Doctrine of God Series- The Coherence of Christian Theism (Part 1)


Enjoy the podcast:–The-Coherence-of-Christian-Theism-Part-1-e2ss6j

It was no less than Charles Spurgeon who began one of his famous sermons thusly,

“It has been said that ‘the proper study of mankind is man.’ I will not oppose the idea, but I believe it is equally true that the proper study of God’s elect is God; the proper study of a Christian is the Godhead. The highest science, the loftiest speculation, the mightiest philosophy, which can ever engage the attention of a child of God, is the name, the nature, the person, the work, the doings, and the existence of the great God whom he calls his Father”.

I heartily agree with Spurgeon’s sentiments here, however I would go further in claiming that mankind in general should also take an interest in God’s nature and existence as well, after all their eternal destinies are on the line.

The focus of the next few blogs will be on the specific locus of understanding some of God’s main attributes in order to determine whether they are logically coherent (i.e. broad logical possibilities) or not. Traditionally Christians have primarily derived knowledge about God from two main sources; i) the Bible (i.e. divine revelation) and, ii) Perfect Being Theology (as per an Anselmian understanding of God as the “Greatest Conceivable Being”). Gleaning information from both of these sources, Christians have identified multiple attributes of God which can be classed into various categories (some of which may overlap with each other); the first major category of divine attributes refer to those that are “communicable” to other beings (i.e. God’s creatures) vs. His “incommunicable” properties which belong to God alone (see a couple sources here = or ). Other Christian scholars have opted to differentiate God’s attributes into His “Infinite” vs. “Personal” characteristics, which more or less translate into following the same distinction between the communicable and incommunicable categories (see here = ).

In this series, we shall focus on several main features of God (which are applicable to multiple varieties of Theism) before turning to concentrate on more Christian-specific aspects of God’s nature. The series aims to culminate with discussion of Ontological arguments which can be used to “prove” the existence of such a Being (whether merely referring to a Theistic God in general and/or to the Christian God in particular).

Coherence Comprehension

When philosophers are interested to evaluate whether or not a given proposition/statement is “coherent” they are ultimately looking to see if it “makes sense to suppose as being true; one such that we can conceive of or suppose it and any other statement entailed by it is true or one such that we can understand what it would be like for it and any statement entailed by it to be true”. An incoherent proposition on the other hand, is one where it makes no sense to suppose is true or is inconceivable in that it and/or any other propositions entailed by it are nonsensical/logically contradictory (whether the contradiction is explicit or hidden) and hence not something we can conceive as being true. Therefore, it is important to notice that in this series a given proposition/statement may in fact be false, yet still be considered a coherent one.

In modal logic terminology, a coherent proposition is one that logicians say “exists” (abstractly) in a “logically possible world”. “Possible worlds” are not concrete objects like a planet or even a universe, instead they are “maximal descriptions of reality”- think of them as being more akin to “sets” in mathematics. They are a complete list of all the given propositions or their opposites/contradictories within such a “world”– a sort of massive conjunction as it were; and thus, by negating different conjuncts and/or propositions we obtain different possible worlds. Only one of these descriptions will be comprised of propositions and/or conjuncts all of which are true, and it is this description of reality that we call the “actual world/universe” (Note: this is not necessarily the same thing as the Multiverse hypothesis but such could provide some helpful parallels of what we are talking about here) (see = & ). Now, it’s important to note that it is not enough for a proposition to be “supposed to be true” in isolation, but it also needs to be conceivable in light of all the other propositions within the “possible world” as a whole before it can be considered “logically coherent” (this is what we mean by the “conjunct of the propositions”) and as such, once we begin to accumulate explanations of God’s various attributes, we shall also need to assess them in light of His other attributes and other “world propositions” to see if the conjunction of them is likewise coherent or not.

The Coherence of the Christian God- Attributes #1-2 (God as a Personal & Incorporeal Being)

coherence of god part 1- original blog on personal, incoporeal & omnipresent

God as a Personal Being;

The first major attribute of the Christian God is that He is personal; namely, like humans, He is a person. However, one may immediately notice a problem here since the Christian God is not technically one person but a multiplicity of persons (3 persons to be exact, as per the doctrine of the Trinity). However, at this point in our series, we shall avoid addressing the Trinitarian complication of the Godhead (this specific issue will be addressed in an upcoming blog/Podcast) and instead for now, our analysis will simply focus on examining God’s personhood and/or personal nature (being consistent with either a unitarian concept of God such as in Islam or Judaism or at the same time perhaps being applicable to a multiplicity of persons as well such as in Christianity).

Now minimally, God is said to be a “person” in more or less the same sense that we as humans are considered persons (see Biblical support for this here = ). In a modern psychological sense, a “person” is a substantial being that is a center of self-consciousness and/or has a set of cognitive/noetic faculties sufficient for “personhood”. By this, we mean to say that God has the properties of being sentient/conscious, intelligent, emotional, etc. Additionally, a person stands in “I-Thou” relationships with other persons/beings, as characterized by philosophers using what are called “P-predicates/properties”; such properties include statements like “is smiling” or “is walking” which contrast with “M-predicates”(such as “weighs 15 lbs.”)- people typically like to describe the bundle of such personal or P-properties as signifying the presence of a “Mind” or “Soul” (though as we shall see these common colloquialisms may not always be entirely apt). In the case of the Trinity however, God would simply have 3 sets of cognitive/noetic faculties sufficient for personhood, each of which bears the various properties alluded to above; but again, we will reserve further explanation of this for another blog.

Quite obviously, we know with 100% certainty that the property of being a “person and/or personal substance” is logically coherent since human beings are “persons” that undeniably exist- not just in a logically possible world, but in the actual world itself.

God as an Incorporeal/Spiritual Being;

Not only is God a person and/or personal, but unlike humans, God is said to be an incorporeal or disembodied Person/Mind/Soul (for example, see John 4:24). Skeptics commonly deride Christians over such a concept claiming that modern science has utterly discredited the idea that an incorporeal person can exist; they claim that all known examples in our experience consist of embodied “minds/persons” and thus no other types of “persons” could possibly exist. The obviously logically fallacious nature of such skeptical claims aside, what might it mean for a person to be incorporeal and is there an understanding whereby such a concept is conceivable?

Well, perhaps it might be insightful to begin with a proper understanding of what it means to be an “embodied” person. Jonathan Harrison, in his paper entitled “The Embodiment of Mind, or What Use is Having a Body?”, answers this question by suggesting that there are 5 aspects that usually apply when one is saying that a given body is “their own body”; a) disturbances in this body cause “me” pains, aches, tingles, or other physically-induced sensations whereas disturbances elsewhere do not produce such effects, b) I “feel” and or know the goings-on inside my body (emptiness of the stomach for example), c) I can directly move or influence many parts of my body via a “basic” or “immediate” action by me whereas I can only move other external bodies/things via moving my own body (this avoids any complications about neurons or nervous impulses and muscle contractions, etc. since it only contrasts “deliberate” actions not unintentional ones within our bodies), d) I look out on the world from where this body is spatially located in contrast to other points of view or perspectives and finally, e) My thoughts and feelings are affected non-rationally by goings-on in this body and not by the goings-on in others.

By inference then, one could suppose that the property of being “unembodied/incorporeal” (i.e. a spiritual substance) would relate to persons whereby they do not possess a body which instantiates one or more of these 5 aspects. Clearly, at a conceptual level, it seems we can conceive of what it might mean to suppose that God is a spiritual/incorporeal person is true, however I think we are able to go beyond this and provide some actual argumentation which demonstrates objectively that unembodied beings actually do exist in reality- enter the evidence for substance dualism!

For length-sake, I will choose to focus on only 2 major argument categories advanced by philosophers to prove substance dualism in humans:

1. The Argument from First-Person Perspective (the Indexical “I”); This argument essentially argues that if humans were simply a brain/body, then third-person physical descriptions would capture all true facts about them, but there are clearly facts or true propositions based on a first-person perspective (such as “I am hungry” that exist)- in other words, such propositions reflect a self-awareness that mere physical matter does not and hence the essential human person must be composed of an unembodied or immaterial substance/s.

2. The Enduring Self Argument; This argument utilizes the obvious and scientifically proven fact that our physical bodies/brains change and are constantly in a state of flux- being composed of new and different parts over time (new cells, neurons, etc.). Therefore, via the logical law of identity, our brains and bodies are literally a different thing from what they once were, yet we all know that people endure as the same person despite any physical changes taking place in our physical bodies and brains. The skeptic who denies his enduring self and claims that he is a completely brand-new person with no association to his “former-self” is nothing short of positively deranged. Thus, it is obvious, there must be some substance which contains our essential selves/persons that is both non-material and which endures through physical change over time.

Conclusion: Incorporeality

Despite not knowing the precise details as to how the soul interacts with the physical human body on the level of a scientific mechanistic level, the above arguments demonstrate that we can at least know that souls/minds or “unembodied persons” do in fact exist regardless of any areas of current ignorance and thus, we can know such a notion is coherent. Likewise, the concept of God as an unembodied person is perfectly coherent as well- indeed many process theologians have tried to make the analogy that the universe is like a “body” for God (where God constitutes the “soul” of the universe).

This latter notion goes too far however, as it is not consistent with the Christian conception of God since God is said to be able to exist and function entirely independently of the physical universe (no interaction between the two in the same sense as human bodies and souls interact and influence one another). Going back to the 5 aspects of “embodiment” as outlined by Harrison, we can immediately see that the first and fifth aspects do not apply in the case of the Christian God, yet He is supposed to be able to move any part of the universe directly without exception (Aspect #3- getting into Omnipresence territory here). Furthermore, there is no one localized place or spatial location where God is said to “look out on the world/universe” (Aspect #4) and the second aspect has some relevance but only partially in the case of God as God can exist entirely independent of the physical universe (though God is somewhat dependent on happenings within the universe in some ways.

Defining God into Existence (Skeptic’s View)

Allow me to recap Dale’s argument so far:

“ Blah blah blah, blah blah, blah blah blah blah, blah. God is personal. God is incorporeal because the bible says so, and because such is coherent according to the leading philosophers, theologians, and academics. Besides, you can imagine it. So there must be something to it.”

I think that pretty much covers it.

The entire premise of this argument is bat-shift-crazy! Not one element of it leads to good epistemology. Since Dale has chosen to be rather longwinded, I will attempt to counter it with brevity.

The bible says so

This is a stupid argument for anything, as I am pointing out in my concurrent series on why I don’t take the bible seriously, and why you shouldn’t either. Including the bible as a part of his argument only hurts his case. I will leave it there for now.

The ontological argument

Here is a video takedown of the problems with the ontological argument that will take you less than five minutes to watch, and has less jargon than Dale’s 900 word introduction:


Logically possible worlds

This is how Dale describes possible worlds. Try to keep up you intellectual and academic laggards:

In modal logic terminology, a coherent proposition is one that logicians say “exists” (abstractly) in a “logically possible world”. “Possible worlds” are not concrete objects like a planet or even a universe, instead they are “maximal descriptions of reality”- think of them as being more akin to “sets” in mathematics. They are a complete list of all the given propositions or their opposites/contradictories within such a “world”– a sort of massive conjunction as it were; and thus, by negating different conjuncts and/or propositions we obtain different possible worlds. Only one of these descriptions will be comprised of propositions and/or conjuncts all of which are true, and it is this description of reality that we call the “actual world/universe” (Note: this is not necessarily the same thing as the Multiverse hypothesis but such could provide some helpful parallels of what we are talking about here)

I have face-planted into mud puddles that were clearer than this. Note: Dale really believes this insane level of jargon is what is necessary for you to understand the Christian god. I suspect only 2% of the entire population can fully understand those three, tedious, jargon-rich, run-on sentences. I am somewhat inclined to let them hang in the air as a witness to how hopeless an enterprise it is to even try and understand Dales tiresome and hopelessly convoluted notion of what and who god is.

While Dale tries to differentiate logically possible worlds from the many worlds theory, it still provides him a mechanism for suggesting that almost anything is possible given all the possible factors and combinations of all the possible imaginary worlds.

What Dale fails to consider is that it doesn’t matter what he thinks is possible in some logically possible world that nevertheless, does not exist. The only thing that matters is what does exist in this world, and what is possible in this world. That is all we need concern ourselves with.

Dale wants to dazzle you with jargon and theoretical physics that he does not understand. Nod politely if you are so inclined. But keep your eye on the prize. Arguments that he makes for a non-existent world have no bearing on the realities of this one.

God is a person

That is a claim without any substantiation. Dale tries to define what a person is. But cannot prove that his god is a person as opposed to a mere, mindless force. Dale’s god is a person because he says so. Till Dale ads more to his argument, I have nothing more on the subject.

God is insubstantial

Dale believes that god is a person without a body, and thought without a brain. He far over-reaches by suggesting that, “we can at least know that souls/minds or “unembodied persons” do in fact exist…”

Bat! Shift! Crazy!!!

Dale attempts to ground his assertion in the enduring self argument. However, the ESA is fundamentally flawed. It suggests that even though the matter that makes up our body is different by the day, our incorporeal selves persist in a steady state.

The fact is we all change every moment, and not just the gross, physical state of our bodies. Our memories change by the moment so much that almost all memories of our childhood are false. Our emotions change with our physicality. Our likes and dislikes change. Our tastes, our moods, our capacity to learn, our hopes, our dreams, and everything else about us radically changes over the course of our lifetime. We are in fact different persons than we were.

So many marriages fail because the claim is true that we’ve changed. And our partner changed. We have different motivations, different fears, different lusts. There is no steady state of being. When the matter changes enough, a person doesn’t even remember themselves from one day to the next. Diseases like Alzheimers and amnesia defeat the idea that our sense of self is separate from our physical stuff.


Dale’s god cannot be proven or even explained in any way that is accessible to the average person. So he reaches for ivory tower theories that attempt to define god into existence. Having had a glimpse into the crystal ball, I can assure you that his arguments get even worse from here.

And that’s the view from the skeptic.



61 thoughts on “Doctrine of God Series- The Coherence of Christian Theism (Part 1)

  1. tThe podcast is now available. It is a good one, I think. There is something for both sides, and zero polemic. It wasn’t necessary for this one.


    1. Friggen….Jesus H. Christ…..yeh zero Polemic. Sure a sprinkling of Tara, but other than that…yaaaaaawn. lol.

      Still made my dogwalk fairly pleasant. Aren’t you feeling lucky David? You were born at precisely the right time in human history to discover the TRUTH. We are material meatsacks with ‘cloned’ memories. Geeeeesh, I feel sooooooooo stupid not falling for that myth! xoxo

      Love and Light

      Ps… What’s the H for, any guesses? I had to cheat and look it up. lol


      1. .

        I’m mostly yanking Dandbj’s chain. Yes, Scientific Materialism is truly a stupid cultural myth. Turtles all the way down….among other things……falsifies it imo.

        Even still, it’s vastly VASTLY more moral than Judaism, Christianity and Islam. What I’m paying attention to in this ‘Matter Mindset” is how it’s leading some ‘dimwits’ toward giving up on the concept of freewill. That is a plotline I don’t want any part of.

        Love and Light
        Zombie Tara

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I don’t like this forum format….you two should be very happy about that! lol

          However I’d say free will (as well as turtle piling) defeats Materialism. I have frequently posted Sean Carroll and Sam Harris doing pretzel twisting that is extremely similar to what Christians do when it comes to the Trinity. Christians say God is Jesus but he isn’t …yes he is… he isn’t. While a Materialist will say Free will doesn’t exist….yes it does….no it doesn’t….. yes it does. lol When you become stuck with this sort of Cognitive Dissonance you need to acknowledge that you have a huge flaw in your worldview.

          Whereas I am a Monist…and a Metaphysical Solipsist, as you may recall. Consciousness is the creator of all sentient experiences and MIND has free will. Dandbj sounds absurd (sorry bud) when he simultaneously claims that thought and memories exist and that they are material. Noooooo… thoughts exists but they are not made of matter no matter (lol) how precise the correlations are. This is what is called the HARD PROBLEM and it’s been the hot topic of debate for perhaps decades now but he’s been absorbed in YHWH so much, he’s not following along. As Chalmers said in another article I posted….one starts as Materialists, defaults to a Panpyschist, and then finally ends up an Idealist. This is happens as you try to solve the cognitive dissonance problem. I skipped along that trajectory much faster than most because I focus on Subjectivity especially when I realized their is no such thing as an Objective Experience. The term itself is an OXYMORON in fact, lol
          Now having said all that, I also don’t give a frig what someone believes as long as it moral. YOU have chosen (free will) a horrendously immoral God and you now choose (free will) to behave immorally almost every single time you chat with David. So don’t get the idea that I give two hoots about this ridiculous God IDEA that you go on and on and on about Dale.
          I will not choose to revere an immoral God, because in doing so I would be choosing to be immoral !!!
          There is ZERO evidence for this missing in action mind of God, while there is 100% evidence that I myself have a mind. Without my own mind, I could not EXPERIENCE a universe, or a dream, or a waking ‘hallucination’ so then the logical answer is that Consciousness is the creator or reality.
          I start with the only turtle that irrefutably exists. You and dandbj start with a belief (God or Matter) and then eventually you start to sound idiotic. But I enjoy sci-fi stories as much as dandbj, they are direct reflection of our present cultural creation myth. Just like your cultural God myth is a reflection of Judgemental Kings that were fashionable thousands of years ago.

          It’s all just creative story telling.

          BTW dandbj …if you’ve managed to read down this far….you’d like the audiobook We Are Bob…fun. A man dies and his brain get’s tranferred over and over aging into a self replicating spaceship. Such absurdity, but fun.

          Love and Light


          1. There is actually some elements of your God myth that are similar to my worldview…but…your’s has massive flaws. Immoral being the biggest flaw of all.

            (i.e. there are multiple independent consciousnesses)

            This for instance. The trinity in some sense is similar to Metaphysical Solipsism. However Consciousness as the creator is never disconnected from creation. Creator and creation are ultimately one unified ‘mind.’ So in some sense as Darren pointed out above it is a bit like disassociated personality disorder. Or consider this Dale. Do you have a subconscious? I would think you would say yes. Is it ‘disconnected’ from you conscious mind? No it’s not. It’s all one mind, but that mind focuses on different tasks.

            So all of reality is slightly like Darren suggests. Bernardo Kastup ( an Idealist) uses this term to describe reality in fact. I don’t believe your mind is ultimately separate from my mind Dale. That’s why I love you, because to do otherwise means I do not love myself.

            And again…hate this format. So fair warning. If you post a reply to me here, I may move in onto the Unbelievable Disqus page because it’s more managable.

            If you are truly a Seeker, listen to Robert Lanza’s first book and listen or read Bernardo Kastrups work. He’s posted many video’s on this topic. And Anthony66 is a fan of him.

            Love and Light


  2. “In the case of the Trinity however, God would simply have 3 sets of cognitive/noetic faculties sufficient for personhood,….”

    Huh, god has Dissociative Identity Disorder. Who new?


  3. “….people typically like to describe the bundle of such personal or P-properties as signifying the presence of a “Mind” or “Soul” (though as we shall see these common colloquialisms may not always be entirely apt).”

    We pretty much know that there is no such thing as a soul, and the mind is just the emergent property of how the brain works.

    So I agree that when people claim a “mind” or “soul”, they are not “apt”. 🙂


  4. “….enter the evidence for substance dualism!”

    Some day you are going to have to define what you think the word evidence means. As far as I can tell, it is kind of meaningless since you allow any claim, even when they can’t be shown to be correct as evidence.

    “1. The Argument from First-Person Perspective (the Indexical “I”);” …. “in other words, such propositions reflect a self-awareness that mere physical matter does not and hence the essential human person must be composed of an unembodied or immaterial substance/s.”

    This is not evidence of an immaterial substance. It is just a misunderstanding of biology and chemistry.

    A Hydrogen atom and Oxygen atom does not have water properties. However, if you put enough of them in the right arrangement, you get water.

    Self-awareness is the same way. If you put physical matter in the right arrangement, you get beings that are self aware.

    And if you are declaring that physical matter can’t do it, even though you can’t demonstrate it is true and the science disagrees with you, how are you going to demonstrate that this “unembodied or immaterial substance/s.” is capable of it?

    “2. The Enduring Self Argument;” …. “Therefore, via the logical law of identity, our brains and bodies are literally a different thing from what they once were, yet we all know that people endure as the same person despite any physical changes taking place in our physical bodies and brains.”

    Sure, because even though the physical matter is changed out, it is still configured in the same way. And memory, personality and thoughts are not about the material they are made out of, they are about how that material is arranged.

    “The skeptic who denies his enduring self and claims that he is a completely brand-new person with no association to his “former-self” is nothing short of positively deranged.”

    Or, and this is more probable, they understand the science better than you do.

    “Thus, it is obvious, there must be some substance which contains our essential selves/persons that is both non-material and which endures through physical change over time.”

    You have yet to demonstrate this is true. All you have done so far is show that you don’t really understand the science behind how the brain works.


    1. “…is the properly basic belief route which I know you personally do not count as evidence….”

      Right, because you have never been able to demonstrate that your properly basic beliefs are accurate.

      “…and that was all I brought to “defeating” David’s notion of a “badly cloned information” defeater (sort of a variation of a Functionalist or “software” view of the self or “I”).”

      Well, David has the entire field of neurocognitive science, complete with 60 years of experiments, backing him up. You really should come with more than a “properly basic belief” that you can’t demonstrate is accurate.

      “…and David was concerned I was being too technical in my blog.”

      This is one of the places I really disagree with David on. If you aren’t being technical you aren’t explaining the argument properly. I think you should be as technical as you need to be to make a good argument. People have to understand what you are saying first.

      “As such, I wanted to focus in on an understandable difference so people could make a clear decision and that said I actually think the appeal to the properly basic belief evidence is amoung the strongest ways to establish the endurance of one’s self.”

      Then I think you are in a lot of trouble if that is your strongest “evidence”. The science disagrees with you. It is definitely a convincing illusion, but the science is clearly on Davids side on this one.

      “….do you have a properly basic belief that you are an enduring non-physical “I” or do you think you are merely badly opined code that has the illusion of being an “I””

      The science clearly shows that being an “I” is purely an illusion. The science clearly shows, demonstrates to be true, that we are a conglomeration of a bunch of different physical process, most of which happens without our consciously being aware of it. Our sense of “I” is enduring in some senses, but not in the way most people refer to it when they start quoting the internal experience they are having for the “I”

      “(not an insult but just saying how strong I think the properly basic evidence is on this and I think most people that deny it have to delude themselves out of believing what they know to be true).”

      The science shows you are just factually and demonstrably wrong on this one.

      “….David made an off-the-cuff comment that he has a properly basic belief that he is not the same person or “I” as before but I don’t think this is true…”

      Of course not. You have to assume that people are lying in order to keep your argument going. And for some reason you refuse to accept new information when it demonstrates you are wrong. Granted David hasn’t presented the actual science yet, but you seem willing to dismiss it out of hand.

      “Out of curiosity, would you agree with that assessment as you do say I don’t understand the science and if I did then I would agree with you-……”

      The science comes with experiments to show it is correct and a working knowledge of how the brain works to show that it is correct in this case. So yes, if you value evidence, logic, and physics, then yes you would agree with me if you took a look at the science.

      “…..this implies that you and David are deriving your conclusion that there is no “real” enduring self based on the propositions gleaned from neuroscience…..”

      Yes, the experiments and evidence that show it is true. That is where I am deriving my conclusions.

      “…or something as opposed to actually having direct knowledge via a properly basic belief that there is no such thing- would you say this is a fair assessment?”

      The evidence informs my “properly basic belief”. If you want your properly basic belief to hold sway, then you have to show that the science, all the evidence and experiments made by thousands of people over the last 60 years, are incorrect.

      What would I have to do to show that your “properly basic belief” is incorrect? What methodology do you use to determine if your “properly basic beliefs” are correct or not? Or is David right and it is nothing more that a “burning in your bosom”?


      1. “In terms of your question to me- in this particular instance the properly basic belief provides me with 100% warrant and so I can’t be wrong here unless what you say is correct and there is no such thing as knowledge/or properly basic beliefs are just feelings.”

        I think this is the biggest failing in your epistemology. You have no way to distinguish fact from fiction. If all you have is a feeling that you are right, then that is on par with the flat earther’s who say they can’t be wrong because of they just know, and it is “common sense”.

        “So from your and David’s point of view I get this evidence is quite weak but not for me, it is so overwhelming that it overpowers any arguments from neuroscience that may suggest we are nothing but our brains or we don’t endure through complete physical change-….”

        Neuroscience doesn’t produce arguments. It examines the world, collects evidence (verifiable facts about reality) and discovers how the world actually works.

        At this point you are saying, to me, is that you don’t value evidence. All you value is how you “feel” about the subject.

        “…so in all fairness from your guys point of view I am no better than a Mormon claiming a burning in the bosom but that doesn’t mean that’s the case in reality…..”

        What we have learned to be true about how the brain works disagrees with you.

        “….and you have no way of knowing either way as the evidence is subjective, hence why I appealed to each of the listener’s to evaluate it for themselves.”

        If you truly believe this, then you don’t actually have any meaningful definition of evidence. That being the case, I understand why you feel that your “feeling” is as strong evidence as objectively verifiable facts about the world and how it works that disagrees with you. But objectively verifiable facts, what the rest of us are referring to when we say evidence, trumps your “feelings” on the subject.

        The reality is that you are just factually and demonstrably wrong. I know people don’t like to hear that. But in this case, you just are.

        “Bear in mind that I didn’t have to prove substance dualism in order to establish that it is coherent (I chose to take on that extra duty in order to bypass definitional type arguments)….”

        Sure, but you might as well do it now. If you can’t demonstrate that substance dualism is a real thing and works the way you are claiming, there is no point in making the rest of the argument. A foundation of quicksand isn’t a foundation.

        “….however, all I could have done is said well if David wants to show that a spiritual person is incoherent than he has to point out where the logical contradiction lies….”

        No, he just has to point out that no one actually knows what they are talking about when they are talking about substance dualism. No one can point to a spirit or soul, no one knows what it is supposed to be made of, how it is supposed to work or interact with the physical world, or can demonstrate that it acts the way they are claiming.

        They are pretty much meaningless words.

        “….because there is no proof the laws of nature are logically necessary at all- in fact our modal evaluating faculties tell us they are not such.”

        Maybe, but you also can’t demonstrate that your modal evaluating faculties are reliable. So it really doesn’t matter what your modal evaluating faculties say.

        “Although, I’m more interested in your own positive claim that neuroscience “proves” that substance dualism is true, in contrast to what some of the world’s experts in the field have said for example Nobel prize winner Dr. John Eccles agreed with me completely.”

        He did his work in in the 50’s. He also wasn’t a dualist, he was a trialist. So I doubt he agreed with you completely. Even if he did, why should we care that he agrees with you completely? He died before most of the information we currently have was available.

        There is no mainstream expert you can find today that would say that substance dualism is a real thing. The consensus of the field is that the mind is what the brain does.

        “I assume you know the difference between causation vs. identity, so how do you prove using neuroscience that certain causes and effects take place in the brain/body and the soul vs. the brain is identical with the “mind/soul”?”

        It is pretty easy. Name anything that the soul is supposed to do, and we can find a piece of the brain that does that thing. This isn’t even a question in the neurosciences.

        “Substance dualism interactionism (a coherent notion with no entailed or provable logical contradictions) is an empirically equivalent explanation to the one you propose,….”

        No it isn’t.

        I think this is another problem with your epistemology. You seem to thing that claims people have made up and can’t demonstrate are real, are on equal footing to objectively verifiable facts of how reality works.

        They just aren’t. There is no empirical equivalency between substance dualism and neuroscience.

        “…so how do rule out dualist interactionism as improbable scientifically when no one can make such a philosophical claim???”

        We can rule out dualist interactionism because no one has been able to give any ideas on what it actually is, how it is supposed to work, or the mechanisms by with it operates. It is nothing more than an idea that people repeat, but can’t demonstrate is even remotely accurate.

        We know what the brain is, we can see it and examine it. We know how it is supposed to work and when we create experiments to verify our ideas, they confirm that we are on the right track. And we have a firm understanding of the mechanisms by which it operates. And when we make predictions on info we don’t have, based on a material model of the brain, the predictions come true and we lean new things int he process about how the brain works.

        There is a reason why theologians are still arguing over 2000 year old questions, and science is sending us to the moon and mars.


        1. “….we’ll see if I can shake you on some of your assertions….”

          You are going to need actual science to do that. Your “feelings” on the subject aren’t going to be enough.


          1. Preferably recent science. Things from the last 5 years. Not things from the 50’s.


            1. “No, I need philosophy and logic but science will play a subservient role of course as some of the relevant data is scientific in nature, but the scientific methodology is too limited to be decisive on its own merits in such matters.”

              The science learned more about the brain and how it works in the last 5 years than philosophy did in the last 3000.

              It would appear that your priorities are backwards.

              “The material I gave is recent, the argument I provided was formulated in the year 2017 not the 1950’s and Eccles was relevant passed the 1950’s anyways if you say this just because I name dropped him as an example.”

              If your argument is formulated on outdated information, it is an outdated argument. Claiming that it was formulated int he year 2017 doesn’t help you at all.

              “Anyways, yes I will be as thorough in the bonus series as I can, I may even need to do lectures before I do the discussion with Andrew as he may not want to cover everything that it seems you guys want and need to know about substance dualism.”

              All I need to know about it is can you demonstrate it is a real thing? If so, then how are you measuring the non-material substance. What tools do you use to examine it, and by what mechanism does it react with the physical world.

              Anything else is pretty pointless to present. I’m interested in verifiable objective facts, not stories that someone has made up.


            2. You take a might big leap of faith if you somehow think Scientism advances Darren. If the starting point of the scientific enterprise is flawed….the whole Scientific Story is flawed. Ultimately there is no such thing as a Objective Experience…..that term is an Oxymoron, which I’ve already said above.

              To do any Scientific Research one must experience the ‘object’ one is interrogating. So all of reality is therefore subjective not objective.

              Concensus reality is exactly that. One huge properly basic belief. Key world BELIEF.

              Love and Light


              1. “You take a might big leap of faith if you somehow think Scientism advances Darren.”

                Not really. Computers didn’t even exist 100 years ago. Philosophers have been making things up, things like Monism and Metaphysical Solipsism, whereas science has been discovering how the universe actually works. As demonstrated by your ability to use this forum to talk with people all over the world.

                “If the starting point of the scientific enterprise is flawed….the whole Scientific Story is flawed.”

                And yet it is still discovering how the universe works, and your preferred philosophical constructs can’t be demonstrated to be accurate. Seems to me that you are just demonstrably mistaken here.

                “Ultimately there is no such thing as a Objective Experience…..that term is an Oxymoron, which I’ve already said above.”

                Sure, you have made the claim. What you have yet to do is demonstrate that your claims are actually true.

                “To do any Scientific Research one must experience the ‘object’ one is interrogating. So all of reality is therefore subjective not objective.”

                Under some definitions of objective and subjective you are correct. Under other definitions you are incorrect. Regardless of the definitons you are using, Scientific Research has discovered true things about the universe. Some of them which were used to create the computer you are using.

                “Concensus reality is exactly that. One huge properly basic belief. Key world BELIEF.”

                So? It works and allows us to send probes through space to the farthest reaches of our solar system and beyond. What has your Monism and Metaphysical Solipsism accomplished?


  5. “Here is a video takedown of the problems with the ontological argument that will take you less than five minutes to watch, and has less jargon than Dale’s 900 word introduction:…”

    I’ve always like TMM. I don’t remember what TMM stands for, but he produces fairly good videos. 🙂

    Alvin Plantinga also weighs in on the ontological arguments. He doesn’t think they hold any weight, not even to think they provide a good justification for believing. He also recognizes that theological arguments are not sound.


  6. Dale,

    Since you have asked/appealed to audience’s properly basic belief that we experience enduring “self.”
    I would say I do have an experiential knowledge that there is no enduring “self.”


    1. out of curiosity how would you define “self”

      I would say “self” is commonly seen as synonymous with our sense of identity/agency/personhood – memories, personalities, thoughts, emotions etc.
      Would you agree? Anything else you would add that are important?

      Just to be clear though, what I’m saying is that “self” has no essence (i.e. unchanging, independent, and lasting property) that endures. Not that there are no relationships whatsoever from one moment to the next.

      what the experience was that grounded your properly basic belief

      It’s difficult to articulate, but it comes from examining (meditation is part of it) various aspects of “self” and realizing that it has no essential property. That is, “self” is in constant flux, and dependently risen.

      Just as a side note… I’ve noticed some people seem to think meditation entails shutting off one’s thoughts, emotions etc. and going into trance-like (or blank) states, but that’s not what meditation is in Buddhist traditions.

      would you claim to be 100% certain?

      I don’t know how to quantify my confidence level using numbers, but I am as certain, as I am certain of anything else.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. .


        But unlike Sam Harris… who has redacted? his perspective. Whenever one does enter a ‘blank state of meditation’ there is an I that is aware of such an experience.

        Not an ‘I’ as we normally consider ourselves… but imo it’s still an I.

        Love and Light

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yup…hate this format. I agree with Ken’s comment and how he describes meditation. Yikes, for me this is a nightmare, there doesn’t seem to be a way to edit past posts. And I’m the queen bee of editing.


      3. Funny how you end with ….’as I am certain of anything else’. Whom is this I Ken?

        I hate this format, somewhere on this thread is another reply…..I…..intended for you. But somehow it’s under one of Dale’s comments. I’m DONE HERE. ta


        1. Yeah, this comment section is really hard to follow!

          “I” is simply a convenient label.

          As to your other comment, if there’s an awareness, and a concept such as “I” then it’s not really a blank state.


          1. .

            Then aren’t you … like Sam Harris.., denying your own claim.

            There is always an I.

            Love and Light


            1. Which claim?
              (Assuming this comment was meant for me!?)


              1. “I do have an experiential knowledge that there is no enduring “self.””

                I don’t get this comment of yours, Ken. Clearly ‘self’ has endured all states of consciousness you have experienced including meditative states. So why are you claiming otherwise? Ken Wilber (not that I know a heck of a lot about that guy) calls this sense of awareness…..I Am-ness I believe?

                I Am-ness is always there in some state or another.
                And I do not have a edit button sadly, so whatever errors are here….shall remain here. Ya know, that fact saves me a lot of hassle actually … xoxo

                Love and Light


                1. Calling awareness, “I Am-ness” sounds like an embellishment. Departing from actual experiences, and entering into the realm of narratives.

                  Sense of “I” and “self” emerges when creating narratives, such as “I am having an experience.”


          2. Hi Dale,

            I totally understand about the format of comment section.

            From my point of view (based on my limited understanding of Madhyamaka, and my own experiences), even consciousness is ultimately not real. “Not real” meaning it lacks intrinsic nature/existence (also free from four extremes). In that sense, colours, thoughts, and sensations are ultimately not real either.

            Not to be confused with a form of nihilism though.

            Liked by 1 person

      4. 20 attempts and fail fail fail error error error ….so if this sends, then I’ve posted a reply to near the top of Unbelievable Disqus Ken.


        1. Tara,

          I’m going to try and reply to the comments you posted on Unbelievable? discussion board.

          “So you’ve broken your chain of existence?”

          There’s nothing to break to begin with.

          “How can you be aware of not being aware?”

          I’m not denying awareness. But awareness doesn’t entail enduring existence/essence.

          “Any experience I hear about entails continuity.”

          Continuity doesn’t entail enduring existence/essence either.
          Think of a flame. There’s a continuity, but the flame changes moment to moment.

          “It [the enduring self] is that which creates and therefore pre-exists (sorry I’m using time language out of neccessity) those experiences and memories.”

          Even if I was to accept this premise, this “enduring self” is constantly creating different experiences and memories, which means it is itself changing.

          “Even if Self (or I) expands to All…which can be a meditative state…. then upon ‘returning’ to concensus reality…. Self remains intact.”

          This (“expands to All” etc.) is very much a Hindu belief, which I don’t share, based on my experiences.


          1. At work. Break. Change? You base the fact that we are experiencing different things and our memories SEEM to be linear that the I is changing? That’s like saying a TV set changes as the frames of a movie appear on it.

            The I remains whether it is projecting the experiences of time, space and matter or not.

            Just like a tv remains whether is projecting images or not.

            Love and Light


            1. The inside and the screen of a TV set does change as it receive signals.

              More appropriate analogy would be TV transmitters (since TV sets don’t create TV signals) which creates/transmits the signals. And TV transmitters do change as well (e.g. it changes from transmitting image A, to image B etc.).

              Or are you saying the “I” is merely the container which has the devices that actually creates/transmits signals inside?

              “The I remains whether it is projecting the experiences of time, space and matter or not.”

              Are you saying the “I” remains the same/unchanged?
              “I” that’s projecting experience B is different (has changed) from “I” that’s projecting experience A, isn’t it?


              1. .

                Ok. Here’s a better comparison that dawned on me after ny last post. Consider the mind NOT the brain creating a dream. When the dream disappears the mind remains. The memory of the dream may flutter off also. The mind remains.

                The mind can then remove all thoughts… meditation . Space time matter are non existent.. the mind remains.

                That to me is the self.
                Not the experiences or the memories but the ‘I’ that created the experiences and the dreams .

                We can agree to disagree.
                On phone … bye

                Love and Light

                Consider tge


              2. Sorry .. ultimately the I would be unchanged. The experiences are not the I.

                The I can dissolve all memories and maintain its existence.

                I’m sure you’ve experienced such a state of pure awareness? Does that pure awareness change?


                That is the I to me. However I like to create experiences and memories. Clearly you do too?

                That’s what Consciousness does. That is it’s purpose imo .

                Love and Light


                1. Yes, we definitely disagree.

                  Like Wilber, you seem to equate I/self with awareness, whereas I see it more as a product of the mind.

                  Thanks Tara.


                  1. Truly this forum is a bit like our chats……error error….no post button error error….Mass confusion. lol So then one more attempt.
                    Choose you words carefully. Product of the mind….or product of the brain? Are you starting with the BELIEF that there is a self existing physical brain then? You are a Materialist? You’ve always seemed to waffle in our discussions, so it would be nice to get a clear concise answer. Thanks.


                    1. Tara,

                      I don’t know how many times I explicitly told you that I’m not a materialist/physicalist….

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. God frikn damn it….. I try to make a coherent post…send and error error error and it get’s erased. I have to copy past to my email, then make 5 attempts to perhaps make it send. This is BSC.

                      Ok. Again.
                      I’m sorry, I can’t grasp your worldview whatsoever.

                      Do you agree in agreement with this statement?

                      Based on a philosophy of subjective idealism, metaphysical solipsists maintain that the self is the only existing reality and that all other realities, including the external world and other persons, are representations of that self, and have no independent existence.

                      And overall the Australian Dreamtime myth I’ve posted many times, comes closest to my way of thinking. There is ONE mind and it initiated a dream. It then ‘set free’ the dreams to be independent ‘dreamers’ that each have free will to control their own dream. However ultimately all dreams are happening within the one all encompassing mind that initiated the whole god damn thing. So ‘self’ are those manifested dreams.

                      And if this doesn’t send. This dreamer is throwing her computer across the room. lol

                      And btw, I have a terrible memory. Someone once told me it’s because I live in the NOW. The other option is that I’m just stupid. I prefer to believe option one. xoxo But again sorry.


                    3. “I’m sorry, I can’t grasp your worldview whatsoever.”

                      That’s probably because you seem unable to conceive a worldview outside of idealism, theism, and physicalism.

                      So no, I don’t agree with the statement you posted, or with the Australian creation myth (I like it though).


                    4. I grasp Theism enough to know that it’s immoral….so I won’t choose it.
                      I was a Materialists, so I grasp it enough to recognize the logical inconsistencies in it. Turtles and the denial of free will to name but two.
                      Your worldview I have nooooooooooooo idea about. You defend Materialism then claim you not a Materialist. How the hell am I supposed to understand you if you aren’t consistent? And when you’re not consistent, you don’t clarify.

                      You were offered a chance on SS and you won’t go on. Why? That might help all of us understand yo better. Meanwhile no one understands you, so don’t pretend it’s just me that confused bud.



                    5. “You defend Materialism then claim you not a Materialist.”

                      You made this claim before, and when asked to present actual comments where I’ve defended physicalism, you were unable to do so.
                      Just look at the comments I’ve posted on this page. Where do I defend physicalism – even remotely?

                      “You were offered a chance on SS and you won’t go on. Why?”

                      As I’ve said, I’m not good at public speaking, English is not my native language, and I’m not an expert on Buddhism. If anyone’s interested in Buddhism, there are plenty of resources out there.

                      “Meanwhile no one understands you, so don’t pretend it’s just me that confused bud.”

                      There are millions of people who understands my worldview just fine.
                      I also had several conversations with people like Joyce, where we exchanged ideas and tried to understand each other’s views better, and I believe we’ve made some progress.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    6. Yehhhhh…it was a long way back that you were scolding me about Materialism, like I was 2 years old and didn’t grasp the core principles.

                      But I truly don’t get your worldview.

                      There’s no self? And you’ve experienced such a state? The very fact that you experienced such a state and have a memory of it…. refutes the fact that there is a self Ken.

                      Ugh…. whatever. Forgive me my confusion. I don’t get why once you find the bottom turtle you keep searching for more either. It all seems nonsensical to me, yet I know you’re a smart guy. So it is likely me that is confused. Try as we might, I just can’t ‘get’ you. xoxo Bye.

                      Fingers crossed this will only take 4 attempts to send …ha ha


                    7. Tara,

                      Ok, I may have an idea of where the confusion is coming from.

                      Hypothetically speaking – if I say to you that you don’t understand the core principle of Christianity (whether I’m right or not is beside the point), does that mean I’m defending Christianity, or that I’m a Christian?

                      Obviously (I hope) not.

                      Talk soon.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    8. I downloaded this David Chalmers paper. Ugh…not easy reading. However on page 25 it mentions Buddhism and I thought of you Ken. So here’s the link, perhaps I’ve given it to you before?

                      Views like this are familiar in the Buddhist tradition, which denies the existence of the self and is often understood to deny the existence of subjects as well (at least in ultimate reality). On views of this sort, there
                      are experiences but no subjects that have them; or at least, any bearers of the experiences are very
                      much unlike the primitive persisting entities that we have in mind when we think of subjects. This
                      non-subject-involving view is often combined with a sort of idealism on which conventional reality
                      is grounded in conventional appearances, and in which all this is grounded in cosmic experience
                      at the ultimate level. This picture at least tends to suggest a view on which macroexperience is
                      grounded in non-subject-involving cosmic experience in ultimate reality.

                      blah blah blah….really tough reading. I barely managed Nagel’s Mind and Cosmos. lol

                      Love and Light

                      ps. I think the key phrase is IN ULTIMATE REALITY. Which of course I agree with. There is only one mind when all is said and done. xoxo


                    9. Thanks Tara.
                      Yes, you have told me about this paper before, and I have read it.

                      There’s no such thing as “cosmic experience” in Buddhism as far as I am aware of. So I disagree with Chalmers’ assertion that (some school of) Buddhism is a form of Cosmic Idealism.
                      Unless by “cosmic experience” he means “common or similar experience.”
                      But by that usage, I think even physicalism can be called Cosmic Idealism.

                      I don’t know… I kind of read it quickly, so I might be misunderstanding his arguments.

                      I have Nagel’s book, but haven’t had a chance to read it. Heard good things about it.


                    10. .

                      Yehh….seee…I live in the NOW. My memory is shizzzy. I wasn’t sure if I’d told you of that particular page? On that page he talks about Buddhism and the concept of ‘self.’

                      I listened to Nagel’s book and he is extremely good as saying ‘Materialism has no Clothes’. But? I was hoping he’d introduce more clearly Idealism, and he doesn’t to any large degree.

                      Nagel just makes if very very VERY clear that our present paradigm makes no sense whatsoever. Like duh? Turtles turtle and more turtles. And they are precisely aligned and conscious turtles ta boot.

                      Oh and Jim, dandbj….the MWI? Really REALLY? That is even MORE absurd than Christianity. You are just so captivated by Bullshiz you don’t recognize it as Bullshiz.

                      Fool me once shame on you…fool me twice?

                      ha ha ha

                      Love and Light


                    11. .

                      Thanks for that Dale. I wasn’t aware. I really have no idea what Ken ultimately believes other than he favors Buddhism. Buddhism is much like Christianity. As many intepretations as there are members. But he’s a lovely fellow AND he doesn’t defend genocide, slavery, misogyny etc. That makes me less errrrrrrrrrrrr toward him. I don’t need to search for the mouth washing soap when we chat.


      5. Hi Ken,
        So, if you don’t believe in ‘self,’ then perhaps you’re ‘off the hook’ when the Good Book says, “Love thy neighbour as thyself.” 😉


        Liked by 2 people

    2. .

      “I would say I do have an experiential knowledge that there is no enduring “self.””

      Ok… I’m still waiting for you to clarify this to me. 2 years from now when you say you didn’t say this, I won’t be able to find the quote. (Nothing is clear for our buddy Dale, so set that aside please.)

      You can not have a experience of non self? You can experience no time, space, matter…..but if you recall that state of awareness than the SELF is maintained. When have you not been a self then Ken?

      Love and Light


      1. As I have clarified to Dale, what I’m saying is that the “self” has no enduring essence (unchanging, permanent, independent, and single).

        In other words, there is no inherently existent (enduring) self.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’m sure she’s just teasing you!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. .

            Actually I’m trying to awaken Dale’s conscience. It’s called Tuff Love. 😉

            In any case Ken….I just posted a video for you on the regular forum.
            You try to stir up my conscience on that hotly debated topic too.
            ha ha.

            Love and Light



        2. .

          So there is a self…just one that changes? Ummm well ok then.
          I’m not 100% sure what I believe about the ALL of consciousness.
          From what nder’s say, all experiences are simultaneously existent in that state of Consciousness. That might mean that the ALL is unchanging.
          Details we can learn on another day, or another life, or another death.


          Love and Light

          ps. My posting problem was I was using Google as sign on. This works better, but still no edit. Whatever. xoxo


          1. “So there is a self…just one that changes? Ummm well ok then.”

            I’m saying a bit more than that.
            Remember the toaster analogy? Toaster only “exist” as a label, designation, and concept. Self/I is no different.

            Thanks, will watch the video you posted later.


            1. .

              We probably agree, but as per usual we aren’t communicating well.

              The self is that which experiences anything whatsoever. However, Self for me is a nesting of Selfs. Tara is within the ONE ultimate self. That’s why I like the Dreamtime myth. Tara has been ‘set free’ from the ALL to operate independently and make her own choices.

              But, ya know….this is all just details. For me the Scientific Materialistic Paradigm, if it continues on this trajectory, is wandering into extremely dangerous territory. If you remove the concept of free will from our ‘cultural myth’ we are in big trouble. And Diehard Materialists are spouting just such nonsense, it’s very comparable to Calvinism Chaos in my opinion.

              Love and Light


              1. There’s no “the ONE ultimate self” in my worldview, so we have a fundamental disagreement there.
                Free will is also a nonsensical and irrelevant concept in my view, but let’s not open a can of worms.


  7. Not quite done listening, but wanted to quickly chime in that I will be enthusiastically stealing “mental Onanism” for future use. That’s Eddie Murphy-level comedy, David.


    1. To each their own as far as comedy taste goes, Dale, godspeed.


      1. Sorry if I am confused but I don’t know who B-Strong is or why he’s in our conversation…


  8. I think Darren is covering a lot of ground I otherwise would so I’ll be brief:

    1.) On coherence in general, I would recommend epistemic humility when dealing with esoteric metaphysical phenomena. Don’t accept coherence until demonstrated as such, not hold belied until proven otherwise.

    2.) I don’t see how you can escape the balance of probabilities that minds require brains and persons require bodies when ALL the evidence we have connects them. Marshall evidence that minds can exist without brains and persons can be disembodied (without special pleading for God, which is the subject under search here) and we can get into their coherence and existence.

    3.) Qualiasoups’ 2 part takedown of substance dualism remains an excellent resource:

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks for the episode. I watched an interesting debate by Julien Musolino about the feeling or I and the nature of the soul. Might of interest to you Dale esp:

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Just wanted to pop in and say how proud I am of the quality discussion you are all having. I join you all in wishing for a better comment system. Circumstances require us to stick with what we have for now. But the fact that you have overcome it to produce a fine conversation makes me proud of the community this is slowly but surely becoming. To get to the plans of the future, we have to slog through the challenges of today. Thank you all for joining us in that journey.



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