Monday, April 27, 2020

Mind Transcends Brain

Transcending Our Brain Created Reality: A New Call to Lift ...

My version of the cosmological argument steers is way around the need to defend direct causality of the universe with the idea that all existing things that we observe have ontologically prior conditions. For example, the universe itself stems from a confluence of space, time, gravitational field, energy. All of this is has an ontologically prior condition in the singularity. I say “ontologically prior” because there is no time beyond event horizon, thus there is no “before” before the big bang. But ontologically prior doesn’t mean that came “before” chronologically. Time begins in the very same increment of nano second with the things that are contingent upon, but they are no less contingent. Take the example of the eternal flute player. As long as the player plays eternally the music is eternal. But if the player were to stop the music would cease. Thus the music is both eternal and contingent. This illustrates the idea that a contingency can be contingent upon a necessity that that does not come before it in time, but the necessity is ontologically prior.

I advance the argument that we have no examples of anything that is not contingent upon an ontologically prior condition. Everything we see in this life. From swizzle sticks to pigs, form dirt to salad cream, from dollars to donuts is contingent. Thus it is the power of inductive reasoning that forces us to accept the concept of a contingent universe, We have no examples, not one, of anything to the contrary. One must fly in the face of all experience of all humans in all of life to argue that we don’t need to assume any sort of ontological priority for naturalistic phenomena. Atheists have, however, turned the tables. They advance the argument that we never observe any form of mind or consciousness apart from brain. Thus, by the same force of inductive evidence that forces us to assume ontologically prior conditions to the universe, we should also assume that minds do not occur without brains. This would mean that God must be the product of a biology, or here cannot be a God possessed of consciousness, will, or volition.

While this seems like a reasonable “turn about is fair play” sort of argument on the surface, rendering Theistic objects as special pleading, it is actually a black-is-white-slide argument on the part of the atheist. This is so because the two cases are really not analogous even though they appear to be at first glance. First, there is nothing to compare to God We can say “we never see anything that is not contingent upon something else in this life, but we cannot say “we never see anything else that is like God, because we never see God, nor can we expect anything to be like God. God is not only unique, but God is beyond any scale of understanding we could produce. There is nothing we can compare to God. Thus, it is not a fair statement “we never see anything like God.” Of course we don’t, God is off scale. That may sound like special pleading but to say otherwise is merely a category mistake. One is trying to hold the absolute necessity the standards of all contingent being. The atheist is merely denying the fact that the two cases, God and naturalistic phenomena are totally different things, they are in different logically categories and one cannot be held in comparison to the to the other.

Moreover, the ontological priority of naturalistic necessities is much more fundamental in our field of experience than is consciousness. While it is true that everything we see in this life, every single physical object and everything we know about, anything and every thing that can be observed or quantified or even theorized based upon its effects upon other physical phenomena, is contingent, we do not know if it is true that minds are only found in connection with brains. That is begging the question, because the argument is made that consciousness is not merely the product of brain chemistry but is actually a basic property of nature, and is produced by the level of complexity in a system. Thus the atheist is imposing functionalistic assumptions based upon a materialist ideology, rather than appealing to any sort of actual observation we really make in the world. We do not know if we only observe consciousness as a product of brain chemistry because if it is a property of nature then we may be seeing it at work in everything. There is a school of thought that says nature is “ground up.” If that is the case it means that rocks and trees have a certain level of consciousness, presumably very low for rocks, because consciousness is a basic property. If this view is true, consciousness is like the electromagnetic spectrum; its in everything, you can’t see it, you can’t compare it to anything. The EM spectrum includes a lot of aspect that we cannot observe directly. Radio waves, microwaves, ultra violet, infa red and others are also aspects of the EM spectrum. So there may be more to consciousness than just brains. I am not suggesting that trees have feelings and are capable of conversation, but if consciousness is a basic property then there’s got to be a lot more to it than we know. To just say no it’s only caused by brain chemistry and is only found in biological organisms is foolish. God is not a biological organism and thus there is no reason to exact that God would conform to the same principles. The real difference in the two cases, is that the prior condition argument and the consciousness argument is that prior conditions are something we can observe and understanding as necessary for the emergence of all physical phenomena, while we do not know the answer to the assumption being made about consciousness and presume we do is merely begging the question.

On the other hand,

there is evidence that mind can appear apart from brain.While this can’t be proven, there are some good indications.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

By their Politics you shall know them

No, We Don't Care If President Obama Goes to Church

Someone put a link on this blog giving this URL:

This is really not worth wasting my time on, someone who has not thought deeply about any issue asserts that Obana can;t be a true Christian because he does not see things like he, the narrow minded funedy, sees them. The missive is posted by  I am assuming that's our boy.

He opens by asserting: "We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. " He has the audacity to quote Paul: "I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service. 1 Timothy 1:12" So apparently our boy thinks he a great apostle.

We know we are in trouble when this guy does not have the sense to distinguish between the public life of a politician and the private faith of an individual man. He asserts there is nothing to Obama (one of the most brilliant and complex  men ever to hold the office) because he doesn't like his politics.  Chatfield  confuses the Gospel with his political opinions. The link is to  part two so I'll deal with that, part one is probably not worth my time.

Up front the piece questions  Obama's faith.Chatfield sees himself as a great apostle who has the right, Nay the calling (!) to question other people's faith,

Is Barack Obama a Christian as He Claims? Part 2 ("as he claims" so of course not it's only a false claim)

In this part I am going to examine parts of the transcript of a 2004 interview of Barack Obama by Cathleen Falsani. My responses will be in maroon.

During the interview, Obama was asked what he believed in regards to religion.  He stated: 
 I am a Christian.  So, I have a deep faith. So, I draw from the Christian faith.  On the other hand, I was born in Hawaii where obviously there are a lot of Eastern influences.   I lived in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world, between the ages of six and 10.  My father was from Kenya, and although he was probably most accurately labeled an agnostic, his father was Muslim.  And I’d say, probably, intellectually I’ve drawn as much from Judaism as any other faith.  So, I’m rooted in the Christian tradition. 
How can he be “rooted in the Christian tradition” when this statement says nothing about Christianity, rather it mentions “Eastern” religions, Islam, agnosticism, and Judaism?
Annoyingly simplistic, This former POTUS wants to talk about things other than theology how can he be a Christian? We all know Christians can only say theological things. Where is that verse? Where did Paul the Tent maker say that? Where did the Carpenter from Galilee say that? I assume Jesus would meet our standards?

Now  Chatfield; speaks ex cathedra about what being a Christian means:

So is Barack Obama a Christian as defined by the Bible?  By what we have seen of the beliefs taught by his church (both denomination and local), and by his own publicly stated political beliefs and actions (pro-abortion, pro-same-sex fake marriage, pro-homosexuality in general, pro-“transgender,” pro-sexual immorality in general, pro-Muslim and anti-Christian statements and actions, pro-socialism [theft], etc), one could not conclude that he believes in the God or Christ of the Bible.  Additionally, from this interview, it is very plain that he has virtually no understanding of the Christian faith, let alone an understanding of what sin is.

Ironic he begins by appealing to the scripture as bearing the definition of the faith yet his assessment never deals with scripture but with his political assertions. What scripture really says gays should not have civil rights? He needs more precision in what he calls "same sex  marriage." When he rattles off his list "pro-abortion, pro-same-sex fake marriage," ect ect he is not talking about Obama's compositors on these issues he's rattling off a list of hot button topics with no regard to the President's position. Chatfield has made the assumption that the only kind of Christianity is his kind and that only people who agree with him on everything are saved.

He asserts that because Obama's list of strictures don't match his on he can;t save: "one could not conclude that he believes in the God or Christ of the Bible." we can;t even  believe  in God because he wont assert gays are evil should not have civil rights. Because Obama is not even talking about heaven and hell he's talking about pace in society. Presumably Chatfiled would not  even allow gays to exist in his christian world. How do you make people stop existing?  Remember he did not list positions dealing with  those issues he listed the basic names of the topics so it;s all doped out, nothing to think about, Agree with me or go to hell and we will send you there,

Remember, if all you do is talk about where gays get to be in society then you have to deal with specific policies and that;s all Obama is doing. He's not writing a theological dissertation. It would ot hurt Chatfield to read one,

The really funny part is where he sums up his purpose: "Okay, what is the purpose of this exercise of examining Barack Obama’s claims to be a Christian?  Discernment! " ! what a truck load of discernment he's given us so far, Judge superficially. base everything on snap answers that don't even probe the surface, let politics be your guide, judge people superficially.  O wow true discernment!

In part I he quotes Obama:

We work with — not against — people of other faiths.  Why? Because God is still speaking.

His analysis:

I’d like to know where they find in Scripture that we are to work with people who are worshipping idols and other gods.  And I’d like to know where they are hearing from God outside of Scripture; in what way is God still speaking?
This guy strikes me as someone who has been in the faith a year or so.  We live in society with other people. We have to work with them, Where does the Bbile say we must not work with others? Let me ask Chattie some questions? Do you ride in a car? Do you wear clothes made from  two or more fibers woven together? Do you use razor blades? Do you use electric lights? Please show me the scriptural justification for these?

We live in a modern constitutional democracy. Paul lived in in a monarchy of pagan  religion. God never told Paul to overthrow that society why would he tell us to overthrow ours? The New Testament  never assumes a  Christian dictatorship. When Paul says (Rom.2:22)"You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery?  You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?" he was saying even though we don't hold to their faith we must respect them. That means in modern concepts we have to work in modern secular society and respect other faiths and non Christians.

The essence of being a Christian is trusting Jesus for one's salvation. We are not given the authority to judge the depth of the sincerity of others. To base that judgement upon political positions then pretend its based upon  their faith is arrogance pride and false Judging.

The Bible says we know a false prophet or a false believer by his fruit not by his politics.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Excerpt from a work in progress: Christianity and The Death of Civilization

Mass protests were held in the United States with the requirements ...

Actor Patton Oswalt mocks coronavirus shutdown protesters | Daily ...


Chapter 1: Is Civilization in Decline?

Everyone thinks civilization is finished. We can find people from all walks of life saying so. We have right wing extremists and racists saying this: Iowa congressman Steve King is a case in point. He has been quoted as saying “Christians have contributed more to Western civilization than any other 'subgroup.' He also said that Muslim children are preventing 'our civilization' from being restored. He was actually endorsing far right candidates in Dutch politics.[1] The themes are always Christianity built civilization, civilization is now waning, we can't restore the former glory without our politics. (insert one's group). One wonders how much any of them really know about civilization. Yet, the topic was not always the Provence of crack pots and racists.[2] Not long after the second world war philosopher Emil Brunner delivered the prestigious Gifford lectures saying: “...if by the mercy of God we are to have some further breathing space, if He does grant us another chance to build up a new European civilization on the ruins of the old, facing all the time the possibility of an imminent end to all civilized life on this globe, Christianity has a tremendous responsibility.”[3] The Urgency Reflected in the above quotation strikes a familiar chord in our day although the reasons for it were somewhat different. The world had just come through the second world war and seemed poised for a cold war with former allies the Soviets. The Atomic bomb was just beginning to be understood and feared, and the revelations of Auschwitz and Nuremberg shocked everyone's sense with the realization of how easily the boundaries of civilized behavior could be transgressed. We can relate to all of those concerns today, although not to the same degree (we have greater reason to fear nuclear weapons---knowing more about what they can do). Our age has it's own moral outrages and autocrats to be resisted; hopefully not on the same scale. We find rational Catholic historians echoing tame versions of the idea that Christianity was decisive for Western civilization:
... Dawson argued that every civilization relies on those who most fully represent its ideals and shape the culture through their actions. Dawson maintained that “history is at once aristocratic and revolutionary. It allows the whole world situation to be suddenly transformed by the action of a single individual.” It is this dynamic historical process that is fatal to a secular understanding of religious approaches to history....To the Christian, this understanding of historical development permits interpretation of past events in the light of divine will and spiritual forces that may be unknown even to the actors themselves. [4]
If Christianity contributed to the building of Western civilization in a significant way, why is it not saving western civilization from decline? This is the question this work attempts to answer.
What is this “civilization” that we are worried about? Oddly enough no one can say. In the great classic PBS documentary, Civilization, the Skin of Our Teeth, part 1, Kenneth Clark said “what is civilization? I don't know I can't define it in abstract terms, but I think I can recognize it when I see it and I'm looking at it now,” as he stared at the back of Notre Dame cathedral in Paris.[5] He spoke of comfort, order, creativity. For the purposes of this chapter I will assume loose broad terms for the definition: Civilization involves society but it is more than society it deals with the highest level of accomplishment. In the next chapter I will go into much greater detail in an attempt to define civilization. The essay is mainly concerned with Western civilization but I will explore the general concept of civilization itself.
When conservatives, especially right wingers talk about the decline of civilization they tend to focus on things that depart from the maze ways that make them feel at home. The strange, the new, things that make them feel uncomfortable. These represent decline for the right. But when liberals or leftists talk about decline they tend to to reference climate change or other devastating issues that will kill on a mass scale. Or the decline of the educational system, but that can be linked to the inability to solve these panoramic problems
Relampago Furioso writes an article for the blog Return of Kings (a masculine supremely publication):

There is a lot of discussion these days about America and the other nations comprising Western Civilization being in decline, and there is certainly a lot of evidence to support this claim. Whether it be dying populations among the Caucasian races that created the civilization, unchecked immigration rapidly replacing native populations in Europe and the United States, evidence that America is currently and has been behaving as an imperialistic empire but is now slowly losing its power around the world, a culture that seems to completely disregard the importance of family, the building block of civilization, or a loss of religiousness and sense of purpose, signs that something is wrong are everywhere.[6]

Apparently he seems to include The United States as losing it's native population to “unchecked Immigration,” they are only about 300 years too late on that one. White people are not America's native population. They laud Oswald Spengler as prophet of decline, we will hear more about him in the next chapter. The Imaginative Conservative, in discussing “the decline of Western civilization in 10 pictures, Stephan M. Klugewicz speaks of “a storm that may well wash away what we most treasure of our inherited ways.”[7] Their 10 pictures of decline are even more telling. None of the pictures depict real human suffering. All of them are either about examples of bad taste or modern art, the rowdies that attend sporting events or the fact that Catholic Clergy actually allowed Obama in a church. The most we can conclude is that Klugewicz needs an art appreciation class. On a much more serious note Indian engineer Shivaji Lokam argues that liberalism is responsible for the fall of Western civilization from within.[8] Not exactly original.
The decline of Western civilization is not merely the hobby horse of the right as now dire warnings emanate from all sides of the spectrum. The sandwich boards have mostly gone and the world is still here, but the gloomy predictions keep coming, and not all of them are based on creative interpretations of religious texts. Scientists, historians and politicians alike have begun to warn that Western culture is reaching a critical juncture. Cycles of inequality and resource use are heading for a tipping point that in many past civilizations precipitated political unrest, war and finally collapse.”[9]Peter Turchin an evolutionary Anthropologist at the university of Connecticut began to apply equations used for prey animals to civilization boom and bust cycles. “In the late 1990s, he began to apply these equations to historical data, looking for patterns that link social factors such as wealth and health inequality to political instability. Sure enough, in past civilizations in Ancient Egypt, China and Russia, he spotted two recurring cycles that are linked to regular era defining periods of unrest.[10]

One, a “secular cycle”, lasts two or three centuries. It starts with a fairly equal society, then, as the population grows, the supply of labor begins to outstrip demand and so becomes cheap. Wealthy elites form, while the living standards of the workers fall. As the society becomes more unequal, the cycle enters a more destructive phase, in which the misery of the lowest strata and infighting between elites contribute to social turbulence and, eventually, collapse. Then there is a second, shorter cycle, lasting 50 years and made up of two generations – one peaceful and one turbulent. [11]
Turchin finds peaks of unrest in 1870, 1920 and 1970. In 2010 this led him to predict that the peak would come in the 2020's. He made the prediction before Trump obtained the white house, leading Spinney to point out that the inequality and animosity of the Trump era make the prediction seem all the more acute.
Robert Skidelsky tells us Though prophecy is delusive, an agreed point of departure should be falling expectations. As Ipsos Mori’s Social Research Institute reports: 'The assumption of an automatically better future for the next generation is gone in much of the west.'[12] Ipsos Mori connected a survey across 20 countries showing the pessemistic mood of people in the west “more think it will be worse than better (42% versus 34%) – but this hides wide variation, and a split between Western/developed countries on the one hand and developing/Eastern countries on the other..In Britain, just 20% think the today’s youth will have a better life than their parents – over half (54%) think it will be France seven in ten people think young people will have a worse future…. People are also very negative in countries like Belgium, Spain, the US and Britain. [13]
Journalist Chris Hedges has written book , America: The Farwell Tour, (August 2018), in which he argues that the structure of our society is unraveling and is being merged into a privatized corporate empire.[14] Hedges traes the history of one example of decline in the demise of what was once major corporation in Scranton Pennsylvania. He shows that the economic crissi of 2008 wiped out 40% of the cities investments. The city invested in Wall Street, Hedges tells us, pooled assets in subprime loans, mortgages, credit qd debt even when the banks new they were toxic, but the risk was deemed acceptable due to the high return, except when the bubble burst! As he puts it the risk had” an acceptable degree of credit worthiness, which of course evaporated with the bubble. Assets plummeted. He alludes to Marx's warning that capitalism has a built in boom and bust cycle, we are in a major bust. Unable to expand and continue to generate more and more profits, unable to seek out new markets, end game capitalism will consume he strictures that sustained it. in the final stages it will prey on the working class and the poor, as Hedges shows is the casein Scranton.[15]
Paul Ehrlich, Of Population Bomb fame, is now warning “Collapse of Civilization is a Near Certainty within Decades” An article by that title cites in The Guardian.[16] He says a “shattering collapse” of civilization is “a near certainty” within the next few decades. He discusses three major factors that, taken together, render the outcome virtually certain; they are Population (the optimum is 2 billion for the planet we are several times over that), environmental degradation, and redistribution of wealth. unprecedented redistribution of wealth is needed to end the over-consumption of resources, but “the rich who now run the global system – that hold the annual ‘world destroyer’ meetings in Davos – are unlikely to let it happen [17]

It is the combination of high population and high consumption by the rich that is destroying the natural world, he says. Research published by Ehrlich and colleagues in 2017 concluded that this is driving a sixth mass extinction of biodiversity, upon which civilisation depends for clean air, water and food....He estimates an optimum global population size at roughly 1.5 to two billion, “But the longer humanity pursues business as usual, the smaller the sustainable society is likely to prove to be. We’re continuously harvesting the low-hanging fruit, for example by driving fisheries stocks to extinction.”Ehrlich is also concerned about chemical pollution, which has already reached the most remote corners of the globe. “The evidence we have is that toxics reduce the intelligence of children, and members of the first heavily influenced generation are now adults.”[18]
Ehrlich listed ecological devastation and he peaks of mass extinction. The United Nations has released a study involving hundreds of scientists showing that Earth is facing another mass extinction; one million species are threatened with extinction due to human activity. The study consists of a distillation of 15000 previous studies.[19]
Without “transformative changes” to the world’s economic, social and political systems to address this crisis, the IPBES panel projects that major biodiversity losses will continue to 2050 and beyond. “We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide,” says IPBES chair Robert Watson, an atmospheric  Agricultural activities are also some of the largest contributors to human emissions of greenhouse gases. They account for roughly 25% of total emissions due to the use of fertilizers and the conversion of areas such as tropical forests to grow crops or raise livestock such as cattle... The next biggest threats to nature are the exploitation of plants and animals through harvesting, logging, hunting and fishing; climate change; pollution and the spread of invasive species. The IPBES report finds that the average abundance of native plants, animals and insects has fallen in most major ecosystems  by at least 20% since 1900 because of invasive species.[20]
The report draws inextricable links between biodiversity loss and climate change...Earth could lose 16% of its species if the average global temperature rise exceeds 4.3 °C.[21] Ecology itself is not civilization but with such loses, the ability of nature to reproduce life impaired civilization would no doubt crumble. The report urges that we can reverse the process but “ doing so will require proactive environmental policies, the sustainable production of food and other resources and a concerted effort to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.”[22]


[1]Gre Toppo, “Rep Steve King Blasted for oir civilization Tweet,” USA Today (March 12 2017) on Line URL: (accessed July 3,2018).

[2]Matthew Haag, “Steve king Says Civilization Can't be restored with 'somebody else's Babies” The New York Times, (March 12,2017) online URL: (accessed July 3, 2018). King's endorsement of white nationalism is documented.

[3]Emil Brunner, Christianity and Civilization: First part: foundations.NY: 1948, Charles Scrkbner's Sons, 1948 Gifford Lectures, University of St. Andrews, 1947. prefce V.

[4] Christepher Dawson, quoted by Gerald J. Russello, “Christopher Dawson: Christ In History.” Crisis Magazine, (December 27,2011) Originaky sublished in April 1996 editiion. (accessed 3/12/19)

[5]Kenneth Clark, Civilization - The Skin of our Teeth (Part 1), tv documentary, BBC, 1969;Kenneth Clark, Civilization - The Skin of our Teeth (Part 1), viddeo You Tube, published by Karl Hungus, (Oct 30, 2016) .
(accessed 3/13/19)

[6]Relampago Furioso, “How a German Historian Predicted The Decline of Western civilization 100 years ago.” Return of Kings Blog, (Feb 11,2016) (accessed 3/14/19).
Return of Kings self description: Return Of Kings is a blog for heterosexual, masculine men. It’s meant for a small but vocal collection of men in America today who believe men should be masculine and women should be feminine.ROK aims to usher the return of the masculine man in a world where masculinity is being increasingly punished and shamed in favor of creating an androgynous and politically-correct society that allows women to assert superiority and control over men. Sadly, yesterday’s masculinity is today’s misogyny. The site intends to be a safe space on the web for those men who don’t agree with the direction that Western culture is headed. If you are new, check out our top 35 posts of all time.Women and homosexuals are strongly discouraged from commenting here.

[7] Stephan M. Klugewicz, “The Decline of Western Civilization in 10 Pictures.” The Imaginative Conservative. (Feb. 27,2018) (accessed 3/16/19)
[8]Shivaji Lokam, The Fall of Western Civilization: How Liberalism Is Destroying the West From Within. India: Entropy Works, 2018, 3.
[9] Laura Spinney, “End of Days: Is Western Civilization on The Brink of Collapse?” New Scientist, (Jan. 17,2018) 558, 3/14/19).
[12]Robert Skidelsky, “Is Western Civilization in Terminal Declime?” The Guardian, (Nov 17,2015) 3/30/19)
Robert Skidelsky is professor emeritus of political economy at Warwick University, a fellow of the British Academy in history and economics, and a member of the House of Lords
[13]Ipsos MORI, “People in Western Countries pessimistic about Future for young People,” Ipsos (April 14,2014) (accessed 3/30/19)
[14]Chris Hedges, America: The Farewell Tour, NewYork: Simmon nd Schuster, 2018, 7.
[15]Ibid,, 4.
[16]Paul Ehrlich, in Damian Carrington,“Collapse of Civilization is a Near Certainty within Decades,” The Guardian, (March 22,2018)
[19]Jeff Tollesfson, “Humans are Driving One million Species To extinction,” (May 6, 2019) Nature: International ournal of Science , 569,171, 5/8/19)