Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Creationist RA Herrmann’s ID theory — the last magic on steroids!


First, an excerpt from Dr. Herrmann’s personal history:

I was associated with the occult from birth, but in 1946 when I was 12 years old, I suddenly became extremely interested in occult manifestations and simultaneously became, what is sometimes called, a “mental giant” – indeed, a child scientist. I delved into any aspect of the occult that had any meaning for a child of my age. For two or three months, I was a superior telepathist. I once telepathically identified more than forty-five cards out of fifty-two cards from an ordinary deck of playing cards. However, suddenly I lost this particular telepathic ability, I lost the “key” so to speak. Obviously, I was brokenhearted over this state of affairs and began a long search for the lost mechanisms so as to renew this telepathic ability. Moreover, I investigated other occult manifestations.

My mother was Dutch and she had been trained in the “arts” of fortune telling and palmistry. At that time in human history, as it is today, occult practices were considered “interesting” parlor games and weren’t assumed to be harmful. My mother worked with a standard deck of playing cards and, of course, she never received monetary rewards for these activities but practiced them “just for the fun of it.” Her predictions about my future activities were almost always correct and this reinforced my belief in these occult practices.

Relative to science, I began at 12 years of age to work at the old Maryland Academy of Sciences in various capacities, from leading tours, to instructing in astronomy and working in the observatory; but, I was a very troubled little boy with great personality problems and often highly erratic behavior. I don’t believe I displayed my erratic nature while working for the Academy of Sciences, but I certainly made up for this “lack” outside of the scientific environment.
After some years of effort, I became a well-known research scientist and educator who had been purposefully placed into situations where I could influence and corrupt the minds of the young. I was a fire-breathing hater of the concept of an active supernatural God and attempted to destroy, and even physically harm, certain individuals who claimed to have a “personal relationship” with such an “absurdity,” as I termed it.
In 1977, my wife brought my budding anti-Christ activities to an end. Without my having any knowledge of her pending actions, during the morning hours of 6 April 1977, my wife correctly removed herself and our children from my immediate influence. At noon, I went to my car in the parking lot of the U. S. Naval Academy and found a short cryptic note on the front seat. It said that in order to protect herself and our children from my depraved behavior, she had moved out of the house and taken the children out of my grasp. I had no idea what this message meant until I reached my house for Evil so clouds your mind that the obvious is often not perceived. Upon entering, I experienced personally one consequence of these vile actions for I found my wife, my children and all of their belongings gone. Then suddenly Evil completely engulfed my being until the afternoon hours of April 7.

I recall finding myself sitting in a rocking chair staring blankly out of the front windows of my nearly empty home. I suddenly felt so completely alone, so lost. I had been correctly forced into a corner with but two possible choices. One was complete debasement, death and everlasting damnation. The second choice presented itself in the following manner. As I sat there, I turned about and discovered that exactly one book had been left behind in the living room area. A book that had been purposely left on the only remaining table in the hopes that I might begin to read it – seriously. It seems that I had destroyed every piece of Scripture that had come into my hands, with but one forgotten exception – a free copy of the Bible sent to me by the American Bible Society. When I picked up this singular volume, it fell open to Matthew 5. While slowly reading the entire chapters 5, 6, 7, it occurred to me that if I had only but attempted to follow the principles outlined by Jesus, then this terrible personal tragedy could not have occurred.

Immediately following this “revelation” something unexpected happened. In a fraction of a second, twenty-five years of the deepest intellectual reflection and personal deception evaporated. All of my scientific knowledge and experience in such areas as logic, word-forms, mathematical modeling and the like, led me instantly to one irrefutable conclusion. No ordinary human being could describe these new concepts as Jesus did. The descriptions must have come from God.
In the fall of 1978, various members of the Mathematics Department at the United States Naval Academy invited me to join a noontime Bible study. They were about to embark upon an in-depth study of C. S. Lewis’ “Mere Christianity” and “Miracles.” Simultaneously, I was studying a Russian paper in mathematical logic and, one sunny September Saturday, God directly implanted a remarkable idea. It might be possible to couple a notion from this Russian paper and my expertise in the new mathematical area of Nonstandard Analysis in order to obtain a non-numerical mathematical model for various aspects of the logic, word-forms and descriptions for certain psychological phenomena. A few days later, another idea miraculously occurred to me. Some basic descriptions used by C. S. Lewis could also be mathematically modeled by this same process. God’s grace allowed me to work diligently upon this new project, to study and personally investigate the applicable descriptive content of the Scriptures. Jesus started to use my knowledge, my experiences, my training and abilities for His purposes.
I am a living example of the ultimate grace of God, of Jesus. Of how Jesus can take the most depraved, evil and hate filled 42 year old intellectual, and miraculously produce a remarkable and everlasting change throughout his entire physical, mental and spiritual being. I continue to mature and more and more apply the wisdom God is according me. Reflecting upon the experiences that have occurred to me since I literally gave myself to our Lord, I am confident that what you have just read is ample evidence of the amazing, amazing grace of Jesus, our Lord, and our one and only Saviour.

Personal History

As can be seen, some parts of his testimony were chilling, but especially so to me because he described the geographic region where he grew up and studied which was my geographic region.

Dr. Herrmann became a creationist and went on to become complete a career as a full professor of mathematics at the US Naval Academy. So that is a glimpse of the person of Dr. Robert Herrmann. What about his work and his theory of Intelligent Design? That’s a different story and not quite so melodramatic as his personal life (I mentioned it to get your attention) 🙂

To try to describe his ID work, I need to lay out some preliminaries…

Years ago on the first day of class one of my Darwinists physics teachers, James Trefil, used the word “miraculous” to express how incredible it is that we can extrapolate compact mathematical ideas and earth-bound experiments to universal scale. Bill Dembski echoes that point in the forgotten essay The Last Magic.

the claim that human constructions manipulated according to human convenience supply insights into reality belongs to what traditionally has been called magic–the view that what humans do in the purely human world (i.e., the microcosm) mirrors the deep structure of the world at large (i.e., the macrocosm). Naturalism has no place for magic. And yet the applicability of mathematics to physics is magic. According to Steiner, mathematics is the last redoubt of magic, but one that stands secure and is in no danger of naturalistic debunking. This is a user-friendly world where we humans are the users, and where the tool of discovery that renders the natural world friendly is mathematics.

I do disservice to Dembki’s essay by only quoting a small piece, so I encourage readers to read the whole essay if they like the above excerpt. Paul Davies won a $1,000,000 Templeton prize for Religion for elaborating on the idea of the comprehensibility of the universe. Ironically, Guillermo Gonzalez got expelled from Iowa for saying as much. Go figure…

The comprehensibility of the universe via fine tuning is an argument for cosmological Intelligent Design. The root of the argument is that like the structure of 500 fair coins heads where the symbolic organization of the coins is easily comprehended by the human mind, it seems nature is organized in a comparably comprehensible way as well. This “miracle” is actually hard to appreciate unless one appreciates the fact that the universe would have to be exceptionally fine tuned for finite human minds to be able to discern large scale patterns in the physical universe — patterns we call “laws”.

Dr. Herrmann’s version of these ideas I will term “The Last Magic on Steroids”!

His website and writings are tough to navigate and it is hard to get a coherent picture even after hours reading what he is actually claiming. I began to see a little light when I perused a work that he developed under Federal funding that can be used as a basis for understanding his ID writings.

The following book by Dr. Herrmann has no ID content, but if you can’t understand it, you probably have no chance of understanding his ID writings (I confess even after perusing it, I can’t say I understand his ID writings either, but I began to see at least a little light).

I could not comprehend even 1% of his later works on ID, but “Logic for Everyone” (originally titled “Logic for Midshipmen”) was the one thing I could actually read and come away with some measure of understanding and edification. So if you want to get something out of his website that is useful outside of ID, I’d recommend “Logic for Everyone” (that is to say, if you’re into mathematical logic). It is written like a book you’d expect from a college professor. It was very meticulous and articulate.

http://www.raherrmann.com/books.htm. Get your free copy today (It’s worth $60) at the website:

“Logic for Everyone,” (A $60 value) (1994) Math. Dept., U. S. Naval Academy, Annapolis MD 21402-5002 (USA)

As far as I can tell, this is the most elementary book in Mathematical Logic available that also covers all of the basic material in the propositional and predicate calculus. This is the book written especially for the Midshipmen at the United States Naval Academy with the general view that it is a terminal course. Enough material is covered so that certain topics in elementary model theory can be included and all mathematical proofs are of the most elementary nature requiring no specialized mathematical procedures. Applications include a very elementary introduction to nonstandard models as they are obtained by means of the “compactness” theorem, and the generation of weak “ultrawords” and an “ultralogic” operator. A complete set of answers for all exercise problems and 6 figures in the form of gif images are included.

In “Logic for Everyone” he develops the notion of languages and representations.

In other works he shows how the physical universe conforms to comprehensible mathematical languages and how this suggests Intelligent Design. And that’s where I got lost, but in any case, for those wanting something far more challenging and intellectually stimulating than Darwin’s writings, here is Dr. Herrmann’s website:


In 1979, I originated the mathematical analysis that shows that the production of physical-systems and alterations in their behavior are intelligently designed. My analysis (the GID-model, GID) is not related, in method, to the inadequate and highly criticized Johnson-Dembski-Behe theory (RID) as championed by members of the Discovery Institute. The GID-model (General Intelligent Design Model) is NOT the intelligent design notion discussed on Wikipedia under the heading “intelligent design” and, indeed, contradicts much written there about intelligent design. The page Science Declares Our Universe IS Intelligently Designed gives additional and important information about the only book that discusses GID and ordering it directly from Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble. I discuss on website and elsewhere various secular interpretations for the model. It is also shown how the language can be modified so that all conclusions refer to secular notions. For theology, the General Grand Unification Model (GGU-model) and its GID interpretation form an analogue model for processes that, in their combined and most general form, establish that the described Biblical attributes and behavior of God are scientifically rational in content. Further, the modeled creationary processes can be intuitively described as transforming God’s thoughts into physical reality. My professional biography. This is a very short statement as to the basic foundation for my personal theological understandings of Biblical statements.

Dr. Herrmann gives metrics and a mathematical definition for intelligence in the design of the universe.

His works on General Relativity are also interesting (for example see: Hawking says no black holes, comment.

His background:

1. Education:

Ph. D., Mathematics, 1973, American University.
M. A., 1968, Mathematics, American University.
B. A., 1963, Mathematics, Johns Hopkins University.
In June 1953, Dr. Herrmann graduated, with honors and first in his class, from the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute (Advanced College Preparatory Course). His “Poly” grade point average is equivalent to 4.0. (This is the “Poly” course content.) He received a scholarship to Johns Hopkins University (JHU). For significant personal reasons, he was accorded a leave-of-absence from JHU in January 1955. He returned to full and part-time study beginning in September 1960 and graduated from Hopkins with general honors. He was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Dr. Herrmann continued in the M.Ed. program at the Johns Hopkins McCoy College and subsequently continued his education towards the M.A. in Mathematics.

He received a special individual three-year fellowship from the National Science Foundation to be used for graduate study at any university of his choice. Dr. Herrmann was elected to Phi Kappa Phi as partial recognition for his graduate school achievements, which include “distinctions” on comprehension examinations. He has a total of 227 university credit hours (GPA 3.8 for 206 graded course hours). He has 141 credit hours in mathematics and 37 credit hours in the physical sciences. Of these 178 course hours, his GPA for 157 graded hours is 4.0. This is Dr. Herrmann’s transcript for his (AU) graduate school education in mathematics. He was elected to Sigma Xi for his research activities. Dr. Herrmann is also a certified physics instructor.

After graduating from Johns Hopkins, many graduate schools offered Dr. Herrmann fellowships and assistantships. Due to family responsibilities, he rejected all of them and continued as a public high school instructor in advanced placement mathematics while continuing his graduate studies on a part-time basis. Various monetary grants were used for his graduate studies.

While in graduate school, besides the course material, Dr. Herrmann passed seven written four-hour comprehensive examinations, and an additional oral defense, and wrote two original research dissertations. For the M.A. degree, his 65-page dissertation is titled “Some Characteristics of Topologies on Subfamilies of a Power Set” (University Microfilms, M-1469); for the Ph.D., his 150-page dissertation is titled, “Non-Standard Characteristics for Topological Structures” (University Microfilms 73-28,762). [In 73-28,762, portions of Theorem 8.38 are not established correctly. A correct proof appears in the Bulletin of the Australian Math. Soc. 13(1975) No. 2, p. 277.]

Dr. Herrmann has a rare controllable eidetic memory. He controls the vividness of recalled visual images. This controlled recall varies from image details that are customary described to details as exact as a colored photograph. He can also control the time period over which the images can easily be recalled. Of additional historical interest is that, at age 21, his IQ was officially recorded as 160 and that Dr. Herrmann served in the Armed Forces of the United States and was honorably discharged.

Note: Dr. Herrmann’s brother, Earnest C. Herrmann, Jr., Ph.D. (Microbiology) M.D., discovered the first commercially viable antiviral drug. He was the pioneer in this research activity at various drug companies, then the Mayo Clinic and, lastly, as the Dean for Research at the University of Illinois Medical College.

2. Professional Experience:

a. Teaching
(1) August 1987 – June 2004, Professor, Mathematics, U. S. Naval Academy. (Retired June 30, 2004.)
(2) January 1981 – August 1987, Associate Professor, Mathematics, U. S. Naval Academy.
(3) August 1968 – January 1981, Assistant Professor, Mathematics, U. S. Naval Academy.
(4) August 1962 – August 1968, Instructor Advanced Placement Mathematics, Board of Education of Baltimore County.

b. Professional Societies

(1) American Mathematical Society
(2) Mathematical Association of America

3. General Research Accomplishments:
Dr. Robert A. Herrmann has published (without coauthors) 75 articles in 31 different journals from 14 countries. He has written over 250 published reviews as well as 7 books, 5 of which where funded by the Federal government and, hence, are available free of change from his Internet site or the Mathematics and Physics arXiv.org archives. He has personally presented 31 papers at scientific conferences and over 1,300 scientific disclosures. Of the 300,000 individuals who produced approximately 1.6 million published papers or books in the mathematical sciences and for whom there was sufficient information in the MR archives at the time analyzed, Dr. Herrmann ranked in the top 2% in the production of such material.

Dr. Herrmann has 42 published articles and written 4 monographs in the discipline of nonstandard analysis. He is self-taught in this discipline.

a.Pure Mathematics
Dr. Herrmann’s original research activity was in nonstandard topology. Portions of his dissertation were published in 1975.

[A brief technical description. He continued his efforts in this general area and established most of the presently known nonstandard properties associated with extensions of maps, monad theory on rings of sets, the relations between nonstandard structures and convergence spaces, perfect maps, closed maps, and showed that almost all of the known standard generalizations for continuous, open, closed and perfect maps are simple corollaries to his established theorems. He also showed that there exists a nonstandard and, hence, standard hull for semi-uniform spaces in general and applied these results to standard topological groups. In standard topology, Dr. Herrmann constructed the widely used near-compactifications, essentially completed the theory of one-point near-compactifications, and showed that the theory of S-closed spaces is purely topological in character while giving a method to translate standard topological results into results relative to S-closed spaces.

He continued his research into general topology and discovered the pre-convergence spaces. Once again he established much of the presently known mapping theory for pre-convergence spaces and showed that many of the convergence structures of interest to the mathematical community are but trivial examples of his pre-convergence spaces.]

Not content with applying nonstandard methods to topological questions, Dr. Herrmann turned his attention to algebraic structures. These structures are a major aspect of pure axiomatic mathematics.

[A brief technical description. He established many of the known properties for nonstandard implication algebras, lattices, Boolean algebras and the like.]

A major aspect of the subject termed standard mathematical logic is the modeling of deductive processes. Many of these mimic the results of human thought processes. The methods and structures employed to study such aspects of human thought can vary. Dr. Herrmann has produced many new results in this area. This is especially so in his application of nonstandard analysis to this subject.

[A brief technical description. Dr. Herrmann’s research activities are on the lattice of finitary (finite) consequence operators. For example, he showed that this class of logical operators is almost atomic and that the set of all finitary consequence operators define on a fixed language is a join-complete lattice. Recently, he has shown that general logic-systems and finitary consequence operators are equivalent notions. He also instituted the new area of nonstandard logic relative to the nonstandard modeling of these classes of consequence operators.]

b. Applied Mathematics and Some Theoretical Physics

In 1981, Dr. Herrmann turned his attention to applied modeling. He rigorously described the methods of infinitesimal reasoning and modeling and then solved the d’Alembert-Euler problem in differential equation derivation. Previously, in about 1979, he had discovered new methods in physical modeling and began in 1982 to apply these methods to various unsolved problems in the philosophy of science, quantum theory, and cosmology as well as other areas. He found a solution to the discreteness problem in quantum theory in 1983.

c. The Theory of Everything and General Information Theory

In 1978, Dr. Herrmann discovered mathematical methods to model discipline language theories that are not necessarily describable by means of numerical quantities. He has applied these methods to various scientific disciplines. In particular, in 1979, he began constructing a mathematical model that generates a cosmogony. A cosmogony is a theory for the origin and construction of universes, not just the one in which we dwell. This cosmology is called the General Grand Unification Model – the GGU-model.

[A brief technical description. Using ultralogical operators this cosmogony generates the descriptive content for various cosmologies while preserving their inner-logical processes. This is the first mathematically generated cosmogony.

Although not originally constructed in this manner, it has recently been noticed that there is a set of concrete observable facts that when mathematical modeled predict the GGU-model process. These facts are verified physical statements that describe aspects of finite human physical behavior that are characterized by mental activity. When used as hypotheses and mathematically modeled, these facts predict that the formation and behavior of each real physical-system is controlled and sustained by a specific set of significant general ultralogical processes. Mathematically, general ultralogical processes are objects that satisfy the standard or nonstandard characteristics for logical deduction and other aspects of rational finite or hyper-finite mental activity, respectively. The theory is testable and (Popper) falsifiable. The GGU-model is verified by a vast amount of direct and indirect evidence.

This cosmogony and associated portions of the NSP-world model are consistent with such theory logic as deductive quantum logic, finitary logic, classical logic and the like. The GGU-model satisfies the Wheeler requirements for a pre-geometry and the very restricted conditions required by many groups of scientists who specialize in cosmogony studies. Moreover, the modeling procedures automatically generate the theory of propertons (subparticles) and properton (subparticle) mechanisms that satisfy the Wheeler requirements for the “substance” of which space itself is composed. It also satisfies the participator requirements in that active life-forms alter physical-system behavior.]

The GGU-model solves the General Grand Unification Problem. This yields the first true Theory of Everything associated with our universe. Dr. Herrmann has shown how to use various processes to unify all physical-system behavior. Of considerable significance is Dr. Herrmann’s explicit method that yields the best possible unification for any collection of physical theories. [This result is an application of Dr. Herrmann’s pure algebraic characteristics for the lattice of finitary consequence operators.]

In information theory, Dr. Herrmann has shown that the empirical theory of Gitt information can be obtained from first principles by application of the theory of general consequence operators. He has shown, using Gitt information, that the complexity of a physical-system can be altered only if the necessary consequence operators satisfy a unique and unusual symmetric property. General information theory has other applications.

d. General Intelligent Design (This is not the Discovery Institute’s restricted ID theory.)

Relative to specific information, in 1979, Dr. Herrmann showed how to interpret scientifically a specific theory in a dual manner and, with this approach, originated the scientific analysis of physical-system intelligent design. That is, that all of the physical processes that have formed our universe and control all aspects of physical-system behavior, as well as the results of such processes, can be interpreted as designed by intelligent agency. In particular, Dr. Herrmann has shown how to interpret the GGU-model in the language of intelligent design using the notion of specific information and operator signatures. This interpretation yields the General Intelligent Design Theory (GID) or simply General Design Theory. This interpretation shows that it is rational to assume that all physical-system behavior as investigated by science-communities is designed or controlled by intelligent agency. Since all physical-system formation and behavior is either direct or indirect evidence for the existence of specific intelligent agents, this is the first general solution to the problem of intelligent design. Since GID is but an interpretation for the signatures presented by the GGU-model operators, it is a matter of choice whether one considers these signatures as significant. Indeed, as with various cosmologies, the additional intelligent agency characteristics can be considered as extraneous in character.

e. The Special and General Theories of Relativity

The Einstein-Hilbert General Theory of relativity and the Einstein Special Theory of relativity have been controversial from the moment that they appeared in published form. In the past, the basic reasons for these controversies have been philosophic in character rather than scientific. However, scientists such as V. Fock pointed out that the General Theory contains an error relative to how physical postulates are associated with the particular mathematical structure employed. This particular error does not detract from most of the results obtained or the verified predictions these theories make. Moreover, many scientists have shown that both of these theories seem to contain various logical inconsistencies and, due to these difficulties, have created alternate theories based upon different foundations – theories that also predict many, but usually not all, of the same results as predicted by the General and Special theories.

Both of these classical theories are based upon the properties of the mathematical object known as the infinitesimal. But no such consistent mathematical theory for infinitesimals that captures all of the necessary intuitive notions existed at the time these theories were created. Such a mathematically consistent theory was discovered in 1961 by Abraham Robinson. One of the basic reasons that mathematics is used within such theories is to maintain rigorous logical argument. This Robinson discovery now allows for a reconsideration of these theories using a rigorous mathematical theory. Due to the existence of this rigorous mathematical theory, its relation to scientific logic, certain properties relative to abstract model theory, and the now obtainable formal rules for physical modeling, this mathematical theory can be applied rigorously to these physical theories. When this is done, it becomes apparent that from a rigorous viewpoint, Einstein, Hilbert and many others have made a basic physical modeling error. This error is called the model theoretic error of generalization. This error was pointed out for another purpose in the philosophy of science of Mill, and can be explicitly demonstrated.

In 1990, Dr. Herrmann pointed out this error to the scientific community and began to re-construct both of these theories using Robinson’s theory of the infinitesimal and infinite numbers in the hopes of avoiding this modeling error. Using his separation of operators approach, Dr. Herrmann has, indeed, created a theory that stays within the required language for the foundations for these two theories and this new approach predicts all of the same results as the General and Special theories and eliminates all of the known logical difficulties and paradoxes.

This new infinitesimal approach shows that, from the viewpoint of indirect evidence, a special type of “ether’ or “substratum” may exist. Further, each of the relativistic alterations in physical behavior associated with these theories is but an interaction with this substratum. This interaction is produced by his basic assumption that within the substratum photons satisfy the ballistic property relative to a moving source. That is, they acquire the speed of the source relative to the substratum, while in the standard physical world they exhibit their wave property. He restricts all fundamental time measurements to light-clocks and then shows that this leads to alterations in other physical behavior, the same alterations predicted by the original theories.

Of course, Dr. Herrmann is aware that his logically rigorous theory might be difficult for members of the physics community to understand since they have put forth considerable effort in the past, and continue do so at this present time, through dedicated research activities using the original classical approach. For this reason alone, many scientists will continue to defend this classical approach. Please note that Dr. Herrmann’s work, in this area, is not intended to denigrate those scientists who have, in the past, contributed to these theories or who continue to do so. Dr. Herrmann’s results are only relative to the foundations for the General and Special theories.

f. Future Efforts

Dr. Herrmann believes that his most important contributions to physical science are the methods and results that he discovered for generating mathematical models for philosophical concepts and cosmologies since these discoveries have helped explain and solve certain perplexing and long standing problems. When these methods become more widely known, they may revolutionize modeling techniques for the physical sciences. Due to the apparent significance of such models as the GGU-model and nonstandard logic he intends to concentrate his efforts in the area of their application to scientific and philosophic problems. In particular, he intends to popularize the GGU-model, its various interpretations and their mathematical foundations.

4. Awards and Biographical Listings:

(1) AMWS Achievement Award in Physical Science.
(2) “American Men & Women of Science,” (Bowker publication.)
(3) “Who’s Who in Theology and Science,” (Center for Theological Inquiry, A Templeton Foundation publication,) and many other such biographical listings.
(4) Templeton Prize Nominee. (Dr. Herrmann rejects the philosophic stances taken by the Templeton Foundation.)
(5) DoN Meritorious Service Award

I still couldnt get a good grasp of if.
I can relate! :-) His book on elementary math logic was very clear, but that same level of clarity was totally absent from his ID works. I almost could not recognize it was the same author of both works. A basic proof goes some thing like: "We wish to show such and such is true. We can show this if we show.....QED." That simple form of proof was not to be seen, and if it was there I missed it. The standard ID proof goes something like, "If something is not the product of law and chance we infer it is designed...we show it is not the product of law and chance in the following manner...." The difficulty with Dr. Herrmann's writings is I can't find a statement which says, "We show ID is true if we show such and such....we have shown ID true is true because we have shown such and such. QED". If such statements are there, I couldn't find it.
physical systems from the fact that they are described by intelligently designed physical theories
My thoughts as well, and this statement has to be defended in a way that is very very clear, and when clarity was most needed, it seemed instead the flow of thought went into unrelated areas that didn't support the desired conclusion, or a the very least they just went on and on going nowhere... Though Dr. Herrmann has a low opinion of Davies works, I think Davies lays out the case better for cosmological ID without un-necessary complication. Davies argues the compactness of the way we describe physics with simple differential equations (simple, meaning orders of 1 and 2 for many applications) is an example of highly unexpected fine tuning. And fine tuning is suggestive of Design and Davies one $1,000,000 for that inference. Sorry to be critical of Dr. Herrmann's work, and I hope deep somewhere in his writings there is something the ID community can actually use. scordova
I bought Herrmann's book a few years ago. Read it all twice, and I still couldnt get a good grasp of if. My best attempt at summarizing his theory is that there is indication of design in physical systems from the fact that they are described by intelligently designed physical theories. Sounds like an obvious fallacy, but that is the impression I walked away with. kuartus
Here is the light-hearted essay mentioning Hynek: https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/humor/former-canadian-defence-minister-said-us-tried-to-start-intergalactic-war-stephen-hawking-not-helping-matters/#comment-489162 that was a precursor to the more serious essay: https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/intelligent-design/boldly-going-where-no-man-has-gone-before-will-we-find-ets-or-are-we-alone/ scordova
@scordova Well Sal, you do a fantastic job here at UD as do the other contributors. I do more reading than posting here, as a lot of what is discussed is well above my pay grade :-). You know, I used to believe there were bonnafied UFO's in our universe, nuts and bolts so to speak and as a Christian, I had an incredibly difficult time reconciling these two views. But as I started to read up more on the subject, I was quite surprised to hear what some of the leading experts in the field of UFO's were concluding, i.e. Jacque Vallee, J Allen Hynek and others such as John A Keel, Lynn E. Catoe and Ivar Mackay. It changed my views as to the nature and origin of these beings, as I now adopt an inter or hyper dimensional theory. John A Keel had this to say regarding the nature of UFO's "The manifestations and occurrences described in this imposing literature [on demonology] are similar if not entirely identical to the UFO phenomenon itself." It's hard to deny that there isn't something going on. Even the late prominent Harvard professor of Psychiatry, John E Mack, was forced to concluded after hundreds and hundreds of hours of researching Alien abduction cases, that something was going on at some level. I wish that main stream science didn't consider these topics as fringe science. I do, as a Christian, look on from a distance though. That is, I don't want to become to evolved. I just find the subjects fascinating and I've been blown away as to how the Christian worldview has risen to the challenge in providing some of the most logical and coherent answers into the nature of these sorts of phenomenon. I'm not any other view even comes close. I see I have completely gone off track from our original discussion on some of the more modern and well documented cases of demonic possession, so I apologize for that. I just find these sorts of topics fascinating to discuss. Keep up the good work Sal.. KRock
KRock, Thank you so much for the information you have provided as it was eye opening to me. The information on Dr. Vallee was quite powerful. When I began following up on some of the leads you provided, I actually had to stop reading because some of the accounts were too troubling, enough so that I fear if I continued reading it would start to affect me. Supernatural phenomenon can be good or evil, and after reading some of the UFO accounts, I had to stop and pray I could still have peace of mind. It's funny you mention Hynek, because I was preparing a UD post on the matter. I have to be careful to some extent because even though the ID community is dominated by creationists, some of the ID community are advocates of ET-based ID, most notably DaveScot (who was eventually banned from UD). A few of the commenters that have received favorable mention even from me, like Dr. Pellionisz, a scientist, supports some of the ID inferences, but is also a fan of ET-based ID. And we've even gotten some comments on my thread from Urantians: See the comments here from one such UFO believer: Paradox of Consciouness, A Urantian visits UD in the comment section It is sometime difficult to be in the big tent of ID. Some of the best ID theory comes from people that don't share my faith (Fred Hoyle was a big advocate of Panspermia, which is bordering on UFO based orgins of life). When I think some of the beliefs are damaging to them, should I remain silent to keep peace in the big tent, or just keep bashing Darwin and thus find a way to at least keep cooperating? I don't mind agnostic based ID sympathetic literature and ideas like that of Denton, Berlinski, Yockey, Trevors, Sternberg, but when ID starts to receive literature from the Urantians the Raelians and other ET-based ID, I might have to agree with their criticism of mindless evolutionism but I might have to say, I can't endorse some of their other ideas, and feel I have some responsibility to urge them to reconsider whether the source of their ideas proceeds from spiritual source that they should not entrust their souls to. I have to think how to be diplomatic on the matter but still express disagreement. Sal scordova
"The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist." - Keyser Soze ('The Usual Suspects') Barb
@ scordova I don't doubt that skeptics such as James Randi mean well in their attempts to explain away paranormal events as natural phenomenon or even hoaxes. And much of the time they're probably right in their assumptions. That being said, I remain open to the possibility that certain events are unexplainable, like that of Dr Gallagher's and this latest case we've been discussing. I think that if we're dealing with some sort of unseen force in regards to demonic possessions, ghosts, poltergeists, entities, or what what ever we call it, they're not only malevolent, they're highly intelligent. I'm not sure we can ever empirically verify this kind of phenomenon. Thanks for posting some other very interesting testimonies. I know BA77 has posted some interesting material regarding NDE's which I have found to be quite interesting as well. KRock
Here was one account from the Catholic forum, I feel it is balanced. Do I think such things will be measured in the lab or controlled experiments? No. Do I think it is real, for some cases, yes. Here is an account that accords with some of my personal observation of the effect of prayer. Forum.Catholic.com comment
Talking Re: Is Father Ralph Diorio legit??? Hello, I came upon this site today after doing a search for Fr. Ralph DiOrio. Some students and I had recently been talking about miraculous healings, and I wanted to find some websites for them to check out. My father compelled our entire family to attend a healing service with Fr. DiOrio in September, 1991 in Portland, Oregon. My father had suffered a near-death experience and survived, but had to medically retire from his job as a result of several medical problems. He was very eager to investigate any possibility of healing. I was definitely skeptical. Yes, I believed in God. Yes, I believed that Jesus healed people -- and still healed people. However, I'd seen some very negative examples of "healers" and thought that most healers were shams. Charismatic prayer was very uncomfortable for me, and when we participated in the healing service, I could not put my whole self into it. As some people in the service claimed miraculous healing, I remained skeptical. But I also began to have a growing sense that something big was going on. When a young woman in the row ahead of us removed her hearing aids and began to shake and cry, I felt terrible. Either people were so duped that they were deceiving themselves ... or God was actually healing people. At random times throughout the service, Fr. DiOrio would vaguely describe someone in the audience ("There's a woman here who has a V name ... Veronica or Virginia or something... and she feels very warm right now. She feels God's healing love.") About 30 minutes into the healing service, Fr. DiOrio said, "There's a young woman here. She's 17 or 18. And she has one leg that is shorter than the other, and it is causing her a lot of pain. Would she stand up, please?" That was my sister, Kristy. She did NOT stand up. Instead she turned white and was kind of shrinking in her chair. She was scared, and she whispered to us, "What should I do? I do not want to stand up." We were whispering back, telling her it was okay, when another person near us shouted and pointed: "Here's the girl! She's right here!" My sister stood up, reluctantly. Another young woman also stood up, several aisles away. This second young woman had a club foot, which seemed a lot worse than my sister's condition -- my sister had a lot of knee and hip pain, but was still an outstanding high school athlete. If either of them were to be healed, I kind of hoped it would be the girl with the club foot, because it seemed so much worse. Fr. DiOrio told both girls to step out into the aisle and sit down. He told them to expect a miracle, and that Jesus was going to heal one of them. My sister stretched out her leg, Fr. DiOrio prayed to God, and my sisters leg GREW! Thanks be to God! We took her back to her orthopedist later (she had seen him plenty, and she'd had x-rays and an MRI of both legs; her longer leg took more wear and tear, and showed a fair amount of cartiledge damage). After the miracle, my sister's legs were the same length, and the damage in her knee and hip was healed. Skeptical of healers? Yes, definitely. Confident in God's love? Yes, definitely. I do not know why my sister was healed, while the other young woman was not. I have no other experience of Fr. DiOrio, but no one asked us for money, and my sister's healing was a wonderful gift . My father was a man of tremendous faith, but he was not healed either. Some of the people at the service, even seeing my sister's leg grow, would not believe that it was real. Many others saw and praised God.
Someone may ask, "Sal how can you believe if it can't be repeated in lab demonstrations?" I'd respond, "you believe the universe had a beginning, you can't repeat that with a lab demonstration either." I think some miracles are so rare and some prayers answered in this way so rare that they will not obey simple cause and effect, nor show up under controlled conditions, but when they are answered, some are spectacular, and their after effects are measurable (like x-rays, biopsies, etc.). Why do I find the accounts believable. The changed lives, especially of people you wouldn't expect. One of my casino playing friends, a relatively famous blackjack player, Mike "Bootlegger" Turner, whose books are still available at Amazon, conveyed this in a private forum, but now that he is passed away, I don't think he'd mind me sharing it especially since he was a Christian:
Here is a true example of faith healing of which I am personally aware. Like myself, my first cousin was raised in the Pentacostal church. Pentacostals take the gifts of the Holy Spirit very seriously, to the point where those gifts form the foundation of their theology. One of those gifts is healing and they believe in faith healing. This cousin, who is named Bill, was living in California at the time. I suppose one could call him a “lapsed” Pentacostal. They would use the term “back-slid.” He was a heavy drinking, drug using womanizer. But that religious background was still in him somewhere. He was living in an apartment complex in Los Angeles and he became acquainted with a woman in the complex. She had a daughter who was around 12 years old at the time. The daughter was afflicted with some form of bone cancer and it had progressed to the point where she was confined to a wheelchair. There was no cure at the time and her disease was considered to be terminal. Bill took great pity on her and convinced her Catholic and Hispanic mother to bring her daughter with him to a service being conducted by a well-known faith healer at the time named Katherine Kuhlman. They went and Kuhlman prayed for the daughter and laid hands on her. The daughter literally rose up out of her wheelchair and walked. Later, upon examination by her physicians, the cancer was nowhere to be found. This happened more than 40 years ago. Bill has long since moved back to Ohio as a reformed man. The daughter still makes periodic contact with him, usually through Christmas cards and the like. She grew up and became a mother herself and as far as I know, has lived a cancer free and healthy life. I don’t know how it happened and I can’t say that every alleged faith healing performed by Katherine Kuhlman was as effective as this one. But it did happen and it is something I would call a miracle. We may find a scientific explanation for these kinds of things someday. But for now, a miracle it remains.
Even granting the Kuhlman had maybe some not so flattering facts about her, Jesus is the healer ultimately, not flawed individuals. And the effect on individuals behavior after the healing that speaks volumes to me. Astronaut Charles Duke in his biography relates his prayer over a blind girl that suddenly started seeing after the prayer. Now why would an American hero, a man who walked on the moon, a retired General, a successful business man take interest in fabricating a story about an answered prayer like this? Duke could take the more politically correct path and avoid the issue, but again, his biography has the air of sincerity. Moonwalker by Charles Duke At the old ARN forum when Richard B. Hoppe (of Pandas Thumb) was ranting about evangelicals and creationism, I pointed out to him that one of the men he helped send to the moon (Hoppe was a NASA engineer) was creationist Charles Duke, and that Duke prayed for a young girl's blind eyes and the little girl was able to see. I told Dr. Hoppe something to the effect, "What if you're wrong about all this? What if that prayer was important to the girl's healing? Do you want to risk the chance that you might be wrong for insisting their faith be taken away?" He had nothing to say in reply. I hope his conscience was pricked a little. scordova
KRock and anyone else interested, I would view the work of Skeptic Organizations, James Randi as explaining 100% of the paranormal or spiritual phenomenon through natural causes, especially in light of their financial incentives to paranormal "practitioners" except for the fact of some things I or friends or family experienced and which I could see are difficult to repeat in the lab. Like RA Herrmann, I have absolutely no stake in making anyone believe or not believe, and I simply communicate an experience. I eventually left the Roman Catholic faith and joined a conservative Presbyterian denomination (PCA). In fact, my view of paranormal and demons is expressed by this orthodox Presbyterian minister: http://www.opc.org/qa.html?question_id=455
I have ministered in Africa on and off since the early 1990's, the most recent "stint" being 8 years in Uganda. The overwhelming number of Africans believe in regular interactions with the demonic realm, and a depressing number of American short term missionaries come out with the pre-conceived notion that demonic activity is rampant in Africa. I've seen countless expressions of "demonic activity" and have yet to see anything that I believe is genuine, Biblical, demon possession. Many medical problems, such as epilepsy, are assigned to demons. I remember one time when I took a short term group into the "village" area to evangelize. We visited one family whose patriarch was a self-professed witch doctor. Quickly he went into his demonic fit, rolling around on the ground, foaming at the mouth, and being thoroughly "possessed." The visitors, both Americans and African church members who were with us, were convinced they were seeing demon possession and were themselves getting quite worked up. I quietly moved towards the man who was jerking on the ground and nudged a pointed rock right underneath his shoulder blades. He shifted to the left and kept on jerking and babbling. I moved the rock again, and he jumped up and came after me angrily. I confronted him, and everyone there, and told him to stop behaving foolishly—a demon wouldn't care if his back was a bit uncomfortable, and if he simply wanted us to go away and leave him alone, he could just say so without trying to act like a crazy person. He sheepishly quieted down and apologized and said that we were welcome to stay and talk. Everyone, American and African, would have walked away from the experience firmly convinced that they had seen demon possession if it hadn't been for a pointy rock.
Which, by any standards would seem extremely secular, but it agrees with my view severe spiritual incidents are rare. That said, even while a Presbyterian my mother asked me to accompany my Roman Catholic sister to a healing service by Fr. Ralph DiOrio. An interesting discussion about him (balanaced, good and bad) is at the catholic forum : Forums Catholic.com "Is Father Ralph DiOrio Legit". You'll here good stories and a few horror stories. I will relate mine. I accompanied my sister to the mass which was I think in Delaware. Though spiritual, I tend to be far more inclined toward naturalistic explanations then miraculous ones, but I don't rule them out (obviously, I believe in Miracles, but maybe not so many). When Father Ralph said it is time to exorcise demons (I don't recall if that's the wording, but that's the best way I remember it), he told the ushers to open the doors to the auditorium to the outside air to let the spirits out of the room. When Father Ralph prayed, I suddenly had a strange urge to cough like something coming out of me. I didn't want to disrupt the prayer service but I started coughing for no reason. After he finished the prayer, he said, "some of you who are being liberated from oppressive spirits will have various reactions like coughing". It seemed strange that at the very moment he started praying I started strangely coughing, and no mention by him prior to the prayer that some of us would cough, it just happened, and then after it happened he said that was normal for some to cough. The coincidence seemed too strong, and there were probably a thousand people there so I don't think he was just making up the saying "some of you will be coughing" because I started coughing. I didn't feel particularly healed of anything, and I seem to recall the healing I needed (tendonitis from playing too much piano) didn't happen then. In fact I was very sick on the trip back home. But it seemed there was something that did happen when I spontaneously wanted to cough. I was however eventually healed of the tendonitis years later by a concert pianist/teacher at Peabody who was skilled in kinesiology (who ironically is now a catholic priest, his name is Paul Maillet). Here is Paul Maillet's Bio There are other experiences that suffice to say are far too personal to share and I prefer not to talk about. But the coughing experience is a small picture of this experience by an astrophysicist. This dramatizes it a bit more:
For more than a decade, Frank, a software consultant who lives near Silicon Valley, California, has been haunted by depression and rage. Searching for remedies to lift his dark mood, Frank, 52, tried pills, therapy, even channeling spirits. Nothing worked. Three years ago, his wife handed him a book about demonic possession. Written by a former priest active in charismatic Catholic circles, the book presented scriptural arguments for the existence of demons and offered advice to questions such as “How do we know if an evil spirit is really present?” and “How do I pray for deliverance?” Desperate for relief, Frank decided, while he was jogging one night, to pray for deliverance. “If I had known what was going to happen, I would have picked a more private place,” Frank says. After reciting the recommended prayer, he doubled over, dry heaving, by the side of the road. His lungs felt like they were leaping out of his chest. With a doctorate in astrophysics, Frank (not his real name) considers himself a man of science who relies on research and analysis to make sense of the world. Despite the occult overtones, his body’s violent reaction to the deliverance prayer struck him as an obvious case of cause and effect. He became convinced that he—like the poor souls he’d just read about—was infested with evil spirits. Exorcism experience renaissance in America Catholicism
Yep. Just like Dr. Herrmann and other men of science, judges, doctors I know. At some point they have need that science cannot cure and they reach out and sometimes, by God's grace, something happens.... And one story I found intriguing by Ivy League biology student, Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, and eventual Governor of Louisianna (and occasionally suggested nominiee for Vice-President of the United States) Bobby Jindal. A highly intelligent man giving his account of demons. No surprise this account was a liability to his political aspirations, but his voting record in office is evidence he followed through with his Christian convictions after being converted from Hinduism. Physical Dimensions of Spiritual Warfare Some excerpts about Jindal college days account of a friend named Susan who was also suffering cancer:
After a period of group prayer, a student made a movement to end the meeting. Suddenly, Susan emitted some strange guttural sounds and fell to the floor. She started thrashing about, as if in some sort of seizure. Susan's sister must have recognized what was happening, for she ordered us to gather around and place our hands on Susan's prostrate body. .... Susan proceeded to denounce every individual in the room, often citing very private and confidential information she could not possibly have known on her own. It was information capable of hurting individuals -- attacking people, as she did, by revealing their hidden feelings, fears, and worries. The night was just beginning! ..... Whenever I concentrated long enough to begin prayer, I felt some type of physical force distracting me. It was as if something was pushing down on my chest, making it very hard for me to breathe. Being a biology major at the time, I greeted this feeling with skepticism and rational explanations. I checked my pulse for signs of nervousness and wondered what could cause such a sensation. Shortness of breath is a common symptom that can mean very little or may signal the onslaught of a fatal stroke. Though I could find no cause for my chest pains, I was very scared of what was happening to me and Susan. .... It appeared as if we were observing a tremendous battle between the Susan we knew and loved and some strange evil force. But the momentum had shifted and we now sensed that victory was at hand. While Alice and Louise held Susan, her sister continued holding the Bible to her face. Almost taunting the evil spirit that had almost beaten us minutes before, the students dared Susan to read biblical passages. She choked on certain passages and could not finish the sentence "Jesus is Lord." Over and over, she repeated "Jesus is L..L..LL," often ending in profanities. In between her futile attempts, Susan pleaded with us to continue trying and often smiled between the grimaces that accompanied her readings of Scripture. Just as suddenly as she went into the trance, Susan suddenly reappeared and claimed "Jesus is Lord." .... When the operation occurred, the surgeons found no traces of cancerous cells. Susan claimed she had felt healed after the group prayer and can remem­ber the sensation of being "purified"; she saw her physical and spiritual afflictions as being related. The physician's improbable explanation that the biopsy may have removed all the cancerous tissue is no less far-fetched.
What were some of the reasons from spiritual standpoint?
Susan's roommate, the daughter of a Hmong faith healer, had decorated the room with supposedly pagan influences. Other theories explaining the night's events soon surfaced. Susan's mother had once worshipped and offered a sacrifice at a pagan altar in the Far East for her husband's health, though he had been healed, she had been warned not to repeat such practices, but had returned to that same altar in the Far East upon hearing of Susan's illness.
I can't do justice to Governor Jindal's account with the few excerpts, but the account reads like that of what you'd expect of a college student with many questions and fears. It expressed sincerity. Whether there were demons or not, it explains some of Jindal's deeply held religious convictions that he holds today as Governor of Louisiana. scordova
selvaRajan, Thank you very much for the finding the Charles Bonnett syndrome, if that's not the thing I read about long ago it is close enough. Here is one description:
What are the effects of the hallucinations? Sometimes the complicated pictures can make it difficult to get around. For example, streets and rooms may have their shape changed or brickwork and fencing appear directly in front of you making it difficult for you to judge exactly where you are and whether you can walk straight ahead. One gentleman describes how, approaching the top of the stairs,he had a vision of being on top of a mountain, and had considerable problems getting down the stairs. Good knowledge of your surroundings can help overcome this particular problem. The complicated pictures can sometimes be a little scary. Although the visions themselves may not be of anything frightening, it is disturbing to start seeing strangers in your home or garden. People often overcome this by getting to know the figures in their visions. Another man describes how, when he wakes up in the morning, he says to the figures he is seeing: "Right, what have you got in store for me today?" This allows him to have some control over the way he feels about his seeing things.
The important feature of this is that by every metric these individuals are mentally healthy and they are recognizing this as some sort of visual processing illusion. They are not suffering psychosis or whatever. The thing I read about said Positron Emission Tomography or something was able to measure severe changes in blood flow to parts of the brain when the hallucinations were happening. This would definitely explain the possibility of at least some visions of people. If not by Charles Bonnett syndrome perhaps a rare, maybe unrepeatable physiological hiccup that generates the hallucination which never happens again. Is there a similar issue for hearing voices? I do not know, but I do not underestimate the nervous systems ability to generate very vivid experiences through some malfunction. scordova
@selvaRajan "I fail to understand the mechanics of how a demon can create zero gravity. Even if we agree demons exist, what mechanism does demon employ to create anti gravity? or is it that it lifts the human subject physically?" I can't either, but I also can't deny what these witnesses claim to have seen either! I also care less for how they (demons) maybe able to accomplish their feats and more for the fact that they can. I'm telling you, as rare as it may be, its going on. And why is it that by envoking the name of Jesus, does this help in relieving the harassment? I can't help but think that envoking the names of prominent secularists/athiests would NOT have the same effect. KRock
Thanks scordova. Yep, my reason’s for studying subjects, such as demonic possession, is not to delve into it, but to shed light on the reality of them. They happen, that I am sure of.
Charles Bonnet Syndrome can explain most of the strange visual complexities like faces flying off pages, walls covered in fur, snakes coming out of pavements, strangers sitting on sofas or standing around bed, near TV and other myriad visual experiences. Apart from this,presence of spirits is normally felt when you have sleep paralysis. However I have found no explanation for levitation or running backwards on walls as seen by witnesses. Levitation can be by superconductivity, electromagnetism and possibly by sonic boom. None can be recreated for a Human levitation by nature, so these could be some kind of group psychological effect, but it is not a satisfactory explanation. I fail to understand the mechanics of how a demon can create zero gravity. Even if we agree demons exist, what mechanism does demon employ to create anti gravity? or is it that it lifts the human subject physically? selvaRajan
Thanks scordova. Yep, my reason’s for studying subjects, such as demonic possession, is not to delve into it, but to shed light on the reality of them. They happen, that I am sure of. To be honest, I am a little unsure of what the Lord wants me to do at times. That being said, at the end of the day, I am confident I will be exactly where the Lord wants me to be regardless of my own ambitions. I agree with your sentiment regarding the DCS. They did not know how to deal with this sort of situation and I think the family suffered for it. That being said, I’m sure they were caught off guard with the whole thing. Yes, it was the Skinwalker Ranch I was referring to. I have read the book and was astonished as to what the scientists documented, witnessed and concluded. But this sort of stuff is usually considered taboo by most and is considered fringe science by many. It’s to bad really. I can see why many would wish these sorts of phenomena to be allusions, but my feeling is they’re happening and possibly more frequently than ever before. Can our reality be distorted by unseen forces? Possibly! It would seem at least that there is a reality beyond what we know. Of course as Christians, we’ve always known this to be true. It’s a shame that Mr Geisler should ever have to suffer embarrassment for a view that is echoed by two of the most renowned researcher’s in the study of UFO’s, Dr. Jacques Vallee and the late, Dr. J Allen Hynek. Eugenie Scott would be wise to read up on what these prominent, well educated, and respected researches have concluded. “Human beings are under the control of a strange force that bends them in absurd ways, forcing them to play a role in a bizarre game of deception.” Dr. Jacque Vallee, Messengers of Deception, p. 20. Dr Vallee also went onto say that: “We are dealing with a yet unrecognized level of consciousness, independent of man but closely linked to the earth.... I do not believe anymore that UFOs are simply the spacecraft of some race of extraterrestrial visitors. This notion is too simplistic to explain their appearance, the frequency of their manifestations through recorded history, and the structure of the information exchanged with them during contact." Dr J Allen Hynek was the leading authority on UFO’s before his death, and adopted the theory that UFO’s are from another dimension or parallel reality. There are many other leading scientist’s who share similar views on the nature of UFO’s such as, Pierre Guerin, an prominent scientist with the French National Council for Scientific Research. Dr. Guerin said the following: “UFO behavior is more akin to magic than to physics as we know it and that modern OFOnauts and demons of past days are probably identical” My feeling would be the same as Dr Norman Geisler’s when referring to the nature of UFO’s. I would love to read up more on Robert A. Herrmann’s story, as I do not know much about him. Scordova, I commend you for sharing as much as you have with me. Although I have never had a paranormal experience or have shared in one and nor do I ever want to, there were times in my youthful ignorance where I dabbled with things I should not have, i.e. Ouija boards. I regret doing so and thankfully nothing ever came about. My feeling is, and I know I’ve mentioned it already, is that the Christian worldview provides the best explanations to these events, but I feel for the most part, its largely being ignored, and who knows, maybe its for good reason. Thank you for your wise and sound words of wisdom and advice scordova. God Bless. KRock
Dave Hooke at the SkepticalZone noticed what I was writing and responded: http://theskepticalzone.com/wp/?p=4036&cpage=1#comment-40391
In a comment at UD, Sal Cordova says:
One could of course argue the New Testament is a fabrication and exaggeration, but then it is well attested that the Romans inflicted cruel deaths upon Christians, some of whom claimed to be eye-witnesses of Jesus. Why die such a horrible death for a lie? It lends too much credibility to the New Testament.
Sal seems to be unaware of phenomena such as cult suicides and suicide bombings. The “who would die for a lie?” Christian trope confuses conviction with truth. It is a persistent apologetic, since the confusion of conviction and truth is the fundamental error of the religious. It is something all humans are vulnerable to. Hence we always have to be wary of con artists and other charismatic people, governments, authority figures, and the media. Over to you. Who would die for a lie?
I responded:
You misunderstand David Hooke, but thank you for taking the time to even notice what I said at UD. There are two kinds of falsehoods someone might promote: 1. a falsehood he knows is false 2. a falsehood he believes is true but is actually false A sad example of #2 is Fourier, he essentially killed himself by exposing himself to extreme heat and wrapping himself in blankets because he felt heat had miraculous powers, and it is believed he tripped on a blanket down the stairs and it killed him. Brilliant scientist and mathematician, but not really good homeopathic healer.... Dying for a falsehood you know is false, that's different than the examples you cite of dying for falsehoods someone believes sincerely are true. An opportunist who has lived on lies all his life when faced with the wrath of a Roman Emperor would seem more inclined to cave in with more lies and expedient recantations, much like a politician. Dying a horrible death for insisting on something you know is a lie, what is the point, it would be, as Paul himself, better to "eat and drink, realizing tomorrow we die." That would a nice utilitarian, pragmatic alternative than being beheaded or being fed to lions. If I made something up, and I knew I made it up, and the Roman emperor said, recant or be fed to the lions, I know I'd recant. What would be the point of persisting? Saving face? Ha. Not me, I'd rather go with "eat and drink and be merry with what little time I have on earth." The early Christians died not just because they believed some theological claim about heavenly rewards but because they either were eyewitnesses of Christ's work or the miraculous healings of the Apostles. We do have cases like Jim Jones, Marshall Applewhite, the Waco disaster, etc. But their claims aren't tied to the claim of someone rising from the dead or evidence of miraculous healing but rather promises of some heavenly reward (a promisorry note). That is subtle but important distinction. It's likely Marshall Applewhite was self-deluded thinking he'll end up flying away in the Hale Bopp comet if he committed suicide, but that's quite a different thing than dying because you've witnessed a resurrected Jesus and you feel obligated to convey that claim to the world. The former (Applewhite) is tied to a promisory belief of his own imaginations, the latter tied to a claim of something you've seen with your own eyes! Unlike the powerful religious leaders of today, the early Church had the witness of impoverished suffering Apostles who wandered from Judea to Rome (no small feat!). There was no glory or fun in the process, and it met a miserable end. You might do it if by your own imagination you believe you'd be rewarded in the hereafter, but I don't think one would do it based on a false claim you've actually seen someone who was risen from the dead unless of course you witnessed someone actually alive after he was dead. Would I make up a story that I had a dear friend who worked many miracles of healing, saw him die on a Roman cross, and then saw him alive again on the 3rd day walking through walls. And then live a miserable impoverished life travelling from Judea to Rome and then get martyred in order to tell that story? Going around preaching "I believe I'll go to heaven" is different than saying, "I saw Christ risen from the dead. Christ told me I would suffer a horrible death as I proclaimed this truth, but that is what I must do because he told me." Why die for such a claim if the claim is something you know you made up. Making the claim up would be making it up if: 1. Christ never existed 2. Christ died but was never resurrected 3. Christ never did miracles, was crucified, and never resurrected etc. What are the chances an odd collection than poor fisherman (Peter, John, James), tax collectors (Matthew), revolutionaries (Simon the zealot), physician (Luke), clergyman (Paul), would put together the story of a carpenter who was crucified and rose from the dead and carry out such a detectable transformation in religious views through the Roman Empire. It suggest to me, as Rodney Stark said, whether the resurrection was real, the apostles and disciples who insisted they were eye witnesses did so with incredible zeal and effectiveness. The epistles also list names of specific people in the letters and healing claims. If the Roman church didn't have the people listed in Paul's epistles, there would be instant lack of credibility in the Roman church toward Paul. There are lots of small details like that in New Testament that are often disposed of as insignificant, but it speaks volumes to me. Would you be willing to be fed to the lions after receiving a letter from Paul that had all these names of the church you were a part of and you didn't actually know these people? I doubt it. See: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+16 At the very least I'd say, "before I get fed to the lions, can you explain this discrepancy? Why should I believe anything else you say since you can't even identify the people in my church whom you claim to know personally." But of course we know the Christians were fed to the lions, so something was very persuasive about the message ESPECIALLY in light of the fact there were tons of other much more convenient and comfortable religious ideas to self-delude oneself on in the Roman Empire. It is seemingly insignificant details as this (like the list of names), the abundance of other more convenient religions, that suggests the Roman church had plenty of opportunity to reject Paul as a charlatan. But then they see his chains, his poverty, his difficulty in travelling from Judae to Rome, etc. and then his miserable death. Why would he do it? Does not the epistle or Romans suggest someone that was learned (by ancient standards) and probably capable of living a much better life than the miserable end he met? Why do this for a lie that you KNOW you made up about a friend doing miracles, getting crucified, and then rising from the dead. I wouldn't do it, and neither would Paul.
if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. ... If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. ... If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus with no more than human hopes, what have I gained? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”
Unlike Jim Jones or other charlatans, there is another observations, the apostles emptied themselves in charity toward the church, not made themselves demigods to be pseudo worshiped like a lot of these charlatans. Now, if Jesus didn't rise from the dead, is it reasonable for an Apostle to persist in believing and proclaiming he actually did to people (like the Romans) who couldn't care less? I find that a bit hard to believe. History attests to the martyrdom, but it seems to me the most parsimonious explanation of the martyrdom based on the claim many saw Jesus rise from the dead or witness of the Apostles miracles, is that the account is true. I find the possibility of miracles also more believable because of the miracle of life, hence my interest in ID.
Here is a summary of Dr. Gallagher's work:
http://www.womenofgrace.com/blog/?p=2290 Psychiatrist Documents Case of Demonic Possession Posted on March 14, 2008 by SBrinkmann by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS Staff Writer (March 14, 2008) A board certified psychiatrist from Hawthorne, New York has published an account of his experience treating a woman who he has determined to be a case of authentic demonic possession. Richard E. Gallagher, M.D., published a detailed article of his encounters with a woman known only by the pseudonym “Julia” in the February, 2008 issue of New Oxford Review. Describing her as a middle-aged, self-supporting Caucasian woman who lives in the United States, she was a former Catholic who had a long history of involvement with Satanic groups. “Julia was not the typical type of individual who frequently importunes the Church for help but who is really in need of psychiatric or other medical intervention,” Dr. Gallagher wrote. “She was in no way psychotic; in fact, she was consistently logical, highly intelligent, and even quite engaging at times, despite her obvious turmoil.” Even though she had long ago disassociated herself with the Church, she approached local clergy after becoming convinced that she was being attacked by a demon or Satan. The priest referred her to an official priest-exorcist. During a lengthy and thorough evaluation, she was eventually referred to Dr. Gallagher for further analysis. Dr. Gallagher, who is an Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at New York Medical College, is a magna cum laude graduate of Princeton University who trained in psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine. He is the only American psychiatrist to have been a consistent U.S. delegate to the International Association of Exorcists. In his opinion, what makes Julia’s case so convincing, is that she “not only exhibited, in a highly dramatic fashion, the classic signs of possession, but, having been an avowed and prominent Satanist in her life, also seemed to display ‘special occult powers’ even outside her trance states . . . in a quite open manner to anyone who came in close contact with her.” This psychic ability involved the phenomenon of objects sometimes flying off shelves in rooms where she was present. She also had a knowledge of facts and beyond what was humanly possible for her to know. For instance, in one case, she knew the personality and precise manner of death – from a specific form of cancer – of a relative of a member of the treatment team that she could never have conceivably guessed. She was also able to describe in precise detail the state of mind of a priest-member of the team when he was not present at the time. She could name his exact location and even what clothes he was wearing at a given time. She would often go into trance-states during her sessions with him and he found her behavior during these trances to be very convincing. “Mentally troubled individuals often ‘dissociate,’ but Julia’s trances were accompanied by an unusual phenomenon,” Dr. Gallagher wrote. “Out of her mouth would come various threats, taunts, and obscene language, phrases like ‘Leave her alone, you idiot,’ ‘She’s ours,’ ‘Leave, you imbecile priest.’ “The tone of this voice differed markedly from Julia’s own, and it varied, sometimes sounding guttural and vaguely masculine, at other points high pitched. Most of her comments during these comments during these ‘trances,’ or at the subsequent exorcisms, displayed a marked contempt for anything religious or sacred.” When Julia came out of the trances, she remembered nothing. Because of the complexity of the case, Dr. Gallagher assembled a team of experts including mental-health professional, four Catholic priests, two nuns (both nurses) and several lay volunteers. Once, while the team was teleconferencing without Julia present, her “other” voice actually broke into the phone line and interrupted their conversations, saying “Leave her alone!” and “Get away from her!” At Julia’s request, two series of lengthy exorcism rituals were performed, with the first one beginning on a warm day in June. “Despite the weather, the room where the rite was being conducted grew distinctly cold,” Dr. Gallagher wrote. “Later, however, as the entity in Julia began to spout vitriol and make strange noises, members of the team felt themselves profusely sweating due to a stifling emanation of heat.” After the prayers of the Roman Ritual had been going on for awhile, Julia began to utter multiple voices, loud growls and animal-like noises which seemed impossible for any human to mimic. At one point, the voices spoke in foreign languages, including Spanish and Latin, although Julia herself knows only English. “The voices were noticeably attacking in nature, and often insolent, blasphemous, and highly scatalogical [obscenities concerning excrement],” Dr. Gallagher said. “They cursed and insulted the participants in the crudest way. They were frequently threatening – trying, it appeared, to fight back – ‘Leave her alone,’ ‘Stop, you whores’ (to the nuns), ‘You’ll be sorry,” and the like. Julia also exhibited enormous strength. “Despite the religious sisters and three others holding her down with all their might, they struggled to restrain her. Remarkably, for about 30 minutes, she actually levitated about half a foot in the air.” The entity possessing her was also able to distinguish between holy water and regular water. “She would scream in pain when the blessed water was sprinkled upon her, but have no reaction to clandestine use of unblessed water.” Julia’s case illustrates a number of the classic signs of possession such as hidden knowledge, the ability to speak in unknown languages, abnormal physical strength, hatred of anything sacred, blasphemous language, the ability to discern blessed objects, the phenomenon of levitation and the appearance of an independent, intelligent entity (or entities) during trance-like states. “Many of these individual features, let alone the full constellation of this overall ‘syndrome’ are, to state the obvious, simply inexplicable on psychiatric or medical grounds,” Dr. Gallagher concluded. “Therefore, we clearly felt, in this instance, that we were indeed dealing with a genuinely possession individual, albeit one complicated even further by her Satanist history and ‘psychic’ abilities presumed consequent to her cultic involvement and/or her possessed state.” Although the exorcisms were helpful, they have not yet resolved the matter of the woman’s possession, Dr. Gallagher says, and may or may not be repeated in the future.
Are there cases of possession that are incurable? From the New Testament:
43 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. 45 Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.” Matt 12:43-44
Hard to say what that means, but it suggest to me that the Lord is telling us some will never be cured. They'll have the spirit exorcised only to suffer a worse fate later. It seems to me the requirement for permanent exorcism is not what the exorcist says, but the condition of someone deciding to commit their life to Jesus. What does all this have to do with ID? RD Fish and other asked for evidence of non-material intelligence. Though I've said ID does not specify a non-material conscious intelligence, the evidence of such spiritual intelligent agencies seems available if one is willing to open their eyes. Thanks KRock for pointing this out. There are many times I wish James Randi were right, but it seems he's steering clear of this case. scordova
I love Christian apologetics, from philosophy to science, but for me, there’s stuff that lies outside the normal ring of apologetics that shouldn’t be ignored. And I believe it’s the Christian worldview that offers the most plausible explanation as to what we’re dealing with.
I now understand your point as to why you wanted to study it. And I hope the Lord guides your search in the right path and protects you along the way. I hope you understand my concern for why I did not want you delving into this, but if that's what you feel the Lord wants for you, then I should not stop you. In the case of Ammonns, I thought the behavior of DCS was despicable, but I commend the efforts and humility of the police department seeking spiritual help. I was impressed that a police officer who had dealt with homicides and rape cases for 30 years was quite frightened to be at the house at night because of all the troubling things happening to him personally. Regarding the case in Utah, were you referring to Skinwalker ranch? Many times I wish James Randi were right that all these phenomenon are illusions, but for those of us with personal experiences, we know some are so rare as to escape controlled lab tests. Some Christian need explanations and counseling for dealing with issues if they have had encounters with the spirit world and even dealings with what they think are extraterrestrials. Although I never seen an extraterrestrial, I had friends that think they had encountered extraterrestrials, and I confess the encounters had all the earmarks of a spiritual entity pretending to be a space alien. When Eugenie Scott of the NCSE came to my alma mater GMU, she cited a claim in the landmark creation vs. evolution McLean vs. Arkansas case to ridicule the creationists because one of them said linked UFOs to demons: McLean vs. Arkansas
Norman Geisler rather embarrassed the state when he admitted under cross-examination his belief in UFOs as a satanic manifestation,
The audience at GMU roared in laughter when Eugenie said this, but I felt so sorry for the few people I knew who were out there that had negative experiences that were deeply troubling to them that were in the guise of some ET encounter and are suffering spiritually as a result. I wish James Randi were right that this had a natural explanation, that all of this is either hoaxes or some physiological hiccup in the human sensory system, but it seems a few instances are very credible, and the cure isn't trying to say it was necessarily an illusory experience, it may have very sinister roots. The fact that someone of Robert A. Herrmann's stature, a college professor of math and physics at a premier educational institution would relate experiences of his eyes glowing green and demonstrating telepathic ability speaks volumes to me. What does he have to gain by saying such things at this stage of his life if the story is just a fabrication? If anything he exposes himself to ridicule and invites people to dismiss his other works which is obviously important to him? So it lends credibility to his account of negative occult experiences. I find his account credible because of my own far less spectacular spiritual encounters, and also the effects, sometimes shattering, on the lives of others I know. I was reluctant to talk about my own experiences lest others reject some of the other things I've said at UD and think I lost my mind, but for the sake of those who maybe suffering the effects of sinister spiritual agencies, I had to say something. Sure, I still think a lot of people that claim to have such encounters may have mental or physiological issues (there are legitimately some highly rational people that do have blood flow issues in the brain that cause perceptions that are akin to LSD-25 induced hallucinations -- I forgot the name of this rare condition), but there might be a few suffering souls out there that needed comfort, so I felt it right to say something on their behalf. Perhaps you'll be of comfort to someone someday who may be dealing with these issues. May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you. scordova
@scordova Wow is right! I thought the same thing after reading the article. For myself, I don't think I have ever really doubted the validity of the Gospel narratives pertaining to the expulsion of demonic entities by Jesus. I think there is an unseen battle going on. Even the Apostle Paul says: "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" Ephesians 6:12. When you read the findings of Dr Richard Gallagher's case study from 2008, specifically on how this unseen force, demonic entity or what ever you want to call it, showed utter contempt for anything Holy, ie the name of Jesus, Holy water, etc... I think it speaks volumes as to what we're truly dealing with. Why is it that when you envoke the name of Jesus, there seems to be such a negative and hostile reaction? As Christians, I think we know why, :-). I agree with your assessment on the early church martyrs, it really does defy explanation as to why anyone would knowingly die for something they new, was a lie. I love Christian apologetics, from philosophy to science, but for me, there's stuff that lies outside the normal ring of apologetics that shouldn't be ignored. And I believe it's the Christian worldview that offers the most plausible explanation as to what we're dealing with. KRock
KRock, Wow! I found the article you were referring to: Latoya Ammons
A 9-year-old boy walking backward up a wall in the presence of a family case manager and hospital nurse. Gary police Capt. Charles Austin said it was the strangest story he had ever heard. Austin, a 36-year veteran of the Gary Police Department, said he initially thought Indianapolis resident Latoya Ammons and her family concocted an elaborate tale as a way to make money. But after several visits to their home and interviews with witnesses, Austin said simply, "I am a believer." ....
When I read the gospel accounts of possession in the New Testament, I confess I thought to myself, "these ignorant people think it's possession when it clear is a case of mental illness." I struggled believing the accounts, but then why the instantaneous cures of such an "illness", and what of the story of the herd of pigs that received the spirits? One could of course argue the New Testament is a fabrication and exaggeration, but then it is well attested that the Romans inflicted cruel deaths upon Christians, some of whom claimed to be eye-witnesses of Jesus. Why die such a horrible death for a lie? It lends too much credibility to the New Testament. Hard to discount, especially when Paul himself said:
What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” 1 Cor 15:32
The early Christians had great reverence for Jesus and felt they would face certain judgment for rejecting him, and some of these claimed to be eye witnesses. I have to ask, why would someone like Paul say what he did if he didn't really see Jesus and then get martyred under Nero. Surely, if it were all a lie that would cost you your life, why spread it and invite the Emperor's wrath for not burning incense to him? The logical alternative is to eat drink and be merry. So it stands to reason, the early martyrs believed they either saw Jesus or were witness to the miracles of the apostles. And thus from an apologetics standpoint, I accept the New Testament on those grounds including the claims of demonic activity independent of the stories of such as reported in the indystar. scordova
I find it disconcerting that intelligent people believe in ghosts
I respect that you feel that way, but intelligent people report seeing ghosts or evidence of ghosts. Creepy things happened when a family member died not too long ago. A clock in our basement stopped exactly around the time of death, one of the grand children started calling out "grandpa" for no reason around the time his grandfather died. I saw a ghost once while in church the night before my catholic confirmation. I was scared to death, I thought I would die that night. Haven't had any episode like it again. Did someone slip LSD-25 psychedelic drugs into the communion cup? Was there some physiological issue in my nervous/eye system that made me see what looked like a white tongue of fire on the cross above the altar? Sure there could be naturalistic explanations for what I saw... I've never had conversations with a ghost and I hope I never do. Psychic phenomenon frighten me, and I found repose and safety in studying engineering and science. Here is an interesting article: Atheists who believe in ghosts The comment section has a nice tid bit about every 10th comment of an atheist reporting a ghost: Some exceprts:
At 66 years old I have come to the conclusion that I am an athiest. I came to this site because I am trying to reconcile this with my belief in ghosts. I have had numerous paranormal experiences. Some of which were witnessed by others that were with me. Do I believe there is a God as the Bible attests to? No! So therefore I am athiest. I am unable to explain how there can be ghosts. Psychic energy left behind? Though there has also been intelligent communication from an unseen energy. So confused!
Now returning to this statement:
I find it disconcerting that intelligent people believe in ghosts, demons, exorcism
Compare with research on the matter: Smart People Believe in Ghosts
Smart People See Ghosts Higher education supports belief in the paranormal By Brad Steiger April 2006 issue of Fate Magazine 4-7-6 "Believe it or not," Robert Roy Britt writes in the January 20, 2006 issue of LiveScience, "according to a new study higher education is linked to a greater tendency to believe in ghosts and other paranormal phenomena." Even though researchers Bryan Farha at Oklahoma City University and Gary Steward of University of Central Oklahoma admitted that they had expectations of finding contrary results, their poll of college students found that seniors and graduate students were more likely to believe in haunted houses, ghosts, telepathy, spirit channeling and other paranormal phenomena than were freshmen. Skeptics Confounded Although the results of the survey are not surprising to long-time researchers in the metaphysical/psychic fields, what is startling is the fact that the poll analysis is published in the January-February issue of The Skeptical Inquirer magazine, the journal of true unbelievers. While the poll may have been conducted with expectations of demonstrating that as students became more educated they dropped questionable beliefs in favor of more skeptical attitudes, The Skeptical Inquirer must be congratulated for publishing results that they really did not wish to find. Farha's and Steward's survey was based on a nationwide Gallup Poll in 2001 that found younger Americans more likely to believe in the paranormal than older respondents. The results of the Farha/Steward poll discovered that gaining more education was not a guarantee of skepticism or disbelief toward the paranormal. While only 23% of the freshman quizzed professed a belief toward paranormal concepts, the figures rose to 31% for college seniors and 34% for graduate students. The complete results of the survey may be found in the January-February issue of The Skeptical Inquirer. The percentages are rounded, and I have indicated the Gallup Poll 2001 figures in parenthesis, the Farha/Steward percentages in bold: Belief in psychic/spiritual healing: 56 (54) Belief in ESP: 28 (50) Haunted houses: 40 (42) Demonic possession: 40 (41) Ghosts/spirits of the dead: 39 (38) Telepathy: 24 (36) Extraterrestrials visited Earth in the past: 17 (33) Clairvoyance and prophecy: 24 (32) Communication with the dead: 16 (28) Astrology: 17 (28) Witches: 26 (26) Reincarnation: 14 (25) Channeling: 10 (15) It is in the "Not Sure" column that the researchers found that the higher the education level achieved, the more likelihood there was of believing in paranormal dimensions and the possibilities of a broader spectrum of reality. Belief in psychic/spiritual healing: 26 (19) Belief in ESP: 39 (20) Haunted houses: 25 (16) Demonic possession: 28 (16) Ghosts/spirits of the dead: 27 (17) Telepathy: 34 (26) Extraterrestrials visited Earth in the past: 34 (27) Clairvoyance and prophecy: 33 (23) Communication with the dead: 29 (26) Astrology: 26 (18) Witches: 19 (15) Reincarnation: 28 (20) Channeling: 29 (21)
I've seen evidence of clairvoyance and telekinetics in my own circle. RA Herrmann's (a US Naval Academy professor of math and physics) experiences were a bit too close to home, so to speak, and I found relief from this frightening stuff by going to conservative protestant churches and studying science and math and engineering. scordova
Oops.. Belief in Exorcism is not funny. The false Belief has lead to many deaths. selvaRajan
Believe in Exorcism is not funny. The false believe has lead to many deaths. Just a sampling of news:
In 2003, an autistic 8-year-old boy in Milwaukee, Wis., was killed during an exorcism by church members who blamed an invading demon for his disability; in 2005 a young nun in Romania died at the hands of a priest during an exorcism after being bound to a cross, gagged, and left for days without food or water in an effort to expel demons. And on Christmas Day 2010 in London, England, a 14-year-old boy named Kristy Bamu was beaten and drowned to death by relatives trying to exorcise an evil spirit from the boy
@selvaRajan I find it disconcerting that intelligent people wilfully deny and ignore the evidence! KRock
@scordova Yes, I have heard of these financial awards to anyone who can produce, as it would seem, an empirically verifiable example of a paranormal event. The problem is, if we are dealing with an unseen malevolent force of some kind, what's to say its not highly intelligent force? There was a scientific investigation of a ranch in Utah back in the mid to late 90's that dealt with unexplained activities. Its documented and there is a book that has been released that goes into detail, explaining the scientists investigative research into these strange events. They concluded that one, there was something unexplained going on, two, who ever was behind these unexplained events was malevolent in nature and three, they were highly intelligent. I do not doubt for one bit that what Dr Gallagher witnessed and documented was anything but, a bonafied demonic possession. I know of nothing else that can account for what he witnessed. Of course, thats not to say that there isn't fraudulent cases. Just this week, a 800 page document was obtained by the Indianapolis star pertaining to a well documented demonic possession case that occured in 2012. Its fascinating to read that nurses, paramedics and child services workers all witnessed a boy (age 9 I think) walk backwards up a wall, onto the ceiling and flip over. Its sent them all running for the door of the room that they were in. It defies the laws of physics. Yes, its anecdotal evidence, buts its anecdotal evidence in corresponding numbers, that it witnesses. But, as a Christian, I understand the need to not delve into this area. I just don't think incidents like the ones I have mentioned above are easily explained. And if thats the case, why ignore them? I agree though, the dug in skeptic will always try and rationalize these sorts of things away, and why shouldn't they, for a naturalistic worldview leaves no room for these sorts of things. Great verse from the Apostle Paul by the way... Thanks! KRock
I find it disconcerting that intelligent people believe in ghosts, demons, exorcism selvaRajan
sent a chill down my spine. Dr Gallagher concluded in his published findings that this case was a bonafied and clear cut case of demonic possession. I find this stuff fascinating from a research perspective as well as from an apologetic standpoint. What are your thoughts?
There are probably better ways to explore apologetics. People in my personal life who delve into this sort of stuff have no end of bad things seeming to visit them. There is a reason I think this advice was given:
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8
The James Randi foundation and other offer lots of money to psychics that will subject themselves to lab conditions and pass their tests. I think that is a good thing to clean up the hoaxes going around, but I do think some of this is real and won't appear in the lab. http://www.skepdic.com/randi.html
In January 2008, the JREF announced that the offer of the million dollar prize will cease on March 6, 2010. However, the prize is still being offered. Click here for the rules. There are others offering prizes to anyone who can demonstrate psychic powers. After collecting the million dollars from Randi, successful psychics might go to India and contact B. Premanand who will pay Rs. 100,000 "to any person or persons who will demonstrate any psychic, supernatural of paranormal ability of any kind under satisfactory observing conditions." Also, "Prabir Ghosh will pay Rs. 20,00,000* to anyone who claims to possess supernatural power of any kind and proves the same without resorting to any trick in the location specified by Prabir Ghosh." The Australian Skeptics offer $100,000 (Australian), $80,000 for the psychic and $20,000 for anyone "who nominates a person who successfully completes the Australian Skeptics Challenge." If you nominate yourself, and are successful, you get the whole hundred grand. The Association for Skeptical Inquiry (ASKE), a U.K. skeptic organization, offers £12,000 for proof of psychic powers. The Independent Investigations Group "offers a $50,000 prize to anyone who can show, under proper observing conditions, evidence of any paranormal, supernatural, or occult power or event." The North Texas Skeptics offer $12,000 to any person who can demonstrate any psychic or paranormal power or ability under scientifically valid observing conditions. The Quebec Skeptics offer $10,000 to any astrologer who can demonstrate her craft according in a formal scientific experiment. The Tampa Bay Skeptics offer $1,000 to anyone able to demonstrate any paranormal phenomenon under mutually agreed-upon observing conditions. A group in New Zealand calling itself "Immortality" is offering a prize of $NZ2,000,000 to anyone "who can display an actual paranormal ability, under controlled conditions." One million goes to the successful applicant and one million to the charity of his or her choice. Finally, conjurer Chris Angel offered $1,000,000 of his own money to Uri Geller and Jim Callahan if they could psychically determine the contents of an envelope he held in his hand. The offer was in response to Callahan's claim that his performance of a trick on a TV show called "Phenomenon" was aided by spirit guide. The offer of cash prizes as an incentive to so-called psychics to prove their claims is not new. In 1922, Scientific American offered two $2,500 awards, one for the first person who could produce an authentic spirit photograph under test conditions and the other for the first medium to produce an authentic "visible psychic manifestation" (Christopher 1975: 180). Houdini, the foremost magician of the period, was a member of the investigating committee. Nobody won the prizes. The first to announce she was ready to be tested was Elizabeth Allen Tomson, but after she was caught with twenty yards of gauze taped to her groin, flowers under her breasts, and a snake in her arm pit, she was never formally tested (Christopher 1975: 188). The honor of being the first medium tested by the Scientific American team went to George Valiantine. He didn't know that the chair he sat in during his séance in a completely darkened room had been wired to light up a signal in an adjoining room every time he left his seat. Oddly, phenomena such as a voice speaking from a trumpet that floated about the room happened only at the exact moments the signal lit up. The Reverend Josie K. Stewart also failed to produce handwritten messages from the dead brought to her by her spirit guide Effie. The committee members marked their cards and she failed three times before declaring success at the fourth trial. But, since the messages she produced were not on the cards that had been supplied by the Scientific American committee, it was determined that she had tried to trick them! What a shock. Another contestant, Nino Pecoraro, claimed to have Eusapia Palladino as his spirit guide. He was doing well fooling some of the committee members until Houdini showed up during a séance. Houdini took the sixty-foot long rope being used to tie up Pecoraro and cut it into many short pieces and tied up "the psychic's wrists, arms, legs, ankles, and torso." Houdini, the master escapologist, knew that "even a rank amateur could gain slack enough to release his hands and feet" when tied with a long rope (Christopher 1975: 191). The great Pecoraro couldn't perform that night. The fifth applicant for the Scientific American prize was Mina Crandon, known in the occult world as "Margery." She didn't collect the prize, either. (For more on "Margery," see the entry on ectoplasm.) In the 1930s, Hugo Gernsback offered a $6,000 prize for any astrologer who could accurately forecast three major events in one year. He never had to pay anyone a cent.* One would think that after more than 150 years of scientific testing of psychics, there would be at least one who could demonstrate a single psychic ability under test conditions. Parapsychologist Dean Radin claims the evidence for psychic phenomena is so strong that only bias and prejudice keep skeptics from accepting the reality of ESP or PK. Why doesn't he claim the million dollar prize, then? According to Radin: for the types of psi effects observed in the laboratory, even a million dollar prize wouldn't cover the costs of conducting the required experiment. Assuming we'd need to show odds against chance of say 100 million to 1 to win a million dollar prize, when you calculate how many repeated trials, selected participants, multiple experimenters, and skeptical observers are necessary to achieve this outcome, the combined costs turn out to be more than the prize. So, from a purely pragmatic perspective, the various prizes offered so far aren't sufficiently enticing. (Radin 2006: 291) The fact is that most parapsychologists have given up trying to find a single person with a single paranormal ability. They study groups of people and collect gobs of data, hoping to find a statistic not likely due to chance, which they then declare to be evidence of psi because it is their hypothesis that if the statistic is not likely due to chance then it is reasonable to conclude that it is due to psi. In other words, they've gone from being duped by con artists to duping themselves.
I believe some phenomenon may escape lab conditions. I have too many friends and family and some personal experience myself to rule the phenomenon out. And there is a remote chance someone someday might claim the prize money, and that will cause a big splash. But even though I don't like these skeptic organizations (since they are very pro-Darwin), this one good thing that they do, but I don't think they are 100% correct to rule out all phenomenon. We'll see... scordova
@ tjguy "There are some things that science just cannot explain and it is not limited to just Christianity as his experiences in the occult confirm. The occult is nothing to fool around with!" I agree that the occult is nothing to fool around with, but what if one sought to investigate the legitimacy of an experience, say a demonic possession? I came accross a case study conducted by a Dr Richard Gallagher, a board certified psychiatrist in the State of New York. Dr Gallagher sat in on a church sanctioned exorcism to offer a scientific perspective back in 2008 and documented the event(s). Lets just say that his published findings in the "New Oxford Review" sent a chill down my spine. Dr Gallagher concluded in his published findings that this case was a bonafied and clear cut case of demonic possession. I find this stuff fascinating from a research perspective as well as from an apologetic standpoint. What are your thoughts? KRock
What a sad story -- another sheep lost to the trinitarian cult. In Dr. Herrman and other examples we see the clear patterns of Satan's intelligent design at work. :-( JWTruthInLove
KF, Thanks for at least reading some of his technical works. I was interested in his views on Einstein's relativity. I find it aesthetically pleasing to ponder the possibility of an absolute reference frame, absolute time, and maybe even a privileged place in the universe. Dr. Herrmann's work touch on some of these things, but as you can see, you'll have to dig hard to get his explanations on some matters. scordova
Looks interesting. I don't like free book files being chopped up into multiple files, so look for the Arxiv page links. Nonstandard analysis, so far as I understand extends the reals to hyper reals and thence the infinitesimals (in effect the multiplicative inverse of a huge no is going to be tiny) and puts Newton's and Leibniz's analysis on a more rigorous foundation. KF kairosfocus
Wow! What a wonderful testimony to the ability of God to change a person's life - even that of an intellectual God-hating mathematician in the 20th century. There are some things that science just cannot explain and it is not limited to just Christianity as his experiences in the occult confirm. The occult is nothing to fool around with! tjguy

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