The Existence of God - Metacrock vs. XAtheistXX

Metacrock vs All comers; other can also reserve. this is for 1x1 debate, please do not respond if you are not specifically demarcated as part of the debate.

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Re: The Existence of God - Metacrock vs. XAtheistXX

Post by Metacrock » Sat May 09, 2009 10:03 am

XAtheistXX wrote:
"sorry if you think about the arguments I've made you would see that is very wong. I've proved it empirically.

(1) I tell you there is a standard for measuring religious experinces, the "M" Scale. That is what tells what is and what is not a valid religious experince. Because it has been cross culturally validated.

(2) I show that the studies that are concerned with God gene or God part of the brain do no use the M scale to validate religious experinces. That means they have no way of determining what is and what is not a religious experience.

(3) I told you they merely assume that if the subject says "God" or talks God in any way then some part of the brain is firing. that is basically circular because it means they assume there's a God part of the brain to begin with.

(4) there is no data to establish the idea that a God part of the brain will be firing if you have a religious experince. So when they get data that suggests such area (it's really several areas) they just assume it's a religious experince because they need to assume to have a study."
XAXI understand what you're arguing but I'm unable to find any information on M-scale. How does it measure religious beliefs? Do you have a post about that specifically? Or some other information? Since I don't have enough knowledge about that I don't feel I can argue for or against that. EDIT - going through your arguments again I think I get it. See below.
Here is an online source that talks about the M scale: ... &ct=result

textbook on psychology of religion written in part by the author of the M scale, Ralph Hood. The way it works is, as I said several times now, compile a typology (a profile) of a mystic given all the data they had on mystical consciousness, then they distill that into 36 items (questions) that display those characteristics that are typical of mystics, and a scoring system so that if you answer a certain number of questions, and certain ones in a certain way and get a certain score then you qualify as "mystic." There are levels within that scoring procedure.

Meta"You haven't said anything about the criteria. I listed them in the opening part where I made the argument (1).

we determine the reality of experinces based upon these criteria:

that they are regular

I then show that the studies demonstrate that RE is regular, consistent, and shared (inter-subjective).

Therefore, RE fits the criteria by which we determine if experinces are valid indicators of reality. So it would be logical to assume that RE is a valid indicator of reality, thus the content of the experinces has to be regarded as reality."
I went back up and re read what you said about M-scale. Ok, let's see if I got it. M-scale is basically a listing of all the different types of religious experiences and if something does not match that list, it's not considered a religious experience. Is that right? If that's right, then how do those people making the decisions on what is a true religious experience decide what is a true experience and what isn't? What is their criteria?
that's basically it. Well read the link above that will tell you more than I can. But they start with the assumptions of W.T. Stace, who was a philosopher who studied mysticism and he took the writings of all the great mystics and worked into a theory about the nature of mystical experince. Then Hood combined the assumptions Stace made with the data from studies that had been done prior to his study.

the important thing is they are validated empirically, that is they have been in cross cultural settings and the assumptions predict the findings. They are proved to be predictive, which is a determinate in science. In other words they can say "all those who experience X will also experince Y" then they do a study and find that in fact those in the study who experince X do experince Y and that says "we are on the right track."

Then you said:
Meta: "You haven't said anything about the criteria. I listed them in the opening part where I made the argument (1).

we determine the reality of experinces based upon these criteria:

that they are regular

I then show that the studies demonstrate that RE is regular, consistent, and shared (inter-subjective).

Therefore, RE fits the criteria by which we determine if experinces are valid indicators of reality. So it would be logical to assume that RE is a valid indicator of reality, thus the content of the experinces has to be regarded as reality."
Ok I think I might have it now. That is the criteria for the M-scale, correct?
No, for my argument. Go back and look at the OP where I start by saying "argument I" The argument is called "argument from epistemic judgment." Epistemicrefers to knowledge, from the Greek "episteme". That's where we get the term "epistemology" the study of how we know what we know. These are the epistemic criteria we use to determine what's real in our perceptions. The reason it's called epistemic judgment is because it is the criteria by which we judge knowledge (reality). That means we use this criteria to say "yes, this experince is real, I am not dreaming or going nuts."
XAX: That each experience is regular (whatever that means. It can have a wide range of meanings), is consistent and shared. I think I already argued against this though. I said (i think) that just because some experience fits these categories doesn't mean it's true, or more likely to be true. There are documented cases of group hallucinations and just because many people have the same experience doesn't mean it's necessarily real.

Yes it is. This is how we, in our minds, decide "this is real, I'm not dreaming or going nuts." Every hear people say "do you see that?" Its' a perception check "is this just me or do you see it too?" That's shared. You are asking for a shared perception, do you see this too?

Regular, is what I'm perceiving normal, have I seen it before. That's why when we see things we don't usually see we feel uncomfortable. Ever notice the emphasis we place on regularity and normality in perceptions? If something is something we always see "O that's nothing new" then we assume it's ok it's real its true (regularity). If it stands out if we never see it before, if it contradicts other things we know we question it (that's consistency.).
XAX I found a good site that explains this phenomenon, but it explains it not from a religious perspective, but the current bank crisis. But the idea is the same. ... sions.html
That does not apply to this epistemic criteria at all. It's not deal with an epistemic phenomena. It's not about the reality of immediate perceptions of the world at a phenomenological level. it's about the psychology of investing. that has no application at all to what I'm saying.

In that article the term "group delusion" is a metaphor, its' not talking actual delusions that alter physical perception. As I said before, a host of studies disprove the idea that RE is delusional.

Evidential quotes backing up not delusion:
Not the result of Pathology or technique

1).Effects indicate that Mystical expereince cannot be reduced to Mental Illness.

Mental illness is usually either treatable or progressive (gets worse), but it is not positive over a long term. Mentally ill people do not gian long lasting postive effects from thier illness that gives them a heightend sense of well being and lasts for long term. Mental illness does not improve the sense of self-actualization or make one a "whole" person. Religious experience does this and mystical expereince or "peak experience" so so all the more. Evidence to document this point is found above under argument III, but more studies can also be sited.[see above, Larson, The Faith Factor, Study search]

2) No relationship Mysticism and Mental Illness.

[Noble, Kathleen D. (1987). ``Psychological Health and the Experience of Transcendence.'' The Counseling Psychologist, 15 (4), 601-614.]

Transpersonal Childhood Experiences of Higher States of Consciousness: Literature Review and Theoretical Integration (unpublished paper 1992)
Jayne Gackenback

"Scientific interest in the mystical experience was broadened with the research on psychoactive drugs. The popular belief was that such drugs mimicked either mystical states and/or schizophrenic ones (reviewed in Lukoff, Zanger & Lu, 1990). Although there is likely some physiological similarity as well as phenomenological recent work has shown clear differences. For instance, Oxman, Rosenberg, Schnurr, Tucker and Gala (1988) analyzed 66 autobiographical accounts of schizophrenia, hallucinogenic drug experiences, and mystical ecstasy as well as 28 control accounts of important personal experiences. They concluded that the: "subjective experiences of schizophrenia, hallucinogenic drug-induced states, and mystical ecstasy are more different from one another than alike" (p. 401).

(Ibid) "Relatedly, Caird (1987) found no relationship between reported mystical experience and neuroticism, psychoticism and lying while Spanos and Moretti (1988) found no relationship between a measure of mystical experience and psychopathology."

a. Trend toward positive view among psychologists.

Spiriutal Emergency


"Offsetting the clinical literature that views mystical experiences as pathological, many theorists (Bucke, 1961; Hood, 1974, 1976; James, 1961; Jung, 1973; Laski, 1968; Maslow, 1962, 1971; Stace, 1960; Underhill, 1955) have viewed mystical experiences as a sign of health and a powerful agent of transformation."

b. Most clinicians and clinical studies see postive.

"Results of a recent survey (Allman, et al,. 1992) suggest that most clinicians do not view mystical experiences as pathological. Also, studies by several researchers have found that people reporting mystical experiences scored lower on psychopathology scales and higher on measures of psychological well-being than controls (Caird, 1987; Hood, 1976, 1977, 1979; Spanos and Moretti, 1988)".

c. Incidence rate suggests no pathology.

"Numerous studies assessing the incidence of mystical experience (Back and Bourque, 1970; Greeley, 1974, 1987; Hay and Morisy, 1978; Hood, 1974, 1975, 1977; Thomas and Cooper, 1980) all support the conclusion that 30-40% of the population do have such experiences, suggesting that they are normal rather than pathological phenomena. In addition, a recent survey (Allman et al., 1992) has demonstrated that the number of patients who bring mystical experiences into treatment is not insignificant. Psychologists in full-time practice were asked to estimate the percentage of their clients over the past 12 months who had reported a mystical experience. The 285 respondents indicated that of the 20,670 clients seen during the past year, the incidence of mystical experience was 4.5%. This clearly challenges the GAP report on Mysticism, which claims that "mystical experiences are rarely observed in psychotherapeutic practice" (Group for Advancement of Psychiatry, 1976, p. 799).

2) Not the restult of deprivation or fantasy; mystics tend to be successful people.

Council on Spiritual Practices

State of Unitive Consciousness ... sness.html
"Furthermore, Greeley found no evidence to support the orthodox belief that frequent mystic experiences or psychic experiences stem from deprivation or psychopathology. His ''mystics'' were generally better educated, more successful economically, and less racist, and they were rated substantially happier on measures of psychological well-being. "

3) Mystisicm offers therapeutic insights.

"...Within the Western model we recognize and define psychosis as a suboptimal state of consciousness that views reality in a distorted way and does not recognize that distortion. It is therefore important to note that from the mystical perspective our usual state fits all the criteria of psychosis, being suboptimal, having a distorted view of reality, yet not recognizing that distortion. Indeed from the ultimate mystical perspective, psychosis can be defined as being trapped in, or attached to, any one state of consciousness, each of which by itself is necessarily limited and only relatively real.'' [-- page 665 ) [Roger Walsh (1980). The consciousness disciplines and the behavioral sciences: Questions of comparison and assessment. American Journal of Psychiatry, 137(6), 663-673.

See Also: Lukoff, David & Francis G. Lu (1988). ``Transpersonal psychology research review: Topic: Mystical experiences.'' Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 20 (2), 161-184. Charles T. Tart, Psi: Scientific Studies of the Psychic Realm, p. 19.

Meta: "Questions about credentials are not ad hom, never! you need to learn to debate. Debate revovled aroudn evidence, and evdience is of differing qualities. you cannot have good evidence from a lousy source. If he has no credentials he's not qualified to make certain statements.

Ad hom would say he's bad, he's lazy, he's stupid, he's immoral, I did not say that. I said he's not qualified that's a huge difference."
XAXI would actually disagree just because someone can still study and learn about things even if they don't have a formal degree and know just about as much stuff as someone who studied it. You didn't give any reasons why he was wrong which is why I didn't feel that was a very good response on your part.

How do you know he learned enough? You don't have credentials to make authoritative statements unless you have a degree or some kind of special first hand experince that gives you a credential. Just reading a bunch of books isn't it. I've read a bunch of books on psychology that doesn't make me a psychologist. This is one of the major problems with civilization today, the epistemic crsis that is destroy our knowledge because we have abandoned the concept of the qualified expert.

Alpers is not an expert. A lot of what he says is demonstrably over simplified.

Meta: "prayer is not the issue. I did not advance prayer as an argument. Look can't you see how unfair it is to think that all you have to do is bring up some other topic that wasn't talked about and you win just because you can ignore my issues and introduce your own? I'm the affirmative, "m the one who brought the case. I went first. you have to respond to may case otherwise you go first.

If I don't advance prayer as a reason to believe what difference does it make if you think it's not a reason to believe?

suppose we are going to debate taxes. you put out a case "taxes are too high." I come up and say "o but what mortgage rates? we need to lower them." How should I win because you don't have anything to say about mortgage rates? This is universal to all debate."
XAXI understand that, but my reason for bringing it up was an attempt to prove my argument that if there were a God the world would likely be different and answers to prayer would occur and we could see how many were answered and see if it's just statistical probability or chance, or if there was something really going on.
but since I didn't use answer to prayer as an argument for the rational warrant for belief then that's a red herring. Its' irrelevant. It's not part of my case. After all one need not believe in prayer to believe in God. One could well believe in a God that is not prayed to. On the other hand the kind of RE I'm talking about is usually experienced in prayer so we could say that's the use of prayer and the idea of psychical answers to prayer is just an icing on the cake that doesn't matter.

XAX: Because the many studies show there's nothing going on - meaning a God is likely not answering prayers - that would count against anyone who claims there is a God because the kind of world where a God answers prayers does not exist where we would expect one. That's the only reason I brought that issue up. I think it has a lot to do with whether or not god exists, and whether or not religious belief is rational.

NO, that's an invalid argument. You are imposing the assumption I put in red above and bolded. I did not use answers to prayer as a reason for belief, and there could easily be people who believe in God but who don't believe that God answers prayer. You are just arbitrarily asserting that if you one believes in God one believes God answers prayer. Granted that happens a lot, but there's nothing inherent in belief in God that necessitates it. So a world in which God doesn't answer prayer is not a problem for belief.

I could also take out those studies and show that God does answer prayer but I'm not going to now because that's taking us away from the real issues I put forth in my argument.

you have to face the fact you are imposing your own straw man. Straw is an argument you make to substitute for your opponent's argument. Its' something your opponent doesn't argue that you bring up to have something to beat. So that's all you are doing is using a straw man argument.

We could do another debate latter and debate all this stuff you have saved up and itching to use against a religious person, but they are red herrings and straw men here.

Meta: "You haven't given us a basis for saying that. Wouldn't that depend upon the exact nature of God? you act like the only meaning the term religion has is the fundamentalist amerian christan view of the bible. that's "religion" it's being a fundamentalist in America. that's crazy. There are tons of other view points.

no have no guideline from which to make that argument, you are merely basiing it upon fundamentalist assumptions about the Bible."
XAX: I wouldn't say I'm doing that at all because a great majority of religious people claim that God acts within the world. Even you believe God answers prayer so like I said this world would be very different if there was really a God. I don't think you've addressed that argument of mine well enough.
We are not debating the veracity of religious people. We are debating that religious belief is rationally warranted. So if it is not rationally warranted by answers to preayer, that does not mean it's not rationally warranted on other grounds. you try debate arguments I did nto put forward that is a straw man argument.

Meta: "No he would not! I explained why! the link up there find it. I said it already. I already put the link up showing why God wants a search. why didn't you read it?"
XAX I'm sorry I didn't see which link that was.
that's ok< here it is again:
Meta: "I know I've bombarded you with a lot of links and info. But you have to start reading them.

You haven't' attacked argument II with anything like a sufficient force to make a dent in it. The proposition stands due to the lack of refutation of argument II at present.

I guess perhaps it's still early. Do you want me to post the material for arguemnt II?"
XAX Just so you know I've read many of the links you've posted. Sorry if I missed one or two. Yes, it's a lot to read :)
OK good. sorry. I didn't mean to be an asshole. :mrgreen:

XAX: If it's not too late I wouldn't mind if you posted argument 2 again. If not tonight I can wait until tomorrow. Thank you.
how about I put it in a seperate thread so it can have all the attention it deserves?
As for my not making a dent, I feel like your idea of God is very elusive.
you are not the only one. that's a common complaint. Even my old professor from seminary says that about my views. But there is method to my madness. My view of God is complex. I have a Masters degree from seminary and I've a Christian for 30 years, so I've had a lot of time to think about it. In fact I'm starting my second book now which is about my view of God. I'll try o elucidate a simple version (not because you need simple but to keep it clear).

I feel like I've given many reasons why God is highly unlikely, thus religious belief is also very likely irrational.
I can see why you feel that way but really you haven't given even one. The arguments you are making are not reasons to disbelieve in God. They are reasons to find a better church, or reasons to be in one religious tradition as opposed to another, or maybe even no tradition at all. But not one of them is actually a reason to believe there is no God. But my statement assumes there's more to god than just the simple idea of a big man in sky who helps everyone.
This is due to the lack of a world that seems as if there is no God. You say I've done no searching but trust me I have. Alot. All evidence point away from God or any other kind of god. I've seen no evidence proving it. There is no sign of any God which is why I think religious belief isn't warranted.

There tons of signs of God. the world is exactly as I would expect it to be if there were a God, but that assumes a God they I beileve in God. I'll try to clearify that for you. I might as well put it up on the board in the major part so everyone can take a crack at it. So I'll try to do a post on it in the Adventure of faith board. Please watch for it. I may not get it up before tomorrow.

I think the otehr thread on the TS argument will also shine some light on the problem.
Have Theology, Will argue: wire Metacrock
Buy My book: The Trace of God: Warrant for belief

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