RE: [asa] consciousness, ASA article feedback (was: RE: (fall-away) TE and apologetics)

From: Dehler, Bernie <>
Date: Tue Sep 22 2009 - 19:43:30 EDT

Hi Dave-

Since you can't point to even one specific scripture verse to base your philosophizing on, then maybe it would be better (more accurate) to say you are "creed-based," rather than "Bible-based?"

My contention, despite the claim of being scripture-based, is that the TE's I associated with pretty much all weren't Bible-based, but what I would term "Christian-Philosophy" based, most notably pointing towards CS Lewis as a base (in Francis Collins case, for example). When defending doctrines, for example, it seems like the defense is centered in the writings of CS Lewis more than the Bible. I'm just saying I'm not sure it is accurate to claim to be Bible-based for many TE's... based on actual observations.

It seems to me, generally speaking, that when TE's are cornered against the wall with a really tough question, the response is generally a retreat into CS Lewis and mysticism. The mysticism is what gives some comfort when feeling the effects of cognitive dissonance... just rest in the assurance that God has all these difficulties sorted out.

But why is it that if one thinks there is no immortal soul, all the difficult questions are then answered, regarding eternal life and the soul (there is none). The only downside is the fear of death, for one who is clinging to that hope. As far as I'm concerned, it that's reality, so be it. Can we (should we) ignore the truth if we think it has unpleasant consequences?


-----Original Message-----
From: dfsiemensjr []
Sent: Tuesday, September 22, 2009 4:15 PM
To: Dehler, Bernie
Subject: Re: [asa] consciousness, ASA article feedback (was: RE: (fall-away) TE and apologetics)

Unfortunately, I cannot respond with one verse, for it is what I
understand of the entire message that undergirds my philosophical
commitments. There is a God who exists in three persons is not found in
any one verse. That one person of the Trinity entered time is clear in
the first verses of John, but turns up again and again if only in the
title "Lord Jesus Christ." So long as someone trust wholeheartedly in
Christ for salvation, they are my brothers and sisters, whatever else we
may disagree about.

As the confessions and catechisms from the time of the reformation note,
Scripture is inerrant for faith and practice, or for salvation and
morals. As Augustine long ago noted, we need to be aware of what we can
learn from the study of nature. But there are beliefs that are essential
to the study of nature which cannot be simply empirical.
Dave (ASA)

On Tue, 22 Sep 2009 12:20:00 -0700 "Dehler, Bernie"
<> writes:
> Dave said:
> "The only additional matter that I consider immediately relevant is
> revelation, so that my philosophizing is built on scripture."
> I think there may be a problem where people claim to have a
> scriptural reason for things, but they really don't. Instead, it is
> really just logic that doesn't seem to contradict scripture.
> For example, can you give a scripture reference, just one, that you
> use to "philosophize" with? And since you are giving one (supposedly
> one of many), please give one of the most important or critical
> ones. Because you said "my philosophizing is built on scripture."
> I would like to explore this idea with you.
> ...Bernie
> -----Original Message-----
> From: dfsiemensjr []
> Sent: Tuesday, September 22, 2009 11:32 AM
> To: Dehler, Bernie
> Cc:;
> Subject: Re: [asa] consciousness, ASA article feedback (was: RE:
> (fall-away) TE and apologetics)
> Bernie,
> To reply to your question at (2), it seems to me that there is a
> strong
> tendency to scientism, or at least a desire to answer all questions
> empirically. This is essential for science, but is reductionistic.
> On the
> other hand, a metaphysical approach is without proof beyond the fact
> of
> consistency. The only additional matter that I consider immediately
> relevant is revelation, so that my philosophizing is built on
> scripture.
> This is not the common approach for philosophers. I recall a number
> of
> students who approached me with a double question: You're a
> philosopher
> and you're a Christian?
> The above also, I think, answers (3). This does not mean that there
> is no
> evidence for the supernatural, but it is not scientific. There are,
> for
> example, problems with the claimed investigations of the paranormal.
> There is historical evidence for the life of Christ and his death,
> but it
> is not unconditionally compelling for his resurrection. This is
> where the
> work of the Spirit comes in. But that also is not something that is
> demonstrable scientifically.
> Dave (ASA)
> On Tue, 22 Sep 2009 08:26:50 -0700 "Dehler, Bernie"
> <> writes:
> > Ted- good idea to discuss that ASA article. I did last night;
> three
> > points:
> >
> > RE:
> > "Neuroscience, Theology, and Unintended Consequences"
> >
> >
> > Point 1:
> > It seemed to validate my current thinking. I think the main point
> > of the argument was that neuroscience experts and many modern
> > theologians now see the soul as emergence, as in a form of monism.
> > There seems to be a beef with this idea and the theologians who
> hold
> > it, saying the theologians aren't dealing with some of the
> > theological consequences, such as the incarnation or resurrection.
> > You mentioned all the Christian deep thinkers on philosophy, but
> > this article seemed to make the claim that they were being shallow
> > (or not diligent) in not looking at all the comprehensive
> > "consequences" of their positions (RE: Nancy Murphy was
> mentioned).
> >
> > Actually, that was my path. First, I never thought too much about
> > this mind/body issue. Then I understood at the last ASA
> conference
> > that emergence seemed logical and was acceptable theologically.
> > Then, trying to figure out how it works, I found it was best to
> > jettison the whole idea of a supernatual soul (one that lives on
> > after death). Then all the tough questions are resolved! Do we
> > live after death? No. Is our mind different than that of the
> > animals? Only in degree, not in kind (Darwin said this too). How
> > many souls does an identical twin or chimera have at conception?
> > There is no supernatural soul, so the answer is zero. What will
> > senile or toddlers be like in heaven, and do they go to heaven?
> > There is no after life, so there's no heaven. One may not like
> the
> > answers, but the answers seem clear and logical.
> >
> > Point 2:
> > Here's a question for the author. Article said:
> > "Contemporary neuroscientists commonly believe that soul is no
> more
> > than a set of functions of complexly organized matter, that is,
> the
> > brain and its associated organs, affected by the social
> > environment."
> >
> > Assuming this is true, why is it that most believe this? I would
> > like to see this point elaborated. I think this would be a good
> > "learning moment" for those seeking understanding.
> >
> > I'm willing to bet there is some underlying logic that makes
> sense,
> > and I agree with it. For example, the brain shows/does 1)
> > intelligence 2) communication 3) shapes culture 4) learns from
> > culture. There is a feedback where more intelligence can lead to
> a
> > higher culture, and all this is done through communication. A
> > positive spiral over time, as long as people don't kill each other
> > in war. The progression of the state of science is a testimony to
> > this spiral going upward, with the pace increasing. And it will
> > continue to rapidly advance, with the only danger coming from war,
> > terrorists, and other crazies/fanatics getting too much power.
> >
> > Point 3:
> > Article said:
> > "While it is easy to say that the soul survives and will be united
> > to a new body, we have not interacted with disembodied souls. So,
> as
> > far as empirical evidence goes, there may be none."
> >
> > This brings up an irritant of mine when it comes to science and
> God.
> > Can science prove anything at all supernaturally? If yes, then
> God
> > is found out by science, so people can now accept God on facts
> > rather than faith. But God's game is faith, so he always makes it
> > impossible to prove him in any science. It is as if God wants to
> be
> > the grand chief of hide-and-seek. Just like in evolution, we
> can't
> > find any evidence of God guiding it, because then he would have
> been
> > found out, so he has to hide behind front-loading. That's also
> why
> > the multiverse theory will turn out to be true, because if God
> could
> > be proven by the big-bang, then people would believe on him
> because
> > of the science facts, not faith; and God requires the game of
> faith
> > to be played.
> >
> > ...Bernie
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Ted Davis []
> > Sent: Monday, September 21, 2009 12:15 PM
> > To: asa; Dehler, Bernie
> > Cc:
> > Subject: RE: [asa] RE: (fall-away) TE and apologetics
> >
> > Bernie,
> >
> > I appreciate your willingness to engage these issues. My own view
> > is not fully formed; I don't know exactly what I think, relative
> to
> > "soul" and the Bible, let alone what I think of
> consciousness--many
> > top philosophers don't have a good idea about the mind/brain
> issue,
> > either, so I don't feel too badly about that. But, since I don't
> > have a clear view on this myself, I am not committed to any one
> > model for interpreting scripture, either.
> >
> > You call for some focused discussion, which I applaud. How about
> > this. Suppose we discuss this article by David Siemens, who likes
> > to participate here:
> >
> >
> > If David wants to expand on any of his points, I'd like that very
> > much. But this could be a starting place. Would you agree?
> >
> > Ted
> >
> >
> >
> > To unsubscribe, send a message to with
> > "unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
> >
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Received on Tue Sep 22 19:44:04 2009

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