Saturday, February 03, 2024

Is there evidence for an infinite loving God?


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On Randal Rauser's Blog Daniel Wilcox speaking to atheist  Dana Harpar: "I agree with you and others that there is no evidence for the infinite and loving God of many Christians or for any of the revealed religions at all."I think I've given plenty of good reason to believe in God and to make a leap of faith. Now I will argue if God does exist God is the loving God of revealed religion,ie of Christianity.

I could appeal to devine revelation then argue for the validity of the Bible. That would be a profuntory answer, one expected of any apologist and guronteed to turn off skeptics. Instead I have two arguments:

I.The nature of religious experience.

II.The Phenomenology of Christian love

I.experience.

The nature of religious experrience as a whole demostrates the loving nature of God. I will use Mystical experience (ME) as my argument but it applies beyond that.There are two core aspects to mystical experience: (1) a profound sense of the undifferentiated unity of all things, and (2) A profound sense of God's all pervasive Love. This second aspect is at the core of the experience and is so much a part of it that lift is missing that is a  good reason to doubt that it is a true mystical experience.

Mystical experience is backed empirically to such an extent that it almost constitutes proof of God's existence.200+ studies over 50 years all showing the validity of the experience with no counter study, not one. The experience is overwhelmingly positive and transformative, makes your life better across the board.What I mean by this is illustrated by a sample of one of the studies, a summary of findings from two.This was published on my religious experience argument back in the summer.

Wuthnow study:

*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

Noble:

*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)
[1]

II. Phenomenology

Love is more than just a feeling of butterflies in the stomach. It is an experience as well as an ideal. It's concept but it os a;so ex[eroenced,phenomenological apprehension.

I don't feel very loving right now, but I don't have to feel any way to talk about love, because love is not merely a feeling. A lot of people think that love is just the special way of feeling about a person, or the warm fuzzy that comes from being with a certain person. Love is much more than just a special way of feeling. It is also a value, a commitment, a sense of orientation toward others, a philosophy, a way of being in the world (an existential engagement).

There are degrees of love and kinds of love. The Greeks called sexual and romantic love Eros From which we get our word "erotic." The kind of love friends feel they called Phileo or "brotherly love" (as in "Philadelphia"). The highest form of love they called Agape. That is usually the kind of love the Bible speaks of when it speaks of God's love for us. 1 John tells us "He who loves knows God for God is love."

Agape Means: the will to value the other, or the will to the good of the other; the desire for the other to have the best. It entails the idea of according the other all rights and human dignity. It is not personal, it's a commitment to all people. Agape is sometimes translated Charity (as in kJ trains 1 Corinthians 13 "if I speak with the tongue of men and of angles and have not charity") but this is more condescending and patronizing than the actual meaning of the term. Charity can be paternalistic in the negative sense, controlling, colonizing, derogatory. Agape is a totally positive thing; one must actually seek the good of the other whatever that may be, even against one's own interest.

Now I will start saying "crazy stuff," these are things that I have theorized about and I guess they make up the radical edge of my own philosophy because they have been scoffed at plenty of times on these boards. But I don't care I'm saying it anyway.

Basis of everything: connection with Being

When I say love is the basis of everything, I mean it really is. I believe that when the Bible says "God is love" it means it literally. In other words, we should put an "itself" there. God is "love itself,": the thing that love is actually the essence of what God is. Now you may ask how can God be both being itself and love itself? Because these two are inextricably bound up together.

Love is giving, the idea of seeking the good of the other, according the other full human dignity equal to one's own, these are ideas that entail give over, supplying the other with something. It's a positivity in the sense that it supplies an actual thing to someone. Being also shares these qualifications. Being is giving in the sense that it bettors itself upon the beings and they have their existence. It is positive in the sense that it is something and not taking something away, it's not a void as nothingness is, but moves in the direction of filling a void; nothingness becomes being, the existence of things.

So love and being are really the same impulse and they both unite in the spirit of God. God is the basis of all being, of all reality. God's character is love; that is God seeks the good of the other and bestows upon us the ultimate human dignity of being a child of God.

Motivating force behind creation

Love is the basic motivating force behind creation. God's motive urge to create was not out of a need due to looniness, but out of a desire to create as an artist, and desire is fueled by love. Art is love, artists love art, as revolutionaries love. Revolutionaries are in love and their revolutions are often expressions of love, what He Guava called "a strange kind of love, not to see more shiny factories but for people." So God creates as a need to bestow love, which entails the bestowing of being.

Now let's not have a bunch of lectures about "perfection" based upon not knowing what perfection is. Let's not have a buck of Aristotle thrown in as though it were the Bible. There is no baseline for comparison from which one can really make the judgment that need is imperfection; especially the sort of need one feels to be creative or to bestow love; that is a different sort of need than the need for food or shelter.

Basis of morality

Love is the basis of morality. Love is the background of the moral universe, as Joseph Fletcher said. Austin said it too. That means all moral decisions are made with ultimate reference to God's love which is the driving force behind morality. Many people think Christian morality is about stopping impurity. These people regard sex as the greatest offense and think that basically sin = sex. But nothing is further from the truth. Sin is not sex, sin is an unloosing nature, or a selfish desire to act in an unloosing manner.

  Love requires selfless giving over OT the other for the good of the other. That means all moral actions must ultimately be evaluated with reference to their motivational properties. That's why Jesus spoke as he did in the sermon on the mount: if you hate you are a murderer. Because the motivation itself is the true essence of the sin, the rejecting of love and acceptance of self as the orbit creates the motive that eventually leads to the act. He is not saying that the act sin OT sinful of course, but that the sin begins with the motive not just with the act. In that sense morality is somewhat teleological, although I normally eschew teleological ethics. I am not saying that the morality of a given act is based upon outcome, but that the end toward which moral motions are given is the goal of doing love.

    Love is too central to the nature of the faith to be floating out as a mindless idea divorced from divine consciousness.



[1] Joseph Hinman,"Argument from Religious Experience (for existence of God),"Metacrock's Blog."(AUGUST 31, 2022) https://metacrock.blogspot.com/2022/08/argument-from-religious-experience-for.html

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0982408765

God, Science, and Ideology by Joseph Hinman is a very important book. Hinman was a PhD candidate in the UT system, his field was history of ideas and he studied the history and philosophy of science. He brings this knowledge to the critique of athye8ist ideology on the internet. Hinman summarizes 20years of arguments with atheist apologist and takes down some of the major atheists figures such as Richard Dawkins,

19 comments:

Kristen said...

Yes. I can corroborate the efficacy of these experiences and the nature of them.

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

thanks Kristen

im-skeptical said...

"Is there evidence for an infinite loving God?"
- When you put 'evidence' in the title of an article, people will expect to see facts or some kind of demonstration that leads to the conclusion of your thesis. But what you present to us is I: correlation without causation, and II: the first-person experience of love, with assumptions about where that comes from.

"experience ... is backed empirically to such an extent that it almost constitutes proof ... 200+ studies over 50 years all showing the validity of the experience with no counter study, not one."
- What those studies show is correlation between experience and various beneficial aspects of the lives of people. Correlation is not causation. The studies don't show any kind of causation whatsoever. And they don't show how the experience arises in the first place. You say it's from God, but it is a fact that experiences of this type can be induced by a number of means that don't involve God, so there really is counter-evidence to your claim. You can dismiss that if you want, but it just creates credibility issues. People who want to objectively examine the evidence will note that you are claiming empirical evidence where it doesn't demonstrate what you say it does, and dismissing empirical evidence where it would lead to a different conclusion (that mystical experiences are not caused by God).

"Phenomenology ..."
- Yes, we experience feelings of love. And you obviously equate that with God, because the bible says "God is love". So what you're telling us is that the experience of love is evidence of God? What if the bible is wrong? What kind of evidence is that biblical claim based on? Can you show us any actual evidence that the apprehension of love comes from God? This is merely a supposition on your part. You need to back it up with actual facts.

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

im-skeptical said...
"Is there evidence for an infinite loving God?"
- When you put 'evidence' in the title of an article, people will expect to see facts or some kind of demonstration that leads to the conclusion of your thesis. But what you present to us is I: correlation without causation, and II: the first-person experience of love, with assumptions about where that comes from.

I start by quoting from two empirical studies. those studies are top of the line. There are so many of them they almost prove the existence of God by themselves. No one else quotes empirical studies for God arguments, you have no answer form them, Your answer is to belittle personal experience which is just the atheist fear of feelings.



"experience ... is backed empirically to such an extent that it almost constitutes proof ... 200+ studies over 50 years all showing the validity of the experience with no counter study, not one."
- What those studies show is correlation between experience and various beneficial aspects of the lives of people.

that's the only proof anything. There is no proof where we see causality at work' all assumptions of cause are just that, assumptions based upon correlations. We don't see cigarette smoke putting cancer in people it's all coronation,

Correlation is not causation. The studies don't show any kind of causation whatsoever.

we never see cause at work the only proof of causation is correlation.


And they don't show how the experience arises in the first place. You say it's from God, but it is a fact that experiences of this type can be induced by a number of means that don't involve God, so there really is counter-evidence to your claim.

No they can't be I dealt with that in my book. that is a false assumption.


You can dismiss that if you want, but it just creates credibility issues.


you believe a truism because it saves your ideology


People who want to objectively examine the evidence will note that you are claiming empirical evidence where it doesn't demonstrate what you say it does, and dismissing empirical evidence where it would lead to a different conclusion (that mystical experiences are not caused by God).


There is no empirical evidence agaisnt it, the only sort of thing you can call evidence is lack of answered prayer that proves nothing. The effects proceed from prayer or other religious gestures and there are no negatives there's no problem with religious experience or belief. So there is no counter evidence.


"Phenomenology ..."
- Yes, we experience feelings of love. And you obviously equate that with God, because the bible says "God is love". So what you're telling us is that the experience of love is evidence of God? What if the bible is wrong?

You are just begging the question. There's a problem with assuming it[s about the Bible but the correlation has been made with or without the Bible for thousands of years.


What kind of evidence is that biblical claim based on? Can you show us any actual evidence that the apprehension of love comes from God? This is merely a supposition on your part. You need to back it up with actual facts.

you are doing a bait and switch. the mystical experience is a corroboration of the Bible it makes no sense then to demand proof of the Bible before accepting the empirical evidence.

10:40 AM

im-skeptical said...

"Your answer is to belittle personal experience which is just the atheist fear of feelings."
- I'm not belittling anything. I'm telling you that personal experience does not constitute empirical evidence. I'm telling you that all those studies make no such claim, and you are reading that into them. They don't show the causation that you infer from them. You can have all the experience you like. Be happy with it. I have experiences, too. But don't try to tell a scientist that it's empirical evidence, because it isn't. And all the positive effects your studies point out are not the product God unless you can show actual evidence that they are. Those studies don't say that. You haven't shown it.

"that's the only proof anything. There is no proof where we see causality at work' all assumptions of cause are just that, assumptions based upon correlations. We don't see cigarette smoke putting cancer in people it's all coronation"
- That's not true. I suggest that you read your Hume. Yes, we know that correlation doesn't prove causation, but there's more to it, as Hume tells us. There is a causal relationship or mechanism. And that's what we take into account when we say that one thing causes another. You are making an inference of causation without any causal mechanism. You are committing the very error that Hume cautions us about.

"we never see cause at work the only proof of causation is correlation."
- What we do see is the causal mechanism. But not in your material.

"you believe a truism because it saves your ideology"
- you dismiss evidence that doesn't support your thesis. This is a common affliction among religionists.

"There is no empirical evidence agaisnt it, the only sort of thing you can call evidence is lack of answered prayer that proves nothing. The effects proceed from prayer or other religious gestures and there are no negatives there's no problem with religious experience or belief. So there is no counter evidence."
- I said nothing about prayer. I was talking about religious experiences that you count, because their cause doesn't agree with your claims.

"You are just begging the question."
- I'm only begging you to provide evidence to support the assumptions you make.

"the mystical experience is a corroboration of the Bible"
- Your argument: The bible says God is love. I feel love. Therefore, God exists. What kind of grade would that argument earn in a philosophy class?

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

im-skeptical said...
Uoe:"Your answer is to belittle personal experience which is just the atheist fear of feelings."


Skep:- I'm not belittling anything. I'm telling you that personal experience does not constitute empirical evidence.


That's the meaning of the word dude. "Empirical" means you see it or experience it directly. "in philosophy, knowledge gained from experience rather than from innate ideas or deductive reasoning. in the sciences, knowledge gained from experiment and observation rather than from theory.Apr 19, 2018

Empirical knowledge - APA Dictionary of Psychology

American Psychological Association (APA)
https://dictionary.apa.org › empirical-knowledge"




I'm telling you that all those studies make no such claim, and you are reading that into them. They don't show the causation that you infer from them.

you have not read them, I have. I never said the studies say this proves God is real. Even though it's not in the study commonsense and logic tell us it is so. The studies say there is a from of consciences in which one see the undifferentiated unity in all things and feels that one understands all things. The studies do talk about the claims of experience of God, I've quoted them you don't listen. some of them say the two major experiences of mysticism are undifferentiated unity and God's all pervasive love. These guys say they experience it, the studies show they do experience something that makes their lives better.

You can have all the experience you like. Be happy with it. I have experiences, too. But don't try to tell a scientist that it's empirical evidence, because it isn't.

yes it's what the word means,

And all the positive effects your studies point out are not the product God unless you can show actual evidence that they are. Those studies don't say that. You haven't shown it.

No that is wrong, what you are really saying is that evidence for something can never be accepted unless it has other evidence vouching for it. That means nothing will ever be established we will have an infinite regression of evidence. There is no reason in the world why experiencing God's presence can't be proof of God. those who have the experience say it's God. It does what God claims to do and it has the preemie God is said to have. So why not?



"that's the only proof anything. There is no proof where we see causality at work' all assumptions of cause are just that, assumptions based upon correlations. We don't see cigarette smoke putting cancer in people it's all coronation"
- That's not true. I suggest that you read your Hume. Yes, we know that correlation doesn't prove causation, but there's more to it, as Hume tells us. There is a causal relationship or mechanism.

which is entirely assumed, it is not proven it's not seen its based upon tight correlation. you describe the act that cause and effect have an association, but is a correlation, I don't take Hume Seriously. Hume would probably agree with me about not seeing causality



And that's what we take into account when we say that one thing causes another. You are making an inference of causation without any causal mechanism. You are committing the very error that Hume cautions us about.

Wrong. I am not the one who said smoking causes cancer that was based entirely of correlation for 50 years. i never ruled out causal mechanisms, but most are theoretical. we don't see them dispensing causation we mostly know the mechanism by correlation.


Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

"we never see cause at work the only proof of causation is correlation."
- What we do see is the causal mechanism. But not in your material.

No we don't see it most of the time and I mean literally see not knowing what it is. That does not disprove my argumemt in the least.

"you believe a truism because it saves your ideology"
- you dismiss evidence that doesn't support your thesis. This is a common affliction among religionists.


Sure lots of things don't support it but a ton of evidence does support it and nothing cunters it

"There is no empirical evidence agaisnt it, the only sort of thing you can call evidence is lack of answered prayer that proves nothing. The effects proceed from prayer or other religious gestures and there are no negatives there's no problem with religious experience or belief. So there is no counter evidence."

- I said nothing about prayer. I was talking about religious experiences that you count, because their cause doesn't agree with your claims.

* would have to see your argument develiope but it sounds s[eurious.

"You are just begging the question."
- I'm only begging you to provide evidence to support the assumptions you make.

"the mystical experience is a corroboration of the Bible"
- Your argument: The bible says God is love. I feel love. Therefore, God exists. What kind of grade would that argument earn in a philosophy class?

no not my argument. I'll get back to it latter

2:59 PM

im-skeptical said...

"That's the meaning of the word dude. "Empirical" means you see it or experience it directly."
- Empirical evidence is objective. Merriam-Webster gives 'objective' as a synonym for empirical. Wikipedia describes empirical evidence as "constituted by or accessible to sense experience or experimental procedure." Subjective experience is not accessed by the senses, and is not confirmable by experiment. Objective evidence is the very basis of science, and it is precisely what they mean when they say 'empirical'. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empirical_evidence

"you have not read them, I have."
- I've read as many of them as I could get my hands on. They talk about the experiences, but they do not show or claim that those experiences are produced by God.

"The studies do talk about the claims of experience of God, I've quoted them you don't listen."
- I listen only too well. Yes, people believe they are experiencing God. And that's what those studies tell us. They don't verify that it really is God. That's where you make a leap of logic to say that it really is God. That's not what the studies say.

"There is no reason in the world why experiencing God's presence can't be proof of God."
- Science requires objective evidence. People believe all kinds of things that aren't true. Objective evidence is needed to verify what they believe.

"Hume would probably agree with me about not seeing causality"
- Joe, you haven't read what he has to say about it. You only see one snippet - that causality isn't observed. But then he goes on to say that this causal relationship is needed to infer causation. That's why we can infer that smoking causes lung cancer. There is a causal mechanism. We can't infer that cancer causes smoking. No causal mechanism there. Hume understood this. You obviously don't.

"i never ruled out causal mechanisms, but most are theoretical. we don't see them dispensing causation we mostly know the mechanism by correlation."
- Correlation is the beginning. We look for a physical process that can be confirmed or disproved by experimentation. It has to be consistent with physics.

"No we don't see it most of the time and I mean literally see not knowing what it is. That does not disprove my argumemt in the least."
- You don't know what you're talking about. There has to be a causal mechanism, even if it hasn't been confirmed. In the case of mystical experience, chemical processes in the brain could provide a confirmable causal mechanism. Just saying "God did it" doesn't.

"Sure lots of things don't support it but a ton of evidence does support it and nothing cunters it"
- You are confusing your beliefs and real evidence. You leap to conclusions that would never pass muster in peer review.

"would have to see your argument develiope but it sounds s[eurious."
- The point I'm making is that in science, you have to take all the evidence into account. You can't cherry-pick the bits of evidence that help to make your case while ignoring the ones that don't. That is characteristic of pseudoscience, and it inevitably leads to false conclusions.

"no not my argument. I'll get back to it latter"
- If we take what you said in this article, that's what it boils down to.

Kristen said...

Joe, I posted a comment this morning. Did it get lost?

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

I don[t know Kristen

Kristen said...

Ok, I'll try again, with a question for IM Skeptical: Sociology is a branch of science, as you know, where surveys and similar methods are used to gather data regarding human attitudes and behaviors. Correlation is not causation, but still, most people find it reasonable in reviewing such data to believe that a certain kind of circumstance or event can result in a certain attitude or behavior among multiple subjects who have that circumstance or experience in common. Generally these studies do allow the research subjects to say that they have actually experienced said circumstance or event; we don't conclude that they must have been mistaken. So do we throw all these studies out, because correlation isn't causation? Or do we only throw out the ones where the event is claimed by the majority of the subjects to have been an actual experience of the divine?

im-skeptical said...

Kristen,

A scientific analysis of mystical experience must recognize that there is some physical process that is (or can be) subject to observation, as well as the subjective aspect, which is experienced by the person who has it. Subjective is, by definition, not observable by anyone other than the one who has the experience - it is strictly first-person. So with that in mind, we need to distinguish between the objective and the subjective.

We can still learn some things about the subjective aspect if the person tells us about what they are feeling. Some of Joe's studies focus on this aspect of mystical experience. They attempt to find commonalities, like the sense of unity, the presence of God, etc, etc. That's fine. But keep in mind that this is based on what people say about their feelings. You can never be certain that two people who report different things aren't really feeling the same thing, but describing it in different ways. The way they describe it is based on how they understand or interpret what they are feeling. You can't be certain that someone who takes peyote isn't having a mystical experience that is essentially identical to a Catholic who falls into a religious trance during a prayer session. Any scientific analysis of what they are feeling must recognize that it is based on what they say about it. Those feelings are not objectively observable. Do we know that people actually experience the divine? No. We know that some say they are experiencing the divine.

The feeling of the presence of God is common, but not universal. People have mystical experiences without reporting that they felt the presence of God. They may have a feeling of joy, empowerment, awe, a sense that they are one with nature, or something similar. This could be exactly the same as any other religious experience, except for the fact that they see it in a slightly different way.

What is objectively observable (at least in principle) is the physical aspect. What's going on on their brain? What neural pathways are activated? How does it differ from ordinary conscious experience? What kind of conditions cause this to happen? Can it be triggered by certain kinds of electro-chemical activity, or by patterns of mental activity that lead to the opening of these neural pathways? This may be difficult to determine, but it's not entirely beyond our reach, and our scientific methods of observing and analyzing keep getting better. Not a single one of Joe's studies focus on this aspect of mystical experience. One thing I can tell you for sure is that it would be impossible to ever observe God manipulating brain function to bring about these events. On the other hand, we can observe physical things that result in people having mystical experiences. Of course, many religious people want to attribute these experiences to God himself, but to do so scientifically is impossible, because we can't possibly observe that physical connection. They may strongly believe it, but science can't make that conclusion.

Kristen said...

IM, I was talking about sociology, and you are still speaking in terms of physics. As you said earlier, "We look for a physical process that can be confirmed or disproved by experimentation. It has to be consistent with physics."

So are you saying physics is the only valid science? You can't prove, using physics and experimentation, that you went to a party a week ago. A sociological experiment could gather that data in a survey, and could then find patterns regarding mental states and emotional attitudes of people who party on the weekends. But physics doesn't speak to it.

As far as other triggers are concerned, we could give you a hallucinogenic drug that results in your being convinced that you went to a party last weekend. But the fact that you didn't actually go, doesn't mean that there are no such things as parties, or that you've never been to one.

There are other kinds of evidence too, besides the scientific. I'm in the legal field myself, and testimony is a big part of legal evidence. If an eyewitness says a thing happened-- well, we have to look for corroborating testimony, and backup from circumstantial evidence is also very useful. But if multiple people all said a thing happened, we'd put a lot more weight on that. True, it's often not conclusive. But that doesn't mean there's no evidence. In civil cases, the evidentiary standard isn't even the one we're most familiar with, "beyond a reasonable doubt." The standard is simply "a preponderance of evidence." And the evidence need not be something that can be captured by physics. But to say there's no evidence at all hardly seems to capture the case.

Kristen said...

Also, about things like peyote: given the nature of the experience, we don't know that a drug couldn't actually help a person into a mental state more conducive to having an actual religious experience. The idea is that there could be more than one path or avenue to an experience of the divine.

im-skeptical said...

"I was talking about sociology, and you are still speaking in terms of physics. As you said earlier, "We look for a physical process that can be confirmed or disproved by experimentation. It has to be consistent with physics.""
- Yes. That was in reference to the "causal mechanism". It's how a causal relationship is established between events that are correlated. Without the causal mechanism, you can't rightfully say that one thing causes the other.

"So are you saying physics is the only valid science?"
- I didn't say that, and I think it makes you sound like you're screaming "Scientism!" at me.

"You can't prove, using physics and experimentation, that you went to a party a week ago. ... physics doesn't speak to it."
- You use the tool that is appropriate for the task. It's a matter of evidence. A camera would probably work in this case.

"But the fact that you didn't actually go, doesn't mean that there are no such things as parties, or that you've never been to one."
- I don't think you understand my argument at all. Read what I said again (this time with a little measure of charity). Can you find any part of the argument where I denied the reality of the divine? I was addressing Joe's argument, and the claims he makes about having empirical evidence for it.

"There are other kinds of evidence too, besides the scientific."
- I agree completely. Now take off your blinders and stop screaming "scientism!" at me. It gets tiresome.

"If an eyewitness says a thing happened-- well, we have to look for corroborating testimony"
- Right. And I'm glad to hear you admit that a person saying something doesn't prove it. And even if a lot of people say it, that still doesn't necessarily clinch the deal. Corroborating evidence means a lot. And that gets to the heart of my criticism of Joe's argument. There's a wealth of scientific evidence outside the arena of religious sociology (or his 200 studies). Evidence that he really should look at, but he completely ignores. Even in the field of (non-religious) sociology, there's plenty that doesn't help to make his case. But he avoids it like the plague.

"we don't know that a drug couldn't actually help a person into a mental state more conducive to having an actual religious experience. The idea is that there could be more than one path or avenue to an experience of the divine. "
- Actually it really does seem that there are alternate paths to a mystical experience. Again, read what I said. And that's what I've been telling Joe for a long time, but he adamantly denies it.

Kristen said...

All right. I wasn't "screaming 'scientism!'" at you. That's your interpretation. It's remarkably easy, when communicating in writing and without the benefit of non-verbal cues, to misinterpret one another. As far as my interpretation, please help me by telling me which part of this long comment string I need to reread. Thanks.

im-skeptical said...

Perhaps we're both reading things into what the other has said. In my defense, it was based on what you said: "So are you saying physics is the only valid science? ..." - which is actually an accusation of scientism, and that's certainly the way it comes across. In your case, "physics is the only valid science" was something I didn't say. I didn't imply it. But I do think it's useful in helping us to understand the world, and it's something you can't ignore, especially when talking about empirical evidence. And that's why I suggested you read my words again. In this particular matter, you need to read it all if you wand verify that it's something I didn't say, or to really understand what I did say.

But there's also the matter of denying or disproving the divine. Again, it's something I didn't say or imply. Refuting an argument (or some part of it) is not the same as proving it's wrong. As a man of science, I take issue with Joe's use (or abuse) of science to make his case. It's not the fact that he wants to use science. It's the way he misuses it.

Cuttlebones said...

MC:Mystical experience is backed empirically to such an extent that it almost constitutes proof of God's existence.

No. You are just assuming a link between what have been classified as "Mystical experience" and God. There is no means of demonstrating such a link.

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

my answer to this is here: https://metacrock.blogspot.com/2024/02/the-empirical-trace-of-god.html