In response to the documented miracles that I put up atheists have had two basic responses, which of cousre I knew were coming. These amount to (1) circular reasoning: (2) raising the bar. This entials embarkation down a path of excuses designed to demand a higher level of proof everytime the previous level has been met. In the comment Box Dave Ellis says:
So the question remains:
What is more probable? That the lab made an error or that a person was magically healed.
In other words, how could my world view possibly be wrong? Anything that threatens to challenge my world must be wrong, therefore, no evdience can ever count against my world view. Thus any alleged evidence but be wrong and so can be disregarded.
Which do you think occur more frequently? Human error or miracles.
That's why the subject of amputees and facial disfigurement is far from a red herring.
Of cousre any evidence that counts against the atheist world view has to be a mistake of documentation because after all, they can't be wrong, that would mean they are going to hell we can't have that.
The rare few cases where an extraordinary miraculous healing is claimed never seem to be things that are obvious to any observer and impossible to misdiagnose (you'd have to be a pretty incompetent doctor to misdiagnose a missing arm). Instead we get lots of cancers that went away and things where its possible that they were misdiagnosed in the first place or where the doctors were simply in error about how severe the condition was.
Of course such a statement is total poppy cock since cancer was always understood to be incurable until people started suriving it. Then all healings were remission until we medical evidence that remission doesn't mean vanishing symptoms that go away over ngiht with no trace. Then it became not good enough because it could have been misdiagnosed. It doesn't matter how good the evidence is that it wasn't so, since the mere fact of alleged miracle must be construed as proof of misdiagnosis and much never never never be construed as proof of a miracle since that would mean the unthinkable might be true. So now we go down this winding path of a thousands excuses.
As to commenting on the actual cases, as I said before, we have far too little detail provided.
I was quoting out of a book. Shall I post the whole book on the blog? The details are recorded at Lourdes. But of course actually researching is out of the question.
If Hinman wants to pick his favorite and then provide some real detail about it then we can discuss it. On the short summaries he's provided so far though there's really not much that can be said other than what I've already done---point out general problems that claims of miraculous healing need to surmount for us to be reasonably convinced they really occur.
Of course if I did that it wouldn't be good enough. It's not a limb growing back, if it was a limb growing back then its' not the stars spelling out Jesus' name. If it was the stars spelling out Jesus name it would not be seen that way from the other end of the galaxy or would be meaningless to people not from earth, so it has to be just a huge coincidence.
Another atheist sums up the comments:
5/04/2009 07:12:00 AM
Anonymous CallMeIrresponsible said...
1. No miracle healings occur for conditions that would be *absolutely impossible* to heal without divine intervention (amputation, etc.).
2. Miracle healings are only claimed for conditions that human error or statistics could explain.
3. Therefore, miracles are a superfluous explanation.
5/04/2009 03:03:00 PM
Actually that's not as bad a recommendation as you think. The idea that miracle are superfluous, that's not such a bad thing to think. After all, there are no en stances of the word "miracle" being used in the Bible. We have stories where amazing things happen, but not suggestion that such things will always happen. Now i"m pushing my old Church of Chrsit line that I grew up with, "miracles have ceased." What I'm really suggesting is that we need to actually re-define what we mean by the term "miracle." After all my answer on the theodicy problem is that God allows pain, suffering and evil because he wants us to search for truth. He can't really spill the beans and make his existence because doubt, if that were the case there would be no reason to search for truth. So to get us to search, the answers are there, but they are not so obvious that we don't have to look for them. We can find them, but they are not spelled out.
The reason for this is simple, it's because God wants us to internalize the values of the Good. The values of the good are important to hold, and we must internalize them because merely giving lip service to them will not affect the heart. The heart is the seat of the spiritual battle ground. This is the basic reason for free will (for those of us who are Armenians) and it is the reason God allows evil, pain and suffering.If everytime something bad happened it was instantly stopped, healed, reversed, or made better we would not seek truth, we would not seek God, we would make lip service and fear doing wrong and resent God.
So the answers are there, they can be found, but we have to seek them. God does do things in the world but he doesn't always do them in an obvious manner. So we can assume God is at work in our lives but we need not always be able to prove that he is to others who don't understand it. After all the skeptic is not searching, he's working hard to keep from searching. He doesn't want to internalize the values of the good, he wants to be autonomous and to promote his own values. For those who don't get it may seem totally stupid to believe soemthing that isn't proved, but there you have it. We don't always need this kind of proof.
We need to understand that God does not have to do impossible things that could not be done to be doing things in our lives. We don't need to prove that god is doing things in our lives to know that he is. Be that as it may there are some instances, some documented, some anecdotal, that serve as hints for those who are willing to take them. But I guarantee you beyond any any doubt no level of evdience will ever cause these atheists to cease their Constantin excuse making. Whether one says "we don't need miracles lets forget them" or "miracles happen" either course sends the atheist in to a rage if one still believes in God in spite of inability to prove. Yet no matter how good the evidence the atheist is never satisfied.
Take for example the statement above: "No miracle healings occur for conditions that would be *absolutely impossible* to heal without divine intervention (amputation, etc.)." Here's a case that contradicts such an assertion:
Take the case of Charles Ann:
this story was on the net on a certain website at one time. It has sense been taken off that site but I can site when I found it. There is still reference to it on that site but not where it used to be and not the same test that I quoted when I first found it.
Society for the Little Flower (Website) FAQ (visited 6/3/01)
St. Theresse of Lisieux
The second cure involved Charles Anne, a 23 year old seminarian who was dying from advanced pulmonary tuberculosis. The night he thought he was dying, Charles prayed to Therese. Afterward, the examining doctor testified, "The destroyed and ravaged lungs had been replaced by new lungs, carrying out their normal functions and about to revive the entire organism. A slight emaciation persists, which will disappear within a few days under a regularly assimilated diet." These two miracles resulted in Therese becoming beatified."
Now I'm sure the excuse will be made "there aren't enough details." No there aren't. This is not meant to be exhaustive proof. Any apologist would be an idiot to think he's going to find many kind of proof that can just cause someone to believe just by reading it on a blog! Its' a starting point. It's a place to begin looking. In fact you can order copies of the x-rays from the Saint making committee. So I was told in email by a member of the Lourdes medical committee. I have not be able to do it so far. Nevertheless the x-rays do exist and one can research it further.
Let's watch the excuses come rolling in. This is something the atheists need to get their minds around: when nothing ever counts against your position you have not make it more secure you have demonstrated it's bankruptcy. The call for evidence of miracles is useless because nothing can ever count as a miracle. Anything evidence offered is automatically discounted merely because it is evdience of a miracle. Like Ellis said "what's more likely?" well if you refuse to ever believe and you and you have an emotional bias against belief then of course it's less likely that any sort of evidence will ever count as evidence. But then it doesn't prove anything that there is no evdience because nothing ever could be evidence.
O but of cousre, amputation growing back would be. That's the only one that ever would be? What about a new pair of lungs, why is that not just as good? O well of cousre that's not an amputation growing back so it must be wrong. But then remember what I said about it cant' be too obvious? Where's the search if god is beyond doubt? But the atheists can't have this because they want to be forced. If you can't compel them to believe then it's too much trouble to search.
Lungs growing back over night are just as amazing at a severed limb growing back, but a bit less obvious so not as great a bean spiller. But just watch what they do with this one.
(1) not enough detail
(2) I want those x-rays they will say!
O when the excuses come marching in!