Miracles (for Meta)

Discuss arguments for existence of God and faith in general. Any aspect of any orientation toward religion/spirituality, as long as it is based upon a positive open to other people attitude.

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Tyrrho
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Miracles (for Meta)

Post by Tyrrho » Tue Jul 26, 2011 8:34 am

I Copied this from a post I made on CARM. Should be enough to get us started.

When someone tells me about a miracle involving a violation of the laws of physics (according to Metcrock, not all of them do), I ask myself which is more likely: that there really was a violation of the laws of physics, or that the person telling me about the miracle was deceived, or trying to deceive me. And it always is the case that I decide it's the latter. -- paraphrase of Hume.

Think about it. If someone claims to have fallen off a tall building, and half way down came to a stop and reversed course, ending up back on top of the building, are you going to believe him? Even if he says he was praying really hard on the way down (as even an atheist might, having nothing better to try), will you believe him?

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Metacrock
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Re: Miracles (for Meta)

Post by Metacrock » Tue Jul 26, 2011 10:02 am

Tyrrho wrote:I Copied this from a post I made on CARM. Should be enough to get us started.

When someone tells me about a miracle involving a violation of the laws of physics (according to Metcrock, not all of them do), I ask myself which is more likely: that there really was a violation of the laws of physics, or that the person telling me about the miracle was deceived, or trying to deceive me. And it always is the case that I decide it's the latter. -- paraphrase of Hume.

Think about it. If someone claims to have fallen off a tall building, and half way down came to a stop and reversed course, ending up back on top of the building, are you going to believe him? Even if he says he was praying really hard on the way down (as even an atheist might, having nothing better to try), will you believe him?
Hey Tyrrho, glad you made it, welcome to the boards.

First of all, there's no question that the attitude of skepticism toward the witnesses perceptions is a valid suspicion, one would be remiss in just automatically accepting any and every "witness." It doesn't even have to be negative about that person. One might think "I know so and so would not lie or try to deceive me, but perhaps she is mistaken, or deceived in some way herself."

Two things here: (1) that is not necessarily Hume's attitude. While his argument does start with this attitude there's a more more involved in it. I am not sure what your plan of attack is. (2) such skepticism, while it has it's place, can't become the gola in itself and be used to negate all investigation. It's one thing to say "so and so might have mispercieved it" its' another to say "even though you have 45 different diagnostic evidences, from x-rays to cat scans showing this one case truly is beyond natural explanation, I still have to hold the out doubt as long as there's the tiniest little crack in which I can insert a doubt, however unreasonable." There's a point at which doubt becomes unreasonable. Constant nagging never satisfied doubt is just a ploy and that attitudes is spurred by the ethic of skepticism.




I don't want to screw it up. I think we should deal each others ideas at their best. But I have an idea of putting up a thread on my attack on Hume, in this this one we can develop our own discussion about this basis for doubt. If you have a different idea then we will go by your scheme.
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mdsimpson92
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Re: Miracles (for Meta)

Post by mdsimpson92 » Tue Jul 26, 2011 10:32 am

Hello, and welcome to the boards Tyrrho. It is late where I am (china) but I am wondering if you would allow me to join this discussion or would you rather it just be between you and Meta?
Julia: It's all... a dream...
Spike Spiegel: Yeah... just a dream...

Tyrrho
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Re: Miracles (for Meta)

Post by Tyrrho » Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:07 pm

mdsimpson92 wrote:Hello, and welcome to the boards Tyrrho. It is late where I am (china) but I am wondering if you would allow me to join this discussion or would you rather it just be between you and Meta?
Feel free to join in. The more the merrier.

Tyrrho
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Re: Miracles (for Meta)

Post by Tyrrho » Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:16 pm

Metacrock wrote:
Tyrrho wrote:I Copied this from a post I made on CARM. Should be enough to get us started.

When someone tells me about a miracle involving a violation of the laws of physics (according to Metcrock, not all of them do), I ask myself which is more likely: that there really was a violation of the laws of physics, or that the person telling me about the miracle was deceived, or trying to deceive me. And it always is the case that I decide it's the latter. -- paraphrase of Hume.

Think about it. If someone claims to have fallen off a tall building, and half way down came to a stop and reversed course, ending up back on top of the building, are you going to believe him? Even if he says he was praying really hard on the way down (as even an atheist might, having nothing better to try), will you believe him?
Hey Tyrrho, glad you made it, welcome to the boards.

First of all, there's no question that the attitude of skepticism toward the witnesses perceptions is a valid suspicion, one would be remiss in just automatically accepting any and every "witness." It doesn't even have to be negative about that person. One might think "I know so and so would not lie or try to deceive me, but perhaps she is mistaken, or deceived in some way herself."

Two things here: (1) that is not necessarily Hume's attitude. While his argument does start with this attitude there's a more more involved in it. I am not sure what your plan of attack is. (2) such skepticism, while it has it's place, can't become the gola in itself and be used to negate all investigation. It's one thing to say "so and so might have mispercieved it" its' another to say "even though you have 45 different diagnostic evidences, from x-rays to cat scans showing this one case truly is beyond natural explanation, I still have to hold the out doubt as long as there's the tiniest little crack in which I can insert a doubt, however unreasonable." There's a point at which doubt becomes unreasonable. Constant nagging never satisfied doubt is just a ploy and that attitudes is spurred by the ethic of skepticism.




I don't want to screw it up. I think we should deal each others ideas at their best. But I have an idea of putting up a thread on my attack on Hume, in this this one we can develop our own discussion about this basis for doubt. If you have a different idea then we will go by your scheme.
I think Hume's attitude is the same as mine; you have to weigh the probability of an actual violation of natural law against the probability that the claim is mistaken. This doesn't mean that you are never justified in concluding that there has been an actual violation of natural law; just that the evidence has to be awfully strong. Or as Hume put it:

"...no testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous, than the fact, which it endeavors to establish..."

Kane Augustus
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Re: Miracles (for Meta)

Post by Kane Augustus » Tue Jul 26, 2011 8:01 pm

If I can interject, I have to wonder about the phrase "violation of natural law." It seems to me that if something occurs, whether highly improbable or not, that thing that occured is part of what is deemed "natural." I don't see any reason to believe that an overlapping reality pushes past the miniscus line (so to speak) of the reality we live in empirically day-by-day. I don't even see there being any reason to believe there is such a miniscus line. So saying, unusual things do happen, but that does not justify the highly connotative, and overloaded term "miracle."

Take care,
Kane

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mdsimpson92
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Re: Miracles (for Meta)

Post by mdsimpson92 » Tue Jul 26, 2011 9:34 pm

Actually, from my perspective, the term "supernatural" has become so diluted from its original meaning that there really is not much point in keeping it. Of course, that may also detract meaning from "natural" but then perhaps it has become a false ditchotomy.

Also, what is meant by law of nature. Because many of the "miracles" does not seem to violate the laws of nature as described by science today. In fact some could be explained by them.
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Tyrrho
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Re: Miracles (for Meta)

Post by Tyrrho » Tue Jul 26, 2011 9:51 pm

Kane Augustus wrote:If I can interject, I have to wonder about the phrase "violation of natural law." It seems to me that if something occurs, whether highly improbable or not, that thing that occured is part of what is deemed "natural." I don't see any reason to believe that an overlapping reality pushes past the miniscus line (so to speak) of the reality we live in empirically day-by-day. I don't even see there being any reason to believe there is such a miniscus line. So saying, unusual things do happen, but that does not justify the highly connotative, and overloaded term "miracle."
For me, "violation of natural law"is merely shorthand for "unprecedented exception to the observed behavior of the universe".

If such a thing really happens, then the natural law in question must be discarded, or at least modified.

Tyrrho
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Re: Miracles (for Meta)

Post by Tyrrho » Tue Jul 26, 2011 9:54 pm

mdsimpson92 wrote:Actually, from my perspective, the term "supernatural" has become so diluted from its original meaning that there really is not much point in keeping it. Of course, that may also detract meaning from "natural" but then perhaps it has become a false ditchotomy.

Also, what is meant by law of nature. Because many of the "miracles" does not seem to violate the laws of nature as described by science today. In fact some could be explained by them.
A "miracle" that doesn't violate the laws of nature can be accommodated by a naturalistic worldview. Such an event might be quite meaningful to theists, but generally not to atheists.

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mdsimpson92
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Re: Miracles (for Meta)

Post by mdsimpson92 » Wed Jul 27, 2011 12:40 am

Tyrrho wrote:
mdsimpson92 wrote:Actually, from my perspective, the term "supernatural" has become so diluted from its original meaning that there really is not much point in keeping it. Of course, that may also detract meaning from "natural" but then perhaps it has become a false ditchotomy.

Also, what is meant by law of nature. Because many of the "miracles" does not seem to violate the laws of nature as described by science today. In fact some could be explained by them.
A "miracle" that doesn't violate the laws of nature can be accommodated by a naturalistic worldview. Such an event might be quite meaningful to theists, but generally not to atheists.
Fair enough, thank you for the clarification. Sometimes the definition of miracle has been "violate laws of nature." Again that makes the definition intended much more clear and is appreciated.
Julia: It's all... a dream...
Spike Spiegel: Yeah... just a dream...

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