Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Science, God, and specialization

Why are some questions philosophical rather than scientific? If someone, such as Keith Parsons, affirms this, is it because of philosophical snobbery?

I don't think so. Science is not a general field. It is divided between physics, chemistry, biology, psychology, sociology, economics, etc. Even then, scientists are even more specialized than that. But the question of God does not fall within any specialized science, so it cannot be a scientific question.

64 comments:

Cal Metzger said...

VR: "Why are some questions philosophical rather than scientific?"

Because philosophical questions are those that can't be resolved with evidence. Scientific ones can. Scientific questions are Philosophy + Evidence. Philosophical questions are, at best, pre-scientific ones. At worst, they're metaphysics, navel gazing, and narcissism.

VR: "If someone, such as Keith Parsons, affirms this, is it because of philosophical snobbery?"

Is it snobbish to admit that you can't or won't form a question in a way that's tractable -- into something that can be examined and tested?

VR: "Science is not a general field. It is divided between physics, chemistry, biology, psychology, sociology, economics, etc. Even then, scientists are even more specialized than that."

And yet all scientific fields are resolvable based on evidence.

VR: "But the question of God does not fall within any specialized science, so it cannot be a scientific question."

There are all kinds of questions about gods that are resolvable by evidence. When those questions are answered in the negative, it seems that apologists like to pose questions in such a way that they can't be resolved with evidence. Which is one reason, I think, that the best thing that can be said about questions about gods is that they're philosophical. Faint praise indeed.

B. Prokop said...

Why not everything is "scientific":

"I believe that you of Earth would perhaps enjoy some of our music during this, the period of relaxation and repose - it is so different from your own," Orlon remarked...

//passage omitted - music plays//

"What do you think of it, Mrs. Seaton?" Orlon asked.

"Marvelous!" breathed Dorothy, awed. "I never imagined anything like it. I can't begin to tell you how much I like it. I never dreamed of such absolute perfection of execution ... just too perfectly wonderful for words! It was incredibly brilliant."

"Brilliant - yes. Perfectly executed--yes. But I notice that you say nothing of depth of feeling or of emotional appeal." Dorothy blushed uncomfortably and started to say something, but Orlon silenced her and continued: "You need not apologize. I had a reason for speaking as I did, for in you I recognize a real musician, and our music is indeed entirely soulless. That is the result of our ancient civilization. We are so old that our music is purely intellectual, entirely mechanical, instead of emotional. It is perfect, but, like most of our other arts, it is almost completely without feeling. ... We would appreciate it very much if you [could play for us], Mrs. Seaton, it was your work upon the violin that took us by storm..."

//passage omitted - Dorothy persuaded to play her violin//

Dorothy swept into "The Melody in F," and as the poignantly beautiful strains poured forth from that wonderful violin, she knew that she had her audience with her. Though so intellectual that they themselves were incapable of producing music of real depth of feeling, they could understand and could enjoy such music with an appreciation impossible to a people of lesser mental attainments; and their profound enjoyment of her playing, burned into her mind by the telepathic, almost hypnotic power of the Norlaminian mentality, raised her to heights of power she had never before attained. Playing as one inspired, she went through one tremendous solo after another--holding her listeners spellbound, urged on by their intense feeling to carry them further and ever further into the realm of pure emotional harmony. ...

The final note of "Memories" died away in a diminuendo wail, and the musician almost collapsed into Seaton's arms. The profound silence, more impressive far than any possible applause, was soon broken by Dorothy.

"There - I'm all right now, Dick. I was about out of control for a minute. I wish they could have had that on a recorder - I'll never be able to play like that again if I live to be a thousand years old."

"It is on record, daughter. Every note and every inflection is preserved, precisely as you played it," Orlon assured her. ... "While we cannot really understand an artistic mind of the peculiar type to which yours belongs, yet we realized that each time you play you are doing something that no one, not even yourself, can ever do again in precisely the same subtle fashion. Therefore we allowed, in fact encouraged, you to go on as long as that creative impulse should endure - not merely for our pleasure in hearing it, great though that pleasure was, but in the hope that our workers in music could, by a careful analysis of your product, determine quantitatively the exact vibrations or overtones which make the difference between emotional and intellectual music."

(E.E. Smith, Skylark Three)

oozzielionel said...

While in seminary many years ago, I was briefly engaged in "street ministry" at a downtown coffee shop. I still recall vividly a conversation with a man who was resting in the coffee shop from being pursued by dogs driving cars. I knew I was in way over my head, but I asked him whether he usual can tell the difference between what is real in his experience and what is not. He clearly was "seeing" things in his "world" that I could not see. We call his experience mental illness. His experience included the cup of coffee that he was drinking and the chair he was sitting in but it also included things that are not real. We talked a bit about what was "really real."

Science is at least a portion of our effort to determine what is really real. We want to exclude from our definition of "reality" those things that are not real. Imagination, fantasy, superstition, and falsehoods need to be excluded. However, we need to include aspects of personal experience such as art, beauty, and emotion. We also want to add back into our reality a healthy imagination rightly understood. As EE Smith relates above, our reality is more than the empirical. Reality includes the mathematically determined tones, duration, and volumes but it also includes the emotion and the passion of life. Science can tell us the mechanics of how the things of life work. But science has its limits. Science cannot measure, photograph, and catalog all that is real.

Our claim that there is a "spiritual" dimension to reality is many steps beyond simple illustration that there is more to living. A creator God who is above and beyond the creation that we study with science opens a vast world of reality - the really real. People are more than chemical factories; they are actual immortal souls connected to bodies. God is more than a philosophical construct; prayer becomes vital. If the spiritual is, in fact, the really real. The reality of the spiritual is more than philosophical fantasy. It is more than dogs driving trucks.

Science is incapable of explaining all of reality. There is an unseen reality that cannot be observed and measured. When it attempts to do so, it becomes the dogs driving trucks.

Legion of Logic said...

"There are all kinds of questions about gods that are resolvable by evidence."

Can you list a handful? Bonus points if you don't fall back on a "prayer study".

Cal Metzger said...

Me: "There are all kinds of questions about gods that are resolvable by evidence."
Legion: "Can you list a handful?"

Will a god appear before us and speak to us (as he does in the bible)?
Will a god part the Red Sea right now (as he does in the bible)?
Will a god blot out the sun right now (as he does in the bible)?
Will a god step forward right now and act as an omnibenevolent, omnipotent god should and punish those who are wicked -- will he intervene in Syria, stop rape, save children from abuse, heal amputees, prevent suffering, or do any of the things that we would do if we had his powers?

I could go on for awhile. But does anyone here ever think it's odd that the god of the bible actually does all this cool stuff, and the god of today acts like he's afraid to show his face?

Do you ever wonder why Poseiden doesn't wreck ships anymore? Why Mars doesn't stopped causing wars? Why Apollo doesn't take sides in armed conflicts like he used to?

Miguel said...

But it does fall into theology and philosophy (especially philosophy of religion). I don't really think there's all that much to say about why the existence of God is not a question for natural science to decide; as long as someone understands the limits and proper objects of the natural sciences, such a conclusion is pretty obvious. Science can provide evidence that is relevant to the issue (for instance, the beginning of the universe, or the fine-tuning of the cosmos), but such evidence is to be understood and discussed in the context of a philosophical argument.

B. Prokop said...

Science can tell us how to build an atomic bomb, but it takes philosophy (and religion) to teach us whether (or not) we should ever use one.

Science can tell us how to produce wealth, but it takes philosophy (and religion) to teach how it should be equitably distributed.

Science can tell us all about the mechanics of sex, but it takes philosophy (and religion) to teach us when, with whom, and under what circumstances to engage in it.

Science can tell us "where babies come from", but it takes philosophy (and religion) to teach us how to raise them.

Science can tell us how stars "work", but it takes philosophy (and religion) to see the wonder and beauty in them.

Science has given us truly astounding advances in health care, but it required philosophy (and religion) to give us the Hippocratic Oath.

This is probably the 12th time I've posted the following on Dangerous Idea, but once more will do no harm:

Religion and Science are like the right and left wheels on a cart. Lose one of them, and you'll run into a ditch. Religion without science is in danger of being mere superstition. Science without religion all too easily leads to Auschwitz, Hiroshima, and the Gulag.

Jezu ufam tobie!

oozzielionel said...

"But does anyone here ever think it's odd that the god of the bible actually does all this cool stuff, and the god of today acts like he's afraid to show his face?"

What Bible are you reading? Today is no different than Bible times in the quantity of miracles. Miracles were rare and for specific purposes. This is from David in the Psalms:

Psalm 10 Why, O LORD, do you stand far away?
Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
2 In arrogance the wicked hotly pursue the poor;
let them be caught in the schemes that they have devised.
3 For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul,
and the one greedy for gain curses[a] and renounces the LORD.

Psalm 74
9We do not see our signs;
there is no longer any prophet,
and there is none among us who knows how long.
10 How long, O God, is the foe to scoff?
Is the enemy to revile your name forever?
11 Why do you hold back your hand, your right hand?
Take it from the fold of your garment[c] and destroy them!

Miguel said...

(Reminder that we can only have science if naturalism is false)

B. Prokop said...

oozielionel,

People who don't really read the Bible, but just look for "gotcha" passages that reinforce their preconceptions, truly haven't a clue.

Miracles in both the Old and New Testaments are not scattered randomly all over the place, but are intimately tied to critical points in salvation history. Note how they are clustered about the Creation (Genesis), the institution of the Law (the Exodus story), the age of the prophets (the Elijah and Elisha narratives), and the Life of Christ (the Gospels and Acts). Other than those four world-altering events, "miracles" are practically nonexistent in the Bible.

So why should we expect to see a plethora of miracles in our own time? What new chapter in salvation history is being opened up right now?

Jezu ufam tobie!

Legion of Logic said...

"I could go on for awhile."

Those questions weren't scientific as they are dealing with an independent intelligence who is not obligated to cooperate if it is against its will. Your tests treat said deities like natural forces that respond predictably to our experiments. Would be like saying if I don't type the exact same post as I did before, on demand, then I don't exist.

Cal Metzger said...

Legion: "Those questions weren't scientific as they are dealing with an independent intelligence who is not obligated to cooperate if it is against its will."

You asked me what kind of evidence there could be for questions about god. So, I revealed some example questions, based on beliefs common to Christians and based on the bible. Now you reveal that you won't accept any evidence for a god. This seems like an odd position to stake out.

Legion: "Your tests treat said deities like natural forces that respond predictably to our experiments."

No, my questions ask for evidence, similar to that provided in the bible. If the stories told about the evidence offered to people in the bible are good enough for Christians to believe now, one has to wonder why the same evidence offered today would be unacceptable now.

Legion: "Would be like saying if I don't type the exact same post as I did before, on demand, then I don't exist."

Um, I will consider it evidence that a commenter who goes by "Legion of Logic" comments here if a commenter who goes by "Legion of Logic" comments here again.

Your position is to say that if you comment here again we should accept that as evidence that you don't exist? Or would you at least admit that if you comment here again it could be considered evidence that a commenter who goes by "Legion of Logic" comments here?




planks length said...

will [God] intervene in Syria, stop rape, save children from abuse, heal amputees, prevent suffering, or do any of the things that we would do if we had [H]is powers?

Some of the comments here by atheists are silly, many are unintentionally funny, many are appallingly ignorant, and not a few are headscratchingly unintelligible, but this one belongs to the (thankfully small) subset of the genuinely evil.

After all, just who is responsible for the litany of horrors Cal has conjured up here? We are! Human beings! And to whom ought we to be looking for help, for assistance, for solutions? Maybe, just maybe, to ourselves? The atheists are forever accusing Christians of relying on "their invisible sky fairy", but here we have a perfect example of someone yelling "This is a job for Superman!" meaning there's no call for us to lift a finger.

But who do we see heading out into the plague stricken areas of the Earth, to the inner cities, to the poor and oppressed in all corners of the globe? Who sent battalions of clean-up crews, aid workers, carpenters and reconstruction crews down to the Gulf after hurricane Katrina? (Hint: it wasn't your friendly local humanist society. It was small independent churches, mainline Protestant organizations, and the Catholic Relief Services.)

Cal's comment is nothing less than a total abrogation of responsibility. ("Let God do it!") I'm sure that sentiment helps those truly in need, while the Christians of the world get down and actually do something about it.

Cal Metzger said...

Ooz: "What Bible are you reading?"

The one with all the stories about miracles in it.

Ooz: " Today is no different than Bible times in the quantity of miracles."

On this topic I think we actually agree.

Cal Metzger said...

Planks: "We are! Human beings! And to whom ought we to be looking for help, for assistance, for solutions? Maybe, just maybe, to ourselves?"

Spoken like a true Humanist. I'm glad you agree.

Planks: "But who do we see heading out into the plague stricken areas of the Earth, to the inner cities, to the poor and oppressed in all corners of the globe?"

Humans. Not a god among them. This is my point.

Planks: "Cal's comment is nothing less than a total abrogation of responsibility. ("Let God do it!")"

The opposite, actually. You understand that I'm an atheist (and fellow human being), right?

But above all, you must be so proud of taking a comment of mine that points out that questions about how it is that an all powerful, knowing, and good god could provide evidence of his existence, and instead of responding to that you chose to try to cloak yourself in sanctimony.

As if.

planks length said...

Cal, Like oozie said, you haven't actually read the scriptures.

Had you done so, you'd find it crammed full of things like "go out into all the world..." and "the LORD has anointed me to bring good tidings to the afflicted; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound," or even "And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?' Then I said, 'Here am I! Send me.'."

How arrogant of you to think such sentiments are "humanist". You really need to turn off your computer and read your Bible before embarrassing yourself further. (I suggest the RSV/CE.)

Cal Metzger said...

Planks: "How arrogant of you to think such sentiments are "humanist"."

So, it's arrogant of me to acknowledge that humans, both Christian and non-Christian, have helped one another, and should continue to do so -- in particular, because aid from a non-existent god isn't coming?

And it's therefore somehow humble of you to proclaim that you belong to a special club that you think invented helping other humans?

It doesn't seem like I'm the one who's being arrogant here.

Legion of Logic said...

"You asked me what kind of evidence there could be for questions about god. So, I revealed some example questions, based on beliefs common to Christians and based on the bible."

Based on your saying things like

Because philosophical questions are those that can't be resolved with evidence. Scientific ones can. Scientific questions are Philosophy + Evidence.

or

Is it snobbish to admit that you can't or won't form a question in a way that's tractable -- into something that can be examined and tested?

and

And yet all scientific fields are resolvable based on evidence.

that you were speaking of scientific evidence. Experiments that can be set up, are repeatable, etc. None of those things you listed even came close to being scientific in nature, hence my confusion. They were instead one-off events or things that we think God SHOULD do...but the lack of those things occurring in 2016 is not some sort of argument against God.

But, it was certainly helpful in determining that the existence of God or another deity is in fact beyond science's ability to ascertain.

Joe Hinman said...

Belief reaches beyond the empirically verifiable so naturally people drawn to it are more likely to have broader epistemological horizons than do atheists. For example making God arguments entail a of complexity and they are really moving beyond any direct ability to verify. But it is possible to warrant belief

for example here is my essay on Prolegomena to argument from laws of nature.

B. Prokop said...

"But, it was certainly helpful in determining that the existence of God or another deity is in fact beyond science's ability to ascertain."

That's a very good point, Legion. Just as "science" cannot determine whether or not any particular person exists. You either have to visit him or else he has to show up on your doorstep himself.

And since human beings cannot attain to God under their own steam, to know anything at all about God, we are dependent upon His revealing Himself to us in one fashion or another (through creation, revelation, or by His Incarnation).

Jezu ufam tobie!

Cal Metzger said...

Legion: "[I thought] that you were speaking of scientific evidence. Experiments that can be set up, are repeatable, etc."

I have been pretty explicit here about what constitutes evidence. Something that is examinable -- in ways that are objective, reliable, and verifiable. Basically, more than just stories.

Legion: "None of those things you listed even came close to being scientific in nature, hence my confusion."

I think you are confused about what is scientific in nature. For instance, evidence that can be examined, that is objective, reliable, and verifiable, is about as "scientific in nature" as anything can be.

Legion: "They were instead one-off events or things that we think God SHOULD do...but the lack of those things occurring in 2016 is not some sort of argument against God."

You asked for examples of questions for which a god could provide evidence. I provided some. Now you say that this isn't satisfactory, because they don't "even came close to being scientific in nature." But they do. And they are certainly what I said -- example of questions for which a god could provide evidence. If you disagree about this in 2016, I think it will be hard for you explain why 2000 year-old stories about this kind of evidence is to be preferred over the evidence being offered again today.

Legion: "But, it was certainly helpful in determining that the existence of God or another deity is in fact beyond science's ability to ascertain."

Which is another way of saying that there can be no evidence for god. I disagree, but I do think that every kind of question we can think of disproves that notion. Hence.

Legion of Logic said...

So, to make sure I understand your position:

Hypothetical atheist: "I am searching for evidence of God. According to the Bible, God parted the Red Sea." Hypothetical atheist travels to the Red Sea, and does not see God part it. "Aha!" says the atheist. "God does not exist!"

If that's what you're saying is evidence for God - as in, what we would expect to find if God existed - then I can fully understand why you are an atheist.

B. Prokop said...

Cal is actually correct here! There can be no "scientific" evidence for God (scare quotes intentional), in the sense of actually detecting Him.

Anything that can be measured, dissected, observed through a microscope or a telescope, or has properties which can be reproduced in a laboratory, is of necessity part of this physical universe which we inhabit. But God is not part of His creation. You won't find the painter physically present within his painting or a sculptor within his statue. An architect is not some specific room within the building he designed. What you can observe in all of these examples is evidence for a painter, sculptor, or architect, and you can surmise much of his character by the attributes of the thing created.

However... God (being God) was able to do something that no painter, sculptor, or architect could ever dream of doing. He in fact did enter physically into His creation at the Incarnation. We can "detect" God by observing Jesus. As it is written:

(Jesus speaking) "He who has seen me has seen the Father; how can you say, 'Show us the Father'? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me?" (John 14:9-10)

Jezu ufam tobie!

Cal Metzger said...

Legion: "Hypothetical atheist: "I am searching for evidence of God. According to the Bible, God parted the Red Sea." Hypothetical atheist travels to the Red Sea, and does not see God part it. "Aha!" says the atheist. "God does not exist!" "

Hmm. No, it's more like this:

Atheist: "In the stories told by religious believers, gods get involved in everyday life, and intervene in real ways. Gods appear and talk before people, perform astounding feats, punish the wicked and aid the righteous, etc. If god did something like that now, in real life and not just in hearsay and stories, that would provide real evidence that there's more to religious belief than stories."

SteveK said...

Regarding questions about God that are resolvable by evidence.

I'm hearing: if you're not there to see the evidence Cal listed above when it happens it's not evidence, it's a story.

On the one hand it's evidence that answers the question, just not evidence for Cal. On the other hand it's a story, just not a story for the person who had their question answered by the evidence.

Legion of Logic said...

"If god did something like that now, in real life and not just in hearsay and stories, that would provide real evidence that there's more to religious belief than stories."

Well I'm at somewhat of a loss how to answer this line of thought. For the past thirty years I have been what some would call a hyperdispensationalist. I won't go into the details, but one of the doctrinal consequences is that I do not believe such brazen miracles SHOULD occur today. I would be only slightly less astounded than you if God (or, I would be wondering, another deity) performed such overt miracles today.

I obviously don't need miraculous events to believe in God, but it also isn't very forceful to say "I believe doctrinally that there won't be any Red Sea partings or restored amputees" so yeah.

Cal Metzger said...

@Legion, okay, I think I understand where you're coming from. I suppose that if I was of a religious bent I would adopt a similar stance.

FYI, I was raised and confirmed a Lutheran, so the various tenets of the varieties of dispensationalism aren't foreign to me.

Gyan said...

B Prokop,
"So why should we expect to see a plethora of miracles in our own time? What new chapter in salvation history is being opened up right now?"

But miracles are being reported and recognized by the Church all the time, even now. Mother Teresa's two miraculous cures were reported recently, to be precise, two reports of people praying to Mother Teresa and getting cured were officially recognized by Vatican.
Then there are ongoing miraculous cures at Lourdres and Miracle of the Sun at Fatima.
There was a report of incorrupt body of a Orthodox bishop in America only last month.
There are great many miracles reported from Churches in Africa.

We are nearing the end times. And we do have a plethora of miracles.

Gyan said...

B Prokop,
"Just as "science" cannot determine whether or not any particular person exists"

Sciences can not determine whether any thing exists. Sciences assumes that the things exist and the business of science is to probe the nature of these things.

All knowledge begins with an affirmation that things exist and exist independently of us and our minds. At most, science posits certain theoretical entities to help explain the nature of things --entities like electron and wave functions.

Gyan said...

Cal Metzger,
"Something that is examinable -- in ways that are objective, reliable, and verifiable"

Have you examined that evidence that the Catholic Church has collected and judged to determine claims for miraculous cures at Lourdes?

Since the Apparitions, Lourdes had to deal with about 7000 cases of unexplained cures. 69 cases have been recognised as miraculous by the Church at this time.

In a Sanctuary like Lourdes, some pilgrims may reckon they have benefited from an exceptional cure and wish to bear witness to this: so they approach the Bureau des Constatations M├ędicales (Office of Medical Observations), located in the Sanctuary, to make a declaration. If the case appears to be serious, the physician convenes a “Bureau”, i.e. a meeting for “discussion of a clinical case”; all doctors and healthcare workers present in Lourdes at that time can attend the meeting, regardless of their religious belief.

This bureau is merely the first step towards acceptance of a miracle.

Gyan said...

There is a story related by Fr Jaki who had a Ph D in Physics of an Englishman that was shown a thick file of unexplained cures. He was amazed at the evidence shown but still more amazed when he was informed that all these cases were NOT accepted as miraculous by the Church.

Joe Hinman said...

I could go on for awhile. But does anyone here ever think it's odd that the god of the bible actually does all this cool stuff, and the god of today acts like he's afraid to show his face?

Do you ever wonder why Poseiden doesn't wreck ships anymore? Why Mars doesn't stopped causing wars? Why Apollo doesn't take sides in armed conflicts like he used to?

I know atheists who talked to on message boards everyday for ten years and every day I explained all this stuff in clear simple terms anyone could understand. 10 years latter they are still saying the same foolish pabulum they were at the start, I doubt that you began thinking about religion yesterday. I am betting you have had numerous answers to this stuff.

Joe Hinman said...

Cal Metzger,
"Something that is examinable -- in ways that are objective, reliable, and verifiable"

Have you examined that evidence that the Catholic Church has collected and judged to determine claims for miraculous cures at Lourdes?

yes--I've talked to a member of the medical committee and exchanged email with a researcher,

Since the Apparitions, Lourdes had to deal with about 7000 cases of unexplained cures. 69 cases have been recognised as miraculous by the Church at this time.

that 65 has been since the rules where handed down, they so few because the rules are tough, before the rules there were thousands of cases. it's alt more than 7000.


In a Sanctuary like Lourdes, some pilgrims may reckon they have benefited from an exceptional cure and wish to bear witness to this: so they approach the Bureau des Constatations M├ędicales (Office of Medical Observations), located in the Sanctuary, to make a declaration. If the case appears to be serious, the physician convenes a “Bureau”, i.e. a meeting for “discussion of a clinical case”; all doctors and healthcare workers present in Lourdes at that time can attend the meeting, regardless of their religious belief.


they don't decide on that basis. they get all the health records and talk to the physicians they can't can't have taken medical drugs they pay attention to the so they control for remission.

mY summary of journal article on Lourdes


Joe Hinman said...

summary of journal article on Lourdes:

B. Prokop said...

Gyan,

You don't understand Cal. He doesn't want to have to go all the way to Lourdes to see a miracle. He wants then to be delivered a la Amazon, right to his doorstep. He's looking for a God at his beck and call.

That's always what you really find at the bottom of all these "Why doesn't God...?" demands from internet atheists. Translation: "Why doesn't God think just like I do? Why doesn't He act the way I want Him to act?"

Jezu ufam tobie!

Cal Metzger said...

You don't understand Bob. He doesn't want to have to go all the way to Mecca to see a miracle. He wants them to be delivered a la Amazon, right to his doorstep. He's looking for Allah at his beck and call.

That's always what you really find at the bottom of all these "Why doesn't Allah...?" demands from internet Christians. Translation: "Why doesn't Allah think just like I do? Why doesn't He act the way I want Him to act?"

Joe Hinman said...

did you read my article Cal? why not? it's medical historians I didn't write it I just summarized it. read it.

Cal Metzger said...

Joe: "did you read my article Cal? why not? it's medical historians I didn't write it I just summarized it. read it."

I started to. It's hard to even know where to begin with an approach like yours, Joe. If you don't understand evidence, they you don't understand evidence, and there's only so much I can do.



SteveK said...

I understand evidence to be interpreted data.

Joe Hinman said...

started to. It's hard to even know where to begin with an approach like yours, Joe. If you don't understand evidence, they you don't understand evidence, and there's only so much I can do.

That's true but I'm willing to help you with it. what exactly is it about evidence that you don't understand?

I summarized an article written by medical historians They are the one's who said the phenomena is unexplained, they said people appear to have been healed and it's beyond our understanding how. why don't you write to those professors and tell them how they don 't understand d evidence?




Their conclusion is basically: “We don’t really know if God is working miracles at Lourdes or not, the situation is not clear enough to affirm or deny such a claim. “ Yet they make the frank admission that the way people see it will be determined by their view on religion and belief. While that may seem like a refutation to some, it’s all we need to undermine the closed realm of discourse on the subject. This will be seen in the next chapter.


QUOTE:
…the least that can be stated is that the exposures to Lourdes and its representations (Lourdes water, mental images…) in a context of prayer have induced an exceptional usually instantaneous, symptomatic, and at best physical cures of widely different diseases. Although what follows is regarded by some as a hackneyed concept, any and all scholars of Lourdes have come to agree with one of two equally acceptable—but seemingly conflicting and irreconcilable—points of view on the core issue, are the Lourdes cures a matter of divine intervention or not? Faith is set against science…uncanny and wired, the cures are currently beyond our ken but still impressive, incredibly effective and awaiting scientific explanation. Creating a theoretical explanatory framework could be within reach of neurophysiologists in the next decade…We reached the same conclusion as Carrel some 80 to one hundred years ago “instead of being a simple place of miracles of interest only to the pious Lourdes presents a considerable scientific interest….although uncommon the miraculous cures are evidence of somatic and mental processes we do not know.”[21]
end quote


they could hardly declare it the work of God. e en the medical committee at Lourdes doesn't do that.



Joe Hinman said...

the auotho9r and article


Bernard Francis et al, “The Lourdes Medical Cures Re-visited,” Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, Oxford: Oxford University Press. (10.1093/jhmas/jrs041) 2012 pdf downloaded SMU page 1-28 all the page numbers given are from pdf

Bernard Francis is former professor Emeritus of medicine, Unversite Claude Bernard Lyon. Elisabeth Sternberg taught at National Institute of Mental Health and The National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland. Elisabeth Fee was at National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.

Cal Metzger said...

Joe: "I summarized an article written by medical historians."

And the article is so poorly written that a high school teacher would mark it up like a spacecraft going through re-entry.

E.g., from your introductory paragraph: "They took the 411 cures from the era known as “the golden age or Lourdes.” This is the period from 1909-14 which was the time when the popularity was at its height, the medical committee was functioning smoothly with new rules, and crowds were pouring in."

"golden age OR Lourdes?"

This is the period which was the time?

the popularity of what?

what medical committee? [ You don't get to say 'the medical committee" without identifying which one you're talking about, as if there could only be one medical committee, instead of hundreds of thousands. If you want to say that everything becomes obvious when you read later on you don't understand good writing, and certainly not professional writing.]

An introductory paragraph should, you know, introduce -- instead of throwing out undefined terms that you expect the reader to piece together later. This article isn't even dilettantish. It's worse than that. After the first paragraph I glanced over the rest of the content, saw more of the same, tried to do one search on one of your citations (surprise! it gave me nothing), and surmised that you are wasting my time.

--------------

The lack of any apparent writing discipline above notwithstanding, you are also adopting predictable and tiresome approaches to evidence -- the first I call "telescoping," the second is the willy-nilly embracing of obvious fallacies, as if ten fallacies add up to one valid argument, and the third is a breathtakingly naive (and arrogant) heuristic in which you imply that your casual research should overturn huge swathes of hard-earned and well-tested knowledge.

Telescoping is common from apologists. It happens whenever you ask to seem some evidence and the claimant responds by framing the evidence at a distance that prevents actual examination. Arguments from authority are a kind of telescoping -- "Instead of showing you the evidence for UFO's, let's step back and talk about some people who have something to say about the evidence I won't show you!"

Fallacies abound in your article. There's the argument from authority (lots of talk about credentials instead of discussion of actual methods, etc.), the argument from ignorance (unexplained doesn't mean miraculous, etc.), and who knows what else.

But it may be the last approach that is most telling -- as if some casual research and obscure citations will reveal what medical science has disproven in countless ways, over and over and over and over. Medical science has shown that faith healing is a mirage, but if you want to overturn that conclusion you'll have to do a lot better than what you've proffered here. And that begins with something called evidence, and it's structured within valid argument. When you don't have that, I suppose articles like yours are all we're left with.

Gyan said...

Cal Metzger,
There are plenty of well-written articles and books on Lourdes. To start with, you can see
"Two Lourdes Miracles and a Nobel Laureate: What Really Happened?" by S Jaki at
www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?id=2866
and the book
"The Voyage to Lourdes"
by Alexis Carrel
deliverable by Amazon.

Cal Metzger said...

Like I said, some people are so bad at evidence that I don't know how to help them. There's only so much that discussion can do.

https://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/faith-healing/

Gyan said...

Cal Metzger,
From your referred article:
"Even at Lourdes, the Catholic Church has only recognized 4 cures since 1978, out of 5 million people who seek healing there every year."

Do you realize that even a single miraculous cure utterly disproves the anti-supernaturalist
position?

Also,
"They are layman’s testimonials that amount to nothing but hearsay."
Which is precisely NOT the case with Lourdes.

Joe Hinman said...

the reason they have so few miracles is because the rules are so strict. they have 4000 remarkable cases. meaning they failed on technicalities but were amazing

Joe Hinman said...

When one comes across a genius a brilliant thinker of the first order it behooves one to study is works and delve deeply into his thinking, So naturally I feel inclined to really focus upon the genius tat is Cal what's his face. O yes Metzger. relative of scholarly great Bruce Metzger. Both so erudite they must be related..


First let's look at the ingenious criticism this giant of the literary world uses to castigate the drivel I dared put before his august majesty. The great man says:

"E.g., from your introductory paragraph: "They took the 411 cures from the era known as “the golden age or Lourdes.” This is the period from 1909-14 which was the time when the popularity was at its height, the medical committee was functioning smoothly with new rules, and crowds were pouring in."

First of all, this is truly a brilliant approach,. Here I put before him an article by a tram of scholars in a field he knows nothing about and they have published in a major academic journal in that field. Most people would waste their time trying to quibble with the facts, Not old Sherlock his steel trap mind comes up with the ingenious idea of harping on typos caused by my poor eye sight rather than merely dealing with issues, which anyone would do. That's so trite.

He criticizes the "or" in the sentence which clearly should not be there.

"E.g., from your introductory paragraph: "They took the 411 cures from the era known as “the golden age or Lourdes.” This is the period from 1909-14 which was the time when the popularity was at its height, the medical committee was functioning smoothly with new rules, and crowds were pouring in."

I said "or Lourdes" rather than "of." of course I', so freaking stupid that I don't know the difference, that's got into a Ph.D. program in history of ideas because I don't know how write. Most people understand d about typos. I have explained before I have dyslexia I am lying in bed and cIca.t see. Einstein here is too brilliant to let that go especially. He's not going to let himself diverted by irrelevant things like the content of the article.

Joe Hinman said...

Another brilliant observation Bruce makes is to assert the article is no good because the summary I wrote has problems. Most people who not think of that, The Ubermensch here sees immediately that the more important issue is to judge the article by the summary, rather than get distracted by the content. After all I didn't write the article so therefore my summary must be totally indicative of the quality of the article. Most people would not catchy that.

He also realizes that calling "golden age" not making it readily apparently is the most important issue in the article. Just amazingly perceptive. most of us would fall for the silly idea that this is trivia and it's somewhere in the article and one should read the article to find out. That's what most of us ordinary mortals would think. Albert Schweitzer here knows better, Such amazing perception. He can actually tell the article sux without even seeing it.

Just when you think old Sheldon Cooper can't get any more brilliant that that he comes pit with those immortal words that will live forever in the world of American letters, "what medical committee?" Parrrrmpa! So many of us ordinary people assume that because it's common knowledge and because it's been mentioned in this thread that I meant that committee. not Spock he knows you always harp on little things why waste time with major issues?

There is so much here,. It's been a real intellectual feast, I would like to talk about how cunningly brilliant is his he confusion of scholarly expertise with appeal to authority., most of those uninformed logicians think that the recall fallacy is appeal to false or unnecessary authority but expertise is not fallacious,. But that's for suckers. Old Nietzsche here, as brilliant as an atheist on a message board, sees right though that propaganda.

I'd like to go on lauding this amazing voice of a generation this genius of our time, this Alfred E. Newman of the message boards, but I have to waste my time preparing a paper to submit at a conference on the east coast. I'll be wasting my time with academics but I'll be thinking of the great lessons I've learned from Bruce Metzger here.

Joe Hinman said...

Cal Metzger,
There are plenty of well-written articles and books on Lourdes. To start with, you can see
"Two Lourdes Miracles and a Nobel Laureate: What Really Happened?" by S Jaki at
www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?id=2866

I told you I was linking to the summary I wrote not to the argotic. that pompous arrogant twit thinks it'[s so much more important to dig at someone's ego tan to confront the issues. He has not seen the article, the article is fine, com to that my summary is fine, it's minor points that need proofing, all article need proofing,.

the fool is upset. his cherished little sense of superiority is in danger he has to save it by digging at my ego. To Sheldon Metzger read the article fool.

Joe Hinman said...

They took the 411 cures from the era known as “the golden age or Lourdes.” This is the period from 1909-14 which was the time when the popularity was at its height, the medical committee was functioning smoothly with new rules, and crowds were pouring in.


this is a very well written sentence, only a fool would harp on the stupid things like golden age, it says why it called golden age dumas. The medical committee mentioned before and it's has nothing to do with grammar. this is extremely stupid!

Cal Metzger said...

Joe: "the fool is upset. his cherished little sense of superiority is in danger he has to save it by digging at my ego. To Sheldon Metzger read the article fool."

Right. I'm the one who has the bruised ego, who feels the need to save some sense of superiority. Not the guy writing comments strewn with gratuitous insults and insisting that his purported academic laurels are the true measure of his critical thinking skills and writing ability. Not his critical thinking skills and writing.

Got it.

---------

My quick assessment of your article was correct. I understand that it bruises your ego to hear it, but a real scholar wouldn't care about that. I remember the first time I got back a paper where the teacher had clearly spent more time marking it up than I had taken to write it. Ever since then, I've tried to take criticism of something I write as less of an assault on my ego (which I agree it can be), and also consider that when someone takes the time to criticize, one is being given an opportunity to learn something, and improve.

Joe Hinman said...

your Bs criticism are petty and silly, you judged they article without seeing it based upon my trivial mistakes that z
I can't help making, anyone who gets to PhD program with dyslexia deserves admiration not ridicule you are indeed a fool.

your transparent little tirade is obviously an attempt to distract from the fact that science is changing the paradigm and you are clueless because you are too arrogant and ignorance to notice.,

you are obviously threatened by the article..

Cal Metzger said...

Housekeeping:

Gyan: "Do you realize that even a single miraculous cure utterly disproves the anti-supernaturalist position?"

If there were a tractable supernaturalist position, and a coherent description of a miracle, then sure, that would be the case. But there isn't. There's just a lot of fallacious reasoning, and goal post moving, and the (surprise!) disappearance of miraculous events whenever they are made available to closer examination.

The Article (talking about your typical claim of faith healing): "They are layman’s testimonials that amount to nothing but hearsay."

Gyan: Which is precisely NOT the case with Lourdes.

Oh, there's examinable evidence for something like the healing of an amputation at Lourdes? I didn't know this. Can you provide a link to the very best, most impeachable example of examinable evidence concerning a reliable, verifiable, medical healing (similar to an amputation) then? As well, how it is that the reporters have come up with a tractable explanation of supernatural causation, and a coherent description of the miraculous.

It's surprising that we still have hospitals. I really hadn't heard anything about this.

Cal Metzger said...

Religious Believer: "Did you know that a single highly-unusual weather event disproves the notion that weather is controlled by the complex interaction of matter and energy across the surface of the globe?"

Meteorologist: "No, no I did not know that. So, if it snows in Mexico, then it's...."

Believer: "Thor."

Meteorologist: "Wow, who knew? Well, that's four years of community college, wasted."




Gyan said...

Cal Metzger,
"If there were a tractable supernaturalist position, and a coherent description of a miracle"

I recommend "Miracles and Physics" By Stanley Jaki who had a PhD in Physics and also
"Miracles" by CS Lewis.

"Can you provide a link to the very best, most impeachable example of examinable evidence concerning a reliable, verifiable, medical healing (similar to an amputation) then?"

Have you examined the previous links I had recommended?

Gyan said...

Cal Metzger,

"a single highly-unusual weather event disproves the notion that weather is controlled by the complex interaction of matter and energy"

"Highly-unnsual" has nothing to do with it. I blame those that have created the idea that miracles are defined by the unusualness. But a true miracle is defined by it being inexplicable.

Gyan said...

Cal Metzger,
"the argument from ignorance (unexplained doesn't mean miraculous)"

There is difference between "unexplained" and "inexplicable".
Jesus turned water into wine. It is not merely something unexplained but something truly inexplicable, given what we know of the world.

Gyan said...

Cal Metzger,
I recommend to you the case of Marie Bailly (1902) that was witnessed by Dr Carrell.
He received the Nobel Prize in 1912, for his work in vascular anastomosis.He is credited with having initiated all major advances in modern surgery, including organ transplants. He developed, with the assistance of Charles Lindbergh, the heart pump without which bypass surgery would be inconceivable.

The article is www.ewtn.com/library/MARY/VOYLOUR.HTM

I would be interested in your critique of THIS article.

Joe Hinman said...

Sheldon Metzger said
"Highly-unnsual" has nothing to do with it. I blame those that have created the idea that miracles are defined by the unusualness. But a true miracle is defined by it being inexplicable.

All of his augments are argument from ignorance, yuck yuck ;-)

seriously this statements takes ignorance of science. He wants to pretend that I made up these rules or some Christian apologist did. some of the top medical researchers in Europe made them up. The idea is not unusualness but inability to explain it by naturalistic means. One of the measurements of that is statistical variation, That is well documented in medicine MS is always fatal it never goes away, it never just stops. They do control for the period of lag time where MNS seems to have stopped. it does do that.

modern science understands physical law as description not prescription, But those descriptions don't very much. When they do it's a contradiction to the naturalistic paradigm. It an anomaly and get enough of those you have a paradigm shift.

Joe Hinman said...

contradictory double bind. they want the regularity of nature to establish physical laws, then argue we don't God to explain how things work because we have this regularity, then when it's violated that doesn't give us a need for God either because we have faith that science will explain it some day., what is that faith based upon, that isn't just the "no reason" that they stick Christian faith with? It's the very regularity that's been violated.

Where I went to school we called that "circular reasoning."

Cal Metzger said...

Gyan: "The article is www.ewtn.com/library/MARY/VOYLOUR.HTM / I would be interested in your critique of THIS article." "

It's exactly as worthless as evidence as I expected it to be.

And your ability to understand that is, apparently, exactly as bad as I assumed.

Imagine my surprise.



Gyan said...

Cal Metzger,
Please be specific. Why is a testimony by a Noble-winning physician on a medical matter worthless? A physician who was not a believer moreover.
Did you read this part:
"
At 2 PM on May 28, when Marie Bailly was taken, against all medical advice, from the hospital to the grotto and the baths next to it, she was literally dying. After her hugely swollen abdomen, with hard lumps and hardly any liquid within it, had been washed three times with water from the baths, she began her spectacular recovery. By 4 PM her abdomen was flat; by the evening she was sitting up—chatting, eating and not vomiting at all, although she had hardly been able to retain any food for the previous five months.

On the next morning, May 29, she got dressed and, a day later, with no one's help, she boarded the train back to Lyons, getting better and better on the 24-hour train ride. On arriving in Lyons, at noon on May 31, she walked through the station without leaning on anyone, took the streetcar to the home of her relatives who could not believe that it was Marie Bailly—and threw herself in their arms."

Cal Metzger said...

Gyan: "Please be specific:"

It's actually tiresome to have to explain basic critical thinking. So your request demands that I basically explain, well, how to think critically. And that's not something that can be cleared up in a few bullets.

I could point out that you responded "Which is precisely NOT the case with Lourdes." in response to this sentence from the article I had linked to: ""They are layman’s testimonials that amount to nothing but hearsay."

I asked for "Can you provide a link to the very best, most impeachable example of examinable evidence concerning a reliable, verifiable, medical healing (similar to an amputation) then?" and in response you provided an article, written by a Benedictine Monk, claiming that a non-scientific, popular book didn't use material that's in some other book about claims we can't investigate or verify for ourselves.

And you see no problem with this.

Like I said, teaching you to think critically is beyond my powers.


Gyan said...

Cal Metzger,
"written by a Benedictine Monk"
who is also a PhD in physics, a fact you omit to mention.
The testimony is by a Noble-winning physician, not a layman.