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Jagella
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 7:20 pm  The Christian's Grasp on Reality Reply with quote

I think that the debate between Christian apologists and skeptics might boil down to the following exchange:

Apologist: We know that Yahweh and Jesus are a real god, and we know that they have performed miracles like parting seas and raising dead people back to life.
Skeptic: You are mistaking natural phenomenon for the supernatural.

Keeping this exchange in mind as a basic template, consider the real-life exchange I had with a Christian friend of mine earlier today (1/1/2019). Ginger (her real name) has told me for a month or so that she's been having trouble with fluid on her brain. She testified today that her head-trouble was miraculously healed by God. She is experiencing no more pain. Soon after she told me of this miracle she left my apartment using her walker.

Although I want Ginger to be in good health, and I hope she has no more problems with her head, I'm very skeptical that any miracle has happened to cure her head problem. First, aside from her improved mood, I cannot tell by seeing her that any change has occurred to her. There is no visible evidence that she is any better physically speaking. Second, Ginger is overlooking her body's ability to heal itself naturally, and that no miracle is needed to explain the apparent improvement in her health. And third, Ginger doesn't seem to understand that if God went to all the trouble to cure her head problem, then he would have went all the way and cured her need to use a walker!

In all probability Ginger is mistaking a natural improvement in her health for a miracle. These kinds of mistakes are extremely common among Christians. Consider, for example, how many Christians flock to see faith healers like Peter Popoff. Despite his being conclusively exposed as a fraudster by atheist James Randi, Christians still go to see Popoff expecting a miracle from God.

I could post many other examples of the Christian inability to see that supposed miracles done by the Bible god are merely natural events or outright hoaxes, but for now let me ask the...

Questions for Debate: If Christians today routinely mistake the natural for the supernatural with not one known case of their seeing any real miracle, then why believe Christians ever did see a real god performing real miracles? Are Christians even able to recognize the difference between the real and what they hope is real?
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 51: Wed Jan 09, 2019 4:29 pm
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[Replying to post 47 by Jubal]

Most, if not all, historical and scientific 'facts' are beliefs of varying reliability about what actually happened or is the case.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 52: Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:42 pm
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The Tanager wrote:

Jagella wrote:
It is my opinion that no presumed event can be said to have happened if the story of that event involves violations of known laws of nature or if that story posits things unknown to science. I think it would be more likely that the story is not historical than that laws of science were violated or that unknown things in that story really existed.

So do you disregard scientific laws when judging the historicity of a story? Can a credibly historical story involve things unknown to science?


Above your words make up two distinct answers to a question we've talked about. (1) Miraculous events could theoretically happen (i.e., a credibly historical story could involve things unknown to science), but if they did, they would still happen rarely and (2) Miraculous events cannot happen. I believe (1) is true, but (2) is a stronger claim that I am skeptical of. If (2) is true, then nothing else I would say would be a reasonable belief to hold. The burden to show (2) is true is on the one who asserts that it is true. Do you think (2) is true? If so, what reasons do you have to believe this is so?


Answer my questions, and I will answer your questions. Do you disregard scientific laws when judging the historicity of a story? Can a credibly historical story involve things unknown to science?

While you compose your answers to those questions, I can point out that no story that has elements that violate any scientific laws has a chance of being accepted as genuine history. The story of Jesus from the virgin birth to the ascension routinely violates scientific laws. His turning water into wine, for example, violates the Law of the Conservation of Energy.

The gospel tale also has elements that involve things unknown to science. Science has never discovered angels singing in the sky or people coming back to life. If we accept the gospel tale as true, then we bypass science "discovering" these things not with testing or observation but by reading a story written by anonymous authors in a primitive and superstitious culture.

So the best many Jesus historians can do is to strip Jesus of all these magical elements reducing him to an "apocalyptic preacher." Personally, I think that doing so is like saying there was a Super Man by stripping him of his super powers reducing him to a mild-mannered newspaper reporter!

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 53: Thu Jan 10, 2019 4:00 pm
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Jagella wrote:
Answer my questions, and I will answer your questions. Do you disregard scientific laws when judging the historicity of a story? Can a credibly historical story involve things unknown to science?


When I described claim (1) by saying "a credibly historical story could involve things unknown to science" and then said I believe (1) is true, that was me answering your last question. Yes, a credibly historical story could involve things unknown to science. What do you mean by "disregard scientific laws"? As I understand that, I'm not disregarding them. Jesus' resurrection is not a claim that physical resurrections "naturally" happen, but that Jesus' resurrection supernaturally happened.

So, do you believe (2) [Miraculous events cannot happen] is true? If so, what reasons do you have to believe this is so?

Jagella wrote:
The story of Jesus from the virgin birth to the ascension routinely violates scientific laws. His turning water into wine, for example, violates the Law of the Conservation of Energy.


Can you describe that law and how Jesus' turning water into wine violates it?

Jagella wrote:
The gospel tale also has elements that involve things unknown to science. Science has never discovered angels singing in the sky or people coming back to life. If we accept the gospel tale as true, then we bypass science "discovering" these things not with testing or observation but by reading a story written by anonymous authors in a primitive and superstitious culture.


Are you saying that science alone can give us truth about reality?

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 54: Thu Jan 10, 2019 4:08 pm
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The Tanager wrote:

[Replying to post 47 by Jubal]

Most, if not all, historical and scientific 'facts' are beliefs of varying reliability about what actually happened or is the case.


If you call them "accondances" instead of "beliefs", it makes a helpful distinction.

New words do take a while to catch on.

But when they do - we usually don't even think about it anymore.

"Google" is now a verb ...!

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 55: Thu Jan 10, 2019 4:28 pm
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[Replying to post 54 by StuartJ]

I've already said (in the other thread) why I think this is not only not helpful (people have always understood that "beliefs" can be accepted conditionally), but is actually harmful to rational discussion as it (hopefully inadvertently) attempts to smuggle in scientism.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 56: Thu Jan 10, 2019 6:34 pm
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The Tanager wrote:
Yes, a credibly historical story could involve things unknown to science.


Great! All those numerals tend to obscure what you're posting. I'd recommend a numbered list for that kind of information.

Anyway, I guess we just must disagree on how credible a story can be if it involves things unknown to science. Would you believe a woman alleging rape if her story was that she was raped by Bigfoot? I wouldn't. But I understand that you may be required to accept a story of a virgin giving birth who was impregnated by a god. Not to mention your faith requiring you to accept as historical stories of talking snakes, talking donkeys, live people vomited out of whales, unicorns, and dragons!

Quote:
What do you mean by "disregard scientific laws"?


Jesus walking on water would have violated the laws of buoyancy (unless he had very large feet), and his ascension would have violated the law of gravity. You can believe your Jesus stories, but you can't honestly claim that those stories are consistent with what we know about the world.

Quote:
Jesus' resurrection is not a claim that physical resurrections "naturally" happen, but that Jesus' resurrection supernaturally happened.


So if we toss a god and miracles into the mix, then suddenly the story becomes credible history. If I told you I can fly, would you believe me if I told you God granted me the power to do so?

Quote:
So, do you believe (2) [Miraculous events cannot happen] is true?


No. I'd say that miracles are so unlikely to happen that I would be a fool to believe stories that involve miracles. I think it's foolish to believe wild stories on such weak evidence. It's more likely that the story is false than that those miracles actually happened.

Quote:
Quote:
The story of Jesus from the virgin birth to the ascension routinely violates scientific laws. His turning water into wine, for example, violates the Law of the Conservation of Energy.


Can you describe that law and how Jesus' turning water into wine violates it?


Physics tells us that energy cannot be created or destroyed. Assuming that Jesus added the ingredients out of nowhere to the water to turn it into wine, he would be creating mass which is equivalent to energy. Science tells us that this act is impossible.

Quote:
Are you saying that science alone can give us truth about reality?


Not really, but I am saying not to be quick to believe superstitious people who are bent on starting a new religion. I prefer science as a source of information. Science like religion commits errors, but in the case of science, those errors are admitted and corrected. Religion rarely if ever admits or corrects its errors.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 57: Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:52 am
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Jagella wrote:
Anyway, I guess we just must disagree on how credible a story can be if it involves things unknown to science.


But I'm asking you to give me the reasons you disagree, so that I can at least challenge my view, if nothing else comes of it.

Jagella wrote:
Would you believe a woman alleging rape if her story was that she was raped by Bigfoot? I wouldn't.


As I'm sure you'd agree, I'd worry more about her health than the truth of the matter foremost since she maybe went through something very traumatic. But leaving that point aside, I would definitely be skeptical. I'd still listen to whatever evidence she had, however. What would I lose in listening to the evidence?

Jagella wrote:
But I understand that you may be required to accept a story of a virgin giving birth who was impregnated by a god. Not to mention your faith requiring you to accept as historical stories of talking snakes, talking donkeys, live people vomited out of whales, unicorns, and dragons!


This is still you just claiming that miracles are silly without giving reasons why.

Jagella wrote:
Jesus walking on water would have violated the laws of buoyancy (unless he had very large feet), and his ascension would have violated the law of gravity. You can believe your Jesus stories, but you can't honestly claim that those stories are consistent with what we know about the world.


No one claims that Jesus naturally walked on water, the claim is that Jesus supernaturally walked on water. It's the same with the resurrection and the ascension. If such a thing happens, it doesn't violate the laws of nature because the laws of nature talk about what naturally happens in our world. Science cannot disprove the supernatural, by definition.

Jagella wrote:
Physics tells us that energy cannot be created or destroyed. Assuming that Jesus added the ingredients out of nowhere to the water to turn it into wine, he would be creating mass which is equivalent to energy. Science tells us that this act is impossible.


No, it tells us that in an isolated or closed system, the total energy remains constant. If an external energy source is introduced to the isolated system, the total energy within that system can change.

Jagella wrote:
So if we toss a god and miracles into the mix, then suddenly the story becomes credible history. If I told you I can fly, would you believe me if I told you God granted me the power to do so?


It becomes coherent, not credible by that alone. The case I very briefly outlined does more than that.

Jagella wrote:
No. I'd say that miracles are so unlikely to happen that I would be a fool to believe stories that involve miracles. I think it's foolish to believe wild stories on such weak evidence. It's more likely that the story is false than that those miracles actually happened.


That's still not answering my question. There is a big difference between saying that miracles are unlikely to happen and that they CANNOT happen. I agree with you they are unlikely, but I'm asking you if you make the stronger claim that they CANNOT happen. In other words, are you ruling them out as possible in theory?

Jagella wrote:
Not really, but I am saying not to be quick to believe superstitious people who are bent on starting a new religion. I prefer science as a source of information. Science like religion commits errors, but in the case of science, those errors are admitted and corrected. Religion rarely if ever admits or corrects its errors.


I agree with you that we should not be quick to believe superstitious people who are bent on starting a new religion. The case I outlined does not rest on taking "superstitious" people at face value.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 58: Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:52 am
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[Replying to post 56 by Jagella]

Tanager says
Quote:
Jesus' resurrection is not a claim that physical resurrections "naturally" happen, but that Jesus' resurrection supernaturally happened.

Jagella's response
Quote:
So if we toss a god and miracles into the mix, then suddenly the story becomes credible history. If I told you I can fly, would you believe me if I told you God granted me the power to do so?




Using Tanager's quote unquote logic, all one has to do to "prove" the abilities that Goku has can actually happen in our real world, is that despite flight, surviving in the vacuum of space while orbiting Earth and firing energy blasts from one hands all violating laws of physics, chemistry and biology...just say that someone can like Goku use magical Ki to escape the pull of Earth's gravity, fly off up into Earth's orbit, survive decompression from the now lack of pressure and lack of oxygen, and then compress something into plasma and fire it from their hands.
That's it. Tanager's logic is basically to insert magic, don't show any evidence of this magic being possible, and voilà! Any worries are solved! Can Tanager actually argue against a Goku-like person existing? Nope. Not using his logic. He can't say he has no reason to dis-believe someone if they said they could fly, survive the vacuum of space and fire energy bolts. All that person has to do is say to Tanager they have something supernatural, and that's it.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 59: Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:58 am
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rikuoamero wrote:
Using Tanager's quote unquote logic, all one has to do to "prove" the abilities that Goku has can actually happen in our real world, is that despite flight, surviving in the vacuum of space while orbiting Earth and firing energy blasts from one hands all violating laws of physics, chemistry and biology...just say that someone can like Goku use magical Ki to escape the pull of Earth's gravity, fly off up into Earth's orbit, survive decompression from the now lack of pressure and lack of oxygen, and then compress something into plasma and fire it from their hands.
That's it. Tanager's logic is basically to insert magic, don't show any evidence of this magic being possible, and voilà! Any worries are solved! Can Tanager actually argue against a Goku-like person existing? Nope. Not using his logic. He can't say he has no reason to dis-believe someone if they said they could fly, survive the vacuum of space and fire energy bolts. All that person has to do is say to Tanager they have something supernatural, and that's it.


I never used that logic. I don't agree with that logic. That only shows logical possibility, not any credibility that it is actual. One must go beyond logical possibility. At this point all I'm doing is seeing if Jagella (or you or anyone else) is arguing miracles are logically impossible.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 60: Fri Jan 11, 2019 10:15 am
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The Tanager wrote:

rikuoamero wrote:
Using Tanager's quote unquote logic, all one has to do to "prove" the abilities that Goku has can actually happen in our real world, is that despite flight, surviving in the vacuum of space while orbiting Earth and firing energy blasts from one hands all violating laws of physics, chemistry and biology...just say that someone can like Goku use magical Ki to escape the pull of Earth's gravity, fly off up into Earth's orbit, survive decompression from the now lack of pressure and lack of oxygen, and then compress something into plasma and fire it from their hands.
That's it. Tanager's logic is basically to insert magic, don't show any evidence of this magic being possible, and voilà! Any worries are solved! Can Tanager actually argue against a Goku-like person existing? Nope. Not using his logic. He can't say he has no reason to dis-believe someone if they said they could fly, survive the vacuum of space and fire energy bolts. All that person has to do is say to Tanager they have something supernatural, and that's it.


I never used that logic. I don't agree with that logic. That only shows logical possibility, not any credibility that it is actual. One must go beyond logical possibility. At this point all I'm doing is seeing if Jagella (or you or anyone else) is arguing miracles are logically impossible.


Oh...so it's logically possible to fly unaided by technology, to survive the vacuum of space wearing only a combat gi and to fire energy bolts? Do go on...

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