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A Rational Look at Christianity; Basing Reason in Truth

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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.

11 comments:

What people on both sides of the question miss is that it's a mir-acle, akin to mir-ror, mir-age and the Latin "to look": mirare.

It's interesting that wonder has a similar derivation, although Online Etymology Dictionary says that the origin is unknown, it also says: "In M.E. it also came to mean the emotion associated with such a sight"

It's a phenomenological event. It's something you don't see everyday, and perhaps not more than once in a lifetime. It is attributed to a special cause, because it's a special effect.

I can't leave without mentioning that this idea of miracles saps Hume's argument against them. First he argues that Cause and Effect are only connections "seen", and leverages this to argue that "violations of nature", called "miracles", cannot happen. Thus Hume's argument can boil down to an event that the very word admits is a rarity cannot be counted as possible simply because it isn't more common.

I can't leave without mentioning that this idea of miracles saps Hume's argument against them. First he argues that Cause and Effect are only connections "seen", and leverages this to argue that "violations of nature", called "miracles", cannot happen. Thus Hume's argument can boil down to an event that the very word admits is a rarity cannot be counted as possible simply because it isn't more common.


He says c/e are not seen. It's an assumed connection based upon what we do see which is just an association.One billiard ball stops, the other one starts moving.

Humes argument against miracles is begging the question. It's circular because it assumes that reports of miracles can be rejected based upon prior knowledge that they can't be true. It comes down to the prhase he uses 'they don't hapen enough.'

I had to delete a post because it was ad hom. As long as I'm stuck with holding the fort, we go by my rules. My rules says we do not publish comments that turn on personal attacks against others.

this is especially true when those others are me!;-)

The awful facts, @ YouTube, about the creator of the One God

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7iQRFP_e90

Sorely inadequate. Don't atheists now days have a concept of refutation an discussion? Is it all just emotive spewing of hatred?

the profusion of ignorance in this country is so alarming. It's just unbearable. Google Amen Hotep IV and you find people saying things like "that's where the term Amen comes from!"

I can't face how ignorant people are now. Your film no production value. It's about as well made as Rocky and Bullwinkle.

Hey, I like Rocky and Bullwinkle. That video's kind of creepy ... I think R&B is better.

I like Rocky and Bullwinkle better too. I like them. I just couldn't think of anything to compare it to. What's with that voice? he sounds like he's trying to make fun of himself. I expected him to go "bwahahahahahah bwaaahahahaha."

"He says c/e are not seen. It's an assumed connection based upon what we do see which is just an association.One billiard ball stops, the other one starts moving."

JL, apart from you providing a more concrete detail for what I summed up with "connections 'seen'" (with "seen" in quotes), you basically repeat my post?

I say "a rarity cannot be counted as possible simply because it isn't more common." You "counter" that he said they can't be true because, as you quote "they don't happen enough". Which is simply a rephrase, although by quoting Hume you make a more specific point.

Why "refute" when somebody is simply commenting? And I was commenting with reference to the post that no longer appears before mine.

With the knowledge that you may further "correct" me on Hume, I think that you're missing a connection that I'm making.

Few in Hume's age would probably have suggested that they didn't know how billiard balls worked. In the process to create billiard tables, certain lessons were learned which made the properties of the table and the balls "known". Perhaps they didn't know as much as researchers using high-speed cameras, but the repeatable patterns let them know things about the materials chosen.

No matter what finer observances moderns can make, the Rennaissance Man knew the "nature" of billiard balls. How they regularly act and can be projected to act. That is a "nature".

With Hume making the argument on frequency, he is bascially saying we know the nature of Nature by frequent occurrence. In that sense, there is a good argument that what is rare is also "supernatural" if we understand a common sense between Hume and common use, but not an exact meaning between the two. It simply might describe an event that is not in the "nature" of Nature.

Thus Hume counters the description of something that remarkably rare by stipulation that it is rare and not often seen.

But simply seen events, remarked upon because they are rare and not entirely consistent in the nature of Nature, by default are surrounded in ignorance based on their rarity and their incongruity--both of which are admitted in the representation of the "gullible" in words like "miracle" and "supernatural".

But despite this de facto ignorance on extraordinary events, Hume promotes presuming continuity upon it. One could buy the idea that we can't be sure about it.

I find this assertion to be much stronger than any counter attribution to God, by Faith. Or the idea that somebody has witnessed something described as strange and unusual. The common idea that extraordinary events require extraordinary evidence ignores that eye-witnesses have a stronger type of evidence than uncorroborated second-hand accounts.

Although the faithful dogmatist might assert strongly that a miracle was from God. Strong assertions are not necessary to the belief that something was a miracle. Where this matters, I think, is countering the atheist idea of "First Claimant" that is someone cannot make the "claim" that they saw something without proof that they did.

Also the idea that things could be "supernatural" is not quite as bizzare as the argument that I sometimes find from naturalists that 1) ghosts aren't real because we don't have proof, and anything somebody says to witness to that idea can be attributed to a Humean source, but also that 2) at any occassion where we come to have proof of them, there is no reason to believe that the phenomenon will be super-natural.

Thus "nature" is both regular patterns of occurrence and everything possible to imagine to exist, despite that somethings shouldn't be imagined to exist based on their rarity or lack of detail. Just as in Hume C/E is only patterns impressed upon regularly repeated events, but can be supposed upon events that are not clearly seen or known--even to the extent of projecting never-before-seen "causes".

JL, apart from you providing a more concrete detail for what I summed up with "connections 'seen'" (with "seen" in quotes), you basically repeat my post?

Yes, and why not? I like your posts. I think we think along the same lines in some ways.

I say "a rarity cannot be counted as possible simply because it isn't more common." You "counter" that he said they can't be true because, as you quote "they don't happen enough". Which is simply a rephrase, although by quoting Hume you make a more specific point.


but in my view to happen at all means something is possible. Now that's where the Kuhn anomaly comes in.

Why "refute" when somebody is simply commenting? And I was commenting with reference to the post that no longer appears before mine.

I'm just backing your comment

With the knowledge that you may further "correct" me on Hume, I think that you're missing a connection that I'm making.

Few in Hume's age would probably have suggested that they didn't know how billiard balls worked. In the process to create billiard tables, certain lessons were learned which made the properties of the table and the balls "known". Perhaps they didn't know as much as researchers using high-speed cameras, but the repeatable patterns let them know things about the materials chosen.


Hume's point about Billiard balls was the basis of modern the modern concept of collation. he's saying we can't see the cause and effect happen, we have to assume it. But if the connection is strong enough we can assume it. That becomes the basis of modern inductive logic.

No matter what finer observances moderns can make, the Rennaissance Man knew the "nature" of billiard balls. How they regularly act and can be projected to act. That is a "nature".

it has nothing to do with know their nature, the point is about observation of c/e and correlations. basing induction upon probability.

With Hume making the argument on frequency, he is bascially saying we know the nature of Nature by frequent occurrence. In that sense, there is a good argument that what is rare is also "supernatural" if we understand a common sense between Hume and common use, but not an exact meaning between the two. It simply might describe an event that is not in the "nature" of Nature.


right, but his argument about miracles is begging the question because it assumes they don't happen enough based upon the assertion that when claims for them are made they must be ignored because they don't happen enough.

Thus Hume counters the description of something that remarkably rare by stipulation that it is rare and not often seen.

But simply seen events, remarked upon because they are rare and not entirely consistent in the nature of Nature, by default are surrounded in ignorance based on their rarity and their incongruity--both of which are admitted in the representation of the "gullible" in words like "miracle" and "supernatural".

one of the problems with modern atheists is that they have moved from the original view of atheism that c/e explained everything and thus physical laws prevented miracles from happening, to a descriptive view of laws such that they are just descriptions of how things work, thus miracles don't happen, not that they can't. But since they don't they are all false. Of course that's circular reasoning, because it assumes, as Hume did, that accounts can be ignored and based upon ignoring the accounts we can say they don't happen enough. We can ignore the accounts because they don't happen enough.

it only means we must keep looking, even if we must keep looking ad infinitum.

This is a very challenging point against naturalism. The only way naturalism could stand up to this criticism is if it eventually gets a "Theory of Everything" or if it keeps reliably getting better theories.

One thing I am interested in reading about is supernaturalism. If we investigate supernatural explanations, on what bases can we judge multiple supernatural theories side-by-side, even alongside other naturalistic theories?

Lastly, I would like to say that I have not personally observed any miracles requiring explanation. I have come across claims of miracles, of course, but these are different from miracles themselves. And when different sets of miracle claims add up to contradictory sets of implications, I must infer that most of these miracles do in fact have natural causes. And if I go that far, why not investigate the idea that they all have natural causes?

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