Friday, March 31, 2017

Trump wages war on Environment: kILLS JOBS

Image result for air Pollution

The Job Killimng Fiction Behind Trump's Retreat om Fuel Economy Standards 
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when President Trump traveled to Michigan last week to announce that his administration will reevaluate (and almost certainly weaken) a key environmental achievement of the past decade — new fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards for cars and light trucks — he alleged that “industry-killing regulations” had contributed to a loss of jobs in the U.S. automobile sector. The truth is, however, that there is no factual basis for the claim that stricter standards have killed jobs. There is, however, abundant evidence that these regulations have saved Americans billions of dollars at the pump, bolstered U.S. energy independence, fostered automotive innovation, and led to major reductions in air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
In taking this step, President Trump is following a prompt from the auto industry, whose two major trade associations have been angling to weaken the standards. Their complaints are among a slew of special pleadings sent to a new White House clearly sympathetic to big-league moneyed interests. In fact, when the EPA posted a notice on its web site last week announcing that it was reviewing the greenhouse gas emission standards, it prominently placed a link to the Auto Alliance’s request to reconsider the regulations. I, for one, can’t recall when a public agency prominently featured the opinions of lobbyists for an industry it regulates on an official federal webpage.
This is a good article need to [read More]

Emmission Stamdards Dom't kill Jobs

"Myths and facts about EPA's Carbon emission standards" ›››

  • Fox News' Doug McElway touted a U.S. Chamber of Commerce report on Happening Now which claimed that the regulations "will result in an average loss of 224,000 jobs every year and a sustained lower standard of living." [Fox News, Happening Now, 5/28/14]
  • Bloomberg News hyped the Chamber's report, headlining an article: "Chamber Study Predicts Obama Climate Rule Will Kill Jobs." [Bloomberg, 5/28/14]
  • Mike Tobin led a segment on Happening Now warning of the impacts of EPA regulations, saying: "Some 6,000 miners here in Kentucky have lost relatively high paying jobs ... this is happening particularly as environmental policy targets the coal industry particularly here in Appalachia." [Fox News, Happening Now1/16/14]
FACT: Experts Expect Jobs Created To Balance Out Jobs LostEconomist Paul Krugman: Even Chamber Of Commerce Report Found "Saving The Planet Would Be Remarkably Cheap." Nobel Prize-winning economist and Princeton University Professor Paul Krugman explained in a New York Times op-ed that even the Chamber of Commerce's report found "[s]aving the planet would be remarkably cheap":
[T]he Chamber of Commerce report considers a carbon-reduction program that's probably considerably more ambitious than we're actually going to see, and it concludes that between now and 2030 the program would cost $50.2 billion in constant dollars per year. That's supposed to sound like a big deal. Instead, if you know anything about the U.S. economy, it sounds like Dr. Evil intoning "one million dollars." These days, it's just not a lot of money.
Remember, we have a $17 trillion economy right now, and it's going to grow over time. So what the Chamber of Commerce is actually saying is that we can take dramatic steps on climate -- steps that would transform international negotiations, setting the stage for global action -- while reducing our incomes by only one-fifth of 1 percent. That's cheap!
Alternatively, consider the chamber's estimate of costs per household: $200 per year. Since the average American household has an income of more than $70,000 a year, and that's going to rise over time, we're again looking at costs that amount to no more than a small fraction of 1 percent.
One more useful comparison: The Pentagon has warned that global warming and its consequences pose a significant threat to national security. (Republicans in the House responded with a legislative amendment that would forbid the military from even thinking about the issue.) Currently, we're spending $600 billion a year on defense. Is it really extravagant to spend another 8 percent of that budget to reduce a serious threat?
Now, we haven't yet seen the details of the new climate action proposal, and a full analysis -- both economic and environmental -- will have to wait. We can be reasonably sure, however, that the economic costs of the proposal will be small, because that's what the research -- even research paid for by anti-environmentalists, who clearly wanted to find the opposite -- tells us. Saving the planet would be remarkably cheap. [New York Times5/30/14]
Krugman: Chamber Report Is Flawed, Serves Special Interests. Economist Paul Krugman also detailed the flawed assumptions of the Chamber of Commerce report in the New York Times op-ed, explaining that the report, for instance, "neglects the dramatic technological progress" in clean energy, and ignores how building new, low-emissions power plants "would, if anything, give the U.S. economy a boost." He argued that the Chamber is fighting the regulations so fiercely because it is serving "special interests" including the Koch-influenced coal industry:
The real costs would almost surely be smaller [than the Chamber of Commerce estimates], for three reasons.
First, the Chamber of Commerce study assumes that economic growth, and the associated growth in emissions, will be at its historic norm of 2.5 percent a year. But we should expect slower growth in the future as baby boomers retire, making emissions targets easier to hit.
Second, in the chamber's analysis, the bulk of the reduction in emissions comes from replacing coal with natural gas. This neglects the dramatic technological progress taking place in renewables, especially solar power, which should make cutting back on carbon even easier.
Third, the U.S. economy is still depressed -- and in a depressed economy many of the supposed costs of compliance with energy regulations aren't costs at all. In particular, building new, low-emission power plants would employ both workers and capital that would otherwise be sitting idle, and would, if anything, give the U.S. economy a boost.
You might ask why the Chamber of Commerce is so fiercely opposed to action against global warming, if the cost of action is so small. The answer, of course, is that the chamber is serving special interests, notably the coal industry -- what's good for America isn't good for the Koch brothers, and vice versa -- and also catering to the ever more powerful anti-science sentiments of the Republican Party. [New York Times5/30/14]
NRDC: Carbon Standards Could Add More Than 274,000 Jobs. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) released an analysis finding that the standards could create more than 274,000 jobs for electricians, carpenters and others and "deliver more than $50 billion in health and environmental benefits."  From the NRDC press release:
The first-ever limits on carbon pollution from power plants can save American households and business customers $37.4 billion on their electric bills in 2020 while creating more than 274,000 jobs, a Natural Resources Defense Council analysis shows.
In the study released today, NRDC said the federal carbon pollution standard could fuel a surge in energy efficiency investments, creating new jobs filled by electricians, roofers, carpenters, insulation workers, heating/air conditioning installers and heavy equipment operators, among others.
If the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency adopts a similar approach, the nation would slash carbon pollution by 531 million tons per year, nearly 25 percent by 2020 from 2012 levels (nearly 950 million tons and 35 percent below 2005 levels), helping deliver more than $50 billion in health and environmental benefits, NRDC's analysis shows. [NRDC, 5/29/14]
NYU Professor: Industry "Just As Likely To Hire More Workers As They Are To Lay Workers Off." Professor Michael Livermore, from New York University's Institute for Policy Integrity, stated that "most serious economists will argue that our best estimate of the net effect is zero," because any negative employment effects will be made up for by jobs added in the clean energy economy. From a phone interview with Media Matters:
[M]odels which are more empirically grounded find that when you impose regulatory requirements on firms they're just as likely to hire more workers as they are to lay workers off -- and these are in the most highly regulated industries -- because you have to hire workers to comply with environmental statutes. So for example, yes, it might be the case that some coal miners might need to be laid off and need to transition to other forms of employment, but there's also going to be work building new gas fired power plants and energy efficiency retrofits.
So those two countervailing effects, for the most part, most serious economists will argue that our best estimate of the net effect is zero. That any of the employment effects are going to wash out. Because we don't know if there's going to be negative employment effects, but if there are, they're usually going to be associated with countervailing employment effects that are positive. [Phone conversation, Media Matters, 3/7/14]
Economic Policy Institute: "Fears Of Job Loss Are Overblown." A report by the Economic Policy Institute, which analyzed regulations from the EPA and other government agencies, found that environmental regulations have "multidimensional" effects on employment butcan create more jobs than they kill:
The direct cost of complying with regulations translates into increased employment. For example, an environmental regulation will mean more jobs for those engaged in pollution abatement. Further, it is possible that regulations may produce more labor-intensive production processes. A true accounting of the direct employment effects of a regulation thus considers both jobs lost and jobs gained.
The direct cost of complying with regulations translates into increased employment. For example, an environmental regulation will mean more jobs for those engaged in pollution abatement. Further, it is possible that regulations may produce more labor-intensive production processes. A true accounting of the direct employment effects of a regulation thus considers both jobs lost and jobs gained.
Regulations can be designed to explicitly benefit the economy and particular industries, and they can lead to investments that create jobs, improve worker health and thus productivity, and spur important technological innovations, among other positive effects. [EPI, 12/4/14]

Image result for Metacrock's blog water


The Trump administration is threatening to remove safeguards that protect the drinking water of more than one-third of Americans.
Some 117 million people get at least some of their drinking water from small streams.[1] For 72 million people in 1,033 counties, more than half of their drinking water comes from small streams. Ensuring that their water is safe means keeping the water in these streams clean. (See map below. Click here for a more detailed interactive map.)
Right now, the Clean Water Act protects these streams from pollution. But this week President Trump issued an executive order directing Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt to rescind or revise the Clean Water Rule, or replace it with a new rule.
This critically important rule determines which streams, rivers and lakes are protected from pollution by the Clean Water Act. The rule also extends protection for millions of acres of wetlands that filter drinking water.
Industry and agribusiness have been pushing for years to roll back the Clean Water Rule and protect only the biggest streams and rivers. Now they’ve found a friend in the Trump administration.
Small streams are where big rivers start, and the best science confirms that dirty streams means even dirtier rivers. Millions of Americans drink water directly connected to 234,000 miles of small, potentially unprotected streams.
In 21 different states, small streams provide drinking water for 1 million or more people. (See chart below.) More than 5 million people in each New York, Texas and Pennsylvania get drinking water from small streams, as do more than 3 million in each California, Georgia, Maryland, Ohio, North Carolina and Arizona. [read more]

The New Administration Aims To Scale Back The Clean Water Act

President Donald Trump is moving to scale back which bodies of water are protected under the federal authority of the Clean Water Act. He has signed documents directing the EPA and US Army Corps of Engineers to review the rule.Environmentalists fear that scaling the Clean Water Act back is the first step to eliminating it altogether. It designates major bodies of freshwater within the United States as federal lands and offers protection to these bodies of water from pollution. Some of the debate may be calmed by having the law more clearly define which bodies of water are protected, and which are not:
In Tuesday’s executive order, Trump said that in any future proposed rule, the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers should consider Justice Antonin Scalia’s opinion in a 2006 Supreme Court ruling, which focused on the scope of the Clean Water Act.In that case, Scalia stated  that the “waters of the United States” are limited to “only relatively permanent, standing or flowing bodies of water.” He added: “The phrase does not include channels through which water flows intermittently or ephemerally, or channels that periodically provide drainage for rainfall.”Read More

Hundreds of current, former EPA employees urge Senate to reject Trump’s nominee for the agency

Nearly 450 former Environmental Protection Agency employees Monday urged Congress to reject
President Trump’s nominee to run the agency, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, even as current employees in Chicago sent the same message during a noon rally.
“We retirees, we tend to like to lay low. But this has gotten a bunch of us quite concerned,” said Bruce Buckheit, whose three decades in government included working in the EPA’s enforcement division under the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations. 
Republicans have defended Pruitt as a capable leader who will return the agency to its core mission of protecting the environment while rolling back what they see as years of regulatory overreach that has unnecessarily burdened industry. A coalition of nearly two-dozen conservative advocacy groups has backed his nomination, insisting that Pruitt has “demonstrated his commitment to upholding the Constitution and ensuring the EPA works for American families and consumers.”[read more]

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Mystical Experience:Empirical Evidence of The Supernatural (1 0f 1)

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This article is a summary my book, the Trace of God by Joseph Hinman (available on Amazon). I recently posted essays showing that the true Christian concept of Supernatural is mystical experience nothing more. Now I show mystical experience is empirical, thus SN is empirical.

this is in response to certain unfounded criticisms of my book. to know that this academic stuff is real and the studies are actually scientific,  use the foot notes as intended, look them up.what they are for.

Please read the article, But also listen to me in an interview . Done two years ago right before I got sick. Theopologetics with Chris Date

The argument from religious experience is deemed too subjective to be of any real interest to rationally minded skeptics. Yet over the last 50 years, a huge body of empirical scientific work has emerged in peer reviewed journals that strengthens the case for religious experience as a God argument. Unfortunately, this body of work is largely confined to psychology of religion and is virtually unknown to theology or even religious studies. In this paper I examine the research methods used in this body of work, particular attention to the mysticism scale developed by Ralph Hood Jr. (University of Tennessee at Chattanooga). I then apply the findings to an argument from religious experience. After demonstrating how the data supports the argument I will deal with two major issues: (1) Is an argument based upon the universal nature of these experiences appropriately Christian, or does it undermine a Christian witness by implying a unilateralist perspective? (2) Do counter causality arguments based upon brain chemistry and structure disprove the argument? Finally, I present “six tie breakers” that warrant decision in answer to the brain structure argument.

In 1948 The British Broadcasting Corporation aired a radio debate between the celebrated philosopher Bertrand Russell (atheist) and the author of a famous and voluminous History of Philosophy, Frederick Copleston S. J., (Christian), concerning the existence of God. [1] Most of the debate centered on issues such as necessary being. Copleston also advanced the moral argument but he gave passing mention to religious experience, specifically the kind of experience called “mystical.”Copleston admitted that the argument was subjective and he couched his appeal on an abductive basis, the best explanation for the feeling is God. Russell intimated that it was the lack of an objective referent that made the argument “rather private.”[2] After that the argument languished in the nether word of “not one of the five proofs.” Critics and apologists have dismissed it for the same reason. In the 1980s Caroline Franks Davis made an excellent attempt at bringing empirical data to the argument, but more and better studies have been done since her book.[3 ] William Alston Wrote a brilliant work on mystical experience as a logical basis for belief, but he did not tap into the studies that Davis used.[4] The argument continues to be on the back burner in apologetcs, but not because there is no concrete data. There is now a huge body of academic research from peer reviewed journals that makes an empirical basis for the argument possible.

In this article I will discuss the studies and their methodologies, then construct an argument designed to warrant conclusion in favor of the reality of God using this data. The argument makes claims based upon and discuss the scientific basis for the data, answering the major objection that might be lanced against any or all of the arguments from scientific quarters. What makes these arguments ground breaking is that these studies have been largely well known in psychology of religion and are virtually unknown to those who would want to make use of them for apologetic purposes. These arguments are not specific to any particular religious tradition. This argument is not meant to prove the existence of God but to establish that belief in God is rationally warranted. Nor is it intended to prove the Christian God. It seeks only to establish that belief in some notion of God, perhaps the Christian God, is rational and backed by empirical data.

In speaking of “mystical experience” we are not talking about visions or voices. We are not talking about miracles or God speaking to people. We are talking about “the sense of the numinous,” a sense of presence, of all pervasive and overwhelming love, and a sense of undifferentiated unity of all things. Those constitute two different kinds of experience both termed mystical.” The claim is often made that this is an unmediated experience of reality. The veil is taken back on the thing behind the facade of “reality” is experienced directly. The notion of an unmediated experience is debatable and not essential to an understanding of the experience. Mystical experiences come in two media:, introvertive and extrovertive. Intorovertive experiences are without time and space; they are not keyed to any external landmark or visual que. They seem to be beyond word, thought, or image. Extrovertive experiences are often keyed to a land mark and seem like projecting a sense onto the image of nature. [5] For example the sense that God is pervading the physical space in nature around which one views a scene in nature. Or a sense that all the natural landscape around forms some sort of whole that’s meaningful and indicative as an understanding of all reality. Introvertive mystical experience has been identified as “pure consciousness.” This kind of experience lacks content and can’t be tied to a cultural construct or personal influence. [6] While it is the case that these kinds of experiences are interpreted in various ways, and it is the case that various theological explanations tailored to a given tradition are advanced for these, as many as there are mystics to have them, the real diversity comes not from the experience but from the explanations attached to the experiences.[7]Much of the discussion about common core is tied to the texts of a given literature. There are various bodies of mystical literature, the important one for our purposes is the empirical. This is a measurement based empirical scientific corpus such as the work of Hood.

The “M” Scale

....Many names loom large in that body of literature; Greeley, Maslow, Wuthnow, Nobel, Lukoff and Lu, all major researchers whose studies form the bulwark of the corpus in the field. But perhaps the major researcher in researcher is Ralph Hood Jr., since his Mysticism Scale (or “M scale”) has become the standard control mechanism for determining the genuineness as truly mystical experience for a given subject. There two other scales such as a specific question by Greeley (1974) and the State of Consciousness Inventory by Alexander (1982; Alexander, Boyer, & Alexander, 1987) [8] This is a 32 item questionnaire that is scored in a particular way. Hood's M. Scale is designed to test the veracity of the theories of Philosopher W.T Stace, who advanced the “common core” theory of mystical experience[9] That theory argued for the universal nature of such experiences.. In other words, if actual modern mystics around the world experience the things Stace thought they do, in the way Stace thought they experienced them (see the five point list above) they would answer certain questions in a certain way [10] Hood’s work in the M scale is becoming the standard operating procedure for study of mystical and religious experiences. It hasn’t yet been understood by everyone so we find that people evoking religious experience by manipulating stimulation of the brain don’t use any sort of control, such as the M scale, for establishing a valid mystical experience. Thus they can’t prove they are evoking real mystical experiences.[11] Dale Caird said that “research into mystical experience has been greatly facilitated” [12] by Hood’s M scale. Caird did one of the studies that validated the M scale. Burris (1999) has shown that the M scale is the most commonly used measurement for the study of mysticism. [13]

The M scale enables us to determine the validity of a mystical experience among contemporary people. In other words, did someone have a “real mystical experience” or are they just carried away by the idea of having one? [14] There are two major versions of the M scale, what is called “two factor” solution and a “three factor solution.” The two factors are items assessing an experience of unity (questions such as “have you had an experience of unity?”) and items refereeing to religious and knowledge claims. In other words questions such as “did you experience God’s presence?” Or did you experience God’s love?” In each section there are two positively worded and two negatively worded items. [15] The problem with the two factor analysis is that it tried to be neutral with Language, according to Hood himself. It spoke of “experience of ultimate reality” but with no indication that ultimate reality means reality of God. As Hood puts it, “no language is neutral"[16] One group might want ultimate reality defined as “Christ” while others who are not in a Christian tradition might eschew such a move. In response to this problem Hood and Williamson, around 2000, developed what they termed “the three factor solution.” They made two additional versions of the scale one made reference where appropriate to “God” or “Christ.” They had a “God” version and a “Christ” version and both were given to Christian relevant samples. The scales were “factor analyzed,” they weighed each difference as a factor such as it’s mention of God or mention of Christ. In this factor analysis, where the scale referred to “God,” “Christ” or simply “reality” the “factor structures were identical.” That is the respondents saw “God,” “Christ” and “ultimate reality” as coterminou. That means Christians who have mystical experience understand God, Christ, and Reality as referring to the same things. [17]

All three versions matched Stace’s phenomenologically derived theory. “For all three intervertive, extrovertive and interpirative factors emerged.” [18] Respondents were answering in ways indicative of having both types of mystical experience and deriving interpretive experiences from it, they understood their experiences in light of theological understanding. The only exception was that the introvertive factors contained the emergence of ineffability because there was no content to analyze. Of course where the scale has been validated the same technique was used and tailored to the tradition of the respondent. Buddhists got a version applicable to Buddhists and Muslims got one appropriate to Islam, and so on. The same kinds of factors emerged. This demonstrates that mystical experiences are the same minus the details of the tradition, such as specific references to names. In other words Buddhists recognize Buddha mind as ultimate reality, while Vedantists recognize Brahmin as ultimate reality, Christians recognize Jesus as Ultimate reality, Muslims recognize Allah as ultimate reality, but all say they experience ultimate reality. This is a good indication that the same basic reality stands behind this experience, or to say it another way they are all experiences of the same reality.

Hood wrote a Text book with Bernard Spilka. [19] They point three major assumptions of the common core theory that flow out of Stace’s work:

(1) Mystical experience is universal and identical in phenomenological terms.

(2) Core Categories are not always essential in every experience, there are borderline cases.

(3) Interovertive and extrovertive are distinct forms, the former is an experience of unity devoid of content, the latter is unity in diversity with content.

The M scale reflects these observations and in so doing validates Stace’s findings. Hood and Spilka (et al) then go on to argue that empirical research supports a common core/perennialist conceptualization of mysticism and it’s interpretation.

The three factor solution, stated above, allows a greater range of interpretation of experience, either religious or not religious. This greater range supports Stace’s finding that a single experience may be interpreted in different ways. [20] The three factor solution thus fit Stace’s common core theory. One of the persistent problems of the M scale is the neutrality of language, especially with respect to religious language. For example the scale asks about union with “ultimate reality” not “union with God.” Thus there’s a problem in understanding that ultimate reality really means God, or unify two different descriptions one about God and one about reality. [21] There is really no such thing as “neutral” language. In the attempt to be neutral non neutral people will be offended. On the one had the common core idea will be seen as “new age” on the other identification with a particular tradition will be off putting for secularists and people of other traditions. Measurement scales must sort out the distinctions. Individuals demand interpretation of experiences, so the issue will be forced despite the best attempts to avoid it. In dealing with William James and his interpreters it seems clear that some form of transformation will be reflected in the discussion of experiences. In other words the experiences have to be filtered through cultural constructs and human assumptions of religious and other kinds of thought traditions in order to communicate them to people. Nevertheless experiences may share the same functionality in description. Christians may want the experiences they have that would otherwise be termed “ultimate reality” to be identified with Christ, while Muslims identify with Allah and atheist with “void.” The expressed is important as the “social construction of experience” but differently expressed experiences can have similar structures. Hood and Williamson designed the three factor analysis to avoid these problems of language. [22]This is a passage from my own work, The Trace of God :[23]

In a series of empirical measurement based studies employing the Mysticism scale introvertive mysticism emerges both as a distinct factor in exploratory analytic studies [24] and also as a confirming factor analysis in cultures as diverse as the United States and Iran; not only in exploratory factor analytic studies (Hood & Williamson, 2000) but also in confirmatory factor analyses in such diverse cultures as the United States and Iran (Hood, Ghornbani, Watson, Ghramaleki, Bing, Davison, Morris, & Williamson. (2001).[25] In other words, the form of mysticism that is usually said to be beyond description and beyond images, as opposed to that found in connection with images of the natural world, is seen through reflection of data derived form the M scale and as supporting factors in other relations. Scholars supporting the unity thesis (the mystical sense of undifferentiated unity—everything is “one”) have conducted interviews with mystics in other traditions about the nature of their introvertive mystical experiences. These discussions reveal that differences in expression that might be taken as linguistics culturally constructed are essentially indicative of the same experiences. The mystics recognize their experiences even in the expression of other traditions and other cultures. These parishioners represent different forms of Zen and Yoga.[26] Scholars conducting literature searches independently of other studies, who sought common experience between different traditions, have found commonalities. Brainaid, found commonality between cultures as diverse as Advanita-Vendanta Hinduism, and Madhmika Buddhism, and Nicene Christianity; Brainaid’s work supports conclusions by Loy with respect to the types of Hinduism and Buddhism.[27]

The upshot of this work by Hood is two fold: on the one had it means there is a pragmatic way to control for the understanding of what is a mystical experience and what is not. Using Stace as a guide we find that modern “mystics” around the world are having Stace-like experiences. Thus Stace’s view makes a good indication of what is and what is not a mystical experience. That means we can study the effects of having it. Of course Stace drew conclusions from his own survey vof literature of the great mystics. Now other scales have been attempted and none of them had the kind of verification that the M scale does, but taken together the whole body of work for the last fifty years or so (since Abraham Maslow) shows that religious experience of the “mystical” sort is very good for us. People who have such experiences tend to find positive, dramatic, transformation in terms of outlook, mental health and even physical health.

Over the years numerous claims have been made about the nature of spiritual/mystical and Maslow's “peak experiences”, and about their consequences. Wuthnow (1978) set out to explore findings regarding peak experiences from a systematic random sample of 1000 persons and found that peak experiences are common to a wide cross-section of people, and that one in two has experienced contact with the holy or sacred, more than eight in ten have been moved deeply by the beauty of nature and four in ten have experienced being in harmony with the universe. Of these, more than half in each have had peak experiences which have had deep and lasting effects on their lives. Peakers are more likely also, to say they value working for social change, helping to solve social problems, and helping people in need. Wuthnow stressed the therapeutic value of these experiences and also the need to study the social significance of these experiences in bringing about a world in which problems such as social disintegration, prejudice and poverty can be eradicated. Savage et al., (1995) provided clinical evidence to suggest that peakers produce greater feelings of self-confidence and a deeper sense of meaning and purpose. Mogar's (1965) research also tended to confirm these findings.[ 28]

The body of work to which I refer consists of about 200 studies (one could say 300 but let’s be conservative). [29]A huge part of that (about 50) is taken up with the prolific work of Ralph Hood. Not all of these studies use the M scale but it has become standard since the 90s. The body of work here discussed stretches back to the 1960s and the studies of Abraham Maslow. The study of mental health aspects has grown by leaps and bounds over the last couple of decades. Since the deployment of the three part solution of the M scale the studies have been more empirical and better controlled. The effects and their transformative qualities could be understood as rational warrant for belief in God, I have so argued in The Trace of God. [30]

[1] Broadcast in 1948 on the Third Program of the British Broadcasting Corporation. Published in Humanitas (Manchester) and reprinted in Bertrand Russell, Why I Am Not a Christian (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1957). chapter 13.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Caroline Franks Davis, The Evidential Force of Religious experience. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989 no page indicated.

[4] William P. Alston, Perceiving God: The Epistemology of Religious Experience. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1991.

[5] Walter T.Stace, The Teachings of the Mystics, (New York:The New American Library, 1960).15-18

[6] 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., 127.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Jayne Gackenback, “Pure Cobciousness. Mystical Experiences.” Childhood Transpersonal Childhood Experiences of Higher States of Consciousness: Literature Review and Theoretical Integration, Spirit Watch, online resource, URL:

[9] Walter T. Stace, Mysticism and Philosophy, New York: Macmillan,1961,44.

[10] Ibid, 128


[11] John Hick, The New Frontier Of Religion and Science: Religious Experiejhce, Neuroscience, and The Transcendent. UK: Palgrave: Macmillan, 2006, 66.

He does not mention the M scasle per se but shows that they do not use a standard and some use slip shod criteria for evaluation.

[12] Dale Caird, “The structure of Hood's Mysticism Scale: A factor analytic study.”journal for the Scientific study of religion 1988, 27 (1) 122-126


[13] Burris (1999) quoted in Hood, op, cit., 128

[14] Hood, ibid, 128

[15] bid.

[16] Ibid, 129

[17] Ibid.

[18] Ibid, 129

[19] Bernard Spilka, Ralph Hood Jr., Bruce Hunsberger, Richard Gorwuch. The Psychology of Religion: An Empirical Approach. New York, London: the Guildford Press, 2003.

[20] Ibid, 323

[21] Ibid\

[22] Ibid, Hood in McNamara.

[23] Hinman, Trace ...op. Cit., 168 fn72-75.

[24] Ralph Hood Jr., W.P. Williamson. “An empirical test of the unity thesis: The structure of mystical descriptors in various faith samples.” Journal of Christianity and Psychology, 19, (2000) 222-244.

[25] R.W. Hood, Jr., N.Ghorbani, P.J. Waston, et al “Dimensions of the Mysticism Scale: Confirming the Three Factor Structure in the United States and Iran.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 40 (2001) 691-705.

[26] R.K.C. Forman, Mysticism, Mind, Consciousness. Albany: State University of New York Press, (1999) 20-30.

[27] F.S. Brainard, Reality and Mystical Experience, Unvisited Park: Pennsylvania State University Press. (2000). See also D.Loy, Nonduality: A Study in Comparative Philosophy. Amherst, New York: Humanities Press.

[28] Krishna K. Mohan, “Spirituality and Wellbeing: an Overview.” An Article based upon a Presentation made during the Second International Conference on Integral Psychology, held at Pondicherry India 4-7 January 2001, published in hard copy, Cornelissen, Matthijs (Ed.) (2001) Consciousness and Its Transformation. Pondicherry: SAICE.On line copy website of the India Psychology Institute. Site visited 9/3/12. URL: Accessed 2/7/2016

[29]Bibliogrophies from which I took the studies include Voyle. LL, Mohan, Franks. gackenback

[30] Hinman, Trace...op. Cit., this is the gist of all of chapter 2, 61-135,especially 92-107.

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Ground breaking research that boosts religious arguemnts for God to a much stronger level. It makes experience arguments some of the most formidable.Empirical scientific studies demonstrate belief in God is rational, good for you, not the result of emotional instability. Ready answer for anyone who claims that belief in God is psychologically bad for you. 
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Monday, March 27, 2017

Does The Trinity Make Sense? (yes)


Over at Secular outpost we had a big Dust up over the Trinity,.  Parsons and Sotnak were the major  voices of reason for their side.The situation was complicated by atheist trolls but ignoring them I will just use Eric as my foil:

I see only one way to respond to the argument here, and that is to pull a Bill Clinton and insist that “it all depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is.” The ‘is’ in premise 2 is the ‘is’ of predication. It certainly appears that the ‘is’ of premise 1 is the ‘is’ of identity. But I expect, given the history of theological discussion of the Trinity, that the reply will be something on the order of “well, yes and no….”
The doctrine of the Trinity has always run into this sort of problem: How can the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit be identical and yet have (or manifest, or mumble-or-other) non-identical properties?
The thing is he never really get/s specific about what properties. Before getting into that I will say some things about the doctrine in general. First I take the Methodist view that I require the creeds for salvation ir membership but I do look to them as guides and theological models. They are Christian paradigms. Secondly in affirming the doctrine I am not concerned with the "fiddly bits," I don't care so much about  modalism or whatever, mothalitesiam not hurt them. I just pretty much stick to the Nciene creed such that this is what we must account for in the doctrine:

The Nicene Creed

We believe in One God, the Father all sovereign maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible; And in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all ages, Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten not made, of one substance with the Father, through whom all things were made; who for us men [all humans] and for our salvation came down from the heavens and was made flesh of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became man, and was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered and was buried, and rose again on the third day according to the scriptures, and ascended into the heavens, and sitteth on the right had of the father, and cometh again with glory to judge living and the dead of whose kingdom there shall be no end:

And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Life-giver,that proceedeth from the Father, who with Father and Son is worshiped together, and glorified together, and who spake through the prophets;

In one Holy and Catholic and Apostolic Church: we acknowledge one baptism unto remission of sins. We look for a resurrection of the dead, and the life of the age to come.

I think the basic formulation three identities in one essence accounts fr this, By begotten and not created it is asserting that God ( the three id's) are eternally generated by the one essence of deity, there was not a time when the son was produced by some prior material by the father. In callking Jesus only begotten it is saying there was a timewhen Jessu was not and then Jesus ccame to be out of the prior materail ofMary's gneekic stgrujcture(althougtheydidnotkonw abut aht) and the Logos,

Overview of the Doctirne

The Trinity is a doctrine of Church, that is, it developed over time (from about the second to the fourth centuries) in response to a continuing need. The first emergence of Trinitarian thinking was in response to the question of Christian identity. With Gnosticism infiltrating the church, the Bishops had to find a way of understanding who was a believer and who was not, and of demonstrating this in a clear and definite way. The Gnostic hearsay also forced the understanding of several difficult questions, such as the deity of Christ and the humanity of Christ. Since the Gnostics said that Jesus was just an ethereal being, a ghostlike wreath who only appeared to be flesh and blood, it became just as important to safe guard Jesus' humanity as to explain his deity.

Though the first aspects of the doctrine can be seen forming up in the New Testament, and in the very first extra-canonical Christian literature, at the end of the first century, the problems of Gnosticism forced a sharpened understanding. The Doctrine first took shape in the late second century (contrary to what many skeptics think, who argue that it didn't appear until the fourth). The first Christian theologians to coin the term "Trinity," Was Turtullian. But the doctrine can be seen shaping up as far back as 1 Clement in AD 95.

The Trinity is often misunderstood by many skeptics and anti-Trinitarians who think it calls for three gods. The Doctrine actually says that there is one God. But this one God exists in three persons who share in the same Divine essence. In order to understand this the early church fathers had to draw upon the Aristotelian concept of essence; the essence of a think determines what it is. A thing is the thing that it is because it contains the essence of what it is. Thus a dog is a dog because it exists as a dog, it has "doggedness." Thus, the three persons of the Trinity share the same divine essence. The term actually used by the Fathers was persona the term the Greek actors used for the masks they wore in tragedies. This means that we are actually talking about three identities through which the one divine essence is manifested. Thus one God, three persona; as the creed states (Athenasian creed) the persons are not to be confused, the essence not to be diluted.

Skeptics often quibble over the nature of this doctrine, thinking that its development over time and prescription by the church hierarchy means that it isn't valid. They reason that it must be stated openly in the New Testament to be valid. This they mistake for Luther's notion of Sola Scriptura. But the reformers were totally committed to Trinitarian doctrine. Sola Scriptura just means that Scripture is the final authority, it does not mean that the church has no teaching office. This is what the skeptics are always missing, especially the Christian "wannabe's" like the Christadelpians and Jehovah's Witnesses; that the church has a tradition, and the tradition is the guardian of the faith and the knowledge of the faith; the New Testament is a creature of the Tradition. The same people who chose what books went into the canon of the New Testament also drew up the creeds and developed the Doctrine of the Holy Trinity. If we can trust one we have to trust the other. In dealing with the doctrine the church was only doing what theologians are supposed to do, to understand through sudsy of and participation in, the nature of a religious tradition.

Despite the fact that the Doctrine was formulated by the church over several centuries, the basic elements of it can be seen clearly in the New Testament. Several verses actually depict the there persona of the Godhead working together at the time time, in concert but distinctively.In fact, a formula of the Trinity can be seen in many passages. I think the Orthodox church made a mistake in trying to pin it all down so exactly, They forgot why they needed creeds and doctrines and began to think of the doctrine as a thing for it;s own sake rather then a means of sorting out Christian identity from Gnostic heresy, The exception I make on the heresy bit is with Arianism. I still reject that one.

The discussion with  Sotnak

    • The concpet I am discussing comes from pseudo-Dyonisius the Areiopagine (500AD) it was his major translator a guy named Rolt who used the phrase:Universal mind." Dyonisius is one of the original sources of Christian mysticism.

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        If God is universal mind, then in what sense is he identical to the other two parts of the Trinity but NOT identical to all of us?

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            when you say "God" you re speaking of all three together. I assume you means "the father." We are not universal mind we re individuals, the one;s we are. WE can't know each other;s minds or think from each other's perspectives,

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                But then I still don't see how anything you have said helps elucidate the coherence of the Trinity. The analogy of MPD suggests that F, S, & H are all analogous to different personalities in a MPD patient with 3 personalities. Ok. But in the MPD case, the 3 personalities are behaviorally, dispositionally, or otherwise cognitively isolated from one another (that's what makes them distinct. But there is one brain that explains how they can be personalities of one individual. So in the case of the Trinity, what I want is (1) a set of criteria that explain how F, S, and H can be different, and (2) an explanation of what it is, exactly, that makes them the same. These joint criteria have to end up including F, S and H, but ONLY F, S and H. They need to be both necessary and sufficient. [I had tried a poor analogy comparing Godhead's three persona to three multiple personalities but it just confused the issue--I don't recommend it]
                But also, we are trying to respond to Bradley's argument, too: whatever criteria you come up with have to make it turn out that while Jesus is a person, God is not. As I see it, that means either holding that F is not a person, or that F, S and H taken together are not a person. I don't see how the latter here can be maintained while also asserting identity of F, S, and H.

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                    But then I still don't see how anything you have said helps elucidate the coherence of the Trinity. The analogy of MPD suggests that F, S, & H are all analogous to different personalities
                    what i see is in all your arguments you and all your side keep jumping back and forth to confuse Jesus with logos and eternal emendation of son from the father with incorporation. So you keep confusing the issues then want to say it doesn't make sense.But that is because you don't understand the break down of the parts,
                    in a MPD patient with 3 personalities. Ok. But in the MPD case, the 3 personalities are behaviorally, dispositionally, or otherwise cognitively isolated from one another (that's what makes them distinct. But there is one brain that explains how they can be personalities of one individual. So in the case of the Trinity, what I want is (1) a set of criteria that explain how F, S, and H can be different, and (2) an explanation of what it is, exactly, that makes them the same. These joint criteria have to end up including F, S and H, but ONLY F, S and H. They need to be both necessary and sufficient.
                    case in point
                    But also, we are trying to respond to Bradley's argument, too: whatever criteria you come up with have to make it turn out that while Jesus is a person, God is not. As I see it, that means either holding that F is not a person, or that F, S and H taken together are not a person. I don't see how the latter here can be maintained while also asserting identity of F, S, and H.
                    two things another aspect or not understanding the parts of the problem and then related to that you never defined person so we are talking at cross purposes on what is a person

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                        It doesn't matter how we define what a person is, because the structure of Bradley's argument is:
                        1. A has P.
                        2. A=B.
                        3. Therefore B has P.
                        It makes no difference at all how (or even whether) P is defined to the validity of the argument.

                    • Joe Hinman
                    • yea it does matter. Bowen's arguments trades on a misunderstanding about the nature of person in relation to the doctrine. Saying God is not a person does not mean he is impersonal it means he's not be classed along side other beings he is not one of many. Jesus is not the eternal logos, the logos did not became a person in the sense of being classed among other logoi, the human man the Logos manifested himself as became  a person in the sense of being one among many humans not one among many gods.

              • Notice that Eric's argument and Bradley's assume God is a big man in the sky, My allusion of the MPD was merely an analogy to indicate a possibility. Then he starts analyzing it as though God is a big mental patent in the sky, All of their attacks assume God must be subject to the same kinds of natural forces that humans are. They can't acknowledge a distinction in types of person. It is on that basis that find it nonsensical. They give no thought at all to the reason for the doctrine,