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So one of my old friends, from my Christian days, posted the below article on Facebook and the crowd all starting praising God for a miracle - saying things like "That's our God!" and "Praise Jesus!" That's where I came in and kicked the beehive! Here is the discussion as it took place. Should we consider this a supernatural event? There seems to be 'no other explanation' and 'it's impossible to have happened any other way than by God', right?

45 Mins After Being Pronounced Dead, He Revived. Now He’s Thanking God For a Miracle


Jennifer - Yeeaahh!! That's our God.

Rudy - Awesome!

Ven - That's awesome testimony on the secular TV station!


median - Is it a testimony against God's existence when it doesn't happen? It surprises me that so many people think these kinds of things are evidence of God but when millions more do not recover it is either ignored or rationalized. Rare occurrences happen all the time but if 'miracles' cannot be distinguished from those rare occurrences (respectively) is it a good idea to call them as such? Respectfully, what is the difference between a miracle and rare natural occurrence, and how can one tell? It seems that by the same token we could say a miracle occurred, and benefitted us, we could call a negative occurrence a miracle as well. Anything then that we do not yet understand might be called 'a miracle'.

Ven - First of all, if the medicine was so perfect why he was pronounced dead and doctors was not even able to revive his heart? Secondly, after about 8 minutes if the person was not revived, his brain cell starts immediately die and then, it became impossible to give him life back. He was dead for 45 minutes with the doctors unable to revive him more than 8 minutes when it is late to revive. It is logical? Yes. It was impossible situation. In some situation he would be put in the grave. Then, when they started to pray his heart beat was restored. Do you see the connection?

median - Thank you for responding, and for clarity my intention is not to offend. Its just that I see these things a lot and they commit the logical fallacy called The Argument From Ignorance/Incredulity. We cannot attempt to explain one mystery by another mystery. In other words, the argument, "I can't see how it could have happened any other way. Therefore God..." is logically invalid. Furthermore, the claim that a specific rare event is impossible is itself unsupported. One cannot know that a rare event is impossible without having explored all of the options available and that does not look to be the case in this situation, among many others. Again, how can we differentiate a miracle from a non-miracle? Also, what is the definition of a miracle? If ones definition of a miracle translates to whatever they personally cannot understand without appealing to a mystery then that definition does no explaining (as it appeals to ignorance). Therefore, to say that something is a miracle is the same as saying "I don't understand it".

Ven - I understand your point, but I want to say that philosophical approach cannot explain any situation. Sometimes, philosophy contradicts to itself. First of all, you cannot explain life based on philosophical standpoint. Philosophy sometime can be a mental prison . Life is more simple that it appears. It is ignorance to refuse believing a secular TV news and the medical doctors who was unable to revive Tony. If would maybe agreed with you if it was stated on the religious channel. Do you consider medical doctors or scientists as trustworthy? God is about experience not about logic, like love. Some people try to explain love by philosophy, but most of the time, love is just experience and feeling. It does not mean that you doubt love. You would say that you doubt about God's existence. At the same time, I doubt that He does not exist , and you cannot prove that He does not exist. How can you explain what was happened with Tony? Was it coincidence? Why coincidence most of the time is impossibility for medical science? Life is too "cold" and meaningless without a celestial experience. Life cannot be build only on doubts. You have to trust or believe somebody everyday to live every moments of your life. When you sit in airplane, you have to believe that a pilot would transport you to your destination. When you buy food you have to believe that people in the store would not poison you. Even you have to believe your friend that he/she would not turn back to you. If you believe in an existence of somebody intelligent, more intelligent mind or person has to exist to create such humankind, complex micro and macro world and the vast space of the cosmos. Logically speaking, the humankind could not come to existence by from nothing. There is no such physical laws that something can come to existence without the author or from nothing. I do not think that you believe that your car came to existence "just because", without somebody having the idea, investing money, working on the idea, and someday placing the car in the showroom to sell you. It is very logical! What is a miracle? Miracle is a supernatural intervention in the physical reality when it is impossible according to the physical laws. Unfortunately, many people misuse the meaning of the word "miracle" and call miracles those things that does not need any supernatural intervention. Those are not miracles. You would disagree with me based on some philosophical standpoints. However, how about if those philosophers would never born and develop they theories? It means that even philosophy would never exist and all those theories never existed before, while supernatural laws of God are eternal and never change. God is invisible but He exists as love that can be proven by the physical laws:). Have you ever seen your brain?  It does not mean that it does not exist.

median - Ven, you have stated lots of things and many of them are off topic (i.e. red herring fallacy). I'm just going to deal with some of the keys problems I see with your reasoning. First, just because doctors were unable to revive a person (and then they later revived) does not automatically mean that the cause was supernatural or miraculous. Again, we cannot explain a mystery by appealing to another mystery (or an irrational argument from ignorance) - nor should we make an assumption about what happened. At best, we should admit ignorance (that we do not know what happened). That is the honest answer until there is an explanation. In fact, this has always been the case. Religious people in Roman times (for example) used the fallacy of Argument from Ignorance/Incredulity in thinking that Zeus made the lightening and thunder (prior to there being an actual explanation for it). Religious people used to also think that deceases were caused by the devil (until a better explanation came along). They were mistaken for the same reason this argument is mistaken. Secondly, I agree that life cannot be based on doubts (and in fact it is not). However, that does not address the main point (i.e. - that we ought to doubt claims that are irrational and/or unsupported), especially when it comes to claims of the supernatural or miraculous (b/c every religion makes such claims and none are supported by actual conclusive evidence - usually just hearsay). Now, unfortunately the definition of miracle which you gave does not give us any way to determine a miracle from a non-miracle. It is non-descriptive and has no ability to explain anything. All it really says is, "I can't understand how this could have happened any other way. Therefore, God did it" (but this is an Argument from Ignorance/Personal Incredulity fallacy and therefore fails as a reason and should not be used). In short, no one should pretend to know what happened if it is not known. There are a quite a few other things you stated which do not have anything to do with this discussion (namely things like 'something coming from nothing', the meaning of life, God can be proven, etc). Since they are off topic I will leave those for another time or place (perhaps www.whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums). However, I did want to address one point regarding your question about seeing one's brain. No I have not seen my brain. Yet, I do not (and have not) held the position that one must see all things prior to believing in them (some more tentatively then others). The difference, however, is that brains are demonstrable, non-controversial, natural and non-ambiguous. This cannot be said for claims to the supernatural or miraculous as those alleged things are not demonstrable. So this commits the fallacy of False Analogy. Furthermore, belief in those things are often held with a tight grip, as opposed to a tentative trust that can be easily changed (with evidence and/or sound reasoning). Btw, feel free to checkout the logical fallacies online. They apply to all arguments, not just ones about religion. Cheers!

Ven - median, maybe you make your life so complicated that every moments of your life you are looking for the fallacies. I am sorry but you sound like fallacy chaser. Of course, you rejected the idea about doubts, while always doubting and looking for fallacies are almost the same. Do you see something positive in you life? I was going off the topic purposefully . My opinion that philosophy does not make people happy. How can you proof that you right with your viewpoint? First of all, there are such thing that incurable decease that cannot be explained by the logic or science. I do not agree that philosophy can fully explain life and by itself and very often can be considered as "the fallacy". There are so many different kind of philosophies and some of them even contradict each other. How do you know that you are right? It means that you have a chance to be wrong. Read what you saying:"I do not believe this! I do not believe this!I do not believe this! This is fallacy! This is fallacy!This is fallacy!" One thing I want to say, if you doubt something everything is impossible. Doubt and unbelief. Life is not a mental concept only. While you living full of doubts somebody has incredible experience coming back from the death bed. Be simple!

median - Ven, thank you for continuing this dialogue. However, most of your response is completely off topic and has nothing to do with the subject. If we are going to continue dialogue here please stay on topic - as the other subjects do not pertain to my original response and rebuttals (i.e. - how you can tell the difference between a miracle and a non-miracle). As I had mentioned before, fallacies pertain to all arguments (from anyone) and they help us determine good reasons from bad reasons. If one is using irrational arguments to support a belief, they should stop using those arguments and perhaps modify the belief. So far, the reasons you have provided for thinking the above man had 'a miracle from God' are fallacious and you have not yet responded directly to my response. Notice too (btw) that at least two times you attempted to point out fallacies ("contradiction" and "fallacy"). It seems clear then that you also understand that fallacious arguments do not support a conclusion. Here is a website by a Christian minister regarding logical fallacies and why we should not use them (http://carm.org/logical-fallacies-or-fallacies-argumentation).

Ven - median, I suggest you to read this:http://www.saintaquinas.com/philosophy.html

median - Thx for the link. However, I have already read this. Although still off topic, I have studied these arguments, and their refutations, in depth. Each of them suffers logical flaws and fallacies (and of course none have to do with demonstrating a miracle in the above article - as even if one could show that a god existed that in itself would not be sufficient for separating miracles from non-miracles - or showing that, respectively, a miracle occurred). Have you reviewed the responses to the linked arguments? Some can be found below. Cheers.


Ven - If you do not believe anybody, nobody can help you until you would be disappointed in your reasoning

median - Ven, most respectfully, is believing someone whose belief is based upon irrational arguments a good thing? Once again, logic applies to all arguments (whether important or not so much). The difference might be concerning "help". Should we need help to believe for bad reasons? My position here is that we should care if our beliefs are true or untrue, and as such we should apply a consistent standard of reasoning to all parts of thinking (including claims about the supernatual) b/c to use two different standards is called a Double Standard (i.e. - hypocrisy). Therefore, we should not accept or believe irrational arguments from anyone. Should we?

Nate - All I gotta say is, I have seen incurable diseases cured by prayer. My wife has personally laid hands on the deaf and they have fully received healing. My whole childhood was filled with supernatural events and encounters with God. If you pray for 3 people that are blind and one receives his sight, do you rejoice for the one who received his sight or get bitter over the two that didn't? I believe God is good ALL the time, but just like you see in the Gospels... maybe the problem isn't with God. In the new testament Jesus never performs a miracle the same way twice. If he did, we would have created a formula and say this is how to do it. Jesus only did what he saw his Father do, so in our lives... I believe we will see the sick healed and the dead raised but it will come from paying attention to what the Father is saying and doing.

median - Hey Nate, thank you for responding to this discussion and let me first say that (again) I do not intend to offend anyone here. As you know I used to believe very much these same things, until I discovered that literally hundreds of competing religions claim miracles as an explanation for unexplained phenomena (aka - when they don't understand something they say, "It was God!") and most of those religions are mutually exclusive (i.e. - praying to a different deity etc). Perhaps more importantly though is that correlation does not equal causation (see reference below). In other words, just because one event follows another event does not mean that the first event caused the second (in this case prayer causing a miracle to occur). In fact, significant studies on prayer have been done, and they show that people who pray for things to happen do not fair any better than people who do not (i.e. - they're results are nearly identical). Therefore, there is very good reason for doubting these claims as sound reasoning (for any religion across the globe who claims them). In fact, the ancients used to pray to Zeus for rain and believed that Zeus gave them rain when it came. Their reasoning was likewise flawed in the same manner. As I had noted earlier, there is no reliable method for distinguishing between a miracle and non-miracle. Thus, the argument for this event being a miracle is based upon a logical fallacy (The Argument From Ignorance/Personal Incredulity - http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Argument_from_incredulity). This is of course not to state the opposite (that a miracle did not happen). It is rather to state that we do not know what happened, and should not pretend to (especially if we find ourselves using logically fallacious reasoning for support). Of course, many people have the incredible urge to 'thank the heavens' when something good happens after prayer yet don't have those urges when no significant change occurs. This ought to make us question our reasoning so as to be consistent and honest (that is, if we truly care whether or not our beliefs are accurate to reality). Interestingly, Jesus states in Mark 16/John 14 (allegedly) that anyone who prays and believes shall do what he allegedly did, and more (raising the dead, moving mountains, etc) and since we don't see any demonstrable signs that prayer gets better results than not praying we should suspend our judgment regarding the conclusion. This may be difficult to do but it is the intellectually honest path.


Comments? Thoughts? Opinions? Let's open this up for discussion. Are occurrences such as this evidence of the miraculous?

Changed Change Reason Date
rev45 Patience of a saint October 11, 2013, 06:46:19 AM