[Updated to add: Joe sent me a short overview of his book, about 1050 words (or 6 pages of nice large 18pt monospace font, or 1 page of 10 pt), which I’ve appended to a post downthread in pdf and doc formats, specifically on page 2 of the thread. The only reason I’m not linking to it here is because, naturally, he talks about more of his book in the interview, so you might as well go through it! But we did provide a much shorter introduction to his book later if you want to hunt for it.]
Joe and I work on the same Christian apologetics web journal (christiancadre.blogspot.com), and today his publisher has finally released a project he has been working on for many years, The Trace of God: A Rational Warrant For Belief. (The hyperlink goes to the Amazon version, for help in concentrating any early sales in ranking, but it’s available at other sellers, too. It’s a paperback by the way, not an ebook yet.)
Theistic arguments often overlook the question of mystical experience due to difficulties in the necessary subjectivity involved, plus the obvious problem (for anyone with a modicum of experience in the topic) that the resulting doctrinal spread is practically as wide as all religions everywhere. Consequently such events seem of little use to most apologists of specific theistic religions or philosophies, where not outright self-contradictory or competitive or even hostile evidence: anti-religionists and even outright anti-theists may appeal to them as objective evidence (since the experiences objectively happen) against claims of special religious truths by any religion.
But the experiences do objectively happen, whatever their explanation(s) or subjective content, and so during the past century a body of work studying the experiences by scientific methods has been quietly grown and polished and continues to be grown through controlled studies on a regular basis.
Joseph Hinman has worked hard to collect and summarize typical studies for lay readers, creating an introduction to the field for people largely ignorant of the science of the topic (like myself). A former atheist, Joe was first led to study the field by mystical experiences of his own. Later he decided some version of trinitarian Christian theism made the most sense to him, and has become (again like myself) a Christian apologist, but he also recognizes that the data from this field is spread too widely to point to more than a few characteristics of God (which could be considered one of the meanings of his chosen title for his study: only a trace can be detected by this method, but it is a trace.)
So he doesn’t push for various doctrines in the book; and so similarly, readers of many kinds of belief (or even non-belief or anti-belief) may find this book useful in at least opening up the topic for further discussion. Along the way, Joe also includes introductions to related topics like Plantingian rational warrant and Kuhn’s theory of paradigm shifts, and extensively discusses important rebuttals to interpreting the evidence in favor of being an objective trace of God (plus counter-rebuttals of course since this is that kind of book).
Note: Joe is dyslexic, so while strong efforts have been made (including by myself as an invited proofreader for two chapters) to eliminate problems a few may still exist, especially in first printed editions. The reader may blame us as proofers for missing those. I’ll be trying to go back and proof any problems which show up downthread as the interview progresses, too.
Note: a live podcast interview (not with anyone on this thread) is also now available! cyiworldwide.com/deeper-wate … eph-hinman