Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Dozen Arguments for Atheism By Richard Spencer

This paper was written by Richard Spencer and all credit goes to him.


In the movie The Exorcism of Emily Rose, the defense attorney played by Laura Linney echoes the sentiment of many philosophers in her closing statement when she says that God either exists or he does not--and either thought is astonishing. In this essay I’m going to discuss which of these two equally striking alternatives holds true in reality. Before I present my arguments, I need to first say a few words about my terms and my method. Any discussion about the existence of God must begin with a clear definition of what is meant by the word “God.” For my purposes here, I have in mind an eternal being who is all-powerful, all-knowing, and morally perfect who created us and who takes special interest in us; a being who created and transcends the universe, and yet is imminent in it. Although no one can prove or disprove God's existence with one hundred percent certainty, my method for this essay is simple: Because a hypothesis that offers the best explanation for the widest range of evidence is more likely true than other competing hypotheses, what we need to do is contrast the two competing hypotheses before us--that God exists, and that God does not exist--and determine which hypothesis better explains the available evidence. Then, using that information, we can come to the most reasonable view possible and should accept it as our own. In what follows I will offer twelve arguments supporting the claim that atheism possesses a greater explanatory scope than theism and that it is therefore reasonable to be an atheist.
The following arguments will all seek to show that God does not exist in all probability. However, showing that it is unlikely, and thus reasonable not to believe, that God exists is only one way of demonstrating God’s nonexistence; the other way is by demonstrating that the very idea of God contains within it logical inconsistencies that render the existence of God impossible. For example, if we could demonstrate that God is supposed to possess trait X, yet no being could possibly possess trait X, or that God is supposed to possess trait X and Y at the same time, yet no being could possibly possess both traits X and Y at the same time, then we could effectively demonstrate that God cannot exist. I find this type of argument somewhat problematic. Incoherency arguments and definitional disproofs of God’s existence could perhaps be amusing to those who already disbelieve, but believers will simply go back to the drawing board and redefine their terminology. For example, William Lane Craig states, “Theists find that antitheistic critiques of certain conceptions of God can actually be quite helpful in formulating a more adequate conception... Thus, far from undermining theism, the antitheistic critiques of theism's coherence have served mainly to refine and strengthen theistic belief [1].” Though it seems peculiar to me that Dr. Craig claims theists were content to believe half-truths about God before atheists came along and stirred things up, his point should not be missed. In order to formulate a definitional disproof of God’s existence, we must either restrict our arguments to specific conceptions of God, or restrict our arguments to essential characteristics of God--but what are those essentials? Well, the lack of a consensus answer to this question is demonstrative of the whole problem. So, while I enjoy reading incoherency arguments and attempted definitional disproofs of God’s existence [2], I’m not personally willing to embrace any until I study them in greater depth.
On a final prefatory note, let me say something about the scope of my arguments. As the careful reader will observe, the following critiques of God gain strength the more we suppose God is actively and continually involved in the world while they lose strength the more we suppose God is unconcerned with the world. The reason for this is simple: A detached, indifferent God would leave little to no empirical evidence of its existence. Because the following arguments are evidentially based, they have little to say about a God that, for example, created the world intentionally to appear as if no God exists, a god that is merely an impersonal first cause, or a deist God who created the initial state of the universe and left everything else to chance. Gods such as these are what Victor Stenger has referred to as “functionally equivalent to nonexistent [3];” disbelief in them has no conceivable consequence, and, since they serve no explanatory function, belief in them represents an unnecessary multiplication of hypotheses. Thus, what Doug Jesseph has called “the principle of conservatism[4]” should compel us to at least suspend judgment on the existence of such gods and it may be the case that valid incoherency arguments exist that would justify our belief in their nonexistence. In any case, I refer the reader back to my original definition of God--it is clearly not compatible with a God that is functionally nonexistent. The God I have described there is subject to the arguments I now present [5].
The Arguments

Number 1: Atheism offers the best explanation for the physical forces that cause natural disasters. In December 2004 on the day after Christmas, an earthquake in the Indian Ocean created a tsunami that killed approximately a quarter of a million people. Then, less than a year later in August of 2005, hurricane Katrina killed almost two thousand people in New Orleans. What are the explanations for these events? We can't blame man's free will for natural disasters because God could have created the world without the forces that cause natural disasters without ever hindering our free will. Moreover, man's free will isn't the cause of natural disasters anyway--unless ancient people and the Christian Coalition are right in claiming that natural disasters are God's way of punishing sinners. However, if God is just then this explanation makes no sense at all. Even if a few guilty parties were killed by Katrina or the tsunami, considering all the otherwise innocent people who also died, that would be like God sentencing a man to death by firing squad then placing him in the middle of a group of children and shooting at him with a shotgun from twenty feet away. God would surely have the ability to punish sin with a little more precision. Furthermore, to claim that the devil is to blame makes even less sense than holding God responsible. Surely, if God exists, the death and devastation caused by natural disasters is absolutely baffling. However, if atheism is true, such natural disasters are no less tragic, but at least we can explain them: They are the products of mindless forces like plate tectonics and tropical weather systems operating in a universe blind and indifferent to our struggle for survival. Thus physical forces that cause natural disasters are evidence for atheism and against theism.  

Number 2: Atheism offers the best explanation for the presence of unjustified pain and suffering in the world. Let me be clear: I do not mean to imply that God could not allow some pain and suffering if he exists since it would be possible for an all-loving God to allow pain that we can learn from, like that felt after touching a hot stove, or maybe even pain that leads to some greater good, like that felt after a root canal. In these cases, pain is justifiable. Instead, my claim is that there is no way for a morally perfect God to allow unjustifiable suffering: like pain that teaches us nothing and leads to no greater good seems to be. For example, consider the severe pain felt by most people suffering from advanced cancer: There is no conceivable justification for it--they're going to die anyway. As caring, compassionate human beings, we do all we can to ease their suffering with the limited means available to us. But if God exists, then he is even more caring and compassionate than we are and has an even greater ability to alleviate pain than we do. Since we could not be morally superior to a morally perfect God, we would expect God to also do something to ease the entirely unnecessary pain of cancer victims--but he doesn't (that is, assuming that helping to ease pain is morally good). Yet, as even theists admit, if God exists, then gratuitous pain and suffering cannot--there must be some ultimate justification; but God hasn't shared it with us, and those speaking on his behalf haven't figured it out yet. In contrast, if atheism is true, we have an explanation: The sensation of pain evolved naturally as our body's way of warning us when something's wrong. But, since evolution isn't an intelligent process, it never figured out a way to turn the pain off when there was no more need of warning. Thus, since only atheism is compatible with unjustifiable pain and suffering, and because it appears that unjustifiable pain and suffering exist [6], the existence of unjustified suffering in the world is evidence for atheism and against theism. 
Number 3: Atheism offers the best explanation for God's silence in the face of adversity. Consider the great theologian and Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer; he writes, "God is teaching us that we must live as men who can get along very well without him. The God who is with us is the God who forsakes us… Before God and with him we live without God [7]." Really? The God who is with us is the God who forsakes us? Out of context, these hardly sound like the words of a pastor; but Bonhoeffer's circumstance makes perfect sense of the words: He writes from prison in Nazi Germany where he died. And Bonhoeffer is not the only one who ever felt abandoned by God; many people do when the trials of life come their way--so much so that a great deal of preaching is devoted to helping believers maintain their faith even when God seems to be no where around. Thus we can understand Bonhoeffer's claim that God forces us to live like he's not there as a rationalization for the severe circumstances Bonhoeffer found himself in--but is it a good rationalization? Not really. Consider all the parents who take their children to receive immunization shots at a young age. I remember vividly being one of those children. I didn't understand the purpose of the shots; I only knew that they hurt! Since I was too young to understand what was happening, my mother simply did her best to comfort me, just as any decent parent would. Now, if God exists, he's not just any decent parent--he's the standard of decency itself! Thus, when we go through our trials and tribulations, which are mostly minor when compared to Bonhoeffer's, it is commonly assumed that God has a plan we just don't understand; but, in this situation, wouldn't we expect God to at least comfort us just as a loving parent would? Bonhoeffer probably expected as much, but when his expectations weren't met, he came up with an alternative, though strange, explanation. But there is at least one more potential explanation: If atheism is true then God doesn't exist, thus we would expect him not to comfort anyone. Now, it may be objected that many people claim they have felt God's comforting presence during adversity, thus my argument fails. But isn't it possible that the people who believe they have felt God's comforting presence are mistaken? Of course it is, otherwise no one would question God’s existence; all it would take would be for one person to claim, "God helped me get through it," and the issue would be settled. But the issue isn't settled. We all know that the very idea of God, acting as a placebo, could help believers through adversity without God ever truly existing. Consequently, both atheism and theism can explain claims of feeling God's comforting presence equally well; but this is not true when it comes to explaining instances where God's comfort isn't felt--only atheism has a good answer for that. Thus God's silence in the face of adversity is an objective problem for theism and constitutes evidence for atheism. 

Number 4: Atheism offers the best explanation for the physical dependence of minds on the brain. It is commonly assumed by theists that somehow connected to the body is an immaterial soul. It is this soul that receives credit for our higher mental capacities such as the ability to make free choices, think rationally, and even continue living after the death of our body; in short, we identify our soul as the source of our mind. But is there any evidence that such a soul exists? Unfortunately, there is not. The idea that our mind exists independently of our physical body is directly contradicted by everyday observations--like the fact that alcohol and other physical substances can change our conscious states, that degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer's or physical injuries can seriously impair or even destroy conscious states, and the fact that we don't expect young children to be capable of the types of abstract reasoning that require more fully developed brains. As Owen Flanagan, Professor of Philosophy at Duke University, has stated, "advances in … the sciences of the mind, cognitive science and cognitive neuroscience, in particular" have led to the rejection of the "belief that that the mind or the soul interacts with--but is metaphysically independent of--the body [8]." And as Marvin Minsky, professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has stated, "minds are what brains do [9]." Indeed, extensive evidence suggests that all of our conscious mental states correspond to some physical brain state. Since it appears there is no way that a mind can exist apart from a functioning physical brain to generate it, we are justified in drawing the inductive conclusion that disembodied minds do not exist [10]. However, this implies a serious difficulty for theism: If disembodied minds don't exist, since God is supposed to be a disembodied mind, this would strongly suggest that God does not exist. Therefore, the physical dependence of minds on the brain is evidence for atheism and against theism. 

Number 5: Atheism offers the best explanation for divine hiddenness. If God exists and wants his existence to be known, then it is strange that the evidence for God's existence isn't stronger. Think about it: Aren't there many ways that God could have made his existence much more obvious? As Sam Harris observes [11], God could have included in the Bible a flawless discourse on mathematics so advanced that it would still be useful today. It would be hard to deny the divine inspiration of such a passage of scripture; and, given all the space the Bible devotes to sharing whom begat who and pronouncing doom on ancient nations, there was certainly room for it. At the same time, consider the biblical account of Jesus. It is said that Jesus' resurrection was the supreme vindication of his claim that he was God in the flesh. But then, after rising from the dead, he ascended into Heaven forty days later--so why only forty days? Couldn't he have stuck around a little longer, perhaps a year, or ten, or a thousand? Certainly. In fact, Jesus could still be alive on earth today proclaiming his message of divine love and surely almost everyone would be convinced. But instead, as the story has it, Jesus took the first flight back into Heaven floating away into the sky like an elegant superhero. Why? I doubt Jesus had urgent business in Heaven that required his immediate attention. And these are just two examples of ways God could have made his existence more evident; you can probably think of plenty more. Thus, if God exists, he must be choosing to withhold evidence of his existence from us--but this makes no sense if it is true that God truly wants us to believe in him. After all, what explanation for God’s hiddenness could there be? Claiming that God wants us to believe in him by faith doesn’t get the theist out of trouble since it would mean that God would prefer us to believe in him not for good reasons, but for insufficient reasons, or simply no reason at all. As Theodore Drange asks, “Why would a rational being create people in his own image and then hope they become irrational? … Is picking the right religion just a matter of lucky guesswork? Is salvation a kind of cosmic lottery? Why would God be involved in such an operation [12]?” Moreover, there is no apparent reason for which God should not want our decision to accept or reject him to at least be informed. However, if atheism is true, the reason for God's hiddenness is quite clear: He's simply not there. Thus divine hiddenness is evidence for atheism and against theism. 

Number 6: Atheism offers the best explanation of religious history. If it were true that God has revealed his message of salvation in any of the world's religions, then we would not expect that religion's success to be explicable through historical contingencies or natural cultural diffusion, but rather would expect that religion to display unique and undeniable signs of divine favor. However, there is no religion in existence that satisfies these expectations. For example, despite the fact that Christians like to romanticize their history and imagine that their religion has achieved its success through divine providence, this is clearly not the case. Christianity only began to genuinely thrive after it had the support not of God, but of the Roman Empire. Equipped with the ability to eliminate competing religions, and passing laws that called for their extermination, Christianity embarked on a lengthy reign of terror--burning books, burning people, destroying cultures, launching religious crusades and genocides, and excommunicating or murdering any so-called heretics, that is, anyone who dared question their authority. And so we have it: The largest religion in the world today has the bloodiest history of totalitarian intolerance and groundless indignation. Is this any surprise? It certainly is if Christianity is the outgrowth of an all-loving and compassionate God. If God exists, regardless of which religion is true, we would not expect him to have sat idly by and let all this happen. Instead, we would expect God to have intervened to either set Christianity straight, or to have defeated Christianity in the name of whatever other religion might be true. But, if atheism is true, then there is no God to interfere in any religious warfare or offer divine favor to any group of believers; there would be no religion that displays evidence of God's favor, and, indeed, there is not. If Christianity is merely the product of human invention, as surely most religions must be, then it is not at all surprising that Christianity has dominated the world's religious scene by being the most violent, not the most reasonable. Therefore, religious history constitutes evidence for atheism and against theism. 

Number 7: Atheism offers the best explanation for religious confusion. About five years ago I had recently left Christianity but still believed that God existed, I just didn't know what to believe about him. For the first time in my life I was open to considering all possible religious paths. I encourage you, the reader, to place yourself in the same position I was in for a moment. Which religious path would appear to be the correct one? If God exists, we would expect that he would have made the path he desires for his followers to take clear and obvious so that we could have no confusion about it. In fact, it would seem that doing so would be God's moral duty--especially if there were consequences for choosing the wrong path. However, consider the rich diversity of religious claims made worldwide. We have already seen that Christianity does not display any clear sign of God's favor; did you think of any other religion that does? Probably not, and I didn't either. After all, the religious landscape is hopelessly confused and cluttered by conflicting opinions about the nature of God and the supernatural; there are hundreds, some would say thousands, of religions in the world today: only one of which is Christianity, and there are over thirty-three thousand denominations within it [13]! This is all pretty odd if we imagine that God is aware of the situation and has the slightest bit of care about it. However, if atheism is true, there is no truth in the God hypothesis that believers can discover, thus no reason to expect them to agree about any of it. Therefore, religious confusion is evidence for atheism and against theism. 

Number 8: Atheism offers the best explanation for the uniformity of religious experience. When I was a Christian, the argument that caused me to maintain my faith as long as I did was that of religious experience: I simply was not ready to admit that my relationship with Jesus had all been in my head. However, what I didn't fully realize was that as real and convincing as my religious experiences were to me, members of other religious groups possess the same kind of certainty about the truth of their faith that I possessed about mine; and for good reason, for as it turns out, the different religious experiences of believers in all faiths are all caused by stimulation in the same areas of the brain (that is, of course, before hallucinatory and other types of drugs enter the picture). In fact, one can even be induced into feeling that he or she is having a religious experience when those parts of the brain are artificially stimulated and the believer will interpret that experience according to whichever faith he or she holds [14]. What is the explanation for this uniformity in worldwide religious experience? It certainly can't be that all religions are true [15]. But, if we imagine that one of them is true, it would be very strange to suppose that believers experience the real God by means of the same brain states as those who claim to experience other gods whose existence is ruled out by the true religion. Thus, uniformity of religious experience is not what we would expect if there truly were a God who communicates with us through a select religious channel. However, if atheism is true, then the uniformity of religious experience is to be expected as no religious experience would be caused by anything genuinely supernatural; instead, religious experience would find its root in the human brain and thus display certain uniformities due to universal similarities in human psychology and physiology. Since this is precisely what we find to be the case, the uniformity of religious experience constitutes evidence for atheism and against theism.   

Number 9: Atheism offers the best explanation for the evidence of evolution. Since the publication of Darwin's The Origin of Species, evolution by natural selection has proven to be one of the most successful scientific theories ever. The evidence for the occurrence of evolution is immense and secure; it includes the fossil record, comparative anatomy, the geographical distribution of species, embryology, and the rapidly growing base of molecular evidence, such as protein and DNA functional redundancy, transposons, and redundant pseudogenes. This evidence is so convincing that according to one report, less than one in a thousand scientists in relevant fields worldwide reject evolution in favor of creationism [15]. It is of course logically possible, as many theists believe, that God has simply chosen to create life through the process of evolution. However, as Paul Draper put it, “theistic evolution is a happy marriage,” that, “must end in divorce [16].” As Draper further notes, we would be wrong to infer from the fact that there is no inconsistency between theism and evolution that there is also no conflict between theism and evolution. Moreover, evolution shows no signs of intelligent direction but instead fumbles along blindly producing vestigial organs and other biological systems that are not entirely efficient. Only one percent of all species that have ever lived still survive today, and, as Darwin pointed out, beneficial mutations are produced by the same means as harmful ones. Without doubt, evolution appears to be a very odd method for an all-powerful God to use considering all the other more efficient methods he could have used. However, on atheism, evolution by natural selection is the only process we know of that has the ability to produce complex organisms like those alive today. Thus evolution constitutes evidence for atheism and against theism. 

Number 10: Atheism offers the best explanation for the scale of the universe. Consider what kind of universe most ancient people, such as the authors of the Bible, thought they lived in. They speculated that the universe was a few thousand years old, relatively small, and that the earth, since it was at the center of God's attention, was also at the center of the universe. Furthermore, they believed in a flat earth covered by a dome, and above that dome was the literal location of Heaven; and this is all quite reasonable considering that the only the hypothesis they were working with was that God had created the universe. In fact, only this view of the universe makes sense of otherwise bizarre Bible stories such as the Tower of Babel where God feels threatened by the construction of a skyscraper. However, we now know that the universe imagined by the authors of the Bible is not the universe we live in. Instead, we live in a universe so large that no one knows how big it really is, but we do know that the earth isn't at the center of it. Remembering that if the God of theism is rational then God must have good reasons for all his actions, there is no apparent reason that God could have for making such an unimaginably large universe. If God created the universe with us in mind, then much of it is surely a complete waste (filled with senseless dangers such as meteors, black holes, life-hostile vacuum, and maybe, just maybe, green men with laser guns); but this strongly implies that a rational God didn't create the universe. However, if atheism is true, then we would expect the universe to be very large and very old so that the improbable circumstances required for life to develop naturally would have the time and space to arise. Thus only when we do not pretend that the universe was created with us in mind does the enormous size of it make sense. Consequently, the scale of the universe is evidence for atheism and against theism.
Number 11: Atheism offers the best explanation of seemingly poor design, or dysteleology, in nature. We have already considered some possible examples: Geological dysteleology in the physical forces that cause natural disasters; cosmological dysteleology in the scale of the universe; biological dysteleology in feeling pain when it serves no survival function and vestigial organs. Let me be clear about the argument from dysteleology; it is not that bad designs in nature cause suffering thus God wouldn’t have created them--that’s just a reformulation of the argument from evil. Instead, we can view certain processes that, from a theistic perspective, must be designs, yet they serve their ends poorly. Even a decent designer, much less a perfect one, could have achieved the purposes served by these designs more effectively and efficiently. Now let's consider some biological examples, like the fact that living organisms require food. If theism is true, then God doesn't need food and other supernatural beings probably don't either, so why do we? God could have created us so that we could live without food thus eliminating many of life’s perils such as starvation, the bloody food chain (on theism, there is no reason for which living, sentient beings must also be edible), and deaths caused by choking. Speaking of choking, isn't that another instance of poor design in nature? There is no reason for which God had to make our windpipe intersect with our digestive system [17]. In fact, since God doesn't need to breathe, why do we? The need to breathe only causes more perils such as suffocation and carbon monoxide poisoning. This kind of biological dysteleology does not make any sense if we suppose that God is ultimately responsible for it, as he must be if he exists; after all, he’s neither incompetent nor cruel. However, if atheism is true, there exists no God who could have made things any better; all appearances of design in nature are the result of mindless forces such as the messy trial-and-error process of evolution by natural selection: thus, for atheists, bad designs in nature accompanying the good ones are not surprising at all. Therefore, dysteleology is evidence for atheism and against theism. 

Number 12: Atheism offers the best explanation for the modern scientific evidence that our universe [18] began in a primordial state of quantum unpredictability. According to modern cosmology, at the Big Bang, our universe began expanding at the Planck time from a region the size of a Planck sphere within which there could have been no structure or organization--only absolute chaos [19]. Thus what will emerge from the expanse of a region of space equivalent to a Planck sphere is inherently unpredictable; in other words, what will emerge from a Planck sphere is genuinely undetermined and not merely determined in a manner we don’t know how to predict. If this is true, it is highly unlikely that God created the first state of the universe. We may safely assume that if God created the universe, then he intended for the universe to contain life. However, because the initial state of the universe was in a state of total chaos and not guaranteed to lead to life-producing states, God could not know that the universe he created would contain the life he wished. In fact, if it is true that the probability of the so-called anthropic coincidences arising by chance is very low, then the chances of a universe containing life emerging from a region of space-time equivalent to a Planck sphere is also very low. Thus, if God created the first state of the universe described by modern cosmology, he created the universe in such a way that it would in all likelihood not lead to the universe containing life he desired. As Quentin Smith explains, this notion implies that “God created a universe that time and again was probably headed toward the very opposite result than the one he wanted and only through interfering with its natural evolution could he ensure that it would lead to the result he desired [20].” Thus, if God created the universe, considering all the other ways God could have created the universe, using the initial state of our universe described by modern cosmology is quite strange--even reckless. However, if there is no God, then we can accept the picture of cosmological origins presented to us by modern science with no real philosophical problem; of course, the picture isn’t complete and it could turn out that quantum unpredictability is epistemic instead of ontological. If and when that happens this argument should be dropped [21]; but until that time, the evidence that our universe emerged from a primordial state of absolute chaos is evidence against theism and thus evidence for atheism [22].

Conclusion: I have now presented twelve arguments against the existence of the theistic God. Although I have briefly addressed some potential responses to my some of the arguments, I’m certainly aware that there exist many objections that I have not addressed. (In truth, I have reasons for being skeptical of some of the arguments I have presented, but nonetheless believe they still add weight to the cumulative case against God’s existence in the end.) An adequate consideration of all these potential objections would be far beyond the scope of this relatively short essay. I can only hope that the reader will be encouraged to further investigate atheological arguments and their theistic critiques.

[1] William Lane Craig, "Theistic Critiques of Atheism," in The Cambridge Companion to Atheism, ed. Michael Martin (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 72.

[2] Many notable examples are to be found in Michael Martin and Ricki Monnier, The Impossibility of God (Amherst: Prometheus Books, 2003).

[3] Victor Stenger, God: The Failed Hypothesis--How Science Shows that God Does Not Exist (Amherst: Prometheus Books, 2007), 234.

[4] Doug Jesseph, 1996,

[5] Though I will give some specific citations where appropriate, I want to broadly sketch my primary sources in compiling my twelve arguments. Jeffrey Jay Lowder’s opening statement in his debate with Phil Fernandes provided me originally with my first, second, third, fourth, seventh, and ninth arguments, though I have changed some of the relevant terms. I don’t remember where I originally became familiar with my fifth argument, but it is certainly not original to me; a decent discussion of the argument can be found in Martin and Monnier (The Improbability of God, 2006, p.337-426). The inspiration for my sixth argument is primarily from Richard Carrier (Sense and Goodness Without God, 2005, p.258-270). My eighth argument is the only argument I can claim to have formulated with significant originality; others may have produced similar arguments, but I did not consult their work. My tenth argument is drawn primarily from Nicholas Everitt (The Non-existence of God, 2004, p.213-226). My eleventh argument is a compilation of observations I have drawn from James Lazarus, Richard Carrier, and Sam Harris. My twelfth argument is drawn primarily from Quentin Smith (The Improbability of God, 2006, p.41-60) though formulated with cosmological observations from Victor Stenger and with the criticisms of Graham Oppy in mind (Arguing About Gods, 2006, p.154-168).

[6] As William Rowe states, “The truth is that we are not in a position to know that [gratuitous evil exists]. We cannot know with certainty that instances of suffering of the [gratuitous] sort…do occur in the world. But it is one thing to know or prove that [gratuitous evils exists] and quite another thing to have rational grounds for believing [gratuitous evils exist] (“The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism” in The Evidential Argument From Evil, 1996, p.4).” Accordingly, it seems to me the burden of proof rests on the theist to construct an objective case for theism that evidentially outweighs the case for gratuitous evil if the theist wishes object to the existence of gratuitous evil on the basis that God exists.

[7] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “Letters and Papers from Prison,” trans. Reginald H. Fuller (New York: Macmillan, 1953): quoted in Robert M. Price, The Reason-Driven Life: What Am I Here on Earth For? (Amherst: Prometheus Books, 2006), 111.

[8] Owen Flanagan, The Problem of the Soul (New York: Perseus, 2002).

[9] Marvin Minsky, Minds are Simply What Brains Do.

[10] In other words, because all of the minds we have ever encountered are dependent on physical brains, and because it further seems that this must be the case, induction would suggest that all minds that exist are dependent on physical brains. Even substance dualism holds that our physical brains are a necessary, though not sufficient, condition for our having a mind. However, it is logically possible that God exists as some other kind of mind, but what this could mean is quite unclear (if it means anything at all). So, while it is true that God could exist as an ontologically different kind of mind, this only rules out a deductive argument from the physical dependence of minds on the brain while the inductive version of this argument still stands.

[11] Sam Harris, Letter to a Christian Nation (Knopf, 2006)

[12] Theodore Drange, “The Argument from Nonbelief,” in The Improbability of God, ed. Michael Martin and Ricki Monnier (Amherst: Prometheus Books, 2006), 351.

[13] Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.

[14] For example, see Scott Atran, “The Neuropsychology of Religion,” in NeuroTheology: Brain, Science, Spirituality and Religious Experience, ed. Rhawn Joseph (San Jose: University Press, 2002), 147-166.

[15] The TalkOrigins Archive, Claim CA111.

[16] Paul Draper, “Evolution and the Problem of Evil,” in Philosophy of Religion: An Anthology, ed. Louis Pojman (Belmont: Wadsworth, 1998), 220-221.

[17] Sam Harris, Ibid.

[18] In this argument, I use the term “universe” to refer to our region of space-time as opposed to the totality of existence.

[19] Victor Stenger, God: The Failed Hypothesis--How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist (Amherst: Prometheus Books, 2007), 117-121.

[20] Quentin Smith, “Atheism, Theism, and Big Bang Cosmology,” in The Improbability of God, ed. Michael Martin and Ricki Monnier (Amherst: Prometheus Books, 2006), 49.

[21] Though the notion of ontological quantum indeterminacy may not always be supported scientifically in the future, I still find it significant that it seems true today. If we couple this observation with the argument from hiddenness, then we are faced with the problem of a God who not only conceals evidence of his existence, but also allows bogus evidence against his existence to appear reasonable.

[22] I would like to point out an interesting feature of the combination of my first, second, and twelfth arguments: The theist is capable of responding that God could somehow know what would emerge from the initial state of the universe, despite its indeterminacy, by virtue of his eternality and complete transcendence to space-time. One of the multiple problems with this position is that it places the theist in an interesting quandary given the nature of typical responses to the first two arguments I presented. I take it for granted that the free will defense is not coherent given a God with infallible foreknowledge of all future states of the universe. Thus, only the position of open theism is capable of accounting for free will without the problem of divine foreknowledge as it asserts that God cannot possibly know the future actions of truly free agents. Moreover, according to the free will defense, just as the initial state of the universe described by modern cosmology is ontologically undetermined, so are the actions of free human agents also ontologically undetermined. The problem this creates for theism should now be obvious: If God cannot know the future outcome of ontologically undetermined events, then the free will defense is a potential solution to the evidential argument from evil, but the theist is then stuck on my twelfth argument--God could not know that the universe he created was the universe he wanted. If, however, the theist argues successfully that God can know the future outcome of ontologically undetermined events, then my twelfth argument fails, but the free will defense becomes of no use to solving the evidential argument from evil.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

My Trading Plan

Hello friends. I've been working on a trade plan. After losing 30% (approximately 30 U$D) of my penny micro account by holding on to a bad trade rather than allowing it to be stopped out, I realized I must have a trade plan before I could proceed any further. The following trade plan is based on Tim Wilcox's "Trading Plan Template" found at Incorporated in are essential trading rules and common trading mistakes that are found in many online lists. This is a work in progress and is not intended to imply how or why anybody else should or might wish to work their own trading business.

Update 11/21/09 I sold my beer cans at the local scrap metal business and got $18.50, and I found a $20 in the park while walking my dogs. I'm back even with the Forex. I will start live trading again in December. And this time I will always honor my stops.

Update 12/15/09 I sold yet more beer and soda cans at the scrap metal business and made $21.60 which I applied to my credit card bill. This gets me even with the losses from my earlier forex accounts at IBFX and FXMC. Both of those brokers traded against my stops. I will not trade with a broker who hunts my stops. Additionally, I've got a revision to my trade plan to post. The changes are to section 16, Trade Entry Setups.

Update 3/21/10 Changed many sections to eliminate contradictions and fallacies, to tighten self accountability, to ensure discipline, and to establish emplacement of proper trading psychology, and added article 14.21 for accountability to bottom line and performance.


The content, information, techniques, methods and data contained in "Robert Bumbalough's Trading Plan" or any part of this blog, are for informational purposes only and is provided without warranty of any kind.

The content, information, techniques methods and data contained in "Robert Bumbalough's Trading Plan" and any part of this web site, should not be interpreted as investment advice, or as a recommendation to buy or sell futures contracts.

The content, information, techniques, methods and data provided are obtained from sources deemed reliable but not guaranteed as to accuracy or completeness.

The user releases Robert Bumbalough from liability due to the use of the content, information, techniques, methods and data contained in "Robert Bumbalough's Trading Plan" or any part of this blog.

Testimonials on this blog are individual experiences and they do not mean that you will or can emulate their performance. You should be cautious of claims of large profits from day trading. Active futures trading and day trading will generate substantial commissions even if the per trade cost is low. Capital exposure to loss can be extreme and you can lose more than you initially deposit with your broker, always use stop loss orders and or hedges to limit potential loss.

Individual results may vary. Past performance does not guarantee future results.

CFTC Rule 4.41 - Hypothetical or simulated performance results have certain limitations. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results. No futures or commodity trading system can guarantee profits. The risk of loss exists in futures and Foreign Exchange trading.

Robert Bumbalough's Trading Plan


1.1 The purpose of this trade plan is to provide structure to my Forex trading activities. I need a structured approach to Forex trading to maximize profits and minimize losses.

1.2 The use of this trade plan is by daily reading and continually holding a mental awareness of its content.

1.3 The scope of this trade plan is intended to encompass all aspects of my trading activities and life. As additional needs are ascertained, they will be added to the plan or to addendum's.

1.4 When changes or addendum's are added, the reasons attending will be documented as part of the change or addendum.


2.1 My comfort in trading is not a factor. Comfort is an emotion. Emotions have no place in trading. I use self-talk, NLP, meditation, self-hypnosis, and brain wave entrainment to alleviate emotional motivations from my assessments of market conditions and to improve my overall mental fitness for trading.

2.2 I have no emotional stake in the outcome of any trade or position or plan. Trading is not about being right or wrong; its about making money, so I don't care if I'm right or wrong. I only care about making money, so I only care about obeying the rules of the trade plan and section 16 setups.

2.3 I continually strive to improve my capacities to craft winning trade plans, trading in general, and my own mental fitness for trading so that I always and only enter trade positions that comply with and are in harmony with the specifications of the setups listed in section 16 of this trade plan.

2.4 I trust my ability to craft or produce quality trading plans.

2.5 I know the market is the decider of whether my plan or positions have merit. If the market rejects my trade, then I calmly accept the small stop out loss. If the market approves of my plan, then I ride that trend or move for maximal gain using the principles and techniques of the money management section.
2.6 What is important is the monthly win-lose ratio. I keep my losers small and my winners big. There does not exist a means to predict market actions that are yet to occur; therefore, there is not right or wrong trade. Instead I view trades as to whether they comply or do not comply with section 16's setup parameters. The edge of the trading plan setups used and listed in section 16 causes my winners to be bigger and more numerous than my losers, so I only trade when the odds of making money are on my side.


3.1 I am a good man. I deserve financial security and an abundance of money. I want to trade because doing so complies with, is consonant with, and is in harmony with my basal foundational identity as a noble, heroic being. I am alive. I live for me. Trading is a means whereby I can express my love for myself and my life.

3.2 To secure financial security for retirement and to get my money back. I need the $33,000 that I lost in 2001 on penny stocks. Forex and Futures leveraged trading can recoup my prior losses.

3.3 Provide me with funds to establish retirement financial security and to pay for current expenses.

3.4 Trading is cool. I am the sanction for my own life and that I desire something is sufficient reason for me to work hard to obtain it. What others think matters not.

3.5 Trading is hard and challenging. Its noble and heroic to overcome difficult challenging tasks. I am a noble and heroic being. Therefore it is proper for me to be a trader. I understand that there is no easy money to be had in the markets.

3.6 As a longer term goal, I would like to be able to someday write a book about trading techniques. The intellectual aspects of trading can be packaged and sold to a large market of others who seek trading excellence. Thus I, by virtue of my innate characteristics, can seek to fulfill the wants and desires of others for quality trading instruction.


4.1 I am a short term swing and manual trader who will establish long term trend following positions that are free of risk. In ranging markets I use range scalping tactics to skim whatever profits are there.

4.2 In trending markets I use trend following tactics to obtain maximal gains by riding the trend for all I can. I use the bread and butter technique to establish a risk free runner position.

4.3 In the future, when I have a LLC Hedge Fund Trading Business, I will incorporate hedging with futures and options.


5.1 My strengths as a trader is my ability to control myself and to discipline myself. My capacities for self control and discipline are founded upon my strong sense of self esteem. I love, honor, admire, cherish, respect me. I am the reason for and sanction of my life. Therefore, I always follow the trading rules and only take trades that comply with the specifications listed in section 16's setups.

5.2 I am very keen on market and trading education. I continually strive to learn all I can on trading and proper psychological mindset favorable for trading.

5.3 A strength I employ in trading is continuous introspection to self check for errors and non-compliance with the rules.

5.4 Additionally, use of positive NLP, self-talk, meditation, self-hypnosis, and brain wave entrainment to reprogram myself to continually increase my self-discipline and drive for excellence make me an ideal candidate for trading success.

5.5 I have made a commitment to do what it takes to become a success. I'm willing to study charts or learn new trading methods so I'm always ready for changing market conditions.

5.6 A further strength is that past traumatic events caused deep and profound mental damage to me. One of the self-defense mechanisms that has evolved in my species is the ability for the mind to fragment into multiple personalities where one or more sub-personalities occurs at the unconscious operational level. This has happened to me. My inner child selves and unconscious self personalities will assist me in maintaining discipline and objectivity in adhering to the rules of this trade plan because they know that our deceased loved ones, our Mother and Father, our Aunts and Uncles, our Grand Parents did not leave us because they disliked us. Instead our loved ones abandoned us because they died. They could not help it that they died. Death finds us all and will someday find me and my inner unconscious personalities. But between now and then, we can make a great deal of money by always and with out fail following the rules of this trade plan. My inner unconscious selves know that I love them and that I respect them. They understand that I have high esteem for them and for me. They know that I have a total commitment and am doggedly determined to provide the best there is for them and for me. We live for us. We are the sanction of our life. We share the same brain and the same mind and are one. We will always and without fail only trade in accordance with the setup's parameters listed in section 16.

5.7 I am strong because of my unstoppable self-esteem. I love me unconditionally, so I always and without fail treat myself with love and affection, gentleness and kindness, and respect and honesty. Consequently, I only do those things that people who love and respect themselves, who esteem and honor themselves, and who are gentle, kind, honest, and affectionate towards themselves actually do. One of those things is to always protect and grow my capital and to always trade according to this trade plan.


6.1 I tend to become emotionally involved in the trade.

6.1.1 To correct this I instill a post hypnotic suggestion that the market is the arbitrator of my trade plans and that my attitude in any trade is that I always and without fail adhere to and obey the rules of the trading plan and setups listed in section 16. The high probability setups I use cause my positions to be profitable 70% to 80% of the trades taken. 20% to 30% of all trades will be stopped out for small losses. No trade is taken unless there is a clear 2 to 1 or better reward to capital exposure ratio.

6.1.2 To ensure, I am not emotionally involved in any position, I physically write a check to the market for my stop loss prior to establishing a position. If the market rejects my entry and stops me out, then that is to be expected 20%-30% of trades taken. If the market accepts my trade entry, then it will reward me because the setups I use and that are listed in section 16 cause me be in positions where the odds of making money are in my favor 70%-80% of all trades taken.

6.2 I tend to form opinions on what the market will do when I should let the market tell me what it is doing. To correct this, I use a self-talk/self-hypnosis script to plant and reinforce post hypnotic commands to remain disciplined and objective at all times, I’ll make more intelligent trading decisions and avoid making trades based on anger or revenge by following the market.

6.3 A further weakness is that I over analyze a potential trade entry. I must respond quickly and automatically to what I see and have courage and conviction to act on my trade plan's entry criteria.

6.3.1 To correct this, I use a self-talk/self-hypnosis script to plant and reinforce post hypnotic commands to act automatically quickly and decisively in all cases where market action comports in harmonious consonance with this trade plan's section 16 setup parameters.

6.3.2 To reinforce my commitment to always and without fail act quickly, decisively, and automatically to enter trade positions where I have a 70%-80% chance of making a profit, I enter into and make a contract with myself and my unconscious personalities to always operate by this trade plan's trade position entry rules.

6.4 My weakness as a trader comes from emotionally fearing losses stemming from positions attendant to the trade or the instrument resulting in violations of the trading rules.

6.4.1 To correct this I use a self-talk/self-hypnosis script to plant and reinforce post hypnotic commands to accept small losses as part of the cost of doing business.

6.4.2 To reinforce my commitment to always and without fail accept that small losses are part of the cost of doing business, I accept the back testing results of Timothy Morge, Robert Miner, Thomas Bulkowski, and Mircea Dologa.


7.1 I only trade when I am rested, feed, not sick, and not distracted by work, wife, or pets. I will not trade when, I'm tired, or sick, or hungry, or distracted by work, wife or pets.

7.2 I am guided by my trading plan. I only take trades that comply with the setups being used and listed in section 16 of this trading plan. The plan will save me from making trades that are poorly conceived and executed.

7.3 I do not eat meals at the trade station.

7.4 I do not turn the computer on during sleep time, nor do I take trades while getting ready for work in the mornings.

7.5 I do not trade unless I am fully awake, dressed, and am ready for work. Trading is work and I always treat it as such.

8. REWARD TARGETS: My initial reward targets for my training account are set at 1% per month increase in the amount deposited in the trading account.

8.1 The daily and weekly targets are dependent upon market conditions. It may be the case that there are no trades on some days or weeks. Reward criteria is secondary to entry and exit considerations.

8.2 During training, I will not expose more than 1/4% of my capital in any single trade or 1% of my capital at any one time. For an account with x trade units that means I size the position based on the stop loss such that I can only lose .25% of x units on any trade that complies with the setup parameters.

8.3 After training and when trading a fully funded account, I will not expose more than 1/2% on any single position or 2% total at any one time.


My annual trading goals are in several areas. Financial , trading and market education, and personal mental development.

9.1 My goal financially is to double my account yearly by making a monthly 6% gain.

9.2 My goals are to read 8 good trading books yearly, 1 good webinar per week, and to keep up with numerous trading trainer web blogs and videos daily.

9.3 I use positive NLP, self talk, self hypnosis, and brain wave entrainment meditation daily to enhance and improve my mental fitness for trading, my discipline, and my commitment to this trade plan as it is currently as of that time amended.
9.4 On a daily, weekly, and monthly basis my goal is to thoroughly document, journal, and review all my trades to determine what worked and what went wrong. That information will be utilized in a feed back procedure to adjust various aspects of this trade plan to achieve maximum profitability.


I will trade the Forex market in the EUR/USD, USD/JPY, GBP/USD, USD/CAD, USD/CHF, EUR/JPY, EUR/GBP, ASD/USD pairs.

10.1 My goal for the future is to have a futures and options trading account where I will trade E-Micro Forex and E-Mini S&P futures contracts and FX options for hedging purposing.

10.2 Whatever market I trade, I will always comply with the money management and capital exposure rules established by this trade plan.
10.3 The particular currency pair traded will depend on a currency heat map assessment of which pair is most active. The watch list contains the Forex majors. When major moves in the exotic currency pairs are anticipated by the news providers I follow, then they too shall be on the watch list.

11. TRADING PLATFORM: I will continue to use MetaTrader 4 with the lowest cost and most reliable and easy to use Forex broker I can find. This choice will be updated every three months to best take advantage of competition between Forex brokers. I will use Forex Peace Army broker reviews to initially assess which broker may be most appropriate.

11.1 In the course of future events when my trading business is operational as a Hedge Fund, I shall use the best available and affordable trading platform and data feed.

11.2 For the present and during training, see article 11 above.


12.1 I review yesterday's trades.

12.2 I review the trading plan and rules.

12.3 I perform a self-hypnosis trance session wherein I reiterate my post hypnotic suggestions to always honor my stops, to sequentially scale out of trades applying profits to pay for stop losses in order to eliminate capital exposure, and to build my self-esteem and to strengthen my commitment to obeying the trade plan.

12.4 I scan for the currency pair that has been most active.

12.5 I review the economic calender and economic news daily prior to initiating any trades.
12.6 I check the data from any trading club, signal or alert service I may be using prior to initiating any trades.

13. My daily Hour by Hour Schedule. (This section assumes a full time trade for a living effort. I am not able at this time to do that. The main effort of my trading activities are to train, become educated, and configure my mental trader psychological stance.)

13.1 I work every day to improve myself in terms of trader psychological adeptness, trading skills, setups, charting techniques, and market knowledge.

13.2 I use self-talk, NLP, self-hypnosis to implant a strong desire to get up an hour early at 4:30 AM to have extra time to study.

13.3 During lunch at work, I do a self-hypnosis session and recite the trader's positive self-affirmations.
13.4 During drive times, I continually say out loud the self-talk positive traders affirmations.
13.5 When home in the evenings, I quickly get my accustomed chores accomplished so as to have time to study trading books or to view online trading educational content.


During my Forex trading training period, I trade demo accounts and a Nano account for fractions of pennies to minimize losses and preserve my capital. As my skills improve, I will in an incremental fashion increase the amount of funds exposed in a trading account. The incremental factor is to be determined by my overall financial health.

14.1 My permanent fixed policy towards exposing my capital to potential loss consists of the proposition that my capital must be protected and grown using only high probability trading techniques. I will only enter into a trade if the probability of success is 70% or greater.

14.2 I am adverse to exposing my capital to potential loss. I seek to minimize exposure whenever possible. I sequentially scale out of trades applying profits to pay for stop losses in order to eliminate capital exposure by entering with 3 lots and using first and second take profit targets each time setting stop losses to break even. The third lot is a capital exposure free lotto ticket runner.

14.3 During my training, my total capital exposure allowed for any single position is 1/4% of the total of my account capital. After training, that will be upward revised to 1/2% of the total of my account capital.

14.4 My total capital exposure in any one sector or for all trades open at any one time is not to exceed 1%. During training maximum capital exposure for all positions open at any one time is not to exceed 2%.

14.5 When I am trading for a living, I shall employ multiple brokers so that if one crashes and I cannot close open positions, the other will be available for hedging purposes.

14.6 There are two computers available. If one goes down I will use the other to manage trades in the most appropriate manner. All computers will be operated from uninterpretable power supplies and are to be backed up daily.

14.7 I have the broker's phone numbers and can contact them to close trades if necessary. The numbers are listed in the mobile phone speed dialer.

14.8 Setups will be monitored for effectiveness and tracked in a spreadsheet along with trades. If a setup proves unreliable it will be replaced with another that has been shown to work.

14.9 I only take scalp trades if there is an identified potential reward to potential loss ratio of at least 1.5 to 1. In all other trades, I will only enter if the ratio is 2.0 or greater.

14.10 The success ratio of a setup is defined as the ratio of number of successful to unsuccessful instances in back testing. See section 14.1 where a success ratio of at least 70% is established.

14.11 Tim Wilcox's Trading Plan Template section 10.8 details a definition of Reward to Risk Ratio. This statement makes that definition part of my trading plan.

14.11.1(To determine the risk-reward ratio, we need to know the ‘Success’ ratio or probability ratio described in 10.7, above and the ‘Sharpe’ ratio. The latter is the average number of £££'s made on profitable trades, relative to the average number of £££'s lost on unprofitable trades. To express this as a percentage, divide the average £££'s gained on profitable trades by the combined figure of the average number of £££'s gained and lost and then multiply by 100. For the sake of argument, let us suppose that we have a Success ratio of 2:1 - i.e. a probability of success of 66%. Additionally, we also have a Sharpe ratio of say, 1.5:1 - so that if we risk £40.00 we stand to make £60.00 on the winning trades. The Success ratio tells us that we win 2 out of every 3 trades and the Sharpe ratio tells us that, of the 2 winners, we make 2 x +£60.00 = +£120.00. Our one losing trade of the three costs us -£40.00. On all three trades we risked £40.00 and ended up with a net gain of +£80.00. Therefore, if we divide the net gain by the amount we risked, we arrive at a risk-reward ratio of 2:1. However, a word of caution: all of this assumes that we only trade the setups defined in our plan and that they have been thoroughly back and forward tested to determine their probability of success.)

14.12 Stop loss orders will be positioned below penultimate swing lows for long trades and above penultimate swing highs for short trades. If that is not feasible, then stops are to be set ATR(21) of next higher time frame. In either case maximal capital exposure per trade will be honored. If the stop is too expensive, then I will not take the trade.

14.13 During training, if I lose 1/2% of the account capital or have two losers in a row, then I will stop trading for the day. All the day's trades will be reviewed and fallacies will be exposed, so I can learn what went wrong. Setups will be amended if necessary.

14.14 During training, if I lose 1% of the account capital or have 4 losers in a row, then I will stop trading for the week. All the week's trades will be reviewed and fallacies will be exposed, so I can learn what went wrong. Setups will be amended if necessary.

14.15 During training, if I lose 3% of the account capital, then I will stop trading for two weeks. All the past week's trades will be reviewed and fallacies will be exposed, so I can learn what went wrong. Setups will be amended if necessary.
14.16 In the event of a large draw-down, I will only credit additional funds to my account with ‘spare’ money that I can afford to lose. I will not commence trading again until I have identified the cause of the draw-down and have re-tested the strategy to ensure that it meets my profit objectives. When my trading equity exceeds the amount I need to trade my strategies, I will withdraw the surplus and use it to pay bills or to fund a long term investment account.
14.17 As the account grows, I will scale up position size to increase profits while staying within the capital exposure limits.
14.18 Position sizes are determined by capital exposure limits in the case of very high success ratio setups. For 70% success ratio setup position size is cut back by 1/2.
14.19 I physically write a check to the market for my stop losses prior to establishing a position to alleviate my emotional involvement with the trade via potential losses.
14.20 Potential reward is determined by distance between entry price and Median Lines, their parallels or warning lines, or by daily floor pivots, or by Fibonacci retracement/expansion ratios, or by chart pattern targets as described in Thomas Bulkowski's book “Encyclopedia of Chart Patterns”.
14.21 I am accountable to the bottom line and for my performance.
14.21.1 Any losses I incur will be paid back to the trading account from money I do not need to pay expenses
14.21.2 I am accountable for my performance in obeying the rules of the trading plan. Any violations will be dealt with by correcting my trading psychology and commitment to obedience and discipline by methods listed in section 2.1.


15.1 Exits are determined by market conditions. If the conditions for a profitable trade have dissipated, then the position is to be closed immediately.

15.1.1 Profits are to be protected by trailing stops strategically placed relative to market geometry. Stops are placed where stop will be protected by limit buyer's or seller's orders.

15.2 One third of position is to closed at first take profit target. That may be a support of resistance price, a pivot price, or a Murry Math Line price, Median Line price, ect. Stops are adjusted to break even on remaining lots after first take profit to remove capital exposure.

15.3 Second third of position is closed at second take profit. Remaining position's stop loss is moved to entry price to lock in profits and to ensure there is no capital exposure. This is a runner lottery ticket position. Trailing stops are used as profits mount. Those stops are placed under or above penultimate swing lows or highs where there are limit buyers or sellers that will protect the stop. This is to enable the position to run for maximum gain.

15.4 If a position fails to move in my favor within three time frame bars, it will be closed.

15.5 If a position moves close to the first take profit and then reverses, stops are to be set to break even. If it is then stopped out for no loss and if setup entry conditions still prevail, a reentry stop can be place above or below the penultimate bar prior to the stop out bar.

16. SETUPS: Trade positions will only be entered if market actions complies with the setups described in this section. (REFER TO THE PUBLISHED MATERIAL: THIS SECTION WILL BE ELABORATED AND DETAILED AS TIME PROGRESSES.)

16.1 I use Andrew's Pitchfork Median Lines as taught by Tim Morge on his and web sites and as taught by Dr. Mircea Dologa in his book “Integrated Pitchfork Analysis.”

16.1.1 Trades are always taken in the direction of a high time frame's trend and potential entries are filtered using red-green/blue signals of the Signal Bars and Stochastic Bars indicators, momentum, support and resistance.

16.1.2 There is an 79.5% frequency probability that price will either reverse or zoom through when it meets a median line, its parallel or warning line.

If price shows VSA reversal characteristics at the line, then it is likely to reverse with a 79.5% probability of obtaining the next ML, MLH, or Warning line. At that time I shall take a position consisting of 3 lots with take profits and stop loss established as follows.

16.1.3 Take profits are set by market geometry. TP1 will be the penultimate swing high for a long trade or low for a short trade. TP2 will be the 50% line between the reversal ML/MLH/WL and the next pertinent line. TP3 is located at the target line. Each time profit is taken it is used to pay for the remaining position's stop loss such that SL is then set to break even so capital exposure is eliminated.

16.1.4 Initial Stop loss is established with a discretionary number or pips beyond the penultimate swing low/high for long/short trades. Factors controlling the number of pips are volatility and ATR and bar spread size. If the initial stop results in a capital exposure of more than (1/4% during training – 1/2% after training)of total capital, then the trade is not taken.

16.1.5 If price action zooms the close by line, then it is likely headed for the next MLH or WL or 50% quadrature line. If momentum and volume are showing continuation then a stop entry with a stop above or below the most recent previous bar is set in place.

16.2 I use the methods of Robert C. Miner as explained in his book “High Probability Trading Strategies.”

There is a high probability that price will reverse at a value that is coincident with confluence of multiple Fibonacci levels.

Traded are filtered as listed in section 16.1.1.

If price shows VSA reversal or continuation characteristics at the line, then it is likely to reverse or continue respectively.

16.3 I use the trend following trading techniques taught by Wayne Mcdonell of the FX Bootcamp trading club.

For a bear trend, the following conditions must be met to consider entering a trade.

The higher time frame stochastic is embedded oversold or trending towards oversold, and the 14 bar SMA is below and well separated from the 48 bar SMA, and price is under the THV CORAL moving average, then when price bounces on the 5 or 8 bar LWMA on the 1 min chart a short trade can be entered.

For a long trade, stochastic is to be embedded overbought or trending towards overbought, and the 14 bar SMA is above and well separated from the 48 bar SMA, and price is over the THV CORAL moving average, then when price bounces on the 5 or 8 bar LWMA on the 1 min chart a short trade can be entered.

Additional filters can be discretionary used.

If Woodies CCI gives a confirming signal with the trend, then greater confidence is available. Rigid adherence to capital exposure control as per section 14.3 and essential discipline must be and are continually maintained.

16.4 THV TRIX crossover and or MACD divergence signals in the same direction as a higher time frame trend can be used for confirming entries according to sections 16.1, 16.2, 16.3.

16.5 I use Peter Bains techniques as taught in his FX Mentor club videos on Youtube and

16.5.1 MACD neutralization in conjunction with harmonious overbought-oversold and momentum conditions if observed when a potential AB=CD pattern would result from price trend continuation is a partial condition for taking a trade.

16.5.2 If the prior conditions in sections 16.1, 16.2, 16.3 would be met by the continuation, then a trade may be taken.

16.5.3 Strict capital exposure control as listed in section 14.3 is to be maintained.

16.6 I use Gartley patterns on the H4 and higher TF to find high probability, approximately 80% successful, entries.

In MT4, I use Gartley, ZUP, and Search Pattern indicators to find harmonic patterns.

Entries are taken at the optimal Fibonacci Ratio price for the pattern if volatility is low and VSA and momentum are showing reversal signals.

Entries are aborted if price bar spreads are too large, if volatility is too high, if price fails to obtain most optimal Fibonacci Ratios.

16.7 Setups are found by visual inspection of FX charts.

16.8 Entry Signals are generated by price action consonant with the setup parameters.

16.9 Stops are set to break even as per section 15 above to protect the capital and the position from being closed due to market noise.


17.1 All trades are to be recorded. Charts for entry and exit are to be saved and stored in a document file.

17.1.1 I use NLP, Self-Affirmations, Self-Hypnosis, and Brain Wave Entrainment Meditation to implant and reinforce post hypnotic commands to obey the rules of this trade plan including section 17.

17.2 After the trades are closed they are to be reviewed for favorable and unfavorable occurrences. Lessons are to be distilled from the charts and documented in the trade record document. What went right or wrong is to be ascertained and noted.

17.3 Thoughts about my mental stances and attitudes are to be noted as journal entries in the trade record document.
17.4 Trades are to be rated by compliance with the setup used for entry and exit and the trade plan's specifications for capital exposure control and money management.


18.1 I use NLP, Self-Affirmations, Self-Hypnosis, and Brain Wave Entrainment Meditation to implant and reinforce post hypnotic commands to obey the rules of this trade plan and to strengthen my resolve to adhere to the trade plan.
18.2 Setups are back and forward tested prior to actual use in a live account. Success ratios are determined and documented prior to live trading with real money.
18.2.1 I will learn to program in mql4 language so I can modify EA programs to enable back testing.


19.1 My main goal and highest priority is to protect, grow, and preserve my capital. When in doubt, stay out. I Always obey the trading rules. I am mentally disciplined such that I always obey these rules.

19.2 I only take entries in accordance with the technical setups used and described in section 16. I look before I leap. I do not form opinions based on fundamental factors. I never trade on emotions.

19.3 Never ever chase price. I always let the market come to me. If I miss the move, so what. Another will be around soon enough. I plan my trades and trade my plan.

19.4 I Always use a stop loss and a take profit limit. I open trades with estimated and identified 2 or better to 1 reward to capital exposure ratios.

19.5 I Always close losing trades immediately.

19.6 Allow profits to accumulate and winning trades to run. Close winning trades only for technical reasons.

19.7 Open a trade with three lots. When one pays for the others stop loss, take its profit and move stop loss to break even to ensure there is no loss.

19.8 I do not let myself be shook out in the first few moments of a trade, nor do I second guess myself as the setups are clearly defined. I trade what the market is indicating and not what my opinion may be. I strive to avoid having an opinion about what the market will do in the future.

19.9 I only take an entry when it complies with entry criteria of the setup being used and described in section 16. I always trade with the trend in a trending market and use range trading techniques in ranging markets.

19.10 Beware of head fakes. See 19.9 above. I establish profit targets using Fibonacci ratios and extensions in confluence with support and resistance, Murray Math lines, daily, weekly, monthly pivots as well as Median Lines, Median Line Parallels, Warning Lines and Quadrilles.

19.11 Always look for divergences to indicate a short term trend reversal and for neutralization indicating trend continuation.

19.11.1 Check the TA, Trend Lines, and Fibs prior to entering a trade to determine if entry is optimal.

19.12 Stop trading after a loss. Take time to learn what went wrong and learn to never repeat the same mistake. I never chase my losses, and I do not trade for revenge.


20.1 Risking Too Much: There is no way of getting rich quick in forex trading. I must be consistent and disciplined, and I am. Forex is not gambling. Any funds I invest in forex are those that I can afford to lose. I am a successful forex trader, and I protect my capital, and therefore instead of risking too much and hoping for it to turn into a goldmine, I focus on good entry techniques and understanding of trend.

20.2 Over-trading: I know that in order to make huge profits I do not have to trade all the time. It is important for me to realize that forex market is volatile and changes direction all day long. I do not expect profitable trades from every price movement. It is very easy to get addicted to winnings which can lead to sloppy trading. The opportunity to profit strikes a few times a day and it is my job to figure out when it happens. After each trade, I give myself a time out to ensure that I make right decisions based on my trading plan and not on the luring crave to win again! I ignore market noise; I control my emotions and focus on profitable movements; therefore, I am a consistently profitable trader.

20.3 Errors in Order Entry: To save myself a lot of stress, avoid anxiety and evade losing money, I always take two extra seconds to check that everything is correct before I click!

20.4 I always trade according to this Trading Plan. I know myself and my limitations, so in all trades I avoid that which leads to sloppy emotionally based thinking.

Losing is not the end of the world! There is no such thing as forex trading system that works 100% at a time. I can become rich by being right only about 10% of a time. I expel the perfectionist out of my mind and open myself to a larger picture. The most important thing in forex trading is win/loss ratio. It doesn’t matter how many times I win or loose; what really matters is how much money I gain when I win and how much money I loose when I have a losing trade. I concentrate on monthly profits, and not on every single trade.

20.6 Ignoring Money Management: Money management is very important in forex trading. The purpose of money management is to protect me from risking too much and therefore grow my profits in a stable, consistent manner. Without a proper money management technique, I can empty my trading account with a few bad trades. I close losing trades immediately, and I always and without fail practice a ruthless regime of capital exposure control.

20.7 Ignoring Psychological Issues: Psychology is a big part of forex trading. I train myself to control my emotions. I deal with losses and understand that success does not depend on every trade. I keep a journal and record the trading outcome, my feelings and emotions during the trade. This can helps me to analyze myself and avoid, overtrading, overleveraging, revenge trading, greed trading, ego trading etc.

20.8 Using too many indicators: Simplicity is the best way in forex trading. Many indicators only add chaos and unnecessary information. I use sufficient indicators to determine trend strength and momentum at range reversal points. I use trend lines, moving averges, synchronicity of Fibonnaci level in confluence with daily floor pivots, Murry Math lines, but especially Median and associated Lines. I keep it simple to avoid paralysis by analysis.

20.9 I do not hold positions during major new releases. It is close to impossible to predict how the market will react to the news.

20.10 Using Too Much Leverage: I do not over leverage. I always comply with the rules of the capital exposure and money management section. Too much leverage can be extremely harmful. Having a small trading account and making big trades using leverage can turn into a complete disaster whenever the market moves against my positions by just a tiny swing.

20.11 Demo Trading An Amount I Don’t Have: I only demo trade with a quantity of fantasy points roughly equal to what I really trade. I treat my demo account as if it were a real account. I use self-hypnosis to modify my thinking and emotions so that I feel the same about a demo account as I do about my real accounts.

20.12 Switching Strategies Like Pair of Gloves: I do not jump from one strategy to another upon experiencing losses. My forex strategy is not discarded if it experiences a draw down. Every strategy need time to be optimized. Success ratios are tracked and evaluated for appropriate use in the then occurring market conditions.

20.13 There is no shortcut to Forex market knowledge. I must learn and expend the effort to train myself. I read, learn, practice and analyze all the time in order to be up to date and make profits. Forex trading is a lifelong learning career. Since forex market is complex and very flexible, a lot of learning is needed in order to adopt to new changes and become a skilled trader.

20.14 Ignoring Stop Loss: Ignoring stop loss is a no-no! I always have a clear entry and exit plan. Before I enter a trade, I know my loss limit and my first and second take profit targets. I plan my trades and trade my plan. Prior to taking a trade, I understand the reasons for entering a trade in the first place. I always stick to my plan and always set stop-loss targets. There is no such thing as a “trade of a life time”. If I miss one, there Is always a set of new trades right around the corner!

21. Structure of the Trading Business

21.1 My trading business is to be structured as a Hedge Fund that is operated by a Nevada registered LLC Corporation. I will work as a self-employed contractor for the corporation.

21.2 The principle and majority share holder of the corporation is to be a Living Family Trust that functions as the fiduciary trustee and executor of my estate.

21.3 Quarterly reviews will be conducted to ascertain if the business structure is the most advantageous. Revisions to the business plan and structure will be accomplished and documented upon findings that improvements can be made.

22. Taxes

22.1 After I make yearly profits, the corporation will hire a CPA to file and minimize the Hedge Fund's tax liability.

22.2 If there are no profits, I will study the IRS tax code to find the most deductions and write offs for the corporation.

23. Miscellaneous and Errata

23.1 I will not discuss my trading activities with non-traders or with those who are not a member of my trading club or circle. This is to minimize any potential legal liability from losses suffered by those others.

24. Revisions

24.1 12/15/09 Added details to entry setups in section 16 in order to have method for use.

24.2 3/21/10 Changed many sections to eliminate contradictions and fallacies, to tighten self accountability, to ensure discipline, and to establish emplacement of proper trading psychology, and added article 14.21 for accountability to bottom line and performance.