The recipe for generating a successful new religion or conspiracy theory usually involves two key components:

1. identify supposed 'mysteries' that an appeal to your preferred unseen intelligence (MIB, God, gremlins, fairies, the CIA) operating behind the scene easily solves (e.g. why the twin towers came down like that, how life began, why you can't find your keys).

2. be ingenious at explaining stuff away. Any apparent evidence against your theory can always be accounted for given some ingenuity , e.g. if you believe in young earth creationism, cook up explanations for the fossil record, etc.; if you believe in a good, loving god, cook up explanations for all the horrendous suffering we see in nature; if you believe the royal family are alien shape-shifters, cook up explanations for why they're never spotted in alien form, how they could possibly have got here, infiltrated the royal blood line, etc. Consistency with the available evidence can always, by such means, be achieved.

So, you can now (often correctly!) declare that:

(i) your new religion or conspiracy theory explains, by appeal to hidden agency, what orthodox theories do not or cannot, and

(ii) your new belief system is also consistent with the evidence!

If you think your belief system is reasonable because it ticks boxes (i) and (ii), I suggest you think again. Many utterly ludicrous belief systems also tick both boxes. That can't be the reason your belief system is reasonable, if indeed it is...


Joe Hinman said…
In saying "be ingenious in explaining stuff away," you real gave us the clue as to what behavior you are misconstruing. That is really just the phenomenon observed by Thomas Kuhn about absorbing anomalies into the paradigm. Kuhn's theory really just follows the basic outline of child psychology pit forth by Piaget (see theory of child development

What you are trying to identify as some fallacious form of reasoning unique to religion is nothing more than the normal course of human learning, the paradigm shift.
Alan Holmes said…
Aristotle said: “Since for the illustration of things which cannot be seen we must use those that can”. How our mind works cannot be seen, so we use metaphor such as “our brain is like a computer”, to explain our theory of mind. Philo of Alexander said that the Bible was an allegory, while Heraclitus said that Homer wrote in allegory. I have interpreted the Koine Greek text of the Gospel of Matthew as if it was an allegory (See “A Code Within A Codex”) and I have re-examined Greek philosophy as if it was written in allegory (See “A Philosophy of Spirituality”). Both these books are available from Amazon. To understand the internal metaphysical story of the gospel as a theory of mind, all the Hebrew nouns have been translated as abstract nouns, rather than personal or proper nouns.

The following explanation of free will is given in the internal metaphysical story of the gospel as follows:

Free will operates in the choice of mental state.

The above is part of the explanation of determinism and free will, and although it solves this philosophical conundrum, it is the source of the explanation which is controversial, and not the explanation itself. Dictionary meaning of Determinism: The doctrine that the will is not free, but is inevitably and invincibly determined by motives, preceding events, and natural laws. Our choice is free, but it is in choosing between two kinds of determinism. Free will is the choice between two kinds of determining factors that lead to actions, these two determining factors are the rational mental state and the irrational mental state. Free will chooses the conditions and not the outcomes. This philosophical wisdom comes from both the allegory of the Bible and the allegory of the Nicomachean Ethics.

The bible has been misinterpreted and misunderstood..
Alan Holmes said…
I did not post the item on November 19, 2017, even though they are my words. I do not know Joe Hinman and he has not sought clarification on these comments I made in an email, which incidentally I did not sent to him. He clearly assumes I believe in God; I absolutely do not. He has his own belief system; he assumes that the Gospel of Matthew is a religious document, I do not. I have translated the 1,071 verses of a Koine Greek document that is erroneously named the Gospel of Matthew, as if it is an allegory with an internal story, and have taken the Hebrew word Jesus to be an abstract noun with an abstract meaning. Jesus is a meaning not a man.

In an email I sent to secular, humanist, and skeptical organizations, I attempted to suggest that the Gospel of Matthew was like Aesop’s Fables, and that the surface or external story is not meant to be true. I don’t assume that Joe Hinman believes that an actual race occurred between a Tortoise and a Hare, and that we should organize an Animal Olympics to encourage such activities, but I didn’t expect so-called open mined people would exhibited such knee-jerk reactions and assume that I believed in God. The tragedy is that so many millions of people still believe in this religious external story of the allegory, and because they assume that the superficial or surface story is the only story, it seems also to tragically force some non-believes into prejudging this document on a superficial basis.

There is no God and there never has been. The real question now is, do non-believers also have closed minds or can they look at a different way of interpreting a misunderstood document? The title of my second book “A Philosophy of Spirituality” is designed to honour and pay homage to Greek philosophy. The word spirituality is not in reference to a God or Gods, it is in reference to the unseen physical forces, such as gravity, that are operating on nature and on us. The full title of the book is “A Philosophy of Spirituality: A Theory of Physics and Metaphysics”. Biblical scholars have misunderstood the nature of the document, and so has people like Joe Hinman. How long this ridiculous state of affairs will go on I don’t know, but unless people begin to examine the alternative arguments put forward, nothing much will change.
Alan Holmes said…
Readers of this blog do not have to buy my books to see for themselves the contents of my books. Anyone can find the books on Amazon and read the first 30 or so pages (in the eBook versions, the paperback versions are limited to 6 sample pages) and clearly see for themselves that I absolutely reject the naive acceptance of the superficial biblical story, and that I have given examples of how the so called biblical document exhibits some of the tell-tail signs that Philo of Alexandria listed that could indicate whether a text was written as an allegory or not. Even Plato’s Allegory of the Cave has only been partially analyzed as an allegory by ancient Greek scholars. Of course you can cling to your bigoted beliefs and reject what I claim without looking at the arguments I have put forward in the books, but that does not diminish my claim, it only diminishes you. The full title of my other book is “A Code Within A Codex: A Theory of Mind”.