Thursday, March 27, 2008

I Shall Return

I am in the process of moving. please pray that it doesn't rain on Monday in Dallas.

be back late next week.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

agonizing over theoreis


A friend of mine could not enjoy easter because he was agonizing over theories of a skeptical nature. Here is the advice I gave him:

Ok here it is. NO offense to Chris, BK or others who term themselves "conservative." They might be offended by the term "fundie" and I guess it has come to be fairly pejorative. But the "conservatives." spend so much of their rhetorical strategy and pin so much of their ethos on the historical nature of Jesus and the early events of the church as accurate, they do forget that all of that is the tradition of the seven ecumenical councils. It was actually the seven councils and created the church as we know it, write the major doctrines that we think of as "orthodox." Jesus never said "thou shalt believe the Trinity." Paul never said "three persona in one essence." Jesus didn't say "Make ye a bunch of creeds and hold a bunch of councils."

That doesn't mean that I don't believe it's important to hold the creeds or mind the councils, I do. It doesn't mean I don't think the Trinity is not a good summation of some relation of God to himself that we can barely glimpse and even more dimly understand, I do think so. But the truth of it is the church, Christian doctrine and Christianity itself in a sense was the creation and creature of the church fathers and the councils. That doesn't mean that I don't believe that Jesus hung on the cross for our sins or rose from the dead. I do believe those things fully and completely. But we can't really prove those happened in history. We really do have to take the early church and the magisterium's words for it.

The real center of faith in terms of documentary proof is found in the church fathers and the tradition, and the church's teaching authority. that's the only thing that gives the church a teaching authority, the trust that they really were vested with a deposit of truth based upon the apostles choosing bishops to pass on the deposit.

we can't really prove it from history.

Of course that's not to say that the case for it is weak. It's as strong a case as anything we know of history in the ancient world. All history is probability and all proof rests upon someone's authority at some point. All those periodic tables one sees in science class rest upon the trustworthiness of an editor at a publishing company.

People like Roger Pierce are practically making a second bible out of the church fathers, so they can use it to back up the first bible. The thing that makes all of this fly is the experinces we have in own personal lives. of God and God's presence. Our experinces in prayer are the necessary confirmation that makes the tradition trustworthy. the first place to look for proof of the Christian faith is not the historical achieves but one's on prayer time.

The problem with the mythers and skeptics is they see everything as a glass half empty. It's always turned to the worst end. Same evidence, radically different conclusion, because they are scared to death to make a leap of faith. Now we need as much raw historical documentation in place as we can get. That's all very important, I"m saying to forget that. But it's also not the basis of faith.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Suma Contra ICR (with new Footnote)


The Infinite causal regress is an important issue in dealing with the cosmological argument, especially the kalam version, and the argument form final cause. It basically means that any infinitely recurring causality for any event is impossible, since one never actually arrives at a cause. The importance of this argument applies not only to the now largely abandoned notion of an oscillating universe, but to any finite causes of space/time. This is because in light of the impossibility it means that the ultimate cause of the universe must be a final cause, that is to say, the cause behind all other causes, but itself uncaused and eternal. These are two major issues because they indicate why the ultimate cause of the universe has to be God. Since arbitrary necessities are impossible, the ultimate cause cannot be something which is itself contingent, such as an eternal singularity. The ultimate cause, or "final cause" must be God, since God is a logical necessity.

But lately skeptics have sought to deny these principles. They have actually been denying that infinite causal regress is impossible. This causes me to suspect that they don' really understand the concept. For no one truly understanding the notion of an eternally repeating cause could seriously consider that an infinite causal regress can actual exist. But this denial takes two-forms. First, they just deny it outright. They dot' believe me. And secondly, they sometimes try to provide examples such as the number line, that's a favorite. And of course the ever popular claim that God is also an infinite Regress. That is three arguments to deal with:

1) Out right denial that ICR is impossible

2) The argument that one can find examples in Mathematics

3) The idea that God is also an ICR

Before dealing with the numberline I will just make a little argument on the impossibility of an actual infinite causal regress (that is that one could actually exist in real life).

1)A beginingless series of events is impossible.

A actual infinite is defined as A begingless series of events This is not to say that nothing actual could be eternal, but that a series of events with no begining cannot exist in reality. A thing is said to be actully infinite if part of it is equal to the whole. For example, mathematicians show that the number of fractions is equal to the number of whole numbers, even though fractions can devide whole nubers infintessimally, because its all infinity and infinity is without number. Now here I'm distinguishing between existenced in actuality, the "real world," as oppossed to existence in mathematics.

A linear Causal infinite regress is thought to be possible by Auqinas and Farther Copeleston, but only if it has a prior heirarchical cause. In other words, the causality can be not just linear but also heirarchical. A heirachical infinite regress is also impossible for the same reason, it never really has a cause since it has no begining. A liniar regress of causal nature is impossible without a hierachical cause.

The great mathematician David Hilbert argues for the notion that a beginingless series of events with no higher cause is impossible. ["On the Infinite" in Philosophy and Mathematics (Englewood Cliffs New Jersey: Prentice Hall), 1964, 139, 141.)

(2) ICR is Circular Reasoning

William Row Quoted on website below

Rowe's version of the standard answer goes as follows: Suppose we are wondering why A exists. Suppose further that A was linearly caused to exist by B and that B was linearly caused to exist by C, etc. Here is a causal series, Rowe says, which might well extend infinitely back in time. This is because we need do nothing other than point out B in order to explain why A exists; although B was itself caused to exist by C, we still need refer no further back than B to explain the existence of A. But, Ro we says, suppose we are trying to explain not why A exists but rather why a certain sort of causal activity - the activity of causing A presently to exist - is going on. Here we cannot as before merely point to B. because presumably B is itself being caus ed to engage in the causal activity of causing A presently to exist (and is thus only a kind of intermediary). Accordingly, we have to talk about C's causal activity the causal activity of causing B to cause A presently to exist. This, then, is a series t hat cannot be extended infinitely; this series must have a first member. For if there were no first member, we would never succeed in arriving at an explanation of the existence of the causal activity of causing A presently to exist. We would never be abl e to explain why this activity is going on.11

(But this author supports Aquains' and Copleston in saying that liniear cuasal regress is possible but not a hierarchical one. Easy to see why he says this, because he believed the universe to be inifinite in time, but he still asserts that there must be a higher eternal generation)

Just extend Rowe's argument a little further to see that ICR is circular reasoning. The need for a cause is granted bye ICR advocate; and that need will be supplied, so they say, by the cause of the previous event (for example in an ocillating universe, the previous Big Bang supplies the need for the casue of this universe). But, when it comes to explaining the causual relation to the whole series they will say that is uncessary, because they have that previous link in the chain and it's covered by the infinte serious of previous links, but nothing ever expalins how the previous link could be there, except a previous link.

This is just circular reasoning because no matter how far back you go you have a cause that allows for any particualr link to exist. Take this example:

a => b, b => c, => d => e, e => f

Now if we say "how can f exist without a cause? They say well it has a cause in e. But e doesn't have a cause except in a equally unexplained d, and go back as far as you will, there is never an explaination for how this could be. Yet they agree that the causal principal is necessary because they keep sticking in intermeidate causes. If the causal principal is necessary, then there must be a final cause taht expalins how it could begin. Causality is linear and if they are going to argue for cyclical universe they have cover a linear concept of casu and effect.

If a series of events go back in time forever it is a beginingless series of events. IF the universe existed forever, for example, this would constittue an actual infinite. This is because the series of events that led to the current universe would be infinite. This is to distinguish it form a "potential infinite" which might be achieved by adding one event to another in a series and going on infinitely. But a series of events that has already transpired infinitely is an actual infinite.

Or let's look at the notion of finnishing an infinite series. If a man claims to have been counting for infinity and is at last about to reach zero, he says -3, -2, -1, he's finally finnished. Yet, he should have finnished eons before, an infinity of time passed enons ago, or centuries, or decades, so he should have finnished by now. Another strange paradox is that if we could check this man's counting in the past we would never find him counting. For he would have finnished an infinity ago so we could never find him counting at any time that we ever checked his counting. Yet if he never counted he could never finnish. Now may skeptics are going to say that it is impossible to count infinitley and so forth, yes, obviously. But these are the kinds of examples used in transfinite mathematics to illustrate this point.

"This illustrates once more that the series of past events could not be wihtout a begining for if you could not count numbers from eternity, neither could you have events form eternity. These examples underline the absurdity of a beginingless series of events in time, because such a sereies is an actual infinte and an atual infinite cannot exist. This means that the universe began to exist, which is what we set out to porve" (William Lane Criag in his early work, The Existence of God and The begining of the Universe Here's Life Publishers 1979 p.4 [and don't forget the empirical scientific data which also proves this same pint with the Big Bang).

3) An Actual Infinite Cannot Be Achieved by Adding one event to the series, thus the series of events in time can never be actually infinite.

This can also be understood in the fallacy to trying to count to infinity. This should be pretty obvious, because no matter how many events we add we can always add one more and continue to add events forever. One can never count to infinity. Most people understand this pretty well.So one could never add one event to another and reach infinity, it's the same thing. This is also called The impossibility of traversing the infinite.

Thus an actual infinite could come to exist only if all the memebers came to exist at the same time. As Craig points out "if an infinite number of Days existed before today, today would never come because one can never traverse the infinite." (50).

Philosopher John Hospers states:

"If an infinite series has preceeded the present moment, how did we get to the present moment? How could we get to the present moment--where we obviously are Now--if the present moment was preceeded by an infinite series of events?" [An Indtorduction to Philosophical Analysis, 2nd ed. (London: Rutledge and Kegan Paul, 1967) 434)

This First argument, the impossibility of a beginingless series of events with no higher cause was repeatedly defended and always successfully by G.J.Withrow, Professor of Mathematics at University of London's Imperial College of Science and Technology. see "The Age of the Universe,"British Journal for Philosphy of Science (1954-55) PP215-225. Natual Philosphy of Time (London: Thomas Nelson, 1961) See also Philsopher William Rowe The Cosmological Argument Princeton University press 1975

Now What if someone argues that the infinite series would be beyond time? In that case the skpetic loses the argument that there is no causality before time. IF there is no motion, causality, or change beyond time than there cannot be a series of events leading form one cause to another beyond time.

Now let's examine the three arguments.

1) Out right deniel that ICR is impossible.

Well, if they don't believe the logic, they are pretty hopeless. And if they dont' accept the word of the mathematicians that are quoted, there isn't much you can do about it. But it seems pretty obvious that if you have an ifinite series of causes leading back infinitely you would never have an actual cause, and the thing to be caused would not exist, just as you cannot count to infinity, or just as the counter claiming to have arrived at zero from infinity would never have actually counted.

2) That the number line is an exmaple from Mathematics that proves the actual infinite, or Infinite causal regress.

David Hilbert has prove, as quoted above, that transfinite mathematics cannot exist in life. The number line is not an actual series of events, it is ony hypothetical. Moeover numbers do not cause each other. It is not a causal regress.

3) That God is an ICR

This is merely to confusse an infinite with an infinite regress The ICR is an infinite series of events. God is not a series of events. God is not an event, God is not a recurrsion of causes, he is one final cause. God is not in time, he is eternal. So the two are not analogous at all. God is not an ICR.

The ICR is an impossibility, it cannot exist in actuality. This means the universe cannot be eternal, for the universe is an infinite series of causes, each one leading to the next. It certainly means the old oscillating universe notion of etnerally recurring big bangs and cruches is right out! Therefore, there must be a fainal cause which is eternal and is not a series of events but one fianl cause that transcends the chain of cause and effect. It causes the universe but it is not in turn an effect of any other cause.

Aristotle and Bertrand Russell agree

Robert Koons, University of Texas

Lecutre 5 Phil 356 Theism Spring 98

Another example is mentioned by al-Ghazali. Suppose that the sun and moon have each been revolving around the earth throughout an infinite past. There are 12 revolutions of the moon for every revolution of the sun. As we go back in time, the gap between the number of months and years grows ever wider, yet, taken as a whole, there are an equal number of elapsed months and years (both infinite). Cantorian set theory agrees with this paradoxical result: the cardinal number of months and years is exactly the same.

Bertrand Russell discusses a similar paradox, which he called the Tristam Shandy paradox. Tristam is writing is own autobiography. He takes a whole year to write down the events of a single day. In an infinite amount of time, Shandy can complete the task. Here's a time-reversed version of the paradox: suppose that Tristam is clairvoyent -- he writes about his own future. Last year he wrote about today's events; in the year before last, he wrote about yesterday's events. Today, he has just completed an infinite autobiography, cover all the events of his infinite past, despite the fact that, as we go farther in the past, Shandy is every further behind in the task -- i.e., 1000 years ago, he was still writing about the events of only the last three days.

Final note: The paradox of Time.

Some thinkers believe that time is an infinite series. I do not agree with this notion, I accept t=0, time begins in the Big Bang. But this is a valid viewpoint, I just dont' happen to agree. But that does not prove that a beginingless series of events with no higher cause can exist. Time can still have a higher cause, God perhaps, in heierarchical fashion.

Foot Note:

on the Reasonable Faith Site William Lane Craig answers a question a reader had asked. This reader had recently talked ot physicsts who said that the standard model (singularity) Is no longer the preferred model.


I recently was told by some physicists whom I had the chance to interview for a paper that the standard big bang model of the universe does not include a singularity anymore. That may have been the case twenty five years ago, they said, but nowadays physicists say that the big bang extends only back to Planck time. Can you PLEASE clarify the confusion I’m having on this?

Craig Answers:

He refers to James Sinclair who is writing a cahpter for a forth comnig work on cosmology.

Indeed, Jim’s survey of contemporary cosmology reinforces just how robust the standard model’s prediction of an absolute beginning continues to be. He considers three broad research programs being currently pursued based on possible exceptions to the Hawking-Penrose singularity theorems, which support the standard model’s prediction of an initial cosmological singularity. These are (1) Closed Timelike Curves, (2) Violation of the Strong Energy Condition (Eternal Inflation), and (3) Falsity of General Relativity (Quantum Gravity). The first of these postulates an exotic spacetime which features circular time in the past and so is not taken very seriously by the vast majority of cosmologists. The real work has been on the other two alternatives.

With respect to the alternative of Eternal Inflation, it was suggested by some theorists during the 1980s that perhaps the inflationary expansion of the universe was not confined to a brief period early in the history of the universe but is eternal in the past, each inflating region being the product of a prior inflating region. Although such models were hotly debated, something of a watershed appears to have been reached in 2003, when three leading cosmologists, Arvin Borde, Alan Guth, and Alexander Vilenkin, were able to prove that any universe which has, on average, been expanding throughout its history cannot be infinite in the past but must have a past space-time boundary.

What makes their proof so powerful is that it holds regardless of the physical description of the universe prior to the Planck time. Because we can’t yet provide a physical description of the very early universe, this brief moment has been fertile ground for speculations. (One scientist has compared it to the regions on ancient maps labeled “Here there be dragons!”—it can be filled with all sorts of fantasies.) But the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem is independent of any physical description of that moment. Their theorem implies that even if our universe is just a tiny part of a so-called “multiverse” composed of many universes, the multiverse must have an absolute beginning.

Vilenkin is blunt about the implications:

It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning (Many Worlds in One [New York: Hill and Wang, 2006], p.176).

Some current cosmological speculation is based upon attempts to craft models based upon possible exceptions to the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin condition that the universe has on average been in a state of cosmic expansion. In his article Jim provides the following chart of possibilities:

this graphic is from his article

The first case involves an infinite contraction prior to the singularity, followed by our current expansion. The second case postulates an unstable initial state followed by an inflationary expansion. The third case imagines a contraction followed by a super-expansion fueled by ‘dark’ energy, with the universe breaking into a multiverse. The fourth case postulates two mirror-image, inflationary expansions, where the arrows of time point away from the cosmological singularity. Jim shows that these highly speculative models are all either in contradiction to observational cosmology or else wind up implying the very beginning of the universe they sought to avert.

The other alternative to the Hawking-Penrose theorems that has been vigorously pursued is Quantum Gravity models. Jim provides the following chart of such models:

The first class of models postulates an eternal vacuum space in which our universe originates via a quantum fluctuation. It was found that these models could not avoid the beginning of the vacuum space itself and so implied the absolute beginning of spacetime. These models did not outlive the early 1980s.

The second class, string theoretical models, have been all the rage lately. They are based upon an alternative to the standard model of particle physics which construes the building blocks of matter to be, not pointlike particles, but one dimensional strings of energy. Jim discusses three types of string cosmological models:

The first of these string cosmologies, Ekpyrotic cyclic models, is subject to the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem and so is admitted to involve a beginning of the universe. The second group, Pre-Big Bang models, cannot be extended into the infinite past if they are taken to be realistic descriptions of the universe. The third group, the string landscape models, feature the popular multiverse scenario. They are also subject to the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem and so imply a beginning of the universe. Thus, string cosmological models do not serve to avert the prediction of the standard model that the universe began to exist.

The third class of Quantum Gravity models, Loop Quantum Gravity theories, features versions of a cyclical universe, expanding and contracting. These models do not require an eternal past, and trying to extend them to past infinity is hard to square with the Second Law of Thermodynamics and seems to be ruled out by the accumulation of dark energy, which would in time bring an end to the cycling behavior.

Finally, fourth, the Semi-classical Quantum Gravity models include the famous Hartle-Hawking model and Vilenkin’s own theory:

These models feature an absolute beginning of the universe, even if the universe does not come into being at a singular point. Thus, Quantum Gravity models no more avoid the universe’s beginning than do purported Eternal Inflationary models.

In sum, I think you can see how misleading the physicists’ statements to you were. The prediction of the standard model that the universe began to exist remains today as secure as ever—indeed, more secure, in light of the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem and that prediction’s corroboration by the repeated and often imaginative attempts to falsify it. The person who believes that the universe began to exist remains solidly and comfortably within mainstream science.

It doesn't' seem that the old occilating ICR is of much use in cosmologies of today. That seems less used than the standard (singularity). All of these theories suggest an absolute beginning.

Of course we really don't even need that. Even if we assume eternal universe has no beginning that still doesn't get around necessity and contingency. The concept of an eternal necessity is not unheard of. At times I have given the impression that contingent is synonymous with temporal. Necessity is synonymous with eternal. That would be true in terms of purely naturalistic causes. But the idea of an eternal contingency was advanced by Aquinas. this works, if and only if, the necessity upon which is pinned is also simultaneously eternal as well. Take the example of an eternal flute player. As long as the timeless musician plays, the music is eternal. If he were to stop the music would not be eternal. If he always places the music is eternal and yet contingent.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Metacrock vs HRG on Being itself


In the summer of 2007 I had a one-on-one debate (Licolin/Douglas) with Hans Richard Groome, HRG, a guy who claims to be a mathematician, and posts on CARM. That debate was mean to be a final show down which would once and for all shut his mouth on certain arguments that I feel are unfair, arguments which show that he does not understand the idea of Being itself and he isn't trying to. But Hans so badly muddled the arguments, the purposely gummed up the works so the debate was very hard to follow and thus resolved nothing. But one can see, if one takes the time to actually follow them, that his arguments don't' even come close to answering my basic premises.

This debate has been re-opened. Another atheist, one whose intelligence I have respected in the past, brought up on argument against it. The argument is an attempt to show that God is impossible because the being itself concept makes God impossible. It's a silly argument because its' central premise is that necessity can't produce contingency. Of course that's the major thing necessities do is produce contingencies. that's the whole idea of making the distinction in the first place!

I will get to that one latter. Hans chimed in asserting that he won our debate, so I just brought up the opening arguments and posted them on the general forum:

(1) Being = existence.

Even though Tillich makes a distinction between the two, I see now reason to make fancey distinction on this board. When I say "God is being itself" I am saying that God is the basis upon which all things exist.

*I am therefore saying that God is not contingent and all things that are "not God" are contingent upon God as their creator.

(2) The argument that necessary being is impossible cannot be true.

To say that God is necessary being is merely saying that God's existence is not contingent upon anything else and that all naturalistic things are dependent upon God for their existence.

To say that no form of existence can ever be non contingent (necessary) is to say that existence must have an ultimate begining with a clear demarkation between "nothingness" and "existence."

If this is the case then it would mean that existence emerged from nothingness. This is clearly an impossible state of affiars for two reasons:

(a) time is something and thus a true state of nothing would be a timeless state.

(b) physicists agree there can be no change in a timeless state. Thus nothing could ever come to be. thus something must always be and that means some form of existence must be eternal and not dependent upon anything else.

(3) Han's argument assumes we know all things.,

How can we possibly know that there cannot ever be a from of existence that is not contingent? there is no logical reason for this assumption.

(4) mandates the irrational

To say that no form of existence can ever be non dependent upon some prior condition not only means we would have to know all forms of existence, but it means also having to mandate the irrational idea of Infinite causal regress.This is ethier so or it means something from nothing.

Either way ICR or something/nothing, this is irrational. I will demonstrate the ICR arguement in 2AC.

(5) My view of God.

My view is essentially mystical. God is beyond our understanding and all our talk about God is basically beyond anything we can know. That means that God talk must be metaphor. It must be symbolic and analogical. God is for expericing first hand not for talking about.

But in speaking of metaphors God is not analogous to a man so much as to a law of physics or a dialectic or a set of rules of principles or something on that order. to try and limit this to our understanding say that it is impossible is arrogant beyond belief. Hans must know all things to make the claims he has made.

two issues Hans will raise.

1) three partical universe.

he will say that his pipe dream of a three partical universe is proof there can't be necessary being becuase no God would ever make such a usless thing.

I say (a) no God has made such a thing, mere possibility proves nothing.

(b) 3 p u is still being, so it is not indication of no being itself. he has no answer. this is one of the reasons I wanted this debate, because he never answers these arguments which I have been making for years.

(2) no such thing as Yellowness

He says being is like the concept of yellowness and it doesn't exist it's just an abstraction.

yea! that has nothing to do with anything.

(a) being is an abstraction, to say God is being itself is not an argument to prove God exits, it's an illustration of what God is like.

(b) I say being = existence. it is not some big mysterious thing that we can't understand. it is simple.

God is being itself just means God is the primary form of existence and that upon which all things dependent for their existence.

If he wants to say that existence is just an abstraction then he has to show how it is meaingful for an atheist to say "God does not exist."

Now he has responded to my post:

Please cease the claim that I have no answers to your arguments.

clearly he has not. let's look at his arguments:

Originally Posted by Metacrock View Post
(1) Being = existence.

Fine. Both are abstract concepts, not actual entities which can be basis for anything.

One of the major features of this debate, Hans denied that the concept of existence has any meaning. So there is no difference between a thing existing and not existing. these meaningless alternatives, and yet he still wants to tell us God doesn't exist!

If atheists don't accept the meaningful distinction between existence and on existence then they cease to be atheists and become solipsists. I always had a sneaking suspicion that atheism led to solipsism.

Even though Tillich makes a distinction between the two, I see no reason to make fancey distinction on this board. When I say "God is being itself" I am saying that God is the basis upon which all things exist.

And why should any thing need a basis in order to exist ? Even if it did, why should it be the same basis for all things.

This is an old argument that he's brought up a great deal. It shows a real lack of understanding about the basis of materialism in history. Obviously whatever is the foundation of reality is the basis for all things. If that "foundations" is nothing more than a level of several causes taken together then that' s the basis and that's what it is. Why should anything need a foundation is a rather stupid question, and the reason it shows ignorance of the history of atheist thought is because early nineteenth century atheism was predicated upon cause and effect. The idea that science guaranteed a realm of naturalistic cause and effect and explained everything nd made appeal to God unnecessary was the basis of Laplace's attack on religion. That was the big cutting edge move of nineteenth century atheism, as just quantum theory is today. As Alfred North Whitehead observed, this leaves atheism wide open for the big contradiction at its heart; it can account of all causes along the chain of being not the whole., and not the origin.

There should be a basis to all things because things have a basis. This spelled out clearly in the materialists attack; their rejection of Supernatural has to assume a naturalistic cause for all things or they have no basis upon which to reject the supernatural. Most modern materialists, such as Quinne, are willing to accept circular reasoning in exchange for reduction of reality to the empirical. This is a totally irrational move. let us not be afraid to call a spade a spade.

*I am therefore saying that God is not contingent and all things that are "not God" are contingent upon God as their creator.
You are saying it. Fine. I'm saying that the existence of not-contingent entities is highly dubious, and that you again confuse contingency-1 (logic) with contingency-2 (causation).

(2) The argument that necessary being is impossible cannot be true.

To say that God is necessary being is merely saying that God's existence is not contingent upon anything else and that all naturalistic things are dependent upon God for their existence.

Hans:You are again mixing logic and causality. Who says that a contingent-1 thing has to be contingent-2, too ? And who says that all things depend on the same god for their existence ? Maybe Ahura Mazda has made all fermions, and Ahriman has made all bosons.
Obviously we can and should reason about causality. He wants us to think that the universe comes with pre given labels that say "this is a cause." Clearly causality is as much a cultural construct as being or existence. but it is a highly meaningful one, and one upon which modern atheism was founded, and one upon which modern science was founded.

Notice two things here:

(1) the use of the superfluous distinction between what he labels "contingent 1" and "contingent 2" is dealt with else where. I have showen that the two kinds of contingency are dependent and collapse into one.

(2) his appeal to different God is of no avail.

First, because the mythological figures that he sties are in their own mythologies not the creators not being itself, but produced by a prior source. More importantly it is my contention that all religions are based upon the same reality that stands behind them all, the thing that makes them different is cultural constructs. It is reasonable to assume that being itself is a prior and universal ontology that a collection of localized deities based upon big "guys in the sky."

His bringing that up is a cheap diversionary tactic that he employs on almost every issue.

To say that no form of existence can ever be non contingent (necessary) is to say that existence must have an ultimate beginning with a clear debarkation between "nothingness" and "existence."

Hans:Non-sequitur. And "existence",as a philosophical concept, began when philosophers began thinking about it.

Non-sequitur he says! It only undermines his whole position. He loses the whole debate right there because his entire case depends exclusively on this one point; the impossibility of necessary being. I just argued that if he wins he loses because to demonstrate the impossibility of necessity is to demonstrate the necessity of distinction between being and nothing.

He's just playing a word game because he uses the erm "existence" meaningfully when he says "God does not exist." The distinction is certainly cogent scientifically. But he excludes philosophical statement even though it would be the same statement as a scientific one. "There is no X such that X does not exist." "Bigfoot does not exist." Is that a scientifically true statement? But philosophically as a philosophical statement its just garbage? that's idiotic because they mean the same thing! He is just employing his old friend and chief tactic truth by insisting he's right!

Hans:It is perfectly consistent that there never was an ultimate beginning, and at any time some thing has existed.

If this is the case then it would mean that existence emerged from nothingness

Hans:Non-sequitur, as shown above.

shown above! You mean asserting above without support and ignoring the argument previously given. That's one of his main tricks. to just insist that he's "shown something" when he merely asserted it by stipulation. You can't say there is no definite beginning without recognizing the distinction between that and a definite beginning. You can't do that without recognizing the distinction between being and nothingness.

Meta:This is clearly an impossible state of affairs for two reasons:

I1) How can we possibly know that there cannot never be a from of existence that is not contingent? there is no logical reason for this assumption.

Hans:For contingency-1, there is a logical reason: the 3-particle universe.

Ok look at this, the logic is absolute. what is contingency 1? It is this:

a thing can cease or fail to exist.

contingent 2? this:

a thing requires a prior condition, or prior thing, either temporally prior or ontologically "prior" (its cause) to exist.

Now why would a thing cease or fail? (definition of c1) ? Because the conditions that brought it about might have failed. Such as, your parents never met, then would you not exist. Therefore, you an contingent upon your parents meeting.

Now notice. this is also the definition of c2! So the answer for the question about c1 is the point of the definition in c2. Therefore, c2 is the basis in logic of c1. Thus they are the same thing, thus the distinction is meaningless.

How does this effect his argument? It destroyed it because his argument is predicated upon the assumption that my use of contingency is confused and that is based upon the idea that c1 and c2 are totally independent of each other.

the remark "for c1 there's the 3 p u" is totally irrational and has no meaning. c1 is a is contingent if it could cease for fail. He merely asserts without basis that a 3pu could exist w/o ceasing or failing. that is a total issue of thought experiment in argument. That's nothing more than asserting facts in not in evidence.

and the second reason that the notion of no definite beginning is illogical

(2) Quote:Meta:

To say that no form of existence can ever be non dependent upon some prior condition not only means we would have to know all forms of existence, but it means also having to mandate the irrational idea of Infinite causal regress.This is ethier so or it means something from nothing.
Calling an ICR irrational only shows that you have not understood the negative integers.

In other words the concept of no beginning mandates the use of illogical contradictory concept of the ICR.

My view is essentially mystical. God is beyond our understanding and all our talk about God is basically beyond anything we can know. That means that God talk must be metaphor. It must be symbolic and analogical. God is for experiencing first hand not for talking about.

Hans"Tractatus logico-philosophicus 7: ("What you cannot talk about, you must remain silent about")

Here's a real priceless tidbit. I just got through saying we have to experince God, we can't talk about him directly so we must speak in analogical language. So the brilliant one, Earnestine's replacement says "Of that which we cannot speak we must remain silent."Yea that's what I just said chicken pie. but look at what he is not silent about.

Yet Earnestine's replacement speaks of the ultimate origin being impossible, Earnestine's replacement speaks of no ultimate begining , when he cant' give a logical cow turd to prove it. He speaks as though he knows all things and yet has no evidience and offers none.

he will say that his pipe dream of a three partical universe is proof there can't be necessary being becuase no God would ever make such a useless thing.

Hans:Bad prophet. I have never given this reason.

he did too


I say (a) no God has made such a thing, mere possibility proves nothing.

Hans:It does, since we are in the domain of logical necessity.
That is no excuse. It does not give you license to assert matters not in evidence. That is an empirical matter not a logical question. Look he's asserting that if a 3pu existed it would prove God is not necessary, because no god would make a 3pu. But that is clearly fallacious because hes asserting he knows what God would do. and cine no such universe exists to our knowledge it's uses an argument because it just depends up on th reality of a e33pu which he can't prove.

Then he wants to just assert that in the realm of logical necessity we can just make up anything we want. that is no way to reason.

(b) 3 p u is still being, so it is not indication of no being itself.

Hans: No, it isn't. There is no "being" in the 3PU, because there are no intelligent minds to form that concept
but that response is dependent upon his assertions above about being/existence is not a meaningful concept. Yet he still wants to assert God does not exist. So he ias to be meaningful in someway. Now his response here is totally arbitrary; no minds to form the concept of being, that assumes that the concept of bing is just a world philosophers use and has no referent. I've already answered that in the OP.

He has no evidence or logic to show that being, the existence of any given existent is contnigent upon mind. existence is still being whether its mind or not.

completely misses the point that the 3pu is an empirical matter so its non existence means it is not a meaningful argument.

he has no answer. this is one of the reasons I wanted this debate, because he never answers these arguments which I have been making for years.

Hans:I have an answer to all your postulates. That you do not recognize them as answers cannot change this fact.

they are illogical assertions without evidence.e your truth by stipulation does not change that fact.

(2) no such thing as Yellowness

He says being is like the concept of yellowness and it doesn't exist it's just an abstraction.

Hans:Great Cthulhu! You have described what I really have been saying!

Quote: Meta
(a) being is an abstraction, to say God is being itself is not an argument to prove God exits, it's an illustration of what God is like.

(b) I say being = existence. it is not some big mysterious thing that we can't understand. it is simple.

Hans:Doesn't change that "being" is a concept which has to be created by an intelligent mind.

Its' a concept that has a referent in the world. its' meaninful to use it and if it is not than means you can't be an atheist. You can't say "God doesn't exist" if existence ha no meaning.

God is being itself just means God is the primary form of existence and that upon which all things depedend for their existence.

Hans:Maybe so, but what if there is no primary form of existence onto which all other things depend for their existence ? You still think that a definition can replace an existence proof.

Obviously there is, since I've written into the argument the statement that ti doesn't matter what it is. even if it ICR that's still it. Anything you can assert would fit the definition .s o you cant' assert anything you lose. you acquiesced you are wrong. you just lost.1 don't you get it?

Look what he just did. I say Being itself means God is whatever is there that produces the world, he says "maybe so" (In other words. I can't answer this but I'm say something anyway) but if there's no primary form....but you have given no reason to assert there wouldn't' be, and even if there isn't that's still god! So God is the state of no beginning, so what? You lose either way.

Of course I don't believe that's what God is, because it's total BS. ICR is impossible and then to assert "it was always here" with no reason and no evidence is no more than a flight from reality.

IN effect he has no argument. he is saying nothing more than "I am right anyway even though I can't answer."

If he wants to say that existence is just an abstraction
The term "existence" is an abstraction.

then he has to show how it is meaingful for an atheist to say "God does not exist."

Hans:Easy. "There is no X such that X fulfills a particular definition of 'God' ".

ahjahaah you just lost again man! You really don't get any of this do you? you can't do that "there is no X" if the concept of existence has no referent. Can't you understand that? It makes no sense at all to say "ther si no..." if there being no is not meaningful. don't you see that?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Thumbnail of my systematic theology

Since the issue of my being a liberal theologically often comes up, this is an outline of some of the most basic issues that set my theology apart and make it distinctive. I think it's also why I call Doxa "Christian thought in the 21st century, becasue I think these are issues that will have to be addressed by the Christian community in this century.

This is a thumbnail sketch of the entire theological view I've been developing since begining the "Metacrock" thing in 1998.

The Nature of Religion:

In my view Religion is an attept to identify a human problemic, that is the basic problematic nature at the heart of being human. Having identified it, reilgious traditions seek to resolve the problematic nature of human life by offering a transformative experince which allows one to transcend the difficulty and to be fulfilled or feel more human or be "saved." Religious traditions also usually seek to mediate this transformation through cerimony or some sort of theological orientation. These three things make up the nature of religion:

(a) identification of the problematic

(b) Transformative power to overcome the nature of the problematic

(c) a means of mediating this transformative power.

All religions offer these things, weather the problematic be seen as seperation from nature, or imbalance with cosmic forces, re-birth through desire which leads to suffering, or moral sin in rebellion agasint God.

Transformations come in all sorts of packes too, they can be the big experince of bron agian Christianity (mediated through the "sinners prayer") or they can be the mystical experince, mediated thorugh the mass, or enlightenment, mediated through mediation, mandala, mantra and other mediation aids, or what have you.

The reason for identifying with a particular reilgious tradition is because one feels that this particular tradition identies the problematic better than others, and offers mediation in a more sure or certain or compelte way. One must go with the tradition with which one feels the strongest connection.

For me that is the Christian Tradition, primarly because I feel that the historical connection to Jesus of Nazerath, and the unique concept of Grace mark the Christian tradition as the best mediation of the Ultimate Transformative Experince. But more on that latter.

The God concept

I tend to use a great deal of termenology, and this can be off putting to people and also confussing. A guide to the many perdicates of the divine that I use to designate "God" is useful for sorting out what the many terms I use mean; terms such as "being itself" and "object of ultimate concern."
My views on God are unconventional. I think a lot of people are put off because they expect the usual big guy in the sky, the old grandfather figure with a white beard on a throne, and they aren't used to other ways of thinking about God, like Thinking of God as the laws of physics, or thinking of God as the nature of Being itself. Thinking of God as like mathematics. All of these are models I would use to try and show how my view is different from the conventional idea of God.

In its most abstract the concept of God is a Transcendental Signifier. That is, the concept of God functions in the way that a Transcendental Singifer functions, as the thing at the top of the metaphysical heirarchy. This when we strip the cultural trappings away from the God concept, remove the personality and the images of King and father, and get down to the basic abstract concept of What is God and what does God do; Gound organizes all principles of organizing under a metaphysical hierarchy; God is the ultimate organization principle:

Transcendental Signifyer is the ultimate metaphysical principle which makes sense of the universe.

The transcendental Signifyer (TS) is the mark that gives meaning to all the marks that make sense of the world; the "zeit geist," the "urmind", the "overself", the "object of ultiamte concern", the "omega point", the "Atmon", the "one," the "Logos", "reason." all the major top ideas which bestow meaning upon the wrold are examples of the TS. People have always advanced such notions. (The word "G-O-D" is the Transcendental Signifyer, the thing those letters refurr to is the "transcendental signifyed")

1) All people have some notion the "big idea" which makes sense of everything else.

William James, Gilford lectures:

"Plato gave so brilliant and impressive a defense of this common human feeling, that the doctrine of the reality of abstract objects has been known as the platonic theory of ideas ever since. Abstract Beauty, for example, is for Plato a perfectly definite individual being, of which the intellect is aware as of something additional to all the perishing beauties of the earth. "The true order of going," he says, in the often quoted passage in his 'Banquet,' "is to use the beauties of earth as steps along which one mounts upwards for the sake of that other Beauty, going from one to two, and from two to all fair forms, and from fair forms to fair actions, and from fair actions to fair notions, until from fair notions he arrives at the notion of absolute Beauty, and at last knows what the essence of Beauty is." 2 In our last lecture we had a glimpse of the way in which a platonizing writer like Emerson may treat the abstract divineness of things, the moral structure of the universe, as a fact worthy of worship. In those various churches without a God which to-day are spreading through the world under the name of ethical societies, we have a similar worship of the abstract divine, the moral law believed in as an ultimate object."

2) All Metaphysical Constructs include a TS.

Metaphysics is not merely realms unseen, but the organization of reality under a single organizing principle (this definition comes form one reading of Heidegger). All systems and groupings of the world verge on the metaphysical. Derrida and Heidegger say that it is impossible tto do without metaphysics since even language itself is metaphysical. Everything ponts to the Transcendental Signifyer. ( see Heidegger, Parenadise, and Introduction to Metaphysics, and Derrida, Margins of Philosophy and almost any Derrida book).

Science has TS

William James--Gilford lectures:

"'Science' in many minds is genuinely taking the place of a religion. Where this is so, the scientist treats the 'Laws of Nature' as objective facts to be revered. ..."

Science is very Metaphysical. It assumes that the whole of relaity and be organized and studied under one central principle, that of naturalism.

"For essential reasons the unity of all that allows itself to be attempted today through the most diverse concepts of science and of writting, is in principle, more or less covertly, yet always, determined by a an historico-metaphysical epoch of which we merely glimpse the closure." [Derrida, The End of the Book and the Begining of Writting, trans. Gayatri Spivak 1967 in Contemporary Critical Theory, ed. Dan Latimer, New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovonovitch, 1989, p.166] MetaListon Scinece and religion Stephen Hawking's

"In his best-selling book "A Brief History of Time", physicist Stephen Hawking claimed that when physicists find the theory he and his colleagues are looking for - a so-called "theory of everything" - then they will have seen into "the mind of God". Hawking is by no means the only scientist who has associated God with the laws of physics. Nobel laureate Leon Lederman, for example, has made a link between God and a subatomic particle known as the Higgs boson. Lederman has suggested that when physicists find this particle in their accelerators it will be like looking into the face of God. But what kind of God are these physicists talking about?"

"Theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg suggests that in fact this is not much of a God at all. Weinberg notes that traditionally the word "God" has meant "an interested personality". But that is not what Hawking and Lederman mean. Their "god", he says, is really just "an abstract principle of order and harmony", a set of mathematical equations. Weinberg questions then why they use the word "god" at all. He makes the rather profound point that "if language is to be of any use to us, then we ought to try and preserve the meaning of words, and 'god' historically has not meant the laws of nature." The question of just what is "God" has taxed theologians for thousands of years; what Weinberg reminds us is to be wary of glib definitions."

This pertians to the abstract metaphyiscal position of God in relation to human thought. But we must also understand God's nature. There are two concepts that spell out God's position in relation to humanity and to the universe as a whole:

(a) The Object of Utlimate Concern (OUC)

Not all religions deal with "God." God, as conventionally concieved God is not necessary to religions such as Buddhism. But all religons do deal with "the objecti of ultiamte concern" or that which concerns us ultimately. This is a concept by theologian Paul Tillich. It's not pinned down to any one thing in particular because it can be concieved of in many ways. But Tillich identifies it as "being itself." The object of ultiamte concern is synominous with God, this God is actually brought through the back down of all religions.

Object of Ultimate Concern:

This term is used from the persepective of our existential experience in being. What is being said is that God is the ojbect toward which we orient our final interests or our sense of meaning in life, our understanding of what is important, what life is about. This is no more contradictory to the other terms than calling God "the ojbect of worship."

In my view the OUC is essentially another way of Talking about God, although not necessarily the conventional notion of a "big man" on a throne. In my view whatever is ultimate, and whatever deterines our final destiny is clealry the OUC. So we have left with a sense of some overarching concept which guides and shapes our thinking, and this is related to primdordial being at the most basic level. So we are stuck with God in one form other anther weather we like it or not.

(b)Being itself:

This is the basic concept of God in Tillich's world view.What is being said is that God is the basic condition underwhich anything can be. God is synonimous with the very natuare of being because being proceeds from God and is contingent upon God. In this sesne God is thought of as synonimous with the very nature of Being, since God is the primary example of what it is to be (since nothing else would ever come to be or even have potential to be without God's express desire that it exist).There can only be one of these. By defition there can only be one thing that is the basic experssion of what it is to be and upon which all else (i mean everything, every single thing) is predicated. It woudl be a contradiction in terms to speak of two of them.Ground of Being us basically the same term. Sometimes Tillich used one, sometimes the other. It means the same thing, but at times Tillich thought that the focuss should be upon the platform upon which the being of beings rested, that is the basis of the being that we have as beings. But they are talking about the same thing.Naturally there can only be one of these too since its the same thing.for more on God as Being Itself (ground of Being)

Is God a "personal Being?"

For most people, consciousness is thought to be a side effect of brain chemestry, and being a person is an outgrowth of that side effect. But there is a school of thought that says that consciousness is a basic property of nature, it starts at a very reudamentary level and works its way up to the highest, thus conscousness is diffussed through the entire unvierse. I believe something similar to this, but for me Consciousness is the basic framework of reality. In this sense then I am saying that God is conscoius. But I'm saying more than that too.

I agree with Bishop George Berkeley, a philosoher who lived in the 18th century. He beileved that to be is to be percieved, and that God is percieving reality and holding it together in the divine perception. I believe that too, God is like the mind that thinks the universe, the universe is the thought in the mind of God. That doesnt' make our existence unreal or illusory, I dont' believe it is illusory. For us, who are part of the thought, our existence is very real, but it is in a higher framework which creates the reality we know as a matter of thought. That is part of God's basis as "being itself." Our being is litterally proceeding from God as thoughts from a mind.

This answers a lot of questions, mainly dealing with time and the creation of the universe, but it also stipulates that God is consciousness. There are several consequences that flow out of this discovery:

(a) God is Consciousness

God is not "a personal being" because, as the information on Being itself indicates, God is not "a being" no one of many like himself but is totally unique, and beyond the level of an indiviual contingent thing. God is not "a being" becasue this implies that he one unique example of a kind, and thus a contgingency. But God is not contingent but logically and ontologcially necessary. Thus God is not "a being." yet God is conscious.

(b) God is The personal Itself.

Consciousness, "the personal" is not just an idivudal trick of brian chemestry taht affects contingent beings one at a time, but is a quality of existence, an outcome and aspect of Being which is intrinsic to all rality, it is the framework in which that that we know as "reality" is generated and held in place. In that sense God is "the personal itself."

see a very extensive file on Berkeley

Mystical Theology

We can draw conclusions in these matters of God's nature and that of the universe, and the relation between the two, through logic and other means. But we cannot turely know the reality of God other than or apart form mystical expereince. That is to say, we experience God as the deepest level beyond words, thougths, or images. This is because God transcends our understanding. We cannot say what God is, we can only make the most rudementary guesses, which is all this stuff is. We cannot trley know, but we can experince. We do experince God this way; mystical experince is at the heart of all organized religion.

Mystical Theology and Religious Traditiions

We seek to talk about our experinces because we are social creatures. We have to talk about our experinces of God, even though they are not in words and we even understand them oursevles. Thus we must encode them into langauge and for that we must maks these deeply contradictory feelings with cultural symbols from our symbolic universe. Thus all religious traditions are different, because they all inovle their own cltures and are made out of their own cultural constructs; yet they all represent the same reality which stands behind them all. The detials just dont' matter. One faith calls its' God "Woden" and thinks he wants virgin sacrafice hung on a tree. Another faith calls its God "Demiter" and thinks this God a she and that she wants a sacrafice of Grain from every harvest. None of this matters. the gender doesn't matter, the sacrafice doesnt' matter, not the names, not the countries, all are just meaingless deatils constructed out of the constructs of each naion, the symbols that are meaningful to each group. But they all represent one true reality standing behind them all. Like a prisim they break down the true white light into colored details and each one fixates upon each detail; one is a "red" tradition, red is the truth. Anther is a "blue" tradition, only blue is true, but in reality, they are all just reflections of one reality which only makes real sense when it's all together and shining naturally upon the eye.

This is what I mean by the slogan I use a lot, "all gods point to 'God.'" One cannot paly the verious relgious traditions off against each other. The atheist who constratly harps "how do you know which God is true" doesn't know what he's asking. Because none of them are, and all of them are, because they all reflect the same reaality behind all religous traditions, but a reality we can only understand in metaphor.

Revelation: Jesus Christ

I beleive that God does give us special revelation. But that revelation is Jesus Christ, not the Bible. The Bible is a record of divine human incounters. It contains the word of God, but is not the word of God itself. The Bible is a collection of writtings which were produced out of personal encounters with God and reflects many differnt levels of inspiration; Jesus is the perfect revelation of God to humanity. I've written on nature of Biblical Revelation..

I accept the Nicene creed. I beileve that God entered history as a human to express solidarity with us. One can be present in one's own fantasy, or in one's own thoughts. God projects himself into the thought of the universe and becomes part of it as a man. See my Essay "How Do I know That Jesus is The Son of God?"

The Atonement

My views on the Atonement are a bit unconventional. Whiles see it as symbpathetic magic, as finanacial transaction and so forth, I see it as a statement of solidarity. I don't accept the propitation model: Jesus didnt' turn away God's wrath, or take warth upon himself. That's one aspect of expressing it, but its' not the complete picture. The punishment upon Christ doesn't magical pay a debt that we couldn't pay. But in identifying with us and with our ends and with the curse of sin, social and personal, and the consquences of that in death, Christ expresses God's solidarity with humanity; solidarity in political sense means one is willing to identify with the oppressed so closely as to shar their fate. Christ shares our fate to illustrate in a power and beautiful way that God is on our side.

It is out of this solidarity that the ground is created for forgiveness of sin. We cannot be in solidaritry with God and sin. when we place ourselves into the symbol of Chrit death and accept solidarity with God we turn form a lif of sin and thus the gound is created upon which our sins are forgiven. For more, see my essay.

Other Faiths

I don't see other faiths as a problem. God is working in all cultures. Other faiths are just different cultulrally constructed means of expressing the same relaity that is behind all religion. Jesus is the direct revelation, the example which teachs us God's ture character.But that doesn't condmen other faiths. See my essay on the topic.Salvation and Other Faiths

Hell and Afterlife

Religion is not some means of social control. Humanity has been religious for 50,000 years or more, probalby longer than we have been Homo sapiens. We had religious feelings since before we had the level of social orgnaization for control. Religion is not about scaring people with punishment in after life. Relgious belief is about coming to understand the probelm at the heart of being human; its' about ajusting to life and to death. Its' abotu personal fulfillment and finding meaning which explains life at an existential level and makes living worthwhile. I dont' believe in a hell fire and brimstone after life. There are those who ask "well why should I believe if I don't have to worry about punishment?" I think that's so immature. The point not to get out of punishment but to find the meaning and fulfillment of knowing God. The mystical experince is about the greatest thing in life. Its' a palpable feeling which changes and transforms peopel in dramatic ways. It's worth everything to experince it.

I believe that when one dies seperated from God in rebellion against the good, one is seperated forever,but not in a realm of fire and brimestone, but probalby just ceasing to exist. I believe there is an eternal life with God for those who have always sought to find God, and I see that a mystical relaityin whcih our conscousnesses unite with the divine conscoiusness, but we will also understand our own plights and experinces as individuals; an intimate and mystical union

To me that's what everything is about and it's worth any sacrafice to discover.


The Christian faith embraces God as Triune. Since I affirm the Nciene Creed, I also affirm the Trinity. The concept of Triune God is essential to the notion of God as being itself. The Godhead is the priamry and primordial differentiation of being; without that, being would be hardly distinguishable from nothingness; thought and purpose can't come in a vauum, a community is requires where consciousness is concerned. The Trinune God is the ultimate community, a multiplicy of consciousness, yet united in a onesness through shared essence.


What is the purpose of it all? Why did God create? My view Christian ethics is too elaborate to present here, I will write an essay soon laying out my ehtical theory. But suffice to say that I see a basis for all creation and for the impitus of God's purpose in the primary motivation out of God's character, which is love. Love and being share a very basic attribtue, but are poastive affirmations that bestriw things upon the other; being seeks to bestory being upon beings, and love seeks to bestow "the good" upon the other. Thus love is the basic character of God, who is "being itself" and that forms the primary motivation for all ethical atction.


I will close the overview with a look at theodocy. Why does God allow pain and evil? The answer to this question is central to my whole theology. My theory is called Soeteriological Darama

It's about how God created for the purpose of having corperoeal moral agnets who willingly choose the good. This requires that we struggle through faith and doubt as part of a great darama. We must seek salvation in spite of these probelms, but God promises that if we seek we will find. I hope my website will help some do just that.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Urgent Help needed: we must move by 31st

We have to move on the 31 of this month because our apartments are closing down. The arrest of my brother back in spring 05 is keeping us from getting a place to live. everything I lined up fell through.

If we don't' have a place to go we have to go stay with my sister, that will be hell, I wont be abel to be on the net or do any witting, and I don't know what will happen to our stuff. I may lose a library I've spend a life building.

we have a place we found and the woman renting it is sympathetic, but she refuses to be flexible on the big move in barriers, deposit (equal to first months rent) and dog deposit. here's the story.

we have a break and I think it's form the Lord. but he move in barrier of money is there to stop us. I'll you the whole story but it involved remarkable timing so it must be the Lord.

well the story is there is a property we looked at months ago. It was a town home but has a tiny yard. Not much but big enough for the dog to at least move around a bit. more than we have now, which is none at all. The problem was the place had major structural damage, foundation. I went to see it because it was so cheap but I figured it would have some major problem. So we shyd away. It was strange looking house in a wired little subdivision it reminds me to he Brit tv show of the 60's "The Prioner."

Today Ray wanted to go back and see them again. I was sure it was a waste of time but I just got an urge while in ruote to somepleace else. you know how it is, a little voice says "do this now." so I turned the car around and drove up there just as people were coming out of it. Turns out they bought it, fixed the foundation problem, want to rent it for just a big more than we are paying now and the is a paralegal, has seen police brutality and her mother was schizophrenic. so she is understanding of our problems.

we need to raise the deposit and dog deposit which is steepp but the monthly rent is no worse than we pay now. just a little more.

got to be the Lord.

Please pray more.

we need 750$ for deposit.
$300 for Dog deposit
$200 for movers.

here's an overview of what we have been through.
in 1998 I was a doctoral candidate, published an academic journal and had a bright future. I worked as a teaching assistant at the University of Texas at Dallas. My father had a big big heart attack and my mother began to exhibit Alzheimers soon after that. My brohter and I took care of them for three years. It was agony because we had an older alcholoic brother who moved in and faought allt he time. my parents died, and that was truma enough because for three years I did everyting for them. I massaged my father's butt, I put daipers on my mother. I made their food and changes their beds and did it all, like running my own nursing home. all the while this alcholoic asshoel who never lifted a finge to help would say 'you are not doing that right."

After they died the house began to fall apart. we got a home improvement loan, turned out to be a mortgage and they jacked the payments up where we could pay them and took the house. I spent a year agonizing over fighting them, lost my career, was outo f the program can't get a Ph.D. it's all I ever wanted. I can't be a professor that is the only ting I've ever cared about being.

we moved to an apartment and tried to put our lives back together and my brother was arrested because basically becasue he was afraid of the police. he was charged with assaulting an officer because he was beaten up by them. he never landed a blow or hurt any of them. But they charged him with that because they could. he assaulted their fists with his face.

then we got him off of that but it left a misdomenar on his record. just as we were putting our lives back together the said our apartments will be closed and toren down. now we are unable to rent because of his arrest and we must be out of here by the 31st and we have no place to go.

we had almost come back to life again. almost, but now that is going to be destroyed and we will lose everything again.

we need 750$ for deposit.
$300 for Dog deposit
$200 for movers.

we have no other way to raise it. please give!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

why it doesn't matter that RE is naturally induced.


The immediate context of this argument is my God argument no.6 "religious a prori."

It was being debated on my boards by a friend called "anti-matter" and I. But the answers here work for most all of my experientially based arguments. Please scroll to previous post to see the major argument I use that is experientially based. The question I'm concerned with here is put by Anti-Matter quite well.

Basically, why should we not assume these experiences are just naturalistic? I am trying to communicate the mistake being made to think the argument turns on the miraculous nature of the experiences. They are natural, but that doesn't matter. It's still a fine God argument.

Antimatter wrote:
I'm rather confused by this argument, Meta. As far as I can tell, it doesn't accomplish anything or make any significant claims. You begin by arguing that there could be no objective evidence for god because religion is wholly separate from the rigors of science, but then you go on to describe objective (or "inter-subjective") footprints that god should leave behind. The examples you provide consist entirely of the feelings and significant events that religious adherents worldwide all claim to experience. You further argue that faith is a requirement to perceive these religious experiences, as god selectively grants these experiences only to those who are looking for them. We're left with two obvious explanations:

Meta: I didn't put it that way. So far you have described rational warrant so I fail to see why you say it doesn't accomplish anything. It laid the ground work for the weakness of empirical knowledge then exploited it by setting up a criteria for a different category of knowledge which is in religion's own special domain.

1. An undetectable transcendent agent interacts with reality in such a manner as to engender religious experiences and feelings.
2. Religious experience is a result of malleable human memory and confirmation bias, and religious feelings and the sense of god's presence is merely a psychological outcome of religious adherence and ritual.

Even your argument concedes that these phenomenon may have naturalistic explanations, but you argue that this "misses the boat" because both of the above explanations may simultaneously be true.

Meta:yes, I fail to see the problem here. I've long argued that the atheist is working under a misconception to try and point out naturalistic causes to these experiences. that in no way diminishes them. It doesn't negate their role as rationally warranting belief. it's just a matter of understanding how the warrant is predicated.

if the effects where entirely naturalistic I suppose that would be a problem, but as there is no data at all to back up even a slight view of their naturalistic causality that's not really an issue. No reason why it can't be both. like with the God Pod. it's part of brain chemistry but there's no proof that isn't the way God did it.

the question is would it do that entirely on its own. I don't see how it could.

You also point out that claims of religious experience do not constitute proof but "must be taken on its own terms." So you see, I'm left wondering what we gained from this argument aside from shoring up religion, making it unassailable to criticism.

Meta: isn't that enough?

AM: Explanation 2 above seems sufficient to explain the phenomenon you described. You provide no other reason to accept the supernatural explanation, and I can think of several reasons to find it implausible. For instance, I could describe the religious experiences of non-theistic religions or cults. I could also point out the almost total hostility of our universe towards life. To the best of our knowledge, all environments outside our pale blue dot are inhospitable, which suggests the universe was not designed for our benefit. Given these counter-examples, what is the rational warrant for your alternative explanation?

Meta: To take the last two first:

(1) other faiths

that is not a reason to disbelieve. I've explained a million times how this one reality stands behind all traditions. the label "theistic" or "non" is unimportant. all labels are bull shit, all words are bull shit. words have no meaning. The one reality is beyond words. It's only experienced. we load it into words, which means into culture and that filters it through the lens of culture. this is what makes religions different. but it doesn't mean there is no such reality.

(2) universe

why does the universe have to be designed for us? we are not put in the whole universe to live, just on the blue dot. It's designed for us quite well.

these do nothing to get under my argument. they not pertain directly to any part of the argument (which is not a design argument).

you offered these as examples of the implausibility of a supernatural explication. But it's a mistake to think the SN works in my view as a design argument would work. You expect to see the SN as some kind of contradicting alternative. I don't see the supernatural in that way and my argument doesn't turn on the need to explain some sort of miraculous nature of these experiences. I've commented many times that is not the nature of the argument.

this argument turns entirely upon the ability of our experince to go around sense data and to offer an object of theological discourse that is beyond the domain of empirical data.

that is a rational warrant for belief because it is commensurate with one's phenomenolgoical apprehension of reality. The empirical materialism of an atheist is merely metaphysical hegemony that seems to mutilate one's experiences and reduce them to ideological orthodoxy.

see now this is why I started by the observation about how things fall between the cracks of inductive scientific data gathering. this is becasue what I'm saying is the atheist tires to reduce the phenomena to fit parts that fit his world view, and in so doing he loses the phenomena because these experiences are things that fall between the cracks.

so we go between the cracks (that's where the SN is) we say "hey this is not according to hole but it's real none the less" thus between the cracks we see there's a whole other view of reality

__________end debate__________

the argument doesn't turn on being able to say "this is a miracle that people have this experience because it couldn't happen unless God did this directly." That is not the argument. I will argue that There are unique aspects that couldn't happen without divine presence being involved. I have said that we must discuss what the supernatural is in order to answer this question. Supernatural is an ontology, but it is also the power of God to vivify human nature and raise it to the higher level. These experinces do exactly what the supernatural is supposed to do. since they are actually mystical experince itself, and that was the original conceit of the supernatural, they are literally the supernatural. no question about it. they are it.

That these experinces can be induced naturally is really not surprising nor does it undermine the argument. It would if the argument was a proof of God in an absolute sense, but since I claim only rational warrant this is a rational warrant for belief:

(1) the content is usually religious

(2) the effects draw people into belief

(3) it fits what we should expect of god

(4) no other aspect of life produces this effect, no other aspect has the data to back it up. When compared with other forms of support, even when smoking is controlled or religious smokers do better than non religious.

we only get these results from religious experience. This means there is a validity to religion that justifies in considering these phenomena to be indicative of the co-determinate of God consciousness and thus, rationally warrant belief. If one is determined to construe such phenomena as signs of the veracity of religion it is not illogical to do so.

Natural and supernatural are juxtapositions, they are not antithesis of each other. They are two sides or facets of the same harmony. We should be willing to find supernatural in the natural, and that's just what Maslow says we find:

Now that may be taken as a frank admission of a naturalistic psychological origin, except that it invovles a universal symbology which is not explicable through merely naturalistic means. How is it that all humans come to hold these same archetypical symbols? (For more on archetypes see Jesus Chrsit and Mythology page II) The "prematives" viewed and understood a sense of transformation which gave them an integration into the universe. This is crucial for human development. They sensed a power in the numenous, that is the origin of religion."

"In Appendix I and elsewhere in this essay, I have spoken of unitive perception, i.e., fusion of the B-realm with the D-realm, fusion of the eternal with the temporal, the sacred with the profane, etc. Someone has called this "the measureless gap between the poetic perception of reality and prosaic, unreal commonsense." Anyone who cannot perceive the sacred, the eternal, the symbolic, is simply blind to an aspect of reality, as I think I have amply demonstrated elsewhere (54), and in Appendix I,

--Abrham Maslow, Peak Experience


Saturday, March 01, 2008

Debate on God argument: Mysticla Experience


One of my best arguments for the existence of God is from mystical experince. Atheists always attack it from the stand point that the experiences are not miraculous and can be accounted for by counter causality. The argument looks like this (for the full argument see above link).

Decision Making Paradigm: logic of the lamp post

AT the heart of all religious belief and all organized religions is experience and the sense of the numinous. This is the foundation of religious belief. If we are going to argue for God it would behoove us to examine the nature of this sense of the numinous.

The logic of the lamp post is this: we can't find our keys in the dark. We look under lamp post even if we did not drop them there because that is where we will find them. We can't find God in sense data, because God is not given in sense data. So we look in place we will find him, personal experience. Since this is the basis of religious belief it makes sense to look there.

Co-determinate: The co-determinate is like the Derridian trace, or like a fingerprint. It's the accompanying sign that is always found with the thing itself. In other words, like trailing the inviable man in the snow. You can't see the inviable man, but you can see his footprints, and wherever he is in the snow his prints will always follow.

We cannot produce direct observation of God, but we can find the "trace" or the co-determinate, the effects of God in the world.

Now how do we know the co-determinate? Schleiermacher saw it as the feeling of utter dependence, because the object or correlates of having such a feeling was the thing that evokes the feeling. Just feelings of sublimity imply that one encounters the sublime, feelings of love imply that there is a beloved, so feelings of utter dependence imply that there is a universal necessity upon which the live world and worlds are supremely utterly dependent. We can also include mystical experince and life transformation because these are part and parcel of what is meant by the idea of religion and the divine. As far back as we can dig for artifacts we seem to find some form of mystical experince at the heart of all organized religion. So we can conclude that God, religion, and life transformation always go hand in hand. The studies themselves tell us that life transformation always accompanies dramatic experiences which are understood as and which evoke a strong sense of the Holy. Is this really phenomenological? We can screw up our phenomenological credentials by responding to it in a non phenomenological way. But it is the product of the phenomenological method, because it derives from observation of the phenomena and allowing the phenomena to tell us what categories to group the data into.

The only question at that point is "How do we know this is the effect, or the accompanying sign of the divine? But that should be answerer in the argument below. Here let us set out some general perameters:

(1) The trace produced content with specifically religious affects

(2)The affects led one to a renewed sense of divine reality, are trans formative of life goals and self actualization

(3) Cannot be accounted for by alternate causality or other means.

this is the actual argument,


(1)There are real affects from Mystical experince.

(2)These affects cannot be reduced to naturalistic cause and affect, bogus mental states or epiphenomena.

(3)Since the affects of Mystical consciousness are independent of other explanations we should assume that they are genuine.

(4)Since mystical experince is usually experince of something, the Holy, the sacred some sort of greater transcendent reality we should assume that the object is real since the affects or real, are that the affects are the result of some real higher reality.

(5)The true measure of the reality of the co-determinate is the transfomrative power of the affects. Since those are real we can assume the apparent cause is real.

Atheists constantly argue that the experince can be induced by naturalistic things and that they are not miraculous.

these quotes are from Doxa forums (my boards) with a friend named Quantum Troll:

Oh come on, you said "Cannot be accounted for by alternate causality or other means." and "These affects cannot be reduced to naturalistic cause and affect, bogus mental states or epiphenomena."

You can't just make those two statements without backing them up. Perhaps an argument for rational warrant shouldn't be using such absolutist wording? If you want us to accept a premise, it needs to be supported. Where's the support? Otherwise, you can re-word the statements: "I believe the effects cannot be accounted for by alternate causes" and "I believe these effects cannot be reduced to naturalistic phenomena". If I accepted these assumptions as true, then I think your argument holds perfectly. I just think that accepting your assumptions is not a correct thing to do. Lower down in the post, I make some arguments for the naturalistic explanations of religious experiences.

First, these are not "absolute statements." The phenomena is lost when one tries to reduce to alternate causality. Not that anyone has ever produced data to indicate the validity of a counter causality, but even if they did it would just lose the phenomena. What do I mean by "lose the phenomena?" you have to reduce it to a point where no longer measuring it but broken aspects of it in order to reduce to some counter causality. One example is seen when atheists often try to argue that any kind of major life change produces good effects. But they usually do not have data from personality tests measuring self actualization. Sot hey are not talking about the kinds of results measured int he studies I use, they talking about their own straw man idea of what the positive effects would be if they got their way.

secondly, I do back it up. I have a ton of data. Here's a link to the page of the original God argument on my God argument list. Look at how many links are there to other pages of data? It's five or six pages now for the argument.from mystical experince.

Argument pt 5 (A5) is wrong. The trans formative power of the effects is a measure of the magnitude of psychological change. An experience doesn't have to be true for it to have consequences.

Since it 's not proof in the demonstrative sense, but in the rational warrant sense, it only has to be rational to believe it. Real consequences mean real event. If you can't produce alternate causes it is reasonable to assume the content is as real as the effects, and thus, it was an encounter with the divine.

But, I can produce alternate causes. If I couldn't, then I wouldn't be so sure of myself, now would I?

(Meta: I don't know, would you?)

Basically, my counter argument is this:
1a) Your argument A2 is unsupported. Transformative religious experiences are consistent with pure naturalism.

Meta: having whip lash is proof you were in a wreck. there could be other reasons for whip lash, but if you have it and you claim to have been in a wreck your claim is rationally warranted. you have to show a reason why one should not be believed.

But if the whip lash was from a roller-coaster ride, then you'd be wrong if you believed in the wreck. If we're at a theme-park, then I'd have to seriously question whether you're thinking clearly. The way I see it, we're in the theme-park of naturalism, and you're claiming the whip lash of religious experience is proof of the wreck of divinity. It's not the best explanation for the available evidence (as I see it).

2) Therefore religious experience does NOT prove the reality of the divine.

Meta:ok those are nice labels. now make the argument.

(that is so totally ridiculous. the theme park of naturalism? more like the lunatic assylum of naturalism)

I think I have just one main premise that you wanted to see support for: Religious experiences can be positive transformative experiences without a trace of the divine.

First, I will show that the content of an experience is not validated by the magnitude of the response. Consider this story of an office prank gone wrong (the first one, by |Raziel|). The poor man was moved to tears by the experience of smelling his rotting dead dog, even though that's not what he was smelling at all.

First of all, your assumption here about my premise is wrong. I have never argued that the notion of it being the divine is what makes the response great. Almost half the experiencers are children and have no doctrinal expectation of cnocpt of what they are doing before the experince.

Secondly, you are arguing by analogy. The guy has a shocking experience and so that's supposedly be the same as the dramatic spiritual experiences. Not only is argument from analogy fallacious, but this i not analogs. You can't demonstrate long term positive effects from a negative experince like this so why would you think it's analogous?

There is also a slew of psychology that supports this premise: placebo effect, the slight academic advantage of people whose names start with 'A' vs. 'D', the positive feeling you get when you hear good news doesn't have any bearing on the veracity of the news, etc, etc. What you feel in response to some experience doesn't affect the truth value of your interpretation, and the truth of the experience doesn't affect the response you'll have. All that matters is your perception, i.e. what happens in your head.

You really have two different arguments here:

(1) placebo as altnerate causality

(2) effects of the experience don't determine the truth content of the cause.

As for placebo, that is not analougs to religiuos experience. you can't reduce RE to placebo, and that I have proven elsewhere.

Now let's deal with the second idea, consonances don't indicate cause. I think they do, and if you think about it that is only logical to think so. In fact it's in the nature of the case as to what cause is. Newton says for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Certainly then, we should expect the cause to produce an effect commensurate with it. If you use a powerful explosive you expect a big blast. If you hit really hard you expect it to be felt. You offer no data to indicate that trival things produce dramatic trans formative changes.

Your claim seems to be that there is no natural explanation for profound life-changing experiences, and that is what I'll address now.

Nope that is not my argument. you have construed that erroneously.I never said any such thing. that's very important to understand because it's at the crux of the whole argument. It's so important I'm going to do a blog spot on it again after this one. In order to understand what is wrong with that assumption we will have to discuss what nature and super nature really are. Basically I will say here the argument does not turn on amazement indicating the divine. It turns on construing the effects as co-determinate because we understand that this what we expect God to do. It's consistent with the content of the experince and its' consistent with your expectations of the divine. that means it's rationally warranted, not that it's absolute proof.

For example, let's take a hypothetical woman who just quits drug use after a particularly powerful praying session with the Virgin Mary. Did God touch her and heal her, or did she do it by herself? It's definitely possible that she did it by herself, since people quit using drugs all the time.

First of all I have not argued drug abuse in particular. But as a matter of fact it is notoriously difficult to quite, especially by yourself. this is common knowledge. if it was easy everyone would do it and addiction would not be addiction. It is certainly an exaggeration to say "all the time." this is why they have programs.

Oct 12, 2005 ... He said 95 percent of people who try to quit outside of a program fail, the same statistic for those trying to quit heroin without a program ... - 16k -

What kept her from going back to drugs was renewed interest in hobbies and friends, so the idle moments of the day when she'd be tempted were few and far between. Then why did she feel as if Jesus saved her from drugs? Because in her view, she was unable to save herself, and was stuck in a cycle of depression. When Mary answered the prayer and Jesus saved her, it was her mind that finally kicked itself out of a self-destructive mode and tapped into the energy that she had all along. Obviously, I can't prove one way or the other what's happening to these people, but I strongly believe that a simple natural explanation can be found in the vast majority of cases.

The problem with this kind of reasoning is argument from sign. He's just making up what he wants to believe did it and then assuming without evidence that tis' the reason. The idea that some could kick drugs, I'm thinking in terms of a real addiction to real drugs, like heroin, from hobbies and interests is perpsoterious. The stats I just quoted show 95% failure rate for those trying to go it alone. But this is not the issue because the effects of RE are not just that you do well in some area like getting off drugs. the are long term, dramatic and posative. so they last a life time and work over many areas.

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


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

while it is true that some of these things can be achieved to some extent from getting therapy or joining toastmasters, the fact is these can result dramatically form one experince. this cannot be doublicated in other ways, not hobbies or anything else. Atheists can produce no data to support this claim.

Here's another argument for natural causes of religious experiences. People with all kinds of beliefs have these experiences. The interpretation of the experience differs, but the common thread is that all people can have them. There is probably a common source for these experiences. Since beliefs differ, and some don't even believe in God, the interpretation that it's the touch of the divine isn't universal, and it's clearly not belief that triggers the experience.

You give no reason not to assume that the common source is God. The idea that RE among many beliefs systems proves anything is missing the point and begging the question. That doesn't' prove that it's not God, it' just making assumptions about God that are not in evidence. All God's point to God. religious traditions are different because they are filtered through cultural constructs not because they don't have the same source as a referent.

There are some atheists who have these experiences, but that is very rare. Usually the experiences they have are based upon content about God but in some rare cases it doesn't lead some to religious belief.Maslow basically argued that which ever way one goes is a matter of how one wants to view the evidence. But the atheists who have these experiences could just as well be experiencing God.

The one common thread that links all people together is that we're all human. Our brains grow in the same patterns, and are based on the same chemistry and internal structure. If there's a purely subjective experience that all kinds of people can experience, then it's very likely that the experience is due to our brains. Sleeping, waking, imagination, drowsiness, we can all relate to these experiences and we all accept that they're due to our brain activity. So why can't you accept that religious experience is caused by brain activity?

This tells nothing new, and it certainly doesn't answer the argument. To say t's the brain doesn't tell us anything about what's behind the triggers. The argument is already answered, since its' been proven that there are centers of the brain that are hard wired for God. This is clearly part of the same impulse. It certainly doesn't tell us that God didn't do it, may well just tell us how he did do it!

In closing, I just want to say that 'yes, it could be God, touching the core of our being', but a natural explanation exists and isn't even very far-fetched.

Since you have no data of any kind to show any naturalistic cause that can do this there is very little reason to assume that's it.

I mean, maybe I didn't even write this post, it's just God editing the TCP stream as it gets to your computer and putting in text for you to read.

that is supercilious Grand cannon logic. I have said nothing to indicate that such experiences equal total control of all of one's actions.

Possible, but not as likely as the natural explanation. I've tried to explain why I believe that natural explanations exist for mystical experiences, now could you try to explain why you don't believe they exist?

To explain that, which I will but not necessarily now, we would have to discuss the nature of nature and super nature. Of course, I just stated one reason, you offer no data and no one ever has. No one has been able to show me anything that produces long term positive effects that are life trans formative. Moreover, I fail to see why we should assume that naturalistic causes can produce religious content and wind up with positive results, the results we would expect to see if God really was on the case.

This disbelief of yours is what your entire argument is based on, yet you haven't explained or supported it at all. None of the observations detailed in the tail end of your OP are in my opinion difficult to explain naturally.

No, that's fallacious reasoning. That's what it's based upon. Obviously the argument is not based upon a disbelief in naturalism but a rational warrant for the co-determinate. the basic assumption lurking underneath all this terminology is the assumption that mystical consciousness is at the heart of all religious tradition. I had experiences that led em to believe God was real; that belief led to God as a way of life and has born itself out in a lifetime of further experince. the experiences themselves are self validating in their results.

In the next post I will deal with the problem of why the assumptions about naturalism don't' really get at the argument.

Then why did she feel as if Jesus saved her from drugs? Because in her view, she was unable to save herself, and was stuck in a cycle of depression. When Mary answered the prayer and Jesus saved her, it was her mind that finally kicked itself out of a self-destructive mode and tapped into the energy that she had all along. Obviously, I can't prove one way or the other what's happening to these people, but I strongly believe that a simple natural explanation can be found in the vast majority of cases. [/quote]

Here's another argument for natural causes of religious experiences. People with all kinds of beliefs have these experiences. The interpretation of the experience differs, but the common thread is that all people can have them. There is probably a common source for these experiences.

Read about my legs