It’s A Miracle!

Well, it would be if it had happened spontaneously.

Jeff Kepner just became the country’s first double amputee to receive hand transplants. Amazing as that may seem (or perhaps not so amazing considering what else has been transplanted lately)  what’s really amazing is that no one’s praising god for the results. Maybe we are finally beginning to understand why good things happen to people. It’s not because they are blessed, it’s not because they don’t have sin on their soul, it’s not because someone prayed for them. No, it’s usually because they are lucky, they live well, they are in the right place at the right time, they have the resources to ensure good things, they have good friends and family around them, or they’re just plain lucky. Did I mention luck?

In Jeff’s case, he had a devoted, caring, interested, well informed wife, who thought that he might make a good candidate for a relatively new medical transplant procedure she read about. He then found a good doctor, along with his medical team, who determined that he was indeed a good candidate, and who was willing the perform the operation.   He also happened to be born, and suffered through the loss of his limbs, at a time when  medical technology had reached the stage where an operation like this could be performed.

Unfortunately, someone had to die in order for him to receive these new limbs. That someone left behind a 15 month old child.  So the story is not all happiness and light.

I can’t emphasize too strongly that god had nothing to do with this. In the entire recorded history of mankind, he has never seen fit to restore a limb to anyone that lost one, regardless of how deserving they were for a miracle. It didn’t matter if they lost their limb to an accident, it didn’t matter whether they relied on their hands to make a living, it didn’t matter whether they were rich or poor, good or bad. No one has ever spontaneously regenerated a limb, and no one will.

I mentioned this before, but for some reason, miracles are not in abundance anymore, while, according to scripture, they were almost a common, everyday occurrence in ancient times. Coincidentally, ancient times were not a time known for scrupulous, accurate, at-least-two-sources reporting. So what happened to god? Why doesn’t he restore limbs, or for that matter, perform miracles anymore? (There goes, SI, asking those rhetorical questions again. {sigh}).

I know some of you will say that he does, but in the Bible, he performs miracles that are easily and readily attributed to him. Jesus provided food for thousands of people with only a few fish and loaves of bread. He brought dead people back to life.  He cured lepers.  He knocked down solid stone city walls with just the toot of a few horns.  He turned people into salt. He split massive bodies of water in half  so whole populations could escape oppressors. In all these examples, god’s work is evident. He actually speaks to the beneficiaries and takes credit.

Today, people pray over sick children, and if they get better, the faithful are quick to give him credit,  but where is he actually taking credit like he does in the Bible?  Busy plastering his picture over truck tailgates or his mother’s on a bird dropping, apparently.  (Praise the Lord! Splat!)  Of course, as I mentioned, we have much stricter standards for evidence these days. We want cool, logical proof. Or at least quantifiable, repeatable evidence. We are skeptical by default. We have these standards of proof, today, because we’ve been burned in the past.

Mankind has had it’s share of charlatans who claim divine connections, but they never pan out. We’ve had whole periods of history defined by beliefs in utter nonsense. Mankind, like individual humans, has grown, and with growth comes knowledge and maturity. We won’t be fooled again, so we insist on standardized proof.

And within the ambit of a logical system of proof, miracles just don’t occur. Sure, we still have things that are unexplainable, but there are no such thing as certified miracles. We look at alleged miracles, and we withhold judgment, until no other explanation is forthcoming, or possible. Usually, things we might have ascribed to miracles in the past, turn out to have natural explanations, and given that fact, we are smart to withhold judgment on those things that are claimed to be miracles today, because the odds are pretty good that they aren’t.

So Jeff Kepner is just damned lucky. He has a lot of science, and medicine, and good, well trained people to thank. And a good wife.

But not god.

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77 thoughts on “It’s A Miracle!

  1. Excellent post.

    We look at alleged miracles, and we withhold judgment, until no other explanation is forthcoming, or possible.

    As Mr. Spock says, “when all other possibilities have been ruled out, then whatever remains, no matter how improbable, has to be correct.” That’s not exactly what he said (in Star Trek VI, The Undiscovered Country, I think), but it’s pretty close.

    Even if one puts “miracle” on a list of possible explanations for an event, experience has taught that it should be very low on the list, because it has so often not been the right answer to the question.

  2. Here’s a perfect example of what I mean when I say your commitment to objectivity is only screen-deep:

    In the entire recorded history of mankind, he has never seen fit to restore a limb to anyone that lost one, regardless of how deserving they were for a miracle.

    How the hell would any of us know? Maybe what it says in the Bible was true? The correct statement is that there is no scientifically usable evidence to support the claim that God heals amputees whenever we ask Him. Huge difference, yet you act as if you know when you don’t.

    ..I mentioned this before, but for some reason, miracles are not in abundance anymore,

    Yet, when somebody presents a healing that took place days after intercessory prayer, in the absence of significant markers typically accompanying SR, it’s dismissed as SR with no counter argument or explanation whatsoever. SI just draws a line in the sand, and says we can’t cross it. Any miracle claim will be unacceptable because you already have your mind made up.

    We want cool, logical proof. Or at least quantifiable, repeatable evidence.

    Right, that which can only be obtained by science, which is the investigation of natural phenomena. That’s what I mean when I say your goalposts are safely cemented in the parking lot as opposed to the playing field.

    We have these standards of proof, today, because we’ve been burned in the past.

    That’s exactly what you said about panhandlers. I thought about it in depth here. Basically – sure – there’s a certain psychological security that comes from adhering dogmatically to an across-the-board rule where we only accept ideas supported by empirical evidence, but this also means we’ll never accept a correct idea that isn’t currently supported by empirical evidence just because it happens to be ahead of its time. Similarly, there’s a certain psychological security in denying all panhandlers so we’ll never get burned again, but this also means we can never give anything to any panhandler who truly needs it. I guess it’s all a matter of what the individual deems more important.

  3. I am still alive. I am crippled, I am scarred, but I am still alive, in cases where others around me died.

    The first time this happened I was six years old. A friend of mine and I were chasing around and we ran into the street. I stopped short he ran past me and there was a car.

    Some part of the car cut my lip and nose, my friend was somewhat less lucky, as were his parents, because he was killed and his parents watched this happen. (I actually remember the day up to the point that we were running. Then I remember being in school sometime later, about two weeks {holioday was involved, a good guide} and there is a hole in my memory for that time)

    My parents and others have told me that this was a “miracle”, but I think that my friend’s parents don’t see it that way and wouldn’t if you pressed them.

  4. CL

    Here’s a perfect example of why I don’t read your blog.

    How the hell would any of us know? Maybe what it says in the Bible was true? The correct statement is that there is no scientifically usable evidence to support the claim that God heals amputees whenever we ask Him. Huge difference, yet you act as if you know when you don’t.

    At the risk of repeating myself ad nauseam, I don’t write a peer reviewed journal. I write a personal blog, where I put up my personal opinions. As personal opinions, they have a tendency to be subjective, but as I said in my “About” page, I do it to test my thinking. I invite comments, and have no problem with anyone telling me I’m wrong.

    But frankly I’m sick and tired of having you come here and tell me that I didn’t write it correctly, that I should have written it your way. Instead of actually addressing the substance of my writing, you criticize my form. That’s OK once in awhile, but when it’s all you do, it gets very tiresome. So why would I want to leave the comfort of my blog and go to yours, only to have everything I say over there infinitely parsed?

    Now look at what I wrote, and what you want.

    In the entire recorded history of mankind, he has never seen fit to restore a limb to anyone that lost one, regardless of how deserving they were for a miracle.

    First, I don’t believe “he” exists, so clearly I’m making a point here. The point is that if “he” doesn’t do something that “he’s” clearly capable of doing then the odds are good that “he” doesn’t exist. Did you miss that?

    Second, what I said is the same thing you want me to say, with different words. If you didn’t understand that, then please, tell me what language you were born into, because it’s clearly not English. Are you Chinese? Latvian? Hispanic? What?

    Third, as usual, you deflect the discussion from the substance of my statement. If you disagree with what I said, then counter it with the specific cases in recorded history where human limbs have miraculously regenerated themselves. If that’s your contention,the burden has now shifted to you to show evidence of what you contend.

    I have a BA in History, I consider myself fairly well read in the subject (though no expert), I have a continuing life-long interest in it, and in my reading, I have never seen any recorded instance of such a miracle. And while I don’t consider the Bible recorded history, and admittedly haven’t read the whole thing, I don’t remember any instance of limbs being spontaneously regenerated there either. So if you have, put up or shut up.

    Right, that which can only be obtained by science, which is the investigation of natural phenomena. That’s what I mean when I say your goalposts are safely cemented in the parking lot as opposed to the playing field.

    Get real. If you’re waiting for me to move the goalposts into the supernatural cheering section, you’re going to get a good taste of the infinite you hunger for after death.

  5. Yeah. And you know, there’s a little lizard (Gecko?) down in Florida that, as a defense mechanism, will lose its tail if you grab it by the tail, or if a predator does. The tail keeps twitching, to give the predator the impression that they still have a live prey, while the rest of the lizard secures its escape. Then the tail grows back.

    You think god could have been so generous with humans? Noooooo.

  6. Fantastic story. The amount of work to connect a lower arm astounds me, and I’m simply in awe of the fact that it’s been done. I’d really like to know just how much dexterity he has, and how much might be developed over time. Needless to say, I and the wife have a keen appreciation for our hands. Hands and eyes, without those I’m fucked. AfaIk, they still haven’t managed a full eye transplant yet, just corneal transplants.

  7. Hands and eyes, without those I’m fucked.

    Yeah, especially if someone locks you in a room with doorknobs all over the walls!

    That was from a Helen Keller joke I heard when I was a kid.

  8. cl:

    How the hell would any of us know? Maybe what it says in the Bible was true?

    There’s a story of the restoration of an amputated limb in the Bible? Why should one think that such a story is the type of evidence on which one can base a reasonable conclusion?

    cl:

    Yet, when somebody presents a healing that took place days after intercessory prayer, …

    The diagnosis of a tumor based on that POS MRI image is insufficient to reasonably conclude that a tumor existed let alone disappeared.

  9. Spanish Inquisitor “The point is that if “he” doesn’t do something that “he’s” clearly capable of doing then the odds are good that “he” doesn’t exist.”
    You don’t know much about theology, do you? If He doesn’t do what He should/could/can, then we have to figure out why He doesn’t. Did you hear that it’s your own fault, sinner? That’s a remarkably common refrain. Or He uses suffering to bring you closer to Him. Doesn’t that sound nice? Or it’s soul-building. Y’know, the soul that immaterial and unharmable. Or, He could, but He doesn’t want to mess with your free will. Y’know, the free will to have polio. Or…

  10. Tommykey “SI, I think god accidentally gave that power to star fish by mistake!”
    And one cut-in-half planarian equals two planarian. Now that’s regeneration. I still feel a little bad about cutting mine in two in biology class. Poor little dude…uh, dudes.

  11. With all the other nonsense cl managed to spout in objection to your post, SI, I really am surprised he didn’t attack this part:

    No one has ever spontaneously regenerated a limb, and no one will.

    See? You are not a rational skeptic! How can you make this declaration? You can’t even prove there is no god. How can you claim to know “no one will”? This is a faith statement, SI. You are *no different* than cl. Probably *worse*.

    Since he is defending the Kayla case as a “potential” miracle, then he is of a mind that god “might” still be performing miracles.

    But if he is, why perform miracles that would be of such scant ability to identify as a miracle? Why is cl so befuddled by it that he has to closely guard the language he uses regarding it? Why is he and thousands of others unable to stand up and scream out “Are you *blind*? This clearly goes beyond any naturalistic explanation we can come up with”? If the Kayla case is *so striking*, why isn’t medical science scrambling all over itself, trying to figure out what the fuck happened? Why do we only hear about the case from cl’s links? Why isn’t this a *huge* story? Or at least as big a story as a guy who has two hands reattached by medical science? Why doesn’t god do *any* of the miracles that SI mentioned above (if, indeed, he is bothering with miracles at all)?

    There is no god.

  12. You don’t know much about theology, do you? If He doesn’t do what He should/could/can, then we have to figure out why He doesn’t. Did you hear that it’s your own fault, sinner? That’s a remarkably common refrain. Or He uses suffering to bring you closer to Him. Doesn’t that sound nice? Or it’s soul-building. Y’know, the soul that immaterial and unharmable. Or, He could, but He doesn’t want to mess with your free will. Y’know, the free will to have polio. Or…

    Oh, shit. My bad.

  13. SI,

    You accuse me of semantics and wordplay, then:

    There once was a man named See-El,
    Whose beliefs in heaven and hell,
    He claimed were quite sensible,
    Tho’ clearly irrational,
    Resulting in a terrible smell.

    Maybe, just maybe, some other person can see the inconsistency.

    PhillyChief,

    “Why doesn’t god…” arguments are silly.

    Cheers to that.

  14. I’m sorry, Philly. I’m in a silly mood today and shouldn’t take it out on all of SI’s readers. It’s Friday and perhaps I’m giddy about the imminent return of Gideon. Anyway, while it *is* silly in the grander sense of rational dialogue, in light of cl asking us to question the meaning of Kayla’s recovery, I think the questions are acceptable – when queried of *him*. But I’m not going to his blog to do so because I’m closed-minded to over-the-top silliness.

  15. You accuse me of semantics and wordplay, then:

    {snip limerick}

    Maybe, just maybe, some other person can see the inconsistency.

    Oh, fer crissake.

    You don’t even know what I’m talking about when I accuse you of using semantics instead of argumentation, do you? (I don’t think I ever used the term “wordplay”).

    Let me give you a hint: It’s not when I take a thought and relay it in verse, rather than prose.

  16. SI,

    You responded to the “semantics” part of my statement, when it was actually “wordplay” that referred to your limerick. But it’s all really moot anyways. I made my point, you made yours, on to the next.

    Evo,

    “I’m giddy about the imminent return of Gideon.” Me too! The rest of your sneering is noted, but I’d be more interested if you tried to hold a conversation over either of the posts I wrote. It’s far too easy to deny and deride.

  17. nal,

    Some of your criticism is valid. I wrote hastily. I do not know of a story in the Bible where an amputated limb was restored. I don’t see a reason to present the Bible story I had in mind, because I doubt we’ll be able to agree it constitutes a restored limb.

    Why should one think that such a story is the type of evidence on which one can base a reasonable conclusion?

    Although Evo likes to make me look like a dummy by claiming otherwise, I don’t think Kayla’s case supports a reasonable conclusion on its own. I asked the “How the hell” question to show that SI pretends to know when he doesn’t, which is the same thing skeptics typically chide believers for.

    The diagnosis of a tumor based on that POS MRI image is insufficient to reasonably conclude that a tumor existed let alone disappeared.

    While you’re looking at a 2-inch wide 72dpi screen shot, still, in that single sentence you’ve already offered a more cogent rebuttal to Kayla’s case than SI’s poor logic – which was to claim that “since SR occurs without prayer, something other than gods is going on” in Kayla’s case. At least your challenging actual evidence instead of just making stuff up under the pretense of rationalism.

  18. Evo,

    Since he is defending the Kayla case as a “potential” miracle, then he is of a mind that god “might” still be performing miracles.

    How about just stopping and trying to hear what it is I’m saying for even a single second please? For the umpteenth time, I don’t know if Kayla’s case was a genuine miracle or not. What you call “closely guarding language” is what responsible writers call accuracy. Whereas SI feels fit to present his own opinions as knowledge claims, I do not, because in this case we don’t know. We reason.

    Why do we only hear about the case from cl’s links?

    That’s not true either, John, and let me ask: if you’re this big rationalist and objective searcher for truth, why aren’t you conducting your own investigation? Isn’t the fact that I’ve actually tracked these people down in the real world and talked to them worth anything? Are you completely blind to the fact that I’ve rallied against all the Christian parroting bloggers who simply cut-and-paste a truth or two alongside a bunch of unsubstantiated hype? You act like I’m trying to get you guys to swallow Kayla’s case and become Christians when I’m every bit as skeptical of it as you are. I honestly have no idea what happened, but I do know that what happened is consistent with a miracle, and to that degree we must accept it as evidence of a miracle. Still – as SI and I have agreed – it remains a single data point. Honestly, in isolation I consider it a blip on the radar in terms of the case you guys are looking for.

    I don’t see how any rational person can have a problem with any of that.

  19. Sorry to leave four in a row, but I should add to the above: I am interested in hearing a reasoned case for SR. I’m willing to accept that Kayla’s case can also be considered SR if someone can make a reasoned argument. To simply say, “SR occurs without prayer so something besides gods is going on” in Kayla’s case is not cogent in the least bit.

  20. SI,

    You responded to the “semantics” part of my statement, when it was actually “wordplay” that referred to your limerick. But it’s all really moot anyways. I made my point, you made yours, on to the next.

    No, I won’t let you get away with that. It’s not moot.

    You used two words to describe my limerick, “semantics” and “wordplay”.

    I never accused you of wordplay, only using what amounts to semantic arguments, rather than substantive arguments. You now admit that my limerick is not a “semantic” trick, but mere “wordplay”, something I’ve never accused you of. So when you say “Maybe, just maybe, some other person can see the inconsistency.”, you’re just dealing another semantic sleight of hand. Accuse me of doing the same thing (semantics) when all you have a problem with is “wordplay”.

    What you really object to is my effective and exceedingly eloquent use of poetry.

    I rest my case.

    I am interested in hearing a reasoned case for SR.

    OK, See-El, I’ve had a couple of snorts tonight, and I know I’ll kick myself for this, but lets see what we can do with SR.

    I’m not sure your quote of mine is correct, but it’s close, so let’s go with it.

    “SR occurs without prayer so something besides gods is going on”

    I’m sure you’ll nitpick my every word, so I’ll try to be concise. I’m sure I’ll fail.

    Lets say you have 50 Kayla’s, all with a diagnosis of a tumor, without any invasive biopsy to determine whether it’s malignant or not.

    For 10 of the Kayla’s, their church, friends, family and the world pray over them, lay hands on them, dip them in holy water, or otherwise make some kind of religious appeal to god to destroy the tumor. No one prays over or for the other 40. All 50 are treated equally by doctors, hospitals and other secular facilities according to the usual, acceptable medical protocols of the moment. Statistically, assume that 10% will experience SR. (These are all assumptions. I have no idea what the statistical % of SR actually is.)

    With these assumptions, that means that one of the prayed for Kaylas and 4 of the non-prayed for Kaylas will experience SR.

    The fact that one was “miraculously” cured, while ignoring the other four in which there was no religious intervention, is what I was talking about with my quote. If my example holds, and I don’t think you ever disagreed with the fact that SR occurs both with and without prayer, it means that in those 4 cases, it appears that religion had nothing to do with them, or if it did, it wasn’t overt. No one was claiming a miracle in those other 4 cases, so there must be something going on that is not religious, when it comes to SR. Or are you saying that the other 4 Kaylas got some secret, non-obvious collateral religious benefit from all the praying over the 1 Kayla?

    What’s not “cogent” about that?

  21. OK, SI has been drinking and I don’t think he fully gets what cl is looking for. I think I do (though you never know with this guy) and I’ll attempt an answer. But I do have to say a couple things first.

    cl – please stop using your tools of disingenuity and obfuscation. SI has repeatedly and correctly called you out on this, and your main response has been a crude “you are the ones doing it”.

    You chastise me for “not listening” or “not honestly reflecting” your views. I said:
    Since he is defending the Kayla case as a “potential” miracle, then he is of a mind that god “might” still be performing miracles.” It’s a very minimal statement and doesn’t overstep any reasonable bounds. You rip me for it, but end up saying: “I do know that what happened is consistent with a miracle, and to that degree we must accept it as evidence of a miracle.

    Tell me how *anyone* could look at that and say you are not defending it as a potential miracle or that you do not think god might still be performing such? What was so reprehensible about my statement? In fact, I made any number of statements and questions that you *could have* responded to, but you chose to rip me on a red herring (oh, and pointing out needlessly that I added an “ing” to a word! Nice work).

    This is so typical of your style here and elsewhere on the net and its why you get such little respect – not because you “challenge us”. It’s the *real* reason Philly calls you a douche. Act differently and get treated differently – just like everywhere else in life, partner.

    OK, let’s get back to your question – which is a *very* reasonable one and I will – yet again try to answer you in a like manner. (Good luck, Evo).

    I think we’ll both agree that the human body is capable of *many* things that science is not yet fully able to explain, we know the body is doing it, and there is no need to invoke god(s). Since you like clarity – I’m not saying (for the moment) my usual “there are no god(s)”. I’m am simply stating what I think we both agree on: that there are *things* that while only partially, or not at all, understood are still happening with or without god(s).

    The body has an amazing capacity for healing and regeneration. We *do* know a lot about how it happens. In some cases, we know *virtually everything* about how it happens. In others we know little or nothing. It’s perfectly conceivable that SR is simply an immune system reaction. Maybe Kayla’s youth was a factor in her favor. Perhaps in 1/1000 cases or 1/100000 cases, cancers spread to certain extent and die. I don’t know.

    And I have no problem saying that, any more than I have a problem saying I don’t know what happened before the Big Bang. I *do* know that there are a lot of people who are a *whole lot more intelligent* than I am working on finding answers. They’ve found an incredible amount already, doing it the way they do. I wish them well and so do you. Because the things *they* find make our lives easier, safer and longer. Nothing else has ever had these two results – right?

  22. Before cl says anything –

    “Nothing else has ever had these 3 results.” I added ‘safer’ and forgot to change the following sentence.

  23. I know I make more than my share of mistakes so I just kind of took cl’s word for it on my latest error. But…?

    Why is cl so befuddled by it that he has to closely guard the language he uses regarding it?

    Now, cl, I accept in advance your apology and I anticipate you’ll add that it wasn’t what you had a problem with *really*. It was the part about: “what responsible writers call accuracy.

    But, *again* (and going back *again* to what SI criticizes you for) this completely misses the point of what I’m saying. First, I am *not* suggesting you should do this in the Kayla case. What I’m talking about is the nature of the potential miracle itself. That you and others have to look for miracles in places where it would be totally unreasonable to sound off about it, since no one is rising from the dead, regenerating limbs or walking on water – all cases that would indeed cause an extreme sensation. I’m pointing out that the supposed creator of the universe is involved in some mighty petty things to be questioning them as potential “miracles”.

    Finally, you said and asked: …John, and let me ask: if you’re this big rationalist and objective searcher for truth, why aren’t you conducting your own investigation?

    I’ll allow you to withdraw this before I say it is the single most preposterous question you have yet posed. I’ll just say my best answer to this comes in the form of one of the many unanswered questions *I* asked *you*: If the Kayla case is *so striking*, why isn’t medical science scrambling all over itself, trying to figure out what the fuck happened?

    You aren’t seriously suggesting that I insert myself into this situation, tell the medical establishment that they suffer from acute lack of curiosity and conduct studies myself – are you?

  24. This is the only comment I’m leaving here.

    Cl:

    I’ve been awfully quiet the last few days but following the frantic activity over here with morbid interest. We’ve had some very reasonable discussions you and I, but, with regards to a lot of your discussions with other atheists, it does seem like you continue to get yourself into these types of discussions over and over again–discussions that end up centering almost exclusively on side issues and “who said what and when.”

    While this is, no doubt, sometimes due to the fact that you don’t always get a fair hearing, I have to admit I’ve seen you engage in some of the behavior that Evo has described above, and I’d urge you to give some serious thought to his words. Specifically where he says:

    “You chastise me for “not listening” or “not honestly reflecting” your views. I said: “Since he is defending the Kayla case as a “potential” miracle, then he is of a mind that god “might” still be performing miracles.” It’s a very minimal statement and doesn’t overstep any reasonable bounds. You rip me for it, but end up saying: “I do know that what happened is consistent with a miracle, and to that degree we must accept it as evidence of a miracle. ” Tell me how *anyone* could look at that and say you are not defending it as a potential miracle or that you do not think god might still be performing such? What was so reprehensible about my statement? In fact, I made any number of statements and questions that you *could have* responded to, but you chose to rip me on a red herring (oh, and pointing out needlessly that I added an “ing” to a word! Nice work). This is so typical of your style here and elsewhere on the net and its why you get such little respect – not because you “challenge us”.

    If you ask me to cite examples of you doing this type of thing, I won’t, because, frankly, I lack the patience. In fact, if you even thought, while reading this, of asking me to cite examples, I’m going to ask you to pause and consider that you’re going directly down the same road AGAIN. You’ve said in the past that you respect me, and I’m going to have to rest my case on the good will and respect we’ve built up until now. If you respect me, then you know that I’m giving you my honest assessment of what I have observed and not just blindly siding with atheists.

    I’m not saying you’re 100% to blame for the reception you get here or anywhere else in the blogosphere, but I think any person who claims to seek the truth and aspires to any level of self awareness would have to consider at least the possibility that they themselves are contributing to a situation they constantly find themselves in.

    You may disagree with the substance of what Deacon Duncan, Philly, SI, or Evo argue about atheism versus theism. You might object to their tone and the way they address you. But I think you should at least consider some of what they say about your own approach which I think they might at times rightly label as “intellectual ballbusting” on less than airtight language and peripheral issues.

  25. The reason why arguments over the behavior of a god are silly is because it’s existence is in doubt, so quibbling over whether it likes this or that or would do this or that is pure mental masturbation, and perhaps the silliest example I’ve heard yet is arguing that it’s possible to be “adequately prepared” in case any one of the believed to exist gods were real. That’s just a multi-layer cake of silliness that reaches so high it disappears into the clouds.

  26. Which is why I spend so much time and effort writing, commenting and arguing about the existence of god. It’s just stupid arguing about these side issues, if he/she/it doesn’t exist, because each and every side issue takes as it’s unstated assumption that god exists.

    I’ll be damned as if I’m going to change my life because some sick little girl in East Bohunk suddenly got well.

  27. What a great post!

    Bible God & the Greek gods all have the same ancient record of greatness. But if I wanted to be a theists, I would pick a Greek God. Like Bible-God there would be no miracles, but the Greek ones are fun. Take Dionysus, the god of wine, for instance.

  28. SI,

    Re Kayla, thank you for finally supporting your claim after dozens and dozens of irrelevant comments. I would like to address your claim and ask a few questions even, but what’s the point, really? There are still a few other unanswered questions about Kayla’s case that I feel you need to answer, but hey.

    You now admit that my limerick is not a “semantic” trick, but mere “wordplay”, something I’ve never accused you of.

    Um, no… I never intended “semantic” to apply to “limerick.” You also misunderstood the “inconsistency” I referred to: It had to deal with you hypocritically saying my arguments lack substance, then offering limericks.

    Anyways, it is all moot, SI. This whole thing is moot. You asked for evidence. I exposed legitimate weakness in your criteria that made your request fatally flawed from the getgo. Even though you never refined your criteria, I still offered three more data points and asked why they couldn’t constitute “evidence for God.” The morass that’s happened here is exactly why I wanted you to get tighter on your criteria in the first place.

    Evo,

    But, *again* (and going back *again* to what SI criticizes you for) this completely misses the point of what I’m saying.

    SI should criticize my arguments, not me. You guys really need to get that through your skulls. Now, if I misunderstood something you said, that would make sense that I’d respond to it out-of-context, no? So next time, instead of just assuming all the “douche jack-ass troll obfuscator” crap, just ask? Say, “cl, did you understand what I meant when I said…?”

    What I’m talking about is the nature of the potential miracle itself. That you and others have to look for miracles in places where it would be totally unreasonable to sound off about it, since no one is rising from the dead, regenerating limbs or walking on water – all cases that would indeed cause an extreme sensation. I’m pointing out that the supposed creator of the universe is involved in some mighty petty things to be questioning them as potential “miracles”.

    That’s a separate discussion I’d love to have, but wasn’t this about evidence for God, of which I offered four data points of which 1 was addressed? When somebody doesn’t understand what you intended to convey the first time around, other options exist besides “the other person is obfuscating.” What’s perhaps most frustrating about talking to you is your constant assumption of negativity on my behalf. I’m not a douche. I’m not a jack-ass. I’m not some trickster trying to score points over a bunch of guys online. I’m a person trying to get through all this stuff just like you, and all the nonsense gets really old. And of course – all this talk about me later – and still not a peep on my responses.

    I use words the way I do in order to accurately convey what I really believe. Tell me, John – what can I do to show you that I want to get to some kind of common ground with at least you and SI here (Philly’s hopeless)?

    Let’s try it your way. You lead.

    Lifeguard,

    Hey, you take my side some times, other times I expect that you won’t. No big deal. I do think this wasn’t the best time to leave me out to dry, though, as aside from misunderstand a statement or two, I’ve really not done anything here besides defend my claims. As for the specific words of Evo’s you suggested I look at, it sounded to me like Evo was trying to say I didn’t have the balls to say whether Kayla’s case was a miracle or not. Apparently, Evo was trying to say something else – that the fact we’re debating the case at all means whatever miracles are purported to occur today were not like the miracles of biblical lore. That I misunderstand him is no sign of bad faith or obfuscation, so don’t you get sucked into all this “cl is obfuscating” stuff because I’m not trying to confuse or mislead anyone when I bust these guys’ balls.

    I usually always think your disagreement is reasoned, and rarely ever of the “party lines” style. That said, I’m a little disappointed here, not because you criticize me – but because you didn’t criticize anyone else when it would have most certainly been warranted. I mean, SI’s writing limericks about me, yet claiming I don’t address the meat of the arguments. Don’t I have some kind of point?

    Yes, on pretty much any atheist blog I go on, the same pattern eventually emerges: there are always 3-4 regular readers of the host who simply cannot stand me, and they’re the ones that end up like Philly, Evo and SI – resorting to making personal attacks and comments, doing the same thing they criticize me for, ganging up and forcing me to write longer and more frequent responses then complaining about it – and then there’s always the 1-2 people who can see where I’m coming from, and who can admit to the silliness and BS on behalf of their own team. In our case over here, you were of the latter group. Remember, it was you who withdrew way back then because of the way some of these guys were acting, for example, calling me a troll while sending a real troll loose on Chaplain’s blog. So keep all that in mind when observing our inability to converse efficiently. Keep in mind that Philly’s like a broken record that says “douche jack-ass troll douche jack-ass troll” over and over again. The reason things are the way they are here is pretty easy to discern.

    Now, why is that, in your opinion? I realize you said you were only leaving one comment here, but since folks like you and I seem to be able to converse in a productive and civil manner, perhaps these guys would benefit from a few pointers. Perhaps I would benefit.

    Lastly – relax guys – it’s all just blogging.

  29. Also SI, while I’m glad you elaborated on your claim, still, it doesn’t take into account my question about markers: what I still would like to ask from you is why you get to assume Kayla’s case was SR with no evidence or investigation of your own. Certainly that’s a reasonable question, isn’t it?

    The way I see it, here’s where we’re at: You asked for evidence; I quibbled over your criteria; you begrudgingly but eventually accepted that criticism; I offered Kayla’s case as my first data point; you conceded it was weak evidence for miracles but still have not answered whether you think it is weak evidence for God; I agreed Kayla’s case was weak evidence if nothing else because it was a single data point; I offered three other data points in an extended post of my own; you still haven’t checked out the other data points.

    Not trying to beat a dead horse, just trying to see if we’re not a lot closer to common ground than you might think. IMO, it would probably be productive if we re-hashed what is and isn’t evidence, and why, like I said in the beginning. If we spent the last 100 comments converging there, I think we would have been better off. At first you asked for proof, but to return to my original question, what would you accept as evidence?

  30. I’m not saying you’re 100% to blame for the reception you get here or anywhere else in the blogosphere…

    I will. You reap what you sow, and we know what he sows. I don’t blame you for not wanting to hunt for examples of his antics, but it’s damn tempting, isn’t it? Frankly, I think you’re fucked either way. Don’t, and you’ll get called on it. Do, and you’ll ask yourself, “how fucked up is my life that I’d waste all that time to prove some guy on the internet is a douche?”

  31. I still would like to ask from you is why you get to assume Kayla’s case was SR with no evidence or investigation of your own…

    Frankly I don’t remember every saying I assumed that. In fact, I said it was one data point of evidence for a miracle, so how you conclude my assumption is not clear. It’s also one data point of evidence for SR. It’s also one data point of evidence for fraud. It’s also one data point of evidence for alien intervention. It’s also one data point of evidence for mass delusion. It’s also one data point of evidence for something totally inexplicable and unknown at the moment. It’s just a data point of evidence. It’s proof of nothing. I don’t assume it’s anything, without more information.

    …with no evidence or investigation of your own.

    And you’re the proponent of the claim; the burden is on you to prove it. It’s not my burden to prove or refute it.

    When you submit your other three pieces of evidence here, I’ll be happy to comment on them. I’m not going all over the internet to do this, while trying to keep the discussion here.

    And no, I don’t think it’s weak evidence for god. That takes a leap of logic I’m not willing to make. You could actually prove it’s a true, supernatural miracle, and you still have nothing that points to your god.

  32. Frankly I don’t remember every saying I assumed that.

    Now see if that were cl, he’d be crying “straw man” instead, followed by another 500+ words.

  33. cl:

    Right, that which can only be obtained by science, which is the investigation of natural phenomena.

    But a miracle is a natural phenomena, with a supernatural cause. It is reasonable to require scientific evidence that the phenomena actually happened. If someone claimed that an amputated limb regenerated, it is reasonable to require scientific evidence that the limb was amputated and that it regenerated. It is also reasonable to ask if spontaneous regeneration is probable.

    When miracle claims are limited to those natural phenomena where SR is known to occur, a red flag goes up on my reasonability meter. When miracle claims are thus limited, the reasonable position is that SR is the null hypothesis.

  34. …a red flag goes up on my reasonability meter

    That’s a good point. If I may expound…

    A meter has a dial. It goes from 0-100, say. 0 being untue, 100 being absolute truth.

    Any claim to truth is rarely absolute. The best you can do is plot it on the reasonability meter. The higher up the meter, the more likely we are to allow that claim of truth to be believed, and to act on that belief with confidence.

    Right now Kayla’s case, on the miracle meter, hardly even moves the dial. SR as an explanation sits way up on the dial. Why is SR farther up the dial?

    Primarily because of the circumstances. Claims of this sort have invariably ended up being explained by SR, never as a true miracle. The “fact” that there are “markers” not found in other clear SR cases is about the only thing that allows the meter to slightly blip.

    In any case involving circumstantial evidence, which is what this is (there being no direct evidence of a miracle), one data point of evidence is thoroughly insufficient. There needs to be a large amount of other, corroborating circumstantial evidence before any rational human allows themselves to buy it. The more corroborating evidence, the farther up the dial the meter goes, until it gets to the point where most people will act as if it’s true.

    BTW, that’s the way it works in a court of law, too. It’s called a “preponderance of the evidence”.

  35. PhillyChief,

    Now see if that were cl, he’d be crying “straw man” instead, followed by another 500+ words.

    Who is it that’s hung up on words and form, then, if it’s not that someone alleges a strawman, but who alleges it and how many words the use to allege it? I openly challenge you to form arguments that do not use cl or any insults or derogative pronouns that reference cl. Stick entirely to arguments, put your money where you piehole is, and let’s see if anything changes.

  36. SI,

    SI, albeit weak, you agreed Kayla’s case was “evidence of a miracle,” and I’ve now asked four times if that couldn’t be considered evidence for God. No answer. I’ve now asked six times for your opinion on the absence of markers that typically accompany SR cases, and how you think such relates to Kayla’s case. No answer. Are those unreasonable questions?

    Frankly I don’t remember every saying I assumed [Kayla’s case was SR].

    “While you’re doing all this personal, upfront investigation and reporting, cl, do us a favor and be sure to include all your research into spontaneous regressions and remissions of tumors. OK? I’d be real interested in knowing how may of them occur after the entire church lays their hands on the victim…err…patient.” (SI to cl)

    Did I misunderstand the implication, then? I really don’t want to change your opinion, but ask yourself if your reaction wasn’t just a little bit knee-jerk. If we’re rationalists and freethinkers, out-of-hand dismissal without any objective thought or investigation is always unsettling.You asked for evidence in “The Existence of God.” I stepped to the challenge, first by raising legitimate concerns about your criteria, concerns you initially denied as “unreasonable” but later accepted. Although you, Che and myself all ended up converging that my concerns were valid, John Evo’s response was to throw a hissyfit about this and attack me thusly:

    What a load load of CL certified crap. Once again, he changes the objectives of empirical learning and makes “proving” god’s existence the “unfalsifiable” object when it is, in fact, proving god’s *non* existence which is would prove unfalsifiable. If god existed, there could be evidence but since there is no evidence he simply asserts that evidence is meaningless and/or that we would reject the evidence. He disingenuously uses the example of creationists who simply ignore evidence to back up his point, when the atheists he is addressing here don’t do what creationists do – refuse EVIDENCE.

    Among other things, John’s comments are not scientific, I hate to tell you. Generally speaking, if God is said to intrude upon the natural world from the supernatural at His own whim, how in the world can we possibly expect to obtain reliable data that can be “repeated by anyone at anytime” which is the only type of data you’re willing to accept? Am I really that far out to suggest that your goalpost is cemented in the parking lot as opposed to the playing field? If you really want to do this, you need to start with airtight criteria neither side can back away from as the date starts rolling out. What we just went through with Kayla’s case proves this. Despite Evo’s claims there was nothing and that I’d offer nothing, I offered stuff. And guess what? Just like he said he doesn’t do, he refused it. So Evo, what constitutes acceptable evidence, then? While Evo says “the atheists here don’t refuse evidence” – the evidence on my blog remains unaddressed (which is fine, because it won’t persuade, either. I just wanted to try a different strain, so to speak).

    If you’ll bare with me another moment, here’s something from my own blog that relates to Kayla’s case and our discussion here:

    It’s the natural worldview – naturalism – that says that in the natural world, some things just remain unexplained. We presume that we are not in a perfect state of knowledge, and we keep looking. We allow science to do its job, but in the meantime, we are patient, and resigned to certain level of ignorance. It’s the supernatural worldview that says – when confronted with something apparently unexplainable – Goddidit. Then you stop looking. Cl, you’re the one pushing supernaturalism here, not Chappie, so your attempt to reverse the roles here is – laughable. (SI to cl)

    First, no, it’s not “the natural worldview” that says some things remain unexplained. If something is unexplained, it remains unexplained and that’s it. You go on about science attempting to use it to prosecute the supernatural, when the scope of science is natural phenomena (I’m not necessarily making a NOMA argument, either). Although you’ll probably just cal it a “semantic attack” again, your words here show that you already pre-decide that unexplained = natural. With this attitude, everything is always going to be natural, no? Second, tolerating the “supernatural” in one’s worldview doesn’t entail giving up and saying Goddidit in response to questions. Third, you attempting to put me in that camp of closed-minded people who just react immediately with “Goddidit praise Jesus” is laughable and just shows how little you think of me. That’s just a stereotype, a broad generalization about the majority of simpleton believers that you attempt to paint me with.

    So SI, now that what little evidence I have presented has been refused (or outright ignored) – to get back to my original question – the question I asked almost 200 comments ago that you said was unreasonable – what constitutes acceptable evidence for God, in your most noble opinion?

  37. nal,

    But a miracle is a natural phenomena, with a supernatural cause.

    We could definitely talk about that, but let’s say I agreed 100%. So, wouldn’t that make demanding evidence that “anyone anywhere can reproduce at anytime” as SI does just a bit unreasonable? Science works precisely because of our unrestrained accessibility to natural phenomena. Is it even possible that anything even remotely analogous can exist for supernatural phenomena? How would you suggest that we reliably identify a supernatural cure? No atheist I’ve heard has ever successfully answered that question.

    It is reasonable to require scientific evidence that the phenomena actually happened. If someone claimed that an amputated limb regenerated, it is reasonable to require scientific evidence that the limb was amputated and that it regenerated. It is also reasonable to ask if spontaneous regeneration is probable.

    Of course it is, and I’m not chiding anyone here for skepticism. At all. I’m currently chiding them for stubbornness and focusing on their opinion of me vs. what I’m saying.

    When miracle claims are limited to those natural phenomena where SR is known to occur, a red flag goes up on my reasonability meter. When miracle claims are thus limited, the reasonable position is that SR is the null hypothesis.

    I don’t agree 100% but I’m willing to respect that, and willing to present other cases in time. Again, don’t get the impression that I’m running around here trumpeting Kayla’s case as something that should convert folks. Then again, please consider the utter weakness of SI’s defense, especially in light of the prayer study discussion you and I had a while back: SI says, “one of the prayed for Kaylas and 4 of the non-prayed for Kaylas will experience SR” but how do we know “non-prayed for Kayla’s” were not prayed for? For that reason, since it remains unexplained, how do we know all SR isn’t in reaction to prayer? It could very well be. SI says “SR as an explanation sits way up on the dial” but still won’t address the absence of typical SR markers in Kayla’s case. Isn’t that the least bit obstinate in your opinion?

    If SI is to say I cannot scientifically sustain the claim that Kayla’s case was a miracle, doesn’t that effectively undermine his own allegedly scientific response? If I can’t just say “It’s a miracle,” why can SI say “It’s just SR?” SI talks about “preponderance of evidence” but he denies all evidence. Miracle claims go back since recorded history. Since we can’t prove, them they’re all bunk? If our attitude is simply, “Everything is natural,” isn’t that a hypothesis that effectively explains everything? Those are the weakest kind.

    nal, you saw how this discussion went at DD’s. For four months we went on like this, with next to zero reasonable resolution. Don’t you think my demands for pre-agreed criteria over just what constitutes evidence are reasonable? How would you advise we proceed?

  38. Ultimately I don’t get miracle arguments. A seemingly unexplainable event happens and it’s a miracle? Well ok, if you’re simply making “miracle” a substitute for “seemingly unexplainable”, but then how is that evidence for something we can’t otherwise verify, and better yet, how is it known that this something causes miraculous events? I don’t see how the dial moves at all for believing the something in light of such an event, and that has zippo to do with whether you subscribe to naturalism or not, nor is it indicative of “closed-mindedness” or not considering the possibility of something.

    First the belief in something would need a warrant, then the belief that something can and would perform miracles, and then a miracle could be considered evidence for the effect of something. To try and claim that the miracle is in any way the warrant for the something beliefs has it ass backwards.

  39. I remember a couple of years ago reading a story about a dog that saved a boy from being bitten by a snake. In the comments to the story, one of the readers declared “God put that dog there to protect the boy?” I told her that was a bunch of b.s. If it was a family pet, one doesn’t need an omnipotent deity to explain the event. And besides, an omnipotent deity could have caused the snake to not want to bite the boy and retreat.

  40. See-El

    Who are you trying to convince? Us? It’s not working. I think you’re just trying to convince yourself.

    There are scant claims of miracles and no proof; not one miracle has ever been proven. Until there is, you can keep going round and round in bigger and bigger circles, but without me. I’ve answered everything you’ve asked. You just don’t like the answers.

    Live with it.

  41. cl:

    How would you suggest that we reliably identify a supernatural cure?

    I assume from your question that you, too, don’t have a method to reliably identify a supernatural cure. That would imply that any claim of a supernatural cure is unreliable.

    No atheist I’ve heard has ever successfully answered that question.

    I don’t think it’s up to the atheist to suggest a way to reliably identify a supernatural cure, it’s up to the one claiming a supernatural cure. But, if I were to give advice to that person, I would advise them to start by defining the supernatural and then showing that the supernatural exists. Then that person would then have to explain the mechanism by which the supernatural interacts with the natural. Then that person would have to show that the supernatural mechanism was the cause of the cure. No theist I’ve heard has ever successfully done that.

    cl:

    … but still won’t address the absence of typical SR markers in Kayla’s case.

    What “typical SR markers”?

  42. Before I read all the other “fun” that’s gone on since I sorted of “checked out” yesterday –

    cl to Lifey: Now, why is that, in your opinion?

    I’ll take a wild crack at the answer. Is it because of: “ganging up and forcing me to write longer and more frequent responses”? (please emphasize the word “forcing”)

    Lastly – relax guys – it’s all just blogging.

    Exactly, cl. EXACTLY.

  43. cl said: “I’m not necessarily making a NOMA argument, either”

    No, not necessarily. As always, we have to dig into your underlying message since you are so loathe to tell us precisely what you think. But, at the risk of incurring yet another 100 words, I believe this is the argument you are making.

    That’s fine, cl. You want your science and your mystery too. Good luck with that in your life. I don’t think it is a wholly horrible approach, in and of itself. But the problems I see you encountering comes from those hidden beliefs that you refuse to share here. It’s a *huge* mistake to hold any fact claims about the unknown. Your dogma may be orders of magnitude less than a fundy, but there is still some specificity to your mystery.

    And if you are going to give me 100 words refuting this, please make it 101 by answering – do you believe Jesus Christ died for your sins?

  44. What “typical SR markers”?

    Oooooh, You shouldn’ta oughta ask that. Now he’s going to tell you.

    Actually, I’ll spare you his explanation, and give you mine. See-El feels that when there is a spontaneous remission of disease, it usually follows a pattern, he calls them markers, that are present in many of the cases. He has concluded that those “markers” are not present in the Kayla Knight case, as if that was significant, and because of that, the likelihood that this is a supernatural miracle is higher.

    I’m sure he’ll quibble with my explanation.

  45. Yeah, I was going to say something about giving him the benefit of the doubt, SI, and grant him that “spontaneous remission markers” were actual things, but then I googled the phrase and found out that not only is it not a medical term, but that nobody’s really used it, ever, at all.

    So yeah, once again, CL is making shit up out of nowhere and expecting us to know what his imaginary terms mean.

  46. ThatOtherGuy:

    I googled the phrase and found out that not only is it not a medical term, but that nobody’s really used it, ever, at all

    Now, that’s funny. LOL

  47. PhillyChief,

    Ultimately I don’t get miracle arguments.

    I’m with you there, and that’s why I think the set of “rationalists” who claim they would be persuaded by them betray the worldview they espouse. The other thing I don’t get is why people here seem to think I’m making a miracle argument. We don’t know whether Kayla’s case was a miracle or not, but Kayla’s case is certainly consistent with a miracle.

    ..if you’re simply making “miracle” a substitute for “seemingly unexplainable”, but then how is that evidence for something we can’t otherwise verify, and better yet, how is it known that this something causes miraculous events?

    Thank you for taking a stab at one of the key questions SI’s ignored. Ultimately, I come to the same conclusion as yourself in m MiracleQuest series.

    I don’t see how the dial moves at all for believing the something in light of such an event, and that has zippo to do with whether you subscribe to naturalism or not, nor is it indicative of “closed-mindedness” or not considering the possibility of something.

    Remember, I’m not calling you closed-minded because you refuse to believe in the something on account of Kayla’s case.

    First the belief in something would need a warrant, then the belief that something can and would perform miracles, and then a miracle could be considered evidence for the effect of something. To try and claim that the miracle is in any way the warrant for the something beliefs has it ass backwards.

    I’ll ignore the legitimate flaws here in favor of clarity: that’s not what I’m claiming. I’m claiming that Kayla’s case is consistent with a miracle and could be considered evidence for a miracle. SI agreed, so I asked him to what extent Kayla’s case might be considered evidence for God. He never answered.

  48. SI,

    In any case involving circumstantial evidence, which is what this is (there being no direct evidence of a miracle), one data point of evidence is thoroughly insufficient.

    Why repeat what I’ve already agreed to? Incidentally, what about the other 67 cases you essentially dismissed out of hand? What is the magic number that you’ll accept? 100 cases? 200? More?

    [cl] Who are you trying to convince? Us? It’s not working. I think you’re just trying to convince yourself. There are scant claims of miracles and no proof; not one miracle has ever been proven.

    I’ve already told you that I’m not here to convince anybody. I hope one day you can look at this comment and realize the attitude it conveys is neither rational nor scientific. Science doesn’t prove or disprove ideas, and you should review falsifiability, especially its import to testable hypotheses.

  49. I’ll ignore the legitimate flaws here…

    The fuck you will. You’ll attempt to support the claim that there are flaws, redact the claim, or do neither and thus add to the mountain of evidence that shows you exhibit douchey tactics.

    I’m claiming that Kayla’s case is consistent with a miracle and could be considered evidence for a miracle.

    Again, wtf does “miracle” mean? Anything could be considered evidence for something, but what’s your something and what’s the basis for saying anything is evidence for it? For instance, I could propose that the only way a woman could smile like this is if she’s been fortunate enough to ride this Chief’s totem pole, therefore that image is evidence that Olivia Wilde has mounted my totem pole.

  50. nal,

    I assume from your question that you, too, don’t have a method to reliably identify a supernatural cure. That would imply that any claim of a supernatural cure is unreliable.

    Perhaps, but then what does that imply about people like SI who unscientifically demand that believers prove a supernatural cure? That SI demands the logically impossible? That SI’s goalpost is safely cemented in the parking lot as opposed to one end of the playing field?

    I don’t think it’s up to the atheist to suggest a way to reliably identify a supernatural cure, it’s up to the one claiming a supernatural cure.

    I understand the burden of proof, and I’m not claiming a supernatural cure, but if SI will neither agree to my criteria nor make the necessary emendations to his own, how is it possible for this discussion to proceed?

  51. PhillyChief,

    Your tough-guy approach is laughable. Although wanting to get into another side-issue isn’t “douchey,” if you really want to press it, warrant according to who’s standards?

  52. I agreed, so I asked him to what extent Kayla’s case might be considered evidence for God. He never answered.

    You keep saying no one is answering your fucking questions. I answered it here.

  53. Evo,

    .. relax guys – it’s all just blogging. (cl)

    Exactly, cl. EXACTLY. (Evo)

    So, if you know it’s all just blogging, why do get so irate and hostile?

    ..the problems I see you encountering comes from those hidden beliefs that you refuse to share here.

    How so?

  54. SI,

    Here, you say

    The “fact” that there are “markers” not found in other clear SR cases is about the only thing that allows the meter to slightly blip.

    ..but then here, you say,

    [cl] has concluded that those “markers” are not present in the Kayla Knight case, as if that was significant, and because of that, the likelihood that this is a supernatural miracle is higher.

    Isn’t that which allows the meter to slightly blip at least slightly significant?

    I answered it..

    My apologies. I tend to agree with you that even if one could meet your logically impossible demand to “prove” Kayla’s case, such wouldn’t necessarily be evidence of God.

    So, NO miracle claim whether “proven” or not can EVER be acceptable evidence for God in your eyes?

  55. ThatOtherGuy,

    Funny, I presumably use the same “Google” as you and had little difficulty. Either way, your chain of induction is really poor here: you spend a few moments on Google, come up empty-handed, and I’m automatically making shit up?

    Your own research failures do not entail dishonesty on behalf of your interlocuter. To me, it sounds more like you’re the one making shit up, suggesting that this comment possibly stems more from your opinion of me than the arguments.

  56. Your tough-guy approach is laughable. Although wanting to get into another side-issue isn’t “douchey,” if you really want to press it, warrant according to who’s standards?

    Right, I’ll put you down for option “douche” then. Thanks for playing.

  57. SI,

    Hmmm… so, were you actually just trying to be a smart-ass? If so, my bad. Where were the scare quotes around “slightly blip?”

    I’ve answered everything you’ve asked.

    SI, to my knowledge, that is not true. Correct me again if any of the following are incorrect: I’ve asked you for the necessary emendations to your criteria, you’ve not answered. I’ve asked to look at the arguments on my blog, and you refuse. I asked you a question about the “four un-prayed for Kayla’s” that you’ve not answered.

    I’m not totally opposed to importing an argument from my own blog here. Have you made the necessary emendations to your criteria and/or definitions yet?

  58. Have you made the necessary emendations to your criteria and/or definitions yet?

    Nope. Not planning on it either. If you can’t handle that, then don’t interact. No one’s got a gun to your head.

  59. PhillyChief,

    Right, I’ll put you down for option “douche” then.

    Of course you will. Your knee-jerk patterns are firmly predictable and you get good response from being the jokester, so I imagine stepping out of your safety zone would be far more uncomfortable and challenging than lobbing more paper airplanes from the back of class. Maybe one day you’ll come to appreciate cogency over name-calling.

  60. SI,

    Here’s another question you haven’t answered: “So, NO miracle claim whether “proven” or not can EVER be acceptable evidence for God in your eyes?”

  61. Not planning on [making the necessary emendations] either. If you can’t handle that, then don’t interact. No one’s got a gun to your head.

    Well folks, there you have it. This whole charade began right here and followed exactly the pattern I predicted it would. SI had us believe he was open-minded and willing to consider the evidence. Yet, SI originally conflated evidence with proof, and admitted after I called him on it. Now, when asked to make the necessary emendations, SI refuses.

    Am I really the only person who would say SI is acting less than 100% reasonable and open-minded here?

  62. And here it goes down tangential road. You make a claim, I insist you back it up, you don’t, I point that out, and then you insult me and make me the villain. What then usually follows is a ridiculous back and forth until no one knows what started it, let alone wtf the OP was. If this simple little exchange isn’t systemic of cl’s douchery, I don’t know what is.

  63. “Either way, your chain of induction is really poor here: you spend a few moments on Google, come up empty-handed, and I’m automatically making shit up?”

    Oh please. I was referring to the fact that http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=%22spontaneous+remission+marker%22&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8 yields nothing, and was using it to mock you. Honestly, at this point I’ve realized that the things you say (if they can really be called “things”) aren’t worthy of anything more than that.

    “Your own research failures do not entail dishonesty on behalf of your interlocuter. To me, it sounds more like you’re the one making shit up…”

    I NO U R BUT WUT AM I LOLOL. Give me a break.

    “…suggesting that this comment possibly stems more from your opinion of me than the arguments.”

    I was going to consider the possibility until I saw you use the word “arguments” to refer to your quibbling equivocations. Then I laughed.

    I have never seen a non-politician say so many words without actually saying anything of substance at all.

  64. I really hope I’m doing the quote tag right… here goes.

    Am I really the only person who would say SI is acting less than 100% reasonable and open-minded here?

    Probably. Everyone else here knows exactly how full-of-it you are.

    And to think we all fell for it, look at what this troll’s done to the topic count.

    If this simple little exchange isn’t systemic of cl’s douchery, I don’t know what is.

    This. This times ten thousand.

  65. PhillyChief,

    And here it goes down tangential road. You make a claim, I insist you back it up, you don’t, I point that out, and then you insult me and make me the villain. What then usually follows is a ridiculous back and forth until no one knows what started it, let alone wtf the OP was. If this simple little exchange isn’t systemic of cl’s douchery, I don’t know what is.

    Speak for yourself and whoever else might be slow. I know what the first post was – “The Existence of God” – and the first comment in the thread was my request to cement goalposts. Notice that another atheist felt such was reasonable. Is that atheist just a “douche, jack-ass and troll,” too? The reason my request is reasonable is because if we don’t cement the goalposts, we’ll go back and forth forever like this.

    So, why don’t any of you just say what type of evidence would convince you there was a God? Say I’m the bagel-guy and you go to get a bagel. You ask me if I have the bagel you want, and I say yes. But, you won’t tell me exactly what kind of bagel you want. Frustrated, I hand you a wheat bagel. Then you complain that you didn’t want a wheat bagel. Well okay then, when you’re figuring out what kind of bagel you want, isn’t it better to ask the bagel-guy what they’re out of rather than what they have?

    Same concept. I’ve already wasted enough time on the first bagel.

    “Douchery, douchery, douchery,” you predictably bemoan, like a broken record with more empty claims and personal opinions juxtaposed against the complete lack of an argument that relates anything to the actual discussion.

  66. SI,

    For the third time I ask:

    So, NO miracle claim whether “proven” or not can EVER be acceptable evidence for God in your eyes?

    Why or why not?

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