Intelligent Design Medicine

At The Stream: Peer reviewed study of a miracle

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We don’t see this every day:

The study details the medical history of a woman who was blind for more than a dozen years from juvenile macular degeneration, an incurable condition. She had attended a school for the blind, used a white cane for mobility, and read braille.

One night at bedtime her husband, a Baptist pastor, got on his knees to pray. He put a hand on her shoulder as she laid on the bed. They were both crying as he prayed: “Oh, God! You can restore … eyesight tonight, Lord. I know you can do it! And I pray you will do it tonight.”

With that, she opened her eyes and saw her husband kneeling in front of her. “I was blind when my husband prayed for me,” she said. “Then just like this — in a moment, after years of darkness I could see perfectly. It was miraculous! … Within seconds, my life had drastically changed. I could see, I could see!”

The woman’s eyesight has remained intact for 47 years since the “proximal intercessory prayer” (PIP) — that is, Christian prayer for healing with accompanying touch.

Lee Strobel, “Does Science Support Miracles? New Study Documents a Blind Woman’s Healing” at The Stream

The paper is open access.

Hope nobody gets driven from the field just for reporting this stuff.

Strobel goes on to talk about other apparently confirmed cases. His book, The Case for Miracles, is now in paperback.

Hat tip: Philip Cunningham

36 Replies to “At The Stream: Peer reviewed study of a miracle

  1. 1
    Seversky says:

    And, to put this in context, how many times did people pray for cures and nothing happened?

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Seversky states,

    And, to put this in context, how many times did people pray for cures and nothing happened?

    So Seversky, are you admitting that miracles, though rare, are still possible?

    Your comment, taken at face value, seems to imply just that.

    But should not you, as a former Christian now turned Atheist, (i.e. a former Christian who now believes in ‘science’ instead of Christianity), resolutely hold that miracles, no matter how rare or common they may be, are still, as far as science itself is concerned, absolutely impossible?

    Should not you. as an Atheist, an Atheist who now champions ‘science’ over your former Christianity, give us your specific scientific reasons for why you believe miracles to be absolutely impossible?

    I guess I can see why you would gripe about miracles being rare, instead of you giving us your specific scientific reason(s) for why miracles are absolutely impossible. Science simply does not support your apriori atheistic claim that miracles are absolutely impossible.

    For instance,,,

    “I became a Christian theist not in spite of being a scientist but because of it.”
    – Günter Bechly – former curator for amber and fossil insects in the department of paleontology at the State Museum of Natural History (SMNS) in Stuttgart, Germany, until he dared question Darwinian evolution.

    David Hume, an atheistic philosopher of the 1700s, tried to give us a specific ‘scientific’ reason for why he thought miracles to be absolutely impossible. Specifically David Hume stated that, “A miracle is a violation of the laws of nature; ”

    “A miracle is a violation of the laws of nature; and because firm and unalterable experience has established these laws, the case against a miracle is—just because it is a miracle—as complete as any argument from experience can possibly be imagined to be.”
    – David Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding – 1748

    Likewise, in the 1990s biologist Richard Lewontin stated the ‘scientific’ claim against miracles this way.

    “To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that miracles may happen. ”
    – Richard Lewontin

    The trouble for David Hume in the 1700s, for Lewontin in the 1990s, and for you now in the present Seversky, in trying to scientifically prove that miracles are absolutely impossible because they would supposedly be ‘a violation of the laws of nature’, is that the laws of nature, in and of themselves, are to be considered miraculous.

    In fact, if atheists were honest, (which would be a miracle in its own right), then atheists would honestly admit that they simply have no clue why there should even be universal laws that govern the universe in the first place:

    “There cannot be, in principle, a naturalistic bottom-up explanation for immutable physical laws — which are themselves an ‘expression’ of top-down causation. A bottom-up explanation, from the level of e.g. bosons, should be expected to give rise to innumerable different ever-changing laws. By analogy, particles give rise to innumerable different conglomerations.
    Moreover a bottom-up process from bosons to physical laws is in need of constraints (laws) in order to produce a limited set of universal laws.
    Paul Davies: “Physical processes, however violent or complex, are thought to have absolutely no effect on the laws. There is thus a curious asymmetry: physical processes depend on laws but the laws do not depend on physical processes. Although this statement cannot be proved, it is widely accepted.”
    Saying that laws do not depend on physical processes, is another way of saying that laws cannot be explained by physical processes.”
    – Origenes – UD blogger

    The Christian founders of modern science certainly did not view the laws of nature as being ‘natural’ but viewed them as being, “God’s abstract creation: thoughts, so to speak, in the mind of God.”

    “All the early scientists, like Newton, were religious in one way or another. They saw their science as a means of uncovering traces of God’s handiwork in the universe. What we now call the laws of physics they regarded as God’s abstract creation: thoughts, so to speak, in the mind of God. So in doing science, they supposed, one might be able to glimpse the mind of God – an exhilarating and audacious claim.”
    – Paul Davies – quoted from an address following his award of the $1 million Templeton Prize in 1995 for progress in science and religion.

    In fact, the first major unification in physics was Sir Isaac Newton’s realization, (via his Christian presupposition of a God Who is sovereign over the entire universe), that “the same force that caused an apple to fall at the Earth’s surface—gravity—was also responsible for holding the Moon in orbit about the Earth”,,

    Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation
    Excerpt: The first major unification in physics was Sir Isaac Newton’s realization that the same force that caused an apple to fall at the Earth’s surface—gravity—was also responsible for holding the Moon in orbit about the Earth. This universal force would also act between the planets and the Sun, providing a common explanation for both terrestrial and astronomical phenomena.
    https://www.learner.org/courses/physics/unit/text.html?unit=3&secNum=3

    Upon discovering the universal law of gravitation, Sir Isaac Newton then stated the ‘miraculous’ explanation for the universal law of Gravity this way: “This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being. And if the fixed stars are the centres of other like systems, these, being formed by the like wise counsel, must be all subject to the dominion of One;,,,”

    “This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being. And if the fixed stars are the centres of other like systems, these, being formed by the like wise counsel, must be all subject to the dominion of One; especially since the light of the fixed stars is of the same nature with the light of the sun, and from every system light passes into all the other systems: and lest the systems of the fixed stars should, by their gravity, fall on each other mutually, he hath placed those systems at immense distances one from another. This Being governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all; and on account of his dominion he is wont to be called Lord God pantokrator, or Universal Ruler;,,, The Supreme God is a Being eternal, infinite, absolutely perfect;,,, from his true dominion it follows that the true God is a living, intelligent, and powerful Being; and, from his other perfections, that he is supreme, or most perfect. He is eternal and infinite, omnipotent and omniscient; that is, his duration reaches from eternity to eternity; his presence from infinity to infinity; he governs all things, and knows all things that are or can be done. He is not eternity or infinity, but eternal and infinite; he is not duration or space, but he endures and is present. He endures for ever, and is every where present”:
    – Sir Isaac Newton – “Principia”

    Again. atheists simply have no clue why there should even be universal laws, much less do they have a right to presuppose that the laws of nature are completely natural.

    Einstein himself considered the comprehensibility of the universe, a comprehensibility that is afforded to us by the universal laws of nature, to be a miracle in its own right and even chastised ‘professional atheists, in the process of calling it a miracle.

    On the Rational Order of the World: a Letter to Maurice Solovine – Albert Einstein – March 30, 1952
    Excerpt: “You find it strange that I consider the comprehensibility of the world (to the extent that we are authorized to speak of such a comprehensibility) as a miracle or as an eternal mystery. Well, a priori, one should expect a chaotic world, which cannot be grasped by the mind in any way .. the kind of order created by Newton’s theory of gravitation, for example, is wholly different. Even if a man proposes the axioms of the theory, the success of such a project presupposes a high degree of ordering of the objective world, and this could not be expected a priori. That is the ‘miracle’ which is constantly reinforced as our knowledge expands.
    There lies the weakness of positivists and professional atheists who are elated because they feel that they have not only successfully rid the world of gods but “bared the miracles.”
    -Albert Einstein
    http://inters.org/Einstein-Letter-Solovine

    Likewise, Eugene Wigner also stated, “It is difficult to avoid the impression that a miracle confronts us here, quite comparable in its striking nature to the miracle that the human mind can string a thousand arguments together without getting itself into contradictions, or to the two miracles of the existence of laws of nature and of the human mind’s capacity to divine them.,,,”

    The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences – Eugene Wigner – 1960
    Excerpt: ,,certainly it is hard to believe that our reasoning power was brought, by Darwin’s process of natural selection, to the perfection which it seems to possess.,,,
    It is difficult to avoid the impression that a miracle confronts us here, quite comparable in its striking nature to the miracle that the human mind can string a thousand arguments together without getting itself into contradictions, or to the two miracles of the existence of laws of nature and of the human mind’s capacity to divine them.,,,
    The miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve. We should be grateful for it and hope that it will remain valid in future research and that it will extend, for better or for worse, to our pleasure, even though perhaps also to our bafflement, to wide branches of learning.
    http://www.dartmouth.edu/~matc.....igner.html

    Moreover, if, in the 1990s, Lewontin discounted miracles simply because he feared that “at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that miracles may happen”,,,

    “To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that miracles may happen. ”
    – Richard Lewontin

    ,,,, if, in the 1990s, Lewontin discounted miracles simply because he feared that “at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that miracles may happen”, then Lewontin should be absolutely flabbergasted today that multiverse cosmologists are basically proposing ‘random miracles’ as an explanatory principle in science in order to try to ‘explain away’ the origin and fine-tuning of the laws of nature.

    In short, in their appeal to multiverses in order to try to ‘explain away’ the laws of nature, no absurdity is now beyond the pale for atheists and, indeed, as Lewontin himself feared, in now turns out that, on the premises of atheism itself, “at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that miracles may happen.”

    As Dr Craig explains, ” if our universe is but one member of a multiverse, then we ought to be observing highly extraordinary events, like horses’ popping into and out of existence by random collisions, or perpetual motion machines, since these are vastly more probable than all of nature’s constants and quantities’ falling by chance into the virtually infinitesimal life-permitting range. Observable universes like those strange worlds are simply much more plenteous in the ensemble of universes than worlds like ours and, therefore, ought to be observed by us if the universe were but a random member of a multiverse of worlds.”

    Multiverse and the Design Argument – William Lane Craig
    Excerpt: Roger Penrose of Oxford University has calculated that the odds of our universe’s low entropy condition obtaining by chance alone are on the order of 1 in 10^10(123), an inconceivable number. If our universe were but one member of a multiverse of randomly ordered worlds, then it is vastly more probable that we should be observing a much smaller universe. For example, the odds of our solar system’s being formed instantly by the random collision of particles is about 1 in 10^10(60), a vast number, but inconceivably smaller than 1 in 10^10(123). (Penrose calls it “utter chicken feed” by comparison [The Road to Reality (Knopf, 2005), pp. 762-5]). Or again, if our universe is but one member of a multiverse, then we ought to be observing highly extraordinary events, like horses’ popping into and out of existence by random collisions, or perpetual motion machines, since these are vastly more probable than all of nature’s constants and quantities’ falling by chance into the virtually infinitesimal life-permitting range. Observable universes like those strange worlds are simply much more plenteous in the ensemble of universes than worlds like ours and, therefore, ought to be observed by us if the universe were but a random member of a multiverse of worlds. Since we do not have such observations, that fact strongly disconfirms the multiverse hypothesis. On naturalism, at least, it is therefore highly probable that there is no multiverse. — Penrose puts it bluntly “these world ensemble hypothesis are worse than useless in explaining the anthropic fine-tuning of the universe”.
    http://www.reasonablefaith.org.....n-argument

    And as Dr Gordon further explains, “In other words, the materialist is forced to believe in random miracles as an explanatory principle.” (whereas) “In a Theistic universe, nothing happens without a reason. Miracles are therefore intelligently directed deviations from divinely maintained regularities, and are thus expressions of rational purpose.”

    The End Of Materialism?
    * In the multiverse, anything can happen for no reason at all.
    * In other words, the materialist is forced to believe in random miracles as an explanatory principle.
    * In a Theistic universe, nothing happens without a reason. Miracles are therefore intelligently directed deviations from divinely maintained regularities, and are thus expressions of rational purpose.
    * Scientific materialism is (therefore) epistemically self defeating: it makes scientific rationality impossible.
    – Dr. Bruce Gordon – as stated on the last slide on the following video,,,
    – The Absurdity of Inflation, String Theory and The Multiverse – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ff_sNyGNSko

    Moreover, as bad as the laws of nature are, in and of themselves, for the atheist’s claim that miracles are impossible, recent developments in quantum mechanics goes one step further and shows us, basically, that the existence of the entire universe is dependent on God’s providence for the ‘continual miracle’ of its continued existence.

    Here is a quote from a MIT professor that brings this point home:

    Lecture 11: Decoherence and Hidden Variables – Scott Aaronson
    Excerpt: “Look, we all have fun ridiculing the creationists who think the world sprang into existence on October 23, 4004 BC at 9AM (presumably Babylonian time), with the fossils already in the ground, light from distant stars heading toward us, etc. But if we accept the usual picture of quantum mechanics, then in a certain sense the situation is far worse: the world (as you experience it) might as well not have existed 10^-43 seconds ago!”
    http://www.scottaaronson.com/democritus/lec11.html

    Thus in conclusion, although Seversky may gripe that miracles may be too rare for his personal liking, i.e. “how many times did people pray for cures and nothing happened?”, I say “So what Seversly?, Miracles, whether they are considered rare or commonplace, are proof, in and of themselves, for God’s divine actions in the world regardless of how prevalent they may be.”

    Moreover Seversky, you, nor any other atheist, has ever offered any compelling scientific reason for why we should believe miracles to be impossible. In fact, the ‘scientific’ reason usually offered by atheists against miracles, i.e. ‘a violation of the laws of nature’ turns out to be proof for miracles in their own right, and thus defeats the atheist’s supposedly scientific claim that miracles are impossible.

    In short, Seversky, as usual, you have no argument.

    Job 38:33
    Do you know the laws of the heavens? Can you establish its dominion over the earth?

    Of supplemental note: here is a fascinating interview with Craig Keener, author of a highly praised ‘scholarly’ book on miracles:

    Miracles: Keener’s Reflections – video playlist
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lE6sDPPQ7WA
    Description: Dr. Craig Keener, author of “Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts” discusses in this web series some of the accounts of people being raised from the dead and people being healed of sicknesses from around the world.

    It’s Okay to Expect a Miracle | Christianity Today – Keener
    Excerpt: I got seven eyewitness accounts of people being raised from the dead. One was my sister-in-law, Therese. I asked my mother-in-law to tell me about it, with my wife translating from one of the local languages. My mother-in-law described how Therese was bitten by a snake. By the time my mother-in-law got to her, she wasn’t breathing. No medical help was available. She strapped the child to her back and ran to a nearby village, where a friend who was an evangelist prayed for Therese. She started breathing again.
    https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2011/december/okay-to-expect-miracle.html?

  3. 3
    daveS says:

    I think miracles could be very strong evidence for the existence of a god.

    The problem is, you really have to witness one firsthand for it to be very persuasive.

    If I observed my coffee cup hover in midair for 10 minutes then gently settle back on its coaster, I would immediately be convinced that my worldview is very wrong.

    If I told someone about what I saw, I wouldn’t expect them to be impressed. They’d probably think I was high. Which is a sensible conclusion. I mean, not that I take illicit drugs…

  4. 4
    groovamos says:

    And, to put this in context, how many times did people pray for cures and nothing happened?

    I think time is ripe for a definition: “meaningless absurd rhetorical question” – A rhetorical question that feigns a requirement for a specific answer which human beings have no chance of providing and which additionally has no philosophical relevance as a rejoinder.

    Possibly meaningful rhetorical question – would anyone be even interested beyond noting that meaningless rhetorical question is driven by philosophical commitment?

  5. 5
    kairosfocus says:

    Rex Gardner, BMJ December 1983 — I originally made a special trip to get that article: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1550198/

  6. 6
    buffalo says:

    Daves @ 3

    70,000 saw the Miracles of the Sun including atheists.

  7. 7
    Querius says:

    DaveS @ 3,
    >>If I observed my coffee cup hover in midair for 10 minutes then gently settle back on its coaster, I would immediately be convinced that my worldview is very wrong.

    I understand what you’re saying, but let me suggest that no, you wouldn’t.

    I can assure you that the few stunning miracles that I’ve experienced directly in my life resulted in assaults of doubt soon after. I find that I still have to be willing to accept them as a divine intervention or grace. Should a conversation turn in that direction, when I relate these experiences to others , I can scarcely believe them myself–and I was there!

    Furthermore, I’d also assure you that they have a relatively much, much smaller place in my life than the day-to-day sense of peace, joy, and trust that I experience.

    If you are willing for God to reveal this to you, simply ask. It might not be in a cup of coffee as you might see in a magic trick, but something more personal to you. It will be gentle and not coercive.

    -Q

  8. 8
    AaronS1978 says:

    @ 1 and 2
    No he’s not admitting that they’re possible
    He’s being kind of a jerk and saying God ignores everybody and then delivers special treatment to one person obviously there’s no god because why would a loving God do that

    So with his logic obviously we should not be peer reviewing any type of miracle or look into these sorts of things

    Which that seems telling so in my opinion definitely look into these things and definitely peer review these things and if it turns out to be legit then you’ll just have to except it

  9. 9
    buffalo says:

    A loving father does not grant every request of his children.

  10. 10
    Seversky says:

    Bornagain77 2

    Seversky states,

    And, to put this in context, how many times did people pray for cures and nothing happened?

    So Seversky, are you admitting that miracles, though rare, are still possible?

    That depends on what you mean by miracle. If you mean something like the Wikipedia definition where it is “an event not explicable by natural or scientific laws” and which “may be attributed to a supernatural being (especially a deity), magic, a miracle worker, a saint, or a religious leader” then I could agree to that as a working definition.

    If you attribute an event like this to the miraculous intervention of your preferred deity following intercessory prayer then you will have to answer my question rather than dodging it. In how many other cases has there been no improvement in health following intercessory prayer?

    The follow-on question, of course, is how do you explain the apparent actions – or inactions – of a deity who is proclaimed to be omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent and omnibenevolent in such cases? For example, He either inflicted – or allowed to be inflicted – whatever caused the blindness in a teenage girl. He allowed that blindness to persist for 13 years even though He allegedly had the power to reverse it.

    What the paper does not say is whether or not the husband had prayed for her sight to be restored previously and, if so, how many times. There is one sentence in the paper’ “She indicated that her husband had never before prayed for someone who subsequently experienced a remarkable recovery” which can be read as indicating that her husband had prayed for others but without effect before.

    I would say that, on its face, this event is inexplicable in the sense that we have no obvious naturalistic explanation for it at this time. That does not mean there is none only that we do not have one now.

    And, as always in such cases, the problem for Christian apologists is trying to square such an event with the claimed nature of their deity. If, as is often the case, they retreat behind the inscrutability of God’s purpose, then they are in effect saying they don’t know either.

  11. 11
    buffalo says:

    Perseverance in prayer is important. St Monica prayed for years and years for the conversion of her son, the great St Augustine.

  12. 12
    bornagain77 says:

    So Seversky at 10, you are not against miracles per se, you are just against certain ‘preferred deities’ performing miracles? Really???

    Funny sort of atheism you have there Seversky! 🙂 Miracles are allowed. 🙂 So for curiosity sake, exactly how many miracles can an atheist believe in before he is no longer an atheist? 🙂

    Personally, I happen to ‘prefer’ the deity Who created the entire universe and all life in it and then defeated death on a cross, and even delivers people from sin and death just for good measure.

    In my personal opinion, any other ‘preferred deity’ who performed miracles would drastically pale in to comparison to the living God of heaven and earth.

    But hey. prefer away. I myself happen to prefer the God Who is beyond all comparison

    Lincoln Brewster ~ No One Like Our God (Lyrics)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qG9-_TG0S5w

  13. 13
    buffalo says:

    “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, Thy will be done, and those to whom God says, in the end, Thy will be done.” CS Lewis

  14. 14
    Tom Robbins says:

    There are thousands of examples of “Spontaneous Recovery” for which “science” (AS SOME UNDERSTAND it), has absolutely no rational explanation. For some, they could witness it over and over, and yet still not concede that something is going on much too fast and much to complete, as to be a “natural” event. But how much room should we give the word “natural” anyway?

    What gets me is Atheists will go to any length to explain away evidence of an all powerful creator, and yet many are fine with considering “the holographic principle”, multiverses, dark matter and dark energy, which are nothing but mathematical “fixes” (that BTW are incredibly fine-tuned), to try and make the miraculous routine. But do these things make anything routine? No, they are just equations that only give us temporary comfort that we understand the how or why.

    As was said above, our existence, or life, our deaths, or planet, our thoughts, our cells, our DNA, our universe, the fact there is all of this instead of noting, are considered “natural” by a foolish mind. These things are only considered “natural” as we can often come up with an OBSERVATION and a repeatable mathematical solution to go along with it. Science illuminates and describes what we see very well some of the time, but it is horrible at answering the why and I would argue even the how.

    The “How”: Any student of quantum mechanics knows that we can’t even ask “how” particles can instantaneously communicate over vast distances, but who can say they know “how” this happens? We can say that if you stimulate this part of the brain, sometimes it triggers a memory or smell, but we have no idea “how”… big theories generally have shelf lives, as we define, and then overturn our own definitions, many want to feel as if man can explain most things, except for a few minor details – but many, even completely secular scientists will tell you the truth, for every “discovery” or observation made, it only multiples the questions that are open to be investigated.

    The miraculous to me is fairly easy to explain, if one simply accepts, that MIND is primary. Spacetime and matter are all held a slave to consciousness, not the other way round.

  15. 15
    daveS says:

    Querius,

    That’s a fair point—I can see myself growing to doubt my senses and reasoning faculties after such an experience. I might eventually find it very unsettling, I suppose.

  16. 16
    daveS says:

    Buffalo,

    70,000 saw the Miracles of the Sun including atheists.

    All I can say is it would be very interesting to witness firsthand.

  17. 17
    bornagain77 says:

    Of related note. God did not leave himself without witness to the central, and, by far, the most important miraculous claim in the Bible. Namely, the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead as a propitiation for our sins,

    Of course I am talking about the Shroud of Turin.

    The Shroud of Turin is, by far, the most scientifically scrutinized ancient artifact, among all the ancient artifacts of man, found on earth. Here is a list of Scientific papers and articles

    Shroud of Turin – list of Scientific papers and articles
    https://www.shroud.com/library.htm#papers

    Even the lead photographer on the STURP team, Barrie Schwortz, who doubted the Shroud’s authenticity, yet after decades of examining the evidence, finally admitted that the Shroud is authentic:

    Barrie Schwortz Speaks on the Shroud of Turin in Shreveport
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yzg2lLOxsCY

    Likewise the lead Chemist on the STURP team, Raymond Rodgers, finally admitted, after decades, that the carbon dating of the Shroud was hopelessly flawed and moreover even claimed that he could place the Shroud at the time of the ‘historical Jesus’.

    Shroud of Turin – Carbon 14 Test Proven False –
    – Joseph G. Marino and M. Sue Benford – video
    (with Raymond Rogers, lead chemist from the STURP project)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GxDdx6vxthE

    Studies on the radiocarbon sample from the shroud of turin – Raymond N. Rogers – 2004
    Abstract
    In 1988, radiocarbon laboratories at Arizona, Cambridge, and Zurich determined the age of a sample from the Shroud of Turin. They reported that the date of the cloth’s production lay between A.D. 1260 and 1390 with 95% confidence. This came as a surprise in view of the technology used to produce the cloth, its chemical composition, and the lack of vanillin in its lignin. The results prompted questions about the validity of the sample.
    Preliminary estimates of the kinetics constants for the loss of vanillin from lignin indicate a much older age for the cloth than the radiocarbon analyses. The radiocarbon sampling area is uniquely coated with a yellow–brown plant gum containing dye lakes. Pyrolysis-mass-spectrometry results from the sample area coupled with microscopic and microchemical observations prove that the radiocarbon sample was not part of the original cloth of the Shroud of Turin. The radiocarbon date was thus not valid for determining the true age of the shroud.,,,
    The fact that vanillin can not be detected in the lignin on shroud fibers, Dead Sea scrolls linen, and other very old linens indicates that the shroud is quite old. A determination of the kinetics of vanillin loss suggests that the shroud is between 1300- and 3000-years old. Even allowing for errors in the measurements and assumptions about storage conditions, the cloth is unlikely to be as young as 840 years.
    per: Thermochimica Acta (Volume 425 pages 189-194, Los Alamos National Laboratory, University of California)
    http://www.shroud.it/ROGERS-3.PDF

    Rodgers passed away shortly after that video interview and paper , but his work was subsequently taken up by others and brought to completion:

    Carbon Dating Of The Turin Shroud Completely Overturned by Scientific Peer Review
    Excerpt: Rogers also asked John Brown, a materials forensic expert from Georgia Tech to confirm his finding using different methods. Brown did so. He also concluded that the shroud had been mended with newer material. Since then, a team of nine scientists at Los Alamos has also confirmed Rogers work, also with different methods and procedures. Much of this new information has been recently published in Chemistry Today.
    http://shroudofturin.wordpress.....s-of-time/

    “The age-dating process failed to recognize one of the first rules of analytical chemistry that any sample taken for characterization of an area or population must necessarily be representative of the whole. The part must be representative of the whole. Our analyses of the three thread samples taken from the Raes and C-14 sampling corner showed that this was not the case……. LANL’s work confirms the research published in Thermochimica Acta (Jan. 2005) by the late Raymond Rogers, a chemist who had studied actual C-14 samples and concluded the sample was not part of the original cloth possibly due to the area having been repaired. ”
    – Robert Villarreal – Los Alamos National Laboratory
    “Analytical Results on Thread Samples Taken from the Raes Sampling Area (Corner) of the Shroud Cloth” (Aug 2008)

    Giulio Fanti narrowed the age for the shroud down much closer to the first century than Rodgers, via chemistry alone, was able to do,

    NEW TESTS DATE THE SHROUD
    New experiments date the Shroud of Turin to the 1st century AD. They comprise three tests; two chemical and one mechanical. The chemical tests were done with Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) and Raman spectroscopy, examining the relationship between age and a spectral property of ancient flax textiles. The mechanical test measured several micro-mechanical characteristics of flax fibers, such as tensile strength. The results were compared to similar tests on samples of cloth from between 3250 BC and 2000 AD whose dates are accurately known.
    FTIR identifies chemical bonds in a molecule by producing an infrared absorption spectrum. The spectra produce a profile of the sample, a distinctive molecular fingerprint that can be used to identify its components.
    Raman Spectroscopy uses the light scattered off of a sample as opposed to the light absorbed by a sample. It is a very sensitive method of identifying specific chemicals.
    The tests on fibers from the Shroud of Turin produced the following dates: FTIR = 300 BC + 400 years; Raman spectroscopy = 200 BC + 500 years; and multi-parametric mechanical = 400 AD + 400 years. All the dates have a 95% certainty. The average of all three dates is 33 BC + 250 years (the collective uncertainty is less than the individual test uncertainties). The average date is compatible with the historic date of Jesus’ death on the cross in 30 AD, and is far older than the medieval dates obtained with the flawed Carbon-14 sample in 1988. The range of uncertainty for each test is high because the number of sample cloths used for comparison was low; 8 for FTIR, 11 for Raman, and 12 for the mechanical test. The scientists note that “future calibrations based on a greater number of samples and coupled with ad hoc cleaning procedures could significantly improve its accuracy, though it is not easy to find ancient samples adequate for the test.”
    They used tiny fibers extracted from the Shroud by micro-analyst Giovanni Riggi di Numana, who gave them to Fanti. Riggi passed away in 2008, but he had been involved in the intensive scientific examination of the Shroud of Turin by the STURP group in 1978, and on April 21, 1988 was the man who cut from the Shroud the thin 7 x 1 cm sliver of linen that was used for carbon dating.
    These tests were carried out in University of Padua laboratories by professors from various Italian universities, led by Giulio Fanti, Italian professor of mechanical and thermal measurement at the University of Padua’s engineering faculty. He co-authored reports of the findings in 1) a paper in the journal Vibrational Spectroscopy, July 2013, “Non-destructive dating of ancient flax textiles by means of vibrational spectroscopy” by Giulio Fanti, Pietro Baraldi, Roberto Basso, and Anna Tinti, Volume 67, pages 61-70; 2) a paper titled “A new cyclic-loads machine for the measurement of micro-mechanical properties of single flax fibers coming from the Turin Shroud” by Giulio Fanti and Pierandrea Malfi for the XXI AIMETA (Italian Association of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics) congress in 2013, and 3) the 2013 book “Il Mistero della Sindone” (The Mystery of the Shroud), written by Giulio Fanti and Saverio Gaeta in Italian.
    https://www.newgeology.us/presentation24.html

    In short, the main piece of evidence that was used, for decades, to argue against the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin, i.e. the carbon dating, has now been completely debunked, whereas the strength of the many other lines of evidence that have been used to argue for the authenticity of the Shroud has been growing stronger and stronger.

    The evidence for the Shroud’s authenticity keeps growing. (Timeline of facts) – November 08, 2019
    What Is the Shroud of Turin? Facts & History Everyone Should Know – Myra Adams and Russ Breault
    https://www.christianity.com/wiki/jesus-christ/what-is-the-shroud-of-turin.html

    For me personally. seeing is believing:

    Shroud of Turin: From discovery of Photographic Negative, to 3D Information, to Hologram
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-TL4QOCiis

    Comment on the preceding video

    So basically, we have a clothe with a photographic negative image on it that was made well before photography was even invented. Moreover, the photographic negative image has a 3-Dimensional holographic nature to its image that was somehow encoded within the photographic negative well before holography was even known about. Moreover, even with our present day technology, we still cannot replicated the image in all its detail.
    My question to atheists is this, if you truly believe some mad genius forger in the middle ages made this image, then please pray tell why did this mad genius save all his genius for this supposed forgery alone and not for, say, inventing photography itself since he surely would have required mastery of photography to pull off the forgery? Not to mention mastery of laser holography? Moreover, why did this hypothetical mad super-genius destroy all of his scientific instruments that he would have had to invent in order to make the image? Leonardo da Vinci would not have been worthy to tie the shoe laces of such a hypothetical mad genius!

    And this comment per Silver Asiatic, UD blogger

    These are big questions to deal with. I’ve never seen any of the shroud-skeptics address this.
    We see claims that “the shroud is a forgery” and then the discussion ends with that. It seems obvious to me that the skeptics are afraid to go any further and are just relieved that they “silenced” the shroud.
    But wait – yes, who was this forger? We have 3-D, photographic image of amazing subtlety and refinement. Yes, it’s something that transcends the genius of Leonardo DaVinci. We continue to use 21st century technology just to try to reproduce it.
    But nobody knows the name or origin of this artistic genius? There is no evidence of a workshop or artistic guild where this innovative creation was designed? Nobody from history ever mentioned this person? This genius-artist only produced this one masterpiece work – a holographic image on a cloth (containing pollen traceable to Jerusalem)? It was not framed or put on display. Not sold to anyone. The artist got nothing from creating it. Even the name of the genius artist disappeared. He never influenced any other artists. No family, friends, artistic community – not even the parish church – ever knew or said who he was?
    Amazingly, we only discovered the true power of the image when we took a photo negative of it in the 20th century. Yes, where are the medieval instruments used to create it? Everything was just accidentally lost?

    In conclusion, we basically have photographic evidence, as well as numerous other lines of physical evidence, for the most momentous miraculous event ever recorded in the history of mankind. Namely, Jesus’s victory over death.

    Thus in conclusion, for anyone who would like to see evidence of a miracle first hand, the Shroud of Turin presents a unique opportunity for you in that you can examine the evidence for the Shroud, in excruciating detail, (for decades if you want as Barrie Schwortz did), before you decide whether you believe it to be a true miracle or not.

    As the Scripture says of John the disciple, “He saw and believed.”

    John 20: 6-8
    Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed.

  18. 18
    Querius says:

    DaveS @ 15,

    From my own experience, I’d say that my doubts didn’t leave me questioning my senses and reasoning. Instead, I found my mind gravitating toward finding naturalistic or probablistic explanations. But then I doubted my doubts! No, it was really a miracle. Things like that just don’t happen.

    Nevertheless, such experiences fade with time and they tend to go more wooden with each retelling. As I said, what sustains my faith is my day-to-day peace and joy.

    -Q

  19. 19
    doubter says:

    An amusing ad – the scent of one white crow for sale: https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/2457/9461/products/onewitecrowaedit_1080x.jpg?v=1587954328

    Wake up and smell the perfume. As in William James’ famous saying, “If you wish to upset the law that all crows are black, it is enough if you prove that one crow is white.” But of course there is the mindset of closed minded skepticism. How about attacking the validity of the reported miracle. After all, since (to the closed minded materialist) this occurrence is impossible, it must really have been something else no matter how unlikely. So, the pastor and his wife made it all up and somehow got all the physicians, friends, etc. to lie about it.

    What if there was absolute proof? But to this mindset absolutely nothing can really prove the miracle. Even if it were proved that this extraordinary healing did actually happen as described, to this way of thinking there still has to be another, correct, explanation. So, it’s simply an example of a “spontaneous remission”, no matter that to medical science it was impossible and this medical science has absolutely no idea how it could have happened.

    If even that stratagem fails, then out of grudging desperation take the last fallback position and presume to be able to judge God in the supposed unfairness of granting only some prayers but not the majority of others.

    Sure. Reality simply can’t win with this mindset, and there is no point in debating the issue.

  20. 20
    bornagain77 says:

    Contrary to what atheists might claim, atheists DO believe in miracles!

    As Wolfgang (“not even wrong”) Pauli noted, “because they (evolutionary biologists) use the word ‘chance’, not any longer combined with estimations of a mathematically defined probability, in its application to very rare single events more or less synonymous with the old word ‘miracle.’”

    Pauli’s ideas on mind and matter in the context of contemporary science – Harald Atmanspacher
    Excerpt: “In discussions with biologists I met large difficulties when they apply the concept of ‘natural selection’ in a rather wide field, without being able to estimate the probability of the occurrence in a empirically given time of just those events, which have been important for the biological evolution. Treating the empirical time scale of the evolution theoretically as infinity they have then an easy game, apparently to avoid the concept of purposesiveness. While they pretend to stay in this way completely ‘scientific’ and ‘rational,’ they become actually very irrational, particularly because they use the word ‘chance’, not any longer combined with estimations of a mathematically defined probability, in its application to very rare single events more or less synonymous with the old word ‘miracle.’”
    Wolfgang Pauli (pp. 27-28)
    https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/234f/4989e039089fed5ac47c7d1a19b656c602e2.pdf

    Moreover, to appeal to ‘chance’ is actually worse than an appeal to a miracle. This is because to appeal to chance is to appeal, in actuality, to an unknown cause,

    What Is Chance? – Nicholas Nurston
    Excerpt: “The vague word ‘chance’ is used as a substitute for a more precise word such as ’cause’. “To personify ‘chance’ as if we were talking about a causal agent,” notes biophysicist Donald M. MacKay, “is to make an illegitimate switch from a scientific to a quasi-religious mythological concept.”
    Similarly, Robert C. Sproul points out: “By calling the unknown cause ‘chance’ for so long, people begin to forget that a substitution was made. . . . The assumption that ‘chance equals an unknown cause’ has come to mean for many that ‘chance equals cause.’” Others who reasoned in this fashion, Nobel laureate Jacques Monod, for one, used this chance equals cause line of reasoning. “Pure chance, absolutely free but blind, (is) at the root of the stupendous edifice of evolution,”…
    https://books.google.com/books?id=bQ5OAAAAQBAJ&pg=PT25&lpg=PT25

    Even Charles Darwin himself admitted that his appeal to chance was an appeal to an unknown cause,

    “I have hitherto sometimes spoken as if the variations—so common and multiform in organic beings under domestication, and in a lesser degree in those in a state of nature—had been due to chance. This, of course, is a wholly incorrect expression, but it serves to acknowledge plainly our ignorance of the cause of each particular variation.”
    Charles Darwin – Origin – Chapter V
    http://darwin-online.org.uk/Va.....-1859.html

    Whereas, when Theists claim that something happened by a miracle, they are actually appealing to a known cause. Namely they are appealing to the known cause of “Agent causality”. And whereas atheists might fight tooth an nail against the notion that the Agent Causality of God in particular is a known cause, they will have a much tougher time denying the existence of the ‘miracle’ of their own agent causality.

    A Professor’s Journey out of Nihilism: Why I am not an Atheist – University of Wyoming – J. Budziszewski
    Excerpt page12: “There were two great holes in the argument about the irrelevance of God. The first is that in order to attack free will, I supposed that I understood cause and effect; I supposed causation to be less mysterious than volition.
    If anything, it is the other way around. I can perceive a logical connection between premises and valid conclusions. I can perceive at least a rational connection between my willing to do something and my doing it. But between the apple and the earth, I can perceive no connection at all. Why does the apple fall? We don’t know. “But there is gravity,” you say. No, “gravity” is merely the name of the phenomenon, not its explanation. “But there are laws of gravity,” you say. No, the “laws” are not its explanation either; they are merely a more precise description of the thing to be explained, which remains as mysterious as before. For just this reason, philosophers of science are shy of the term “laws”; they prefer “lawlike regularities.” To call the equations of gravity “laws” and speak of the apple as “obeying” them is to speak as though, like the traffic laws, the “laws” of gravity are addressed to rational agents capable of conforming their wills to the command. This is cheating, because it makes mechanical causality (the more opaque of the two phenomena) seem like volition (the less). In my own way of thinking the cheating was even graver, because I attacked the less opaque in the name of the more.
    The other hole in my reasoning was cruder. If my imprisonment in a blind causality made my reasoning so unreliable that I couldn’t trust my beliefs, then by the same token I shouldn’t have trusted my beliefs about imprisonment in a blind causality. But in that case I had no business denying free will in the first place.”
    http://www.undergroundthomist......theist.pdf

    And indeed, since atheists deny the reality of their own free will, and thus deny the reality of their own agent causality, then demonstrating a miracle becomes as easy as falling off a log:

    Dr. Craig Hazen, in the following video at the 12:26 minute mark, relates how he performed, for an audience full of academics at a college, a ‘miracle’ simply by raising his arm,,

    The Intersection of Science and Religion – Craig Hazen, PhD – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?f.....qlE#t=746s

    Thus in conclusion, Atheists actually do believe in miracles insofar as they appeal to ‘chance’, i.e. an unknown cause, in which to explain “very rare single events more or less synonymous with the old word ‘miracle.’” (Pauli)

    Moreover, miracles, as opposed to chance, actually have much more explanatory power than chance does in that miracles are not an appeal to an unknown cause, as chance is an appeal to an unknown cause, but ‘miracles’ are actually an appeal to a known cause that we each intimately experience first hand. Namely, our own agent causality. A known cause that atheists, via their denial of free will, and though they experience it first hand, insanely deny the existence of.

    This insane denial of their own agent causality is built into their materialistic worldview,

    As Michael Egnor explains, “eliminative materialism is necessary if a materialist is to maintain a non-teleological Darwinian metaphysical perspective. It is purpose that must be denied in order to deny design in nature. So the mind, as well as teleology, must be denied. Eliminative materialism is just Darwinian metaphysics carried to its logical end and applied to man. If there is no teleology, there is no intentionality, and there is no purpose in nature nor in man’s thoughts.”

    Teleology and the Mind – Michael Egnor – August 16, 2016
    Excerpt: From the hylemorphic perspective, there is an intimate link between the mind and teleology. The 19th-century philosopher Franz Brentano pointed out that the hallmark of the mind is that it is directed to something other than itself. That is, the mind has intentionality, which is the ability of a mental process to be about something, rather than to just be itself. Physical processes alone (understood without teleology) are not inherently about things. The mind is always about things. Stated another way, physical processes (understood without teleology) have no purpose. Mental processes always have purpose. In fact, purpose (aboutness-intentionality-teleology) is what defines the mind. And we see the same purpose (aboutness-intentionality-teleology) in nature.
    Intentionality is a form of teleology. Both intentionality and teleology are goal-directedness — intentionality is directedness in thought, and teleology is directedness in nature. Mind and teleology are both manifestations of purpose in nature. The mind is, within nature, the same kind of process that directs nature.
    In this sense, eliminative materialism is necessary if a materialist is to maintain a non-teleological Darwinian metaphysical perspective. It is purpose that must be denied in order to deny design in nature. So the mind, as well as teleology, must be denied. Eliminative materialism is just Darwinian metaphysics carried to its logical end and applied to man. If there is no teleology, there is no intentionality, and there is no purpose in nature nor in man’s thoughts.
    The link between intentionality and teleology, and the undeniability of teleology, is even more clear if we consider our inescapable belief that other people have minds. The inference that other people have minds based on their purposeful (intentional-teleological) behavior, which is obviously correct and is essential to living a sane life, can be applied to our understanding of nature as well. Just as we know that other people have purposes (intentionality), we know just as certainly that nature has purposes (teleology). In a sense, intelligent design is the recognition of the same purpose-teleology-intentionality in nature that we recognize in ourselves and others.
    Teleology and intentionality are certainly the inferences to be drawn from the obvious purposeful arrangement of parts in nature, but I (as a loyal Thomist!) believe that teleology and intentionality are manifest in an even more fundamental way in nature. Any goal-directed natural change is teleological, even if purpose and arrangement of parts is not clearly manifest. The behavior of a single electron orbiting a proton is teleological, because the motion of the electron hews to specific ends (according to quantum mechanics). A pencil falling to the floor behaves teleologically (it does not fall up, or burst into flame, etc.). Purposeful arrangement of parts is teleology on an even more sophisticated scale, but teleology exists in even the most basic processes in nature. Physics is no less teleological than biology.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2016/08/teleology_and_t/

    Of supplemental note, every time you exercise your will, for instance to write an e-mail, you are, in fact, demonstrating that you have a ‘supernatural’ component to your being that cannot be reduced to any possible materialistic explanation.

    Do You Like SETI? Fine, Then Let’s Dump Methodological Naturalism – Paul Nelson – September 24, 2014
    Excerpt: “Epistemology — how we know — and ontology — what exists — are both affected by methodological naturalism (MN). If we say, “We cannot know that a mind caused x,” laying down an epistemological boundary defined by MN, then our ontology comprising real causes for x won’t include minds.
    MN entails an ontology in which minds are the consequence of physics, and thus, can only be placeholders for a more detailed causal account in which physics is the only (ultimate) actor. You didn’t write your email to me. Physics did, and informed (the illusion of) you of that event after the fact.
    “That’s crazy,” you reply, “I certainly did write my email.” Okay, then — to what does the pronoun “I” in that sentence refer?
    Your personal agency; your mind. Are you supernatural?,,,
    You are certainly an intelligent cause, however, and your intelligence does not collapse into physics. (If it does collapse — i.e., can be reduced without explanatory loss — we haven’t the faintest idea how, which amounts to the same thing.) To explain the effects you bring about in the world — such as your email, a real pattern — we must refer to you as a unique agent.,,,
    some feature of “intelligence” must be irreducible to physics, because otherwise we’re back to physics versus physics, and there’s nothing for SETI to look for.”,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....90071.html

    Quote and verse:

    “You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.”
    George MacDonald – Annals of a Quiet Neighborhood – 1892

    Mark 8:37
    Is anything worth more than your soul?

  21. 21
    daveS says:

    Querius,

    Based just on this discussion, I’m guessing that our fundamental attitudes toward the “paranormal” might be quite different.

    I have always been drawn toward it for some reason (to excess, I’m quite certain). In fact when I was much younger, I thought that things such as telekinesis and ESP likely existed, but perhaps the effect size was very small. I’m always interested in hearing anecdotes about purported paranormal phenomena, even to this day. At this point, I have provisionally concluded that it probably doesn’t exist, but the curiosity remains.

  22. 22
    bornagain77 says:

    DaveS states,

    I thought that things such as telekinesis and ESP likely existed, but perhaps the effect size was very small. I’m always interested in hearing anecdotes about purported paranormal phenomena, even to this day. At this point, I have provisionally concluded that it probably doesn’t exist, but the curiosity remains.

    Perhaps you are putting the cart way before the horse? IMHO, you need to accept the reality of your own immaterial mind, i.e. your own consciousness, and your own free will before you then try to debate whether or not you believe ESP and/or Telekinesis are probable or not.

    Consciousness and free will, in and of themselves, falsifies the atheist’s materialistic worldview.

    Like I stated in post 20, since Darwinian atheists deny the reality of their own free will, and thus deny the reality of their own agent causality, then demonstrating a miracle becomes as easy as falling off a log:

    Dr. Craig Hazen, in the following video at the 12:26 minute mark, relates how he performed, for an audience full of academics at a college, a ‘miracle’ simply by raising his arm,,

    The Intersection of Science and Religion – Craig Hazen, PhD – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?f.....qlE#t=746s

    As should be needless to say, if, via the denial of free will, raising your arm becomes a miracle in your atheistic worldview, perhaps it is time for you to seriously consider getting a new worldview?

  23. 23
    Querius says:

    Hat tip to BA77—interesting video on both the nature of volition and the source of morality. Is the brain more of a meat computer or more of a radio receiver? When does meat become conscious of itself? Can an electromechanical aircraft with well over a million component parts ever become complex enough to become self-conscious?

    DaveS @ 21,
    Oh, I think we probably share a sense of fascination mixed with an equal amount of skepticism regarding paranormal effects.

    When I was young, my mom once told me about once when she was a little girl hearing a scratching noise one night. Her mother said something like “Oh, that’s just my friend so-an-so coming to say goodbye to me.” Later that day they found that her friend had indeed passed away the previous evening. 😮

    My dad was an engineer, a tenacious, analytical man, who once related to me that he firmly believes in the existence angels. Why? Because as a small child, he was very sad and crying in his room on one occasion when he saw an angel float into his room through a window (shining robes, no wings), which left him with a sense of peace and he fell asleep. 😮

    What’s my reaction?

    Well, I believe my parents, but then there’s these nagging doubts—maybe my grandmother’s friend was very ill and my grandmother simply ascribed the mysterious noise to an anticipated death . . . maybe my dad suffered from a childhood psychological trauma that caused him to imagine an angel (but without wings?).

    Then, as I’ve mentioned, I’ve also witnessed some unexplained events myself that I can still hardly believe. That’s why I think trusting in God involves a willingness to believe and allowing God to continually prove himself to you in a way that’s not at all like something a magician or a huckster might perform.

    -Q

  24. 24
    bornagain77 says:

    Knowing what I know now about the abject failure of Darwinian processes to be able to explain the origin of even a single protein molecule, the following quote has become all the more apparent for me,

    “Earth’s crammed with heaven,
    And every common bush afire with God,
    But only he who sees takes off his shoes;
    The rest sit round and pluck blackberries.”
    – Elizabeth Barrett Browning

  25. 25
    Seversky says:

    Bornagain77 @ 12

    So Seversky at 10, you are not against miracles per se, you are just against certain ‘preferred deities’ performing miracles? Really???

    I’m neither for nor against miracles but it would be helpful if we could agree on an operational definition of what they are and how we could distinguish them from not-miracles.

    Personally, I happen to ‘prefer’ the deity Who created the entire universe and all life in it and then defeated death on a cross, and even delivers people from sin and death just for good measure

    I know that’s what you prefer and I have no expectation that anything I could say will do anything to change that.

  26. 26
    Seversky says:

    Bornagain77 @ 17

    Of related note. God did not leave himself without witness to the central, and, by far, the most important miraculous claim in the Bible. Namely, the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead as a propitiation for our sins,

    Of course I am talking about the Shroud of Turin.

    So the best evidence your God could manage is a piece of singed cloth? Seems somewhat less than compelling.

  27. 27
    Seversky says:

    Bornagain77 @ 20

    Dr. Craig Hazen, in the following video at the 12:26 minute mark, relates how he performed, for an audience full of academics at a college, a ‘miracle’ simply by raising his arm,,

    Really? You and Dr Hazen should try learning the difference between “unexplained” and “inexplicable”.

  28. 28
    bornagain77 says:

    Seversky,

    So the best evidence your God could manage is a piece of singed cloth? Seems somewhat less than compelling.

    Compelling, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

    Again, to repeat, from post 17
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/at-the-stream-peer-reviewed-study-of-a-miracle/#comment-702644

    For me personally. seeing is believing:

    Shroud of Turin: From discovery of Photographic Negative, to 3D Information, to Hologram
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-TL4QOCiis

    Comment on the preceding video

    So basically, we have a clothe with a photographic negative image on it that was made well before photography was even invented. Moreover, the photographic negative image has a 3-Dimensional holographic nature to its image that was somehow encoded within the photographic negative well before holography was even known about. Moreover, even with our present day technology, we still cannot replicated the image in all its detail.
    My question to atheists is this, if you truly believe some mad genius forger in the middle ages made this image, then please pray tell why did this mad genius save all his genius for this supposed forgery alone and not for, say, inventing photography itself since he surely would have required mastery of photography to pull off the forgery? Not to mention mastery of laser holography? Moreover, why did this hypothetical mad super-genius destroy all of his scientific instruments that he would have had to invent in order to make the image? Leonardo da Vinci would not have been worthy to tie the shoe laces of such a hypothetical mad genius!

    And this comment per Silver Asiatic, UD blogger

    These are big questions to deal with. I’ve never seen any of the shroud-skeptics address this.
    We see claims that “the shroud is a forgery” and then the discussion ends with that. It seems obvious to me that the skeptics are afraid to go any further and are just relieved that they “silenced” the shroud.
    But wait – yes, who was this forger? We have 3-D, photographic image of amazing subtlety and refinement. Yes, it’s something that transcends the genius of Leonardo DaVinci. We continue to use 21st century technology just to try to reproduce it.
    But nobody knows the name or origin of this artistic genius? There is no evidence of a workshop or artistic guild where this innovative creation was designed? Nobody from history ever mentioned this person? This genius-artist only produced this one masterpiece work – a holographic image on a cloth (containing pollen traceable to Jerusalem)? It was not framed or put on display. Not sold to anyone. The artist got nothing from creating it. Even the name of the genius artist disappeared. He never influenced any other artists. No family, friends, artistic community – not even the parish church – ever knew or said who he was?
    Amazingly, we only discovered the true power of the image when we took a photo negative of it in the 20th century. Yes, where are the medieval instruments used to create it? Everything was just accidentally lost?

    Thus, we basically have photographic evidence, as well as numerous other lines of physical evidence, for the most momentous miraculous event ever recorded in the history of mankind. Namely, Jesus’s victory over death.

    Thus in conclusion, for anyone who would like to see evidence of a miracle first hand, the Shroud of Turin presents a unique opportunity for you in that you can examine the evidence for the Shroud, in excruciating detail, (for decades if you want as Barrie Schwortz did), before you decide whether you believe it to be a true miracle or not.

    As the Scripture says of John the disciple, “He saw and believed.”

    John 20: 6-8
    Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed.

  29. 29
    bornagain77 says:

    Seversky,

    Really? You and Dr Hazen should try learning the difference between “unexplained” and “inexplicable”.

    LOL 🙂 If it is inexplicable and unexplained in your atheistic materialistic worldview, exactly how “YOU” can possibly, via your own free will, raise your arm whenever “you” so damn well desire to do so, then to repeat, “you” need to seriously consider getting a new worldview that can explain “YOU” simply raising your arm whenever you so damn well feel like doing so. 🙂

    I think the video is an absolute riot since it exposes, supposedly, ‘scientific materialism’ in all its full blown absurdity.

    Here it is again for those who would like a laugh at the expense of those who live in ivory towers

    Dr Craig Hazen schools an audience full of academics on free will, appox 12 min mark
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?f.....qlE#t=746s

  30. 30
    Querius says:

    BA77,

    Notice that with Seversky’s logic, every conceivable miracle without exception is simply a natural event that hasn’t yet been explained. Raising the dead, turning water into wine, Jesus appearing with outstretched hands. Doesn’t matter. All of these are automatically rationalized as *natural* phenomena that are not currently understood. Thus, by definition, miracles cannot exist.

    And this approach doesn’t apply just to miracles. Disagree with Quantum Mechanics? Easy. Just say that we don’t yet fully understand Newtonian mechanics. Don’t understand why there’s something rather than nothing? Invent an unobservable cosmic turtle that lays universe eggs and call the nest the “Multiverse.” Don’t agree with electromagnetic or gravitational force propagation? Just claim that the cosmic aether hasn’t been detected yet. Done.

    Sadly, I’m reminded of Monty Python’s Dead Parrot skit. Self-inflicted blindness.

    -Q

  31. 31
    daveS says:

    Querius,

    I’ve had similar experiences. My mom, dad, wife, and her pastor have described to me events which, if not miraculous, seemed to be physically impossible. My wife’s account was very dramatic, but it was second-hand. My wife’s pastor says he has witnessed instances of demonic possession, but is reluctant to give any details.

    I trust all these people a great deal, and am sure they all are sincere. At the end of the day, however, I think it’s mostly likely that none involve “supernatural” phenomena. It is very interesting hearing their accounts of these events nevertheless.

  32. 32
    Querius says:

    DaveS @ 31,

    Your observations support my belief that each person needs to have their own, unique, and personally convincing experience with God and can’t rely on the faith of their friends and relatives. If a person is willing, he or she can relax their reservations and simply open the door to God with sincerity.

    As I’m sure you know, with the birth of the universe believed to have occurred 13.8 billion years ago, space, time, mass, energy, and their physical interactions and finely tuned constants emerged. These components are what we consider “natural,” a part of nature.

    Before this event, there was Nothing. No time. No space. No quantum fluctuations. The emergence of everything in the universe thus falls under the term “supernatural.” Something that exists cannot create itself out of Nothing with laws that don’t yet exist within a space-time continuum that doesn’t exist and manifested by mass-energy that doesn’t yet exist.

    Also, I think it’s remarkable that consciousness exists. Pieces of meat that are self aware. That can write posts, use logic, and collapse wave functions simply by observing something–resolving mathematical probabilities into electromagnetic waves or particles. In some cases, conscious observation apparently can change the past (Quantum Erasure) or prevent probabilistic occurrences such as radioactive decay (Quantum Zeno effect).

    While a conscious mind demonstrably interacts with both the macro and quantum-levels of reality, there’s no scientific evidence that a consciousness is intrinsic to all reality. Thus, it’s possible that consciousness is also supernatural.

    -Q

  33. 33
    ET says:

    Miracle- mins from the mindless via blind and mindless processes would definitely qualify as a miracle. Nature producing coded systems from the bottom up, would also be a miracle.

    Materialism requires more miracles than all the religions combined.

  34. 34
    bornagain77 says:

    DaveS at 31 you commented that

    I trust all these people ( i.e. My mom, dad, wife, and her pastor) a great deal, and am sure they all are sincere. At the end of the day, however, I think it’s mostly likely that none involve “supernatural” phenomena. It is very interesting hearing their accounts of these events nevertheless.

    Likewise Querius also noted that,

    Well, I believe my parents, but then there’s these nagging doubts—maybe my grandmother’s friend was very ill and my grandmother simply ascribed the mysterious noise to an anticipated death . . . maybe my dad suffered from a childhood psychological trauma that caused him to imagine an angel (but without wings?).
    Then, as I’ve mentioned, I’ve also witnessed some unexplained events myself that I can still hardly believe.

    Thus both you DaveS, and Querius, have expressed nagging doubts that miracles, i.e. ‘supernatural’ events, are possible.

    Thus in order to more properly address these ‘nagging doubts’, (doubts that I hold that we all experience to varying degrees), I suggest that we look a look a little closer as to exactly what we can be absolutely 100% certain of, and what we can not be absolutely certain of but that we can have varying degrees of doubt in.

    Rene Descartes, via his evil demon, i.e. his ‘method of doubt’,,,,

    The evil demon, also known as malicious demon[1] and evil genius,[2] is a concept in Cartesian philosophy. In the first of his 1641 Meditations on First Philosophy, Descartes imagines that an evil demon, of “utmost power and cunning has employed all his energies in order to deceive me.” This evil demon is imagined to present a complete illusion of an external world, so that Descartes can say, “I shall think that the sky, the air, the earth, colours, shapes, sounds and all external things are merely the delusions of dreams which he has devised to ensnare my judgement. I shall consider myself as not having hands or eyes, or flesh, or blood or senses, but as falsely believing that I have all these things.”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evil_demon

    Method of Doubt
    Excerpt: “Reason now leads me to think that I should hold back my assent from opinions which are not completely certain and indubitable just as carefully as I do from those which are patently false. So, for the purpose of rejecting all my opinions, it will be enough if I find in each of them at least some reason for doubt. (AT 7:18, CSM 2:12)
    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/descartes-epistemology/#MethDoub

    Rene Descartes, via his evil demon, i.e. his ‘method of doubt’, found that he could doubt the existence of all things save for the fact that he existed in order to do the doubting in the first place,

    Cogito, ergo sum
    Cogito, ergo sum[a] is a Latin philosophical proposition by René Descartes usually translated into English as “I think, therefore I am”.[b] The phrase originally appeared in French as je pense, donc je suis in his Discourse on the Method, so as to reach a wider audience than Latin would have allowed.[1] It appeared in Latin in his later Principles of Philosophy. As Descartes explained, “we cannot doubt of our existence while we doubt….” A fuller version, articulated by Antoine Léonard Thomas, aptly captures Descartes’s intent: dubito, ergo cogito, ergo sum (“I doubt, therefore I think, therefore I am”).[c][d] The concept is also sometimes known as the cogito.[2]
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cogito,_ergo_sum

    And from that conclusion that he could only be certain of the fact that he existed in order to do the doubting in the first place, Rene Descartes then went on to use that conclusion that he could only be certain of the fact that he really existed as a starting point to then argue for the existence of God.

    René Descartes (1596—1650)
    Excerpt:
    5. God
    a. The Causal Arguments
    At the beginning of the Third Meditation only “I exist” and “I am a thinking thing” are beyond doubt and are, therefore, absolutely certain. From these intuitively grasped, absolutely certain truths, Descartes now goes on to deduce the existence of something other than himself, namely God.
    https://www.iep.utm.edu/descarte/#SH4a

    In short, from the absolutely certainty that we exist, i.e. namely that we can only be absolutely certain of the fact that we have minds, we can then also build on that fact to be absolutely certain of the fact that other people with minds exist. Other people with minds up to and, most importantly, including God.

    You don’t have to take Descartes word for it.

    Most all, if not all, of the leading founders of quantum mechanics have stated that consciousness must be the foundational thing we build upon in any coherent definition of reality that we may put forth,

    “No, I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”
    Max Planck (1858–1947), the main founder of quantum theory, The Observer, London, January 25, 1931

    “Consciousness cannot be accounted for in physical terms. For consciousness is absolutely fundamental. It cannot be accounted for in terms of anything else.”
    Schroedinger, Erwin. 1984. “General Scientific and Popular Papers,” in Collected Papers, Vol. 4. Vienna: Austrian Academy of Sciences. Friedr. Vieweg & Sohn, Braunschweig/Wiesbaden. p. 334.

    “The principal argument against materialism is not that illustrated in the last two sections: that it is incompatible with quantum theory. The principal argument is that thought processes and consciousness are the primary concepts, that our knowledge of the external world is the content of our consciousness and that the consciousness, therefore, cannot be denied. On the contrary, logically, the external world could be denied—though it is not very practical to do so. In the words of Niels Bohr, “The word consciousness, applied to ourselves as well as to others, is indispensable when dealing with the human situation.” In view of all this, one may well wonder how materialism, the doctrine that “life could be explained by sophisticated combinations of physical and chemical laws,” could so long be accepted by the majority of scientists.”
    – Eugene Wigner, Remarks on the Mind-Body Question, pp 167-177.

    Interestingly, Rene Descartes thought experiment of seeing what he could doubt, and what he could be certain of, now plays out in science.

    Namely Boltzmann’s Brain

    The Boltzmann brain argument suggests that it is more likely for a single brain to spontaneously and briefly form in a void (complete with a false memory of having existed in our universe) than it is for our universe to have come about in the way modern science thinks it actually did. It was first proposed as a reductio ad absurdum response to Ludwig Boltzmann’s early explanation for the low-entropy state of our universe.[1]
    – per wikipedia

    As William Lane Craig explains,

    Multiverse and the Design Argument – William Lane Craig
    Excerpt: Roger Penrose of Oxford University has calculated that the odds of our universe’s low entropy condition obtaining by chance alone are on the order of 1 in 10^10(123), an inconceivable number. If our universe were but one member of a multiverse of randomly ordered worlds, then it is vastly more probable that we should be observing a much smaller universe. For example, the odds of our solar system’s being formed instantly by the random collision of particles is about 1 in 10^10(60), a vast number, but inconceivably smaller than 1 in 10^10(123). (Penrose calls it “utter chicken feed” by comparison [The Road to Reality (Knopf, 2005), pp. 762-5]). Or again, if our universe is but one member of a multiverse, then we ought to be observing highly extraordinary events, like horses’ popping into and out of existence by random collisions, or perpetual motion machines, since these are vastly more probable than all of nature’s constants and quantities’ falling by chance into the virtually infinitesimal life-permitting range. Observable universes like those strange worlds are simply much more plenteous in the ensemble of universes than worlds like ours and, therefore, ought to be observed by us if the universe were but a random member of a multiverse of worlds. Since we do not have such observations, that fact strongly disconfirms the multiverse hypothesis. On naturalism, at least, it is therefore highly probable that there is no multiverse. — Penrose puts it bluntly “these world ensemble hypothesis are worse than useless in explaining the anthropic fine-tuning of the universe”.
    http://www.reasonablefaith.org.....n-argument

    Does a Multiverse Explain the Fine Tuning of the Universe? – Dr. Craig (observer selection effect vs. Boltzmann Brains) – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pb9aXduPfuA

    Thus, if you are absolutely certain that you really exist as a real person in a universe with a 14 billion year history, and that you are not a brain in a vat, or even a ‘Boltzmann Brain’ that just fluctuated into existence two seconds ago, then you can also be absolutely certain that God exists.

    In short, if God does not exist, we can not be certain of anything, not even our own existence, yet since we are certain of our own existence, (again it is THE most certain thing that we can possibly be certain of), then we can also be absolutely certain that God exists.

    In other words, only if God exists can we possess any certainty whatsoever.

    Of supplemental note,

    if Darwinian evolution, and the materialistic presuppositions therein, were actually true, then, sans Descartes, ALL of our perceptions of reality would be illusory.

    The Evolutionary Argument Against Reality – April 2016
    The cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman uses evolutionary game theory to show that our perceptions of an independent reality must be illusions.
    Excerpt: “The classic argument is that those of our ancestors who saw more accurately had a competitive advantage over those who saw less accurately and thus were more likely to pass on their genes that coded for those more accurate perceptions, so after thousands of generations we can be quite confident that we’re the offspring of those who saw accurately, and so we see accurately. That sounds very plausible. But I think it is utterly false. It misunderstands the fundamental fact about evolution, which is that it’s about fitness functions — mathematical functions that describe how well a given strategy achieves the goals of survival and reproduction. The mathematical physicist Chetan Prakash proved a theorem that I devised that says: According to evolution by natural selection, an organism that sees reality as it is will never be more fit than an organism of equal complexity that sees none of reality but is just tuned to fitness. Never.”
    https://www.quantamagazine.org/20160421-the-evolutionary-argument-against-reality/

    Moreover, completely contrary to what Hoffman found for Darwinian theory, it turns out that accurate perception, i.e. conscious observation, far from being unreliable and illusory, is experimentally found to be far more integral to reality, i.e. far more reliable of reality, than the mathematics of population genetics predicted. In the following experiment, it was found that “reality does not exist if you are not looking at it,”.

    New Mind-blowing Experiment Confirms That Reality Doesn’t Exist If You Are Not Looking at It – June 3, 2015
    Excerpt: The results of the Australian scientists’ experiment, which were published in the journal Nature Physics, show that this choice is determined by the way the object is measured, which is in accordance with what quantum theory predicts.
    “It proves that measurement is everything. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it,” said lead researcher Dr. Andrew Truscott in a press release.,,,
    “The atoms did not travel from A to B. It was only when they were measured at the end of the journey that their wave-like or particle-like behavior was brought into existence,” he said.
    Thus, this experiment adds to the validity of the quantum theory and provides new evidence to the idea that reality doesn’t exist without an observer.
    http://themindunleashed.org/20.....at-it.html

    Apparently science itself could care less if atheistic materialists are forced to believe, because of the mathematics of population genetics, that ALL of their observations of reality are illusory!

    2 Corinthians 10:5
    Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

  35. 35
    daveS says:

    Querius,

    Yes, I agree that although it’s helpful to share our experiences, in the end, we each have to do our own thinking.

    Consciousness and the origin of the universe are also fascinating issues, but I’m afraid I have little hope of making much progress understanding them.

  36. 36
    Querius says:

    DaveS @ 35,

    The challenge to our thought processes is to expose our hidden assumptions, prejudices, and motives. We all have them. We also tend to flatter ourselves with assurances that our thought processes are based solely on facts and logic, when in fact much of our decision-making is slathered over with a rich coat of intellectual frosting. I tend to fall for this too!

    – The boat was ridiculously cheap–I’d be stupid not to buy it!
    – The off-road motorcycle or ATV can definitely come in handy if there’s an emergency–logically, a wise investment!
    – The underwater drone has this amazing technology that lets me monitor the ecological health of the lake nearby and possible rescue situations–it’s actually part of my Civic Duty!

    C’mon, they’re toys and we love them! Lol

    Similarly, we do the same thing when confronted with matters of faith but in reverse.

    – I’m an intellectual and don’t go in for redneck religion.
    – I want an extra day off on Sunday and don’t want a boring commitment.
    – I don’t want to have to give up my pet sins and desires.

    For me, I appreciate the changes to my personality and the peace and joy I experience as a result of allowing Jesus in my life and following his teachings!

    – I study the Bible and try to understand the original Hebrew and Greek (Septuagint). I’m totally amazed at God’s genius in all of creation and continue studying it more as a result. The next time it rains, I plan to get out one of my toys, a Bausch & Lomb binocular dissection microscope (Zoom 0.7X – 30X), to do some pond water “small game hunting.” Woohoo! 🙂
    – I love associating with a wide range of believers at church, including college professors, engineers, musicians, students, ex-cons (some of whom I consider my best friends), doctors, builders, business people, and a lot more people who share my faith.
    – My pet sins and desires only got me in trouble and weren’t really satisfying.

    So we do our thinking, confront our desires and excuses, and make course adjustments as we walk through this life.

    -Q

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