Why (some) Deists are Stupid

Facebook pushed this at me:

Someone answered them. Actually, Luke 14:26 is followed by a parable – which the deist ignores.

Look how the deist answers. “A true leader does not speak in code”.

The OP is going to decide who a true leader is and who you should listen to based on the OP’s opinion. It is not even an argument. It is a declaration. Sounds like authoritarianism to me.

Actually it is the OP’s “Revealed Religion”, revealed by them. Because they say so.

This isn’t actually deism as conceived historically. It is pure atheism. Deists believe God wound up the universe but does not interfere with it. This OP says there is no God.


See below for this: In the Hebrew Scriptures, the contrast between “love” and “hatred” is sometimes used to communicate preference. For example, in dealing with inheritances in polygamous marriages, the Mosaic Law referred to “two wives, one beloved, and another hated”

Following the statement that we must “hate” our father and mother, Jesus relates a metaphor about a man who builds a house without first counting the cost (Luke 14:28–30). The man finds that he cannot follow through with what he set out to do. He leaves the house unfinished because he cannot pay what is required. Jesus’ illustration helps explain His difficult statement about hating our mother and father—namely, we must count the cost of being a disciple. There is a cost, and that is the point of the passage.

In order to be a disciple, we must be willing to give up everything for Jesus. Following Jesus requires commitment and faithfulness, even if our parents choose not to follow the Lord. If and when we are faced with the painful choice of loyalty to family versus loyalty to Jesus, we must choose Jesus. Even if our family members disown us—or worse—for being Christians, we must follow Christ. It is in this sense that we are “hating” our family. Jesus’ command to “hate father and mother” requires us to prioritize our relationship with Jesus over our relationship with parents, siblings, and other family members.

Of course, it is right to love our family members, and we want them to love and follow God. Elsewhere, Jesus confirmed the fifth commandment that we honor our fathers and mothers (Mark 7:9–13). And Paul sternly warned that “anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8). Jesus’ statement that we “hate” father and mother must be seen in relation to the whole of Scripture. His point is not that we are to be heartless toward our families, only that we must love Him more.

We must not forget that included in Jesus’ condition that a follower must “hate” his father and mother is the condition that he likewise hate “even his own life” (Luke 14:26, NAS). Jesus is not teaching an emotional hatred of one’s parents any more than He is teaching self-hatred. The emphasis is on self-denial and absolute surrender. Immediately following is Jesus’ instruction to “carry your own cross” (verse 27, NLT).

Some other translations make Jesus’ meaning a little clearer: “If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison” (Luke 14:26, NLT, emphasis added), and the Amplified Bible says that a follower of Christ must “hate” his family members “in the sense of indifference to or relative disregard for them in comparison with his attitude toward God.” It is a “hatred” by comparison, not an absolute hatred.

The word hate in Luke 14:26 deserves a closer look. In the Hebrew Scriptures, the contrast between “love” and “hatred” is sometimes used to communicate preference. For example, in dealing with inheritances in polygamous marriages, the Mosaic Law referred to “two wives, one beloved, and another hated” (Deuteronomy 21:15, KJV). This is a good, literal translation. There was a “loved” wife and a “hated” wife. Other translations usually soften the “hated” wife to be “unloved” (CSB) or “less loved” (NET). The law was not indicating emotional hatred on the part of the husband, only preference. One wife was preferred over the other. We have a similar use of the love/hate idiom in Malachi 1:2–3 (cf. Romans 9:13).

Many Christians will never have to make the painful choice of turning their backs on their family in order to follow Christ. But, around the world, there are many other Christians who face shunning, disowning, or persecution from their families. These believers, if they are to be true to Christ, are forced to live in a way perceived as “hateful” toward their “father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters” (Luke 14:26). All believers are called to acknowledge the lordship of Christ and show Him preference over all earthly ties. Those who must sacrifice earthly relationships have this promise: “No one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life” (Mark 10:29–30).

So, the OP has jumped to a conclusion based on inadequate research of the subject he is complaining about. He is actually just complaining about his own imaginary world.

I do not need to read any more of this atheistic claptrap shrouded in religious language. A reductionist atheist makes way more sense. They at least know what epistemology actually is.

Surely You are Joking, Mr Lightman.

When an atheist (Mr.X.) declares to you “I don’t care what Alan Lightman thinks about God” you know you are talking to a narcissist.


Because Alan Lightman, to the best of my knowledge, doesn’t think anything at all about God. He isn’t a theist.

Mr X, the narcissist, is either lying or he is an idiot.

Alan Lightman isn’t talking about God and religion. He is talking about physics.

The real question about what atheism is: what does atheism really have to say to humanity? Atheists need to explain the following: “How do you know thought and mind does not exist? And if it does not, isn’t your religious world view then nihilism? Is the logical conclusion of reductionism nihilism?”

Nihilism means if thought does not exist then minds do not exist. if minds do not exist then humans do not exist. The human race does not exist. its a fantasy. and values do not exist. Love, hate, justice, hope, all these are fantasies because none of them really exist. They are figments of the imagination and have no reality.

“Well, gee, batman”, a student mutters under his breath, “the trans person with hurt feelings is just going to have to lump it, aren’t they?”

What do nihilists really have to say to humanity? Nothing. They add no value. Values do not exist in their world view.

That doesnt answer the question of, “Is the logical conclusion of reductionism nihilism?”

Atheists aren’t talking. They do not know. They rage against theists on the basis of, well, as far as I can tell, a basis of ignorance. I think Jonathon Haight describes it best. They have a preconceived conclusion, really just a moral belief, and they are looking for evidence to shore up their belief. What Jonathon Haight calls “the elephant and the rider problem.” There is a cognitive dissonance in that process, and also a dishonesty.

Alan Lightman, by contrast, ponders the unknown and the unknowable and attempts to label them. That is why is is so hilarious that Mr X boldly declares “I don’t care what Alan Lightman says about God.”

Answers In Heresy (I mean Genesis)

AIG apologist Isaac Bourne claims Christians are going to hell (cannot be saved) because they fail to follow AIG theology. Here is his argument. It depends on having a belief about the age of the earth (being young).

Issac Bourne

That’s because the worlds education requires one to accept the worlds views. You cannot be educated with secular degrees and expect not to be rejected by the groups that educated you if you proclaim God and the Bible. God plays second fiddle to no man’s: Education, opinion or whatever. Period. And when this person gets to Heaven, God won’t be opening a science book either. And Darwin won’t be sitting next to Him giving judgment on how well every accepted evolution.

Which creation belief can you use to draw people forward to salvation?

God used evolution to create? Nope.

God used millions and billions of years to create? Nope.

God’s creation is literally true aka YEC? Yep. Happens everyday.

This is why you won’t see God used evolution to create do alter calls.

This is why you won’t see God took millions and billions of years do alter calls.

Because there is no God in it therefore God will not draw people unto his Son through a lie. So those 2 teachings come back void while YEC does not.

“Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” James 4:17 KJV

When you know what the truth is and you instead decide to believe a lie.

Then what you believe becomes a sin because you knew better. That is why the word knoweth is used. Do you know God’s Word say nothing about using evolution during creation? Of course you do. Do you know God’s Word and tracible time line supports 6-24 hour days and 6.000 years? Of course you do.

And yet you believe something else right? So your belief is now a sin, not by my opinion, but what God’s Word states. And if you do not respect God’s Word enough to accept correction then you are already lost in that sin.

Here’s what happens when you mess with God’s Word.

“And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” Revelation 22:19 KJV

And can you enter Heaven without you name in the book of life?

“And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:15 KJV

And because you now know, you can never claim true ignorance which is covered by grace because this ignorance is on purpose. YEC is just a literal belief. God’s Word judges what happens when you go outside of such things, not those who believe YEC, Did I not back up everything concerning that? Then your problem is not with YEC, it’s with God’s Word. And all we do is abide by that is that also is what you have a problem with. prove me wrong.

I said to him

Issac Bourne Origins theories have nothing to do with salvation as far as I can figure. Ive started to ask lifelong bible scholars, ordained ministers, and theologians about this. Is Christianity dependent upon a particular narrative or belief about origins? The answer I get is “no”. Salvation depends on Jesus of Nazareth and his death, burial, resurrection, and propitiation for sin, etc, etc, and faith in him and his work Age of the earth? Has nothing to do with that except you have constructed a narrative and turned it into a doctrine. The sorting of sheep and goats will depend on response to the Christ, not on opinion about origins. Unless you create some kind of “new and different?” doctrine that says judgement does depend on a believer’s opinion about origins. I dont see that requirement in the scriptures. It looks to me like this doctrine, if it is a doctrine at all, did not exist in the 1st and 2nd century but was added in modern times. Which adds doctrine to the scriptures. Its either modern additive doctrine or its not doctrine at all but instead is just personal opinion. A bit hard to tell.

I dont see the core beliefs of christianity being affected by your world view here.

Dustin Burlet, another AIG apologist says no, their belief about the bible and theology does not affect salvation per se. But if not accepted it does destroy the truth in the bible.

There is a lot to unpack here – if I have understood the scenario (about YEC) correctly much hinges on Jesus. Allow me to explain (citing C. John Collins, Science and Faith: Friends or Foes, pg. 106)

Collins states:

“The argument for a young earth . . . goes like this: the phrases ‘from the beginning of creation’ (Mark 10:6) and ‘from the beginning’ (Matt 19:4, 😎 do not refer to the beginning of mankind [sic] but to the beginning of creation itself. Therefore, Jesus was dating the origin of mankind [sic] to a time very shortly after the initial creation of Genesis 1:1. If there is any kind of time very shortly after the initial creation and the beginning of the creation week, or if the week itself lasts much longer than an ordinary week, then we must conclude that Jesus was mistaken (or worse, misleading), and therefore he can’t be God. “

Collins goes on to clarify:

“If this argument is sound, I’m in trouble, because . . . I cannot follow this reading of Genesis 1. On the other hand, I firmly believe in the traditional Christian doctrine of Christ, and tremble at the thought of doing anything to undermine it. But the argument is not sound. It finds its credibility from the way the English “from the beginning” seems so definite; but the Greek is not fixed in meaning. “

NB: Specifically, the use “of the article in Greek is not like use of the definite article in English, not least because Greek does not have the same choice of forms . . . Once a Greek speaker or writer chose to use the article, there was not a choice whether an indefinite or definite one would be used. Therefore, the presence or absence of an article does not make a substantive definite or indefinite.” Porter, Idioms of the Greek New Testament (London: Sheffield Academic 2nd. ed, 2005) 103. See too Middleton, Doctrine of the Greek Article (London: Rivington, 2nd ed, 1841). Notably, though, the term ἄρχη is not actually articular in any of the texts cited above save Matt 19:4 (Cf. John 1:1).

Irrespective of the minutia, what is clear from the above is that Collins does not dismiss the question of the age of the earth as a secondary issue. Instead, he (rightly) ties a proper understanding of these matters to biblical authority via connecting them to the doctrine of Christ (cf. John 18:37).

As such, In a similar way, Terry Mortenson asserts: “Exodus 20:8–11 resists all attempts to add millions of years anywhere in or before Genesis 1 because in Exodus 20:11 . . . God says He created the heavens, the earth, the sea, and all that is in them during the six days described in Genesis 1. He made nothing before those six days. It should also be noted that the fourth commandment is one of only a few of the Ten Commandments that contains a reason for the commandment. If God created over millions of years, He could have not given a reason for Sabbath-keeping or He could have given a theological or redemptive reason as He did elsewhere (cf. Exod 31:13 and Deut 5:13–15) . . . Ultimately, the question of the age of the earth is a question of the truth and authority of Scripture. That’s why the age of the earth matters so much and why the church cannot compromise with millions of years (or evolution).” Terry Mortenson, “Young-Earth Creationist View Summarized And Defended.” No Pages. Online. Italics original. https://answersingenesis.org/…/young-earth-creationist…/

Elsewhere, Mortenson also opines: “The . . . larger controlling thesis for this book is that the age of the creation is foundationally and critically important for Christian doctrine. It really does matter what we believe on this issue. To be sure, we are not insisting that a person must be a young-earth creationist to be saved and in a right relationship with God. Faith in Christ alone is sufficient for that. But what we believe on this topic does relate critically to inerrancy, hermeneutics, and Scripture as the final authority in all matters that it addresses.” Terry Mortenson, “Foreword,” in Coming to Grips with Genesis: Biblical Authority and the Age of the Earth, 20. New Leaf (2008).

Lastly, another YEC scholar (Joanthan Sarfati) maintains:

“OK, let’s assume for the sake of the argument that firstly, creation was by evolution, over millions of years of death and suffering—and that Jesus did perform some sort of lobotomy7 on Himself, so that He could no longer recall what really took place. So He just understood Genesis in the most natural straightforward way, not realizing what the real truth was. What you’re claiming in that case amounts to this: That God the Father, knowing the real truth, permitted not just the Apostles, but His beloved Son, while on Earth, to believe and teach things that were utter falsehoods. Furthermore, it means that the Father permitted these false teachings to appear—repeatedly—in His revealed Word. With the result that for some 2,000 years, the vast majority of Christians were seriously misled about such things as not just the time and manner of creation, but gospel-crucial matters such as the origin of sin, and of death and suffering.”

The doctrinal position of AIG

What you’re claiming in that case amounts to this: That God the Father, knowing the real truth, permitted not just the Apostles, but His beloved Son, while on Earth, to believe and teach things that were utter falsehoods. Furthermore, it means that the Father permitted these false teachings to appear—repeatedly—in His revealed Word. With the result that for some 2,000 years, the vast majority of Christians were seriously misled about such things as not just the time and manner of creation, but gospel-crucial matters such as the origin of sin, and of death and suffering.”

Wow, all of Christianity has been misled for 2000 years? Really?

AIG Fragility?

What I am left thinking:

Seems to me that if Adam ever stepped on a bug, or ate a bug, then death came into the world before the sin of Adam and their entire theological world view instantly collapses.

A Re-evaluation

If all the truth in the Bible were to be destroyed then how does anybody come to a saving faith in Jesus of Nazareth as their saviour? So, truth be told, perhaps the AIG belief really is about who can be a Christian? It is all about heresy.

Caveat: Is it possible for the bible to be true but AIG simply does not understand what it says? BINGO!

Is it possible for God to have spoken in parables in Genesis and the bible is still true? You see, AIG claims if Genesis is parables then the bible is not true. That is based on their opinion. Only on their opinion.

Is your pronoun XY?

#DarwinCancelled? 😉

A post I saw today from a dentist says,

I am a practicing Dentist, but also a biology major. I do believe there are just two biological sexes: XX and XY. That is not a theory it is a fact. Gender issues are social constructs to normalize behavior. Darwin would have said: survival of the species selects for the strong biological sexes.

Endless War

How can America defend Sweden? It’s out of ammo. Can it even defend Taiwan?

My take is geo-economic turmoil just got vastly worse. Food supplies will suffer. This will affect energy and fertilizer stocks.

For background material start with:

Rebekah Koffler is the president of Doctrine & Strategy Consulting, a former DIA intelligence officer, and the author of  “Putin’s Playbook: Russia’s Secret Plan to Defeat America.” She also wrote the foreword for “Zelensky: The Unlikely Ukrainian Hero.

Fun with Hamsters.

Someone said this to Jerrod. I about spat out my coffee when I read it.
Saint Ken of the Ham really captures it well.

I wonder if there is a sigel for Saint Ken?

I swear, I am going to make a character in fantasy books modeled on Saint Ken of the Ham. He will be constructing giant submarines in the land of Garma to model the real one that happened in the “Great Soaping of Atlantis.”

Honey, you are such a Peach.

“The difference between you and a pear is you think you are important and the pear does not.”

— Dennis Prager.

He gets this from current events about a movement of people wanting to bequeath their bodies to nourish the earth.

Dennis says, (paraphrasing):

If humans are not made in the image of God then they are no different than fruit. They are just compost.
It comes down to whether you are merely physical. If humans are merely physical then they can be compost. They are compost. Any difference is just imaginary.

I would add this is the philosophy of atheism. Dennis calls it the nihilism of the secular western world. What I would call the secular western fundamentalist religion. It really is the logical conclusion of reductionism.

To the atheist your real meaning, in any ultimate sense, is you will become fertilizer and will help plants grow. Anything you do before that is … well, you are just having a nice fantasy.

Atheists will tell us they have moral codes and build moral societies. They have been saying that for years. What they cannot tell us is WHY. Who could possibly even care about the moral code of a pear? Or fof fertilizer? It is not logical. Not even rational. But they insist the theist’s interest in the transcendental is irrational. Surely they base this on a metaphysical assumption. They will tell you that the flaw in theism is that it is based on metaphysical assumptions. But will deny their own world view is based on a metaphysical assumption.

One atheist recently called me a nutcase for even asking the question. Instead of answering the question they just name-call. One can only assume that is because they cannot give reasons. Their philosophy is vacuous. If they could give reasons then everyone could consider the reasons.

Meanwhile, everywhere one encounters such people they scream that theists are believing in imaginary things. And they truly believe that too!

I think the atheist needs to explain why he is meta-physics free. Otherwise, why is he believable?

Thinking about podcasts

Looking at substack today for writing. They also integrate with podcasts. Here is what they play with:

I sometimes ask people about what they watch podcasts with. It seems like everybody *knows* but few will answer. The only media listener I ever tried was AUDIBLE. Well, peeps I know are probably not going to publish on audible, are they?

I ignored that apple itunes world FOREVER ever since they started because they are of the devil. I never wanted “tunes” or non vinyl music. Ever. And I did not want an account with apple. Its like 666 to me.

But all my Christian friends bow and scrape and worship at the feet of the Baal idol known as apple. Good grief! says Lucy. iPod shall never be in a Peanuts Christmas Special if Lucy has anything to say about it.

I’m going to try some of these podcast applications to see what works spiffy.

Constitutional Principles on Free Speech

Question: If government agents are directing Twitter and Facebook to implement viewpoint discrimination [as part of government policy] in a public forum (i.e., public is invited to participate for free) does the constitutional guarantee of “equal treatment under the law” apply to their content?

Does meeting weekly with the government to obtain direction of what viewpoints to discriminate against constitute government directed viewpoint discrimination?

Today ACLJ announced they sent attorney to a school board that opened a public forum and then banned the pro-life speakers they had invited. Banned them totally!!! ACLJ attorney explained the law and the board reversed their decision. The government cannot engage in directing the content of speech because it is viewpoint discrimination. SCOTUS has ruled on this many times. Made me wonder about whether this government controlling twitter policy means twitter and facebook fall under the same law as school boards. Do they?

Scientific Religion?

Saying Scientific Materialism is like saying Scientific Religion.

Materialism is a philosophic opinion. It is not science. It is actually a leap of faith. But people talk about it because it sounds scientific, and because it is not very obvious that it is a leap of faith.

Putting the word scientific in front of materialism does not make materialism into science any more than putting the word scientific in front of the word religion turns religion into science.

It takes more than a label or an adjective to describe what is scientific.

Philosophers refer to materialism as being “scientific materialism” because the people talking about it talk a lot about science. I use the term too. It really means “science-y sort of like one would use the word geeky. But it is just plain old materialism spoken of in science-like terminology to dress it up a bit. What would be the difference between scientific materialism and non-scientific materialism? None.

Its a bit like grape nuts. They are not grapes. They are not nuts. They are just a name. Not even a description. More of a metaphor. Grape nuts is metaphorical language, not definitive or descriptive language. Scientific materialism is metaphorical language for materialism.

Shocked by Reductionism

Recently I watched a portion of a debate between an atheist and Dinesh De Souza in the wake of the Sean Carroll debate.
The atheist team member (who I thought was Sean himself) stated that thoughts are imaginary. They arise from chemical phenomena in the neuron but themselves are imaginary, i.e., do not exist. We only think they exist, but they actually do not. In other words, they are ontologically imaginary.

To me this has huge implications. It implies that minds are imaginary (and do not really exist). The trappings of minds, such as love and justice and morality and meaning are also imaginary. Personality does not exist. What a convenient way to get rid of the ultimate personality we call God. It is a very convenient solution to an atheists problem set! Define God as non-existent.

One problem: this means people also not exist! They are just chemical reactions.

I thought at the time, how does one who believes this way describe himself? Is he a reductionist? Is that his philosophy? Hmmm.

I want to touch briefly on reductionism. Here is a quote from Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy about Reductionism.


Reductionists are those who take one theory or phenomenon to be reducible to some other theory or phenomenon. For example, a reductionist regarding mathematics might take any given mathematical theory to be reducible to logic or set theory.

Or, a reductionist about biological entities like cells might take such entities to be reducible to collections of physico-chemical entities like atoms and molecules. The type of reductionism that is currently of most interest in metaphysics and philosophy of mind involves the claim that all sciences are reducible to physics. This is usually taken to entail that all phenomena (including mental phenomena like consciousness) are identical to physical phenomena.

The bulk of this article will discuss this latter understanding of reductionism.

This definition (in grey) certainly does describe the position of the atheist person debating Dinesh. It was presented as the position of modern physicists when arguing against Dinesh’s theism.

I do not think reductionism is the position taken by most physicists, and this is why the claim surprised me.

There is a related belief: scientific materialism.

Scientific materialist say “if a phenomena is not part of the physical world of matter and energy then the phenomena is not REAL. I.E., does not ontologically exist. It exists only as a concept (which of course is held by an imaginary non-existing entity we call a mind). This is what they mean by “imaginary”.

Who can question the word of a physicist?

What about John Polkinghorne? John Charlton Polkinghorne KBE FRS (16 October 1930 – 9 March 2021) was an English theoretical physicisttheologian, and Anglican priest.

*GASP* A “theist”. See some of what PolkingHorne has to say in his FAQ pages.

Or Stephen M Barr? Stephen Matthew Barr[1] (born November 28, 1953) is an American physicist who is a professor emeritus of physics at the University of Delaware.[2] A member of its Bartol Research Institute, Barr does research in theoretical particle physics and cosmology. In 2011, he was elected Fellow of the American Physical Society, the citation reading “for original contributions to grand unified theories, CP violation, and baryogenesis.”[3]

*GASP* … another theist.

Whats going on here?

Alan Lightman (Alan Lightman, both a novelist and a physicist, teaches at MIT. ) wrote about how many scientists see no problem between science and God’s intervention with the physical universe:

Francis Collins, leader of the celebrated Human Genome Project and now director of the National Institutes of Health, recently told Newsweek, “I’ve not had a problem reconciling science and faith since I became a believer at age 27 … if you limit yourself to the kinds of questions that science can ask, you’re leaving out some other things that I think are also pretty important, like why are we here and what’s the meaning of life and is there a God? Those are not scientific questions.” Ian Hutchinson, professor of nuclear science and engineering at MIT, told me: “The universe exists because of God’s actions. What we call the ‘laws of nature’ are upheld by God, and they are our description of the normal way in which God orders the world. I do think miracles take place today and have taken place over history. I take the view that science is not all the reliable knowledge that exists. The evidence of the resurrection of Christ, for example, cannot be approached in a scientific way.” Owen Gingerich, professor emeritus of astronomy and of the history of science at Harvard University, says: “I believe that our physical universe is somehow wrapped within a broader and deeper spiritual universe, in which miracles can occur. We would not be able to plan ahead or make decisions without a world that is largely law-like. The scientific picture of the world is an important one. But it does not apply to all events. Even in science we take a lot for granted. It’s a matter of what you want to trust. Faith is about hope rather than proof.”

Devoutly religious scientists, such as Collins, Hutchinson and Gingerich, reconcile their belief in science with their belief in an interventionist God by adopting a worldview in which the autonomous laws of physics, biology and chemistry govern the behavior of the physical universe most of the time and therefore warrant our serious study. However, on occasion, God intervenes and acts outside of these laws. The exceptional divine actions cannot be analyzed by the methods of science.

Alan Lightman declares himself to be an atheist, yet can conceive of a religious belief that ould be valid once we learm more of the universe. Why? He says,

However, I certainly agree with Collins and Hutchinson and Gingerich that science is not the only avenue for arriving at knowledge, that there are interesting and vital questions beyond the reach of test tubes and equations.

But he ascribes such knowledge as belonging to the realm of arts and humanities.

Problem: To a reductionist (or to a scientific materialist) those realms of knowledge are NOT REAL. They are not really knowledge.

Lightman drops a bomb.

As another example, I cannot prove that the Central Doctrine of science is true.

Lightman seems to, ahem, cough, cough, not be a reductionist.

My Question: What makes a reductionist so sure he really knows?

Lightman drops another bomb:

I imagine the conversation in the MIT seminar room, with the murmurings of students in the hall and the silent photographs of Einstein and Watson and Crick staring from the wood-paneled walls:

I agree with much of you’ve said, says Jerry, but we need to distinguish between physical reality and what’s in our heads.

Something like the resurrection of Christ is a physical event. It either happened or it didn’t.

So he gets back to the actual historical claims of Christianity. These are not elements of religious faith. They either happened or they did not happen. How does a reductionist know they did not happen? Well, they just define it as not being possible. By faith in scientific materialism.

If reductionists cannot proven history did not happen how can they insist everybody must believe them? This seems a tough proposition – made more tough by the idea they want to tell the people doing the believing they themselves do not really have minds or personalities that are anything except imaginary.

Unless I misunderstand reductionism of course. Perhaps it is possible to have a mind but one where thoughts are all imaginary, as the reductionist said. Its difficult to ponder what such a mind would think of itself. It sounds sort of like Brave New World where Huxley proposes that if you don’t like your beliefs you just take a pill, and this alters chemistry, and this alters reality – POOF the world changes and history itself changes. This does not sound to me like the most rational of belief systems, but then again, I do not believe in reductionism so it is not my problem to solve.

I am just trying to understand 1) what reductionist are saying and 2) why they think it makes sense and is convincing.

Then came an anti-reductionist thought.

Physicists teach that the real state of matter at a microscopic scale is in indeterminate states until an observer interacts with matter. (i.e., does an observation). then there is a “quantum collapse” and the state of the matter becomes fixed. Example: an electron is both a wave and a particle and acts like both a wave and like a particle. And nobody knows which until it is observed. Then, having been observed, it is only a particle. If there isn’t an observer then it stays as both a wave and a particle. This is a well known paradox.

This implies that thoughts alter the material universe. Not the other way around. Perhaps I missed something and perhaps I am naive as can be. But to me this is hysterically funny.

What if an entity, made of only thought, outside the universe observed an electron? Or any other particle? Would it suddenly change it’s physical state? How do we know that is not possible?

What do we mean by “observer” anyway?

If an observer is imaginary, how can it affect physical states of matter?

Anyway, the bold declarations of the atheist debating with Dinesh just seemed to be a bit too strong to be taken at face value. It’s got to be more complicated and I see no reason to take his word for it.

I am going to discuss scientific materialism (separate post) and this may shed some light.

A final point on an argument between physicists.

First I want to mention one thing about Polkinghorne’s point that science and religion relate at a conceptual level. The atheist scientist I heard debate Dinesh, if I understand him correctly, would as a reductionist say Polkinghorne is wrong. They do not relate at a conceptual level. Why? Because thought is imaginary whereas physics is real. That is his belief.

I do have a question here. When this belief is expressed, is that KNOWLEDGE? I ask because if thought is imaginary then … isn’t knowledge itself also imaginary? I am somehow bothered by this sweeping thought under the rug by declaring it to be imaginary. I’m unsure how philosophers sort this out.

I think physicists really should disagree about this and really stop making categorically true statements that reductionism is the sole definition of scientific knowledge.

Notes On Libertarian Moral Values

References: Excerpts taken from

Understanding Libertarian Morality: The Psychological Dispositions of Self-Identified Libertarians

Citation: Iyer R, Koleva S, Graham J, Ditto P, Haidt J (2012) Understanding Libertarian Morality: The Psychological Dispositions of Self-Identified Libertarians. PLoS ONE 7(8): e42366. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0042366

As I study Jonathon Haight’s works on moral/ethical values I came across the above 2012 research article on how libertarians self-identify their beliefs and values. Libertarians score differently that both liberals and conservatives on beliefs about morals and ethics.
Haight reports that studies show that liberals care very much about harm and fairness, whereas libertarians do not. Libertarians care very much about oppression versus freedom, whereas this is not much of an issue for liberals. And both liberals and libertarians differ from conservatives, who weigh every moral foundation equally. Conservatives value divinity ethic , for example, whereas divinity ethic is not very important to either liberals or libertarians.

So the three groups see fundamental issues of human values and life in somewhat different ways. Well, markedly different fashions actually. In the below sections quotations from the referenced paper are shown in alternating colored backgrounds. My comments are in this larger text.

My purpose is to report on what they said about libertarian moral values in order to better understand why libertarians do not seem to communicate their ideas effectively with others such as leftists, conservatives,liberals, and other groups, or why members of those groups fail to understand a libertarian world view.

Now, let us ask, what do Libertarians say about themselves? Here are some excerpts and conclusions from the study about how libertarians describe themselves.

Study 1: Describing Libertarian Morality

If any civilization is to survive, it is the morality of altruism that men have to reject.
– Ayn Rand

Our first prediction was that, compared to liberals and conservatives, the morality of libertarians would be characterized by strong endorsement of individual liberty at the expense of other moral considerations. We addressed this question by examining several measures designed to give a broad overview of a person’s values and morals, in particular the Moral Foundations Questionnaire [41], and the Schwartz Value Scale [42], as well as a new measure of endorsement of liberty as a moral principle, introduced here (see Appendix S1). For convergent validity, we also examined several other scales commonly used to measure moral orientations.


The first five rows of Table 2 show d scores indicating how libertarians differed from liberals and conservatives on the MFQ (also see Figure 1).

Libertarians were similar to conservatives on the fairness foundation, as both groups scored substantially lower than liberals.

However, like liberals, libertarians scored substantially lower on the ingroup, authority, and purity foundations compared to conservatives.

Finally, libertarians scored slightly lower than conservatives and substantially lower than liberals on the harm foundation.

Convergent results were found using the Moral Foundations Sacredness Scale, which measures endorsement of foundations using a willingness to make tradeoffs.

My Comments: Please Note: I am not sure how willingness to make tradeoffs affects any of this.


Our results suggest why libertarians do not feel fully at home in either of the major American political parties.

Consistent with our prediction, libertarians were relatively low on all five foundations.

Libertarians share with liberals, a distaste for the morality of ingroup, authority, and purity, characteristic of social conservatives, particularly those on the religious right [43].

Like liberals, libertarians can be said to have a two-foundation morality, prioritizing harm and fairness above the other three foundations.

But libertarians share with conservatives their moderate scores on these two foundations. They are therefore likely to be less responsive than liberals to moral appeals from groups who claim to be victimized, oppressed, or treated unfairly.

Libertarianism is clearly not just a point on the liberal-conservative continuum; libertarians have a unique pattern of moral concerns, with relatively low reliance on all five foundations.

My Comments: This has been my own observation – DISGUST expressed at victims. Other groups seem not to feel the same way, or at least to varying degrees.

Lifestyle and Economic/Government Liberty

In the original conception of Moral Foundations Theory, concerns about liberty (or autonomy or freedom) were not measured. But as we began to collect data on libertarians and to hear objections from libertarians that their core value was not well represented, we created questions related to liberty in the style of the Moral Foundations Questionnaire. We generated 11 items about several forms of liberty (see Appendix S1) and collected responses from 3,732 participants (2,105 men; 2,181 liberals, 573 conservatives, and 525 libertarians). Principal component analysis using varimax rotation indicated two clear factors (Eigenvalues of 3.40 and 1.48; next highest was .74). Six items loaded greater than .60 on the first factor, which represented concerns about economic/government liberty (e.g., “People who are successful in business have a right to enjoy their wealth as they see fit”).

My Comments: Please Note: Libertarians do not seem to know most other people do not share this attitude.

Three items loaded greater than .60 on the second factor, which can be interpreted as a “lifestyle liberty” factor (e.g., “Everyone should be free to do as they choose, as long as they don’t infringe upon the equal freedom of others.”).

My Comments: Please Note: I personally, as a conservative, reject the above belief on freedom. It is *NOT* the rule Christians are supposed to follow, for example. It is a secular value.

We created two subscales from these items (Cronbach’s alpha for economic/government liberty was .81; for lifestyle liberty, .60; the correlation between factors was .27).


Table 2 shows that libertarians scored highest on both kinds of liberty (also see Figure 1). On economic/government liberty, liberals were the outliers, scoring below the midpoint of the scale, two full standard deviations below libertarians (d = 2.56). On lifestyle liberty, libertarians scored substantially higher than both liberals (d = .81), and conservatives (d = 1.19).


Libertarians are not unconcerned about all aspects of morality, as suggested by their scores on the MFQ and several other widely used morality scales. Rather, consistent with their self-descriptions, they care about liberty. Like conservatives, they endorse a world in which people are left alone to enjoy the fruits of their own labor, free from government interference. They also exceed both liberals and conservatives (but are closer to liberals) in endorsing personal or lifestyle liberty.

Study 2 Summary: How Do Libertarians Think and Feel?

My comments: Note: I am going to skip this study and perhaps report about it separately.
The next study, study 3, is more interesting in terms of objective results.

Study 3 Summary: How Do Libertarians Relate to Others?

As predicted, libertarians in our sample appeared to be strongly individualistic. Compared to liberals and conservatives, they report feeling a weaker sense of connection to their family members, romantic partners, friends, communities, and nations, as well as to humanity at large. While liberals exhibit a horizontal collectivistic orientation and conservatives a vertical collectivistic orientation, libertarians exhibit neither type of collectivism, instead displaying a distinctly individualistic orientation. This relative preference for individualism may have been moralized [10] into the value orientation found in Study 1.

Libertarians’ weaker social interconnectedness is consistent with the idea that they have weaker moral intuitions concerning obligations to and dependence on others (e.g. Moral Foundation Questionnaire scores). If “moral thinking is for social doing” [33], then libertarians lack of social connection naturally means that they have less use for moral thinking. Their distaste for submitting to the needs and desires of others helps explain why libertarians have very different ways of relating to groups, consistent with their lower endorsement of values related to altruism, conformity, and tradition in Study 1, providing convergent evidence for the idea that moral judgment is tightly related to social functioning.

Conclusions (to Study 3)

While not all libertarians endorse the views of Ayn Rand, our findings can be summarized by the three quotations we have presented from her work. We began Study 1 with Rand’s exhortation to reject “the morality of altruism,” and we showed that libertarians do indeed reject this morality, as well as all other moralities based on ideas of obligation to other people, groups, traditions, and authorities. Libertarians scored relatively high on just one moral concern: liberty. The libertarian pattern of response was found to be empirically distinct from the responses of liberals and conservatives, both in our cluster analysis of participants and in our principal components analysis of measures. We found strong support for our first prediction: Libertarians will value liberty more strongly and consistently than liberals or conservatives, at the expense of other moral concerns.

We introduced Study 2 with Rand’s claim that Western culture can only be reborn when it can be founded on “a rational ethics.” Consistent with Rand’s writing and psychological research concerning the intuitive origins of moral reasoning [8], we found that libertarians were indeed less emotional (less disgust sensitivity, empathic concern, and neuroticism) than liberals and conservatives. This lack of emotional reactivity may underlie an indifference towards common moral norms, and an attraction to an ideology where these moral codes are absent, libertarianism. The only emotional reaction on which libertarians were not lowest was reactance – the angry reaction to infringements upon one’s autonomy – for which libertarians scored higher than both liberals and conservatives. This disposition toward reactance may lead to the moralization of liberty and an attraction to an ideology that exalts liberty above other moral principles – namely, libertarianism.

We also found that libertarians showed a strong preference for and enjoyment of reasoning (higher on utilitarianism, need for cognition, systemizing, and a greater likelihood of answering correctly on the cognitive reflection task). We think it is worth repeating that libertarians were the only one of our three groups for which systemizing scores were higher, in absolute terms, than their empathizing scores, suggesting that libertarians are the only group that may be psychologically prepared for the Randian revolution of “rational ethics.” Thus, we found strong support for our second prediction: Libertarians will rely upon emotion less – and reason more – than will either liberals or conservatives.

We introduced Study 3 with Rand’s condemnation of love that is not based on a strong sense of self. We found that libertarians do indeed have a strong sense of self and the self’s prerogatives, and a correspondingly lower sense of attachment to others. They exhibit a high degree individualism, a low degree collectivism, and generally report feeling less bonding with others, less loving for others, and less feelings of a sense of common identity with others. Libertarians have a lower degree of the broad social connection that typifies liberals as well as a lower degree of the tight social connections that typify conservatives. These social preferences were related to their moral attitudes suggesting that libertarians have less functional use for moral concerns. We found strong support for out third prediction: Libertarians will be more individualistic and less collectivist compared to both liberals and conservatives.



In Minnesota half the libertarians are athiests who constantly oppose Christian legislators and republican candidates. I don’t know about elsewhere around the country. But this is a form of populism in Minnesota.

Atheist Libertarians are not conservatives and they are anti-Christian. They don’t “shrug”. What they do is defeat conservatives in elections and guarantee marxists on the left side of the democrats get elected. They are a very strong faction in Minnesota. They gave us “marriage – equity” as a state supported institution. They support anything that is against Christian ideas or morals, all the while demanding “you have to be pure”. (Is that morality right there?)

Their core belief : LIBERTY === NO GOD.

Not all Libertarians are atheists. But they glom with them because they don’t understand that


I have been trying to figure out these folks for years:

From Aug 26, 2013:

Jason Lewis is bloviating nonsense again tonight, and he is both right and wrong. He is right about the english common law teaches the foundations of civilization – do what you say you will do (ie, perform on your contracts) and do no harm to others. IE, the golden rule. He is wrong that that is secular – because it is actually Christian. It doesnt exist in many other countries. He is also wrong in his contention it is enough. He went into moral teachings – saying that obligations to fellow humans do not exist, and the government and other institutions are propagating a false sense of moral obligation. He attacked Christianity. What he ignores is the founders (James Madison) taught that humans have a moral obligation (duty) to God (as citizens) , and that God can give them an obligation to their fellow man. His secular religion denies this latter, or at least fails to understand it. The attack on Christianity was particularly obnoxious.

From Aug 28, 2013:

Someone told me tonight that Jason Lewis is the one who started the importation of Ayn Rand into the world of the right wing extremist movement. Can that be true? A left wing fanatic (author of Atlas Shrugged) is the guru and goddess of the libertarian movement? And it’s Jason’s fault? Previously she was not an icon of the movement? I don’t know. Only in Minnesota. Its something in the glaciated water.