Monday, November 18, 2019

Brad Bowen tries to come back on me

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Richard Bauckham

"A Major Transition in Johannie Scholarship is widely acknowledged..." Bauckham Testimony of the beloved Disciple, 9 fn1.

Last fall (around Sept 20,2019) Brad Bowen (secular outpost) and I had a sort of debate over his take on the swoon theory of resurrection. He asserts with no evidence that Jesus did not die on the cross but merely swooned,revived latter in the  tomb and somehow got out. Thus the empty tomb is accounted for without miracles. I think I on rather handily. The reader be the Judge: Here. Now he comes back on it, things are rather slow at the old sec outpost. His big iue is I quoted a gy named Zarely. This is a major sin  he doesn't have credentials. Of course that erases all the quotes I  use  by people who do have credentials. 

 It is VERY CLEAR from the above quotations that a key issue between Hinman and me is this:
Q1: Does the Fourth Gospel provide an historically RELIABLE account of the life and ministry of Jesus?I say “NO” in answer to this question, and Hinman says “YES”.   But there is another closely related question that we also disagree about:[1]
This is typical of his approach, he creates a straw man argument then attacks it as the real position of his opponent. What did I actually claim and why did I say it? Here is what i said about the historical reliability of John, quoting Bauckham: "Bauckham, Testimony of the BD: "there are signs that this dominant approach is now undermined or at least considerably modified by very recent trends in Johanine scholarship,,," fn p9 he [Bauckham] says "a major transition in Johanine  scholarship  is widely acknowledged" He also cites scholars Ray  Brown, John Aston, J.Louis Martyn  "the dominant view being undermined is the older view Bowen knows where John is seen as not historically reliable." [2]

Notice neither I nor Bauckham said  "a significant portion of NT scholars shifted from the previously dominant view that the Fourth Gospel is historically UNRELIABLE to the previously minority view that the Fourth Gospel is historically RELIABLE?" No he said only that the dominate approach is modified he sites three other major scholars one of whom is Ray Brown the current darling of the atheists. I think we can give some credence at least enough to question the swoon theory. Remember  the  swoon theory? That's what all this about remember? 

The next major issue asserts:

Q2: In recent decades has a significant portion of NT scholars shifted from the previously dominant view that the Fourth Gospel is historically UNRELIABLE to the previously minority view that the Fourth Gospel is historically RELIABLE?[3]
Again, this question  is his formulation. He is  claiming to  speak for me and he is misrepresenting my words.
I say “NO” in answer to this question, and Hinman says “YES”.  Hinman speaks of this alleged shift in thinking about the 4th Gospel as “a trend involving many scholars”.  In support of this claim about NT scholarship, Hinman puts forward a quotation that speaks of some NT scholars arriving at the conclusion that “the Fourth Gospel is historically reliable.”[4]
Do I indeed  say "yes?" I think he is exaggerating my view. Again Bauckham's words: " at least considerably modified by very recent trends in Johanine scholarship,,," As for many scholars Bauckham refers to Ray  Brown, John Aston, J.Louis Martyn that's what I meant by many.Perhaps we would also add to that Paul Andersen, Felix Just, and Tom Thatcher (who Zarley names).[5]

 My real answer is that it has more reliability than the previous generation was willing  to accept, which was basically none, so it has some. At this point Bowen let's his true interest slip in the goes from arguing about the ideas to answering my view of him:

An important part of Hinman’s support for his claim that I know “nothing about biblical scholarship” is that I am (supposedly) unaware of a major trend in NT scholarship in recent decades where a significant portion of NT scholars have shifted from the view that the 4th Gospel is historically UNRELIABLE to the view that the 4th Gospel is historically RELIABLE.[6]
Obviously "know noting" is hyperbolic. So ok got me there he knows something although not much. But I am not interested in defending that claim because that will come out in the end the  reader will see my scholarship is better than his. I don't have to focus on this particularity issue. But he goes on:

This alleged trend in NT scholarship is also an important part of Himan’s support for his view that the 4th Gospel is in fact historically reliable, and thus that we ought not to be skeptical about the passage in the 4th Gospel that tells the story about a Roman soldier stabbing Jesus in the side with a spear while Jesus was hanging on the cross, and that “the beloved disciple” was present and witnessed liquids that looked like “blood and water” flowing from the spear wound.  So, this is an important part of Hinman’s support for premise (1A) of his Sad Little Argument.[7]

Let' don;t forget it was Baukham who referred to the trend:  Testimony of the BD: "there are signs that this dominant approach is now undermined or at least considerably modified by very recent trends in Johanine scholarship,,," fn p9 he says "a major transition. " [8]
The problem here, however, is that Hinman’s view that a significant portion of NT scholars have shifted from the view that the 4th Gospel is historically UNRELIABLE to the view that the 4th Gospel is historically RELIABLE is a FANTASY, the result of WISHFUL THINKING by Hinman.  No such trend exists among NT scholars or Jesus scholars.
If I am correct that no such trend exists, then Hinman’s claim that I “know nothing about biblical scholarship” remains unsupported, and, furthermore, this would also cast serious doubt on Hinman’s implicit claim to be knowledgeable about NT scholarship. Believing in a non-existent recent trend in NT scholarship, as I will argue Hinman does, is a clear indication of Hinman’s own ignorance about NT scholarship.  Hinman is throwing large rocks at me from inside his house of glass.[9]
Bowen so much more concerned about how he looks than about the truth of God.The historicity of God's word is just an excuse to discuss  how bright Brad is.  Bauckham see,s to suggest the trend,

"How does Hinman support this claim about a recent shift in NT scholarship?  He provides ANOTHER CRAPPY QUOTE, just like he did in support of premise (1B):"

[realize this a quote by   ]
“But during the 1990s, the “Jesus, John, and History” section of the preeminent Society of Biblical Literature had a solid focus on this question of whether or not the Fourth Gospel is historically trustworthy. And they were moving toward the conclusion that it does, thus in opposition to most of the academy. Members of the panel of this section, such as Paul Andersen, Felix Just, and Tom Thatcher, have now produced three volumes on this subject as editors, with contributing chapters being mostly from section members. Their conclusion is that the Fourth Gospel is historically reliable.[10]
Bowen chimes in himself:

Rather than demonstrating MY ignorance of biblical scholarship, this VERY CRAPPY QUOTE demonstrates HINMAN’S ignorance of biblical scholarship, and how his view of NT scholarship is based on WISHFUL THINKING rather than on facts and evidence."  [11]
What makes this a crappy quote?  He castigates my use of this source because he has no credentials.His reaction is Langley based upon his assertion that I look to this as an authority, I used the quote because he documents the fact of these three scholars putting out a work defending their views of John. That's what the quote says, it does not say John is all true it doesn't say there's a big trend it says these three guys are working on defending historicity of John I suggest this is a good quote  because at least that much is true.

book by three guys: John Jesus and History, Anderson, ust, and Thacher are the contributors. Here is Anderson's statent abot ohn's historical reliability,

Paul  N. Anderson:
 [John]...alone claims to be rooted in eye witness memory among the canonical Gospels...the prevalent scholarly opinion kn the modern era has come to relate the Jeannine Gospel to the canons of myth and theology rather than history; therefore John's gospel has become off limits for historical quests for Jesus. On the other hand...John has more archaeological content and topographical detail than all the other gospels put together. John also bears any features of Historical realism that contriubte a more plausible view of Jesus ministry than the Markan Gospels...Furthermore John possess a great deal of mundane and theologically innocent material this cannot be adequately explained on the basis of john's alleged ahisoticity,[12]
That is a great quote it offers the basis for a historical view in Jon There are three volumes in this vain.

Although Hinman’s view about an alleged recent trend in NT scholarship is DEAD WRONG, there has been a recent trend in NT scholarship concerning the 4th Gospel.  That trend is described and discussed in an article by a prominent Jesus scholar named James Charlesworth.  The article is called  “The Historical Jesus in the Fourth Gospel: A Paradigm Shift?” (Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus, 8, 2010).   James Charlesworth is a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary:[13]

This is supposed to be the  expert who kills my view of a trend toward a new view of John. hen we rad what he says it's laughable:

 We began this essay with one focused question: Is it wise to ignore the Fourth Gospel in re-constructing the life, mission and message of Jesus from Nazareth? The answer is ‘no’. It is now time to move beyond the caricaturing of John as a non-historical theological treatise, a judgment that has plagued scholars since they interpreted Eusebius’s report that Clement of Alexandria correctly characterized the Synoptics as factual but John as ‘spiritual’. I do not think that Clement was defining John as mythological, legendary and unhistorical ( EH 6.14.7). 146 John’s highly interpreted story of Jesus is becoming a telescope to peer back into first-century Jerusalem so we may see not only Jewish stone vessels and mikvaot but also the shadows of a Galilean bringing healing and a renewed oneness with the Father. Is it possible, then, to observe a paradigm shift from ignoring John and focusing only on the Synoptics to including John and sometimes giving priority to some of the traditions preserved in it? Yes.[14]
That is actually agreement with my position,So this source he falls back on to kill my view of a trend toward John actually agrees with my idea of a new paradigm of how we view John. Indeed his own title evokes the paradigm shift.

[1] Bradley Bowen, "Hinman's Defense of his Sad Little Argument: Wishful Thinking About New Testament Scholarship, The Secular Outpost(Nov 12, 2019 )

[2]Richard Bauckham,"Introduction,"  The Testimony of the Beloved  Disciple: Narrative, History, and Theology in the Gospel of John. Grand Rapids Mi: Backer Academic, 9

[3]Bowen op cit
[4] Ibid.

[5] Kermit Zarley,"the Historical Reliability of the Gospel of John" Kermit Zarley blog (Oct 8, 2018)

[6]Bowen op cit
[8]Richard Bauckham,The Testimony of the Beloved  Disciple:op cit

[9]Bowen op cit


[12] Paul Andersen, Felix Just, and Tom Thatcher,  John Jesus and History Vol I Critical Appraisals pf Critical Views. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 20007, 1.
(accessed 11/14/19)

[13]Bowen op cit

[14]James Charlesworth, The Historical Jesus in the Fourth Gospel: A Paradigm Shift?” (Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus, 8, 2010).

this is funny he puts tittle in quotes and underlines it, does he know how to do foot notes? He emboldened it.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Does the Bible say the government should help the poor?

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On face book (or as I call it "the cascade of banality") a woman was harping on the Republican mantra that the Bible never says the government should help the poor, That's not true. Israel had various law to help the poor, including taking the grain from the corners of the field (of other people), Leviticus 23:22"'When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the foreigner residing among you. I am the LORD your God.'" Should I say Leviticus the23d? like two Corinthians.

Leviticus 19:9when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10'Nor shall you glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather the fallen fruit of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the needy and for the stranger. I am the LORD your God.…
Deuteronomy 24:19 When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.

O that can't be right! not of the Foreigner. What if they are terrorists? I can also hear people say "that doesn't say the government. That's who was talking! God was their government, and the priests who redacted the text were the government admins, Since they did not have the kind government we have come to have in the modern world it could hardly say "make welfare policies." Yet if you give a damn about the Bible and you read the passages below no way you can belly ache about giving tax money to the poor.

Pay special attention to quotes from Amos, God destroyed the southern kingdom because of they way they treated the poor. We own the government in

America. Rather than bitch about how big it is we need to elect representatives who will use it well to serve the people, all the people. If we care about what God wants no way we portend that leaving it ot the churches is the ri9ght thing to do. That's just abrogating our responsibility for tax money.

Come to comment section and discuss!

God's Heart for the Poor

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Schleiermacher and Albrecht Ritschl

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It was out of this Kantian quagmire that liberal theology proper really gets going. Libeal theology begins with the attempt of a faithful follower of Kant, Frederich Schliermacher,(1768-1834) to restore God as the object of theological discourse. As a Kantian Schleiermacher knew that God is not given in sense data. Also as a Kantian he knew that God had to be on a par with the necessary categories but that we had to have to some form of interaction with experience. It was out of this problemt that he realized that one could go around the sense data and find interaction of the mind with God in the form of our basic consciousness of the concept of God itself. From this notion Scholeiermacher emerged with his famous dictum, the "feeling of utter dependence." Through this concept God was once again placed as the object of theological disourse and the basic method of liberal theology was born. Schleiermacher is known as "the father of liberal theology" for this reason.

Schleiermacher was important to three theological traditions; he is called "father of liberal theology," meaning liberal protestant theology, during hte nineeth century he was important in circles of German piety and popular among the Evangelicals, and he is also traced as one of the prgeniters of the Unitarian Universalism tradition (Brockie). He's largley forgotten by all three today, although still studied in liberal seminaries. Other figures became important to nineteenth century liberal theology:

Schleiermacher, in On Religion: Speeches to it's Cultured Dispisers, and The Christian Faith.sets forth the view that religion is not reduceable to knowledge or ethical systems. It is primarily a phenomenological apprehension of God consciusness through means of religious affections. Affections is a term not used much anymore, and it is easily confussed with mere emotion. Sometimes Schleiermacher is understood as saying that "I become emotional when I pay and thus there must be an object of my emotional feelings." Though he does vinture close to this position in one form of the argument, this is not exactly what he's saying. In the earlier form of his argument he was saying that affections were indicative of a sense of God, but in the Christian Faith he argues that there is a greater sense of unity in the life world and a sense of the dependence of all things in the life world upon something higher.What is this feeling of utter depenedence? It is the sense of the unity in the life world and it's greater reliance upon a higher reality. It is not to be confused with the stary sky at night in the desert feeling, but is akin to it. I like to think about the feeling of being in my backyard late on a summer night, listening to the sounds of the freeway dying out and realizing a certain harmony in the lfie world and the sense that all of this exists because it stems form a higher thing. There is more to it than that but I don't have time to go into it. That's just a short hand for those of us to whom this is a new concept to get some sort of handle on it. Nor does"feeling" here mean "emotion" but it is connected to the religious affections. In the early version S. thought it was a correlate between the religious affections and God; God must be there because I can feel love for him when I pray to him. But that's not what it's saying in the better version.

The basic assumptions Schleiermacher is making are Plaontic. He believes that the feeling of utter dependence is the backdrop, the pre-given, pre-cognitive notion behind the ontological argument. IN other words, what Anselm tried to capture in his logical argument is felt by everyone, if they were honest, in a pre-cognitive way. In other words, before one thinks about it, it is this "feeling" of utter dependence. After one thinks it out and makes it into a logical arguemnt it is the ontological argument."Life world," or Labeinswelt is a term used in German philosophy. It implies the world of one's culturally constructed life, the "world" we 'live in.' Life as we expeirence it on a daily basis. The unity one senses in the life world is intuative and unites the experiences and aspirations of the individual in a sense of integration and belonging in in the world. As Heidegger says "a being in the world." Schleiermacher is saying that there is a special intuative sense that everyone can grasp of this whole, this unity, being bound up with a higher relatiy, being dependent upon a higher unity. In other words, the "feeling" can be understood as an intuative sense of "radical contingency" (int he sense of the above ontological arguments).He goes on to say that the feeling is based upon the ontological principle as its theoretical background, but doesn't' depend on the argument because it proceeds the argument as the pre-given pre-theoretical pre-cognitive regularization of what Anselm sat down and thought about and turned into a rational argument: why has the fools said in his heart 'there is no God?' Why a fool? Because in the heart we know God. To deny this is to deny the most basic realization about reality.

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Albrecht Ritschl

Schleiermacher is called the "father" of liberal theology, but the other foundational figure which spured the development of liberal theology in the 19th century was Albrecht Ritschl (1822-1889).German Protestant, taught theology at Bonn (1851-64) and Gottengin (1864-89). His major work translates into English as The Christian Doctrine of Justification and Reconciliation (Vol. I and III, 1872 and 1900).(Columbria Encyclopedia,

Further works byRitschl:Instruction in the Christian Religion, (1875); Theology and Metaphysics,(1881).

Ritschl was in line with Schleiermacher's thinking, he believed religion was primary a matter of revelation and personal experince. He worked agaisnt Hegel and his ilk in ridding theology of speculative metaphysics and philosophical frameworks. This puts him in line with Schleiermacher since Hegel hated Schleiermacher (the two had been class makes in college) and Schleiermacher's feeling of utter dependence worked direct against Hegel's notions of philosophical speculation. Ritschl sees theology as practical and not speculative. He grounds his inquiry in historical criticism and history, and in the revelation of God through Jesus Christ.

With Ritschl we see three lines of theological development shaping up. The first being Schleiermacher and Ritschl with religious experince and historical criticism. The second is an indirect line running thorugh several seeming contradictory figures: Hegel,theolgoian A.E. Beidermann (1819-85), New Testament scholar F.C. Bauer (1792-1860)--Bauer taguht Ritschl but was rejected by him, Philosphers Ludwig Fuererbach (1804-72) Karl Marx (1818-83) Soren Keirkegaard (1813-55).

The third line demonstrates the way the first two began to come together toward the end of the century to produce a distinctive liberal climate for theology. This line is dominated by Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965), but just began his carrer at the even end of the century. Johannes Weiss (1863-1814). William Werde (1859-1906), Martin Kahler (1835-1913) Ernst Troeltsch (1865-1923) (Troelstch would turn out to be the teacher of Paul Tillich). By the end of the century a vast aray of skeptical style theology had been produced, with theolgoians and Bible scholars more skeptical of the validity of the Bible than any atheists every thought about being.Most of what we see on the net, with skeptical boards like the Secular Web are rehashes of arguments raised by ministers and Bible scholars from this era. The emphasis was upon de-mythologizeing the Bible. Chrstainity was seen primarly as an ethical pltform, or a social organization deciated to helping society make a better world.

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

answer to trivia question on face book

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is Science One Gene away from Defeating Religion?

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Colin Blakemore (Neuroscience, Oxford) argues that Science is just one gene away from defeating religion.[1] Despite his great advancement in that scientific field he demonstrates a very callow understanding of religion. Thus we must once again assume that is just another case of the golden ghetto. Or perhaps the ivory ghetto. A very advanced person in a scientific field is not necessarily qualified to apply scinece to religion. This post modern age reveals more and more the tower similarities between culture and the tower of Babel story.

Blakemore reveals in his opening paragraph that he says the relationship bewteen religion and science as "a ches match." It's adversarial, it's a combat. Thus advances in science are automatically viewed as detraction for religion. He intimates this when he says that the discoveries of Watson and Crick were a defeat for religion because previously life was a mystery that implied spiritual magic. So this guy is not on bard with understanding religion in modern terms. He wants to see it as some long ago thing that scinece is beating up on. This is obviously ideological. Just the frame in which he views the topic is an ideological framework.

 What really strikes me as amaturish in Blakemore's thinking is his assertion that Darwin destoryed the reason to believe in God:

Charles Darwin's theory of evolution was certainly a vital move in that chess game - if not checkmate. In an interview for God and the Scientists, to be broadcast tonight in Channel 4's series on Christianity, Richard Dawkins declares: "Darwin removed the main argument for God's existence."[2]
 Of course it's Dawkins that prompted him to think this way. He admits that wasn't Darwin's intention. He's probably thinking religion means fundamentalism, inerrancy, conservative views.

 Science has rampaged over the landscape of divine explanation, provoking denial or surrender from the church. Christian leaders, even the Catholic church, have reluctantly accommodated the discoveries of scientists, with the odd burning at the stake and excommunication along the way.[3]
 He defines anything that is a scientific advancement as a victory over religion weather it disproves anything or not. He barely hides his utter contempt for relgion:

The process of Christian accommodation is a bit like the fate of fieldmice confronted by a combine harvester, continuously retreating into the shrinking patch of uncut wheat.
Ten days ago, on Darwin's birthday, Richard Dawkins, Archbishop of Atheism, and Richard Harries, former Bishop of Oxford, conducted a public conversation in the Oxford University Museum, where Bishop Sam Wilberforce and Darwin's champion, Thomas Henry Huxley, had debated Darwin's ideas in 1860. The two Richards were more civilised. But inevitably, Richard H claimed for religion a territory that science can never invade, a totally safe sanctuary for Christian fieldmice. Science is brilliant at questions that start "how", but religion is the only approach to questions that start "why". Throughout history, human beings have asked those difficult "why" questions.[4]
I am sure the Christian filed mice are snug in their pretend sanctuary where they refuse to worship scinece as he does. Does he ever actually get down to business about the genetic thing? His segway is that he tires to connect the universality of religion to the universality of language. Language is genetic and universe. so therefore the universal nature of religion must also be due to genetics.[5] That does not follow logically, it's a argument from sign. It doesn't follow scientifically either but we will check in on that in a minute. The problem with the argument he's setting up is that it's a straight assumption that God can't work through genetics. Any religion gene is a disproof of God becuase it removes the only reasons to believe in God, which according to him seems to be unexplained naturalistic phenomena. The only kind of God he can figure out people believe in is the God of the gaps. In other words he's never read a major theologian and he has no sophistication in dealing with religion.

Now he recognizes the obvious answer as being that God can use genes. Yet he has an answer for this. We are social animals. We feel that we are in charge of our actions but more and more those who study the brain are coming to believe that we are not. Which in fact is a Non sequitur because it doesn't answer the issue of genes as a disproof of God or arguemnt from sign. But Blakemore's reticense is incapsulated in the final paragraph of his article:
I'm dubious about those "why" questions: why are we here? Why do we have a sense of right and wrong? Either they make no sense or they can be recast as the kind of "how" questions that science answers so well.
When we understand how our brains generate religious ideas, and what the Darwinian adaptive value of such brain processes is, what will be left for religion?[6]
So He's admitted that he doesn't' understand the basis for religious thinking but we are still supposed to assume he's right about it being disproved by these things that he can't prove are disproofs? The basic argument appears to be that if there's a gene for religion then our religious ideas are coming from genes, we have choice in thinking of them, that's supposed to disprove God. Actually I think it proves a Calvinistic God pretty well. With Calvin we are predestined. That would fit the bit about we don't think up our own ideas. Again the atheist/scientism agenda fails to offer real disproof. All if offers is another stab at deflating the fundamentalist view of God.

Science reporter Nicholas Wade offers insight into the real arguments for genetically based religion. The basic argument is the evolutionary nature of religion. Religion begins in the preparative states of humanity and grows up with the species become more sophisticated and various junctures from simple agricultural dances and decoration sophisticated astronomical observations.[7] So the advocates of the gentic basis for religion are making ideological assumptions about the nature of social evolution. They are assuming that all behavior is genetic and anything that becomes more complex with man must be the result of genes. That's still arguemnt from sign. No real proof exists for that view it's only tenable if you are a determinist. Moreover it's not really a disproof of God in any way.

Isn't there some science magic that you work in a laboratory wearing a white coat and you look into a test tube and it turns blue and you "yes it's evil reilgion gene alright." No that is not. It's far too complex to do that. It's all about theorizing and the theories for religious gene are largely concocted by people who want to destroy religion, such evolutionary psychology adherents.Dean Hamer tries to make an argument for God gene identifying a specific gene, VMAT2;[8]  There has been stiff scientific criticism of this claim even from people who one would think would support it. Atheist guru P.Z. Myers (who is a big named biologist) rejects it on the grounds that VMAT2 is just  "...a pump. A teeny-tiny pump responsible for packaging a neurotransmitter for export during brain activity. Yes, it's important, and it may even be active and necessary during higher order processing, like religious thought. But one thing it isn't is a 'god gene.[9]

There are two basic counter arguments that take care of this assumption about a religion gene:

1: no basis for religious gene

Blakmore himself tells us that our brains "light up" (respond by beginning to work more) when we hear God talk. That's really the basic idea, along with the universality issue, of proving a God gene. But that is not proof of a gene.

There are plenty of scientists who do not think that religion is an adaptation. The adaptations it view is one school, it is not a done deal. The counter argument among evolutionary theorists is that religion is a “spandrel” or a side effect of genetic structure but not produced by a gene for that behavior. There are plenty of scientists who disagree with the data on the “God pod” and don’t believe that there is a “God module” or that religious behavior is inherited through a specific gene or a part of the brain. Lee A Kirkpatrick, director of graduate studies in psychology at William and Mary, tells us:

In sum, the moderate habitability of religion, like the identification of a particular brain region, associated with religious experience, tells us virtually nothing about weather religion is the result of an adaptive evolved mechanism designed to produce it. In particular neither should be construed as evidence for an adaptive religion mechanism or system.[10]

According to Kirkpatrick it's way too early to claim there's a God Gene. There's no way to sort out that it's a real gene or just a combination of other genetic traits. Even if there is such a gene that is not a defeat for religion.
One of the main problems with arguing for a God gene is that the kinds of explanations often used to justify it are piecemeal and don't work in terms of genetic theory. For example a common one is cooperation. Religion makes people  more cooperative. So people cooperate and that is why they adapt becuase it's an advantage. Or gives hope it gets them through the winter.
 Considerable debate has surrounded the question of the origins and evolution of religion. One proposal views religion as an adaptation for cooperation, whereas an alternative proposal views religion as a by-product of evolved, non-religious, cognitive functions. We critically evaluate each approach, explore the link between religion and morality in particular, and argue that recent empirical work in moral psychology provides stronger support for the by-product approach. Specifically, despite differences in religious background, individuals show no difference in the pattern of their moral judgments for unfamiliar moral scenarios. These findings suggest that religion evolved from pre-existing cognitive functions, but that it may then have been subject to selection, creating an adaptively designed system for solving the problem of cooperation.[11]
 That sort of makes one think of genes as little guys holding committee meetings in your head and planning strategy. If it's that cut and dried why not just make a gene for cooperation and cut out the religious mumbo jumo? If it's just an alteration of existing function, then individual conscious decisions may be involved after all. Or, were we provided those functions that we might discover God? The kinds of explainations that require a purpose are counter to the nature of adaptation anyway. As Kirkpatrick explains: "Natural selection is blind to purely psychological effects because being happy in itself does not cause more copies of happiness causing genes to dominate subsequent generations."[12] They can't show adaptability because they can't show it enhances gene frequency. After all some aspects of religion counter to gene frequency such as celibacy?

 2: Religious Gene is good argument for God

Nicholas Wade tells us neither side is threatened by a God gene:

But the evolutionary perspective on religion does not necessarily threaten the central position of either side. That religious behavior was favored by natural selection neither proves nor disproves the existence of gods. For believers, if one accepts that evolution has shaped the human body, why not the mind too? What evolution has done is to endow people with a genetic predisposition to learn the religion of their community, just as they are predisposed to learn its language. With both religion and language, it is culture, not genetics, that then supplies the content of what is learned.[13]
So the explainations fall apart, the big coincidence is looming: the thing the atheists and evolutionary psychologists hate the most and seek to destroy with their worship of science is the one best answer to why there would be a gene for God: God put it there. It's counter to the nature of adaptation. Genes can't contrive to plan how to make us more cooperative or give us warm fuzzies to get us through the winter. The nature of adaptation is not a committee of homunculi that seeks to make human life happier and more efficient. Nor can genes understand concepts. We are not born with innate knowledge, that has been considered a primitive and false concept since the seventeenth century. We are born with instincts but that is not the same as innate knowledge. Evolution cannot plant ideas in our minds. So our brains reacting to God talk as they do is totally unexplained and constitutes a good reason to take as a hint the basic idea of a God designed aspect of human nature.

 Andrew Newberg, one of the pioneers in researching neural activity of religious experience and God talk tells us that none of the research disproves God, in fact it can't.

…Tracing spiritual experience to neurological behavior does not disprove its realness. If God does exist, for example, and if He appeared to you in some incarnation, you would have no way of experiencing His presence, except as part of a neurologically generated rendition of reality. You would need auditory processing to hear his voice, visual processing to see His face, and cognitive processing to make sense of his message. Even if he spoke to you mystically, without words, you would need cognitive functions to comprehend his meaning, and input form the brain’s emotional centers to fill you with rapture and awe. Neurology makes it clear: there is no other way for God to get into your head except through the brain’s neural pathways. Correspondingly, God cannot exist as a concept or as reality anyplace else but in your mind. In this sense, both spiritual experiences and experiences of a more ordinary material nature are made real to the mind in the very same way—through the processing powers of the brain and the cognitive functions of the mind. Whatever the ultimate nature of spiritual experience might be—weather it is in fact an actual perception of spiritual reality—or merely an interpretation of sheer neurological function—all that is meaningful in human spirituality happens in the mind. In other words, the mind is mystical by default.[14]

This article is a good indication of how ideologically laden the internet is with ideological babble from a social movement that seeks to destroy all forms of knowledge that it does not control. There is no basis for the assertion that neuroscience is destroying religion and yet scientism proclaims itself victorious over all religion merely becuase it exists. At the same time sound reasons exists in the same material assumed to destroy religion which supports beilef in God yet that possibility is totally ignored.


 [1] Colin Blackemore, "Science is Just One Gene Away from Defeating Religion." The Guardian.  Originally from the Observer. 21st of Febuary, 2009. On Line: 
accessed 10/29/13.
 Colin Blakemore is Professor of Neuroscience at the Universities of Oxford and Warwick. He is a member of the UK Drugs Policy Commission, but the views expressed here are his own.

[2] Ibid

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Nicholas Wade, "The Evolution of the God Gene," New York Times: Week in Review. Nov 14 (2009). On line
accessed 10/29/13
Nicholas Wade is a science reporter who writes about genetics.

[8] Dean Hamer, The God Gene: How Faith is Hardwired into Our Genes. New York:Anchor Books Edition, 2004, 56-119.

[9] P.Z. Myers,  "No god, and no 'god gene', either". Pharyngula.(2005-02-13) Retrieved 2012-01-29.

[10]Lee A Kirckpatrick, “Religion is Not An Adaptation,” in Where God and Science Meet: How Brain and Evolutionary Studies Alter Our Understanding of Religion Vol I: Evolution, Genes, and Religious Brainm .Patrick McNamara (ed). London, Westport Connecticut: Praeger. 2006. 159-180, 164.
Kirckpatrick is associate professor of psychology at William and Mary.

[11] Ilkka Pyysiäinen and Marc Hauser, "The Origins of  Religion: Evolved Adaption or by Product." Science Direct: Trends in Cognitive Science, Volume 14, Issue 3, (March 2010), 104-109.

[12]Kirckpatric Op cit, 167.

[13] Wade, Op Cit.

[14] Andrew NewbergWhy God Won’t God AwayBrain Science and the Biology of Belief. (New York, Ballentine Books), 2001, 37,