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Supernatural Miracles

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Niall001
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Re: !

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Nick, the idea that peer pressure could account for something like the supposed miracle seems unlikely, but given the unlikely nature of all other possibililties, it's probably the most likely.Of course, there are a fair few problems with that. For instance, for 50,000 people to all suffer from such peer pressure at the same time, well it seems a little unlikely. There's also the rather strange fact that even people who thought that the whole thing was a scam saw the vision. You would have expected such people to have been primed to have a very different reaction. But even then, there's the problem that people in similar situations had very different reactions. For instance, on December 31st 1999, many people were expecting some sort of apocalypse, but there were no mass hallucinations. Mad in regards there being a scientific explanation for the events, that seems probable. But that does not tend to solve all the problems in that particular situation. For instance, there is the problem that if what happened was natural, how did three children predict such an event? Let's face it, no scientist had predicted the event, so how did three kids predict the event? Unless of course they had help from some sort of unknown expert or they were rather lucky. In fact, they'd have to have been extremely lucky. But the problem is that Nick's response that somebody would have to back up any claim that an event was a miracle with evidence is very reasonable, but the problem with supporting any claim is that there are almost impossible to support without first assuming the existence of the supernatural. If you assume that anything that happens must have a natural basis, then even if you can't explain it, that not support the claim that a miracle occurred.On the other side, if for example Nick, Chris, Fiske or most other atheists found themselves in a situation where they experienced a group vision of God with 70,000 others, then I suspect that their position would probably chance. I think that there is a disconnect between intellectual arguments and the way we experience life. Even if every star in the sky re-arranged to spell out the message "God is here" then it would still be more likely that the event had a natural explanation. Indeed, if you believe in the theory of a multi-verse, then there is probably a universe out there just like ours, where such a even happened. Full of Porn*http://plainofpillars.blogspot.com
MadArchitect

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Re: the sun!

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Frank: So it is acceptable to believe a miracle has meaning even if it is (apparently) probable (from looking at the old testimonies and the later atmospheric data) that the three girls saw this phoneme two days in a row and decided to predict the next one as proof of their faith?What do you mean by acceptable? The way I see it, miracles are not a category of phenomenon; rather, a miracle is an expression of what a particular event means to a particular group of people. If the people who witnessed this event feel so strongly as to call it a miracle, good for them. That doesn't have to mean anything for us, but if we want it to mean something for us, we can start by looking at it as a way of understanding them. I think it's a little silly to debate from the outside whether a particular event was a miracle or not. If what you've said about the predictions being rooted in prior observations is true, I probably would not have regarded it as particularly miraculous. But then, I'm so far removed from the event that I don't see much reason to weigh in as to whether or not I find it miraculous.To my mind, it's a bit like trying to decide whether a particular event was a tragedy or not. It's a tragedy if you were involved in it, and that's what it meant to you. The term "miraculous" has long been a category of description similar to "tragic", and it looks to me like a relatively modern shift to think of it as a demonstration of the supernatural.Now obviously, some people have tried to give "miracle" a more objective meaning, framing it in naturalistic/supernaturalistic terms. And I think those people are shooting their own toes off. Historically, it looks to me as though the emphasis were on the social and cultural meaning of an event, not on whether it happened by natural means.
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Frank 013
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Re: the sun!

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MadQuote:I'm so far removed from the event that I don't see much reason to weigh in as to whether or not I find it miraculous.So am I and that is why I am being careful not to claim anything as particularly factual.Quote:To my mind, it's a bit like trying to decide whether a particular event was a tragedy or not. It's a tragedy if you were involved in it, and that's what it meant to you. The term "miraculous" has long been a category of description similar to "tragic", and it looks to me like a relatively modern shift to think of it as a demonstration of the supernatural.Well tragedy I can relate to and sympathize with, as I suspect most people can, but miracle looses me completely. I do not know how to relate to it or what it feels like, I get nothing, and what some people claim to be miracles baffles my senses. I guess I wonder why someone would not question what they saw more critically if they knew it to be unbelievable to anyone who did not witness the event.I have seen things that I could not explain at the time of the sighting, but with a little research I discovered each event to be nothing out of the ordinary. I really just do not understand the concept of crediting a god every time something unusual happens and just leaving it at that. Later
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Re: the sun!

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Frank: I really just do not understand the concept of crediting a god every time something unusual happens and just leaving it at that.If you take a strict cause and effect approach to anything, it turns out that everything is involved. Any happening results from multiple interacting reverberations emerging out of prior events: ripples and waves and tsunamis of existents flowing, colliding, merging, reconfiguring and moving....pulses and waves of energy in a fantastic display of universal light and dark.Why we choose to say "This point, here, right now, this particular thing is responsible for why this event is happening" means reducing the entirety of all this universal energy into something we can manage, control, and live with.This reductionism is probably unavoidable and inevitable: and some reductions are probably better than others. But I think it clear it is always a matter of choosing to ignore a great deal of information: to simply silence it, keep it out of the equation, and make believe it doesn't matter.Actually, it seems that our reductionism is a result of what we define as "This matters".Calling something a Miracle, is one way of deciding what really matters.
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Frank 013
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Re: the sun!

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DHThat is probably the best explanation of miraculous thought that I have ever heard; but why the suppression of possible relevant facts? Is this due to ignorance of the actual working of the world? Denial? Wishful thinking?You would probably say faith... right? What if it is proven that the entire event is a hoax? How do you cope with that? Denial again?It seems to me that the church has had its share of embarrassing moments from this method of logic. The church has been very hesitant to label most events as miraculous because of that embarrassment.So why not a little skepticism from the flock?Later
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Frank 013
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Re: Dirty filters

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DHQuote:we have to filter the essential from the trivial, or make room for the relevant. And, I think this is largely an issue of values: those issues, items, concerns that we deem worthy of our time, energy and sacrifice.Essential to me would be weather some one was pulling a fast one on me and also what other things might explain what I saw. Quote:But, the way we decide "This stuff, here, instead of that stuff there...this stuff matters is a decision guided by ideals and values.Ok, so why are miracles often attributed to god saving a particular person while others die horribly? Why would god direct a semi at a station wagon full of a family of his believers to avoid some old woman? The old woman will undoubtedly claim it was a miracle but I doubt the family in the station wagon would think of it as such. Which filter is this? It seems sort of narcissistic to me. Later Edited by: Frank 013 at: 12/16/06 9:56 pm
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Frank: That is probably the best explanation of miraculous thought that I have ever heardAnd that, is a miracle. Frank: but why the suppression of possible relevant facts? Is this due to ignorance of the actual working of the world? Denial? Wishful thinking?For one thing, there is only so much data we can manage: we have to filter the essential from the trivial, or make room for the relevant. And, I think this is largely an issue of values: those issues, items, concerns that we deem worthy of our time, energy and sacrifice.I think the scientific method is damned important when deciding what to do with this data: how to measure, quantify, calculate, and demarcate stuff. But, the way we decide "This stuff, here, instead of that stuff there...this stuff matters is a decision guided by ideals and values...big ideas and important concepts like justice, freedom, what's good, true and beautiful. I also think there is an inescapable component of hope and trust when determing what matters in life. And, as we include the element of the future (an unavoidable unknown) we must incorporate the element of risk, danger, and who knows what into the equation...I think this is the stuff of faith. I've left out what I think is the most important part, and that's love. I think the Scientist pursues her craft (no matter the costs, consequences, risk or danger) out of love. So, a good question for the Scientist may be: what do you love when you love knowledge?I think it is love that is the filtering process I mentioned above: it helps us to get clear about what we really care for, want to protect, and are willing to pay dearly to help survive and flourish...at least when I'm healthiest and least fearful...then, the filtering process is really a matter of denial, minimization and self-delusion. Wishful thinking can be problematic, if it is rooted in fear: but when it comes from love, I think it can be frutiful soil for imagining new and better futures.
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Re: Dirty filters

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Frank 013: I have seen things that I could not explain at the time of the sighting, but with a little research I discovered each event to be nothing out of the ordinary.That's just it, Frank: I think we're pigeonholing the concept of miracle by assuming that it refers only to something inexplicable. Our examples haven't been terribly encompassing on that point, because I've certainly heard claims that events which were quite obviously explicable in naturalistic terms were nonetheless miracles. Someone's child wanders out into the street and is nearly missed by a car -- the car doesn't have to levitate for the mother to regard it as a miracle. From the point of view that a miracle is supposed to demonstrate the existence of God, we have no reason to suppose that it was a miracle. But who dictated that point of view? Why are we so intent on defining miracles as evidence of the supernatural, when the people who believe in miracles are interpreting it primarily in personal terms?It seems to me that the church has had its share of embarrassing moments from this method of logic. The church has been very hesitant to label most events as miraculous because of that embarrassment.I think there's more to it than just that. Giving official sanction to the belief that a given event is a miracle may have other consequences within the religious community -- consequences, for instance, for doctrine -- that warrant the church's caution.
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Frank 013
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Re: Dirty filters

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MadQuote:Someone's child wanders out into the street and is nearly missed by a car -- the car doesn't have to levitate for the mother to regard it as a miracle. From the point of view that a miracle is supposed to demonstrate the existence of God, we have no reason to suppose that it was a miracle.This is pretty much my point, yet believers constantly point to such personal events as proof of god regardless of how trivial the event, how statistically some survivors are assured, or how many other believers died in the event. Quote:But who dictated that point of view? Those same believers. I am not saying that miracle can only mean "an event that appears to be contrary to the laws of nature and is regarded as an act of God" but it is often used so by the faithful and used as evidence to support their faith.Quote:Why are we so intent on defining miracles as evidence of the supernatural, when the people who believe in miracles are interpreting it primarily in personal terms?I am not intent on defining miracles in such a way, but because these events are offered as proof to convince the faithful and others of the truth of god, I am often forced to respond to it as such.Later
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Re: Dirty filters

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Frank 013: This is pretty much my point, yet believers constantly point to such personal events as proof of god regardless of how trivial the event, how statistically some survivors are assured, or how many other believers died in the event.I realize this Frank, but what I'm advising, in my own roundabout way, is that instead of disproving their "miracle", you explain to them why miracles are always interpretive phenomenon, and that they have no real standing as proof until you and the theist can find some common ground on the question of methodology. But at the same time, your rejection of the miracle as relevant evidence shouldn't have any bearing on the personal meaning they take from the event. If they believe that their baby was saved by a miracle, it shouldn't matter to them that you're not converted to the Lutheran church thereby.
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