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)

Monday, May 24, 2021

Fine Tuning the puddle Argument

A poster on YouTube calling himself "Genetically Modified Skeptic''(GMS) defends the "Puddle argument." [1] This is an atheist refutation of design arguments and just says we mistakenly think the world is designed for us because we fit into it's scheme so well. Why "puddle?" The oringal version says an orgnaism crawls out of a puddle and sees how well it fits into the world.

Christian apologist Frank Turek argues the fine tunning arguent (FT) He is  making a basic mistake with the argument. GMS reduces the argent to one issue, perspective. Huge mistake because that is not it.FT does not take the same perspective as a regular design argument. GMS wants you to think it does; he even says this "just the old Palley argument." The difference is profound. The old argument did not have target levels that quantify the probability of each target being met. 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. It is backed up empirically. It may assume some of the old perspective but having empirically set target levels makes it totally differnt.By target levels we mean things like how thin plank density might be or how many earth sized planets we have before we strike life.[2]

The first thing that should be said about the so-called "puddle argument" is that it is not an argument. It's nothing more than window  dressing (its really just a little story to set up the argument). The actual argument is really just the skeptics retort to design arguments, "here we are, why did we need a creator"? They assert there is no evidence. Of course they are begging the question since the FT data is the evidence. Then GMS asserts that he does not have to prove his assumption but we do have to prove ours. He asserts the universe came before the observer. That means the observer is a product of the universe. The universe was not made for the observer. Of course the real issue is not the observer but what produced the universe? With FT we can assume we are a product of the universe but the universe was made to bear life. We just happen to be some of that life. We do not have to prove the existence of God. His assertion is crazy, why should we prove something to justify suspecting it? No one needs to suspect what he has already proven. We need only demonstrate a good reasonto bieve; FT is dandy reason.

So we have a stalemate and each side has a seemingly valid reason for seeing the universe as they do. That would be an excellent tie to consider FT as it was meant to be,as a tiebreaker. Although GMS just leaves out major portions of the opponent's view. For example he doesn't really deal very deeply with target levels. He wants to spend most of his time reducing Turek's argument to basic simplicity so he can deal with it in classically atheistic ways.He takes up Turek's idea that the universe is made up of information and this is being produced by a mind, and he tries to argue that we don't need a sender to have a message; the message is in the mind of the receiver alone.

What eludes him is the fact that a message with no sender is not a message. We could see this in his examples; GMS himself uses them; he just doen't think deeply about his own evidence. For example he takes the image on mars  thought to be a face and shows NASSA discovered it was not a face but a pareidolia with rocks[3] My major in undergraduate school was communication theory.[4] Communication theory does not accept any model of communication with just a receiver, we have to have a sender or no message.  GMS is merely overlooking the fact that what  Webster calls "random pattern" is thought to be a message but is not one. GMMS  may have a point about the way Turek argues it, Truek himself may reduce FT to complexity alone.But the FTA itself more than just interpirating complexity. The target levels are so precise they spell out the virtual impossibility of an impersonal random  universe. The major aspect behind messages that GMS overlooks is meaning. WE can see thecomningcounicatedin theaaing level of improablity of a random universe.
FT is a valid reason to infer a creator. We see the meaning in the message. An impersonal source cannot attend a message with real meaning. We don't make up our own meaning we can clearly see the meaning; the main way is through personal experience.GMC trashes personal experience, even though his arguments are totally based on his experience of decohversion. It is essential that he disconnect the believer from personal experience because it validates the message we get through nature or God's creaton. In my  book The Trace of God [5] while I do not dscus FT,  one could combine the two for a fine argument.mystical ex[eroece validates the meaning of reality and makes clear God's work.A huge body of scienc studies deomstartes the validity of the experince, below is just a sample.

Research Summary
From Council on Spiritual Practices Website
"States of Univtive Consciousness"

Also called Transcendent Experiences, Ego-Transcendence, Intense Religious Experience, Peak Experiences, Mystical Experiences, Cosmic Consciousness. Sources: Wuthnow, Robert (1978). "Peak Experiences: Some Empirical Tests." Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 18 (3), 59-75.
Noble, Kathleen D. (1987). ``Psychological Health and the Experience of Transcendence.'' The Counseling Psychologist, 15 (4), 601-614.Lukoff, David & Francis G. Lu (1988). ``Transpersonal psychology research review: Topic: Mystical experiences.'' Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 20 (2), 161-184.

Furthermore, Greeley found no evidence to support the orthodox belief that frequent mystic experiences or psychic experiences stem from deprivation or psychopathology. His ''mystics'' were generally better educated, more successful economically, and less racist, and they were rated substantially happier on measures of psychological well-being. (Charles T. Tart, Psi: Scientific Studies of the Psychic Realm, p. 19.)
Long-Term Effects
*Say their lives are more meaningful,*think about meaning and purpose*Know what purpose of life isMeditate more*Score higher on self-rated personal talents and capabilities*Less likely to value material possessions, high pay, job security, fame, and having lots of friends*Greater value on work for social change, solving social problems, helping needy*Reflective, inner-directed, self-aware, self-confident life style
*Experience more productive of psychological health than illness*Less authoritarian and dogmatic*More assertive, imaginative, self-sufficient*intelligent, relaxed*High ego strength,*relationships, symbolization, values,*integration, allocentrism,*psychological maturity,*self-acceptance, self-worth,*autonomy, authenticity, need for solitude,*increased love and compassion Short-Term Effects (usually people who did not previously know of these experiences) *Experience temporarily disorienting, alarming, disruptive*Likely changes in self and the world,*space and time, emotional attitudes, cognitive styles, personalities, doubt sanity and reluctance to communicate, feel ordinary language is inadequate *Some individuals report psychic capacities and visionary experience destabilizing relationships with family and friends Withdrawal, isolation, confusion, insecurity, self-doubt, depression, anxiety, panic, restlessness, grandiose religious delusions Links to Maslow's Needs, Mental Health, and Peak Experiences When introducing entheogens to people, I find it's helpful to link them to other ideas people are familiar with. Here are three useful quotations. 1) Maslow - Beyond Self Actualization is Self Transcendence ``I should say that I consider Humanistic, Third Force Psychology to be transitional, a preparation for a still `higher' Fourth Psychology, transhuman, centered in the cosmos rather than in human needs and interest, going beyond humanness, identity, selfactualization and the like.''[6]
Gms is making the same kind of fallicies he's charging Ture with. He argues that individual processes proven to be naturalistic, thus we can ase the entire cosmos is naturaitic, That id the fallacy of composition. It does not follow that the whole is naturalistic.

[1]Genetically modifed Skeptic, "Atheists Can;t Answer this Question," You Tibe, vedio.(Jun 21, 2019)

[2]Joseph Hinman, "Fine Tuning Argument part 1." The Reloiiois a prooiroiJuly 2019

[3]WEbster's online Dictiomaryl "Pareidolia" the tendency to perceive a specific, often meaningful image in a random or ambiguous visual pattern The scientific explanation for some people is pareidolia, or the human ability to see shapes or make pictures out of randomness. Think of the Rorschach inkblot test. — Pamela Ferdinand — compare apophenia,inkblot%20test.%20%E2%80%94%20Pamela%20Ferdinand%20%E2%80%94%20compare%20apophenia

[4] long time readers may have seen me say it was sociology i had double major.

[5]Joseph Hinman, "More Alternate Causalilty Placebo, drugs, and other issues 285The Trace of God, Colorado Sp;rimgs Cparadp: 2014

[6]Council on Spiritual Practices,"Research Summary:States of Univtive Consciousness"From Council on Spiritual Practices Website the websitei now defuncked but this all documented in my book. Also called Transcendent Experiences, Ego-Transcendence, Intense Religious Experience, Peak Experiences, Mystical Experiences, Cosmic Consciousness. Sources:

Wuthnow, Robert (1978). "Peak Experiences: Some Empirical Tests." Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 18 (3), 59-75.
Noble study
Noble, Kathleen D. (1987). ``Psychological Health and the Experience of Transcendence.'' The Counseling Psychologist, 15 (4), 601-614.Lukoff, David & Francis G. Lu (1988). ``Transpersonal psychology research review: Topic: Mystical experiences.'' Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 20 (2), 161-184. GreelyLester Grinspoon and James Bakalar (1983). ``Psychedelic Drugs in Psychiatry'' in Psychedelic Drugs Reconsidered, New York: Basic Roger Walsh (1980). The consciousness disciplines and the behavioral sciences: Questions of comparison and assessment. American Journal of Psychiatry, 137(6), 663-673.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

I have more to say

I am goimg to strt saying it real soon.