Thursday, 6 June 2013

An Open Letter to Luke Barnes

This is a sort of open letter to Luke Barnes, to whom I am going to refer in third person for the benefit of other readers.

Also for the benefit of other readers, a little background.  Luke and I have had a brief exchange in the comments section to A Doctor a Day – A Response which is on the topic of Fine Tuning.  I’ve brought this out into an article, for the most part, because his latest response quoted a chap called John F. Donoghue.  I know what you are all thinking, but it is not the urologist John F. Donohue that we are talking about, but a different guy, with a “g”.

This particular John F. Donoghue, who writes about the multiverse solution to the fine-tuning problem, is the self-same John Donoghue whose name is on a list of people who have sought and been granted funding from the Foundational Questions Institute (FQXi).  But when you look at his CV, in the section titled “Funding History”, he doesn’t refer to the funding as coming from FQXi (as he had noted in the section before) but rather he says that he got a small grant from the John Templeton Foundation (JTF).  Now, Donoghue might mean that he got another, separate grant from JTF, but searching the JTF website produces exactly one result – the grant from FQXi.  Does that mean that FQXi is just a puppet organisation of JTF (like the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) is a puppet organisation of the Church of Scientology (CoS)) and that a grant from FQXi is a grant from JTF in all but name?

Apparently not.  You have to dig around a bit at the FQXi website in order to find that the Institute is funded by a seed grant from the JTF, but when you find the relevant page, it’s quite revealing.  There has been quite some effort expended on pointing out that:

the Institute is seeking a broader base of donors – this is mentioned a couple of times, first at the top of the page, where “to diversify our funding base” is cited as the motivation, then towards the end where there is an indication that JTF has “strongly encouraged” the Institute to seek additional donors.  Interestingly, the copyright declaration on the website’s lower banner is as of 2009, while the FAQ appears to have been posted in June 2010, which is after the funding from JTF expired (in December 2009).  The search for other donors does not seem to have been successful, or those donating want to remain quiet about it, and I’ve not yet been able to establish FQXi’s current source of funding.

the Institute operates in accordance with its scientific charter – a charter that talks of “deep or ‘ultimate’ nature of reality” with the word “ultimate” neatly bracketed by quotation marks, or scare quotes as they are sometimes called, unlike over at JTF where their mission is to act as “a catalyst for discoveries relating to the Big Questions of human purpose and ultimate reality” and “ultimate” remains an integral part of that mission.

But hang on a second.  A condition of the JTF grant is that the activities of FQXi are consistent with their scientific charter – that sounds a bit like control to me, but perhaps it is just “influence”.

(Also, interestingly, the current Scientific Director of FQXi has been involved with JTF over a longer period.  He was overseeing a JTF funded program during the Guillermo Gonzales affair – or possibly overseeing a JTF funding program, the wording is a little unclear.  But rest assured that Max Tegmark is not religious, as he himself declares, so I doubt that he is a JTF puppet.) 

However, all that aside, the John F. Donoghue quoted by Luke Barnes directly credits the Templeton Foundation for his grant rather than the totally independent Foundational Questions Institute which actually gave him the money.  Why would he do that?

There are plenty of reasons why a serious scientist would try to avoid an overly close association with JTF, much as FQXi attempts to do in their FAQ, despite spending JTF money and much as JTF itself attempts to avoid association with the Discovery Institute.

(The interested reader might want to look up some comments on the Foundation by Sean Carroll, Peter Woit, Jerry Coyne and others - including possibly biased commentators such as AC Grayling, Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett.  It’s interesting to see that our old friend Vilenkin is also a recipient of FQXi funding while Guth is on the Advisory Council.  There’s no sign of Borde though.

It might be worth noting that JTF is behind the Templeton Prize for progress in religion which was, for more than a decade (1999-2011), given to a scientist or academic who was somehow pro-religion – to the bemusement of the 2000 recipient, Freeman Dyson, who describes himself as a “practising Christian but not a believing Christian”.

While I am doing an aside, I’ll also slip in another curiosity.  How does one go from “Foundational Questions Institute” to the acronym FQXi?  There’s a FAQ entry on that too.  By a staggering coincidence “Xi” also appears in the name of a scientific research society that was founded in 1886, Sigma Xi.  One shouldn’t read too much into that, there was already an institute with the potential acronym FQI – the Federal Quality Institute – although that institute doesn’t seem to have staked its claim on the acronym.)

I find the willingness, on the part of John F. Donoghue, to be associated with JTF interesting, because it is akin to Luke Barnes’ equanimity in the face of becoming the poster boy for certain types of god-bothering apologists.  Both are slightly odd positions for a serious physicist to take, but not so odd if the physicist in question is a god-botherer himself.  Perhaps Donoghue and Luke are not actually in either the theistic or apologist camp, but when one hears something quacking madly like a duck, one can be forgiven for thinking that one is confronted with a duck.


I am led to pose a number of questions to Luke:

Why, given his statement "I do not attempt to defend any conclusion based on the fine-tuning of the universe for intelligent life", did Luke put so much effort into responding to Victor Stenger's popular level book which directly addresses the misuse of fine-tuning by theists, many of whom argue precisely that point?

Why, given the above, does Luke’s paper, titled "The Fine-Tuning of the Universe for Intelligent Life", include the term "intelligent life" nineteen times and contain only one clear statement that he is not attempting "to defend any conclusion based on the fine-tuning of the universe for intelligent life".

Why is that clear statement placed in the abstract, as the second last sentence where it could easily have been inserted as an afterthought (much as the very last sentence could have been inserted as an afterthought), rather than being in the body of the paper?

And why, in that paper, does Luke repeatedly misrepresent Stenger's argument?

For example, Luke states that Stenger

"claims that the universe is not fine-tuned."

While Stenger himself states that he

"concluded that while the precise form of life we find on Earth would not exist with slight changes in these parameters, some form of life could have evolved over a parameter range that is not infinitesimal, as often claimed"


"I agree that life, as we know it on Earth, would not exist with a slight change in these parameters." 

Stenger clearly indicates that he is arguing against non-technical claims that the universe is so finely tuned that changing any single parameter

"by one part in 10^40 or more would mean that no life of any kind was possible". 

In the conclusion to his response to Luke, Stenger clarifies that his

"intent was to investigate the claim found in much theistic literature that carbon-based life, as we know it, would be impossible if any one of thirty or so parameters of physics and cosmology changed by an infinitesimal amount.  Five of these are critical parameters for which it is claimed no form of life would be possible without the posited fine-tuning."


Luke posed a question regarding my use of the concepts “strong fine-tuning” and “weak fine-tuning”.

The sort of vulnerability of the universe to infinitesimal levels of change as mentioned above (a variation of one part in 10^40 would lead to no life whatsoever in this universe) is what I mean by "strong fine-tuning”.  Now it is possible that "weak fine-tuning” is really what Luke is arguing for.  As Stenger puts it:

The remaining parameters are also supposed to be fine-tuned to many orders of magnitude. I show that they are at best fine-tuned, if you want to call it that, to 10-20 percent. Barnes seems to want me to reduce this to maybe 1-5 percent. But nowhere does he show that they should be 10^-40. My essential point is, when all parameters are taken together the region of parameter space that should allow some form of life to evolve is not the infinitesimal point that the theist literature would want us to believe.

So, you could say that Stenger is arguing against “strong fine-tuning” (1:10000000000000000000000000000000000000000) and conceding “very weak fine-tuning” (1:5 - 1:10) while Luke is arguing for “weak fine-tuning” (1:20 – 1:100).

However, because Luke makes his arguments the way he does, his efforts make him appear like an apologist or, at best, someone writing for an audience of apologists. For an example, apologists in the vein of WLC love to cry fallacy and will pepper their arguments with accusations of "straw man", "equivocation" or "genetic fallacy".  Luke feeds right into this fixation of theirs by making his very first section after the introduction a smorgasbord of plump juicy fallacies.

Luke also fails, in his paper, to clearly indicate that the claims of apologists with respect to fine-tuning are overblown, thus allowing those apologists to interpret Luke’s work as supporting “strong fine-tuning”.  In fact, he follows the standard apologist approach by presenting two “tidy explanations” (which he graciously admits are neither mutually exclusive nor exhaustive), one which is basically the anthropic principle and another which relies on a “transcendent, personal creator”.  Note, he doesn’t say a “divine being” or “a god”, Luke uses a term which could have been lifted directly from William Lane Craig or the Institute for Creation Research or Lee Strobel’s “The Case for a Creator”.

And then Luke immediately deals with the anthropic principle (AP) concluding with “Similarly, AP cannot explain why life and its necessary conditions exist at all” while leaving the transcendent, personal creator untouched.

Later in the paper, in section 5, The Multiverse, Luke quotes Stenger (my emphasis):

“Cosmologists have proposed a very simple solution to the fine-tuning problem.  Their current models strongly suggest that ours is not the only universe but part of a multiverse containing an unlimited number of individual universes extending an unlimited distance in all directions and for an unlimited time in the past and future.  … Modern cosmological theories do indicate that ours is just one of an unlimited number of universes, and theists can give no reason for ruling them out.” [The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning: Why the Universe is Not Designed for Us p22, p42]

Then he (Luke) goes on to assert or imply that:

multiverse hypotheses are not science

the “Boltzmann multiverse is … definitively ruled out”

“we cannot conclude that it survives the test of the principle of mediocrity” (where “it” means “the predictions of an inflationary multiverse”)

a “cold big bang” fails to imply that “cosmology need not be fine-tuned to be life-permitting”, and

“any multiverse proposal that creates more small universe domains than large ones” die “the same death as the Boltzmann multiverse”.

Curiously enough, there is no corresponding section addressing the tidy explanation that involves a “transcendent, personal creator”.


So, is Luke Barnes a fifth columnist, a(n old-earth) creationism inclined theist who has risen in the science community with the intent of driving a theistic agenda?  The evidence is inconclusive since he could just be a bit clumsy or misguided, but I would like to say in closing, speaking directly to Luke:

You, sir, quack very much like a duck.


  1. If you had the slightest clue about the physics on which you are commenting, then you'd address your remarks to the arguments. Do you have any comment at all about the point I was making? Let's stay on topic here - you alleged that fine-tuning was an inherently religious idea, the same as saying that the universe was designed: "your paper ... gives the impression that the fact that intelligent life evolved in this universe somehow implies that the universe was finely tuned -deliberately and intentionally- in order for that intelligent life to evolve."

    I responded by quoting by a particle physicist, a fellow of the American Physical Society for more than two decades, who literally wrote the textbook on "Dynamics of the Standard Model", to the effect that fine-tuning is a perfectly well understood physical concept in the context of quantum mechanics.

    You, have no idea about physics, are left with a conundrum: do I admit that I have no idea what I'm talking about, no idea what a quantum correction is or perturbation theory is, not the slightest clue about the physics relevant the fine-tuning of the universe for intelligent life, that I haven't read Barnes' paper and wouldn't understand it anyway? Or do I head off on the most tenuous tangent I can find, crapping on about some conspiracy about the Templeton Foundation? OMG! A well-respected physicist gave credit for the funding he received to the organisation from which he received the funding! WOW! If you have evidence that Prof Donoghue's research has been influenced by Templeton funding then let's hear it.

  2. On to your questions, most of which I've answered already.

    Why respond to Stenger? Because he gets the physics, and especially the cosmology, wrong. Stenger argues that FT is false for scientific reasons. He is wrong for scientific reasons. All this is independent of what theists want to do with FT.

    "Why, given the above, does Luke’s paper, titled "The Fine-Tuning of the Universe for Intelligent Life", include the term "intelligent life" nineteen times and contain only one clear statement that he is not attempting "to defend any conclusion based on the fine-tuning of the universe for intelligent life"." What? You think the term "intelligent life" is a term borrowed from christian apologetics?

    "Why is that clear statement placed in the abstract, as the second last sentence where it could easily have been inserted as an afterthought (much as the very last sentence could have been inserted as an afterthought), rather than being in the body of the paper?" That, by some margin, is the stupidest thing you've said so far, which is quite an achievement. The abstract of a paper is the part that you agonize over, write and rewrite many times. It is the first part of your paper that people will read. If the abstract doesn't draw them in, then your paper will be ignored. Hiding a conclusion in an abstract makes as much sense as hiding your PIN by tattooing it on your forehead.

    "And why, in that paper, does Luke repeatedly misrepresent Stenger's argument?" Here we go again. "Stenger: "The most commonly cited examples of apparent fine-tuning can be readily explained by the application of a little well-established physics and cosmology. . . . [S]ome form of life would have occurred in most universes that could be described by the same physical models as ours, with parameters whose ranges varied over ranges consistent with those models. … . My case against fine-tuning will not rely on speculations beyond well-established physics nor on the existence of multiple universes."

    Stenger argues against theists by arguing that FT is false for scientific reasons. He is going against most of the scientific literature in this, and his arguments, judged on scientific grounds, are not good. You'd know that if you'd read my paper.

  3. "Luke also fails, in his paper, to clearly indicate that the claims of apologists with respect to fine-tuning are overblown, thus allowing those apologists to interpret Luke’s work as supporting “strong fine-tuning”. The paper isn't about apologetics. Its about science. I've criticised Hugh Ross and WLC on my blog.

    "“transcendent, personal creator”. Note, he doesn’t say a “divine being” or “a god”" They mean the same thing. You really should learn to read the lines before you try to read between them.

    The multiverse is a scientific hypothesis, or usually claims to be, and so can and should be critiqued on scientific grounds. God isn't, and so can't be critiqued in the same way. I notice you didn't quote my conclusion about the multiverse: "A multiverse generated by a simple underlying mechanism is a remarkably seductive idea ... The goal of this section has been to
    demonstrate the mountain that the multiverse is yet to climb, the challenges that it must face openly and honestly."

    If you've got anything intelligent (O God ... I used that word again! And then I said God!) to say about the science of fine-tuning, the scientific literature on fine-tuning or the scientific appraisal of the multiverse, then let's hear it. Say something intelligent about the cosmological constant problem.

    Or just keep bleating about topics that you don't understand.

    1. Ah, thanks for directing me to your blog where I read this in your critique of WLC:


      Apart from the above example, Craig’s work on the fine-tuning of the universe for life isn’t too bad (my next blog post notwithstanding). In particular, the other points he makes against the multiverse hypothesis deserve our consideration. His best article is “Design and the anthropic fine-tuning of the universe” in the volume “God and design: the teleological argument and modern science”, which also contains Robin Collins’ excellent “Evidence for Fine Tuning”. Both are worth a close read.

      Now I know what all that quacking is about. Cheers.

  4. Did WLC run over your dog? Where is this obsession coming from? I get the impression that if he told you that you needed a brain to survive, you'd cut your head off just to prove him wrong.

    I stand by my comment: that article from WLC is worth a read. Apart from my criticisms in my blog, he is also wrong about there being "50 fine tuned constants and quantities". He is wrong about the 1 part in 10^40 or 10^100 level tuning of the weak force and EM for star formation - he's getting that number from Paul Davies, but it isn't correct. I've half written a post about that. I've got a post criticising Kalam in the works as well.

    Collins article is a careful appraisal and critique of fine tuning cases.

    The best criticism of the fine-tuning argument for God are from:
    * Sean Carroll:
    * Paul Davies discussion in "The Goldilocks Enigma"
    * Elliot Sober: "The design argument"
    * Brad Monton: "God, Fine-Tuning, and the Problem of Old Evidence"

    As with WLC and Colllins, I don't fully agree with any of these authors but they're worth a read.

    1. No, last time I looked, WLC had not run over my dog. And, no, I am not succumbing to the genetic fallacy. If Craig says something intelligent then I'll be happy for him.

      My arguments are with his dishonesty. For example, he's had errors pointed out to him repeatedly, but he still trots them out in the next debate. He's an educated guy, he prepares his debates meticulously and is well-prepared to attack the arguments of his opponents. So why does he not fix the errors in his own presentations?

      (While we are near the topic, as to the details of his (and your) errors and inaccuracies in physics, I leave that to such luminaries as Victor Stenger, Sean Carroll, Lawrence Krauss and so on. I can't compete with them and don't purport to.)

      I did read that article, the Multiverse and Design Argument one ... it's interesting that he argues against Vilenkin, especially when Vilenkin's ideas (together with Borde and Guth) are such a central feature of one of his other arguments. I don't think it was really worth reading though. Craig takes just takes snippets of information that appears to support his case (for example those you mention from Davies) and largely ignores or dismisses information that doesn't.

      Additionally, he flits from realm to realm in his argumentation - trying to use discussions of physics to bolster a philosophical argument - then using philosophical tricks to avoid a physical consequence, for example talking about a god that exists outside of the universe he'll say something like "This breezy solution completely fails to appreciate that the exteriority with which one is grappling is not spatial but ontological". (There is a similar argument about the necessity of Craig's god as a uncaused cause, presuming the need for a cause based on physics, but shrouding that god in philosophical clothes to make it immune to physics - which would require an origin for god.) An example of this pea and shell game is here -

      He does something similar in his moral arguments, trying to create an unnatural divide between moral ontology and moral epistemology, as if you can have - as the subject of a debate - a thing that exists which you can't know about (so what exactly is there to debate?) or possibly something you can know about which doesn't exist.

      All that aside, I've spent a bit of time scanning your blog and remain quite convinced that you lean towards the "god did it" school of cosmogony - what is curious is that you neither come out clearly and say it, nor do you deny it. Why all the cloak and dagger? It makes me wonder whether you are some new Andrew Snelling in the making, albeit one with his eyes fixed on the stars rather than on the Earth - one could say that you may be a young Old Universe Creationist, rather than an old Young Earth Creationist.

      What is it about those universities you have there in Sydney?

    2. I'm haven't defended WLC on Kalam. It's something I'm looking into. (I won't comment on the moral argument)

      "This breezy solution completely fails to appreciate that the exteriority with which one is grappling is not spatial but ontological". I don't see a problem with that sentence. Space and time may not be fundamental features of all reality. They might not even be fundamental parts of physical reality. They might be emergent. A being with no spatial relations to the physical universe is not a contradictory idea.

      More generally, there are two ways to critique a hypothesis. Internally, i.e. that the hypothesis contradicts itself, fails to make sense, is self refuting etc. Or externally, using data, facts, things that we can directly observe. You can't criticise a hypothesis using another hypothesis, since all you've shown is that the two conflict. It's no criticism of the God hypothesis to say that God is immune to physical laws. God is supposed to be the cause of physical laws. Physical data doesn't require us to restrict the concept of a cause to the physical realm. The whole point of the cosmological arguments is to show that the physical universe, including physical causes, itself needs an external cause/explanation/something.

      Why all the cloak and dagger? I got sick of reading Christian reviews of Stenger that were content basically to shout "ATHEIST" and leave it at that, and atheist reviews of High Ross that shouted "CREATIONIST" at left it at that. I don't think either are doing good science or philosophy, but they deserve better than "oh, he's just one of them". I'm a scientist interested in discussing the science, so I'll just leave it at that.

      Old-young ... neither. I have no problem with evolution. I know embarrassingly little about biology in general. Or geology. Or what forces produced such an anomaly as Snelling.

    3. Sure space and time may not be fundamental. I am happy with that. But all that brings us to is a large chunk of "I don't know". We have absolutely no reason to posit a "being" at all and the only beings that we have any experience of exist with in space and time. If we are going to posit beings that exist outside space and time, we might as well posit a natural (non-divine) causeless cause.

      It's at this point that the deist view of the universe is largely indistinguishable from that of the atheist who admits to not knowing how the universe came about. Something started it all off and since then whatever did that has had no observable further influence.

      If you are suggesting a purely deist position, then I guess that is okay. But if you try to drive it further than that (as people like WLC will), then you have gone too far with the lack of data.

  5. Hi neopolitan, I have been researching fine-tuning and found my way here. I am a christian so you can discount my bias if you wish. But I think it is worth commenting:

    1. I have read this post and discussion, and the previous one that sparked it. Do you realise that it appears that the most important things to you are not the correctness of the science, but whether Luke is a theist, a christian, an apologist, etc, and whether someone was funded by Templeton? If a creationist criticised an evolutionary biologist for receiving funding from an atheist source, you would rightly laugh at him, but you are doing the same. Can you not see that you are trivialising and personalising the discussion?

    2. Therefore your repeated comments about Luke quacking like a duck are insulting and trivial, unless ad hominem and poisoning the well are more important to you than scientific truth.

    3. Why not ask Luke to explain his conclusions in layperson's terms? Why not read some of the many reputable and unbiased cosmologists out there to make a judgement on Stenger vs Barnes? There are some good books about - I found Martin Rees "Just Six Numbers", Leonard Susskind "The Cosmic Landscape", "The Emperor's New Mind". Roger Penrose and several books by Paul Davies all in my local library. I was able to read them and understand most of them and I am an engineer, not a physicist. They are all written by non-theists with a fairly agnostic attitude, all among the most respected names in the business, and they all say what Luke is saying, and not what Stenger is saying. You can verify this yourself.

    4. For what it's worth, I have followed Luke's blog for several years now and I have never seen him make an apologetic statement. He steadfastly addresses the science, notes the metaphysical implications on occasion, and criticises theist and non-theist alike if they get the science wrong. I think he is an agnostic, but I think you and I should respect his choice to stick to science.

    5. May I end with a quote from that great source of wisdom, "The Princess Bride"? Inigo Montoya is defeated in swordsmanship by the masked man, and says: "Who are you? I must know!" To which the man in black replies: "Get used to disappointment!" Maybe you should get used to disappointment, stop the insulting references, engage with the scientific issues, and learn a little more about cosmology. It's much more fun that the discussion you've had here.

    Hope you aren't angered by this comment. Thanks.

    1. Hi unkleE,

      You haven't angered me, only amused me :)

      As far as I know there are no large atheist organisations dedicated to pushing science which specifically shows that the atheist position is correct, let alone championing the corruption of science to support atheism. Science tends to support atheism by default and this is why organisations like the Templeton Foundation and the Discovery Institute exist, to try to retrieve the theist position despite the wealth of evidence against it. I don't think that being concerned at the corruption of science is trivialising the discussion. On the contrary, I think that the trivialisation stems from efforts to prove a pre-existing concept despite the science.

      And why am I concerned by the corruption of science? Because scientific accuracy is important to me (I'll leave you theists to wrestle with the term "truth"). When someone like Barnes personally corrupts science in support of a theist agenda, he needs to be called on it, personally. Barnes doesn't come out and say he's a theist, he doesn't necessarily act like an apologist, but he sits at the edges using his apparent scientific credibility to defend scientific corruptions. An example of this can be found here - - where he's been supporting creationism/intelligent design.

      It's interesting to read your list of "unbiased cosmologists" including Martin Rees - Templeton winner and Paul Davies - Templeton winner. You're being a little untruthful to include those two in your list of "non-theists".

      I'm a great fan of The Princess Bride, let me quote back at you: "This word, ..., I do not think it means what you think it means". I could apply that to a lot of words you have used :)

  6. Hi neopolitan, I wonder if you'd mind my asking a few clarifying questions please?

    "When someone like Barnes personally corrupts science in support of a theist agenda, he needs to be called on it, personally."
    Could you outline, please, exactly how Barnes corrupts science, and also how he uses it in support of a theistic agenda (two separate questions)?

    "the Templeton Foundation and the Discovery Institute .... Barnes doesn't come out and say he's a theist, he doesn't necessarily act like an apologist ..."
    Can you offer any evidence that Barnes has any connection with either of those two bodies, and that he is an apologist, or are you using these references for some other purpose? How would any such connection or action make any difference to the science Barnes outlines?

    ""unbiased cosmologists" including Martin Rees - Templeton winner and Paul Davies - Templeton winner. You're being a little untruthful to include those two in your list of "non-theists".
    Have you any evidence that either is a theist? Have you read any of their books or papers? Can you give me any quotes in support? Or is it just 'guilt by association'?


    PS As fellow fans of The Princess Bride, we may be able to resolve this discussion in an appropriate manner - quotes at 50 paces! My next is: "Unless I'm wrong - and I'm never wrong!" :)

    1. See the separate post in which I address these questions.

      This word ... (non-theist) ... I do not think it means what you think it means.

  7. Excellent, neopolitan.
    I have been scratching my head for some time regarding Barnes as to whether he is a god-botherer.
    Having a lengthy history with unklee, my gut told me he must be leaning in this direction, especially as unklee fawns over his writing, . I have asked Barnes directly a couple of times on his blog and he has never replied.

    A comparison is simple. If anyone were to ask me: Are you a Closet Christian? I would holler from the tallest building - 'Hell NO!''
    So why is Barnes continually coy?

    So, well done you for pretty much dragging this little theological light from under the bushel.

    1. I note that you have since been able to extract an admission of "at least deism" from Luke. Good work.

      In reviewing these articles and comments I did stumble over something that indicates that Luke's still being coy. He wrote in a comment above:

      > "“transcendent, personal creator”. Note, he doesn’t say a “divine being” or “a god”" They mean the same thing. You really should learn to read the lines before you try to read between them.

      This means that, to him, "god" = "personal creator" - to extent that he believes it's not only what the term means to him, it's a definition. A person who believes this is not a deist. If he's admitted to deism, then he's admitted to believing in a god, and his belief here with regard to the definition of "god" pushes him beyond deism into theism.

      So, we have ourselves a theist.


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