Thursday, January 17, 2013

Miracles and Broccoli

Last time I argued that we should be opened minded about miracles. A natural response is, So what?

If miracles are possible, that doesn't mean they're common. That doesn't mean any of the miracles in the Bible really happened. It doesn't mean the Bible's trustworthy. So what does it matter?

Imagine you're trying to convince your child to eat her broccoli. You begin to try to explain how wholesome and nutritious broccoli is. But your child interrupts: "I'll listen to you, but first we have to agree to assume broccoli is poisonous."

A fair fight? Of course not.

That's how many skeptics want to approach the Bible: "Miracles are impossible. The supernatural doesn't exist. Now give me your evidence for this resurrection thing."

If miracles are off the table, no explanation for the resurrection is more ridiculous than an actual resurrection. However if miracles are possible — not assumed, just possible — naturalistic explanations for the resurrection (and related events) start to seem a bit far fetched. We just have to make sure the person we're talking to isn't starting from the wrong presuppositions.

Because if someone's willing to give the evidence a fair hearing, I think it'll win every time.

10 comments:

lady boywonder said...

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS BROCCOLI ; ITS A MISNOMER AND A FALLACY
:

Rob Minnaert said...

A common logical fallacy: you're begging the question. You presented a circular argument in which the conclusion was included in the premise.
This logically incoherent argument often arises in situations where people have an assumption that is very ingrained, and therefore taken in their minds as a given. Circular reasoning is bad mostly because it's not very good.

Amoure Oberholzer said...

I think it's fair for someone to ask for physical evidence of your 'miracle'. And besides what if someone is allergic to broccoli? Then it is indeed poisonous...

Ilia Gourianov said...

We are not assuming bible is poisonous. We know that from the bible itself.
Nobody owes you a fair fight. You have the cards you picked from the deck and blaming us for having a better hand.
You yourself start with wrong supposition that our lord FSM didn't, boil for our sins. Why don't you fix that, then we can talk about how great he is.

dobson said...

Let me give you an analogy to show just how absurdly wrong this argument is:

UFO Nut: Did you know that Elvis Presley was abducted by a UFO. That's why he stopped releasing music!

Chris-B: That's silly, there's no evidence that UFOs exist, let alone abduct people.

UFO Nut: Unless you first accept the idea that UFOs are visiting the earth how could you fairly assess my claim of Elvis' abduction? Can you prove that UFOs don't exist? No - therefore you must entertain the plausibility of my theory!

Chris-B: No, it's silly to presume something for which we have no evidence. First prove that UFOs exist, then prove they abduct people and then I will look at your Elvis evidence!

And this evidence better be very good because there's already a much less far-fetched explanation for why Elvis stopped singing - it does not involve UFOs.

UFO Nut: Oh foolish Chris! You have started from wrong presuppositions. If you were to give my evidence a fair hearing I think I would win every time!

ChrisB said...

Rob, I don't think that word means what you think it means. I'm not saying miracles happen because the Bible says so or anything like that. I'm saying you need to be open to the possibility of a supernatural explanation in order for us to have a meaningful conversation on the topic.

Amoure, you're right, it is fair -- as long as you're willing to listen to the evidence. This piece is about those are won't listen to the evidence.

fake dobson, your "analogy" assumes there is no argument to be made for the existence of God. That is patently false, even if you don't find them particularly convincing.

dobson said...

"fake dobson, your "analogy" assumes there is no argument to be made for the existence of God. That is patently false, even if you don't find them particularly convincing."

No ChrisB, I'm not assuming that there's 'no argument', instead I'm pointing out that your argument lacks sufficient foundations to be taken seriously.

I'm sure even you will admit that nobody has ever been able to prove that spiritual things exist. You are asking me to simply presuppose this entire questionable category of things is real.

It's like you've tried to build your skyscraper from the 25th floor down. The foundations and lower floors of your arguments are missing, but you've asked us to suppose they exist for the sake of your beautiful building!

In other words: You admit that unless we accept the truth of the Christian God, spirituality and the reality of miracles then the ressurection seems ridiculous. But you've failed to explain why we should accept these things other than it seems to help your argument.

The fact that you require us to presume a whole load of stuff IS the problem with your argument.

I leave you with a question: According to Hindu scripture and tradition the god Krishna performed many miracles. How open-minded are you to the possibility that these miracles are real?

ChrisB said...

fake dobson,

You're mistake is thinking that I'm talking to you. I'm not.

I'll admit I've built this thing a little backwards, but I'm talking to Christians about the people they talk to. I'm pointing out to them that they need to deal with presuppositions first before they can talk about things like the resurrection.

My next post will be directed at folks like you.

dobson said...

You're mistake is thinking that I'm talking to you. I'm not.

Chris, I owe you an apology for the combative tone of some of my comments.

I've not intent to be a troll - if you ask me not to participate in this forum I will simply go away. I had previously believed that we were engaging in some kind of mutually interesting dialogue and that our disagreement was not to be taken personally.

I'll admit I've built this thing a little backwards, but I'm talking to Christians about the people they talk to. I'm pointing out to them that they need to deal with presuppositions first before they can talk about things like the resurrection.

I think that's one way of putting it: I began commenting not because I disagree with your conclusions but because I think your argument was flawed.

I think Christians deserve sound logic: A bad argument is a bad argument regardless of your conclusion.

My next post will be directed at folks like you.

There are folks like me? And I thought I was all alone!

PS. If my pseudonym bothers you I'd be happy to reveal my identity to you personally. If it's OK with you, I'd like to continue wearing this mask in public.

ChrisB said...

fake dobson, I'm not asking you to go away. But this post, like most of my writings, are written to believers. It was never intended to convince you but to point out a potential roadblock that Christians run into.

As for your name, that's your business. The picture, though, really does strike me as rude.