Monday, February 09, 2009

Answering Atheist Attacks Upon Religious Experience Studies

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I have been touting several hundred studies on religious experience for some time now. The number varies because there are many studies and I have not seen most of them (or course since I can't go get 300 studies and read them all). I began using a ball park figure rounding it off at 300. That was 300 studies that show long term positive effects of religious experince ("mystical" experince). Then I found two sources that each went through a litany of studies show these positive effects. I counted the number in the two sources and lo, it was almost 300. So I counted more form a couple more sources it was 350.This was by combining the bibliographies of
Jayne Gackenback, Krishna Mohan, and Loukoff and Lu. I had to hammer in the concept because the tendency of atheists was to just ignore all those studies completely. Most of the time they would act like their opinions out weighed all the studies. There is a huge body of data that is good scientific data and confirms the greatness of religion. This is completely ignored by atheists so I had to hammer the idea home to them. Of course they still can't accept it so the became resentful.

One of the major things they did was spot the discrepancy between what I used to say "300" vs the new number 350. Well I'm just lying because there are two different numbers. It never dawned on them maybe I found more! Since the number is ball park anyway there are a good deal more I could include. I could probably get it up to about 2000 without damaging the truth too much; that would include studies on religious participation and physical health, these are not included in the 350. Lukoff and Lu found a thousand entries for studies that mention mystical experience (and that was way back in the 80s), they narrowed that down to a hundred maybe, or maybe 50 for their literature search. That was the early 80s so have been a lot more sense then, but a large portion of those would have been non applicable because they used of one the early search engines and they weren't very refined. In College debate we used an even earlier version (1977). Looking for things on ultrasound as medical diagnostic tool (it was pretty new then) and got stuff on the sexual tendencies of flat worms.

Be that as it may, the atheist attacks upon these studies have remained pathetic. of course we are dealing with people on message boards, so we run the gamut of who is out there. Some on CARM have attacked my studies in my absence. Since I wont post there anymore, it's safe to attack them. Their attacks are confined to non methodological knit picking. They do not present valid scientific criticisms about the nature of the science involved. The major stock issues that one would use in attacking social science studies would be arguments about replication, sample size, data base, randomness of the sample, representativeness of the data base or the sample, as well as arguments about controls and double blinding. None of this has ever been advanced. Nor has any atheist ever bothered to look up one of these studies. Now in this latest round one tried to do that and upon not finding a certain one on a certain search engine just gave up and assumes they are all bad. Atheists tend to treat these studies as though they are all one study. There's this one group of studies called 'the 350 studies' so that if one is bad they are all bad. If they can't find one then none of them exist. These are not valid approaches. There are not just 350 studies, that's the number of the ones' I've either found. Attacks upon the bibliography and the one compiling it (Gackenback) are not valid methodological attacks. Some studies are better than others, so some of the 350 might suck, that doesn't' mean all 350 studies are not good. Another trick they have played is to attack Gackenback's bibliography (the studies are bad because they are listed in a bad bibliography) based upon other sources listed in it. For example, she sites De pock Chopra. They don't even bother to find out why she sites him. She might be saying he's a complete idiot for all they know, they just indulge in classic guilt by association and conclude that because she quotes Chopra and Hood, then Hood must be in the same league Chopra.

So let's move into the specific arguments in this last round:



phoenix702 (on CARM)



Metacrock relies on some less than credible sources
Metacrock is always talking about his "350 studies" as empirical evidence, but many of them are most definitely NOT "empirical" and of low quality. Let me post this another thread on Meta's sources....


Of course he's judging their "low quality" by the fact he could not find a couple on the only social science search engine he bothered to look for. He has no concept of how many of the 350 are good or not good. But 350 is a lot of studies. Air Bags were determined to be valuable and began to be put on cars on the basis of just three studies. 350 is a lot of studies. If only a few are really good that's all that matters.

Btw I could not find studies by Abraham Maslow, C Wright Mills, Warner and Withers, or the All state Air Bag study on that same search engine. So it failed to turn up some of the major thinkers in the social science field, or any of the three studies that established air bags as valid. Moreover, you have to be a member to use the index. So is Phoenix a member? Or did he just put the title int he search box on the topright corner of the home page? If that's all he did then he wont get anything, that's not how you use the index. You can't just start using it. What he's really complaining about though, when you boil it down is that these studies are not in JAMA or NEJM because those are the kind of sources you get on SSCI. But they don't index psychology articles, and especially not psychology of religion articles.

Now here's an interesting acid test. show me some of the big atheist studies on that sight? Can you show me Zukerman's study indexed in SSCI? I don't think so. But most atheists have no trouble accepting Zucerman as scientific (even though most sociologists do have trouble accepting his crap as scientific).

SSCI is not the only index and it's not the only social science index. It is not Social Science Abstracts and there's also Wilson Social Abstracts and a couple of others, Psych Info.

then he quotes me to set up the basis for attacking Gackenbak's bibliography:


Quote:
Originally Posted by Metacrock View Post
I found 50 more since I first started saying 300.

I first started using that figure about three years ago.

You can count the core list yourself if you wish. Look at the Gackenback bib and the Mohan bib. those two together. make up a huge chunk.
50 more?! Like Gackenback? I've looked at just her "bib" that you are flogging here as evidence and I've got to tell you if that additional 50 is of the same quality as the Gackenback "bib", the you haven't got much.
Then he responds:


Phoenix: Since you have posted these studies and refer to them multiple times in your posts, let's look at them. One good indication of the quality of the work is where it is published and very little of what you list comes from peer-reviewed, quality SSCI (Social Science Citation Index) journals.
First, he doesn't prove the Scottish journal is not peer reviewed. It is far from the case that all valid peer reviewed journals are indexed in SSCI. So just its' not theer, if in indeed it is not, doesn't mean its' a bad journal. What matters is not the pretige of the journal the study appears in, but the methology of the study. Most of the studies that I refer to are coming fromgood journals and they are peer reviewed. Two of the major sources in the early days (80's) were from Journal of Trans personal psychology. That is clearly one of the major journals in the field of psychology of religion. Wuthnow (who did the first rigorous methodological procedure for such a study) was published in that journal. Nobel (who was lauded for her huge data based--at the time huge, 2,400) was published in The Counseling Psychiratrist..

The Journal of transpersonal psychology lists as it's Indexing:

The Journal is Abstracted and/or Indexed in: Psychology Abstracts, International Bibliography of Periodical Literature, International Bibliography of Book Reviews, Mental Health Abstracts, Psychological Reader's Guide, Current Contents / Social & Behavioral Sciences, Social Sciences Citation Index, Contenta Relgionum

See that source emboldened in Red? Thats' the Index in question that Penix thinks is the only valid one. It is indexed in there. It is also refereed. Then it says:


Board of Editors:
J.F. Bugental, Paul Clemens, Jack Engler, James Fadiman, Jorge Ferrer, Daniel Goleman, Elmer Green, Stanislav Grof, Herbert Guenther, Tobin Hart, Michael Hutton, Stanley Krippner, Lawrence LeShan, John Levy, David Loy, Francis G. Lu, David Lukoff, Michael Mahoney, Michael Murphy, Peter L. Nelson, Kaisa Puhakka, Huston Smith, Tonu Soidla, Charles T. Tart, Frances E. Vaughan, Miles Vich, Jenny Wade, Michael Washburn, John Welwood

Since I ran an academic journal I know that baord of editors is the board referees. That means it's a refeereed journal.

Gackenback accounts for less than half the 350 studies. Over one hundered are in Krina Mohan's bibliography. here is a swath of Mohan's bibliography. tell me what is wrong with these sources?

Adams, N. (1995). Spirituality, science and therapy. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, 16 (4), 201-208.

Allman, L.S., Dela, R.O., Elins, D.N., & Weathers, R.S. (1992). Psychotherapists attitude towards mystical experiences. Psychotherapy, 29, 564-569.

Anson, O., Antonovskay, A., & Sagy, S. (1990). “Religiosity and well-being among retirees: A question of causality”. Behaviour, Health & Aging, 1, 85-87.

Atchley, R.C. (1997). “The subjective importance and being religious and its effects on health and morale 14 years later”. Journal of Aging Studies, 11, 131-141.

Ball, R.A & Goodyear, R.K. (1991). “Self-reported professional practices of Christian psychotherapists”. Journal of Psychology and Christianity. 10, 144-153.

Balodhi, J.P., Chowdhary, J.R. (1986). “Psychiatric concepts in Atharva Veda: A review”. Indian Journal of Psychiatry, 28, 63-68.

Begley, S. (1998, July 20).Science finds God”. Newsweek, 132, 47-52.

Bergin, A.E. (1980). Psychotherapy and religious values. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 48, 95-105.

Bergin, A.E. (1983). “Religiosity and mental health: A critical reevaluation and meta analysis”. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 14, 170-184.

Bergin, A.E. (1991). “Values and Religious issues in Psychotherapy and mental health”. American Psychologist, 46, 394-403.

Bergin, A.E. & Payne, I.R. (1993).Proposed agenda for a spiritual strategy in personality and psychotherapy”, in E.L. Wothington, Jr. (Ed.). Psychotherapy and Religious Values, (pp. 243-260). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker.

Bhagawad Gita. (1905). Translation by Besant, A. & Das, B. London and Benares: Theological Publishing Society.

Blaine, B., Crocker, J. (1995). “Religiousness, and psychological well-being: Exploring social psychological mediators”. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 21, 1031-1041.

Brown, L.B. (1994). The human side of prayer: The psychology of praying. Birmingham, AL: Religious Education Press.

Canda, E. (1988). “pirituality, religious diversity, and social work practice”. Social Casework: The Journal of Contemporary Social Work, 69 (4), 238-247.

Canda, E. (1995). “Existential family therapy: Using the concepts of Victor Frankl”. Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Human Services, 76, 451-452.

Caroll, S. (1993). “Spirituality and purpose in life in alcoholism recovery”. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 54, 297-301.

Carlson,R. & Shield,B. (1989). Healers on Healing. Los Angels: Tarchet.

Chekola, M.G. (1975). The concept of happiness (Doctoral dissertation). University of Michigan. (1974). Dissertation Abstracts International, 35, 4609A.

Courtenary, B.C., Poon. L.W., Martin, P., & Clayton,G.M. (1992). “Religiostiy and adaptation in oldest-old”. International Journal of Aging & Human Development. 34, 47-46.

Culberson, C.E. (1977). A holistic view of joy in relation to psychotherapy derived from Lowen, Maslow, and Assagoli (Doctoral Dissertation). Dissertation Abstracts International, 38, 2853B.
He goes on:

Phenix
I have a major problem with your strong reliance on Jayne Gackenback's unpublished, hence nonpeer-reviewed work (a literature review). Gackenback claims that, dreaming gets one in contact with the Vedic Consciousness. This kind of "I'm-A-True-Believer " rif should be a real red flag that her work on this topic is unreliable due to her bias. Samples of your heavy reliance on this very dubious source:

Strong reliance? I don't quote her as a study, except a couple of times, and I have the same information backed up by other studies as well. I used her bibliography. See this is the Bib attack I spoke of earlier. It's totally fallacious to think that because a source is on a bibliography with a bad source that somehow taints the good source. This is a foolish concept. But there's nothing wrong with Gackenback anyway, she's a fine researcher, but her main area is sleep research and that tends to be a bit on the edge. She does, therefore, have an association with some less than sterling publications. But this in no way impendges upon the sources she sites because she didn't' do the studies. I've done a mountain of research on this topic and I know what the major studies are. Her's was the first bibliography of the topic that I found. Bedsides all that she accounts for less than half of the studies. Her bib was done in 92, so most of her studies are old. But that doesn't make them bad because the same results have been coming in for four decades. Mohan contains almost half the sources and his bib starts about 92 and goes to 2004.

Then he tries to attack Gackenback herself, as though that means anything on her big must be bad.

Phoenix:

The following taken from the Gackenback bib: http://www.sawka.com/spiritwatch/cehsc/ipure.htm

1. Transpersonal Childhood Experiences of Higher States of Consciousness: Literature Review and Theoretical Integration. Unpublished paper 1992 by Jayne Gackenback.

Why are you using UNPUBLISHED work here?
I'm not, I'm using her bibliography. The publication of her article has nothing to do with the publication of the items on her bibliography. Don't you even know what a Bibliography is? Secondly, it is published, on her website. She has a degree, she's a professional researcher, she was the editor of a journal, so why doesn't her website count?


The is NOT scholarly (you're so fond of lambasting others for not being scholars that I find this tendency to cite this dubious kind of work and THEN claim that you have "empirical evidence" to be most ironic.
It's not unscholarly. What's unscholarly is to act like I'm quoting her when I'm only quoted sources she sites! Your just doing guilt by assocaition, that is not a valid methodological attack. Really none of the attacks he makes have anything to do with replication, representation, randomness, or control.




2. She cites Alexander (really fond of him, she is), but what is she citing? One book, two unpublished manuscripts, and two publications in The Lucidity Letter====>The Lucidity Letter, is a non-professional publication, hence non-peer reviewed==>Guess what, Gackenback is the past editor of this low-quality journal, and Alexander is her bud (more on why this is a problem).

Lucidy letter was a professional publication. It was not an academic publication. I'm sure you don't know the difference. Again, her quotations from Alexander do not make his study bad. that's really idiotic to think it does. Moreover, it's really fallacious to think that a book is NOT a scholarly source. Yes books are still valid scholarly sources. A study in a book is still a study. Studies in books can be peer reviewed, depending upon where it was published first. Alexander is a good source. It's not that uncommon for scholarly sources to quote unpublished material ether.

He gives this URL which is to Lucidity letter. I'm not sure why he sticks it out there.

{http://www.sawka.com/spiritwatch/tableof.htm}

Phoenix:

Now let's look at her citation partner Alexander.He publishes in Modern Science and Vedic Science that is published by guess who, The Maharishi University of Management Press, another turn in the SAME circle of "True Believers" in Vedic Consciousness). What we have here is a citation circle (never a good sign) that you cite as support which consists mainly of an unpublished papers that reference other non-peer reviewed literature in a "I'm-A-True-Believer" citation circle.
{http://mumpress.com/p_h.html}
Here's he's trying to pull a fast one. He's trying to just bully his way to making the reader accept the idea that Gackenback is just part of a littel circle of people who quote each other and site each other all the time. He has no proof of that. He's calls Alexander a citation partner but he doesn't show him citing her.He has one unpublished source form Alexander but the nextstudy by him is published.This is one study out of the pack (349, or so left to go). He's also deciding what a citation circle is by assuming that the Academy in India is going to opporate by the same procedures as ours or that they must be inferior because America is the onlky country that really knows science. He doesn't present any material to prove any problems with this source. He's just guessing. His assertion that I use Alexander as some kind of support is unfounded. He's in the mix of the 350 that doesnt' mean I've singled his stuff out as any particular support for anything.


Phoenix:
3. Not only so we have a "I'm-A-True-Believer" citation circle, but she cites frauds like Deepak Chopra!. Really Meta, this is a serious source and we are to take someone who cites this snake-oil salesman as believable?
{http://pharyngula.org/index/weblog/longcomments/moonbat_anti_evolutionist_deepak_chopra}
I've seen this before. Sheuses a bad source (do we know what she says about him? does she say he's good? we don't know) but that means all the sources she sites must also be bad. That's just plain stupid. Because the major studies like Wuthnow and Nobel and Lukoff are sites by the major people such as Hood. So this means nothing as a methodological attack. Nothing more than guilt by association. What are we really being asked to believe about Gackenback? Only that she found some good studies and some bad ones. That's not hard to believe. If the souce I site were not on her bib, had I not told the CARM idiots that there were there, they would never have known it. Then they would have no argument against the studies at all. Because notice: he still has not read a single study and has not made a single methodological argument of any one source.





4. Gackenbach now cites herself (round and round in this citation circle we go!).

that is not a citation circle. you need to learn more about social science research. Quoting herself is a total logical thing to do since she did studies. It has nothing to do with others quoting her. You can't show a single source that she quotes quoting her.



1. Gackenbach, J.I. & Moorecroft, W. (1987). Psychological content of "consciousness" during sleep in a TM subject. Lucidity Letter, 6(1), 29-36. b. Gackenbach, J.I. (1988). The psychological content of lucid dreams.
2. In J.I. Gackenbach & S.L. LaBerge (Eds.), Conscious mind, sleeping brain: Perspectives on lucid dreaming. NY: Plenum. (NOTE: The low-quality Lucidity Letter, again!)

5. Not content with these non-SSCI journals ( Lucidity Letter and Modern Science and Vedic Science), Gackenback also cites:

* the Journal of UFO Studies. (you've got to be kidding me...this is serious science!) (non-SSCI)

This is rich and hilarious. I've sen this stupid mistake made by atheists before. He wants you to think that Gackenback is an idiot because she quotes something about UFO studies. That mean she must believe in UFO's right? But since she is a sleep researcher she's quoting to show that there are similarities between waking dreams and UFO abduction descriptions. This was back in the late 80s or early 90s when that was not so well known. Rather than supporting belief in UFOs she is actually demonstrating the cause of abduction scenarios as waking dreams, meaning she's against UFO abduction. She has done the valid scholarly thing and quoted her source, she had quote a crazy source to show that the idea is crazy right? so what's wrong with that? Why does she quote that in the bib on religious experince? Does he read her article to find out what she says about it? No. He assumes that make her stupid.

He refers to a number of other Journals that are not on SSCI



* the Scottish Journal of Religious Studies (non-SSCI)
* the Journal of the Scientific Study of Religion ( non-SSCI).
* another non-SSCI journal, the Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research
* The Journal of Transpersonal Pyschology (non-SSCI) that publishes papers from the likes of Ram Dass . {http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/ramdass}
* a doctoral dissertation from the Dept. of Neuroscience of Human Consciousness, Maharishi International University (back to the citation circle)


*the Scottish Journal ceased publication in 1999, that would be a good reason why he can't find it indexed today. That doesn't prove it was bad just because it was put to bed.

* Journal for Scientific study of Religoin I think is the Journal that Zuckerman published in.
* Journal of The American Society for Psychical Research. He asserts it is not in SSCI (again remember it doesn't have to be indxed ther to be good or have good stuff in it, it can be peer reviewed and not be there). Let's look at the nature of the orgnaization that publishes the journal:

The American Society for Psychical Research is the oldest psychical research organization in the United States. For more than a century, the ASPR has supported the scientific investigation of extraordinary or as yet unexplained phenomena that have been called psychic or paranormal. The ASPR was founded in 1885 by a distinguished group of scholars who shared the courage and vision to explore the uncharted realms of human consciousness, among them renowned Harvard psychologist and Professor of Philosophy, William James.

The ASPR headquarters is located in New York City in an historical landmark building acquired by the Society with the generous support of benefactors, including physicist-inventor of the Xerox, Chester Carlson. In addition to laboratories and offices, the ASPR maintains a one-of-a-kind library and archive. This international collection contains rare books, case reports, letters and manuscripts that date back to the 1700's.

A pioneering organization with an international membership, the ASPR serves as a global information network for public and professional audiences. Through its publications and educational services it provides responsible information about relevant contemporary and historical research.


that certainly sounds like the kidn of journal that would have pretesigious peer reiviwed articles.
The journal describes itself this way: A quarterly scientific journal providing scholarly reports, research findings, discussions of implications and applications of psychic functioning, and book reviews. This is one of the core journals in the field.

They cannot make this claim and not be peer reiviewed.

All material submitted for publication should be sent as an email attachment, preferably in Microsoft Word, or alternately submitted in quadruplicate and typed or printed double-spaced. Tables, footnotes, and references should be in the form used in the Journal.

you do that when you have referees. that's one of the tell tail sings that they have them. why have four copies if they don't? They could not call themselves "one of the core journals in the feild" if they weren't. They would not be in business long if they worked that way.

*The Journal of Transpersonal Pyschology**

this guy has screwed himself with this one. I've already proved above that it is indexed in the SSCI. So when he says " (non-SSCI)" he's merely showing his incopotance. Then he says " that publishes papers from the likes of Ram Dass ." He sites this: {http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/ramdass} But wait! that's not from the journal in question! tht's PBS the tv network. He's doing nothing to back up his lying claim that they publish Ram Dass (not that he demonstrates anything wrong with the guy) he does not prove that they do that he just asserts it. That is totally dishonest! He's demonstrating his ignorance and his dishonesty.



This is nothing more than ideological pandering. Most of these journals are find and he has no reasl reason for saying they aren;t. I don't know why we should expect a scottish journal to be in an American index. Ram Dass is a popularizer but that doesn't mean everything he doees is bad. He does have a major degree from an Ivy league university. He was invivled scientific work before he went native. This guy is just assumign that reilgoius structures have to square with secular academia or with western academia and they don't. I would consider Ram Dass to be half bakced. I always have.But that doesn't meany anything, because Gackenback quotes him and he is capbable of doing some good. Its' silly to judge acadmics in other countries by American standards. as though they don't have their own standardards.

again these are things Gackenback quotes, that doesn't mean the 350 studies are in this pile. He has not showen that one of these is from the same group.

6. Gackenbach, J.I. & Bosveld, J. (1989). Control your dreams. NY: Harper & Row
You identified her popular book as a serious academic work. A popular book is NOT a a serious academic work that one relies upon as evidence for ones case. (Gackenback also cites her own book in her work).
where did I do that? I said she's a serious sleep researcher. Just because she does a popular book that doesn't mean she's not. Many major academics have done popular things. Dr. MacFarland did a coffee table book on Japan and he was the major expert on the New Religions of Japan. This has nothing do to with her study on religious experince or on her bibliogrophy.

The point here is that there is a pattern to the stuff you cite and it is not a good one. The vast majority of them are a joke...unpublished, non-peer reviewed, from joke journals like the UFO rag, and/or as part of strongly-biased citation circle (so much for you "empircial evidence"). If this is a representative sample of what you have, I am totally underwhelmed. Why don't you try writing a paper yourself, using the sources you have cited on your web-site as evidence and see how far you get having it published in a reputable SSCI journal?

the pattern is the bald faced lie you are telling. The pattern is you are mining quotes. You're looking at the stuff that makes the case of guilt by association. none of the things you site have anything to do with the 350 studies. The studies youa re looking at deal with her sleep research. I don't know if you even have hold of the right bibliogrpahy. You are just playing game.s Taking things out of context and trying to make a big muddle. you don't know the schoalrly world well enough to discrn good from bad.

Now this is just a scan of the "Gackenback bib". I do hope that her work isn't typical of the rest of the now "350" (up from the "300" studies).


you have not yet proved that it's typical of even one of them. you haven not demontrated that one of them is the 350. You are doing nothing more than playing guilt by association.

Your 350 studies, if they are like the Gackenback lot in their quality, they are NOT going to come close to substantiating the claims you are trying to wringe for them, e.g., God as "co-determinant". Quantity is no substitute for quality.

now you are mixing two different concepts, the studies are not about the co-deteminate. that's from schleiermacher nto the studies. You don't know anything about quality. You are merely playing guilt by assocition. He learned the term "citation circle" so he wants to use it a lot.All he's done is to assault her bibliography and her working in other areas and trangential assocaitions that have nothing to do with the issue.

* What will you have left once one throws out the low quality stuff?


you have not yet demonstrated a single thing wrong with a single study. Logically since Gagenback only accounts for about 100 studies out of 350 then I would say 250 good studies are left that's assuming you just elinmate all of Gackenback for good measure (even though there's no reason to). 250 studie is a huge body of work. We don't need anywhere ner that many, remember Air bags were demonstrated with only three major studies.


* Will what you have left really support the sweeping assertions you are making with it? They don't now IMO (C&P "linky" to why I don't think so below) ({http://www.christiandiscussionforums.org/v/showpost.php?p=4008464&postcount=56})
why are they sweeping? you have no concept of what they are based upon or what backs them up. Over all about 2000 studies show that religionis good for you. why is that such a amazing calim? only because you are brain washed. you are a zombie brainwashed by a hate group.

What I hope you see, Metacrock, if you read this, is WHY we are having problems with your claims. This is NOT an attempt to make you feel bad, attack your self-esteem, ridicule you or Christianity, etc.


this is not why you are having problems. it has nothing to do with the studies, and no one ever went to this much trouble before, not that you haven't done a totally pathetic job.

all he does is play guilt by association and go off on a tangent trying to build a list of criteria for validity that is not used in academic circles. the search engine he sites is not the only source of valid scientific work. Again he treats the whole 350 as though ti's one thing. If one study has a problem the whole thing is bad. the De Pok Chopra stuff and Ram Dass study he sites has nothing to do witht he 350 studies, they are not part of that batch. He's just more atheist stupidity not understanding how to do real social science work and using buzz words and half understood concepts. but they do not mount a single methodological attack.

a loot of his attacks have to do with things he doesn't like. he doesn't like religion so any research about meditaiton and dreams and things that strike him sas superntaural he automically dismisses as stupid and bad.

Remember also that he doesn't even look at or mention the Mohan bib, Lukoff, or Voyle, Wuthnow or Noble. so these account for well over half, maybe 2/3 of the studies I use. So he's only getting at a fraction of them. Most of the arguments he makes are guilt by association.

8 comments:

A Hermit said...

OK, here's my beef with this "I have a list..." claim of yours. You keep telling us "I have X number of studies which support the positive effects of religious belief."

But now you tell us "...The number varies because there are many studies and I have not seen most of them (or course since I can't go get 300 studies and read them all)."

So, you come on like some sort of academic authority with all kinds of empirical backing, but here you admit you haven't even SEEN most of these "studies." The conclusion you are drawing from them is NOT warranted because you don't even know what they actually say.

You appear to ignore important caveats, like this one in Mohan's abstract: "Though spirituality traditionally has been considered to be exclusively the domain of religion, it is now being conceptualized in terms that have no particular relationship to theology..." Mohan, unlike you, is careful enough to note that most of this is provisional, that more work needs to be done and that he is studying Indian culture which defines things like spirituality and happiness differently than Western cultures.

What you have is a coupe of interesting studies, which cite a bunch of other references, some of which are peer reviewed studies, some of which aren't. Among of Mohan's references, for example, are the Baghavad Gita and an article in Newsweek. Are you counting those as part of your 350 studies?

There's a lot of interesting stuff there, to be sure, and it's certainly a subject worth pursuing but there's a lot of work to be done(as Mohan says, "To study spiritual phenomena appropriate modalities and methods should be devised in order to have clarity and rigor." I just don't think it carries quite the implications you often seem to be arguing for.

J.L. Hinman said...

OK, here's my beef with this "I have a list..." claim of yours. You keep telling us "I have X number of studies which support the positive effects of religious belief."

But now you tell us "...The number varies because there are many studies and I have not seen most of them (or course since I can't go get 300 studies and read them all)."

So, you come on like some sort of academic authority with all kinds of empirical backing, but here you admit you haven't even SEEN most of these "studies." The conclusion you are drawing from them is NOT warranted because you don't even know what they actually say.



First of all, there are a core number of studies hat I have read and they are really good becasue I made sure I got hold of the major ones.

Secondly, these studies do exist, all 350, and I have good general idea of what they say because they come from articles where the author goes through and talks about them.

Thirdly, I know harping on that number was polarization caused by atheist apathy. I did that because didn't care that I had studies, they didn't care how many. They didn't care how good they were, they just ignored them completely until I made this big huge issue of it.

There are still some who don't care even if I have 350 good ones. The idiot who calls himself "anonymous" sent a scathing hate email tell me how stupid I am ect ect, my life is worthless, why? all because I have the Gaul and the temerity to actually document my views. I"m not going to publish his little idiotic tirade. But one thing is said is taht having 350 even if they are good doesn't prove anything.

so in his view nothing can ever prove anything, God can't exist, even if he does he wont accept him anyway because he hates God forever and blah blah, so there's no point in dealing with a mongrel dog.

So even having great studies and whole pile of them doesn't matter to some people. Somewhere in there there has to be a golden mean. or happy medium? would you believe a contented psychic?


You appear to ignore important caveats, like this one in Mohan's abstract: "Though spirituality traditionally has been considered to be exclusively the domain of religion, it is now being conceptualized in terms that have no particular relationship to theology..." Mohan, unlike you, is careful enough to note that most of this is provisional, that more work needs to be done and that he is studying Indian culture which defines things like spirituality and happiness differently than Western cultures.

first of all that is nothing more than obligatory social science scholarly caution. As I said I had to be strident to get anyone to pay attention. If I was writing a journal article I would be cautious.

Secondly, I have never said this is absolute proof of anything. I don't claim to prove the eistence of god, just that's not irrational to beileve in God. These studies certainly do prove that.

the data that show that religion is good for you is overwhelming and cannot be doubted. religion is good for you, no question. Now from that point what that means and under what condition its best and under what conditions the goodness is negated is the body of the real dispute.

you and most other athiests are so totally unfair in the way you approach belief. On the one hand you demand proof. then when someone gives something that comes close to even looking similar to proof you fly into a rage and people like that childish moron start cursing and demand that God can't exist no matter what an acting like How dare you try to prove your beliefs! this is an outrage, you should shot for making arguments for belief in God!


What you have is a coupe of interesting studies, which cite a bunch of other references, some of which are peer reviewed studies, some of which aren't.


your views are so distorted. they are ridiculous on this. First of all, it's obvious and clearly documented that I have a huge pile of really good studies. I can show at aleast nine really good ones just by Hood alone. I rattle off about ten otehrs in addition to that which are really good.

Only three studies established air bags. that's all we need is three.

that doufous only showed problems (potential problems) with maybe two studies.

so what I really have is about 20 really studies and about 320 that are potentially good.




Among of Mohan's references, for example, are the Baghavad Gita and an article in Newsweek. Are you counting those as part of your 350 studies?


Obviously not. I'm building by own bib. It's tedious and slow but when I get it done you will see. In my book I will have a select bib and a general bib. The select bib will isolate the good studies. I hate making bibs!

There's a lot of interesting stuff there, to be sure, and it's certainly a subject worth pursuing but there's a lot of work to be done

It's huge. There are literally thousands of interesting studies on this and related topics (I don't mean one's that just show long term positive effects but everything interesting that I wish I had time to read). There is just so much data to deal with I can't possibly go through all of it.



(as Mohan says, "To study spiritual phenomena appropriate modalities and methods should be devised in order to have clarity and rigor." I just don't think it carries quite the implications you often seem to be arguing for.



If you asked Mohan he would say Hood's sutdies are the finest. they are tops. they are best. I have a large number of studies with rigord. you haven't read any of them.

I notice you don't get into the text of Mohan where he goes through all the studies in his big and shows what they say. He clearly thinks a number of them are really good and that they prove his point that religious experience is a fine balm.

you should explore that whole site tha this article is on. Its' Indian shirinks, from India. that's what pissed me off about Phoenix's attack. He ridicules Rom Dass without knowing anything about psychology at that end of things. The Indian guys are doing some interesteing stuff.

Rom Dass is a popularizer and he's an American who went native. So I'm not including him. But the guys Mohan hangs out with seem to have a lot to their world view.


8:27 AM

A Hermit said...

"first of all that is nothing more than obligatory social science scholarly caution. As I said I had to be strident to get anyone to pay attention. If I was writing a journal article I would be cautious."

That caution is there for a reason; because the relationships in question aren't that firmly established. And honestly, how can you complain about other people's reactions when you admit that your whole approach is designed to be "strident" and provoke people? All you get that way is more of the fights you seem to want to wallow in and nothing approaching an honest conversation about what spirituality might mean to all of us, including non-theists, and how we can find common ground.

"Secondly, I have never said this is absolute proof of anything. I don't claim to prove the eistence of god, just that's not irrational to beileve in God. These studies certainly do prove that."

I have seen you on more than one occasion argue, in the heat of the moment, that you have, in fact, proved God's existence and cited this list of yours as part of that proof.

And I would argue that you are overstating the purpose of those studies anyway; looking at the Mohan study, he's not making the case that belief in God is not irrational; just that some sort of spirituality may be beneficial.

J.L. Hinman said...

It's very very stupid of people to think that if I haven't actually gone out and gotten all 350 studies and read everyone of them then "that says it all" as the idiot go lie puts it.

what does it say? he wont get and read one. I bet he has never read a study in his life.

that would take years to get and read 350 studies. I probably didn't have 350 studies in all four years of college debate and I had twelve file boxes of evidence every year.

J.L. Hinman said...

"first of all that is nothing more than obligatory social science scholarly caution. As I said I had to be strident to get anyone to pay attention. If I was writing a journal article I would be cautious."

That caution is there for a reason; because the relationships in question aren't that firmly established.

you are making that up. this si from a guy who hasn't read a single study. you don't know that. I've talked with the authors of the studies, some of the major ones. you havent even read one

mohons cautions are not big. he doesn't say "o there's a real present danger that there's no god and this this probalby all a lot of bull shit." he doesn't say anything remotely like that.
It's a proven fact that eligious expeince is good for you. go have one and see. there's nothing to lsoe. nothing to lose.





And honestly, how can you complain about other people's reactions when you admit that your whole approach is designed to be "strident" and provoke people?


what do you mean "designed" you guys are nothing more than a bunch of little intellectual sissies. you can't think you knitpick pick everything thing, you have no common sense, all you know how to do is bicker over small things because you can't admit your wrong anything, not one single thing ever. you are just a bucking negative little nervous Nelly nay sayers sacred of your shadow and afarid to try.



All you get that way is more of the fights you seem to want to wallow in and nothing approaching an honest conversation about what spirituality might mean to all of us, including non-theists, and how we can find common ground.


you are clearly incapable of being honest if you had an ounce of integrity you would admit that the evidence is vastly and oversehalming in favor of the rational nature of bleief and unreasonable nature of cynicl rejection of belief.
the facts prove RE is good for you and there is nothing to lose. literal no disadvantage you can beileve what ever you want, make up your own God if you wish. you have nothing to lose. but you are still scared to death but you are blaspheming God every fucking day but you are sacred to death to believe something not fundamentalism. makes no sense at all.

there is literally no risk and you talk liek this some amazing danger we must avoid at all costs.

no study was disproved do you gt that? two studies out 350 were bascially doubted with no real evidence and no real study methology indictment.

not a single methodology argument was mad. yet you consign all those studies to the junk pile on flimsy little reasons that would not hold up in a novice debate in high school.

A Hermit said...

"you guys are nothing more than a bunch of little intellectual sissies...you are just a bucking negative little nervous Nelly nay sayers sacred of your shadow and afarid to try."

"you are clearly incapable of being honest...you are still scared to death but you are blaspheming God every fucking day but you are sacred to death to believe something not fundamentalism. "

And just when I thought we were getting somewhere you prove once again that you are incapable of listening or having a respectful, grownup conversation.

Have a nice life Joe...

J.L. Hinman said...

maybe I got a little high strung. But I am really tired of this cynical dismissive attitude.

Look, I've read gobs of stuff on this study. I even became freinds with one of the major researchers just so I could bug him to death about problems concerning my book.

someone casts a slight bit of doubt (based upon not attacking the studies but a bibliography in which the studies appear and which has nothing to do with the people doing the study) and suddenly you are willing to declare that the vast majority of them are "no good" and I only have a couple of good studies.

The truth is I may have a couple of bad studies and so still have over 3000 to chose from many of which are know are good (way more than two).

It's that attitude that I am so sick of dealing with. You find some idiot sociologist like Zuckerman who was actually laughed at by his colleges when he put out his first study. his work doesn't' meet any of the criteria you put forth as important (or that Phoenix put forth). His study is not in SSCI for example. Phoenix concludes my studies are bad because they are not in SSCI (which they are really) but that doesn't matter with Zuckerman, he's wonderful and scientific and everything but he's not in there.


you don't see just a little bit of a double standard here?

and just so negative. everything is doubt doubt doubt can't ever have any kind of faith on anything.

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