The Gospel of John on Incarnation
Let us do a two-level interpretation in the Gospel of John (literal vs figurative) and relate it to McGrath’s non penal substitution interpretation of the cross in John.  This will undermine the mythicist sin debt payment interpretation of the faith.  There is perhaps no saying in scripture that is more “seemingly” horrific than John 14:6, which has birthed no end to exclusionist approaches to God.  There is that literal level, but it needs to be passed through to a more allegorical understanding of the human condition.  The passage reads: “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the father except through me / but by me (John 14:6).”  We can also detect a hint of “for the sake of me” which is the way John uses δι’ in 11:15 and 12:30.  But doesn’t John 14:6 contradict Luke 3:6 which says all flesh will encounter the lord’s salvation.[1]  Who is this logos/word Jesus, this “me” that John 14:6 refers to?  Of the various ... Read Article
Dunn and Ehrman on “Forms” of Jesus in the Philippian Christ Hymn/Poem (PART 2/2)
I just wanted to make a quick clarification to the last post.  In that post, I mentioned in the gospels Jesus says the son of man does not come to be served, but to serve, to die, an allusion to the son of man/human in Daniel, second only to the ancient of days/God.  As I said, in the Philippian poem we read this is the evolution of Christ’s mindset going from form of god to form of human/slave.  We read: 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, assuming human likeness. And being found in appearance as a human, 8     he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death— even death on a cross. “Assuming human likeness” clearly alludes to “I saw one like a human being (NRSVUE)” / “one like a son of man (ESV)” of Daniel 7:13. With Adam and Eve, initially, lack of knowledge of Good and Evil was what differed them from God.  Jesus was godly / in godly form as paradigmatically knowing good and evil as an interprete ... Read Article
Dunn and Ehrman on “Forms” of Jesus in the Philippian Christ Hymn/Poem (PART 1/2)
The Philippian Christ hymn poetry is a very old pre-Pauline discussion of the nature of Jesus.  In the updated NRSV it reads 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or empty conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not to your own interests but to the interests of others. 5 Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he existed in the form of God,     did not regard equality with God [as Adam and Eve did]     as something to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself,     taking the form of a slave,     assuming human likeness. And being found in appearance as a human, 8     he humbled himself     and became obedient to the point of death—     even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God exalted him even more highly     and gave him the name     that is above every ot ... Read Article
Trying To View The Paranormal Though The Lens Of Science.
This video talks about the failure to turn reports of the paranormal regarding Skinwalker ranch into actually documented evidence of the paranormal. Keith Augustine points out it gets particularly interesting about 15 minutes in (i.e., the AAWSAP directive to "tell Mr. Bigelow what he wants to hear" and an underling weaving tales while drinking vodka to meet this directive in faxed reports from Skinwalker Ranch to Bigelow): see The evidence for the dinosaur beaver is particularly compelling, lol. ... Read Article
Happy Ask An Atheist Day! Ask Away …
... Read Article
Keith Augustine Interview On The Paranormal
Internet Infidels / Secular Web director Keith Augustine was interviewed by Ed our VP on the topic of the Paranormal. Check it out: ... Read Article
(Part 2) Keith Augustine’s How Not to Do Survival Research: Reflections on the Bigelow Institute Essay Competition
Augustine raises the issue of the fallacy of how survivalist's conclude from the difficulties in describing how consciousness arises from the body that therefore it doesn't: Ruickbie’s use converts Noë’s actual meaning into an argument from ignorance: we don’t know how brain activity gives rise to consciousness, therefore it must not give rise to consciousness. If the argument were that we don’t know how migrating birds navigate, therefore they must not navigate, it would not impress. Nor should it here...It does not follow from the inability to explain how consciousness arises from matter that it does not so arise, and in fact its ubiquitousness throughout the biosphere positively suggests that it does (though see McGinn, 1999, pp. 89-95 and Nahm, 2021*, p. 64 for ways to get around this). And the distinctively individual consciousnesses necessary for personal survival almost certainly so arise. One fruitful approach would be to say the mind is instantiated in the brain, and so wouldn't exist ... Read Article
(Part 1) Keith Augustine’s How Not to Do Survival Research: Reflections on the Bigelow Institute Essay Competition
See Augustine's essay here: This is a large essay so I'm breaking reporting of it into 2 parts. Augustine points to the difficulties in using eye witness testimony as evidence for the mind surviving death: Nahm later writes that impartial judges “would take eyewitness testimonies just as seriously as they would do in other contexts” (2021*, p. 66). While Elizabeth Loftus’ (1979) seminal research into the reliability of eyewitness testimony provides all sorts of reasons to hesitate to rely upon it so heavily (as survival research typically does), what DRW say about it in their prize-winning essay is more than sufficient: “eyewitness testimony would not convince those who also take into consideration the relevant literature from the neurosciences, clinical, cognitive, and perceptual psychology, and court cases. Research in those disciplines has shown that eyewitness testimony is not as reliable as one might hope because ... Read Article
Kreeft’s Case for the Divinity of Jesus – Part 19: Premise (24) of the Feeling-Superior Argument
WHERE WE ARE For a brief summary of what has been covered in Part 3 through Part 15 of this series, see the “WHERE WE ARE” section at the beginning of Part 16 of this series. In Part 16 of this series, I argued that Kreeft and Tacelli’s first argument against Jesus being a lunatic FAILED because both premises of the argument are too UNCLEAR to be rationally evaluated and because Kreeft and Tacelli offer ZERO factual evidence in support of the SCIENTIFIC CLAIMS and HISTORICAL CLAIMS that are asserted in those premises. In Part 17 of this series, I argued that there was another serious problem with the first argument against Jesus being a lunatic: the available historical evidence is insufficient to draw any firm conclusions about Jesus having a high degree of practical wisdom. Then I moved on to analyze and clarify Kreeft and Tacelli’s second point against Jesus being a lunatic. Their second point actually includes two very similar arguments against Jesus being a lunatic. In Part 18 of thi ... Read Article
Review of *Not* So Fast: A Response to Augustine’s Critique of the BICS Contest: Stephen E. Braude, Imants Baruss , Arnaud Delorme, Dean Radin, Helané Wahbeh
see the article here: At times Braude et al's response to Augustine reads like a long lottery fallacy, the idea that since it’s mathematically absurd that I should win a major lottery, if I do win a miracle has taken place.  Against this, while it’s preposterous for me to think I should win when buying the ticket, given the probability cast in the light of the number of entrants it is certainly reasonable that “someone” should win.  Similarly, while it is highly unlikely that my health recovery should baffle medical knowledge, this doesn’t imply a miracle since in a planet of many billions of people unexplainable recovery, though ridiculously rare, are to be expected. One major flaw is the god of the gaps fallacy whereby an apparent gap in the scientific knowledge of the physiology of memory opens the door to something supernatural that has access to past lives: With regard to point (2) above, there are serious re ... Read Article
When Will Survival Researchers Move Past Defending the Indefensible? (Part 3) So, this is my last post on Augustine's "Defending the Indefensible" Essay I particularly liked Augustine's distinction between analogies that illustrate and analogies that argue, since we are all familiar with debates that are just opposite sides throwing illustrations at one another as though they are arguments (eg pro life vs pro choice; conservative vs liberal). It is a general point that there is a reason hospitals don't have faith healer teams on staff, or that psychics don't repeatedly predict and win the lottery. Augustine comments: Until survival researchers produce evidence of the sort that replicable positive results from properly controlled tests of survival would have provided, the rest of the world is quite justified in responding: “Call me when a medium gets even one hit out of dozens of vetted attempts to get an afterlife code, or when an out-of-body NDEr has actually identified a v ... Read Article
When Will Survival Researchers Move Past Defending the Indefensible? (Part 2)
Augustine feels the interaction brought out many things that needed to be said, particularly a more accurate representation of the best that the skeptical eye could bring to the table. Reber and Alcock had argued in Skeptical Inquirer in 2019 as to why physics makes psi impossible. Under Braude's final year as JSE Editor-in-Chief, either the whole issue or a significant portion of the JSE was devoted to refuting Reber and Alcock's arguments. Refuting arguments that "psi is impossible" is antecedently easy to do, since anyone claiming that a thing is impossible puts a large burden on oneself to show that. Saying that the evidence makes it highly improbable, or that science needs to reject psi as a working hypothesis in order to investigate things empirically at all, is a more nuanced and defensible position. It's also one that the echo chamber of JSE readers have likely not heard before (which is why lead author Braude's reply to Augustine missed the mark on so much--it seems like he's never even thoug ... Read Article
When Will Survival Researchers Move Past Defending the Indefensible? (Part 1)
When Will Survival Researchers Move Past Defending theIndefensible?Keith Augustine The exchange between our Secular Web/Internet Infidels director Keith Augustine and noted "soul survivalist " proponents was published yesterday. I'll be blogging about it, but check out the exchange: HIGHLIGHTSThe survivalists’ response to the author’s skeptical review did notconfront the novel criticisms and arguments made against the BICS essayevidence. Such a candid and deep engagement with fundamental issues isneeded to advance the question of ‘life after death.’ ABSTRACTThe failure of five psychical researchers to confront my critique ofBigelow Institute contest-winning essays with counterpoints orconcessions responsive to its novel criticisms is disappointing. Theirdefensive and scattershot reply lost sight of whether the critiquedessays met their directive to provide “hard evidence ‘beyond areasonable doubt’” of the surv ... Read Article
The Myth of an Afterlife Chapter 10: The Dualists Dilemma by Keith Augustine and Yonatan I. Fishman
The Myth Of An Afterlife Chapter Ten:  The Dualist’s Dilemma: The High Cost of Reconciling Neuroscience with a Soul  by Keith Augustine and Yonatan I. Fishman One of the editors of the anthology, Keith Augustine, has provided a helpful brief analogy illustrating the case against the thesis that the mind somehow exists independent of the brain.  As a teacher, I think it would be an excellent hands-on activity for students.  He writes: Consider the analogy of two bins sitting on an office desk, one labeled outgoing mail, and the other labeled incoming mail. Re-label the bins "minds require brains to exist" and "minds do not require brains to exist" (i.e., "the dependence thesis simpliciter" and "the independence thesis simpliciter").Now imagine that you have a big bowl of succinct facts that scientists have discovered about the mind printed out on paper strips (like those in fortune cookies, or those printed out in old military teletype ... Read Article
The Myth of an Afterlife ch 6
Chapter Six No Mental Life after Brain Death The Argument from the Neural Localization of Mental Functions Gualtiero Piccinini and Sonya Bahar In a thorough, rigorously argued chapter, Piccinini and Bahar outline their position as follows: To make our case, we will sample the large body of neuroscientific evidence that each mental function takes place within specific neural structures. For instance, vision appears to occur in the visual cortex, motor control in the motor cortex, spatial memory in the hippocampus, and cognitive control in the prefrontal cortex. Evidence for this comes from neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, neurochemistry, brain stimulation, neuroimaging, lesion studies, and behavioral genetics. If mental functions take place within neural structures, then they cannot survive the death of the brain. Therefore, there is no mental life after brain death.  Before I get into the meat of their argument in my next blog post, I just want to highlight a methodological point they make Fou ... Read Article