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


(John Dalton) #518

From the accounts here, is there enough information to say what would definitely provide such an explanation? I’m not saying that additional information would definitely make that possible, but I’m not very clear about what transpired, physiologically speaking, from the information given. Or does an “angiographic finding” have some definite connotation? I usually try to keep my knowledge of such procedures to the bare minimum necessary :slight_smile:


(Jon) #519

That depends on the finding. What was it precisely?

  • Spontaneous regression of restenosis?
  • Spontaneous regression of hepatocellular carcinoma?
  • Spontaneous regression of coronary artery obstructions?
  • Spontaneous angiographic conversion of intracranial dural arteriovenous shunt?

These have all been documented and studied.

That’s ok, other people do. Some people do medical stuff for a living.

It doesn’t take faith to believe that something happened when it’s something which is documented as happening more than once, as a result of natural causes. It doesn’t take faith to believe something happened as a result of natural causes unless there’s overwhelming evidence that it happened as a result of supernatural causes.


(Jon Garvey) #520

The discussion’s going fine without further input from me, in that all the axiomatic worldview commitments are clearly revealed. That, and not ascertaining the truth of an event you haven’t witnessed, is the point.

But just a couple of points. I checked (quickly) to see what literature there is on “spontaneous resolution of coronary atherosclerosis” and it’s apparently rarer than I thought, especially in equivalent cases (ie bog-standard middle aged men degenerating their arteries, as opposed to young men abusing anabolic steroids etc). In fact I found just one individual case study abstract citing just two others in the literature. It was from the 80s, so there might now be one or two more. No attempt at an explanation was given - nor can it be where there is no reproducible or oft-repeated cause. 3 cases in tens of millions of CAD cases is not a trend - it’s an anomaly.

But even given under-reporting (fruitful discussion: why did the cardiologist not write up my case? Ans: anomalies don’t make science, and mentioning prayer as a factor wouldn’t make publication), that places my case in the realm of “unexplained anomalies”, not “uncommon physiological processes”. The word “anomaly” itself derives from “non-lawful”, which, if “natural” means “following natural laws” makes “natural anomalies” an oxymoron.

The net result is that such events just get thrown on a pile of phenomena not explained by the naturalist paradigm. Agnosticism is a legitimate position, but raises the question of whether it’s only the worldview that has constrained what can be known, rather than the phenomena.

Someone above mentions God keeping himself “hidden”: but in the case-study he wasn’t hidden at all to those who prayed, to the patient and his family, or to me once I’d told the patient not to stop his medication until the consultant had re-run the invests and they’d come back clear.

I can’t remember the exact time scale, but it was no more than a few weeks, because the patient asked for prayer when he got his bad test results and was listed for intervention. He himself had an inner conviction that he was better (and also a loss of symptoms), and saw me within a day or two, and I in turn expedited his hospital review. There was nothing potentially causal as a natural intervention between the two angiograms, except a prayer and the conviction that it had been answered (within, remember, a body of doctrine held by millions over 2000 years that includes Christ’s continued power to heal the sick).

Of course, we wouldn’t be likely to know, even from the full test of the papers I found, if even those three cases happened to involve healing prayer, because supernatural causes are not part of medical science - thus removing a possible repeated (and therefore scientific) association from view.

John Dalton asks about the physiology/pathology, in simple terms. Basically fatty deposits build up under the endothethelium of arteries from teenage years on, and the coronary arteries being narrow can become increasingly occluded with both fat and scar-tissue. The less invasive treatment, angioplasty, basically drags a metal bougee through the obstruction, which of course doesn’t repair the damaged endothelium. So usually a metal-mesh stent is put in to keep the artery from closing again, which doesn’t always succeed long term in preventing re-occlusion.

In worse cases, they give up on the drain-cleaners and bypass the obstruction(s) with an arterial graft. In other words, atherosclerosis is not like a kink in a hosepipe that might shake free, but more like a fatberg in a old collapsing city sewer.


(Phil) #521

Well, since you asked, vasospasm can cause a narrowing that is temporary.
http://www.uptodate.com/contents/vasospastic-angina
Other mechanisms might also be considered, angle of view of the artery, etc.

In any case, this is similar to a situation I shared where a biopsy proven neural crest tumor in a friend’s child disappeared on its on. While I attribute the healing to God, they do that sometimes, even in atheist’s children.


(George Brooks) #522

@Jonathan_Burke

Even if such a category of evidence (for supernatural causes) cannot be academically supported, I consider “Providential Miracles” to be perfectly legitimate:

events that have every appearance of being natural and lawful, but happen just when we need them to happen … like a sudden rain that saves the crops… and so forth.


(Jon) #523

So do I, as I’ve mentioned previously.


#524

Yes, it is part of the continuum of evidence that I will accept.[quote=“gbrooks9, post:515, topic:36790”]
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.
[/quote]

I am often told that this evidence exists, yet in these types of discussions that evidence never seems to show up.[quote=“gbrooks9, post:515, topic:36790”]
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… ").
[/quote]

Verifiable means that other people can make the same or similar observations. If we use forensic science as an example, any forensic evidence needs to be available to the defense so they can confirm what the prosecution is claiming, such as being able to sequence DNA from samples taken from the crime scene.[quote=“gbrooks9, post:515, topic:36790”]
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.
[/quote]

Darned if I do, darned if I don’t. I still think the best policy is to define your position as accurately and sufficiently as possible.


#525

Again, many people are claiming to be healed by God, so it isn’t a one off event.[quote=“Richard_Wright1, post:516, topic:36790”]
God can do whatever he likes and he chooses be hidden in that way.
[/quote]

This is an example of what I was talking about earlier. It isn’t scientists who are saying that God is excluded from science. It is believers who are saying this.


(Richard Wright) #526

@Jonathan_Burke

Here is Jon’s description of the situation:

I checked (quickly) to see what literature there is on "spontaneous resolution of coronary atherosclerosis" and it's apparently rarer than I thought, especially in equivalent cases (ie bog-standard middle aged men degenerating their arteries, as opposed to young men abusing anabolic steroids etc). In fact I found just one individual case study abstract citing just two others in the literature. It was from the 80s, so there might now be one or two more. No attempt at an explanation was given - nor can it be where there is no reproducible or oft-repeated cause. 3 cases in tens of millions of CAD cases is not a trend - it's an anomaly.

As I said, it was an anomaly, meaning the mechanism behind of the disappearance of the coronary obstruction is unknown. Therefore, what anyone believes about the cause of the healing is by faith.


(Stephen Matheson) #527

Two sentences, and two non sequiturs.

An anomaly is not defined by knowledge of a mechanism. It is simply something unusual or unexpected. And to label every hypothesis or even speculation as “believes…by faith” is to misuse words like “believe” and “faith.”


(Richard Wright) #528

You’re simply wrong here, TA. The individual healing event was a one-off. Many of these have been claimed to be by God, but each one individually is a one-off event and collectively they are merely a collection of one-off events that are not occurring in any repeatable pattern, therefore they are not testable… [quote=“T_aquaticus, post:525, topic:36790”]
This is an example of what I was talking about earlier. It isn’t scientists who are saying that God is excluded from science. It is believers who are saying this.
[/quote]

This comment is half-right but misses the point I was making. Some believers, such as myself and many here, believe that God can’t be demonstrated by the scientific method. The point I raised is that just because He can’t be demonstrated by the scientific method, doesn’t mean He doesn’t exist, which is a point that many anti-theists like Richard Dawkins make. And I may be wrong and please correct me if I am, but you yourself seem to operate under that assumption based on the, “Why doesn’t God come down here and heal him in front of everyone” comment.


(Richard Wright) #529

I would say, “non-sequitur” is a little harsh. Yes, an anomaly is a deviation from the common rule or an odd peculiar or strange condition (dictionary.com). However, that matters not in this case, since the doctor who’s done 250,000 consults and the cardio expert both didn’t know what caused the obstruction to disappear on the angiograph. [quote=“sfmatheson, post:527, topic:36790”]
And to label every hypothesis or even speculation as “believes…by faith” is to misuse words like “believe” and “faith.”
[/quote]

Bit of a straw-man, I would say. When did I mention, “every hypothesis or speculation”? I referred to a very specific case where something very unusual happened, Jon said a handful out of millions of angiographs. With the fact that people were praying for his condition to improve, I believe, by faith, that God miraculously healed him. I’m not saying I believe that in all cases, or even that there couldn’t have been a physiological cause in another case like this.


#530

Then the individual collisions between particles in a particle accelerator are one-off events for the same reasons.[quote=“Richard_Wright1, post:528, topic:36790”]
This comment is half-right but misses the point I was making. Some believers, such as myself and many here, believe that God can’t be demonstrated by the scientific method. The point I raised is that just because He can’t be demonstrated by the scientific method, doesn’t mean He doesn’t exist, which is a point that many anti-theists like Richard Dawkins make.[/quote]

Dawkins has consistently made the point that he can’t be sure that God does not exist (example), and that is the point I have made on several occasions as well

[quote] And I may be wrong and please correct me if I am, but you yourself seem to operate under that assumption based on the, “Why doesn’t God come down here and heal him in front of everyone” comment.
[/quote]

Just to be clear, I don’t take the position that God does not exist. All I was saying was that if we start with the assumption that there is a supernatural deity there is no reason why that supernatural deity could not make its existence known through such feats as appearing in physical form and healing people. In fact, many gods in the Roman and Greek pantheons are described as coming to Earth and doing all sorts of stuff.

One of the criticisms of science that I often see is that science excludes God from the outset. I don’t think that is a fair criticism since science wouldn’t exclude observations of God moving about in the natural world and doing stuff. Of course, this criticism is not voiced by all Christians or theists and it doesn’t seem to be one that you are voicing.


(George Brooks) #531

@T_aquaticus

You are “killin” me…

Do you present your thoughts this way just to stir the bucket?

In a continuum… the evidence is showing up in all sorts of ways… and none of them are sufficient to convince you.
This is understandable and normal.

But when you say “I am told that evidence exists… yet that evidence never seems to show up”… it’s just you trying to provoke a dispute. Evidence is not an “all or nothing” deal, roger that Mr. T?

Some evidence shows up… you don’t like it. Fine… but to present it as though nobody is giving you anything is just plain aggravating.

You aren’t danged if you don’t " phrase your assertions in a very aggravating manner". You will win praise when you finally learn how to do so.

Like I said before… adding “verifiable” is just poking your stick into my eye. I don’t know anybody who is convinced by unverifiable evidence. It’s an “intensifier” that just makes the aggro more intense, not the logical cohesion.


(Jon) #532

He also mangled the definition of the word “anomaly”.

No, that is not what “anomaly” means.

No it isn’t. I know it’s popular among fundamentalists to claim that science is just faith, and that atheism is a religion, and Jon treads as close to this line as he can without actually owning it, but it’s simply not true.

When someone doesn’t know why something happened, and consequently claim “Behold, God did it!” that is “god of the gaps” reasoning right there. It’s the kind of reasoning Christian scholars were warning against over 800 years ago. We should have learned by now that this is flawed reasoning. I’d like to think that Christians in the twenty first century have moved on from ideas which were debunked nearly 1,000 years ago.


(Richard Wright) #533

Which can be tested, unlike the one-off healing, hence the difference.

Consistently? Maybe since 2012, the year of the debate that you referenced. Anyway, I’m not above admitting I was wrong. But you can hardly blame me. Here is a quote from the link:

An incredulous Sir Anthony replied: “You are described as the world’s 
most famous atheist.”  Prof Dawkins said that he was “6.9 out of seven” 
sure of his beliefs. “I think the probability of a supernatural creator
existing is very very low,” he added.

As you can see, the philosopher Sir Anthony Kenny was, “incredulous” that Dawkins referred to himself as an agnostic. That’s because, until that debate, Dawkins was the worlds most famous anti-theist. Have you read The God Delusion? Dawkins makes no equivocations there. I read it 2 years ago or so but, paraphrasing, he said, “Theists say that God can’t been found out by science. Rubbish.”. He also ridiculed agnostics and deists as milquetoast capitulators.

He did come down here and did amazing feats, 2,000 years ago!

You’re right, I don’t criticize science for excluding God from the outset (or do I claim that it does). I do however hold that science can’t discover God the way that God constructed the physical universe, even if he, “works” here and there to make things happen in nature and/or provides miraculous answers to prayers.


(Richard Wright) #534

As I already admitted.[quote=“Jonathan_Burke, post:532, topic:36790”]
No it isn’t. I know it’s popular among fundamentalists to claim that science is just faith, and that atheism is a religion, and Jon treads as close to this line as he can without actually owning it, but it’s simply not true.
[/quote]

I’m not a fundamentalist and I don’t claim that science if by faith, nor have I ever on this board. In this particular case, an imaged coronary obstruction suddenly disappeared according to Jon’s testimony, which I trust, as much because of the fact that he was physician for decades as he seems to be an honest, Christian believer. Given that fact, of the disappearance of the obstruction, in addition to the fact that the patient was a believer who was prayed for by other believers, I believe by faith that the disappearance of the obstruction was done miraculously by God. Since there was no known physiological explanation for the disappearance, anyone who believes that, “nature did it” also believes by faith.

I really don’t know what you’re disagreeing with me about, Jon, since you claim that you’re a Christian who believes that God occasionally miraculously answers prayers.


(Jon) #535

I am disagreeing with this.


(John Dalton) #536

The 7-point scale language is in The God Delusion. There’s a summary here:

He counts himself in category 6 in the book. So even then, he wasn’t claiming 100% certainty.

Why would that be inconsistent with an agnostic viewpoint?

But he does differentiate between different forms of agnosticism (in the same chapter where the 7.0 scale appears, for one.)


#537

Then it isn’t the fact that they are one-off events that keeps these healing events from being tested since we can test one-off events in other situations.[quote=“Richard_Wright1, post:533, topic:36790”]
As you can see, the philosopher Sir Anthony Kenny was, “incredulous” that Dawkins referred to himself as an agnostic. That’s because, until that debate, Dawkins was the worlds most famous anti-theist. Have you read The God Delusion? Dawkins makes no equivocations there. I read it 2 years ago or so but, paraphrasing, he said, “Theists say that God can’t been found out by science. Rubbish.”. He also ridiculed agnostics and deists as milquetoast capitulators.
[/quote]

It would appear that Sir Anthony Kenny fell into the same trap of adopting the strawman position that many people try to ascribe to Dawkins, and to atheists in general. Dawkins has always said that he can not falsify the existence that a god of some kind might exist, only that we can falsify the existence of certain god’s, such as the God described by young Earth creationism.[quote=“Richard_Wright1, post:533, topic:36790”]
He did come down here and did amazing feats, 2,000 years ago!
[/quote]

Then I am confused again because I was told that God stays hidden when it comes to miraculous healing.