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Offline Gnu Ordure

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Conditions for a miracle...
« on: October 19, 2010, 06:33:50 PM »
The basic question is WWGHA.

Christians often respond to the question by saying that even if we saw a limb regeneration with our own eyes, we still wouldn't believe it.

So I was wondering, what would we accept as evidence of a supernatural amputational healing? If we say, "nothing", then we've invalidated the question, because we've declared it to be unanswerable, or that any answers are unacceptable.

Imagine that someone presented themselves and claimed that their amputated limb had been miraculously been restored.

What would you require to believe them?

It would certainly help if this purported ex-amputee lived in a first-world country and had lost the limb fifteen years ago. In that case, there should be ample evidence, through medical records and personal testimony, that the limb had actually been lost.

DNA evidence should be able to prove that the person claiming the restoration was the same person who lost the limb. (And not an identical twin).

Medical examination should be able to prove that the 'regeneration' was not the result of surgery (no scars), or the result of some genetic mutation.

If those conditions were met, would you then accept that a miracle had occured?

Gnu.

Offline pingnak

Re: Conditions for a miracle...
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2010, 07:18:26 PM »
Evidence that he did not have the limb before would be a good start.

Internal imagery showing the new limb hasn't been worn down like the old one would help.

DNA evidence would do nothing for an identical twin.  They're split from the same cell.  Their DNA is identical.  Though finding out there was an unaccounted-for identical twin would cast a shadow of doubt.  Sometimes hard to verify (i.e. 'separated at birth').

And what would such a restoration prove?  I doubt it would go 'pop' and be an adult limb all at once.  If it grew out from a nub, as one would expect of a replacement limb, it would probably be mistakenly removed as a 'growth' to allow a prosthesis to fit better.

So documented, witnessed, neutral evidence of the limb growing would be a big help.

And if it did grow out of a stump, what would it prove about 'gods'?

He could claim a 'god' did it, or purple appendage gnomes waved a wand. 

All it would demonstrate is that a limb on a higher mammal could regrow, which is pretty much unheard of outside of amphibians and reptiles.  People would be sifting that person's DNA for years.

Offline Asmoday

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Re: Conditions for a miracle...
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2010, 08:00:00 PM »
I'd say hard evidence that the person was actually an amputee before the healing and has had no surgery or identical twins is a good start.

But, let's face it, if someone "healed" an amputated limb over time, that alone would not make a miracle. It would be a sensation, no doubt about it but with a slow regeneration it could still be a biological oddity.

To be a 100% miracle such a regeneration would have to take place in a very short span of time like a couple of minutes. It should happen in a way that is biologically impossible.

I'm sure some theists will say that's raising the bar too high and atheists want to rig the game, but we're talking miracles here. If there's an omnipotent god or at least a god able to alter reality to his liking in any way it wishes and such an entity decides to reach down and let something unambiguous and impossible happen (like regeneration of a limb in a a species which is not able to regenerate limbs) then making it happen in an instant should not be a problem either.
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Offline jetson

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Re: Conditions for a miracle...
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2010, 08:14:07 PM »
If we woke up in the morning, and every single amputee on the planet had their limb(s) fully restored and working, I would consider that a God had finally decided to take some action.  We would have no other possible explanation for such a thing as far as my dumb-ass brain can see.  OK, maybe a super tech alien race could have done the deed...so fuck it. 

All gods are still fucking imaginary...

Offline Doctor X

Re: Conditions for a miracle...
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2010, 10:24:59 PM »
Indeed.

For any less, one would have to wonder why the deity chose to heal some and not others.  Further, to bring this into the practical realm, amputations these days generate medical evidence such as x-rays.

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Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: Conditions for a miracle...
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2010, 10:32:56 PM »
I think it would take my knowing the amputee and knowing for certain that they at one time lacked a limb. I have a cousin born without a left forearm, for instance. If she suddenly had a real, live arm in place of her artificial limb, I'd take that at face value, because I've known her all her life and she has never had a left hand.

I assume I would have my doubts about any story of a healing that didn't involve someone I know.

But I'm a stickler for the truth. That gets in the way of most falsehoods.
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Re: Conditions for a miracle...
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2010, 12:32:53 AM »
If we woke up in the morning, and every single amputee on the planet had their limb(s) fully restored and working, I would consider that a God had finally decided to take some action.  We would have no other possible explanation for such a thing as far as my dumb-ass brain can see.  OK, maybe a super tech alien race could have done the deed...so fuck it. 

All gods are still fucking imaginary...

I'm with jetson. One ex-amputee, even with regeneration that occurred in minutes or seconds in front of multiple witnesses, would be remarkable but not conclusive. To wake up and find that every prostheses on the planet had become unnecessary overnight (or every intensive care unit, or...) would make this skeptic sit up and start to pay attention, to paraphrase Monty Python.
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Offline William

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Re: Conditions for a miracle...
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2010, 01:09:56 AM »
For amputee healing I've said before I would require two unrelated cases, current live bodies, both backed by verifyable hard evidence of being amputees before.  My requirement for two cases is to minimise fraud, such as switching twins or falsification of evidence.  It would be pretty hard to do all that twice over with unrelated cases, doctors, family etc.

And if God has the technology to do it once He can do it twice, to be sure to be sure ;D
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Conditions for a miracle...
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2010, 04:48:53 AM »
I know we're talking about "miracles" here, but as an addendum to all the good points above, if it were being presented as a miracle carried out by a specific deity, then at the minimum I would also expect to see documentation as to when and where it happened....ideally film of the miracle taking place during a particular church's service.

After all, otherwise it could just as easily be Osiris carrying out the miracle as Yahweh.
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Offline jynnan tonnix

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Re: Conditions for a miracle...
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2010, 07:25:30 AM »
I'd add that I'd like to see the regeneration be the result of specific prayer. If, for example, suddenly every one (or even a hefty percentage, to weed out the insincere  ;)) of the pilgrims traveling to Lourdes came away 100% cured of their ailments I might be willing to consider it a divine intervention. But with hundreds of thousands of people seeking miracles there and only a scant handful of "miraculous" healings (none of which is as unambiguous as a regenerated limb), it's a bit underwhelming.

Offline Doctor X

Re: Conditions for a miracle...
« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2010, 07:25:51 AM »
After all, otherwise it could just as easily be Osiris carrying out the miracle as Yahweh.

Which is why, when faced with such conundrums, I strongly recommend going with the deity with the most flexible and accommodating Temple Prostitutes.








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Offline kcrady

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Re: Conditions for a miracle...
« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2010, 07:56:55 AM »
Another factor to consider is the answer Bible-worshiping Christians would give should amputees start being healed under the aegis of anyone else's religion: deceptive miracles by a rival demigod, i.e., "the Devil."  If amputees started getting healed after feeding a spoonful of milk to a statue of Ganesha, we would likely hear a lot of "Well, the Biiiiii-ble says that in the Last Days there shall be lying signs and wonders, so, uh-uh, I ain't convertin' ta Hinduism, no way, no how!"  This sort of Christian clings to their god of paper and ink in the face of pretty much everything science has discovered since about 1850 or so.[1]  I don't see any reason to expect them to grant more acceptance to miraculous evidence than they do to things they can see with their own eyes through a decent pair of binoculars or a small telescope (the Andromeda Galaxy, 2 million light-years away) or for the cost of a trip to a major city and a few bucks for a ticket (all those skeleton-shaped rocks in natural history museums), etc..

So, if we must consider the possibility that any unambiguous miracles we might encounter could be the result of a rival deity or pseudodeity trying to lead us astray, as our Christian brethren would insist if the miracles were happening on behalf of anyone's religion but theirs, the principle must apply to theirs as well.  Even if it were proven that Jesus did all the wonders attributed to him in the Gospels, how could we know that he was not an evil wizard or anti-Messiah being used by the Devil to lead people from the truth of Judaism?
 1. Fossils!  All kinds of stuff in the sky that's more than 6,000 light-years away!  Cognitive neuroscience!  Etc.!
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Offline screwtape

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Re: Conditions for a miracle...
« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2010, 12:11:20 PM »
So I was wondering, what would we accept as evidence of a supernatural amputational healing? If we say, "nothing", then we've invalidated the question, because we've declared it to be unanswerable, or that any answers are unacceptable.

That is the problem with the supernatural, isn't it?  By definition it is incapable of being proved and leaves no evidence. We have generally used it as synonymous with "unexplained".

What would you require to believe them?

I would have to say "nothing" for the reasons well stated by Kcrady. When talking about uber-powerful entities like gods, devils and highly advanced aliens, it would be nothing for them to trick our poor senses into believing things that are untrue.  I think when it comes right down to it, there would be no way for any human to validate the existence of a god, only an extremely powerful "thing".

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Offline jedweber

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Re: Conditions for a miracle...
« Reply #13 on: October 20, 2010, 01:03:35 PM »
^ P.Z. Myers and Steve Zara (at Dawkins.net) were recently writing on this subject, arguing that these kind of theoretical exercises on hypothetical evidence for God and the supernatural are just empty shell games Christians use to trick us, they're utterly pointless as long as God is placed beyond logic and evidence:

I have to say I find their arguments pretty persuasive:

Quote
God and evidence - a strident proposal
http://richarddawkins.net/discussions/486046-god-and-evidence-a-strident-proposal
Quote
Eight reasons you won't persuade me to believe in a god
http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/10/eight_reasons_you_wont_persuad.php

Offline screwtape

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Re: Conditions for a miracle...
« Reply #14 on: October 20, 2010, 02:41:15 PM »
good links, jed.

Great line from PZ:
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so true...
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Offline OnePerson

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Re: Conditions for a miracle...
« Reply #15 on: October 20, 2010, 02:47:18 PM »
Miracles can't exist.  Everything can be explained, even if that explanation was "God did it."

It's like how no one considers divine healing miracles in RPG games.

Offline pingnak

Re: Conditions for a miracle...
« Reply #16 on: October 20, 2010, 07:42:19 PM »
Illustration of Religious Experimental Control
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUHSUA2v0O0[/youtube]

The miracle of the cheezburger 'n fries!...

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Conditions for a miracle...
« Reply #17 on: October 21, 2010, 01:35:08 AM »
Hmmm.  Looks like the Egyptians had it right all along.....
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline goshen

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Re: Conditions for a miracle...
« Reply #18 on: December 24, 2010, 05:45:52 PM »
The basic question is WWGHA.

Christians often respond to the question by saying that even if we saw a limb regeneration with our own eyes, we still wouldn't believe it...............If those conditions were met, would you then accept that a miracle had occured?

Gnu.

Christ performed many miracles during his ministry.  Some of The people who actually saw with their own eyes, were there condemning Him to death in Jerusalem. 

2 Corinthians 5:7: We Walk By Faith, Not By Sight

Simply seeing a miracle being performed in front of your very eyes does not correlate to believing.

1 Corinthians 2:14: “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
-The Holy Spirit is what reveals the meaning of Scripture

1 John 5:6, "And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is the truth."
John.15:26   The Spirit of truth...shall testify of Me (Jesus)

Prov 3:5,7a (NIV) Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.... Do not be wise in your own eyes

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You see, if God were to prove Himself to us, we wouldn't need Faith.  Faith is what saves us.

Ephesians 2:8-10:   For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Hebrews 11: 6  But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Matthew 17: 20  So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.

Galatians 2: 16  Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.

1 Corinthians 2: 5  So that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men (human philosophy), but in the power of God.


Offline jetson

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Re: Conditions for a miracle...
« Reply #19 on: December 24, 2010, 06:24:25 PM »
Welcome to the forum goshen.

I guess those early believers did not require faith then, since they saw miracles?

Offline William

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Re: Conditions for a miracle...
« Reply #20 on: December 24, 2010, 06:27:29 PM »
Christ performed many miracles during his ministry.  Some of The people who actually saw with their own eyes, were there condemning Him to death in Jerusalem. 
This is nothing but hearsay.  Names and addresses please.  Who actually witnessed it AND wrote about it independently anywhere but in the fairy story.


You see, if God were to prove Himself to us, we wouldn't need Faith.  Faith is what saves us.
If that is true, why did Jesus do any miracles at all? :?  And why does the bible mention a bunch of miraculous things that are supposed to follow Christians as "signs"?
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Offline JeffPT

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Re: Conditions for a miracle...
« Reply #21 on: December 24, 2010, 06:31:19 PM »
You see, if God were to prove Himself to us, we wouldn't need Faith.  Faith is what saves us.

You see, when a book makes faith a virtuous thing, it's doing so because it has something to hide.  A book that says "turn off your brain and just accept what I tell you, even if I can't prove it" is something that we should be extremely skeptical about.   Do you normally just accept stuff that people tell you or that you read?  Is "Just trust me!" normally enough for you?  I'm sorry, but that's just not good enough for me. 

Faith isn't what saves us.  It's what makes us fools.  It's nothing more than a thick fog that conceals the truth. 
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Offline Aaron123

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Re: Conditions for a miracle...
« Reply #22 on: December 24, 2010, 07:03:55 PM »
Christ performed many miracles during his ministry.  Some of The people who actually saw with their own eyes, were there condemning Him to death in Jerusalem. 

Quote
Simply seeing a miracle being performed in front of your very eyes does not correlate to believing.

Quote
You see, if God were to prove Himself to us, we wouldn't need Faith.  Faith is what saves us.


In your post, those are the only things that are your own words.  Next time, can you write your arguements using your own words?  Thanks.
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Offline goshen

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Re: Conditions for a miracle...
« Reply #23 on: December 24, 2010, 07:11:23 PM »
Welcome to the forum goshen.

I guess those early believers did not require faith then, since they saw miracles?

I guess you missed the point of my post.  They did see miracles, and still some did not have faith.

Offline William

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Re: Conditions for a miracle...
« Reply #24 on: December 24, 2010, 07:15:31 PM »
I guess you missed the point of my post.  They did see miracles, and still some did not have faith.

No, you didn't think through the point of your post.  Why are there miracles at all?  Why did Thomas get his proof?

When you've thought that through - try explain why God won't heal amputees?
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Offline William

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Re: Conditions for a miracle...
« Reply #25 on: December 24, 2010, 07:20:42 PM »
They did see miracles, ...

That is in dispute.  From a modern perspective it looks like fabricated stories - fabricated by a process of "Chinese whispers" before it was written.
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Offline goshen

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Re: Conditions for a miracle...
« Reply #26 on: December 24, 2010, 07:31:55 PM »
This is nothing but hearsay.  Names and addresses please.  Who actually witnessed it AND wrote about it independently anywhere but in the fairy story.

First you give me the names and addresses of the monkeys that turned into humans.

If that is true, why did Jesus do any miracles at all? :? 

To glorify the Father, and to attest to Jesus as God The Son. 

John 14:11  "Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves."

John 10:37,38 "Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does. But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father."

John 20:30,31 "Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name."


And why does the bible mention a bunch of miraculous things that are supposed to follow Christians as "signs"?

Mark 13:22 / Matthew 24:24 For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God's chosen ones.

Mat 16:4 "A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign."

I will tell you that Sunday Christian's will not be able to perform healings.  Prayer is one way.  You also must be In Christ.  Also, people are not the answer, Christ is.  Men are not to be looked to, Christ is the only example.

I have seen miracles, and miracles happen all the time.   A couple at my church growing up had an ultrasound showing a hole in the babies head, and that if the child lived at all, it would be a vegetable.  The couple refused that answer, got a prayer team together from the church, got nurses, doctors and everyone else together and layed hands on the child in the womb.   They prayed over that child for months, and when it was born, it was perfectly healthy.

But ya'll should also consider this about the antichrist:

2 Thessalonians 2:9  For at the coming of the Lord there will be great activity on the part of Satan, in the form of all kinds of deceptive miracles, signs, and marvels, as well as of wicked attempts to delude.

2 Thessalonians 2:9  The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders.

His power comes from Satan (Dan. 8:24)

Daniel 11: 37 says he will not regard the God of his fathers and he will not desire women. He will not acknowledge any god; because he will magnify himself above all.

Offline Ambassador Pony

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Re: Conditions for a miracle...
« Reply #27 on: December 24, 2010, 07:33:32 PM »
Quote from: Goshen
First you give me the names and addresses of the monkeys that turned into humans.

Gold! Thank you!
You believe evolution and there is no evidence for that. Where is the fossil record of a half man half ape. I've only ever heard about it in reading.

Offline Eddy Swirl

Re: Conditions for a miracle...
« Reply #28 on: December 24, 2010, 07:44:07 PM »
You see, if God were to prove Himself to us, we wouldn't need Faith.  Faith is what saves us.

If that is true, why did Jesus do any miracles at all? :? 
To glorify the Father, and to attest to Jesus as God The Son. 

John 14:11  "Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves."

John 10:37,38 "Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does. But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father."

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