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  • Originally posted by Adrift View Post
    Just about everyone in this thread has said so repeatedly. I don't know why Gary or William thinks that this is such a powerful argument when they've been told time and time again that we're all open to non-Christian miracle claims. It occurs to me that there must be some sort of old hyper-literalist/fundamentalist thinking that goes on when this question is asked repeatedly, as though to say "when I called myself a Christian, I was never so open-minded, so therefore, all Christians must be equally close-minded". That obviously isn't the case. In fact, I'm fairly certain that isn't the case for most Christians who've thoroughly investigated and considered the truthfulness of their worldview rather than the type who kinda went along with it because that's what mommy and daddy believed, or because of some sort of airy emotional faith that was squelched when things started going south, or when the first seeds of skepticism started stirring in their minds.
    This is an excellent point: Odd, rare, unexplainable events happen all around the world, in every culture, in every socio-economic class, in every religion. Prayers to Jesus and/or the Virgin Mary have no higher "cure response" than prayers to Allah, Krishna, or the holy mangrove tree in the center of the village. Even atheists have these events happen to them. So why should we believe that these events are caused by a divine act? Why not accept that odd, rare things sometimes happen?

    And if you believe that all the non-Christian odd/rare events (miracles) are of Satan's doing, how do you know that all the "miracles" claimed by Christians are not also the work of Satan?? There is NO WAY you can prove that they are not! Unless Christians can prove that prayers to Jesus incur a higher healing rate, you cannot prove that Jesus has healed one single person. Neither can you prove that "God" is behind all these events. If you believe that Satan has the power to perform these acts, then ALL miracle claims could be the work of Satan. So miracles could confirm the existence of an evil Being, but they wouldn't be proof of a good Being, a benevolent God, would they?

    Skeptics cannot prove that miracles do NOT happen, and theists cannot prove that they DO happen. The only thing we can look at are probabilities based on past human experience. And past human experience tells us that very odd, very rare events do happen, and the overwhelming majority of these events have several or at least one natural, more probable explanation.

    As Dr. Johnson said in the article, theists cannot prove that miracles occur. It is impossible. If they want to believe they occur by faith, go for it. But I challenge anyone on TW to prove any one of Keneer's miracle claims cannot have a natural, non-miracle explanation.
    Last edited by Gary; 08-21-2015, 11:39 AM.

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    • Originally posted by Gary View Post
      A person who KNOWS he is faking it will know he is faking it. A person who BELIEVES a miracle has happened but is mistaken, does not know he is faking it, because he isn't. He is simply wrong in his conclusion as to cause.
      Way to miss the point. The person performing the miracle will be equally certain of what has happened.
      sigpic1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

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      • Originally posted by tabibito View Post
        So - the one person who knows beyond all doubt whether the story of the angel is true is???
        The one who actually performed the rescue miracle.
        No matter how many convincing "proofs" to the contrary were offered - (short of deliberate brain washing) no one would be able to convince him that the event had a supernatural cause. Even if everyone else within coo-ee was convinced, yes?
        I'm not sure I am following your point, but my point is that just because something may seem to have been a miracle, to a person who is predisposed to believe in miracles, doesn't mean that a miracle happened, and doesn't mean that anyone was lying. It means someone made a mistake. The people in the burning car believed that they had been rescued by an angel when in fact their rescuer was a homeless person.

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        • Originally posted by tabibito View Post
          Way to miss the point. The person performing the miracle will be equally certain of what has happened.
          Are you telling me that just because a "miracle worker", a faith healer, BELIEVES what he or she is performing a miracle, then that means they are??

          Listen Tabby: I CANNOT prove a miracle did not happen, but, neither can you or anyone else prove it did.

          I'm not following Tabby's logic. Can anyone else explain what he is trying to say?

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          • It doesn't matter what a person does, if he it the one who did it, he knows it for an undeniable fact. What is so difficult to understand?
            sigpic1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

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            • Originally posted by tabibito View Post
              It doesn't matter what a person does, if he it the one who did it, he knows it for an undeniable fact. What is so difficult to understand?
              Can anyone help here? Tabby and I are not understanding each other.

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              • Rather than generalities, perhaps a concrete example will help.
                Consider the case of a person born with one forearm and hand completely undeveloped. Along comes Joe Bloggs and performs a miracle so that the person - on the instant - has a properly developed arm and hand.
                There might be an infinitesimal chance of convincing the healed person that Joe Bloggs had not performed a miracle - but how do you propose to convince Joe Bloggs that your opinion is correct?
                sigpic1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

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                • Originally posted by tabibito View Post
                  Rather than generalities, perhaps a concrete example will help.
                  Consider the case of a person born with one forearm and hand completely undeveloped. Along comes Joe Bloggs and performs a miracle so that the person - on the instant - has a properly developed arm and hand.
                  There might be an infinitesimal chance of convincing the healed person that Joe Bloggs had not performed a miracle - but how do you propose to convince Joe Bloggs that your opinion is correct?
                  If Joe Bloggs said a prayer to God over a person without one arm and hand and immediately while praying the person grows a hand and arm, I would say that odds are that Joe has performed a miracle and that he has an incredible connection with some supernatural power and that all doctors should start referring their patients who lack arms and hands to Joe...immediately.

                  So do you have such a case to present to us, with the supporting documentation?

                  Comment


                  • So far, just dealing in hypotheticals.

                    I didn't say though that Joe Bloggs prayed over the person - that would be a miraculous answer to prayer. This is somewhat more direct, with Joe Bloggs himself performing the miracle: whether by innate power, or by conferred authority is irrelevant on the matter previously mentioned. How much documentation do you think that Joe Bloggs would need to verify that a miracle had occurred?
                    Of course there would be medical documentation for such a miracle - the healed person's medical records would be accessible. But - by your previous statements, you would reject any possibility of a miracle having occurred, and engage in conspiracy theories of fraud as being a the only acceptable explanation.
                    sigpic1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

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                    • During this entire discussion regarding miracles, it seems like we skeptics and you theists have been speaking past each other. We skeptics do NOT claim to know that miracles are impossible. What we are saying is that miracles are highly improbable, and, that it is impossible for theists to prove that any miracle has occurred. It is impossible for theists to prove that Mrs. Jones was healed of her lung cancer due to a miracle. It is impossible for theists to prove that Jimmy Baker's forearm fracture was healed by a miracle. It is impossible for theists to prove that Bob and Betty Jones were saved by a miracle in their terrible car accident. And, it is impossible for Christians to prove that Jesus' empty tomb was due to a miracle or that the alleged appearances of Jesus to his followers were miracles. THEISTS CANNOT PROVE THE EXISTENCE OF MIRACLES AND SKEPTICS CANNOT DISPROVE THEM.

                      We must look at probabilities, and if one looks at probabilities, the probability of a miracle is ranked as the lowest of all probabilities for events in our every day lives by most rational people living in the industrialized western world. Don't believe me? Ask any insurance company who insures people based on risk if they include miracles into their risk calculations. Natural events like storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, sometimes euphemistically referred to as "acts of God", yes. But no insurance company includes "bodily resurrection" or divine cures of end-stage pancreatic cancer in their risk calculations.

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                      • Quite so - even Joe Bloggs could not prove beyond all doubt to anyone else, not even to the person he healed, that he had performed a miracle ... even with 20 or more years of medical records to support his claim. The healed person knows beyond all doubt only that where there had been no arm and hand, there now is an arm and hand.

                        How much less things for which there would never be any documentation - telekinesis, teleportation, prophecy - can only be proven to people who actually perform such actions. Even witnesses to the event are left only with believing their own senses: for them it is only proven beyond reasonable doubt - not beyond all possible doubt.
                        Last edited by tabibito; 08-21-2015, 01:26 PM.
                        sigpic1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

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                        • Originally posted by tabibito View Post
                          So far, just dealing in hypotheticals.

                          I didn't say though that Joe Bloggs prayed over the person - that would be a miraculous answer to prayer. This is somewhat more direct, with Joe Bloggs himself performing the miracle: whether by innate power, or by conferred authority is irrelevant on the matter previously mentioned. How much documentation do you think that Joe Bloggs would need to verify that a miracle had occurred?
                          Of course there would be medical documentation for such a miracle - the healed person's medical records would be accessible. But - by your previous statements, you would reject any possibility of a miracle having occurred, and engage in conspiracy theories of fraud as being a the only acceptable explanation.
                          Wrong. I would investigate the evidence, but I would not just accept the word of Joe Bloggs or the healed person.

                          If someone I know who lacks an arm and hand, suddenly has a new arm and hand that I can touch to verify that it is real, and this person, whose credibility I trust, says that he grew a new arm and hand instantaneously when Joe Bloggs said or did something, I will be a believer in the healing power of Joe Bloggs. That is the kind of evidence I and most skeptics demand. We are not willing to take two guys' word for it or take their word that they have medical evidence to prove it. We want to see the evidence for ourselves or have neutral, respected experts examine it for us.

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                          • And then you are left with the problem of your two neutral experts, having investigated the claims and found them substantiated to their satisfaction, suddenly speaking from the standpoint of believers - thereby negating any possibility of them being considered neutral by skeptics.
                            sigpic1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

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                            • Originally posted by tabibito View Post
                              And then you are left with the problem of your two neutral experts, having investigated the claims and found them substantiated to their satisfaction, suddenly speaking from the standpoint of believers - thereby negating any possibility of them being considered neutral by skeptics.
                              If the experts have demonstrated that there is no other explanation for the event other than a miracle, I would believe a miracle had happened.

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                              • Originally posted by Gary View Post
                                If the experts have demonstrated that there is no other explanation for the event other than a miracle, I would believe a miracle had happened.
                                By your own challenges repeatedly stated in this thread - no such proof is possible - there will always be another "explanation" to those whose minds are closed to the possibility of miracles.

                                The claim that it is impossible (except to the person who performs a miracle) to prove that miracles can or have happened is proven - and the fact is meaningless.

                                Biblically - one neutral expert of the kind you propose is known. His name was Luke. While he could not get to the bottom of all the confused stories, perhaps, he gave as honest an appraisal as he could of what had been happening.

                                As for me - it is impossible to show me that miracles don't occur - absolutely and irrevocably.
                                sigpic1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

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