Ann Gauger's latest salvo against Dennis Venema's arguments against an original pair of human beings


(John Dalton) #498

I don’t think anyone is; nor am I trying to change anyone’s belief. I originally commented because I disagreed with this statement of yours “If you believe Jon imagined the event, or “made it up” it is up to you to provide evidence for your “made up” hypothesis.”

If you or others choose to disbelieve the account, or the evidence presented, than, if this is a rational discussion, it is incumbent of the protagonist to show how the evidence is invalid - otherwise I cannot see any basis for a discussion.

Maybe this will clarify my point. It seems to me that if the conclusions drawn from the evidence have not been shown to be valid (and I don’t think they have been) I don’t see why it would be incumbent on anyone to show how they are invalid. I think there’s still plenty of room to discuss the matter though. I don’t see much point to discussing the events in themselves (as you outline in your 4 points here)–they seem self-explanatory.


(GJDS) #499

I think I may understand your position, but just to be sure, I will summarise what I think you mean:

a) the account provided by Jon as the doctor and his patient is acceptable, or at least not in question.
b) from this, some may come to a conclusion regarding faith healing; I am uncertain as to what that conclusion may be, but nonetheless you state there may be one.
c) you believe a) but do not accept b).

The only matter that needs clarification is this: what conclusion has been drawn? and from that I may be able to continue the discussion.


(John Dalton) #500

That God actually intervened to improve the patient’s health, as a result of the prayer.


(GJDS) #501

I can now understand your point.


#502

It doesn’t take faith to state that they don’t know what caused the healing.


#503

I fully accept that the patient stated that his prayers were answered.


#504

I can be overly blunt at times and should strive to come up with better ways of saying that. Is this better?

“I am only withholding acceptance of these claims until there is evidence that convinces me it is true”[quote=“gbrooks9, post:482, topic:36790”]
It’s irksome because that phrasing makes no acknowledgement of a gradient or continuum of information.
You always make it sound like a toggle switch. Innocence and Guilt in a murder trial is rarely a toggle either!
There’s an indefinable sliding continuum… along which people waver to the right or the left.
[/quote]

In my experience, people don’t spend a lot of time in the undecided category. In that sense it is sort of like a toggle switch where you go from holding one position to the other position. I am sure that you are aware of some atheists who have converted to Christianity, and those conversion events can be quite sudden.

I will gladly admit that there is a large spectrum of claims out there, and I do continually look at new ideas and claims. The difficulty, and dare I say fun, of these types of interactions and discussions is slogging through those claims, ideas, positions, and beliefs. I think your criticism is very fair, and I will try to incorporate it into future posts.


#505

I am a bit confused by this post. Are you saying that in cases where people claimed to be healed by God that we would find natural causes for their improved health? Or am I misreading this?


(Richard Wright) #506

Hi TA,

That statement is fine as is. However, any conclusion excluding a potential supernatural explanation of the healing is made by faith.


(Richard Wright) #507

Hi Jonathan,

It was strongly implied. The patient had a finding on the angiograph that disappeared in a short amount of time. Neither Jon nor the specialist could account for the improvement.[quote=“Jonathan_Burke, post:488, topic:36790”]
“It is also by faith that the materialist believes that there must be a physiological reason for the improvement.”

No.
[/quote]

Is this because you didn’t see it demonstrated that there was a sudden and dramatic improvement in the patient’s condition, or that you don’t believe that there can be supernatural causes for any physical events?

.


#508

I tend to look at it from the opposite end. What I look for is evidence that would allow me to include something. Universal negatives require absolutely perfect knowledge, so they aren’t the best thing to base an argument on, IMHO. This is also the weakness of the God of the Gaps fallacy, where God is invoked when no one can come up with a natural explanation.


(Richard Wright) #509

Hi TA,

I see what you’re saying, but it’s sort of a case of apples to oranges, because we’re not talking about a process that occurs in nature, we considering a one-off healing event that happened to occur in a person of faith for whom other believers were praying for. In the study of the natural sciences, we know based on the history of science that a legion of scientists will work on any given problem, and eventually proofs and reasonable explanations that require further study will be offered and therefore the supernatural is excluded almost immediately. In the case of a healing event, there can really be no study, so it comes down to opinions, and they depend on worldview.


(Jon) #510

That doesn’t mean it can’t be explained by known physiology.

Neither. As I’ve already said, as a Christian I believe miraculous healing can and does occur. I also believe in miracles as direct divine intervention in human experience.

[quote=“Richard_Wright1, post:509, topic:36790”]
I see what you’re saying, but it’s sort of a case of apples to oranges, because we’re not talking about a process that occurs in nature,[/quote]

Spontaneous remissions of various kinds do occur in nature. That’s one confounding factor here. Miraculous recovery through direct divine intervention is not the null hypothesis, but the alternative hypothesis.


#511

That’s the part I am a bit confused on. It did happen in nature, and many people are reporting that God is affecting nature in some observable sense that is distinguishable from normal natural processes.[quote=“Richard_Wright1, post:509, topic:36790”]
In the study of the natural sciences, we know based on the history of science that a legion of scientists will work on any given problem, and eventually proofs and reasonable explanations that require further study will be offered and therefore the supernatural is excluded almost immediately. In the case of a healing event, there can really be no study, so it comes down to opinions, and they depend on worldview.
[/quote]

In my experience, it isn’t the scientists who are excluding the supernatural. Rather, the people proposing supernatural explanations are the ones who try their hardest to define the supernatural so that it can’t be tested for in a scientific sense. On the face of it, I don’t see why God healing people could not be tested for scientifically. God could appear in some form and heal the person in front of everyone. Instead, we get a lot of explanations why God can’t be detected, even though people are claiming that they detected God. It’s a bit like Sagan’s essay on the Dragon in His Garage.

Could God heal people in ways that are indistinguishable from natural processes? Sure. I won’t say that such a claim is false, only that it isn’t provable in a scientific manner. While parsimony is a rule, it isn’t a law.


(George Brooks) #512

Yes, that is much better. You don’t even have to use the word “only”! And if we add “sufficiently more”, I think it gives it an reasonable flow.

We could read it:
“I withhold acceptance of these claims until there is sufficiently more evidence.”

The thrust of my complaint is aimed at those who think there is a toggle-state for evidence, either
"proof" and “no proof”.

But what you and I seem to agree upon is that when there is a large range of evidence of various quantity, each person has to decide when the tipping point of “Sufficient Evidence” turns into “proof” adequate for you.


#513

Personally, I am still waiting for any evidence in the sense of independent and verifiable evidence, not a sufficient amount of it. It would seem much of our disagreement would come down to what constitutes evidence.


(GJDS) #514

This is the area that makes it difficult to continue this discussion. The event (answer to payer) is a result, or is an integral part, of faith in God. When we state it as such, we are including the meaning (or a theological account) of God and our faith.

The account by the doctor and patient is simply that a prayer was answered and the physical evidence is consistent with that affirmation. This cannot be deconstructed into some other meaning, be it an investigation into a natural vs supernatural debate, or a search for a cause.


(George Brooks) #515

@T_aquaticus

Oh, T, you just couldn’t leave it be…

“Independent and Verifiable” is part of the continuum.

If I could get you “Indepednent and Verifiable” evidence on minor points…you would still not be satisified.
So don’t try to micro-manage the granularity of “sufficiently more”. The phrase is part of the “Reasonable Man” test … which varies from one man to another… part of the “range” of reasonableness.

By insisting on “Independent”… you open the unnecessary can of worms of what is “independent”. Wouldn’t it vary depending on the evidence? Of course it would. So there’s no point in trying to nail it down - - because every analytical situation has its own context.

And “verifiable” … what’s that supposed to mean? Do you frequently have “proof” or “evidence” for anything that can’t be verified? How is that evidence? Something like that is more of a “sentence” or a “claim” or even an “exclamatory comment!” ("Hey, that’s total B… ").

No one is going to throw you up against the wall because you didn’t sufficiently bolster your requirements with the terms “Independent and Verifiable”. It’s implicit in the sentence. All you are doing is making it extra burdensome for you to sound reasonable on forums like this.


(Richard Wright) #516

Yes, it happened in nature, but as a, “one off” event and not, for instance, discovering say that blasting a high speed proton into a certain particle gave 5 up-quark gluons and not the predicted 3 up-quarks and 2 down-quarks. The events of the second case are repeatable and testable, whereas sudden healings are one-off events and not available for study.

Nobody claimed that God was detected. Some here said that we believe by faith that the unexplained healing was done miraculously by God in an answer to prayers.

God can do whatever he likes and he chooses be hidden in that way. There are reasonable explanations for the hiddeness of God, but they are neither here nor there for the purposes of this discussion. The above comment shows that you seem to have idea that, basically, because God doesn’t appear on TV claiming His existence (or anything like that) then He doesn’t exist. However, there is no a priori definition of God, and IMO no Christian theology either, that rules out that God created a universe that unfolds gradually over time without any special workings (which wouldn’t be able to be detected anyway). His recorded redemptive acts are believed in by faith, as are any other miracles that He decided to do, as for instance a miraculous healing.


(Richard Wright) #517

What known physiology provides an explanation for a angiographic finding to suddenly disappear?[quote=“Jonathan_Burke, post:510, topic:36790”]
Spontaneous remissions of various kinds do occur in nature. That’s one confounding factor here. Miraculous recovery through direct divine intervention is not the null hypothesis, but the alternative hypothesis.
[/quote]

I don’t know if, “spontaneous” remissions occur. Usually someone goes in for testing and since the last time there seemed to have been cured of the disease (or in remission in the case of cancer). That is different than the sudden disappearing of an angiographic finding. In any case, we who believe that Jon’s patient was cured by a miracle by God, also believe it’s an alternative hypothesis, but we believe it by faith, just as those who choose to believe that a, “natural” cause is the explanation of the healing also believes by faith, since, in the end, noone knows how the healing occurred.