The Empirical Study of Mystical Experience (2) : Brain Structure Objection

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The major objection to the universality argument stems from a vast movement that has arisen just since the turn of the century, the rapidly expanding field of Neuro-theology (or Cognative Science of Religion):

In recent years a number of books have been published in the United States which argue that religious experiences and activities can be measured as neural activity in the brain...these theories purport to explain why there are common patterns of religious behavior and experience across culture which are observable in the field of comparative religion..Most such theories assert that as our understanding the brains activities develop through exploration of its underlying structures and mechanisms so the origin of religious experiences and ritual behavior will be revealed...These theorioes purport to explain why there are common paterns of religious behaviors and experience across cultures.[1]

R. Joseph states, “that The brain underlies all experience of living human beings is an absolute statement It subsumes all religious phenomena and all mystical experiences including hyper lucid visionary experiences, trance states, contemplating God and the experience of unitary absorption.”[2] Since religious experience is linked to brain chemistry it must be the result of brain chemistry, thus there’s no reason to assume it’s indicative of any sort of supernatural causation. This view has become standard in the scientific community. Tiger and McGuire state:

Religion as a process generates remarkable action, countless events, numberless provocative artifacts. Yet what factual phenomenon except perhaps slips of ancient holy paper underlies and animates one of the most influential and durable of human endeavors? We've an answer. Shivers in the moist tissue of the brain confect cathedrals our proposal is that all religions differ but all share two destinies: they are the product of the human brain. They endure because of the strong influence of the product of the human brain. The brain is a sturdy organ ith common characteristics everywhere. A neurosurgeon can work confidently on a vatican patient and another in mecca. Same tissue, same mechinisms. One such mechinnism is a readiness to generate religions.[3]

Skeptics argue that the experiences have a commonality because they are all produced by human brain structure. In other words the names from the various religions are the constructs but the experiences that unite the subjects and that transcend the individual cultural filters are the same because they are products of a shared structure that of the human brain. Ilkka Pyysiäinen and Marc Hauser state the argument:

Considerable debate has surrounded the question of the origins and evolution of religion. One proposal views religion as an adaptation for cooperation, whereas an alternative proposal views religion as a by-product of evolved, non-religious, cognitive functions. We critically evaluate each approach, explore the link between religion and morality in particular, and argue that recent empirical work in moral psychology provides stronger support for the by-product approach. Specifically, despite differences in religious background, individuals show no difference in the pattern of their moral judgments for unfamiliar moral scenarios. These findings suggest that religion evolved from pre-existing cognitive functions, but that it may then have been subject to selection, creating an adaptively designed system for solving the problem of cooperation.[4]

In other words, the discussion about origins of religion there are two genetic choices, a specific gene, or spandrels. The weight of the evidence, according to Pyysiäinen and Marc Hauser, leans toward the latter (spandrels: pre-existing cognitive functions based upon combined genetic functions from other areas). The deeper level of complexity comes with the finding that religion evolved from spandrels and yet it is still subject to adaptation manifesting in a system for cooperation (religion). What their findings really suggest is that moral motions are more basic than religious doctrine and that moral decision making transcends social structure or organization. Religion is perpetuated because its conducive to cooperation but there is an underlying sense or moral motion that's tied to the specific religious affiliation. Moral reasoning is not the same as mystical experience. Religious experience is a passive apprehension and moral decision making is an active use of deductive reasoning. Moreover, in finding religion is not original adaptation they are really negating the brain structure argument for uniformity of religious experiences. Their findings show that moral decisions transcended the religious background, thus the religious symbols, ideas, and presumably experiences are not reducible to moral motions since the latter transcends the former.[5] If religious experiences are of the same nature because of the state of human brain structure we should expect to find a conformation between moral motions religious experience. Frederick Schleiermacher argued that  religion is more than just enhanced ethical thinking.[6] This has led to the widely accepted theory of the religious a priori. Religion is understood as it's own discipline separate from ethics. The a priori is seen as a “special for of awareness which exists alongside the cognitive, moral and aesthetic forms of awareness and is not explicable by reference to them.” [7]

 As an argument about the origin of religion, the genetic aspects would only be the proximate cause. It doesn't rule out a distal cause in the divine. Andrew Newberg, one of the pioneers in researching neural activity of religious experience and God talk tells us that none of the research disproves God, nor could it:

…Tracing spiritual experience to neurological behavior does not disprove its realness. If God does exist, for example, and if He appeared to you in some incarnation, you would have no way of experiencing His presence, except as part of a neurologically generated rendition of reality. You would need auditory processing to hear his voice, visual processing to see His face, and cognitive processing to make sense of his message. Even if he spoke to you mystically, without words, you would need cognitive functions to comprehend his meaning, and input form the brain’s emotional centers to fill you with rapture and awe. Neurology makes it clear: there is no other way for God to get into your head except through the brain’s neural pathways. Correspondingly, God cannot exist as a concept or as reality anyplace else but in your mind. In this sense, both spiritual experiences and experiences of a more ordinary material nature are made real to the mind in the very same way—through the processing powers of the brain and the cognitive functions of the mind. Whatever the ultimate nature of spiritual experience might be—weather it is in fact an actual perception of spiritual reality—or merely an interpretation of sheer neurological function—all that is meaningful in human spirituality happens in the mind. In other words, the mind is mystical by default.[8]

Just being connected to brain chemistry is not enough to disprove the universal experience argument.

The problem with the brain structure argument is that even though we all have human brain structure we don’t all have the same kinds of experiences. We can’t assume that universal experiences come from brain structure alone. First, not everyone has mystical experience. Even though the incidence rates are high they are not 100%. We all have human brain structure but not all have these experiences. Secondly, even among those who do there are varying degrees of the experience. William James saw it as a continuum and Robert Wuthnow, one of the early researchers who did a modern scientific study on the phenomenon also theorized that there is a continuum upon which degree of experience varies.[9] If the brain structure argument was true then we should expect to always have the same experience; we should have the same culture. We have differing experiences and even our perceptions of the same phenomena vary. Yet the experience of mystical phenomena is not identical since it is filtered through cultural constructs and translated into the doctrinal understanding of traditions that the experiencers identify as their own.

The brain Structure argument is based upon the same premises reductionists take to the topic of consciousness and brain/mind. They assume that any subjective experience is ultimately the result of brain chemistry. There really is no reason to assume this other than the fact that brain chemistry plays a role in our perceptions. There’s no basis for the assumption that any mental phenomena must originate in brain chemistry alone. In those arguments a sense usually emerges that any involvement with the natural cancels the supernatural. I suggest that this is the ersatz version of supernature. The alien realm, juxtaposed to the natural realm and brought in as a counter to naturalism, this is the false concept of Supernatural that Eugene R, Fairweather spoke about.[10] The original concept of supernature is that of the ground and end of the natural. Thus it would be involved with nature. The ground/end of nature is the ontology of supernature and pragmatic working out of the phenomenon would be the power of God to lift human nature to a higher level, as discussed by Fairweather and aslo Mathias Joseph Scheeben.[11] How can human nature be elevated without supernature being involved with the realm of nature? Thus, if it is true that bonafide experiences of God are mediated by brain chemistry, then the fact that supernature works through evolutionary processes and physiological realities such as brain chemistry is hardly surprising.

Some studies have explored questions about brain function and the texture or mechanics of mystical experience. Van Elk et al explore the hypothesis that the sensation of supernatural presence is an adaptation from the need to over-detect presences of predictors in the jungle. There findings did not coroborate that hypothesis. He does makes the statement that it otherwise lacks empirical proof.[12] In other words if one sets out on a jungle trail, and there is darkness, sensing a predictor and turning back from the trek would be helpful. If the sensation was wrong and there was no predictor the mistake of being wrong would be less grave than that of being right but ignoring the sense. Thus, the sensation of presence is selected for. This might be used by a skeptic to answer the argument from mystical experience. Elk has five experiments that that seek to explore weather processing concepts about supernatural agents enhances detection in the environment.

Participants were presented with point light stimuli representing kinds of biological motion, or with pictures of faces embedded in a noise mask. Participants were asked to indicate if the stimuli represented a human agent or not. In each case they used three “primes,” one for supernatural, one ofr human, one for animal. They found that supernatural primes facilitated better agent detection.[13] So the argument is that the perceived presence of agents in threatening situations and tendencies to anthropomorphizing leads stronger belief in ghosts, demons, angels, gods and other “supernatural” agency.[14] They point to a body of work consisting of several studies showing that particular paranormal beliefs are a reliable predictor of illusory perceptions of faces and agency detection. These studies include Willard and Norenzayan (2013), Reikki et. al. (2013), and Petrican and Burris (2012).[15] “although these studies provide tentative support for the relation between agency detection and supernatural beliefs, the notion that reigious beliefs are a byproduct of perceptual biases to detect patterns and agency has been challenge by several authors...” (Bulbulia, 2004, Lisdorf 2007, and McKay and Efferson, 2010).[16]

While it may be true that some aspects of mystical experience are genetically related, and may be related to agent detection, that is no proof that mystical experience originates wholly within a naturalistic and genetic framework. First, because these studies only demonstrate a correlation between supernatural beliefs and agency detection. There is no attempt to establish the direction of a causal relationship. If there is a connection between supernatural and agent detection it could as easily be that awareness of supernatural concepts makes one more sensitive to agent detection. Secondly, of course just being genetically related doesn't reduce the phenomenon wholly to genetic endowments. Thirdly, there is a lot more to mystical experience than agent detection. Both involve sensing a presence beyond that point the differences are immense. I am not even sure that facial recognition and sensing a predator are similar enough to count for anything. In sensing being observed one is not usually aware of visual ques as one would be in facial recognition. There's no guarantee that the quality of the sensing is the same. Feeling the divine presence is much more august and involves levels and textures. Such an experience is, overall, positive, life changing, transformational (even noetic) but merely feeling one is being observed could be creepy, negative, or even trivial. The vast differences can be spelled out in the tiebreakers I discuss in The Trace of God.






Tibreakers


If supernature manifests itself in the natural realm through brain chemistry then the conclusion that this is somehow indicative of the divine could go either way. We can’t rule out the divine or supernatural just because it involves the natural realm. What then is the real distinguishing feature that tells us this is inductive of something other than nature? That’s where I introduce the “tie breakers.” There are aspects of the situation that indicate the effects of having the experience could not be produced by nature unaided:


(1) The transformative effects



The experience is good for us. It changes the experiencer across the board. These effects are well documented by that huge body of empirical research. They include self actualization, therapeutic effects that actually enhance healing form mental problems, less depression better mental outlook and so on. Summarizing the results of two of the major studies:



This is not merely a list of warm fuzzies. The results represent actual life transformation and change of world view. The results are dramatic and positive; well grounded psychological health, a deep sense of meaning and purpose in life, overcoming fear of death and overcoming physical addictions. Examples, Patricia Ryan's study finds that abuse victims often come to view God in more cosmic and impersonal terms. Or they become embittered and turn away from God, victims of childhood trauma and abuse often report that they felt the abuser was trying to destroy their soul and that this was the one inviolable core that could not be destroyed. This sense was related to mystical experience.[17] Loretta Do Rozario studied patients who were either dying or in chronic pain. She found that mystical experience elevated the sense of illness and pain to a level of the “universal search for meaning and self transcendence.” The subjects reported that the experience ot only enabled them to cope with pain and fear of death but also enabled them to experience joy within the hardship.[18]


Skeptics often advance the placebo argument, but it is neutralized because Placebos require expectation and a large portion of mystical experience is not expected. It’s not something people usually set out to have. Without being able to argue for placebo effect there is really no way to account for the transformational effects.[19] Moreover, while placebo get's used against any claim about the mind there's actually a much more narrow range to which it rightly applies.





...People frequently expand the concept of the placebo effect very broady to include just about every conceivable sort of beneficial, biological, social or human interaction that doesn't involve some drug well known to the pharmacopeia. The concept of placebo has been expanded much more broadly than this. Some attribute the effects of various alternative medical systems such as homeopathy or chiropractic to placebo effect. Others have described studies that show the positive effects of enhanced communication, such as Egbert's as the ploaebo response without the placebo.[20]



Thus the burden of proof is upon the skeptic to prove that placebo even applies to religious experience.


(2) Noetic aspects to the experiences


These are not informational but there is a sense in which the mystic feels that he has learned soemthing about the universe as a result of the experience. This usually is on the order of “God loves me” or “all is one.”


(3) The experience contains


the sense of the numinous or sense of the holy.

This is closely related to the Noetic sense and they clearly overlap but there is a distinction. The snse of the Holy could be more general and gives the sense that some unique and special aspect of reality exists. Some noetic qualities might be considered doctrinal in nature. “all is one” is a doctrinal statement. While I don't advocate using mystical experience to shape doctrine, because the shaping of doctrine in the Christian tradition revolves around pre given principles in revelatory texts, the nature of these qualities indicates more is going on than just misfire of some neuron.


(4) why positive?


These experiences are never negative. The only negativity associated with mystical experience is the sense of the mysterium tremendum, the highly serious nature of the Holy. That is not a lasting negative effect. If this is nothing more than brain chemistry and it’s just some sort of misfire where the brain just forgets to connect the sense of self to the part that says “I am not the world,” why is it so positive, transformative, vital? It’s not often that such a positive experience results form a biological accident.


(5) bad evolutionary theory


Mystical experience has not been tied to gene frequency. So the argument about adaptation has to rest upon the intermediaries that it provides, such as surviving long winters so one can have gene frequency. Yet all of those kinds of experiences flaunt the explanatory gap of consciousness. Why should we develop a mystically based sense of the world to get through hard long winter when we could more easily develop a brain circuiting that ignores boredom? Then this adaptation that is only there because it enabled us to get through being snowed in has such an amazing array of other effects such as life transformation and better mental health, and leads to the development of such complex fantasisms of errors as religious belief and organized religion. It’s so inefficient. Surely survival of the fittest should take the course of least resistance?


(6) Navigation in life


Mystical experiences enable navigation in life, these experiences and their effects enable us to get through and to set our sights on higher idealistic concepts and ways of life. They provide a sense of self actualization, authentication, and enable the subjects to bear up in the face of adversity. Rozario writes about those in her study who suffered chronic pain or were dying: “The inner awareness of wholeness despite the odds points to an explicit experience of life which can transcend form and matter. This experience of wholeness or consciousness extends and challenges the view of disability and illness as only a myth making and revaluing opportunity in the lives of people.”[21] Gackenback,


writes:


These states of being also result in behavioral and health changes. Ludwig (1985) found that 14% of people claiming spontaneous remission from alcoholism was due to mystical experiences while Richards (1978) found with cancer patients treated in a hallucinogenic drug-assisted therapy who reported mystical experiences improved significantly more on a measure of self-actualization than those who also had the drug but did not have a mystical experience. In terms of the Vedic Psychology group they report a wide range of positive behavioral results from the practice of meditation and as outlined above go to great pains to show that it is the transcendence aspect of that practice that is primarily responsible for the changes. Thus improved performance in many areas of society have been reported including education and business as well as personal health states (reviewed and summarized in Alexander et al., 1990). Specifically, the Vedic Psychology group have found that mystical experiences were associated with "refined sensory threshold and enhanced mind-body coordination (p. 115; Alexander et al., 1987).[22]


[1] George D. Chryssides and Ron Geives, The Study of Religion an Introduction to key ideas and methods. London, New Deli, New york: Bloomsbury, 2nd ed. 2007, 59-60.
Chryssides is a research fellow with the University of Birmingham. He has an MA in Philosophy and D Phil in systematic theology from University of Glasgow. Among the books he mentions as examples of the trend are Why God Wont Go Away, by E. Aquili andAndrew Newberg(1999) , and Nuero-Theology by R. Joseph (2003)

[2]  R. Joseph, Nuero-Theology:Brain, Science, Spirituality, Religious Experience. University Pr; 2nd edition (May 15, 2003) 22.

[3]Lionel Tiger and Michael McGuire, God's Brain, Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books, 2010. 11.
[4] Ilkka Pyysiäinen and Marc Hauser, "The Origins of Religion: Evolved Adaption or by Product." Science Direct: Trends in Cognitive Science, Volume 14, Issue 3, (March 2010), 104-109.
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364661309002897

[5]Ibid,. 105=106.

[6]Adrian Hastings, Alistair Mason, Hugh S. Pyper. The Oxford Companion to Christian Thought:Intellectual, Spiritual and Moral Horizons of Christianity, New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2000, 483
In the Trace of God I do two chapters defending Schleiermacher's notion and the religious a priori against reductionist based attacks by philosopher yne Proudfoot. (Hinman, Trace...op. Cit., 179-241).

[7]David Pailin, “The Religious a priori,” Westminster Dictionary of Christian Theology, Louisville Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, Alan Richardson and John Bowden, ed.,1983, 498.

[8]Andrew NewbergWhy God Won’t God AwayBrain Science and the Biology of Belief. (New York, Ballentine Books), 2001, 37.
[9]Robert Wuthnow, “Peak Experieces, Some Empirical Tests,” Journal of Humanistic Psychology 183 (1978) 61-62.

[10]Eugene R. Fairweather, “Christianity and the Supernatural,” in New Theology no.1. New York: Macmillian, Martin E. Marty and Dean G. Peerman ed. 1964. 235-256

[11]Mathias Joseph Scheeben in Fairweather, Ibid.

[12]Michiel Elk, Bastiaan T. Rutjens, Joop van der Pligt,& Frenk van Harrveled (2016) Priming of Supernatural agent concepts and agency detection, Religion, Brain and Behavior, 6:1, 4-33, DOL: 10.1080/2153599X.2014.93344

[13]Ibid., 4

[14]Ibid., 5.

[15]Ibid., 5. A.K. Willard and A. Norenzayan, “Cognative Biases Explain Religious Belief and belief in life's purpose,” Cognition 129 (2013), 379-391. T. Reikki, M.Litterman, et. al. “Paranormal and religious believers are more prone to illusary face perception than skeptics and none believers.” applied cognitive psychology 27 (2013) 150-155, and R. Petrican and C.T. Burris, “Am I a Stone? Over attribution of agency and Religious Orientation,” Religion and Spirituality 4 (2012), 312-323.

[16]Ibid., 6. J. Bulbulia, “The Cognitive and Evolutionary Psychology of Religion,” Biology and Philosophy 19, (2004) 655-686, A. Lisdorf, “What's HIDD'n in the HADD,” Journal of Cognition and Culture 7, (2007), 341-353, and R. McKay and C. Efferson, “Subtitles of Error Management,” Evolution and Human Behavior, 31 (5)(2010) 309-319.

[17]Patricia L. Ryan, “Spirituality Among Adult Survivors of Childhood Violence: a Literary Review.” The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, Vol. 30, no. 1, (1998) 43.

[18]Loretta Do Rozario, “Spirituality in the Lives of People With Disability and Chronic Illness: A Creative Paradigm of Wholness and Reconstitution.” Disability and Rehabilitation: An International and Multidisciplinary Journal, Vol. 19, no. 10, (1997) 427.

[19]Hinman, Trace...Op cit., 291.

[20]Daiel E. Morman, ayne B. Jonas, “Deconstructing the Placebo Effect and Finding the Meaning Response.” Annuals of Internal Medicine, Vol. 136, issue 6, (19 March 2002), 471-476. Dr. Moreman is an anthropologist at University of Michigan.

[21]Rozario, op.cit. 102.

[22]Jayne Gackenback,Transpersonal Childhood Experiences of Higher States of Consciousness: Literature Review and Theoretical Integration. Unpublished paper (1992) Online resouirce
http://www.sawka.com/spiritwatch/cehsc/ipure.htm accessed 1/19/16.

Comments

The Pixie said…
Joe: Moral reasoning is not the same as mystical experience.

I think that is fair comment. However, I would suggest that morality is something religion has co-opted, rather than something fundamental to religion. For example, the Mosaic laws were heavily influenced by ancient Near Eastern legal traditions. Over millenia, morality has become tightly bound to religion, such that Christians and other theists nowe claim morality orinates in God, but that does not make it so, of course.

Joe: As an argument about the origin of religion, the genetic aspects would only be the proximate cause. It doesn't rule out a distal cause in the divine.

But neither does it rule it in.

Are you hoping to show mystical experiences might possibly come from God, or do you hope to show that actually they are good evidence for God?

Joe: The problem with the brain structure argument is that even though we all have human brain structure we don’t all have the same kinds of experiences.

And the problem with the "mystical experiences from God" argument is that even though we all supposedly have the same God we don’t all have the same kinds of experiences.

I think this is more of a problem for you than me; people are different after all.

Joe: The brain Structure argument is based upon the same premises reductionists take to the topic of consciousness and brain/mind. They assume that any subjective experience is ultimately the result of brain chemistry.

And the "mystical experiences from God" argument is based upon the same premises theists take to the topic of consciousness and brain/mind. They assume that religion is true.

Given you are hoping to show your religion is true, this is a big problem.

Meanwhile, proponents of the brain Structure argument are doing experiements such as fMRI to support their position.

Joe: While it may be true that some aspects of mystical experience are genetically related, and may be related to agent detection, that is no proof that mystical experience originates wholly within a naturalistic and genetic framework.

And there is the usual Hinman slanted playing field. You justhave to provide "warrant" that your pet theory is true, but you demand your opponents prove their position.

Joe: The experience is good for us. ...

Is this a product of sampling bias? Would a "bad" mystical experience not count as a real one?

To put it another way, there are a whole bunch of weird experiences a person might have. Only those that are potentially fulfilling and life changing did counted as mystical experiences. Now when we look at all those mystical experience, we find that hey are all potentially fulfilling and life changing.

Joe: These are not informational but there is a sense in which the mystic feels that he has learned soemthing about the universe as a result of the experience.

This is just the sense of fulfillment (as indeed are the rest of the list).

If they were informational, you would have a convincing argument. Instead you have an experience that feels informational, but is not.
The Pixie said...
Joe: Moral reasoning is not the same as mystical experience.

I think that is fair comment. However, I would suggest that morality is something religion has co-opted, rather than something fundamental to religion. For example, the Mosaic laws were heavily influenced by ancient Near Eastern legal traditions. Over millenia, morality has become tightly bound to religion, such that Christians and other theists nowe claim morality orinates in God, but that does not make it so, of course.


I see no reason to assume that religion and moral ethics did not grow up together, I don't think you have evidence contrary to that assumption. You are merely asserting

Joe: As an argument about the origin of religion, the genetic aspects would only be the proximate cause. It doesn't rule out a distal cause in the divine.

But neither does it rule it in.


It doesn't have to. That's s not the only basis for belief.

Are you hoping to show mystical experiences might possibly come from God, or do you hope to show that actually they are good evidence for God?

why don;t you read my book? in the book I present God arguments upon the data from the ME stakes. Mystical experience has always been identified with experience of the divine, it's been part of the exerciser for thousands of years,the idea of that atheist ME is brand new. It is not something that ever existed in history. All the saints were mystics. ME us a conversion there were now atheists in history talking about mystical experience..


This comment has been removed by the author.
Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said…
Joe: The problem with the brain structure argument is that even though we all have human brain structure we don’t all have the same kinds of experiences.

And the problem with the "mystical experiences from God" argument is that even though we all supposedly have the same God we don’t all have the same kinds of experiences.

those are not analogous statements nor should they be. The brain/mind determinism is deterministic, belief in God is not. With determinism you have one option with God you have at least two. Thus the idea that people don't all have mystical experience is an argument against the brain structure argument.If it's just the rest of the kind of brains humans have then all humans should have them. Belief in God is not deterministic.



I think this is more of a problem for you than me; people are different after all.

they all have human brains, you are refusing to understand the argument,


Joe: The brain Structure argument is based upon the same premises reductionists take to the topic of consciousness and brain/mind. They assume that any subjective experience is ultimately the result of brain chemistry.

And the "mystical experiences from God" argument is based upon the same premises theists take to the topic of consciousness and brain/mind. They assume that religion is true.


so? the data suggests we are right,why you afraid to think about this? you see I'm right you can't face it

The Pixie said…
Joe: I see no reason to assume that religion and moral ethics did not grow up together, I don't think you have evidence contrary to that assumption. You are merely asserting

They clearly did grow together, but they were born separately. The evidence for that, as I already mentioned, is that the very first codes of laws (the ones the Mosaic laws are based on) are based on legal traditions, rather than religious documents.

Joe: those are not analogous statements nor should they be. The brain/mind determinism is deterministic, belief in God is not. With determinism you have one option with God you have at least two. ...

It is not the number of options that is the issue. If your prefered option is true, then there is one God from who all mystical experiences come. If that is the case, we would expect them to all be broadly similar - certainly more similar than if they are caused by the brain, given everyone is different.

Joe: Thus the idea that people don't all have mystical experience is an argument against the brain structure argument.If it's just the rest of the kind of brains humans have then all humans should have them. Belief in God is not deterministic.

But the same applies if they come from God. All humans should have them, because there is only one God.

An analogy. I have a radio that has an annoying hum whenever I turn it on. Is the hum due to the radio itself (analogous to the brain structure argument) or to interference it is picking up (analogous to the divine argument)? The simplest way to tell is to turn on another radio nearby and see if it picks up the same hum.

Joe: they all have human brains, you are refusing to understand the argument,

No, Joe, you are refusing to understand that the argument applies to your own hypothesis too.

Joe: so? the data suggests we are right,why you afraid to think about this? you see I'm right you can't face it

None of the data you have presented suggests that. All your supposed evidence is as easily explained naturalistically.

Joe: which is meaningless because they don't control for mystical experience so you can't prove you've produced one.

There is an article here about how to induce a mystical experience:
https://www.britannica.com/topic/mysticism/Techniques-for-inducing-mystical-experiences

With regards to proving it really was a mystical experience, you should read up on the work of Ralph Hood, who did a lot of work in this area.

Joe: I knew it you have not paid the least bit of attention. you are so out of the loop you don't even understand the the basic issues
part 1 established how we know what a ME is and how we establish it, you have no idea what was said do you? it seems so stupid to you and you desperately want not to believe you have no idea what was said.


Part 1 established that we know what a mystical experience is based on whether the individual experienced God's presence:

"... In other words questions such as “did you experience God’s presence?” Or did you experience God’s love?” In each section there are two positively worded and two negatively worded items. ..."

Do you remember that?

You clearly stated that part of determining whether it counted as "real" was based on whether there is an experience of God's presence.

And now you are using the fact that so many mystical experiences involve a experience of God's presence to prove they came from God!
Joe: I see no reason to assume that religion and moral ethics did not grow up together, I don't think you have evidence contrary to that assumption. You are merely asserting

They clearly did grow together, but they were born separately. The evidence for that, as I already mentioned, is that the very first codes of laws (the ones the Mosaic laws are based on) are based on legal traditions, rather than religious documents.

those were based upon underlying religious one's. the further back you go the more mixed in religion is with normal stuff.



Joe: those are not analogous statements nor should they be. The brain/mind determinism is deterministic, belief in God is not. With determinism you have one option with God you have at least two. ...

It is not the number of options that is the issue. If your prefered option is true, then there is one God from who all mystical experiences come. If that is the case, we would expect them to all be broadly similar - certainly more similar than if they are caused by the brain, given everyone is different.

they are all broadly similar. They call seek to medicate A UTE in light of a human problematic.

Joe: Thus the idea that people don't all have mystical experience is an argument against the brain structure argument.If it's just the result of the kind of brains humans have then all humans should have them. Belief in God is not deterministic.

But the same applies if they come from God. All humans should have them, because there is only one God.

no that does not follow because it's not an aromatic effect of stimulus but the result of a faith response. It's the result of choices we make. However there is a theory that all people have them but they are on a continuum it all get to the upper end of the spectrum, I have problems with that idea.


An analogy. I have a radio that has an annoying hum whenever I turn it on. Is the hum due to the radio itself (analogous to the brain structure argument) or to interference it is picking up (analogous to the divine argument)? The simplest way to tell is to turn on another radio nearby and see if it picks up the same hum.

Joe: they all have human brains, you are refusing to understand the argument,

No, Joe, you are refusing to understand that the argument applies to your own hypothesis too.

the M scale supplies that function this is what you can't face. we already have that methodology. The data tells us the experience are of God. you are not willing to consinder the evidence.

Joe: so? the data suggests we are right,why you afraid to think about this? you see I'm right you can't face it

None of the data you have presented suggests that. All your supposed evidence is as easily explained naturalistically.

then let's see you! You are afraid to even read the book. I deal with every possible argument in the book. I knock them down,you are afraid to read it



Joe: which is meaningless because they don't control for mystical experience so you can't prove you've produced one.

There is an article here about how to induce a mystical experience:
https://www.britannica.com/topic/mysticism/Techniques-for-inducing-mystical-experiences

first of all it's triggering not inducing. Secondly. they don't use the M scale so they are guessing that it;s mystical. A lot of searchers don't use valid controls but just assume any religious feeling is mystical



With regards to proving it really was a mystical experience, you should read up on the work of Ralph Hood, who did a lot of work in this area.


ahahahahahahahahaha!!! are you serious? Ralph Hood helped me me write my book! you asshole! Now you are busted, this just proves you didn't even read my article. no way could read that and now see I am using Hood. he invested the M scale.

I am thorough talking to you idiot, you are not even readimg this blog.


Joe: I knew it you have not paid the least bit of attention. you are so out of the loop you don't even understand the the basic issues
part 1 established how we know what a ME is and how we establish it, you have no idea what was said do you? it seems so stupid to you and you desperately want not to believe you have no idea what was said.

Part 1 established that we know what a mystical experience is based on whether the individual experienced God's presence:

wrong

"... In other words questions such as “did you experience God’s presence?” Or did you experience God’s love?” In each section there are two positively worded and two negatively worded items. ..."

Do you remember that?

you don't know jack shit about study methodology. in that statement I was not saying those are literally the questions, they the kind of questions, those questioned worked out by Hood in his 32 item scale.

You clearly stated that part of determining whether it counted as "real" was based on whether there is an experience of God's presence.

the vast majority of those who have it call it that, for many it is a conversion experience for me it was.

And now you are using the fact that so many mystical experiences involve a experience of God's presence to prove they came from God!

Lets go back and remember the difference in proof and warrant, I don't claim to prove God but to warrant belief.

btw Hood is not a Christian but he beeves in God. He believes mystical experience is an expedience of gods presence.


it's pretty obvious you have not paid attention to anything Ive said,
With regards to proving it really was a mystical experience, you should read up on the work of Ralph Hood, who did a lot of work in this area.

look at the book i used for a graphic on part 2. who wrote that book? don't ever try to claim you answered anything I;ve argued, you are not willing to read my answers,
Anonymous said…
Your "academic journal" is just a blog you had in college. It isn't published, and it isn't recognized by any professional or academic society. It is not peer-reviewed. It doesn't have a discernible focus. It contains poetry and random philosophical musings. Unlike you, I have done real scientific work, and published in real scientific journals.
this is that cretin i am skepie I guess he;s not readily to come back.

I will leave it to Tim Wood to explain why it was a real Journal,It was indexed by academic index the left index, had stading wth ICAP ebsco wanted to take it over,
im-skeptical said…
I don't make irrelevant comments like that. I did make that comment quite some time ago when your journal was being discussed. It appears that someone copied it and put it here (quite off-topic) without attribution, which I don't appreciate.
thanks skep. It could be Gary,

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