Friday, February 24, 2017

fact sheet, Trump's Russian Connection

The firing of Flynn has revived the Russian connection. Here are a few articles that sum up the connections and what we know about then so far, It is accepted beyond question by American intelligence that the Dems were hacked by the Russians and that Putin tired to influence the election, While sticking Trump with knowingly participating is still somewhat conjectural it is not a secret that Putin actively wanted Trump to win and they tired to alter the result, so Trump would win, There is evidence that Trump had motives to act. Just how many probes are going and which one's these articles will help clarify, Trump was the recipient of Russian favor in winning the election,weather or if he participated in some kind of organized plot would mean he had more complicity in plotting with the campaign strategy and a coordinated effort.What I don't see happening now is an investigation to link the FBI to Putin since Comey;s trick with the emails sot Hillary the election. That part seems forgotten,

USA Today
Trump Russia Connection: What We Know Now
 (Feb 15, 2017)
accessed 2/22/17

Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald Trump's presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election. Time
Driving Wednesday's events was New York Times report that people close to Trump — including campaign aides and other associates — had spoken to Russian intelligence operatives during the campaign. The report cited current and former law enforcement and intelligence officials, all anonymous. It's unclear what they spoke about or even if the Trump associates knew they were speaking to Russian agents, whose calls were being monitored as part of routine counterintelligence surveillance.
The story also made clear that officials had seen "no evidence" of a coordinated attempt to interfere with the presidential election.
But the New York Times report is significant both because it expands both the time frame of Russian contacts and the circle of those involved. Specifically named: Paul Manafort, Trump's campaign chairman.
Here is the NYT article mentioned in the USA Today aritcle you just read.

NY Times
"Trump Campaign aides had Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence"
WASHINGTON — Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials.
American law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the same time they were discovering evidence that Russia was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee, three of the officials said. The intelligence agencies then sought to learn whether the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians on the hacking or other efforts to influence the election.
The officials interviewed in recent weeks said that, so far, they had seen no evidence of such cooperation.
But the intercepts alarmed American intelligence and law enforcement agencies, in part because of the amount of contact that was occurring while Mr. Trump was speaking glowingly about the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin. At one point last summer, Mr. Trump said at a campaign event that he hoped Russian intelligence services had stolen Hillary Clinton’s emails and would make them public. (read more)

U.S. Inquiries Into Russian Election Hacking Include Three FBI probes
Feb 18,2017
accessed 2/22/17

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation is pursuing at least three separate probes relating to alleged Russian hacking of the U.S. presidential elections, according to five current and former government officials with direct knowledge of the situation.While the fact that the FBI is investigating had been reported previously by the New York Times and other media, these officials shed new light on both the precise number of inquires and their focus.The FBI's Pittsburgh field office, which runs many cyber security investigations, is trying to identify the people behind breaches of the Democratic National Committee's computer systems, the officials said. Those breaches, in 2015 and the first half of 2016, exposed the internal communications of party officials as the Democratic nominating convention got underway and helped undermine support for Hillary Clinton.The Pittsburgh case has progressed furthest, but Justice Department officials in Washington believe there is not enough clear evidence yet for an indictment, two of the sources said.Meanwhile the bureau’s San Francisco office is trying to identify the people who called themselves “Guccifer 2” and posted emails stolen from Clinton campaign manager John Podesta’s account, the sources said. Those emails contained details about fundraising by the Clinton Foundation and other topics. (more)

The New Yorker
Trump,Putin, And The Big Hack
accessed 2/22/17

this is an extremely important article to read, it summarizes three US intelligence probes that show Putin ordered hacking ot influence US elections.  (read more through link above)

Trump's Russia Motives
The second explanation is the business conspiracy. Because many American banks wouldn’t lend money to Trump’s debt-soaked company, he had to look elsewhere, like Russia. “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets,” Donald Trump Jr. said in 2008, specifically mentioning projects in SoHo and Dubai.
Read the article see link above

For Trump Three Decades of Chasing Deals in Russia
accessed 2/22/17
Mr. Trump repeatedly sought business in Russia as far back as 1987, when he traveled there to explore building a hotel. He applied for his trademark in the country as early as 1996. And his children and associates have appeared in Moscow over and over in search of joint ventures, meeting with developers and government officials.
During a trip in 2006, Mr. Sater and two of Mr. Trump’s children, Donald Jr. and Ivanka, stayed at the historic Hotel National Moscow opposite the Kremlin, connecting with potential partners over the course of several days.
As recently as 2013, Mr. Trump himself was in Moscow. He had sold Russian real estate developers the right to host his Miss Universe pageant that year, and he used the visit as a chance to discuss development deals, writing on Twitter at the time: “TRUMP TOWER-MOSCOW is next.”

trump's Russian

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

see new fact sheet on Resistance is not Futile

The Super Essential-Godhead (God is 'Being Itself")


Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite (around 500AD)

Most people tend to think of God s a big man on a throne. They judge God by human standards. Like Dawkins argument that God would be more complex than his universe and thus less likely to exit. This is based entirely upon the idea that God is a magnified version of humanity. When I point this out atheists  scoff and insist that most people see God this way we Christian apologists have to as well. When I point out that Paul Tillich had this totally different view of God as being itself they insist that this is not a Christian concept.

Paul Tillich the great theologian of the 20th century, was most noted for his seemly radical idea that God is "Being itself" or the ground of being, just what that means is very hard to put into words. Essentially it means that God is not a being but the basis of what  being is, being itself. There are no good analogies but the best I've come up with is like the difference between architecture and a single house. It is not a house but the basis upon which houses are built. This is important as a distinction because atheists are always trying to judge God by human standards to treat God as though he just magnified humanity. All of the criticisms they make of religious belief revolve around the notion of God as a big man. The true Christian concept of God is more than that; and this the  "true Christian concept" because it is the view of the Orthodox church from a time before the split with the West. Most commentators on Tillich wont say this but I think I have an original observation that Tillich was trying to translate Dionysus the Areopagite into existentialism. That is to say ancinet neo-Platonism into modern existentialism. Notice the similarity in the ideas: compare this with last post.

Dionysus The Areopagite (500)

The Author claims to be Paul’s companion in Acts, but due to the almost complete infusion of neo-Platonism throughout the text, the writings have been placed near the end of the fourth or early part of the fifth century. This is largely due to the influence of pagan philosophers Proclus (lecturing in Athens around 430 AD). The true name of the author is unknown he was probably a monk, believed to have lived in Syria. His writings have been extremely influential; he in essence kicked of the whole tradition of Christian mysticism. He founds the basic foundation for Gregory and Eastern Orthodox figures quoted above. The ideas of “Pseudo Dionysus” as he is most often known in the west, are set down in a long introduction by the translator Clearance Edwin Rolt. Rolt died at thirty-seven and this was his only book, but he had been hailed as one of the finest scholars ever produced by Queens College. Thus I think it only fair that we quote from the man himself. The major concept in which turns all Dionysus has to say is daubed by Rolt as the Super Essential Godhead:

The basis of their teaching is the doctrine of the Super-Essential Godhead (ὑπερούσιος θεαρχία). We must, therefore, at the very outset fix the meaning of this term. Now the word “Essence” or “Being” (οὐσία) means almost invariably an individual existence; more especially a person, since such is the highest type that individual existence can in this world assume. And, in fact, like the English word “Being,” it may without qualification be used to mean an angel. Since, then, the highest connotation of the term “Essence” or “Being” is a person, it follows that by “Super-Essence” is intended “Supra-Personality.” And hence the doctrine of the Super-Essential Godhead simply means that God is, in His ultimate Nature, Supra-Personal.

Now an individual person is one who distinguishes himself from the rest of the world. I am a person because I can say: “I am I and I am not you.” Personality thus consists in the faculty of knowing oneself to be one individual among others. And thus, by its very nature, Personality is (on one side of its being, at least) a finite thing. The very essence of my personal state lies in the fact that I am not the whole universe but a member thereof.

God, on the other hand, is Supra-Personal because He is infinite. He is not one Being among others, but in His ultimate nature dwells on a plane where there is nothing whatever beside Himself. The only kind of consciousness we may attribute to Him is what can but be described as an Universal Consciousness. He does not distinguish Himself from us; for were we caught up on to that level we should be wholly transformed into Him. And yet we distinguish between ourselves and Him because from our lower plane of finite Being we look up and see that ultimate level beyond us. The Super-Essential Godhead is, in fact, precisely that which modern philosophy describes as the Absolute. Behind the diversities of this world there must be an Ultimate Unity. And this Ultimate Unity must contain in an undifferentiated condition all the riches of consciousness, life, and existence which are dispersed in broken fragments throughout the world. Yet It is not a particular Consciousness or a particular Existence. It is certainly not Unconscious, Dead or, in the ordinary sense, non-Existent, for all these terms imply something below instead of above the states to which they are opposed.

We can see in that description several features which correspond to the things Tillich says. One interesting discussion that I close before it is started is the “personal” aspects. I am saving that discussion for its own chapter on Being itself and consciousness. The first point of interest is the connection between being and essence. He defines ousia as either one. Ousia of course is the root words of homoousios. Rolt confirms Tillich’s view in saying that essence refers to a particular existence, but the Super Essential is in contrast to an individual person. God is beyond the consciousness of an individual, but is in fact a universal consciousness that is in all things and can identify with all beings. I’ve already dealt with Tillich’s nix on pantheism; this is not a pantheistic idea. Yet in defining it Rolt deals with many of the aspects of God as being iself expressed by Tillich. God is infinite, God is not one person among others, transcendent of all we know and dwells on a plane beyond our understanding. The term “Super Essential” can be understood as “ground of being” or “Being itself.” They are basically saying the same thing. The Greek phrase he uses for “Super-Essential Godhead” is ‘humperusios Thearkia: Super means “over” or “transcendent” a structure over something else, such as “superstructure.” Thearkia is commonly the term in the NT for “Godhead.” What is being communicated is the notion of transcendence but also the transcendental signifier, the overview to the ordering of meaning and order, that is equivalent to the concept of a ground, of course as pointed out, essential has an affinity with being. Thus we could as well translate it “ground of being.” The concept of God as “Ground of Being” is the concept of “Super Essential” God. I don’t suggest that “ground” would be a good translation as translations go, but I do think it’s hinting at the same idea.

Pseudo Dionysius himself begins by embracing the vita negative, God is beyond our understanding, we don’t try to say what God is, we experience what God is (mystical union) we say what God is not and infer from that the truth, except where we are given clear understanding in Scripture. “We must not then dare to speak, or indeed to form any conception of the hidden Super-Essential Godhead, except those things that are revealed to us from the Holy Scriptures. For a Super-Essential understanding of it is proper to unknowning which lieth at the Super-Essence thereof surpassing discourse, intuition, and Being.” The translator capitalizes being.

The one who is beyond thought surpasses the apprehension of thought; the good which is beyond utterance surpasses the reach of words. Yea, it is a unity which is the unifying source of all unity and a Super-Essential Essence, a Mind beyond the reach of mind and Word beyond utterance, Eluding Discourse, intuition, Name and every kind of being. It is the universal cause of existence while itself existing not for it is beyond all being and such that it alone could give, with proper understanding thereof, a revelation of itself.(52)

Notice that this appears to be where Tillich obtains his usage of the term “existence,” and the distinction that God does not exist. What is puzzling is that while Tillich says God is beyond existence, because existence is for contingent things, and God is Being itself, identifies God with Being, Dionysus says God is beyond being. But then he is a full blown neo-Platonist. For him being is just reality and that is a copy of the true nature of things in which it participates. Tillich seems to move one step over from neo-Platonism toward modern existentialism. Dionysus tells us that we must make no expression or positive statement about the Super-Essential Godhead except those revealed in scripture for these are actually revealed by God. He tells us that “many writers thou wilt find who have declared that it [Super-Essential Godhead] is not only invisible and incomprehensible but also unreachable and past finding out since there is no trace of any that have penetrated the depth of its infinitude.” God reveals “itself” in stages commensurate with the powers of the subject for understanding. The notion that God is so wholly other, so transcendent of understanding is right in line with Tillich’s view. It’s clear Dionysius is a major source for Tillich’s existential ontology.

The upshot is that God transcends mere personhood. God is personal but is not "a person{ but is the origin of the personal. God is universal mind, meaning God is not nature but is the foundation of nature and can speak through nature and is present in nature (though his energies) and beyond it. God cannot be Judged by the standards of anything we know in  nature although God knows each one of us better than we know ourselves.

Dionysius the Areopagite: on Divine names and the Mystical Theology, trans. Clearance Edwin Rolt , New YorkNew York: Cosmio 2007, from original 1920 publication.  see also online versionChristian Classics Ethereal Library, on line version, The Author and his Influence, trans by, 1920  website URL:  by
visited May 13,
[1] Ibid, Introduction, 4-5
[1] Pseudo-Dionysius, On Divine Names, Ibid 52
[1] Ibid, 53
[1] Ibid.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

God, Intelligent Design, and The Illusion of Technique

Image result for metacrocks blog

On Secular Outpost , Eric Sotnak [1] opens debate against Intelligent Design (ID) by approaching it politically, DeVos ls ID and  she will be imposing it upon the schools, so here's why it's wrong.... Eric is approaching it through the notion of defending evolution, I have no intention of attacking evolution so I am approaching it through an understanding of belief in God. The issues transcend both politics and evolution, ID is just fancy packaging to dress up creationism in a more respectable garb, but the basic concept  that the universe is  the product of mind I support; it is that issue that I  approach as a from of belief in God. 

If you really want to fight what's about to happen to the educational system then you need to join the political struggle and back the resistance, Major part of the resistances is Christians. You don't see my feed on facebook but most of the anti-Trump stuff I see on FB is from Christians. Atheists ate still about 3% Christians are about 80% so it just stands to reason most anti-Trump feeling will be Christians,We resistance Christians are pretty pissed about what the Republicans have done (fundies included) to the faith. Eric is above making little wise cracks about Christians but not all of the posters of SOP are, this topic no less draws some of those comments.

There are three major issues I will deal with here, Two are used by Eric and one is my own. First there is Probability of naturalistic origin as opposed to Supernatural one,,
Secomdoy, the mechanism for creation , and thirdly the illusion of technique, This is the concept I barrow from William Barrett and his Book of that title.
[2] I will be making use of this concept in a major way kn  my upcoming book God,Science, and Ideology. The point being that the way the  issues are discussed in the conventional argument between ID and evolution feeds into the ideology that motivates scientism, not to accuse Eric of being scientistic.

Eric argues that Irreduceable Complexity (IC), a major argument in favor of ID,  is more probably a product of naturalistic forces rather than supernatural."But it is at least less improbable that it should have come about by supernatural means (intelligent agency).IC is about various organisms that are complete in themselves such as microbes that are like little motors,any part missing would mean the whole organism would fail to function, I have seen the same kind of argument made about the eye, So evolution could not have produced such an organism because it would have to start out whole, Sotnak argues that the probability is with a naturalistic outlook at the product of IC.  But he can't make good on that claim because there is no way to subject God to probability. Especially not with Bayes because (1) any setting of a prior is strictly biased, on either side. (2) No new info coming in about God because God is not given in sense data, If God is not given in sense data then God can't be subjected to probability, Consider the limitations of trying to use probability such as Bayes theorem for any kind of question about religious faith,m not merely the likelihood of God creating IC.

 Bayes’ theorem was introduced first as an argument against Hume’s argument on miracles, that is to say, a proof of the probability of miracles. The theorem was learned by Richard Price from Bayes papers after the death of the latter, and was first communicated to the Royal society in 1763.[3] The major difference in the version Bayes and Price used and modern (especially skeptical versions) is that Laplace worked out how to introduce differentiation in prior distributions. The original version gave 50-50 probability to the prior distributions. The original version gave 50-50 probability to the prior distribution.[4] The problem with using principles such as Bayes theorem is that they can’t tell us what we need to know to make the calculations of probability accurate in dealing with issues where our knowledge is fragmentary and sparse. The theorem is good for dealing with concrete things like tests for cancer, developing spam filters, and military applications but not for determining the answer to questions about reality that are philosophical by nature and that would require an understanding of realms beyond, realms of which we know nothing. Bayes conquered the problem of what level of chance or probability to assign the prior estimate by guessing. This worked because the precept was that future information would come in that would tell him if his guesses were in the ball park or not. Then he could correct them and guess again. As new information came in he would narrow the field to the point where eventually he’s not just in the park but rounding the right base so to speak.

The problem is that doesn’t work as well when no new information comes in, which is what happens when dealing with things beyond human understanding. We don’t have an incoming flood of empirical evidence clarifying the situation with God because God is not the subject of empirical observation. Where we set the prior, which is crucial to the outcome of the whole thing, is always going to be a matter of ideological assumption. For example we could put the prior at 50-50 (either God exists or not) and that would yield a high probability of God.[5] Or the atheist can argue that the odds of God are low because God is not given in the sense data, which is in itself is an ideological assumption. It assumes that the only valid form of knowledge is empirical data. It also ignores several sources of empirical data that can be argued as evidence for God (such as the universal nature of mystical experience).[6] It assumes that God can’t be understood as reality based upon other means of deciding such as personal experience or logic, and it assumes the probability of God is low based upon unbelief because the it could just as easily be assumed as high based upon it’s properly basic nature or some form of elegance (parsimony). In other words this is all a matter of how e chooses to see things. Perspective matters. There is no fortress of facts giving the day to atheism, there is only the prior assumptions one chooses to make and the paradigm under which one chooses to operate; that means the perception one chooses to filter the data through.

Perhaps he's not thinking in terms of Bayes but just asserting that we only have empirical evidence of naturalistic things. First of  all He's right about the issue of  biological development of organisms, there is no way to something like that to a direct SN origin. But as long as we are not fighting evolution we can't expect that standard of empirical evidence to rule out God as the ultimate origin of all things. After all we have direct empirical evidence of physical laws or mutliverse or string membranes but some scientists want to assume these things. Remember I do not argue for proof that God exists but rather for a "rational warrant fro belief, " the subtitle of my book. In that book I argue for warrant for belief based upon empirical evidence oft the co-determinate, That is the concept of Schleiemacher very much like the idea of foot prints in the snow, We don't have direct empirical evidence of God but we do have empirical evidence of the co-determinate,k the effects of God or as I have it The Trace of God. Of course the draw back there is that you have to know wast effects God would leave so we know them when we see them, That is an issue for another time. Read the book.[7]

Eric also makes a second point about the mechanism through whichGod creates, "The claim is usually made using the term “design.” But this avoids the question of how, exactly, the design is implemented. That is, if the bacterial flagellum begins as a design in the mind of an intelligent designer, how does the designer get the flagella into the world."[8] The problem here is that the mechanism I could advance is also a mystery to us, The saving feature is we know it exits, in fact all knowledge comes to us through this mechanism: mind, If we assume consciousness is a basic property of nature an assumption well argued for B y David Chalmers for example, [9] this gives us a justification for understanding mind as the basis of reality and then we can see God as the mind that is the basis of reality. Issac Newton had a concept that the universe is the "sensorium of God" which I take to mean the universe was God's interface with tangability,[10] There as a great deal of opposition on this point from Libnetz and it does indicate that Newton tendking to think in very physical and mechanical terms even ab out God. Libeniz claimed Newton understood space as an organ God needed to see, of course that;'s an exaggeration. [11] Be that as it may the are more modern examples such as that of University of Oregon Physicist Amit Gaswami, who sees thought as the basis of reality rather than energy.

The current worldview has it that everything is made of matter, and everything can be reduced to the elementary particles of matter, the basic constituents—building blocks—of matter. And cause arises from the interactions of these basic building blocks or elementary particles; elementary particles make atoms, atoms make molecules, molecules make cells, and cells make brain. But all the way, the ultimate cause is always the interactions between the elementary particles. This is the belief—all cause moves from the elementary particles. This is what we call "upward causation." So in this view, what human beings—you and I—think of as our free will does not really exist. It is only an epiphenomenon or secondary phenomenon, secondary to the causal power of matter. And any causal power that we seem to be able to exert on matter is just an illusion. This is the current paradigm[12]

My overall point is mind can be the mechanism and the world is a thought in the mind of God.

Not Bill Gates: "Therefore it is more likely that DNA was magically popped into existence by a supernatural agent than that it came about through natural processes."

Sure but the natural process, all natural processes wre kicked of by the SN power, the miomd tha thinks the universewhy not? All reality was so popped. Look, your question how could God go from idea in mind to real world? I don't think that's a fair question because it's eh kind thing of which we can't gain knowledge empirically; if we can't gain knowledge we can't assert it can't be done.Moreover,I have a theory of it, That is to take seriously Newton;s idea that the universe is the sensorium of God, I take that to mean analogous to thought in a mind,So God is thinking the world, Look you are assuming an evolutionary process is more: realistic than a mind thinking of things but it's no moreso, that's relative, we are startling from nothing. God would be all there is,so any thought God has is reality.You are assuming some kind of pre given set of physical laws governing a process of nature, that's really just God without the personality.

That brings up the third problem, the illusion of technique, The false notion that we can know it all because we can manipulate nature to a certain degree, We don';t know why we are here  or what started the big bang expansion or where the energy that makes the universe cane from,We pretend that we have it all under control because we only accept that which we can manage and manipulate the rest we pretend is not important, that means we have many mechanisms we do not understand.


[1] Eric Sotnak, "Intelligent Design: Get Ready for Another Round,l" Secular Outpost, (Feb. 17,2017) blog, URL:  (accessed: 2/18/17)
Eric Sotnak teaching Philosophy at  University Of Akron.

[2] William Barrett, The Illusion of Technique: The Search for Meaning in a Technological Civilization, New York:Anchor, 1979, no page indicated.

[3]Geoffrey Poitras, Richard Price, Miracles and the Origin of Bayesian Decision Theory pdf$$$.pdf
Faculty of Business AdministrationSimon Fraser UniversityBurnaby, BCCANADA V5A 1S6. Geoffrey Poitras is a Professor of Finance in the Faculty of Business Administration at Simon FraserUniversity. Lisited 12/22/12.
[4] ibid
[5] Joe Carter, “The Probability of God” First Thoughts. Blog of publication of First Things. (August 18, 2010) URL:  visited (1/10/13). Carter points out that when Unwin (an atheist discussed in previous chapter) puts in 50% prior he gets 67% probability for God. When Cater himself does so he get’s 99%.Cater’s caveat: “Let me clarify that this argument is not intended to be used as a proof of God’s existence. The sole intention is to put in quantifiable terms the probabilities that we should form a belief about such a Being’s existence. In other words, this is not an ontological proof but a means of justifying a particular epistemic stance toward the idea of the existence or non-existence of a deity.The argument is that starting from an epistemically neutral point (50 percent/50 percent), we can factor in specific evidence for the existence or non-existence of a deity. After evaluating each line of evidence, we can determine if it is more or less likely that it would entail the existence of God.”
[6] Metacrock, "The Scale and The universal Nature of Mystical Experience," The religious a priroi blog URL: see also the major argument I sue for documentation in that article,  In P, McNamar (Ed.), Where God and science meet, Vol. 3, pp. 119-138. Westport, CT: Praeger. linked in Google preview.

[7] Joseph Hinman, The Trace of God:Rational Warrant For Belief. Colorado Springs: Grand Viaduct, 2014

[8] Satnak op oct. all quotes by Sotnak from this article

David Chalmers, The Conscious Mind: In Search of a theory. England, New York: Oxford University Press, 1996. 3-5.on line version: Scribd, David Chalmers, The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Theory of Conscious Experience, webstie Department of Philosophy, University of California at Santa Cruz, July 22 1995, visited 3/1/11 on line page numbers apply.

[10] Alexander Koyré, From the Closed World to the Infinite Universe, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press,  1957, 235-239

[11] Ibid 239

[12] Gaswami