Sunday, January 06, 2008

Empirical evidence of Supernatural part II


The Supernatural is not magic realms, ghosts and psychic powers and fairies. It is an ontological framework; meaning it is hypothetical and philosophical. In practical terms it is the power o God to vivify (make more alive) and enhance the human nature. God's power to enhance human nature can be seen in many areas of life. Now of course the atheist would be right in arguing "prove that this is the power of God." That connection is provided in my argument about the co-determinate. These kinds of effects that emerge form religious experience are the co-determinate.

Empirical evidence of the supernatural is not big amazing miracles like the parting of the red sea. We don't have to prove ghosts and esp and amazing violations of the laws of physics because that's not what the supernatural is.

Dr. Jorge W.F. Amaro, Ph.D., Head psychology dept. Sao Paulo


"A non spiritualized person is a sick person, even if she doesn't show any symptom described by traditional medicine. The supernatural and the sacredness result from an elaboration on the function of omnipotence by the mind and can be found both in atheist and religious people. It is an existential function in humankind and the uses each one makes of it will be the measure for one's understanding."

What Amaro is saying above is that the way the human uses archetypes and the concept of the supernatural is normal and to not understand that use is pathological. He's not speaking of an actual divine intervention, but the psychosocial understanding of archetypal symbols.

Sketched out below are eight areas where I feel scientific evidence of the Supernatural might be had. The most "wavy gravy" topic among them is ESP, but some might be surprised to see the absence of Ghosts and other paranormal phenomena. In my view the Supernatural is not about those things. Supernatural is a philosophy, an ontological understanding of the structure of reality, not some invisible realm of ghosts and unexplained phenomena. Be that as it may, these areas sketched out below indicate some aspects of Supernature which are found affecting areas of normal life, and thus they may yield indications or "rational warrants" for a Supernatural belief. NOTE: I am not making the argument that these are "proofs" Of God's existence. Some skeptics have met this page with the assumption that I'm saying "because these things can't be explained this proves God." This is very far away from what I"m saying. I am saying that these things are indicative of what I call Supernature. They don't prove that Supernature is of God, but they offer a rational reason to believe.

the logic is that of the "co-determinate."

Peak experience is validated through a variety of data. It is proven to be a true consciousness change. Moreover, it has powerful and positive affects which last a life time. Since it is an experience of "something" (transcendence at least if not of "God") we must conclude that there is a real external cause at work producing the experience. Religious experience is experience of something, something we usually call "God," thus it is logical to conclude that there really is a God to be experienced. At this stage we cannot argue that this is the God of the Bible, but that will be established on other pages. Religious experience is not merely a change in feeling or a veg indefinable sense of niceness set off by beautiful clouds or something of that nature, if that were the case it could not be life changing. That is is subjective is obvious, but that is merely subjective is belied by the fact that is and has been shared my millions of people (in fact on some level by the vast majority of people) throughout human history.

This notion applies to the feeling of utter dependence, but it can work also with mystical experiences. In this argument I'll focus just on mystical experience. The argument says:

*There are real affects from Mystical experince.

*These affects cannot be reduced to naturalistic cause and affect, bogus mental states or epiphenomena.

* Since the affects of Mystical consciousness are independent of other explanations we should assume that they are genuine.

*Since mystical experince is usually experince of something, the Holy, the sacred some sort of greater transcendent reality we should assume that the object is real since the affects or real, or that the affects are the result of some real higher reality.

* The true measure of the reality of the co-determinate is the transfomrative power of the affects.

This last point of course will be hotly disputed, but the reasoning is well documented and based upon the previous two arguments. Since we have seen that religious experience is highly efficacious in terms of its transformative effects, that it is nomrative and that it represents a dimension to human being that empirical reductionism reifies and misses, we should assume that the extent to which religious experince is transformational is a measure of its efficacy. To put it simply, it works, it changes lives, why shouldn't we assume that it is the affect of something real?

for complete understanding, see my essay on "The Religious a priori"

(1) God Pod

Scientists have identified a cluster of neurons in the brian which, when stimulated, produce feelings of extacy and thoughts about God and the transcendent. This is too great a coincidence that nature would just produce this by random chance, especially when taken together with all the other ways in which we are fit to be religious. It's an evidence of design, we are made to be a religious species. NATION © 1997 The Seattle Times Company Wednesday, Oct. 29, 1997 Brain region may be linked to religion, Robert Lee Hotz
Los Angeles Times

Quote: "It is not clear why such dedicated neural machinery . . . for religion may have evolved," the team reported yesterday at a meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in New Orleans. One possibility, the scientists said, was to encourage tribe loyalty or reinforce kinship ties or the stability of a closely knit clan.

The scientists emphasized that their findings in no way suggest that religion is simply a matter of brain chemistry. "These studies do not in any way negate the validity of religious experience or God," the team said. "They merely provide an explanation in terms of brain regions that may be involved." Until recently, most neuroscientists confined their inquiries to research aimed at alleviating the medical problems that affect the brain's health, and to attempts to fathom its fundamental neural mechanisms. Emboldened by their growing understanding of how the brain works, however, scientists are now investigating the relationship between the brain, human consciousness and a range of intangible mental experiences.

Craig Kinsely, an expert in psychology and neuroscience at the University of Richmond in Virginia, called the new study "intriguing." "People have been tickling around the edges of consciousness, and this sort of research plunges in," Kinsely said. "There is the quandary of whether the mind created God or God created the mind. This is going to shake people up, but (any conclusion) is very premature."

God Pod = Evolutionary Instinct

God Module" found in human brains. Sunday Times, 11/02/97 by Steve Connor Science Correspondent


SCIENTISTS believe they have discovered a "God module" in the brain which could be responsible for man's evolutionary instinct to believe in religion. A study of epileptics who are known to have profoundly spiritual experiences has located a circuit of nerves in the front of the brain which appears to become electrically active when they think about God.

The scientists said that although the research and its conclusions are preliminary, initial results suggest that the phenomenon of religious belief is "hard-wired" into the brain.

Epileptic patients who suffer from seizures of the brain's frontal lobe said they frequently experience intense mystical episodes and often become obsessed with religious spirituality.

Reaction only to God New Scientist Planet Science [Archive: 8 November1997] Touched by the word of God Alison Motluk


a specific part of the brain handles religious experience, claim scientists in California.

People with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) often become obsessively religious. It could be because seizures strengthen neural connections between the inferior temporal cortex and the amygdala, the emotional arbiter of the brain, so that everything takes on special meaning. Alternatively, seizures might alter neural circuits that deal with religious experience.

To test these ideas, Vilayanur Ramachandran and his colleagues from the University of California at San Diego studied people with TLE, highly religious volunteers and people whose religious status was unknown. They showed them 40 words including neutral ones, such as "wheel", sexual and violent words, and religious words. As they read, the team measured the conductance of skin on their left hands--a gauge for arousal and an indirect measure of the amount of communication between the inferior temporal lobe and the amygdala. Only sexual words gave the apparently non-religious subjects sweaty palms. Sexual and religious words excited religious controls. But the TLE patients were disproportionately aroused by religious words, says Ramachandran. "The surprise was that there's selective enhancement to some categories and not others." He speculates that the seat of religious experience is in the temporal lobe.

Newberg Proposes God as Answer

from Newberg's webstie

visied 4/17/05

The answer, proposes Dr. Andrew Newberg, may be found in the very nature of our minds, in the neurological architecture of our brains. Our brains may, in fact, be naturally calibrated to spirituality. While acknowledging that neuroscience cannot unravel the puzzle that perpetually entrances the human psyche—did God create our minds or did our minds create God?—Dr. Newberg does maintain that neuroscience can elucidate the nature of mystical experiences, their importance in human evolution, and why the abiding need for a concept of God is imperative for the survival of the human species.

Andrew Newberg, MD, is Director of Clinical Nuclear Medicine, Director of NeuroPET Research, and Assistant Professor in the Department of Radiology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Upon graduating from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 1993, Dr. Newberg trained in Internal Medicine at the Graduate Hospital in Philadelphia—serving as Chief Resident in his final year—and subsequently completed a Fellowship in Nuclear Medicine in the Division of Nuclear Medicine, Department of Radiology, at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Board-certified in Internal Medicine, Nuclear Medicine, and Nuclear Cardiology.

Dr. Newberg has presented his research at national and international scientific and religious meetings; his numerous published articles and chapters cover the topics of brain function, brain imaging, and the study of religious and mystical experiences. In addition to the extensive press he has received, he has appeared on ABCÂ’s World News Tonight and is co-author, along with Eugene G. dÂ’Aquili, MD, of the book The Mystical Mind: Probing the Biology of Belief (Fortress Press).

Materialist Attempt at Explanation

God Module" found in human brains. Sunday Times, 11/02/97 by Steve Connor Science Correspondent

Evolutionary scientists have suggested that belief in God, which is a common trait found in human societies around the world and throughout history, may be built into the brain's complex electrical circuitry as a Darwinian adaptation to encourage co-operation between individuals.

The problem here is why not just attach the "good vibes" to feelings of organization and cooperation, why associate it with "religion" which requires a much more complex conceptual framework? If the "God Pod" was just the amalgam of cooperative feelings it looks like simpelr cooperative feelings would trigger the effect, and it doesn't.

Moreover, this in a sense assumes that the brain has understanding of the concept of cooperation, and that it knows that religion requires a higher level of social structure and cooperation.

(2) Maslow's Data on Arch Types

Overview on Maslow:

BACKGROUND: Maslow studied with or was heavily influenced by Alfred Adler, Max Wertheimer, Harry Harlow, Erich Fromm, and anthologist Ruth Benedict.

HUMANISTIC OR "THIRD FORCE" PSYCHOLOGY stresses what is positive and hopeful in us. It was in part a reaction against the behaviorists' mechanistic, deterministic emphasis, and the gloomy, destructive character of psychoanalysis with its emphasis on the dark and destructive sides of human nature.

MASLOW'S PSYCHOLOGY: He wanted to develop a psychology that would deal with the best and highest potentials in human nature. He emphasized belongingness, love, affection respect for others, and building self-respect, noting that "all of these are largely outside the money economy altogether; they can be given to the poorest family."

POTENTIAL PRESENT IN ALL AT BIRTH: Stressed that despite unfortunate early experiences, we can change, grow, and become healthy. The potential for psychological growth and health is present in every person at birth.

INNER NATURE. We have an essentially biologically based inner nature that is intrinsic, unchanging, and uniques. It is not evil but rather neutral or good and therefore it is best to bring it out and encourage it. Suppressing it can lead to psychological or physical sickness. It is forever pressing fora actualization but is delicate and easily suppressed by cultural pressure and habit. If it is permitted to guide our life we grow healthy, fruitful, & happy. (Dare I call it "The Force" within us?)

HIERARCHY OF NEEDS. We each have a hierarchy of needs that ranges from "lower" to "higher." As lower needs are fulfilled there is a tendency for other, higher needs to emergy. Maslow's theory states that people tend to fulfill needs in an order of survival, safety, love and belongingness, esteem, self-actualization, and finally spiritual or transcendence needs.

EMERGENCE AND PRESENCE OF NEEDS. As in the Gestalt concept of figure-ground, just one need emerge into the foreground at a given time. Which one deends on which othe have been satisfied.


Physiological: food, water, air, sleep, sex. Safety: Security, stability, protection, order, freedom from fear and anxiety. Maslow thought we all need some degree of routine and predictability. For healthy persons, safety needs are not overwhelming or compulsive. If a person does not feel safe, growth becomes a secondary factory as safety needs dominate.

Belongingness and love needs. Intimate, caring relationships; affiliation with a group. Esteem needs: Esteem from others, he thinks, precedes self-esteem.It's hard to think well of ourselves unless we believe that others think well of us. Need for self-actualization: The Army slogan "Be all you can be" borrowed from Maslow's view. The full use of all our qualities and capacities, the full development of our abilities.

Needs to know and understand. Appeared in Maslow's later writings. (Perhaps related to having studied under Harry Harlow, for whom curiosity and the exploratory motive was a central interest.)

Maslow's point about Archetypes barrows form Jung.

Jung's Theory of Archetypes

Clayton E Tucker-Ladd
Metal Health Net 2000
"Understanding parts of our

As you read more about personality theories, you will find other notions that give you insight into your self. For instance, Jung had a creative mind and besides describing the personality types above, suggested there are several parts of our personality beyond the id, ego, and superego. He believed that humans are innately prone to act certain ways and have certain beliefs, e.g. young children and animals are seen as "cute," almost every culture has created the notion of God and an after life, all societies have heroes and heroines, spiritual-mystical powers are thought to influence the weather, crops, health, etc., and the same children's stories are heard in all parts of the world (see Joseph Campbell's The Power of Myth). These universal beliefs or themes were called archetypes by Jung. Instincts and archetypes make up our "collective unconscious," which is this tendency for all of us to view the world in common (not necessarily accurate) ways.

In Jungian theory, there is a part of our personality called the persona which includes the masks we wear when relating to others--it isn't our real self. In contrast to the publicly acceptable masks (Jung looked for opposites), there is the shadow which, much like the Enneagram, is our dark and evil side--our sexual, greedy, aggressive, and power-hungry needs which are difficult to control. If a normally well controlled person suddenly had an angry outburst, the Jungian might assume it is the work of the devilish shadow. Yet, the shadow is always there; it compliments the conscious ego; a wise person will understand, accept, and consider (but not give in to) the shadow's needs.

Maslow Makes use of Jung's concept

Religions, Values, and Peak-Experiences, Abraham H. Maslow
Appendix I. "An Example of B-Analysis."

Maslow points out that the same universal symbols emerge in all people across culture. He confirms this connection emerges with the use of all psychoanalytical techniques.

"Now that may be taken as a frank admission of a naturalistic psychological origin, except that it involves a universal symbology which is not explicable through merely naturalistic means. How is it that all humans come to hold these same archetypal symbols? (For more on archetypes see Jesus Christ and Mythology page II) The "primitives" viewed and understood a sense of transformation which gave them an integration into the universe. This is crucial for human development. They sensed a power in the numinous, that is the origin of religion."

"In Appendix I and elsewhere in this essay, I have spoken of unitive perception, i.e., fusion of the B-realm with the D-realm, fusion of the eternal with the temporal, the sacred with the profane, etc. Someone has called this "the measureless gap between the poetic perception of reality and prosaic, unreal commonsense." Anyone who cannot perceive the sacred, the eternal, the symbolic, is simply blind to an aspect of reality, as I think I have amply demonstrated elsewhere (54), and in Appendix I."

Studies backs Jungs theory as valid

Philip Penny

A brief look at whether the Collective Unconscious is a figment of JungÂ’s imagination, and whether it has any successful role to play in modern Psychotherapy.

Copyright © Philip Penny

This is all very well of course, but it simply serves to prove further that there is little to justify the notion that the theory of the Collective Unconscious is an invalid one. There is much to support the notion that there are Archetypes, or inherited characteristics of human nature, and true to say that models of human psychological process based on this assumption may prove invaluable in a therapy situation. The question of whether this theory is an aspect of JungÂ’s imagination is a philosophical one and as stated previously it is beyond the scope of this literature to explore this adequately. The conclusion of the question therefore is left up to the reader as to conclude further may well simply result in stating a figment of my own imagination.

Maslow was an atheist. His view was closer to that of Buddhism and he leaned that way. But he is unique among atheists because he subscribed to what is called the perennial philosophy which is basically a way of saying mystical experince is where its at. He was one of the social science greats of the twentieth century. Here is a website where most of his book on "Peak Experience" is housed on the web.

Maslow's Peach Experience

(3) BB cosmology = realm beyond nature
*BB = no physical cause.


Even though I don't subscribe to the simplistic view that the SN is just a physical location beyond the realm of nature (another physical location) I think the fact that there may be a physical realm beyond our known realm of space/time (nature) is a good indication that there probably is more to the universe than we know, and we should not be arrogant enough to assume "there is no supernatural because we have no evidence of it."

John Barrow, professor of astronomy at the University of Sussex in England, states that the traditional Big Bang picture, with its initial singularity of infinite density "is, strictly speaking, . . . creation out of absolutely nothing."[ John Barrow, The Origin of the Universe (New York: Basic Books, 1994), p. 113.]

In a recent article by Tom Ulsman, he cites Cambridge University Professor Neil Turok who says:

"The problem we have is that every particle in the universe originated in the singularity . . . That's unacceptable because there are no laws of physics that tell you how they came out of it" ("Give Peas a Chance,"Astronomy Magazine, September 1999, p. 38).

*There can be no physical cause in the standard model;The Singularity is beyond space/time.

Quentin Smith, a philosopher of science at the University of Western Michigan, says in Theism, Atheism and Big Bang Cosmology (1993):
"It belongs analytically to the concept of the cosmological singularity that it is not the effect of prior physical events. The definition of a singularity entails that it is impossible to extend the space-time manifold beyond the singularity. This effectively rules out the idea that the singularity is the effect of some prior natural process."

That in itself proves a realm of some sort, beyond the "natural." Now it doesn't prove the classical conception of heaven, of course. That realm ["beyond the BB] could be merely mathematical, or it could be another sort of "physical realm." But the "physicality" of it doesn't matter, we conceive of the "natural realm" as our four coordinate system of space/time. That something can be beyond that is a priori an indication that the "material realm" such as we know it, is not all there is to reality.

(4) Downward Causality in
brain/mind research


Rosenberg (Ibid.)

"Take the matter of 'downward causation' to which Harman gives some attention. Why should this be an issue in brain dynamics? As Erich Harth points out in Chapter 44, connections between higher and lower centers of the brain are reciprocal. They go both ways, up and down. The evidence (the scientific evidence) for downward causation was established decades ago by the celebrated Spanish histologist Ramon y Cajal, yet the discussion goes on. Why? The answer seems clear: If brains work like machines, they are easier to understand. The facts be damned!"[Miller quoting Rosenberg, Journal of Consciousness Studies, op. cit.]

see evidence

(5) Religious (Mystical) Experince

This is indicative of Supernatural because Supernature is divine nature which draws human nature unto itself and vivifys it and renovates it infusing us with power to live Godly lives. The content of these experiences is religious, and the outcome fits the nature of Religion's transformational task. Thus, it is rationally warranted to understand such experiences as possible examples of the supernatural.This is examined in greater detail both in the pages linked above, and in the following pages.


(6) Empirical Miracles

The Miracles: A Medical Doctor Says 'Yes' H. Richard Casdroph. Logos Books Int. 1976. Scientific documentation of miracles is hard to get because doctors and technicians are afraid. But it does exist.In fact it is gathered all the time. See the book (above) Before and After X-ray photographs of healing. X-Rays are empirical scientific evidence, doesn't have to be a "study." X-ray evidence is direct scientific proof of healing and Casdroph offers such evidence form his own practice. Placebo effect could not repair a broken leg immediately.

Read all my miracles pages

there are eight pages, I hope you read them all. But here are the two major pages for evidence:


Protestant miracles: Casdroph

(7) Near Death Experience

See the Argument on NDE.

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Anonymous said...

I've always thought NDEs would be the best evidence or basis for argument. It takes the argument to the materialists' home ground. There is so much unknown here, and to see the automatic reversion to materialist explanations that are so much hand-waving reveals so much ideology and so little true understanding of science...


Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

that's a good one. I think there's vast untapped potential in many of these. the Maslow/Jung archetype thing has a lot of potential.