Miracles and Epistemology
a poster to the comment section (Anon) says:
(quoting me)"After, I say AFTER the medical guys do their thing and determine that they can't explain it naturalistically."
You're confusing "I can't find it" with "it doesn't exist".
A typical churchie mistake.
He/she is saying that I am confusing the inability to find a naturalistic explanation with the idea that there is none. But the problem with that argument is that to make it one must assert an ideological assumption that there must be one. Thus if a naturalistic assumption is not found, it only means we must keep looking, even if we must keep looking ad infinitum.
The problem is event the materialists have given up on the concept of a naturalistic cause for every effect. The Metaphysicians of modern cosmology, I mean people like Hawking who are the avaunt guard of materialistic thought, have abandoned the idea that the universe needs a cause. They use QM particles apparent lack of a cause (which is not even the case) to argue for a universe that doesn't need a cause. If the entire universe needs no cause why should we assume that miracles need causes?
Like a two edged sword it cuts both ways:
(1) One could argue that the lack of a physical cause means one need not search for one and thus the inability to find it means there is none and thus this is a miracle.
(2) the assumption could be made that if there is no reason to always insist upon a cause then the lack of a cause does not imply divine action, but merely a "strange happenstance" that has no rational explanation and requires none.
This is last explanation there is never any reason to attribute anything to a miracle. In this instance there could be a resurrection of Jesus from the dead and it would not necessarily be a miracle, but just a "wired deal."
"O look dear, that Nazareth boy is rising from the dead again, isn't that strange?"
The problem for materialists is this is not materialism. It's boarder on magic, but the leaving behind of rational law like statements of material cause and effect that govern all happenings in the universe, is not materialism it is moving away from materialism.
I have a feeling that the anonymous commentator is the old fashioned kind of materlist who assumes there is a naturalistic cause that we just cant' detect. Don't look now but that's faith. It is true there is an epistemological gap. There will always be such a gap. So we are in the realm of probability when we deal with miracles. Even standing in front of the risen Christ we are still dealing in terms of probability. But that should not be an argument in favor of the materialist. They cannot say "that's only probability" since their whole philosophy is founded upon probabilistic methods, such as inductive reasoning.
If after applying every conceivable medical test and using the state of the art examinations (which the Lourdes committee does) we cannot find a naturalistic explanation, this does not necessarily mean the case is declared a miracle. At that point it is handed on the the the religious examiners, the churchmen who will begin a doctrinal examination. That's important because miracles are contextual.
Miracles are not just any unexplained happenstance, they are specifically contextual events that occur in relation to religious belief and that draw up more deeply into further levels of belief. Since it's all probability anyway the assumption that lack of explanation means the case is less likely to be explained naturalistically, the religious context must be examined. If that checks out it is only logical to assume divine context for the event since that is the only avenue of explanation left.
While Anon wants to continue assuming there is always a naturalistic cause that's far from the case. That is a statement of faith in the materialism of the past. Even modern materialists have given up that dogma.
Miracles are probabilistic and contextual. There is always an epistemic gap that cannot be bridged between knowledge of causes and assumptions about the likelihood of causes. To assume that there must always be a naturalistic cause is to assume that there cannot be a God or that God cannot intervene in the world. Either way that is an ideological assumption, it is not logic, it is not proven, it is merely an assertion of faith, the bygone faith of materialism.