critical thinking.” Roberts quotes Davis:,

"My doctoral program in adult education introduced me to the specifics of critical thinking. I came to realize that adopting and implementing a critical thinking strategy would provide me with the best methodology for applying guiding principles 1 and 2."  He needed a doctoral program to tell him to use critical thinking? Roberts adds:
By applying the skills of critical thinking, one can “accurately assess his social construct” and “discover, challenge, and expose inaccurate assumptions.” This makes sense. As a theology professor myself, I extoll the merits of critical reflection and “deconstruction” of inherited assumptions. This is all part of the educational, formational, and theological process. 
Had he done that he wouldn't have ditched one construct for another under the guise of being more objective.

(5) “apologetics requires engaging counter-arguments.”

"The apologist can’t keep her head in the sand, but must bravely face all “comers”–otherwise the apologist is basically admitting defeat." Shall I repeat myself Calling yourself an empiricist without reading Hume might qualify as keeping your head in the sand, or someplace...

As Roberts reports he doesn't really pin down a reason why he changed his assumption that Christianity was true. He could defend it in spite of its constructed nature as long as he assumed it was true. For some reason he changed that assumption. He seems to be setting himself up for the same probablematic in assuming that there is nothing beyond the material. Roberts observes a contradiction between the assumption of human subjectivity vs, scientific empiricism.
Should we really trust our critical thinking to give us something like “objective” truth, particularly when it comes to the question of whether there is a God/god/gods or not? 
Davis now calls himself a “Rational-Empiricist.” He defines this as, “the epistemological position and methodological approach of modern science.” and believes it to be “the best way humanity has for discovering, understanding, and anticipating facts about our world is when reason and experience (empirical data) work together.”
Someone should send Davis a copy of  Stephen J. Gould. Science and religion do not compete. They pertain to different sphere's of influence (magisteria). They exist for different purposes and they answer different questions. Even in areas where they seem to overlap they don't. The most contested area is literal reading of Genesis vs. evolution. That's just a case of the literalist not understanding that her literalism transgresses upon the scientific domain, Why? Because the question is about understanding physical nature not about how to be saved.

One can use scientific evidence to bolster one's faith, as Tillich discusses with his method if coloration (see aboveaa0. That's what I did in my book, Through the arguments that I make backed up by a huge body of scientific research from peer reviewed journals there is no reason to give up the faith due to some ill-conceived need for scientific objectivity. See my article on the universal nature of mystical experience. The evidence resulting from Professor Hood's studies using the mysticism scale indicates that mystical experiences are universal to all faiths. Since religious beliefs are cultural constructs this can't be because they are the result of human brain structure. The constructed nature of belief means the symbols that communicate religion are culturally relative. That would imply that to be universal they would have to be the result of an objective external object which is being experienced inter-subjectively. The M scale has been used in cultures as far ranging as Iran and Sweden and Japan, with the same results; when the specific names and doctrinal references are taken out the experiences themselves are the same. These studies are discussed in my book. The argument from universal mystical experience can be read on the Trace of God blog.[10]


[1] Kyle Roberts," Losing God: From Christian Apologetics Professor to Skeptical Atheist,"     , Unsystematic theology, November 6, 2015, (blog) URL:

Roberts: (PhD) is Associate Professor of Public and Missional Theology at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities (beginning in fall of 2014). Roberts has published essays on Kierkegaard and modern theology, including several essays in the series Kierkegaard Research: 2014-10-14 10.26.51Sources, Reception and Resources (Ashgate / University of Copenhagen) and other collected volumes on various topics, including Pietism, Karl Barth, and Christian spirituality. Roberts has published Emerging Prophet: Kierkegaard and the Postmodern People of God (Cascade, 2013) and is currently co-authoring a theological commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (Eerdmans).

[2] CADRE: "The Christian Cadre," an apologetics group started way back around 2001. The group reached it's zenith about 2009. It evolved from merely being a lose knit gang of Christians on CARM who where just trying help each other argue with atheists, to a somewhat renowned apologetics group with a huge website ( and a prestigious and active blog (cadre comments). We also conducted campaigns to invade various atheist boards other than CARAM  such as secular web. We where somewhat successful for a couple months. At least one atheist remarked "where did all these Christians come from all of a sudden."

[3] David, Marian, "The Correspondence Theory of Truth", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2015 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = .

Narrowly speaking, the correspondence theory of truth is the view that truth is correspondence to, or with, a fact—a view that was advocated by Russell and Moore early in the 20th century. But the label is usually applied much more broadly to any view explicitly embracing the idea that truth consists in a relation to reality, i.e., that truth is a relational property involving a characteristic relation (to be specified) to some portion of reality (to be specified). This basic idea has been expressed in many ways, giving rise to an extended family of theories and, more often, theory sketches.
[4] Webster 
Definition of intersubjective. 1 : involving or occurring between separate conscious minds ;intersubjective communication; 2 : accessible to or capable of being established for two or more subjects : objective ;intersubjective reality of the physical world.

[5] Guyton B. Hammond, "An Examination of Tillich's Method of Correlation," Journal of Bible and Religion, Vol. 32, No. 3 (Jul., 1964), Published by: Oxford University Press, 248-251

Stable URL: (accessed 26 Dec 2015).   

[6] Definitions of Anthropological Terms, Anthropological Resources, Updated:Wednesday, 26-Dec-2012 18:00:08 PST. Website URL  (accessed Dec 27, 2015)

cultural construct - the idea that the characteristics people attribute to such social categories as gender, illness, death, status of women, and status of men is culturally defined

[7] Bird, Alexander, "Thomas Kuhn", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2013 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = .

[8] Morris, William Edward and Brown, Charlotte R., "David Hume", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2016 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), forthcoming URL =

[9] Joseph Hinman, The Trace of God, Rational: Warrant for Belief. Colorado Springs: Grand Viaduct 2014. Available on Amazon

[10] ____________, "The M Scale and the Universal Nature of Mystical Experience," The Trace of God Blog, no date given. URL (accessed Dec. 26, 2015).
The M scale or Mysticism scale was invented by Ralph Hood Jr. Ph.D. professor in psychology of religion at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.  The M scale is a survey but it is constructed in such a way as to test theory of W/T.l Stace. See the article.



Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Scientific Nature of Physicalism:Turtles All the Way Down


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I first heard the anecdote about turtles when it starred Wittgenstein. In some class he taught, supposedly, they were referring to the Indian cosmogany in which the earth sits on the back of an elephant and the elephant is on the back of a great turtle. A student asked "what does the turtle sit on?" Supposedly Wittgenstein said "from there on it's turtles all the way down." There is no real proof that Wittgenstein ever said that. Googling the phrase, it is associated with him without proving who said it. Moreover, no one knows what it means. I've seen about six interpretations. It's always associated with the sort of flippant remark a skeptic might make about religious answers. Here I use it as a metaphor for the arrogance of scientism to think that scientific exactitude and certainty rules out the possibility of other realms and forms of truth that science can't seek.

One of the most solid things in modern science is the Greek concept of the atom, and Greek atomism  stands as atheistic symbol and as the basis of scientific thought. The reason atheists use an atomic symbol for their own is becuase they harken back to Greek atomistic view as a replacement for belief in deity. Science shows us all, we know the basic building blocks of reality, sub atomic particles, and thus we know there's no need for a God, yada yada yada. When we examine those bulwarks of modern thought we see that they are shaky and as uncertain as the one about the turtles. This is especially apt for sub atomic particles; science has never found a basic particle, it seems there is always a smaller one, it's particles all the way down.

The Issue of Transcendence

            Are there realms beyond our knowing, is this possible? If so, is there any possibility of our investigating them? Scientists have usually tended to assume that metaphysical assumptions about realms beyond are just out of the domain of science and can’t be investigated so they don’t bother to comment. Victor Stenger, however, wants to be able to assert that he’s disproved them so he argues that the magisteria do overlap. “There exists a widespread notion, promulgated at the higher levels of the scientific community itself, that science has nothing to say about God or the supernatural…”[1] He sights the national academy of sciences and their position that these are non overlapping magisteria, “science is a way of knowing about the natural world. It is limited to explaining the natural world. Science can say nothing about the supernatural. Weather God exists or not is a question about which science is neutral.”[2] Stenger disagrees. He argues that they can study the effects of prayer so that means they can eliminate the supernatural.
            Two things are wrong with Stenger’s approach. First, he doesn’t use Lourdes or any other empirical record of miracles. He’s going entirely by double blind studies which can’t control for prayer from outside the control group; that makes such studies virtually worthless. So in effect Stenger is taking the work of people who try to empirically measure what is beyond the empirical, then when it doesn’t work he says “see, there’s nothing beyond the empirical.” That proves nothing more than the fact that we can’t measure that which is beyond measuring. Secondly, he doesn’t deal with the real religious experience studies or the M scale. That means he’s not really dealing with the empirical effects of supernature. I deal with the M scale at length in my book The Trace of God.  I’ve just demonstrated good reason to think that supernature Is working in nature. It’s not an alien realm outside the natural, it’s not a miracle it’s not something that sets its self apart form the daily regular workings of the world. Supernature is of God but nature is of God. God made nature and he works in nature. We can tell the two apart by the results. Now I am going to deal with the other two issues, are there realms beyond the natural? Are there evidences of a form of supernatural in the world that stand apart from the natural such that we can call them “miracles?”
            Are there realms beyond the natural? Of course there can be no direct evidence, even a direct look at them would stand apart from our received version of reality and thus be suspect. The plaintive cry of the materialists that “there is no evidence for the supernatural” is fallacious to the core. How can there be evidence when any evidence that might be would automatically be suspect? Moreover, science itself gives us reason to think there might be. Quantum physics is about unseen realms, but they are the world of the extremely tiny. This is the fundamental basis of reality, what’s beneath or behind everything. They talk about “particles” but in reality they are not particles. They are not bits of stuff. They are not solid matter.[3] Treating particles as points is also problematic. This is where string theory comes in.

This is where string theory comes in. In string theory fundamental particles aren't treated as zero-dimensional points. Instead they are one-dimensional vibrating strings or loops. The maths is hair-raising, and the direct evidence non-existent, but it does provide a way out of the current theoretical cul-de-sac. It even provides a route to unifying gravity with the other three fundamental forces - a problem which has baffled the best brains for decades. The problem is, you need to invoke extra dimensions to make the equations work in string-theory and its variants: 10 spacetime dimensions to be precise. Or 11 (M-theory). Or maybe 26. In any case, loads more dimensions than 4.
So where are they then? One idea is that they are right under our noses, but compacted to the quantum scale so that they are imperceptible. "Hang on a minute", you might think,"How can you ever prove the existence of something that, by definition, is impossible to perceive?" It's a fair point, and there are scientists who criticize string theory for its weak predictive power and testability. Leaving that to one side, how can you conceptualize extra dimensions?[4]

There is no direct evidence of these unseen realms and they may be unprovable. Why are they assumed with such confidence and yet reductionists make the opposite assumption about spiritual realms? It’s not because the quantum universe realms are tangle or solid or material they are not. Scientists can’t really describe what they are, except that they are mathematical.  In fact why can’t they be the same realms?
            Then there’s the concept of the multiverse. This is not subatomic in size but beyond our space/time continuum. These would be other universes perhaps like our own, certainly the size of our own, but beyond our realm of space/time. Some scientists accept the idea that the same rules would apply in all of these universes, but some don’t.

Beyond it [our cosmic visual horizon—42 billion light years] could be many—even infinitely many—domains much like the one we see. Each has a different initial distribution of matter, but the same laws of physics operate in all. Nearly all cosmologists today (including me) accept this type of multiverse, which Max Tegmark calls “level 1.” Yet some go further. They suggest completely different kinds of universes, with different physics, different histories, maybe different numbers of spatial dimensions. Most will be sterile, although some will be teeming with life. A chief proponent of this “level 2” multiverse is Alexander Vilenkin, who paints a dramatic picture of an infinite set of universes with an infinite number of galaxies, an infinite number of planets and an infinite number of people with your name who are reading this article.[5]

Well there are two important things to note here. First, that neither string theory nor multiverse may ever be proved empirically. There’s a professor at Columbia named Peter Woit who writes the blog “Not Even Wrong” dedicated to showing that string theory can’t be proved.[6] There is no proof for it or against it. It can’t be disproved so it can’t be proved either.[7] That means the idea will be around for a long time because without disproving it they can’t get rid of it. Yet without any means of disproving it, it can’t be deemed a scientific fact. Remember it’s not about proving things it’s about disproving them. Yet science is willing to consider their possibility and takes them quite seriously. There is no empirical evidence of these things. They posit the dimensions purely as a mathematical solution so the equations work not because they have any real evidence.[8]
            We could make the argument that we have several possibilities for other worlds and those possibilities suggest more: we have the idea of being “outside time.” There’s no proof that this is place one can actually go to, but the idea of suggests the possibility, there’s the world of anti-matter, there are worlds in string membranes, and there are other dimensions tucked away and folded into our own. In terms of the multiverse scientists might argue that they conceive of these as “naturalistic.” They would be like our world with physical laws and hard material substances and physical things. As we have seen there are those who go further and postulate the “rules change” idea. We probably should assume the rules work the same way because its all we know. We do assume this in making God arguments such as the cosmological argument. Yet the possibility exists that there could be other realms that are not physical and not “natural” as we know that concept. The probability of that increases when we realize that these realms are beyond our space/time thus they are beyond the domain of our cause and effect, and we know as “natural.” It really all goes back to the philosophical and ideological assumption about rules. There is no way to prove it either way. Ruling out the possibility of a spiritual realm based upon the fact that we don’t live in it would be stupid. The idea that “we never see any proof of it” is basically the same thing as saying “we don’t live it so it must not exist.” Of course this field is going to be suspect, and who can blame the critics? Anyone with a penchant for the unknown can set up shop and speculate about what might be “out there.” Yet science itself offers the possibility in the form of modern physics, the only rationale for closing that off is the distaste for religion.

All that is solid melts into air

            This line by Marx deals with society, social and political institutions, but in thinking about the topic of SN it suggests a very different issue. The reductionst/materialists and phsyicalists assume and often argue that there is no proof of anything not material and not ‘physical” (energy is a form of matter). We see this in the quotes at the beginning of the chapter. The hard tangible nature of the physical is taken as the standard for reality while the notion of something beyond our ability to dietetic is seen in a skeptical way, even though the major developments in physics are based upon it. Is the physical world as tangible and solid as we think? Science talks about “particles” and constructs models of atoms made of wooden tubes and little balls this gives us the psychological impression that the world of the very tiny is based upon little solid balls. In reality subatomic particles are not made out of little balls, nor are these ‘particles” tangible or solid. In fact we could make a strong argument that no one even knows what they are made of.

We keep talking about "particles", but this word doesn't adequately sum up the type of matter that particle physicists deal with. In physics, particles aren't usually tiny bits of stuff. When you start talking about fundamental particles like quarks that have a volume of zero, or virtual particles that have no volume and pop in and out of existence just like that, it is stretching the everyday meaning of the word "particle" a bit far. Thinking about particles as points sooner or later leads the equations up a blind alley. Understanding what is happening at the smallest scale of matter needs a new vocabulary, new maths, and very possibly new dimensions.
This is where string theory comes in. In string theory fundamental particles aren't treated as zero-dimensional points. Instead they are one-dimensional vibrating strings or loops. The maths is hair-raising, and the direct evidence non-existent, but it does provide a way out of the current theoretical cul-de-sac. It even provides a route to unifying gravity with the other three fundamental forces - a problem which has baffled the best brains for decades. The problem is, you need to invoke extra dimensions to make the equations work in string-theory and its variants: 10 spacetime dimensions to be precise. Or 11 (M-theory). Or maybe 26. In any case, loads more dimensions than 4.[9]

Particles are not solid; they are not very tiny chunks of solid stuff. They have no volume nor do they have the kind of stable existence we do. They “pop” in and out of existence! This is not proof for the supernatural. It might imply that the seeming solidity of “reality” is illusory. There are two kinds of subatomic particles, elementary and composite. Composite are made out of smaller particles. Now we hear it said that elementary particles are not made out of other particles. It’s substructure is unknown. They may or may not be made of smaller particles. That means we really don’t know what subatomic particles are made of. That means scientists are willing to believe in things they don’t understand.[10] While it is not definite enough to prove anything except that we don’t know the basis of reality, it does prove that and also the possibilities for the ultimate truth of this are still wide open. To rule out “the supernatural” (by the wrong concept) on the assumption that we have no scientific proof of it is utterly arrogance and bombast. For all we know what we take to be solid unshakable reality might be nothing more than God’s day dream. Granted, there is end to the spinning of moon beams and we can talk all day about what ‘might be,’ so we need evidence and arguments to warrant the placing of confidence in propositions. We have confidence placing evidence; it doesn’t have to be scientific although some of it is. That will come in the next chapter. The point here is that there is no basis for the snide dismissal of concepts such as supernatural and supernature.

[1] Victor Stenger, God and The Folly of Faith: The Incompatibility of Science and Religion. Amherst: New
York: Prometheus Books, 2012. 225.
[2] Stenger, ibid, quoting National Academy of Sciences, Teaching about Evolution and the Nature of Science. Washington DC: National Academies Press, 1998, 58.
[3] STFC “are there other dimensions,” Large Hadron Collider. Website. Scinece and Facilities Council, 2012 URL:
[4] ibid
[5] George F.R. Ellis. “Does the Miltiverse Reallly Exist [preview]” Scientific American (July 19, 2011) On line versoin URL:
George F.R. Ellis is Proffessor Emeritus in Mathematics at University of Cape Town. He’s been proessor of Cosmic Physics at SISSA (Trieste)
[6] Peter Woit, Not Even Wrong, Posted on by woi  blog, URL: 
[7] ibid, “Welcome to the Multiverse,” Posted on by woit
[8] Mohsen Kermanshahi. Universal Theory. “Sring Theory.”    Website URL:
[9] STFC ibid, op cit.
[10] Sylvie Braibant; Giorgio Giacomelli; Maurizio Spurio Particles and Fundamental Interactions: An Introduction to Particle Physics (2nd ed.).  Italy: Springer-Verlag, science and Business media, 2009, pp. 1–3. 

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Sunday, December 20, 2015

Logic lesson: atheist privelging in action

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Post on Secular Café. I had put down a new version cosmological argument, that will become clear in a moment. The first three page were proceeding fine. They were good natured and tried politely to answer. I was nice to them and it was good. I answered all their arguments they began to become a bit annoyed then heated. Then...

Originally Posted by R. Soul View Post
: "Your argument is watertight. But that's because it's circular.",

It's going to turn out that the atheists in this thread are just assuming atheism has to be true, give that presumption, then argue from that as though it is proof
Me: show me, how?

All contingencies have causes.
All natural things a contingent.
The universe is natural, therefore it is contingent.
Because it is contingent, it must have a cause, since all contingencies have causes. Therefore, the universe is caused.

that's not circular. It's totally linear.

1. All contingencies have causes.

2.All natural things are contingent.

no 2 is derived from no 1. because all contingent things have causes they are contingent. contingent means to have a cause. that is not circulars, it is not stated that natural things all have causes but it doesn't have to be stated. It's common knowledge.

3.The universe is natural, therefore it is contingent.

that's your basic modus ponens. 1 and 2 establish that universe is natural, it is cotangent. why? because it's made of causes.

modus ponens: if p then q, p therefore q;

if caused then contingent

U = cause therefore U = contingent.

no circle.

Circular reasoning assumes the conclusion in the premise. The example atheists love to illustrate this is "the Bible is the word of God, I know because the Bible says so." That is truly circular. My argument does not do that. It proceeds rationally from premise to conclusion. He's confusing the idea of believing the argument, thus confusing argument with science, as though it's an open ended experiment. His argument is circular because he is assuming atheism is true and then arguing that as a proof of his position. Quote:R. Soul
Of course, a water filled balloon is water tight, but that doesnt mean it's imune to being popped
like a pustule on the forehead of creationist thinking.

Metacrock argument from analogy

Quote:R. Soul
All you have to offer is a blackbox where any rule you apply fits nicely inside the blackbox. The most glaring issue is of course the special plea that the universe is natural but god is not. Nothing like invoking magic to make your black box work.

I think what he's really trying to say but doesn't kno0w how is that he doesn't trust logic and trusts empirical evidence. But the only bias he has in arguing it is that it rests upon the assumption that atheism I privileged and belief in God is somehow to be abhorred. Metacrock you are merely gainsaying the evidence. atheist logic is so convoluted and your brain washing ad stripped your ability to understand linear thinking: the concept of God is that of necessary being. that's the idea in which we believe.. you can't deny the right to defend a belief because you don't hold it.

What you are really protesting is the fact that I don't privilege atheist assumptions. I already established why it's not logical to posit a caused ultimate origin (it wou8ld not be ultimate). you are merely whining because your belief system doesn't engender the privilege you need kit to have.

Quote:R. Soul
This allows us to postulate an infinity of made-up stuff that caused the universe. Elves, tambourines and elephants, you name it. It's only because people anthropomorphise that traditional gods are human-like, therefor we have bearded gramps in the sky telling us not to wank or mix fibres. Oh, and sidekick Jesus, because having kids is what humans do. And his sidekick the holy spirit because invoking magic never goes out of style.

Metacrock To the contrary. I already alluded to the fact that ICR is illogical and impossible. so no infinite string of causes will do. It has to be a final cause.

as for anthropomorphizing I said nothing of the kind. In a philosophical argument one is arguing for a place holder. We are a long way from filling it out.

Quote:R. Soul
It's hillarious how religious fools have been forced to avoid talking about specific dogmas related to their specific religion and are now wielding a vague pseudo-intellectual cosmology in order to try and compete with real science. All of it misses the point of course, and the fallacy is asserting that anything must have a temporal cause. Once you start grokking the idea that causality is bound by time, and that time becomes meaningless as you approach the singularity of the big bang, then outmoded thinking about cause and effect throws the idea of a sky gramps on its head

There you can clearly see the privileging of atheism; he writes off logic as "dogma" and assumes atheism is some kind of automatic deterrent to keep God away. I assume "real science" means atheist opinion.
Metacrock That really speaks to our logical abilities when you have to resort to name calling. that speaks so highly of your argument. I can/t discuss the "specific dogmas" because you wouldn't understand them and to the basic fact that God is obvious. you are so afraid of that reality you can't reason about it.

Quote:R. Soul
This is intolerable for people who lack the imagination or humility to trancend the 3d world we live in in. The irony is devastating, since they rely on the attributes of the physical world to create their god gap

R. Soul Only the young, ignorant or irrational are taken in by this prevarication.

Metacrock Translation: I am going stamp my little foot because you are better read than I am and Christians are supposed to be stupid; sorry I am not stupid enough for you to beat. Get used to it. If your view are really worthy anything you should be able to beat my argument without name calling, or bluster. stand or fall by the logic.

[this was followed by a post of vin diagram some thing about Santa and the one like this:]

Quote:R. Soul

Originally Posted by R. Soul View Post Because, in metacrock's case, logic is contingent

R. Soul Fuck know what it's contingent on or with, but hey, that's his chosen word.

Metacrock thanks for your surrender. also thanks for giving me material for Atheist watch.

glad you know you lost

Another post, same thread different oppenant

Originally Posted by Copernicus

Originally Posted by Copernicus View Post

Nonsense. It's easy to assume that there never was any such being. Your "necessary cause" could just be a (Wikipedia)Higgs Field through with particles travel, causing local perturbations that cause the conditions of a "Big Bang" to develop. The rest is history. No need to invent a superpowerful, super-intelligent being that feels a need to create other beings to worship itself.-
Unles Higgs field is eternal and unaused and not a product of nature then logic rules it out

Metacrock I'm sorry you don't know the terminology do you?, you are trying to disprove my argument and you don't know the basic parlance that all philosophers use. necessary doesn't mean you can't portend there's no God. it means first that God is not contingent upon anything else, secondly that if God is real then it's impossible that he could not be. In other words God is either on or off never maybe. one way to say that is God cannot cease or fail to be.

He apparently thinks necessary means the world can't be imagined without it but all it really means is not contingent. He also doesn't understand the concept of Go Quo
No, I understand your terminology perfectly well, and I am not "pretending" that there is no God. That is the question we are debating. The problem is that you missed my point. A huge gaping hole in your argument is that 1-6 makes no mention of "God", so you have no basis for just slipping him into your conclusion with a wave of your hand

I said in the original presentation that God is the necessary eternal aspect ofr being. figure it out.
Metacrock I said up front I don't seek to prove God but to show belief in God is rationally warranted. The point here the argument stops shows that eternal necessity hsd to be the ultimate origin. That's the basic definition of God. maybe I do need to tweek it but that's a minor repair.

The term "God" carries a great deal of baggage beyond just being a "necessary cause", and that extra baggage is what concerns people when they worship him and pray to him. A First Cause can be a completely natural phenomenon such as a glitch in (Wikipedia)quantum foam. You don't pray to quantum foam, do you?

Metacrock not just cause but a necessary aspect of being. that phrase aspect tells you it's not just a big man in the sky


Originally Posted by Metacrock View Post

[I resume answering the point that no justification for speaking of God or calling God necessary] of course there is; God cannot fail or cease to be. that is part of being eternal.

By merely asserting that the "necessary cause" is eternal and then labeling it "God", you are begging the question. Those are in the conclusions you need to reach. They are not in your premises

Metacrock (1) did more than just assert it. I argued that ICR is impossible and ultimate origin can;t have a cause or it's not ultimate. now you must deal with that. that proves it must be eternal since uncaused.

(2) your argument really again boils down to anger because I'm not willing to grant you the privilege you give atheist assumptions.

Quote:Copernicus Originally Posted by Copernicus View Post

The reality is that deities are always imagined to be humanlike on some level, not just abstract "causes". People pray to them and expect their gods to want them to pray. God doesn't just create universes. He performs miracles, i.e. interacts with the universe in local time. He communicates with people--at least, you claim he has communicated with you. He responds to worship, sometimes answering prayers. Sometimes not. Depends on his mood.

Metacrock I am arguing that God is real. quoting your position on that is not an argument. using your position to prove your position is circular reasoning,

I did not "quote my position" and use it as a premise, which is what you have been doing.<
Metacrock Bull shit! every move I've made has been explained according to logic. you are merely privileging atheist assumptions. you did just quote your position the little sermon on how gods are made up that doesn't have anything to do with the argument.

Your word "God" does not appear anywhere in the premises of your argument. It only appears in the conclusion

Metacrock that's a mere technicality.

herefore, you have inserted some hidden steps in your reasoning to arrive at your conclusion. What I am doing here is disagreeing with your characterization of what the word "God" usually refers to. A god is a powerful spiritual being that people worship. You are using the name "God" in order to drag in a lot of extra baggage that simply doesn't belong there

Metacrock saying that doesn't change the logic. if I put the word God in does it suddenly become true? there are two hidden steps

(1) all things we observe in nature are caused without exception. argue QM theory I have a dandy answer.

(2) God is the term we use to designate eternal necessary being

both are common knowledge

no philosopher begins an argument by saying :I am using logic because it is logical." the obvious can be assumed.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Answering Stephan Fry on his "world without God"

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Stephen Fry

Stephan Fry is a comic actor who was often on Blackadder,(Brit com) and had a couple of shows with Hough Laurie ("House" on tv show House). Fry is a great actor and is hysterical, he's also a big time atheist and his atheistic propagandizing has gotten him called "an activist." He has a thing on youtube in which he extols the virtues of a world without God. His basic message seems to be that religion is only about governing external behavior while secular humanism is about the spiritual and inner depths plumbed ay the arts. At 0.52 he says it exactly. God of the Bible is only concerned with governing external behavior but we humanists care about the inner person. That is right before his diatribe on Prometheus.

He speaks to the greatness and poetry of the King James translation with its beautiful Elizabethan English. secular society fails the imagination because it did not replace the poetry of Bible. At that point he makes a statement that his, society the one he would bring in and to some extent the one his side has brought in, is not just unbelieving but "anti-theist." He asserts that the atheists must care about the internal the inner person, asserting that Christianity is just about controlling behavior. He asserts that they must not allow religion to have the beautiful and virtuous spiritual altruistic morally strong, not allow it to be "peculiar to religion." In a written quotation taken from this speech he says:

"I don't think we should ever allow religion the trick of maintaining that the spiritual and the beautiful and the noble and the altruistic and the morally strong and the virtuous are in any way inventions of religion or particular or peculiar to religion."
The Blasphemy Debate[1]

Religion is the origin of the concept of spirit. It's foolish to claim that the spiritual is not the monopoly of religion. It's only the watered down metaphorical version of spirit to which non religious thinking can lay claim. Art (including literature and poetry) are directly connected to religion. Of course I'm not saying that one must be religious to do art, but it would be foolish to pretend that they are antithetical. Fry doesn't exactly say that, and yet the impression is clearly created. German philosophers such as Hegel always associated spirit mind. It's often overlooked but the Greek word for spirit, pneuma, (nou-ma) while meaning primarily breath or wind also has carries a meaning of mind.[2]So the Greeks thought of breath as spirit but also associated it with life force, and thus with mind. The exercise of thought in writing or creating art is seen as "spiritual" idea of a real spirit as something immaterial that lives and thinks is seen as totally primitive. Most modern people would probably be willing to split the difference and to understand ourselves as having a spirit as life force and that as connected to intellect it also serves a metaphorical function. That metaphor is still more connected to religion and shared with art. In terms of Christian theology it can be understood and part of the imago dei.

He does make a statement about the barren road of Dawkins style of atheism, the reductive mentality. So he understands that problem. This is not your average illiterate atheist who thinks Daniel Dennett is great literature. He was an English major at Cambridge. I can have sympathy for his view point. He is the kind of atheist my brother and I admired and tried to be, literate and literary and appreciative of the arts. His speaking style is so smooth and with that debonair English highly educated manner he really puts it over. His use of the Prometheus myth he ties in with the Poet Shelly (Prometheus unbound) and his defiance of religion.

In the myth, Prometheus gives fire to man contrary to the will of the gods.. As punishment Zeus has him chained to a rock and a bird eats out hi liver every day, (the liver grows back because he's immortal). Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)was a major leader in the Romantic rebellion and especially its poetry. He is one of the greatest poets in the English language. Shelley himself expropriated the Prometheus myth as a symbol of romantic rebellion. The poet brining the light of knowledge and reason to man against the wishes of God. Here God stands for the authority structure politically, culturally and religiously. Shelley's wife Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein a story about a creature struggling against his creator. Fry is aware of all of this he points it out. I will pass over the odd coincidence that Lucifer is also light bearer. Of course in some versions of the myth Prometheus created man. But that doesn't fit because in Christian world view the creator of man is the creator of all things, and there can be no higher power.

According to Fry the Greeks are saying "we are as good as the gods." We have the liver. We are willing to defy the powers that be (for Fry that may mean society. organized religion, or God). He goes on in rhetorical bluster about how humanity is great. Here's a real point of contradiction in humanist ideology. Humanity is great, humanity invented God, but God ids no good. Despite the literacy and artistic appreciation Fry brings to the subject, the basic point--humanity can do it all without God--is hog wash. The truth of it is we can do all kinds of things without God. We are real good at screwing up the planet without God. We are veritable virtuosi at creating the potential for nuclear destruction. We show a fair degree of talent for murder, rape, and torture for political repression. The one thing we can't do without God is get our shit together as a species. 80,000 raped, tortured and murdered victims of the death squads in El Salvador, that was just in the 1980s. 60,000 in Guatemala, 70,000 victims of contra terror in Nicaragua. These are the things in which humanity excels.

Of course atheists try to blame Christianity for the evils of the world. We must admit Reagan fooled the Christians. Much of the support for his contra war came from evangelicals and fundamentalists. On the other hand, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot were atheists. The level of suffering and death due to communism was estimated at 1 million lives.[3] This is wrought by atheism, Marx's brilliant new humanity8 was as screwed up as the old humanity. But it's not as though I mean to impugn Humanity. We are created in the image of God, and so e can do wonderful things, even apart from any particular belief system. Not just art and literature but humans can excels at compassion, they act to save each other and sacrifice themselves for the good. Communism screwed itself but started with the best of intensions. From the Paris commune to the civil rights movement, from Mother jones to Mother Teresa, from Joan of Arc to Joan Baez humans have all beliefs have cone wonderful things. But they forget God they screw their movements as did communism. They thought they could theorize and manage their way into changing human nature.

It's true that we can screw up our movements with belief in God ad well. Look how the charismatic movement allowed itself to be coopted into a right wing organizing tool in the 80s. The core of communism is human nature. That can be good but when its bad it can be murderous. The core of religious belief is the supernatural reality of God.[4] Mystical experience lies at the core of all religious traditions. Mystical experience is transforming. It changes one's life in vital and dramatic and positive ways.[5]

Council on Spiritual Practices
Research Summary

Also called Transcendent Experiences, Ego-Transcendence, Intense Religious Experience, Peak Experiences, Mystical Experiences, Cosmic Consciousness Sources Wuthnow, Robert (1978). Peak Experiences: Some Empirical Tests. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 18 (3), 59-75.

Noble, Kathleen D. (1987). ``Psychological Health and the Experience of Transcendence.'' The Counseling Psychologist, 15 (4), 601-614.

Lukoff, David & Francis G. Lu (1988). ``Transpersonal psychology research review: Topic: Mystical experiences.'' Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 20 (2), 161-184.

Furthermore, Greeley found no evidence to support the orthodox belief that frequent mystic experiences or psychic experiences stem from deprivation or psychopathology. His ''mystics'' were generally better educated, more successful economically, and less racist, and they were rated substantially happier on measures of psychological well-being.
(Charles T. Tart, Psi: Scientific Studies of the Psychic Realm, p. 19.)

Two of the major studies
Long-Term Effects Wuthnow:

*Say their lives are more meaningful,
*think about meaning and purpose
*Know what purpose of life is
Meditate more
*Score higher on self-rated personal talents and capabilities
*Less likely to value material possessions, high pay, job security, fame, and having lots of friends
*Greater value on work for social change, solving social problems, helping needy
*Reflective, inner-directed, self-aware, self-confident life style


*Experience more productive of psychological health than illness
*Less authoritarian and dogmatic
*More assertive, imaginative, self-sufficient
*intelligent, relaxed
*High ego strength,
*relationships, symbolization, values,
*integration, allocentrism,
*psychological maturity,
*self-acceptance, self-worth,
*autonomy, authenticity, need for solitude,
*increased love and compassion

(3) Trend toward positive view among psychologists..[6]
Spiriutal Emergency


Trend toward positive view among psychologists. Spiriutal Emergency MYSTICAL OR UNITIVE EXPERIENCE a. clinical literature does not see mystical experience as pathyology

"Offsetting the clinical literature that views mystical experiences as pathological, many theorists (Bucke, 1961; Hood, 1974, 1976; James, 1961; Jung, 1973; Laski, 1968; Maslow, 1962, 1971; Stace, 1960; Underhill, 1955) have viewed mystical experiences as a sign of health and a powerful agent of transformation."

b. Most clinicians and clinical studies see postive.(Ibid)

"Results of a recent survey (Allman, et al,. 1992) suggest that most clinicians do not view mystical experiences as pathological. Also, studies by several researchers have found that people reporting mystical experiences scored lower on psychopathology scales and higher on measures of psychological well-being than controls (Caird, 1987; Hood, 1976, 1977, 1979; Spanos and Moretti, 1988)".

c. Incidence rate suggests no pathology.

"Numerous studies assessing the incidence of mystical experience (Back and Bourque, 1970; Greeley, 1974, 1987; Hay and Morisy, 1978; Hood, 1974, 1975, 1977; Thomas and Cooper, 1980) all support the conclusion that 30-40% of the population do have such experiences, suggesting that they are normal rather than pathological phenomena. In addition, a recent survey (Allman et al., 1992) has demonstrated that the number of patients who bring mystical experiences into treatment is not insignificant. Psychologists in full-time practice were asked to estimate the percentage of their clients over the past 12 months who had reported a mystical experience. The 285 respondents indicated that of the 20,670 clients seen during the past year, the incidence of mystical experience was 4.5%. This clearly challenges the GAP report on Mysticism, which claims that "mystical experiences are rarely observed in psychotherapeutic practice" (Group for Advancement of Psychiatry, 1976, p. 799).[8]
"we are captains of our soul" Fry adapts Henley's "Invictus." We will see if we are the captain of our souls when we face eternity. What do3s he do about the deterministic aspects of atheistic thought? That is by far the prevailing tendency among atheists. Chemical determinism is one of their most dominant positions. To hear most atheists on the nt tell it we are little more than automatons.
God no good if he exists. lqack of insight can't make a greatvclerical don't have smart Christians anymore. feeble nonesnwe
I mean it's perfectly obvious that if there were ever a God he has lost all possible taste. You've only got to look - forget the aggression and unpleasantness of the radical right or the Islamic hordes to the East - the sheer lack of intelligence and insight and ability to express themselves and to enthuse others of the priesthood and the clerisy here, in this country, and indeed in Europe, you know God once had Bach and Michelangelo on his side, he had Mozart, and now who does he have? People with ginger whiskers and tinted spectacles who reduce the glories of theology to a kind of sharing, you know?
(A distinctly possible side-swipe here in the then Archbishop of Canterbury being bearded and bespectacled)...[8]
So we see that beneath the Vanier of smooth talking education there lies a bigotry of the basest sort. Of we don't know if he's read any modern theologians so he would nod not know if there are any the likes of Leibniz or not. Of course the English are not known for theological Brilliants. He needs to turn to the Germans, the likes of Tillich, Bultmann, Bart and Moltmann. In England there was D.Z. Philips. Of course in America Plantinga and Alston. I guess that's the price they have to Pay for creating an environment hostile to belief. The English have N.T. Wright who is a brilliant scholar.

So Fry uses his smooth talk to feed the delusion of atheists that they can be good without God. That's why they are so kind and understanding and never insult anyone, because they are so full of that divine fire it just shines from them like the pyres of burning books in 1930s Germany. Hey it's hard enough to be good with God. We all know they are not achieving it without God.


[1] Stephan Fry with Christopher Hitchens.~ "Hay Festival pages," On the Guardian website no date given, online resource from Fry's website Age of the Sage, URL:

[2] Strongs Concordance with Hebrew and Greek Lexicon: on line copy URL

4151. pneuma pnyoo'-mah from 4154; a current of air, i.e. breath (blast) or a breeze; by analogy or figuratively, a spirit, i.e. (human) the rational soul, (by implication) vital principle, mental disposition, etc., or (superhuman) an angel, demon, or (divine) God, Christ's spirit, the Holy Spirit:--ghost, life, spirit(-ual, -ually), mind. Compare 5590. [3] Scholar's Corner, "Atheism's Body Count," website, URL: accessed !2/13/15

[4] Ralf Hood Jr., Theoretical Fruits from the Empirical Study of Mysticism: A Jamesian Perspective Journal für Psychologie, Jg. 16 (2008), Ausgabe 3], PDF URL:

[5] Joseph Hinman, The Trace of God: Rational Warrant for Belief, Colorado Springs: Grand Viaduct, 2014, 10-20.

[6] Council on Spiritual Practices, "Unitive Consciousness Research Summary," website URL:

Council on Spirir5ual Practices sounds like wacy New agers but they are not. The are respected psychologists and researchers.

[7] Spiritual Compotency Research Center. Onjline Resource
formerly called "Spiritual emergency."

[8] age of sage, op. cit.

the note about the reference to arch Bishop was made by the folks on the British Guardian website.