Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Argument from Religious Experience (for existence of God)

I am going to make a multi-part discussion on the evidence for the existence of God. This is because I'm sick of atheists saying there isn't any. I am goimg to discuss my version of the five proofs. These are the one's I like best. I do not argue to prove that God exists but to show that bleief is warranted through reason and other evidence.Here are the five arguments I will discusss:

1 Argument from Religious experiece (codetermenate)
2 Argumemt from Transcendental signifiers
3 The Cosmological argumemt
4 The Fine tuning argumemt
5 Hartshorne's Modal argument


(1)There are real affects from Mystical experince.

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

(3)Since the affects of Mystical consciousness are independent of other explaintions we should assume that they are genuine.

(4)We should assume that the object is real since the affects are real, or that the affects are the result of some higher reailty.

(5)The true measure of the reality of the co-dterminate is the transfomrative power of the affects (ie what it does in your life).

Actually my favorite version of this argumemt is what I call the Thomas Reid argumemt. It invovles the background data, For moreimfo on this versioon see Here.

(1) we trust perceptions that work for us in navigating the world

(2) we juge by criteria: Refular, Cinsistant,and shared.

(3) RE fits this criteria

(4 )enables navigation

(5) :. we are warranted to trust RE as indicative of a real object which is transformative in thyelivesof believers.


Real Affects of Mystical Experince Imply Co-determinate

A. Study and Nature of Mystical Experiences

Mystical experince is only one aspect of religious experince, but I will focuss on it in this argument. Most other kinds of religious expeince are difficult to study since they are more subjective and have less dramatic results. But mystical experince can actually be measured empirically in terms of its affects, and can be compared favorably to other forms of conscious states.It displys these aspects:

1) Primarily Religious

Transpersonal Childhood Experiences of Higher States of Consciousness: Literature Review and Theoretical Integrationm (unpublished paper 1992 by Jayne Gackenback

Gackenback website is Spiritwatch


"The experience of pure consciousness is typically called "mystical". The essence of the mystical experience has been debated for years (Horne, 1982). It is often held that "mysticism is a manifestation of something which is at the root of all religions (p. 16; Happold, 1963)." The empirical assessment of the mystical experience in psychology has occurred to a limited extent."

2) Defining charactoristics.


"In a recent review of the mystical experience Lukoff and Lu (1988) acknowledged that the "definition of a mystical experience ranges greatly (p. 163)." Maslow (1969) offered 35 definitions of "transcendence", a term often associated with mystical experiences and used by Alexander et al. to refer to the process of accessing PC."

Lukoff (1985) identified five common characteristics of mystical experiences which could be operationalized for assessment purposes. They are:

1. Ecstatic mood, which he identified as the most common feature;
2. Sense of newly gained knowledge, which includes a belief that the mysteries of life have been revealed;
3. Perceptual alterations, which range from "heightened sensations to auditory and visual hallucinations (p. 167)";
4. Delusions (if present) have themes related to mythology, which includes an incredible range diversity and range;
5. No conceptual disorganization, unlike psychotic persons those with mystical experiences do NOT suffer from disturbances in language and speech. It can be seen from the explanation of PC earlier that this list of qualities overlaps in part those delineated by Alexander et al.

3)Studies use Empirical Instruments.

Many skeptics have argued that one cannot study mystical experince scientifically. But it has been done many times, in fact there are a lot of studies and even empirical scales for measurement.



"Three empirical instruments have been developed to date. They are the Mysticism Scale by Hood (1975), a specific question by Greeley (1974) and the State of Consciousness Inventory by Alexander (1982; Alexander, Boyer, & Alexander, 1987). Hood's (1975) scale was developed from conceptual categories identified by Stace (1960). Two primary factors emerged from the factor analysis of the 32 core statements. First is a general mysticism factor, which is defined as an experience of unity, temporal and spatial changes, inner subjectivity and ineffability. A second factor seems to be a measure of peoples tendency to view intense experiences within a religious framework. A much simpler definition was developed by Greeley (1974), "Have you ever felt as though you were very close to a powerful, spiritual force that seemed to lift you out of yourself?" This was used by him in several national opinion surveys. In a systematic study of Greeley's question Thomas and Cooper (1980) concluded that responses to that question elicited experiences whose nature varied considerably. Using Stace's (1960) work they developed five criteria, including awesome emotions; feeling of oneness with God, nature or the universe; and a sense of the ineffable. They found that only 1% of their yes responses to Greeley's question were genuine mystical experiences. Thus Hood's scale seems to be the more widely used of these two broad measures of mysticism. It has received cross cultural validation" (Holm, 1982; Caird, 1988).

4) Incidence.


Quote: "Several studies have looked at the incidence of mystical experiences. Greeley (1974) found 35% agreement to his question while Back and Bourque (1970) reported increases in frequency of these sorts of experiences from about 20% in 1962 to about 41% in 1967 to the question "Would you say that you have ever had a 'religious or mystical experience' that is, a moment of sudden religious awakening or insight?" Greeley (1987) reported a similar figure for 1973".

"The most researched inventory is the State of Consciousness Inventory (SCI; reviewed in Alexander, Boyer, and Alexander, 1987). The authors say "the SCI was designed for quantitative assessment of frequency of experiences of higher states of consciousness as defined in Vedic Psychology (p. 100)."

"In this case items were constructed from first person statements of practitioners of that meditative tradition, but items were also drawn from other authority literatures. Additional subscales were added to differentiate these experiences from normal waking experience, neurotic experience, and schizophrenic experience. Finally, a misleading item scale was added. These authors conceptualize the "mystical" experience as one which can momentarily occur in the process of the development of higher states of consciousness. For them the core state of consciousness is pure consciousness and from it develops these higher states of consciousness.

Whereas most researchers on mystical experiences study them as isolated or infrequent experiences with little if any theoretical "goal" for them, this group contextualizes them in a general model of development (Alexander et al., 1990) with their permanent establishment in an individual as a sign of the first higher state of consciousness. They point out that "during any developmental period, when awareness momentarily settles down to its least excited state, pure consciousness [mystical states] can be experienced (p. 310). " In terms of incidence they quote Maslow who felt that in the population at large less than one in 1,000 have frequent "peak" experiences so that the "full stabilization of a higher stage of consciousness appears to an event of all but historic significance (p. 310)."

"Virtually all of researchers using the SCI are very careful to distinguish the practice of meditation from the experience of pure consciousness, explaining that the former merely facilitates the latter. They also go to great pains to show that their multiple correlation's of health and well-being are strongest to the transcendent experience than to the entire practice of meditation (for psychophysiological review see Wallace, 1987; for individual difference review see Alexander et al., 1987;

B. Long-Term Positive Effects of Mystical Experience

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.

Roger Walsh (1980). The consciousness disciplines and the behavioral sciences: Questions of comparison and assessment. American Journal of Psychiatry, 137(6), 663-673.

Lester Grinspoon and James Bakalar (1983). ``Psychedelic Drugs in Psychiatry'' in Psychedelic Drugs Reconsidered, New York: Basic Books.

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 is
Meditate 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.''

Abraham Maslow (1968). Toward a Psychology of Being, Second edition, -- pages iii-iv.

2) States of consciousness and mystical experiences
The ego has problems:
the ego is a problem.

``Within the Western model we recognize and define psychosis as a suboptimal state of consciousness that views reality in a distorted way and does not recognize that distortion. It is therefore important to note that from the mystical perspective our usual state fits all the criteria of psychosis, being suboptimal, having a distorted view of reality, yet not recognizing that distortion. Indeed from the ultimate mystical perspective, psychosis can be defined as being trapped in, or attached to, any one state of consciousness, each of which by itself is necessarily limited and only relatively real.'' -- page 665

Roger Walsh (1980). The consciousness disciplines and the behavioral sciences:
Questions of comparison and assessment. American Journal of Psychiatry, 137(6), 663-673.

3) Therapeutic effects of peak experiences

``It is assumed that if, as is often said, one traumatic event can shape a life, one therapeutic event can reshape it. Psychedelic therapy has an analogue in Abraham Maslow's idea of the peak experience. The drug taker feels somehow allied to or merged with a higher power; he becomes convinced the self is part of a much larger pattern, and the sense of cleansing, release, and joy makes old woes seem trivial.'' -- page 132
Lester Grinspoon and James Bakalar (1983). ``Psychedelic Drugs in Psychiatry'' in Psychedelic Drugs Reconsidered, New York: Basic Books.

Transpersonal Childhood Experiences of Higher States of Consciousness: Literature Review and Theoretical Integration. Unpublished paper by Jayne Gackenback, (1992)

"These states of being also result in behavioral and health changes. Ludwig (1985) found that 14% of people claiming spontaneous remission from alcoholism was due to mystical experiences while Richards (1978) found with cancer patients treated in a hallucinogenic drug-assisted therapy who reported mystical experiences improved significantly more on a measure of self-actualization than those who also had the drug but did not have a mystical experience. In terms of the Vedic Psychology group they report a wide range of positive behavioral results from the practice of meditation and as outlined above go to great pains to show that it is the transcendence aspect of that practice that is primarily responsible for the changes. Thus improved performance in many areas of society have been reported including education and business as well as personal health states (reviewed and summarized in Alexander et al., 1990). Specifically, the Vedic Psychology group have found that mystical experiences were associated with "refined sensory threshold and enhanced mind-body coordination (p. 115; Alexander et al., 1987)."

(4) Greater happiness

by Michael E. Nielsen, PhD

Many people expect religion to bring them happiness. Does this actually seem to be the case? Are religious people happier than nonreligious people? And if so, why might this be?

Researchers have been intrigued by such questions. Most studies have simply asked people how happy they are, although studies also may use scales that try to measure happiness more subtly than that. In general, researchers who have a large sample of people in their study tend to limit their measurement of happiness to just one or two questions, and researchers who have fewer numbers of people use several items or scales to measure happiness.

What do they find? In a nutshell, they find that people who are involved in religion also report greater levels of happiness than do those who are not religious. For example, one study involved over 160,000 people in Europe. Among weekly churchgoers, 85% reported being "very satisfied" with life, but this number reduced to 77% among those who never went to church (Inglehart, 1990). This kind of pattern is typical -- religious involvement is associated with modest increases in happiness

Argyle, M., and Hills, P. (2000). Religious experiences and their relations with happiness and personality. The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 10, 157-172.

Inglehart, R. (1990). Culture shift in advanced industrial society. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Monday, August 29, 2022

Faith is not belief without evidence

I am tired of hearing atheists say "faith is believing things without evidence." No  definition of faith in Christianity says that.Let's Get this out of the way up front. Heb 11:1: faith is the substance of things to be hoped for, the argument (argumentum) of things that are not apparent.Most translations say "evidence of things not seen."This does not say faith is belief without evidence it says faith itself is a kind of evidence because it points to the reality that caused one to have faith.

The most important dictionary in theology is the Westminster Dictionary of Christian Theology. There are two kinds, one for theologians and one for ideas. Let's consult the latter.

faith (Gr. pistis, Lat. fides, “trust,” “belief”) In Christianity, belief, trust, and obedience to God as revealed in Jesus Christ. It is the means of salvation (Eph. 2:8–9) or eternal life (John 6:40). Faith affects all dimensions of one’s existence: intellect, emotions, and will. See also salvation.[1]
According to that definition there is nothing like a lack of evidence. There Is no hint that faith involves a lack of evidence. Consulting the same source for different uses of the term "faith:"

faith, explicit (Lat. fides explicita) Faith in that of which one has knowledge. Thus the term may be understood as referring to what one professes to believe because of what is known.[2]
Here faith is equated with knowledge. Since evidence involves knowledge and builds on knowledge it would seem that faith is actually dependent upon evidence rather than being without it.

faith, implicit (Lat. fides implicita) The Roman Catholic view that one believes as true “what the church believes,” even without certain knowledge. It was rejected by the Protestant Reformers as a true faith because the element of knowledge was lacking.[3]]
The Catholic view seems closer to being without evidence, but not an exact fit. In any case that view was rejected by the reformers and is not really compatible with the Protestant view.The Protestant view rests upon knowledge, which again, would have to involve evidence at some point. Thus direct contradiction to the atheist bromide.

Then we turn to the protestant notion of "saving faith." That is faith that saves. Remember Paul tells us salvation is by Grace through faith:“For by grace you have been saved through faith” (Ephesians 2:8).

faith, saving. The gift of God through the Holy Spirit whereby one accepts and believes the promises of the Gospel as the reception of salvation through the life and the work of Jesus Christ. One is incorporated into Christ, participates in his benefits, and is an heir of eternal life.[4]
No indication is given that there is no preliminary basis for belief which might involve evidence.Before one can trust God one must believe that God is. None of these definitions preclude basing that initial belief upon evidence. It is after one accepts the conviction that God is real that faith might supersede evidence in matters such as trusting God for salvation.

Let's turn to some major figures in Christian theology to see if they define faith as belief without evidence:

St. Augustine

Faith, to Augustine, is a humble posture of seeking and confession, in which the individual confesses their sin and brokenness before God, and by his Grace, is cleansed. The individual surrenders to the God who is already present in the soul. This initial work begins the process of cleansing the soul so that it can see clearly. As the individual continues to seek God, the soul is continually cleansed as a gracious process, which slowly flakes away the filth of the Fall. Augustine believed that much could be known through Platonic meditation: eternal things and God’s presence could be apprehended, but God could be known only for a moment.[5]
Thomas Aquinas
Popular accounts of religion sometimes construe faith as a blind, uncritical acceptance of myopic doctrine.  According to Richard Dawkins, “faith is a state of mind that leads people to believe something—it doesn’t matter what—in the total absence of supporting evidence...Such a view of faith might resonate with contemporary skeptics of religion.  But as we shall see, this view is not remotely like the one Aquinas—or historic Christianity for that matter—endorses.

To begin with, Aquinas takes faith to be an intellectual virtue or habit, the object of which is God (ST IIaIIae 1.1;  4.2).  There are other things that fall under the purview of faith, such as the doctrine of the Trinity and the Incarnation.  But we do not affirm these specific doctrines unless they have some relation to God.  According to Aquinas, these doctrines serve to explicate God’s nature and provide us with a richer understanding of the one in whom our perfect happiness consists (Ibid.).[6]
Here again knowledge, an intellectual thing, compatible with evidence. How could faith be based upon knowledge and be an intellectual act and yet without evidence? By intellectual he means one consciously assents to belief.

Marin Luther

... faith is God's work in us, that changes us and gives new birth from God. (John 1:13). It kills the Old Adam and makes us completely different people. It changes our hearts, our spirits, our thoughts and all our powers. It brings the Holy Spirit with it. Yes, it is a living, creative, active and powerful thing, this faith. Faith cannot help doing good works constantly. It doesn't stop to ask if good works ought to be done, but before anyone asks, it already has done them and continues to do them without ceasing. Anyone who does not do good works in this manner is an unbeliever. He stumbles around and looks for faith and good works, even though he does not know what faith or good works are. Yet he gossips and chatters about faith and good works with many words.

Faith is a living, bold trust in God's grace, so certain of God's favor that it would risk death a thousand times trusting in it. Such confidence and knowledge of God's grace makes you happy, joyful and bold in your relationship to God and all creatures. The Holy Spirit makes this happen through faith. Because of it, you freely, willingly and joyfully do good to everyone, serve everyone, suffer all kinds of things, love and praise the God who has shown you such grace.[7]
John Wesley
With a deep conviction, Wesley repeatedly stresses the necessity of faith. ‘Saving faith is a sure trust and confidence which a man has in God, that by the merits of Christ his sins are forgiven, and he is reconciled to the favour of God.’1 It is also clear that Wesley sees faith as a gift of God, although he does not emphasize that very much.[8]
There is an initial coming to faith where one decides "I do believe in God." In that stage evidence is not a contradiction to belief. Most of the activity of faith involves personal trust in God's salvation and his providential  care. In this regard evidece is irrelivant, unless we want to think of the content of personal experience of God as evidence.It is evidence of God's goodness. I think for the most part evidence is irrelevant to faith. Faith is not belief without evidence, it's the content of a relationship with God and is based upon the private experience of God's love.


[1] "Faith,"  The Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms,SECOND EDITION, Revised and Expanded,Donald K. McKim ed.,Louiscille Kentucky:John Knox Press, 2014.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Mark Hansard, "Faith and Reason, Part 2 Augustine," Intervaristy: Emerging Scholars Network, (August 18,2018)

[6]Shawn Floyd,"Aquinas Philosoph8ical Theology,"Internet Encyclopedia of Philosphy,

[7]An excerpt from "An Introduction to St. Paul's Letter to the Romans," Luther's German Bible of 1522 by Martin Luther, 1483-1546.

Translated by Rev. Robert E. Smith from DR. MARTIN LUTHER'S VERMISCHTE DEUTSCHE SCHRIFTEN. Johann K. Irmischer, ed. Vol. 63 Erlangen: Heyder and Zimmer, 1854), pp.124-125. [EA 63:124-125]

[8]J. W. Maris, "John Wesley's Concept of Faith," Christian Library taken from Lux Mundi 2010

Joseph Hinman's new book is God, Science and Ideology. Hinman argues 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 adherer's to science in certain instances. This ideology, "scientism," assumes that science is the only valid form of knowledge and rules out religious belief. Hinman argues that science is neutral with respect to belief in God … In this book Hinman with atheist positions on topics such as consciousness and the nature of knowledge, puts to rest to arguments of Lawrence M. Krauss, Victor J. Stenger, and Richard Dawkins, and delimits the areas for potential God arguments.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Things we can all see, hear, and Smell.

Here is a recent statement on a blog by an atheist that well illustrates a major attitude of skepticism and new atheists that one encounters all over the net.

Roger Higman:

But God is a figment of your imagination. S/he can't be seen,heard or sensed in any way and all claims for what s/he thinks or says are just figments of the imagination of other people. At least science is based on things we can all see, hear, smell and taste.[1]

He must mean things like sub atomic strings, dark matter, quarks, nuetrinos,the big bang, and other things we clearly see and smell every day? As for figments of imagination I demonstrated in The Trace of God that 200 peer reviewed studies in journal articles demonstrate that mystical experince is good for you and that it is a valid experiece of something that is being experienced with the same qualia by people from all faiths all over the world.[2] Thus it seems God has more of a basis in empirical evidence than do subatomic particles.

Here is Part of an article I wrote for this blog back in 2020,"Can Science really Prove The Basis of Modern Physics?" (JULY 13, 2020):

Are there realms beyond the natural? Of course there can be no direct evidence, even a direct look at them would stand apart from our received version of reality and thus be suspect. The plaintive cry of the materialists that “there is no evidence for the supernatural” is fallacious to the core. How can there be evidence when any evidence that might be would automatically be suspect? Moreover, science itself gives us reason to think there might be. Quantum physics is about unseen realms, but they are the world of the extremely tiny. This is the fundamental basis of reality, what’s beneath or behind everything. They talk about “particles” but in reality they are not particles. They are not bits of stuff. They are not solid matter.[3] Treating particles as points is also problematic. This is where string theory comes in. This is where string theory comes in. In string theory fundamental particles aren't treated as zero-dimensional points. Instead they are one-dimensional vibrating strings or loops. The maths is hair-raising, and the direct evidence non-existent, but it does provide a way out of the current theoretical cul-de-sac. It even provides a route to unifying gravity with the other three fundamental forces - a problem which has baffled the best brains for decades. The problem is, you need to invoke extra dimensions to make the equations work in string-theory and its variants: 10 spacetime dimensions to be precise. Or 11 (M-theory). Or maybe 26. In any case, loads more dimensions than four.

So where are they then? One idea is that they are right under our noses, but compacted to the quantum scale so that they are imperceptible. "Hang on a minute", you might think,"How can you ever prove the existence of something that, by definition, is impossible to perceive?" It's a fair point, and there are scientists who criticize string theory for its weak predictive power and testability. Leaving that to one side, how can you conceptualize extra dimensions?[4] There is no direct evidence of these unseen realms and they may be unprovable. Why are they assumed with such confidence and yet reductionists make the opposite assumption about spiritual realms? It’s not because the quantum universe realms are tangible or solid or material they are not. Scientists can’t really describe what they are, except that they are mathematical. In fact why can’t they be the same realms?

Then there’s the concept of the multiverse. This is not subatomic in size but beyond our space/time continuum. These would be other universes perhaps like our own, certainly the size of our own, but beyond our realm of space/time. Some scientists accept the idea that the same rules would apply in all of these universes, but some don’t.

Beyond it [our cosmic visual horizon—42 billion light years] could be many—even infinitely many—domains much like the one we see. Each has a different initial distribution of matter, but the same laws of physics operate in all. Nearly all cosmologists today (including me) accept this type of multiverse, which Max Tegmark calls “level 1.” Yet some go further. They suggest completely different kinds of universes, with different physics, different histories, maybe different numbers of spatial dimensions. Most will be sterile, although some will be teeming with life. A chief proponent of this “level 2” multiverse is Alexander Vilenkin, who paints a dramatic picture of an infinite set of universes with an infinite number of galaxies, an infinite number of planets and an infinite number of people with your name who are reading this article.[5]
Well there are two important things to note here. First, that neither string theory nor multiverse may ever be proved empirically. There’s a professor at Columbia named Peter Woit who writes the blog Not Even Wrong dedicated to showing that string theory can’t be proved.[6] There is no proof for it or against it. It can’t be disproved so it can’t be proved either.[7] That means the idea will be around for a long time because without disproving it they can’t get rid of it. Yet without any means of disproving it, it can’t be deemed a scientific fact. Remember it’s not about proving things, it's about disproving them. Yet science is willing to consider their possibility and takes them quite seriously. There is no empirical evidence of these things. They posit the dimensions purely as a mathematical solution so the equations work not because they have any real evidence.[8]

We could make the argument that we have several possibilities for other worlds and those possibilities suggest more: we have the idea of being “outside time.” There’s no proof that this is a place one can actually go to, but the idea of it suggests the possibility, there’s the world of antimatter, there are worlds in string membranes, and there are other dimensions tucked away and folded into our own. In terms of the multiverse scientists might argue that they conceive of these as “naturalistic.” They would be like our world with physical laws and hard material substances and physical things. As we have seen there are those who go further and postulate the “rules change” idea. We probably should assume the rules work the same way because its all we know. We do assume this in making God arguments such as the cosmological argument. Yet the possibility exists that there could be other realms that are not physical and not “natural” as we know that concept. The probability of that increases when we realize that these realms are beyond our space/time thus they are beyond the domain of our cause and effect, and we know as “natural.” It really all goes back to the philosophical and ideological assumption about rules. There is no way to prove it either way. Ruling out the possibility of a spiritual realm based upon the fact that we don’t live in it would be stupid. The idea that “we never see any proof of it” is basically the same thing as saying “we don’t live it so it must not exist.” Of course this field is going to be suspect, and who can blame the critics? Anyone with a penchant for the unknown can set up shop and speculate about what might be “out there.” Yet science itself offers the possibility in the form of modern physics, the only rationale for closing that off is the distaste for religion.

All that is solid melts into air

This line by Marx deals with society, social and political institutions, but in thinking about the topic of SN it suggests a very different issue. The reductionist/materialists and phsyicalists assume and often argue that there is no proof of anything not material and not ' ‘physical” (energy is a form of matter).  The hard tangible nature of the physical is taken as the standard for reality while the notion of something beyond our ability to dietetic is seen in a skeptical way, even though the major developments in physics are based upon it. Is the physical world as tangible and solid as we think? Science talks about “particles” and constructs models of atoms made of wooden tubes and little balls this gives us the psychological impression that the world of the very tiny is based upon little solid balls. In reality subatomic particles are not made out of little balls, nor are these ‘particles” tangible or solid. In fact we could make a strong argument that no one even knows what they are made of.

We keep talking about "particles", but this word doesn't adequately sum up the type of matter that particle physicists deal with. In physics, particles aren't usually tiny bits of stuff. When you start talking about fundamental particles like quarks that have a volume of zero, or virtual particles that have no volume and pop in and out of existence just like that, it is stretching the everyday meaning of the word "particle" a bit far. Thinking about particles as points sooner or later leads the equations up a blind alley. Understanding what is happening at the smallest scale of matter needs a new vocabulary, new maths, and very possibly new dimensions. This is where string theory comes in. In string theory fundamental particles aren't treated as zero-dimensional points. Instead they are one-dimensional vibrating strings or loops. The maths is hair-raising, and the direct evidence non-existent, but it does provide a way out of the current theoretical cul-de-sac. It even provides a route to unifying gravity with the other three fundamental forces - a problem which has baffled the best brains for decades. The problem is, you need to invoke extra dimensions to make the equations work in string-theory and its variants: 10 spacetime dimensions to be precise. Or 11 (M-theory). Or maybe 26. In any case, loads more dimensions than 4.[9]
Particles are not solid; they are not very tiny chunks of solid stuff. They have no volume nor do they have the kind of stable existence we do. They “pop” in and out of existence! This is not proof for the supernatural. It might imply that the seeming solidity of “reality” is illusory. There are two kinds of subatomic particles, elementary and composite. Composites are made out of smaller particles. Now we hear it said that elementary particles are not made out of other particles. It’s substructure is unknown. They may or may not be made of smaller particles. That means we really don’t know what subatomic particles are made of. That means scientists are willing to believe in things they don’t understand.[10] While it is not definite enough to prove anything except that we don’t know the basis of reality, it does prove that and also the possibilities for the ultimate truth of this are still wide open. To rule out “the supernatural '' (by the wrong concept) on the assumption that we have no scientific proof of it is utterly arrogance and bombast. For all we know what we take to be solid unshakable reality might be nothing more than God’s day dream. Granted, there is end to the spinning of moon beams and we can talk all day about what ‘might be,’ so we need evidence and arguments to warrant the placing of confidence in propositions. We have confidence in placing evidence; it doesn’t have to be scientific although some of it is. That will come in the next chapter. The point here is that there is no basis for the snide dismissal of concepts such as supernatural and supernature.


[1]"The God Cpnsclusion,"Facebook, No date given.¬if_id=1660685142035948¬if_t=feed_comment_reply&ref=notif

[2]Joseph Hinman, The Trace of God: Rational Warrant for Belief, 2014,' On Amazon: In this, my first book, I discuss a body of scientific work in psychology (200 studies going back to the 1960s The jist of these studes is that relgioius experomce is an experience of something real.Although we cant [rove that God is the thimg experoence thyatis the best explaination.

[3] “are there other dimensions,” Large Hadron Collider. Website. Science and Facilities Council, 2012 URL:

[4] Ibid.

[5] George F.R. Ellis. “Does the Miltiverse Really Exist [preview]” Scientific American (July 19, 2011) On line version URL: George F.R. Ellis is Professor Emeritus in Mathematics at University of Cape Town. He’s been professor of Cosmic Physics at SISSA (Trieste)

[6] Peter Woit, Not Even Wrong, Posted on September 18, 2012 by woi blog, URL:

[7] ibid, “Welcome to the Multiverse,” Posted on May 21, 2012 by woit URL:

[8] Mohsen Kermanshahi. Universal Theory. “String Theory.” Website URL:

[9] STFC ibid, op cit. [10] Giorgio Giacomelli; Maurizio Spurio Particles and Fundamental Interactions: An Introduction to Particle Physics (2nd ed.). Italy: Springer-Verlag, science and Business media, 2009, pp. 1–3.


Joseph Hinman's new book is God, Science and Ideology. Hinman argues 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 adherer's to science in certain instances. This ideology, "scientism," assumes that science is the only valid form of knowledge and rules out religious belief. Hinman argues that science is neutral with respect to belief in God … In this book Hinman with atheist positions on topics such as consciousness and the nature of knowledge, puts to rest to arguments of Lawrence M. Krauss, Victor J. Stenger, and Richard Dawkins, and delimits the areas for potential God arguments.

Monday, August 22, 2022

Does Gratuitous Evil Disprove God?

Atheist philosopher Stephen Law thinks gratuitous evil disproves God. but by disprove he really means makes God's existence less probable. Of course I will argue against this notion.

Gratuitous evil (GE) is evil that has no point, no redeeming social value. Some forms of evil lead to good things. For example poverty might make some people patient, kind, compassionate, or in some way result in a good. An example of gratuitous evil would be a child dying of leukemia. No one is made better. The child doesn't live to understand a lesson and the child suffers badly while dying. No god comes from this.  Here is Law's argument:

The ‘evidential problem of evil’, as it’s known, as often presented like so:

If god exists, gratuitous evil does not.
Gratuitous evil exists.
Therefore, god does not exist.

‘Evil’ here means either moral evil—the morally bad things we do as free moral agents—or natural evil, which includes the suffering caused not be free moral agents but by natural diseases and disasters. Now god might have reason to allow some evils if that’s the price he must pay for greater goods. However, God presumably won’t allow evils for which there is no such reason. Call such evils gratuitous evils. Surely, if there are gratuitous evils, then there is no god?[1]

Another version of it:

(1) If an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good being existed, that being would not allow gratuitous suffering to occur.
(2) Gratuitous suffering probably does occur.
(3) Therefore, (probably) an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good being does not exist.[2]
There are twp major problems with this argument: (1) The atheist proposes to know what God would do and (2) The atheist proports to know all outcomes such that there can be gratuitous evil with no redepmptive aspects. We do not know either one. It may seem logical that good God would prevent evil andsufferingif he is all powerful. But that is not necessarily the case.We do not know what God would do in every case. God is surprising.We can always come up with some theoretical notion of  redemptive suffering even if we can't prove it in a given instance.

So what could be redemptive about a child dying of leukemia? Nothing yet we can't say that a child's suffering can lead to redemptive effects. But there's another reason why God must allow suffering. Not so much because the enstance of sufferimg will produce some unforeseen good, although perhaps it will. But another reason is God's need to preserve the integrity of the search. What does that mean? In essence it means God can't work miracles every time someone feels pain because there would be no search for the truth of God. Everyone would give lip service and resent God. The search is how we internalize the values of the good. This a complex discussion so  I refer the reader to my free will defense on my old website Doxa. [3]

The atheist purports to know all outcomes. But we can know that there can be redemptive suffering even if we don't see it.We can't really be sure that gratuitous evil exists. Thus it can't render God less probable. The free will defense indicates constrictions upon God's action, It's not beyond his power to prevent suffering but given God's desire for the search he can't use that option.


[1]Stephen Law,"A New Problem of Evil," Forum for Pilosophy (February 29th, 2016)

[2]John Danaher, "What Can Law's Evil God Challenge Do?" Philosophical Disquisitions, (Oct 20 2011)

Law uses GE as a starting point for a strategy involving imagining that is evil He calls it the Evil God Challenge or EGC. I will deal with that notion net time, Here I just want to discuss GE.

[3] Joseph Hinman, "Soteriological Drama: Defending the Free will defense," (no date given--maybe 2010) Joseph Hinman's new book is God, Science and Ideology. Hinman argues 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 adherer's to science in certain instances. This ideology, "scientism," assumes that science is the only valid form of knowledge and rules out religious belief. Hinman argues that science is neutral with respect to belief in God … In this book Hinman with atheist positions on topics such as consciousness and the nature of knowledge, puts to rest to arguments of Lawrence M. Krauss, Victor J. Stenger, and Richard Dawkins, and delimits the areas for potential God arguments.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Summary: GSI

A summary of my new Book: The book God,Science, Ideology (GSI) makes the argument that New atheism is not scientific in its appraisal of God belief, but uses science ideologically. I begin with a discussion of what scientism is, the name I used to tag the atheist ideology of science as the only valid form of knowledge. I Then explore the historical development of this trend,I lay it at the feet of the French Philosophes of the French revolution.

I then discuss the nature of the ideology of scientism and what real science would be and how it differs.Here I plug in some concepts I've used in my interet battles for some time. That is the atheist fortress of facts and the reduction of knowledge to technique. This just reinforces how they manage scientism. Reduction of knowledge to technique means that naturalism is mandated as replacement for metaphysics. Thus if knowledge cannot be transformed into a concrete demonstration it's not worth having; this is an extension of scientism, science is the only valid form of knowledge. Yet this move is not science but ideology.

Here I discuss the issues involving consciousness, The reduction of consciousness to brain chemistry is a reduction to technique. This results in brain/mind determinism that reduces the individual to a robot. This section culminates in analysis and refutation of biologically based ethics.

I offer two chapters under the heading "stripping away the illusion of technique," Those two are: Can science disprove religion> Can science disprove god. In this section I castigate Dawkins (God delusion) Krauss,(Universe from nothing) and Stinger (God the failed Hypothesis). I show all three are illusions of technique. This Is seen most clearly in Stenger's attempt to reduce belief in God to a scientific hypothesis, Belief in God us a living experience of divine reality is not science it cannot be reduced to science.At this point I discuss Bayes theorem as to whether it proves or disproves God.I argue Bayes is an example of the illusion of technique (I took that terminology from William Barrett in Irrational Man) It argues Bayes does neither.

Chapter 10 is called "the empirical supernatural," HereI reprise my first book, The SN is mystical experience that's what the word was coined for (Dionysius the areopagite 500 AD==CE). I am arguing that when you legitimately use technique to back up God-belief the atheists will not have it. They will ignore 200 studies.The last two chapters deal with astronomical evidence for God and God arguments that could be made. The final chapter shows belief in God is a philosophical premise that has evolved over time but represents a reality that can be experienced. It is a living reality not a mere hypothesis.

Sunday, August 14, 2022

God is like Math?

It is said that St. Augustine had anargument for the existence of God based upon the nature of mathematics. I question weather he really sought to prove God's existence or just used that idea about math to explain the nature of God's existence? There are a couple of articles I will recomend. Since I think this argumet rests upon Platonism and most modern people can't be asked to become Platonists so they can believe in God I would rather discusss the other uses of that idea. The two publications are an article in a little creationist Newletter, Evolution News[1]. Hey it's not an article about creationism so it;s not so bad. The other is philosophical. [2]

I don't hold it as a proof of God's existence but as an educated guess as to the nature. Augustine made a brilliant move when he placed the froms in the mind of God. They became ideas. They were ideas, (the Greek word use for them is ideos from which we get our word "ideas,") but disdembodied with no mind to think them. It would never do to think of God as just another form. They had to be ideas in a mind and that mind had to be the mind of God. It gave us the advantages of Platonism without being Platonists.

So the idea is that God is not a materal thing but has real existence like Numbers do. Seven would be seven if humans did not count. Seven was seven before humans existed, but there is no physical location where seven can found.

Math is just an example, there are a couple of others. God is like the laws of physics, which are like math but with concerte effects. Art might be another example although more subjective.Ideas themselves.

I think the laws of physics would be the best analogy because they have concrete results.More immedidate ones. Math has comcrete results. Get your sums wrong in buidling a bridge and see what happens. So the idea is that God is not a materal thing but has real existence like Numbers do. Seven would be seven if humans did not coumt, Seven was seven befroe humans existed, but there is no physical location where seven can found.

For a while I went further and saw everything as a thought im the mind of God If God created all things then all things were thogihts im the mindof God at one t,e. This makes God not just the basis of reality but intrinsically reality itself.But this is just my theoretical ravimgs. [1]Michael Egnor, "Mathematics and the God Hypothesis," Evolution News, (August 1, 2022,)

[2]"Analysis of St. Agustine´s View on the Existence of God." Help me no date

Monday, August 08, 2022

God, Science, and Ideology Joseph Hinman's new book is God, Science and Ideology. Hinman argues 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 adherer's to science in certain instances. This ideology, "scientism," assumes that science is the only valid form of knowledge and rules out religious belief. Hinman argues that science is neutral with respect to belief in God … In this book Hinman with atheist positions on topics such as consciousness and the nature of knowledge, puts to rest to arguments of Lawrence M. Krauss, Victor J. Stenger, and Richard Dawkins, and delimits the areas for potential God arguments.

Wednesday, August 03, 2022

Evolutionary Development of The God Concept

An Atheist on Cadre blog linked to a Wiki article (an article flagged as needing work be that as it may) saying:

Barbara King argues that while non-human primates are not religious, they do exhibit some traits that would have been necessary for the evolution of religion. These traits include high intelligence, a capacity for symbolic communication, a sense of social norms, realization of "self" and a concept of continuity.[1][2] There is inconclusive evidence that Homo neanderthalensis may have buried their dead which is evidence of the use of ritual. The use of burial rituals is thought to be evidence of religious activity, and there is no other evidence that religion existed in human culture before humans reached behavioral modernity.

That is supposed to prove that religion is made up entirely by humans with no God involved. I suggest that evolutionary nature of religion in and of itself is not enough to rule out God,After all of God users evolution in creation then we should expect God to allow evolutionary nature of religion to shape human development. Here is my article (part 1) showing how the evolutionary nature of religious development is not contrary to God.

All experiences of the divine must be filtered through cultural constructs, or symbols. God is beyond our understanding, thus beyond language. If we are talk 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.[1]

Narrative is psychologically important to humans because it enables us to put things in perspective, to put ourselves into the story and to understand. Anything can be narrative. Even when events are taken as historical and the consciousness of myth falls away, the narrative is no less naratival. The resurrection of Christ, the existence of Jesus and his claims to be Messiah, all I take to be history and truth. Yet these are also part of the meta-narrative of Christianity. The meat-narrative is not closed or not an ideology or truth regime as long as it can be open to outside voices and to adult itself to them. For that reason the narrative hast to be fluid. The reason for this is that it has to explain the word in a new way to each new generation. To the extent that it can keep doing this it continues to be relevant and survives. This is equivalent to Kuhn’s paradigm absorbing the anomalies. Even when a certain set of fact is held out as historical and more that, but “the truth” such as Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, there is still an interpretation, a spin an understanding of just exactly how to put it, that varies from time to time and culture to culture. The facts of the event don’t change, the historical significance of it doesn’t change, but the way of relating it to each generation anew does change. This is not say that ideology doesn’t change, but the change is much slower and less obvious and less fluid. Even when the meta-narrative of a given religious tradition features factual material it’s not closed in the sense that ideology is closed and it’s still fluid.

This is not to say that religious traditions don’t get infected with ideology. When traditions take on ideology they usually form something more than Orthodoxy, something like “fundamentalism.” Orthodoxy is just the recognition of stable boundaries that ground the fluid nature of the narrative in expression of continuity. While ideology seeks to create a black hole, like the eternal conflict between communism and anti-communism, that absorbs all light and allows nothing to escape; the attempt to suck everything in one eternal understanding. Ideology in religious tradition probably is most often he result of literalizing the metaphors. When we forget that the metaphor bridges the gap between what we know and we don’t know—through comparison--and that it contains a “like” and a “not-like” dimension, we begin to associate the metaphor with truth in literal way then we begin to formulate ideology. Critics of religious thinking might be apt to confuse dogma with ideology. Religious ideas are not automatically ideological, dogma is not automatically ideological. It’s the literalistic elements in some religious thinking (not all of course) that closes off the realm of discourse and crates a closed truth regime. The danger of form ideology may be acute in a religious setting since it is easy to confuse the metaphor with literal truth by casting over it the aura of the sacred. We often associate the things pertaining to belief in God with God, and in so doing forger a literalism that closes off discourse. Yet religious belief as a whole is too fluid to be fully ideological. Ideology is self protecting and self perpetuating. Thomas Kuhn’s talk about damage control in paradigm defense is a good example of the self defending nature of ideology. While meta-narrative often reflects concepts of divine truth, it’s too changeable to be ideological. Even though theology resists change and novelty is a bad thing in theological parlance, meta-narrative changes in spite of it all. The fact of changed is noted in the many examples of different versions of the same myth. One such change turns upon a burning question that must be raised at this point, why did religious thinking move from numatic realization to a theocentric nature?

Why “God?” The same can be asked of the female form? Why a pseudo-parental, suzerain figure who creates the world and is in charge of the cosmos? Why not, since this model is obviously a metaphor comparing the unknown with some aspect of reality we know well, why that aspect and not another? What did people worship before they worshipped gods? Anthropology tells us that the shamanistic style of animism is older than the concept of a creator god.[2] This form of belief dates back to the stone age. Native American tribe “Shosoni, like other hunting people in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America, have an idea of a “master of the animals,” or an “owner,” a supernatural being who is in charge of the animals:

Hunting peoples in Africa, Europe, Asia and America have developed the idea of a supernatural owner of the animal species, or of all animals, who protects them, commands them, and at request from hunters delivers them to be slayed and eaten. The concept is not infrequent in North America. The master of animals is a spirit, generally figured as an animal. The Shoshoni have possibly in very remote times known the coyote, or rather the mythical Coyote, as a master of animals. With the impact of Plains Indian culture the buffalo and the eagle have halfway achieved the position as master of animals and master of birds, respectively. In all fairness it should be pointed out, however, that this type of concept is very little noticeable among the Shoshoni.[3]

We must be cautious but since “shamanism” is connected to animism this owner of the animals might imply a transition between animistic thinking and beliefs in gods. We can’t say that all religions evolved in the same way in every location, but it does seem that in general it was an evolution from nameless “spirits” to specific pantheon of gods. The development of the concept of God was probably influenced by thoughts of parents, of tribal chiefs, or the leader, long before they became complex enough to fit a suzerain model. Yet it does seem that the concept of God evolved out of an understanding of nature oriented religion and evolved slowly over time based upon comparison with the authority figures we know best in life.

In his work The Evolution of God,[4] Robert Wright distills the work of anthropology over the last two centuries and demonstrates an evolutionary development, form early superstition that personified nature (pre-historic people talking to the wind)[5], through a polytheistic origin in pre-Hebrew Israelite culture,[6] to monotheistic innovation with the God of the Bible.[7] Wright is distilling a huge body of work that stretches back to the ninetieth century, the work of countless archaeologists, historians, and anthropologists. Another such successful distiller of scholarship in recent years is Karen Armstrong. In her work A History of God: The 4000 year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, [8] she presents a similar evolutionary story, focusing specifically upon the Biblical religions. She sees the pre-historical religious scene through the eyes of wonderment at the world around us. The cave paintings she understands as an attempt to record participation in the all pervasive aspect of the enchanted world.[9] The general agreement between scholarship, social sciences, and the work of anthropologists is that the concept of God is a product of the evolution of human thought.[10] At one time the concept was not, then it began and it has developed over time. Of course the great body of this work is coming out of naturalistic assumptions, especially in the ninetieth century. In the anthropological study of the evolution of religion those assumptions centered around the concept of projection in human thinking. People are projecting the relationship with the father or the king. This assumption can be traced to the work of Ludwig Feuerbach, social critic and precursor to Marxian analysis (God is the mask of money). He understood the concept of projection in terms of Hegel’s philosophy of spirit.[11] In The Essence of Christianity Feuerbach argues that superhuman deities are involuntary projections based upon the attributes of human nature.[12] How this thesis came to be the basis of modern anthropological understanding of religious evolution is not hard to seek. As Harvey puts it “It became the Bible to a group of revolutionary thinkers including, Arnold Ruge, the Bauers, Karl Marx, Richard Wagner, Frederic Engles.[13] This circle became a major part of the basis of modern social thought. While modern anthropology has not necessarily played out Feuerbach’s actual inversion of Hegel it has taken its que from him by making assumptions about theoroes of prodjection of one kind or another. Hegel did not think of God as some projection of human imagination. Feuerbach inverted Hegel’s concept to produce the idea. Hegel understood stages of human culture as “moments in the unfolding of absolute spirit.”[14] Thus, as Harvey points out, the various stages in religious development can be seen as stages in the self manifestation of Spirit.[15] In other words, from the cave paintings, to the shamans and the wind talkers to the highest aspirations of Judo-Christian ethics, Spirit (God), is making himself aware of himself by moving through progressive revelation to humanity. “In other words, the history of religion culminating in Christianity was a progressive revelation of the truth that the absolute is not merely an impersonal substance but a subject.”[16] Feuerbach inverts this principal by asserting that finite spirit is becoming aware of itself through externalizing its own attributes and then projecting them into magnified from.[17] On Feuerbach’s part this was the result of a long struggle with idealism. Be that as it may, and for both sides, it’s clearly the roots of ideology. It sowed the seeds of ideology in terms of the social sciences naturalistic assumptions. Now we find those same kinds of assumptions being made with regard to the laws of physics. Paul Davies has been quoted to say that the traditional view of the laws of physics are just seventeenth century monotheism without God, “Then God got killed off and the laws just free-floated in a conceptual vacuum but retained their theological properties,”[18] The assumption of modernity is always that belief in God is dying out, religion is of the past, these are the things that are dying. Armstrong sounds the death knell and starts singing the dirge in first book. She observes that “one of the reasons why religion seems irrelevant today is that many of us no longer have the sense that we are surrounded by the unseen.”[19] It’s so irrelevant she’s writing books about it.As Thomas Borges, the Sandinista leader said, "that God refuses to die."20


[1] 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

[2] Weston La Barre, “Shamanic Origins of Religion and Medicine,” Journal of Psychedelic Drugs, vol 11, (1-2) Jan. June 1979 no page listed, PDF, URL: accessed 3/22/13.

[3] Hultkrantz, op. cit. the author also cites other works by himself on the matter: Cf. Hultkrantz, The Owner of the Animals in the Religion of the North American Indians (in Hultkrantz, ed., The Supernatural Owners of Nature, Stockholm Studies in Comparative Religion, Vol. 1, 1961). Hultkrantz, The Masters of the Animals among the Wind River Shoshoni (Ethnos, Vol. 26:4, 1961).

[4] 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 and University of Pennsyania. He edits New Republic and does journalistic writing of science, especially sociobiology.

[5] Wright, ibid, 9 [6] ibid. 10 [7] ibid, 11 [8] Karen Armstrong, A History of God: The 4000 Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. New York: Ballantine Books, 1994. [9] Ibid, 4-6 [10] T. M. Manickam,, Dharma According Manu and Moses, Bangalore : Dharmaram Publications, 1977,6. [11] Van A. Harvey, Feuerbach and The Interpretation of Religion, Carmbridge: Press Syndicate for the University of Cambridge, Cambridge Studies in Religion and Critical Thought, 1995/1997, 4. Harvey is professor emeritus, taught religious studies at Stanford Univesity. His Ph.D. from Yale in 1957. His thesis supervisor was H.Richard Neibhur.

[12] Cited by Harvey, ibid., 25.

[13] ibid, 26

. [14] ibid.

[15] ibid.

[16] ibid.

[17] ibid, 27

[18] Dennis Overbye, quoting email message from Paul Davies, “Laws of Nature, Source Unknown,” “Science” New York Times. December 19, 2007. on line edition URL: accessed, 3/25/13.

[19] Armstrong, op.cit. 4.

[20]Redding, What Difference does a revolution make? I no longer have the book and can't find a reference to it. He quoted the famous leader of the Sandinistas, the founder of their party. Borge wrote to other revolutionaries with the proposal of a united front. He was a Christian even though he was a communist revolutionary.He wrote ro Father Ernesto Cardinal and told him "I tried to kill a God I thought oppressed the poor but God would not die." He tried to be a communist atheist but God kept coming back in his heart. Instead God led him to reach out to mainstream reformers.

Monday, August 01, 2022

The God Who Lurks Behind Modern Science

Last week an interesting question emerged from the comments revolving around  discussion of Lawrence Krauss's A Universe from Nothing. [1] Our Friendly atheist critic "Anonymous" ["Pixie"] said..."But we can easily imagine universes without God. It's not so easy to imagine a universe without any laws of physics." My response: "Modern science formulated the notion of laws of physics from taking out the personality of God and leaving the calculation of mind with power,you talk like science arrived at it;s viewpoint in one afternoon with no knowledge of religion. In reality it slowly evolved out of religious faith with help of thinkers who regarded both as truth." In paraphrasing the general discussion my basic position might be typified by one phrase I uttered: "physicist Stephen Hawking claimed that when physicists find the theory he and his colleagues are looking for - a so-called 'theory of everything' - then they will have seen into "the mind of God". At this point Skeptical chimes in with his usual  vibrato:
- Joe, that is religionist propaganda. It was a metaphor - not to be taken literally. I will grant you that numerous religionists have misinterpreted what Hawking said. But Hawking WAS an atheist. Let me tell you what Hawking later said about his statement on knowing the mind of God (NOT seeing into the mind of God): Before we understand science, it is natural to believe that God created the universe. But now science offers a more convincing explanation,” he said. “What I meant by ‘we would know the mind of God’ is, we would know everything that God would know, if there were a God, which there isn’t. I’m an atheist.”[2]
    I know he's an atheist. I never said he believed in God. I said his idea borrowed from the general concept of God. Throughout that discussion  Pixie kept saying that the concept of God is not used in science now. I am not sure what he thinks he's getting out of that realization, but it's essentially true  but also misleading. While God is not an operative concept in science today the God concept lurks behind the history of science and modern sciences are shaped by various attempts to take God out of the picture while capitalizing upon the effects of God.  In other words the laws of physics are shaped by taking the personality of God away and leaving the power and law  giving in place.The concept of God is covertly operative in modern science in that way and also in that modern science clearly seeks a  transcendental signified to ground it;s law making upon.

Physicist Paul Davies tells us modern science has tended to avoid questions about the origins of physical law. They've left the question unanswered,  "Traditionally, scientists have treated the laws of physics as simply "given", elegant mathematical relationships that were somehow imprinted on the universe at its birth, and fixed thereafter. Inquiry into the origin and nature of the laws was not regarded as a proper part of science." [3]\
This shared failing is no surprise, because the very notion of physical law has its origins in theology. The idea of absolute, universal, perfect, immutable laws comes straight out of monotheism, which was the dominant influence in Europe at the time science as we know it was being formulated by Isaac Newton and his contemporaries. Just as classical Christianity presents God as upholding the natural order from beyond the universe, so physicists envisage their laws as inhabiting an abstract transcendent realm of perfect mathematical relationships. Furthermore, Christians believe the world depends utterly on God for its existence, while the converse is not the case. Correspondingly, physicists declare that the universe is governed by eternal laws, but the laws remain impervious to events in the universe.[4]
He reminds us: "Dumping the problem in the lap of a pre-existing designer is no explanation at all, as it merely begs the question of who designed the designer. But appealing to a host of unseen universes and a set of unexplained meta-laws is scarcely any better."[5] I don't think he takes seriously the anti-theological Jibber jabber about designing the designer,I think that;s just his way of saying how can we know with final certainty which it is?

That craving for certainty is the impetus behind grand unified theory of everything. Why add “of everything?” That clearly points to the transcendental signified.
In his best-selling book "A Brief History of Time", physicist Stephen Hawking claimed that when physicists find the theory he and his colleagues are looking for - a so-called "theory of everything" - then they will have seen into "the mind of God". Hawking is by no means the only scientist who has associated God with the laws of physics. Nobel laureate Leon Lederman, for example, has made a link between God and a subatomic particle known as the Higgs boson. Lederman has suggested that when physicists find this particle in their accelerators it will be like looking into the face of God. But what kind of God are these physicists talking about? Theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg suggests that in fact this is not much of a God at all. Weinberg notes that traditionally the word "God" has meant "an interested personality". But that is not what Hawking and Lederman mean. Their "god", he says, is really just "an abstract principle of order and harmony", a set of mathematical equations. Weinberg questions then why they use the word "god" at all. He makes the rather profound point that "if language is to be of any use to us, then we ought to try and preserve the meaning of words, and 'god' historically has not meant the laws of nature." The question of just what is "God" has taxed theologians for thousands of years; what Weinberg reminds us is to be wary of glib definitions.[6]
Weinberg tells us the theory of everything will unite all aspects of physical reality in a single elegant explanation.[7] Exactly as does the TS! It's really describing a prescriptive set of laws, so it seems. If their theory can only give descriptions of how the universe behaves how is it going to explain everything? It seems explanatory power only comes with certainty about how things work. That is weaker with probable tendencies than with actual laws. Why are they looking for a single theory to sum it all up if they don't accept some degree of hierarchical causality?[8]

They still use the model of physical law, but they deny its law-like aspects, yet they want it to be unalterable and to sum everything up in one principle. Don't look now but what she is describing is Transcendental Signified, which is the basic job description of God.

Clearly God lurks behind science. First in its development going back to the practices  then if nothing else the preoccupation of modern physicists to escape God leads to modeling the universe after God;s work. They may not name God in the laws of physics but they are definitely conscious of working arouind him. The furthermost back I can go in finding thinkers who tried to formulate laws about the workings of the physical world is Heraclitus 335 BC. Even he had a theological view that was interspersed with his physical understanding.[9] "...He is deeply concerned with the moral implications of physical theory.....Heraclitus recognizes a divine unity behind the cosmos, one that is difficult to identify and perhaps impossible to separate from the processes of the cosmos,"[10]

In modern times the link between the making of laws of physics under Newton and God as law giver via Newton's Christianity is well documented. First his central role as the modern notion of physical law is well developed. [11]Some may be tempted to write off Newton's Christianity with "everyone  was a Christian back then," no one who has studied Newton would say that. His Christianity was not only sincere but advanced:
His polished writings on theology were not the musings of a dilettante but were the products of a committed, brilliant and courageous analyst. If he had published his ideas in the late seventeenth century, he would have had to leave the university, and would almost certainly have retired to what he would have seen as the freedom of his manor in Lincolnshire. He would never have enjoyed the senior political and administrative positions he was awarded in the early eighteenth century and indeed, would never have written the Principia or Opticks. With his appointment at the Mint, and the fame he garnered as a result of his work in the exact sciences, he shed the identity of a retired Cambridge don, and became an eminent metropolitan public figure. He was promoted to Master of the Mint on Boxing Day 1699, and in 1703 he was made President of the Royal Society, being knighted for his services to the state two years later.[12]
We see science began as far back as we can go  and in its early modern phases as an expression of God's creative working. In the old days scientists tried to understand God by understanding nature, now they try to play God by understanding nature.


[1] J.L.Hinman, "Review and Debunking of Lawrence Krauss's A Universe From Nothing." comments, Metacrock;s Bloog, (MARCH 06, 2019) [accessed 3/15/19]

[2] Skeptoical quoted Ibid,

[3] Paul Davies, "Yes the Universe looks like a fix: But That Doesn't Mean a God Fixed it." The Guardian, (June 25, 2007) 19.7 EDT [accessed 3/15/19]

[4] Ibid

[5] Ibid

[6]Counter balance foundation, “Stephen Hawking's God,” quoted on PBS website Faith and Reason. No date listed. Online resource, URL the URL for the website itself: accessed 8/26/2015.

counterbalance foundation offers this self identification: “Counterbalance is a non-profit educational organization working to promote the public understanding of science, and how the sciences relate to wider society.  It is our hope that individuals, the academic community, and society as a whole will benefit from a struggle toward integrated and counterbalanced responses to complex questions.” see URL above. The faith and reason foundation helped fund the PBS show. I first found the piece “Stephen Hawking's God'' early in the century, maybe 2004, certainly before 2006. It was on a site called Metalist on science and religion. That site is gone.

[7] Steven Weinberg, Dreams of a Final Theory: The Scientist's Search for the Ultimate Laws of Nature. New York: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. 1994, 3, also 211.

[8] Counterbalance op cit

[9]Daniel W. Graham, Heraclitus (fl. c. 500 BCE) Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, no date.  [accessed 3/15/19]

Graham is at Brigham Young University


[11] Joshua Filmer, "Sir Isaac Newton: Father of Modern Science," F Futurism The Byte (December 25th 2013) [accessed 3/15/19]

[12]Robert Iliffe, "Newton's Religious life and Work," The Newton Project (2013) [accessed 3/15/19]

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Joseph Hinman's new book is God, Science and Ideology. Hinman argues 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 adherer's to science in certain instances. This ideology, "scientism," assumes that science is the only valid form of knowledge and rules out religious belief. Hinman argues that science is neutral with respect to belief in God … In this book Hinman with atheist positions on topics such as consciousness and the nature of knowledge, puts to rest to arguments of Lawrence M. Krauss, Victor J. Stenger, and Richard Dawkins, and delimits the areas for potential God arguments.