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Metacrock Challenges Occam: Resolved that Beleif in God is rationally warranted.

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  • Metacrock Challenges Occam: Resolved that Beleif in God is rationally warranted.

    remember the topic calls for rational warrant, meaning I don't have to prove God actually exist just that it's a rational to believe he does based upon good reasons.

    Here's a good reason it's made of two parts.

    I. Co determinate

    Co-determinate: The co-determinate is like the Derridian trace, or like a fingerprint. It's the accompanying sign that is always found with the thing itself. In other words, like trailing the invisable man in the snow. You can't see the invisable man, but you can see his footprints, and wherever he is in the snow his prints will always follow.

    We cannot produce direct observation of God, but we can find the "trace" or the co-determinate, the effects of God in the wrold.

    The only question at that ponit is "How do we know this is the effect, or the accompanying sign of the divine? But that should be answere in the argument below. Here let us set out some general peramitors:

    (1) The trace produced content with speicificually religious affects

    (2)The affects led one to a renewed sense of divine relaity, are transformative of life goals and self actualization

    (3) Cannot be accounted for by alteante cuasality or other means.

    Argument (1)There are real affects from Mytical 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)Since mystical experince is usually experince of something, the Holy, the sacred some sort of greater trasncendent reality we should assume that the object is real since the affects or real, or that the affects are the result of some real higher reailty.

    (5)The true measure of the reality of the co-dterminate is the transfomrative power of the affects.


    II. Epistemic Judgement (Thomas Reid argument)
    this is the real crux of it all.

    Argument:


    (1) No empirical evidence can prove the existence of the external world, other minds, or the reality of history, or other such basic things.

    (2) We do not find this epistemological dilemma debilitating on a daily basis because we assume that if our experiences are consistent and regular than we can navigate in "reality" whether it is ultimately illusory of not.

    (3) Consistency and regularity of personal experience is the key.

    (4) religious experience can also be regular and consistent, perhaps not to the same degree, but in the same way.

    (5) Inter-subjective

    RE of this type has a commonality shared by believers all over the world, in different times and different places, just as the external world seems to be perceived the same by everyone.

    (6) Real and Lasting effects.


    (7) therefore, we have as much justification for assuming religious belief based upon experience as for assuming the reality of the external world or the existence of other minds.


    So we habitually compare our experiences to a criteria that we set for reality. If they stack up we assume they are real and valid. Religious experience fits that set of criteria and thus we can trust it. That makes it a good reason to assume that God exists. Because he is given in a certain set of experiences which affect us in ways we would expected to be affected by the divine.

    The real argument is the long term positive effects of the experiences. These are the experiences known as "mystical" and that conform to those set by W.T. Stace for his theory. Moreover,the acuity of these judgements about the experiences can be known in a more accurate way now due to the work of Ralph Hood on the M scale and other researchers working in the Vain of people like James and Stace.


    I will be bringing up a new argument in my second constructive speech. It will be an extension of this argument. I would be unfair to bring in a totally different argument like fine tuning or something. So it will be based upon Hood's M scale and deal with the universality of the experiences.
    Last edited by Metacrock; 01-10-14, 03:41 PM.
    Lord what fools these mortals be.
    Puc, Mid Sumer Night's Dream, A Midsummer-Night's Dream. Act III. Scene II

    President Roosevelt to Rich republicans: "I welcome your hatred."

  • #2
    I'd like to thank Metacrock for setting up the debate. For my opening speech, I'll be recycling the speech that I used in my previous debate with Perplexity with some modifications.

    My overall argument will be as follows.

    1. Any reasonable belief is either a properly basic belief or supported by a cogent argument.
    2. The belief that a god exists is not a properly basic belief.
    3. The belief that a god exists is not supported by a cogent argument.
    4. Therefore, the belief that a god exists is not a reasonable belief.

    The conclusion follows deductively from the premises, so the question is whether the premises are true.

    1. "Any reasonable belief is either a properly basic belief or supported by a cogent argument."

    The first premise of my argument is relatively self explanatory, but let me clarify what a properly basic belief is. A properly basic belief is a belief that it is reasonable to hold in the basic way, unsupported by another belief. There are a lot of beliefs like this, like "one plus one equals two" or "there are minds other than my own." To be clear, a properly basic belief is not necessarily unsupported by anything, just unsupported by another belief. A properly basic belief can still be supported by, for example, direct experience of the object of the belief.

    2. "The belief that a god exists is not a properly basic belief."

    Some theists believe that theism can reasonably be accepted without any evidence or argument at all. The idea here is that we have a lot of beliefs that are accepted without independent evidence, like those listed in section 1. According to these theists, belief in a god falls into this category.

    The first problem with this argument is that a basic belief still has to do some explanatory work. The material the belief is explaining does not need to consist of other beliefs, but it is still there. For example, in the case of the belief "there are minds other than my own," the belief explains a number of subtle observations about how people move and speak. These observations cannot be formulated as beliefs, but they are still explained by the belief in other minds.

    The second problem with this position is that in the age of science, we have learned not to trust in basic beliefs that were not arrived at by a reliable methodology. The methodology that the theist relies upon to form a basic belief in a god will invariably be religious experience or the testimony of Scripture, both of which have been discredited as sources of information.

    Religious experience has been discredited by the conflicts between the various religious experiences that different people have reported and by neuroscientific discoveries about the origin of religious experience. We could say that the differences between different religious experiences cancel one another out, leaving only a core consisting of belief in some kind of god, but surely such a procedure would also entail lowering our confidence in religious experience as such.

    The testimony of the various scriptures has been discredited by secular, scholarly research into religious texts. Scholarly research into the Bible, for example, has revealed inconsistencies between different parts of the Bible and interpretations of the Bible that are more plausible than traditional interpretations, like the Documentary Hypothesis. In addition, religious texts typically originate in primitive, credulous cultures - surely not a reliable source of information!

    Since a basic belief in a god has no explanatory power and cannot be arrived at by a reliable methodology, a basic belief that a god exists cannot be a properly basic belief. However, this only establishes that belief in a god must be supported by a cogent argument if it is to be rational, not that belief in a god is not rational. So, is belief in a god supported by a cogent argument?

    3. "The belief that a god exists is not supported by a cogent argument."

    Richard Swinburne is the best argumentative theologian of our day, by universal acclaim, so I'll make a few general points about his argument for the existence of God before turning to Metacrock's two arguments.

    Richard Swinburne summarizes his argument for a god's existence as follows.

    Why believe that there is a God at all? My answer is that to suppose that there is a God explains why there is a physical universe at all; why there are the scientific laws there are; why animals and then human beings have evolved; why humans have the opportunity to mould their characters and those of their fellow humans for good or ill and to change the environment in which we live; why we have the well-authenticated account of Christ‟s life, death and resurrection; why throughout the centuries millions of people (other than ourselves) have had the apparent experience of being in touch with an guided by God, and so much else. In fact, the hypothesis of the existence of God makes sense of the whole of our experience, and it does so better than any other explanation that can be put forward, and that is the grounds for believing it to be true.

    There are a number of problems with this line of reasoning.

    First, Dawes' optimality condition undercuts Swinburne's argument. The optimality condition says that if we are going to use some phenomenon as evidence for a god's existence, then we have to specify a goal that the god would have had in creating that phenomenon. But if the god we're positing is omnipotent and perfectly moral, then that goal must have been achieved by morally best route possible. Since none of the goals people posit for gods have been achieved in the morally best way possible, nothing is evidence for the existence of a perfectly moral god.

    Second, it's not clear that Swinburne's conception of God is coherent. As Herman Philipse points out in his book God in the Age of Science?, we attribute personhood to an entity because it exhibits certain bodily behaviors. I attribute personhood to you because I see that you move in such and such a way and speak in such and such a way. If we didn't have these cues, then we could never conclude that an entity was a person, only that it was a mysterious force.

    Third, to borrow again from Philipse, it's not clear that Swinburne's conception of God has explanatory power. To use God as an explanation, we have to have some way of predicting what God is more or less likely to do. The way Swinburne chooses to do this is by positing the existence of objective morality, and then saying that God always does the most moral thing, but morality is probably not independent of human evolution, which scraps Swinburne's argument.

    Now that we've discussed Swinburne's attempt to prove the existence of God, let's turn to Metacrock's two arguments.

    Metacrock's first argument says that since people have experiences of God, and we cannot account for these experiences naturalistically, we should conclude that God exists. This is a fallacy known as God of the gaps - just because we don't have a naturalistic explanation for something doesn't mean God did it. Metacrock has to prove the positive claim that the experiences did not have a naturalistic cause, which he cannot do. In addition, as I mentioned in section 1, there are naturalistic explanations for religious experiences.

    Metacrock's second argument says that since we believe in the external world and other minds on the basis of regular and consistent experience, and religious experience is regular and consistent, we have as much justification for believing in God as for believing in the external world or other minds on the basis of the positive effects the experiences have. The main problem here is that we do not have regular and consistent religious experiences. People have religious experiences infrequently, and their reports frequently contradict each other. I don't know what Metacrock thinks an irregular and inconsistent set of experiences would be like, if religious experience is not irregular and inconsistent.

    I conclude that my argument against the rationality of believing in God is sound. Thanks for reading.
    "There is no singular thing in nature that is more useful to man than a man who lives according to the guidance of reason."
    ~ Spinoza, Ethics, 4p35c1

    Comment


    • #3
      part 1 speech 2


      Originally posted by Occam View Post
      I'd like to thank Metacrock for setting up the debate. For my opening speech, I'll be recycling the speech that I used in my previous debate with Perplexity with some modifications.
      I want to thank Occam for participating. I affirm the good will nature of this discussion. I consider Occam a friend. This is a good will discussion between friends who disagree.
      Occam:
      My overall argument will be as follows.

      1. Any reasonable belief is either a properly basic belief or supported by a cogent argument.
      I don't accept the properly basic (of "PB") paradigm. I use prima facie (fa-shae) (PF). At the end of this speech I'll talk about PF and what that means and why my argument is. the Properly basic (PB) is foundational and I like to be more existentialist in my approach. however I will argue that my view is close to a properly basic paradigm than his is.

      It's confusing if he is offer that as either/or. Be PB or cogent. so My argument could be cogent and not be PB?


      2. The belief that a god exists is not a properly basic belief.
      Of course it is. Plangina shows this. Plenty of people believe in God without support from any other idea or anything other than an intuitive sense of God. The idea of taking experience which seems to be experience of the divine as indication that one has encountered the divine is as close to PB as it get's.

      3. The belief that a god exists is not supported by a cogent argument.
      this is just circular because it asserts that the argument I just made is n good.He hasn't even deal with it yet. If my argument that I offered stands then this premise is wrong and thus his entire arguemnt falls. If one premise falls the whole arguemnt fails and this one does. My argument is cogent.


      4. Therefore, the belief that a god exists is not a reasonable belief.
      That's further question begging because if my arguemnt stands then it's reasonable so thus there is a reasonable belief so this premise falls. thus the whole argument falls.


      The conclusion follows deductively from the premises, so the question is whether the premises are true.

      1. "Any reasonable belief is either a properly basic belief or supported by a cogent argument."
      here I'm confused about what he wants. It's set up either/or. Etiher it's PB or it's supported by cogent. Does that mean that one is as good as the other? If so then it's in the bag for me. It doesn't have to be properly basic if it's supported by a cogent argument?

      The first premise of my argument is relatively self explanatory, but let me clarify what a properly basic belief is. A properly basic belief is a belief that it is reasonable to hold in the basic way, unsupported by another belief. There are a lot of beliefs like this, like "one plus one equals two" or "there are minds other than my own." To be clear, a properly basic belief is not necessarily unsupported by anything, just unsupported by another belief. A properly basic belief can still be supported by, for example, direct experience of the object of the belief.
      Belief that one has encountered God due to an experience clearly fills that bill. He said it can be justified by something, doesn't have to be antoehr bleief. The something could be the religious experience and thus it is supported by it. you don't need another belief to assume that your experience was really an experience of god.

      2. "The belief that a god exists is not a properly basic belief."

      Some theists believe that theism can reasonably be accepted without any evidence or argument at all. The idea here is that we have a lot of beliefs that are accepted without independent evidence, like those listed in section 1. According to these theists, belief in a god falls into this category.

      The first problem with this argument is that a basic belief still has to do some explanatory work. The material the belief is explaining does not need to consist of other beliefs, but it is still there. For example, in the case of the belief "there are minds other than my own," the belief explains a number of subtle observations about how people move and speak. These observations cannot be formulated as beliefs, but they are still explained by the belief in other minds.
      The situation with god is perfectly analogs to that. there is some explanatory work about the nature of experiences and the nature of psychosocial studies but it doesn't depends another set of beliefs. It also can the basis of a set of beliefs and still be PB. That's the situation with religious experience.

      The second problem with this position is that in the age of science, we have learned not to trust in basic beliefs that were not arrived at by a reliable methodology. The methodology that the theist relies upon to form a basic belief in a god will invariably be religious experience or the testimony of Scripture, both of which have been discredited as sources of information.
      he's basing his objection upon other beliefs. This appeal to methodology and science is not PB. Science is not PB. That requires an ideology and a range of beliefs. He wants a bleief that is PB and thus doesn't' rely on other beliefs. but his reject my PB requires his introduction of other beliefs: the ideology of atheism about the trustworthiness of experience. that is nothing more than a myth. It's based upon a trumped lack of trust is is not scientific. there is no scientific evidence that disproves our experience of the world nor could there be. any such evidence might be an illusion it has to come to us from our experience.

      we cannot get outside of our experience to check it. That's just a violation of one of the fundamental epistemological "barriers" or dilemmas in philosophy the empiricists dilemma. Descartes got around that but if he is going use Descartes method of getting out of it he's have to introduce other set of beliefs such as deductive reasoning. He's going to have to accept that something other than scinece tells us about the world.

      Religious experience has been discredited by the conflicts between the various religious experiences that different people have reported and by neuroscientific discoveries about the origin of religious experience.
      that is nonsense. that is a myth which atheists have cultivated and they cherish bu tit is a myth. It's a disproved myth Beasley new study methodology prove that it's not true now. It's not PB. that would require a full range of beliefs about study methods and science.

      Be that as it may neuroscience has nothing do with it. Neuroscience can't demonstrate a true mystical experience from a false one. you can't prove that neuroscience has produced any mystical experience without first demonstrating what one is. No neuroscience guy produces a theory of mystical experience and validates it by study. All they do is produce feelings through stimulation and assert hat if those feelings involve imagery of religion then they have produced a religious experience. Psychologists of religion laugh their heads off at that appraoch. It doesn't prove anything.

      Ralph Hood's M scales proves that Stace's theory of mystical experience is valid. It does this by showing that modern people with these experiences tend to correlate with those that Stace mapped out. They show this in a dozen studies in countries all over the world: Sweden, UK, India, Pakistan, Iran, Japan.USA.

      Of atheists have said "they just sue surveies and the people could be lying." Of cousre they can't having read Stace if they have never heard of him. The Iranian pedants who have never read English don't know about Stace, and they don't know what the researchers wants them answer but they answer as Stace would. So the prove that people today are having experiences that match up with what Stace thought mystical experience was: becuase he took his ideas from the writings of mystics from around the world.All he did was to sum up what they all have in common. wow Lo and behold, they have it today. For my own summary of the documentation on this point please read my article.

      http://religiousapriori.blogspot.com...nature-of.html


      We could say that the differences between different religious experiences cancel one another out, leaving only a core consisting of belief in some kind of god, but surely such a procedure would also entail lowering our confidence in religious experience as such.
      that's not true. people who say that have not read the studies all they are doing is gong by the names. They see people talking about different gods so they assert that their expresses must be different. One thing Hood did was take out the names and just go by the actual experiences, they are all the same. Read the article in the link above where I go over that materiel.
      Lord what fools these mortals be.
      Puc, Mid Sumer Night's Dream, A Midsummer-Night's Dream. Act III. Scene II

      President Roosevelt to Rich republicans: "I welcome your hatred."

      Comment


      • #4
        Meta's part 2 speech 2


        The testimony of the various scriptures has been discredited by secular, scholarly research into religious texts. Scholarly research into the Bible, for example, has revealed inconsistencies between different parts of the Bible and interpretations of the Bible that are more plausible than traditional interpretations, like the Documentary Hypothesis. In addition, religious texts typically originate in primitive, credulous cultures - surely not a reliable source of information!
        that's about scriptures. Scriptures are not based wholly upon experience but are redacted for doctrine. so that evidence doesn't fit the argument. The actual experiences people have are the same the world over. the evidence is proved by the studies Hood did because he actually went by the experiences and not just names.



        Since a basic belief in a god has no explanatory power and cannot be arrived at by a reliable methodology, a basic belief that a god exists cannot be a properly basic belief.
        that's just begging the question. I've already disproved it He says nothing about the evidence that I bring forth in my first speech. That is the experience people have. He merely asserts that PB has no explanatory power. there's no reason why it would not. the mere fact that it's God the creator of all, the ground of being, is plenty explanatory in the sense that it has to be. We are not looking for a theory in physics we don't need a scientific explanation that's not what belief in God is about. we are looking for existential explainations and the mere fact of being about God makes it explanatory in an existential sense.

        Moreover, the M scale methodology is the most reliable of all methodologies used becuase it has the most validating studies that back it up. no other scale used to measure religious experience has so many studies form so many countries that validate it. It's much more backed up than say Borg's study on psilocybin and religion. The M scale is certainly to be reliable. here are statements by major figures in the field who say so. the first one is the Griffithis who did the Johns Hopkins study on psilocybin and religious experience and he used the M scale in that study. There was a time when this guy was being quoted by atheists all over this board who thought they disproving my studies with him. He supports the M scale. Hermit found his study.

        Katherine A. MacLean, Roland R. Griffithis, et al

        "Factor Analysis of the mystical experience Questionnaire: A study of experiences occasioned by the Hallucinogen Psilocybin," Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion PDF
        http://www.heffter.org/docs/2013pdf/...stionnaire.pdf

        "Beginning with Hood (1975), the modern empirical study of mysticism has focused on char-
        acterizing mystical experiences that individuals have had across their lifetime. Hood’s Mysticism
        Scale ...developed according to Stace’s (1960) framework, is the most widely used quantitative mea-sure of mystical experience. The Mysticism Scale has generally been shown to be a reliable
        and cross-culturally valid measure of lifetime experiences." `


        Dale Caird
        originally in journal for the Scientific study of religion 1988, 27 (1) 122-126

        "Research into mystical experience has been greatly facilitated over the last decade by Hood (1975). Utilizing the conceptual framework of Stace (1960) he devised a 32 item questionnaire tapping eight categories of mysticism. This questionnaire the M scale was shown by Hood to have respectable internal consistency and reasonable construct validity.

        Michael E. Nielsen, Ph.D.
        Georgia Southern University
        feb 2000

        "Ralph Hood (1998), a major figure in American psychology of religion, suggests six psychological schools of thought regarding religion. The psychoanalytical schools draw from the work of Freud, and attempt to reveal unconscious motives for religious belief. Although Freud reduced religious belief to a natural, if ultimately flawed, attempt to cope with life's stresses, contemporary psychoanalytic interpretations are not necessarily hostile to religious faith. Analytical schools find their inspiration in Jung's description of spiritual life. Most psychologists, however, consider such descriptions to be undemonstrated by scientific research, and therefore it plays a limited role in psychology. Object relations schools also draw from psychoanalysis, but focus their efforts on maternal influences on the child. Each of these three schools rely on clinical case studies and other descriptive methods based on small samples, which runs counter to the prevailing practice of psychology in America."

        "Modern social scientific evidence does not refute the possibility that some mystical experiences are associated with scientifically unknown processes. Parapsychologists have accumulated a body of evidence supporting belief in paranormal phenomena (Broughton 1992). Even though their evidence has been criticized, the existence of universal features within collections of mystical experience accounts supports the argument that some forms of these perceptions are not fully cultural products but have important impacts on religious belief (Hufford 1982, McClenon 1994)"



        However, this only establishes that belief in a god must be supported by a cogent argument if it is to be rational, not that belief in a god is not rational. So, is belief in a god supported by a cogent argument?
        Obviously it is since he has not demonstrated that my PF arguemnt in 1AC is not cogent.

        3. "The belief that a god exists is not supported by a cogent argument."

        Richard Swinburne is the best argumentative theologian of our day, by universal acclaim, so I'll make a few general points about his argument for the existence of God before turning to Metacrock's two arguments.
        That's appeal to authority. It's a silly gambit. This is guy is great, i can beat this board with Swinburne's picture on it, therefore, I can beat Meatcrock. I think first of all if Swinburne were in the debate it would be story as to weather or not you, Occam can beat him. He's breaking a board with Swinburne's picture on it, he's not fighting Swinburne.The immortal words of Bruce Lee (Enter the Dragon) Board not hit back!

        I am snipping the Swinburne material as defense of that is merely a white rabbit to ge me off my own argument. I don't need Swinburne to prove my case.
        I'm sure as I say if he had the real guy to argue with he would not be so confident that he's beating him.




        Metacrock's first argument says that since people have experiences of God, and we cannot account for these experiences naturalistically, we should conclude that God exists.
        he's asserted the idea of accounting for them naturalistic ally. I didn't say they can't be accounted for naturalistic ally. I would not say that. I've said this on the boards many times. My argument is much more subtle than that. Naturalistic properties are found withe the phenomena but that doesn't answer the issue in full. It doesn't' account for the end result, the effects of having the experience.

        It's obvious that God would use the natural aspects of communication to communicate. finding brain chemistry does to prove that God is not involved. that's not enough in and of itself to rule it out. There is the receptor argument. God uses the naturalistic set up he gave us to communicate with us that means brain chemistry is involved. So the receptors can be opened by drugs and by stimulating the brain and so forth. That is not proof that that's all there is to it because



        This is a fallacy known as God of the gaps - just because we don't have a naturalistic explanation for something doesn't mean God did it. Metacrock has to prove the positive claim that the experiences did not have a naturalistic cause, which he cannot do. In addition, as I mentioned in section 1, there are naturalistic explanations for religious experiences.
        that is clearly not God of the gaps. you don't have any kind of explanation that fits to explain mystical experience. Everyone who has it knows what it is. No who has it doubts that it's some kind of basic insight into the nature of things. Trying to reduce that to just function of brain chemistry and make it seem totally prorogation and meaningless is just losing the phenomena. By definition the nature of the experience is that its' more than just some misfire of the brain. Trying to reduce it to that is not explaining it but explaining it away.

        no explanation short of the grandeur of the noetic qualities and the long term positive effects of life transformation that accompany it will suffice to explain. Therefore it has materialism beat a priori.

        Metacrock's second argument says that since we believe in the external world and other minds on the basis of regular and consistent experience, and religious experience is regular and consistent, we have as much justification for believing in God as for believing in the external world or other minds on the basis of the positive effects the experiences have. The main problem here is that we do not have regular and consistent religious experiences. People have religious experiences infrequently, and their reports frequently contradict each other. I don't know what Metacrock thinks an irregular and inconsistent set of experiences would be like, if religious experience is not irregular and inconsistent.
        that is the myth I dispelled above. Hood's m scale proves that they do have regular consistent shared and similar and universal experiences. I linked to the source where that can be found and expalined.So he's just repeating the outdated myth of the atheist.

        Irregular and inconsistent would be where you don't get it every time you pray and it's not the same from one time another oblivious.

        I conclude that my argument against the rationality of believing in God is sound. Thanks for reading.
        I'm sorry my opponent has failed to even touch my arguments. My argument, is one argument in two parts. says RE fits the criteria we use to determine the reality fo our experiences. We say did you see that? is it hot in here to you? we check our princesses by others and by past experience. "I've never seen that before." "did you see that too?" tha'ts how we decide if we are experiencing reality or not. Religious experience lives up to that.

        the decision making paradigm I use is prima face because using PB is just a metaphysical assertion with no justification. Why exclude supporting beliefs? Most PB ideas have to supported anyway. why exclude support just becuase it's another belief? PF says you have to meet certain criteria to makes valid case. that criteria is the face value understanding that what you say is demonstrated on face value to be the case.

        My argument is on face value, it fits the criteria we use to determine the nature of reality. Thus, if something fits that it should be understood as real. RE would be understand as a real experienced caused by experience of a real object, if it wasn't' for the biases people feel in the nature of religious thinking.

        Final argument, I said that I would add another argument in my second speech. that is the universal argument. Documented in the link above, the link to my argument talking about hte McNamara article.

        Religious experience the world over is the same experience. When they take the names out the experiences themselves are alike. They are responding to an objective outside reality becuase they are not limited to culture. Religious symbolism is not innate it's cultural. They have the same symbols and the same experiences that is objective.

        Notice that arguments fits all the criteria he talked about: It's cogent, it's a valid validated scientific methodology it' objective it's proved it's published in peer reviewed journals.

        Hood's article appeared in the McNamara book but it was originally in a peer reviewed journal.
        Lord what fools these mortals be.
        Puc, Mid Sumer Night's Dream, A Midsummer-Night's Dream. Act III. Scene II

        President Roosevelt to Rich republicans: "I welcome your hatred."

        Comment


        • #5
          In assessing Metacrock's second speech, it is useful to return to the argument I gave in my first speech.

          1. Any reasonable belief is either a properly basic belief or supported by a cogent argument.
          2. The belief that a god exists is not a properly basic belief.
          3. The belief that a god exists is not supported by a cogent argument.
          4. Therefore, the belief that a god exists is not a reasonable belief.

          The argument is deductively valid, and Metacrock does not contest premise 1 as far as I can tell, so Metacrock must argue either than theism is a properly basic belief or that theism is supported by a cogent argument. Let's see what he says about each of these alternatives.

          2. "The belief that a god exists is not a properly basic belief."

          It is difficult to determine exactly what Metacrock's position on whether or not theism is a properly basic belief is, because he says in some places that theism can be shown to be a properly basic belief and in some places that "PB is just a metaphysical assertion with no justification." Still, I will do my best.

          Metacrock asserts without elaboration that "Plantinga shows" that theism is a properly basic belief. In fact, I have read most of Plantinga's books, and I am confident that Plantinga does not show any such thing. Plantinga's strategy is question begging, as shown by Herman Philipse in his book God in the Age of Science? I will not spend much time on this, since Metacrock himself does not spend much time on the point, but I think it is worthwhile to indicate in broad outline why Plantinga's argument fails.

          Plantinga's strategy is to argue that since classical foundationalism fails, we only have the beliefs of our community by which to judge which beliefs are properly basic. Classical foundationalism is the claim that all beliefs must be reduced to sensory data or self evident truths of reason. Plantinga's strategy is to argue that classical foundationalism fails because it does not meet its own criteria (it is not reducible to sensory data or self evident truths) and it cannot account for beliefs like our belief in the external world and other minds.

          Suppose we grant Plantinga's argument and say that, even though classical foundationalism fails, we can still find grounds to dismiss theism, because it can be undermined by naturalistic theories of how people form beliefs in God, like that presented by cognitive scientist Pascal Boyer. Plantinga's response to this is that the Christian can present an alternative account of how he forms his belief in God - God implants the belief in him through the sensus divinitatis.

          The objection to this is that the theist's theory of how people form beliefs in God is not parsimonious, because it invokes the additional entity God when we can explain theistic belief more simply (and with better evidence) by putting it down to naturalistic causes. Plantinga's response to this is that he is not offering an explanation for belief in God that can be evaluated by standard inductive criteria like simplicity. Rather, he is reporting a properly basic belief that is not held on the basis of its explanatory power.

          But at this juncture, that move is question begging. Plantinga introduced the sensus divinitatis theory into the conversation in order to give an account of how people form beliefs in God that would defend theism against the naturalist's account of theistic belief. He is indeed offering it as an explanation, and it is question begging to say that it should not be evaluated by standard inductive criteria. So, Plantinga's Reformed epistemology fails.

          Next, Metacrock says that the experience of God is analogous to our experience of the external world. The problem with this claim is that it's plainly false. People do not have reasonable disagreements about whether or not the external world exists, and there are no major social movements based on the belief that there is no external world. You don't have to be crazy to disbelieve in God like you have to be crazy to disbelieve in the external world. So, the claim that the two are analogous is wildly implausible.

          Next, Metacrock objects that I am undermining theism as a properly basic belief by pulling on other beliefs. There is actually nothing illegitimate about this procedure, and I'm not sure why Metacrock would think otherwise. If someone holds a belief in the basic way, it is legitimate to undermine it by showing that it is inconsistent with other beliefs he holds, rendering it no longer properly basic for him.

          Metacrock objects that we cannot get outside of our experience to check it in any case. But I am not objecting to religious experience on the grounds that we cannot get outside religious experience to check it, I am objecting to religious experience on the grounds that it is inconsistent with our scientific knowledge and, indeed, with the very spirit of science. Religious experience can be shown to be unreliable on independent grounds, so I'm not just perversely asserting that it might be wrong with no evidence.

          Metacrock appeals to Hood's surveys to show that religious experiences are veridical. I think it's just obvious that a survey cannot prove that God exists. Even if all of the people taking the survey are telling the truth, which is not guaranteed, people could have experiences of God with profound transformative effects without God actually existing. The inference is a simple non sequitur.

          Since Metacrock does not succeed in defending the claim that belief in God is properly basic, let's see if he shows that belief in God can be supported by a cogent argument.

          3. "The belief that God exists is not supported by a cogent argument."

          Metacrock denies that his first argument was a God of the gaps argument on the grounds that he did not say that religious experiences cannot be accounted for naturalistically. This is just false, and anyone can see so by reading the third premise of his first argument: "[religious experiences] Cannot be accounted for by alteante cuasality or other means." Either Metacrock has changed his position or his initial argument is so unclear that it cannot prove anything.

          It is particularly strange that Metacrock claims not to be making a God of the gaps argument when his next paragraph asserts that the fact that religious experiences can be accounted for in terms of brain chemistry does not prove that God has no role. This is a classic case of demanding that the atheist prove a negative, putting God in the tiny gap in our knowledge where we don't know every single cause of religious experience. I think it's clear that this isn't a reasonable way of arguing for God.

          Metacrock adds a final argument from the universality of religious experience. Since people the world over have "the same experience," God must exist. This is yet another God of the gaps argument. If people the world over have the same religious experiences, we should assume that this is the result of the structure of their brains, not insert God to explain something we can't understand. But the premise isn't even true - people in different cultures have experiences of wildly different deities.

          I conclude that theism is neither a properly basic belief nor supported by a cogent argument, and therefore that my argument against the rationality of belief in God is sound. Thanks for reading.
          "There is no singular thing in nature that is more useful to man than a man who lives according to the guidance of reason."
          ~ Spinoza, Ethics, 4p35c1

          Comment


          • #6
            Metacrock: part 1 speech 3



            I have two observations before we get started:

            (1) Occam has lost already because he has not answered the basic argument. I prove that belief in God is warranted. I don't have to prove that God is real or that God actually exits just that belie in God is warranted. I do prove becuase it fits the criteria by which we say our experiences reflect reality. thus the experience we call religious is an experience of reality. none of his long tiraids on Plantinga have anything to do with this. He did not challenge the basic issue.

            he says thing that sound challenging but htey are not. I'll get to that in context.

            (2) The universality argument is not answered. He just repeated that tired old brain structure argument that I've beaten a hundred times. If it were true that experiences are the same because we have the same brain structure than those with that brain structure should all have the same experiences. we do not all have mystical experiences. Presumably all humans have human brain structure but they don't all have mystical experiences. so that means it's not the result of human brain structure. He has failed ot answer the argument and it gives us a reason to assume we have experiencing something objective in reality.




            [quote]
            Originally posted by Occam View Post
            In assessing Metacrock's second speech, it is useful to return to the argument I gave in my first speech.

            1. Any reasonable belief is either a properly basic belief or supported by a cogent argument.
            2. The belief that a god exists is not a properly basic belief.
            3. The belief that a god exists is not supported by a cogent argument.
            4. Therefore, the belief that a god exists is not a reasonable belief.

            The argument is deductively valid, and Metacrock does not contest premise 1 as far as I can tell, so Metacrock must argue either than theism is a properly basic belief or that theism is supported by a cogent argument. Let's see what he says about each of these alternatives.
            I said that it seemed to be either/or not that PB is supported by cogent ideas. he doesn't' even respond. I also said I don't agree with PB as a paradigm but even so my argument is PB. We'll see if he dealt with that.

            2. "The belief that a god exists is not a properly basic belief."

            It is difficult to determine exactly what Metacrock's position on whether or not theism is a properly basic belief is, because he says in some places that theism can be shown to be a properly basic belief and in some places that "PB is just a metaphysical assertion with no justification." Still, I will do my best.
            that is obviously clear as day. I would not have though Occam would be the type to try and muddle the issue but apparently he is. My answer is conditional: on the one hand I don't feel that a I have to prove PB to argue for belief as warranted. On the other hand I think belief in God is PB. Even though I don't agree with PB as a valid paradigm. No way that is not clear. Just a conditional argument.



            Metacrock asserts without elaboration that "Plantinga shows" that theism is a properly basic belief. In fact, I have read most of Plantinga's books, and I am confident that Plantinga does not show any such thing. Plantinga's strategy is question begging, as shown by Herman Philipse in his book God in the Age of Science? I will not spend much time on this, since Metacrock himself does not spend much time on the point, but I think it is worthwhile to indicate in broad outline why Plantinga's argument fails.
            that's just a white rabbit technique. the resolution I proposed was not Resolved that Plantinga is right. I don't have to defend Plantinga. I tossed that out as an aside but the original point is just a white rabbit anyway. My argument for God belief as rationally warranted should be the primary issue not what Occam thinks of Plantinga.

            (snip the rest of Plantinga talk)


            Next, Metacrock says that the experience of God is analogous to our experience of the external world. The problem with this claim is that it's plainly false. People do not have reasonable disagreements about whether or not the external world exists, and there are no major social movements based on the belief that there is no external world. You don't have to be crazy to disbelieve in God like you have to be crazy to disbelieve in the external world. So, the claim that the two are analogous is wildly implausible.
            Here he's just equivocating between a difference sense of what was meant. I said the criteria by which we decide the reality of our experiences is met by religious experience. thus it is believable and trust worthy. It's false to say that there are not questions about experience and reality. we have them allt he time. ON a trivial level we say stuff like "Is it hot in here." we we may not think about it when we say that are asking "is this subjective or objective,. is it part of reality or just my illusion that I'm hot?"

            then of cousre there are instances where people have strange experiences that they don't understand. True documented story, two women driving on a highway at night. They see what they think is an old man who might be seeking help, a long haired hippe types, they pull over to him and almost stop and looking closer and see it's an animal when it stands up to it's full stature is huge and is covered in hair all over its body but a human like face. so one screams and they drive off real fast. One says "did you see that?" they don't know what they say but the are conferring. why are they conferring why don't they just say "we didn't see that because science types say it doesn't exist so we must not have?" Because they thought they did see it. that's why they have to check it. they check by accessing the shared nature, the regularity and the consistency of it.

            when the skeptic says "It was just a bear that they misidentified" then he's really saying "they didn't get the criteria right. it was really regular thing that people see but they mis identified it." He's using the criteria too.

            There's a lot of lea way between those two examples, feeling hot in a room and seeing a Bigfoot, there's a lot of middle ground there where we check our perceptions all the time. So that criteria is used it is important. The battle field, crimes scenes, strange situations, when being robbed, all kinds of times when we need to check reality.

            Occam wants us to think that epistemological issues are unimportant becuase there are no social movements that question reality; all social movements question reality. The issue here is epistemology is important for a thinker even if there's no social movement to redefine the nature of the real. If we are asking questions about the reality of God are asking about the roots of reality. we asking about the basis of the nature of things. God is not just another fragment in reality God is th basis of all reality. To consider the existence of God is to consider the basis of metaphysics and epistemology.

            Next, Metacrock objects that I am undermining theism as a properly basic belief by pulling on other beliefs. There is actually nothing illegitimate about this procedure, and I'm not sure why Metacrock would think otherwise. If someone holds a belief in the basic way, it is legitimate to undermine it by showing that it is inconsistent with other beliefs he holds, rendering it no longer properly basic for him.
            No first of all I didn't even argue that. he has misunderstood my basic thrust. I said I don't accept PB as a paradigm I argue for Prima facie so if I make a prima facie case I've met by goal. He says nothing about that. I have made a prima facie case. it's his burden of proof now to show that my PF case isn't enough.

            more importantly, he's obfuscated between the original issue which was that he expects a theist to argue or PB nature of God beilef, now he's turning it around and saying it's legitimate to undermine God belief by showing that it's inconsistent with other beliefs he holds.[SIZE=3] That was not his arguemnt. he is shifting argumetns.[/SIZE] Shift because the original argument merely used the other beliefs as a means of defining properly basic. PB means it's not dependent other beliefs. Now suddenly he puts it in terms of contradicting other beliefs. he has not said that before. So that's a shift it's not kosher in debate.



            Metacrock objects that we cannot get outside of our experience to check it in any case. But I am not objecting to religious experience on the grounds that we cannot get outside religious experience to check it, I am objecting to religious experience on the grounds that it is inconsistent with our scientific knowledge and, indeed, with the very spirit of science. Religious experience can be shown to be unreliable on independent grounds, so I'm not just perversely asserting that it might be wrong with no evidence.
            (1) he never shows that religious belief is any kind of contradiction to scientific knowledge. for that to be the case scientific knowledge would have to disprove god we all know there is no such disproof. The only kind of alleged "disproof" any atheist has is absence of proof not an actual disproof.

            (2) he totally misconstrued my argument. I said we can't get outside of our perceptions to check them becasue he said:

            The second problem with this position is that in the age of science, we have learned not to trust in basic beliefs that were not arrived at by a reliable methodology. The methodology that the theist relies upon to form a basic belief in a god will invariably be religious experience or the testimony of Scripture, both of which have been discredited as sources of information.

            I am saying you can't establish this methodology since the issue more primitive and more epistemological than scinece can handle. you have to do scinece through your perceptions. science can't enable you to get outside your own perceptions.

            that's why I call th argument "epistemic judgement." we have to make a judgement at the level of epistemology we can't assert a scientific answer. We have to make a judgment and we use that criteria (regular, consistent, shared) to make the judgment call. that's at a more basic level than science.

            (3) when scinece comes into it we have a scientific methodology that's better validated than any other in the field the M scale. that enables us to understand when we are dealing a real mystical experience. that enables us to compare experiences.

            In terms of science we meet his criteria. but the issues are more in depth than science. They are philosophical at the core.
            Lord what fools these mortals be.
            Puc, Mid Sumer Night's Dream, A Midsummer-Night's Dream. Act III. Scene II

            President Roosevelt to Rich republicans: "I welcome your hatred."

            Comment


            • #7
              Metacrock part 2 speech 3

              Metacrock appeals to Hood's surveys to show that religious experiences are veridical. I think it's just obvious that a survey cannot prove that God exists.
              Sorry my argument does not turn on Hood proving God. Please try to follow along. If you are actually wiling to read the whole debate then you might as well get the issues correct. The turning point of the argument its the criteria. tha'ts what makes it valid and that's wakes it "proof" to the extent that it proves a warrant. It warrants beilef because the fitting of the criteria makes it a good reason to believe that God is real. it fits the criteria we use to prove reality.


              what did I say he study does? look up there and see. It enables us to know the unified nature of the experiences and that they fit the criteria. you can't say this type of experience fits a criteria if you don't know what type that is. so the studies show that. the M scale is a way to say "this si that type of thing."

              once we can say "this is that type of thing" then we can say "it fits the criteria." Because he does not answer that he's not answering the argument. he's made up his own straw man argument that he got form listing to the people who dont' read all the posts. you are listening to the people who don't read the posts they quite after the first line so you are not getting the question issue.


              Even if all of the people taking the survey are telling the truth, which is not guaranteed, people could have experiences of God with profound transformative effects without God actually existing. The inference is a simple non sequitur.
              that is a statement not in evidence. he has no way of knowing if that is true. He can't prove it, but there's a good reason to think its' not true. He there is no evidence of any kind that shows an untruth that is unexpected leading to long term transfomative effects. why don't delusions do it? they don't. mental illness id debilitating over time.

              The only thing that comes close to answer is placebo. there is no evidence that placebo is long term, and it has to be expected. In half the cases mystical experience is not expected.

              (a) it's a conversion experience a large portion of the time.

              (b) contradicts cherished doctrines

              (c) it's in childhood half the time when there no doctrinal attachment.

              it's can't be a placebo. therefore it can't be that unreality leads to long term transformation.


              Since Metacrock does not succeed in defending the claim that belief in God is properly basic, let's see if he shows that belief in God can be supported by a cogent argument.
              I just did succeed in it.

              3. "The belief that God exists is not supported by a cogent argument."
              If epistemic judgement is not cogent then Descartes's cogito is not cogent. So if that's the case then the whole enlightenment is undermined. we love range and domain and all modern thought. Obviously the criteria we use to determine the reality of our experiences is cogent. Epistemic judgement is cogent because it's what we live by.

              Science is nothing more than a systematic version of that criteria. The shared aspect is verification in science. regularity is replicable in scinece. it's the same thing. If that's not cogent than scinece is not cogent.

              the studies show that the effects of the experience which meet the criteria is transformation there is nothing uncogent about accepting that. that is what we are doing when we say "science is true because it works."

              He has fallen far short of proving that my argument is not cogent.

              Metacrock denies that his first argument was a God of the gaps argument on the grounds that he did not say that religious experiences cannot be accounted for naturalistically. This is just false,
              clearly it's not false. he has no basis for calling it God f the gaps. there's no gap it's barrier. saying that naturalistic means explain the experience doesn't make it a God of the gaps arguemnt because it put forth to fill a gap in knowledge. It's not an explaiantion about how the brain works it's an explaintion about an experince that can't be accounted by reducing to to soemthing else and losing the phenomena.

              when they try to explain spiritual experiences by just asserting that form of naturalism involved automatically disproves it they are losing the phenomena becuase they are shutting down inquiry before it can even deal with the issues that transcendence the naturalistic aspects.


              The spiritual aspect is the barrier. science can't move beyond the physical. So to just shut down the question and say well any form of naturism means there's nothign beyond it is merely ideology and not scinece. So that's not a god of gaps it's an atheism of the gaps.


              and anyone can see so by reading the third premise of his first argument: "[religious experiences] Cannot be accounted for by alteante cuasality or other means." Either Metacrock has changed his position or his initial argument is so unclear that it cannot prove anything.
              Not entirely. He's confusing my admission that naturalistic aspects can be involved with an assertion that's wholly and entirely naturalistic. Two separate things: his way and the way of all the reductionists among the atheist ranks, they say "here is an aspect that is naturalistic brain chemistry, therefore it must be totally 100% naturalistic, therefore stop thinking about it." As though it has to be one or the other tit can't have elements of both.

              Vs. my way: there is a naturalistic element but that doesn't' explain the phenomena and to stop there is merely losing the phenomena. That's a favorite trick of reductionists to reduce to the point where the phenomena is lost then say "see there was nothing there."

              It is particularly strange that Metacrock claims not to be making a God of the gaps argument when his next paragraph asserts that the fact that religious experiences can be accounted for in terms of brain chemistry does not prove that God has no role.
              Not God of the gaps. he seems to confuse God of the gaps with any appeal to God as an explanation.there has to be some point at which a particular explain explains the phenomena apart from a gap. If not then all explains are gap arguments. Where's the gap here? The gap is the part where science can't move from the physical to the spritual. That's not a gap it's a barrier. Science can't move out of its' domain. We have to study in a different way.

              we can study it scientifically but indirect by using psychology and other social scineces and study the effects of the experience rather than the the thing itself. or we can use phenomenology and study the experience directly but not call it "scinece." or we can do both.


              This is a classic case of demanding that the atheist prove a negative, putting God in the tiny gap in our knowledge where we don't know every single cause of religious experience. I think it's clear that this isn't a reasonable way of arguing for God.
              that is the result of ideological thinking that says the only valid form of knowledge is science and all scientific findings have to be against belief in God. you want to privilege the hesitate position up front. you keep forgetting we have an experience. those of us who have had changes lives because of it are not content to ignore and forget and play like it didn't happen just because it embarrasses the scientists.

              your scientist does not explain what happens to me and it is not satisfying as a pretend explanation. the experience itself disproves the scientific hatchet job by the atheist ideology. cuff off reality and pretend it didn't happen.

              Metacrock adds a final argument from the universality of religious experience. Since people the world over have "the same experience," God must exist. This is yet another God of the gaps argument. If people the world over have the same religious experiences, we should assume that this is the result of the structure of their brains, not insert God to explain something we can't understand.
              that obviousliy is a poor answer:

              (1) not everyone has it. We all have human brain structure but we dont' all have those experiences. So they can't be the result of having a human brain structure.

              (2) if just having the brain structure was the case we should expect to find that we all have the same culture and speak the same langue. we have the same brain structure. We should all have the same experiences.

              (3) the aspects that are universal are aspects that are cultural and not genetic, such as cultural symbols. Arche types, such as the journey of hte hero. That's not a gene that's a cultural symbol. no link to brain structure.

              (4) religion is not genetic. even Stephen Pincker says that. there is no evidence of a religious gene therefor there is no basis for the answer of human brain structure.

              (5) that's deponent upon the ideology of sociobiology or it's repacked form as evolutionary psychology. social sciences dont' buy it.





              But the premise isn't even true - people in different cultures have experiences of wildly different deities.
              No I disproved that. you have read the Hood studies. you don't know. you are asserting that your prejudices must be true. your prejudices are disproved I linked to the article where Hood documents that. sorry you don't know how to look things up.


              I conclude that theism is neither a properly basic belief nor supported by a cogent argument, and therefore that my argument against the rationality of belief in God is sound. Thanks for reading.
              I just proved there is.
              Lord what fools these mortals be.
              Puc, Mid Sumer Night's Dream, A Midsummer-Night's Dream. Act III. Scene II

              President Roosevelt to Rich republicans: "I welcome your hatred."

              Comment


              • #8
                This will be the final speech of the debate according to the format that we agreed on. I'd like to thank Metacrock for setting up the debate and participating.

                The first thing I want to point out in assessing Metacrock's case is his evidence. To paraphrase Kant, if a complex system rests on a feeble base of evidence, we can dismiss the system without bothering to go through all of its intricacies, because there cannot possibly be anything to the intricacies in that case. Now, the only evidence Metacrock has presented in this debate is the Hood survey, which, I think it is obvious, cannot possibly serve as sufficient evidence for God's existence. So, I would say I've clearly won.

                Still, let's review some of Metacrock's points.

                Metacrock claims that I haven't dealt with his claim that the belief in God meets the criteria we use to determine whether or not the external world exists. This is just false, since I've been attacking the analogy between the external world and God since the beginning of the debate. Metacrock may think that I've ignored some important details of his argument, but at best that is due to his own failure to make it clear which parts of his convoluted arguments he considers important.

                Next, he claim that the universality argument was not answered, because we do not all have mystical experiences. This just contradicts his own premise that mystical experiences are universal, thereby further undermining his argument.

                I note that Metacrock tacitly concedes that my attack on Plantinga is successful, just as he tacitly conceded that my attack on Swinburne was successful. His concession that the two most highly regarded theistic philosophers of religion cannot defend theism is seriously damaging to the credibility of theism, as well as to the plausibility of his claim that his highly similar arguments are successful.

                Metacrock claims that religious experience meets the criteria we use to determine whether or not an external world exists. The problem here is that there are no criteria we use to determine whether or not the external world exists. The external world is so obvious that it does not stand in need of prior criteria to confirm it. Further, as I have argued, his criteria of regular and consistent experience is not met by religious experience, because different people experience different deities.

                Next, Metacrock demonstrates a misunderstanding of what a properly basic belief is by claiming that theism's status as properly basic cannot be undermined by bringing in other beliefs. That's not true - a belief that is properly basic at one point can be defeated by other beliefs and rendered no longer properly basic. While I concede that someone who was ignorant of the arguments for atheism could have a properly basic belief in God, that is not what we are debating.

                Next, Metacrock objects to my argument that religious experience should be rejected as inconsistent with our scientific knowledge on three grounds:

                (1) he never shows that religious belief is any kind of contradiction to scientific knowledge. for that to be the case scientific knowledge would have to disprove god we all know there is no such disproof. The only kind of alleged "disproof" any atheist has is absence of proof not an actual disproof.
                This is seriously mistaken. I have only claimed that science has shown that religious experience is an unreliable source of knowledge, which it has, by demonstrating that the experiences of different religions contradict each other and by giving neuroscientific explanations of religious experience. Metacrock has never successfully addressed either of these points.

                (2) he totally misconstrued my argument. I said we can't get outside of our perceptions to check them becasue he said:

                The second problem with this position is that in the age of science, we have learned not to trust in basic beliefs that were not arrived at by a reliable methodology. The methodology that the theist relies upon to form a basic belief in a god will invariably be religious experience or the testimony of Scripture, both of which have been discredited as sources of information.

                I am saying you can't establish this methodology since the issue more primitive and more epistemological than scinece can handle. you have to do scinece through your perceptions. science can't enable you to get outside your own perceptions.

                that's why I call th argument "epistemic judgement." we have to make a judgement at the level of epistemology we can't assert a scientific answer. We have to make a judgment and we use that criteria (regular, consistent, shared) to make the judgment call. that's at a more basic level than science.
                I see no reason why anyone, from Bigfoot believers to UFO believers, couldn't use this argument to claim that their particular superstition is too epistemological for science to handle.

                (3) when scinece comes into it we have a scientific methodology that's better validated than any other in the field the M scale. that enables us to understand when we are dealing a real mystical experience. that enables us to compare experiences.

                In terms of science we meet his criteria. but the issues are more in depth than science. They are philosophical at the core.
                The idea that a survey could prove the existence of God is absurd, as I have said before.

                Next, Metacrock attempts to salvage his God of the gaps argument, saying:

                that is a statement not in evidence. he has no way of knowing if that is true. He can't prove it, but there's a good reason to think its' not true. He there is no evidence of any kind that shows an untruth that is unexpected leading to long term transfomative effects. why don't delusions do it? they don't. mental illness id debilitating over time.

                The only thing that comes close to answer is placebo. there is no evidence that placebo is long term, and it has to be expected. In half the cases mystical experience is not expected.

                (a) it's a conversion experience a large portion of the time.

                (b) contradicts cherished doctrines

                (c) it's in childhood half the time when there no doctrinal attachment.

                it's can't be a placebo. therefore it can't be that unreality leads to long term transformation.
                This is just demanding that the atheist give an alternative explanation for the data in the survey. But no such explanation is needed, because to insert God in the absence of an alternative explanation is just a God of the gaps argument.

                Next, Metacrock asserts that if the criteria of epistemic judgment are met by religious experience, then we are justified in accepting religious experience as a source of knowledge. But the criteria are not met, since religious experiences are neither shared, regular, nor consistent, as I have shown.

                Metacrock makes various unsuccessful attempts to explain why his arguments are not just God of the gaps arguments. They patently are, so I don't see any reason to engage with this part of his post in detail. Saying that since these experiences cannot be explained naturalistically, therefore they must be caused by God, is a classic God of the gaps argument.

                He then makes the following attempts to defend his universality argument:

                that obviousliy is a poor answer:

                (1) not everyone has it. We all have human brain structure but we dont' all have those experiences. So they can't be the result of having a human brain structure.

                (2) if just having the brain structure was the case we should expect to find that we all have the same culture and speak the same langue. we have the same brain structure. We should all have the same experiences.

                (3) the aspects that are universal are aspects that are cultural and not genetic, such as cultural symbols. Arche types, such as the journey of hte hero. That's not a gene that's a cultural symbol. no link to brain structure.

                (4) religion is not genetic. even Stephen Pincker says that. there is no evidence of a religious gene therefor there is no basis for the answer of human brain structure.

                (5) that's deponent upon the ideology of sociobiology or it's repacked form as evolutionary psychology. social sciences dont' buy it.
                The problem with this is that it consists entirely of false claims and non sequiturs. It does not follow from the claim that we have similar brain structure that we must have similar culture and all have similar religious experiences, because I'm not positing complete similarity. I am just saying that the best explanation for the observation that lots of people have similar religious experiences is similarities in brain structure close enough to give them similar experiences. This is the only interpretation of the evidence that is not a God of the gaps argument.

                I think it's clear enough at this point that Metacrock has lost. To recap:

                1. His only argument is a God of the gaps argument.
                2. His only supporting evidence is a survey of people who had religious experiences, which, it is just obvious, is not going to magically turn into evidence for the existence of God no matter what convoluted interpretation you put on it.

                Thanks for reading.
                "There is no singular thing in nature that is more useful to man than a man who lives according to the guidance of reason."
                ~ Spinoza, Ethics, 4p35c1

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