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Author Topic:   The "science" of Miracles
Percy
Member
Posts: 17409
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.1


Message 346 of 671 (826664)
01-06-2018 11:17 AM
Reply to: Message 345 by NoNukes
01-05-2018 8:49 PM


NoNukes writes:

What I said about the definition was that it was useless and what I mean is that consulting those definitions in the dictionary will not advance the discussion here in any way. The problem is that phenomena can fit the dictionary definition and yet we will all agree that those phenomena are not miracles.

Apparently we don't all agree that those phenomena, such as the George Washington Bridge floating 50 miles up the Hudson, are not miracles.

And are you saying that regardless of the definition of miracle, you'd never accept any phenomenon as a miracle, so there's no point to agreeing on a definition?

And I have explained in detail why I think that is the case.

Given the brevity of your posts to this thread, I don't think you can claim to have explained anything in detail. I did reply in detail to your longest post, Message 336, but you responded to my Message 341 with just a couple brief paragraphs, leaving much of my response and explanation unaddressed.

To summarize, even when things cannot be explained at the time by the knowledge of the day, we still do not call those things miracles as long as we are willing to speculate that science is merely not currently advanced enough.

If it fits the definition of miracle then it's a miracle. If science advances and discovers that it wasn't a miracle then that's fine, since science is tentative.

Let us not forget that this discussion about miracles is hypothetical. There seem to be two main sides. One side is that there can be no such thing as a miracle, case closed. The other side asks how, hypothetically, science would respond if confronted with an unambiguous miracle.

The explanations I am giving here are not new. They are in my previous posts. Your statement that I am not explaining why the dictionary is unhelpful is just plain wrong.

Your contributions to this thread are so brief that I've just read them all a couple of times now while composing this response. Only one of your posts (Message 342) mentions dictionaries (keep in mind I'm using the Wikipedia definition), here's your detailed explanation:

NoNukes in Message 342 writes:

I don't care where it came from. The definition has some rather obvious flaws in it.
Dictionaries have their limits.

But I don't think the difference revolves around definitions. I think it centers on the reluctance of one side to consider miracles from a hypothetical standpoint.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 345 by NoNukes, posted 01-05-2018 8:49 PM NoNukes has not yet responded

    
ringo
Member
Posts: 14774
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 347 of 671 (826696)
01-07-2018 2:23 PM
Reply to: Message 340 by Percy
01-05-2018 12:20 PM


Percy writes:

And it does say "may be attributed," so attribution isn't a necessity.


There are various things to which it may be attributed. It doesn't say attribution isn't necessary.

Look at the real reports of miracles. The events are inexplicable by the people who think it's a miracle. Pareidolia, for one example, is by no means inexplicable, so inexplicable is the part that is not necessary.

Percy writes:

But, hypothetically, how would science respond if tomorrow the George Washington Bridge moved 50 miles up the Hudson in the way I've described earlier: gently letting loose from its moorings, floating up into the air, moving 50 miles upriver, and settling back down to the ground near West Point.


You're playing fast and loose with the word "hypothetical". If it can't be tested, it isn't a hypothesis. It's just a silly fantasy.

Percy writes:

But the title of this thread is The "science" of Miracles, not "claimed miracles."


All miracles are claimed miracles, just like all Bigfoot sightings are claimed sightings. It's the claims that can be scientifically studied.

Percy writes:

... if you know of miracles that have the potential to be scientifically studied then we could look at those, too.


Just Google "Jesus' face on a taco". We've been there and done that. It's the claims that can be scientifically studied.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 340 by Percy, posted 01-05-2018 12:20 PM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 348 by Phat, posted 01-07-2018 2:55 PM ringo has responded
 Message 349 by Phat, posted 01-07-2018 3:07 PM ringo has responded
 Message 352 by Percy, posted 01-07-2018 4:07 PM ringo has responded

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 10883
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 348 of 671 (826700)
01-07-2018 2:55 PM
Reply to: Message 347 by ringo
01-07-2018 2:23 PM


When Bridges Can Fly
Percy writes:

But, hypothetically, how would science respond if tomorrow the George Washington Bridge moved 50 miles up the Hudson in the way I've described earlier: gently letting loose from its moorings, floating up into the air, moving 50 miles upriver, and settling back down to the ground near West Point.


ringo writes:

You're playing fast and loose with the word "hypothetical". If it can't be tested, it isn't a hypothesis. It's just a silly fantasy.


I think what Percy means is what would science do if the bridge had been discovered to have moved or been moved? How would the initial examination of the bridge and its moorings be conducted? Whom would be interviewed? Would there be any available video footage? Assuming all of that had been carried out and was inconclusive, we then would have a hypothesis. Percy may be arguing that the resulting hypothesis could tentatively be described as miraculous. Different people would attach different labels to the event. Not everyone would call it a miracle.

Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. –RC Sproul
"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." –Mark Twain "
~"If that's not sufficient for you go soak your head."~Faith
Paul was probably SO soaked in prayer nobody else has ever equaled him.~Faith :)

This message is a reply to:
 Message 347 by ringo, posted 01-07-2018 2:23 PM ringo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 350 by ringo, posted 01-07-2018 3:19 PM Phat has not yet responded

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 10883
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 349 of 671 (826701)
01-07-2018 3:07 PM
Reply to: Message 347 by ringo
01-07-2018 2:23 PM


If You Had Been Saul
Percy writes:

if you know of miracles that have the potential to be scientifically studied then we could look at those, too.

Assume that you were Saul. You suddenly became blind. You had been persecuting certain people for whatever reason before this happened, but unlike Saul you were not a religiously inclined thinker. What would be your conclusions?
Assume you heard a voice. It asked you why you were persecuting it.

Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. –RC Sproul
"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." –Mark Twain "
~"If that's not sufficient for you go soak your head."~Faith
Paul was probably SO soaked in prayer nobody else has ever equaled him.~Faith :)

This message is a reply to:
 Message 347 by ringo, posted 01-07-2018 2:23 PM ringo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 351 by ringo, posted 01-07-2018 3:22 PM Phat has responded

  
ringo
Member
Posts: 14774
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 350 of 671 (826703)
01-07-2018 3:19 PM
Reply to: Message 348 by Phat
01-07-2018 2:55 PM


Re: When Bridges Can Fly
Phat writes:

Assuming all of that had been carried out and was inconclusive, we then would have a hypothesis.


What hypothesis?

Phat writes:

Percy may be arguing that the resulting hypothesis could tentatively be described as miraculous.


If the result was inconclusive, then science would describe it as inconclusive.

Phat writes:

Different people would attach different labels to the event. Not everyone would call it a miracle.


That's exactly my point. A miracle is what somebody thinks is inexplicable. As soon as objectivity is introduced, the whole concept of "miracle" disappears.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 348 by Phat, posted 01-07-2018 2:55 PM Phat has not yet responded

  
ringo
Member
Posts: 14774
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 351 of 671 (826704)
01-07-2018 3:22 PM
Reply to: Message 349 by Phat
01-07-2018 3:07 PM


Re: If You Had Been Saul
Phat writes:

Assume that you were Saul. You suddenly became blind. You had been persecuting certain people for whatever reason before this happened, but unlike Saul you were not a religiously inclined thinker. What would be your conclusions?


Again, you're talking about subjective conclusions. That has nothing to do with science.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 349 by Phat, posted 01-07-2018 3:07 PM Phat has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 353 by Phat, posted 01-08-2018 1:22 AM ringo has responded

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 17409
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.1


Message 352 of 671 (826705)
01-07-2018 4:07 PM
Reply to: Message 347 by ringo
01-07-2018 2:23 PM


ringo writes:

Percy writes:

And it does say "may be attributed," so attribution isn't a necessity.


There are various things to which it may be attributed. It doesn't say attribution isn't necessary.

Actually it does say that attribution isn't necessary. That's what the word "may" means, a possibility, not a necessity.
The Wikipedia definition says that it "may" be attributed, just like one might say that it "may" rain.

Percy writes:

But, hypothetically, how would science respond if tomorrow the George Washington Bridge moved 50 miles up the Hudson in the way I've described earlier: gently letting loose from its moorings, floating up into the air, moving 50 miles upriver, and settling back down to the ground near West Point.


You're playing fast and loose with the word "hypothetical". If it can't be tested, it isn't a hypothesis. It's just a silly fantasy.

The bridge scenario is not a hypothesis but an event. I'm using hypothetical in the sense of conjectural or speculative. So rephrasing, let us consider the possibility that tomorrow the George Washington Bridge moves 50 miles up the Hudson in the way I described earlier. How would science respond?

Percy writes:

... if you know of miracles that have the potential to be scientifically studied then we could look at those, too.


Just Google "Jesus' face on a taco". We've been there and done that. It's the claims that can be scientifically studied.

But nobody here believes those are miracles. They're just "claimed miracles" of the religiously credulous. If you know of a real miracle science can study then it would be a welcome addition to the discussion, but if not then we'll have to consider what it would mean if a miracle *did* happen.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 347 by ringo, posted 01-07-2018 2:23 PM ringo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 355 by ringo, posted 01-08-2018 10:54 AM Percy has responded

    
Phat
Member
Posts: 10883
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 353 of 671 (826709)
01-08-2018 1:22 AM
Reply to: Message 351 by ringo
01-07-2018 3:22 PM


Re: If You Had Been Saul
Again, you're talking about subjective conclusions. That has nothing to do with science.
It has to do with psychology, which is a science.

You cant hope to study everything that ever happens with evidence-based experiments. Some things have to be speculated. how do you think they profile certain people at the FBI? Did you ever watch Silence Of The Lambs?

Subjectivity is very human and quite common. Sometimes it is all that one has to work with.


Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. –RC Sproul
"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." –Mark Twain "
~"If that's not sufficient for you go soak your head."~Faith
Paul was probably SO soaked in prayer nobody else has ever equaled him.~Faith :)

This message is a reply to:
 Message 351 by ringo, posted 01-07-2018 3:22 PM ringo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 356 by ringo, posted 01-08-2018 10:58 AM Phat has acknowledged this reply

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 10883
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 354 of 671 (826711)
01-08-2018 7:28 AM
Reply to: Message 339 by Tangle
01-05-2018 10:10 AM


A Miracle By Any Other Name
Perhaps that is why some people never conclude that a miracle has occurred precisely because they know from their studies that miracles don't actually exist.

It appears that Percy is approaching the concept as a believer would----even though he himself is a nonbeliever. In that context, he asks why something should not ever be labeled as a miracle---even if tentatively.

After all, if every conceivable experiment has been conducted and is thus far inconclusive, why not admit that a miracle certainly seems possible at that moment?

Isn't that just another form of belief?(Belief in rationality and scientific explanations as yet undiscovered?)

Perhaps you are right, though. Believers such as myself want miracles and are only to happy to claim them.


Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. –RC Sproul
"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." –Mark Twain "
~"If that's not sufficient for you go soak your head."~Faith
Paul was probably SO soaked in prayer nobody else has ever equaled him.~Faith :)

This message is a reply to:
 Message 339 by Tangle, posted 01-05-2018 10:10 AM Tangle has not yet responded

  
ringo
Member
Posts: 14774
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 355 of 671 (826713)
01-08-2018 10:54 AM
Reply to: Message 352 by Percy
01-07-2018 4:07 PM


Percy writes:

Actually it does say that attribution isn't necessary. That's what the word "may" means, a possibility, not a necessity.


What it says is:
quote:
Such an event may be attributed to a supernatural being (a deity), magic, a miracle worker, a saint or a religious leader.

The word "may" means that it may be one of the following list. It does not say "may or may not be".

Percy writes:

So rephrasing, let us consider the possibility that tomorrow the George Washington Bridge moves 50 miles up the Hudson in the way I described earlier. How would science respond?


I've already answered that several times. Science would look at all of the evidence and if it was inconclusive, they would call it inconclusive. At no time would science ever consider it a "miracle".

Percy writes:

But nobody here believes those are miracles.


ICANT told the story of the girl who escaped the plane crach as if he believed it was a miracle.

Percy writes:

They're just "claimed miracles" of the religiously credulous.


All miracles are just claimed miracles.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 352 by Percy, posted 01-07-2018 4:07 PM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 357 by Percy, posted 01-08-2018 11:23 AM ringo has responded

  
ringo
Member
Posts: 14774
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 356 of 671 (826714)
01-08-2018 10:58 AM
Reply to: Message 353 by Phat
01-08-2018 1:22 AM


Re: If You Had Been Saul
Phat writes:

You cant hope to study everything that ever happens with evidence-based experiments.


Name one claimed miracle that could not be studied with evidence-based experiments.

Phat writes:

how do you think they profile certain people at the FBI?


By looking at the evidence.

Phat writes:

Subjectivity is very human and quite common.


And science requires getting rid of it.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 353 by Phat, posted 01-08-2018 1:22 AM Phat has acknowledged this reply

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 17409
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.1


Message 357 of 671 (826716)
01-08-2018 11:23 AM
Reply to: Message 355 by ringo
01-08-2018 10:54 AM


ringo writes:

quote:
Such an event may be attributed to a supernatural being (a deity), magic, a miracle worker, a saint or a religious leader.

The word "may" means that it may be one of the following list. It does not say "may or may not be".

Saying "may or may not" just a more colorful way of saying "may", but they mean the same thing. "It may be true" means the same thing as "It may or may not be true." Look up "may". It means "expressing possibility." Wikipedia is only saying there's the possibility of attribution to some listed causes.

I've already answered that several times. Science would look at all of the evidence and if it was inconclusive, they would call it inconclusive. At no time would science ever consider it a "miracle".

But that's why I provided the example of the George Washington Bridge moving 50 miles up the Hudson. It is absolutely conclusive that known laws of nature and science were broken, which is the definition of a miracle. Science would tentatively conclude that miracles are possible.

Percy writes:

But nobody here believes those are miracles.


ICANT told the story of the girl who escaped the plane crach as if he believed it was a miracle.

When I said "nobody here" I meant here in this subdiscussion, which would be you, me, Tangle and Jar. Phat is commenting on this subdiscussion, and ICANT as always has his eclectic views. He hasn't been part of this subdiscussion but has been trying to convince you and Tangle that miracles have really happened.

All miracles are just claimed miracles.

I would say this is true of all miracles so far. But what if an unambiguous miracle *did* happen? How would science respond? Naturally they'd invent their own term for it rather than miracle, something like "noncompliant phenomenon".

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 355 by ringo, posted 01-08-2018 10:54 AM ringo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 358 by ringo, posted 01-08-2018 11:46 AM Percy has responded

    
ringo
Member
Posts: 14774
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 358 of 671 (826717)
01-08-2018 11:46 AM
Reply to: Message 357 by Percy
01-08-2018 11:23 AM


Percy writes:

Saying "may or may not" just a more colorful way of saying "may", but they mean the same thing.


It's a more precise way. You're assuming that "may" has a more precise meaning than it actually does. You're using some very nit-picky points to try to tweak the definition of "miracle' in the direction you want it to go.

The fact is that the only distinction between a miracle and any other event is the attribution to "inexplicable" causes.

Percy writes:

Look up "may". It means "expressing possibility."


When you say, "I'll see you on the weekend - it may be Saturday or it may be Sunday," you are restricting the possibilities to a list.

Percy writes:

It is absolutely conclusive that known laws of nature and science were broken, which is the definition of a miracle.


That's the definition that you're clinging to. It isn't one that anybody uses.

Percy writes:

But what if an unambiguous miracle *did* happen?


What if Santa Claus was elected President of the United States? Start a thread.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 357 by Percy, posted 01-08-2018 11:23 AM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 359 by Percy, posted 01-08-2018 1:30 PM ringo has responded

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 17409
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.1


Message 359 of 671 (826722)
01-08-2018 1:30 PM
Reply to: Message 358 by ringo
01-08-2018 11:46 AM


Whether and how a miracle is attributed seems a minor point for this particular discussion, but addressing your arguments anyway...

ringo writes:

Percy writes:

Saying "may or may not" just a more colorful way of saying "may", but they mean the same thing.


It's a more precise way.

No, it's not.

You're assuming that "may" has a more precise meaning than it actually does.

No, I'm not. I looked it up in the dictionary and verified that it means precisely what I thought it meant: expressing possibility.

You're using some very nit-picky points to try to tweak the definition of "miracle' in the direction you want it to go.

I've documented my interpretation. Obviously if attribution to one of those causes is only a possibility, then there must exist other possibilities, of which non-attribution is one.

When you say, "I'll see you on the weekend - it may be Saturday or it may be Sunday," you are restricting the possibilities to a list.

True but irrelevant. Your example uses "may" differently than Wikipedia. Wikipedia did not say, "The attribution of such an event may be to a supernatural being (a deity), or may be to magic, or may be to a miracle worker, or may be to a saint or may be to a religious leader." It said, "Such an event may be attributed to a supernatural being (a deity), magic, a miracle worker, a saint or a religious leader."

Percy writes:

It is absolutely conclusive that known laws of nature and science were broken, which is the definition of a miracle.


That's the definition that you're clinging to. It isn't one that anybody uses.

You and NoNukes have both stated I'm using the wrong definition, but it's the one in Wikipedia, and neither of you have suggested an alternative definition.

The numerous dictionaries on the Internet give pretty much the same definition as Wikipedia, though using different words of course. Many of them differ from Wikipedia in one aspect in that they unambiguously ascribe the cause to the supernatural or God.

But I think it would be best to avoid discussion of possible attributions because it would draw us into off-topic discussions, such as whether the supernatural or God exists.

Percy writes:

But what if an unambiguous miracle *did* happen?


What if Santa Claus was elected President of the United States? Start a thread.

You're just sarcastically restating your position without any supporting evidence or arguments. You don't believe miracles are possible. We get it. But what if a miracle *did* occur? How would science respond?

--Percy

Edited by Percy, : Grammar.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 358 by ringo, posted 01-08-2018 11:46 AM ringo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 360 by Phat, posted 01-08-2018 4:14 PM Percy has responded
 Message 364 by ringo, posted 01-09-2018 10:54 AM Percy has responded

    
Phat
Member
Posts: 10883
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 360 of 671 (826726)
01-08-2018 4:14 PM
Reply to: Message 359 by Percy
01-08-2018 1:30 PM


Consensus
I conclude that this is one of those arguments that is itself subjective in that all of us could be right. There is no correct answer.

Ringo claims that your definition is not one that anybody uses, but I think what he means is that it is not one that everybody uses.


Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. –RC Sproul
"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." –Mark Twain "
~"If that's not sufficient for you go soak your head."~Faith
Paul was probably SO soaked in prayer nobody else has ever equaled him.~Faith :)

This message is a reply to:
 Message 359 by Percy, posted 01-08-2018 1:30 PM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 361 by Tangle, posted 01-08-2018 5:23 PM Phat has acknowledged this reply
 Message 362 by Percy, posted 01-08-2018 5:28 PM Phat has acknowledged this reply

  
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