Skeptics and Miracles

On his “Dangerous Idea” blog Victor Reppert offers the following story and queries:

“Spelling Bees, Violin Teachers, and ESP”

When I was in the seventh grade, I won the District Spelling Bee. The defending champion, somewhat to my surprise, went out when there were six people left, stomped off the stage, and went crying to his mother. After winning the Bee (and qualifying for the state finals), I was asked to provide a picture for the newspaper. As it happened, my violin teacher had a Polaroid camera, and my parents and I knew this, so we visited him. He told me that he had been thinking about my spelling bee, and at one point had an awareness that my rival had gone down, and that he was very upset about it. He had this awareness at about the time when my rival went down. He said that he had sometimes had episodes of clairvoyance.

It wasn’t something that he said came from God. It’s not something that supports my religious beliefs, especially. But I have often thought back to this incident. How did he know? Should you be skeptical of my report now, since this doesn’t seem to be something that happens in the ordinary course of nature?”

Am I skeptical of Victor’s report? No. Why should I be? People frequently think that they have had clairvoyant episodes, premonitory dreams, ESP, etc., so there is no reason whatsoever that I should doubt such a report. It is not at all outside of the “ordinary course of nature.” On the contrary, people have such experiences all the time. How did he (the violin teacher) know what had happened? Well, of course, he did not know. People get hunches, feelings, and intuitions all the time. Some, by chance, are going to be close to something that actually happens. Confirmation bias then steps in to make sure that we remember those that seemed to correspond to what happened and forget all of those that did not.

Of course, Victor raises these queries because of their seeming relevance to miracle reports. Didn’t Hume say that we should be skeptical of reports of events outside of the “ordinary course of nature?” Well, it depends on what we mean by the “ordinary course of nature.” The largest largemouth bass ever caught was a lunker of 23 pounds landed by a Georgia angler circa 1924. Now this is pretty astonishing since a largemouth bass of ten pounds is a whopper. My Dad was a lifelong bass fisherman and he never caught one over eight pounds. Suppose, though that in tomorrow’s paper I read that a largemouth bass weighing 24 pounds had been caught. Would I be skeptical? Maybe slightly, but I would probably tentatively accept the story. What if the report said that a largemouth bass of 50 pounds had been caught? I would most definitely be skeptical and would strongly suspect a hoax. What if the report said that an enormous, glowing bass had levitated out of the water and pronounced maledictions on all fisherman? Obviously, no newspaper–with the exception of the (now sadly defunct) Weekly World News would every publish such a story.

The point is that the believability of a report depends largely upon the degree to which it is outside of the “ordinary course of nature.” How far outside the ordinary course will a miracle report be? If a miracle is to have an apologetic purpose, that is, if it is to be a part of an apologetic program designed to secure the claims of a purported revelation against the objections of skeptics, then it will have to be something that skeptics cannot dismiss as an unusual, but natural, occurrence. It must be something more than extraordinary, since the merely extraordinary happens all the time.

To do the apologetic job, a miracle claim should report something physically impossible, i.e., something that, given everything that we know about nature and its capacities, we believe that nature could not or would not do. Only an event that is physically impossible, yet actually occurs, could kick the skeptic’s butt and provide presumptive evidence for the existence of supernatural agency. Again, the merely extraordinary will not do. Had the Gospel story been that Jesus, when confronted in the Garden of Gethsemane, kicked off his sandals, and, in an amazing display of martial arts prowess proceeded to beat up the soldiers sent to arrest him, that would be extraordinary but not evidence of divine agency.

Two obvious problems immediately confront the would-be miracle claimer: (1) Would not the actual occurrence of the event show that it was not, in fact, physically impossible, and thus a phenomenon for which we could, at least someday, expect a scientific explanation? (2) Since an event we currently and with abundant justification consider physically impossible–like rising from the dead or walking on water–will be one which skeptics regard as having a background probability of near zero, the miracle claimer will have an enormous burden of proof just establishing that the claimed event actually took place.

Both of these are very serious problems for the miracle-claimer, and though I think that in principle they might be effectively addressed, in practice (as Hume argues in Part II of “On Miracles”) he will have a devil of a time. Hume did not argue (though many highly qualified persons have taken him as arguing) that it is impossible in principle to establish a miracle claim. However, as an argument that skeptics may use to dispute miracle claims based on human testimony, he thought his argument would be useful as long as the world endures. He was right.

About Keith Parsons
  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00166981449450626434 Anthony

    The claim that a miraculous occurrence, given basic background knowledge of normal events, is near zero is correct. However, this is not necessarily the only information available for every miraculous claim. Often, the probability that a miraculous event has occurred is based on some additional evidence rather than the blanket background knowledge that they are highly improbable. Basic formulas would then show that the probability of the event is based not only on the probability given background knowledge but also the probability of the event not happening given the evidence for it. In this way, events that are highly improbable given simply background knowledge can actually become highly probable once evidence is added.

    In the case of the largemouth bass, the newspaper clip alone is not a great deal of evidence. But what if there were additional witnesses, a photo of the fish on a scale, or some other forensic evidence? Then the truth of the mater becomes more certain despite the background knowledge that largemouth bass are not supposed to be able to reach 50 lbs.

    Take as another example the Resurrection. If one does not throw out the Gospel accounts a priori, then there are four testimonies given there. Paul’s testimony in 1 Corinthians 15 adds more. The conversions of Paul and James (the half-brother of Jesus) add more evidence. The lack of a body to disprove the Resurrection claims again adds more. So the real question is whether Jesus’ Resurrection is the best explanation given the evidence, not whether it is probable based solely on background knowledge. This was Hume’s mistake as well.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05211466026535549638 Bradley Bowen

    Keith Parsons said…

    (2) Since an event we currently and with abundant justification consider physically impossible–like rising from the dead or walking on water–will be one which skeptics regard as having a background probability of near zero
    ===============
    Comment:
    If someone stops breathing and his heart stops beating, and if that person remains in that state for a period of 24 hours or more, then I would consider it to be physically impossible for that person to come back to life (i.e. for his heart to start beating again, and for him to breathe again, and for this person to be conscious and coherent again), assuming that this person's body remained at or above room temperature for the 24 hours.

    However, in the case of the crucifixion of Jesus, the most we can say is that he (probably) appeared to stop breathing for about one hour and (probably) was then placed into a stone tomb.

    We don't know that Jesus stopped breathing while on the cross, and we certainly don't know that his heart stopped beating while on the cross. We obviously have no idea whether he was breathing while in the inside the tomb.

    We don't know what the temperature was while Jesus was on the cross, and we don't know the temperature of the stone tomb when Jesus was placed there. We certainly don't know the temperature of his body when he was removed from the cross, nor what the temperature of his body was after being in the tomb for an hour or two.

    So, even granting the dubious assumption that the gospel accounts of the crucifixion and burial of Jesus are generally reliable, we still don't have enough information to conclude that Jesus being alive on Sunday morning was physically impossible.

    At most, what we can know is that he appeared to be dead for roughly an hour. We do not know that he was in fact dead for an hour(i.e. no heartbeat, and no breathing), and we certainly do not know that he was dead (i.e. no heartbeat, and no breathing) for 24 hours or more.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10962948073162156902 Victor Reppert
  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16641266062186767500 Keith Parsons

    Bradley,

    Yeah, there are many odd things about the crucifixion narratives. There were all those stories about an earthquake, and the sky darkening, and the Temple veil torn in two, and the graves yawning and the dead returning to life. These tales show that a considerable body of legend had grown up around the story. The gospels give sketchy accounts that differ in many details, so it is hard to get a clear picture.

    There is one interesting detail in John's account that I never noticed before looking it over just now. John 19:35 tells of one who supposedly witnessed the crucifixion: "He who saw it has borne witness–his testimony is true,and he knows that he tells the truth–that you might believe." ((The New Oxford Annotated Bible).

    I wonder who THAT was supposed to be. Anybody out there have a clue? It is like Paul's list in I Corinthians XV of the supposed witnesses of the resurrected Jesus. We are told that somebody actually SAW this stuff, but we do NOT have their accounts. Very frustrating.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00166981449450626434 Anthony

    Responding to Bradley, there is quite a bit more than assuming Jesus was dead for an hour. In order not to believe that he actually died, here are a few things you must also hold:

    1) A spear to the side did not finish the job if he had not already died.

    2) Roman soldiers whose livelihood (and lives, if the prisoner woke up and escaped) depended on accurately knowing whether a prisoner was dead gave the wrong diagnosis.

    3) Jesus survived in the tomb after severe blood loss due to flogging and crucifixion with no medical treatment and no food or water for two nights and a full day.

    If you take at least the narrative of the crucifixion at face value, there seems little doubt that Jesus was dead when he was buried.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00166981449450626434 Anthony

    Keith,
    The one referenced in John 19:35 is actually John himself. You can see 19:26 for his claim to have been present. He constantly refers to himself as "the disciple whom Jesus loved" in this Gospel. So actually, your wish is granted. We do have this man's account as an eyewitness.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16641266062186767500 Keith Parsons

    Anthony,

    This also is something that puzzles me. Why identify the "disciple whom Jesus loved," whoever that was, with the author of the Gospel of John? What is the connection other than hearsay or wishful thinking?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16486689503293063224 rmc92647

    At the time of Jesus birth there was a Roman census going on in Judea. The Romans were meticulous record keepers, many of their records still exist to this day. No one has ever come forth with a record of his birth, nor Mary of Joseph's birth. It certainly wasn't 'The Birthday of the Unconquered Sun' on Dec. 25th.
    (I just found this website, sorry for commenting off topic, but I've been wanting to say this to someone for some time to people who aren't going to get all upset because I am critically thinking about the myths in the bible.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00166981449450626434 Anthony

    Keith,
    The one referenced in John 19:35 is actually John himself. You can see 19:26 for his claim to have been present. He constantly refers to himself as "the disciple whom Jesus loved" in this Gospel. So actually, your wish is granted. We do have this man's account as an eyewitness.

    Keith,
    There are several reasons to believe that this unnamed disciple was John.

    1) Most of the other apostles are mentioned in this Gospel, but not John. This is especially important because John was one of the apostles who Jesus took with Him for prayer or to whom Jesus spoke privately, along with Peter and James. Instead, in John there is simply the "disciple whom Jesus loved" mentioned as one who was very close to Jesus. John is mentioned many times in all three other Gospels, so his absence in the fourth Gospel along with the presence of the "other disciple" in a place of prominence gives credence to the claim that it was John

    2) John 21:20-25 specifically states that this disciple was the author of this Gospel. Now, even though there is no verse that says John was the author, consider that the early church dismissed various other gospels attributed to Peter, Thomas, and others because they were known to be fake (despite what Dan Brown might say). If those close to the time in which it was written accepted it as genuine, and the scroll was attributed to John from the beginning, it stands to reason that this was because it was written by him.

    I hope this helps answer your question.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00166981449450626434 Anthony

    Sorry, I didn't mean to repost my second comment at the top of the last one.

    rmc92647,
    I think you may be reaching a bit here. While there was a census going on that brought Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem, expecting a birth record of each character in the narrative is too much. The Romans did not have birth certificates, and even if they did, Jesus was an extremely popular name at the time. As with the recent problem with James Cameron's claim to have found Jesus' tomb, any claim to have found his birth record would have to be met with skepticism. We do not have birth record for the prominent politicians and rulers of the day, much less a poor carpenter or his son.

    That being said, there are actually a number of extra-biblical authors that attest to his existence. You can see Josephus for one, a Jewish historian who was not inclined toward Christianity. This makes him a good unbiased source because he had nothing to gain by mentioning Jesus. If you are seeking good evidence that he actually lived, it is available.

    Finally, I agree that Dec. 25 is not actually Jesus' birthday. In fact, you will be hard pressed to find a Christian who does not agree with you. It is simply the day that His birth is celebrated. But if you are really looking for answers, I would encourage you not to begin by assuming the biblical stories are myths. Instead, take an objective approach and read the literature before making a decision about whether you believe it. You might be surprised by the evidence you find in favor of their authenticity.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16641266062186767500 Keith Parsons

    Anthony,

    Only the most conservative biblical scholars still maintain the apostolic authorship of the gospels. The reason is that all of the gospels, including John, show evidence of having been composed and edited over time by different people.

    Stephen S. Smalley has a nice article about John in The Oxford Companion to the Bible. He notes that in John there are variations in style and language, repetitions, and breaks in the sequence of events. The most reasonable explanation is that John, like the other Gospels, contains material from different sources that have been combined and edited.

    Smalley concludes that the composition of John seems to have occurred in these stages: First was the testimony of John the apostle, transmitted orally to his followers some years after the events. Second, the disciples of John committed his testimony to writing for the edification of the growing community, probably in Ephesus, of the Johannine Christians. Finally, after John's death, the church at Ephesus published a final edited version some time before 150.

    The upshot is that the Gospel of John in its present form is not unedited first-hand testimony. This does not mean that it is wholly unhistorical, of course. As Smalley notes, it contains some circumstantial detail that adds historical credibility. Yet, it is a crafted literary work, and quite a ways from unvarnished eyewitness testimony.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14081104561562163389 Rosser

    What is the significance of John's authorship? Does is impact the validity of the gospel of John whether it was written by John or someone close to him or to Jesus?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14810269295574884025 Novelyn

    Can we really draw a line between natural and supernatural? Everyone in the universe just has different levels of abilities to use their full brain capacity (that is, if brains exist elsewhere). Each world is most likely extremely different, we are all supernatural to eachother, therefore we are all one big happy, natural, family :) Lol.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16486689503293063224 rmc92647

    There is no birth record of Jesus even though the Romans were conducting a census of Judea at the time. There is no record of Joseph or Mary, either. The Romans were meticulous record keepers. The records from this time period still exist. They even counted the livestock. Nothing could escape the Roman census. Jesus is a legend, a myth, and a fabrication. He is no different than Babe the Blue Ox and Paul Bunyan. There were over two-hundred pacifist cults in the area at the time. The only diffence with Christianity is that when their leader died, they fabricated a reincarnation story to save face in the eyes of their peers. If Jesus had been real, the church would parade the evidence around proudly for all to see. Have some critical thinking skills, please! And while were on the subject, here's some more for you to ponder; If Jesus was born of divine intervention, without sex, then how could Joseph be his father? He couldn't come from the line of David that way, could he?
    And when it says 'he was a Nazarene as the prophets had foretold', they lie, read your Bible; no prophet EVER said the third king of Israel had to be from Nazareth, or a Nazarene. (and Nazarene's didn't drink wine, either). Paul never met Jesus. He was a gentile. When he said you don't have to be genetically a Jew to be Christian, he did so with no authority! When he said you didn't have to be circumsised, he lied, when he said it was okay to eat shellfish, he was full of it. I can go on and on with this stuff, however, you true believers will never buy it. I don't know why I'm wasting my time. The Bible is just a collection of ancient myths. Jesus was not the son of God, and didn't exist, and if he did exist,he sure as hell wasn't the saviour of the world.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16486689503293063224 rmc92647

    In regard to what Bradley Bowen said: When Pilate said he could find 'this man' guilty of no crime against Rome, he meant it. Roman law stated that the local law and customs would be observed in the occupied territories. In other words, when Pilate was through with Jesus, he would have turned him over to the Sanhedrine (sp i know.) The Jews would have stoned him to death in accordance with Jewish law concerning blasphemy.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14081104561562163389 Rosser

    rmc92647, Once again I am confused about your statements. I am not sure how you got a copy of the Roman census 2000 years ago, but that is awesome. What about Josephus? Were historians in 1st century making up other progenitors for other religions as well? To better sell their product? Or maybe Josephus and his work was made up by the Christ followers? Was he in the census? Why would disciples of a made up dude make claims that would cost them undo suffering and death, especially if they knew it was a farce?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05211466026535549638 Bradley Bowen

    Anthony said…

    In order not to believe that he actually died, here are a few things you must also hold:

    1) A spear to the side did not finish the job if he had not already died.

    2) Roman soldiers whose livelihood (and lives, if the prisoner woke up and escaped) depended on accurately knowing whether a prisoner was dead gave the wrong diagnosis.

    3) Jesus survived in the tomb after severe blood loss due to flogging and crucifixion with no medical treatment and no food or water for two nights and a full day.
    ============
    Response:

    1. The spear wound to Jesus' side is only mentioned in the fourth gospel, and there are good reasons to doubt the historical reliability of the fourth gospel in general, as well as good reasons to doubt the account of the crucifixion and resurrection in the fourth gospel. I have strong doubts about the spear wound story.

    2.If Roman soldiers never made mistakes in executions, then there would probably be no laws threatening severe consequences for failure to successfully carry out an excecution. So, your argument here is self-undermining. Remember "Zero tolerance" for drug use laws? Severe penalties were imposed because illegal drug use was perceived to be a serious problem.

    Furthermore, whatever the motivations and skills of Jesus' excecutioners might have been, they were not medical doctors trained in modern scientific medicine. The stethscope, for example, was invented in 1816, or about 1,800 years after Jesus was crucified. Even medical doctors trained in modern scientific medicine sometimes declare a person to be dead in error.

    3. Crucifixion does not cause severe blood loss, especially when the victim is tied rather than nailed to the cross.

    Flogging can produce severe blood loss if it is the flogging is severe, but we don't have any details in the gospel accounts about the severity of the flogging.

    The details people have in their minds come from sermons, paintings, movies, and other cultural artifacts that have no basis in historical facts.

    The tomb was allegedly found empty on Sunday by Jesus' disciples. So, Jesus could have left the tomb Friday night, or Saturday morning, for all we know.

    The story of the Roman soldiers guarding the tomb is probably not historical, and at any rate we don't have testimony from any Roman soldier who claims to have been at the tomb.

    What we have is second or third hand account of what Jesus' disciples experienced on Sunday after the crucifixion.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16486689503293063224 rmc92647

    You're not understanding it because you really believe there was a jesus.
    Mankind has been around for millions of years. Do you honestly believe that 2000 years ago God finally decided to let humans know what was going on in the world? Don't you think that God would be able to tell each and every human being, in her/his own language exactly what he wanted us to do, and not do? Jesus is no more real than Heracles, or Ishtar, or Jupiter…etc. If he existed, he was probably a schizophrenic whom got a lot of people to believe in his visions, and after time, like all myths and legends, his story was embellished upon. Did you know that the Escene monks that wrote the Bible wouldn't let anyone with a handicap into Heaven? Do you really think a story passed by word of mouth for a hundred years could be copied down with any degree of accuracy? Did you know Charlemane (a former sun worshiper) altered the Bible to his needs? Did you know that Constantine did the same? And King James, too? Do you realize there's a book of Jesus as a teenager? (He's a Tanner in that one) Did you know there was a book of Mary? (probably omitted because of sexisim) Did you know there was a book about Hell? How many books did someone in power, a long, long time ago omit from your so called Bible? How ignorant are you? Ever heard of the Summerians? The Book Of Gilgamesh? Funny they should have a story about Adam and Eve (called something else of course, but the story line was the same) What about the flood stories done by both the Greeks and Summerians long before your Bible? Get it through your head. The Bible is a myth, just a story from an ancient culture you haven't the slightest idea how to interpret.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14081104561562163389 Rosser

    rmc92647,
    Alright fine I'll quit answering questions with more questions. But wow, you ask a lot of questions. I have not heard of 68% of what you mentioned above. Probably cause I have not read materialist who write down conjectures and thoughts that help support (much needed) their materialism. But I'm not understanding why you bring up the Bible anyway. You do not believe in God. So of course you have aversion toward the Bible and say darn skippy to almost every anti-Bible statement out there. No argument there. So I can't get what you are saying through my head because I am not a materialist and have not found any good logical reasons to adhere to materialisms and its extremely illogical and improbable (and spitting-in-reason's-face type) implications about origin of the cosmos, life, etc. You have obviously found some good reasons. Can you share those in a less-question and more-answer type format?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16486689503293063224 rmc92647

    Gladly. I've read my Bible. Not selected chapters and verses. The entire book. Both King James, and Catholic versions. I've read books that people in the past thought best to omit from the Bible. I used to believe. But if you really examine the Scriptures and analize them, and study the past, and the reasons behind the decisions that were made (supposedly on your behalf) it should start making you ask some questions. You need to question your faith. You need to question it without fear of Hell or blasphemy. The points I brought up were off the top of my head. It would take hundreds of pages to detail all of the contradictions, half-truths, omissions, and bad translations that exist in the Bible. I only want to inspire you really look at you beliefs. Do you believe because you've been going to church since you were a child? Do you believe because if you don't you won't have a moral foundation to your life? Do you believe because your afraid to think of your purpose in life as being a mystery? If you look at how old everything in the universe is, and how short a span of time man/woman has on Earth, do you really think that for a mere hundred years of service to God that you deserve an eternity of paradise? Do you really think God is so cruel as to create mankind, and leave him in the dark for hundreds of thousands of years about his purpose on Earth, only to tell him in the last two-thousand? I never said there was no God. There might be a creator, there might not be a creator. I can't prove it one way or the other. All I know is that I have reason, and intelligence to guide me though life, and that by taking care of myself, and my community, and my planet, it doesn't really matter if there is a God or not. The Bible is a great tool for teaching morals and values, so is Aesop, Socrates, Plato, Homer,and many others…
    But, religion is tearing humanity apart. (Protestant vs. Catholics, Jews vs. Muslims, and so on…)
    Not to mention, and I ask you to answer this honestly (don't take it as a jibe, it's not meant that way) Can you show me one church on this planet that isn't entirely about profit or power? Can you show me one church that will give up its tax-free status? Where's your church that has no buildings, no employees, no overhead, and no profits? Really. Do you get my point now?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14081104561562163389 Rosser

    rmc, I have questioned my faith and continue to do so. I do not believe b/c I grew up in church (I didn't), for a source of morality (culture provides a very bad one), or for fear of the mystery of the unknown/hell/etc. (obviously if I did not believe in God, eternity without God would not sound scary.) I've studied biological sciences now for over a decade and have become more and more convinced as I learn more and more that there is a creator. Confirmation over and over again is all I've experienced from science, obviously materialist think differently. Moving on to the Bible and religion, though, which you seem fixated on, yes I know of a church you have described above, more than one. I get your point concerning anger/frustration with religion and how that compels those who are trying to interpret the strong evidence of creation to look elsewhere. But the bible is not self-defeating in that since, as it is clear everyone is a hyprocrite and religion can be more appalling to God than even those who don't believe God exists. If religion disgusts you, that is more of a commonality with the Bible. I am suprised to hear from a "former believer" that eternity in paradise has anything to do with "service to God" and that God "left us in the dark" for hundreds of thousands of years without purpose. Statements like that are a red flag to me that likely you did not understand the biblical worldview very well before denouncing it. The bible contridictions are frustrating and that take sometimes an annoyingly enormous amount of time to work through and understand. Fallability of the writers did not help this. So, agreed you could write a book on the subject. And yes your intelligence and adherance to cultural morality will get you through life just fine with the purpose you give yourself. Agreed. But if there wasn't a creator, evidence of such would not be so obvious. And if there is a creator, there is more purpose than what you give yourself and more reason to go through life just "fine." Thanks for the dialogue and your concern.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16486689503293063224 rmc92647

    It was enjoyable ranting and raving for the last week. I had a lot of fun making a lot of off the wall accusations. I find arguing with Christians to be entertaining from time to time, but now that time is over. I will never believe the Bible is anything other than a myth, and I will never believe a creator who gave a rats ass about us would give us un unquenchable curriosity, and yet no undeniable and/or unquestionable truths to base our reality upon. That's just my opinion. I wish people would quit looking for a God to save them, and start working together to solve the worlds problems, but I know that will never happen because so few people will even allow an open discussion about their faith without getting offended, or even outright violent.
    Religion is the root of all evil. It divides us, and teaches us to look for a savior instead of working our way though our problems. And if you insist of having a creator, ponder this for a moment; if there was some super intelligent life form/force in the universe, that was all knowing, all seeing, and omnipresent – don't you think he could get it right the first time? Do you think he would waste billions of years on dinosaurs, cockroaches, ants, and bacteria just to get to the really good creations of man and technology? Don't worry, I probably won't be posting on here anymore. I was just doing some research on a famous atheist, and stumbled across this site.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14081104561562163389 Rosser

    Thank goodness we didn't have a say on how to get it "right" the first time. Thanks for your thoughts, my time posting is up soon as well. Have to go back to my career eventually. (I know, "thank goodness").

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16486689503293063224 rmc92647

    Well, okay then. I'll elaborate on 'getting it right the first time.' Lets agree upon a few things first. (1) the big bang theory is correct (arguable, but we have to start somewhere.) (2) the laws of physics are universal (also arguable, but not as much.) (3) with the number of stars in space the odds of there being another carbon based life-form out there are highly probable. (I really like Carl Sagan, and all of his books!)
    Now, after avoiding gamma ray bursts, asteroids, meteorites, solar flares, and mutual nuclear destruction we find ourselves still here. It would seem a creator had His hand in our survival. It would appear that a creator had a definite well thought out plan for us. But lets look closer. Lets look at our DNA. What is the percentage of useless DNA in a typical humans genes? 98.5 %. Does that sound like a well thought out plan to you? How about percentage of habitable space in the universe? (Depending upon whose study you read) It is between 65% to 95% uninhabitable, lets just say 80%. Does that sound like a creator intentionally created the universe for carbon based life to you? We are here by random chance alone. The universe (all all the possible dimensions in it) are at best a giant machine whose purpose is far beyond our reasoning, and at worst a conglomeration of chaos whose meaning will probably never be known. The discussion about there being a creator or not is beyond the scope of any one man's imagination. People whom have come before us pondered this question, and came up empty handed; and they were by far more intelligent than we are now. As I said before, there may be a creator, and there may not be a creator. At this time there are many instances that could point to there being a creator – if that is what you want to see in the statistics; but there is just as much evidence to support random chaos in the universe. You shouldn't assume something without all the facts. You weren't there at the birth of the universe. You can't accurately tell me what will happen when iron has completely decomposed (the most stable isotope known.) Will we coalesce back together again into another big bang (perhaps this has happened several times already,)or will we reach the event horizon? Will the sun turn into a Red Giant? When? We won't be around for this stuff to happen, but it WILL happen. Why would a creator make all of this stuff, just to destroy it all, or have it all come apart in the end? With all of the inanimate objects in the universe, how come there is so little life there? Does this sound like the plan of a super intelligent creator? Oh well, believe what you want to believe, it was fun arguing with you. I hope I haven't ruffled your feathers too much. Peace.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16486689503293063224 rmc92647

    Well, okay then. I'll elaborate on 'getting it right the first time.' Lets agree upon a few things first. (1) the big bang theory is correct (arguable, but we have to start somewhere.) (2) the laws of physics are universal (also arguable, but not as much.) (3) with the number of stars in space the odds of there being another carbon based life-form out there are highly probable. (I really like Carl Sagan, and all of his books!)
    Now, after avoiding gamma ray bursts, asteroids, meteorites, solar flares, and mutual nuclear destruction we find ourselves still here. It would seem a creator had His hand in our survival. It would appear that a creator had a definite well thought out plan for us. But lets look closer. Lets look at our DNA. What is the percentage of useless DNA in a typical humans genes? 98.5 %. Does that sound like a well thought out plan to you? How about percentage of habitable space in the universe? (Depending upon whose study you read) It is between 65% to 95% uninhabitable, lets just say 80%. Does that sound like a creator intentionally created the universe for carbon based life to you? We are here by random chance alone. The universe (all all the possible dimensions in it) are at best a giant machine whose purpose is far beyond our reasoning, and at worst a conglomeration of chaos whose meaning will probably never be known. The discussion about there being a creator or not is beyond the scope of any one man's imagination. People whom have come before us pondered this question, and came up empty handed; and they were by far more intelligent than we are now. As I said before, there may be a creator, and there may not be a creator. At this time there are many instances that could point to there being a creator – if that is what you want to see in the statistics; but there is just as much evidence to support random chaos in the universe. You shouldn't assume something without all the facts. You weren't there at the birth of the universe. You can't accurately tell me what will happen when iron has completely decomposed (the most stable isotope known.) Will we coalesce back together again into another big bang (perhaps this has happened several times already,)or will we reach the event horizon? Will the sun turn into a Red Giant? When? We won't be around for this stuff to happen, but it WILL happen. Why would a creator make all of this stuff, just to destroy it all, or have it all come apart in the end? With all of the inanimate objects in the universe, how come there is so little life there? Does this sound like the plan of a super intelligent creator? Oh well, believe what you want to believe, it was fun arguing with you.


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