Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Philosophy Still Owns Science.


Karl Popper


Lawrence M. Krauss, atheist and physicist, says:
Philosophy used to be a field that had content, but then "natural philosophy" became physics, and physics has only continued to make inroads. Every time there's a leap in physics, it encroaches on these areas that philosophers have carefully sequestered away to themselves, and so then you have this natural resentment on the part of philosophers. This sense that somehow physicists, because they can't spell the word "philosophy," aren't justified in talking about these things, or haven't thought deeply about them---
(Ross Andersen, “Has Physics Made Philosophy and Religion Obsolete?” The Atlantic (April 23, 2012). Pm et 396. Online URL: visited 7/2/12.)

problem is philosophy is still very important to scinece, and in fact any time a scientist pretends to be using scinece to examine something beyond the domain of scinece he is using philosophy More over philosophy directly informs and shapes and guides science in its understanding.

Exhibit A: Popper's Verisimilitude

Karl Popper is almost universally admired by scientists. He's the only philosopher of science who is so admired among scientist that he's almost thought of as one. Popper used philosophy to show that science doesn't' prove things. He did not use science to talk about scinece he used philosophy. His argument about verisimilitude come right out of philosophy.

He argues that one cannot confirm an abstract ideal through empirical observation. This is strictly a matter of philosophy. That forms the basis for his notions on verisimilitude.

Karl Popper, The Logic of Scientific Discovery. London, New York:Routledge Classics, original English publication 1959 by Hutchison and co. by Routldege 1992. On line copy URL: digital copy by Cosmo oedu visited 2/6/2012, p4

Karl Popper (1902-1994) is one of the most renewed and highly respected figures in the philosophy of science. Popper was from Vienna, of Jewish origin, maintained a youthful flirtation with Marxism, and left his native land due to the rise of Nazism in the late thirties. He is considered to be among the ranks of the greatest philosophers of the twentieth century. Popper is highly respected by scientists in a way that most philosophers of science are not.[1]

He was also a social and political philosopher of considerable stature, a self-professed ‘critical-rationalist’, a dedicated opponent of all forms of scepticism, conventionalism, and relativism in science and in human affairs generally, a committed advocate and staunch defender of the ‘Open Society’, and an implacable critic of totalitarianism in all of its forms. One of the many remarkable features of Popper's thought is the scope of his intellectual influence. In the modern technological and highly-specialised world scientists are rarely aware of the work of philosophers; it is virtually unprecedented to find them queuing up, as they have done in Popper's case, to testify to the enormously practical beneficial impact which that philosophical work has had upon their own. But notwithstanding the fact that he wrote on even the most technical matters with consummate clarity, the scope of Popper's work is such that it is commonplace by now to find that commentators tend to deal with the epistemological, scientific and social elements of his thought as if they were quite disparate and unconnected, and thus the fundamental unity of his philosophical vision and method has to a large degree been dissipated.[2]

Unfortunately for our purposes we will only be able to skim the surface of Popper’s thoughts on the most crucial aspect of this theory of science, that science is not about proving things but about falsifying them.

Above we see [from larger article] that Dawkins, Stenger and company place their faith in the probability engineered by scientific facts. The problem is probability is not the basis upon which one chooses one theory over another, at least according to Popper. This insight forms the basis of this notion that science can give us verisimilitude not “facts.” Popper never uses the phrase “fortress of facts,” we could add that, science is not a fortress of facts. Science is not giving us “truth,” its’ giving something in place of truth, “verisimilitude.” The term verisimilar means “having the appearance of truth, or probable.” Or it can also mean “depicting realism” as in art or literature.”[3] According to Popper in choosing between two theories one more probable than the other, if one is interested I the informative content of the theory, one should choose the less probable. This is paradoxical but the reason is that probability and informative content very inversely. The higher informative content of a theory is more predictive since the more information contained in a statement the greater the number of ways the statement will turn out to fail or be proved wrong. At that rate mystical experience should be the most scientific view point. If this dictum were applied to a choice between Stenger’s atheism and belief in God mystical God belief would be more predictive and have less likelihood of being wrong because it’s based upon not speaking much about what one experiences as truth. We will see latter that this is actually the case in terms of certain kinds of religious experiences. I am not really suggesting that the two can be compared. They are two different kinds of knowledge. Even though mystical experience per se can be falsified (which will be seen in subsequent chapters) belief in God over all can’t be. The real point is that arguing that God is less probable is not a scientifically valid approach.

Thus the statements which are of special interest to the scientist are those with a high informative content and (consequentially) a low probability, which nevertheless come close to the truth. Informative content, which is in inverse proportion to probability, is in direct proportion to testability. Consequently the severity of the test to which a theory can be subjected, and by means of which it is falsified or corroborated, is all-important.[4]

Scientific criticism of theories must be piecemeal. We can’t question every aspect of a theory at once. For this reason one must accept a certain amount of background knowledge. We can’t have absolute certainty. Science is not about absolute certainty, thus rather than speak of “truth” we speak of “verisimilitude.” No single observation can be taken to falsify a theory. There is always the possibility that the observation is mistaken, or that the assumed background knowledge is faulty.[5] Uneasy with speaking of “true” theories or ideas, or that a corroborated theory is “true,” Popper asserted that a falsified theory is known to be false. He was impressed by Tarski’s 1963 reformulation of the corresponded theory of truth. That is when Popper reformulated his way of speaking to frame the concept of “truth-likeness” or “verisimilitude,” according to Thronton.[6] I wont go into all the ramifications of verisimilitude, but Popper has an extensive theory to cover the notion. Popper’s notions of verisimilitude were critixized by thinkers in the 70’s such as Miller, Tichy’(grave over the y) and Grunbaum (umlaut over the first u) brought out problems with the concept. In an attempt to repair the theory Popper backed off claims to being able to access the numerical levels of verisimilitude between two theories.[7] The resolution of this problem has not diminished the admiration for Popper or his acceptance in the world of philosophy of science. Nor is the solution settled in the direction of acceptance for the fortress of facts. Science is not closer to the fact making business just because there are problems with verisimilitude.

Exhibit B:

Philosophical roots of reductionism

Reductionism is both a philosophy and a tool in science. “Methodological reductionism” is the process of reducing phenomena to its smallest constituent parts to understand what makes it function is a method for dealing with complexities that need to broken down.(8) Then there is “philosophical reductionism” which maintains as it’s goal a philosophical and/or ideological tenet that science can explain everything:

"One form of scientific reductionism follows the belief that every single process in nature can be broken down into its constituent parts and can be described scientifically. The broadest sense of the term upholds the idea that science can be used to explain everything, and that nothing is unknowable. By looking at the individual constituent processes, scientists can gain an understanding of the whole process. For example, a reductionist believes that the complexity of the human brain is a result of complex and interacting physical processes. If scientists research and understand these underlying chemical reactions, then they can explain intelligence, emotion and all of the other human conditions. The only way to comprehend fully the sheer complexity of the human brain is to look at the individual pieces." (9)

Here we can definitely see the ideological aspects of science at work. These advocates of this certain type of reductionism believe that “everything can be explained through science.” Obviously for this to be true science has to be the most valid from of knowledge if not the only form of knowledge. Materialists, who tend to philosophical reductionists, and this includes phyisicalists, go step further and just refuse to accept as knowledge anything that can’t be quantified and pinned down by their methods. God can’t be apprehended by their methods so there must not be a God. This notion of science as the most or only valid form of knowledge is clearly ideological and stems form philosophical concerns. In the issue of reductionism we can see one of the most obvious junctures at which philosophy has clung to scientific development and is still being infused with science. Reductionism is inherently infused with philosophy.

"Reductionism encompasses a set of ontological, epistemological, and methodological claims about the relation of different scientific domains. The basic question of reduction is whether the properties, concepts, explanations, or methods from one scientific domain (typically at higher levels of organization) can be deduced from or explained by the properties, concepts, explanations, or methods from another domain of science (typically one about lower levels of organization). Reduction is germane to a variety of issues in philosophy of science, including the structure of scientific theories, the relations between different scientific disciplines, the nature of explanation, the diversity of methodology, and the very idea of theoretical progress, as well as to numerous topics in metaphysics and philosophy of mind, such as emergence, mereology, and supervenience." (19)

Reductionism goes back to the Greeks and tied to philosophy up to the development of early modern science and beyond. The Greek atomists were reductionists. They wanted to cut up reality in order to get at the basic elements. The idea of positing basic building blocks doesn’t require that one abolish other aspects of reality. Yet certain of the pre-Socratics, such as Leucpp and Democritus, began doing this.(11) The term “reductiosm” is not very old. The modern issues enter science from philosophy. Ontological reductionism was part of the dispute between nominalists and realists in the middles.(12) The major alternative to reductionism is holism. Holism also goes back to the Greeks with Aristotle. The Atomists had atoms in the void as the final explanation and Aristotle had final cause of an unmoved mover as the final cause and explanation of all harmony and unity in the world.(13) Modern science abhors teleology, the idea that everything is directed toward a goal or an end point. The teleological is the hall mark of Aristotle’s’ unmoved mover. Atoms in the void don’t require a goal; they are the end of the process. Thus science has had this atheistic bias literally since the Greeks. Likewise, theistic thinking takes on a holistic bias form the Greeks as well. Science was slow to completely turn over to the atomists and did so in stages. The bias against teleology was not adopted into biology until the middle of the nineteenth century (with Darwin and Wallace). Natural mutation and random selection have come to dominate in biology and replace any idea of purposefulness.(14) The distinction between appearance and reality is a carry over from Democritus’ claim that binary oppositions in experience, such cold and hot, sweet and sour, are really just atoms moving in void. We take this as empirically proved because we dismiss experience as subjective and go with the ‘objective measurement,’ never really considering how we are conditioned by philosophical hold over to think this way.

In both B and C we see philosophy providing the basis for science, not just a way that was useful in the days of the Greeks and is no longer but in the modern world it offers guides and the basis of methodological discussion.

Science is method. It not facts it's not lists of "proven things" it's methodology. no methodology, no scinece.

the minions of this nonsense always get themselves in trouble. look at Exhibit D where Krauss makes a fool of himself trying to take down philosophy.

Exhibit C:hilarious exchange between Krauss and Andersen (interviewer for the Atlantic)(plum my commentary).

A humorous exchange occurs when Andersen points out that philosophy offers a basis for computer science. Krauss says: “Well, you name me the philosophers that did key work for computer science; I think of John Von Neumann and other mathematicians, and---.” Andersen says: “But Bertrand Russell paved the way for Von Neumann..”

Karauss says: “But Bertrand Russell was a mathematician. I mean, he was a philosopher too and he was interested in the philosophical foundations of mathematics, but by the way, when he wrote about the philosophical foundations of mathematics, what did he do? He got it wrong.” So not only can we take him over as one of the science boys since he did math but (which would just as easily mean math is part of philosophy again) but he also got it wrong about math (yet that reflects on his philosophical side not on his math side, not real sure how that works since it would be the math side that got it wrong). Andersen remarks “Einstein got it wrong.” To which Krauss replies:

"Krauss: Sure, but the difference is that scientists are really happy when they get it wrong, because it means that there's more to learn. And look, one can play semantic games, but I think that if you look at the people whose work really pushed the computer revolution from Turing to Von Neumann and, you're right, Bertrand Russell in some general way, I think you'll find it's the mathematicians who had the big impact. And logic can certainly be claimed to be a part of philosophy, but to me the content of logic is mathematical."

Science guys are happy when they are proved wrong? I guess he must be ecstatic since Albert’s article? We’ll have to ask him how happy he’s been since his book was panned. It means there’s more to learn, such as the meaning of life and the value of philosophy. He admits logic is part of philosophy and Russell was into both it just eludes him that this also means philosophy is the foundation of computer science and math together that makes it the foundation of physics. Now that’s the “unthinkable” we should be taught to think. Maybe the fortress of facts is a house of cards and maybe there’s more than one form of knowledge in the universe? Scientists being happen when they get it wrong doesn’t change the original fact being made that there are other views than that one.
(ibid: see above the Andersen interview)

In each case we see that philosophical thinking is still making vital contributions and is both guiding scinece and correcting it.

[1] Steven Thornton, “Karl Popper,” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Winter 2011 edition Edward N. Zalta Editor, URL: vested 2/6/2012
[2] ibid
[3] Miriam-Webster. On line version of Webster’s dictionary. URL: visited 2/7/2012
[4] Thornton, ibid.
[5] ibid
[6] ibid
[7] ibid
(8)“Scientific Recutionsm,” website: URL: visited 3/13/2012 is a site ran for educational purposes by a psychologist and other unnamed authors who work in the seicnes.
(9) Ibid.
(10)Brigandt, Ingo and Love, Alan, "Reductionism in Biology", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2008 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = .
(11)Richard H. Jones, Reductionism: Analysis and the Fullness of Reality. Danvers, Massachusetts: Associated University Press.2000, copy, Google books, URL: visited 3/13/2012
(12) ibid.
(13) ibid.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Tillich, Phenomenology and Theolgoical Method

Paul Tillich
Athesits are always talking about how stupid theology is. "I don't have to read the theology because I know it's stupid." I hear various ones (not all but many) say that all the time. I would like them to actually read some theology and tell me why it's stupid. Here is some theology for them to read. They are always saying "what else would you use but scinece?" What that really means is their self selected set of facts form scinece that back their ideology, excluding those that disprove their ideology. My answer to them is "phenomenology." But you have to read this to know how it works.

Tillich was born August 20, 1886, in Starzeddel, then a province of Brandenberg, Germany (now part of Poland), family moved to Berlin 1900. His father was a Luthern Pastor. He was ordained as a Luthern Pastor in 1912 and kicked around giving lectures at various universities: Berlin, Dresden and Frankfurt.[1]

His liberalism and opposition to the Nazi movement led to his dismissal in 1933. Fortunately, Reinhold Niebuhr, whom he had met in Germany, offered him a position at the Union Theological Seminary in New York. Tillich became a U.S. citizen in 1940, then took up a position at Harvard in 1954, followed by one at the University of Chicago in 1962, where he was to remain until the end of his life.[2]

Paul Tillich is the central figure in the current effort; Heidegger is definitely a major influence upon Tillich. Be that as it may the great Theologian did not merely copy off the philosopher’s understanding of being. Tillich was a influenced by Heidegger philosophically, but was also his political enemy. The former was a leftist and a socialist, the latter a right-winger and Nazi. Tillich was coming from the perspective of a larger tradition; Christian theology is not all Aristotelian, there’s a whole Platonic wing that produced centuries of complex and brilliant ferment form which the average communicant is totally cut off. That tradition also has it’s own take on being. Tillich lived in that tradition like a fish lives in water. Perhaps it was Heidegger’s connection with the “life world” that gave him his connection to Nazism through the notion of the folks, the soil, the people and their traditions.[3] It’s easy for us to judge looking back on Nazism as the emblematic evil, while we forget many intelligent people were duped by it. Perhaps it was Tillich’s connection with the medievalists and his love of the Platonic that enabled him to see the valuable connections in Heidegger’s ties to the past. Tillich was not a dusty scholar, however, stuck in the library with no connection to the life of the day. He was a vibrant intellectual of modernity and he constantly tried to bring his medievalism into the present and understand it in a modern light. He used Heidegger to modernize. Nevertheless, in the world of their present, however, Germany of the 1930’s these arid philosophical issues took on a concrescence of life and death.
Tillich’s response to the political situation of his day was a proving ground for his theological method, and he responded to the crisis of Germany in the twenties and thirties the same way he responded to modern theology; by relating the human situation in which he lived to the larger picture of faith and the Christian and seeking the psychological points of contact where the human perception of God manifested it in symbolic terms pointing to our ultimate concerns. Tillich contrasts “Kerygmatic” theology with “apologetics.” Kerygma refers to the unchanging truth, and this contrasted with the temporal situation, always in flux.[4] Tillich’s concept of “the situation” includes the cultural context of time and place. Tillich is the embodiment of his own concerns. He more than any other theologian of the twentieth century, personified liberal theological credo; translating the timeless truth of the Gospel into the moment in one’s own cultural context, as he advocated doing.
Tillich’s major methodological move is called “correlation.” In a nut shell, he correlates the great truths of Christian doctrine, though an understanding of the symbols it uses, with the existential apprehensions within the current situation, when the two stack up in some way, he lined them up.[5] Tillich understood this as a philosophical task, even for theologians. The task of the philosopher must draw upon material from all realms of culture.[6] One central question give focus to the entire inquiry: what does it mean to exist? Tillich understood this as an “existential” analysis. The cultural context of this term as used in that era meant that the question was central to human understanding.[7 The term “existential” is closely related to phenomenology. Both deal with allowing the sense data to suggest the categories into which we organize the data. Both deal with human understanding as rooted in its own immediate life situation. It begins with the perspective of the individual in the concrete situation. One immediate implication of this aspect is that it might suggest that we ignore the phony Aristotelian perspective of which atheists try to hard to root themselves, the “rational man,” the “scientist” (meaning “reductionist”) who decides before the tally is ever made that there can’t be anything beyond the material. This “rational man” is a phony place to start because it automatically rules out the transcendent, the sacred, the aspects of human existence that have always meant the most to people. It assumes form the beginning that there’s “nothing there” and reality must be defined by pre set ideology involving the wearing of white lab coats.
As the term “existential” implies, the perspective is concerned with the meaning of existence. According to Tillich’s perspective of the existential self understanding rooted in the standard point of the meaning of existence was the primary issue and fundamental problem around which all of human understanding orbits. “Existence is the question which underlies all other questions.”[8] Yet Tillich did not pin the answer upon existentialist dogma. Nor did he root the answer in the situation itself. The answer would not come from the situation but from the universal and timeless message brought by the symbols of the Christian faith. This is no retreat to the ivory tower; it’s an attempt to bring the truth of the message to the place where it is needed, the actual concrete situation of life, and to apply in a relevant way. Tillich said “the method of correlation explains the content of the Christian faith through existential questions and theological answers in mutual interdependence.”[9]
The term “correlation” Tillich uses in three different ways. It can indicate the correspondence of a series of different sets of data; it can designate the interdependence of concepts; or it can designate the real interdependence of things in structural wholes.[10

There is a correlation in the sense of correspondence between religious symbols and that which is symbolized by them. There is a correlation in the sense between concepts denoting the human and those denoting the divine. There is a correlation in the factual sense between man’s ultimate concern and that about which he is ultimately concerned. The first meaning of correlation refers to the central problem of religious knowledge…the second meaning of correlation determines the statements about God and the world, for example the correlation of infinite and finite. The third meaning of correlation qualifies the divine human relation within religious experience…[11]

This is a crucial passage in Tillich, because these concepts, his take on symbols and their participation in what they symbolize, the use of symbols as the delivery system for revelation, meaning, answers, as well as the religion of the eternal and the temporal, these are the concepts which form the basic engine of his ontotheology. [12] In the next chapter these concepts will be crucial in formulating the meaning of “being itself, “ or “the ground of being.” There has been a certain degree of fear expressed by various theological concerns that correlation relativizes the divine or makes God dependent upon man. Tillich argues that God is not dependent upon man but our understanding of God’s revelation to us is dependent upon our willingness to understand. Solidarity between humans and the divine is dependent upon our willingness to be in solidarity.[13] Thus it is also dependent upon our wiliness to seek correlation.
The methodology of correlation proceeds as follows: In analyzing the human situation the theologian demonstrates that symbols used in the Christian message offer answers to the existential questions that arise. The answers are much older than existentialism. Tillich points out that they are as old as humanity and they have been expressed in many ways since humans began to think philosophically.[14 In pondering our existential condition we realize that we are strangers in the world and we can’t penetrate beyond the surface level of science. In coming to grasp this realization we also realize that we ourselves are the answer to this problem. Because we are human, because we are trapped in an existential dilemma we automatically have the credentials and the method for moving beyond the surface level, which is the level of science, and penetrating the nature of being. Though our state as examples of being for itself we are able to understand the nature of existence. This is where we can employ philosophical thinking in understanding our own being. “whoever has penetrated into the nature of his own finitude can find the traces finitude in everything that exists. And he can ask the questions implied in his finitude as the question implied in finitude universally.”[15]

[1] Sam Addision, Website for Gifford Lectures. “Authors, Paul Tillich.” URL visited 10/20/10.
[2] Ibid
[3] find
[4] Michael Gleghorn. “Paul Tillich’s Theological Method: A Summary Evaluation.” Online PDF file, URL:
visited 10/28/10. no pagination.
Gleghorn is a conservative from Dallas Theological Seminary so his ultimate evaluation of Tillich’s theology is negative. He finds that Tillich is prone to error due to his method. Yet his summary of Tillich’s view is cogent.
[5] Gayton B. Hammond, “An Examination of Tillich’s Method of Correlation.” Oxford Journals: Journal of The American Academy of Religion Vol XXXII, Issue 3, 248-251. On line version URL: . Visited 11/8/10, Hammon is professor of Philosophy and Religion at Virginia Polythechnic Institute in Blacksberg Va. Ph.D. Vanderbilt, Yale Divinity School.
[6 Ibid.
[7] Ibid.
[8] Ibid.
[9] Paul Tillich quoted in Alistter E. McGrath, “Paul Tillich: Method of Corroletion,” The Christian Theology Reader. (online page 53) Maldan Ma, USA: Blackwell Publishing, Alister E. McGrath ed. first published 1995, second edition 2001-2004 Google books online version URL: visited 11/8/10.
[10] Ibid.
[11] Ibid.
[12] Ontotheology, I understand that this term is used mockingly of thinkers such as Tillich. It’s like the term “phalologocentric” it’s a means of saying “this is out of date,” ‘this is opposed to our truth regime.” I therefore use it proudly and defiantly.
[13] Tillich in McGrath, Ibid.
[14] Ibid. 54
[15] Ibid.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Radical Christian Terrorism?

I have come to regard this term's Presidential campaign as the "great spectacle of stupidity." It's a tribute to the concept of dumbing down, or to Barbarism. Nothing is more telling of our decent from civilization to barbarism. It's the ascent of Marcue's one-dimensional man. I was watching Ted Cruz on CBS This Morning. It was a great example of the way the closed realm of discourse works to draw all reason and rational thought into the black hole of ideology.

Both Trump and Cruz use the phrase "radical Islamic terrorism," and demand that the Dems use it too. The Dems don't use it because it implies that all of Islam is about hating the West, and this is just the radical terrorist wing of that same hydra headed hate thing. The Reps use it because it taps into the xenophobia of fundamentalism; the Muslim's are a counter fit religion, satan is behind their beliefs. Trump and Cruz both dare the Dems to use the phrase because it would legitimize their use and because they know the/Dems wont do it thus reinforcing the xenophobia of their base.

Charlie Rose and his pals were drilling Cruz on his statement that he would have patrols of Muslim neighborhoods. They quoted Chief of NYPD saying patrolling Muslim neighborhoods is dumb, and there aren't too many Muslim neighborhoods. Cruz named two neighborhoods with concentrations of Muslims. Then he lapsed into a classic argument from analogy arguing that patrolling neighborhoods where gang violence is seen works, so therefore, patrolling neighborhoods where Islam is flourishing will prevent radicalization.

In reality nothing could be more idiotic. That's like saying peeling bananas works, so therefore, peeling pomegranates out to work. As Charlie and the gang pressed him on this he began to say "we don't need any more political correctness." He took that line from Trump. It's a major mantra for both of them. They use it anytime a point is brought up on which they are out reasoned. Nora O'Donald argued that if we say we are at war will all of Islam it will play into Isis' hands. Bamb! We don't6 need roves their view is just written off as "political correctness." Of course that's a secret code to the David Due crowd that says "we really are at war withy Islam and all brown skinned types."

My suggestion to the press is to ask him if KKK is radical Christian terrorism? Maybe that will drive h9ome for some the distinction between fighting extremism and fights the whole faith. Where on that spectrum do Cruz and Trump fit.


Monday, March 14, 2016

Raimon Panikkar, Christian Theologian for the 21 Centruy

 photo raimpan_zps07217593.jpg
Raimon Panikkar

The Late Raimon Panikkar was born in Barcellona, Nov. 3, 1918, (died in sept 2010) to a Hindu father and a Christian Mother. He grew up in Spain with both traditions and just as comfortable with one as the other. In 1946 he became a Catholic Priest. He recieved a Ph.D. in Philosohpy and went to on to recieve a science degree from University of Maryland (1958) and in 1961 in Theology at Lateran University in Rome.He lived in India and the U.S. as well as Spain. He was visiting professor at Harvard in 1966 and taguht at University of California Santa Barbara in 70s and 80s. He's had a very distinguished academic career wining many prizes and awards. He is a comparative religionist who seeks to unite various faiths in a diverse range of understanding bound together by experience of the one God. God is beyond human understanding and utterly beyond humanity, yet intimately related and within the scope of our inner most being.[1] His major contribution to the world of theology is the unity of diverse religous elements he's worked out through his major concept, the Cosmotheandric or theo-anthropo-cosmic (dimension).

There are not three realities: God, Man, and the World; but neither is there one, whether God, Man or World. Reality is cosmotheandric. It is our way of looking that makes reality appear to us at times under one aspect, at times under another. God, Man, and World are, so to speak, in an intimate and constitutive collaboration to construct Reality, to make history advance, to continue creation: (The Triniity and the Religious Experience of man, London and New York 1975).[2]

He describes it in terms reminiscent of the undifferentiated unity of mystical experience. "The cosmotheandric intuition expresses the all embracing indissoluble union, that constitutes all of Reality: the triple dimension of reality as a whole: cosmic-divine-human. The cosmotheandric intuition is the undivided awareness of the totality."[3] The cosmotheandric awareness is undivided awareness of the Totality. Yet he describes this in Trinitarian terms: "the Trinitarian concept of reality." The triadic is intrinsic to reality. Divine, human, and cosmic reality are united in relationship. The aspiration to harmony--between God and humanity, and between cosmos and humanity--is established in reality when we are in accord presupposses manifestations of the structure of reality.

Now what does all of this mean other than a crescendo of the kind of abstract language Mauthner was using as an example of sickness? It's the basis of Panikkar's theological insight. He views western thought in a phenomenological way and understands the problem of modernity from the stand point of imposition of the subject/object dichotomy. He's habitually speaking in long strings of meaningless sounding academic-speak, yet I think it's very meaningful, just occupational hazard for anyone who lives in the academic world. What he's saying is that the enlighetmentment separated epistemology from ontology "by making knowledge the hunt for the object by the subject." That is a curial statement. It says that there should be a unity of subject and object, which a fundamentally phenomenological observation. This unity has been broken and a phony distinction imposed which causes the subject to objectify the other and to separating from the object rather allowing the sense data to suggest it's categories of thought. That's leads to setting preconceived filters into which sense data is grouped and thus we are not experiencing the world as it is but re-defining it according to an ideological standard.

Panikkar's answer is answer is linked to not only phenomenological method but Christian theology. "...rather the new innocence envelopes knowledge and the knower in the same act because it knows that the one is not given without the other”, without the relationship "(Ibid.).
If the Christian message means something, it is this experience of the cosmotheandric reality of all being, of which Jesus Christ, true God and true Man, is the paradigm. In Christ Matter is not on its own, nor is Man on one side and God on the other; none of these intrinsically united dimensions surpass the others, so that it does not make sense to affirm that Christ is more divine than human, more worldly than heavenly, or vice versa. The veil of separation has been torn, and the integration of reality begins with the redemption of man” (Culto y secularización. Apuntes para una antropología litúrgica, Madrid 1979).[4]
Mann describes Panikkar's thought on God by saying "The true essence of Western thought about God is aided by Eastern thought which has a much more radical sense that God is beyond all categories or thought: God is found best in silence!."[5] That statement reminds me of my major phrase in describing phenomenology that the problem of metaphysics is that we institute as filters preconceived categories of thought in which we herd sense data. Phenomenologically we would allow the sense data to suggest its own categories. This is what the mystic does and this statement in as much as it reflects Panikkar's thought unities him with the mystics. Mann further smmarizes Panikkar in his view of Christ:

  1. Christology is primarily a function of the trinitarian structrue that is the expression of God’s relation to humankind and the cosmos
  2. Father, Son and Spirit describe the poles of the God-human-world relatedness within God’s own being and thus are about the "cosmotheandric" center of all being
  3. Thinking of Jesus in historical terms is a symptom of the obsession with historical time that is a disease in the West and which leads to imperialistic claims about universal truth [6]

In terms of his eccumenism he is quoted as saying: “I left Europe as a Christian, I discovered I was a Hindu and returned as a Buddhist without ever having ceased to be Christian.”[7]

“He was one of the pioneers in opening up Christianity to other religions and learning from them,” Joseph Prabhu, a professor of philosophy at California State University, Los Angeles, and the editor of “The Intercultural Challenge of Raimon Panikkar” (1996), said in a telephone interview on Wednesday. “We can see the new waves of Christianity moving toward the non-European world in the 21st century, and he prepared the ground for an authentic dialogue between Christianity and other faiths, and beyond that for the cross-cultural conversation which marks our globalized world.”[8]

Panikkar clearly believed that each faith could be enriched by dialogue with other faiths, interfaith dialogue was central to his methodology and his principles. "There is no reason for Christians to abandon the conviction that they have the true religion, if they well understand that they must find all their truth in a Christianity that is open and dynamic. This will lead to an authentic religious dialogue."[9]

a list of Pankikkar's works.


[1] Mark Mann, "Panikkar, Raimon," Boston Collaborative Encyclopedia of Modern Western Theology, online resource, 1997, url:
 accessed 8/12/13.
[2] Official site - set up by Fundació Vivarium Raimon Panikkar – Tavertet (Cataluny accessed 8/12/13.

[3] ibid

[4] Panikkar, La nueva inocencia, Estella 1993 quoted on website, op. cit.

[5] Mann, op cit.

[6] ibid.

[7] William Grimes, "Raimon Panikkar, Catholic Theologian, is Dead at 91," New York Times (sept. 4, 2010)

[8] ibid.

[9] ibid.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Debate Challenge to Atheists:Argument from Religious Experience


Go there to see the background evidence I will use to sup[ort the argument.

God Corrolate: 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 invisible man in the snow. You can't see the invisible 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.The only question at that point is "How do we know this is the effect, or the accompanying sign of the divine? The answer is in the argument below. Here let us set out some general parameters:

We can set up criteria based upon what we would expect from encounter with the divine:

A. Life Transforming and vital in a positive life=affirming sense

B. It would give us a sense of the transcendent and the divine.

C. No alternate or naturalistic causality could be proven

These criteria are based upon the writings of the great mystics and religious thinkers of history, especially in the Christian tradition, and distilled into /theory by W.T. Stace. The theory is verified and validated by several hundred studies using various methodologies all of them published in peer reviewed journals. The following argument is based upon the findings of these studies. All of this, the studies, the methods used, Stace's theory, these studies and their methodologies are discussed in depth in The Trace of God: a Rational Warrant for Belief by Joseph Hinman, (all proceeds go to non profit) available on Amazon

Read much about the book on the Trace of God blog..


(1) The affects and effects of mystical experience are real in that they are measurably transformative in a positive sense.

(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 and the affects are real we should assume that they are genuine experiences of something transcendent of our own minds.

(4)Since mystical experience is usually experience of something, the Holy, the sacred, or some sort of greater transcendent reality we should assume that the origin of the experience is rooted in transcendent reality.

(5)Since mystical experience is usually about the divine we can assume a divine origin.

This fulfills the criteria for the trace: therefore, e are warranted in asserting that mystical experience is the trace of God, and this gives us warrant for belief in God.


Thursday, March 10, 2016

So I am wrong to compare Trumop to a Nazi?


Last week I did a blog piece "Is The Reichstag Burning?"  I compared my sense of dismay over the growing bandwagon for Trump with what aware people must have felt when the Reuichstg burned and Hitler took power. I was criticized by fundies and liberals alike because it's too extreme to call anyone a Nazi. Even an analogous Nazi.

Nazi and KKK go together right? Is it wrong to compare KKK to Nazi? Trump didn't know if would refuse the support of David Duke. Suspicious but doesn't makes him like a Nazi necessarily. But what he's doing in egging on his followers to beat up protesters is like Hitler organizing the e Brown shirts to beat up Jews and political opponents.

Burning the Richstag was the first step to Hitler's power. So I ask is the Richstag burning? Is that so uncalled for? Look at what's happening.

On the evening news a Trump Brown shirt hits a protester and the cops through they protester down and carry him away. The ape who assaulted him said "he deserved it, if he comes back we might ha ve to kill him." They want to kill someone for holding up[ a sign.

O but compare them to the old Brown shirts that's going too far!

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Empirical Evidence of Supernatural (part 2)

Argument from God Correlate:

 photo hood_zps78f04830.jpg
Dr. Hood, Univ. Tennessee Chattanooga:
Inventor of the 'M Scale"

the post that appeared and disappeared is on Atheistwatch, sorry. The one about method and atheist argument


We can't demonstrate empirical knowledge of God to others, even if we feel we have it ourselves. But if we can correlate something that is empirical with God, the effects of God in the world then we could know by association between sign and signified that there is divine reality. Just as the fingerprint betrays the presence of the owner of the fingers that made them, or the track in the snow proves the presence of the creature that made it, so RE as the God correlate points to the presence of God in reality is the effect of the divine upon our lives. As a theological example of this principle we can draw upon the works of Schleiermacher. God is the correlate of RE as God is the correlate of the feeling of utter dependence. In Speeches on Religion to it's Cultured Dispersers he seemed to be making the simplistic argument: “I feel emotional when I pray to God so there must be a God to feel emotional about.  [1] By the time He wrote his magnum opus Glaubenslehre (the Christian faith) he had developed a much more sophisticated version. He now understood these religious affections in a particular way, as a feeling of utter dependence. [2] Though critics often interpret the concept of “feeling” as an emotional response the real crux of his argument turns the utter dependence aspect. Rather than merely emotion he's identifying the feeling as indicative of a religious capacity. [3] We could think of it as a “religious instinct,” or more properly a religious consciousness. It is from this sense of consciousness that doctrines derive their meaning, as verbalization of the sense.

This sense of consciousness as part of the basis of religion offers a theoretical framework for connecting the sense of the numinous to the notion of real experience of the divine. Of course it's not a direct unmediated revelatory face to face encounter, but like the track in the snow points to a presence not directly seen.

It is the original pre-theoretical consciousness...Schleiermacher believes that theoretical cognition is founded upon pre-theoretical inter subjective cognition and its life world. The latter cannot be dismissed as non-cognative for if the life world praxis is non-cognitive and invalid so is theoretical cognition..He...contends that belief in God is pre-theoretical, it is not the result of proofs and demonstration, but is conditioned solely by the modification of feeling of utter dependence. Belief in God is not acquired through intellectual acts of which the traditional proofs are examples, but rather from the thing itself, the object of religious experience..If as Shchleiermacher...says God is given to feeling in an original way this means that the feeling of utter dependence is in some sense an apparition of divine being and reality. This is not meant as an appeal to revelation but rather as a naturalistic eidetic or a priori. The feeling of utter dependence is structured by a correlation with its whence. [4]

This conclusion might be somewhat deflating for apologists, but there are two of caveats that might make it more palatable: (1) We don't have to reduce religion to just feeling or to consciousness, we don't have toally agree with Schleiermacher, we can understand doctrines and feelings as bound up with the same reaction to reality and the consciousness that obtains from sensing it. (2) we can construe the feeling as a phenomenological approach rather than a definitive commentary upon all of reality. If affections or consciousness based upon affections are primary in belief, this does not mean that arguments are of no value since people rationalize their feelings, and arguments help to clear away the clutter and clarify feelings.

Critics such as John Webster et. al. Attack this notion as a continuation of his mistake from On Religion, that Schleiermacher got the process backwards. [5] It is not feeling that produces doctrine biut doctrines that produce feeling. The deep connection to affections is dismissed as his Moravian upbringing, the mark of the romanic era. “...The feeling of utter dependence, which Schleiermacher thought universal is an expression of the salient Christian virtue of humility with a particularly Protestant emphasis on the utter helplessness of man to save himself.” The argument is that Schleiermacher is just generalizing, the feeling is merely a feeling about the world from which he generalizes based upon his Christian upbringing. “All religions do not simply promote awe and connectedness to it.” [6] To the contrary, thanks to the M scale, we now know that these experiences are universal. The feeling of utter dependence is really about a sense of contingency, the radical contingency of all things, and it's great underlying unity, this equates to the sense of the meniscus and undifferentiated unity one finds in mystical experience. While Schleiermacher's feeling is not exactly mystical experience itself it is very closely related. Thus the universality found in RE supplies an answer to the criticism.

Thus the presence of the sign (the experience) informs us of the presence of the signified (God); like finger prints match the finger and thus reveal the person who made the print. The association between the divine and mystical experience is at least theoretically valid in terms of an anthropological perspective; religious experience forms the foundation upon which organized religions are built. [7] The sense of the numinous is a deep all pervasive since of love. The basic assumption made by those who have the experience is overwhelmingly that they have experience God. How can we know this to be the case without already knowing that God exists and what it is like to sense God's presence? We could set up criteria based upon the nature of religious belief. What conditions would one expectorate to prevail or what aspects would one expect to find in sensing God's presence?    


(1). Life Transforming and vital in a positive life-affirming sense

(2) It would give us a sense of the transcendent and the divine.

(3) No alternate or naturalistic causality could be proven

These criteria are based upon the nature of religious belief and experience taken from all major world religions. More to the point they are derived from the works of W.T. Stace who argues that in all world religions there are certain claims about certain types of experiences that answer our most basic existential questions  [8] These claims about answering the basic questions and positively affecting our lives constitute some of the most basic truth claims of world religions. If these claims are justified we should see these conditions in the criteria met. Religion in general seems to attempt to make sense of the nature of being human, to construct and then explain the Human problematic, or the human condition.. This knowledge is said to tranform the the lives of those who have such experiences. The content of the experiences themselves include a snese of the Holy, a sense of the sacred, the imparting of noetic content, these are all communicated in the texture of the experience itself. This realization accounts for criteria 1 and 2. It is only reasonable to think that the experience might be an experience of a reality involving the divine, since it indicates the validity truth claims of religion. It is equally reasonable and scientific to assume that if no counter causality found the God based conclusion is warranted. Thus, we have Criterion 3. These criteria are fulfilled by the data, and that allows us to derive the following argument from the criteria.


(1) The affects and effects of mystical experience are real in that they are measurably transformative in a positive sense.

(2)These affects cannot be reduced to naturalistic cause and affect, bogus mental states or epiphenomena
(this will be seen in analysis of skeptical counter causality below).

(3)Since the affects of Mystical consciousness are independent of other explanations and the
effects are real we should assume that they are genuine experiences of something transcendent of our own minds.

(4)Since mystical experience is usually experience of something, the Holy, the sacred, or some sort of greater transcendent reality we should assume that the origin of the experience is rooted in transcendent reality.

(5)Since mystical experience is usually about the divine we can assume a divine origin.

(6) Since religious symbols are culturally bound, and religious affectations are tied to such symbols, the universal nature of mystical experience implies an objective referent.

Justification for P1 “measurably transformative in a positive sense” is reflected in the findings throughout the 50 year period during which the body of researched has been collected. A huge number of studies corroborate these findings, not all of them use the M scale but they all use various measurements. Many of them use standardized measurements already in place for happiness and self actualization and other such affects. I have selected a range of studies that spans the time period. Two of the first scientifically rigorous scientific studies on the topic were Robert Wuthnow (1978) [9] and Kathleen Noble (1987) [10]Summary of their finds are as follows:


*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, self aware


*integration, allocentrism,

*psychological maturity,

*self-acceptance, self-worth,

*autonomy, authenticity, need for solitude,

*increased love and compassion

*Experience productive of psychological health

*Less authoritarian and dogmatic

*More assertive, imaginative, self-sufficient

*intelligent, relaxed

*High ego strength,

*relationships, symbolization, values,

Lukoff and Lu (1988) conducted a literature search reflects many studies demonstrating the transforming effects of religious experience, some of them using the early version of the M scale.[11] For example Finney and Maloneyh (1985) found contemplative prayer was instrumental in improvement in psychotherapy. [12]Hood (1977) found high correlation between mystical experiences and self actualization, persons of relatively high self actualization were more likely to have had mystical experiences. [13] Other studies (not in Lukoff and Lu) include Greeley who, “found no evidence to support the orthodox belief that frequent mystic experiences or psychic experiences stem from deprivation or psychopathology. His 'mystics' were generally better educated, more successful economically, and less racist, and they were rated substantially happier on measures of psychological well-being.”  [14] Sullivan, using a large quantitative base of former mental patients found that 48% identified spiritual practices as crucial to their healing and this was corroborated by those ho cared for them. [15] This is just a small sample of the studies that demonstrate the transformative aspects.

Justification for P2 cannot be reduced to naturalistic cause and effect will be dealt with mainly below in answering the argument on brain chemistry. P3 affects of Mystical consciousness are independent of other explanations and the effects are real we should assume that they are genuine experiences of something transcendent of our own minds. That they are independent of counter causality derived from 2. That they are real is derived from the measurable effects in 1. P4, experience of something: The content of the experience is about the divine, or ultimate reality. Even when the experience is interpreted by the receiver not to be about God the receiver has been known to act in ways that are consistent with belief in God. Moreover, the experiences described tend to match those described as experiences of the divine. Ergo it’s just a matter of interpretation. Secondly, the vast majority of those who have these experiences do believe they are about God. [16]

This final point about the universal nature is of particular interest, When doctrinal explanations and differences of tradition are controlled for, the experiences themselves are the same the world over. Even among atheists, those who have religious experiences respond to them in the same way that religious believers do. This might indicate that these people are all experiencing an objective reality which is external to the human brain. There is a voluminous and ancient tradition of writing about experiences by people from all over the world, who claim to have experienced the divine. Mystics and philosophers have catelogued such writings. Two of the most noteworthy examples are Mysticism by Evelyn Underhill, [17] and Teachings of the Mystics by Philosopher W.T. Stace. [18] Many other such writers have included these experiences. Thirdly, grounded in empirical evidence, the universal nature of such experiences implies a source external to the human mind. When I say “external” I mean it originates externally but is experienced internally. This includes human brain structure and brain chemistry as a conduit not that it circumvents natural processes. W.T. Stace shows that, as Ralph Hood Jr. put it, “within and eventually outside of the great faith traditions mysticism has flourished.”  [19]

Stace offers five characteristics that demonstrate the commonalities to mystical experience; these are characteristics that are found universally in all cultures and in all forms of mystical experience:

The contemporary interest in the empirical research of mysticism can be traced to Stace’s (Stace, 1960) demarcation of the phenomenological characteristics of mystical experiences (Hood, 1975). In Stace’s conceptualization, mystical experiences had five characteristics (Hood, 1985, p.176):

1. The mystical experience is noetic. The person having the eerience perceives it as a valid source of knowledge and not just a subjective experience.

2. The mystical experience is ineffable, it cannot simply be described in words.

3. The mystical experience is holy. While this is the religious aspect of the experience it is not necessarily expressed in any particular theological terms.

4. The mystical experience is profound yet enjoyable and characterized by positive affect.

5. The mystical experience is paradoxical. It defies logic. Further analysis of reported mystical experiences suggests that the one essential feature of mysticism is an experience of unity (Hood, 1985). The experience of unity involves a process of ego loss and is generally expressed in one of three ways (Hood, 1 976a). The ego is absorbed into that which transcends it, or an inward process by which the ego gains pure awareness of self, or a combination of the two. [20] 

The other aspect of importance to this work is the universality argument. The universality argument could be taken as a warrant for belief, but I use it here to show that there’s a reason to equate these experiences with Supernature. When Hood took out the name specific to a religious tradition (from the M scale) and just asked general questions about experience, the experiences described were the same. This indicates that what is being experienced is the same for all the people having religious experiences. This is actually the same as saying Stace’s theory was validated. If it wasn’t validated they would not describe the same experiences. The indication is that there is an objective reality all of the mystics experience. The reason is because religion is a cultural construct. If they were just describing a constructed set of expectations resulting form culture, the experiences would be conditioned by culture not transcending it. So that means Iranian Muslims experience what they think of as “Allah” and Baptists in Cleveland experience what they think of as “Jesus” in the same way. This is should not be the case if they are merely experiencing culturally conditioned constructs. The implication is that they may be experiencing an objective reality that both understand through culturally constructed filters. Thus, there is a good indication that some external reality is experienced. One would then be warranted in thinking that this external reality is God, since the content of experience and its result on people's lives correlate with the objections of God belief in general.


[1] Frederick Schleiermacher, Speeches on Religion to it's Cultured Dispersers. New York: Cambridge University Press, Trans. Riichard Crouter,1996, 24-5

[2]  Frederich Achleiermacher, On The Christian Faith. Edinburgh: T. and T. Clark, Trans. H. R. MacKintosh and J.R.Stewart, 1986, 76-8

[3]  Ibid., 124.

[4]  Robert R. Williams, Schleiermacher the Theologian: Construction of the Doctrine of God. Minneapolis MN: Fortress Press, 1978, 4.

[5]  John Webster, Kathryn Tanner, and Ian Torrance, ed., Oxford Handbook of Systematic Theology, Oxfor:Oxford University Press, 2007, 421.

[6]  Ibid.

[7] David Steindl-Rast, “The Mystical Core of Organized Religion,” Copyright © 1989 by David Steindl-Rast. Used by the Council on Spiritual Practices with permission.First appeared in ReVision, Summer 1989 12(1):11-14. Online resource, URL: (accessed 1/2/16)

[8] Stace, Mysticism and Philosophy,, op.cit., 42-44.

[9] Robert, Wuthnow,"Peak Experiences: Some Empirical Tests." Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 18 (3), (1978), 59-75.

[10]Kathleen D. Noble, ``Psychological Health and the Experience of Transcendence.'' The Counseling Psychologist, 15 (4),(1987). 601-614.

[11] Lukoff, David & Francis G. Lu (1988). ``Transpersonal psychology research review: Topic: Mystical experiences.'' Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 20 (2), 161-184.

[12]Finney and Maloneyh, “An Empirical Study of Contemplative Prayer as an Adjunct to Psychotherapy,” Journal of Psychology and Theology 13 (4) 284-90.

[13]Ralph Hood Jr., “Differential Triggering of Mysticalo Experiences As A Function O Self Actualization,” Review of Religious Research, 18, 1977, 264-70.

[14]Charles T. Tart, Psi: Scientific Studies of the Psychic Realm, New York: Dutton, 1977, back in print ed. 2001, 19.

[15]W. Sullivan, “It Helps Mev Be A Wholoe Person: The Role of Spirituality Among The mentally Challeneged.” Psychological Rehabilitation Journal, 16 (1993) 125-134.

[16] Ralph Hood Jr. “The Common Core Thesis in the Study of Mysticism.” In Where God and Science Meet: How Brain and Evolutionary Studies Alter Our Understanding of Religion.  Patrick Mcnamara ed. West Port CT: Prager Publications, 2006, 119-235.

[17]Evelyn Underhill, Mysticism: A study on the Nature and Development of Man’s Spiritual consciousness. New York: Dutton, 1911

[18]W.T. Stace, Teachings of the Mystics: Selections from the Greatest Mystics and Mystical Writers of the World. New American Library 1960. A good General overview of Stace’s understanding of mysticism is  Mystical Experience Registry: Mysticism Defined by W.T. Stace. found onine at URL:  

[19]Ralph Hood Jr. “The Common Core Thesis in the Study of Mysticism.”op. cit., 119-235.

[20]Robert J. Voyle, “The Impact of Mystical Experiences Upon Christian Maturity.” originally published in pdf format:  
Google html version here:  Voyle is quoting Hood in 1985, Hood in return is speakingStace.