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Author Topic:   The "science" of Miracles
Phat
Member
Posts: 10751
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.3


(1)
Message 466 of 671 (827926)
02-05-2018 12:37 PM
Reply to: Message 463 by ringo
02-05-2018 12:16 PM


Re: Consensus
The participants in this argument are examples. Granted we are not scientists, so you do have a point in that science does not (currently) use the word.

The reason that the argument continues is that you stay on one side of it and refuse to use the M Word. God knows why! Science has an excuse...but for the sake of our discussion, you have no excuse why to continue being stubborn.

My point is that at least some of science would resort to using the word were a hypothetical scenario such as percy describes occur.

While you have successfully argued that science, in general, does not use the word, you have failed to allow yourself to consider that hypothetically they may someday use it. Science, after all, is not chiefly atheistic.


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 463 by ringo, posted 02-05-2018 12:16 PM ringo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 470 by ringo, posted 02-06-2018 10:43 AM Phat has acknowledged this reply

  
NoNukes
Member
Posts: 10577
From: Central NC USA
Joined: 08-13-2010
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 467 of 671 (827929)
02-05-2018 1:39 PM
Reply to: Message 457 by ringo
02-05-2018 11:36 AM


Re: Consensus
Calling something a "miracle" is entirely subjective, which is why scientists don't do it.

Scientist have a firm idea about what would be called a miracle. The issue is that they never encounter such things in their work.

Subjectivity is not the issue. Lots of things we deal with in life are subjective. Those things are not to be avoided.


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

We got a thousand points of light for the homeless man. We've got a kinder, gentler, machine gun hand. Neil Young, Rockin' in the Free World.

Worrying about the "browning of America" is not racism. -- Faith

I hate you all, you hate me -- Faith


This message is a reply to:
 Message 457 by ringo, posted 02-05-2018 11:36 AM ringo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 471 by ringo, posted 02-06-2018 10:45 AM NoNukes has not yet responded

    
Percy
Member
Posts: 17143
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.2


Message 468 of 671 (827930)
02-05-2018 3:15 PM
Reply to: Message 455 by ringo
02-05-2018 10:43 AM


Re: Consensus
ringo writes:

Percy writes:

You're just recycling arguments you raised previously that have already been rebutted.


Your "rebuttals" have been addressed.

My rebuttals have not been addressed, because all you did was repeat your original arguments. Again and again.

You're just refusing to accept reality - scientists do not use the word "miracle".

Only because one hasn't happened yet. "But what if...," as Tangle asks.

You refuse to discuss what (some) people actually do call "miracles".

This is just a thin disguise for yet another repeat of your Catholic Church Miracle of the Sun argument. If they have no scientific evidence for their miracles, then what is the relevance to science?

Regarding your Message 457 to NoNukes:

ringo in Message 457 writes:

The word "miracle' is used by the Catholic Church in an official capacity, attributing unusual events to a a supernatural cause. Presumably, other religious groups use the word similarly.

And here we have yet another repeat of your miracles of the Catholic Church argument. If you had truly addressed the rebuttals as you earlier claimed, doesn't honesty require mentioning the rebuttals you claim to have addressed, and the ways you have addressed them? How can the discussion advance if you're stuck repeating your original arguments?

The word is also used colloquially, as in your examples. The events are certainly not "inexplicable". At best they are unexpected.

This is another of your arguments whose rebuttal you have not "addressed" because you've merely repeated your original argument unchanged, emptily declaring over and over that they're not inexplicable. That's a broken record that addresses nothing. In order to argue that the provided examples of miracles are not inexplicable you're going to have to do something you're obviously loathe to do: discuss them.

Calling something a "miracle" is entirely subjective, which is why scientists don't do it.

All human endeavor is subjective, including science, which attempts to reduce subjectivity through replication and consensus.

"Miracle" is just a word, one you obviously prefer science wouldn't use, but what term science actually employs is not a key issue. The more important issue is how would science would react were it to encounter phenomena that fulfilled all the criteria for a miracle, whether they called it that or not.

I came across an interesting essay over at The Secular Web: Science and Miracles by Theodore Drange. He uses a different definition of miracle than I've been advocating, but at heart it isn't really all that different, and it is pretty close to a definition offered by others here: An event that violates a law of nature.

The essay wrestles with some of the same issues raised here. He deals with the issue of inexplicability and discusses whether it can only be inexplicable at present or needs to be inexplicable forever. He discusses how science might consider one possible miracle (walking on water), but in his conclusions never considers the question, "What if it really happened?" At one point he approaches our conclusion that miracles are of necessity local, but in the end never states that as a conclusion.

He includes a list of possible scientific attitudes, something you insisted that you know what it would be. His possibilities are:

  1. No scientist could ever believe in miracles under any circumstances.

  2. Scientists could believe in miracles, but not as scientists.

  3. Scientists could believe in miracles, even as scientists, but not when they are engaged in scientific research on the specific area in which the alleged miracles occur.

  4. Scientists, as scientists, could believe in miracles, even when engaged in scientific research on the specific area in which the alleged miracles occur, but such belief could not be regarded to be a result of the research or a scientific finding.

Missing from his list is the one I think Tangle and I are pushing:

  1. Scientists working as scientists could believe in miracles and could engage in scientific research of alleged miracles to the extent that they create evidence amenable to scientific analysis.

Drange concluded (B) is the correct position, but he does discuss the position Tangle and I have advocated, calling it the pragmatic position that doesn't appeal to him. In any case, I found it an interesting essay well worth reading.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 455 by ringo, posted 02-05-2018 10:43 AM ringo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 472 by ringo, posted 02-06-2018 10:58 AM Percy has responded

    
ringo
Member
Posts: 14570
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 1.3


Message 469 of 671 (827945)
02-06-2018 10:38 AM
Reply to: Message 464 by Tangle
02-05-2018 12:32 PM


Re: Consensus
Tangle writes:

And if they found no explanations, then what?


When have they ever found no explanations?

Tangle writes:

You're making the mistake of assuming that objective analysis must conclude with a natural explanation.


It's not an assumption. It's an observation. It's what scientists do. They propose explanations. Care to give any examples where scientists were completely stumped and could propose no explanations at all?
This message is a reply to:
 Message 464 by Tangle, posted 02-05-2018 12:32 PM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 479 by Tangle, posted 02-06-2018 1:20 PM ringo has responded

  
ringo
Member
Posts: 14570
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 1.3


Message 470 of 671 (827946)
02-06-2018 10:43 AM
Reply to: Message 466 by Phat
02-05-2018 12:37 PM


Re: Consensus
Phat writes:

The reason that the argument continues is that you stay on one side of it and refuse to use the M Word.


Why do you have to make it personal? Nothing I have said has anything to do with whether or not I believe in miracles or whether or not I use the word "miracle". The fact is that scientists do not use the word nor do they cop out with "insert miracle here".

Phat writes:

My point is that at least some of science would resort to using the word were a hypothetical scenario such as percy describes occur.


Your point is unfounded. There is no reason to think scientists would call anything a miracle. If for no other reason, they avoid the word because it has so much religious baggage.

Phat writes:

... you have failed to allow yourself to consider that hypothetically they may someday use it.


On the contrary, you have failed to show any reason why scientists would do a complete about-face.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 466 by Phat, posted 02-05-2018 12:37 PM Phat has acknowledged this reply

  
ringo
Member
Posts: 14570
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 1.3


Message 471 of 671 (827947)
02-06-2018 10:45 AM
Reply to: Message 467 by NoNukes
02-05-2018 1:39 PM


Re: Consensus
NoNukes writes:

Scientist have a firm idea about what would be called a miracle.


Give examples.

NoNukes writes:

Lots of things we deal with in life are subjective. Those things are not to be avoided.


In science, the subjective parts are to be avoided.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 467 by NoNukes, posted 02-05-2018 1:39 PM NoNukes has not yet responded

  
ringo
Member
Posts: 14570
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 1.3


Message 472 of 671 (827948)
02-06-2018 10:58 AM
Reply to: Message 468 by Percy
02-05-2018 3:15 PM


Re: Consensus
Percy writes:

Only because one hasn't happened yet. "But what if...," as Tangle asks.


What if Bigfoot was elected Governor of Arizona? What if frying pans could sing opera? What do those what-ifs contribute?

Percy writes:

The more important issue is how would science would react were it to encounter phenomena that fulfilled all the criteria for a miracle, whether they called it that or not.


The problem is still that you're misunderstanding the criteria for a miracle. The criterion is not that it's "inexplicable" but that somebody thinks it's inexplicable (or at least that unnatural causes are the best explanation). That's why some people call an event a miracle and others don't call the same event a miracle.

Believers attribute UFOs to alien technology. Scientists do not. Believers attribute a dancing sun to supernatural causes. Scientists do not. It's all about who attributes it to what.

Percy writes:

He includes a list of possible scientific attitudes, something you insisted that you know what it would be.


I have never claimed to know what scientists think. I have asked for evidence of your claim that scientists would certainly call something a miracle. You have produced no evidence yet.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 468 by Percy, posted 02-05-2018 3:15 PM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 473 by NoNukes, posted 02-06-2018 11:19 AM ringo has responded
 Message 478 by Percy, posted 02-06-2018 12:39 PM ringo has responded

  
NoNukes
Member
Posts: 10577
From: Central NC USA
Joined: 08-13-2010
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 473 of 671 (827953)
02-06-2018 11:19 AM
Reply to: Message 472 by ringo
02-06-2018 10:58 AM


Re: Consensus
Believers attribute UFOs to alien technology. Scientists do not. Believers attribute a dancing sun to supernatural causes. Scientists do not. It's all about who attributes it to what.

It should not be about that. The answer as to whether it is a miracle or not is not subjective in that way. The believers would be wrong if they attributed UFOs to magic.

But if they believe it is alien technology, then they are not calling it a miracle anyway. So your comment would not seem to make sense.

Edited by NoNukes, : No reason given.


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

We got a thousand points of light for the homeless man. We've got a kinder, gentler, machine gun hand. Neil Young, Rockin' in the Free World.

Worrying about the "browning of America" is not racism. -- Faith

I hate you all, you hate me -- Faith


This message is a reply to:
 Message 472 by ringo, posted 02-06-2018 10:58 AM ringo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 474 by ringo, posted 02-06-2018 11:40 AM NoNukes has responded

    
ringo
Member
Posts: 14570
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 1.3


Message 474 of 671 (827956)
02-06-2018 11:40 AM
Reply to: Message 473 by NoNukes
02-06-2018 11:19 AM


Re: Consensus
NoNukes writes:

The believers would be wrong if they attributed UFOs to magic.


Why? What's the difference between miracles and magic?

NoNukes writes:

But if they believe it is alien technology, then they are not calling it a miracle anyway. So your comment would not seem to make sense.


The point is that what matters is who calls it what. A UFO may be attributed to alien technology or not. A phenomenon of some sort may be attributed to unnatural causes or not. To say that something "is" an alien spacecraft or to say that something "is" a miracle is just a subjective belief.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 473 by NoNukes, posted 02-06-2018 11:19 AM NoNukes has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 475 by NoNukes, posted 02-06-2018 11:54 AM ringo has responded

  
NoNukes
Member
Posts: 10577
From: Central NC USA
Joined: 08-13-2010
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 475 of 671 (827959)
02-06-2018 11:54 AM
Reply to: Message 474 by ringo
02-06-2018 11:40 AM


Re: Consensus
Why? What's the difference between miracles and magic?

There is no difference between the two ringo. I used them as synonyms in my post. The distinction is between technology and magic or miracles.

The point is that what matters is who calls it what. A UFO may be attributed to alien technology or not.

If nobody is attributing UFOs to magic, then you would not seem to have a point. And you said no such thing in your post.

Edited by NoNukes, : No reason given.


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

We got a thousand points of light for the homeless man. We've got a kinder, gentler, machine gun hand. Neil Young, Rockin' in the Free World.

Worrying about the "browning of America" is not racism. -- Faith

I hate you all, you hate me -- Faith


This message is a reply to:
 Message 474 by ringo, posted 02-06-2018 11:40 AM ringo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 476 by ringo, posted 02-06-2018 12:01 PM NoNukes has responded

    
ringo
Member
Posts: 14570
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 1.3


Message 476 of 671 (827961)
02-06-2018 12:01 PM
Reply to: Message 475 by NoNukes
02-06-2018 11:54 AM


Re: Consensus
NoNukes writes:

The distinction is between technology and magic or miracles.


So what's the difference between technology and magic or miracles? One man's technology is another man's magic.

NoNukes writes:

If nobody is attributing UFOs to magic, then you would not seem to have a point.


The point is that the attribution is what counts. One person attributes a UFO, etc. to unnatural causes and one person attributes the same phenomenon to (known or unknown) natural causes.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 475 by NoNukes, posted 02-06-2018 11:54 AM NoNukes has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 477 by Taq, posted 02-06-2018 12:24 PM ringo has acknowledged this reply
 Message 480 by NoNukes, posted 02-06-2018 6:37 PM ringo has responded

  
Taq
Member
Posts: 7425
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 2.4


(1)
Message 477 of 671 (827962)
02-06-2018 12:24 PM
Reply to: Message 476 by ringo
02-06-2018 12:01 PM


Re: Consensus
ringo writes:

So what's the difference between technology and magic or miracles? One man's technology is another man's magic.

It is one thing to say that it is magic and/or a miracle. It is yet another to say that you don't know what caused it. What we seem to be pointing to is a Miracle of the Gaps.

The point is that the attribution is what counts. One person attributes a UFO, etc. to unnatural causes and one person attributes the same phenomenon to (known or unknown) natural causes.

A third person simply reiterates that it is an unknown flying object and doesn't point to either a natural or unnatural cause.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 476 by ringo, posted 02-06-2018 12:01 PM ringo has acknowledged this reply

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 17143
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.2


(3)
Message 478 of 671 (827963)
02-06-2018 12:39 PM
Reply to: Message 472 by ringo
02-06-2018 10:58 AM


Re: Consensus
ringo writes:

Percy writes:

Only because one hasn't happened yet. "But what if...," as Tangle asks.


What if Bigfoot was elected Governor of Arizona? What if frying pans could sing opera? What do those what-ifs contribute?

Your Bigfoot what-if contributes pretty much nothing to this discussion since it represents a false equivalence and has nothing to do with the topic. But the frying pan what-if, though intended as mockery, could actually be a miracle.

So what if a frying pan suddenly jumped off the stove and onto the counter and began singing opera? And what if it happened in a science laboratory full of high speed cameras sensitive to both the visual range and wavelengths outside the visual range, and magnetometers, and mass spectrometers, and electric field measurement devices, and gravitometers, and so forth, so that a wealth of scientific evidence of the whole episode were captured. How would science react?

The problem is still that you're misunderstanding the criteria for a miracle. The criterion is not that it's "inexplicable" but that somebody thinks it's inexplicable (or at least that unnatural causes are the best explanation). That's why some people call an event a miracle and others don't call the same event a miracle.

You're repeating another of your old arguments without change, and the rebuttal hasn't changed. We're doing science here. We're not talking about something that someone just happened to see and who happened to have an opinion about whether it was a miracle or not. We're talking about scientific evidence of an event that violates known physical laws.

Believers attribute UFOs to alien technology. Scientists do not. Believers attribute a dancing sun to supernatural causes. Scientists do not. It's all about who attributes it to what.

A scientific consensus develops around that which has sufficient evidence. Should enough scientific evidence accumulate for miracles then a consensus would build around the concept of miracles (regardless of the term actually adopted within science).

Percy writes:

He includes a list of possible scientific attitudes, something you insisted that you know what it would be.


I have never claimed to know what scientists think.

Sure you have, repeatedly, plenty of times, here's a partial list:

  • Message 412: "If there is scientific evidence for an event, there are necessarily possible scientific explanations and by definition it is not a miracle...But scientist George doesn't call the choice a "miracle"; he just keeps looking for the why and how...We know that scientific consensus would never call something a miracle...Nothing is "inexplicable" according to science. It may be unexplained temporarily...Science is never going to conclude "insert miracle here".
  • Message 417: "Tentativity in science means that even if something seems to be a miracle, we can never rule out the possibility that a natural explanation will be found. That's why scientists don't call things miracles."
  • Message 419: "When they're doing science, they don't refer to miracles... Science is collective... Science stops at the evidence."
  • Message 424: "Miracles are not referred to by science because miracles are religion...But science doesn't define miracles any more than it defines gods or leprechauns."
  • Message 425: "If science was going to introduce new terminology for flying bridges, it would be more likely to call them "flying bridges" than to borrow religious terminology."
  • Message 443: "If evidence for an event existed, scientists would examine the evidence and try to come up with an explanation. They would not declare it 'inexplicable'...What I'm disputing is your certainty (Message 266) that, "A consensus of scientists would most certainly concede they're miraculous." I think the evidence shows that they most certainly would not...I'm predicting what scientists would do based on what they have done in the past."
  • Message 445: "Science develops tentative explanations pretty quickly, so they have no need to call something 'inexplicable'."
  • Message 447: "You proposed a fairy tale, which is why science has no reason to deal with it...And of course, science does not call them miracles."
  • Message 449: "Miracles are religion, not science."
  • Message 451: "Second, science has already distanced itself from that vocabulary."
  • Message 455: "You're just refusing to accept reality - scientists do not use the word 'miracle'. "
  • Message 471: "In science, the subjective parts are to be avoided."

Is that the way this is going to go, you're just going to say whatever is expedient at the time, true or not? The evidence clearly says that you have repeatedly declared what science and scientists think. But the point isn't that what you're saying about what science and scientists think are wrong (some are, some aren't). The point is that you're again making another false claim about what's been said in this thread, in this case about what you yourself said. The one thing you say that I think everyone could agree with is, "I'm not a scientist at all " (Message 419).

I have asked for evidence of your claim that scientists would certainly call something a miracle. You have produced no evidence yet.

You're again returning to an original argument as if responses to it had never happened. I've said on a number of occasions that "miracle" might not be the term science adopts, that it's the concept that's important. For example, in the very message you're replying to I said:

Percy in Message 468 writes:

"Miracle" is just a word, one you obviously prefer science wouldn't use, but what term science actually employs is not a key issue. The more important issue is how would science would react were it to encounter phenomena that fulfilled all the criteria for a miracle, whether they called it that or not.

--Percy

Edited by Percy, : Typos, minor grammatical improvement.

Edited by Percy, : Grammar.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 472 by ringo, posted 02-06-2018 10:58 AM ringo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 481 by ringo, posted 02-07-2018 2:33 PM Percy has responded

    
Tangle
Member
Posts: 5668
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.3


(2)
Message 479 of 671 (827967)
02-06-2018 1:20 PM
Reply to: Message 469 by ringo
02-06-2018 10:38 AM


Re: Consensus
ringo writes:

When have they ever found no explanations?

As you know, we're playing the what if game, if you don't want to, just say so.

It's not an assumption. It's an observation.

How can it be an observation, no miracles have yet been detected?

It's what scientists do. They propose explanations.

But what if they can't?

Care to give any examples where scientists were completely stumped and could propose no explanations at all?

What is it with you and this stubborn circular, repetitive stuff? We agreed about a thousand posts ago that so far no miracles have been found. We're now playing what if, or some of us are.


Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien. I am Mancunian. I am Brum. I am London.I am Finland. Soy Barcelona

"Life, don't talk to me about life" - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 469 by ringo, posted 02-06-2018 10:38 AM ringo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 482 by ringo, posted 02-07-2018 2:40 PM Tangle has responded

  
NoNukes
Member
Posts: 10577
From: Central NC USA
Joined: 08-13-2010
Member Rating: 1.8


(1)
Message 480 of 671 (827981)
02-06-2018 6:37 PM
Reply to: Message 476 by ringo
02-06-2018 12:01 PM


Re: Consensus
So what's the difference between technology and magic or miracles? One man's technology is another man's magic.

That's total malarkey. If folks think that the ships are piloted by beings from another planet using technology they do not understand, they are not calling those things miracles. You are trying to pretend that they are and then proceeding to make an argument out of stuff you've made up.

The point is that the attribution is what counts. One person attributes a UFO, etc. to unnatural causes and one person attributes the same phenomenon to (known or unknown) natural causes.

And it turns out that some of those folks are just flat out wrong.

Edited by NoNukes, : No reason given.


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

We got a thousand points of light for the homeless man. We've got a kinder, gentler, machine gun hand. Neil Young, Rockin' in the Free World.

Worrying about the "browning of America" is not racism. -- Faith

I hate you all, you hate me -- Faith


This message is a reply to:
 Message 476 by ringo, posted 02-06-2018 12:01 PM ringo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 483 by ringo, posted 02-07-2018 2:46 PM NoNukes has not yet responded

    
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