Matt wrote:I am not denying at all that the claim that Jesus rose from the dead has no relevance to someone who rejects miracles. I am just questioning the reason for rejecting miracles a priori.
In that case, let me explain that we don't
reject miracles a priori any more than we reject aliens. We've yet to see a miracle verified. If we have no verified miracles, then it is logical to conclude that none exist...as yet, or at least none we've uncovered. We are more than willing to see them verified, but taking someone's word for a miracle does not constitute verification; you're just accepting someone's testimony, which is pretty much worthless.
A miracle is an act (of god?) that runs contrary to the way things normally work.
But where are these things, matt? WHAT things run contrary to how they normally
Here is your reasoning:
Everything true can be duplicated in a laboratory
Miracles cannot be duplicated in a laboratory
Therefore, miracles are not true.
Nope, that's not my philosophy at all. No need to "duplicate" anything in a lab. Just demonstrate something that does not follow the laws of the universe. If New York city suddenly vanished and appears in Utah. That would not be duplicated in any lab, but it would sure challenge what we know of the universe. This isn't circular logic, as you are attempting to assert. It's merely applying the same rules of the science to supposed miracles. A miracle should be no less prone to scientific study than anything else. Why should it?
I am challenging premise 1 as an incorrect assumption. I am suggesting that perhaps there is a category called "miracles"--a subset of the category of "things that are true" that is not in the subset of the category "things that can be duplicated in a laboratory." You are replying that this can't be because "Everything true can be duplicated in a laboratory." This is just a restatement of your original premise, not an argument.
No, matt, you're not quite understanding what I'm saying. I'm not saying anything about laboratories. If "A" occurs, then the expectation is that it must abide by the laws of the universe. But what if it doesn't seem to? What if, as I said, New York city suddenly disappears and reappears in Utah? How do we explain that? We aren't going to do so in any lab. But there may well be plenty of evidence to find clues as to what happened and why. Was it a miracle or is there an explanation that fits within the known laws of the universe. So far there is nothing that has been documented that breaks the laws of the universe. The resurrection is an ancient story. There's plenty of ancient stories of things that don't abide by the universal laws. I'm sure you don't accept them all as true, right? That's all I'm saying.
Good for Randi. I suggest he do something better with his money.
You don't get it, do you? If someone truly has the ability to defy universal laws, this is free money and an opportunity to speak to the world! Why wouldn't a healer or speaker to the dead not want this money? Think of the good they could do with it and of the power to transform minds and people if they just demonstrated their powers.
spongebob wrote:all they have to do is demonstrate it under controlled conditions
Do you see the special pleading inherent in this request?
Matt, you don't understand what special pleading is. This is not special pleading. This is what is required to keep someone honest. Benny Hinn can demonstrate his powers of healing any time you like under his conditions
, which means he's going to fake it. Wouldn't you like to see someone demonstrate real miracle healing? Wouldn't that help your faith become a little stronger?
I can see you ignoring the obvious. Miracle men are con men, matt. Do you believe them all? How do you decide if you have no criteria, no standards? Are your powers of observation that good?
matt wrote:demonstrate it under controlled conditions
Now do you see it?
Perhaps a miracle is like porn. I can't define it, but I know it when I see it.
Well, that's fine for you, but you aren't going to convince anyone if you use a definition like that because it's meaningless to anyone but you. How about this, your boss says he won't tell you what he's going to pay you, he'll know what's fair when it strikes him and he'll send that to you. Would you accept that? And btw, I think I could define porn adequately for most people.
I think this is a perfectly legitimate question to ask. You are approaching this discussion with the assumption that miracles are not a legitimate category, and you are putting the burden of proof on me to suggest otherwise. I am challenging your right to do this.
matt, you're pretty good at misinterpreting what I'm saying. You can dispense with the "miracles are not a legitimate category" fallacy. My contention, as is every skeptic, is that the term "miracle" or "magic" is an unknown quantity, as yet to be demonstrated. It doesn't mean it doesn't exist, but that we are still looking for evidence that it does. And the burden of proof most certainly does rest on the one making the claim of magic. I don't need any right to ask this; it's just the way virtually everything is done in this world. Any claim must be supported. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Think about this before you respond. What kind of claim to you NOT need evidence for? What kind of claim really makes you shake your head and say out loud "I want to see some evidence of that". What if you heard a news headline on the radio, "Intelligent life found on the moon". Would you just accept that as real news or would you want to see/hear something more than just the DJ's word?
Further, it is not your demand of evidence that is special pleading, it is your demand of evidence of a certain kind--i.e. a kind that fits your construction of reality.
Oh, but matt, I've never defined "evidence of a certain kind". Show me where I have, please. As far as I'm concerned, the only kind of evidence that means anything is objective
evidence. That means that it cannot be anecdotal (he said, she said). Anything less is just worthless. Don't you agree?
This is the definition of a naturalist--someone who believes that all reality can be described by natural (i.e. not miraculous or supernatural) phenomena.
But a naturalist isn't not restrained by that, matt. Anyone is capable of changing his mind under new evidence. The skeptic certainly is. Is the super naturalist not?
Ha! You're giving up ground. Yesterday you would have said that a miracle is impossible, not just unlikely.
I never said any such thing, matt. You'll have to show me the quote.
I don't disagree with you. Most miraculous claims are spurious. But that doesn't mean that some aren't.
Ah, OK, define this "some". Where are they? Look, if I'm going to accept a major break in the universal laws of physics, I want more information than "some" and "maybe' and "so-n-so". I want specifics, details, data. I'm a SKEPTIC! You have to convince me.
spongebob wrote:Let's say that medical miracles really do happen, just for grins. How many and of what severity should we consider to be reasonable? Let's just rule out simple injuries, like cut fingers or bruises mysteriously healing instantaneously. Let's say only life threatening injuries or diseases. A man falls from a building and breaks his neck, but wakes up a few minutes later and walks away, thanking god. A woman is impaled by a car, severing her lower limbs, but when the car is pulled away the legs suddenly reattach. A child ingests poison and dies in the arms of his mother, but wakes up the next morning. A man dies on the operating table of heart failure, only to wake up hours later in the morgue. And why limit it to just humans? Humans value and rely on animals, so an animal miraculously surviving an injury is just as important. How many times has a seeing eye dog, crushed by a car, woke up an hour or day later? Oh, sure, we have the cases of tumors that suddenly stop growing and even shrink. And some chronic diseases have seen spontaneous healing. But an ALS patient suddenly regaining all muscular control? A life-long diabetic suddenly cured? Does Meier offer any examples such as these? Or does he insist that miracles have to be more subtle than that?
Again, this is special pleading. Why do miracles have to be of a specific kind that you see fit to be legitimate?
You just don't understand what special pleading
is, matt. Here's a definitions: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_pleading
Further, just because I haven't seen it, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. I have never seen you.
This is a poor argument for miracles. I am most certainly verifiable. Maybe not with the limited resources that you have, but certainly with a modest application of resources, my identify could be confirmed in only a few hours. But I'm only a common person, matt. There's no challenge there, nor a need to be. When we talk of magic and miracles, there's a real need to be careful and consistent because cons and shams are designed to look like magic in order to take advantage of people. So, if you can't adequately define or verify a miracle, then you will never know when one is genuine or just a con. I suggest you visit John Edwards or Sylvia Browne and pay them some money.
I believe that I have experienced the supernatural, although admittedly not of the kind you are demanding. That doesn't bother me at all.
Again, I have not demanded anything except verification. I don't know what you've experienced, but if it is personal feelings, voices in your head, visions...etc, then those things are a dime a dozen; everyone has them in every culture and every religious persuasion. As an argument they are totally unconvincing.
Which is why I remain a skeptic, albeit an open-minded skeptic.
Sorry, matt. I've seen little evidence of that.