• About TWIM

    The Warfare Is Mental (TWIM) reflects the mental warfare of an author, screenwriter, publisher and member of the Writer's Guild of America. Family, friends, health, humor, art, music, science, faith, fun and knowledge are some of the things that are important to me.

    TWIM is the first and only theist blog listed on the Atheist Blogroll, which currently contains over 1,000 blogs. It goes without saying that I don't endorse hardly any of the views of any of them. Contact Mojoey for more information.

    Ironically, TWIM won an award for "Best Atheist / Skeptic Site" from this site. Much obliged.

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    You and your commenters are a feast of thinking — great stuff.

    -C.L. Dyck
    I have no need to engage with racists, so will ignore cl’s further diatribes.

    cl resists following through on a thought even to provide a solid opposing position, and thus stifles many conversations. It’s a shame since it seems like cl has some brain power that could be applied to the topics at hand.

    [faithlessgod and Hermes] fit my definition of trolling. I didn’t take any of those attacks against you seriously, and quickly categorized them as trolls.

    -JS Allen,
    [cl] is, as many have noticed, a master of this warfare. I’ve been following him for quite some time and he’s one of the most effective Christian trolls out there. No one can completely destroy a conversation as effectively as he does, and with such masterful grace and subtly that he rarely gets banned. This isn’t a blunt-force “U R Hitler!” troll, this is the Yoda of trolling.

    This seems to imply that cl is, at least in part, disingenuous in terms of how he responds/what he claims. Is this most likely true, supported by evidence, or merely a subjective claim?

    -al friedlander,
    ...I wanted to get a message to you outside of the context of specific discussions on CSA. You make good, insightful contributions to that site, and since I often agree with you I'm glad there is someone else there defending my positions better than I sometimes can. However I don't think anything of value would be lost if you stopped engaging in personal combat with juvenile snipers.

    Thank you for your wonderful response - so reasoned in the race of [Waldvogel's] blustering.

    -Annie Laurie Gaylor
     Freedom From Religion Foundation
    Thanks for a great Op-Ed.

    -Marianne Ratcliff
     VC Star
    ...as atheists we need to make sure that someone like cl and any Christian readers of [An Apostate's Chapel] don’t come away with the perception that the atheists caved in or were incapable of responding. I’m sure that a lot of Christians who find cl incomprehensible at times and don’t even bother reading him themselves will come away with an assumption that cl is that sort of rare intellectual theist who can prove that gods exist. And that’s how those inane rumors about the feared xian intellectuals start…

     An Apostate's Chapel
    You are in so over your head here, you are embarrassing yourself...
    I am well versed in many aspects of evolution biology, through my academic background, and my professional life. Unless your academic degrees and background match mine, cease and desist. Return to philosophy and rhetoric, or whatever it is you perceive your strengths to be. They are definitely not science, even at the high school level.

    -R.C. Moore
     Evangelical Realism
    You're doing a fine job.

    -Prof. Larry Moran
     Dept. of Biochemistry
     University of Toronto
     re: R.C. Moore & others
    Phyletic change and vicariance (or, drift and selection versus population isolation), as cl points out, are much better ways of describing what are unfortunately more commonly known as micro- and macro- evolution, respectively.

     Biology postdoc
     Univ. of Cyprus
     re: R.C. Moore & others
    cl says, “The minute you call yourself a Christian or an Atheist or whatever the heck else, you automatically get painted by other people’s interpretations of those words, which are almost always different and almost always distorted.” cl’s point couldn’t be more on. As cl points out there is an important reason for not claiming any real religious (or lack thereof) belief. It puts logical constraints on one's arguments due directly to the bias of the individual that is translating the English to mind ideas of what it means to be religious.

    Just who in the bloody hell do you think you are, you Christian piece of garbage, to come here barking out orders? You're an arrogant, condescending piece of shit. You seem to think you're an intellectual of sorts, when all you are is a Christian who's read a few books. John, everyone, this really is the limit. BR, I'm more than a little annoyed that you continue to engage him. I'm out of here. I have better things to do than to waste my time with these cretins.

     Debunking Christianity
    How old are you CL? I'd guess you have not yet experienced much life. I'd say you were under the age of 21, too young to be here. I don't give a damn what you think of me or my deconversion at all. You're too stupid to realize that regardless of it you must deal with the arguments in the book. They are leading people away from you [sic] faith. I'm seriously considering banning you cl, as I've heard you were banned on other sites. You are much too ignorant for us to have a reasonable discussion.

    -John Loftus
     Debunking Christianity
    I admired the way you handled yourself in the discussion on John's blog. I'm not patient enough to keep my sarcasm in check with some of them blokes, but appreciate those who are.

    -David Marshall
     re: Debunking Christianity
    cl, I have to say, while I fundamentally disagree with you, you are an individual which I highly respect. I think your responses are always well thought out and your insights always well thought out and pertinently derived.
    [Y]ou have made me a stronger atheist in my regards to critical thinking and debating. I really can’t wait to hear more from you. Hell, I’d even buy you a drink, good sir. Cheers!

     Evangelical Realism
    Bottom line? Sometimes I think he's right about certain arguments, and I don't have a problem admitting that. Other times, however, I think he's wrong, and I've called him on that. But I have found he can be pretty reasonable if you (1) don't overstate your case, (2) make concessions when you have, and (3) insist he do the same.

    I like it when [cl] makes me stop, think and question if I am making unfounded assertions or if I am being sloppy. What has been annoying me about cl of late is that he is being excruciatingly anal...

    I really can't thank you enough for catching me on my error in rhetoric. I always love a good debate! And I always enjoy your posts, as well! Keep up the great writing and the excellent eye for detail!

    You make me smarter...

    -Mike G.
    ..thank you, cl. I discovered your blog on a random web search and saw it as an oasis amidst a vast desert of seemingly intractable theist-atheist debate.

    -Sung Jun
    It's good to be able to discuss with people who are open and respectful, and know that disagreement does not mean disrespect... You are to be congratulated, not only for your patience, but also your ability to hold an ever-growing debate together with an impressive degree of structure.

    My tone is derogatory... [cl is] ignorant and credulous and deserves to be mocked... In the time he's been here, he's shown a consistent pattern of antagonizing everyone he comes in contact with, monopolizing threads, derailing discussions with perpetual complaints, quibbles and demands for attention, and generally making arguments that display a lack of good faith and responsiveness... it's become intolerable. I'm not banning him, but I'm putting in place some restrictions on how often he can comment.

     Daylight Atheism
    This is no defense of the annoying cl, but what a self-righteous, prissy atheist you turned out to be, Ebonmuse. I'm disappointed in you, stealing a strategem from the theists.

    -The Exterminator
     to Ebonmuse
    I certainly didn't get any bad impression about cl, and I can't relate his comments with any of the things (Ebonmuse) said above. I actually thought it was quite interesting to have him around.

    -Juan Felipe
     Daylight Atheism
    Please continue to allow
    cl to post his views and make it clear that he is still welcome. And let me be clear, cl is not a lunatic.

     Daylight Atheism
    With one exception, you are the most coherent and intelligent theist I've seen on this site...

    -Steve Bowen
     Daylight Atheism
    I'm rooting for cl. I hope he perpetually manages to skirt the rules enough to do his damage, forcing rule revision after rule revision, ad nauseum. Awesome! Let's watch as Ebon, ever more frustrated, continues to struggle to figure out how to keep his precious private blog neat and tidy as cl keeps messing up his papers while one by one, readers leave due to an every increasing administrative presence. Outstanding! Well I won't go. The thought of this sounds like the most entertaining thing that probably would have ever happened on Daylight Atheism. Hot damn!

    Your visit has been something of a reality check to me. It seems that when you present rational arguments and criticisms, many commenters feel territory slipping and then work up vaporous or leaky responses. I also want to remark that your presence here has considerably moved me to try being a more careful and understanding debater...

     Daylight Atheism
    I do have a lot of respect for you too. You seem to be a very intelligent and thoughtful individual with a knack for getting to the bottom of a problem, cutting through all the bullshit rhetoric on the way down. The fact that many other atheists seem to unreasonably despise you bothers me a lot, because I think that maybe they aren’t acting in good faith.

    -Peter Hurford
    I am not going to waste any more time parsing your comments to decide if they've crossed the line or not... So I banned you.

    -Greta Christina
    Be rude... cl invites rudeness. Would you want an incontinent little puppy coming into your house?

    -(((Billy))) the Atheist
    Note to all my regular readers: Since An Apostate’s Chapel is a free-speech zone, I don’t censor conversations.
    As it appears that cl is a troll, please note that I will not be responding to him any longer. I ask that you refrain from doing so, as well. Please don’t feed the troll!

    -The Chaplain
    …I can’t reconcile being a "freethinker" with banning speech. [cl's] comments are not offensive in the normal understanding of that term, and he poses absolutely no threat except perhaps to some imagined decorum. Why can’t atheists lighten up, for no-Christ’s sake?

    -The Exterminator
    Is it going to distract from my meal when crazy uncle cl starts blathering out nonsense, pick his ears with a carrot or start taking his pants off? No. In fact, it might actually heighten the experience in some amusing way. So no, I don't see cl's work as damage.

    I am beginning to suspect that you are a troll cl. Albeit an evolved troll, but a troll nonetheless. Perhaps we should all stop feeding the troll?

     Evangelical Realism
    [cl is] is either a sophist or an incompetent when it comes to the english language... (sic)

     Evangelical Realism
    I’d say cl is pretty sharp... it may be tempting at times to think that “the other guy” is arguing out of some personal character flaw rather than a sincere desire to acknowledge the truth, I still think it’s better to debate respectfully... It is disrespectful to make unsupported accusations against people, e.g. by suggesting that their views are caused by an intrinsically corrupt and immoral nature.

    -Deacon Duncan, 3-9-09
     Evangelical Realism
    [cl] cannot refute my facts, so he needs must find (sic) some scapegoat in order to claim that he has confronted the enemy and proven them wrong... cl, sadly, has proven himself to be the sort of guest who comes into your living room and sneaks behind your couch to take a crap on the floor, just so he can tell all your neighbors how bad your house smells and what an unsanitary housekeeper you are... an interesting case study in the negative effects a Christian worldview has on a reasonably intellectual mind.

    -Deacon Duncan, 6-17-09
     Evangelical Realism
    I strongly discourage discussion of the character, abilities, motives, or personal ancestry of individual commenters, as tempting as such comments may be at times. I discourage the posting of comments that make frequent use of the pronoun “you,” as in “you always…” or “you never…” or “you are just so…”, when directed at a specific individual.

    -Deacon Duncan, 4-9-09
     Evangelical Realism
    I won’t be publishing your most recent comment because it’s a return to the same sort of schtick you’ve pulled here before: re-writing other people’s arguments to make yourself look misunderstood and/or unfairly accused, taking “polyvalent” positions so that when people address your points you can claim to have said something else, distorting other people’s arguments, trolling for negative reactions, and so on.

    -Deacon Duncan, 10-8-09
     Evangelical Realism
    [E]gomaniacal troll.
    You win... You’re a disingenuous sophist through and through, cl. And a friggin’ narcissist to boot! Since I’ve thoroughly and purposefully broken the Deacon’s rules of engagement, I shall consider my right to post henceforth annulled, and move on - dramatic pause, lights out.

     Evangelical Realism
    He either thinks in a very weird way or he's quite the con artist.

    I will gladly admit that I have a boner for cl. Maybe some day I’ll even earn a place of honor on cl’s Blog of Infamy.

     Evangelical Realism
    Long time reader first time poster... I like reading what you
    have to say over at Daylight Atheism so I figured I'd pop in here.

    He's just a jerk
    that likes to argue.

     Daylight Atheism
    You’re not a reasonable thinker in my book. You’re simply an arguer, for better or worse. I’m Michael Palin, you’re John Cleese. You’re just a disputation-ist, bringing everything into question...

     Reason vs. Apologetics
    Motherfucker, this is an interesting blog... Quite the group of commenters.

    -John Evo
    You are very articulate, and I can only assume that it's a result of high intelligence; an intelligence that's interested in, and can understand, healthy debate. However, at every turn, that's not what I or others seem to get.

    -ex machina
     Daylight Atheism
    You are a troll, a liar, and a useless sack of shit. Not only that, but you're still wrong even after moving the goal posts and trying to re-write history. So, you can stop cyber stalking me now and trying to provoke me. I know what you are doing, and you are doing it so that you can whine about how I'm being irrational and mean to you and stroke your pathetic martyr complex. You're a pathetic attention whore and I've already given you too much attention. So, back the fuck off, stop following me around the intarwebs and trying to provoke me, and fuck off.

     Daylight Atheism
    I would just like to say that, OMGF, having read the debate as a neutral observer, some of the things cl says about your style of argument are true, IMO. It is quite hasty, which means you occasionally haven't got the central point cl is trying to make...

    -John D.
     Daylight Atheism
    ...this is a difficult question that deserves more than a kneejerk reaction, not to imply that you're kneejerking. You're the least kneejerking person I've met.

    If you’re here playing devil’s advocate, then, hey, you do a great job at it, it’s a service, keep us sharp... You’re a smart guy, but those are exactly the ones who give the worst headaches!

     An Apostate's Chapel
    You are a waste of time, cl. A big fat black hole of bullshit sucking in everyone who comes into contact with you.

    -Spanish Inquisitor
    As for all that harsh invective that's come your way, umm... I gotta say, I've seen some of the invective, but I haven't seen the behavior on your part that called for it. Maybe I've just not seen enough? I don't know... from what I've read, I can tell that you're a smart person, and whether you deserved any of that treatment or not is quite frankly immaterial to me; I just want to deal with the smart person at the eye of that storm.

     She Who Chatters
    I now think that you’re an atheist, just having fun at other atheists’ expense. If that’s the case, kudos.

    -The Exterminator
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Veridical Dreaming: Anomalous Mental Phenomena, IV

In Pt. III, we introduced Marianne George (Cultural Anthropologist, Ph.D, University of Virginia).

The context of that discussion was simultaneous dreaming, and it ended with Marianne deciding that republishing her paper in its entirety would be the best approach. She added that if I were to do so, she’d be happy to receive criticism, answer questions, and/or discuss the paper. Well! I don’t know about you, but I’m certainly glad she’s given us this opportunity, as it’s not everyday we get to talk to the scientists who actually publish the papers we read and cite in our discussions of (a)theism.

Although Marianne saved me the work of having to relay her words to you, which also nicely eliminated the possibility of me getting any of her words wrong, I’d still like to address the relevance of Sleepdream #3 to our ongoing discussion on consciousness. For those who’d like to skip my thoughts and go straight to the source first, please do: you’ll find links to Marianne’s paper (in its entirety) at the end of this post.


Generally, a veridical dream is one where the subject acquires empirically verified or verifiable knowledge that coincides with an unknown, past, present or future reality. If you look at the chart, you’ll see my claim that veridical dreaming constitutes evidence against the sCCH. Though different in the range of phenomena each are willing to permit, both the weak cerebro-centric hypothesis (wCCH) and the strong cerebro-centric hypothesis (sCCH) ultimately posit that consciousness and the full sum of mental phenomena emerge from neurobiological processes. This means they are products of brains and biology meeting in individual heads, which
means that consciousness should never be found existing outside of neurobiological components inside individual heads.

Both the wCCH and sCCH compete against what I call the tripartite model (TMC), the basic premise being that consciousness is not an exclusively neurobiological or cerebro-centric phenomenon limited to each individual head. We’ll flesh this definition out more as time goes on, but the basic idea is that three distinct yet interpenetrating arrangements co-vibrate to facilitate human consciousness: spirit, soul, and body. Under the CCH, the brain bears resemblance to an unmoved mover of sorts, in that all activity is purported to proceed from it. Under the TMC, the brain remains an irreducibly vital part of the equation, but assumes a more symbiotic
or integrative function in the overall picture.

Echoing Ebonmuse’s oft-trumpeted essay A Ghost in the Machine, some will be tempted to say, “Well, that’s impossible cl, because you can alter consciousness by damaging the brain.” That fact poses absolutely no hurdle to the TMC, which does not deny the need for an intact brain, and in fact predicts that brain damage should alter soulical expression. If the primary claim of the TMC is that three distinct yet interpenetrating arrangements co-vibrate to facilitate human consciousness, then it still follows that damaging any one element could lead to vibrational perturbations that affect the whole. You can dim a light either by interrupting the current or damaging the filament. Similarly, according to the TMC, you can alter soulical expression either by afflicting the spirit or obliterating the brain.

Getting to it, if you read Marianne’s Sleepdream #3, you’ll see that Kalerian not only supplied Marianne with empirically verifiable knowledge in a dream that was again shared with one or more of her sons, Kalerian supplied Marianne with knowledge that Marianne actually empirically verified herself later in her field work – and for the clincher – this dream happened after Kalerian had passed away.

Marianne’s account seems to present very strong hurdles for both wCCH and sCCH. Even with the problems in calling this account evidence for life after death, I see no problem whatsoever with calling it evidence that consciousness is vastly more than a cranially-contained neurobiolical mosh pit. Like Marianne, and like the untold numbers of indigenous and Native human beings who lived before us, I also believe in the “all-encompassing reality,” which spiritual traditions describe on occasion after occasion after occasion.

As the aetheosphere’s endless stream of ancestor-berating comments testifies, atheism asks us to believe that our ancestors were a bunch of weak-minded morons who must have hallucinated or embellished everything they wrote about – but I think it’s arrogant for modern humans to look upon those before us as a bunch of savages, connivers and fools who couldn’t discern “woo” from reality.

Below you will find Marianne’s paper in its entirety, a one-time courtesy of hers for which I think we all owe her some thanks. I originally had copyright concerns, which is why I didn’t just scan the whole thing in the first place, but Marianne has assured me she owns the copyright.

Thank you, Marianne, for being so courageous in a society so quick to judge.

[note: you might have to click or otherwise enlarge; typepad’s handling of the files appears to be quirky, at least on Ubuntu linux].

Dreams, Reality, and the Desire and Intent of Dreamers, as Experienced by a Field Worker
The Anthropology of Consciousness Journal, Volume 6, Number 3, September, 1995

pp. 17-20
pp. 21-24
pp. 25-28
pp. 29-33

Copyright, Marianne George. Reprinted with permission.


9 Responses

  1. The thing that I noticed were several references to “betel nut”. Not to be too disparaging of the recounting of details, but it is fair to at least ask if the reason that the line between dreaming and being awake and alert is a blurry one among “native” peoples is due to constant drug use?

  2. No different than the drug use by a certain infidel by the name of Christopher Hitchens. You think maybe it would be fair to deduce that his judgment might be impaired, him stumbling about in a nicotine/alcohol-induced fog, day in and day out?

  3. Don’t see why not. Alcohol kills brain cells, after all.

  4. betel nut is more like nicotine than alcohol in that it does not get one drunk or out of control even when used immoderately. Betel nut is not an “upper” like nicotine or caffeine. Nor is it a depressant like alcohol. Neither does it cause hallucinations. It is both very mild and sociable in its effects and use. Especially by habituated adults. I enjoyed chewing betel nut, but whereas I might have chewed it once/day or two the average adult among the Barok would chew it about 4 or 5 times/day. Betel use is proven to have strong anti-parasitic action, which is great in the tropics. There is no effect from betel nut use that involves drowsiness or anything related to dreaming.

  5. Marianne,
    Even if betel nut was a powerful hallucinagen, the question of whether the subject experiences real or non-real events remains, i.e., the empirical discovery your experience yielded.

    Not to be too disparaging of the recounting of details, but it is fair to at least ask if the reason that the line between dreaming and being awake and alert is a blurry one among “native” peoples is due to constant drug use?

    Not in mean spirit or anything, but can you see why I see yours as a disingenuous comment that takes the easy way out? Recall that Marianne is not a native who constantly used betel nut that such could explain her experience. Also, even if betel nut was such a strong hallucinagen that Marianne’s reduced and temporary usage could be called into question, we would still need to account for the veridical aspect of the dream. Recall that hallucinations are purported to have no correspondence to reality, yet Marianne’s experience yielded an empirical discovery.

  6. Marianne,
    On another blog, an atheist blogger who goes by the name the chaplain posted the following comment in response to your paper:

    ..I’ve read Dr. George’s paper. Let’s deal with it one step at a time. She had the first experience described in her paper under the influence of a recreational drug. In her paper, Dr. George said that the betel nut she was given, “was very strong, and soon I was unusually high.” In her comment on your blog, Dr. George said,

    ..betel nut is more like nicotine than alcohol in that it does not get one drunk or out of control even when used immoderately. Betel nut is not an “upper” like nicotine or caffeine. Nor is it a depressant like alcohol. Neither does it cause hallucinations. It is both very mild and sociable in its effects and use.

    So, was Dr. George high as a kite during her “wakeful but dreamlike reality?” Or did she just have a pleasant buzz going?

    As with Dominic, I argued to the chaplain that betel nut could not account for your multiple experiences, but also said I would append her question here, so you could answer it in your own words. Thanks in advance if can get to it.

  7. I apologize for my long silence. I have been traveling and in an intense work period.
    The “unusually high” effect of the “very strong” betel nut I chewed on the occasion noted above was very short-lived – as is always the case with betel nut. On the rare occasions when the effect is strong it only lasts less than a minute. The very effective antidote is a small drink of water. It did not cause things to happen as they happened. Furthermore I was not chewing betel nut during most of my veridical dream experiences … some of which are not described in this paper. I am not a person prone to losing control or doing drugs of any sort, or being hysterical. I have not chewed betel nut for several years between veridical dream experiences and they have still happened. I find cl’s theory very interesting indeed. When my workload allows me, and if I should live so long, I will be writing/publishing more about these experiences. Thanks to all who have offered sincere comments and thought.

  8. It was just a thought, did need some clarity since I don’t know the first thing about betel nut.
    Also, largely because I have a family member who habitually tends to dream the days event the night before, I’m not questioning any of the accounts provided, I for one am taking the evidence presented at face value as true. So that’s why I’m largely silent with regard to the content of the paper.
    However, the paper is being presented as evidence for a larger point though, and I think cl is entitled to a more comprehensive response (was going to do it sooner but I got sidetracked and forgot about it). So here goes…

  9. The most pertinent portion cited was dream #3, where information of a dig site was delivered, apparently by a deceased individual. This consisted of an image of where to dig that was shared between two people, and details of which were confirmed after the dig took place.
    My point of contention is that this evidence was provided right alongside cl’s own account of a similar experience of receiving information about a future event prior to having it happen (the preemptive vision in the restaurant).
    Accepting both accounts as true at face value, we can establish that knowing something ahead of time so long as you eventually experience it personally is a known phenomenon.
    1) We’ve also established that information can be shared between two people remotely, particularly via dreaming.
    2) Marianne spent the previous day at the site searching for the hearth, so had a clear picture of what the area looked like, which would surely include the tree.
    3) Marianne and Alek have a history of sharing the same dream that involved Kalerian (seeing the same images), and Alek is more practiced and better at recalling details.
    4) Marianne spent the next day searching two different spots for the hearth, one of which contained the hearth.
    5) cl provided evidence that startlingly precise premonitions of subsequently experienced events occur without needing someone to channel the information via some sort of telepathy.
    Given the facts, there are two explanations.
    The first is that Marianne had a premonition of where the dig site would be delivered with the same certainty that cl knew that someone was about to refuse lemon for his water, but had it while dreaming, thus the information had the characteristic dream distortion (where our minds add all sorts of extra baggage to something simple) that all of us who have dreamed before know so well. The sequence was shared with Alek as many of her dreams involving Kalerian tended to.
    The second is that upon dying, Kalerian’s consciousness endured somehow, retaining the ability to communicate through dreams, and was also mystically endowed with the knowledge of where an ancient hearth was located (possibly with obscure geologic knowledge as well, though the safety of the ledge was never tested, with good reason mind you…).
    By now I’m sure you see where I’m going with this regarding the persistence of the wCCH.

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