Friday, October 9, 2009

Beware of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) in Church

This article is not about whether or not Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) works. Its about how pastors are using this technique in their arsenal during sermons.

I recently attended a funeral for a Christian family member. For the past year she fought bravely against a debilitating brain tumor and had finally succumbed to it. During the time in which she was in treatment she wanted to straighten her life out with god so she could be at peace, knowing she was going to die soon. She had become active in a church and had befriended the pastor, and the pastor would show up at the hospital and spend time with her. I know it gave her great comfort, and I don't belittle the fact that it did.

At her funeral though, the pastor who spent so much time with her spent over a half hour talking about her, and did his best to console other family members who have faith.

I realized that his intention was to be compassionate and reassuring to the family that she will go to heaven. He talked about her being baptized a year earlier, and about how she is resting in the arms of Jesus.

I do not adhere to the Christian ideology, so it didn't have the same comforting affect on me like it did for most everyone else there. To me it sounded more like a nice fairy tale that would tell a child, to comfort them and help them deal with death. The same fairy tale that transcends childhood and is proselytized later on into adulthood for the same affect.

So since I do not subscribe to the belief system that most of the other family members there do, and I did not feel comforted by his line of thinking of her being in an afterlife in heaven, I ended up feeling very disassociated, but of course out of respect for the recently departed I just sat there quietly and listened to him.

Since I was able to disassociate myself effectively from the flock and be more analytical, I was able to pick up on certain things that the pastor said and noticed a pattern in the delivery of his speech.

The pastor often repeated the same thing over and over and then he would go on about something else then repeat it again. Sometimes when repeating something he would control his voice and say it slower for a more dramatic affect. Unfortunately, he digressed from focusing on the deceased relative and started mainly focusing on scripture. A few of the family there that are Christians even noticed this and were kind of put off by the pastor turning the eulogy into a sermon.

In my past I have researched hypnosis and (NLP). I was never successful in being able to hypnotize myself, and I never used any of the techniques on other people, but I recognized the same techniques and speech patterns someone would use in hypnotism. It did not take me long to see this either, probably 10 minutes into it.

I remember leaning over to my fiance and whispering in her ear, did you hear that? He is using (NLP). Fortunately she was just as disassociated from the pastor as I was, and she even saw what I was talking about once I pointed it out to her, which gave me an early confirmation. So after I realized what he was doing, I still sat there quietly but now was totally focused on listening to him subconsciously proselytizing at the same time he was consoling the family.

After the sermon/eulogy, I felt angry at the pastor and did not appreciate the fact that he used my family members death as a pulpit to propagate his religious beliefs in a way in which I feel was unethical. My family was there to pay their respects to the deceased, not to be innundated with religious dogma through subconscious hypnotic suggestion. I found what he did to be very disrespectful to even the folks that did believe.

I left there afterwards with a purpose to find out if (NLP) is something that pastors use to control and manipulate their congregations. I even tried to play devils advocate and tried to reason with myself that I was looking into it to deep and my perspective was flawed. I approached it logically and skeptically and decided to do some research and find evidence elsewhere of other people having a similar theory to this, and I found it.

These are some videos from the psychologist/author Darrel Ray. Raised in a fundamentalist home, took a MA in religion by age 24 then a Doctorate in psychology by 29. Interests lay in the psychology of religion. He stopped practicing all religion at 38 yrs. of age and became an atheist about age 40.

This is Darrel Ray's website if you would like to do some more research.

Darrel Ray mentions in the last video a reference to ex VP candidate Sarah Palin's church YouTube video as a prime example of how ministers use hypnotic techniques during church services. So I am adding it as well for reference purposes.

In conclusion, if people feel compelled on their own free will to want to go to church and believe in god, I do not have a problem with that. I just don't not feel that is is morally ethical for the pastors who run these churches to be using hypnotic techniques on unsuspecting people, to influencing them to believe in a god under false pretenses. It is disgusting and wrong to use hypnotism on the masses for proselytizing, and the people who are caught doing this should be held accountable for their actions.

If you are aware that churches use these techniques to manipulate people in their congregations and still want to go, that is your choice, but at least now you can go knowing that they are doing this.

I recently was in contact with Darrel Ray, of Recovering From Religion.  This was his response to me.
Killer Bud:
You have hit a home run. I am glad to see other people independently confirming that hypnosis is a key part of religious infection. If you read my book you will find a good deal more on the subject and other examples. I was a certified NLP practitioner back in the 1980's and still use the concepts. I often model examples when I am giving presentations on The God Virus. Thanks for sharing this with me. I think I will put a link up from my Recovering from Religion website when I return from vacation.

I'd like to thank Mr. Darrel Ray for taking the time to make those video's and  helping me confirm my suspicions of NLP in churches.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Skeptical View of Intelligent Design Video

I watched this a few times. I noticed initially how they barraged you with a bunch of different people with very scientific titles under their names. So I decided to list them as they came up throughout the video and find out more about the folks that were representing this psudoscience and claiming it to be a viable theory.

It started off with Phillip Johnson.(science author) I have heard of him, and never been very impressed by the person. Yeah I give it to him for being a reasonably smart guy, but totally manipulative and delusional in his agenda to create junk science. He basically is the creator of the whole Intelligent Design movement, and went as far as putting a ton of disinformation out there by tweaking science evidence in his books to fill his agenda. Also that whole Wedge Document he conspired up to try to get people to disregard real science and eventually come around to the bible was a joke.

Paul Nelson (philosopher of biology)&(creationist)In 1998, Nelson gained a PhD in philosophy from the University of Chicago. The Discovery Institute's Wedge Document,amongst other sources, claimed that Nelson was publishing a work derived from his thesis, "Common Descent, Generative Entrenchment, and the Epistemology in Evolutionary Inference", criticizing the principle of common descent, as part of the Evolutionary Monographs series.

Nelson is a fellow of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture and of the International Society for Complexity, Information and Design.

Michael Behe (microbiologist)is an American biochemist and intelligent design advocate. He currently serves as professor of biochemistry at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania and as a senior fellow of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture. Behe is best known for his argument for irreducible complexity, a concept that asserts that some structures are too complex at the biochemical level to be adequately explained as a result of evolutionary mechanisms and thus are the result of intelligent design.

Behe's claims about the irreducible complexity of essential cellular structures are roundly rejected by the scientific community. The Department of Biological Sciences at Lehigh University has published an official position statement which says "It is our collective position that intelligent design has no basis in science, has not been tested experimentally, and should not be regarded as scientific." Behe's ideas about intelligent design have been rejected by the scientific community and characterized as pseudoscience.

Behe's testimony in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District is extensively cited by the judge in his ruling that intelligent design is not science but essentially religious in nature.

Dean Kenyon (biochemist) Kenyon received a BSc in physics from the University of Chicago in 1961 and a Ph.D. in biophysics from Stanford University in 1965. In 1965-1966 he was a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in Chemical Biodynamics at the University of California, Berkeley, a Research Associate at Ames Research Center. In 1966, he became Assistant Professor of Biology at San Francisco State University. He has been Emeritus at San Francisco State University since 2000.

In 1980, the San Francisco State University Department of Biology had a dispute over Kenyon's presentation of creationism, then called "scientific creationism" in Biology module 337 Evolution. At that time, Kenyon challenged anyone on the faculty to a debate on the merits of evolutionary theory versus "scientific creationism." According to SFSU biology professor John Hafernik, "There was much discussion in faculty meetings as well. Eventually the faculty voted (none opposed, seven abstentions) not to alter the description of Biology 337 to include creationism. The precedent set, in the context of the 1980 discussions, was that the Department did not support teaching creationism.

Stephen Meyer (philosopher of science)is an American think tank executive officer and co-founder, along with Phillip E. Johnson and others, of the intelligent design movement. Meyer, along with Bruce Chapman and George Gilder, is a founder of the Discovery Institute (DI) and its Center for Science and Culture (CSC), which is the driving force behind the controversial concept of intelligent design. Formerly an academic philosopher of science, Meyer is currently vice president and senior fellow at CSC, and a director of Access Research Network.

Meyer has been described as "the person who brought ID (intelligent design) to DI (Discovery Institute)" by historian Edward Larson, who was a fellow at the Discovery Institute prior to it becoming the center of the intelligent design movement. In 2004, the DI helped introduce ID to the Dover Area School District, which resulted in the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District where ID was ruled to be religion.

Jonathan Wells (molecular biologist) is an American author and a prominent advocate of intelligent design. A member of the Unification Church, Wells wrote that the teachings of church founder Sun Myung Moon, his own studies at the Unification Theological Seminary and his prayers convinced him to devote his life to "destroying Darwinism"

Wells said that "destroying Darwinism" was his motive for studying Christian theology at Yale and going on to seek his second Ph.D. at Berkeley, studying biology and in particular embryology

Wells's statement and others like it are viewed by the scientific community as evidence that Wells lacks proper scientific objectivity and mischaracterizes evolution by ignoring and misrepresenting the evidence supporting it while pursuing an agenda promoting notions supporting his religious beliefs in its stead.

Scott Minich (molecular biology) is an associate professor of microbiology at the University of Idaho, and a fellow at the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture. Minnich's research interests are temperature regulation of Yestis enterocolitca gene expression and coordinate reciprocal expression of flagellar and virulence genes.

In 2004 Minnich and Stephen C. Meyer presented a paper to an engineering conference, the Second International Conference on Design & Nature, entitled "Genetic Analysis of Coordinate Flagellar and Type III Regulatory Circuits". The Discovery Institute lists this as one of its "Peer-Reviewed & Peer-Edited Scientific Publications Supporting the Theory of Intelligent Design". However, in his testimony for Kitzmiller v. Dover, Minnich admitted that the paper was minimally peer reviewed.

Q: And the paper that you published was only minimally peer reviewed, isn't that true?
A. For any conference proceeding, yeah. You don't go through the same rigor. I mentioned that yesterday. But it was reviewed by people in the Wessex Institute, and I don't know who they were.

Jay Richards (philosopher)is Director of Acton Media and a Research Fellow at the Acton Institute, and Program Director of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture (CSC), which has as its primary role the advocacy of intelligent design. Richards is also a member of the Apologetics Faculty of Biola University.

Richards became the earliest fellow at the Discovery Institute to confirm the genuineness of the Wedge document. Secular and science organizations then took attention of the DI after the document was published online, but Richards wrote "that the mission statement and goals had been posted on the CRSC's website since 1996."

Richards has also expressed skepticism of global warming.

Robin Collins (philosopher of science)is an American philosopher. He currently serves as Professor of Philosophy at Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania. His main interests include issues in science and religion and theories of atonement.

Collins has received fellowships for his work from the Pew Foundation, the University of Notre Dame, and the Templeton Foundation. He has also received past support from the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture for his work on the argument from design from physics and cosmology. He is no longer affiliated with the Discovery Institute, however, due to conflicting visions.

Intelligent Design
Collins is a prominent advocate in philosophy of the fine-tuning argument (see teleological argument) for the existence of God, according to which the fact that the laws and constants of physics are fine-tuned for life points to the existence of an intelligent cause behind the universe. Regarding evolution, he holds a position which he calls theistically guided evolution, a position which accepts the claim that all life on earth came about by a process of evolution (descent with modification) from the first cell, but holds that God guided this process at various points. He is skeptical of the claim that all the complex biological structures we find in living things can be fully explained by blind, unguided chance plus natural selection, and thus thinks that the issue of whether Darwinian evolution can adequately account for the structure of life should be vigorously explored. Collins, however, thinks that intelligent design is best thought of as a metascientific hypothesis rather than a scientific hypothesis.

Guillermo Gonzalez (astronomer) I didnt find anything on him yet...

Lee Strobel (Journalist) is a writer, Creationist and Christian apologist and a former journalist and megachurch pastor. He is the author of several books, including an Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA) Christian Book of the Year and a series which addresses challenges to a Biblically inerrant view of Christianity. Strobel also hosted a television program called Faith Under Fire on PAX TV.

Strobel received a journalism degree from University of Missouri and a Master of Studies in Law degree from Yale Law School.

He was a journalist for fourteen years, at The Chicago Tribune and other newspapers. He has stated he was an atheist, before he converted to Christianity. Strobel was a teaching pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois, from 1987 to 2000, and of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California from 2000 to 2002, before shifting his focus to his writing and producing his TV show. He continues to speak periodically at both churches and has been a board member of the Willow Creek Association. In 2007, Strobel was awarded an honorary doctoral degree by Southern Evangelical Seminary in recognition of his contributions to the field of Christian apologetics.


Ok so I saw all the people in the video and learned more about them. With all those fancy titles, they give this arrogant tone of certainty, and conviction. Having a title under your name, or throwing out a dozen of them does not make your case for intelligent design any more believeable. Between the real scientists out there and the courts, has disproven or discredited these particular people, yet they ramble aimlessly along with a conviction of unquestionable authority. It is sad to see grown smart men like this grasping for their god like a child who must finally retire their favorite blanket that is to worn to keep them warm anymore.

They ask in this video "Where does the evidence lead?"

It leads me to look past their junk science, and appreciate real science even more. The evidence I've seen from the people in this video lead me to believe these folks are disregarding real evidence for the sake of religion.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

PZ Myers,and the Army of 300

trategic battle lines were drawn at the Creationist Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, and it became the site where the final battle of PZ's Army of 300 would commence.

July 28,2009

"The creationist museum has given us warning" PZ Myers

Ken Ham sent his First Lt. David Blaylock, Security Manager, Department of Public Safety, to PZ Myers. Sending PZ a stern warning over the world wide web, on what would happen if they proceeded to go to battle.

David Blaylock: There will be no glory in your sacrifice. I will erase even the memory of Science from the histories! Every piece of Evidence shall be burned. Every paleontologist, and every geologist shall have their eyes pulled out, and their tongues cut from their mouths. Why, uttering the very name of Science, or Darwin, or Dawkins, will be punishable by death! The world will never know you existed at all!

David Blaylock: Choose your next words carefully, PZ. They may be your last as king of your army.

PZ Myers: [to himself: thinking] "With no evidence to back up their claims, or scientific support,"?
[PZ unsheathes his mental IQ, and focuses his keyboard at the Messenger's throat]

David Blaylock: Madman! You're a madman!

PZ Myers: Lack of evidence, scientific support, ? You'll find plenty of both down there.

David Blaylock: No man, scientist or skeptic, no man threatens a messenger!

PZ Myers: You bring the crowns and heads of conquered kings to my science blog. You insult my intelligence. You threaten my people with stupidity and ignorance! Oh, I've chosen my words carefully, Creationist. Perhaps you should have done the same!

David Blaylock: This is blasphemy! This is madness!

PZ Myers: Madness....? [shouting]

PZ Myers: This is Science!

The lack of evidence card PZ Myers whips out against David Blaylock was too strong. Bloggers spectating the confrontation online witness David Blaylock getting totally neutered by the vicous verbal assault brougt down upon him by PZ Myers.

PZ Myer's kingdom of bloggers became worried then. Thoughts of saboteurs, and agent provocateurs in their midst creating mayhem to undermine the battle arose. The sharks that they were knew the smell of blood, but wanted to be sure it wasn't one of their own left thrashing in the waves.

Random Blogger: PZ! PZ! The bloggers have spoken.

Worried Blogger: The bloggers have spoken. There must be no march!

Another worried random blogger: It is their religious fanaticism, PZ. This Scientific army must not go to war.

PZ Myers: Nor shall it. I've issued no such orders. I'm here, just taking a stroll, stretching my legs. These, uh, 300 men and women are my personal bodyguard.


August 7, 2009

In the early morning hours, PZ Myers and his army of 300 advanced towards the Creationist Museum. Onward they went ad-mist the droning sounds of bibles thumping like drums of war surrounding them. They knew they were in enemy territory, for the indomitable people of the bible belt had a confident zeal about themselves and thought they had God on their side.

PZ Myers: Scientist's and Secularist's! Prepare for glory!

Fence Sitter: Glory? Have you gone mad? There is no glory to be had now! Only retreat, or surrender or death!

PZ Myers: Well, that's an easy choice for us, Fence Sitter! Scientists never retreat! Scientists never surrender! Go spread the word. Let every skeptic assembled know the truth of this. Let each among them search his own mind. And while you're at it, search your own.

As PZ Myers and his army of 300 approached the entrance they were immediately confronted by the Creationist Army. The Creationist Armies first gauntlet was set, and they were asked to sign a document before they entered that required them to be "respectful" of their facilities, in an attempt to keep the Army of 300 from disturbing other visitors by their raucous laughter and mocking tones.

The Creationist Army was well armed with tazers and rabid canines that thirsted for the blood of the nonbelievers. They looked upon the Army of 300 with contempt in their hearts as they passed through their gates.

The Army of 300: We are with you, PZ! For Science, for freedom, to the death!

Once inside PZ Myers organized his troops, whose disciplined minds knew what they were up against, and listened intently to him.

PZ Myers: This is where we hold them! This is where we fight! This is where they die!

A member of the Army of 300: Look for any evidence you can find for their claims, boys!

[The Army of 300 cheer]

PZ Myers: Remember this day, folks, for it will be yours for all time.

One by one the Army of 300 did their best to control their mocking laughter, some had gotten to the point of nausea and had a hard time progressing through without regurgitating their breakfast at IHOP hours earlier.

At one point PZ saw one of his soldiers cringing in pain from a migraine. Apparently this particular soldier was a geologist and the Noah's Ark Display of Stupidity was just too much for him to take

[Geologist is putting a patch over his eye]

PZ Myers: My friend, I trust that "migraine" hasn't made you useless.

Geologist: Hardly, PZ, it's just an eye. Evolution saw fit to grace me with a spare.

During the tour as PZ rallied his troops, Ken Ham's voice suddenly boomed from a speaker hidden somewhere in the Adam and Eve display. It almost sounded like they put the speaker inside Adam, and tells the Army of 300.

Ken Ham: Unlike the cruel PZ Myers, who persuaded you all to make a stand, I require only that you kneel before my God.

Then Ken Ham directs his attention to PZ.

Ken Ham: But I am a generous cu rater. I can make you rich beyond all measure. I will make you our chief science officer. You will carry my battle standard to the heart of all non believers. Your skeptic rivals will kneel at your feet if you will but kneel at mine.

PZ Myers: You are generous as you are insane, O' Woo-Woo of Cu raters. Such an offer only a madman would refuse. But the, uh, the idea of kneeling, it's- You see, disproving all these myths of yours has, uh, well it's left a nasty cramp in my leg, so kneeling will be hard for me.

Ken Ham: It isn't wise to stand against me, PZ. Imagine what horrible fate awaits my enemies when I would gladly kill any of my own men for victory.

PZ Myers: And I would die for any one of mine.

Ken Ham I have God on my side PZ, I suggest you all lay down your arms.

A brief moment passes and it was as if King Leonidas emerged from the past and took over PZ for a second as he quoted the old true King of the original 300.

PZ Myers: Molon labe! (Come and get them!)

PZ waits patiently for his challenge to be acknowledged, but is only met with silence.

Navigating the passageways, making mental notes as he wanders through. Ahead of him some of the advance scouts had managed to commandeer a saddled triceratops. The soldiers that surrounded PZ encouraged him to mount the beast, and conveniently ignore the sign on the wall telling adults to stay off of it. PZ graciously mounted the saddled triceratops like a king before his court, and swung his black hat in the air triumphantly, and in that moment he created an icon that will live forever in the annals of the internet.

Having survived the battle, the Army of 300 rejoiced in unison outside the Creationist Museum's gates

PZ Myers: A new age has begun, an age of science and wisdom. And all will know that 300 humanists gave their last breath to defend it!
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