Saturday, November 13, 2021

Did God Command Slaughter of Women and Infants?

A reader asks: "Will you do an article on Numbers 31:17-18? Because many use that that God is a child killer and promotes rapes and underage marriages."

17 Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.

18 But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.(all quotes NIV unless otherwise noted).
Before going into specifics I must point out that my views on the OT are unconventional. I am not an inerrantist. Thus I do not feel duty bound to make all such verses right with the reader.I do not intend to try and prove that God makes killing infants ok. Here's a quick overview of my take on the OT:

The author of Hebrews tells us:
1:1 "In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe."
"Various ways" might well include mixtures of human and divine. This passage suggests to me that Jesus is the standard through which we should read the OT. This is backwards historically.It nakes more exigetical sence than does inerrency.

Ihe traditional inerantist view sees the Bible as a memo from the boss to be read to the entire company on the shop floor. In my view the OT is a record of divine/human encounter. Thus it is a mixture of both human and divine outlook. It is written by humans and thus is stained with their cultural outlook.The truth of God breaks through here and there but amid a sea of human perspective.

The purpose of the OT is to crate a framework in which the meaning of Messiah makes sense beyond it's ethnographic borders and in which the mission of Messiah makes sense.

Obviously if we take Jesus as the lens through which to read the OT we can't accept the notion that the God of love would order the killing of infants. we need not accept this as God's command.That was the scribes making assumptions based upon the barbarus culture of the day.

Turning to the specific passage there are a couple of points I would like to make.

First, some scholars think v18 "But all the women and children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves" carries the connotation that these young girls would be sex slaves for Israelite warriors. One could look at  it through Mary Poppins sunglasses and say they were to raise them as daughters and then marry them off as adults to repectable Israelite gentelemen, but the vast perpondrence of scholarship sees it as sex slave, at least in connotation.  Even the traditional believers embrace this view among its major scholars.[1]

Secondly, one might think the reason for killing the woman was to punish them for having sex.The real reason whch does not justify the act, is because these women lured men of Israel to worhip other Gods throgh their sexual favors.This caused a plague in Israel,thousands died.[2]

[1]"A detailed Historical Examination of numbers 31:18."Discover the Truth, Aug 7,2016.
[2]"What do Christans Think About Bible verses numbers 31:17-18." Quora., Jan 7/2030.

Saturday, November 06, 2021

Trump commanded DOJ to ignore election outcome 9 times

NPR:"Senate report details Trump's efforts to use DOJ to overturn election results"

An interim report from the Senate Judiciary Committee provides the most detailed look yet at former President Donald Trump's attempts to enlist the Justice Department in his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

The report from the panel's Democratic majority documents the chaotic final weeks of Trump's presidency following his loss to Joe Biden, and how Trump tried to force Justice Department officials to help him keep his grip on power.

Department leaders ultimately resisted Trump's pressure, but it took threats of mass resignations across the department to get him to back down.

A key moment that emerges in the report is a Jan. 3 meeting in the Oval Office between Trump and senior Justice Department leaders, including then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and his top deputy, Richard Donoghue.

Trump continues to lie, says 'real insurrection' happened when he lost election POLITICS. Trump continues to lie, says 'real insurrection' happened when he lost election Rosen told the committee that Trump opened the three-hour meeting by saying: "One thing we know is you, Rosen, aren't going to do anything to overturn the election."
He is essentually saying forget the will of the people, make me king. He wants to be dicktator. Hw is still in full controlof the repubs, Duch tight cobtrol the got no votes toremove him from office. A vote for the repubs is a vote for Trump.

Sunday, September 05, 2021

OT Genocide does not defeat Christianity

Randal Rauser is a Canadian Phillosopher who teaces at a University in Canada. He is a Christian apologist and he may be best known for his unique approach to Genoscide and related isssues in Old Testaemt. The "Counter Apoloogost" (CA) is an atheist who makes a attack on Plantinga's eposteopgy. He attacks Rauser at the points were he backs Plantinga.[1][2] In this essy I will deal only with one small point the CA makes agaist Rauser.

Rauser's approach is different because he does not suppoprt wipping out the pagans but instead finds fault with the OT.It is what he is best known for. I do not understand all of his moves so on this piont I will use my own approch athough I think the two are simiilar.

The logic to falsify the idea that even if there is a God, Yahweh - the Christian deity, cannot be God is straight forward:
1. God, if one exists, is all good.

2. An all good being cannot command an evil act

3. The bible’s description of Yahweh’s explicit actions are factually accurate (Christian assumption)

4. The bible shows Yahweh explicitly commanded killing infants on the basis of their race/nationality

5. Killing infants on the basis of their race/nationality is an evil act

6. Yahweh explicitly commanded an evil act.

7. Therefore, Yahweh is not all good

8. Therefore, Yahweh cannot be god[3]
Before turning to the major problem, there are a couple of things to say about the argument itself. First, p1-2 must be granted but no 3 is a problem:3. The bible’s description of Yahweh’s explicit actions are factually accurate (Christian assumption) That is notthe only Chritian assumption. It's the fimdamentalost assmptopm. It is a demonstraly false assumption. For example the unierse was not created in six days,there is not eidece of a world wide flood. We need not make that assmption.Atheist argumemts often depend upon Christoanity being represented by the fundies.

4. The bible shows Yahweh explicitly commanded killing infants on the basis of their race/nationality Those passages are not it. We are no more oblogated to believe God did that than we are six day creation.

5. Killing infants on the basis of their race/nationality is an evil act\\ Killimg infants for any reason is wrong. But the fact is God did not say kill them for their race but kill them for their socioetie's ills.

6. Yahweh explicitly commanded an evil act. If we assme the historocal validity of those passages. But we need not do so.

7. Therefore, Yahweh is not all good

Iff one acccepts those passages

8. Therefore, Yahweh cannot be god[3] Or we could just as easiy conclude that given p 1-2 God did not order those thigs.

He says of this argument:

This is a particularly powerful argument against Christianity in particular, and its power is compounded by the fact that some of the most popular apologists working today will defend the Canaanite genocide as a justifiable act by a loving god! William Lane Craig expressly states that it was morally obligatory for the Israelite soldiers to put broadswords into babies. Paul Copan wrote an entire book either minimizing or justifying the Old Testament atrocities and he got the various big names in conservative apologetics to endorse it! As an atheist looking to help move people away from Christianity, this is basically a gift.[4]
It is ashame that so many apologists try to defend thse pasages. But that has nothing to do with the truth of the argument. This is not a powerful argument becaseor only works with fnsanwentalists who feel hamstrung to accept te entire OT.

Nothing discredits a Christian apologist faster than having them present the moral argument for god’s existence and then in retort force them to become an apologist for slavery and genocide.[5]
I think that is true, however, we need not accept those passages. WE can't reject them on the bassis of our shame at the commads. That leaves it a moot point. There are reasos of textal criticim to assume that those passages are emendations.

Let's focus on I Sam 15.2f the injunction to slaughter the Amalekites. this contains the infant passage.The text of 1 Samuel is one of the most heavily redacted in the Bible. As we will see, it's very presence in the canon has been brought into question, but the version we have is probably a corrupted second rate copy, and the LXX is closer, and Q4Sama at Qumran closer still, to the actual original.[6]

"For the past two centuries textual critics have recognized that the Masoretic Text (MT) of 1&2 Samuel has much textual corruption. The Samuel MT is shorter than the LXX and 4QSama. The Samuel MT has improper word division, metathesis, and other orthographic problems. Certain phrases and clauses go against the Hebrew grammar rules. Parallel passages vary from each other" (See Charlesworth, 2000, pp.227-8).;'[7]
The scribes at Qumran believed first Sam was not even Canonical. for a ,ich ore imdpeth loo
Thus, it is evident that the canon in Sirach consisted of the Law and the Prophets. Daniel (9.2) cites Jeremiah (25.11 ff.) as "the word of the Lord to Jeremiah."

This tells us that the place of Samuel in the canon was by no means assured. Because the redactor didn't feel the former prophets were canonical, great libertties were taken. We also see differences between the Ms which form the parent of the LXX translation, and those of MT. What all of this amounts to is that 1 Samuel is a very corrupt text, and the likelyhood is quite high that the passage is redacted. This is even more certain when we consider that the infant passage itself has been redacted.[8]
The possibility presents itself that the genocide passages were emendations from the exile an attempt to build Isarel's sense of prode while in Bblyonian exile.

for more depth and detials see my essay[9].

Notes [1]The Counter Apologist, "Countering Christian apologetics arguments with logic, evidence, and reason." blog (June 21,2012)

[2]R,Rauser,"Biblical Violence and Epistemology: A Conversation with Counter Apologist"(Aug 28, 2021) " Rauswer's answers [3]Counter Apologist, op cit [4]Ibid [5]Ibid [6]Institute for Biblical & Scientific Studies "The Dead Sea Scrolls & the Text of the Old Testament," website updated 2021

[7]James H. Charlesworth "The Bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls: Volume One: The Hebrew Bible and Qumran edited".Institutte Bibilcal Scientific Studies: Bible Press, 2000.227-8

[8]Albert C. Sundberg, Jr Thomas J. Sienkewicz and James E. Betts "The Old Testament of the Early Church"published by Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois in 1997.

[9]Joseph Hinman 'The Amalekite Problem' D0xa 2000

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Superstition in Atheist Ideology

The word superstition is often used to refer to a religion not practiced by the majority of a given society regardless of whether the prevailing religion contains alleged superstitions.[1] Let's look at an authoritative definition of the word, webster:

Definition of superstition

1a: a belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causationb: an irrational abject attitude of mind toward the supernatural, nature, or God resulting from superstition2: a notion maintained despite evidence to the contrary. More Webster:Recent Examples And the superstition has bled outside of stories — even today, many hotels don't have a 13th floor.— Wyatte Grantham-philips, USA TODAY, "It's Friday the 13th. In 2020. Here's a brief history about the superstitious date and some hilarious tweets to get you through the day.," 13 Nov. 2020While the other 3 out of 4 Americans might scoff at this, there is actually psychological science to back superstition.— Marika Gerken, CNN, "Friday the 13th: How it came to be and why it's considered unlucky," 13 Nov. 2020These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'superstition.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.[2]
When I first read this definition in Webster I said to myself they will use the bit about ignorance and deard of the unknown to indicate the mystical and the bit about causation to impune the cause argument. I think Webster's meant things like a black cat crossing your path is bad luck. The atheist take it to mean argument from first cause. The Wiki article footnotes Webster as it's source..
A superstition is "a belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation" or "an irrational abject attitude of mind toward the supernatural, nature, or God resulting from superstition."[Wiki 1][Wiki 2] Often, it arises from ignorance, a misunderstanding of science or causality, a belief in fate or magic, or fear of that which is unknown. It is commonly applied to beliefs and practices surrounding luck, prophecy, and certain spiritual beings, particularly the belief that future events can be foretold by specific (apparently) unrelated prior events.[Wiki 3] [3]
They justify these additions by citing other sources. No one beyond that segment of atheism i call "Dawkamentalism"' believes that belief in God per se is superstition. There is another funny thing about that quote. It starts out telling us "A superstition is 'a belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation' or 'an irrational abject attitude of mind toward the supernatural, nature, or God resulting from superstition.'' What that actually says is that superstition results from Superstition. It defines the word by itself. Their reasoning is circular, they define the term by itself. That tells me they don't really understand they are just regurgitating party lines.

At this point it would be well to examine the origin of religion and superstition. The two did actually come out of the same phase of human development and their origins are linked. Since I don't buy a literal Genesis account I attribute human origin to evolitom. At one point humans began to notice the sense of God' s presence and mystical experience. All experiences of the divine must be filtered through cultural constructs, or symbols. God is beyond our understanding, thus beyond language. If we are talking about our experiences, however badly, we must filter them through culture.

RELIGION, although inherent in man, borrows its expressions from the setting or milieu in which man appears. The forms through which man expresses the supernatural are all drawn from the cultural heritage and the environment known to him, and are structured according to his dominant patterns of experience.In a hunting culture this means that the main target of observation, the animal, is the ferment of suggestive influence on representations of the supernatural. This must not be interpreted as meaning that all ideas of the supernatural necessarily take animal form. First of all, spirits do appear also as human beings, although generally less frequently; the high-god, for instance, if he exists, is often thought of as a being of human appearance. Second, although spirits may manifest themselves as animals they may evince a human character and often also human modes of action.[4]

In his work The Evolution of God,[5] Robert Wright distills the work of anthropology over the last two centuries and demonstrates an evolutionary development, form early superstition that personified nature (prehistoric people talking to the wind)[6], through a polytheistic origin in pre-Hebrew Israelite culture,[7] to monotheistic innovation with the God of the Bible.

The point is we left superstition ages ago. It was an attempt at coping with the unknown, but divine revelation proved a better one. We outgrew it. Lest one argue that this still implies a weakness in religion let's not forget astrology and astronomy grew up together and out of the same thought and the same stars. As did Chemistry and Alchemy


[1]Vyse, Stuart A. (2000). Believing in Magic: The Psychology of Superstition. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. pp. 19–22.

[2]Superstition, Merroam-Webster online (accessed 1/10/21)

[3]Siperototom, Wikepedioa,prevailing%20religion%20contains%20alleged%20superstitions.(accessed 1/10/21)

Soirces used in the Wiki artickle:

w1:cf. w2:Drinkwater, Ken; Dagnall, Neil. "The science of superstition – and why people believe in the unbelievable". The Conversation. Retrieved 2020-09-21. w3Vyse, Stuart A. (2000). Believing in Magic: The Psychology of Superstition. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. pp. 19–22. ISBN 978-0-1951-3634-0.

[4]Ake Hultkrantz, “Attitudes Toward Animals in Shashoni Indian Religion,” Studies in Comparative Religion, Vol. 4, No. 2. (Spring, 1970) © World Wisdom, Inc. no page listed,online archive, URL:, accessed 3/21/13

[5]Robert Wright, The Evolution of God, New York: Back Bay Books, reprint edition, 2010. The book was Originally published in 2009. The company “Back Bay books: is an imprint of Hachette Books, through Little Brown and company. Wright studied sociobiology at Princeton and taught at Princeton as and University of Pennsyania. He edits New Republic and does journalistic writing of science, especially sociobiology.

[6]Wright, ibid, 9

[7]Ibid 10

Monday, August 23, 2021

Transcendental Signifier Argument

The argument

1. Any rational, coherent, and meaningful view of the universe must of necessity presuppose organizing principles (Ops)

2. OP's summed up in TS

3. Modern Thought rejects TS outright or takes out all aspects of mind.

4. Therefore, Modern thought fails to provide a rational, coherent, and meaningful view of the universe.

5. minds organize and communicate meaning

6. Therefore universal mind, offers the best understanding of TS

7. Concept of God unites TS with universal mind therefore offers best explanation for a view that is Rational, Coherent, and Meaningful (RCM).


Randal Rauser's Interview of me On this argument new

(1) Any rational, coherent, and meaningful view of the universe must of necessity presuppose organizing principles (Ops)

OP 's make sense of the universe and explain hierarchies of conceptualization: effects need causes, conclusions are mandated by premises, meaning in language is organized by rules of grammar. (RCM (rational, coherent, and meaningful) = Hierarchical order).This premise is rooted directly in observation, a coherent view of the universe requires OPs, and observation. That a rational and coherent view requires a principle that organizes reality according to some aspect of logic or math should be obvious. That's really no different than saying to really understand things we need a logical coherent view. At this point the skeptic might assume that the argument is a design argument or that it is saying that “laws imply a law giver.” Jerome E. Bickenbach and Jackqueline M. Davis tell us that the argument “laws require a law giver” is the fallacy of equivocation.

[1] Right they are, since scientists don't mean the term “laws” in the sense that early modern scientists such as Newton and Boyle meant it. They really meant a divine command that the universe must behave in a certain way. The term “law” is a hold-over from a former age. “The laws of physics, and other scientifically discovered laws of nature are principles formulated by scientists (not prescribed by lawmakers) in order to describe regularities and patterns observed in the natural world...while there may be a God this is not shown by taking the existence of laws of nature as evidence.”

[2] Whether or not physical laws are evidence of God remains to be seen, but this argument is neither design nor laws imply a law-giver. First, it's not a design argument to the extent that the inference is not drawn from design per se. Design works through either fitness, function, or the resemblance to things we know are designed. Since it does turn upon order there is overlap with design, especially the latter kind (resemblance to known design). Yet the point of inference is not taken from resemblance to known design but to the all pervasive nature of necessary to contingent order

, Secondly, the argument is not based upon the assumption laws imply a law giver. That idea assumes that physical laws are a simple list of rules mandated by a God. That concept of God is based upon the Suzerain model. The argument does not assume a set of rules but a more organic relation. The point of inference does not turn upon a set but upon one central, simple, and elegant idea that frames and grounds the metaphysical hierarchy in a single all-encumpasing first principle. Since I don't assume that scientists speak of “laws of physics” in the same way we speak of “laws of traffic” or The U.S, Code Annotated, or Black's Law Dictionary, then there is no fallacy of equivocation. How I connect physical “law” to a prescriptive sense without reducing description to prescription will be dealt with in chapter four.

Above I point to grammar as an example of a TS. The skeptic might argue that grammar is just cultural, that would be wrong. First of all it doesn't have to be innate to be an example. If language is just cultural constructs ideas might still be formed in their function from logical necessity (not the actual signifiers themselves but the concepts to which they point). An example would be the logical rule A cannot be non A. That is not arbitrary, but self evident. A thing cannot be other than itself. Thus the logical law marks the fact as a road map marks geography, but like a map the two might not always line up. In that case, if grammar is a purely cultural construct, its still an example of hierarchical conceptualization. Secondly, there is a lot of good evidence that generative grammar is genetic. Children of one month old can distinguish between different phonemes in a language, such as “b” and “p.” Researchers know this by reaction of the infant to the sound. A phoneme is a unit of sound in a word. Two such studies are one by Kuhl and one by Scott, et al.

[3] More on this in a subsequent chapter.

Western thought has always assumed Organizing principles that are summed up in a single first principle (an ἀρχή) which grounds any sort of meaning: the logos or the transcendental signified (TS). When I have made this argument skeptics have argued that there is nothing in science called an “organizing principle.” One opponent in particular who was a physicist was particularly exercised about my use of this term. While there is no formal term such that scientists speak of the “organizing principles” along side laws of physics or Newtonian laws, they speak of organizing principles all the time. A google search resulted in 320,000,000 results.[4] On every page of this search we see articles by cell biologists, cancer researchers, environmental biologists. Mathematicians, physicists, and so on. Yes there are also articles by crack pots, new age mystics, people with all kinds of ideas. There is even a book by a physicist who argues that the scientific thinking of the poet and dramatist Johann Wolfgang Goethe is valid in modern terms of quantum theory. He talked about organizing principles.[5] An Article in Nature entitled “Organizing principles” discusses a famous experiment in developmental biology: in 1924 carried out by Hilde Mangold, a Ph.D. student in the laboratory of Hans Spemann in Freiburg. “It provided the first unambiguous evidence that cell and tissue fate can be determined by signals received from other cells…This experiment therefore demonstrated the existence of an organizer that instructs both neuralization and dorsalization, and showed that cells can adopt their developmental fate according to their position when instructed by other cells.”[6]vi

M.J. Bissell et. al. Discuss malignancy in breast cancer. “A considerable body of evidence now shows that cell-cell and cell-extracellular matrix (ECM) interactions are essential organizing principles that help define the nature of the tissue context, and play a crucial role in regulating homeostasis and tissue specificity.”[7] All objects in nature are connected to other objects. This can be demonstrated easily enough, as William Graham makes clear in discussing “Natures Organizing Principles.”[8] He turns to ecosystems as an example. Fish in a school work by individually possessed set of common principles such that they act in unison without a leader. These are not evidences of God they are not a design argument. They merely serve to bring home the point there are organizing principles about. I know this general informal use of the term does not mean that the Ops I want to talk about exist. But it is clear there are plenty of structures that organize and guide the way things turn out we do not have an understanding of what organizes the OP. Yet modern science still seeks a logos or a TS that would bind them all together and unite them in one over arching principle.


[1] Jerome E. Bickenbach and Jackqueline M. Davis, Good Reasons for Better Arguments: An Introduction To The Sills and Values of Critical Thinking. Calgary: Broadview Press, 1996, 189.


[3]Patricia Kuhl, “Early Language Acquisition: Cacking the Speech Code.” Nature reviews

Neuroscience 5, (Nov. 2004) 831-843, doi:10.1038/nrn1533. Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences and the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA. Email: See also: Sophie K Scott et al, “Categorical speech representation in human superior temporal gyrus. Is Categorical perception a fundamental property of speech perception?" Nature Neuroscience,(2010). 13: 1428-1432.

[4]Google search, organizing principles in nature, accessed 5/3/16

[5]Henri Bortoft, Wholeness of Nature of The Universe: Goethe’s Way Toward a Science of Conscious Participation in nature. Herdon VA:Lindisfarne Books originally published by Steiner Books,1971, 1985, re worked version 1992, 69. Henri Bortoft, (1938 – 29 December 2012) received undergraduate degree at university of Hull then did Postgraduate research at Beirbeck college. He studiedQuantum Physics with David Bohm.

[6]Barbara Marte, “Milstone 1: Organizing Principles,” Nature.Org (july 1,2004) doi:10.1038/nrn1449 URL: accessed 6/3/16 Marte is senior editor Nature.

[7]viiM.J. Bissell, D.C Radisky, and A. Rizki, “The Organizing Principle:Microenvironmental Influences In The Normal amd Malignant Breast.” Pub Med, NCB, Dec;70(9-10): 2002, 537-46. on line resource URL: accessed 6:3/16 [8]viiiWilliam Graham, “Natures Organization Principles,” Nature’s Tangled Web: The Art, Soul, and Science of a Connected Nature. Oct. 30, 2012, Online resource. accessed 6/3/16.

Monday, August 16, 2021

Anti vaxers have been around

Our ability as a society to conquer disease, to discover cures and implement them  through the commonweal, constitutes one if the greatest measures of modern civilization and the progress that is its hallmark:
Vaccination is widely considered one of the greatest medical achievements of modern civilization. Childhood diseases that were commonplace less than a generation ago are now increasingly rare because of vaccines. In order to be effective at eliminating communicable diseases, vaccines must be administered to sufficient levels of persons in the community. Because of this, public health officials have mandated vaccination for certain diseases as a condition to school attendance.[1]
“Vaccines are one of the most important measures of preventative medicine to protect the population from diseases and infections. They have contributed to decreasing rates of common childhood diseases and, in some cases, have even wiped out some diseases that were common in years past, such as smallpox, rinderpest, and have nearly eradicated malaria and polio...”[2] The progress we have made in combating disease came after long centuries of struggle, first to understand sickness,  then to know how to fight it. Now we embark upon the realization of global efforts to conquer disease world wide:  “Globalization’s emerging transnational social organization and epidemiological structure have transformed national public health into an international issue and necessitated the development of global health policy and governance. ”[3]  With diseases like Ebola virus and commerce between the United States. and in other Ebola laden countries there are no real borders to control disease. This is why being able to control disease locally and nationally is fundamental to the process of civilization. That is why curtailment of that process spells reversal for civilization.

Vaccines are a chief weapon in controlling disease. “Vaccines are one of the most important measures of preventative medicine to protect the population from diseases and infections. They have contributed to decreasing rates of common childhood diseases and, in some cases, have even wiped out some diseases that were common in years past, such as smallpox, rinderpest, and have nearly eradicated malaria and polio .”[4] Yet now there is an anti-vaccine movement, although such a movement dates back to the early days of vaccinesv[5] now that movement has caught fire for at least two major reasons:

(1) a paper in The Lancet by ex-physician Andrew Wakefield, “which suggested credence to the debunked-claim of a connection between the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine and development of autism in young children.”[6]

(2) While Republicans on the national level still advise Vaccination, on the state and local level Republican interest in anti-vaccine ideology has been picked up by libertarians with notions of medical freedom and is fueling the movement. It is now beginning to gain steam on the national level. [7] “The smallpox vaccine has eradicated a disease that was responsible for centuries of outbreaks and had a 30% fatality rate.” [8]  Yet, as of May 29,2019, 940 cases of measles (thought irradiated in  02) have been found over 26 states.[9]  Alarming not only for the number but also the range of the problem. But this represents an increase of 60 cases in a week.

It is the greatest  number of cases reported since 1994.[10]   Even More alarming is the tendency assertion on the part of the movement that the government has no right to mandate vaccination, that is to say,  has no right to mandate a measure for the good of the community.  This represents a new element in the movement [11] and one that probably comes from the libertarian camp. The denial of the government the right to impose public health measures is a true direct affront to civilization itself. Civilization is an ethical choice about how we organize our living arrangements. If we can't mandate measures for the common good in what sense are we organizing living arrangements?

As Azhar Hussain and Syed Ali, et al. Conclude their report:

The rise of anti-vaccination movements in parts of the Western world poses a dire threat to people’s health and the collective herd immunity. People of all ages have fallen victim to recent outbreaks of measles, one of the most notable “eliminated” diseases that made a comeback as a direct consequence of not reaching the immunization threshold for MMR vaccines. These outbreaks not only put a strain on national healthcare systems but also cause fatal casualties. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that all stakeholders in the medical world - physicians, researchers, educators, and governments - unite to curb the influence of the anti-vaccination movement targeting parents. Research has shown that even parents favorable to vaccination can be confused by the ongoing debate, leading them to question their choices.[12] 


[1]Ben Balding, “Mandatory Vaccination: Why We Still Got To Get Folks To Take Their Shots.” LEDA home page, Harvard Law School (April, 27, 2006)   (acessed May 29,2019) Ben Balding Class 2006

[2]Azhar Hussain and Syed Ali, et al. “The Anti-Vaccination Movement: A Regression in Modern Medicine,” PMC US National Library Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Original Publication:  Cureus 2018 Jul; 10(7): e2919. PMC6122668  doi: 10.7759/cureus.2919 ,   (accessed May29,2019) work cited:

Achievements in Public Health, 1900-1999 Impact of Vaccines Universally Recommended for Children -- United States, 1990-1998. [Jun;2018 ]; National Library of Medicine; April 02. 1999 /:48–12.[Google Scholar]. Rinderpest is an acute infectious disease of ruminant mammals (such as cattle)  (Webster)

[3]The National Academies Workshop summary: 4 “Creating a Framework For Prioress,”    The Impact of Globalization on Infectious Disease Emergence and Control: Exploring the Consequences and Opportunities: Workshop Summary. NCBI, National Academy of Sciences, 2006.  (acessed May29,2019)

[4]Azhar Hussain and Syed Ali, et al. “The Anti-Vaccination Movement: A Regression in Modern Medicine,...” op cit.



work cited: Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children. Wakefield AJ, Murch SH, Anthony A, et al. Lancet. 1998;351:637–641. Pub Med:   (accessed May 29,2019)

[7]Arthur Allen. “How The Anti-Vaccine Movement Crept into The GOP Mainstream,” Politico, (May 27,2019)     (accessed May29,2019)

[8]Ben Balding, “Mandatory Vaccination...” LEDA Harvard...op cit.

[9]CDC, “Meales Cases and  Outreaks”  CDC Measles Home,  Center for Disease Control and prevention,  (May 24,2019)   (accessed May29,2019)


[11]Arthur Allen, Politico, op cit.

[12]Azhar Hussain and Syed Ali, et al. ...op cit.

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Alisa Childers Other Gospel

Ranal Rauser is a Canadian philosopher who is also a Christian apologist. He takes fundmetalist preacher Lady Alisa Childers to task for her hard line. I will use Rauser's own words to tell the story.[1]

Randl Rauser's statement:

I just finished reading Alisa Childers’ book Another Gospel?. It is a hugely popular book that came out a year ago and has almost two thousand reviews. As I will note briefly below, it does have some diamonds embedded in the coal. But there is a lot of coal. Indeed, this is one of the most harmful books I have read in a long time. Although it is praised by Christian apologists like Lee Strobel, Sean McDowell, and Frank Turek, yet page after page it exhibits poor argumentation, utterly unchristian caricatures of opposing views, and attacks of a woolly target that Childers has described as “progressive Christianity.”
According to Childers, progressive Christianity is a new movement whose leaders include people like the late Rachel Held Evans, Richard Rohr, Peter Enns, and Brian Zahnd.  But it is not a new movement: in her view, it is another religion altogether. And as Childers says at the end of the book, those who fail to assent to the set of doctrines she deems essential, including (by implication) all these false teachers of another religion, are going to hell.
The idea that progressive Christianity is a whole new religion and everyone in it is going to hell is  reactionary hog wash.It ignores Phil 3:15 "All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you."NIV.In other words he doesn't say 'O you are in another religion so You are going to hell he says if you disagree that's cool God will show you (It's ok to differ).

Now there is a pssage where Paul says if we or an angle from heaven preach anotherJesus and another gosple let us be damned! So yes there ae some things that are beyond disagree, but fundamentalists who seek to create their own litmus test for the Gospel are actually seeking to make a new gospel.

Rauser does a second blog piece on Childer's 8 points of conversion.[2]

“Today we have God’s final revelation, and Geisler concluded that, according to the New Testament, the essentials one must believe (at least implicitly) in order to be saved are"

1.human depravity (I am a sinner);
2.God’s unity (There is one God);
3.the necessity of grace (I am saved by grace);
4.Christ’s deity (Christ is God);
5.Christ’s humanity (Christ is man);
6.Christ’s atoning death (Christ died for my sins);
7.Christ’s bodily resurrection (Christ rose from the dead); and
8.the necessity of faith (I must believe).” (232)

I believe these eight points are true I believe they reflect the truth of the Gospel.But when we set them up in an eight point plan they seem to intimidate agreement we create another Gospel. Romans tells us we only need two points to be saved: "If you declare with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Take it literally, they always do.Rauser makes his attack:

Infants do not believe these doctrines, not even “implicitly”. So it follows that according to Childers’ view, infants who die in infancy go to hell. So does a twelve-year-old Jewish girl who dies in Auschwitz. So does every person who rejects proposition 8 in favor of a Christian inclusivism (or even hopeful inclusivism). No doubt, by this metric, Childers also believes that adherents to that non-Christian religion she calls Progressive Christianity, people like Peter Enns, Richard Rohr, and Brian Zahnd, are also going to hell where they will suffer eternal punishment, being tortured day and night forever.[3]
Those points reflect the truth of the gospel they are never presented as an eight point plan that must be accepted in all eight points.The idea that a progressive otloois a diferetfaith servigof hell is arroant and mean spirited.Thefdieswhothin thisway havecreated teirowdifferent gospel. They offersalatio y agreeet with their views.

[1]Randal Rauser, "According to Alisa Childers, People Like Me Are Going to Hell: A Review of Another Gospel?" Randal Raues blog, (July 11, 2021 )

[2]Randal Rauser"An Open Letter to Lee Strobel and Sean McDowell," Randal Raues blog, (July 12, 2021)

[3] Ibid

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Review of: The Trace of God, by Joseph Hinman

I came accross a splended review of my book [1] ----------------------------------------The Trace of God: A Rational Warrant for Belief

Joseph Hinman

Reiew by Don McIntosh

Dallas: Grand Viaduct, 2014

418 pages

---------------------------------------- In The Trace of God, author Joe Hinman has presented a sophisticated argument for rationally warranted belief in God on the basis of religious and mystical experience. As an avid reader of all things theological, apologetic and scientific, I found The Trace of God both illuminating and compelling. It quickly became evident to me, as it should to any reader, that Hinman has done his homework (and then some) in order to lay out a fresh and powerful presentation of the old argument from religious experience to the existence of God for a twenty-first century readership.

Hinman constructs his case like a high rise, meticulously laying his foundation and building on it layer by layer. He thus begins with a very useful and interesting explanation of “Preliminary Concepts and Definitions,” introducing readers to technical concepts (the “religious a priori,” religious experience and mystical experience), found throughout the book but not likely to be encountered often outside the fields of theology, psychology or sociology. This is followed by a discussion of his “Decision Making Paradigm,” one tailored for the subject at hand: Given that God is (by definition) not an object of empirical knowledge, we must decide whether belief in God (as opposed to empirical confirmation of God) is rational. Hinman proposes that in principle the evidence of religious experience is sufficient to meet a prima facie burden of proof – that is, on the strength of these experiences belief in God should be deemed rationally warranted until and unless someone presents reasons or evidence to overcome the warrant. In the process he offers a keen analysis of Thomas Kuhn’s depiction of scientific revolutions and an insightful critique of the logic behind a concept often used (and abused) by science-minded naturalists: “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

From there specific arguments are presented, of two distinct types: “the argument from co-determinate,” and “the argument from epistemic judgment.” The argument from co-determinate is roughly analogous to an inference from footprints in the snow to people having been present recently. Evidence of God’s activity in the form of very basic and culture spanning religious experiences leaves a psychological imprint upon the human psyche, leaving recipients of the experience in turn understandably, and quite rationally, inclined to believe in God as a result. This, essentially, is the trace of God. Experience of the numinous – of the holy, transcendent, awe- and fear-inspiring presence of God – has been recorded at all times and cultures, and therefore constitutes empirical grounds for belief. Moreover, these experiences confer universally beneficial effects upon those who have them: an enhanced psychological outlook, physiological health, and hence overall well-being. The related argument from epistemic judgment concerns the reliability and validity of the experiences reported. These experiences are consistent in character, regular in occurrence, and shared by a majority of people. And again the effects upon the persons who have them are demonstrably and overwhelmingly positive.

Having presented the arguments, Hinman bolsters those arguments by revisiting the studies used to derive the data for human religious experiences. Here the book takes a decidedly technical turn, examining the criteria for identifying religious and mystical experience, then the methodology chosen to elicit and record human responses to those experiences, for a large and wide-ranging number of studies. This for me was the least interesting portion of the book, but for the serious-minded atheists Hinman intends to challenge it may be the most important. By carefully describing the empirically focused instruments and methods used to collect the data, Hinman preempts any objection to the effect that the argument from religious experience can be reduced to so much unscientific, subjective tale-swapping. Along the way various other objections are considered and rebutted, e.g., that emotions are unreliable indicators, or that religious experience is "mental illness."

The way I see it, the remainder of the book consists of mopping-up operations in the form of rebuttals to actual or potential objections and counterarguments. This includes a review and defense of the idea of “religious a priori” as a rational default position for believers to take. With direct experiences of God at hand believers have “no need to prove” – that is, no burden to justify – their faith, either to themselves or to others. Also in this part of the book is a critique of Wayne Proudfoot’s skeptical arguments against the religious experience inference to theism, which proceed from a faulty assumption that the experiences are purely subjective and ineffable. This is followed by consideration of various other forms of “alternate causality” other than the presence of God: brain chemistry, as postulated by researchers like Michael Presinger (this recalled a fascinating online debate I had many years ago now involving what we called the “God module” part of the brain); the effects of drugs; evolutionary mishaps; and the like.

Reading The Trace of God was for me decidedly positive. This is not to say that the book will be a page-turner for everyone. The sheer richness of the material is difficult to digest in places, if well-researched and erudite, and the presentation almost unfailingly methodical. Those accustomed to popular-level inspirational writing, theology or apologetics will need to buckle down and concentrate to take in the information and appreciate the arguments. And whereas in the interest of disclosure I should mention that Hinman is a friend of mine, I should also mention that I do not agree with everything he has to say in this book – particularly his take on New Testament atonement and soteriology. Still, he comes close to my own view with this: “…(T)he universal nature of mystical experience does not invalidate either religious truth in general or the Christian tradition. God is working in all cultures, and what he’s doing in all the cultures of the earth is moving people toward Christ” (p. 365). Amen.

All in all, this book has more than earned its place on my shelf. Much like the life-transforming religious experiences it describes with such meticulous care, The Trace of God left me with not only better informed, but with a strong desire to seek God in my experience and to share the good news of that experience of God with others. For this believ
er that makes The Trace of God a worthwhile spiritual and intellectual investment.

[1] Don McIntosh,"Review of: The Trace of God, by Joseph Hinman"Gerizim publishing, (2018)

Monday, July 19, 2021

scientific doubt vs religious faith: revisiting and old dispute

I came across an old blog post of mine from 2009. The post itself was not what I was drawn to but one of the comments. The comments by an anonymous atheist were of a nature easily answered. I think my answers were good as far as they went. Yet I negated their effectiveness with anger and insults. The heat of rhetorical battle and the abuse of atheists took their toll on my psyche. Here is what I wish I had said. I don't think it's wasted because this is a philosophical issue that cuts to the heart of the conflict with atheistic doubt.

Anonymous Atheist said... Wow, you sure write a lot, but don’t say much. There is truth, and that truth lies in the material world, and science is the only way to find that truth. All the philosophical notions in all the minds of all the philosophers mean nothing unless they are grounded in material reality, all else is just the endless gibberish of the human mind talking to itself, or a collection of human minds talking to each other. All of our supposed understanding exists only within human minds. This includes the supposed laws of the universe, i.e. gravity, atomic force, the behavior of light etc. The universe simply behaves as it does because … it does. We are just building models in our heads so we can think we are making sense of it.

This is not profound. Everything we know and perceive is filtered through human consciousness. Holy cogito Batman, we've known this since Descartres. That fact cannot be used to disprove the reality of God because the atheist is bound to accept the notion that there is a reality external to the human mind and we can know something of that reality. Otherwise the atheist must give up science and resort to mysticism or solipsism.

AA:All of our ideas about gods and spirituality exist only in the human mind as well. Regardless of your claims that there is any actual proof for god, it doesn’t exist.

All our ideas about matter and energy only in the human mind as well.By the logic of his argument,therefore,regardless of science's claims that there is any actual proof for energy and matter, it doesn’t exist.

AA:The concept of gods exists only within our heads. You can’t offer any more substantial evidence for your particular idea of gods than any other’s evidence of theirs.

yes of course we can because some ideas are more logical than others. Being in the mind desn't mean an idea is indefensible. Moreover . He can't prove a reason to see materialism as the external reality and not an idea involving one of spirit and matter.The proof for a materialistic external reality must come through human perception and is, therefore, not validated or proovable by the logic of his argument

AA:All of the output of all apologists is just so much detailed, convoluted rambling trying to explain the details of something that doesn’t exist. If all humans were to suddenly die off, the gods would die with them, as would the laws of the universe. The universe, however, would not be affected in the least.

Ditto science. notice he affrms there is an extrenal universe and yet how can he prove it apart from human perception?

AA:Man seems to have some inherent need to create supernatural causes for natural occurrences. Lot’s of ink has been spilled as to why this is, but just because so many are affected by the phenomenon, doesn’t make it true.

Need doesn'tmake it false either, so it must be irreluant

As has been pointed out by a philosopher who is grounded in reality, Daniel Dennet, we believe in belief.

Except atheists who seem to believe in not believing. In the modern world we have identified virtually all of the causes of things that occur around us, which should have freed us from our primitive superstitions.

sorry that is highly fallacious! We have barely scratched the surface of understanding our world. There is much more to go. Here are 10 major concepts atheists take as gospel which we can't prove or don't understand.

(1)Dark matter not proven

(2)Gravity, no definitive proof as to what causes the attraction of mass over distance.

(3)the existence of the multiverse

(4)Cause of the unified field

(5)the nature and definition or consciousness

(6) Can't prove string membranes exist

(7)why we sleep and dream

(8) the hard problem of conscioisness

(9) the cause of mystical experience

(10) case of the image on the shroud of Turin

Science is not about proving things, it's about disproving things(that is to say testing hypothesis).There is no science that disproves God.

This[modernity freed us from our primitive superstitions] has not happened, in a large part, because the purveyors of religious and spiritualistic beliefs maintain the structure of those superstitions.

He's already disproved his argument because it comes to us from the human mind. He has no more extra human proof of no God than i have for God.

In many cultures, such as ours, we are awash in these superstitions from birth. The idea of gods is pushed as the default truth, when the real default should be no gods, since there is no evidence for any.

Of course there's evidence for God. Remember above his argument is that evidence for God is only in the mind. Bit his knowledge of science is also in the mind.That's moot.He has no logical basis for the claim that there is no reason to believe in God. Of course he does not know my reasons for belief.see my eidence [2]

Most people in our culture have been exposed to the notion that God is watching you, and if you sin you will burn in hell, or at least that sinning, whatever that is, will make God mad.

That is a pathetically childish notion of religion.Reducing religion to superstition is just an ideological ploy. Science has its ideological side. Religion has its logical and complex side

I find it difficult to believe that you were really the atheist you claim to have been, although saying you’re an atheist does mean you actually believe in a rational world. I know that since I have cast of the blinders of belief and faith, the world is a much more understandable place and I cannot see any reason to ever change my mind.Red Mann

He finds it hard to believe that one can have experience that leads one to think other than he does. Welcome to the adult world.No aspect of logical or scientific thought is denied me by my faith and my faith offers a dimension he doesn;t understand.

[1] Joseph Hiinman, "Answerto Aisti Cline," Metacrock's blog(feb 5,2009)

[2] My warrant for belief page on Religious A prioi

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Politics and the Distortion of Christian Values.

Politics distorts the values that motivate it. Eventually solidarity with the group and revenge dominate the ideals that motivated political action. The ideals recede into the background. Evangelicalism is a product of the south. It's notions of justice were forged in light of the slave trade and it's notions of love were rationaliztions for its raw poloticcal instincts. Let us note the way Christ's commands to love, especially love of enemies, have become distorted.
The results from a recent poll published by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life ( reveal what social scientists have known for a long time: White Evangelical Christians are the group least likely to support politicians or policies that reflect the actual teachings of Jesus. It is perhaps one of the strangest, most dumb-founding ironies in contemporary American culture. Evangelical Christians, who most fiercely proclaim to have a personal relationship with Christ, who most confidently declare their belief that the Bible is the inerrant word of God, who go to church on a regular basis, pray daily, listen to Christian music, and place God and His Only Begotten Son at the center of their lives, are simultaneously the very people most likely to reject his teachings and despise his radical message.[1]
He points to militarism, draconian criminal justice, hatrod of the poor and lionizing the rich.
Jesus was very clear that the pursuit of wealth was inimical to the Kingdom of God, that the rich are to be condemned, and that to be a follower of Him means to give one’s money to the poor. And yet Evangelicals are the most supportive of corporate greed and capitalistic excess, and they are the most opposed to institutional help for the nation’s poor — especially poor children. They hate anything that smacks of “socialism,” even though that is essentially what their Savior preached. They despise food stamp programs, subsidies for schools, hospitals, job training — anything that might dare to help out those in need. Even though helping out those in need was exactly what Jesus urged humans to do.[2]
Examples of co opted values, according to Sean Mcelwee,  include:

The verse: "When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God." - Leviticus 19:33-34.[3]
Yet, as he points out the evangelicals oppose the imigration bill, rampage against the poor who desperately leave their homes to seek life sustaining employment, and they rationalize keeping kids in cages.[4]


"Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God." - Matthew 19:24.

Mcelwee points out:
Because the only thing fundamentalists dislike more than immigrants is poor people. Seriously. Just this year, Tea Party congressman Stephen Fincher explained why he thought the government should cut food stamps entirely, “The role of citizens, of Christians, of humanity is to take care of each other, but not for Washington to steal from those in the country and give to others in the country.” Michelle Bachmann has also made a similar statement. The entire Tea Party movement is based on the idea that a huge portion of Americans are “takers” who suck the lifeblood out of the economy.[5]
as John Gehring points  out:
Too many white Christians sacrifice the gospel’s radical solidarity with the poor and oppressed with comfortable, self-serving ideologies. Prosperity gospel preachers affirm the cult of consumerism and individualism. Evangelicals rally behind political leaders who make a holy trinity out of tax cuts for the wealthy, attacks on social safety nets and anti-government propaganda.[6]
We can see the upshot in the way conservatuvee Christians blame the poor themselves for their poverty rather than the system or their circumstances. In  a 2016 study by the Public Religion Research Institute we find:
Christians, the study found, are more than twice as likely to blame a person’s poverty on individual failings than Americans who are atheist or have no specific religious affiliation. White evangelical Christians, who voted overwhelmingly for President Trump and continue to be some of his most steadfast supporters, are especially wedded to this worldview. Half of white Catholics also cited lack of effort — read: laziness — rather than difficult circumstances as the primary reason why people are poor. Less than a third of African-American Christians agree.[7]
What is the solution? It seems that politics dreches one in muck and distorts our view of the world, obscuring Christ's clear teachings. Shall we declare politics  too worldly for Christians? That would also be to ignore human suffering. Ignoring people's pain is to ignore Jesus' teaching. I think the only remedy is the litmus test "is your political stand based upon your own wordly comfort?" Only if we are willing to give and to get out of the comfort zone can we obey the gospel.


[1] Phil Zuckerman and Dan Cady, "Why Evangelcals Hate Jesus,"Huffpost, (03/03/2011 10:11 am ET Updated May 25, 2011)

[2] Ibid.

[3]Sean Mcelwee, "5 ways Fundamentalsts Mistreat the Bile ," Salon, (AUGUST 6, 2013)

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6]John Gehring, "What is Wrpg woth White Chrstians?" Religion News Service, (August 10, 2017).

[7] Ibid

Sunday, July 04, 2021

Hartshorne's Modal Argument

What follows is one of the most challenging subjects you will ever hear about. It is the best way to get a head ache, but I think it proves the existence of God. The problem is it requires a very specialized background to understand it. First you have to understand modal logic.

Modal Logic is so called because it turns upon the use of so called "modal operators." It's called "modal" because it is the logic of modes of being. "modes" as in what type of existence something exits in, whether it is dependent upon other things, whether it can cease or fail to exist and so forth. The modal operators are "necessity," "contingency" "impossibly," "possibility."

Necessity and contingency lie at the base of our modern understanding of cause and effect. They come from scholastic notions of logic, but the distinction between the notion our modern notions of c/e and the scholastic ones in the middle ages is not that great. The scholastic had more levels of cause, efficient cause, final cause and several others. But one could everything we have done in modern science using the scholastic ideas of c/e.

Necessity doesn't mean has to exist. It doesn't mean God is necessary to the existence of the world (except in so far as if God exists then of closure God is necessary to the world as creator--without God there would be no world).The modal argument does not begin with the assumption that God has to exist. It begins with the assumption that there is a valid distinction between necessity and contingency, which there must be. It proceeds along the lines of hypothetical consequence that obtain from different scenarios of God's existence. It concludes that is necessary. But by "necessary" it means not contingent, or not dependent upon something else for its' existence.

This is often misconstrued by atheists and taken to mean the argument proceeds from God's existence as an assumed first premise. This is not the case, the first premise is either/or. Either God's existence is necessary or it is impossible. This allows for the possibility that there is no God. So the argument does not begin by "defining God into existence."

Necessity essentially not contingent, it also conveys the idea of he can't cease or fail to exist, stemming from his eternal nature.

Contingent means the opposite: that a thing is dependent upon a prior thing for existence, or that it could cease or fail to exist.

Impossible means logically impossible, something in the structure of the idea contradictions, such as square circles.

One of the sore spots that atheists get stuck on is the idea that God cannot be contingent. They will always leap to the conclusion that this is defining God into existence, because they don't understand the concept of God. God, by the nature of the concept, carries certain parameters just as the existence of any human assumes humanity, or the existence of any tree assumes that the tree in question is a plant. To have to define that God is not contingent should not even come into it. The idea of God is that of eternal creator of all things. Thus God cannot cease to exist and cannot be dependent upon anything (or he wouldn't be the creator of all things). Atheists usually assume that all knowledge has to be empirical. they will argue this is defining God into existence. maybe God is contingent.


Close to Hartshorne's version

1. God is either necessary or impossible.
2. God can be conceived without contradiction.
3. Whatever can be conceived without contradiction is not impossible.
4. God is not impossible.
5. God's existence is a necessity (from 1-4, not contingent or impossible means necessary)
6. If God is necessary, then God exists.
7. Belief in God's existence is warranted

About Hartshorne

Hartshorne Lived to be 103, at the time of his death in the Fall of 2000, he was known as "the greatest living Metaphysician." Hartshorne was one of the major forces in the "back to God" movement in Philosophy (a term coined by Christianity Today in a 1979 article. His first and greatest calim to fame is as the second most influential voice in process philosophy, along with Alfred North Whtiehead, but he is also credited as the man who brought the Ontological argument back from ignominious defeat by Kant almost two centuries earlier. Hartshorne was also a recognized authority on birdsong, and an authority on bycicles, having never driven a car a single time in his centogenerian lifespan. Hartshorne devoted the last years of life to waging a letter's to the editor campaign to advocate social issues such as medical care.

Monday, June 28, 2021

Answering 'I m Skeptical's" comments on the fine turning argument

FT only takes fitedness as a basic assumption but it does not stop there. It says we have numbers that show a life bearing universe is extremely improbable.

IAS:Two problems with the probability-based fine-tuning argument:

1 - There isn't a scientist, astrophysicist, or anyone else on this planet who actually has the information needed to make a realistic probability estimate. It's nothing more than a wild guess.

that is Bull shit, you are playing off of arguments that say there's empirical proof. That is far far cry from saying it's a wild guess. Lots of atheists scientists take the argument seriously
extended answer: Yewimply iorsthedomnettioI presentedi te ai peoce: Howard A. Smith is a lecturer in the Harvard University Department of Astronomy and a senior astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

The first result — the anthropic principle — has been accepted by physicists for 43 years. The universe, far from being a collection of random accidents, appears to be stupendously perfect and fine-tuned for life. The strengths of the four forces that operate in the universe — gravity, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear interactions (the latter two dominate only at the level of atoms) — for example, have values critically suited for life, and were they even a few percent different, we would not be here. The most extreme example is the big bang creation: Even an infinitesimal change to its explosive expansion value would preclude life. The frequent response from physicists offers a speculative solution: an infinite number of universes — we are just living in the one with the right value. But modern philosophers such as Thomas Nagel and pioneering quantum physicists such as John Wheeler have argued instead that intelligent beings must somehow be the directed goal of such a curiously fine-tuned cosmos.
C. Scientists admit fine tuning is a problem for a naturalistic view

One of the three co-authors of inflationary theory, Andrei Linde, sketches out the problem of fine tuning that he takes very seriously. Inflationary theory was concocted to get around fine tuning.

Andrei Linde,Scientific American. Oct 97

......(1) flatness of Universe

"...flatness of space. General relativity suggests that space may be very curved, with a typical radius on the order of the Planck length, or 10^-33 centimeter. We see however, that our universe is just about flat on a scale of 10^28 centimeters, the radius of the observable part of the universe. This result of our observation differs from theoretical expectations by more than 60 orders of magnitude."

......(2) Size of Universe--Plank Density

"A similar discrepancy between theory and observations concerns the size of the universe. Cosmological examinations show that our part of the universe contains at least IO^88 elementary particles. But why is the universe so big? If one takes a universe of a typical initial size given by the Planck length and a typical initial density equal to the Planck density, then, using the standard big bang theory, one can calculate how many elementary particles such a universe might encompass. The answer is rather unexpected: the entire universe should only be large enough to accommodate just one elementary particle or at most 10 of them. it would be unable to house even a single reader of Scientiftc American, who consists of about 10^29 elementary particles. Obviously something is wrong with this theory."

......(3) Timing of expansion

"The fourth problem deals with the timing of the expansion. In its standard form, the big bang theory assumes that all parts of the universe began expanding simultaneously. But how could all the different parts of the universe synchromize the beginning of their expansion? Who gave the command?

......(4) Distribution of matter in the universe

"....there is the question about the distribution of matter in the universe. on the very large scale, matter has spread out with remarkable uniformity. Across more than 10 billion light-years, its distribution departs from perfect homogeneity by less than one part in 10,000..... One of the cornerstones of the standard cosmology was the 'cosmological principle," which asserts that the universe must be homogeneous. This assumption. however, does not help much, because the universe incorporates important deviations from homogeneity, namely. stars, galaxies and other agglomerations of matter. Tence, we must explain why the universe is

so uniform on large scales and at the same time suggest some mechanism that produces galaxies." ......(5) The "Uniqueness Problem"

"Finally, there is what I call the uniqueness problem. AIbert Einstein captured its essence when he said: "What really interests ine is whether God had any choice in the creation of the world." Indeed, slight changes in the physical constants of nature could have made the universe unfold in a completeIy, different manner. ..... In some theories, compactilication can occur in billions of different ways. A few years ago it would have seemed rather meaningless to ask why space-time has four dimensions, why the gravitational constant is so small or why the proton is almost 2,000 times heavier than the electron. New developments in elementary particle physics make answering these questions crucial to understanding the construction of our world."
\\ D, Scientists confirm fine tuing while trying to eliminate it.

Now Linde is confident that the new inflationary theires will explain all of this, and indeed states that their purpose is to revolve the ambiguity with which cosmologists are forced to cope. His co-author in inflationary theory. Physicist Paul Steinhardt, had doubts about it as early as his first paper on the subject (1982). He admits that the point of the theory was to eliminate fine tuning (a major God argument), but the theory only works if one fine tunes the constants that control the inflationary period.

John Horgan, “Physicist slams Cosmic Theory he Helped Conceive,” Scientific American Blogs, December 1, 2014. on line, URL accessed 10/5/15. Horgan interviews Steinhardt. “The whole point of inflation was to get rid of fine-tuning – to explain features of the original big bang model that must be fine-tuned to match observations. The fact that we had to introduce one fine-tuning to remove another was worrisome. This problem has never been resolved."

IAS:2 - The actual probability doesn't matter, anyway. All it takes is one. One planet in all the universe that happens to be suitable to produce life as we see it - and here we are.

That is total bs and shows you don't understand the argument. One proves nothing we need to know the hit rate. The fewer examples the less probable, you are begging the question Extension

(1) If we assert that one example will do it then this unierse might as well be that example. But that is begging the question since it assumse the position he defends as a proof of itself.

(2) He assserts we have no eprocal [rppf bit he hasnomefor odeas as baocto his iew as evolution.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Interview by Randal Rauser: Hinman's Deridian argument

Rauser interviwed me and posted on his blog January 18, 2019.

Home of progressively evangelical, generously orthodox, rigorously analytic, revolutionary Christian thinking (that's what I'm aiming for anyway)

Title of interiew: "God in a Transcendental Signifier: A Conversation with Joseph Hinman" January 18, 2019.

RR: A few months ago, I published an article on “The Top Five Problems with Contemporary Christian Apologetics.” Number 5 was “Lack of Imagination”: in short, among contemporary apologists there is an inordinate focus on a small number of arguments (e.g. the Kalaam; the argument from cosmic fine-tuning) at the expense of countless underutilized arguments to say nothing of still other arguments yet to be imagined.

That’s one reason I appreciate the work of Joseph Hinman. Mr. Hinman has an MTS from the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University and has studied at the doctoral level at the University of Texas at Dallas. And he quite deliberately seeks to explore underexplored and wholly new avenues of argument. Consider, for example, our recent conversation on his argument for God from mystical experience.

In this article, we take up a second argument for God that Mr. Hinman has been developing, one that proceeds from what he calls transcendental signifiers.

RR: Joe, thanks for joining us for another discussion in the philosophy of religion. This time out we’re going to discuss your argument for God from transcendental signifiers. I suspect a good place to begin is with your concept of a transcendental signifier. When I first read that term I thought of C. Stephen Evans’ argument in his book Natural Signs and Knowledge of God. Evans argues that arguments for God’s existence are based on so-called “natural signs” which are non-coercive pointers to the reality of God. As such, these signs provide the intuitive appeal for various arguments for God’s existence. Is that what you mean when you refer to transcendental signifiers? Or is your concept different?

JH: You would think so, since he’s just down the road in Waco, I’m up here in Dallas. There is some commonality, in the sense that both views deal with natural theology. It may be a case of great minds thinking alike because I see many aspects that our views hold in common but my idea has nothing to do with him. I started working on my argument back in 2002 when I had just discovered internet apologetics and began arguing on message boards and blogs, and I created the Christian CADRE apologetic group. I was adapting things I had been thinking about at UTD when I was studying Derrida, This argument is rooted in my study of Derrida; I don’t think Evans deals with Derrida. At first it was just a fun way to flabbergast atheists on message boards, A couple of years ago I decided it was time to dig it out of mothballs and turn it into a real argument.

I like Evans idea of signs pointers, that is similar to my notion of what I call “deep structures of being.” Speaking only of my own argument, because I’m not sure his idea and mine are really the same, I have not read his book. My argument is based in Derridean ideas but it seeks to reverse Derrida. I ask what if Derrida is wrong and there is a transcendental signified? Then that on itself is a good reason to believe in God. Derrida’s whole program was a reaction against belief in God; the desire to tear down hierarchies because he rejected the ultimate hierarchical principle. If as he supposed reason and rationality stem from an overarching principle that forms the basis of all meaning and thus sets up the ultimate hierarchy the will of God, the reality of that hierarchy ought to mean we accept or assume the reality of God. So the ultimate reason I can give for doing so is that without it we have only the dissolution of meaning. The TS is the only way to have a rational, coherent, and meaningful view of the universe, of life, of nature.

Before going on I need to remind the reader that all of my God arguments are about rationally warranting belief not proving the existence of God.

RR: Okay, can you say more about the specifically Derridean ideas you’re engaging with and then how you seek to reverse them to, as you put it, “flabbergast atheists”? JH: Derrida’s overall project is to explicate the end of metaphysics, but not to merely explicate he also wanted to help hasten it. His major issue was the myth of presence,which begins with the Platonic theory of knowledge and sees this theme echoed throughout Western thought up into modern times. Scientific hegemony of thought is a hint of this, latest version of the myth of presence. The myth says that meaning is present in the signifiers. There is meaning in an overarching final sense and it is immediateness present to us. That was the case with belief in God or the Platonic realm, now only hinted at with science which makes all truth available through its own ruination; or with formal logic.

Western thought has always assumed a logos, a first principle that gives meaning to all ambiguity and grounds all knowledge and norms (reason, logic, mathematics, truth, God, whatever). This concept has been embodied in many different ideas; collectively Jacques Derrida calls them “transcendental signifiers” (TS). These differing notions all point to a single idea, the one thing that is necessary and universal that orders and gives meaning to all signs and signification. That is the thing signified by the words used to mark it, the transcendental signified (TS). The term G-O-D is the Transcendental signifier and the actual reality the word points to is the transcendental signified.

Humanity has been unable to find any matching candidate for this post in modern thought primarily because we gave up the idea of a logos. Gave up on a universal ordering principle. Modern science has a sort of truncated logos in the idea that empirical observations will eliminate all false hypotheses until just the truth, scientific truth. That will never happen because it cannot; science can’t render first principles in areas like ethics and morality and it can’t delve into the spiritual, the phenomenological, the existential or anything not immediately verifiable empirically. Postmodern thought has given up on the whole project. They reject the concept of truth itself and seek not to understand anything beyond their self referential language game. Yet in rejecting the concept of truth, and tearing down hierarchies, they create their transcendental signifier differance, (with an a)i. Only the concept of God fits the parameters for the TS. God offers the best explanation for hierarchical ordering, thus offers the most likely correlate for TS. Or to put it another way, mind is the missing dimension that enables the TS to unite human experience of being with understanding. That in itself should warrant belief in God.

My argument says Derrida didn’t believe in the reality of a TS and he assumed such terms just refer to empty promises. Thus the consequence of such hierarchies as are mandated by the veracious notions of a TS are oppressive and totaling, so says the upshot of Derridean thinking. Thus he seeks to tear down hierarchies.I say more power to him Those hierarchies in so far as they are oppressive should be torn down. The problem is true to his own deconstruction, Derrida contradicts himself by also stating that we can’t avoid metaphysical hierarchies and that some hierarchy is inevitable.

At that point I make my argument. Rather than tear down all hierarchy (only to have it replaced by others) let’s seek the true TS that mandates the right hierarchy (God’s Love). I argue that the missing element is mind. of course specifically the mind of God. Thus most of the arguments are oriented issues like mind and cosmos. It’s not a design argument or the CA but does reference both ideas. I have a deductive version and an abductive version.

There is much more use the link below and scroll down 11 paragraphs:

Rauser says: "That’s one reason I appreciate the work of Joseph Hinman. Mr. Hinman has an MTS from the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University and has studied at the doctoral level at the University of Texas at Dallas. And he quite deliberately seeks to explore underexplored and wholly new avenues of argument. Consider, for example, our recent conversation on his argument for God from mystical experience."

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Republicans/Evangelicals say goodbye to reality

from an ad by Sojourners

Can white evangelicals be deprogrammed from Trumpism? Amid a rise in conspiracy theories, pastors are finding themselves on the front lines of the misinformation battle. Referring to Democrats, liberals, and socialists as “evil” is now considered acceptable in certain Christian churches. Fears that “they” are trying to close our churches and take our guns has become a rallying cry for Christians who claim that America is “God’s chosen country.” Sojourners examines this troubling trend in “When Conspiracy Theories Come to Church.” Subscribe to Sojourners now to read this in-depth feature article in the June issue.[1]

This is just scratching the surface. Republicans passionately believe all manner of scathing claims against Democrats. The mildest issue is that the 2020 election was stolen,

Jen Kirby tells us, "Trump’s own officials say 2020 was America’s most secure election in history.Homeland Security put out a statement with state and local officials that countered the president’s fraud claims....The 2020 US election was the most secure in American history, according to US elections officials"

The November 3rd election was the most secure in American history. Right now, across the country, election officials are reviewing and double-checking the entire election process prior to finalizing the result,” the coordinating bodies on election infrastructure and security said in a joint statement issued by the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

The statement directly contradicts President Donald Trump, who has made unfounded allegations of widespread voting irregularities and fraud. The president is using these claims to challenge the vote counts in several key states that delivered President-elect Joe Biden his apparent Electoral College victory.

Trump’s rhetoric undermines faith in the democratic process, but it also obscures the hard work done by election officials, ballot counters, and poll workers across the country in 2020. Beyond the logistical hurdles of Covid-19, the threat of foreign interference loomed over this election. So did fears of potential voter intimidation and violence at the polls. But with the exception of a few isolated incidents, the elections were largely safe and peaceful.[2]

According to the Associated Press:

It’s hard to put it any more bluntly: “There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes or was in any way compromised.

Rejecting President Donald Trump’s persistent claims and complaints, a broad coalition of top government and industry officials is declaring that the Nov. 3 voting and the following count unfolded smoothly with no more than the usual minor hiccups.It was, they declare, resorting to Trump’s sort of dramatic language, “the most secure in American history.”The statement late Thursday by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency amounted to the most direct repudiation to date of Trump’s efforts to undermine the integrity of the contest, and echoed repeated assertions by election experts and state officials.

In Addition the Brennan Center for Justice finds:

"These government officials, judges, and elected leaders, overwhelmingly Republican, have publicly acknowledged confidence in the November election."

Election officials and election security experts have long been clear: voter fraud is extraordinarily rare and our system has strong checks in place to protect the integrity of our voting process. These are the facts. But the facts have not stopped bad actors from trotting out baseless claims of “systemic voter fraud” to suppress votes and undermine trust in our democracy for political gain.

By all measures, the 2020 general election was one of the most secure elections in our history. Voters turned out in record numbers to cast their ballots by mail and in person, and the votes were counted in a timely manner. This success, however, did not dissuade President Trump and his enablers from loudly claiming fraud when the race did not go his way. In a brazen attempt to overturn the results, he unleashed an onslaught of outlandish claims about widespread fraud in the election, shamelessly targeting the votes of Black and Latino citizens in several cities. The severity of the allegations by the president and his allies, however false, has elicited a resounding rebuke of the myth of widespread voter fraud from officials at every level of government. And today, the Supreme Court all but ended the legal fight to overturn the election when it rejected Texas’s lawsuit to throw out the presidential election results in four battleground states that President Trump lost.[4]
and Politifact:

"Two cybersecurity committees within the federal Department of Homeland Security released a statement that called the Nov. 3 presidential election “the most secure in American history.” 

The statement notably debunks claims from President Donald Trump and others that have alleged massive fraud."[5]

No evidence of voter fraud

According to:Reuter's

Fact check: Courts have dismissed multiple lawsuits of alleged electoral fraud presented by Trump campaign

Following President Joe Biden’s swearing in on Jan. 20, a Facebook post shared over 6,140 times has said: “Not one court has looked at the evidence and said that Biden legally won. Not one”. This is a false statement and federal judges dismissed more than 50 lawsuits presented by then President Donald Trump and his allies challenging the election or its outcome.[6]
while Savannah Behrmann writes in USA Today:
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump and his legal team have insisted they have proof of widespread voter fraud and they would be successful in court, but those claims have been shot down at the state level and by the highest court in the land.On Tuesday, the United States Supreme Court refused to stop Pennsylvania from finalizing President-elect Joe Biden's victory in the state, despite allegations from allies of Trump that the expansion of mail-in voting was illegal

The action by the Supreme Court, which has a conservative majority and includes three justices named by Trump, came as states across the country are locking in the results that will lead to next week's Electoral College vote. Chief Justice Robert Brutinel agreed, saying Ward's challenge had failed to "present any evidence of 'misconduct,' 'illegal votes' or that the Biden Electors 'did not in fact receive the highest number of votes for office,'" he wrote — "let alone establish any degree of fraud or a sufficient error rate that would undermine the certainty of the election results."[7]

States examined in the articel: Arazona, Nevada, Michigan, Pynslvania, and Wisconsin.

Despite this deluge of facts (and we have not yet scratched the surface) most republicans still believe the election was stolen.

More Than Half Of Republicans Believe Voter Fraud Claims, Alison Durkee,Forbes:
A majority of Republicans still believe the baseless claim that the presidential election was “stolen” from President Donald Trump and approximately half believe his spin on the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol building, a new Reuters/Ipsos poll found, showing Trump’s continued influence on the party and how the ex-president’s falsehoods about the election and its aftermath have taken hold among his supporters.[8]
Yet these are nothing copared to the idiotic fantasies to which some will sink.Witness the Qanon nonsese:

The QAnon conspiracy theory is vast, complicated and ever changing, and its adherents are constantly folding new events and personalities into its master narrative. But the gist of it is that national Democrats, aided by Hollywood and a group of “global elites”, are running a massive ring devoted to the abduction, trafficking, torture, sexual abuse and cannibalization of children, all with the purpose of fulfilling the rituals of their Satanic faith. Donald Trump, according to this fantasy, is the only person willing and able to mount an attack against them.[9]

Notice: not enogh the Dems shoud assault the children they have to eat them too. I as you who is the suck one?

Republicans are still spreading baseless rumors about leftists pulling off the capital riot to make Trump look bad.

"Three months after a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol to try to overturn his November election loss, about half of Republicans believe the siege was largely a non-violent protest or was the handiwork of left-wing activists “trying to make Trump look bad,” a new Reuters/Ipsos poll has found."[10]

Of course the golden oldie that the Democrats are all socialists; they put extra spin on that one to make it sound more urgent than usual:

"A viewer watching the Republican National Convention on Monday night could be forgiven for thinking that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were not the Democratic Party's presidential and vice presidential nominees but were leading a different ticket altogether."[11]

Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, asserted that Biden would be taking orders from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and the four congresswomen known as the "Squad."

"Their vision for America is socialism," Haley said. "And we know that socialism has failed everywhere."

RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel said, "Democrats have chosen to go down the road to socialism."[Ibid]

Of course we all know unless there is a structural change in ownership of the means of production there is no socialsm.No Democratic candidate advocates workers owning the means of production, Just taxing the rich is not socialism it;s liberalism in a capitalist framework.The allegations of child molestation are so absurd as to be self refuting. How could anyone with a brain self identify politically with such nonsense?


[1] From an ad sent to my personal emial [2]Jen Kirby, "Trump’s own officials say 2020 was America’s most secure election in history,"Vox," (Nov 13, 2020), [3] Eric Tucker and Frank Bajak, "Repudiating Trump, officials say election ‘most secure’" Assocoated Press, (November 13, 2020) [4]Staff writer,"It’s Official: The Election Was Secure," Brennan Center for Jutice, (December 11, 2020) [5]Madeline Heim,"Security declared Nov. 3 election most secure in American history,"Politifact,(November 17,2020)

See the sources for this fact-check

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Top Republican says an investigation of Wisconsin's election is unlikely to take away Biden's win in the state," Nov. 12, 2020

WISN-TV, "UPFRONT recap: Sen. Tammy Baldwin says lack of transition hurts country," Nov. 15, 2020

Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, "Joint statement from Elections Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council & The Election Infrastructure Sector Coordinating Executive Committees," Nov. 12, 2020

Axios, "Department of Homeland Security calls election ‘the most secure in American history,’" Nov. 12, 2020

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Trump campaign would have to pay nearly $8 million for Wisconsin recount," Nov. 16, 2020

[6]Reuter's Staff,"Fact check: Courts have dismissed multiple lawsuits of alleged electoral fraud presented by Trump campaign." Reuter's,(FEBRUARY 15, 20219:41 AM)

[7]Savannah Behrmann, "A look at what several state supreme courts said about rejecting attempts to overturn Biden's election win,"USA TODAY, (Dec 11,2020),

[8]Alison Durkee,"More Than Half Of Republicans Believe Voter Fraud Claims And Most Still Support Trump, Poll Finds," Forbes, (Apr 5, 2021,) Firbes

[9]Moira Donegan,"QAnon conspiracists believe in a vast pedophile ring. The truth is sadder," The Guardian, (Sep 2020)

[10]James Oliphant, Chris Kahn,"Half of Republicans believe false accounts of deadly U.S. Capitol riot-Reuters/Ipsos poll," Reuters, (april 6,2021),

[11]Brian Naylor, "Republicans Blast Democrats As Socialists. Here's What Socialism Is," NPR, (August 25, 2020)