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  • Originally posted by tabibito View Post
    It is circular reasoning until one of the points is demonstrated as fact, and it is the theist's faith claim.

    We know enough of science to be confident that the normally prevailing laws cannot be circumvented or over-ridden by proper application of other laws, except in cases that have already been demonstrated: that is the atheist's faith claim.

    But which one is arguing from incredulity?
    and which is from gullibility?

    It's not that I refuse to believe certain things, it's that I recognize certain things are much more plausible and likely than others. So when something happens, i more readily assume it's one of the more likely causes than I do one of the extremely rare or impossible causes, until shown indisputable evidence otherwise.

    the Tasmanian tiger is extinct. It could be possible that maybe a few are still alive, but have evaded researchers and Australians for decades. someone can claim all they like that they've seen one. a busload of people can claim that they've seen one, so no one is going to believe them without at least a clear photograph.

    But all those witnesses couldnt have been lying. and all those witnesses couldnt have hallucinated the same thing at the same time. But they could have all seen a dog or some other animal that they all mistook for a Tasmanian tiger. One could have even exclaimed, "OMG! A Tasmanian Tiger" influencing the other's perception. They saw the same animal, so it must have been the extinct Tasmanian Tiger.

    I am not saying, "never, no way," I am saying, "it's counter what we know and all other research, and that a more likely scenario is one of mistaken identity."

    that's what I am saying about miracles - except that I have doubts that miracles ever existed.

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    • Originally posted by Adrift View Post
      Sounds more like moving goalposts.
      oh? I dont see how.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by tabibito View Post
        It is circular reasoning until one of the points is demonstrated as fact, and it is the theist's faith claim.

        We know enough of science to be confident that the normally prevailing laws cannot be circumvented or over-ridden by proper application of other laws, except in cases that have already been demonstrated: that is the atheist's faith claim.

        But which one is arguing from incredulity?
        Tabby,

        I don't think that most skeptics would disagree with you. Our point is that the burden of proof is upon the person claiming a miracle has occurred; upon the person making the claim that an event which defies the laws of nature has really occurred to provide good evidence supporting their claim. Many, many people claim to have witnessed all kinds of laws-of-nature-defying events, but because our society has chosen reason as our basis of reality, we do not believe wild claims without very good evidence even if the "witness" is an upstanding member of the community!

        If Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts starts claiming that he has conducted several interviews with tiny, green, antennaed, space aliens from Mars, I'm not buying his "testimony" until I see some darn good evidence to back it up.

        I challenge Stein, Nick or anyone else to show me that Keneer hired unbiased physicians or other experts to confirm the miracle cures claimed in his book. If Keneer did this, I PROMISE I will buy his book and read it cover to cover! However, I will bet my car's pink slip that Keneer did NOT attempt to validate these miracle claims, he simply reported the claims as he heard them. Therefore, if true, we have unsubstantiated HEARSAY, and hearsay is NOT good evidence.
        Last edited by Gary; 08-19-2015, 03:00 PM.

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        • Originally posted by William View Post
          whether miracles occur and whether God exists is different than seeing whether this particular miracle could have had a natural explanation.

          But i do agree that miracles exist outside of science. But they are so rare that their existence is questioned. it would be like someone claiming that this certain body died by a vampire. even if there were bight marks, i wouldn't believe it. i'd search for every other possibility before I even considered vampires as a thought. If there are other possibilities, I would think a good detective would pursue those leads while completely ignoring a vampire hypothesis.

          and maybe faith hides behind philosophy in order to evade science.
          I agree. Looking into natural explanations is not a bad idea. God usually acts through natural means (secondary causes). A direct intervention is much rarer.

          I don't think faith hides behind philosophy. If God exists (which there are good reasons to suppose He does), God exists outside of time/space/etc. God is therefore undetectable by scientific means.

          Comment


          • Miracles aren't violations of the laws of nature. Hume's definition has so many problems I don't even know where to start.

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            • Originally posted by William View Post
              this is also how I used to believe it all. There was evidence to believe it. It wasn't some emotional experience or something like that, but in the reliability of God's Word.
              Yeah, I don't subscribe to the "reliability of God's Word" arguments. I think it's a very fundamentalist, literalist way of looking at it. I think there are good philosophical and historical reasons to suppose God exists. Revelation is clearly part of it, but telling someone "this is true because the Bible said so" is bad reasoning.

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              • Originally posted by psstein View Post
                I agree. Looking into natural explanations is not a bad idea. God usually acts through natural means (secondary causes). A direct intervention is much rarer.

                I don't think faith hides behind philosophy. If God exists (which there are good reasons to suppose He does), God exists outside of time/space/etc. God is therefore undetectable by scientific means.
                God may exist outside space and beyond scientific means. I think time is inescapable, as I cant seem to imagine anything that doesnt have a past, present or future.

                but aside from that, there is no logical rule that would require there to be only one God or to prevent there from being several tiers of Gods, so there could very well be some gods that had beginnings and were created by other gods, better than them.

                and since it's not testable, how would we ever know? Taking the bible, it's a collection of books, written by men that claim to have special knowledge of God. We cant test whether God is real or not or what type of god is real, but much of those claims can be examined to see whether we can believe them or not.

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                • Originally posted by psstein View Post
                  Yeah, I don't subscribe to the "reliability of God's Word" arguments. I think it's a very fundamentalist, literalist way of looking at it. I think there are good philosophical and historical reasons to suppose God exists. Revelation is clearly part of it, but telling someone "this is true because the Bible said so" is bad reasoning.
                  oh, well I agree with that now.

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                  • Originally posted by psstein View Post
                    Miracles aren't violations of the laws of nature. Hume's definition has so many problems I don't even know where to start.
                    i would define miracles as events that would not have happened without divine intervention. So a deity might use physical laws to work his magic, but without that deity the miracle would have never occurred. so in that sense, it may be a violation of natural laws...

                    but then I struggle to think what natural laws were used to cleanse naaman of his leper while dipping in the jordan, or having the sun move backward for hezekiah, or that would allow a virgin to get pregnant.

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                    • Originally posted by psstein View Post
                      Yeah, I don't subscribe to the "reliability of God's Word" arguments. I think it's a very fundamentalist, literalist way of looking at it. I think there are good philosophical and historical reasons to suppose God exists. Revelation is clearly part of it, but telling someone "this is true because the Bible said so" is bad reasoning.
                      The big question though is this: How do you prove that the Creator, for whom there is some good evidence, is Yahweh-Jesus? Many of us skeptics are willing to admit the existence of evidence for a Creator or Creators, but the jump to the Christian god lacks any good evidence. We see the scientific inaccuracies in the Old Testament and the very poor evidence supporting Jesus' alleged resurrection, and we say that there is no good evidence to claim that Yahweh/Jesus is the Creator.

                      I think that Christians often conflate the two when debating skeptics. We need to separate the two issues. I for one will NOT argue with you about evidence for a Creator. It is when you assume that the evidence for a Creator is synonymous with evidence for the existence of Yahweh/Jesus-the-eternal-Christ that we cry "foul!"

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                      • Originally posted by William View Post
                        I linked these earlier this morning, but other than them I am sure you're not completely unaware of the studies.

                        http://www.innocenceproject.org/free...ons-nationwide
                        http://news.sciencemag.org/policy/20...ientists-weigh
                        Your links are broken. I'm going to guess that they have something to do with the occasional wrongful conviction based on faulty eyewitness testimony (and it IS occasional, or courts would no longer rely on it). I remain unconvinced that they have much bearing on eyewitness testimony in the gospels, from a culture which depended on recollection much, much more heavily than Americans do today.
                        Originally posted by William
                        The scientific method is a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry is commonly based on empirical or measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning.
                        Sure.
                        I think it applies because if you test to see whether there are natural explanations for certain phenomena or unexplained events (miracles included) then science can show that it is at least possible to have been a natural event, instead of a miraculous one.
                        To the extent that the test accurately reflects the conditions in which the event happened, it is possible to show what could have happened. When dealing with something as complex as the human body, that's not necessarily easy to pull off. However, you're still attempting to prove a negative in the case of disproving miracles.
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                        • Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
                          Your links are broken. I'm going to guess that they have something to do with the occasional wrongful conviction based on faulty eyewitness testimony (and it IS occasional, or courts would no longer rely on it). I remain unconvinced that they have much bearing on eyewitness testimony in the gospels, from a culture which depended on recollection much, much more heavily than Americans do today.
                          yeah, crap, sorry.

                          one is about those who had been convicted on eyewitness testimony, but later released once DNA evidence became available. It just shows that it happens.

                          the other was a link to study on eyewitnesses and memory. I'd be surprised if you've never heard about any like it. I believe there have been several, and they show that it's unreliable, which is one reason courts prefer physical evidence over eyewitness testimony now.

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                          • Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
                            To the extent that the test accurately reflects the conditions in which the event happened, it is possible to show what could have happened. When dealing with something as complex as the human body, that's not necessarily easy to pull off. However, you're still attempting to prove a negative in the case of disproving miracles.

                            or prove that there are other viable options that are not supernatural.

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                            • Originally posted by Gary View Post
                              The big question though is this: How do you prove that the Creator, for whom there is some good evidence, is Yahweh-Jesus? Many of us skeptics are willing to admit the existence of evidence for a Creator or Creators, but the jump to the Christian god lacks any good evidence. We see the scientific inaccuracies in the Old Testament and the very poor evidence supporting Jesus' alleged resurrection, and we say that there is no good evidence to claim that Yahweh/Jesus is the Creator.

                              I think that Christians often conflate the two when debating skeptics. We need to separate the two issues. I for one will NOT argue with you about evidence for a Creator. It is when you assume that the evidence for a Creator is synonymous with evidence for the existence of Yahweh/Jesus-the-eternal-Christ that we cry "foul!"
                              Doesn't acknowledging a creator of some sort make you a deist?

                              I don't think the Creator/Christian God split is nearly as wide as people think. For Aquinas/Duns Scotus/Augustine/Maimonides, there is no difference between the Unmoved Mover of Aristotle and the Christian God. Aquinas and many, many others make the case an Unmoved Mover must logically be omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by William View Post
                                i would define miracles as events that would not have happened without divine intervention. So a deity might use physical laws to work his magic, but without that deity the miracle would have never occurred. so in that sense, it may be a violation of natural laws...
                                God is not bound by natural law, and natural law is far from prescriptive. It describes what usually happens, without outside intervention.

                                Hume famously denies induction, so he has no business discussing laws of nature.

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