God is infinitely infinite: end of discussion

“Sometimes I introduce concepts I don’t understand just to make myself sound more infinite.” ~unknown

The word “infinite” is a quantifier. Quantifiers quantify qualities. Quantifiers can quantify a quality explicitly such as in the claim “the universe is 13.7 billion years old”, or can be implicit such as in “Phil is 55” (age is implied instead of IQ…hopefully)

But there is no semantic content in the following statements.

1. The car is quite.
2. My cat is very.
3. Your face is 732.
4. My God is infinite.

Your God is infinitely what? Unless you specify what quality is being quantified, you have said nothing.

Some more-aware Christians do attempt to attach “infinite” to a quality.

Here is one example.

Q: How can the 3-day death of Jesus be a substitute payment for the “deserved” eternal damnation of sinners?
A: Jesus was infinitely holy, so he could be resurrected.
(I’ve actually heard this several times.)

“Infinitely holy”? What can this possibly mean? Holiness is either perfect or imperfect. It’s like saying your lights are “infinitely on” or that your project is “infinitely finished” or that you’ve been “infinitely divorced” or that your house has been “infinitely built”. These phrases have no meaning.

It’s almost as if the term “infinite” is being invoked as a vague insulator to shut down the discussion. If you tell your boss you deserve a pay raise because you have “infinitely finished” your last project, he will likely justifiably laugh at your inability to understand the terms you use, or at your transparent attempt to make a rebuttal impossibly by introducing the logically impossible Escheresque term “infinitely finished”.

Saying some God is “infinitely holy” is either an egregious semantic blunder or an intentional attempt to block further discussion with impossible concepts.

Others have answered the question how the 3-day death of Jesus covers the “deserved” eternal damnation of sinners with the following.

A: God’s love for Jesus is infinite.
(I’ve also heard this on many occasions.)

This is logically incoherent. Love can only be complete, not infinite. Perhaps claiming the love of your God is a “perfect love” is logically coherent since it simply means it is not deficient in any way, but claiming the love of your God is “infinite” is logically absurd. Along what dimension can love extend to be assessed quantitatively?

Yet the term “infinite” is constantly invoked by theists when they find their theology backed into a logical corner.

This blunder (or intentional mendacity) does reflect well on their claims to possess the truth.

A personal Jesus

“I have a personal relationship with Jesus.”

Many Christians frequently make this claim, apparently without any shame, even as they remain ignorant of anything about Jesus not found in the Bible.

I don’t have a personal relationship with Abraham Lincoln, in spite of being able to quote him and feeling his influence in my life.

To claim I did would be a shameful diminishing of the actual personal relationships I have with my friends and family.

But this claim appears quite foundational to the religious perspective of many, and is indicative of the degree of self-deception at play.

Larry Taunton and Betrayed Friendship

[Posted originally on the Unbelievable Facebook group page.]

Evidences that Christopher Hitchens may have been on the verge of conversion to Christianity based on the recent interview with Larry Taunton.

1. He took road trips with Christians.

2. He sat respectful while Christians shared the Gospel.

3. He asked many questions about Christian beliefs.

4. He complimented his opposition on their presentations.

5. He did not agree with all atheists.

6. His social views were opposed to mainstream atheist views.

7. He changed his mind on several issues.

My god! I must be also on the verge of conversion to an ideology I publicly claim is absurd!


Hint: If a nonbeliever sits respectfully and listens to your arguments, becomes your friend, compliments you frequently, and looks like he is honestly assessing the arguments, don’t be the fool and misrepresent his mind after his death. Doing so is only indicative of what kind of friend you actually were.

Unless someone actually says they are contemplating a change of mind, don’t suggest to the world they are or were.

This is very basic social propriety.

Like Hitchens, I identify with the 7 points above. I only hope none of my Christian friends turn out to be a Taunton.

Properly assessing a splitting moon or resurrection

Imagine you have a line of 100 friends playing a game of “telephone” in which the first person in line whispers a message to the second person, who in turn whispers the message to the third person…until the message reaches the hundredth person.

How do you assess the probability that the message will be transmitted without error through the 100-person chain? There are two possible methods.

  1. Reason the probability of each of your friends either mishearing or intentional distorting the message to be negligible, and multiply zero by 100 to arrive at the conclusion there is zero chance the message you receive at the end of the chain is corrupted.
  2. Reason the probability of each of your friends either mishearing or intentionally distorting the message to be slight, and calculate that slight probability, say 1%, over 100 events (0.99^100) to arrive at the conclusion that there is only a 36.6% chance of an uncorrupted message.

This failure to perceive this substantial probability of corruption (63.4%) intrinsic to a long series of events, each with low probability of corruption, seems to be at the heart of Christian illogic when considering the probability of a human resurrection based on the evidences available.
In this case, the probabilities of “corruption” are not chronologically linear, but remain probabilistically additive, and can therefore be calculated the same way.
Imagine a case in which you have an unreliable friend Tom who has 1) a mendacious character, 2) an appetite for hallucinagens, 3) a gullibility towards pranksters, and 4) a poor understanding of standards of evidence. Tom tells you his dog rose from the dead. You consider alternative explanations. For the sake of simplicity, imagine that, in this scenario, the probability of 1) a lie, 2) a hallucination, 3) a deception, and an unconsidered natural explanation are all 10%. We don’t, of course, suppose that the rather low probability of each of these contingencies warrants concluding his dog most certainly did rise from the dead. We instead calculate the final probability his claim is true given all the alternative explanations. This would be 0.9^4, or about 65%.
However, does an honest assessment stop here? Do we therefore conclude that there is a 65% probability that Tom’s dog rose from the dead? No.
We have only assessed the probability that Tom’s claim that his dog resurrected is wrong based on the alternative explanations we can identify. We have not yet assessed the probability of a dog rising from the dead. And this is a step that many Christians seem to ignore in respect to the alleged resurrection of Jesus.
Though we can not demonstrate with any degree of certainty that any of the four possible alternative explanations for the apparent resurrection of Tom’s dog we have introduced are true, we don’t conclude that their individual unlikelihoods, even when properly combined to arrive at the 65% probability Tom is a reliable source for any claim, demand that we place a 65% degree of certainty in the notion that Tom’s dog did, in fact, resurrect.
We very seldom see dogs resurrect. I don’t think it would be a stretch to place, for my readers, the probability of a dog actually resurrecting based on our inductive experience to be far below one in a million.
So though the assessment of the probabilities of the alternative explanations we have identified suggests Tom is still more than likely to be relating a truth, we intuitively understand that such an assessment is incomplete until we include the probability of a dog rising from the dead.
We now need to reflect on disparity between our 65% degree of certainty we have in Tom based on the alternative explanations we have thought of, and our induction-based 0.0001% degree of certainty that a dog can rise from the dead. This, if we are rational, will lead us to conclude there may also be other unknown possible explanations that we have not thought of.
Perhaps these explanations are of such a nature that we could not possibly currently think of them such as in the non-demonic neurological explanation of epileptic fits unavailable to us prior to scientific knowledge of neurology. In that context, demon possession (an explanation reenforced by other contemporary “supernatural” events such as lightening) would have seemed very likely absent the understanding there may be natural explanations we may not yet have considered or have access to.
We all correctly conclude that even multiple claims from even quite reliable sources do not trump our inductive assessment of the probability of physical events. If Tom and ten others of high reputation tell us Tom’s dog resurrected, we rightfully remain quite skeptical, even when there is no alternative explanation that comes to mind.
I strongly recommend Christians do this when considering the claim of a resurrected Jesus.
First, we should properly calculate the probabilities of the alternative explanations we can think of. A partial list is as follows.

  1. The entire story was fabricated by one or a few individuals.
  2. The resurrection emerged after many retellings of the life of Jesus.
  3. The body was never in the tomb or was stolen.
  4. The events were hallucinated.

Note that we shouldn’t make the error that some do and ignore remote probabilities of individual events that become a substantial probability when the probability of those events are combined.
(Something else to consider is whether you would believe an evidentially equivalent story from an non-biblical source.)
Once we have determined the probability of the Biblical account being in error, we then more importantly weigh that probability against the probability that someone will rise from the dead based on our inductive experience. It is this step that is far too often missing from the analysis of the Christian.
This becomes quite salient when we consider the Muslim claim that Muhammed split the moon. We may consider the reliability of the Koran and collaborating sources, but we rightfully more importantly simply consider the physical possibility that the moon can be split. The same holds for Muhammed’s flying on a horse. The fact that we have never seen a horse fly makes an assessment of the reliability of the eye-witnesses quite unnecessary.
We don’t need to waste much time assessing the reliability of the sources of such claims when the claims run so counter to our inductive experience. So also for claims of the resurrection. For a Muslim to suggest we must give an account of all the eye-witnesses to these miracles or believe those miracles happened is silly. So also for the claims of the resurrection.
If Tom, as unreliable as he is, tells me his dog chased a rabbit yesterday, I may still be rational in giving him the benefit of a doubt. But if he claims his dog rose from the dead, it does not fall on me to come up with a definitive alternative explanation that would explain his claim. I can dismiss his claim of a resurrected dog as highly improbable and get on with life without knowing what the actual explanation is.
This recent attempt by apologists to shift the burden of proof to those who are highly doubtful a man named Jesus came back from the dead is silly. Those same apologist employ different standards of evidence to reject equally evidenced claims of resurrecting dogs, splitting moons and flying horses.
I’m willing to accept that many Christians have never given the proper assessment of probabilities in such context much thought. But it does appear some apologists intentionally 1) avoid combining improbable explanations that suggest the far more probable conclusion a miraculous claims is in error, and more importantly 2) dismiss the essential step of inductively assessing the probability of the actual event in question.
A source with a fair degree of reliability can claim a) a dog caught a rabbit, and b) a dog resurrected. We justifiably accept (a) and reject (b) if we understand the proper and honest way to assess such claims.

The perennial theistic “oops” 

Epileptic fits used to be explain by demon possession. The persons who arrived at this conclusion could have honestly said “I don’t know”, but instead they invoked a specific untestable paradigm in which fallen angels of a particular God were causing the odd behavior of the epileptic. They defaulted to one unsubstantiated explanation, and conceded the actual explanation only after it became far too obvious to ignore. There was no apology for the centuries of abuse of epileptics. Theists simply shrugged and retreated back to the next mystery in science. 
Have theists repented of this irrational, arrogant, dishonest and hurtful tactic? 

It appears not. They still hold that, since it appears to them there are no conclusive physical explanations for questions about consciousness and cosmology, they are warranted in defaulting to a god-explanation. 

Compare the track record of theist explanations against the success of the explanations of scientific consensus. Are their track records even remotely close to similar? No. Yet theists would have us start each assessment of each new mystery as if there was no track record to inform our expectations of the correct type of explanation. No epistemic humility nor rationality. Only an irrational pride in the sound of their own affirmations with an imagined God at their back. 

How long will this go on?

The Failure of the Biblical Notion of Salvific Belief

This post will demonstrate that the binary notion of salvific belief (belief leading to salvation of the soul) found in the Bible is logically absurd.

You may love both 1) pizza and 2) your children, but you wouldn’t abandon your children as you might a pizza during a catastrophe.

You may spend money on both 1) a pizza and 2) a house, but I would hope the prices you pay for each are vastly different.

You may believe both that 1) your young son will attend university and that 2) your young son will live to see tomorrow, but those two beliefs are very likely at very different degrees of certainty.

Loving, spending money and believing are all gradient concepts.

Gradient concepts are sometimes represented with low-resolution paired binary tags such as “hate” and “love”, “cheap” and “expensive”, and “disbelief” and “belief”.

These tags, in spite of their binary linguistic essences, do nothing to change the gradient essences of the concepts they are recruited to represent.

Modifiers such as “very”, “slightly”, “absolutely” or “tend to” are often attached to the basic tags in an attempt to add precision to the actual degree of loving, spending or believing one wishes to convey.

Most humans have no trouble understanding the intrinsic gradient nature of loving and spending, but have much more difficulty perceiving the concept of believing a gradient concept.

We have a psychological impulse and social pressure to either believe or disbelieve any given proposition. Even those deeply schooled in science often deviate from the degree of scientific certainty to epistemically gravitate to one of the poles of either disbelief or belief.

But, once again, neither the binary nature of the linguistic terms employed to reflect a gradient concept, nor the psychological impulse to sort propositions into one of the low resolution buckets of disbelief or belief are reasons not to map our degree of certainty to the degree of the relevant scientific certainty.

Rational belief is a degree of belief that maps to the degree of the relevant evidence as one perceives it.

Because evidence for inductively assessed propositions normally arrives incrementally to the assessor of the evidence, adding to or subtracting from the balance of evidence with each bit of confirming or disconfirming piece of evidence, the scientific certainty for such a proposition can be at any point upon the evidential gradient for any assessor of the evidence..

And because a rational degree of certainty must invariably map to the current degree of scientific certainty, the rational mind updates its epistemic degree of certainty upwards or downwards with the introduction of each new bit of confirming or disconfirming evidence.

This notion of rational belief as intrinsically gradient is not controversial, and this notion sets the stages for our discussion of the salvific belief found in the Bible.

Salvific belief treated as meaninglessly vague or binary

John 3:18 says…

“Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”

Imagine a stranger knocks at your door and says…

“Give me money. If you do, I’ll reward you with everything you’ve ever dreamed of. If you don’t, I’ll inflict upon you every misery you can imagine.”

Wouldn’t this be not just a little bit strange? The stranger has not specified how much money will result in reward and not misery.

This is the first absurdity. The demands for belief in Jesus found in the Bible are presented as demand for a binary belief: either you believe or you don’t. Nothing specifying the degree of belief accompanies the demand, yet the consequences are highly nuanced and as polar as one could ever imagine. It is almost as if these passages were written in an age that had not yet conceived of the necessary nuanced degrees of certainty we easily recognize as essential to a rational epistemic position in this age of science. It is as absurd as our stranger demanding an unspecified amount of money without including the threshold at which the reward will be granted, and the misery avoided.

I’ve been quite interested in the various degree of belief at which Christians place this threshold absent in the Bible. There seems to be four very different positions on this.

1. Any degree of belief greater than zero.
2. Any degree of belief greater than 50%.
3. Any “high” degree of belief.
4. Only 100% certainty.

This list of vastly diverse opinions on salvific belief serves to highlight the absurdity of treating belief as if it were binary. Salvific belief is the only way to redemption, yet it is presented so vaguely as to completely confuse the very Christians who seek that redemption. They disagree on the threshold in incomparable ways. This vague treatment of the belief at the core of salvation is not the modus operandi of a rational god who wishes to present the method of salvation in an unambiguous way.

This becomes more salient when you imagine “believe” replaced with another gradient concept, “love” in our scenario of the stranger at your door.

Imagine the stranger at your door demanding that you “love” him to be rewarded and avoid unimaginable misery. We recognize instantly that, while we might love the stranger as we would any other human, we probably do not love him to the degree that he expects. So also for the the amount of money, and so also for the amount of belief he might expect as we shall soon see.

Now imagine the stranger at your door says…

“I am your king. If you believe I am your king, I’ll reward you with great pleasure in my kingdom, but if you disbelieve, you’ll be tormented for a very long time in my dungeons.”

Now that we have introduced belief into the scenario, we can see how absurd the demand is. The two possible choices and their consequences are unambiguous, yet the degree of belief is unstated. Belief is not binary, yet the Bible treats it as such with no gradient nuance introduced in any of the hundreds of passages referring to salvific belief.

(Some Christians attempt to suggest that salvific belief is binary since it involves the binary choice of following or not following Jesus. This is misguided. Imagine you are forced to cross an old bridge because a bear is chasing you. You assess the bridge to be 50% likely to hold your weight. You make the rational choice to cross the bridge since your chances of fighting off the bear are very small. As you cross the bridge, would you then increase the original 50% degree of likelihood the bridge will hold your weight to near 100%? Of course not. Yet the Bible absurdly presents such a move away from the actual evidence a virtue as we shall see next.)

(Another objection I’ve heard is that we can not easily place a highly specific number to the degree of belief. This is often true, but rationality only requires that the epistemic agents feels they have honestly mapped their degree of belief to the degree of the evidence, even though those degrees may be quantitatively imprecise. This will be dealt with in the next section.)

Salvific belief encouraged with no reference to the degree of the evidence

The absurdity deepens. Not only do we have an alleged God of the Universe unable to clearly state how much belief is required, we also have hundreds of passages referring to salvific belief without the slightest suggestion that the degree of belief be mapped to the degree of the evidence.

As we’ve already established, rational belief is a degree of belief that maps to the degree of relevant evidence. Imagine the stranger at your door says…

“I am a king. If you believe I am king, I’ll reward you with great pleasure in my kingdom, but if you disbelieve, you’ll be tormented for a very long time in my dungeons.”

In this circumstance, it is not hard to imagine a majority of those so confronted simply conjuring up belief in the stranger as king just to avoid the negative consequences were the stranger is telling the truth.

However, how could any actual king be just? Would not a perfectly just king honor only epistemic honesty from you?

Let’s review John 3:18.

Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”

Here we have the bald affirmation that Jesus is God’s one and only son. There is no requirement to map your degree of belief to the degree of the evidence. In fact, you will unlikely find any promoter of Christianity suggesting that believing in Jesus to a degree not warranted by the perceived degree of relevant evidence is improper.

(This would be an interesting study. Ask church leaders the following question: “Is believing in Jesus to a degree not warranted by the perceived degree of the evidence a virtue? Is it epistemically dishonest?” I suggest you’ll find yourself up against the most vigorous attempts to evade this question.)

Let’s modify our scenario a bit.

Imagine two strangers arrive at your door, each claiming to be the actual king (let’s ignore the fact that neither may be) that will reward you immensely if you believe, and torture you horribly if you disbelieve. Each offers you a letter allegedly certifying their right to the throne. Each asks you to look deep in their eyes as evidence of their honesty. Yet, each stranger continues to emphasize that you’ll be tormented horribly if you do not believe one or the other is indeed king in spite of the evidence that each is the actual king being equivalent in weight.

Is this an unrealistic scenario? Not at all.

Imagine a young girl with a Muslim father and a Christian mother. In her honest little mind, based on the teaching of each parent, she holds it equally likely that the Muslim God and the Christian God are actual…yet she must choose only one according to both the Koran and the Bible. And neither book leaves open the option of simply and honestly not choosing either. Both books affirm that, if she fails to choose, that is tantamount to rejection, and worthy of eternal damnation.

Is it here not clear to the rational mind that neither alleged God could be just? For how could any just God condemn epistemic honesty?

Nowhere in the Bible do you find the notion that rational belief is a degree of belief that maps to the degree of relevant evidence as perceived. And the Bible’s demand for a degree of belief unmapped to the evidence is quite ample grounds for its rejection. Just gods don’t encourage you to become epistemically dishonest by detaching your degree of epistemic certainty from the scientific certainty. And just gods certainty do not damn humans who, out of epistemically honesty, refuse to choose one of two or more evidentially equivalent options.

Not only does the Bible ignore the rational epistemic commitment to mapping your degree of belief to the degree of the relevant evidence, it encourages belief beyond the evidence, and classifies doubt a character flaw rather than as a rational response to the evidence.

Look at the following verses.

“For we live by faith and not by sight.”
“διὰ πίστεως γὰρ περιπατοῦμεν, οὐ διὰ εἴδους”
2 Corinthians 5:7

“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
Ἔστιν δὲ πίστις ἐλπιζομένων ὑπόστασις, πραγμάτων ἔλεγχος οὐ βλεπομένων”
Hebrews 11:1

Note these verses contain no suggestion belief (πίστις) is a gradient act rationally mapping to the degree of the evidence. Explore the many other reference to belief in the Bible. You’ll find the consistently irrational form of belief you see in these two verses encouraged. (http://biblehub.com/greek/4102.htm) There is one notable exception.

“For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.”
“Λέγω γὰρ διὰ τῆς χάριτος τῆς δοθείσης μοι παντὶ τῷ ὄντι ἐν ὑμῖν μὴ ὑπερφρονεῖν παρ’ ὃ δεῖ φρονεῖν ἀλλὰ φρονεῖν εἰς τὸ σωφρονεῖν, ἑκάστῳ ὡς ὁ θεὸς ἐμέρισεν μέτρον πίστεως”
Romans 12:3

This verse is not dealing with salvific belief, but with a post-redemptive belief related to the assessment of one’s worth. Note that, rather than the measure of belief depending upon the measure of the evidence, the degree of belief is absurdly dealt to individuals by God. This frees the Christian from the obligation of aligning their degree of belief to the degree of the evidence, and instead associates virtuous belief with whatever degree of belief God grants. If you find yourself believing more than the evidence warrants, it can be, according to this verse, be attributed to the grace of God, and that would be, if not rational, at least virtuous, right? Of course not.

The absurdity in this can be seen if adherent to religion X considers the identical form of belief of the adherent of religion Y. If religion Y also states belief comes from its particular God, and their own God-belief is, as a result, honest and virtuous, no adherents of either religion can be considered irrational. And since no just God would damn someone for an honest and virtuous form of belief, your own religion is in error if it condemns those who have “honestly” and “virtuously” arrived at their God-beliefs through the same process you employ.

This perverse severing of the degree of belief away from the degree of the evidence is made even more clear by the Bible’s treatment of doubt.

“But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For that person must not suppose he will receive anything from the Lord. He is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”
“αιτειτω δε εν πιστει μηδεν διακρινομενος ο γαρ διακρινομενος εοικεν κλυδωνι θαλασσης ανεμιζομενω και ριπιζομενω. μη γαρ οιεσθω ο ανθρωπος εκεινος οτι ληψεται τι παρα του κυριου. ανηρ διψυχος ακαταστατος εν πασαις ταις οδοις αυτου.”
James 1:6-8

Those who doubt, according to the Bible, are not simply mapping their degree of belief to the degree of the evidence, but are “double-minded” and “unstable in all [their] ways”.

The facts are clear. The Bible wrenches the degree of belief away from the degree of the evidence, and makes a degree of belief exceeding the evidence virtuous, and any doubt a character flaw. The Bible is therefore not representative of any God who encourages rational belief.

And this abandoning of the mapping between belief and evidence becomes even more apparent based on the history of Christianity. Martin Luther stated “Reason is a whore.” Turtullian proclaimed “credible est quia ineptum est” (“I believe because it is incongruous”). Kierkegaard spoke of a “qualitative leap” of belief above the evidence necessary to follow God. This notion that salvific belief is rational in some way is a recent invention. Nothing in the Bible suggests that its God requires a mapping of the degree of belief to the degree of the relevant evidence as honestly perceived. The Bible introduces not the slightest reference to the standards of evidence and tools of rationality we successfully employ today in the sciences and in our personal lives.

(One exception cited is the Bereans in Acts 17:11 who “…received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” But this is was simply their comparing the account of the life of Jesus to Old Testament prophecies that the New Testament writers had access to before they wrote down the account of the life of Jesus. Imagine being able to invent and/or tweak the life of a god-man based on a multitude of well-known vague messianic prophecies the public held in high anticipation.)

And even those who claim their belief in Jesus is rational do nothing to discourage those who believe in Jesus irrationally. Children in churches the world over are encouraged to believe long before they are taught standards of evidence or the tools of rationality. Many adult Christians, even as they claim they believe based on various evidences for an intelligent creator and an actual resurrection, know they did not become a Christian based on these evidences. A substantial majority of Christians become Christians long before they are taught to think rationally, and older Christians will invoke as virtuous the innocent unschooled belief the little child places in a salvation story motivated by emotions, most predominantly, the fear of eternal damnation. At the same time they will consider the belief of a Muslim child, identical to Christian belief in all but its object, worthy of damnation.

This attempted reformation of salvific belief into something somehow rational transparently transgresses the Bible, Christian history, and the actual practices found in Sunday Schools around the world.


The Bible’s notion of salvific belief can be safely rejected as nonsense for the two reason argued above.

1. The Bible, instead of treating belief as gradient, treats it as a binary act, making no reference to any sort of nuanced position.
2. The Bible, makes no reference to the evidence in the context of salvific belief, encourages a degree of belief above the degree of the evidence, and disparages doubt as a character flaw.

Any ideology that encourages a perversion of rational belief is false. For the rational mind, the degree of belief in any proposition must be honestly mapped to the degree of the relevant perceived evidence for that proposition. The Bible fails in this respect, and can therefore be dismissed as nonsense.

Suggesting to children they are inherently evil. What is the social cost?

Psychologist Hans Eysenck tested 1,000 young children who were unaware of the alleged significance of their particular star signs for the degree that their introversion/extroversion mapped to what astrologers predicted. 

There was no correlation.
However, he also tested a group of adults who had, during their maturation, been quite aware of the behavioral expectations associated with their star sign. 

There was a significant correlation.[1]

In line with this, Ghanaian juvenile court records were accessed, and it was discovered that a far higher percentage of teens born on a Wednesday were delinquent than those born on Monday. In Ghana it is said that children born on Mondays will be quiet while children born on Wednesdays will be badly behaved.[2]

Conclusion: Children become the adult they think they intrinsically are, even when that notion is based on myth.[3]

Question: What correlation should we then expect between the crime rates in cultures where children are taught that human nature is intrinsically good or neutral in contrast to the crime rates in cultures in which there is the Biblical concept that humans are inherently wicked? What correlation do we see?
1. J. Mayo, O. White & H. J. Eysenck – “An Empirical study of the relation between astrological factors and personality”, Journal of Social Psychology #105, pages 229-236, 1976.

2. G. Jahoda – “A note on Ashanti names and their relationship to personality”, British Journal of Psychology #45, pages 192-195, 1954.

3. General concept taken from Richard Wiseman’s book Quirkology.