• 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.

    -faithlessgod,
     CommonSenseAtheism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    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.

    -Hermes,
     CommonSenseAtheism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    [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,
     CommonSenseAtheism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    [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.

    -Eneasz,
     CommonSenseAtheism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    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,
     CommonSenseAtheism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    ...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.

    -Zeb,
     CommonSenseAtheism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    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…

    -bbk
     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.

    -Dan
     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.

    -Bobaloo
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    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.

    -Cipher
     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!

    -Parker
     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.

    -Lifeguard
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    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...

    -seantheblogonaut
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    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!

    -BZ
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    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.

    -Ritchie
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    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.

    -Ebonmuse
     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.

    -Curtis
     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!

    -PhillyChief
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    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...

    -Brad
     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.

    -PhillyChief
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    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?

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

    -ThatOtherGuy
     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.

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

    -mikespeir
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    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.

    -Eneasz
     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.

    -Pine
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    He's just a jerk
    that likes to argue.

    -KShep
     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...

    -jim
     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.

    -OMGF
     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.

    -Quixote
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    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!

    -Lifeguard
     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.

    -D
     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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Index

(HOMEPAGE LAST UPDATED 07-22-2010) Welcome to TWIM’s homepage, a work in progress presenting various selections from the blog.

Though much of what we discuss here revolves around religion, consciousness, philosophy, epistemology, logic, science, and accountability in the blogosphere, the primary reason I started blogging was to practice. By trade, I’m a writer. That means books, screenplays, teleplays, articles, episodes, web content, contract work, code, or whatever else comes down the tube. Since it is a form of writing that almost requires basic coding skills, blogging is great practice for my livelihood.

A second reason I got into blogging was to test beliefs and ideas: primarily my own, but also those of anyone willing to put them out there. Ours is a crazy world with all sorts of plot twists and turns, and many salesmen of truth. Crooks and suckers are taking and getting taken as we speak. When it comes to (a)theism, it isn’t exactly laundry detergent the Bible’s selling. The Bible claims to be God’s revealed word to humanity; that’s a pretty high-stakes claim if you ask me. Actually debating these things affords a way to test one’s ideas that simply isn’t possible via any other method. Hands down, the blogosphere is a great place to test beliefs and ideas, and to hone one’s skills as a debater.

That being said, I want to stress that TWIM isn’t just a soapbox for my beliefs. My primary focus is writing and exploring creativity wherever it leads. For the past two years, it’s been religion, consciousness, philosophy, epistemology, logic, science, and accountability in the blogosphere, but I draw from other inspirations, too. For example, Illusions Writers Face I and II, Time For Some Change, What’s Your Boiling Point, Timmy’s Last Nightmare, On Making A Living, Twenty Bucks & A Full Tank Of Gas, Why Campaign Commercials Should Be Regulated, Order & Liberty and Are You An Alligator are each posts that have nothing to do with (a)theism. Thinking too much about the fundamental questions of life can be quite draining and unhealthy, and people need to laugh to relieve the pressures and burdens of life. So, sometimes I review children’s books like Scuffy the Tugboat. Other times I do bitter, sarcastic rants about the Joys of Public Assistance. Then there’s always the random photos or links to videos of skateboarding dogs. I try to keep an open mind and follow the muse wherever it leads, and I appreciate your feedback and criticisms.


Introduction: The Epistemic Ground On Which I Stand

Epistemology could be wittily described as the branch of knowledge that studies knowledge. In my experience, (a)theist discussion often revolves around questions of evidence, warrant, and justification. Most atheists I encounter consider theism unjustified in all forms, and it’s common to hear them allege “lack of evidence” for theistic claims. Generally, I object to all variants of the “lack of evidence” argument, primarily because the “lack” reflected in such arguments is an attribute of the atheist making the claim. That an atheist lacks evidence for theism says nothing other than that the atheist lacks evidence for theism. The following posts examine my epistemic foundations in varying degrees of detail:

iA. MiracleQuest — An ongoing series exploring the degree of reliability we can reasonably attribute to miracle claims. I am currently of the position that it is impossible to prove whether a particular deity was the source of an unexplained event. Though I believe spiritual agents can influence the natural world, I say the best a theist can hope for is the skeptic’s concession that an unexplained event is consistent with theist claims and persuasive to some degree.

How Would You Define A Miracle? — Are any skeptics or atheists willing to accept one or more isolated events as sufficient? There are at least two positions, those who would accept even one sufficiently corroborated miracle, and those who would only accept repeatable miracles. Do you fall into either one of these positions? Something else? How would you specifically define a miracle, and would an isolated instance persuade you to recant or at least honestly doubt your atheism, or would you need something more?

How Would You Define A Miracle, Redux How do we reasonably discern between the natural and the supernatural? I believe we need to trash both terms and start again. Humans used to think lightning and fire were supernatural. To say that something is “clearly contrary to the laws of nature” is not meaningful in assessments of causality. To continue the Waldo analogy, (a)theists can agree as to what Waldo looks like
such that we can identify him in a crowd. What we need is a definition
of miracle that shares this luxury.

iB. Reason vs. Apologetics: Proof of God’s Existence — The atheist blogger jim offers a thought experiment titled Proof of God’s Existence to explore the epistemic parameters of what he calls “common sense inquiry.”

Proof of God’s Existence, I: Trip to the Hypothetical Fish Farm — I introduce jim’s series and identify a key epistemic strategy that often plagues (a)theist discussion: as Descartes realized, a sufficiently talented philosopher can justifiedly deny anything except the existence of his or her own mind. We need some way to circumvent human stubbornness.

Proof of God’s Existence, II: When Is Belief Justified? — jim appears to be offering a two-tier criteria for justified belief in any given witness testimony: 1) if nothing in our dealings with the witness(es) would lead us to believe they’re trying to deceive us, and 2) if we cannot establish a plausible motive explaining why the witness(es) would deceive us, then belief in their testimony is justified.

Proof of God’s Existence, III: Why Is That? — I argue that feelings are ontologically distinct from beliefs and do not require justification. The question of why one experiences a given feeling or phenomenon bypasses bickering about justification and gets directly to discussing reality as it is.

Proof of God’s Existence, IV: When Is Belief Justified, Redux — We revisit the concept of justified belief, culminating in a provisional definition of, “conservatively-stated beliefs or conclusions that correspond to face value observation and are not sufficiently challenged by anomalous data.”

Proof of God’s Existence, V: Conservatively Stated Belief — When is suspicion justified? The problem is that nothing requires malicious behavior to appear abnormal, nor does anything require innocent behavior to appear mundane. It remains entirely possible that Mary and Mr. Garcia are conspiring in real estate fraud, and if they were intelligent conspirators, we would expect them to portray an image of “business as usual” to the neighborhood.

Proof of God’s Existence, VI: Carol Should Have Partied! — I agree with jim that “psychological reasons” and “ignorance” often impede commonsense inquiry. Where I disagree is with jim’s implicit assumption that all theists necessarily reject commonsense inquiry for some reason or another. I counter that scientists are not necessarily immune from epistemological laxity either, and provide a few examples.

Proof of God’s Existence, 7: What Is Evidence? — As with many words in the English language, there are several valid meanings of the word evidence, each distinct and relevant to (a)theist discussion. If (a)theists want to get anywhere in their discussions, I say they’re obligated to start from common ground.

Thoughts on the Nature of Evidence — Genuine or conclusive evidence lends well to incontrovertible conclusions. On the contrary, inconclusive evidence cannot reliably sustain incontrovertible conclusions. Several pieces of inconclusive evidence pointing to a conclusion carry greater weight than just one piece.

iC. Getting Science Right — I agree with atheists that many theists show general disdain for sound scientific principle and I cannot help but to refer them to St. Augustine in response: “It is a disgraceful and dangerous thing to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn… If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions, how are they going to believe in the matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life and the kingdom of heaven?” In the following posts, I hope to demonstrate that aside from being a lifelong fan of science, I care enough about my work to earnestly study the subjects that often make appearances in (a)theist discussion.

Popsicles & Sound Science — Stephen J. Gould once commented that orthodoxy can color our interpretation of the facts, and many people subconsciously interpret evidence to prove their desired conclusion. As opposed to conducting research in search of premeditated conclusions, we should make impartial decisions based on the sum total of pertinent evidence.

On Falsifiability: What Exactly Is Pseudoscience Anyways? — In general, any statement can fall into three categories: a statement which is falsifiable, but has not yet been falsified; a statement which is falsifiable, and has been shown to be false; or a statement which is not falsifiable. Empirical data produced by experiment or observation are prerequisite to science. Testability involves falsifiability which requires logical counterexamples.

Asteroids,
Cathode Rays & Requisite Knowledge, I
— Scientists confirmed
the existence of asteroids in the early nineteenth century. If we limit
ourselves strictly to the body of data Aristotle had access to in his
time, could we have justifiedly believed in the existence of asteroids?
If Aristotle were to challenge our assertion of asteroids, what would we
have been able to show him as our evidence?

Asteroids,
Cathode Rays & Requisite Knowledge, II
— We consider the
epistemic considerations implicit in providing a meaningful definition
of what constitutes valid evidence in the context of real-world
scientific application: would you say there was ever any evidence for
cathode rays? Or, would you say there was always just evidence for
electrons that was being misinterpreted?

The Big Bang — Cosmologists of previous centuries understandably supposed that the universe was static, timeless or self-sustaining, and these are all valid hypotheses considering the evidence of the times. From a religious standpoint, there is nothing in scripture which contradicts the idea that all the matter in the universe was once at an ultra-dense, ultra-hot singularity that defies the laws the physics.

Are We Alone In The Universe? — In general, I take a non-committal stance on the question of extraterrestrial life. Like nearly every other question entangled in religion and metaphysics, the question of humanity’s role in the universe is inevitably muddied by pop culture, mass ignorance of science and ulterior motive. Part of our belief in aliens and extraterrestrials that does not stem from Hollywood might stem from liberal interpretations of evolutionary theory.

On Homology — Darwin argued that similarities in physical, external parts of different organisms were arrived at through similar embryonic processes, but creatures displaying similarities in skeletal structure do not necessarily keep to their similarities at a genetic level. To me, this suggests that what Darwin viewed as “absolute” homology may be at least partially superficial.

False Arguments #23 & #24: The Sufficiency Of Microevolution Tropes — The creationist or believer who maintains that “macroevolution” is impossible or unproven shows an ignorance of science paralleled only by the atheist or skeptic who maintains that such is untrue because “macroevolution” is just cumulative “microevolution”. These are what I call the sufficiency of microevolution tropes, and both of them distort scientific observations.

False Argument #14: Microevolution And Macroevolution Are Creationist Fabrications — That creationists invented these terms to maintain an appearance of scientific validity is simply a baseless claim. The moral of the story is that you never know what new batch of misinformation is on display in the blogosphere, even when it comes from an intellectual giant.

False Argument #3: Appendix Doesn’t Seem To Serve A Function — Miller and Levine’s statement that the appendix “does not seem to serve a function in digestion today” is an inaccurate and misleading claim. Isaac Asimov’s claim that the appendix is useless amounts to words of science fiction. The appendix is a useful feature of human physiology.


Theism: A Foundation Supported By Logic

IA. Aristotle’s Argument From Kinesis — Considers causal infinite regress, self-contained cause or an eternal, unmoved mover in response to the question of why there is a universe. The Introduction discusses these three options and encourages the reader to side with one, or offer alternatives. Presuming the reader is unable to offer alternatives, Part II argues that an eternal, unmoved mover is the most parsimonious explanation for explaining the existence of the universe, and more specifically, that such an entity logically entails a set of properties shared with God as described in the Bible.

IB. Syllogisms — These syllogisms attempt to establish shared premises from which I argue the philosophical superiority of theism.

The Argument From Computer Programming

The Argument From The Superiority Of Knowable Claims

The Argument From Probability

The Argument From Justice


The Spiritual: A Necessary Construct If Theism Is To Survive

The idea that existence transcends or one day will transcend physical barriers underpins theistic religion, and one can very plainly see that without this “other world,” the vast majority of the world’s religions reduce to myth and metaphor at best. If consciousness is always the result of biology then there are no spiritual beings at all. Life reduces to an arbitrary dance of molecular activity follow by permanent atomic dispersal, and thoughts, emotions and feelings are the mere results of brain activity. There is no free will, and all our decisions become akin to something like unexplainably well-timed forethoughts. This, in essence, are the core principles of what I refer to as cerebro-centric hypothesis (CCH) of consciousness, in which the brain is given ultimate priority as the causal explanation of mind.

IIA. Anomalous Phenomena — At the end of my day, I’m not the least bit interested in securing
acceptance from skeptics. I’m interested in explaining reality as it is, and I offer the following posts as support for modifying conventional theories in both the subjective context of consciousness and the objective world of MEST and whatever else exists. I believe we’re within reason to cite anomalous data as valid objections to conventional theories. After all, that’s how detectives and scientists work, right? Why is it crucial for investigators to prove Suspect A wasn’t where he said he was at the time of the murder? Proving anomalies between reality and what the interrogated says is how good detectives work and when it comes to critical thinking in general, asking the right questions is key. My personal Golden Rule is to avoid both the acceptance of unwarranted conclusions and the denial of warranted ones.

The Video Game Incident

Anomalous Mental Phenomena I: The Strange Case of Ingo Swann

Anomalous Mental Phenomena II: A Precognitive Reality

Anomalous Mental Phenomena III: Simultaneous Dreaming

Anomalous Mental Phenomena IV: Veridical Dreaming

Spooked In Los Angeles

The Non-Existent Upstairs Neighbors

How Would You Parse This?

IIB. Debating Consciousness — I argue the inability of the CCH to explain the full range of observed mental phenomena, and also argue for the superiority of a model of consciousness better described as spiritual, waveform, or holographic that operates relatively irrespective of physical and temporal constraints.

Competing Models Of Consciousness

Emendations Re: Competing Models Of Consciousness

Phenomena / Consciousness Chart

More Attempts At Defining Consciousness

The Tripartite Model Of Consciousness


Meeting Common Objections To Biblical Theism

IIIA. Evil? What Problem? — Also referred to as the Question of Suffering or Epicurean Dilemma, the Problem of Evil is an axiom in philosophical and religious circles which claims the fact of evil existing in our world is incompatible with God as described by most Christians: a God that is at least all-powerful, all-loving and all-knowing, also described as omnipotent, omnibenevolent and omniscient (o^3 or o^4 if omnibenevolence is also considered).

PE/QS vs. O^3 God, I — We introduce the argument and explore the various presuppositions often brought to the table.

PE/QS vs. O^3 God, II: Biblically Justify The O^4 Claim — We address the quality of omnipresence, where as in Pt. I it was overlooked. Such accounts for the ‘0^3 / 0^4’ discrepancy in case you were wondering. Here we rethink the basis for the 0^4 claim by evaluating it against the Bible.

PE/QS vs. O^3 God, III: Did I Violate Omni-Benevolence? — We use an example from everyday life as a thought experiment to determine whether the allowance of suffering for any duration for any reason is a violation of omnibenevolence.

IIIB. Euthyphro? What Dilemma? — I take the first horn of the Euthyphro dilemma, arguing that God commands the good because it is good. I believe this position can be defended by arguing that moral facts exist, and that an omniscient, omnibenevolent God would have perfect access to the set of moral facts. I remain fascinated by the question, “What is it that separates the hero from the murder suspect?” I believe the answer to that question is of tantamount importance to understanding morality, especially variants of divine command theory centered on the God of the Bible.

Exploring My Own Moral Parameters — Moral statements are essentially answers to “should” questions of any
sort. The terms objective and subjective morality are mutually exclusive in my book: either some objective “source” of morality exists “out there” in the universe or perhaps beyond – or not. If there is no objective source of morality, i.e. nothing that prefers or selects for any one behavior over another, then any “should” statement one can make reduces to an opinion.

Factoring Intelligence Into Assessments Of Morality — An assessment of intelligence and its implications for morality. I proffer a relationship between intelligence and reliable moral prescriptions, eventually factoring benevolence into the equation in subsequent posts.

Deep South Tragedy: An Analogy For Humanist Ethics — Imagine a single father living with five children. Normally, the
children can know the right thing to do at any given time by asking
their father, who has more experience and intelligence in life than they
do, hence the authority and qualifications for establishing the rules
they ought to live by. Continuing this analogy, we explore the absence of a macro-intelligent authority, and the unfortunate ramifications thereof.

A Quest For Second Best — Reasoning from the premise that moral facts exist, I argue that an omniscient, omnibenevolent God would have perfect access to the set of moral facts, and that prescriptions dictated by such a God are the most trustworthy prescriptions possible. It follows system of morality dictated by an omniscient, omnibenevolent God is therefore the best system of morality possible. As such, any system not dictated by an omniscient, omnibenevolent God represents a quest for second best.

IIIC. Salient Points From Scripture — The following posts attempt to establish clear Biblical goalposts, definitions and criteria pertinent to common (a)theist arguments:

The Masoretic-Greek Hypothesis: Introduction — We start as close to the actual events and oral traditions as
possible in attempt to deduce key undercurrents of monotheism, then apply our collective powers of reason to ascertain the
set of reasonably permissible predictions.

The Masoretic-Greek Hypothesis: Strategy — The intent is to establish the set of bare-bones, rudimentary statements that a significant majority of monotheists are likely to accept. In this manner – beginning and proceeding by agreement – we can start with the basics then gradually evaluate more nuanced statements, allowing us to effectively construct a meaningful and versatile Biblical hypothesis. With the definition of God temporarily aside, I offer “God exists and created the universe for some purpose” as the first logically required premise of the major monotheist traditions.

The MGH Revisited — With the definition of spiritual temporarily aside, I offer “the spiritual realm exists” as the second logically required premise of the major monotheist traditions.

Reason, Intellect, Religion, & Belief — The Bible tells us in plain language that all the intellect and reason a person can summon cannot effect salvation. If that premise is true, then nothing a person can initiate can ever restore themselves or another to a right relationship with God.

IIID. Philosophical Arguments Against Atheism — I offer the following philosophical arguments as warrant for the philosophical superiority of theism over materialist atheism:

Why Believe In What Can Only Prove False?


Other Pertinent Posts

The following posts are each pertinent to our ongoing discussion but have yet to be added to the outline:

Inherit The Wind: A Primer For Intellectual Polarization

The Instinctive Off-Switch

On Full Disclosure & Knee-Jerk Reactions

Rethinking Religious Legalism

On The Doctrines Of Freedom & Individualism

On The Argument From Scientific Foreknowledge

The Triumph Of Natural Explanations

Hello Intuition, Meet Empiricism

Assessing The Value Of Religion

False Argument #12: Atheism Is Scientifically Tenable

Atheism & Theism: Both Logically Flawed

Public Challenge To Atheists: Present Your Best Evidence For God

False Argument #22: The Unicorns, Leprechauns & Flying Spaghetti Monster Trope

False Argument #30, Or, MiracleQuest Continues: The Case Of Kayla Knight, Pt. I

Death And Blind Faith In Everyday Life

The Genetics Of Sin

Is Humanism A Religion?

My Thoughts On The Olympia Fiasco

Jesus Never Pooped

My Response To Jack Waldvogel

An Atheist Parallel To God Of The Gaps Thinking

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