Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Can you be trusted to know your own experiences?

Dr.Ralf Hood,

The Mysticism scale (aka "M scale") invented by Dr Ralph Hood (Psychology, U Tenn. Chattanooga) is a questionnaire designed to distinguish between mystical experience and other kinds of experiences. Having identified the experience it can then be studied more scientifically. This figures promenantly in my argumemts about the existence of God, although I never claimed it as direct proof.The artist known as "I'm Sceptocal" (aka "Skepie") tries to argue against the M scale in many ways but seems to have an aversion to actually reading Hood. This post is in answer to comments he made on a post below.*

m-skeptical said...
So let's take a look at this. What does it tell us?

The first thing to note is that confirming the three-factor structure simply means that the factors chosen by Hood are correlated with the self-reported aspects of a psychological phenomenon that you call the "mystical experience".

I seem to detect an implication there that mystical experience is not real and the research can;t be trusted because it involves the respondents own ideas."self reported" I detect a tinge of shamein that phrase. But real social scientists (of which Hood is one) do not see it that way. Interviewing subjects is a major part of social science research.

Interviewing is a method of qualitative research (used by sociologists and other social scientists) in which the researcher asks open-ended questions orally. This research method is useful for collecting data that reveal the values, perspectives, experiences and worldviews of the population under study.Aug 15, 2019[1]
see Other documentation about the validity of interviews [2]

But that says less about the intrinsic nature of that phenomenon than about how the phenomenon is perceived by the subjects. OK, so there are commonalities in what some people think about the experience they had, and Hood has identified some of those.

There it is almost in the open, people can't be trusted to know what their experiences mean,"that says less about the intrinsic nature of that phenomenon than about how the phenomenon is perceived by the subjects." There is the "intrinsic nature of the phenomenon," and the experiences people have of it, which of course can't be trusted. Except  that in this case the phenomenon in question is the experiences  people have of the divine. So the whole point is what is experienced. But according to Skepie that's just misleading we don't need to know it.

The second thing I see is that there is some cultural difference noted in this study. Iranian Muslims apparently don't correlate as strongly on the phenomenology factors.

That's not what the source said. He's not quoting Hood, he's quoting a source I quoted becasue it says the M scale is validated. He implies it's not because there's a difference in answers between one population and another but he neglects to document the nature of that difference he asserts its about his argument,

A second study confirmed the presence of these three factors in not only another group of Americans (N = 188), but also in a sample of Iranian Muslims (N = 185). Relationships of the introvertive and extrovertive factors with the interpretation factor were essentially identical across these two cultures, but the Americans displayed a stronger association between the two phenomenology factors.[3]
Ioe(1) They are not talking about Hood's study but their own study:Wiley.

(2) They [Wiley] said as i just quoted Hood is validated,Less so with Iranians (maybe, it doesn't say that) but that does not mean Hood is invalidated even among Iranians. In the Trace I show that he is validated in every country where the M scale has been used. Including Iran.

(3)In the Trace of God I wrote a great deal about Hood's methodology and I documented that his work has been validated in every country in which it has been studied including Iran.[4] Sweden.India,Japan.Versions of the M scale exist for Hindu's. Mulsems. Bhuddists and secular.

The third thing is that this study is far from being comprehensive. It covers (mostly) religious people from two different cultures. It might be worthwhile to obtain a broader sampling of different cultures and religious backgrounds, including atheists.

U just dealt with that. It's used all over the world; But Just because Wiley's study is not international does not  make it noncompressive.

It could be the case that Hood's factors hold up more within certain religious/cultural groups than others. And if that's true, then that certainly amplifies the concern that we are talking more about people's subjective perceptions rather than the intrinsic aspects of the phenomenon.

Nothing you have quoted said anything about Hood's view failing. They [Wiley] weren't even talking about Hood's study but their own. They did not say no correlation in Iran, they said "less so
that does not mean none. I present evidence in the Trace... that shows Hood validated n India, Jpan, Iran and other countries.see fn 4

You can copy an abstract without knowing what its significance is. It doesn't make your case to simply say "I have a study to support my thesis" if you can't examine that study with a scientific eye and understand what it tells you and what it doesn't.

I wrote a book 354 pages, examoned 200 stidies. wrpte extensivelly of thier methodology andused social sience research methds gleaned froma compeltedd maor in sociology.But that is not what you mean by scoentific. You mean dogmaticly rejectivimg regardlesss of the data because it challenges your ideology, For you science = ideology

I have a book full of studies that you refuse to even look at.Quoting abstracts is  invalid practice. You keep ignoring the fact that it says It validates Hood. It does not say Iranians contract hood's theory, You want to male ;ole my quoting the abstracts slipshod but you quote nothing..


*"Mystical Experience More than Gut Feeling" 40 Comments - Show Original Post Collapse comments

[1] "why do social sciemtists use interviews?"

Interviewing is a method of qualitative research (used by sociologists and other social scientists) in which the researcher asks open-ended questions orally. This research method is useful for collecting data that reveal the values, perspectives, experiences and worldviews of the population under study.Aug 15, 2019

[2]Zubin Austin "Qualitative Research: Getting Started," Nayional Library of Medicine

Qualitative research involves asking participants about their experiences of things that happen in their lives. It enables researchers to obtain insights into what it feels like to be another person and to understand the world as another experiences it.

Qualitative research was historically employed in fields such as sociology, history, and anthropology.2 Miles and Huberman2 said that qualitative data “are a source of well-grounded, rich descriptions and explanations of processes in identifiable local contexts. With qualitative data one can preserve chronological flow, see precisely which events lead to which consequences, and derive fruitful explanations.” Qualitative methods are concerned with how human behaviour can be explained, within the framework of the social structures in which that behaviour takes place.3 So, in the context of health care, and hospital pharmacy in particular, researchers can, for example, explore how patients feel about their care, about their medicines, or indeed about “being a patient”.
[3]Wiley,Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion Vol. 40, No. 4 (Dec., 2001), pp. 691-705 (15 pages) Published By:

[4] Joseph Hinman,The Trace of God: Ratinal Warrant for Belief. Colorado Sprigs: Grand Viaduct. 2014.168.

Sunday, June 12, 2022

My Second Book Ready for Publication

The book God,Science and Ideology, by Joseph Hinman. I argue that atheists and skeptics who use science as a barrier to belief in God are not basing doubt on science itself but upon an ideology that adhere's to science in certain instnces. This ideology, "scietism," assumes that science is the only valid form of knowlege and rules out religious blief. Science is neutral with repect to beleif in God.

While he [Hinman] is professedly theistic, the work exudes care and some respect for the various perspectives. Its sheer breadth and depth of scholarship and capacity in articulating it attests the generally due respect of the many sides, which often exhibit the rational and irrational in one commentator. The central theme, which ties the various sub-arguments together, is that ideologies outside of the sciences themselves are informing science-based, evidential arguments about divine existence. Many sides of the debate, including the monotheistic, are equally guilty. Hinman’s ideology-scorning approach, in the end, exerts notable force and a new voice in the controversy. His book has brought together many positions in the debate. Hinman’s most persistent targets are the contemporary theories maintaining that a divine’s existence can be decided solely by scientific theories. Most thinkers, except possibly extreme agnostics, seem to harbor ideologies. Perhaps ideologies have their place somewhere in the life of the mind. That caveat, and whatever place ideologies may hold, are not the point here. Rather, it is that too many researchers in this area either do not admit their own ideology or deny its importance to the discussion of divine existence. Hinman details how many a contribution to the discussion is steeped in ideology, without their authors’ acknowledging—or even seeing—it. Only by bringing these ideologies explicitly into the discussion can it gain significant traction to get the discussion out of the mud.[1]

It should be out June 16th.

[1] Philosophy in Review Vol. 42 no. 2 (May 2022)

The Empirical Study of Mystical Experience (2) : Brain Structure Objection

The major objection to the universality argument stems from a vast movement that has arisen just since the turn of the century, the rapidly expanding field of Neuro-theology (or Cognative Science of Religion):

In recent years a number of books have been published in the United States which argue that religious experiences and activities can be measured as neural activity in the brain...these theories purport to explain why there are common patterns of religious behavior and experience across culture which are observable in the field of comparative religion..Most such theories assert that as our understanding the brains activities develop through exploration of its underlying structures and mechanisms so the origin of religious experiences and ritual behavior will be revealed...These theorioes purport to explain why there are common paterns of religious behaviors and experience across cultures.[1]

R. Joseph states, “that The brain underlies all experience of living human beings is an absolute statement It subsumes all religious phenomena and all mystical experiences including hyper lucid visionary experiences, trance states, contemplating God and the experience of unitary absorption.”[2] Since religious experience is linked to brain chemistry it must be the result of brain chemistry, thus there’s no reason to assume it’s indicative of any sort of supernatural causation. This view has become standard in the scientific community. Tiger and McGuire state:

Religion as a process generates remarkable action, countless events, numberless provocative artifacts. Yet what factual phenomenon except perhaps slips of ancient holy paper underlies and animates one of the most influential and durable of human endeavors? We've an answer. Shivers in the moist tissue of the brain confect cathedrals our proposal is that all religions differ but all share two destinies: they are the product of the human brain. They endure because of the strong influence of the product of the human brain. The brain is a sturdy organ ith common characteristics everywhere. A neurosurgeon can work confidently on a vatican patient and another in mecca. Same tissue, same mechinisms. One such mechinnism is a readiness to generate religions.[3]

Skeptics argue that the experiences have a commonality because they are all produced by human brain structure. In other words the names from the various religions are the constructs but the experiences that unite the subjects and that transcend the individual cultural filters are the same because they are products of a shared structure that of the human brain. Ilkka Pyysiäinen and Marc Hauser state the argument:

Considerable debate has surrounded the question of the origins and evolution of religion. One proposal views religion as an adaptation for cooperation, whereas an alternative proposal views religion as a by-product of evolved, non-religious, cognitive functions. We critically evaluate each approach, explore the link between religion and morality in particular, and argue that recent empirical work in moral psychology provides stronger support for the by-product approach. Specifically, despite differences in religious background, individuals show no difference in the pattern of their moral judgments for unfamiliar moral scenarios. These findings suggest that religion evolved from pre-existing cognitive functions, but that it may then have been subject to selection, creating an adaptively designed system for solving the problem of cooperation.[4]

In other words, the discussion about origins of religion there are two genetic choices, a specific gene, or spandrels. The weight of the evidence, according to Pyysiäinen and Marc Hauser, leans toward the latter (spandrels: pre-existing cognitive functions based upon combined genetic functions from other areas). The deeper level of complexity comes with the finding that religion evolved from spandrels and yet it is still subject to adaptation manifesting in a system for cooperation (religion). What their findings really suggest is that moral motions are more basic than religious doctrine and that moral decision making transcends social structure or organization. Religion is perpetuated because its conducive to cooperation but there is an underlying sense or moral motion that's tied to the specific religious affiliation. Moral reasoning is not the same as mystical experience. Religious experience is a passive apprehension and moral decision making is an active use of deductive reasoning. Moreover, in finding religion is not original adaptation they are really negating the brain structure argument for uniformity of religious experiences. Their findings show that moral decisions transcended the religious background, thus the religious symbols, ideas, and presumably experiences are not reducible to moral motions since the latter transcends the former.[5] If religious experiences are of the same nature because of the state of human brain structure we should expect to find a conformation between moral motions religious experience. Frederick Schleiermacher argued that religion is more than just enhanced ethical thinking.[6] This has led to the widely accepted theory of the religious a priori. Religion is understood as it's own discipline separate from ethics. The a priori is seen as a “special for of awareness which exists alongside the cognitive, moral and aesthetic forms of awareness and is not explicable by reference to them.” [7]

As an argument about the origin of religion, the genetic aspects would only be the proximate cause. It doesn't rule out a distal cause in the divine. Andrew Newberg, one of the pioneers in researching neural activity of religious experience and God talk tells us that none of the research disproves God, nor could it:

…Tracing spiritual experience to neurological behavior does not disprove its realness. If God does exist, for example, and if He appeared to you in some incarnation, you would have no way of experiencing His presence, except as part of a neurologically generated rendition of reality. You would need auditory processing to hear his voice, visual processing to see His face, and cognitive processing to make sense of his message. Even if he spoke to you mystically, without words, you would need cognitive functions to comprehend his meaning, and input form the brain’s emotional centers to fill you with rapture and awe. Neurology makes it clear: there is no other way for God to get into your head except through the brain’s neural pathways. Correspondingly, God cannot exist as a concept or as reality anyplace else but in your mind. In this sense, both spiritual experiences and experiences of a more ordinary material nature are made real to the mind in the very same way—through the processing powers of the brain and the cognitive functions of the mind. Whatever the ultimate nature of spiritual experience might be—weather it is in fact an actual perception of spiritual reality—or merely an interpretation of sheer neurological function—all that is meaningful in human spirituality happens in the mind. In other words, the mind is mystical by default.[8]

Just being connected to brain chemistry is not enough to disprove the universal experience argument.

The problem with the brain structure argument is that even though we all have human brain structure we don’t all have the same kinds of experiences. We can’t assume that universal experiences come from brain structure alone. First, not everyone has mystical experience. Even though the incidence rates are high they are not 100%. We all have human brain structure but not all have these experiences. Secondly, even among those who do there are varying degrees of the experience. William James saw it as a continuum and Robert Wuthnow, one of the early researchers who did a modern scientific study on the phenomenon also theorized that there is a continuum upon which degree of experience varies.[9] If the brain structure argument was true then we should expect to always have the same experience; we should have the same culture. We have differing experiences and even our perceptions of the same phenomena vary. Yet the experience of mystical phenomena is not identical since it is filtered through cultural constructs and translated into the doctrinal understanding of traditions that the experiencers identify as their own.

The brain Structure argument is based upon the same premises reductionists take to the topic of consciousness and brain/mind. They assume that any subjective experience is ultimately the result of brain chemistry. There really is no reason to assume this other than the fact that brain chemistry plays a role in our perceptions. There’s no basis for the assumption that any mental phenomena must originate in brain chemistry alone. In those arguments a sense usually emerges that any involvement with the natural cancels the supernatural. I suggest that this is the ersatz version of supernature. The alien realm, juxtaposed to the natural realm and brought in as a counter to naturalism, this is the false concept of Supernatural that Eugene R, Fairweather spoke about.[10] The original concept of supernature is that of the ground and end of the natural. Thus it would be involved with nature. The ground/end of nature is the ontology of supernature and pragmatic working out of the phenomenon would be the power of God to lift human nature to a higher level, as discussed by Fairweather and aslo Mathias Joseph Scheeben.[11]] How can human nature be elevated without supernature being involved with the realm of nature? Thus, if it is true that bonafide experiences of God are mediated by brain chemistry, then the fact that supernature works through evolutionary processes and physiological realities such as brain chemistry is hardly surprising.

Some studies have explored questions about brain function and the texture or mechanics of mystical experience. Van Elk et al explore the hypothesis that the sensation of supernatural presence is an adaptation from the need to over-detect presences of predictors in the jungle. There findings did not coroborate that hypothesis. He does makes the statement that it otherwise lacks empirical proof.[12] In other words if one sets out on a jungle trail, and there is darkness, sensing a predictor and turning back from the trek would be helpful. If the sensation was wrong and there was no predictor the mistake of being wrong would be less grave than that of being right but ignoring the sense. Thus, the sensation of presence is selected for. This might be used by a skeptic to answer the argument from mystical experience. Elk has five experiments that that seek to explore weather processing concepts about supernatural agents enhances detection in the environment.

Participants were presented with point light stimuli representing kinds of biological motion, or with pictures of faces embedded in a noise mask. Participants were asked to indicate if the stimuli represented a human agent or not. In each case they used three “primes,” one for supernatural, one ofr human, one for animal. They found that supernatural primes facilitated better agent detection.[13] So the argument is that the perceived presence of agents in threatening situations and tendencies to anthropomorphizing leads stronger belief in ghosts, demons, angels, gods and other “supernatural” agency.[14] They point to a body of work consisting of several studies showing that particular paranormal beliefs are a reliable predictor of illusory perceptions of faces and agency detection. These studies include Willard and Norenzayan (2013), Reikki et. al. (2013), and Petrican and Burris (2012).[15] “although these studies provide tentative support for the relation between agency detection and supernatural beliefs, the notion that reigious beliefs are a byproduct of perceptual biases to detect patterns and agency has been challenge by several authors...” (Bulbulia, 2004, Lisdorf 2007, and McKay and Efferson, 2010).[16]

While it may be true that some aspects of mystical experience are genetically related, and may be related to agent detection, that is no proof that mystical experience originates wholly within a naturalistic and genetic framework. First, because these studies only demonstrate a correlation between supernatural beliefs and agency detection. There is no attempt to establish the direction of a causal relationship. If there is a connection between supernatural and agent detection it could as easily be that awareness of supernatural concepts makes one more sensitive to agent detection. Secondly, of course just being genetically related doesn't reduce the phenomenon wholly to genetic endowments. Thirdly, there is a lot more to mystical experience than agent detection. Both involve sensing a presence beyond that point the differences are immense. I am not even sure that facial recognition and sensing a predator are similar enough to count for anything. In sensing being observed one is not usually aware of visual ques as one would be in facial recognition. There's no guarantee that the quality of the sensing is the same. Feeling the divine presence is much more august and involves levels and textures. Such an experience is, overall, positive, life changing, transformational (even noetic) but merely feeling one is being observed could be creepy, negative, or even trivial. The vast differences can be spelled out in the tiebreakers I discuss in The Trace of God.

[1] George D. Chryssides and Ron Geives, The Study of Religion an Introduction to key ideas and methods. London, New Deli, New york: Bloomsbury, 2nd ed. 2007, 59-60. Chryssides is a research fellow with the University of Birmingham. He has an MA in Philosophy and D Phil in systematic theology from University of Glasgow. Among the books he mentions as examples of the trend are Why God Wont Go Away, by E. Aquili andAndrew Newberg(1999) , and Nuero-Theology by R. Joseph (2003)

[2] R. Joseph, Nuero-Theology:Brain, Science, Spirituality, Religious Experience. University Pr; 2nd edition (May 15, 2003) 22.

[3]Lionel Tiger and Michael McGuire, God's Brain, Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books, 2010. 11. [4] Ilkka Pyysiäinen and Marc Hauser, "The Origins of Religion: Evolved Adaption or by Product." Science Direct: Trends in Cognitive Science, Volume 14, Issue 3, (March 2010), 104-109.

[5]Ibid,. 105=106.

[6]Adrian Hastings, Alistair Mason, Hugh S. Pyper. The Oxford Companion to Christian Thought:Intellectual, Spiritual and Moral Horizons of Christianity, New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2000, 483

In the Trace of God I do two chapters defending Schleiermacher's notion and the religious a priori against reductionist based attacks by philosopher yne Proudfoot. (Hinman, Trace...op. Cit., 179-241).

[7]David Pailin, “The Religious a priori,” Westminster Dictionary of Christian Theology, Louisville Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, Alan Richardson and John Bowden, ed.,1983, 498.

[8]Andrew Newberg, Why God Won’t God Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief. (New York, Ballentine Books), 2001, 37. [9]Robert Wuthnow, “Peak Experieces, Some Empirical Tests,” Journal of Humanistic Psychology 183 (1978) 61-62.

[10]Eugene R. Fairweather, “Christianity and the Supernatural,” in New Theology no.1. New York: Macmillian, Martin E. Marty and Dean G. Peerman ed. 1964. 235-256

[11]Mathias Joseph Scheeben in Fairweather, Ibid.

[12]Michiel Elk, Bastiaan T. Rutjens, Joop van der Pligt,& Frenk van Harrveled (2016) Priming of Supernatural agent concepts and agency detection, Religion, Brain and Behavior, 6:1, 4-33, DOL: 10.1080/2153599X.2014.93344

[13]Ibid., 4

[14]Ibid., 5.

[15]Ibid., 5. A.K. Willard and A. Norenzayan, “Cognative Biases Explain Religious Belief and belief in life's purpose,” Cognition 129 (2013), 379-391. T. Reikki, M.Litterman, et. al. “Paranormal and religious believers are more prone to illusary face perception than skeptics and none believers.” applied cognitive psychology 27 (2013) 150-155, and R. Petrican and C.T. Burris, “Am I a Stone? Over attribution of agency and Religious Orientation,” Religion and Spirituality 4 (2012), 312-323.

[16]Ibid., 6. J. Bulbulia, “The Cognitive and Evolutionary Psychology of Religion,” Biology and Philosophy 19, (2004) 655-686, A. Lisdorf, “What's HIDD'n in the HADD,” Journal of Cognition and Culture 7, (2007), 341-353, and R. McKay and C. Efferson, “Subtitles of Error Management,” Evolution and Human Behavior, 31 (5)(2010) 309-319.

Wednesday, June 08, 2022

Mystical Experience More than Gut Feeling

I've been doing apologetics on the net since 1998. In that time I have noticed that many if not most atheists think of religious experience as "gut feeling." Of course they think of gut feelings as totally unreliable. There is evidence that gut instincts are not entirely unreliable.

For the first time, researchers devised a technique to measure intuition. After using this method, they found evidence that people can use their intuition to make faster, more accurate and more confident decisions, according to the findings, published online in April in the journal Psychological Science. The study shows that intuition does, indeed, exist and that researchers can measure it, said Joel Pearson, an associate professor of psychology at the University of New South Wales in Australia and the lead author of the study.[1]

In another study:

"For the participants who had been asked to use their intuition, however, expertise made a huge difference – vastly increasing the accuracy of their gut reactions. Indeed, the experts using their intuitions were about 20% more accurate than those using analysis alone."[2] Still further research indicates:"Intuition alone can guide the right choice."[3] I am sure those studies will be attacked, but that's not what I want to talk about.

Religious experience (RE) is not merely a gut feeling.Religious experience is a broad term that refers to a range of experience; "mystical" is a subset of that category. "mystical" experience is not a synonym for all religious experience but is a particle kind of experience.Mystical expeience is to religious experience in general as empirical observation is to observation. It is the ultimate, the most accurate and the most advanced. Not everyone has it (although I am of the opinion that everyone can have it).

I do not pretend that what I am about to discuss exhausts the field of RE. I will speak of a few aspects only those I have experienced myself. The aspects I will discuss are:

(1) Presence

(2) still small voice

(3) Mystical experience.

The feeling of God's presence is one of the first experiences I had that changed my outlook from naturalism to supernaturalism. Its just a sense that someone is there, not unlike the feeling of being watched when one is alone. That describes the sensation; it does not link the two as produced by the same cause. I first experienced this the night I had my born again experience.I had just prayed and asked God to let me know him and dedicated y life to hi. Suddenly I began to feel a strong sense thatI wasn't alone in the room, The person with me loved me. This feeling has continued whenever I pray. That was Easter, 1979.

That is quite different from merely a gut feeling. The sense of presence is not gut. It's more like all over. The feeling of being watched is not a gut feeling. I'm drawing an analogy. I'm not saying the sense of God's presence is related to the feeling of being watched. That sense of presence is clean, loving and holy. It pervades with a sense of holiness that can fall over a room. In my experience one must grow into a sense of apprehending this phenonenon.

I also equote the presence with certain physical sensations that I've experienced since the beginning. One Of them is burning palms. The palms of my hands would get very hot asI prayed and praised God. I talked with others about this it's  quite a common experience among Charismatics and pentecostals. I had a friend whose palms burned so hot could not hold hands with her in prayers, Once she was cut while making dinner we prayed for her. I placed my handover hers the back of her hand to pray andI felt head coming up from the palm to the top of the andand through the bandage. Another aspect was magnetic lie force whenI prayed,it pulled my arms up. That is why I began raising hands when I pray.

Of these three experiences the still small voice is closest to being a gut feeling. It is not an audible voice but more like the effect of being spoken to. Not to say hearing words but just knowing a thing is right or true. It's still and small because it's subtle.

Mystical experience is too complex to go into deeply. I wrote a whole book about it.[4] Essentially there are two kinds of Mystical experience, imtorvertove and extrovertive. Mystical experience is the experience of God beyond word, thought or image. Extrovertive can be described images to soeextet because it involves a sense of God providing the natural world.

What makes an experience mystical?:

a. a sense of getting a look behind the scenes at the meaning of life.

b. a sense of the undifferentiated unity of all things

c. a sense of all pervasive love of God or the divine.

d. extrovertive is keyed through nature, a sense of the unity of all nature is key. Iterovertove cannot be described as the basic idea of mystical s that the experience is beyond words.

I had a powerful experience while praying in the foothills of the Sandia mountains outside Albuquerque New Mexico. I sensed the presence of God everywhere and in all things. God was radiating from the rocks and dirt, the mountain, the scrub brush,sticks on the ground. Then I felt as if a door opened in the sky and Jesus came,I knew it was Jesus there though I saw nothing. Then I was being taken up into space and I felt I understood all things. Life seemed beautiful and miraculous and like a gift of God.Then I had to sleep. it was all strung together by a great unity of God's presence. That was an extrovertive mystical experience.

Transformative effects

The experience is good for us. It changes the experiencer across the board. These effects are well documented by that huge body of empirical research. They include self actualization, therapeutic effects that actually enhance healing form mental problems, less depression better mental outlook and so on. The placebo argument is neutralized because Placebos require expectation and a large portion of mystical experience is not expected. It’s not something people usually set out to have.
Gut feelings don't transform your life but mystical experience is transformational.

also see [5]

Sources and Notes

[1]Cari Nierenberg,"The Science of Intuition: How to Measure 'Hunches' and 'Gut Feelings,'" Live Science(May 20, 2016),accessed 6/7/22.

[2]David Robson, "Intuition: When is it right to trust your gut instincts?" BBC Worklife (4th April 2022), accessed 6/7/22.

[3]Staff "Going with your gut feeling: Intuition alone can guide right choice, study suggests"Science Daily(November 8, 2012), accessed 6/7/22.

[4] Joseph Hinman, The Trace of God:Rational Warrant for Belief. Grand Viaduct Publishing, Colorado Springs, 2014.

[5]Joseph Hinman."The Empirical Study of Mystical Experience (2) : Brain Structure Objection" The Religious A priori 2010., accessed 6/7/22.

Sunday, June 05, 2022

HADD Turnaround: It's evidence of God

Anders Lisdorf "Evolutionary Psychology attributes the origins of religion to something they call the hyperactive agency detection device" (HADD).'s_HIDD'n_in_the_HADD

The consensus in the cognitive science of religion is that some sort of hyperactive agency detection in the human mind is responsible for the origin and spread of beliefs in superhuman agents such as gods, spirits and ancestors among human populations. While it is expressed differently in different authors, they all agree that hyperactive agency detection is a basic function of human cognition. Most well known perhaps is the formulation of this by Justin Barrett as the Hyperactive Agency Detection Device or HADD. Problems, however, arise when we begin to consider the neural basis of this: It doesn't add up, or more precisely the HADD does not work that way. Like the magician pulling rabbits from the hat this explanation may be a "self"-conjuring trick, only for us the hat is a HADD and the rabbits are superhuman agents (no reference to were-rabbits intended). This paper will try to point to a more parsimonious explanation[1]
Elizabeth Palermo tells us:

"HADD is the mechanism that

lets humans perceive that many things have 'agency,' or the ability to act of their own accord. This understanding of how the world worked facilitated the rapid decision-making process that humans had to go through when they heard a rustling in the grass. (Lions act of their own accord. Better run.)"[2]

HADD is seen by many in evolutionary psychology as the origin of religion. Religious ideas emerged as a side effect. Humans began to extrapolate to attribute agency to things that don't have agency such as the wind perhaps.[3] Then of course they went on too attribute meaning to the "actions" of supposed agents such as wind and rain.[4] This reduces religion to a naturalistic origin and is being touted by some atheists as a good probabilistic disproof of God.[5] "When debunkers of religious belief appeal to hyperactive agency detection, they are already assuming that the agent that is being detected (e.g., God) is of the false-positive kind, the sound in the dark room. But I don't see how they can assume this in a non-question begging sense.”[6]

Anthropomorphism, operationalized as the tendency to project human-like attributes to non-human entities, was not related to belief in God in our model. In our adult sample, it was not related to belief in God even in a zero-order correlation. This may be surprising given theories that argue that anthropomorphism and hyperactive agency detection are an underlying feature of all supernatural belief (Barrett, 2000, 2004, 2008; Guthrie, 1993, 1996)[7]
Anders Lisdorf finds that HADD doesn't work according to what we know about the adaptive process:

supplying  an  evolutionary  explanation about how a stipulated cognitive function would have been adaptive is some-times detrimental to understanding the phenomenon at hand. Because of the eagerness and easiness with which an adaptive function was supplied, reflection on the phenomenon. Further reflection and research into philoso-phy and neuroscience would have revealed the insuffi ciency of the argument, and led to what I have presented here. In short, we should be wary of supplying ultimate explanations  for phenomena whose proximate explanations are not sufficiently worked out.[8]
Helen De Cruz:finds the atheists are begging the question:

…sometimes agency detection does go awry, as when we hear wooden planks creak in an old house and form the belief that there's a burglar in the house. But many more times, we form the belief that there is an agent, when there actually is an agent (e.g., when you see someone walking across the street from you on a clear day. When debunkers of religious belief appeal to hyperactive agency detection, they are already assuming that the agent that is being detected (e.g., God) is of the false-positive kind, the sound in the dark room. But I don't see how they can assume this in a non-question begging sense.”[9]
Even if we assum, HADD is correct there i no way they can prove the phenomenon is not placed in us by God so we can intuate his presence. The atheist is merely begging the question. their circular reasoning says there is no God therefore any evidence for God must be false.Then they assert God can't effect nature things so any naturalistic effects must be just naturalistic in origin. Bit HADD is a natural God argument. What are the odds that this accident of the neural net would produce so powerful it leads to a mistake that 90% of humans swear by? Agency detection works well enough to get primitive humans out the jungle so to speak, why not assume it's there by design?

End Notes

[1]Anders Lisdorf,"Evolutionary Psychology attributes the origins of religion to something they call the hyperactive agency detection device" (HADD). Research Gate, (sept 2007)'s_HIDD'n_in_the_HADD

IT University of Copenhagen [2] Elizabeth Palermo,"The Origins of Religion: How Supernatural Beliefs Evolved." Live Science,(October 05, 2015)

[3] Ibid. [4] Clark quoted in Palermo (James Clark, a senior research fellow at the Kaufman Interfaith Institute at Grand Valley State University in Michigan.) [5]Helen De Cruz, “Thoughts on Evolutionary Debunking Arguments Against Religious Belief” (Sept 2012): Online.

[6] Ibid. [7] Aiyana K. Willard and Ara Norenzayan, "Cognitive biases explain religious belief, paranormal belief, and belief in life’s purpose," Cognition

no publication date given, Article history: Received 4 March 2013 Revised 25 July 2013 Accepted 27 July 2013.6.2

They site the orignal article: [Aiyana K. Willard, Ara Norenzayan “Cognitive biases explain religious belief, paranormal belief, and belief in life’s purpose.” Cognition 129 (2013): 379-391.] [8]Anders Lisdorf op cit 350 [9]Helen De Cruz op cit