I'm restoring a blog I previously deleted. Hope you enjoy!
The file is too large to insert all of it here (its a book, really), so I've provided an excerpt that should give you a feel for what it is about. You can download the entire document in word format here:
You can also find the full text at my blog kirkomirk.wordpress.com by clicking here
Beginning of excerpt:
This is the result of my own desire to try to better understand the process of mass deconversion and in what ways that can be improved. When I did this I found what looked to me like a gaping hole in the process; an intellectual liability that needed to be closed. It is a tangent. I don’t like tangents. But that is where we are. This liability has to do with what most people call “morals”. Regardless of its real importance to atheism, it is extremely important to adherents around the globe, independent of their theological beliefs or whims. For this reason, it appears to me that any rigorous program of reasonable and comprehensive means and methods for deconversion must address this problem; that is, we need a durable and sound “moral system” for application to atheism in order that we may counter the charge (and fact?) that atheism is devoid of it. It is my contention that no large scale deconversion effort is going to be effective without solving this problem.
And it is indeed a problem because, some have argued, atheism is intrinsically devoid of morality and it is not clear to me that anyone as yet has shown convincingly that atheism can be “moral”. And that is the salient point that needs to be made at the outset: it makes no difference, as a practical matter for deconversion, whether or not David Hume has destroyed any chance of morality for atheism, but rather, what matters is that we do not have a convincing argument that Hume’s logical dilemma can be overcome. There has been, in my view, a tendency to completely fail to comprehend the significance of the term “convincing” as just used previously. In fact, I would contend that for atheism to gain any significant ground globally the atheist “movement” must mature beyond this narrow womb in which it is dominated by scientists and Science. And that wouldn’t be hard to do in principle because I suspect from my own experience there are in fact more atheists outside science than within. I believe when this occurs it will represent a “break out” point where mass deconversion will rapidly accelerate. That is the hill I want to climb. But of those who are publicly open about their atheist beliefs, almost all are scientists. This must change for us to see any real deconversion progress.
Despite these appearances, I note for completeness that although religions exact a claim to objective morality, they do in fact face the same problem. Religious morality cannot be objective if it is based on the pronouncements of a god, since the god itself is not objective. This follows from the fact that one cannot arbitrarily restrict definitions of subjectivity to the homo sapiens sapiens. The proper restriction is determined by the nature of the thing, thought, and therefore subjectivity is correctly constrained to any entity capable of thought. Any entity to which the property of subjectivity can be assigned necessarily thinks. Having said that, this doesn’t remove the need for atheists engaged in deconversion to provide an objective morality for atheists, as explained supra.
I value the genius and good work of scientists and mean no ill will in saying these things. My point is that scientists need to retire the stage and go back to Science. They need to let the experts pick up the torch in matters of deconversion and public relations generally. To their defense, much of their involvement in this has been out of necessity since the “experts” have to this point refused to come “out” and offer their skills and talents for the cause. This also needs to change. I am saddened and disappointed by the seemingly ubiquitously disastrous public relations embarrassments some are unintentionally but routinely producing daily. And I believe this is due to the fact that professionals in this field are underrepresented.
Not surprisingly some people with a highly specialized profession outside public relations exhibit an understanding of it that is crude to the extreme and, as received by the general public, it is having an absolutely devastating impact on both Science and atheism as a movement which inherently requires the public’s support in order to succeed. It is both unintentional and understandable given the false choice they have been handed. It is time for the public facing professionals to step up to the plate and do their desperately needed part.
The problem having been framed sufficiently for my purposes, I’d like to outline a solution. As the reader may know, a philosopher of some considerable time past named David Hume proposed an interesting ethics problem that many today still debate, discuss and write about. I do not give much credence or significance to ideas formulated in an environment so lacking as compared to the modern one, but the point of bringing this up is that it has a direct bearing on the issue of how others understand the issue of morality.
Hume’s idea, in a crude paraphrase, was to say that the faculty of reason can only be descriptive of causality and fact, but it cannot ascribe value to anything. Value, he proffered, comes from so-called “passions and desires”. This has an interesting nexus in law, since the student of western law will recall that law, in its most fundamental description, is the subject that deals with how value is assigned in society. We shall see that this connection is not coincidental. In any case, Hume’s “passions and desires” would today be analogous to the visceral motivational mechanisms of human beings associated, to my understanding, with the hypothalamus; provided, we restrict our comparison to those “passions and desires” guaranteed common to all human beings. The reason for this restriction is that I am interested in what I can objectively say about these so-called “passions and desires”. If the reader can hold their breath, I will come full circle on this point momentarily.
Hume goes on to frame our understanding of the proper provenance of morality as a limiting condition whereby
1.) one may possess facts through the faculty of reason
2.) but that those facts are insufficient, by themselves, to provide sufficient definition of the act of assignment of value.
which seems to render that morality inaccessible in any objective sense. I have examined this argument carefully and have concluded that though I believe it is in fact fallacious – something to be engaged infra - what matters is it is sufficiently sophisticated to frustrate deconversion. And it does currently.
The first order of business, however, is to substantiate the claim that it is fallacious. Harris attempts to do this with a noble effort that I believe ultimately fails. He essentially argues that this is just a “trick of language”. But the problem with this approach is that it relies on an analysis of Hume’s logical argument using the informal English used by others to describe it. And since his argument is one regarding language, this objection is material. The language often used is a substitution of “is” for “fact” and “ought” for “value”. At once it is clear how this muddies the water. What Hume is saying is that whatever facts we may “know” it is not possible, from those facts alone, to assign value to any … thing. What Hume is doing is to put the burden on the one claiming to have established an objective provenance for morality to show that value can be assigned from knowable facts alone. Harris’ argument does not accomplish this, to my understanding.
Harris’ argument for establishing the “bridge” to connect fact and value is to start by saying that fact and value are in fact “tricks of language”; i.e. a linguistic artifact. And he goes on to say that in reality fact and value are one and the same. This is a clever attempt to bridge these two things. And we shall see in what follows that the correct formulation of Harris’ argument is in fact quite similar, but we have here, it is hoped, refined it to make it more durable and resistant to public challenge. Pragmatically speaking, there is no need to waste our time trying to prove or disprove whether fact and value are in fact one and the same. Rather, we would be better served by inquiring as to whether we can strengthen Harris’ argument since any atheist moral system will obviously depend on bridging fact and value somehow. We shall show, as suggested, that we can. But first, Harris contends that the two serve identically by use of a thought experiment:
Consider the worst possible form of “bad”. Here he is trying to obtain an objective understanding of “good” and “bad”, thus showing that from fact we can indeed obtain value. The crux of this argument is that this works only because the extreme manifestation of the quality of being “bad” makes manifest (thus objective) the value intrinsically contained within that fact; or, intrinsically identical to it. This is a classic “if I add enough numbers together in a finite sequence I’ll get infinity” argument; which is fallacious. This reminds one of those limit laws we all learned about in school. It is actually pretty elegant. I gathered that Harris sees "well being" as a consequence of epistemologically prior causal events that can be subjected to empiricism. And Harris believes all this settles the issue. I demur.
I will explain my position by first attempting to show that though Harris almost certainly didn’t intend to invoke limit laws or any analogue to it, that is in fact what he must do in order for his argument to work with logical certainty. And the problem this presents for deconversion is that it presents an intellectual vulnerability if it is merely accepted as an uncertain but “reasonable” conclusion. But Harris’ argument when pressed in this manner, we can see, quickly comes apart. It is not meaningful to “pass a limit” on something that is not discrete or subject to algebraic manipulation.
This is a clumsy way of saying that there is no objective concept of what the worst (analogous to infinity) thing one can experience is in the first place. Thus, Harris cannot establish the most extreme example, and thus guarantee that all observers will agree that it is the worst of all possible instances, which is what he implicitly requires as predicate in this thought experiment (and that follows from the fact that for every bad score x there is a corresponding worse bad score y such that y > x). This step is, by definition, necessary to move from a subjective to an objective statement.
Any clever creationist or anyone else wishing to attack this can do so with effectiveness sufficient to place a comprehensive set of means and methods for deconversion at risk of failure. Therefore, I reject it.
For this reason, before progressing to the specifics of deconversion we’re hopefully going to tighten up Harris’ logic and render it durable. But in saying this I do not mean to suggest we are going to merely come up with an answer no one can refute, but one that also has the quality of being logically sound.
First, Harris is trying to bite off more than he can chew. All he needs to do is show that at least some overlap exists between fact and value.
To explain this we rely informally on Set Theory. Let one set A be the set of all facts accessible to reason, which we shall go ahead and promote to modern terminology if the reader does not mind:
Let one set A be the set of all facts accessible to empiricism and
Let one set B be the set of all discrete valuations knowable to any set of observers C.
Then we are asking if there is any union A ∪ B not empty. But just as Harris should have been restrained, we are restrained to the consideration of only those valuations that are common to all human beings, which is how we escape Harris’ folly. A quick conversation with a biologist will hopefully make short work of this list. The list we are building is precisely those facts knowable to us (through Biology in this case) that are guaranteed to stand simultaneously as valuations for any arbitrarily chosen human being. The list, along with what biologists currently consider the quintessential traits of each, is as follows:
Sex – ways we seek mates (allowing and enabling all the ways one might want to mate or simulate the act through sex – promoting sex basically)
Nutrition – affects our career choices (allowing for and promoting a productive career)
Control of one’s space – control of one’s environment (allowing space, sovereignty of abode, an abode)
Aversion to Conflict – protection from each other (supporting individual safety and boundaries)
fact [reason] vs. value [hypothalamus]
ð fact [reason] vs. value [Sex, Nutrition, Control, Aversion]
Done. But what does this mean? It demonstrates that there is an objective morality that can be obtained from fact alone. It is morally “good” when human sexuality is as liberalized as possible and people are free in their sexual lives and affections, when nutrition is a need well addressed and no one starves or is malnourished, when one has a right to some kind of sovereignty of abode and ability to control their personal – access to housing itself being part of that - and physical space, and when persons have the tools and means to establish and maintain their safety and reasonable boundaries that others cannot cross. The latter “good” constitutes a rabbit hole in that it drags in all sorts of human rights concepts. I will expound.
First, I’d try to identify in what way this “good” thing limits human rights so that we know what to include in this discussion. Individual safety and boundaries is a “good” restricted essentially to those human rights (as we have come to call them) which serve to give deference to an individual’s safety and the personal boundaries that ensure or work to guarantee that safety. I have created a list of those rights as Article 7 of my fundamental law for a general federation and I reference the reader to that (see Appendix). In any case, what we have found is a set of axiomatic moral goods that are not all too different from what Harris and Dawkins also speak of. More on how it differs will be discussed later.
At the end of the day we really just come full circle: the morals we identify are remarkably similar to what Harris would have envisioned anyway. And the reason for this isn’t all that surprising. What Harris and most people can intuitively surmise to be “good”, I contend, derives ultimately from the very system we’ve identified as being the source of moral certainty; the Four F’s. So it should therefore be no surprise that Harris’ conclusions might look remarkably similar to Article 7. But the key difference is that what we have obtained is an objective foundation for moral certitude. And, to be sure, the morals we identify differ from those of Harris or anyone else in the details, which is also part of what makes our approach useful. It gives us a greater insight into exactly what kind of moral system is most desirable.
But, one other deficiency in Harris’ formulation has to do with group versus individual “rights” or “good”. Oddly, Harris and Dawkins both seem to be acutely aware of this problem but only in the most camouflaged sense. Harris has written numerous oblique references to this problem and we need to examine it here (these are observations from a recorded discussion at Oxford in April 2011).
1.) hospital organ donors being murdered to save more lives is posed but never engaged.
2.) There is a trolley just below a cliff and you stand above. The trolley is certain to impact and kill 4 people, but a nice large fat man is beside you and if he fell on the tracks he would stop the trolley. Do you push him off for a net rescue of 4 people? How does this compare when the act of pushing him off is abstracted from you (say, by being able to drop someone on the track by some distant remote control scheme)?
3.) Harris vaguely appealed to something like reciprocal altruism as the solution to the hospital and trolley problem
4.) Did Harris actually argue in favor of human misery without meaning to do so? It sounded like it when he argued against the use of certain psychiatric drugs.
5.) Harris stated that free will is illusory and I was oddly comfortable with that, intellectually speaking, until I began to ponder the problem of non-deterministic *and* non-algorithmic mental processes. I would argue that Harris’ argument did not sustain.
6.) Harris spoke of the difference between justice (he uses this term not in the legal sense but in the popular sense of "fairness") and "well being"; without realizing it was really just a distinction between individual and group. His argument about "well being" was basically, as I think I've learned tonight, his formation and assertion of archetype in consequentialism.
Perhaps the biggest public relations liability comes from the apparent views of both Harris and Dawkins which is the massive and blatant avoidance of any meaningful discussion of group versus individual rights; as evidenced from above. And “apparent” is a deliberate word choice since that is really what concerns us here; that is, appearances generally. We shall engage it here.
Group versus Individual Good
Harris speaks of zero sum scenarios when dealing with the question of group or individual. His final solution to the dilemma, unfortunately, is to just dismiss it as “not important” because he thinks that something akin to reciprocal altruism will “solve it”. In other words, he thinks people will “just be compassionate” in those difficult moral moments. This is completely unacceptable and is a recipe not only for serious challenge but serious disgust and disdain from adherents. Let’s be clear, my purpose is to spread atheism everywhere.
Harris does seem to acknowledge the problem of the zero sum game by saying that zero sum situations in which the individual’s utility increases with no utility increase for the group, or vice versa, is a reality. So, in order to better understand the discussion and frame it properly, we will go back to the statements supra that have been attributed to Harris and/or Dawkins.
In the case of the hospital and trolley example, the logic is similar but not exactly the same. In Harris’ trolley example the point of this that I gathered is to illustrate the difference between a rational decision versus the impulses of reciprocal altruism which may not be rational, at least within the limitations of the example. How is this? When a human being has to make a decision about who shall live or die based solely on number (the remote control example), the decision will revert to reason alone as there is nothing confounding the thought process. But when the presumptively purely rational decision is contaminated with an emotional component (the “fat man”) the outcome may not be rational. What we mean by emotion is essentially identical to Hume’s “passions”. And it is the introduction of abstraction into this example that finally explains this. When the “fat man” is standing directly next to you, the reality of that person’s existence is less abstract than the reality of the existence of the people on the trolley. And this is normal and good. It is a trait that helps protect us from deception.
But what does this story, as well as most of the similar stories Harris and Dawkins offer, ultimately tell us? It demonstrates that the interests of the individual may, in many circumstances, be more likely defended by an advocate acting out of passions rather than reason. To understand this, one only needs to see that the Trolley example is an extreme. Consider what would happen if we change the Trolley example to a scenario where there is one person on the trolley and the “fat man” standing next to you. You know one must die by the circumstances given. But let’s add a caveat. Say you don’t know the man next to you but the person on the trolley is a friend or acquaintance. Now it gets murky. If you don’t know the person that well you might well leave the “fat man” right where he is and let your “friend” die. In fact, this kind of oxymoronic behavior is all too common in human society. It is the physical proximity of the “fat man”, hence his reification to the actor, that forces the “passions” to override reason. And it was this “passion” that allowed the “fat man” to gain favor. We could come up with better examples for sure, but the point is that we can sustain this argument with Harris’ example alone; to wit, our example illustrates our point but need not serve as proof of it.
So, what Harris is actually dancing around here is the problem of the individual versus the group. He appears ill-equipped to respond to it apparently due to a lack of sufficient background in matters of civil society, contracts, economics and law. In other words, Harris needs to introduce the concept of equity in law to make progress in this discussion. He can be forgiven for this, but not if he then uses this to begin making statements regarding morality in human society. Thus we identify the second failure of the Harris proposition. And it is a failure as far as I’m concerned only inasmuch as it leaves Harris’ morality vulnerable to negative public relations. Often an advocate’s insecurities – of whatever stripe but in this case of the intellectual kind - are exposed by what they focus on the most and it is uncanny how reliable this is. So much time and discussion spent on these stories and examples belie what I think is an uncertainty about the completeness of the proposition. This uncertainty would be correctly founded.
How do we fix this? That becomes the subject of law and economics and is a lengthy answer beyond the scope of this work. But the point is that Harris and Dawkins are vastly oversimplifying their true capacity to speak authoritatively on moral issues in society precisely because of their incompetence in law and economics, their refusal to engage it, or their mistake of not engaging it. Harris’ decision to suggest that something akin to reciprocal altruism or compassion would just “take care of itself” is a disastrous mistake and will be handily dispatched should his social ideas ever result in consideration in law, which it ultimately would if successful. All of Harris’ examples of this type suffer from the same problem. This will not work aid to atheism.
I have provided a lengthy proposition regarding the matter of law and economics as it relates both to the social contract generally and to atheist morality in the form of the fundamental law for a general federation supra. That should be taken as a companion to this work and we shall proceed with the topic at hand.
Consequentialism is not a word
That whether something would be adjudged “good” or not should rely on empirically measurable outcomes is, for this author, the proverbial no-brainer and does not require a two-cent word. This is not intended to be facetious: it may be that this term has academic merit but we do not want to put this in front of the public for several reasons we do not need to engage here. And on this larger point there seems to be fairly wide agreement amongst atheists and to some imperfect fidelity, adherents.
We will now attempt to apply reason to establish value from fact in law and equity to generate a more complete picture of that which has already been discussed.
An executor of the social contract acting in combination of rule of law and equity in law, and presuming general equity as described in general federalism, renders the following objects as fundamental human rights that are inalienable and cannot be granted by any government, but merely exist stare decisis:
1.) Allowing for/guaranteeing and enabling all the ways one might want to mate or simulate the act through sexual relations, regardless of kind, scope, extent or type (qualified against 4 in fl). A natural person cannot be made to suffer an infringement of their human sexuality, regardless of kind.
2.) Allowing for/guaranteeing and promoting one’s capacity to be a “financially productive” (this phrase has a specific statutory meaning in fl) entity. A natural person cannot be made to suffer an infringement of their capacity for livelihood, regardless of kind.
3.) Allowing for/guaranteeing space, sovereignty of abode, and a viable guarantee of housing for all with no homelessness. A natural person cannot be made to suffer an infringement of their right to be secure in shelter whose space they control, regardless of kind.
4.) Supporting/guaranteeing individual safety and the personal boundaries that speak to it; even if to some degree if by perception only (to be expounded upon). A natural person cannot be made to suffer an infringement of their general safety and reasonable sense thereof, regardless of kind. Numerous human rights come out of this – see Article 7.
The fundamental requirement to meet this goal is that we must be able to advance by applying reason to fact from the so-called 4 F’s to the 4 statements above. The actual identity between fact and value occurs at the level of Biology as previously described. But we have here assumed this extended understanding of the four F’s because it seems reasonable and reflects what appears to be the interpretation of the “4 F’s” by most biologists who study it. However, this set of steps needs to be tightened up by someone competent in that field. I would point out to the reader that these four F’s emerge more or less fully in human beings at approximately puberty, a foreshadowing of the human rights of youth and something that is often overlooked.
To advance this discussion the reader will need to divert from here to the fundamental law already mentioned. This represents the interface between what are fairly basic sciences and law and economics (the plan is to write an “interface” document to connect the provisions of Article 7 formally). We now proceed to the main topic.
An Introduction to Counter-Apologetics
In order to understand the specifics of Counter Apologetics we must be clear that religion involves mind control, and this mind control results in delusional thought processes. This was developed more completely in the previous section. So, for this reason, counter apologetics deals not only with “deprogramming” the adherent but “reprogramming” the adherent as well. In this sense, the characteristics of the religious con job are reflected in the “reprogramming” process as well. The difference however, is that in the case of “reprogramming” we are not dealing with a fraud. As a result, the terminology will be reflected in both senses: “con artist” and “mark” are approximately synonymous with “deconverter” and “adherent”, respectively.
The “us – them” brainwashing allows the con artist (religious leadership) to get someone to do virtually anything. In virtually all religious communities the idea of “us” vs. “them” is a salient feature that is used frequently to control the adherent: if everyone “outside” the cult or following is “them” then “they” cannot be trusted and the only source of trust is the con artist, the religious leadership. And so, in religion everyone outside the specific sect is under the influence of the devil. You must keep that in mind. Associated with this dynamic is the fact that, typically, leaders of religious groups suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder or score high in that dimension on personality (Axis I or Axis II).
The psychology of a con job begins by exploiting a person’s (the mark’s) greatest fear which is always:
“I’m scared I’m going to be rejected for …” [individual specific - it could be anything]
The mark will try to conceal this and will not freely discuss it.
This whole dynamic creates pressure on the mark:
“So that I don’t get rejected I have to hide that I am …” [individual specific - it could be anything]
This pressure and pre-occupation with hiding a set of features or traits causes the mark to be distracted emotionally and intellectually:
People tend to project their own insecurities, in its full generality, to others. Studies show that people will tend to more strongly perceive a negative trait in others if they believe they have the same negative trait. The more negative they perceive their own trait, the stronger the projection. More finessed methodologies show that insecurities are guarded and protected by this projection, and that it is a defensive mechanism. In any case, the fear of rejection is a product of insecurity. Once one knows the insecurities, they know more precisely what the fears are.
The accomplished deconverter should use this frequently to gauge what the adherent is insecure about vis-à-vis their faith or belief in a god. This is done by observing what the adherent finds to be negative about atheism generally, which is accomplished through the question posing approach of the Socratic Method discussed infra. The deconverter is not concerned about any other insecurities the adherent may harbor.
So, the con artist has to identify the mark’s fear. For deconversion we are fortunate because the context tells us much: the greatest fears of the mark are at least partly identified; namely, a fear of mortality and punishment by a god. This gives the deconverter a huge head start. Other fears regarding the adhernet’s religion and beliefs are identified by in turn identifying insecurities using the method just described. But going back to our generalized description of the techniques, once the con artist has identified this fear, the con artist will:
1.) Threaten to expose the secret fear of the mark or
2.) Threaten the mark that the con artist will personally reject the mark.
It is at this point that the role of the deconverter diverges from the true con artist, the religious leadership. Here, the fear of death, for example, is not as sensitive of a secret as the kind exploited by con artists and the deconverter has no need (nor any desire) to threaten the adherent.
In the case of a genuine con job or fraud, the next step is that the mark may react by being antagonized (and thence try to control the con artist) or by fleeing. At this point the con artist has succeeded in their goal; which is to wrest power over the mark.
We can now operationally define the role of the mark in terms of the mark’s personality:
A mark is someone who will always be at increased risk of manipulation because they “feel” rejectable in themselves about who/what they are and are afraid of people finding out. A mark is almost always a particularly insecure individual.
Avoiding rejection is a survival instinct and we all do it. But to begin the deconversion process, the adherent must first be disabused of their fear (which is distinct from the fear used by a con artist to control a mark) of the wrath of their god for engaging in thoughts that might serve to question the existence of their god. This is the first true step of deconversion. The best way to accomplish this is to appeal to the authority of that god itself. Thus, a prayer, or whatever appropriate supplication as required, can be performed to ask their god to allow them to use the faculties their god gave them, the power of reason, to at least consider in the hypothetical, the best arguments available for questioning the existence of their god. The deconverter may participate with the adherent in this act and can justify it by pointing out that their god, most likely, would value any adherents desire to strengthen their faith through inquiry and positive doubt. This is generally a well accepted notion in the Christian community, at least. By performing this act the adherent greatly reduces the stress involved in the very idea of engaging in these kinds of thoughts, something normally a massive stumbling block to deconversion. The next issue to be sure I mentioned in this supplication is the plea to the god or gods to relieve the adherent of feelings of guilt for betraying or abandoning their “personal” god. We shall refer to this as the decompression prayer.
The key to establishing arguments against the existence of God is to first and foremost, before you attempt any convincing or make any arguments against God, remove the fear inherent within adherents over even considering the possibility that God does not exist. This lies in the background of every deconversion attempt as the foundation that keeps adherents in denial, regardless of the sophistication of the challenge. The decompression prayer will address part of this. But the ubiquitous fear of death for adherents; that is, death definitive and eternal, is a more profound problem.
In attempting to “mature” the adherent to a level of understanding and acceptance of human mortality the best approach is to find a suitable alternative to assuage their fears. Not surprisingly, the very thing most atheists believe (at least everyone in my family has believed for generations) regarding purpose and eternity is likely the best paradigm we can offer the adherent. Here the concept of the indelible mark on humanity substitutes for eternal life. For all people the depth and scope of such a mark on history varies considerably. But what is important is that the adherent understands the notion of a mark on this world as analogous to the idea of “God’s ongoing creation” theology, as it is commonly presented in the Christian popular framework. In this view, the adherent “lives eternally” in the after effect they have on other human beings that follow them. While it is not a one for one substitution identity, most find that in some odd way this has the effect of placating fears of mortality. Exactly why this works is not clear, but once the adherent is fully conditioned into this world-view, they will in all likelihood experience far less anxiety over the issue of eternal life, or the lack thereof. And this view goes beyond the simplistic and in some ways venal notion of procreation as a substitute for eternal life which; by the way, is far less effective in assuaging one’s fears of death.
We recommend that a preliminary conversation occur in which both the fear of God’s reprisal for considering the possibility that “he” doesn’t exist and the introduction of definitive mortality is introduced, solidified in meaning and clarity and internalized by the adherent before proceeding to counter apologetics. This can be presented purely as a hypothetical conversation without any initial focus on why this is being done or that it is preparation for deconversion. Only once deconverted will the former adherent realize what this was about.
A final word is in order regarding the preparation and handling of the adherent. Given the description above regarding how religion operates like a con job and how it involves mind control, the deconverter must keep in mind that when “reversing” the con job one is taking on a massive moral responsibility regarding the emotional and psychological safety of the adherent, or their sense thereof, and that the deconverter must take their role in this very seriously. In a deconversion cycle such as this the deconverter is fully responsible for the psychological health and well being of the adherent and must be prepared to follow up on the progress of the adherent even after deconversion. This is an absolutely essential step not only for its moral weight but for practical reasons: failure to “care for the flock” in these cases will undermine the credibility of the overall mission of mass deconversion.
Thus, the introduction of an “atheist support structure” as mentioned supra is also calculated to serve this purpose. In mass deconversion attempts this support structure must be well established before attempting any deconversions. It is preferable that a psychiatrist familiar with this type of process is retained or part of this support structure and is available at all times. They should be able and willing to provide their services to any adherent in the process of deconversion without charge or condition.
We will now provide an overview of what we hope is the current consensus understanding of psychologists regarding the psychology of belief; in our case, in religions or gods. Our intent is, of course pragmatic, as we seek to outline only the psychological artifacts relevant to deconversion. In that regard it will be somewhat selective and very much limited in scope. One of the strangest things I discovered in my research was that the techniques I learned from my family and that my famiy had used for generations was an identical parallel to psychological research on the same subject. I was astounded. Here, you will read all about it.
How to be a Master Con Artist
What we shall see in this work is that deconversion deals with two sides of a counterfeit coin. On one side are the con jobs of religion and its leaders. On the other side is deconversion which necessarily depends on some of the same techniques used by con artists. So, there is some overlap, but the deconverter is not engaging in a con or a fraud. It is only that the methods required involve fighting fire with fire.
So how do these con artists do their art and magic? What is their secret? There are 8 primary secrets of the Master Con Artist.
Adherents will often seek out a concrete pattern to confirm a pre-existing, general belief. It is a form of failed induction. The capacity for inductive reasoning has been strongly associated with Spearman’s g factor, that is, IQ. Notice how this is being weaponized by religious leaders against those on the left of the bell curve? But failures of inductive reasoning can occur anytime there is a pattern in a set of specific examples in which multiple general solutions are possible. In these cases people will tend to adopt the pattern that induces their pre-existing beliefs. Since life is full of cases in which multiple general solutions exist to specific occurrences in life, this is readily exploited as well. The rate at which this occurs in a randomly selected group of people is around 73%; that is, 73% will tend to confirm a general solution that is incorrect or not verifiable by the pattern given.
The accomplished deconverter will learn how to recognize when an adherent is answering with what academics call Confirmation Bias and he or she will then respond in the following manner:
The deconverter should provide their own pattern of Confirmation Bias to explain the same presenting topic in order to demonstrate the fallibility of what the adherent is doing. It will be done in question format by simpy asking the adherent, well, what if we assumed predicate B instead of the one you assumed, A? Then I can reach the same conclusion, right? The deconverter will feign sincerity in the pattern they present, or at least not offer up the fact that this was an intentional thought provoking tool. But the point is to come up with a pattern that will reach a contradictory conclusion, or that reaches the same conclusion beginning with a different predicate, as the case may require.
People’s perception of events, that is, their reliability as a witness, can be manipulated by superficial artifacts (appearances). The most common manipulation of appearance is language. By using certain verbs and adjectives, you can influence one’s testimony of fact. In addition, by introducing through our Socratic questions details that did not occur or are not true we can increase the likelihood of distorting (or shifting) one’s view of reality. The deconverter should use this in reverse on the adherent by using the appropriate adjectives and verbs in the Socratic questioning we will examine infra. Keep in mind that adjectives and verbs used in this manner must be subtle and camoflouged. Academics have operationally defined this as the Misinformation Effect.
The accomplished deconverter will learn how to use adjectives and adverbs in their speech that serve to perturb or dislocate the adherent’s point of view without making their speech sound histrionic or melodramatic:
The deconverter should use terms that emphasize the absurdity of the position the adherent is holding without it sounding histrionic or offensive and with terms that are more forceful than what would normally be used. Words such as “fiction” such be replaced with terms like “fairy tale”, for example, if the deconverter can do so without being offensive.
How can 2 billion people be wrong? It sounds compelling at first. But research shows that when subjects are asked to make a trivial assessment of fact with no knowledge of anyone else’s assessment, their accuracy is about 98%. And when that same assessment is performed after the subject observes the incorrect conclusions of several other subjects the subject reaches the correct conclusion only about one-half the time. The takeaway from this for the deconverter is that human beings tend to be influenced rather strongly by the ancillary information fed to them.
This has been replicated many times over the years. With a sufficient number of trials, not less than 75% of the general population will conform with the erroneous perception of total strangers.
But what happens when the choice is nontrivial? Now increase the stakes. The accuracy plummets yet further.
The studies have been performed in many different ways. Police line ups, for example, show the same pattern. There the error conformity rate is found to be around 51% when a subject is asked to identify someone in a line up when others in the same room choose the wrong person (they conform to their confederates and are wrong). So, 51% of the time a person will incorrectly identify a suspect solely because everyone else in the room did.
Therefore, false beliefs can be generated with statistical reliability by making an idea popular. And the more ambiguous the judgment the higher the rates of conformity to false beliefs. People do this very thing when acculturated to the religion of, say, a particular geographic region.
The presence of a single dissenting ally is enought to reduce conformity by 80%. Use this to introduce agents provocateurs in deconversion sessions.
The accomplished deconverter will learn how to make use of a team during live deconversion sessions; all of whom are also trained in deconversion and can be remain quiet and passive during the entire session except when needed for informational influence, which the deconverter will cue when needed. For video productions, the ideal scenario is to have the adherent watch the video amongst deconverters filling the same role. If not possible, the video should contain scenes that mimic these cues for informational influence. For reasons we will learn infra, one of these assistants will preferably represent an authority figure or emotionally close person for the adherent.
The deconverter should use team members by cueing them at any point during the process in which the the adherent offers a particularly strong objection to a given point in the conversation. At these points, the team members should assist only by asking Socratic questions in a low voice; thence exposing their opinion on the matter through further development of the question and answer exchange. Each team member in turn should do this until at least three deconverters total have expressed the counter apologetic opinion. The experienced deconverter will know how to round robin these questions without intimidating the adherent or making the adherent feel as if they are being outnumbered or verbally assaulted. Video productions will ideally entail acting out these scenes explicitly.
Studies also show conclusively that if a credentialed professional provides an answer to a question posed in their bailiwick people will tend to agree with that person’s conclusion. But when told the conclusion was wrong, they tend not to reverse. Rather, they continue adhering to the wrong belief. This is the basis of decompression seeding, described in a section infra. In decompression seeding accounts and narratives of fact, history and/or reality are proposed that are cleary or potentially false to the adherent by appeals to authorities who are experts on the subject at hand.
The accomplished deconverter will not express their opinion on the matter at this point. Because it involves an appeal to authority, the topic discussed must be completely independent of religion, or seemingly so, since appeals to authority on religious matters will likely backfire.
And the idea with the narrative, which is often a conspirarcy theory, is to plant a seed of doubt from a secular narrative that has implications for a religious counter apologetic point of contention that the deconverter needs to address with the adherent in order to advance the deconversion. Usually, due to its potential complexity, the decompression seeding technique is used only for the most resistant objections the deconverter wants to dislodge. And for the same reason, these decompression seeds should be developed in advance as a library of conspiracy theories or dubious narratives each of which being a secular conclusion that has implications for a specific counter apologetic that is commonly encountered.
An excellent example is the case of the historicity of Jesus. Adherents obviously will have a hard time accepting any suggestion that the Synoptics cannot be traced back to the actual time of Jesus’ life, or that Nazareth did not exist in that time, or that forgery might have been occurring on a mass scale. But by convincingly challenging, say, the chronology of history as a whole, which might suggest indirectly that Jesus could not have lived during the time claimed, a seed of doubt resistant to removal due to what academics call belief persistence is implanted. When the adherent researches the subject later and is thence convinced that it is completely bogus, the seed of doubt is resistant to removal. In the case of chronology, an accomplished mathematician has studied celestial data and performed rather convincing calculations that appear to show that the Scaligarian chronology is completely incorrect. He went on to demonstrate how dating techniques were misleading researchers. Because of this mathematician’s credentials, the argument has force in the fugitive sense. But once the adherent finds out that the proponent was A.T. Fomenko, someone whose theories of history have all been challenged vociferously, it is too late. The seed is planted. The propaganda is laid. It really works.
This technique is also called the “foot in the door” technique because it is used by sales persons. Basically, you get the adherent (either in the role of deconverter or religious exploiter) to agree to a small concession or to pay a small price up front in order to gain compliance on a more costly demand made shortly thereafter. Studies have shown that the percentage of person’s offering compliance to costly demands increases significantly by using this technique. The improvement in getting compliance with this technique is about twice what it is without securing a smaller commitment up front.
The accomplished deconverter will learn how to use this technique when the adherent is resistant to considering a particular sub topic or question the deconverter has posed, to include using it to convince the adherent to intiate the deconversion session (adherents are resistant to this for the reasons mentioned supra; i.e. the decompression prayer discussion). The adherent will often provide real or perceived costs they must bear in discussing the forbidden topic. This should be set up using the technique of gaining compliance on a smaller cost before gaining compliance on the larger, full cost.
The deconverter should get the adherent to agree to discuss a peripheral but very similar sub topic to the one which the adherent is averting. This process should be repeated several times. In each case, a small bit of information regarding the verboten topic is gathered and many sub topics are covered until finally, a complete picture of the averted topic can be had.
Human beings have a known strong tendency to engage in anthropomorphization. Persons with brain damage and Autism tend to be devoid of this tendency or to have a weakened expression of it. This demonstrates how ubiquitous this is in human beings. It is a strong biasing factor. When confronted with mysterious and dramatic events human beings tend to fill the void of uncertainty with human-like agents. The drama provides the motive and the agent solves the mystery. Intelligent deisgn and teleological agruments used by adherent apologists are a form of anthropomorphization. Independent of religious belief, studies show that people will tend to see a “purpose” in the design of perfectly natural (or even abstract) objects by default. The rates for this in young adults are about 33% for natural abiotic objects, 69% for biological organisms and 96% for human artifacts. But when these experiments are conducted with 5 year old children, children make very little distinction between these things. Their numbers are 73% natural objects, 78% biological organisms and 83% human artifact. What this demonstrates is a strong, innate human bias to perceive design in any object. Only upon being socialized and “educated” do human beings begin to refrain, to some degree, from this tendency. In other words, the entire teleological argument is in reality just an innate, visceral reaction to reality that is not real. Intelligent Design is literally childish.
The deconverter should prepare for the deconversion session beforehand by developing several examples of anthropomorphization in which the appearance of purpose is very compelling. These examples should be examples that confirm or appear to strongly validate principles or “truths” of religions other than the religion of the adherent being deconverted. This can be done by carefully choosing a “truth” or fact that, while consistent with some other religion, directly contradicts the tenets of the religion of the adherent being deconverted. And since this conclusion was reached by seeing a compelling purpose or agency behind the event observed, it serves to undermine the adherent’s confidence in their own perceptions of purpose or “agenticity”, as it is called by academics. Some examples have been provided in the Appendix.
The practiced deconverter will use the Socratic Method described infra to pose these observations as questions in which it is asked, “If there is disagreement in the purpose seen in different examples, how do I know which god’s purpose is genuine in all these examples”? The technique developed infra is one in which the adherent is being asked to convince the deconverter that their god is the one, true god of all the gods worshipped by human beings.
Controlled studies show that, though it may be surprising, belief is generated by simply expressing it as fact; provided it is done in a particular manner. This is why “witnessing” is so popular in most religions; it is a deliberate tool for brainwashing and that is why it is so strongly encouraged.
In many of the studies performed on this phenomenon, a boring, monotonous and trying experience is “sold” using an insufficient justification. This concept is tricky and not at first obvious. But numerous studies have shown it to be true. It is essentially a defensive mechanism used to protect one’s conscience from discomfort or shock when a person is forced or otherwise compelled to act against their conscience. When a person is compelled to lie but given little or no justification for doing so, we tend more strongly to just believe the lie – conveniently sidestepping the guilt of lying, and we tell what we now “believe” to be true. It makes no difference how blatant the falsity of the claim is. But when given much greater justification for lying we correctly tend not to believe the lie when compelled to tell it. This is likely because the conscience is not disturbed or shocked since the individual can justify the lie. This is an utterly fascinating trick used by the creators of religion to brainwash:
… It exploits the very thing that sociopaths and narcissists lack; a conscience.
It is one’s conscience that tends to cause them to do this. Whoever came up with this knew how to run a con job and understood the psychology of a mark. And this is a tell-tell feature of religion; this tendency to observe exploitation of a person’s conscience, sense of compassion and empathy in order to gain their submission and compliance; to make them docile and malleable. It is precisely what persons in positions of power would dream of as a weapon for controlling large populations. This motif will keep coming up throughout this work.
So the con artists of religion long ago promoted this idea of “bearing witness” and extolled it as an adherent’s sacred duty to perfrom as often as possible. All they were doing was compelling their adherent’s to tell lies with insufficient justification. Over time these lies solidify into hardened belief systems.
As for the adherent, the deconverter should attempt to “sell” them on the notion of temporarily withholding “witnessing” and “bearing” of religious experiences for at least a week, the longer the better. This can be framed as a thought experiment in which you are going to ask the adherent to describe to you any difference the adherent noticed once the exercise is complete. The reason for the exercise should not be shared with the adherent, but it should be stressed to the adherent that this is just temporary, and is only a thought experiment in order to gain their consent. Indeed, the “low ball” technique should be used to first ask them to try it until you meet again (hopefully not long). This can be repeated in each meeting so that the adherent does not have to consent to what they might regard as too long a period of time to make it acceptable. The true purpose of it is to aid in decompression during the deconversion process (which could take several days or more). Ideally, this exercise will extend throughout that period of time, however long it may be. Additionally, the deconverter will use insufficient justification on the adherent in reverse.
The skilled deconverter will reverse this con and apply it to the adherent to convince them of the truth of a universe with no gods. But this primary strategy is purely opportunistic: It only works when the deconverter has a strong degree of influence with the adherent. This typically only occurs in close relationships or religious settings. Therefore, this can only be used on adherents with an emotional bond to the deconverter. But should that be the case, the skilled deconverter will immediately apply this technique first. And it is quite simple. The deconverter simply tells the adherent there are no gods and devises a means to get the adherent to repeat this over and over. Specifically, the most compelling evidence exposed during the deconversion session can be used in directing the adherent to repeat that evidence over and over.
And this brings up a fascinating theory I’ve heard proposed in my own family before. What if a “religion” of atheism could be devised? Then the religious nature of the relationship between deconverter and adherent can be used with incredible effect; just as it is with religious leaders and their adherents. We examine this possibility in our discussion of Unitarian Univeralism as a decompression religion to which a hardened adherent can be converted to first. We recommend this be done if time and available effort permits.
Having said this, since these opportunistic conditions may no exist, the deconverter might have to accept a secondary means of exploiting insufficient justification in a reverse con. The best way to do this is to once again employ the agent provocateur who can act in the role of a religious leader (perhaps a Unitarian Universalist) who can use their “authority” with the adherent, if that can be developed, to make requests on behalf of the deconverter that will aid the deconverter in their work. These requests might include convincing the adherent to do the same thing the deconverter would do if an emotional bond existed; as we described above. The only difference is that the perceived authority is provided form a different source. In fact, any source of “authority” (in the eyes of the adherent) will suffice for this purpose.
The need for closure is a recognized psychological trait that comes in varying degrees amongst individuals in the general population. Those with a high need for closure tend to be outwardly observed as people with strong opinions, or who are strongly opinionated. By reaching a certain conclusion on an issue, one can have emotional closure. And whenever there is a void of fact people tend to fill it with certainty, regardless of how silly the conclusion may be. Furthermore, the order in which people receive information also affects how they rate the value of the object to which that information pertains. If received in order of increasing negativity, the final rating is more positive. If presented in order of increasing favorability, the final rating is more negative. The greater one’s tendency to need closure the more the person latches on to the first pieces of information and the value it assigns. This is called the Primacy Effect.
There are specific conditions under which this is more likely to occur; an important observation for religious contexts. If little is known of the object being ranked or valued, this tendency to rank according to the order in which information about the object is given is greater. This is a fancy version of “first impressions count the most” (because they are “first” impressions, the information about the object –in this example the person - is limited).
The need for closure in making value judgements can be augmented by placing a time pressure on the individual, forcing them to make a decision quickly. Loud noise can also cause this. In these cases people will experience a greater tendency to latch on to the information received first. The tendency to base conclusions on earlier information will be augmented in environments where there is:
Persons with low Primacy are almost completely immune to the Primacy Effect. But here is the big takeaway; persons with a high need for closure can be satisfied by simply saying “nobody knows” the answer, and that is okay. This dramatically reverses the observed behavior rendering the person with a high need for closure virtually identical to those with a low Primacy vis-à-vis some given example or trial. In other words, instead of saying that god did it, as an immediate form of closure to any intellectual question, one can substitute “nobody knows” and it works. This is a huge thing for deconversion and why pushing scientific certainty with adherents will always backfire.
This is so important it needs repeating. This is the primary reason why scientists have done such a poor job of public relations in the matter of deconversion: they cannot shut up and have an unstoppable urge to try to answer everything.
Therefore, the adherent with a high need for closure will find any argument that satisifies their high need for closure to be compelling. The god did it answer is one such example. Therefore, the best answer an adherent can give in situations where high need for closure waxes prominent is a strong, firm, “I don’t know” or “we don’t know”. The deconverter should never attempt to answer a question, and thus should always clearly and vocally surrender the question to ignorance, unless two key conditions are met:
When appealing to ignorance, the deconverter is best advised to emphasize the elegant mystery of the lack of knowledge on the matter. This will quickly shut down a high Primacy. The adherent needs closure, so we have to either provide a solid answer or say we don’t know. There is no inbetween or equivocation on this point.
Therefore, the skilled deconverter will always be able to frame these kinds of opportunities in such a way that the adherent is asking the deconverter for the answer (to the question, “if god did not do it, then who”?) and the deconverter is responding; as opposed to the deconverter stating that he or she knows or does not know based on the criteria above. And the deconverter should close in this manner at every opportunity where the adherent might be compelled to use the “god did it” explanation. The opportunities for that are numerous. It takes some practice to be able to do this consistently.
A final note regards something academics call “Normative Influence”; which refers to the fact that people tend to follow the herd. From total strangers in a riot to the modeling of behavior between lovers or parent and child, normative influence is a hereditary trait that is ubiquitous amongst human beings and varies in intensity in like manner as the emotional bond between the individuals involved increases. For deconversion its relevance lies in the effect normative influence can have on the adherent when considering abandoning their religion. For this reason, the adherent must be removed from their social network and “managed” in a new one. The deconverter should take care to create a social support structure for adherents in this regard. This topic is taken up in more detail later.
The Techniques of Counter Apologetics
Now, be sure you have a copy of the Bible (use “The Message” translation, have copies on hand. For Islam use The Holy Quran in Today’s English by Emerick and for the Tanak use can use The Message OT or an electronic copy of the Tanakh from the internet). The deconverter is well advised to spend considerable time training and practing in the use and total focus on two key forms of logic he or she will use in all deconversions:
The First Axiom of Deconversion
Before describing the specific method used, we will first note that this method is thematically driven by a phenomenon known as the “conjunction fallacy”; which refers to a violation of what academics call the conjunction rule of probability theory:
P(A + B) ≤ P(A) ∀ A, B ∈ ℜ ; that is, the probability that A and B are simultaneously true, is always less than or equal to the probability that A is true.
This redounds to the notion that whenever you add detail to something (make it more specific and less general) it may sound more plausible to human beings. However, the more general version is more probable. In the vernacular this is usually stated as “the simpler explanation is the more likely one” because simpler in this case means more general. This rule is a formalization of Occam’s Razor also known as lex parsimoniae (the law of parsimony, economy or succinctness). The deconverter must convey this trick of con jobs clearly to the adherent as the process to be outlined is applied. And the reason why this is so important is not just because of how deceptive it is. It is important for the deconverter to internalize an understanding of the conjuction rule in this context because of its frequency in religious thinking and apologetics generally.
Please note also that the clever con artist (one of exceptionally rare skill) will be able to recognize the “anti-mark”; that person resilient to manipulation who can more easily see through the ploys utilitizing embellished details and recognize the the story or narrative that is too specific (too detailed) to believe.
The Second Axiom of Deconversion
Adherents have a predictable pattern of appealing to cognitive modes of fantasy. This creates fundamental logical problems in their arguments which the deconverter can readily exploit. We can frame this formally as a problem having to do with what is called the “necessary and sufficient” clause of empirical reality. To wit, a thing is necessary and sufficient provided:
1.) A set of values for independent variables are operationally observed to have been necessary and sufficient for an hypothesized value of a dependent variable to obtain AND
2.) All independent and dependent variables are sufficiently well defined.
Something is sufficiently well defined iff there can be found some causal link in which it can be entrained consisting of at least one antecedent and one descendent such that the effect of the causes entrained can be, in principle, reliably predicted in advance. That is, the causal train must be, in principle, algorithmic and deterministic.
An excellent hands-on example of the Second Axiom regards the so-called First Causes argument used by apologists of various faiths. Popular and oft-accepted without any critical thought whatsoever, even some of the most educated members of society repeat this fallacy ad nausea. Let us dispatch it by contradiction to illustrate:
First please allow me to introduce some basic logical terminology to describe what one might call the No Evil Genius’ Proof:
"Something" (think an event) is possible in a system Q (think universe) "in principle" if Q admits of "Something" that is sufficiently well defined relative to Q.
The word "admit" here is taken to mean "allows"; in the sense that the "laws" governing all behaviors in Q "allows" an event to occur. Those laws are simply the essence of what Q is; it is what defines Q as Q.
"Sufficiently well defined" relative to Q here means the set of properties (to include possibly laws) in Q minimally sufficient to causally entrain an arbitrary event, call it k1, occurring in Q into the causal history of Q. The causal history of Q is the set of events that did, are and will (think all conjugations of “to be”) occur in Q “since” its creation. Think of it like a proton. a proton in free space has what is called a Hilbert Space that describes all its possible states (degrees of freedom). All those allowed states are allowed because of the properties of the spatial system in which it is defined; that is, Q. So, a particle can have mass, for example. That is “allowed” because that is how Q (the universe) works.
Now, we can formalize our statement supra to a first-order approximation of where we’re going with this:
Let an event k1 be sufficiently well defined relative to a spatial system Q. An event k1 is possible in a spatial system Q in principle if Q admits of k1.
Now, consider two spatial systems R and S. Let an event k1 be sufficiently well defined relative to R.
In order for causality between R and S to exist, a special condition must be met. Let an arbitrary event k2 ∈ S.
Let the subset of all properties A ∈ R necessary and sufficient to define k1 relative to R be denoted, r, and the subset of all properties B ∈ S necessary and sufficient to define k2 relative to S, denoted s.
Now, the required condition is trivial,
r ∈ S, R and s ∈ S, R ∵ s ≡ r.
But this is just the same as if r ∈ R and s ∈ R where R is the natural world exposed to empiricism and s contains all the properties necessary and sufficient to define a cause that is super natural. But that means that s can be fully predicted and understood using empiricism alone, which is not allowed under the presumptive definition of a god. Q.E.D.
This is just how easy it is to disprove “gods”. Unfortunately, few understand it. Therefore, other approaches should be put before the adherent. This proof is provided primarily for the deconverter to better understand both the problem and opportunity outlined by the Second Axiom of Deconversion.
Due to the somewhat obtuse manner in which a formal topic such as the above can be introduced, and appreciating how important it is for adherents to understand all Axioms if at all possible, we will attempt to expand on what this implies in a real world scenario.
Recall the key lemma:
Something is sufficiently well defined iff there can be found some causal link in which it can be entrained consisting of at least one antecedent and one descendent such that the effect of the causes entrained can be, in principle, reliably predicted in advance. That is, the causal train must be algorithmic and deterministic.
Let’s be blunter. Whenever a condition ‘exists’ such that it is not sufficiently well defined we are, in effect saying it in the equivalent way as well:
Whenever a condition ‘exists’ such that it cannot be sufficiently well defined in order to entrain any such event (“condition”) in a causal linkage such that it can be algorithmically and deterministically predicted in advance, the “condition” referenced is logically meaningless and irrational, relative to any observer kn whose existence is necessarily and sufficiently defined in nature (as opposed to super nature).
Yea, but why?
Whenever a condition ‘exists’ such that it lacks the definition required in order to entrain any such event (“condition”) in a causal linkage such that it can be algorithmically and deterministically predicted in advance, the “condition” constitutes an infinite effects scenario whereby the “condition”, as we attempt to entrain it, can produce any effect and we have no way of knowing which one is the correct one. It is the very concept of “definition” itself that allows us to narrow the infinite list down to something finite and, if sufficient, to a single cause.
The reader may care to note now, as this concept begins to sink in, how philosophical arguments all have the quality of over generalizing in such a manner as to deny logically valid application to the real, tangible, physical universe. And this is why all the philosophical arguments (or the vast majority) are nonsense. In our case we held strictly to nature and required, as we must, that whatever we claim can be causally entrained in nature, even if only in principle.
We need to be clear here that we are not lauding the scientific method by suggesting that *it* is the only way to define something or show something to be necessary and sufficient. There is a logic we’re describing here that is more fundamental than the scientific method proper. It just happens that some really smart people a long time ago saw this same logic and built a formal process on top of it … called the scientific method. If we can get people to behave honestly, come up with the right rules and conditions to ensure fidelity to this process, and thus follow the formal process (uh hmm, East Anglia Institute) then we have a silver bullet to truth that inexorably leads us to more and more of it. Scientists would be well served by making sure dishonesty in their profession is ruthlessly extirpated, not apologized for and white washed. I have a dream.
It is a word to the wise engaged in counter apologetics that because of the imaginary and fantastical realm enjoined by religion the failure to satisfy the necessary and sufficient clause, and to make arguments based on ill-defined concepts, will dominate almost all discussions with adherents. Therefore, the deconverter should be astutely aware of their frequency and should be ready to use these missteps wherever they appear.
The Third Axiom of Deconversion
We now complete the axiomatic toolbox by introducing what is perhaps the most difficult to catch and identify as being relevant in conversations with adherents. This axiom comes about as a result of the all too common tendency of human beings to confuse cause and effect when applying probability to causality. It is also an elegant bridge between the purely abstract which is fully independent of nature and nature. The best way to explain this is to start with a first order approximation in the form of a thought experiment. We will then formalize our conclusions into an Axiom.
We imagine a bucket of marbles, say a few billion of them, and we paint each one with a unique number so that each can be uniquely identified. We choose integer multiples in the form of a count, beginning with 1 and going in order to the highest value we have. Now, suppose we take a number of marbles much smaller than that total, say 10. Now, let us randomly pick those 10 marbles and place them in another bucket, call it the bucket of Intelligent Designs. Most people can clearly see that the probability of those 10 marbles having values within an interval of, say, 100, is exceedingly slim. This is the Intelligent Design argument. It is nonsense. And the reason why is that we have no way of knowing how many marbles were placed in the Intelligent Designs bucket. So, if we placed every marble from the starting bucket into the Intelligent Designs bucket the probability would then be exactly 100%; that is 100% that human beings were created by natural events only.
Let us tighten this up.
Let us begin a causality train whose program will be to generate a set of dependent variables, effects, from a set of independent variables, the causes. To get the set of effects A and the set of causes B which caused the set A, A and B must contain members that are not strictly arbitrary. We can define a rank n order m metric tensor, ₵, of “causality” generators; each denoted ϕ11, ϕ11 , … , ϕnm. Then for each ϕij we can define a domain and range for each; corresponding to the sets B and A respectively. Now, let it be observed empirically that there exists a set a and b such that a ∈ A and b ∈ B; and both a and b contain one or more elements, that is:
r ∈ a ∈ A, s∈ b ∈ B and we guarantee that an enumeration of elements exists such that:
u < v.
where u is the enumeration ru ∈ a and v is the enumeration rv ∈ A.
If the generators ϕnm meet the definition of a function, that is, a rule that assigns to each element b ∈ B exactly one element ϕnm(b) ∈ A, then it is likewise possible to find a set of generators which also meet the definition of a function, δnm(s) ∈ a.
Now, we let the generators ϕnm and δnm be functions that strictly assign each element of its corresponding domain randomly to exactly one element in its corresponding range.
Then the probability that there exists a generator δnm is ∝ u / (v - u). However, the probability that there exists a generator ϕnm = 1.
In other words, appeals to beauty, order and the appearance of an intelligent design, as just one example of this proof’s application, to suggest, imply or otherwise provide evidence for an intelligent actor as the cause thereof is nonsense. Let’s go back to the marbles to explain why and try to state this proof in English since we promised no advanced math here.
In the marble example the starting bucket represents all the possible independent variables of any nature or “universe”; that is, the environment variables in which, for example, something like Deoxyribonucleic Acid was first “created”. What Intelligent Design incorrectly assumes is that we are selecting only a subset of all possible independent variable values (physical properties of an environment) and placing them in Intelligent Design bucket (the thing so ordered and “intelligently designed”) for which we require the filling of a similarly narrow band of marble number values. This is not reality. The reality is that we must consider the full range of values of independent and dependent variables, which results in a 100% percent chance that intelligent design can generate something of any complexity. The probability of producing something that we subjectively call complex is proportional to the dependent variables associated with that complex object (to be exact, the dependent variables that are responsible for the complex character of the object) and all independent variables, which are essentially infinite, and thus also 100%. So, it is 100% probable that nature generated those complex structures. Ignorance and superstition never quits.
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