Friday, December 09, 2016

Hate crimes spike after election

NY Times

Hate Crimes Increase 6% since the election

WASHINGTON — The F.B.I. reported Monday that attacks against American Muslims surged last year, driving an overall increase in hate crime against all groups.
The data, which is the most comprehensive look at hate crime nationwide, expanded on previous findings by researchers and outside monitors, who have noted an alarming rise in some types of crimes tied to the vitriol of this year’s presidential campaign and the aftermath of terrorist attacks at home and abroad since 2015.


Washington post

Post election hate spike

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate crimes, had counted 201 incidents of election-related harassment and intimidation nationwide as of Friday. Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala., told USA Today, “The white supremacists out there are celebrating his victory and many are feeling their oats.”


Thursday, December 08, 2016

Unfinished Business:The Election

evidence of Russian Tampering

These are what I think are good sources


DNC hack
The most concrete example of Russian involvement in the election was the Democratic National Committee email hack. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., resigned from the DNC chair position because of embarrassing emails revealed in the subsequent dump.
The federal intelligence community, as well as private cybersecurity analysts, are confident that Russian actors were behind the hack. The Homeland Security Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued a joint statement Oct. 7 saying they believed people at the top levels of Russian government directed the attack in an attempt to interfere in the election.
Some private security researchers also believe Russians stole and leaked emails from Clinton’s campaign manager John Podesta.

read more:

NY Times

The emails themselves — exposing the underside of the Democratic political machinery, and the conflicts, misjudgments and embarrassing communications of its top ranks — have received bountiful attention. What rarely makes the main narrative is the spy-versus-spy cyberwarfare: the tactics, the players and the government efforts to tame it. In a calamitous campaign unlike any in memory, it’s not surprising that other story lines get squeezed out. But one of the most chilling chapters of this election is the role of Russian intelligence and the growing threat of digital espionage. With days to go, readers have been shortchanged on this part of history.

read it all

PBS News Hour

HARI SREENIVASAN: Since Friday, the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks has been releasing e-mails that were hacked from the account of Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. The stolen messages detail how the campaign responded to important issues through the race for the White House.
It is unclear who was behind this latest digital theft, but, on Friday, the Obama administration did blame Russia for the hacking of Democratic Party Web sites earlier this year and attempts to breach state election systems, in order to influence the vote for president.


Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Soul. Min, Consciousness

 photo getting_smartere.jpg

Atheists sometimes seem to think that if they can ask questions of Christian doctrines that you can't answer them even though you give answers,  and of course they also seem to think that if there are unanswered questions then the idea or position is trashed. I saw this tendency in the discussion in relation to Eric Sontac's piece on the soul on Secular Outpost (SOP).[1] Eric himself doesn't display these tendencies but others did. One poster named Michael exhibited this attitude: 

Michael  Joe Hinman Do you have any answers to the questions? If the soul is the life force (this does seem to be its original meaning held in Christian thought) that at least explains the resurrection idea. The soul (life) ends, but then comes again.
Though I respect him as a thinker Keith parsons asks:

Exactly. Once you posit souls, you open the door to a host of imponderables that can only have dogmatic but not principled answers. That is one of the things that gives such posits their obscurantist power. Do animals have souls? Bonobos? Cats? Lizards? Oysters? Where do you put the golden spike and say that here you have souls, but below this line it is only neurons?

Let's take a brief look at the soul in Bible. There is no universality   to the usage. The same words used for soul i n OT (Nephesh) is also used to mean life, life force, or living creature, When animals are called living creatures the same word is used and it is used of the human soul, The word for /spirit is Rawuch the two can be used interchangeably, Spirit can be used or consciousness or life force.
“Then God said, “Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures [soul/nephesh], and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens.” God created the great sea monsters and every living creature  [soul/nephesh]that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:20–21) see also Gen 1:24,30, “Now behold, I Myself do establish My covenant with you, and with your descendants after you; and with every living creature  [soul/nephesh] that is with you, the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you; of all that comes out of the ark, even every beast of the earth.” (Genesis 9:9–10)

This does not mean that animals have souls equivalent to a human, we might distinguish between life and soul and thus it's merely saying animals are alive but men are living souls. The Bible Distinguishes between man and animals on the grounds that humans can reason and animals do not.
“But these, like unreasoning animals, born as creatures of instinct to be captured and killed, reviling where they have no knowledge, will in the destruction of those creatures also be destroyed,” (2 Peter 2:12) and aslo “But these men revile the things which they do not understand; and the things which they know by instinct, like unreasoning animals, by these things they are destroyed.” (Jude 10). We  Know this is not exactly true. Animals do a fair amount o reasoning at a childish level and they have the same emotions we do,especially dogs. Moreover, as I grow older I am less and less impressed with the reasoning of a lot of humans,

Rather than saying that animals are stupid an humans are smart I thinks it's saying humans are made in the image of God. Not to say animals are not precious to God but humans do have a dimension animals do not. I think it;s talking about moral reasoning, the examples of men being like unreasoning animals (above--2 Peter and Jude) are about men who do not use morel reasoning. We see nothing about animals need to obey the Gospel and get saved, Animals are not morally guilty they do what nature tells them,They don't do moral reasoning,So they are not sinners, nor are they saved.

We can equate soul with consciousness. Soul, spirit, life force, consciousness these all have rough equivalency, I think there is a distinction between soul and spirit in a lot passages but I will speak of them as equivolant and interchangeable, New testament terms for spirit and soul both imply mind. Spirit is Penuma meaning breath or wind, but it also means mind, and the rational faculty.[2]and soul is psyche, from which derive our word psyche or physiological that refers to mind. We could say soul is life and spirit is consciousness but we can easily find interchangeable uses. Moreover, if consciousness is what makes us who we are and what lives on after death then  consciousness can be regarded as life too. The added dimension is the moral dimension, that that sort reasoning animals don;t have, but we could think of it as lesser degree of consciousness.

There are a couple of passages that imply that it all levels out. Men are essentially beasts a d animals have some kind of animal spirit even they may not live after death:

“I said in my heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that THEY THEMSELVES ARE BEASTS. For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, THEY HAVE ALL ONE BREATH; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity. All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the SPIRIT OF THE BEAST that goeth downward to the earth?” [Ecclesiastes 3:18-21].
In Job 12:7-10 we read:

“Even birds and animals have much they could teach you; ask the creatures of the earth and sea for their wisdom. ALL OF THEM KNOW THAT YAHWEH’S HAND MADE THEM. In His hand are the SOULS of all His creatures and the breath of all humanity.”

now we re ready to look at atheist questions. On SOP there is an atheist named Joe. They designate me with my first and last name. So Atheist Joe asks

  • What grants a souls a it's properties, it's 'character'? Do souls have a meta-soul? Is reincarnation true? Certainly Abrahamic religions wouldn't agree with that.
    I think the main problem with this line of thinking is that it has no useful application in the real world, unlike neuroscience and cognitive psychology, which are working to improve conditions for those with brain injuries or mental deficiencies.
The question of reincarnation will have to wait for another tine, That is not going to make or break belief in the soul. Personally I see no evidence of it, As or what gives the soul its properties, if we equate the soul with consciousness we can ask what gives consciousnesses it;s properties. I am not convinced that modern science understands what consciousness is, Yet I think a valid theory and serviceable one is that it;s an emergent property that is produced by a level of complexity of brain function,Note this does not mean that it;s reducible to brain function,[3]

At this point in the discussion Doctor Parsons (U.Houston) made an actual argument against the concept of the soul; "The problem with saying "a soul did it," is that, like saying "God did it," we have an immediate end to inquiry. We just hit a brick wall. In principle, no deeper understanding is possible." Even though I have great respect for Dr. Parsons I do not think much of this argument, Like the "God did it" refrain it employs it asserts a reality contrary to historical development of the concept. Historically belief in the soul has not meant an end to inquiry but the beginning.The soul probably began with speculation about animism rooted in observations of the wind, But by the end of the New Testament era we have the dawning of a sophisticated rudimentary notion if the modern self and the sense of consciousness that fed the trinitarian doctrine and furnished the foundation of modern selfhood beginning with St. Augustine. [4] If anything has meant the end of inquiry it's modern reductionism that tries to write off consciousness as a side effect o brain chemistry.

Parson's goes on:

Saying that a soul thinks or feels or whatever is like Moliere's "explanation" of the power of opium to cause sleep--because it has a "dormative potency." In other words, you make a posit and simply attribute to it an occult potentiality to accomplish whatever effects you want. If asked how the putative entity supposedly achieves those effects, the answer, effectively, is "Shut up." Again, and on the contrary, when asked for a scientific causal account, we can very often provide layers and layers of detailed, specific, understandable explanations.
Yet if we understand soul/spirit as the basis of consciousness we can account for it as we do consciousness but the modern materialist view tries to lose the phenomena and explain it away, Consciousness understood as a basic property if nature explains the emergent property. See my essays on brain/mind. [5] 

How does a soul achieve a physical effect? Please spell out the process. For instance when my soul tells my finger to move, how does it bring this about? What is the process? Have you solved the interaction problem? Please give me the details. Inquiring minds want to know.
But that is just the point, modernistic reductionist views that seek to lose the phenomena but an end to inquiry with permanent all-encompassing answers like chalking it all up to brain chemistry. That means losing the phenomena of the hard problem and robotizing humanity,Understanding the soul is a means of preserving humanity and continuing investigation,. But the fact that we can;t produce a a scientific answer thiat subjects all questioning to onem odel is proof that the answers are more complex tahn reductionis alllows for. (see my essey i n fn 5).


[1] Eric Sotnak, "Consciousness and Souls," Secular Outpost, Nov 28, 2016, blog URL:
all the quotes atheists come from the comment section of this piece,

[2] Edward F. Kelley and Emily Williams Kelley, et al, Irreducible Mind: Toward a Psychology for the 21st Century. Boulder, New York, Toronto: Rowman and Littlefield Publishing Inc, 2007/2010, 37. 38

[3] 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.

[4] Charles Taylor, Sources of The Self: The Making of The Modern Identity, Cambridge: Harvard University Press (March 1, 1992) 1-25, 

for Augustine, see Ibid, 93, 127-143

[5] Joseph Hinman, "Mind is notreduceablev to Brain part 1" Metacrock's Blog, 

MAY 05, 2014 URL:

part 2

Sunday, December 04, 2016

dialouge on meaning of religion: What Does It Explain?


This is a dialogue between a poster on my message board (Pixie) and myself over the meaning of religion, The initial issue is what does religion explain? His position is it explains  nothing.

Metacrock said of religion:
In addition to explaining things it really explains it was also used to explaimn things it really didn't explain but it was all they had,then they discovered science.
It got me wondering what is there that religion does explain? Cannot anyone give any examples - together with an outline of the explanation, just so we can see it really does have one.


I've already answered that several times. there are many things:
*Origin of existence
*meaning and value of life 
*grounding axioms (you never am answered)
*understanding and resolving the human problematic
probably more that's enoigh

See, anyone can claim to have an explanation. I could say mother nature explains all those things. That does not count for jack. What counts is the number of explanations you can actually show.

Mother nature would not be an explanation for the origin of existence, would not ground axioms or provide meaning and value or understanding and resolution to the human problematic. God would be an explanation definitionally because of aseity and necessity. In fact, I think God under some definition would be the only explanation for origin of existence. The atheist can counter that that's a meaningless or superfluous question, but that's not what you were asking

The Pixie wrote:
Metacrock wrote:God explains it to me even i I can't communicate it to you.

Remember the context from the blog is the difference between what religion can reallyexplain, in contrast to what it seemed to explain when, for example, it said rainbows were put there by God as a sign of his promise.

the rainbow thing is a literary device and a metaphor perhaps. If we look at it on the simplistically we might think it's just about explanation why there are rainbows,. That's too simple minded. No religious people are that banal. It's a metaphor and what it is a metaphor of is probably similar to what I'm talking about.

In what sense is this a real explanation, where the rainbow one is not? Besides the fact that we already know the rainbow one is wrong?

we would have to determine what the rain bow means to know that. Simpler just to try and say something that can be communicated about what kind of things I feel it explains and that;'s what I've done below.

*Origin of existence

obviously that is supplied by God a priori

That is not an explanation, it is a claim. It explains nothing.

Where do rainbows come from? God puts them them as a sign of his promise.

Where did the universe come from? God made it.

the point of the story about Noah is not explain why there are rainbows,. maybe it was at one time but by the time it's redacted into the text it's gone though a lot of sophisticated re telling. Attributing the universe to God's creation is very different. You have no alternative, you do not know how the universe came to be or why and the best you can do is examine the physical process but you have no way to penetrate the singularity. Because your aanswer remioves reasomn and telos and satisifies itself with surface level existnece and survial rather than morality and detemim ism rather than thinking it'snot an expliamnatiom at all, it's meaingless and irrational and abandonds reasom, it;s merelythe illusion of technique.

Again, in what sense is that an explanation?

In what sense is it not one?

*grounding axioms (you never am answered)

Ditto but also the basis is love--a reality that palpable and present in the life of the believer.

But "the basis is love" is just a glib phrase. It is useful to hide the fact that you have no explanation.

Not it's not a glib phrase, it's a exactly to the point of the kind of thing one needs to know to say something is explained; it's both a motivation (ie God's) and an axiom from which moral values are obtained,.

How do you define "love" in this context? How is love a basis for grounding axioms?

love = the will to the good of the other, So moral axioms are chosen (by God ) because they reflect the good as it pertains to the other. don't kill because it harms others, we don't steal because it deprives others, we don' cheat because wounds others ect,

Can you even tell us what axioms are grounded in this way?

all moral axioms that God imposes as moral law are grounded in god's love. They all means to the end of the good of the other God's creation and imn our dealings with others our other.

*understanding and resolving the human problematic

reflected imn christian theology soeriology

Again, that is a claim, not an explanation.

It is an explanation if you understand the terms, its not hard to understand, obviously the human problematic is the set of problems at the heart of being human, What is the problem or set of problems leading to the human condition? Christianity suggests it is sin. Sin is disobedience to God but plays out in terms of will to the good of ourselves over the good of the other; the opposite of love. Not hate, not merely indifference, but indifference to the good of the other and willingness to exploit. Sin separates us from God and from each other because we are not available to hep each other while we are trying to exploit each other,

As I said, these supposed explanations do not actually explain anything, and are no more deep that the claims of religion in centuries past that it could explain lightning and earthquakes.

That is a huge mistake to assume that religion is not deep,it's fr deeper than robot speaks determinism that reduces humanity to mindless drones. you probably don't values the arts so you just of science as deep; and that's all right? That;s just the illusion of technique.

This is the retreat we see in religion. At one time it could use God to explain anything that was at all mysterious. One by one those mysteries have fallen to science, and religion is forced into the dark places science cannot go, places so dark even theists who claim they have an explanation cannot communicate it.

that is an ideological spin lit;not original it';s been fed to you by brianwashers it;'s based upon ignogrnace of the ferment of Western civilization which firmly base upon it's religious roots,

The Pixie wrote:
Metacrock wrote:the rainbow thing is a literary device and a metaphor perhaps. If we look at it on the simplistically we might think it's just about explanation why there are rainbows,. That's too simple minded. No religious people are that banal. It's a metaphor and what it is a metaphor of is probably similar to what I'm talking about.

Sure, because we all know rainbows are due to light refracted in raindrops.

But hundreds of years ago, that was not the case. Hundreds of years ago, things like rainbows and lightning and earthquakes were attributed to God.

Do you not know what literary devices are? I said the idea that they would tell the flood story just to answer why there are rainbows is ridiculous. What makes a rainbow works is irrelevant. The real message is God's salvation is as dependable as rainbow after rain. God controls nature God is in charge that sort o hing thiat is the point.

the point of the story about Noah is not explain there are rainbows,. maybe it was at one time but by the time it's redacted into the text it's gone though a lot of sophisticated re telling. Attributing the universe to God's creation is very different. You have no alternative, you dot not know how the universe came to be or why and the best you can do is examine the physical process but you have no way to penetrate the singularity. Because your answer removes reason and telos and satisfies itself with surface level existence and survival rather than morality and determineism rather than thinking, it's not an explanation at all, it's meaningless and irrational and abandons reason, it's merely the illusion of technique.

So your argument is that science cannot explain it? Basically God-of-the-gaps then.

Dude how can it be God of the gaps when it's not meant to to explain  nature???, screw your head on man!!!!

Just so we all know, any time someone presents an argument that comes down to "science cannot answer this" I will call it out as God-of-the-gaps.

too bad you don't know what God of the gaps means, where did I say science doesn't know what rainbows are?

too bad you didn't pay any attention to my answers on the other thread,. I argued that God has reasons for not eliminating things and those are important reasons, God is the judge he;'s not your busboy, he runs the world not you.

I did not pay attention because you were spouting this sort of vacuous nonsense. Claiming there is a reason and that it is an important reason is worth exactly nothing if you cannot tell us what that reason is. You have faith that there is a reason, but that counts as nothing to someone without that faith.

[of course I did but since he dint read them he doesn't know what they are. see below]

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

What "Something?" Answering Bede Rundle's Why There is Something Rather Than Nothing


Bede Rundle in his book Why There is Something Rather Than Nothing makes a detailed case for matter's necessity. He also gives some good arguments for why it is to be preferred over the position that God is "the" necessary being. There is no way I can do justice to a whole book in one or two blog posts. I will mist hit a couple of highlights that I thin k undermine his thesis. This is just my mistaken rendition of his argument but essentially I think he is saying this:

(1) there is no something from nothing so something must always have existed

(2) That something must have been material existence, the universe or some form of it.

(3) this is to be preferred to belief in a deity because we know matter exists and there is no empirical evidence of anything beyond the  physical so, therefore,  the necessary being must be the psychical universe. [a more complete version of his argument appeared in his obituary and was posted on Secular Outpost.I will discuss that in the comment section. [1]

Highlight 1: the problem of uncertainty due to lack o direct empirical observation

Premise 1 which I assigned to him not his own premise, I agree with, So No need to examine his arguments here it;s mot in contention. P 2 I will take issue with, even though he doesn't present it directly in this way it's clearly crucial to his argument, The first couple of chapters deal with this concept and related issues. I will reduce  to issue that I think is the real ferment of those chapters: it could be characterized by the issue of how can there be a mind without a body? Leslies comment on the opening chapter question of mind with no body, he terms it the chief error of theology; [2] Rundell actually makes this argument obliquely. (13) What he's getting at is a bit more involved. we don't have the precision of analogy to reflect actually upon a coherent notion of God because there is nothing to grab hold of. since god is not given in sense data there is no way to base an analogy on anything. Leslie relates references this argument a phrase he makes on page 13 about no body,"much of the difficulty with talk about God likewise derives from our insistence in making him in our likeness and so attributing to him a mind and even a personality--everything needed except the body to give it all sense." [3] He's is  saying more than 'there can't be a mind without a body' but reflecting upon the larger problem  that imn an absence of any empirical data we impose our own ideas. 

The problem of meaning is sometimes overlooked by those who seek to make theistic hypotheses more acceptable  by expanding the range of  allowable proofs. Thus it is acknowledged that a rigorously deductive demonstration proceeding from observed phenomena is powerless to establish, such a hypothesis, and the regularities required to sustain an inductive proof are simply not there to draw upon. However, while other approaches, such as inference to the best explanation, cumulative case arguments, probabilistic reasoning, or locating the hypothesis in a coherent set of beliefs may in general offer a broader range, they do nothing to remove the uncertainties in the meaning of the conclusions which they aim to support.[4]
This supports P 2 because it forms the basis of the preference for material universe over God belief.

Highlight 2: All that is solid melts into air 

Marx said that although in a very different context. It applies here because Rundle deals with the issue of the new physics and the seeming unreality of the physical world which turns out to be a form of energy and energy turns out to be field and strings and things that can't be touched. He makes the point that this is the true nature of physical, or matter, doesn't make it any less real. It also means we do not have to argue for the eternity of solid objects, "matter" and "the physical" are forms of something places in reference by these more theoretical things. "In quantum field theory solid matter has been supplanted by the energy of the field, and in superstring theory the reality is submicroscopic loops of invisible string,"[5] These theoretical references are not, as Rundle says "the matter of common sense," Yet thy do set up a framework in which the matter of common sense spells out reality in a meaningful way. His point is material universe universe need nit mean solid objects. All these strings and fields can be called "material," He says:

so broad is the notion of being or existence the only limit that can be imposed upon what can be is to be found is to be found in the demand for consistency for coherence that any such existential claim must in the genus of material or immaterial..." The thesis that nothing can exist in the absence of a material universe does not imply the nonsensical view that everything is material but we can hold if anything exists, matter exists on the grounds that it  is only in m matter that the necessary independent exitence is to be found.[6] (emphasis mine). 
By independent existence I gather he means matter doesn't require a cause it just is. I think he justifies that by accepting Hawking Hurttle hypothesis.[7] That was big in 2004 when the book was written. He does demand some from of trance some effect some empirical indication of existence for a reality and refuses God on that basis,

In Leslie's reading of Rundle it's not merely the unproven nature of ideas like God, the lack of empirical data, but the logistical problem of locating non physical things in existence. I would term it existential topos. Leslie says the contradiction of a universe with nothing is like a vegetarian cannibal.[8] Leslie pin points this issue as the crux of the argument. [9] Leslie argues Plato's notion if existence as an ethical requirement in terms of an alternative account to Rundle. He also reaises the issue of Quine's idea about abstract objects, which Rundle dismisses as a matter of course.[10]

This raises another issue that undermines the entire argument. Rundle opens the door himself to burring the distinction between physical and non physical. I've already quoted the place where he puts it most succinctly: "so broad is the notion of being or existence the only limit that can be imposed upon what can be is to be found in the demand for consistency for coherence that any such existential claim must in the genus of material or immaterial..."[fn6] He opens the door to the immaterial in that statement, he even refers to angles as "immaterial.." So he has opened the door to the immaterial and spirit is immaterial so he;s opened the door to spirit., That means there is no reason to exclude God from the requirement that "something must have been" so why could not God have been that"something?" 

Now of course he said that in  covering the argument that solid matter is not the origin, but energy and  things we can't  prove except theoretically such as strings and fields. Those are the immaterial he meant but as they used to say on Perry Jason "the door being opened let us walk through."  There are no little balls that things are made out of, The little balls we use as models of the atom and sub atomic particles are only theoretical. Those things are charges they are not solid. What are charges? Science has terms for the things that make them up, but when we strip away those terms (electron,proton) we find charges are made of more charges: 

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.[11]
Rundle himself is aware of the immaterial nature of these theoretical constructs or he would not have made the argument, that they still constitute "the material." 

With the lines blurred we can understand the possibility of other forms of existence that are immaterial. We can equate spirit with mind since the Greek pneuma used in the NT does not just mean break or wind but also mind.[12] We know mind is something, it exits. The minds of biological creatures seemed based in biological housing but why can;t we take the same kinds of liberties with theoretical assumptions that science takes with string theory or that Rundle takes with such theoretical construct in defining them as "matter" to at least hold out a possibility for spirit. There is more than just a theoretical possibility there is empirical data that would help motivate the case for God, such as the vast body of empirical scientific work around the issue ofrelifious experience,k as demonstrated in the book The Trace of God: A Rational Warrant for Belief (my your truly) but that's for another time,

Now of course many skeptics are going to argue that my answer is leaves many gaps of ambiguity and that it requires mostly theoretical assumptions that they don't want to make, I admit that is so but it seems that mot for Rundle's argument comes down to a fear of ambiguity. Remember above where he says: "...cumulative case arguments, probabilistic reasoning, or locating the hypothesis in a coherent set of beliefs may in general offer a broader range, they do nothing to remove the uncertainties in the meaning of the conclusions which they aim to support.[4]" uncertainty is his real issue it may be so or many atheists and skeptics. Thus they cling to the dichotomy between the empirical and the unproven or material and the spiritual. yet all life of the mind, as well as life itself, is fraught with uncertainty, The likes of string theory,k being unprovable, are no less uncertain. Abraham Maslow, though an atheist, said of mystical experience: "...My feeling is that if it were never to happen again, the power of the experience could permanently affect the attitude toward life. A single glimpse of heaven is enough to confirm its existence even if it is never experienced again." [14] The real contest is between warrant in the face of uncertainty, Something has to exist, there is no something from nothing, It could be God or matter, The matter is not settled, there are still valid empirically backed reasons to go with God. Experience is only one such reason.


[1] Bede Rundle,  Why There is Something Rather Than Nothing,Oxford: Clarendon Press; 1 edition (April 8, 2004)
I read the book in online copy:
their page 128 is thev book's page-166

[2] John Leslie, review of bede rundle's Why there Is Something Rather Than nothing," Oxford Journals, PHD
quotimng Rundle 13
[3] Rundle 13
[4] Ibid
[5] Ibid., 166
[6] Ibid
[7] Ibid. 168

[8] Leslie, Op cit 453
[9] Ibid
[10] Ibid
[11] STFC “are there other dimensions,” Large Hadron Collider. Website. Science and Facilities Council, 2012 URL:
[12] The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon
see URL:

Strong's Number: 4151Browse Lexicon
Original WordWord Origin
pneumafrom (4154)
Transliterated WordTDNT Entry
Phonetic SpellingParts of Speech
pnyoo'-mah Noun Neuter

  1. the third person of the triune God, the Holy Spirit, coequal, coeternal with the Father and the Son
    1. sometimes referred to in a way which emphasises his personality and character (the \\Holy\\ Spirit)
    2. sometimes referred to in a way which emphasises his work and power (the Spirit of \\Truth\\)
    3. never referred to as a depersonalised force
  2. the spirit, i.e. the vital principal by which the body is animated
    1. the rational spirit, the power by which the human being feels, thinks, decides
    2. the soul
  3. a spirit, i.e. a simple essence, devoid of all or at least all grosser matter, and possessed of the power of knowing, desiring, deciding, and acting
    1. a life giving spirit
    2. a human soul that has left the body
    3. a spirit higher than man but lower than God, i.e. an angel
      1. used of demons, or evil spirits, who were conceived as inhabiting the bodies of men
      2. the spiritual nature of Christ, higher than the highest angels and equal to God, the divine nature of Christ
  4. the disposition or influence which fills and governs the soul of any one
    1. the efficient source of any power, affection, emotion, desire, etc.
  5. a movement of air (a gentle blast)
    1. of the wind, hence the wind itself
    2. breath of nostrils or mouth
NAS Word Usage - Total: 380

[13] Joseph Hinman The Trace of god: Rational Warrant for Belief. Colorado springs: Grand Viaduct.
[14] Abraham Maslow,  "An Example of B-Analysis, C. Knowledge ganed in 'speak Experience self validating," Religions, Values, and Peak-Experiences, Appendix I, New York: Penguin, 1972.