Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Brain Chemistry is no Aswer to Religious Experience

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The media is replete with articles such as the one by NPR which tries to say that RE is the result of Brian chemistry.


the point of the article is to destroy faith in religion by reducing religious experinces to brain chemistry. They link up the sensations and the activities of the brain when one is thinking about God. That is exactly the evdience I sue when I talk about the structure in the brain that gives us the idea of God. That general argument holds no terror for one who believes in religious experince. It doesn't disprove RE and it doesn't provide an alternative that reduces to naturalistic origins either. Here's why:

(1) they can't prove they are studying real mystical experience.


Most of the researchers who do the God part of the brain studies, who try to match up parts of the brain with religious experience, this goes for the guy with the helmet, Ramerchandrin, Newberg and all of them, none or them are able to show that their subjective are having real mystical experiences.

The one way to do that scientifically, those guys don't even know about. The way is the "M scale." You have me speak fo this before. It was invented Ralph Hood, it measures the extent to which one has had 'peak' experience or mystical experience. The researcher in that article do not use the M scale at all. That means they are just assuming that any thought about God is as good as any other thought, that' is not the case.

Since they aren't measuring religious experiences they can't claim that religious experience reduces to brain chemistry. These reductionists are pulling a bait and switch. They switching real religious experince for any thoughts about God, or strange experinces in which something about God is mentioned. This came out in John Hick's book about New Frontier of Religion and Science.


(2) Lining up chemical with God imagery proves nothing.

All these researchers are doing is trying to line up the presence of some tranquilizing chemical such as serotonin and some form of thought which includes religious imagery. That doesn't prove anything becasue they can never show that the serotonin is the actual cause of the transformation effets that occur long term over the life span of the subject many years subsequent.

(a) is the chemical present becasue the tranquil effect of God's presence causes the release?

(b) did God release the chemical to calm them down?

(c) Does the presence of the chemical even have anything to do with the transformation effects?

None of those have been answered.

(3) Opening receptors to the divine.


We are sentient flesh and blood beings. If God created us, he created us that way. If we are the product of evolution only, evolution has made that way. That's the way we are. We think by having our thoughts transmitted by neural receptors in teh brain, those are chemicals. Just like having ears. We hear by picking up vibrations on the ear drum.

God could not speak audibly to us without using your ears. By the same token, if God wants to give us thoughts and sensations, he has to paly with the chemicals. The fact that a trigger mechanism can open the receptors so that we are more included to these experiences than otherwise is no more a disprove of God being involved in the process than Moses having ears to hear God speak disproves God's voice.

Reductionists will make much of the fact that several studies in which psilocybin mushrooms were used produced a valid mystical experience. That is ture in several studies, the major two being Good Friday by Pahnke, (early 60s) the follow up in the 80s (forget who did that) and a recent one by Grifiths (Johns Hopkins).

I actually discussed the latter study with Hood, the inventor of the M scale. he's impressed with the study but doesn't find it challenging his work or his conclusions at all. Far from seeing it as any kind of disproof of God he takes the study as a whole as proof of all of his ideas about God about religious experince. Most researchers in that field do. None of them actually try to use that kind of study as disproof most of them use it as proof of the validity of religious experince, mushrooms and all. But this is a very different set of researchers and a different kind of research from the Ramerchandrin God finder helmet and God part of the brain.

The Good Friday study and its follow up is even less of an argument for reductionism and more proof for the open receptor theory that the pro mystical core faction argue (the idea that God is doing it). The reason is becasue the follow up shows that the mystical experinces induced by the mushrooms produced profound changes in teh subjects that radically transformed their lives and stuck with them through out life. Many of them said that was the most crucial moment in their lives.

Now it is true that the meditation group, the control group that did not take mushrooms only did mediation did not have those profound changes. But the thing is almost all the mushroom takers were mystical anyway before they tried the mushrooms. They were chosen from among a group of seminarians. Most of them had had religious experinces in their childhoods and were headed for the ministry. They were mystics long before they were mushroom takers. Most of them had already had these experiences. So the what this is proves is not tha the very same experiences with the very same outcome can be induced by naturalistic means, but that the triggers (including drugs) open the receptors which are partly opened anyway and experiences already being had become greater.

This is obvious because otherwise they would have to have the same experince as the control group since the argument is that those experinces can be induced naturally. But the fact they were already having them disrupts that argument because this was not something induced upon people who had no relationship with the divine.

(4) Doesn't explain outcomes


The outcome for most is that they find their lives transformed by mystical experiences. This has been demonstrated over and over with 350 studies over a four decade period. Those transformation effects have not duplicated by any other means. The immediate sensation of the religious experince may be had by inducing some drug, but the long term positive effects have not been so duplicated. The point is not the immediate sensation but the effects long term.


There is no other example of such effects being induced by anything. The only example that comes close is the Good Friday follow up, but since that experimental group were mystics anyway, there is no control that would separate the two effects; making the open receptor idea much more plausible.

Most atheist seem to think the point is that God is doing this by magic. Andrew Newberg in Why God Wont Go Away rights about the realization of a neural dimension to the spiritual, without fear of reduction to the naturalistic. Its' not magic and it doesn't have to be. God can work through naturalistic means. The one difference that we can look at and say "this is God" rather just "this is serotonin" is the long term effects and their relation to promotion of a way of life that works.

Atheists also seem to think that reductionism is beating up on the Spirit if it doesn't find some mysterious element or source of energy or some kind of energy that can't be explained. None of that, not a strange energy, or magic, or an element we don't know is necessary. We do not have to find something in the process of the experience that can't be accounted for in the natural, because it is a natural process. The thing that stands out and makes it different and tags it as the trace of God is the divine in the content of the experince, and the long term effects which can't be produced by anything else.
__________________

28 comments:

Sabio Lantz said...

First !
Fix the spelling in BOTH your web sub-title and in the title of this article.
It is difficult to motivate reading if misspellings are in the titles.

J.L. Hinman said...

get some legs you bastard! stop lazing about in that wheel chair. It' really a disincentive to talk to you knowing that you are just goofing off because you don't have legs.

A Hermit said...

Thing is these effects aren't just confined to "thinking about God" but are present in all kinds of transcendent experience. I have real problem with the generalization of all such experiences as traces of something called "God". It seems to me that these kinds of experience (and I believe I've had them myself) are the result of our being able, however briefly, to drop the filters that usually keep us focused on our everyday existence perceive our actual position in the universe; to sense the infinite, or near infinite, nature of the universe in which we live. But that is not same as "God".

A Hermit said...

"First !
Fix the spelling in BOTH your web sub-title and in the title of this article."
Sabio, what Joe's trying to tell you is "look up "dyslexia" then get back to us if you have something to say...";-)

Joe and I disagree about a thing or two and have butted heads more than once, but he's actually accomplished a lot in spite of struggling with a serious perceptual disability and can be a smart, interesting guy if you don't provoke him with nonsense about spelling...

J.L. Hinman said...

thanks Hermit

Thing is these effects aren't just confined to "thinking about God" but are present in all kinds of transcendent experience.


they are actually talking about two different sets of experiences. The mystical doesn't come from just thinking about God at all. I have real problem with the generalization of all such experiences as traces of something called "God". It seems to me that these kinds of experience (and I believe I've had them myself) are the result of our being able, however briefly, to drop the filters that usually keep us focused on our everyday existence perceive our actual position in the universe; to sense the infinite, or near infinite, nature of the universe in which we live. But that is not same as "God".


Yes, it is exactly the same as God. you know my view includes much more than the idea of the big man in the sky or the big kign on the throne right?

those qualities are iherently what I mean when I say the word "God." that's what I'm talking about: eternal, necessary, ground of being.

read my TS argument again. you actually believe in God by my terms.

Loren said...

I think that such experiences of oneness are pure hallucination. However, I think that such hallucinations can permanently rewire some parts of our brains, thus producing "transformative effects". There are lots of aspects of our psyches that are falling to the onslaughts of brain research, and it will be interesting to see how that turns out.

What A Hermit was experiencing seems rather close to Plotinus's One, which is beyond all description -- and which lacks personality and is eternally fixed. That entity "creates" timelessly; the Universe is emanations from it.

It also seems like Richard Carrier's "Vulcan mind meld with God", a doozy of a mystical experience, in http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/testimonials/carrier.html

Metacrock, you ought to try to look past your pet theological beliefs and stop reading them into others' beliefs. I try to do that myself; I recognize that Democritus's atoms are far from quantum-field-theory particles.

And what's so hard about proofreading and using a spellchecker?

A Hermit said...

" you actually believe in God by my terms."No, I believe in a natural, impersonal universe. I believe that's completely awe inspiring, and calling it "God" it's the first step in an anthropomorphizing process which, for me, actually diminishes it.

J.L. Hinman said...

" you actually believe in God by my terms."No, I believe in a natural, impersonal universe. I believe that's completely awe inspiring, and calling it "God" it's the first step in an anthropomorphizing process which, for me, actually diminishes it.

that' jut semantics. How can the term "God" be anthropomorphic when it can applie to the Hegelian dialectic or the Plantoinc forms or a billion "incidents" of process?

you have merely limited your view of God as a matter of semantics.

J.L. Hinman said...

I think that such experiences of oneness are pure hallucination.

and your bigoted opinion is empirically disproved. do you hear me? science has disproved that. 350 studies show it is not hallucination. you see? it's disproved. science disproves it.However, I think that such hallucinations can permanently rewire some parts of our brains, thus producing "transformative effects".

that's a contradiction in terms if that's ture that proves God is doing it because is no otehr example in anyting anywhere where that happens. transformative effects do not resul form metnal deterioration. Hallucinaiton is usualy caused by pathology.

pathology can't produce good psotive long term effects. It does not. it never does. no other case.
There are lots of aspects of our psyches that are falling to the onslaughts of brain research, and it will be interesting to see how that turns out.


the brain research guys don't study religious experince. that was the whole point of my post.

why don't atheists ever read?
What A Hermit was experiencing seems rather close to Plotinus's One, which is beyond all description -- and which lacks personality and is eternally fixed. That entity "creates" timelessly; the Universe is emanations from it.


"personality" is a blind alley. no verse in the Bilbe says God has "personality." that is beside the point.

God = Planto's one! All aseity is assiety.
It also seems like Richard Carrier's "Vulcan mind meld with God", a doozy of a mystical experience, in http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/testimonials/carrier.html

Carrier is a pretencious idiot. that doesn't make the studies go away. you are just flying in the face of scientific evidence.

athiests love science until it disproves their hate, then they ignore it.
Metacrock, you ought to try to look past your pet theological beliefs and stop reading them into others' beliefs. I try to do that myself; I recognize that Democritus's atoms are far from quantum-field-theory particles.


you ought to try reading some books. you are saying this becasue you don't have the knowledge base to understand what i know. You don't know anything about theology. you have not read what Iv'e read and you don't know what I know. And what's so hard about proofreading and using a spellchecker?


I spell check everything. try to get this through your head. I don't know how man more ways to say it.

I cannot see thw ords like you do wha pat of "I can't see them" do you not get? are you stupid?

Look here's I see, it's just an aproximation.

you see: the brown cow jumped over the moon.

I see: brown coew mon ju the oer.
do get the idea here?

J.L. Hinman said...

I forgot to make some backwards letters. I see letters backwards sometimes so

brown woc t ju he

Loren said...

Metacrock, your claim that "religious" experiences are not hallucinations seems to me like the case of someone who hates science fiction but who claims that Star Trek is not science fiction because she likes it.

As Bertrand Russell once noted, if you eat too little, you see heaven, while if you drink too much, you see snakes. What many mystics do to induce their experiences may be interpreted as inducing pathology.

As to "science" being on your side, that seems like the common caricature of "scientism". I point you to research into convinced atheists and other nonbelievers:

http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2009/04/26/beyond_belief/

More recently, Karen Hwang, a professor at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, decided to examine atheists at risk for depression more closely. Hwang's interviews with atheists suffering from spinal cord injuries revealed how becoming debilitated strengthened their convictions, and their convictions strengthened them. "It doesn't matter so much what a person believes in," she says, "but how consistent and cohesive their worldview is."

Me: atheists thriving in foxholes -- who could possibly have guessed that?

One of the most powerful critics of the new science of religion is Columbia University psychiatrist Richard Sloan, who surveyed hundreds of published studies on the benefits of religion and found many of them rife with methodological sloppiness. In his 2006 book, "Blind Faith: The Unholy Alliance of Religion and Medicine," he argued that researchers, who were often personally religious, appeared to be seeing what they wanted to see, not what the evidence showed.

Me: there go all your 350 studies. Looks like another case of N-rays.

But the researchers say they're eager not to replicate the errors of wishful thinking that Sloan pointed out in the work on religion.

Me: I admire anyone who is willing to be so honest and careful.

J.L. Hinman said...

Loren, it is scientfiic fact. do you undestand the meaning of the word fact? Its' not just some little thing I think. It's proved through a bunch of studies by real scientist.

Religious experince is not mental illness, not pathology, so it cant' be hallucination.

see the studies here

J.L. Hinman said...

Metacrock, your claim that "religious" experiences are not hallucinations seems to me like the case of someone who hates science fiction but who claims that Star Trek is not science fiction because she likes it.

It doesn't matter how it "seems" to you, you don't know. this is a matter of scientific studies. You don't have the knowledge, the studies are there. It's proved by science,e not hallucination.

(1) studies show no relationship to pathology

(2) incidence rate shows it can't be metnal illness

(3) clinicians say RE is therapeutic and healing. hallucination are seldom the result of anything positive.

"Results of a recent survey (Allman, et al,. 1992) suggest that most clinicians do not view mystical experiences as pathological. Also, studies by several researchers have found that people reporting mystical experiences scored lower on psychopathology scales and higher on measures of psychological well-being than controls (Caird, 1987; Hood, 1976, 1977, 1979; Spanos and Moretti, 1988)".
As Bertrand Russell once noted, if you eat too little, you see heaven, while if you drink too much, you see snakes. What many mystics do to induce their experiences may be interpreted as inducing pathology.


Russell did not have the scientific evidence to deal with. That is a stereotype based upon monastic life. It doesn't apply to the people in the studies, which were all done after Russell died (he died in the 60s).As to "science" being on your side, that seems like the common caricature of "scientism". I point you to research into convinced atheists and other nonbelievers:

read teh studies sweetiehttp://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2009/04/26/beyond_belief/

More recently, Karen Hwang, a professor at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, decided to examine atheists at risk for depression more closely. Hwang's interviews with atheists suffering from spinal cord injuries revealed how becoming debilitated strengthened their convictions, and their convictions strengthened them. "It doesn't matter so much what a person believes in," she says, "but how consistent and cohesive their worldview is."

J.L. Hinman said...

that doesn't say there weren't depressed.it doesn't say being atheists helped them cope with their injuries. It only says it made them more atheist, meaning it made hate God more because their problems..Me: atheists thriving in foxholes -- who could possibly have guessed that?

that study didn't say they were thriving it says they are mad at God.One of the most powerful critics of the new science of religion is Columbia University psychiatrist Richard Sloan, who surveyed hundreds of published studies on the benefits of religion and found many of them rife with methodological sloppiness. In his 2006 book, "Blind Faith: The Unholy Alliance of Religion and Medicine," he argued that researchers, who were often personally religious, appeared to be seeing what they wanted to see, not what the evidence showed.


anecdotal: He doesn't say which studies. There are a couple of thousand over all. I'm talking bout specific 350 that are good studies on mystical experince. he's probably talking about participation and prayer and the whole bit.Me: there go all your 350 studies. Looks like another case of N-rays.

since you have not read a single page of any of them you are doing nothing but judging a book by its cover. your letting your bigoted hatred carry you way and warp your judgment.But the researchers say they're eager not to replicate the errors of wishful thinking that Sloan pointed out in the work on religion.


I will bet you anything they are not talking about Hood or the M scale or any of 350 studies I talk about. I noticed you haven't named a single study. I'll bet my care they are not willing to say that about Hood.

it's so sad how lazy atheists are how willing to just accept any crap statement without thinking.
Me: I admire anyone who is willing to be so honest and careful.

you are not careful. that qutoe is crap. it says nothing. you don't even have the guts to find a criticism that names a study! that's not careful not scholarship.

J.L. Hinman said...

I just looked at the Sloan book on Google. It does not appear to be discussing any of the studies I'm talking about. But,I will get it to be sure.

A Hermit said...

"that' jut semantics. How can the term "God" be anthropomorphic when it can applie to the Hegelian dialectic or the Plantoinc forms or a billion "incidents" of process?

you have merely limited your view of God as a matter of semantics."
Aren't you the one who says you have a "personal relationship" with a God who takes an active and interventionist interest in your affairs? Do you not identify this God with the person of Jesus Christ?

Explain to me how you aren't anthropomorphizing when you do that.

Loren: "I think that such experiences of oneness are pure hallucination."I don't think it's hallucination exactly; I think it's a shift in perception. Most of the time we are unable to fully perceive the enormity of space and time, our brains filter incoming sensory data, which is already limited by our physical perceptual abilities, but every now and then we can over-ride those filters and get a glimpse of that enormity. That's the mystical experience. But we still can't fully grasp it because of our sensory limitations, so our minds then create an analog to deal with the sensory overload. For most people the simplest analogies are composed of human forms (gods made in our image) which get more and more humanized over time as the memory of that transcendent moment fades.

The problem with most religions is that they then take that imperfect analog as absolute truth and use it to attribute divine intentions and purpose to their own human beliefs and aspirations.

Loren said...

(1) studies show no relationship to pathology
(2) incidence rate shows it can't be metnal illness
What would you consider "pathology"? And when we dream as we sleep, we are not that far from being mentally ill. Some mental illnesses, at least, involve normal mechanisms that go to excess.

(3) clinicians say RE is therapeutic and healing. hallucination are seldom the result of anything positive.Don't be too sure. Are you sure that you are not defining "hallucination" too strictly? I've had some rather hallucinatory experiences as I've awakened; so-called "lucid dreaming".

Hwang's interviews with atheists suffering from spinal cord injuries revealed how becoming debilitated strengthened their convictions, and their convictions strengthened them. "It doesn't matter so much what a person believes in," she says, "but how consistent and cohesive their worldview is."

that doesn't say there weren't depressed. it doesn't say being atheists helped them cope with their injuries. It only says it made them more atheist, meaning it made hate God more because their problems..Metacrock, how many times will I have to repeat this: atheists DO NOT HATE GOD. It makes as much since as hating Zeus or Odin or the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy.

Me: atheists thriving in foxholes -- who could possibly have guessed that?

that study didn't say they were thriving it says they are mad at God.Karen Hwang claimed that they were "strengthened"; she does not claim that they were "mad at God".

J.L. Hinman said...

(1) studies show no relationship to pathology
(2) incidence rate shows it can't be metnal illnessWhat would you consider "pathology"? And when we dream as we sleep, we are not that far from being mentally ill. Some mental illnesses, at least, involve normal mechanisms that go to excess.


that's not any kind of argument. There's no study data that would link dreaming to hallucinations and religious experince. Besides we all dream so that means atheist are hallucinating too. you are really clutching at straws there.(3) clinicians say RE is therapeutic and healing. hallucination are seldom the result of anything positive.Don't be too sure. Are you sure that you are not defining "hallucination" too strictly? I've had some rather hallucinatory experiences as I've awakened; so-called "lucid dreaming".

you just don't get it do you? you have to have docuentation to prove your assertions. It's not good just speculating "maybe thsi is the case?" when you are tryign to answer real empericla scientific data. you have to have studies too.
you have no studies to back up your assertions. there are no examples of hallucinations changing people lives for the better and transformation them into stronger moer whole people.

you are asserting it with no evidence and no way to prove it merely to have something to say.
Hwang's interviews with atheists suffering from spinal cord injuries revealed how becoming debilitated strengthened their convictions, and their convictions strengthened them. "It doesn't matter so much what a person believes in," she says, "but how consistent and cohesive their worldview is."


those are not studies, they did not povide any kind of data that said their lives are better, all it said was they are more resolute about rejecting (probalby because they are bitter and angry). That is nothing compared to the stuff RE does for you.

and some of the studies I quoted are about religious people who are crippled in pain saying that their lives have been transformed and turend good because of God.

they are not angry adn bitter, understand? they are happy. they are happy!
that doesn't say there weren't depressed. it doesn't say being atheists helped them cope with their injuries. It only says it made them more atheist, meaning it made hate God more because their problems..Metacrock, how many times will I have to repeat this: atheists DO NOT HATE GOD. It makes as much since as hating Zeus or Odin or the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy.


you have no proof! you are one person it's anedotal. I can show you a thousand atheists post by people who are obviously eatting their hearts out. When people are depressed, drunk all the time, utter blasphemous crap al the time always see the dark side of everything, can't understand the idea of being happy about life, you are dealing with a very depressed person and I can show you atheist message boards where that is clearly the case.

I was an atheist. do you hear? I was an atheist. get that through your head, I was an atheist! I was miserable. you can't pull the wool over my eyes. I know what atheists are like.
Me: atheists thriving in foxholes -- who could possibly have guessed that?

that study didn't say they were thriving it says they are mad at God.Karen Hwang claimed that they were "strengthened"; she does not claim that they were "mad at God".

Not a study, it's her opinon (some biased atheist who has no intention of being fair) just giving some personal interpiration with not objective measurment or data.

atheists I new in the old days are drunks they have been alcoholics for 40 years, they have depressed for 40 years. who do you think you are kidding. I've seen more life than ou have, about four times more. how old are you?

Loren said...

Metacrock, it seems like you are reacting very negatively to the word "hallucination". Massimo Pigliucci had once explained how to have your own mystical experience:

Meditation
Gases like carbon dioxide and ethylene
Stroboscopic lights
Various drugs, like mescaline, LSD, ...
Scurvy and pellagra
Self-flagellation
Starvation
Sensory deprivation
Concentration on an intellectual task
Brain damage
Schizophrenia
Persinger's transcranial magnetic stimulator

those are not studies, they did not povide any kind of data that said their lives are better, all it said was they are more resolute about rejecting (probalby because they are bitter and angry). That is nothing compared to the stuff RE does for you.Why don't you contact Karen Hwang directly and find out for yourself? Why do you presume that they were "bitter" and "angry"?

it doesn't say being atheists helped them cope with their injuries. It only says it made them more atheist, meaning it made hate God more because their problems.There you go again, with your stupid caricature of atheism.

I can show you a thousand atheists post by people who are obviously eatting their hearts out. When people are depressed, drunk all the time, utter blasphemous crap al the time always see the dark side of everything, can't understand the idea of being happy about life, you are dealing with a very depressed person and I can show you atheist message boards where that is clearly the case.Metacrock, let's let whoever has committed no sin throw the first stone here, shall we? You know what I'm referring to, I hope.

Lots and lots and lots of successful people are atheists and agnostics or otherwise nonreligious. If they were all mental cripples, how could they have gotten anywhere???

I was an atheist. do you hear? I was an atheist. get that through your head, I was an atheist! I was miserable. you can't pull the wool over my eyes. I know what atheists are like.And what makes you think that your experiences are universal? Metacrock, you remind me of Kirk Cameron claiming that he was once an atheist and once thought just like Brian and Kelly of the Rational Response Squad.

that study didn't say they were thriving it says they are mad at God.What gives you that idea? Outside of your "mad at god" caricature of atheists.

atheists I new in the old days are drunks they have been alcoholics for 40 years, they have depressed for 40 years. who do you think you are kidding. I've seen more life than ou have, about four times more.What gives you the idea that they were atheists? You ought to have hung out among science departments and the like at universities.

how old are you?Older than you seem to think.

J.L. Hinman said...

Metacrock, it seems like you are reacting very negatively to the word "hallucination". Massimo Pigliucci had once explained how to have your own mystical experience:

Meditation
Gases like carbon dioxide and ethylene
Stroboscopic lights
Various drugs, like mescaline, LSD, ...
Scurvy and pellagra
Self-flagellation
Starvation
Sensory deprivation
Concentration on an intellectual task
Brain damage
Schizophrenia
Persinger's transcranial magnetic stimulator


that's definitive. I have mystical experinces without that. That isn't tested by the M scale. I doubt its validity. you can have your own experince, that is the way it should be, the why God set it up. But all the physiological arguments revolve around the concept of opening neural transmitters. so none of them negate divine involvement.

that's what I explained in the OP
those are not studies, they did not povide any kind of data that said their lives are better, all it said was they are more resolute about rejecting (probalby because they are bitter and angry). That is nothing compared to the stuff RE does for you.Why don't you contact Karen Hwang directly and find out for yourself? Why do you presume that they were "bitter" and "angry"?


becasue the only thing recorded in the quote you made was their their diseases made them more result to be atheists. that has to mean they are saying "God didn't heal me so there's no God." That's bitter.it doesn't say being atheists helped them cope with their injuries. It only says it made them more atheist, meaning it made hate God more because their problems.

There you go again, with your stupid caricature of atheism.

I just explained it.I can show you a thousand atheists post by people who are obviously eatting their hearts out. When people are depressed, drunk all the time, utter blasphemous crap al the time always see the dark side of everything, can't understand the idea of being happy about life, you are dealing with a very depressed person and I can show you atheist message boards where that is clearly the case.

Metacrock, let's let whoever has committed no sin throw the first stone here, shall we? You know what I'm referring to, I hope.


No, this has nothing to do with sin or blaming people. Its' a matter the effects of RE. The studies show people who have it are less depressed than those who don't. by definition it means atheists are morel likely to be depressed than RE people.

It's true that any given atheist might be happen, but as a whole they are more likely to be depressed than people who have RE's. moreover, so are religious people who don't have RE.

J.L. Hinman said...

Lots and lots and lots of successful people are atheists and agnostics or otherwise nonreligious. If they were all mental cripples, how could they have gotten anywhere???


I didn't say atheists can't be successful. I said people who have RE are more likely to be successful tahn those who do not.I was an atheist. do you hear? I was an atheist. get that through your head, I was an atheist! I was miserable. you can't pull the wool over my eyes. I know what atheists are like.And what makes you think that your experiences are universal? Metacrock, you remind me of Kirk Cameron claiming that he was once an atheist and once thought just like Brian and Kelly of the Rational Response Squad.


ahahahah, I got a big carried away ;-)that study didn't say they were thriving it says they are mad at God.What gives you that idea? Outside of your "mad at god" caricature of atheists.


what it said was they are made more resolute in their unbelief. Now what does that mean? in the context of being disabled it probably means mad at God.

that's a common trait, I was mad at God when I first got disabled.
atheists I new in the old days are drunks they have been alcoholics for 40 years, they have depressed for 40 years. who do you think you are kidding. I've seen more life than ou have, about four times more.What gives you the idea that they were atheists? You ought to have hung out among science departments and the like at universities.


I did. But you can't tell me the science guys did less drugs than debaters...well...hmmm...maybe you can! ;-)how old are you?Older than you seem to think.

No insult intended.

Loren said...

You wrote:
I was mad at God when I first got disabled.And that's why you think that disabled atheists who stay atheists are "mad at God"?

What a way to do research!

J.L. Hinman said...

Lorden, firt of all from the argukments you have made I feel that you have no concept of research. You have only the idea that it's improtant you no concept of how it's done.

in terms of this comment. I wasn't speaking of or doing research. this was my life! do you not understand life? aren't you alive. you can't feel? do you understand being alive?

Loren said...

The last I checked, I was not a zombie. And it's rather shoddy research to extrapolate from oneself and to ignore possible counterevidence.

J.L. Hinman said...

The last I checked, I was not a zombie. And it's rather shoddy research to extrapolate from oneself and to ignore possible counterevidence.


you need some understanding o normal human communication processes. I didn't say I ws advancing that as evidence or as proof.

but you dare lecutre me on evidence you have none at all and you never prestent any> I quote hunderds of soruces you don't have one. you dont' understand the basics of evidental burdens.

now, I challenge you to debate me 1x1 on my 1x1 board.

I want to argue this Religious experince argument stuff, we can also do fine tuning if you want.

Let's say I will do three God arguments. OK?

sgttomas said...

"I think that such experiences of oneness are pure hallucination. However, I think that such hallucinations can permanently rewire some parts of our brains, thus producing "transformative effects". There are lots of aspects of our psyches that are falling to the onslaughts of brain research, and it will be interesting to see how that turns out." - Loren

Let's rewind history 400 years, replace "brain research" with "astronomy" and watch all the same prognostications fail to realize that it's entirely arbitrary what science says about the operation of the universe and how we experience *being* in the universe.

I can sympathize with this perceptual blindness because I had it one time too, until I couldn't find an answer to, "just what the hell AM I ANYWAYS!?!?". Clearly "molecules" is a pretty limited application of a person's imagination. And after we have finished measuring how much I weight, how tall I am, etc, all I have left to interpret my surroundings is my imagination.

So the matter of a Creator is logically arbitrary. All that is necessary is for a person to be consistent in their beliefs across all ontological categories and nothing more can be said on the matter.

Inspiration for belief is sufficient for justifying those beliefs. What "inspiration" means depends on what category the considered information falls into. This lack of insight on your part (or at least, lack of consistently in observing the limitations of information) leads to the following misunderstanding of how to talk about religion with Metacrock:

"Metacrock, your claim that "religious" experiences are not hallucinations seems to me like the case of someone who hates science fiction but who claims that Star Trek is not science fiction because she likes it.

As Bertrand Russell once noted, if you eat too little, you see heaven, while if you drink too much, you see snakes. What many mystics do to induce their experiences may be interpreted as inducing pathology." - Loren


Pathology is an arbitrary definition of what is "normal". Mystical experience isn't a true or false representation of reality (what the heck is "normal" perception?!?!??!) but meaningful, or meaningless.

"As to "science" being on your side, that seems like the common caricature of "scientism"."

That's a shame you can't appreciate Metacrock's nuanced beliefs about science. I mean, literally, you lack the ability to appreciate them (by what you have so far demonstrated and by how you fall perfectly into the pattern of a person with such perceptual blindness). The point is that science can be arbitrarily invoked as evidence for or against a particular metaphysical principle. So long as the scientific process remains consistent regardless of what a person believes the information means, science can be on anyone's side.

I can sympathize with your inability to appreciate this necessary truth about reality, because I didn't get it at one point in time either.

I talk so boldly, because I know there isn't a single inconsistency with reality that you will be able to demonstrate in my argument. Therefore, you cannot distinguish whether or not what I am saying is true, but you have no evidence that what I am saying is false, either.

Which is precisely the way I want it, because reality allows us to arbitrarily imagine what she means. The mechanism is simple to figure out. Children can do science. Gaining insight into what life means is another issue. Science advocates for a Creator God as much as it denies one. It's arbitrary. YOU DECIDE what to believe the science says. All science says otherwise is "molecules happen!"...which should be obvious to anyone who has observed that a table they just bumped into isn't just a figment of their imagination.

But everything else is.

sumnonrabidus said...

You might want to see what someone who is directly affected by you subject says about all of this. Speculation without experience is fairly useless.

Metacrock said...

You might want to see what someone who is directly affected by you subject says about all of this. Speculation without experience is fairly useless.

what does that mean? do you think I don't have brain chemistry?

I bet I've studied more about it than you have. You can't answer the empirical arguments I make about studies.

If you have a real argument why didn't you make it?