Sunday, February 26, 2023

Peter and Mark: Problems With Authorship

Modern scholarship has long rejected Petrian authorship. Conservatives are less likely to accept that verdict but essentially there seems to be no strong compelling reason to accept Peter as author of I Peter. There may,however, be a couple of reasons to question that conclusion.The assumption among modern scholars is against Petrine authorship, but there are some arguments for it. First the weak:

-attributes itself to Peter
-knew christians from far away who Peter could have met on Pentecost
-Claims to have been sent from Babylon; babylon means Rome;we know that Pete wound up in Rome documented by 1 Clement [1]
-The author of the letter also indicates that he has a close relationship with “Marcus my son” (1 Peter 5:13). This may be the same John Mark with whose family Peter had found refuge years earlier.[2]

Those may be good answers in context but anyone could say those things That does not prove Peter wrote the epistle. The best reasons to think he did are that the early fathers understood that he did. The second reason is the above context and the realization that the author gives away his Jewishness in the use of Hebrewisms related to speaking of God. Chapter 2:11. Sets himself and readers apart from Gentile pagans.

For my money the best reason to deny Petrian authorship is because the book is so well written. [3] It doesn't seem likely that a Galaleian fisherman would know such fine Greek. Since Papias says he used John Mark as interritor in  Rome it seems clear he could not have written in Greek.But he could have asked someone to fix the letter for him. So it could be that the letter is based upon Peter's ideas but brought to reality by words of another. Maybe that's what he means by saying Silas helped  with the letter at end of chpatr 5,v"12 With the help of Silas, whom I regard as a faithful brother, I have written to you briefly, encouraging you and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it."

It is also possible that John Mark was the one who wrote the letter for him. Of course we could never prove that.

This raises a question about Marcan authorship of the gospel of Mark. If Mark was interpreter for Peter in Rome we should expect him to communicate well in Greek. Yet the Gospel of Mark is not well written. My Greek professor said his Greek was horrible and his professor called Mark "the illiterate one." He gets tenses wrong, he gets persons; wrong as in first and second and many other things.

"Ben Witherington in The Gospel of Mark: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary (pp. 18-9) documents a number of stylistic traits of Mark's Gospel:"
Historical present tense verbs
Repetition of phrases
Impersonal plural verb followed by a singular verb
First-person plural narrative
Parenthetical clarifications
Paratactic καί
Aramaic phrases
Unusual words or constructions
As Witherigton Puts it:

"In sum, these traits point to an author who struggles to express himself in the language he is writing...  So the text itself suggests the author of Mark was, in fact, an Aramaic speaker."[4]

Mark could still stand behind the document as its root source although it was written by someone else. Mark could have imparted the knowledge Peter gave him to the community and the community produced the actual author. The name Mark is associated with the work because it was a product of the Mark community.

Neither case can be proven and it may be likely either namesake stands behind the work. Does that mean the works should just be chucked out? Apostoloic authorship was a major criterion for acceptance in the cannon, That is the reason they kept sticking names of prominent evangelists on Gospels. Even so in these documents the Bishops saw the rudiments of the Gospel as they were meant to be. Thus these books belong in the canon.


[1]Michael J. Kok "Peter in Rome: Peter endured many labours in 1 Clement 5:4," The Jesus Memoirs... ) (June 9:2017)

Kok: Current Position: New Testament Lecturer and Dean of Student Life, Morling College Perth Campus

Education: Bachelor of Arts in Religion and Theology with a Specialization in Biblical Studies (Taylor University College), Master of Arts in Religious Studies (University of Alberta), Ph.D. in Biblical Studies (University of Sheffield)

1 Clememt 5:4 documents Peter in Rome, he was present himself and saw Peter.

for Text of Clement see Peter Kirby, early Christiam writtings: Also backed by St Ignatious. Two greats attest to it.

Persuasive evidence does exist that Clement had personal contact with Simon Peter and studied under the apostles. Irenaeus of Lyons (AD 130—200) informs us that “this man [Clement of Rome], as he had seen the blessed apostles, and had been conversant with them, might be said to have the preaching of the apostles still echoing [in his ears], and their traditions before his eyes” (Against Heresies 3:3).

[2]Frank F. Judd Jr.,"The Case for Petrine Authorship of 1 Peter," The Ministry of Peter the Cheif Apostle, Frank Judd, Religious Studies Center,BYU,(bi date listed)


[4]Ben Witherington, in "What Evidence Suggests That Greek was NOt Mark's First Lamgague," Biblical Hermeneutics, Stack Exchage. (Jyly 30, 2018)

Monday, February 20, 2023

Could God Create a Perfect World?

For the purposes of this article the counter apologist will be known as "CA."Free will defense as "FWD." I will answer one major point in CA's essay but I think it is a point upon which his entire project for the article rests.

In this essay I focus upon the deterministic contradiction CA thinks he has found in the FWD. At the end I will briefly discuss the question in the title.

My goal is to show that Christian responses to the problem of evil while referencing Libertarian Free Will (LFW) are at best ineffectual at answering the problem of evil because LFW does not preclude god creating what I call “heaven world” where any natural number of created beings all freely choose to never sin and always freely choose to love god. Theistic and especially Christian apologists want to deny that god could create such a world, despite it being a logically possible world and god supposedly being able to do anything logically possible by way of his omnipotence.[1]
The upshot being that if God could have created that world then why didn't he? Why did he create this world instead? At this point he introduces the thoughts of 16th-century Spanish Jesuit priest and Roman Catholic theologian Luis de Molina.Molina believed that God knew all counterfactuals. Here is CA's actual example: “Bob will always freely choose X in situation Y”.[2]

this schema, god looks at all logically possible worlds, and then chooses which one to instantiate along with the people who will be in it. Then creation plays out deterministically, where the sum total of situations of the universe god created plays out and each person god created goes through them. The key is that each person makes a “free decision” that god knew they’d pick for every situation they live through.[3]
If Bob always chooses xin Y then God can't make a world in which Bob chooses not X.This is what CA says."What strikes me is exactly how deterministic this libertarian free will ends up being. The idea is that Bob always freely chooses X in situation Y, yet the theist apologist will insist that somehow it is still logically possible that Bob chooses ~X in situation Y."[4]

At this point he thinks he's shown that free will responses to theodicy are contradictory since they insist that Bob still has free will even tough he always only chooses one way."What strikes me is exactly how deterministic this libertarian free will ends up being. The idea is that Bob always freely chooses X in situation Y, yet the theist apologist will insist that somehow it is still logically possible that Bob chooses ~X in situation Y. I believe that this is where a hidden contradiction is being glossed over."[5]

But since Bob is only hypothetical and is predetermined by his place as an example, there is no actual role played by Bob. This example has nothing to do with real world outcomes. Suppose I decree an example that Bob sometimes chooses not X? Does that not reverse the argument? There is no determinism involved in the real world account of this example.

Consider the alternative, what if we insist that “always” is not a rigid designator for the identity of ‘Bob’ because we want to hold that it is logically possible that 'Bob'
freely chooses ~X in situation Y? In this case there is a logically possible world in which ‘Bob’ freely chooses ~X in situation Y and a logically possible world where ‘Bob’ freely chooses X in situation Y. Here it is up to God to choose which world to instantiate.  If this is the case then the schema for Molinism falls apart, because then god can't have foreknowledge of which choice Bob will make in situation Y without god having to choose which world to instantiate, which in turn seems to rob 'Bob' of his supposedly libertarian free will.
So no matter what Bob chooses it's deterministic? That makes no sense because the argument is based upon Bob always doing the same thing.CA's answer to Bob changing is that it's still deterministic. That is clearly foolish because it means the terms of his original example are meaningless.

The CA is beating up on some strain of thought he doesn't like, but I did a piece on free will defense without using any of these categories. CA's argument does not disprove the faith,It's more like the partial failure of some Free Will theodicy.[6]

As for the larger question: can God make a perfect world? My question is how do we know what a perfect world is, from God's perspective. Probably it would involve people who can be in a relationship with God. Of course God can make a perfect world but he can't stockit with people who freely love the good unless he allows them to go through the process of choosing freely. That necessitates free will and that risks people making evil choices.

If God supports free will then for him a world of robots who are created having chosen would not be perfect, their choices would not be their own. God can create a perfect world but he has to first allow us to go through the muck to build one,


[1]The Counter Apologist, "The Utter Failure of the Free Will Theodicy," Counter Apologist Blog. (oct 17,2022) accessed feb15,2023.

Orubted transcrit here:





[6]Joseph Hinman,"My Free Will Defense," Metacrock's Blog,(JANUARY 29, 2023)" accessed Feb 24 2023

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Christianity is a personal relationship with God.

The progressive Christian movement includes a segment who have rejected all the doctriens of the faith, I'll worry abut why latter; but one aspect of this apostacy is the rejection of salvation especially as a personal experience. I will demonstrate the entire point of christiantiy is personal salvation. That is not to say that it excludes social justice. I will deal with that at the end. One exampe of this rejection is Boyd Evans who is a Parish preist at St. thomas episcopal makes a statement which I found on facebook.

Boyd Evans "Christianity was never about individual salvation, It is well past time for us to get over this notion, if you don't believe that your salvation is bound up with your neighbors you have entirely missed Jesus' message."[1]

Robin Meyers defines salvation as:
The best single English synonym for “salvation”—“transformation”. Transformation of ourselves and the world. It’s about personal transformation and transformation of society as a whole. Salvation can be experienced as healing—a salve. Salvation is a healing ointment. Giving the transformation from blindness to seeing. In Eastern orthodoxy—primary definition of salvation is enlightenment. Jesus came as a light in our darkness[2]
I don't disagree with him and I certaily want to be mindful of the social justice connotations but that does not exclde being saved from sin and going to heaven. One is about growth of the other. God wants us to be coduits for his love to reach the world, But we can't shine the love of God into the world without seeing the need to change the world.

I don't know if Meyers holds his view in contrast to being saved from sin or in agreement with my view. But I will argue that personal relatioip with God, which includues beimg savd form sin,is fundmanetal to the meaning of being a Christian.

in more conservative churches where “salvation” meant believing certain things in order to get certain rewards, especially the assurance of going to heaven. Your discomfort comes from critical thinking, since to be “saved” assumes that you are lost and cannot save yourself. It also assumes that we are born into Original Sin as an inheritance, like being born left-handed or with red hair. Like so much of the language of evangelical Christianity, the “believer” is helpless and hopeless until we submit to a higher power. Or, more accurately, until we agree to say that we “accept Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior” and know that our sins were forgiven by his death on the cross. It also assumes that the whole purpose of the life of Jesus was to die, when in fact he was killed. [3]
Meyers'understanding of orthodox view of salvation is wrong.It is not a reward for following rules. It is the outcome of a personal relatioship with God which is what the faith is about.Clearly a personal love relationshp between God and the believer reults in personal salvation as it's major effect. It is clear this is the goal of the christian faith. The Elder John tells us this when he says:"7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." [1jn4:7-8] The Greek term used here to mean "Know" is Ginosko. Usually defined in lexicons as:

"to learn to know, come to know, get a knowledge of perceive, feel to become known to know, understand, perceive, have knowledge of to understand What does Ginóskó mean?" [4] Ginosko is special because it connotes the kind of knowledge that comes from personal experience.
The word ginōskō, ..., often describes the kind of knowledge involved in building an intimate relationship with a person. In fact,ginōskō is tied so tightly to relationships that it is used to describe the sexual relations between a husband and wife (Matthew 1:25; Luke 1:34).[5]
What is the Greek definition of knowledge? Epistêmêis the Greek word most often translated as knowledge, while technê is translated as either craft or art.Apr 11, 2003.

Thus when it speaks of Giosko we can be sure it is speaking of a personal dimension ot the faith. The faith is not just a bunch of good works and nice attitiudes. It's a relationship with God. The author of the Johanine literatrue (Gospel and epistles of John loved to use the word ginosko: In 1 John he uses it 21 times.[6] In the Gosel he uses it 141 example:"If you had known (ginosko) Me (Jesus), you would have known (ginosko) My Father also; from now on you know (ginosko) Him, and have seen Him. (Jn 14:7). Wiersbe: What does it mean to “know the Father?”

Some of the social justice crowd reject the Johonine literatire becaues they don't like personal salavtion and they dont want to know God in that way. They still claim to follow Jesus but they just dovthesame thingtheevangelicals did. They transfomr the faith into politics. What the synoptic Gospels? Is there no use of ginosko knowing God in Matthew Mark or Luke?

Mat 7:23 - And then will I profess unto them, I never knew G1097 you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Mat 12:7 - But if ye had known G1097 what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.

Mat 13:11 - He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know G1097 the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

Mat 25:24 - Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew G1097 thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:

Mar 4:11 - And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know G1097 the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:

Matthew 7:9-12 New Living Translation (NLT) “You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not!

Luk 10:22 - All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth G1097 who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.

Romans 1:21;

21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Romans 8:15: “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, 'Abba, Father.Jul 19, 2020

Romans 8:28. New International Version ... And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his ..

1cor 1 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. None ofthese verses say the poimt is... but they areindicative of the poimt, /they

What does it mean to be in a personal relationship with God? How does one have a persoanl relationship with someone who can't be seen or heard? It is a mistake to think that God is not communicating with us just because we can't see or hear him audibly. God communicates with us im serveral ways. Of course thorugh scriptire but that is not a personal relationship in and of itself; it may be part of one. Also God speaks to the heart directly. Wr can't hear it but we can feel it,we can come to understand it.Such a relationshp is conducted largely thorgh prayer and thorugh meditating upon God's presemce. We can feel God's presence.Tjis isnot merely fantasy, the affects of the experence and the resultsin thelifeof believer bearoot aninidcatiomn of reality see my first book The Trace of God.[7]

If you don't have a relationship with God like this that does not mean you are not saved. The relationship is there to be had if you sek it, if yo tristi Jesus atomememtand epemdt. give your life to Christ..


[1]Boyd Evans, Twitter

Boyd Evans,"Rector of St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Abingdon, Virginia. Former scientist (nanotechnology, magnetic materials, biomedical) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. @revboydevans" Abingdon, VA

[2]Rev. Dr. Robin Meyers,"What does salvation mean in Progressive Christianity?,"Progressive, (May 7, 2022). (accessed Hab 24,2023)

[3] Ibid

[4]The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon, Strong's Number: 1097 Browse Lexicon Original Word Word Origin ginosko.(1999).'%2Dko,a%20knowledge%20of%20perceive%2C%20feel

Greek lexicon based on Thayer's and Smith's Bible Dictionary plus others; this is keyed to the large Kittel and the "Theological Dictionary of the New Testament." These files are public domain.

[5]Ezea project, "Greek word of the week:ginosko," (2021),%3B%20Luke%201%3A34).

"Ezra Project is dedicated to helping people explore the Bible for themselves, through a developing knowledge of the New Testament in its original Greek. It is a ministry project developed by Dr. John Bechtle, an experienced professor and writer who has spent several decades helping people understand the Scriptures." see :about:

[6]Ginosio in 2st John: 1 John 2:3; 1 John 2:4; 1 John 2:5; 1 John 2:13; 1 John 2:14; 1 John 2:18; 1 John 2:29; 1 John 3:1; 1 John 3:6; 1 John 3:16; 1 John 3:19; 1 John 3:20; 1 John 3:24; 1 John 4:2; 1 John 4:6; 1 John 4:7; 1 John 4:8; 1 John 4:13; 1 John 4:16; 1 John 5:2; 1 John 5:20

[7]Joseph Hinman, The Trace of God: A Rational Warrant for Belief.

Sunday, February 05, 2023

The Scientific Nature of Physicalism:Turtles All the Way Down

I first heard the anecdote about turtles when it starred Wittgenstein. In some class he taught, supposedly, they were referring to the Indian cosmogany in which the earth sits on the back of an elephant and the elephant is on the back of a great turtle. A student asked "what does the turtle sit on?" Supposedly Wittgenstein said "from there on it's turtles all the way down." There is no real proof that Wittgenstein ever said that. Googling the phrase, it is associated with him without proving who said it. Moreover, no one knows what it means. I've seen about six interpretations. It's always associated with the sort of flippant remark a skeptic might make about religious answers. Here I use it as a metaphor for the arrogance of scientism to think that scientific exactitude and certainty rules out the possibility of other realms and forms of truth that science can't seek.

One of the most solid things in modern science is the Greek concept of the atom, and Greek atomism stands as atheistic symbol and as the basis of scientific thought. The reason atheists use an atomic symbol for their own is becuase they harken back to Greek atomistic view as a replacement for belief in deity. Science shows us all, we know the basic building blocks of reality, sub atomic particles, and thus we know there's no need for a God, yada yada yada. When we examine those bulwarks of modern thought we see that they are shaky and as uncertain as the one about the turtles. This is especially apt for sub atomic particles; science has never found a basic particle, it seems there is always a smaller one, it's particles all the way down.

The Issue of Transcendence

Are there realms beyond our knowing, is this possible? If so, is there any possibility of our investigating them? Scientists have usually tended to assume that metaphysical assumptions about realms beyond are just out of the domain of science and can’t be investigated so they don’t bother to comment. Victor Stenger, however, wants to be able to assert that he’s disproved them so he argues that the magisteria do overlap. “There exists a widespread notion, promulgated at the higher levels of the scientific community itself, that science has nothing to say about God or the supernatural…”[1] He sights the national academy of sciences and their position that these are non overlapping magisteria, “science is a way of knowing about the natural world. It is limited to explaining the natural world. Science can say nothing about the supernatural. Weather God exists or not is a question about which science is neutral.”[2] Stenger disagrees. He argues that they can study the effects of prayer so that means they can eliminate the supernatural.

Two things are wrong with Stenger’s approach. First, he doesn’t use Lourdes or any other empirical record of miracles. He’s going entirely by double blind studies which can’t control for prayer from outside the control group; that makes such studies virtually worthless. So in effect Stenger is taking the work of people who try to empirically measure what is beyond the empirical, then when it doesn’t work he says “see, there’s nothing beyond the empirical.” That proves nothing more than the fact that we can’t measure that which is beyond measuring. Secondly, he doesn’t deal with the real religious experience studies or the M scale. That means he’s not really dealing with the empirical effects of supernature. I deal with the M scale at length in my book The Trace of God. I’ve just demonstrated good reason to think that supernature Is working in nature. It’s not an alien realm outside the natural, it’s not a miracle it’s not something that sets its self apart form the daily regular workings of the world. Supernature is of God but nature is of God. God made nature and he works in nature. We can tell the two apart by the results. Now I am going to deal with the other two issues, are there realms beyond the natural? Are there evidences of a form of supernatural in the world that stand apart from the natural such that we can call them “miracles?” 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 4. 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 tangle 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 place one can actually go to, but the idea of suggests the possibility, there’s the world of anti-matter, 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 reductionst/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). We see this in the quotes at the beginning of the chapter. 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. Composite 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 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] Victor Stenger, God and The Folly of Faith: The Incompatibility of Science and Religion. Amherst: New York: Prometheus Books, 2012. 225.

[2] Stenger, ibid, quoting National Academy of Sciences, Teaching about Evolution and the Nature of Science. Washington DC: National Academies Press, 1998, 58.

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

[4] ibid

[5] George F.R. Ellis. “Does the Miltiverse Reallly Exist [preview]” Scientific American (July 19, 2011) On line versoin URL:, George F.R. Ellis is Proffessor Emeritus in Mathematics at University of Cape Town. He’s been proessor 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. “Sring Theory.” Website URL:

[9] STFC ibid, op cit.

[10] Sylvie Braibant; 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.