Two questions about how central the question of origins is to your core beliefs

(Dillon) #161

This is a bit of a stretch isn’t it? After all, Paul seems to disparage the “wisdom of man.” The sort of things we might figure out on our own (aka the wisdom of man) are just fine to Plato and Socrates. And that’s the kind of wisdom they sought via the dialectic/Socratic method. They were not holy men. They were fundamentally opposed to accepting any truth which was not held to logical scrutiny. Their method was doubt-based… not faith-based.

I think you and your friend are merely trying to reconcile your respect for Socrates/Plato with your religious beliefs. Not that any such great effort of reconciliation is needed. Aside from not being at all faith-based, Platonism is quite congruent with Christianity. (Plato greatly prized righteousness, emphasized the moral over the instinctual… etc.)

I’ve heard Eastern mystics do something similar, claiming that when Socrates would stand staring off into the distance, he was in a state of “Samadhi.” Sheesh, guys. I’m with you. I’m a fan of Socrates, too. But there really isn’t a need to claim he’s some kind of yogi or a prophet in the Jewish tradition. That’s going a bit too far.

(Shawn T Murphy) #162

This is by no means my judgement that Socrates was more than just a man. He was given the title Socrates, meaning ‘against the sophisticates’ and his life’s final work was uncovering wisdom by exposing rhetoric.

“Ye have slain, have slain, the all-wise, the innocent, the Muses’ nightingale.”(Diogenes Laertius II 44)

Socrates was a muse, an inspiration, not as a persuader. But most people do not recognize this.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #163

I really do not understand your position. It might be true if the only thing that has existence is the physical and one defines the infinite as the extent of the physical. But Reality is much more than the physical. Reality includes the spiritual.

Reality is more than time, which is meaningless in itself. Reality is found in History which has a Beginning, Middle, and an End. The universe and Reality is not static, it is moving in a specific direction which gives it meaning and purpose. This can only be given by a Rational Creator and only be understood by a rational observer, thus we have anthropic principle.

The Big Bang Theory does not prove that God created the universe, but it does prove that the universe did not create itself, which really narrows the possibilitie4s down to one.


What is wrong with our current understanding of causes and treatments of mental illness?

(Mervin Bitikofer) #165

That would make two of us, since I’m not sure what I have could be called “a position”. It’s more of an objection against pushing an aggressive position on things that are so far afield from human accessibility and understanding, much less actual experience or evidence.

(Shawn T Murphy) #166

The opioid crisis is not enough? How many people do you know who are being medicated for metal illness? How many children do you know on medication for ADHD or depression? I actually know plenty who, in the end, have gone off of the mind-numbing drugs and found spiritual cures. The main problems are 1) modern medicine does not consider spiritual illness and that its various causes have noting to do with a chemical imbalance. 2) the pharmaceutical companies are incentivizing doctors to prescribe their drugs at unprecedented rates.

(Mark D.) #167

It might well be that there is a spiritual dimension to illness but that doesn’t mean there are necessarily reliable and safe spiritual remedies available or that what works for one person will work for another.

Meanwhile, yes the drugs you mention probably are over-prescribed and that has done a lot of harm. But the pharmacy isn’t the only tool in western medicines bag of tricks, and not all medicines are equally problematic.

(Dillon) #168

Socrates was a great man. Socrates was not more than a man. He was (and is) a legend. Being a legend tends to obscure a realistic presentation of a person. Quite frankly, if some ancient Greeks thought Socrates was “more than a man” that persuades me even less than the theories of you and your friend. (The ancient Greeks thought a lot of things, after all, and good sense dictates that we, in modern times, do not take many of their claims seriously.)

Socrates was not a persuader–I’ll grant you that. He thought that logical discourse was better used to arrive at the truth than to persuade others to agree with one’s position. That doesn’t make him superhuman. It merely indicates that he was a man of principle.

Humanistic psychology is nothing new. It just fails to be implemented. Abraham Maslow’s approach to treatment involves helping clients to attain their basic needs and (from there) working to unlock their full potential as human beings. (This includes some emphasis on spiritual/transcendental experiences.)

Many state-funded psychological institutions see people with mental illness as “problems to be solved” rather than people with potential to be unlocked. (Much of this has to do with linkage to criminal justice. The problem is, those who are not referred to these institutions via the justice system often notice an unmistakable punitive element to the proceedings when being processed by such institutions.)

THIS is the root of the problem. Different approaches to psychology have been around for ages. But such approaches aren’t going to be adopted unless mental health institutions become motivated to churn out self-actualized, healthy individuals rather than “people who are no longer a problem for society.” It’s a bit of short-sightedness on society’s part because self-actualized individuals usually are far less of a problem.

Also, we have a situation where many are under-medicated alongside those who are overmedicated. So I see your “anti-medication” stance as a little heavy-handed. For every person who has a new pill prescribed for every minor psychological difficulty they encounter, there is a person who suffers from crippling depression/anxiety, and fails to receive a few medicines that could help them achieve significant life improvement.

Also, you overstate the influence of pharmacological industry. Sure, they have their hand in the cookie jar. And they don’t have the best of intentions. But they are not the root of the problem.

What I’ve said here isn’t just a bunch of my own opinions. Many studies in psychological science have arrived at similar conclusions. (I minored in psychology in college, so I have personally read many critiques of our mental health system.) The way psychological health institutions comport themselves has a great deal to do with how our encompassing society comports itself. Perhaps when we stop using Wal-Mart’s profit margins as a litmus test to gauge the health of our society, we will have our priorities straight enough to earnestly examine our mental health system and orient it toward maximal human benefit.

(Shawn T Murphy) #169

You are saying the same thing here. It is a question of motivation. How do we motivate the medical industry to give up their customers? There are very many barriers to refocusing the industry from treatment to wellness, but I guess I might focus too much on the big drug companies, since they grease the wheels of a money driven system. How do we properly compensate those who heal their customers and remove them from the system?

One of my favorite characters in this story is Dr. Edward Bach. He describes the problems of Modern Medicine in the same why as many today, over a century later. It will be a long time before people will take his advice and “Heal Thyself”, taking our destiny into our own hands.

Bach is just one in a long line of spiritual healers, that, in our materialistic world has become taboo. Doctors who speak out about the soul are shunned by the system, often losing research funding and even tenure or AMA certification. How can we have serious research on the subject when the environment for such research it toxic? Bach, Wickland, Fiore, Stevenson and Weiss are all pioneers in this field, but how many in the system respect their work?

I am not saying I have the answer, but that there is enough empirical evidence for serious scientific research on the soul and its impact on wellness. But what scientist today would even be willing to consider the soul as part of their possible solution set?


While many scientists are religious, the soul is a religious concept and is therefore outside the realm of science.

(Shawn T Murphy) #171

Religion has nothing to with the evidence of the soul, in fact, Christianity denies the pre-existence of it, contributing to the problem. I met Dr. Andrew McCarthy in 2004 who was at that time the head neurologist at the national rehabilitation center in DC. He had proof of the soul and since it went against everything he was taught, he went to the ISNS conference to learn from the “philosophy experts” because he could not speak to his colleagues.

The soul or spirit is not a religious concept, it is a fact with evidence that even an atheist can recognize. But since scientific doctrine has declared it taboo, they do not consider it as even an improbable solution. At the same time, they fully accept dark matter and energy where not one single thread of empirical evidence exists for it.

As a scientist, you shouldn’t have to believe it to be able to accept empirical evidence of an unknown. Yet, how many scientists through out results that would have been explained by a non-material substance or energy?

(Mervin Bitikofer) #172

I recall that you mentioned thinking if a large enough sample size was considered, the a measurable loss of mass should occur at death because of the departure of the soul. (which has actually been tried, I guess - unsuccessfully). But even if it were true, then this would imply that there is some material portion of your body that is your soul and that could ostensibly be affected (even destroyed!) by physical means. Yet Jesus teaches that people can only destroy the body (not the soul). It would seem this teaching places the soul beyond our reach and outside of science, would it not?

I think scientists are happy to consider evidence (which includes conjectures that help explain other observable things). Dark matter and energy are utilized as attempts to help explain something about the universe. What does the soul help explain? If it aided in understanding something, I bet a great number of scientists would take up considerable interest in it!

And you may be overestimating the attachment scientists have to theories that they may seem committed to, but still hold tentatively (like dark energy and matter). If other things are thought of that do a better job explaining cosmological observations, then dark matter and dark energy would probably give way.

(Shawn T Murphy) #173

From a scientific standpoint, the soul is no different than gravity. Its impact can be observed, but it cannot be directly measured - currently. This is one step above the plug variable called dark matter. If science was so ready to accept the soul, their model for human behavior would also include a plug variable, like dark matter and dark energy.

But science is so certain that man is only a product of genetics and environment. There is no room for even a theoretical third variable. But statistics shows that you actually need at least three additional independent variables to describe human behavior.

There are many places that science could look for the soul’s impact on humanity, besides a direct measurement of its mass, so why don’t they?

(Mervin Bitikofer) #174

This is a revealing comparison. Why should we have to go searching for the soul’s impact? You make it sound like it should be obvious (like gravity). Nobody has to search for gravity’s effect on us. But your last statement implies that we need to go casting about looking for it. Maybe this is why so many are skeptical about it as a separate (and yet still empirically measurable) entity.

(Shawn T Murphy) #175

Gravity was ignored until Newton, and then it became obvious. For me it is glaringly obvious in four areas, two of which I mentioned. (Did you read my paper of the on human behavior?

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #176

Since the Bible begins, “In the Beginning God created the heavens and earth…”, I fail to see how defending this fact is aggressive or for afield of human accessibility and understanding.

The Big Bang is well established science based on Einstein’s famous equation, the red shift, our expanding universe, and background radiation, all of which most people learned about in grade school.

You and I know that the Creation is an important aspect pf our creed and faith. You should know that when people are arguing against creation ex nihilo they are arguing against the sovereignty of God.

When I argue for the Big Bang as the Creation ex nihilo, I am going no farther than the scientific and the theological facts allow. People like Sean Carroll are arguing a case which is not supported by scientific facts. I believe that it is my responsibility as someone who cares about science to point this out.

God has created humans in God’s Image. This gives us the ability to think God’s thought after God, based on the evide3nce God has left for us and the minds God has given us. If we really have faith in God, then we must believe that God has given us the ability to understand God and God’s Creation. After all God crweated the universe through the Logos, God Rational Word, Jesus Christ.


While dark matter is still mysterious and under investigation, there is evidence for it.

How does one measure the soul?


Sounds like intelligent design. Do some respectable research good enough to be published and sooner or later you will be respected, but only when others can duplicate your research. It’s curious that you want to overturn both orthodox Christianity and the medical profession with conspiracy theories. (And yes, that’s what you want to do.) Isn’t that a tad cheeky?

(Shawn T Murphy) #179

You often seem to jump to conclusions that I did not write. Nothing I wrote has anything to do with intelligent design. I am just pointing to well published research that is being ignored to the detriment of humanity.

I am not trying to overturn orthodoxy, i am just pointing to those who already have. But what does orthodoxy have to do with BioLogos?

Best wishes, Shawn

(Randy) #180

Being a family doc, I agree that criticism is ok and “MD” sometimes means “multiple dimwits,” or something like that; …so it’s ok to criticize :slight_smile:

I am really glad I don’t make any more than the moderators do from any pharmaceutical or other company. (which is zilch; thank goodness).

I remember reading in high school that the Catholic Church at 1 point thought Socrates was something like a Saint. Is at similar to what you’re discussing, @Shawn_Murphy Mr Murphy?