Intelligent Design

Miracles: Can They Happen?

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A few days ago we had a post on Science, Miracles, and Benny Hinn, highlighting portions of Bill Dembski’s new online book The Faces of Miracles.  It seems appropriate this time of year to consider miracles.  After all, in the Christian world, this month we’re celebrating an event that can only be described as a miracle: the virgin birth of Christ. 

So what exactly do we mean by the term “miracle”?  In the book, In Defense of Miracles: A Comprehensive Case for God’s Action in History, Richard Purtill provides this definition:

A miracle is an event that is brought about by the power of God that is a temporary exception to the ordinary course of nature for the purpose of showing that God is acting in history.

This definition eliminates the common street use of the term, such as “It was a miracle that Jones caught that pass with no time left to win the game!” The word “miracle” was the title of the 2004 film about the United States hockey team Winter Olympics gold medal.  Then there’s that Holiday favorite, Miracle on 34th Street.  None of these meet the definition provided by Purtill. 

If Purtill is right, then we can reasonably ask, do we live in a cosmos where miracles take place?  If so, how do we know when we witness one?  The skeptics will deny that there are any such things as miracles, often citing David Hume’s dictum that “a wise man proportions his belief to the evidence.”  For Hume, no amount of evidence would convince him that a miracle had taken place. 

We could reasonably ask the skeptic “how do you know scientifically that the properties of the cosmos are such that it is a completely closed system of natural cause and effect and that no supernatural being(s), even if such exist, could intervene or cause any change or cause any exception to the course of Nature, even in principle?”  This question focuses on science.  Philosophy, metaphysics, or theology won’t do in answering it.   

So, do we or don’t we live in a cosmos where miracles (as defined by Purtill) can take place?  If so, how do we know when we’ve witnessed one.  Cordially discuss!

35 Replies to “Miracles: Can They Happen?

  1. 1
    Fasteddious says:

    Here is a simple explanation (or “model” if you prefer) for how miracles are possible:
    https://thopid.blogspot.com/2018/12/some-models-of-miracles.html
    Note also that physical “laws” are just our best description of what occurs in nature, and do not necessarily control what happens: they are descriptive rather than prescriptive.

  2. 2
    Ed George says:

    I will start believing in miracles when Joe can respond to someone who he disagrees with without insulting him/her.

    Here is an example of his typical verbiage:

    Why are evoTARDs so fucking stupid that they don’t even understand their own position? How fucking retarded are you faggots?

    If that is the sort of bevavior that is allowed here, is there any wonder why people don’t take it seriously?

  3. 3
    Seversky says:

    We could reasonably ask the skeptic “how do you know scientifically that the properties of the cosmos are such that it is a completely closed system of natural cause and effect and that no supernatural being(s), even if such exist, could intervene or cause any change or cause any exception to the course of Nature, even in principle?” This question focuses on science. Philosophy, metaphysics, or theology won’t do in answering it.

    If we agree that the burden of proof rests with the claimant then we can reasonably ask of the proponent of a claimed miraculous event why we should accept it must be such. To accept an event as a miracle, defined as an interruption or exception to the course of Nature that could only be brought about by God, we would have to be able to exclude all possible natural causes first. Are there any cases in which we are knowledgeable enough to be able to rule out all natural causes? If not, then we are left with Hume’s prudent dictum.

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    As to:

    citing David Hume’s dictum that “a wise man proportions his belief to the evidence.” For Hume, no amount of evidence would convince him that a miracle had taken place.

    Of related note.

    How a Defense of Christianity Revolutionized Brain Science – JORDANA CEPELEWICZ ON DEC 20, 2016
    Excerpt: Presbyterian reverend Thomas Bayes had no reason to suspect he’d make any lasting contribution to humankind.,,,
    in 1748,, philosopher David Hume published ‘An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding’, calling into question, among other things, the existence of miracles. According to Hume, the probability of people inaccurately claiming that they’d seen Jesus’ resurrection far outweighed the probability that the event had occurred in the first place. This did not sit well with the reverend.
    Inspired to prove Hume wrong, Bayes tried to quantify the probability of an event.,,,
    “The basic probabilistic point” of (Richard) Price’s article, says statistician and historian Stephen Stigler, “was that Hume underestimated the impact of there being a number of independent witnesses to a miracle, and that Bayes’ results showed how the multiplication of even fallible evidence could overwhelm the great improbability of an event and establish it as fact.”
    The statistics that grew out of Bayes and Price’s work became powerful enough to account for wide ranges of uncertainties. In medicine, Bayes’ theorem helps measure the relationship between diseases and possible causes. In battle, it narrows the field to locate an enemy’s position. In information theory, it can be applied to decrypt messages. And in the brain, it helps make sense of sensory input processes.
    http://nautil.us/blog/how-a-de.....in-science

    As well, “In his essay, Hume defines a miracle as a violation of the laws of nature.”

    “In his essay, Hume defines a miracle as a violation of the laws of nature.”
    Dr. Timothy McGrew – Do miracles break the laws of nature, as David Hume claimed?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPf6jsmeU4E

    Yet, contrary to what Hume knew in his day, we now know the universe is not eternal but was created approx. 14 billion years ago. And that therefore the finely tuned laws of nature that allow life to be possible are a miracle in and of themselves. As Eric Metaxas stated in regards to the finely tuned laws of nature that allow life to be possible in this universe in general and on this earth in particular,

    “Reason and science compels us to see what previous generations could not: that our existence is an outrageous and astonishing miracle, one so startlingly and perhaps so disturbingly miraculous that it makes any miracle like the parting of the Red Sea pale in such insignificance that it almost becomes unworthy of our consideration, as though it were something done easily by a child, half-asleep. It is something to which the most truly human response is some combination of terror and wonder, of ancient awe, and childhood joy.”
    – Eric Metaxas – Miracles – pages 55-56

    Indeed, it is a “miracle” for which atheists themselves are forced appeal to “random miracles as an explanatory principle” in order to try to account for the finely tuned laws of nature that allow life to be possible.

    BRUCE GORDON: Hawking’s irrational arguments – October 2010
    Excerpt: The physical universe is causally incomplete and therefore neither self-originating nor self-sustaining. The world of space, time, matter and energy is dependent on a reality that transcends space, time, matter and energy. This transcendent reality cannot merely be a Platonic realm of mathematical descriptions, for such things are causally inert abstract entities that do not affect the material world. Neither is it the case that “nothing” is unstable, as Mr. Hawking and others maintain. Absolute nothing cannot have mathematical relationships predicated on it, not even quantum gravitational ones. Rather, the transcendent reality on which our universe depends must be something that can exhibit agency – a mind that can choose among the infinite variety of mathematical descriptions and bring into existence a reality that corresponds to a consistent subset of them. This is what “breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe. Anything else invokes random miracles as an explanatory principle and spells the end of scientific rationality.,, the evidence for string theory and its extension, M-theory, is nonexistent; and the idea that conjoining them demonstrates that we live in a multiverse of bubble universes with different laws and constants is a mathematical fantasy. What is worse, multiplying without limit the opportunities for any event to happen in the context of a multiverse – where it is alleged that anything can spontaneously jump into existence without cause – produces a situation in which no absurdity is beyond the pale.
    For instance, we find multiverse cosmologists debating the “Boltzmann Brain” problem: In the most “reasonable” models for a multiverse, it is immeasurably more likely that our consciousness is associated with a brain that has spontaneously fluctuated into existence in the quantum vacuum than it is that we have parents and exist in an orderly universe with a 13.7 billion-year history. This is absurd. The multiverse hypothesis is therefore falsified because it renders false what we know to be true about ourselves. Clearly, embracing the multiverse idea entails a nihilistic irrationality that destroys the very possibility of science.
    Universes do not “spontaneously create” on the basis of abstract mathematical descriptions, nor does the fantasy of a limitless multiverse trump the explanatory power of transcendent intelligent design. What Mr. Hawking’s contrary assertions show is that mathematical savants can sometimes be metaphysical simpletons. Caveat emptor.
    http://www.washingtontimes.com.....arguments/

    The Absurdity of Inflation, String Theory and The Multiverse – Dr. Bruce Gordon – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ff_sNyGNSko
    Here is the last power-point slide of the preceding video:
    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.

    Besides the ‘random miracles’ of the multiverse spelling an end to scientific rationality, the Many Worlds Interpretation (MWI) of quantum mechanics also invokes ‘random miracles’ as a explanatory principle and also spells the end of scientific rationality.

    First off, Many Worlds (MWI) denies the actuality of wave-function collapse:

    Quantum mechanics
    Excerpt: The Everett many-worlds interpretation, formulated in 1956, holds that all the possibilities described by quantum theory simultaneously occur in a multiverse composed of mostly independent parallel universes.[43] This is not accomplished by introducing some new axiom to quantum mechanics, but on the contrary by removing the axiom of the collapse of the wave packet:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Q.....plications

    The many-worlds interpretation is an interpretation of quantum mechanics that asserts the objective reality of the universal wavefunction and denies the actuality of wavefunction collapse.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Many-worlds_interpretation

    In denying the reality of wave function collapse, Many Worlds truly exposes reductive materialism in all its full blown absurdity. i.e. The material particle is given so much unmerited power in the many worlds interpretation of Quantum Mechanics that every time someone simply observes a particle, instead of the wave function merely collapsing, the particle instead creates a virtual infinity of parallel universes.

    Too many worlds – Philip Ball – Feb. 17, 2015
    Excerpt:,,, You measure the path of an electron, and in this world it seems to go this way, but in another world it went that way.
    That requires a parallel, identical apparatus for the electron to traverse. More – it requires a parallel you to measure it. Once begun, this process of fabrication has no end: you have to build an entire parallel universe around that one electron, identical in all respects except where the electron went. You avoid the complication of wavefunction collapse, but at the expense of making another universe.,,,
    http://aeon.co/magazine/scienc.....a-fantasy/

    In what should be needless to say, MWI leads to the catastrophic epistemological failure of science itself.

    Why the Many-Worlds Interpretation Has Many Problems – Philip Ball – October 18, 2018
    Excerpt: It, (The Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics), says that our unique experience as individuals is not simply a bit imperfect, a bit unreliable and fuzzy, but is a complete illusion. If we really pursue that idea, rather than pretending that it gives us quantum siblings, we find ourselves unable to say anything about anything that can be considered a meaningful truth. We are not just suspended in language; we have denied language any agency. The MWI — if taken seriously — is unthinkable.
    Its implications undermine a scientific description of the world far more seriously than do those of any of its rivals. The MWI tells you not to trust empiricism at all: Rather than imposing the observer on the scene, it destroys any credible account of what an observer can possibly be. Some Everettians insist that this is not a problem and that you should not be troubled by it. Perhaps you are not, but I am.
    https://www.quantamagazine.org/why-the-many-worlds-interpretation-of-quantum-mechanics-has-many-problems-20181018/

    Moreover, contrary to MWI denying the reality of wave function collapse, the following experiment shows that the collapse of the wave function is a real effect,,

    Quantum experiment verifies Einstein’s ‘spooky action at a distance’ – March 24, 2015
    Excerpt: An experiment,, has for the first time demonstrated Albert Einstein’s original conception of “spooky action at a distance” using a single particle.
    ,,Professor Howard Wiseman and his experimental collaborators,, report their use of homodyne measurements to show what Einstein did not believe to be real, namely the non-local collapse of a (single) particle’s wave function.,,
    According to quantum mechanics, a single particle can be described by a wave function that spreads over arbitrarily large distances,,,
    ,, by splitting a single photon between two laboratories, scientists have used homodyne detectors—which measure wave-like properties—to show the collapse of the wave function is a real effect,,
    This phenomenon is explained in quantum theory,, the instantaneous non-local, (beyond space and time), collapse of the wave function to wherever the particle is detected.,,,
    “Einstein never accepted orthodox quantum mechanics and the original basis of his contention was this single-particle argument. This is why it is important to demonstrate non-local wave function collapse with a single particle,” says Professor Wiseman.
    “Einstein’s view was that the detection of the particle only ever at one point could be much better explained by the hypothesis that the particle is only ever at one point, without invoking the instantaneous collapse of the wave function to nothing at all other points.
    “However, rather than simply detecting the presence or absence of the particle, we used homodyne measurements enabling one party to make different measurements and the other, using quantum tomography, to test the effect of those choices.”
    “Through these different measurements, you see the wave function collapse in different ways, thus proving its existence and showing that Einstein was wrong.”
    http://phys.org/news/2015-03-q.....tance.html

    Thus, as far as empirical science is concerned, MWI is falsified.

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    As to wave function collapse in particular: Prior to collapse, the wave function is defined as being in a infinite dimensional state,

    The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences – Eugene Wigner – 1960
    Excerpt: We now have, in physics, two theories of great power and interest: the theory of quantum phenomena and the theory of relativity.,,, The two theories operate with different mathematical concepts: the four dimensional Riemann space and the infinite dimensional Hilbert space,
    http://www.dartmouth.edu/~matc.....igner.html

    Wave function
    Excerpt “wave functions form an abstract vector space”,,, This vector space is infinite-dimensional, because there is no finite set of functions which can be added together in various combinations to create every possible function.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W.....ctor_space

    Why do we need infinite-dimensional Hilbert spaces in physics?
    You need an infinite dimensional Hilbert space to represent a wavefunction of any continuous observable (like position for example).
    https://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/149786/why-do-we-need-infinite-dimensional-hilbert-spaces-in-physics

    ,, an infinite dimensional state that also takes an infinite amount of information to describe properly.

    Explaining Information Transfer in Quantum Teleportation: Armond Duwell †‡ University of Pittsburgh
    Excerpt: In contrast to a classical bit, the description of a (quantum) qubit requires an infinite amount of information. The amount of information is infinite because two real numbers are required in the expansion of the state vector of a two state quantum system (Jozsa 1997, 1)
    http://www.cas.umt.edu/phil/fa.....lPSA2K.pdf

    Quantum Computing – Stanford Encyclopedia
    Excerpt: Theoretically, a single qubit can store an infinite amount of information, yet when measured (and thus collapsing the superposition of the Quantum Wave state) it yields only the classical result (0 or 1),,,
    http://plato.stanford.edu/entr.....tcomp/#2.1

    WHAT SCIENTIFIC IDEA IS READY FOR RETIREMENT? Infinity – Max Tegmark
    Excerpt: real numbers with their infinitely many decimals have infested almost every nook and cranny of physics, from the strengths of electromagnetic fields to the wave functions of quantum mechanics: we describe even a single bit of quantum information (a qubit) using two real numbers involving infinitely many decimals.
    https://www.edge.org/response-detail/25344

    As a Christian Theist I am VERY comfortable with these mathematical definitions. Saying something is in an infinite dimensional state to me, as a Christian Theist, sounds very much like the theistic attribute of omnipresence.

    Jeremiah 23:23-24
    “Am I only a God nearby,” declares the LORD, “and not a God far away?” “Can a man hide in secret places where I cannot see him?” declares the LORD. “Do I not fill the heavens and earth?” declares the LORD.…

    And then saying something takes an infinite amount of information to describe, as a Christian, sounds very much like the Theistic attribute of Omniscience to me.

    Psalm 139:4-6
    Even before a word is on my tongue,
    behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
    You hem me in, behind and before,
    and lay your hand upon me.
    Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
    it is high; I cannot attain it.

    Thus in short, not only are the laws of nature, contrary to what Hume believed, to be considered miraculous in their own right, but also, as far as the empirical science of quantum mechanics is concerned, we have every right to believe the continual existence of the universe to also be miraculous in its own right. Here is a bit more detail on how consciousness and quantum mechanics are inextricable correlated:

    How Quantum Mechanics and Consciousness Correlate – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4f0hL3Nrdas

    To drive this ‘miraculous’ point home, in the following experiment Professor Andrew Truscott states, “It proves that measurement is everything. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it,”

    Experiment confirms quantum theory weirdness – May 27, 2015
    Excerpt: The bizarre nature of reality as laid out by quantum theory has survived another test, with scientists performing a famous experiment and proving that reality does not exist until it is measured.
    Physicists at The Australian National University (ANU) have conducted John Wheeler’s delayed-choice thought experiment, which involves a moving object that is given the choice to act like a particle or a wave. Wheeler’s experiment then asks – at which point does the object decide?
    Common sense says the object is either wave-like or particle-like, independent of how we measure it. But quantum physics predicts that whether you observe wave like behavior (interference) or particle behavior (no interference) depends only on how it is actually measured at the end of its journey. This is exactly what the ANU team found.
    “It proves that measurement is everything. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it,” said Associate Professor Andrew Truscott from the ANU Research School of Physics and Engineering.
    Despite the apparent weirdness, the results confirm the validity of quantum theory, which,, has enabled the development of many technologies such as LEDs, lasers and computer chips.
    The ANU team not only succeeded in building the experiment, which seemed nearly impossible when it was proposed in 1978, but reversed Wheeler’s original concept of light beams being bounced by mirrors, and instead used atoms scattered by laser light.
    “Quantum physics’ predictions about interference seem odd enough when applied to light, which seems more like a wave, but to have done the experiment with atoms, which are complicated things that have mass and interact with electric fields and so on, adds to the weirdness,” said Roman Khakimov, PhD student at the Research School of Physics and Engineering.
    http://phys.org/news/2015-05-q.....dness.html

    To go a bit further in critique of Hume, it is obvious, with his claim that a miracle would violate the laws of nature, that David Hume would have been a very vocal advocate for what is now termed ‘methodological naturalism’.

    One can almost here Lewontin echoing Hume when he states, “we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door,,, to appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that miracles may happen.”

    “Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. The eminent Kant scholar Lewis Beck used to say that anyone who could believe in God could believe in anything. 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
    http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.g.....ontin.html

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    Methodological Naturalism is defined as such

    Methodological naturalism
    Methodological naturalism is the label for the required assumption of philosophical naturalism when working with the scientific method. Methodological naturalists limit their scientific research to the study of natural causes, because any attempts to define causal relationships with the supernatural are never fruitful, and result in the creation of scientific “dead ends” and God of the gaps-type hypotheses.
    https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Methodological_naturalism

    The Achilles’ heel with the atheist’s a-priori assumption of methodological naturalism is that agent causality is ruled out of bounds before any scientific investigation has even begun, As Paul Nelson explains,

    Do You Like SETI? Fine, Then Let’s Dump Methodological Naturalism
    Paul Nelson – September 24, 2014
    Excerpt: Assessing the Damage MN Does to Freedom of Inquiry
    Epistemology — how we know — and ontology — what exists — are both affected by methodological naturalism. 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 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.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2014/09/do_you_like_set/

    And since agent causality is ruled out of bounds by the artificial restriction of methodological naturalism, and since we are in fact causal agents ourselves, 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

    Moreover, as William Dembski and others have shown, the universal limit for the creation of new information, via all the probabilistic resources of the entire universe, is 500 bits,

    To clarify how the 500 bit universal limit is found for the creation of ‘structured, functional information’:

    Dembski’s original value for the universal probability bound is 1 in 10^150,

    10^80, the number of elementary particles in the observable universe.
    10^45, the maximum rate per second at which transitions in physical states can occur.
    10^25, a billion times longer than the typical estimated age of the universe in seconds.

    Thus, 10^150 = 10^80 × 10^45 × 10^25. Hence, this value corresponds to an upper limit on the number of physical events that could possibly have occurred since the big bang.

    How many bits would that be:

    Pu = 10-150, so, -log2 Pu = 498.29 bits

    Call it 500 bits (The 500 bits is further specified as a specific type of information. It is specified as Complex Specified Information by Dembski or as Functional Information by Abel to separate it from merely Ordered Sequence Complexity or Random Sequence Complexity; See Three subsets of sequence complexity)

    Three subsets of sequence complexity and their relevance to biopolymeric information – Abel, Trevors
    http://www.tbiomed.com/content/2/1/29

    This short sentence, “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog” is calculated by Winston Ewert, in this following video at the 10 minute mark, to contain 1000 bits of algorithmic specified complexity, (i.e. functional information), and thus to exceed the Universal Probability Bound (UPB) of 500 bits set by Dr. Dembski

    Proposed Information Metric: Conditional Kolmogorov Complexity – Winston Ewert – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fm3mm3ofAYU

    Thus every sentence ever created by man that contains over 500 bits of information, such as “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog” is proof of a miracle and also that man has exercised his free will over and above what the material universe, via the laws of nature, is ever capable of explaining.

    Moreover, Steven Weinberg, an atheist himself, states in the following article, In the instrumentalist approach (in quantum mechanics) humans are brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level.,,, the instrumentalist approach turns its back on a vision that became possible after Darwin, of a world governed by impersonal physical laws that control human behavior along with everything else.,,, In quantum mechanics these probabilities do not exist until people choose what to measure,,, Unlike the case of classical physics, a choice must be made,,,

    The Trouble with Quantum Mechanics – Steven Weinberg – January 19, 2017
    Excerpt: The instrumentalist approach,, (the) wave function,, is merely an instrument that provides predictions of the probabilities of various outcomes when measurements are made.,,
    In the instrumentalist approach,,, humans are brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level. According to Eugene Wigner, a pioneer of quantum mechanics, “it was not possible to formulate the laws of quantum mechanics in a fully consistent way without reference to the consciousness.”11
    Thus the instrumentalist approach turns its back on a vision that became possible after Darwin, of a world governed by impersonal physical laws that control human behavior along with everything else. It is not that we object to thinking about humans. Rather, we want to understand the relation of humans to nature, not just assuming the character of this relation by incorporating it in what we suppose are nature’s fundamental laws, but rather by deduction from laws that make no explicit reference to humans. We may in the end have to give up this goal,,,
    Some physicists who adopt an instrumentalist approach argue that the probabilities we infer from the wave function are objective probabilities, independent of whether humans are making a measurement. I don’t find this tenable. In quantum mechanics these probabilities do not exist until people choose what to measure, such as the spin in one or another direction. Unlike the case of classical physics, a choice must be made,,,
    http://quantum.phys.unm.edu/46.....inberg.pdf

    In fact Weinberg, again an atheist, rejected the instrumentalist approach precisely because “humans are brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level” and because it undermined the Darwinian worldview from within. Yet, regardless of how he and other atheists may prefer the world to behave, quantum mechanics itself could care less how atheists prefer the world to behave.

    For instance, this recent 2019 experimental confirmation of the “Wigner’s Friend” thought experiment established that “measurement results,, must be understood relative to the observer who performed the measurement”.

    More Than One Reality Exists (in Quantum Physics) By Mindy Weisberger – March 20, 2019
    Excerpt: “measurement results,, must be understood relative to the observer who performed the measurement”.
    https://www.livescience.com/65029-dueling-reality-photons.html

    Moreover, although there have been several major loopholes in quantum mechanics over the past several decades that atheists have tried to appeal to in order to try to avoid the ‘spooky’ Theistic implications of quantum mechanics, over the past several years each of those major loopholes have each been closed one by one. The last major loophole that was left to be closed was the “setting independence” and/or the ‘free-will’ loophole:

    Closing the ‘free will’ loophole: Using distant quasars to test Bell’s theorem – February 20, 2014
    Excerpt: Though two major loopholes have since been closed, a third remains; physicists refer to it as “setting independence,” or more provocatively, “free will.” This loophole proposes that a particle detector’s settings may “conspire” with events in the shared causal past of the detectors themselves to determine which properties of the particle to measure — a scenario that, however far-fetched, implies that a physicist running the experiment does not have complete free will in choosing each detector’s setting. Such a scenario would result in biased measurements, suggesting that two particles are correlated more than they actually are, and giving more weight to quantum mechanics than classical physics.
    “It sounds creepy, but people realized that’s a logical possibility that hasn’t been closed yet,” says MIT’s David Kaiser, the Germeshausen Professor of the History of Science and senior lecturer in the Department of Physics. “Before we make the leap to say the equations of quantum theory tell us the world is inescapably crazy and bizarre, have we closed every conceivable logical loophole, even if they may not seem plausible in the world we know today?”
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140220112515.htm

    And now Anton Zeilinger and company have recently, as of 2018, pushed the ‘free will loophole’ back to 7.8 billion years ago, thereby firmly establishing the ‘common sense’ fact that the free will choices of the experimenter in the quantum experiments are truly free and are not determined by any possible causal influences from the past for at least the last 7.8 billion years, and that the experimenters themselves are therefore shown to be truly free to choose whatever measurement settings in the experiments that he or she may so desire to choose so as to ‘logically’ probe whatever aspect of reality that he or she may be interested in probing.

    Cosmic Bell Test Using Random Measurement Settings from High-Redshift Quasars – Anton Zeilinger – 14 June 2018
    Abstract: In this Letter, we present a cosmic Bell experiment with polarization-entangled photons, in which measurement settings were determined based on real-time measurements of the wavelength of photons from high-redshift quasars, whose light was emitted billions of years ago; the experiment simultaneously ensures locality. Assuming fair sampling for all detected photons and that the wavelength of the quasar photons had not been selectively altered or previewed between emission and detection, we observe statistically significant violation of Bell’s inequality by 9.3 standard deviations, corresponding to an estimated p value of ? 7.4 × 10^21. This experiment pushes back to at least ? 7.8 Gyr ago the most recent time by which any local-realist influences could have exploited the “freedom-of-choice” loophole to engineer the observed Bell violation, excluding any such mechanism from 96% of the space-time volume of the past light cone of our experiment, extending from the big bang to today.
    https://journals.aps.org/prl/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevLett.121.080403

    Thus regardless of how Steven Weinberg and other atheists may prefer the universe to behave, with the closing of the last remaining free will loophole in quantum mechanics, “humans are indeed brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level”, and thus these recent findings from quantum mechanics directly undermine, as Weinberg himself stated, the “vision that became possible after Darwin, of a world governed by impersonal physical laws that control human behavior along with everything else.”

  7. 7
    bornagain77 says:

    Moreover allowing free will and/or Agent causality into the laws of physics at their most fundamental level has some fairly profound implications for us personally.

    Allowing the Agent causality of God ‘back’ into physics, as the Christian founders of modern science originally envisioned,,,, (Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday, James Clerk Maxwell, and Max Planck, to name a few of the Christian founders),,, and as quantum mechanics itself now empirically demands (with the closing of the free will loophole by Anton Zeilinger and company), rightly allowing the Agent causality of God ‘back’ into physics provides us with a very plausible resolution for the much sought after ‘theory of everything’ in that Christ’s resurrection from the dead provides an empirically backed reconciliation, via the Shroud of Turin, between quantum mechanics and general relativity into the much sought after ‘Theory of Everything”. Here are a few posts where I lay out and defend some of the evidence for that claim:

    November 2019 – despite the fact that virtually everyone, including the vast majority of Christians, hold that the Copernican Principle is unquestionably true, the fact of the matter is that the Copernican Principal is now empirically shown, (via quantum mechanics and general relativity, etc..), to be a false assumption.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/so-then-maybe-we-are-privileged-observers/#comment-688855

    (February 19, 2019) To support Isabel Piczek’s claim that the Shroud of Turin does indeed reveal a true ‘event horizon’, the following study states that ‘The bottom part of the cloth (containing the dorsal image) would have born all the weight of the man’s supine body, yet the dorsal image is not encoded with a greater amount of intensity than the frontal image.’,,,
    Moreover, besides gravity being dealt with, the shroud also gives us evidence that Quantum Mechanics was dealt with. In the following paper, it was found that it was not possible to describe the image formation on the Shroud in classical terms but they found it necessary to describe the formation of the image on the Shroud in discrete quantum terms.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/experiment-quantum-particles-can-violate-the-mathematical-pigeonhole-principle/#comment-673178
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/experiment-quantum-particles-can-violate-the-mathematical-pigeonhole-principle/#comment-673179

    To give us a small glimpse of the power that was involved in Christ’s resurrection from the dead, the following recent article found that, ”it would take 34 Thousand Billion Watts of VUV radiations to make the image on the shroud. This output of electromagnetic energy remains beyond human technology.”

    Astonishing discovery at Christ’s tomb supports Turin Shroud – NOV 26TH 2016
    Excerpt: The first attempts made to reproduce the face on the Shroud by radiation, used a CO2 laser which produced an image on a linen fabric that is similar at a macroscopic level. However, microscopic analysis showed a coloring that is too deep and many charred linen threads, features that are incompatible with the Shroud image. Instead, the results of ENEA “show that a short and intense burst of VUV directional radiation can color a linen cloth so as to reproduce many of the peculiar characteristics of the body image on the Shroud of Turin, including shades of color, the surface color of the fibrils of the outer linen fabric, and the absence of fluorescence”.
    ‘However, Enea scientists warn, “it should be noted that the total power of VUV radiations required to instantly color the surface of linen that corresponds to a human of average height, body surface area equal to = 2000 MW/cm2 17000 cm2 = 34 thousand billion watts makes it impractical today to reproduce the entire Shroud image using a single laser excimer, since this power cannot be produced by any VUV light source built to date (the most powerful available on the market come to several billion watts )”.
    Comment
    The ENEA study of the Holy Shroud of Turin concluded that it would take 34 Thousand Billion Watts of VUV radiations to make the image on the shroud. This output of electromagnetic energy remains beyond human technology.
    http://westvirginianews.blogsp.....in-is.html

    Verse and Music:

    Colossians 1:15-20
    The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

    [Official Video] Little Drummer Boy – Pentatonix
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJ_MGWio-vc

  8. 8
    Bob O'H says:

    Richard Purtill provides this definition:

    A miracle is an event that is brought about by the power of God that is a temporary exception to the ordinary course of nature for the purpose of showing that God is acting in history.

    (emphasis added)

    I have to say, that seems a pretty awful definition of a miracle, as it suggests they only occur for God to show of his power. And by ascribing motivation it also supposes one can know the mind of God. If one is to accept Purtill’s definition, then a miracle would have to have some sort of “God did it” sign attached.

    Frankly, I’d suggest a better definition of a miracle is needed.

  9. 9
    ET says:

    Bob O’H:

    I have to say, that seems a pretty awful definition of a miracle, as it suggests they only occur for God to show of his power.

    That is one twisted way of reading that definition. But it could also be that God just wanted to get something done that nature couldn’t.

    If Bob wants a better definition of a miracle there is no need to look any further than blind watchmaker evolution, which is full of miracles. Need a bacterial flagellum? A miracle will get-er-done. Need ATP synthase? More miracles. The list is virtually never-ending

  10. 10
    ET says:

    Acartia Eddie:

    I will start believing in miracles when Joe can respond to someone who he disagrees with without insulting him/her.

    I have done that on many occasions. Your willful ignorance and infant mentality are neither arguments nor refutations of that fact.

    If that is the sort of bevavior that is allowed here, is there any wonder why people don’t take it seriously?

    Wow, what a lowlife. That did NOT happen here. And it is very telling that you refuse to post the CONTEXT. It is also very telling that Acartia Eddie has said worse about the people running UD. But I am not a lowlife like Acartia so I won’t be posting it here.

    Now I have to ask- why is Acartia Eddie allowed to post here seeing, like before, it has absolutely nothing to add to any discussion? Acartia Eddie is just a despicable and willfully ignorant, cowardly troll

  11. 11
    ET says:

    I will start believing in miracles when Ed George admits it is Acartia Bogart, stops lying about me AND stops behaving like a spoiled brat infant. That may even be too big of a deal for God to work out.

  12. 12
    Bob O'H says:

    ET @ 9 – “God just wanted to get something done that nature couldn’t” would be a different justification to God “showing that [He] is acting in history”. Hence, by Purtill’s definition, it wouldn’t be a miracle. I guess we’d both agree that if God did something that nature couldn’t because he wanted that done, it would still be a miracle.

  13. 13
    ET says:

    Bob O’H:

    “God just wanted to get something done that nature couldn’t” would be a different justification to God “showing that [He] is acting in history”.

    What? God is showing He is acting in history by doing what nature couldn’t.

  14. 14
    Bob O'H says:

    Yes, but is that why he is doing it? The distinction is crucial for Purtill’s definition.

  15. 15
    Marfin says:

    No , No more miracles I am afraid . 1 Cor 13 , speaks of gifts of prophecy etc being done away with when the complete comes, the complete in the context is the complete revelation of Gods word.Then you have how miracles were passed on to people, which was by the apostles laying hands on the person to whom the gift was to be given to. Lastly all miracles were performed to confirm the message or messenger was from God ,now that we have Gods word complete we have no need of miracles to confirm it.

  16. 16
    ET says:

    Bob, Why else would God do it if not to show He is acting in history? Wouldn’t that be the point? To show He is still acting in history, most likely for our benefit?

    What does your PoV have to say about why God would conduct a miracle if not to show us He is acting in history?

  17. 17
    Bob O'H says:

    ET – he could perform a miracle to get something done, rather than to show it can be done. God doesn’t necessarily have to be an egotist.

  18. 18
    ET says:

    So your deal is just a semantic quibble? God could perform a miracle to get something done without the need to show He is acting in history? Except for the fact that the miracle does show He acted in history.

    I now understand your point. The wording is a little screwy, though.

  19. 19
    Bob O'H says:

    No, it’s more than a semantic quibble (well, except that any discussions of a definition is a semantic quibble, by definition). By Purtill’s definition God can’t perform a miracle to get something done without the need to show He is acting in history. It’s possible that God has done this many times, and we just haven’t noticed.

    If God speaks from a burning bush and there’s nobody there to hear, was it a miracle?

  20. 20
    ET says:

    Bob:

    By Purtill’s definition God can’t perform a miracle to get something done without the need to show He is acting in history.

    That doesn’t follow. The ancients didn’t build their structures with the need to show the future peoples they did it. However we came along and saw they acted in history

    It’s possible that God has done this many times, and we just haven’t noticed.

    That’s on us. I am sure we didn’t notice when life was created. But the creation event shows He acted in history

    If God speaks from a burning bush and there’s nobody there to hear, was it a miracle?

    Cuz God speaks to nobody

  21. 21
    Bob O'H says:

    ET, I think we’re in agreement. Shocking, I know.

  22. 22
    ET says:

    Miracle…

  23. 23
    Marfin says:

    Why would God do Miracles now, when Christ was here and doing miracles it was to convince people he was who he said he was , and draw them to the Father but when the pharisees asked for a miracle he said even if he performed a miracle they would not believe . So if people today do not believe Gods word the Bible , then doing a miracle would have no purpose as miracles were to direct people to faith in God but that job is done by Gods word now as Romans 10:17 says Faith comes from hearing and hearing by the word of Christ.Miracles have served their function their time has passed.

  24. 24
    SmartAZ says:

    “A miracle is an event that is brought about by the power of God that is a temporary exception to the ordinary course of nature for the purpose of showing that God is acting in history.”
    I have to disagree with that definition. There is no reason to assume magic. The only thing that identifies a miracle is that we don’t know how it was done. People refused to believe the walls of Jericho falling flat until the ruins were excavated and the walls were in fact lying flat. Now anybody can search the images and see why that happened. And how about that Red Sea extravaganza? Oh, wait, the bible explains the science: it was what we now call “storm surge” and it happens every time Florida has a hurricane. The miracle was that the sea level was lower at that time, since storm surge only raises water 32 feet.
    No magic, only wonder at the power of God.

  25. 25
    ET says:

    What? How did you pull “magic” out of that? Magically? Say we know how God did it. How would that stop it from being a miracle if no other entity could do it?

  26. 26
    bornagain77 says:

    Here is an interesting story of “a series of coincidences”, i.e. miracles, that happened to a militant atheist. Note exactly who it was and exactly how he determined that they were indeed miracles instead of coincidences.

    DEATH OF AN ALTRUIST
    WAS THE MAN WHO FOUND THE SELFLESS GENE TOO GOOD FOR THIS WORLD?
    BY JAMES SCHWARTZ – 2000
    Excerpt: In the midst of an extraordinary burst of scientific creativity in the summer of 1970, Price abruptly converted from militant atheist to fundamentalist Christian.,,,,
    EARLY IN THE summer of 1970, at the age of forty-seven, (George) Price underwent a sudden religious conversion. “On June 7th I gave in and admitted that God existed,” he explained to friends. He viewed his conversion as a logical necessity, the result of a series of coincidences that had befallen him. After calculating the odds of their occurrence and finding them to be “astronomically low,” he was convinced that there had been supernatural manipulation. One week later, he attended his first service at All Souls at Langham, a particularly evangelical branch of the Church of England, located around the corner from his apartment.
    http://linguafranca.mirror.the.....ruist.html

    🙂 And, seeing that Darwinian atheists, (such a Bob O’Hara did the other day), will often appeal to Price’s equation, Price’s conversion, and the fact that math was integrally involved in his conversion, should be the very definition of irony! 🙂

  27. 27
    redwave says:

    As referenced:
    In the book, In Defense of Miracles: A Comprehensive Case for God’s Action in History, Richard Purtill provides this definition:

    “A miracle is an event that is brought about by the power of God that is a temporary exception to the ordinary course of nature for the purpose of showing that God is acting in history.”

    Purtill’s definition is well-defined theologically because it expresses at least two fundamental criteria for a miracle to occur in human experiencing: a power source external to human instantiation and a teleological result. In this view Hume is not completely disregarded, but I would add the linguistic explanatory concept we call an anomaly. This gives three areas of approach for discussing a scientific basis to miracles: power (dynamics), purpose (technological function), and anomalous occurrence (hypothesis formation). Will these answer Hume’s wise man requirements? If one, or Hume, needs more we could posit quite reasonably that what we call miracles occur in a continuum of diverse miraculous events (mechanics) with varying degrees of ontological probability. Possibly we can “seal the deal” in terms of science rather than philosophy or theology by proposing an explanation (theory) of miracles entailing hypothesis formation, dynamical, mechanical, and technological function that satisfies Popper’s asymmetrical proposition for falsifiability. A science of/for miracles could be tittering at the boundaries of empirical science.

    One could take issue with the embedded talk of God, that Purtill’s definition is imbalanced to favor theology rather than science. Yet to purge the definition of a miracle of supernatural language would not cleanse the definition of naturalistic metaphysics. At present the naturalistic explanations for life existing on planet Earth entail a power source external to human instantiation and teleological results, given natural selection and the complex “tree of life” with the anomalous occurrence of life within a thoroughly inanimate swirling of materials. A miracle of miracles is set before us by the sciences with theology expunged. Hume’s wise man proposition for evidence is no more granted to contemporary naturalistic explanations than to show God acting in history.

    An objection against any or all teleological results is nearer to a denial of evidence or a rejection of evidentiary data in the face of natural selection and genetic evolution. The whole edifice of evolutionary biological science shatters at the objection, denial or rejection of purpose in nature. Hume’s wise man lost his basis in reality, or, simply he is not-so-wise man after all.

  28. 28
    Nonlin.org says:

    One thing is certain: Hume’s “Of Miracles” is wrong. http://nonlin.org/of-miracles/

  29. 29
    GCS says:

    Can miracles happen? Yes.

    Do miracles happen now? Yes.

    The basic problem in identifying them is that a person who does not believe in a spiritual world beyond and above our material world will never be able to recognize one if it (proverbially) hit him in the nose. The materialist will always be able to deny or rationalize away a miracle. God will not “waste” a miracle where it is not wanted.

    Where a person is open to a spiritual world then miracles are possible. There God will use miracles to show people who the real God is.

    That is why there are miracles found in Africa and other developing areas today. That is why miracles do not happen in the sophisticated/developed world to sophisticated/worldly people.

    Do you want to experience a miracle in your life? Just honestly ask God to help you grow in humility. You will soon have the opportunity to practice humility.

    Thank You and God Bless.

  30. 30
    Seversky says:

    Bornagain77 @ 26

    And, seeing that Darwinian atheists, (such a Bob O’Hara did the other day), will often appeal to Price’s equation, Price’s conversion, and the fact that math was integrally involved in his conversion, should be the very definition of irony!

    The other irony – which you failed to mention unsurprisingly – is that, after conversion, Price fell into a depression and eventually committed suicide. In this case at least, joining the community of Christians did not increase happiness, well-being and lifespan.

  31. 31
    Seversky says:

    GCS @ 29

    The basic problem in identifying them is that a person who does not believe in a spiritual world beyond and above our material world will never be able to recognize one if it (proverbially) hit him in the nose. The materialist will always be able to deny or rationalize away a miracle. God will not “waste” a miracle where it is not wanted.

    There are many ways in which our senses can be deceived. We can even deceive ourselves if the need is great enough. Is it not reasonable, therefore, to be circumspect and not accept claims for miraculous events without some sort of verification?

    Where a person is open to a spiritual world then miracles are possible. There God will use miracles to show people who the real God is.

    Are you saying that the only way an all-knowing and all-powerful God can communicate with us is through occasional miraculous events? What’s wrong with him just coming down to earth and talking to us?

    That is why there are miracles found in Africa and other developing areas today. That is why miracles do not happen in the sophisticated/developed world to sophisticated/worldly people.

    Or perhaps miracles are not reported so much now in the “sophisticated/developed world” because we are less credulous and have a little better understanding of the natural order of things?

    Do you want to experience a miracle in your life? Just honestly ask God to help you grow in humility. You will soon have the opportunity to practice humility.

    Faith sadly does not always lead to miracles.

    Diabetic girl dies as parents pray instead of calling for medical aid

  32. 32
    bornagain77 says:

    True Seversky, it seems Price was given to extreme measures. Given to absolutes even. And that he was thus never able to find a even balance for his life. But as you yourself noted, this was an exception to happiness, well-being and lifespan being significantly better for Christians than for atheists. And seeing that, as far as I can tell, he never rejected Christ, even in the midst of his severe depression that led to his suicide, then he is still able, through God’s grace, to stand in the presence of God.

    Revelation 21:4
    He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

    Whereas militant atheists who fight tooth and nail against God, (I’m looking directly at you Seversky), and refuse to accept Christ into their lives, so that they too may be able to stand and live in the presence of almighty God, there simply is no hope.

    John 3:18
    Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

    Acts 4:12
    Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

  33. 33
    GCS says:

    Seversky @ 31,

    Thank you for your response and questions.

    1 – Of course we can deceive ourselves, That is why we must not have preconceptions that cause us to fail to accept the most reasonable cause that the evidence points to. For the materialist, miracles are not possible. For a person accepting an additional spiritual reality around us miracles are possible. Of course we must not jump to a conclusion, but direct intervention by God is always a possibility. Of course the whole of creation out of nothing kind of points to a miracle.

    2 – God is always communicating with us. He uses any number of ways to try to reach us. Whether we listen is our problem. Why does He not overwhelm us with proof? Because He values Love. Love has to be freely given. God wants us to choose to love Him. Therefore he gives enough evidence for the person who seeks Him to find Him, but not enough to force the non-seeker to know Him. God respects you and your free will so much that He will never force Himself on you.

    3 – I agree: Faith does not lead to miracles. Faith allows you to recognize miracles when they do appear.

    Thank You and God Bless

  34. 34
    dgosse says:

    One of the first books on miracles that I read is “The Miracle Detective” (available on GoogleBooks), written by an agnostic subeditor at Rolling Stone. He spent several years researching miracles and even witnessed some inexplicable phenomena himself. He finished the book with the (paraphrase) statement, “I don’t know what to make of all this, but I am not ready to change yet.” Nothing miraculous is a miracle until you are ready to consider the possibility that God interacts with the world.

  35. 35
    jstanley01 says:

    Jesus Christ wasn’t silent on the question of why we don’t see miracles. And like a lot of things he said, it wasn’t a popular take:

    Luke 4:22-30
    And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph’s son?
    And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country.
    And he said, Verily, I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country.
    But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land;
    But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow.
    And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.
    And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath,
    And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong.
    But he passing through the midst of them went his way.

    Everybody says God is capricious — we want Him to be capricious; it’s the ultimate in convenient excuses. But the reality is that we are feckless, not to mention faithless. God’s habit of “resisting the proud” and “giving grace to the humble” is galling.

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