Sunday, January 14, 2018

Is belief in God magical thinking?

The bogus atheist social sciences section. This article is a sample of what's there. I have many articles against studies like this: IQ and faith (are Christians stupid and atheists are smart?) and the many, many inflationary claims of atheism on the rise that are constantly cranked out. I've proven that the people behind the IQ studies have avowed racist notions (Nyberg and co). I have spent years answering these kinds of things, the atheists have a vast array of them, all bogus, like the one about Christians are more likely to go to prison. Apologists need to be making use of these. Read them, spread them about. put up links. go to navigation, the stand alone pages top of this page and click on social science.

On Huff post there is an article by Matthew Hutson, author of The Seven Laws of Magical Thinking. The article is called "All Paths Lead to Magical Thinking." (Posted: 09/19/2013 8:32 pm).

In recent years, psychologists have come to understand religion and paranormal belief as resulting, in most people, from simple errors in reasoning. You believe in God or astrology or a purpose in life because you apply ideas about people -- that they have thoughts and intentions -- to the natural world. Some display this tendency more than others, but it's there in everyone, even atheistic heathens like me. What has not been clarified is exactly how the various cognitive biases interact to produce specific ideas about the supernatural -- until now.

He presents a tour de force in the form of a bunch of studies that supposedly prove that religious belief is magical thinking. "In the November 2013 issue of Cognition, Aiyana Willard and Ara Norenzayan of the University of British Columbia report on the relative influence of three cognitive tendencies on three types of supernatural belief, as well as the role of cultural influence." This study supposedly shows that "cognitive biases explain religious belief."
 several studies show that people who think more intuitively are also more susceptible to magical thinking. One intuition that's been proposed as a foundation for religious thought is Cartesian mind-body dualism, the idea that a mind can exist independently of a body. (See chapter 5 of my book The 7 Laws of Magical Thinking, "The Soul Lives On.") This proposition allows for souls, ghosts, spirits, and gods, all made of disembodied mind-stuff. Explanations for dualism include belief in free will and the mutual inhibition of brain areas responsible for pondering feelings and physics.
Of cousre that doesn't say that any of these studies show that religious belief is magical thinking. Instead they present a possibility based upon the notion that more intuitive people are susceptible   to magical thinking. So that says "if you are not careful you  might do some magical thinking." Nor is there a link provided between being more intuitive and religious belief. Although I would not doubt that believers are more intuitive, but the lack of prevision of that link is telling.

This brings up a bait and switch that the Aiyana and Norenzayan study is pulling off. They discuss their methodology:

We used a path model to assess the extent to which several interacting cognitive tendencies, namely mentalizing, mind body dualism, teleological thinking, and anthropomorphism, as well as cultural exposure to religion, predict belief in God, paranormal beliefs and belief in life’s purpose. Our model, based on two independent samples (N = 492 and N = 920) found that the previously known relationship between mentalizing and belief is mediated by individual differences in dualism, and to a lesser extent by teleological thinking. Anthropomorphism was unrelated to religious belief, but was related to paranormal belief. Cultural exposure to religion (mostly Christianity) was negatively related to anthropomorphism, and was unrelated to any of the other cognitive tendencies. These patterns were robust for both men and women, and across at least two ethnic identifications. The data were most consistent with a path model suggesting that mentalizing comes first, which leads to dualism and teleology, which in turn lead to religious, paranormal, and life’s-purpose beliefs. Alternative theoretical models were tested but did not find empirical support.
Notice that anthropomorphism is not linked to religoius beilef but they are going to use it anyway because it's involved in belief. In fact all of these things are descriptions of various overlapping historical artifacts form religious thought because it goes back so far in human history. Most of them have not been disproved, none of them are magical thinking. What's the link bewteen teleology and magical thinking? Teleology means an end goal,  so religious thinking is teleological if and only if it assumes there's a creator who has a plan that's being fulfilled. Why is that in itself magical thinking? It's just logical if there is a creator. Has teleological thinking been proved to always be wrong? No, of course not and it's logical if there is a creator. So actually they are just begging the question. They are assuming there can't be a creator so therefore anything connected with belief must also be connected with magical thinking. This probably goes back to the biases of anti-clerical prejudice, that religion is superstition. So they start with the assumption religious beilef must be magical thinking because it's superstition, thus they just look for typical aspects of religious thought (many of which are connected to ancinet religious texts) and assume it's all magical thinking. No psychological link is provided that proves that teleological thinking is magical thinking.

When he says "several studies" he links back to his own website for the book 7 Laws of Magical Thinking (he uses the number 7 rather than writing "seven" seems infantile). So his article is just a rehash of his website. What are these studies what do they really show? Those are the ones that supposedly show that intuitive thinkers are apt to be suckers for magical thinking if they are not careful, but does it access the percentage of the time that they are not careful? Can't we still check the results by our own logic and empirical data?

One such satment in disclosing these "several studies:"

Psychologists who study the origins of religion say belief in God relies on several intuitions, including a teleological bias (the assumption that certain objects or event were designed intentionally) and Cartesian dualism (the belief that mind can exist independently of the body). So to become an atheist one must second-guess these automatic ways of thinking. And recently a number of studies have supported the idea that belief in God is influenced by cognitive style–how much of a second-guesser you are.
Why is teleology "intuitive" any more than it is logical? If God is what you believe in then is it not logical to assume God has a purpose in crating? it's not prove that necessarily intuitive. Not that they link intuitive thinking with magical thinking. His comment about Cartsteian thinking is ironic since major aspects of atheist thinking is also based upon Cartesian thinking. E.O. Wilson's world view is largley Cartesian and he produced evolutionary psychology which is important to atheist thinking.

One such  study: paper published last year in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General by Amitai Shenhav studuents took cognitive reflection test and answered questions.Pleasevnote they used this testvin a way for which it was not intended,Look at the actual original study where the Cognitive reflection Test wasfirst used. Here's what it says thye purpose is:
“Cognitive Reflection Test” (CRT) as a simple measure of one type of cognitive ability. I will show that CRT scores are predictive of the types of choices that feature prominently in tests of decision-making theories, like expected utility theory and prospect theory. Indeed, the relation is sometimes so strong that the preferences themselves effectively function as expressions of cognitive ability—an empirical fact begging for a theoretical explanation. After introducing the CRT, I examine its relations with two important decisionmaking characteristics: time preference and risk preference. The CRT is then compared with other measures of cognitive ability or cognitive “style,” including the Wonderlic Personnel Test (WPT), the Need For Cognition scale (NFC) and selfreported SAT and ACT scores. The CRT exhibits considerable difference between men and women, and I discuss how this relates to sex differences in time and risk preferences. The final section discusses the interpretation of correlations between cognitive abilities and decision-making characteristics.[1]
This has to do with risk taking. It doesn't even say it meausres intative thinking but "different kinds of cognition." The difference is in levels of risk taking not intuition.

This is so telling he says "The number of intuitive (incorrect) responses they gave on the CRT was correlated with their belief in God and immortal souls," so in other words intuitive means "wrong." How could one possibly study the validity of intuitive thinking when one defines it as "wrong form the outset? Moreover, they are judging it wrong because it's connected to God, is that not also what makes it "intuitive?" They are just running around in circles demanding that what they believe has to be true and using their biases as the basis for proof. When we look at the actual tests on the study (see link above) we find that the real way they administer it (reported badly by Hustson) was to compare math answers arrived at intuitively with the persons individual belief in God. They compared believers answers to non believers answers. We are infer that the believers missed more. Actually that would mean that intuitive thinking does not correlate to belief in God and that the better intuitive thinking is done by non believers. Why? Because they got more math problems right by intuitive means. That would destroy their link from intuitive thinking to magical thinking. Wouldn't it also matter what one used intuitive sense for? Perhaps intuitive sense is better at God finding than at mathematics. What if that's what it was made for? Massimp Pigliucci sights research and argues that intuition is domaion specific. Some things lend themselves to it and some don't. [2] 
Moreover, both studies demonstrated that intuitive CRT responses predicted the degree to which individuals reported having strengthened their belief in God since childhood, but not their familial religiosity during childhood, suggesting a causal relationship between cognitive style and change in belief over time. Study 3 revealed such a causal relationship over the short term: Experimentally inducing a mindset that favors intuition over reflection increases self-reported belief in God. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)[3]
So in other words because they have some evidence that initiative thinking is part of the stronger religious belief that means that religious belief is produced by intuitive thinking which is mostly wrong and is magical thinking. There are a number of things wrong with that methodology. That's not the same as proving that religion itself is derived from intuitive thinking. That is not even investigating the logic that goes into it. Nor does it investigate the right answers in one's personal life that lead to believe, they don't even offer a theological measuring devices for such answers. Putting up a bunch of math problems is not valid. People don't arrive at belief by just saying "I sense that God is really there." There is a sense of God's presence that people  have and they are totally confusing that sense with 'intuitive' thinking,' they don't have it they don't know how it feels or works so they assume it's "intuitive." Moreover, the term "intuitive" can refer to different things. There's no link that the kind of intuitive thinking (guessing) about the math is the same kind done by religious thinkers.

 There's an article in N.Y. Times that illustrates scientific work depending upon and being  conformed by intuitive thinking. The article is a chapter form a book by Philip Lieberman, Eve Spoke, Human Language and Human Evolution.[4]  The book is based upon scholarly work.

Over the past thirty years my colleagues and I have studied monkeys, chimpanzees, infants, children, normal adults, dyslexic adults, elderly people, and patients suffering from Parkinson's disease and other types of brain damage. We have also examined the skulls of our fossil ancestors, comparing them with those of newborn infants and apes. The focus of these studies has been the puzzle surrounding human evolution. Why are we so different from other animals, although we are at the same time so similar?...In some deep, unconscious way we "know" that dogs, cats, chimpanzees, and other intelligent animals would be human if they could only talk. Intuitively we know that talking = thinking = being human. The studies discussed below show that this intuition is correct.
 This may upset young earth creationists, which I don't  mind doing, but it doesn't disrupt my Christian faith because I don't see evolution as a disruption. Nor does it disprove the existence of the soul because that depends upon answering the question "why is it we did evolve to talk and other animals did not? There are two points that refute Hutson's ideas: (1) not only does religious belief depend upon intuitive thinking of a kind (at certain points) but so does scinece as well. (2) this scientist thinks that the intuitive thinking is proved correct by the scinece. So intuitive thinking is not always wrong. Some studies backing this up have shown that the correct results of intuitive thinking, while not better than other forms of knowing, are not worse.[5]

 U.S. Navy reserach has yielded so much scientific data backing the notion that there is an intuitive sense that aids troops in battle that they started a program to teach troops how to be more intuitive.

 Research in human pattern recognition and decision-making suggest that there is a "sixth sense" through which humans can detect and act on unique patterns without consciously and intentionally analyzing them. Evidence is accumulating that this capability, known as intuition or intuitive decision making, enables the rapid detection of patterns in ambiguous, uncertain and time restricted information contexts, that it informs the decision making process and, most importantly, that it may not require domain expertise to be effective. These properties make intuition a strong candidate for further exploration as the basis for developing a new set of decision support training technologies.[6]
 Ivy Estabrook, program manager at the office of Naval Resarch, says, "There is a growing body of anecdotal evidence, combined with solid research efforts, that suggests intuition is a critical aspect of how we humans interact with our environment and how, ultimately, we make many of our decisions."[7]

 Published in Popular source Sarah Moore form Alberta School of Business and colleagues from Duke and Cornell have produced research that proves that the first choice one makes is often the right choice. [8] That certainly implies an intuitive choice. While Trisha Greenhalgh discusses research that shows that intution is a valuable aid in medical diagnosis and that it improves with critical thinking about the process.

Intuition is not unscientific. It is a highly creative process, fundamental to hypothesis generation in science. The experienced practitioner should generate and follow clinical hunches as well as (not instead of applying the deductive principles of evidence-based medicine. The educational research literature suggests that we can improve our intuitive powers through systematic critical reflection about intuitive judgements--for example, through creative writing and dialogue with professional colleagues. It is time to revive and celebrate clinical storytelling as a method for professional education and development.[9]
 Not only is it not unscientific, not only can it assist in medical care, but it there's a large body of literature that shows it can be improved. How can it be improved (meaning the answers are right) if it's no good and it never works and it's just magical thinking?


(1) None of the studies demonstrate a real link between intuitive thinking and religious belief. They make an unsupported assertion that teleology and other quasi religious ideas are intuitive thinking. The closest thing to a link is one study that shows that believe was strengthened apart form family tie, but that does rule out logic, empirical data, discussions with friends and individual thought.

(2) The studies that claim to link religious belief with magical thinking are doing a bait and switch whereby the substitute intuitive thinking. They don't bother to consider the venue or the domain but merely assume that if intuitive thinking is wrong for math then it must be wrong for all things. They assume intuitive = magical, probably because they think belief in God is magic or supernatural is magic. Then they assert that since intuitive thinking doesn't work in one domain it work in any domain. Since that tag that as religious thinking then religious thinking is wrong. They actually prove nothing at accept that they are biased against religion.

(3) A vast body of scientific research disproves the idea that intuition is always wrong and doesn't work. It's not only backed by science it's part of science. I give examples of scientific work that is based upon intuitive thinking. It's not more special and unique to religious thought than is logic. Nor is it always wrong. The scientific reserach shows it has it's place where it's right, that including not only some scientific work but also medicine.


[1] Shane Frederick, "Cognative Reflection And Decision making," Journal of Economic Perspectives—Volume 19, Number 4—(Fall 2005)—Pages 25–42 prf accessed 11/3/15 
[2]Massimo Pigliucci, Answers for Aristotle: How Science and Philosophy Can Lead Us to A More Meaningful Life , New York: Basic books, 2012.

Massimo Pigliucci (Italian pronunciation: [ˈmassimo piʎˈʎuttʃi]; born January 16, 1964) is the chair of the Department of Philosophy at CUNY-Lehman College.[1] He is also the editor in chief for the journal Philosophy & Theory in Biology.[2] He is an outspoken critic of creationism and advocate of science education.

[3] Shenhav, Amitai; Rand, David G.; Greene, Joshua D. "Divine intuition: Cognitive style influences belief in God." abstract on line: Journal of Experimental Psychology:General, Vol 141(3), (Aug 2012), 423-428 abstract on Apa Psychnet  accessed 10/2/13.
[4] Philip Lieberman, "The Mice Talked at Midnight," except from Eve Spoke: Human Language and Human Evolution, New York: W.W. Norton, published in New York Times, on line  accessed 10/2/13
[5]AJ Giannini, ME Barringer, MC Giannini, RH Loiselle. Lack of relationship between handedness and intuitive and intellectual (rationalistic) modes of information processing. Journal of General Psychology. 111:31-37 1984.
[6] Office of naval research Basic Research Challenge: Enhancing intuitive deicsion making.
Solicitation Number: 12-SN-0007
Agency: Department of the Navy
Office: Office of Naval Research
Location: ONR 
 accessed 10/2/13.
[7] Ivy Estabrook, uoted in Channing Joseph, "U.S. Program to Study How Troops Use Intuition," New York Times, Wednesday (Oct 2, 2013) story filed March 27, 2012, 5:09 pm on line
 accessed 10/2/13.
[8]Leon Watson ."why we are right to trust out gut intincts:Scientists discover First Decision is the Right One." Mail online updated 30 (August 2011) accessed 10/2/13
[9]Trisha Greenhalgh, "Intution and Evidence--Uneasy Bedfellows?" BJGP:British Journal of General Practice. 52, (478) May (2002) 395-400. On line article  accessed 10/2/13

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Answering The Philo Argument: Jesus Mythicism

Image result for metacrock's blog Jesus existe
All arguments the Jesus mythers use are arguments from silence. The idea that there is no proof for Jesus' historicity, therefore we can't believe in  it, that is argument from silence (AFS). The opposite is the case, Jesus' historical existence is accepted by historians as a fact, therefore, the myther has the burden to prove he did not exist. History says he did. The mythers have a few arguments that appear on the surface like positive evidence, they assert that they are. It's very important to quash them.

One such argument says that a long string of major writers of Jesus' days did not mention him. I am going to look at the way two different mythers use this argument. These guys are not famous but I have seen both used quoted against me in argument a couple of times.The first one is on the atheist echo chamber "read it" by a guy called Jim Jones who I trade insults with regularly on Secular Out Post. He is a typical mocker, and a Dawkamentalkst.[1].

The argument presents a long string of writers who don't mention Jesus:

The following is a list of writers who lived and wrote during the time, or within a century after the time, that Christ is said to have lived and performed his wonderful works:Josephus, Philo-Judaeus, Seneca, Pliny the Elder, Suetonius, Juvenal, Martial, Persius, Plutarch, Justus of Tiberius, Apollonius, Pliny the Younger, Tacitus, Quintilian, Lucanus, Epictetus, Silius Italicus, Statius, Ptolemy, Hermogones, Valerius Maximus, Arrian, Petronius, Dion Pruseus, Paterculus, Appian, Theon of Smyrna, Phlegon, Pompon Mela, Quintius Curtius, Lucian, Pausanias, Valerius Flaccus, Florus Lucius, Favorinus, Phaedrus, Damis, Aulus Gellius, Columella, Dio Chrysostom, Lysias, Appion of Alexandria.(Ibid)

That looks so very impressive. Just a couple of thing before I begin showing how utterly useless this argument is. (1) This argument is clearly  AFS. Not that this is a fallacy per se, but it doesn't prove anything. This is especially so when one can show why the silence is there. We can show why these guys would not mention Jesus even if everything in the NT is true. (2) Atheists assume that if Jesus really worked miracles he would be made world famous, in his own day that is a fallacious assumption. Let's look at the way two mythers use this argument, First, nearly everyone beveled in the possibility of miracles in that day. Not that they would not have been amazed to see one but they were not as skeptical as we are. That does not mean they would automatically assume any claim of a miracle but it does mean with a host of other wonder workers being talked about guys in far away Rome would not take notice of a wonder worker in Palestine.

On Tekton apologetic J.P. Holding (our fellow cadrist) discusses why Jesus would not be mentioned by Roman writers. Notice most of the writers on Jone's list are Roman:

As far as the historians of the day were concerned, he was just a "blip" on the screen. Jesus was not considered to be historically significant by historians of his time. He did not address the Roman Senate, or write extensive Greek philosophical treatises; He never travelled outside of the regions of Palestine, and was not a member of any known political party. It is only because Christians later made Jesus a "celebrity" that He became known.
Sanders, comparing Jesus to Alexander, notes that the latter "so greatly altered the political situation in a large part of the world that the main outline of his public life is very well known indeed. Jesus did not change the social, political and economic circumstances in Palestine (Note: It was left for His followers to do that!) ..the superiority of evidence for Jesus is seen when we ask what he thought." [Sand.HistF, 3]Harris adds that "Roman writers could hardly be expected to have foreseen the subsequent influence of Christianity on the Roman Empire and therefore to have carefully documented" Christian origins. How were they to know that this minor Nazarene prophet would cause such a fuss?
Jesus was executed as a criminal, providing him with the ultimate marginality. This was one reason why historians would have ignored Jesus. He suffered the ultimate humiliation, both in the eyes of Jews (Deut. 21:23 - Anyone hung on a tree is cursed!) and the Romans (He died the death of slaves and rebels.).
On the other hand, Jesus was a minimal threat compared to other proclaimed "Messiahs" of the time. Rome had to call out troops to quell the disturbances caused by the unnamed Egyptian referenced in the Book of Acts [Sand.HistF, 51] . In contrast, no troops were required to suppress Jesus' followers.To the Romans, the primary gatekeepers of written history at the time, Jesus during His own life would have been no different than thousands of other everyday criminals that were crucified.
Jesus marginalized himself by being occupied as an itinerant preacher. Of course, there was no Palestine News Network, and even if there had been one, there were no televisions to broadcast it. Jesus never used the established "news organs" of the day to spread His message. He travelled about the countryside, avoiding for the most part (and with the exception of Jerusalem) the major urban centers of the day. How would we regard someone who preached only in sites like, say, Hahira, Georgia?
Jesus' teachings did not always jibe with, and were sometimes offensive to, the established religious order of the day. It has been said that if Jesus appeared on the news today, it would be as a troublemaker. He certainly did not make many friends as a preacher.Jesus lived an offensive lifestyle and alienated many people. He associated with the despised and rejected: Tax collectors, prostitutes, and the band of fishermen He had as disciples.esus was a poor, rural person in a land run by wealthy urbanites. Yes, class discrimination was alive and well in the first century also![2]

Jones says of his list: "Enough of the writings of the authors named in the foregoing list remains to form a library. Yet in this mass of Jewish and Pagan literature, aside from two forged passages in the works of a Jewish author, and two disputed passages in the works of Roman writers, there is to be found no mention of Jesus Christ. " [3] Notice he lumps in both Josephus passages as "forgery." This is ludicrous when the less quoted "bother passage" is not even accused of being a forgery. In his debate with me on Josephus's brother passage Bradely Bowen (one of the best thinners at SOP and far better than Jones) could not quote a single scholar who said so, nor did he present any argumnet about forgery,[4] 

Not to mention the fact that the assertion of complete forgery for the TF. Josephus' major passage about Jesus is rejected by the consensus in the field of real historical scholarship and the arguments exist to blow the mythers away on it. [5]

Apart from Josephus the major guy in the list is Philo, He was a Jew in the time of Christ.The Romans had no reason to care about Jesus but Philo may have. Yet, there are good reasons why he did not deal with him. Jones asserts that Philo lived in Jerusalem when Jesus was there. "He was living in or near Jerusalem when Christ's miraculous birth and the Herodian massacre occurred. He was there when Christ made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem." [6] He is wrong in assuming that Philo was living in Jerusalem and that he was there strait through Jesus whole life. Philo lived in Alexandria and he spent a good deal of his time in Rome. He only visited Jerusalem one  time. Moreover he did not live long after the time of Jesus, he died in 40 in AD. [7] 

As for the argument on slaughter of the innocents, this event would not have been any more compelling or earth shattering than any of the other slaughters and moral outrages perpetrated by Herod. First of all the number of children killed would have been quite small, on the order of a dozen or two dozen, as recounted by famous historian Paul Maier[8] Maier gives a long list of Hreod's atrocities. The last was the same year of Jesus' birth 4 BC where he had thousands of Jewish leaders slaughtered. [9] There is no real reason why the incident in Bethlehem should standout in anyone's mind. As for the Triumphal entry there is no way to prove that Philo was in Jerusalem for that.

Kenneth Humphreys also makes the argument that Philo didn't mention Jesus. [10] This is the same genius who founded the Paul myther movement, which I tore apart on [CADRE] blog a year or more ago,.He says:
As it happens, we have an excellent witness to events in Judaea and the Jewish diaspora in the first half of the first century AD: Philo of Alexandria (c25 BC-47 AD).
Philo was an old man when he led an embassy from the Jews to the court of Emperor Gaius Caligula. The year was 39-40 AD. Philo clearly, then, lived at precisely the time that "Jesus of Nazareth" supposedly entered the world to a chorus of angels, enthralled the multitudes by performing miracles, and got himself crucified. Philo was also in the right place to give testimony of a messianic contender. A Jewish aristocrat and leader of the large Jewish community of Alexandria, we know that Philo spent time in Jerusalem (On Providence) where he had intimate connections with the royal house of Judaea. His brother, Alexander the "alabarch" (chief tax official), was one of the richest men in the east, in charge of collecting levies on imports into Roman Egypt. Alexander's great wealth financed the silver and gold sheathing which adorned the doors of the Temple (Josephus, War 5.205). Alexander also loaned a fortune to Herod Agrippa I (Antiquities 18). (Ibid)
We know from the Hiller article (op cit) that He did not live in Jerusalem and he only went there once, (EN7) (There is a reason why he;s called "of Alexandria."). He may have heard of Jesus since he clearly craved the company of Roman elites he may have found Jesus embarrassing. There's no way they can prove he was in Jerusalem during times of High Jesus visibility such as the triumphal entry. It is their burden of proof because they seek to eliminate the established fact of history. So the argument from silence about Philo is of no consequence. Now he says Philo had contact with the Royal House of Judea, That is Herod that means he murdered Jesus' cousin and tried to murder Jesus as an infant. Thus discussion of the Nazareth boys would probably be a black card topic at table with  Herod. Especially True since Maier  says the pattern for Herod was fear of opposite murder of opponent followed by more depression and more fear more murder,,(op cit EN8). Might not be a real good idea to remind him of killing them and John Jesus' cousin. I can just hear the Judea brothers discussion dinner at Herod's "Now brother don't make the homicidal dictator mad." Might be a good reason to leave that scruphy preacher guy Jesus out of the next book.

What Humphreys says about Alexander, Philo's brother,  and his wealth as chief tax collector. Not only would he be hated by the people but also would have reason to fear Jesus since he was popular among the rebels, was himself poor, and seemed to say things encouraging to the poor such as that they  are blessed.Thus he carried an overtone of class conflict. At least it's a reason why Philo would find him uninteresting. Jesus railed against money changers  said a rich man can';t enter heaven any more easily than a camel can traverse the eye of a needle, so there was a lot lot of motivation for Philo to either just not take an interest est or avoid discussion of him.,

At best the philo argumemt is an argument from silence and proves nothing. In the context of the Jesus mytherism issue the Philo argumemt fails to qualify as positive evidence against the existence of Jesus. Jesus' historicity is established historical fact,


all on line sources accessed 5/6/17

[1] Jim Jones, "The Silence of Comteproary Wrioters,"  Read it  (21 Dec 2014) (archive)
URL:  (accessed 5/4/17).

[2] J.P. Holding, "General Thoughts on Jesus  Not Existing," Tekton Apologetic, website on line
(accessed 5/4/17)

Meier's Marginal Jew and Harris' Three Crucial Questions About Jesus.

[3]  Jones op cit]

[4] Bowen/Hinman Debate: Josephus (the brother passage), on Religious a priori: Jesus and Bible
Debate between Joseph Hinman and Bradley Bowen

Index for the full debate: Hinman/Bowen Debate om Jesus historicity

[5] Joseph Hinman, "Josephus. Secular and Jewish Historians," Religious a priori  website URL:

[6] Jones op cit

[7] Marian Hillar, "Philo of Alexandria. 20BCE-40CE" Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (peer reviewed) website URL

Hillar is with the Center for Philosophy and Socinian Studies

[8] Paul Maier, quoted in "Did Herod Really Kill Baby Boys?" Ask Pastor John Interview with 
 Senior writer,
"Paul Maier, a widely respected historian, in what will be a little longer of an episode than usual. Until his retirement, Maier served as the Russell H. Seibert Professor of Ancient History at Western Michigan University. And he is the author of many fictional books and many non-fiction books including In the Fullness of Time: A Historian Looks at Christmas, Easter, and the Early Church, as well as several books for children, including, The Very"

[9] Ibid.

[10] Kenneth Humphreys, "Witness to Jesus? Philo of Alexandria." Jesus Never Existed 2006 websiote URL:

Sunday, January 07, 2018

On Politics, hate and Christianity

I have an old  friend, a relative actually, who is very conservative and consciously right wing politically. She supports Trump and being my relative she is very intelligent, this is an incongruity hard to live with, To make matters worse she is an effective debater for her side.Regardless of how deeply I hate Trump I don't allow myself to love this person any less because she's family and that counts. Now she's written me a long heart-felt letter announcing and explaining her withdrawal from politics. It seems she feels pulled away from God by the furor of the political scene,especially feelings of hatred. She has given me pause to think about the hateful aspects, but I can't accept giving up the political.

I am glad she left politics because one less effective apologist for them, but she does make me think: we must avoid hatred, Before going on I will say I believe this for the sake of being right with God; but it is also true that hating does not serve us well politically. We can sit around and hate Trump and get on facebook and talk about how bad he is but that doesn't do jack toward saving democracy.

I feel like I should explore my reasons for remaining in the political struggle. Because I wish I could just turn to the insular world of theology and think abut God and answer abstract theological questions  all my life. I do not enjoy  dealing with hateful angry people. Yet when I contemplate doing this I feel like it would be backing down from the very point where the Gospel is in peril.

The reason what's happening today in  politics endangers the Gospel is because of what has happened to the angelical church, [1] That can be summed up in the notion, they have sold their birth right for a bowl of soup. They have basically equated belief in Jesus with voting republican.[2] That alchemy was accomplished by making abortion the one "true" issue that supersedes all else. U am not going to discuss that now but I will say that evangelical thinking on that topic is pathetic, [3]If they defend the Bible as badly as they do "right to life" (ati-abortion) then the Gospel is in trouble.

The birthright they sold is two fold, (1) democracy, (2) the Gospel or salvation, They sold their birthright as Americans to live in a democracy by  sacralizing the social project of the strong man dictator. Trump's labeling of all criticism as "fake news"is nothing more than  the dictator silencing criticism. The Trump DOJ has moved to silence protesters.[4] The gospel is sold out any time it is equated with temporal power. At that point the gospel becomes not a move of the heart toward God but a pragmatic move of the mind toward safety,security, or power. That is the antithesis of seeking God.

Back when the primaries began there was a guy calling himself "Illion" (aka Idion) posting on  dangerous idea blog who came out and said :you are not a Christian if you are not a republican, Now I'm beg accused pf thinking the sane way only in relation to my views. That is clearly not the case. Here's part of that exchange. BTW the guy saying this is not that much out of line because I did   unload on him.

January 07, 2018 7:19 AM
Blogger Joe Hinman said...
Legion of Logic said...
Joe, I can only conclude that you are an anti-conservative bigot, and that rational discussion with someone who has as much hate in his heart as you do is not possible.

you are confusing passion with hatred. If this is not the time to climb the barricades and shout when is it? We are facing annihilation and the systematic disemboweling of the whole edifice of progress made since Teddy Roosevelt and you want me to treat it like just business as usual.Conform to the nitrites let the brain washed have their fantasy.

I don't hate you. in fact I like you. what I hate is the game I see many conservatives playing where they write it all off as boys will be boys and condone murder,rape, torture, and lies but if you call them on it (with proof) you are a liar and an extremist and full of hate. Many conservators appreciated atheist watch did not think my anti-atheist varododo was extreme but wont tolerate my political opinion.

My log piece tomorrow on Metacrock will be abouit hating or not hating your enemies a and Christians staying in the struggle,I hope you will read it because some of it will be written with you mind, 

January 07, 2018 10:19 AM
Blogger Joe Hinman said...
Your political views far, far outweigh your Christian beliefs, based upon your last post that was utterly devoid of all charity,

LL, first of all I apologize for assuming you voted for Trump. I know lots of Christians who did not but since 80% did it's hard start out assuming otherwise.

to everything there is a season this is the time to evoke as else of alarm. Human lives are being wasted to inflate Trump's ego ,this is the time to build the barricade. If my political views were more important than my following Jesus i would be posting here.If I did not know Jesus is real in a way I can't deny I sure as hell would not hang in based upon the evangelicals who for the most part are hypocritical morons who sold out all their principles for temporal power (present company excepted).

There are individuals I know who I will not break contact with because I know they love Jesus and they are not and people even though they voted for
Trump. Many of them are intelligent people who I have respected in the past I can't forget. Some are family and that outranks politics (I am from Dallas and live there now so obviously I have Republican relatives). Many in the Cadre are Trum supporters and I have not disbanded we still have the grou-,we just don't talk politics,

the difference in me and that right wing Iddion guy who used to post here he would say "you are not a Christian" I never told you that and I wont because I know you are, No I do not believe that agreement with my politics is prerequisite for salvation.

I never said you are not a good person nor not saved,I do think you are brain washed,

which sadly is an illness that has afflicted most people these days - everyone is apparently infallible in their morals and understanding, based on how enthusiastically they attack and spew hatred at anyone who disagrees.

which one of us has empirical studies? not you, if I was just being hot headed I wouldn't bother to research it.No one cares that I have scientific proof of my position,so it's time to create alarm.If loss of life doesn't make people take stock what will?

It should give you pause that agreeing with you politically seems to be your standard for whether someone is wicked. Because I know for a fact that my conservative leanings do not automatically put me at odds with God, 

I never said that, at the same you don;t want t to know

I know for a fact that my conservative leanings do not automatically make me selfish (I make around $20-25,000 a year, not rich and never will be),

you are good little surf obeying your masters, good surf, pull your forelocks now,

and I know for a fact that many (not all) progressive policies directly lead to harm. Those are facts that no amount of blaming me or Trump or whoever can change. Progressive policies driven by Democrats often lead to harm. Simple fact, and simple reason for me to oppose them when they do.


let me see your methodological indictments of the studies on coal fired air pollution. I am betting you have no empirical evidence to back that up,if you do I'd like to see it,

But no, only PROGRESLLSIVES are good people, right? Only people who agree with YOU are good people. With a mindset like that, where honest disagreement is immoral, I wonder why the body of Christ can't find unity? Hmm.
I thought McCain was good until he voted for the tax scam and caused those 13 million to lose their benefits,he saved them in public and then dumps in private,

You and Starhopper have put on a good display of the rationality and charity in the Christian left. I can't bear much more of it, so I'm going to go be an evil satanic conservative somewhere else. Good day.

ok Paul Harvy-- goodday--that's a rationalization-- you stir up guilt so I'll label you as extreme so Im justified in turning you off, no facts no data, no studies, but hke sure he knows,

His complaint is actually putting us i a double bind, we reach out the olive branch we are being phony if we don;t we are hateful.


[1] Joesph Hinman, "Evangelicals and The Changing of The Mazeways," Metacrock's  Blog, (Aug 14, 2017)
(accessed Jan 5, 2018 )

[2] sellimg birth right for soup story of Jacob and Esau. (Genesis 27:34–40) ( see Wiki)
as for the assumption that evangelicals make this equation it;s pretty obvious.

(accessed Jan 5, 2018 )

see comments no reflection on BK.My friend BK is a very intelligent guy, a lawyer, but he feels compelled to accept bad arguments on this issue,

[4] David Bell,"Fake News is Not The Real edia Threat We are Facig," The Atlantic (Dec 2016)
(accessed Jan 5, 2018 )

Announcement on my message board

I did not own the board it was put up  for me by someone else. The host company sold out and all the old stuff was wiped, apparent;y It's gone,I really hate that I a very upset.

There was a treasure trove of great posts,the only posts I have of my late friend Scott Gross, and connections with people, great discussions with friends debates all gone, I am going to put up a blog to replace it one where more than   me can post.