Lee Strobel Asks, ‘Are Miracles Real and Still Happening?’

You bet!

By William M Briggs Published on March 16, 2018

Lee Strobel is best known for his book The Case for Christ, which details his immense effort to prove Jesus was not the Son of God.

He failed. And he failed for the best reason there is: You cannot prove false that which is true. Strobel began his investigations as an atheist and ended as a convinced Christian.

Strobel has a new work, this time with the happy goal of providing evidence of the miraculous. The book is entitled (sticking with what works) The Case for Miracles. On Wednesday night, Strobel held a simulcast at the World Outreach Church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, launching the book.

He summarized his findings:

  1. God is still in the miracle business;
  2. Miracles happen a lot more often than people think;
  3. Many miracles are far better documented than skeptics claim.

Strobel promised his audience that “by the end of tonight, you will witness a miracle.” More about this miracle (a real one) below.

What Miracles Are

He asked four important questions about the nature of miracles.

Question One: How to define miracle? There are varying opinions, but Strobel prefers the definition by philosopher Richard Purtill. “A miracle is an event 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 has acted in history.”

Question Two: Aren’t miracles impossible because they violate the laws of nature? That’s what the (in)famous skeptic David Hume thought. Miracles are not, however, a violation of the laws of nature. They are instead interventions by God. Strobel used the analogy of him dropping an apple which you intercept before it hits the ground. You intervened. You did not violate the law of gravity.

Strobel also explained that whatever begins to exist has a cause. God, of course, never began: He always was and necessarily is. But there is certain scientific evidence that the universe started with the Big Bang; if so, this event was caused by God.

Where Miracles Happen

Question Three: How common are miracles today? Strobel discovered (by a poll) that nearly 40% of Americans said had they experiences that can only be explained as miracles from God. Suppose 99.9% of these accounts “are wrong and speak of merely coincidences.” That “still leaves nearly a million miracles in USA” alone.

Skeptic magazine said that “only the uneducated and the uncivilized believe in miracles.” But 55% of educated and civilized physicians say they have seen results that can only be described as miraculous.

Question Four: How can we know if a miracle is genuine? The placebo effect is real. Mistaken diagnoses happen. Fakery and fraud are ever with us; charlatans do exist. There are faulty memories and spontaneous remissions. But many healings are inexplicable except as miracles.

Some skeptics are dogmatic. They say “miracles are impossible. Period.” Other atheists, like Jerry Coyne, admit this is not a very scientific attitude and so allow the possibility of miracles. But Coyne insists on scientific evidence for miracles. Yet, “scientific experiments must be repeatable. So if someone comes back from the dead, what do you do, shoot them?”

And what about the “massive, well-documented and either replicated or independently corroborated evidence from multiple sources” about Jesus rising from the dead?

Get Up And Walk

Consider the case of Barbara Snyder, “one of most thoroughly documented cases” of modern miracles. Doctors at the Mayo Clinic diagnosed Snyder with multiple sclerosis, which she had had for many years.

Her surgeon described her as “one of the most hopelessly ill patients I ever saw.” She lost control of her bowels, had a tube in her stomach, only one working lung, hadn’t walked in seven years. Her legs atrophied. Her hands and feet withered and curled in on themselves.

Then a friend called a Christian radio program and asked the audience to pray. Many did.

Strobel showed a video clip of Snyder. She said she was lying in hospice when “all of a sudden I heard a booming loud authoritative voice, ‘My child, get up and walk!'”

She jumped up. She pulled the oxygen tube from her neck. Her feet straightened. Her hands opened. Her body took on flesh. She “started screaming and jumping up and down and thanking the Lord.”

Her doctor said what happened was “medically impossible. I have never witnessed anything like this before or since and consider it a privilege witnessing the hand of God performing a miracle.”

Speak, Lord

Strobel then produced his promised miracle.

Duane Miller was a pastor in Texas. He contracted a virus that destroyed his vocal cords, leaving him only a raspy small voice. He said there was always a hand on his throat. Sixty-three doctors, and many others at a prominent conference, examined Miller and said the nerves had been destroyed, leaving the cords covered in scar tissue. There was zero chance of recovery. He lost his job because he couldn’t speak long or well.

A friend later asked him to come speak briefly at his Sunday school. They would rig up a microphone to make it easy on him. He went. He read Psalm 103:3, [God] who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases.

This is when Strobel pulled out his surprise. Miller’s lecture was recorded.

We hear his smoking-frog rasp as he continues to the next verse. And he redeems your life from the pit. He tells his audience, “We have all had pit experiences.”

By the end of that sentence his voice had been restored.

He struggled to continue, obviously overcome with emotion. “And I don’t understand this right now. … I’m not quite sure what to say or do. …” His astonishment and joy are obvious. “Sounds funny to say, a loss for words.”

He did his best to continue the psalm: so that my youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The doctor who later examined him said the scar tissue was gone. The “hand” had been removed. Miller became pastor of a church again and now has a daily radio show in Dallas. “God didn’t just restore my life,” he said, “He amplified it.”

God Answers All Our Prayers

What about when prayer doesn’t seem to work, when no miracles or healings come?

Strobel reminds us of the most important answer. God took the worst thing in the universe, the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, and made it into the best thing in the universe. Imagine what he can do for you. And never forget, “Ultimately, all believers are healed.”

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  • swordfish

    Why doesn’t God heal amputees?

    • Ken Abbott

      How do you know he hasn’t?

      • swordfish

        Serious answers only, please.

        • GLT

          Do you know for a fact no amputee has ever been healed? Are you even capable of knowing this to be a fact?

          • Chip Crawford

            If he won’t take the possibility that God has healed amputees, he is not honestly seeking serious answers.

          • Swordfish is fundamentally unserious, except in it’s attempts to discredit Christianity. It hates God and Christ, and learned its public speaking and debate skills from Wormtongue.

          • John Connor

            Isn’t that the guy from The Lord if the Rings?

          • John Connor

            Show us proof that a supernatural being has healed an amputee. Please

          • swordfish

            No. I also don’t know for a fact that there are no fairies. But if you want to establish something as a fact, you have to provide evidence, not just say “you can’t disprove it”. It’s called the burden of proof.

          • GPS Daddy

            It is undeniable that there is a designer behind life. Since what we always observe is that life always comes from life then the burden of proof is upon you to prove your claim that life comes from non-life.

          • swordfish

            There is a designer behind life, it’s called ‘telonomic design’, otherwise known as natural selection.

          • GPS Daddy

            natural selection cannot create information. Fail.

          • swordfish

            Define ‘information’.

          • GPS Daddy

            You can’t find the definition?

          • swordfish

            I’m assuming that you’re using a wrong definition, or don’t understand what you’re talking about. You’ll have to provide more than a meaningless slogan.

          • Two sentences, two fallacies. Either/or, ad hominem.

          • GLT

            Information comes in various forms but can basically be divided into two forms, specific information and non-specific information. An alphabet would be an example of non-specific information, whereas sentences, paragraphs and entire books constructed using the alphabet would be examples of specified information.

          • swordfish

            You’ll have to ask “GPS Daddy” why he thinks his claim means anything.

          • GLT

            “There is a designer behind life, it’s called ‘teleonomic design’, otherwise known as natural selection.”

            Natural selection cannot design, it can only eliminate. It cannot work towards a goal. It cannot plan and carry out a plan. These are basic hallmarks of design. Design requires an intelligent source by definition.

          • swordfish

            “Natural selection cannot design, it can only eliminate.”

            Mutations can add genetic material.

            “It cannot work towards a goal.”

            Evolution doesn’t work towards a goal.

            “It cannot plan and carry out a plan.”

            Evolution doesn’t have a plan.

            “These are basic hallmarks of design. Design requires an intelligent source by definition.”

            Design requires an intelligent source if you define it in that way, otherwise not.

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            Evolution doesn’t work towards a goal.

            Sure it does: Greater probability of reproductive success. (Survival, or adaptation, for short.) Empirically, it builds toward complexity, since each time it has been wiped out it reboots and complexifies again into similar niches.

          • swordfish

            No, it doesn’t – “greater probability of reproductive success.” is a cause, not a goal.

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            How can the reproductive success precede the evolution?

          • swordfish

            You said evolution “works towards a goal” (or rather, I said it doesn’t do that, and you said it did). But it isn’t working towards any goal. Mutations don’t have a goal, selection doesn’t have a goal. Footballers work towards scoring goals, evolution doesn’t work towards anything.

          • GLT

            “Empirically, it builds toward complexity,…”

            Based on what? Evolution has no concept of complexity so how does it build towards it? Also, complexity is not necessarily a benefit to survival. The simpler the organism the fewer potential problems.

            What does reproductive success have to do with the survival of the individual? If the individual’s goal is personal survival why waste resources on reproduction? Altruism is not a hallmark of survival of the individual.

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            Based on empiricism; i.e., we can see that it happened historically. The slate has been wiped clean or nearly clean on several occasions — in the late Permian, late Cretaceous, and to a lesser extent at other times, with the ecosystem drastically reduced in simplicity; and each time, life has re-complexified into numerous niches. Once upon a time, competing prokaryotes cohabited and produced competing eukaryotes. Some of these joined into colonies, developed boundary conditions, became organs in higher level organisms, producing higher-level Darwinian competitors.

            When the appearance of flowering plants in the late Triassic opened whole new opportunities for harvesting energy from their seeds, a family of mammal-like reptiles developed into specifically rodent-like reptiles. They varied from mouse-size to rabbit-size, had enlarged incisors followed by a gap and then a battery of multi-cusped cheek teeth very much like modern rodents. They lasted 50 million years, into the mid-Jurassic.

            With the lesser extinction that marked the end of the Triassic, full-monte mammals called multituberculates had taken over from the tritylodonts by the mid-Jurassic and thrived until late Eocene times. They were the most successful group of mammals ever — and the only mammal group ever to become completely extinct. True Rodents, a completely different order of mammals, began to thrive as the multituberculates faded. Some prehistoric rodents, like Telicomys, were the size of rhinos.

            Basically, since the appearance of seed-bearing plants there has always been at least one group of critters to gnaw on the hard parts; and they all sported the same general body plan and dentition, even though one was a reptile. That’s three distinct times evolution has produced essentially the same general outcome.

            The Knife of Natural Selection whittles the same round pegs for the same round holes. There must be something in Natural Selection that “points toward” similar solutions to similar environmental problems. Sometimes, this is uncanny. Placental mammals gave us sabre-tooth cats; marsupials gave us saber-tooth thylacodonts.

          • GLT

            “we can see that it happened historically.”

            You’re missing the point. Upon what do you base your argument that evolution is building towards complexity? Evolution has no concept of anything including complexity, so it cannot be building toward anything including complexity. Evolution does not build as building requires forethought, direction and intent. In evolution things just happen. No plan, no goal, no concepts, no purpose, no intent, no forethought.

            The rest of your comments are just the typical fairy tale based just-so stories which make up the narrative of evolution.

            “There must be something in Natural Selection that “points toward” similar solutions to similar environmental problems.”

            There is something which points to solutions to environmental problems, but it is not natural selection. It is called epigenetics and it is obviously the result of intelligence and design.

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            Upon what do you base your argument that evolution is building towards complexity?

            Asked and answered, twice. Actual record.

            Evolution has no concept of anything including complexity, so it cannot be building toward anything including complexity.

            “Evolution” is an abstraction and cannot have concepts. Indeed, it is a concept. And yet it can be observed over the geological eons, building repeatedly toward complexity, through multiplicity of species over space and over time. Perhaps, it is a miracle.

            Evolution does not build as building requires forethought, direction and intent.

            Painting does not paint, as painting requires forethought, direction and intent. And yet, there is Mona Lisa.

            In things just happen. No plan, no goal, no concepts, no purpose, no intent, no forethought.

            So some say. But this is an assertion, not a scientific fact. Other physical and natural processes work toward goals. Chemical reactions move toward completion of the reaction — even Beluslov reactions. That’s where equilibrium surfaces and attractor basins come from. Mechanical systems and electronic systems move to minimize a potential function, such as a gravitational potential function. But if there is no “intention” in nature, then the intention must arise elsewhere.

          • GLT

            “Actual record.”

            You don’t have an actual record, all you have is a particular interpretation of evidence related to past events. Not at all the same thing. Want to try again?

            “And yet it can be observed over the geological eons,…”

            No. it can’t. Again, you are only applying a particular interpretation to a slate of evidence.

            “Painting does not paint,…”

            Correct, painting does not paint, the painter does the painting. Da Vinci created the Mona Lisa with forethought, planning and intent. Is your logic really that bad?

            “Chemical reactions move toward completion of the reaction,…”

            I guess your logic is that bad. Chemical reactions move toward a result, not a goal. Perhaps you should look up the difference.

            “then the intention must arise elsewhere.”

            Correct.

          • GPS Daddy

            Your using circular reasoning.
            But first lets define some terms: By evolution I mean that the diversity of life came from one cell by changing. This change happened by random mutations and then some of these changes are lost due to the death of the new organism before it could reproduce the change.

            Your claiming that “Based on empiricism; i.e., we can see that it happened historically”.

            The historical record is static. It does not have the stamp on it, “made by Darwinian Evolution”. In order to interpret this record as having gotten there by evolution you must first assume that evolution is true. There is nothing about this record that shows that ONLY evolution could have produced it.

            You cannot say “Based on empiricism; i.e., we can see that it happened historically” without first assuming that evolution is true.

          • GLT

            “Mutations can add genetic material.”

            Mutations distort genetic material.

            “Evolution doesn’t work towards a goal.”

            Correct, but designs and designers do.

            “Evolution doesn’t have a plan.

            Correct, but designs and designers do.

            “Design requires an intelligent source if you define it in that way, otherwise not.”

            Now that is funny. You have to admit the existence of design but find the idea abhorrent. Solution, redefine the meaning of design to fit your narrative. What a wonderful imaginary world you live in.

          • swordfish

            “Mutations distort genetic material.”

            Mutations change genetic material. Change can be good, bad, or indifferent, and can include such things as duplicating sections of DNA.

            [goal / plan] “Correct, but designs and designers do.

            Then evolution isn’t designed in the sense you’re using the word.

            “You have to admit the existence of design but find the idea abhorrent.”

            I’ve already said there is design, and it’s called “teleonomic design”. Look it up. Short version: natural selection dunnit, no need for God.

          • GLT

            “Mutations change genetic material. Change can be good, bad, or indifferent,…”

            True but it does not alter the fact that a mutation is a distortion of genetic material. Any change form what is normal in the genetic code is, by definition, a distortion of the code.

            “Then evolution isn’t designed in the sense you’re using the word.”

            Evolution is not designed in any sense of the term.

            “Short version: natural selection dunnit,…”

            Short answer; natural selection can’t do it.

          • swordfish

            “a mutation is a distortion of genetic material. Any change form what is normal in the genetic code is, by definition, a distortion of the code.”

            Not really. There is no normal genetic code, only genetic code. If a mutation confers a reproductive advantage, it can spread and become the new norm. Would you say a person is a distorted version of an ape?

            “Evolution is not designed in any sense of the term.”

            I thought it was your claim that it is designed?

            “Short answer; natural selection can’t do it.”

            Got any evidence for this claim? You’ll need some, as it contradicts 140 years of scientific research and observations.

          • If exceptional intellect is required to merely duplicate the breathtaking daedal designs & systems present in nature (Biomimetics) then much more the original being replicated. Creation is thus unshakable evidence of our Creator’s necessary existence.

          • swordfish

            Nature is difficult to imitate therefore God. Not much of an argument. Evolution has been operating for billions of years, of course its products are difficult to imitate.

          • Now, mind you, neither pattern nor order is of particular concern. It’s the arrangements of numerous interrelated constituent parts or elements in a string of steps adhered to in a clear-cut logical order to effectuate a task, purpose, goal or operation (ordered complexity) which always betrays the existence of an intelligent mind. It’s what makes a particular signal, for instance, instantly recognizable from random white noise. (That’s why SETI scours the universe for radio signals.)

            So you see, trying to use “poof” (fantastic chance)% to explain the outrageously small compound probabilities of standalone events giving us a life sustaining universe is utterly naked, absurd sophism.

            %“It is our contention that if ‘random’ [chance] is given a serious and crucial interpretation from a probabilistic point of view, the randomness postulate is highly implausible and that an adequate scientific theory of evolution must await the discovery and elucidation of new natural laws, physical, chemical and biological.” -“Inadequacies of Neo-Darwinian Evolution as a Scientific Theory,” Dr. Murray Eden, MIT

            %“There is no chance (<10-1000) to see [evolution based on mutation and natural selection] appear spontaneously and, if it did, even less for it to remain. Thus, to conclude, we believe there is a considerable gap in the Neo-Darwinian Theory of evolution, and we believe this gap to be of such a nature that it cannot be bridged within the current conception of biology.” -“Algorithms and the Neo-Darwinian Theory of Evolution,” Marcel P. Schutzenberger, the University of Paris (Bracket mine.)

            This multiplicity of probabilities atop probabilities atop probabilities atop probabilities adequately illustrates the staggering probability of our universe winding up with the optimum blend and ratios of life permitting constants by pure chance.

            Your reasoning makes it acceptable for someone who stumbles upon a copy of “Hamlet” to believe it is really the product of an infinite group of monkeys in an infinite assortment of universes banging away duplicates of texts at an infinite group of typewriters generated by yet another infinite group of monkeys in some other group of infinite universes banging away at their infinite bunch of typewriters rather than just simply concluding “Shakespeare.”

            Concordantly,

            1. The fine-tuning of the initial conditions of the universe are due to either physical necessity, chance or deliberate design.

            2. It is not due to either physical necessity or chance.

            3. Therefore, it is due to deliberate design.

            If you hear hoofbeats, why think unicorns?

          • swordfish

            (Why are theists always so long-winded?)

            “It’s the arrangements of numerous interrelated constituent parts or elements in a string of steps adhered to in a clear-cut logical order to effectuate a task, purpose, goal or operation (ordered complexity) which always betrays the existence of an intelligent mind.”

            This would be true if we didn’t know (For 159 years!) that the ‘ordered complexity’ in life can be explained by evolution. To prove it impossible for something to evolve, you have to prove that it’s impossible for it to form in lots of small random steps, not quote the opinions of two opponents of evolution, neither of whom are biologists.

            Here is a criticism of Murray Eden:

            “Among the huge flaws in Eden’s paper, pointed out by his critics, is that he somehow calculates, without explanation, that 120 point mutations would require 2,700,000 generations (among other things, he assumes a ridiculously low mutation rate of 1 in 1 million offspring). But in reality, even if only 1 mutation dominates a population every 20 generations, it will only take 2400 generations to complete a 120-point change–and that even assumes only 1 point mutation per generation, yet chromosome mixing and gene-pool variation will naturally produce many at a time, and mix and match as mating proceeds.”

            And of both sources:

            “If one actually reads the conference transcript, one realizes that what really happened was that approximately two befuddled math/computer science people, Murray Eden and Marcel-Paul Schützenberger, were schooled in basic population genetics & evolutionary theory by the likes of Ernst Mayr and Sewall Wright. It makes hilarious reading… The central misunderstandings from the mathematician side involved, as always, the same old dumb “but it’s impossible/extremely improbable for these sequences to come together all at once by random chance!” argument, which ignores (as always) the elemental point that evolutionary theory is the exact opposite of all-at-once-by-chance assembly.”

            You then switch from evolution to fine tuning:

            “1. The fine-tuning of the initial conditions of the universe are due to either physical necessity, chance or deliberate design.”

            I would say ‘apparent fine-tuning’ as we don’t actually understand the physics of this completely yet, but that leads to a possible fourth option, which is: something else we haven’t thought of yet.

            “2. It is not due to either physical necessity or chance.”

            Why?

            “3. Therefore, it is due to deliberate design.”

            False, unless you can prove (2) and that there are no other options.

            “If you hear hoofbeats, why think unicorns?”

            If you hear hoofbeats, why think God?

          • Except for the reality that the myth “that all the living forms in the world have arisen from a single source which itself came from an inorganic form”(this fiction: http ://bit. ly/18b2Jxe http ://bit .ly/12K0jnv http ://bit .ly/2jSQ8GB ) is shorn of any demonstrable, quantifiable, empirical, testable or replicable evidence.

            The reasoning here is this requires millions upon millions of years – which absolutely no one has observed since, well, it needs millions upon millions of years. Nevertheless, the fossil record, which ought to demonstrate a string of infinitesimally progressive adjustments from one being to another over the course of millions of years, reveals the complete opposite… But it’s anticipated that ( one day, someday) the “missing” fossils of those intermediate species are going to be discovered eventually. In short, the only evidence for evolution is the presumption of evolution. If that’s not circular thinking, just what is?

          • swordfish

            Three things:

            1. Your claims about what the fossil record ought to show are outright false. Try looking up “punctuated equilibrium”. So-called ‘gaps’ are continually being filled with new finds, and considering that the conditions necessary for fossilisation to occur are rare, we have a surprisingly good record.

            2. Evolution is not a circular argument. The theory of evolution was devised to explain the facts of the fossil record, which it does. There isn’t anything circular about this reasoning.

            3. Your ‘fine-tuning therefore God’ and ‘evolution is impossible therefore God’ arguments contradict each other. If God has to fine-tune constants for life, why would he then have to intervene in evolution as well?

          • Punctuated equilibrium is just a weak euphemism for special creation by God.

            As many, many reputed scientists in many, many different fields have confirmed through evidence, gradualism is a canard. That you conveniently gloss over this fact doesn’t change it or make it go away.

            Without gradualism evolution is as viable as a flying pink unicorn… without a brain.

            Although I imagine you could always try to bring back Lamarckism, Telegony. Alchemy or Emication. After all, many unbiased scientists are working so very hard to resurrect the dead, and inane, theory of Spontaneous Generation (reincarnated as Abiogenesis).

          • swordfish

            “Punctuated equilibrium is just a weak euphemism for special creation by God.”

            Punctuated equilibrium has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with God. Try reading a book about evolution, preferably one written by an evolutionary biologist rather than a theologist or philosopher.

            “Without gradualism evolution is as viable as a flying pink unicorn… without a brain.”

            It is still gradual. Doh!

            “After all, many unbiased scientists are working so very hard to resurrect the dead, and inane, theory of Spontaneous Generation (reincarnated as Abiogenesis).”

            You forgot to put in a reason why abiogenesis isn’t possible.

          • Because every single attempt to get life from the lifeless has miserably failed. Every single one.

            Feel free to prove me wrong.

          • swordfish

            When you say “every single attempt”, I wonder which attempts you’re referring to? I don’t know of any experiments which tried to create life. Every single attempt by humans to create a self-sustaining nuclear fusion reaction has also failed so far, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen naturally. Look at the sun!

            In any case, even if God created life, he’d still have to start with non-living matter, wouldn’t he?

          • Louis Pasteur and Thomas H. Huxley both proved Abiogenesis false. Try again.

          • swordfish

            “Try again”

            I don’t have to because everything you say is rubbish. Nobody has ‘proven’ Abiogenesis false – it must have happened – even if God created life, it must have been done using non-living materials.

          • Is God non-living material?

          • swordfish

            Yes, assuming he’s immaterial, as most religions claim. (Disclaimer: I don’t believe in God.)

          • “But Jehovah is truly God.

            He is the living God.” -Jeremiah 10:10 (cf. Joshua 3:10; Daniel 6:26)

          • swordfish

            According to Google, Living things have the following characteristics:

            1) Made of cells.
            2) Use energy.
            3) Grow.
            4) Reproduce.
            5) Respond to their environment.
            6) Self-regulate.

            None of these apply to God.

          • You’re being irrational. For you to operate from inside your materialistic, non-transcendent worldview and then demand evidence for the non-material, transcendent God (which invariably exists outside your perceived worldview) is a logically fallacious category error since it requires material evidence of the non-material, non-transcendent proof of the transcendent. It is exactly like asking to have an idea put on a scale. It does not work as they are completely different categories.

          • swordfish

            I’m not being irrational at all, I’m leaving that to you. You claimed that God was ‘living’, I simply pointed out that he doesn’t fulfill any of the characteristics we associate with life.

            “is a logically fallacious category error since it requires material evidence of the non-material”

            If God doesn’t interact with the material world, he/she/it can be rejected without any further consideration.

          • But he does-

            “Imagine a person who comes in here tonight and argues ‘no air exists’ but continues to breathe air while he argues. Now intellectually, atheists continue to breathe ― they continue to use reason and draw scientific conclusions [which assumes an orderly universe], to make moral judgments [which assumes absolute values] ― but the atheistic view of things would in theory make such ‘breathing’ impossible. They are breathing God’s air all the time they are arguing against him.”

            ― Greg Bahnsen

            “Essentially, I realized that to stay an atheist, I would have to believe that nothing produces everything; non-life produces life; randomness produces fine-tuning; chaos produces information; unconsciousness produces consciousness; and non-reason produces reason. Those leaps of faith were simply too big for me to take, especially in light of the affirmative case for God’s existence … In other words, in my assessment the Christian worldview accounted for the totality of the evidence much better than the atheistic worldview.” ― Lee Strobel

          • swordfish

            The only thing I get from these quotes is that Greg Bahnsen and Lee Strobel are both incredibly dumb.

          • swordfish

            Also, you’re claiming that God interacts with the material world but there’s no material evidence for God… Bzzzt – does not compute!

          • You’re not being rational.

            You evaluate someone’s argument based on the body of facts and information presented, not who they are personally. Try again.

          • swordfish

            I read their arguments, saw that they were just the same old rubbish that’s been refuted a million times, then concluded that they are both dumb, not the other way around. Try again.

          • You had me worried there for a second. I thought you were about to present a cohesive and cogent refutation backed by some actual evidence …

          • swordfish

            The burden of proof is on the person making the claims. As neither Bahnsen nor Strobel provide any arguments or evidence to back up their claims, perhaps you should, as you quoted them. You could start by providing a reason why an orderly universe is evidence for God, as claimed in quote one?

            Or do you not stand by tweedledumb and tweedledumber?

          • Neither pattern nor order are of particular concern. It’s the arrangements of numerous interrelated constituent parts or elements in a string of steps adhered to in a clear-cut logical order to effectuate a task, purpose, goal or operation (ordered complexity) which always betrays the existence of an intelligent mind. It’s what makes a particular signal, for instance, instantly recognizable from random white noise. (That’s why SETI scours the universe for radio signals.)

            So you see, trying to use “poof” (fantastic chance)% to explain the outrageously small compound probabilities of standalone events giving us a life sustaining universe is utterly naked, absurd sophism.

            %“It is our contention that if ‘random’ [chance] is given a serious and crucial interpretation from a probabilistic point of view, the randomness postulate is highly implausible and that an adequate scientific theory of evolution must await the discovery and elucidation of new natural laws, physical, chemical and biological.” -“Inadequacies of Neo-Darwinian Evolution as a Scientific Theory,” Dr. Murray Eden, MIT

            %“There is no chance (<10-1000) to see [evolution based on mutation and natural selection] appear spontaneously and, if it did, even less for it to remain. Thus, to conclude, we believe there is a considerable gap in the Neo-Darwinian Theory of evolution, and we believe this gap to be of such a nature that it cannot be bridged within the current conception of biology.” -“Algorithms and the Neo-Darwinian Theory of Evolution,” Marcel P. Schutzenberger, the University of Paris (Bracket mine.)

            This multiplicity of probabilities atop probabilities atop probabilities atop probabilities adequately illustrates the staggering probability of our universe winding up with the optimum blend and ratios of life permitting constants by pure chance.

            Your reasoning makes it acceptable for someone who stumbles upon a copy of “Hamlet” to believe it is really the product of an infinite group of monkeys in an infinite assortment of universes banging away duplicates of texts at an infinite group of typewriters generated by yet another infinite group of monkeys in some other group of infinite universes banging away at their infinite bunch of typewriters rather than just simply concluding “Shakespeare.”

            Concordantly,

            1. The fine-tuning of the initial conditions of the universe are due to either physical necessity, chance or deliberate design.

            2. It is not due to either physical necessity or chance.

            3. Therefore, it is due to deliberate design.

            If you hear hoofbeats, why think unicorns?

          • Evolution that stops for millions and millions and millions of years and then miraculously starts back up again? lol 😀

            Like I said before, PE is just a weak euphemism for special creation by God.

          • swordfish

            Mutations are occuring at a constant rate, but if you have a large population of individuals and a stable environment, it’s difficult for those mutations to spread throughout a population, so evolution effectively slows to a near standstill. If small groups of individuals become isolated from the main group, beneficial mutations can spread quickly through the group.

            Darwin recognised that evolution doesn’t always happen at a constant rate. Some species, such as crocodiles, have survived pretty much unchanged for millions of years because they inhabit a niche environment and have no competition.

            You can find this stuff out with a one minute Google search, so I don’t know why you don’t do so?

          • Prove it.

          • swordfish

            Google it. *Sigh*

          • And attempt make your argument for you?

            You know that’s not how this works, right? 🙂

          • swordfish

            Whether you like it or not, the theory of evolution has survived for 159 years and is the accepted, default theory explaining the diversity of life on our planet. I don’t have to prove it, nor would it be possible to do so in a short blog comment, as you must know. You haven’t proven any of the assertions you’ve made against evolution, but I don’t childishly ask you to do so – instead, I provide a counter-argument, not just bleat “prove it!” – that just makes me think you’re just a kid.

          • After reviewing the evidence of the fossil record, biologist Jonathan Wells writes: “At the level of kingdoms, phyla, and classes, descent with modification from common ancestors is obviously *** not *** an observed fact. To judge from the fossil and molecular evidence, it’s not even a well-supported theory.”

            “If life had evolved into its wondrous profusion of creatures little by little, Dr. Eldredge argues, then one would expect to find fossils of transitional creatures which were a bit like what went before them and a bit like what came after. But no one has yet found any evidence of such transitional creatures. This oddity has been attributed to gaps in the fossil record which gradualists expected to fill when rock strata of the proper age had been found. In the last decade, however, geologists have found rock layers of all divisions of the last 500 million years and ** no transitional forms ** were contained in them. If it is not the fossil record which is incomplete then it must be the theory.” (The Guardian Weekly)

            Evolutionist Loren Eiseley acknowledged: “After having chided the theologian for his reliance on myth and miracle, science found itself in the unenviable position of having to create a mythology of its own: namely, the assumption that what, after long effort, could not be proved to take place today had, in truth, taken place in the primeval past.”—The Immense Journey

            If these researchers can accept what the evidence clearly says, why can’t you?

            What does that say about you?

          • swordfish

            More quote mining. Jonathan Wells was a member of the Unification Church, otherwise known as the “Moonies”. He set out specifically to try and “destroy Darwinism”, which is an obviously dishonest way to do science. He’s an advocate of ID pseudoscience and also an AIDS denier. If you visit the NCSE website, you can easily find refutations of his nonsense. (Why didn’t you?)

            Niles Eldrige is one of the two scientists who developed the Punctuated Equilibrium theory. (Doh!) He spent 40 years writing about and teaching evolution. Your quote is taken completely out of context, but note that it doesn’t say ‘evolution is wrong’ it says ‘evolution is incomplete’.

            As for Loren Eisley: “Many experts on Darwin such as Stephen Jay Gould disagreed with Eisley. Michael Ruse, a philosopher of science, even stated “If a work like this was handed into me for a course. I would give it a failing grade.””

            You ask again ‘what this says about me’ – what it says about you is that your position is dishonest. Instead of looking at evolution as a whole, you cherry pick quotes from magazine articles which support your pre-determined position, which has nothing to do with science.

          • Ignoratio elenchi. You evaluate an argument based on the body of facts and information presented, not its provenance. Try again.

          • swordfish

            If you don’t think provenance is relevant, why did you mention that your quotes were from biologists or were printed in New Scientist?

            As for the ‘body of facts and information’, that overwhelmingly supports evolution by natural selection.

          • Apophenia inbred with confirmation bias since it is absurd to attempt to scientifically prove that one fossilized animal descended from another; without the evolutionary assumption the “evidence” vanishes.

            This realization is what forced the curators of the British Natural History Museum to remove their mendacious display showing the purported evolution of the horse. The same extends to any scene depicting the supposed gradual evolution of man from apes.

          • swordfish

            “it is absurd to attempt to scientifically prove that one fossilized animal descended from another;”

            “It is absurd” isn’t an argument. Try again.

            “This realization is what forced the curators of the British Natural History Museum to remove their mendacious display showing the purported evolution of the horse.”

            False. It was removed for renovation and updating, and is back again.

            “The same extends to any scene depicting the supposed gradual evolution of man from apes.”

            Now you admit there are fossils depicting a gradual evolution – I thought they were all missing? Incidentally, our evolution (we are still apes, BTW) can also be tracked through DNA sequencing.

          • Fine, prove it.

          • swordfish

            Prove what, exactly? The scientific method cannot produce proof, only theories and evidence.

          • Prove the claims in your reply.

          • swordfish

            You want me to “prove” (which science can’t do anyway) that humans descended from an ape-like ancestor, and that a particular display at the Natural History Museum was removed for renovation then restored in a short comment? Why don’t you just try looking up these things online, as I did?

          • Because it’s your burden of proof.

          • swordfish

            My proof is the entirety of all the scientific research that’s been done on evolution in the last 159 years plus the previous hundreds of years of fossil collecting. If you want to examine it, I suggest you read some books about it, visit some natural history museums, and look online. You could start with Wikipedia.

            But you don’t want to learn.

          • Oh but I have-

            In 2009 an article in New Scientist magazine quoted evolutionary scientist Eric Bapteste as saying: “We have no evidence at all that the tree of life is a reality.” The same article quotes evolutionary biologist Michael Rose as saying: “The tree of life is being politely buried, we all know that. What’s less accepted is that our whole fundamental view of biology needs to change.”

            Malcolm S. Gordon himself confessed: “Life appears to have had ** many origins **. The base of the universal tree of life appears not to have been a single root.” Is there evidence that all the major branches of life are connected to a single trunk, as Darwin believed? Gordon continues: “The traditional version of the theory of common descent apparently does not apply to kingdoms as presently recognized. It probably does not apply to many, if not all, phyla, and possibly also not to many classes within the phyla.”

            Regarding the time spans that separate many of these fossils, zoologist Henry Gee says: “The intervals of time that separate the fossils are so huge that we cannot say anything definite about their possible connection through ancestry and descent.”

            If these scientists see and accept this reality, why can’t you?

            What does that say about you?

          • swordfish

            The short answer to this is none of it disproves evolution. What it says about me is that I look at the science as a whole and try and understand what it’s saying, rather than quote-mining from one bad article, which is what you are doing.

            Regarding the 2009 article in New Scientist, that article was described as follows:

            “The article quoted by Graham Lawton was roundly criticised by scientists and skeptics because the headline and preamble are misleading. The story was essentially about Horizontal Gene Transfer (HGT) – the fact that some evolution takes place because of viral transfer of genetic material from unrelated species.”

            And:

            “So, the story, incorrectly titled “Darwin was wrong” should have been called “Darwin didn’t know everything, but he was damn accurate considering what knowledge he had available”. Okay, so it’s not a tree but more of a “bush” basically a tree but with some branches out the sides.”

            And:

            “While vertical descent is no longer the only game in town, it is still the best way of explaining how multicellular organisms are related to one another – a tree of 51%, maybe. In that respect, Darwin’s vision has triumphed: He knew nothing of micro-organisms and built his theory on plants and animals he could see around him.”

            And:

            “It is not exactly news to say that Darwin was wrong. He was wrong about all sorts of things. How could it be otherwise with someone writing a century and a half ago, knowing essentially nothing about genetics and microbiology?”

            Question: Why do you have to misrepresent science by quote mining?

          • So if Darwin’s evolutionary theory was wrong why do you still preach it?

          • swordfish

            Darwin’s theory of evolution was correct. He simply didn’t have access to all the relevant information. It’s pretty astounding to realise he had no knowledge that bacteria or viruses existed, and no idea how genetics works. His theory has been expanded and improved in the last 159 years as you’d expect. You’d know this if you did some general reading on evolution, rather than picking fringe statements from people just because you like the sound of what they’re saying.

          • “It is not exactly news to say that Darwin was wrong. He was wrong about all sorts of things.”

          • swordfish

            Everybody gets some things wrong, Maxximiliann – just look at you, you’re consitently wrong about almost everything. I assume you must get some things right. Maybe you agree that the Earth isn’t flat?

            The point is, Darwin was right about his theory of evolution by natural selection. If you disagree, please present some evidence which disproves it. Anything at all. Take your time…

          • Fine. Please present me with examples of bacteria that evolved into something that wasn’t bacteria.

          • swordfish

            What has that got to do with anything? The point of mentioning bacteria and viruses is just to show that there are important things which Darwin didn’t know about.

          • Does that mean you don’t have any examples of bacteria evolving into something that wasn’t bacteria?

          • swordfish

            (For the record, I note that as usual, your question is meant in bad faith.)

            If you mean examples from the fossil record, then we have. Interestingly, it took ‘only’ about 250 million years for the first single-celled life to appear on Earth, but about 1,500 million years for the first multicellular life to evolve, so from that it appears that multicellular life was a more difficult step than abiogenesis.

          • Prove it.

          • swordfish

            No. Evolution is a fact. Natural selection is the default theory which explains those facts. This is agreed upon by almost all biologists and relevant experts worlwide. Nothing has challenged evolution in 159 years and it isn’t being challenged by you in your childish (Prove it! Prove it! Prove it!) comments.

            I don’t have to prove evolution true any more than I have to prove that the Earth orbits the Sun. If you don’t like this situation, why not contact some actual scientists (I’m being quite serious) online and get the to explain anything you don’t understand. You could start with Jerry Coyne, who has a blog which accepts comments.

            Good day to you.

          • You’re being irrational. The Earth’s heliocentric orbit is demonstrable, quantifiable and empirical while the evolution of bacteria into something that wasn’t bacteria most certainly is not.

            Your fallacious argumentum ad populum only compounds your irrationality …

          • swordfish

            1. Appealing to scientific knowledge isn’t an “argumentum ad populum”.

            2. “The Earth’s heliocentric orbit is demonstrable, quantifiable and empirical while the evolution of bacteria into something that wasn’t bacteria most certainly is not.

            *Prove it*

            3. Like I said, take this up with Jerry Coyne.

          • That’s not how rational thought works. Arguments are proven false based on positive evidence of their falsehood not by rhetoric, tautologies, nor by the hearsay of the intelligentsia. Try again.

          • swordfish

            2. “The Earth’s heliocentric orbit is demonstrable, quantifiable and empirical while the evolution of bacteria into something that wasn’t bacteria most certainly is not.

            *Prove it*

          • Google “How We Figured Out That Earth Goes Around the Sun” on Youtube.

            The posting of links is prohibited here for some bizarre reason.

          • swordfish

            You’ve previously disallowed referring to Google, (“That’s not how this works”) but if that is now allowed, then I suggest you look up “proof of evolution” or something similar.

          • I did find evidence that after tens and tens and tens of thousands of generations bacteria “evolved” into … bacteria …

            Do you have any evidence that shows otherwise?

          • swordfish

            1. As I mentioned previously, life remained single-celled for 1.5 billion years. Bearing in mind that bacteria can reproduce every 15 to 20 minutes, that would be an astronomically larger number of generations than ‘tens of thousands’ – I make it more like 39 trillion.

            2. What would you count as “something other than a bacteria”? An organism with 2 cells? An aardvaark? You’re asking for something which you haven’t really defined.

            If you’re still not happy, ask Jerry Coyne, as I suggested. Or, if you’re really interested and want to learn, do some proper reasearch – do you think evolutionary biologists spend five minutes on Google or decades of patient study and work?

            *ANNOUNCEMENT* I’m not going to reply to you further because this comment thread has become impractically slow to navigate – I’m having to wait 30 seconds to edit a word sometimes. Also, this discussion is futile – I’m not an evolutionary biologist, so if you really want to question it, you should ask questions on evolutionary biology forums.

            (Alternatively, you could just carry on quote-mining from articles and books written by fringe nutcases.)

          • That’s like asking, “If God has to fine-tune constants for life, why would he then have to intervene in time travel as well?”

          • swordfish

            No, that is just a non-sequiter, but it gives me the chance to raise another objection to fine-tuning: If God has to fine-tune physical constants, then he’s constrained by the laws of nature, which contradicts his being omnipotent.

          • Does God live in our universe?

          • swordfish

            I don’t believe in God, but I don’t think your question is relevant to the argument. If God has to fine-tune physical constants to create conditions conducive to life, then he’s limited by those physical laws. To put it another way, why can’t he create a universe which doesn’t require fine-tuning?

          • Only if God lives in our universe. Does he?

          • swordfish

            Do you ever read my answers and think about them? Its seems not. I’m not arguing that God is inside the universe.

          • If God is not part of the universe, how can he be constrained by it’s constants/laws?

          • swordfish

            I don’t mean he’s constrained physically, I mean he’s constrained logically. Let me put it this way:

            If God can only create a universe with fine-tuned constants, then he’s limited as to what he can create by definition. On the other hand, if he can create a universe without fine-tuned constants, then fine-tuning can’t be evidence for his existence.

          • Except that God is alive and is not constrained by our universe’s laws meaning that he can create various life-specific universes.

          • swordfish

            If there can be various life-specific universes, then that also refutes the fine-tuning argument.

          • How?

          • swordfish

            Because it doesn’t make sense to say the universe is fine-tuned for life but could also be different. If it could be different, the fine-tuning is unnecessary.

          • And aren’t fish fine-tuned for their fine-tuned environment while

            Trophosome are fine-tuned for their fine-tuned environment?

          • swordfish

            I’m not sure what you mean?

          • You claimed that

            it doesn’t make sense to say the universe is fine-tuned for life but could also be different.

            My two examples prove this to be clearly wrongheaded.

            All things considered, if ecosystem distinct creatures live exclusively within specific environments, why can’t other variations of life exist in universes whose conditions are specific to them?

          • swordfish

            “why can’t other variations of life exist in universes whose conditions are specific to them?”

            The fine-tuning argument is that lots of constants have to be very precisely arranged in order for the universe to produce life. If the constants can be tuned differently and still produce life, than the whole basis for the fine-tuning argument has gone.

          • And that’s not the argument I’ve presented.

            This is: https ://disqus. com/home/discussion/streamdotorg/lee_strobel_asks_are_miracles_real_and_still_happening/#comment-3831715222

            `

          • swordfish

            Sorry, your link doesn’t work. Could you explain your argument again?

          • No worries. For some peculiar reason, this blog prohibits links …

            Here’s what I presented-

            If exceptional intellect is required to merely duplicate the
            breathtaking daedal designs & systems present in nature
            (Biomimetics) then much more the original being replicated. Creation is
            thus unshakable evidence of our Creator’s necessary existence.

          • swordfish

            Thank you, but we’ve already discussed that elsewhere in this comments thread – I replied with:

            “Nature is difficult to imitate therefore God. Not much of an argument. Evolution has been operating for billions of years, of course its products are difficult to imitate.”

            Then you replied, and so on. So I’m not sure there’s much point going over this again as it’s got nothing to do with the fine-tuning argument which we were discussing previously.

          • That only obtains if the exact same life can exist regardless of the universe’s constants.

            Do you have such an example?

          • swordfish

            The fine-tuning argument is about life being possible at all – slightly different constants would mean that no stars would form, or the universe would collapse a millisecond after the big bang, for instance. If different life can exist, then the fine-tuning = God argument falls apart.

          • Gotcha. Then I stand by my argument for universal fine-tuning.

          • swordfish

            I’m not sure what you mean by “gotcha” – the fact that I can describe the fine-tuning argument for God doesn’t mean I agree with it. I’ve already said that I don’t accept it as an argument because (quoting myself):

            “No matter how much waffle you add to your argument, it’s still: “We don’t understand X, therefore God exists”. This argument has been wrong every time it’s been used throughout history; for example: “We don’t understand thunder, therefore Thor exists”.”

          • I’m not positing a so-called “God of the gaps,” to explain gaps in our scientific knowledge. Rather, my argument is based upon the best of what we do know in science. The premise that the intelligent design requires an intelligence or that universe began to exist is not a religious declaration nor a theological one. You can find that statement in any contemporary textbook on astrophysics or cosmology. And it is supported, as we’ve seen, by the vast majority of cosmologists today.

            So I’m simply saying that the best scientific evidence we have today supports the truth of that premise. And from that, the rest of the deductive argument follows. So in no way is this an appeal to ignorance, to try to punt to God to explain what we don’t understand. It is a natural conclusion from the logical validity of the preceding premisses. In other words, it’s simple, mundane logic.

          • swordfish

            Four things:

            1) The fine-tuning argument is certainly a God-of-the-gaps argument because it posits God as the explanation for something we don’t currently understand, namely apparent fine-tuning.

            2) The idea that “intelligent design” requires an intelligence is a circular argument and has no evidence to support it. There is no evidence that anything has been designed by any intelligence. (If it has been, I wonder how you’d explain male nipples, or cancer?)

            3) The universe had an apparent beginning, but it wasn’t a beginning ‘in time’, so it doesn’t establish the existence of a prior cause.

            4) Your premises aren’t premises, they’re claims about reality which have no evidence to support them. There is no evidence for intelligent design, for instance. You can’t use pseudoscience as a premise from which to construct a logical argument.

          • Now, mind you, neither pattern nor order are of particular concern. It’s the arrangements of numerous interrelated constituent parts or elements in a string of steps adhered to in a clear-cut logical order to effectuate a task, purpose, goal or operation (ordered complexity) which always betrays the existence of an intelligent mind. It’s what makes a particular signal, for instance, instantly recognizable from random white noise. (That’s why SETI scours the universe for radio signals.)

            So you see, trying to use “poof” (fantastic chance)% to explain the outrageously small compound probabilities of standalone events giving us a life sustaining universe is utterly naked, absurd sophism.

            %“It is our contention that if ‘random’ [chance] is given a serious and crucial interpretation from a probabilistic point of view, the randomness postulate is highly implausible and that an adequate scientific theory of evolution must await the discovery and elucidation of new natural laws, physical, chemical and biological.” -“Inadequacies of Neo-Darwinian Evolution as a Scientific Theory,” Dr. Murray Eden, MIT

            %“There is no chance (<10-1000) to see [evolution based on mutation and natural selection] appear spontaneously and, if it did, even less for it to remain. Thus, to conclude, we believe there is a considerable gap in the Neo-Darwinian Theory of evolution, and we believe this gap to be of such a nature that it cannot be bridged within the current conception of biology.” -“Algorithms and the Neo-Darwinian Theory of Evolution,” Marcel P. Schutzenberger, the University of Paris (Bracket mine.)

            This multiplicity of probabilities atop probabilities atop probabilities atop probabilities adequately illustrates the staggering probability of our universe winding up with the optimum blend and ratios of life permitting constants by pure chance.

            Your reasoning makes it acceptable for someone who stumbles upon a copy of “Hamlet” to believe it is really the product of an infinite group of monkeys in an infinite assortment of universes banging away duplicates of texts at an infinite group of typewriters generated by yet another infinite group of monkeys in some other group of infinite universes banging away at their infinite bunch of typewriters rather than just simply concluding “Shakespeare.”

            Concordantly,

            1. The fine-tuning of the initial conditions of the universe are due to either physical necessity, chance or deliberate design.

            2. It is not due to either physical necessity or chance.

            3. Therefore, it is due to deliberate design.

            If you hear hoofbeats, why think unicorns?

          • Sampling of Universal Constants:

            Planck constant

            Hubble constant

            Gravitational constant

            Luminal speed in a vacuum

            Von Klitzing constant

            Fermi coupling constant

            Fine-structure constant

            Rydberg constant

            Avogadro constant

            Boltzman constant

            Atomic Mass constant

            Faraday constant

            Loschmidt constant

            Sackur-Tetrode constant

            Fine-Structure Constant (α)

            Cosmological Constant (Λ)

            Tau (Τ)

            Euler’s number (e)

            Pi (π)

            Fibonacci sequence

            Golden Ratio (φ)

            Euler’s Identity

            This selective sampling of physical and cosmological quantities which are necessary conditions of the existence of intelligent life on Earth at this point in cosmic history illustrates the sort of wider teleology which F.R. Tennant emphasized, but could only dimly envision. The discoveries of contemporary science in this regard are particularly impressive since the delicate balance of conditions upon which life depends is characterized by the interweaving dependency of conditions, not merely upon each individual condition’s possessing a value within very narrow limits, but also upon ratios or interactions between values and forces which must likewise lie within narrow parameters.

            The situation is thus not comparable to a roulette wheel in Monte Carlo’s yielding a certain winning number; nor even yet to all the roulette wheels (each representing a physical quantity or constant) in Monte Carlo’s turning up simultaneously certain numbers within narrowly circumscribed limits (say, wheel 1 must show 72 or 73 while wheel 2 must show 27-29, etc.); rather it is like all the roulette wheels in Monte Carlo’s yielding simultaneously numbers within narrowly prescribed limits and those numbers bearing certain precise relations among themselves (say, the number of wheel 3 must be one-half the square of the number of wheel 17 and twice the number of wheel 6). It seems clear that worlds not permitting intelligent life are vastly more to be expected than life-permitting worlds which is incontrovertible evidence for (2).

            Wanna tell me again how this was all just a happy accident?

          • swordfish

            Three things:

            1. Several of the numbers you list aren’t fine-tuned physical constants at all. For example, Eulers’s number and Pi are mathematical constants with exact values.

            2. At least two others have recently been shown to be related to each other, so they’re not independent.

            3. No matter how much waffle you add to your argument, it’s still: “We don’t understand X, therefore God exists”. This argument has been wrong every time it’s been used throughout history; for example: “We don’t understand thunder, therefore Thor exists”.

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            Natural selection can only select from among already-living things. See Darwin for details.

          • swordfish

            Yes. What is your point?

          • John Connor

            Very easy to deny a creator as no god has ever been proven to exist.

          • GPS Daddy

            word games…

          • John Connor

            So no proof. Gotcha

          • GLT

            “It’s called the burden of proof.”

            Yes, it is, and anyone making a positive claim to knowledge is bound to provide proof to support that claim. If you say you do not know if God heals amputees, or if fairies exist, that is not a positive claim to knowledge. That is honestly stating you do not have the sufficient knowledge to reach a conclusion. Atheists, however, consistently make a positive claim to knowledge that God does not in fact exist and therefore bear the burden to provide evidence in support of that statement. Why is it atheists can never seem to grasp this painfully obvious and sound logical point?

            “But if you want to establish something as a fact, you have to provide evidence,…”

            Exactly! You are absolutely right. And if atheists want to establish the fact God does not exist they have to provide evidence to that end, not simply say the burden of proof lies with those who say he does. Is it finally becoming clear to you?

          • swordfish

            I agree that atheists can’t prove that God doesn’t exist. However:

            1. Most atheists don’t claim that God doesn’t exist, they simply claim there’s insufficient evidence that God does exist.

            2. It’s unreasonable (and arguably meaningless) to expect atheists to disprove the existence of God unless God has previously been claimed to exist. therefore the burden of proof still lies with the theists making the original claim.

          • GPS Daddy

            >>I agree that atheists can’t prove that God doesn’t exist

            You still have that burden. Acknowledging that you cannot prove it does not reduce your burden of proof.

            Theists, on the other had, have proof that God exists. Its clearly evident form the design in life. So simple is the recognition of this that everyone is capable of knowing it. Even a small child.

            So if your going to claim that God does not exist then anti-up and provide the proof.

          • John Connor

            You have proof that a god exists? Riigghht

          • GPS Daddy

            As I stated in that post, the design in life is clearly evident. This is proof that God exists. Design only comes from a designer. What we observe is that life only comes from life. Intelligence only comes from intelligence. Personhood only comes from personhood.

            If your going to deny these then you must provide proof and evidence. You must show that:

            Design can happen without a designer.
            Life comes from non-life.
            Intelligence comes from non-intelligence.
            And, personhood comes from non-personhood.

            I await your proof.

          • John Connor

            No proof or evidence of intelligence design or creation. I could just as easily say that Thor created us. No one has any proof of his existence either.

          • GLT

            “Most atheists don’t claim that God doesn’t exist, they simply claim there’s insufficient evidence that God does exist.”

            ALL atheists claim God does not exist. Those who say there is not enough evidence would be agnostics, they simply do not know. However, most of those who say they do not know live as if they do know.

            “It’s unreasonable (and arguably meaningless) to expect atheists to disprove the existence of God unless God has previously been claimed to exist. therefore the burden of proof still lies with the theists making the original claim.”

            God has been claimed to exist for as long as there is recorded history. People have also claimed God does not exist for as long as there is recorded history. As such, I fail to see the point of your argument.

          • swordfish

            “ALL atheists claim God does not exist.”

            I’m an atheist but I don’t claim God doesn’t exist, only that there isn’t sufficient evidence that God does exist, so your claim is false. The claim that ‘God doesn’t exist’ is really “anti-theism”. Agnosticism is different again.

            “God has been claimed to exist for as long as there is recorded history.”

            ‘God’ (with a capital ‘G’) refers to the Christian God, which has only been claimed to exist for a few thousand years, so your argument doesn’t work unless you want to lump God in with Thor, Mithra, and every other claimed god.

          • Atheism, by definition, denies the existence of God or gods. “I’m an atheist but I don’t claim God doesn’t exist”. So you are an atheist who simply likes to cause trouble through “sealioning” and strawman arguments, an agnostic who is looking for answers in a very snarky manner, an unconvincing liar, unwilling or incapable of understanding logical argument, or insane.

            Choose.

          • swordfish

            Give me a few days to list all the logical fallacies and ad-hominems here, and I’ll get back to you.

          • GLT

            “I’m an atheist but I don’t claim God doesn’t exist,…”

            Yes, you do, by the very definition of the term atheist. If you claim there is not enough evidence to know if God exists then you are an agnostic. They are very simple terms, easy to differentiate and understand. Also, if you make the claim there is not enough evidence for God you are responsible to back up that claim with evidence. What is your evidence there is not enough evidence for God? How much evidence is required in order for there to be enough?

            “anti-theism”.

            Which is what the term ‘a’ means in Greek, without or against.

            “‘God’ (with a capital ‘G’) refers to the Christian God,…”

            God with a capital ‘G’ refers to the God of the Bible and as such is eternal, without beginning and without end. At least understand the definition of terms if you want someone to believe you understand the clams of Christianity.

            “Thor, Mithra, and every other claimed god.”

            As God (of the Bible) is eternal all the mythical gods claimed to exist throughout history logically post date him.

          • swordfish

            [I’m an atheist but I don’t claim God doesn’t exist,] “Yes, you do, by the very definition of the term atheist. If you claim there is not enough evidence to know if God exists then you are an agnostic.”

            Dictionary: “Agnostic: a person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God.”

            This clearly isn’t the same as atheism at all.

            “They are very simple terms, easy to differentiate and understand.”

            Actually, they’re not that simple.

            “Also, if you make the claim there is not enough evidence for God you are responsible to back up that claim with evidence. What is your evidence there is not enough evidence for God? How much evidence is required in order for there to be enough?”

            This doesn’t make sense. Suppose we were talking about a murder case: would it make sense for the prosecution to say there isn’t enough evidence that there isn’t enough evidence to convict the accused? Good luck using that as an argument in court! Why not go one step further and have the defence respond that there isn’t enough evidence that there isn’t enough evidence that there isn’t enough evidence to convict the accused, and so on…

            [‘God’ (with a capital ‘G’) refers to the Christian God] “God with a capital ‘G’ refers to the God of the Bible”

            How is the “God of the Bible” different to the “Christian God”?

            “As God (of the Bible) is eternal all the mythical gods claimed to exist throughout history logically post date him.”

            This actually made me laugh out loud. It’s fun watching you jump through mental hoops trying to defend the indefensible. We’re talking about belief here, it doesn’t matter how long any of these gods were claimed to exist for, what matters is that they were all claimed to exist at some point in history and the people making those claims have the burden of proof. Otherwise, you’d be expecting someone to disprove Mormonism during the Ice Age.

          • GLT

            Dictionary: “Agnostic: a person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God.”

            “This clearly isn’t the same as atheism at all.”

            Which is exactly what I said.

            “This doesn’t make sense.”

            It does if you think the logic through. Your claim is there is not enough evidence for the existence of God. Therefore, you have claimed to know the entirety of the evidence which is available and determined it is not enough. Where is the evidence showing you actually know the entirety of the evidence available?

            “How is the “God of the Bible” different to the “Christian God”?”

            Did I say the God of Christianity was different than the God of the Bible? Read it again.

            “This actually made me laugh out loud.”

            Which I take to mean you do not understand at all the point of my argument. Not surprising.

          • swordfish

            “Where is the evidence showing you actually know the entirety of the evidence available?”

            Where is the evidence that there isn’t any evidence that I know the entirety of the evidence available? (LOL)

          • GLT

            Play childish games if you wish. Do you wish to claim you actually know the entirety of the evidence which is available or are you going to be mature and admit you do not know?

          • swordfish

            It’s your childisn game – instead of providing sufficient evidence, you’re suggesting that I should prove there isn’t sufficient evidence. Thiese word games just make it look like you know there isn’t sufficient evidence.

          • GLT

            I and others have provided evidence. You refuse to accept it as such and counter with the claim there is no evidence. Thus you claim to know all the possible sources of evidence and say none exists. Logically you must be able to support that claim. Obviously you cannot.

          • swordfish

            Just to be clear, I didn’t say there’s no evidence, I said there isn’t sufficient evidence. I also don’t “claim to know all the possible sources of evidence”, so I don’t have to support that claim either.

            If your argument is that I should believe in God because there may be evidence I don’t know about, then I’d have to believe in everything (including other gods). I’d also have to disbelieve everything because there may be contradictory evidence that I don’t know about.

            But your word games are just further evidence that you don’t really have any evidence. 🙂

          • GLT

            “If your argument is that I should believe in God because there may be evidence I don’t know about,…”

            No, that is not my argument. My argument is simply the fact evidence exists, you just choose to reject it or ignore it.

            “But your word games are just further evidence that you don’t really have any evidence.”

            It is not a word game, it is simply pointing out the illogical nature of the argument that there is no evidence for God. You now claim there is not sufficient evidence for his existence, which raises the obvious question what would constitute sufficient evidence in your eyes?

          • swordfish

            “You now claim there is not sufficient evidence for his existence, which raises the obvious question what would constitute sufficient evidence in your eyes?”

            I don’t know. What would you count as sufficient evidence that Allah exists?

          • GLT

            “I don’t know.”

            How can you then make the claim you do not believe there is sufficient evidence for the existence of God when you can’t even say what you would consider sufficient evidence?

          • swordfish

            “How can you then make the claim you do not believe there is sufficient evidence for the existence of God when you can’t even say what you would consider sufficient evidence?”

            The fact that I can’t tell you what evidence would convince me doesn’t have anything to do with the fact that the existing evidence isn’t sufficient to convince me.

            Perhaps you’d like to answer my question as to what would you count as sufficient evidence that Allah exists?

          • GLT

            “The fact that I can’t tell you what evidence would convince me,…”

            If you don’t know what would convince you it’s likely nothing would as you would simply continue to file any evidence presented under ‘not sufficient’.

            “sufficient evidence that Allah exists?”

            I guess the same type of evidence which convinced me God exists. Logic, rationality of the arguments and historic evidence, to name a few.

            Muslims actually believes they are worshipping the God of the Old Testament. Allah is just the name they apply just as some Christians sometimes apply the name Jehovah. However, their view of God does not line up with the Judeo-Christian view of God.

          • swordfish

            “If you don’t know what would convince you it’s likely nothing would as you would simply continue to file any evidence presented under ‘not sufficient’.”

            Probably.

            Unless you have something else to say about this, it seems like our argument has run out of steam 🙂 I hope you have a nice day.

          • What evidence led you to God’s existence?

          • swordfish

            ???

          • Concerning God’s existence, you said

            I didn’t say there’s no evidence</blockquote

            Hence my query, what evidence led you to God's existence?

          • swordfish

            That there is ‘some evidence’ doesn’t mean said evidence is sufficient. There is ‘some evidence’ that fairies exist.

          • Disbelief is a belief. It is certainly not neutral. The second you adopt the position of disbelief, there are evidentiary assumptions you’ve made along with a stance adopted on that evidence and, as a result, and evidentiary burden you’ve assumed.

            As such, you need to prove your claim or risk having it and you dismissed as irrational.

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            God-with-a-capital-G refers to the ground of all being, a/k/a Existence Itself, and is a relatively recent innovation in orthography in the English language. It was for example unknown in ancient and medieval Latin. However, most people at least intuited that there was behind most divine beings/angels/demons/et al. there must be not a “supreme being” but something from which the others took their being itself. Thus, not only Plotinus’ proof of the One and Maimonides and ibn Rushd’s proofs, but also the Nyāya argument for a first cause advanced by Jyanta Bhatta.

          • You have been engaging in equivocation, a dishonest rhetorical tactic. The term “Atheist” conveys much more than that. After all, what do you call someone who believes God does not nor cannot exist?

          • swordfish

            I’m describing my own belief and that of of typical atheists to the best of my ability. Describing that as “dishonest” says more about you than it does about me. And: what equivocation?

            “After all, what do you call someone who believes God does not nor cannot exist?”

            An anti-theist.

          • No, they’re called an Atheist.

            The dictionary is your friend …

            Like I said before, equivocation …

          • swordfish

            I’ve been careful to define what I mean by ‘atheist’ throughout this discussion. I don’t see how my sticking to one meaning of a word can possibly be considered to be ‘equivocation’ – it’s the exact opposite.

          • Nonsense. You’ve misled and deceived; actively playing semantical games with a term whose definition is unequivocally established in the English vocabulary.

            There’s the exit. Don’t let the door hit you in the face on your way out.

          • swordfish

            “Nonsense. You’ve misled and deceived; actively playing semantical games with a term whose definition is unequivocally established in the English vocabulary.”

            The dictionary definition itself contain two different and contradictory definitions of atheism: ‘lack of belief in God’ and ‘a belief that God doesn’t exist’, so your claim that it is ‘unequivocally established’ MUST be false. As for “misleading”, perhaps you can find an example to back up that claim, or retract it?

            There’s the exit. Don’t let the door hit you in the face on your way out.”

            Are you ten years old or something?

          • Definition of atheist

            : a person who does not believe in the existence of a god or any gods

            Try again.

          • swordfish

            I’m amazed that you think you can win an argument just by meaninglessly quoting a single definition of the word ‘atheist’, without even citing a source. Also, I wonder what you expect to gain by being rude – how is adding “try again” to so many of your comments helping your case? I have to ask also: Does Jesus teach that Christians should be rude and childish?

            Anyway, I don’t care what your source says, every source that I’ve looked at gives a two-part definition as I outlined in a previous comment (“Lack of belief in God” AND “Belief that God doesn’t exist”). But it doesn’t even matter in the slightest anyway: I’m talking about MY BELIEFS – I don’t have to stick to what a dictionary or someone else says I should believe, any more than you should or would accept whatever definition of ‘Christian’ I decided come up with.

            My position, once again, is that I don’t believe that a god or gods exists.

          • Disbelief is a belief. It is certainly not neutral. The second you adopt the position of disbelief, there are evidentiary assumptions you’ve made along with a stance adopted on that evidence and, as a result, an evidentiary burden you’ve assumed.

            As such, you need to prove your claim otherwise you’re irrational.

          • swordfish

            Deja Vu. Again! You’ve already said exactly the same thing, word-for-word, and it was wrong the first time. Why would it be any less wrong now?

          • Prove it.

          • swordfish

            I forgot to say: Disbelief is a belief in the same way that “no flavour” is a flavour of ice cream, and “no car” is a type of car.

          • swordfish

            I’m still waiting for you to back up “You’ve misled and deceived”. Do so or retract. your claim.

          • We talked about this. Don’t you remember?

            In the English language, someone who believes God does not nor cannot exist is known as an atheist.

            If you want a different answer you’re going to have to ask a different question.

          • swordfish

            Words do not have fixed meanings, only useages, otherwise the meaning of them wouldn’t be able to change over time I can define what I mean by ‘atheist’ in any way I want, just as you are free to define “theist”, or “Christian” in any way you want. I have defined what I mean by atheist very clearly over and over again. If you do not accept my definition of my own beliefs, then I’m not sure how to help you. I’m still waiting for that retraction…

          • Elvis is dead.
            The Earth is not flat.
            If you were born with a “twig and berries” you’re male otherwise you’re female.
            There are four lights.

            Unicorns of legend aren’t real.
            Little boys are raped by gays.
            The Holocaust actually happened.
            Christ was resurrected by God.

            You can’t change the accepted meaning of a word.

            No one is entitled to their own version of reality.

          • swordfish

            Your list of ‘facts’ includes two which aren’t true, one which is debatable and one, “There are four lights” which I don’t understand at all. As for your reference to “gays”, perhaps you should have used “Catholic priests” instead?

            Anyway, you’re entirely correct that people aren’t entitled to their own facts, but I was talking about MY BELIEFS. People are entitled to their own beliefs. What anout this do you have such a hard time uniderstanding? And do you not agree that the meanings of words change over time?

          • GPS Daddy

            So, swordfish, you now have three assignments:

            First, you must prove that God does not exist.
            Second, you must prove that life can come from non-life.
            Third, and this is new to this thread, you must prove that something can be designed without a designer.

            I await your proofs.

          • swordfish

            “First, you must prove that God does not exist.”

            I’m not claiming that, so I don’t have to prove it.

            “Second, you must prove that life can come from non-life.”

            Why? This has nothing to do with the existence of God, or miracles, which is what this thread is supposed to be about.

            “Third, and this is new to this thread, you must prove that something can be designed without a designer.”

            This isn’t new, I’ve already answered it lower down. The designer is “teleonomic design”, otherwise known as ‘natural selection’.

          • GPS Daddy

            Well, you get an ‘F’ on each assignment.

          • If you are an atheist, you do not believe in God or gods.
            If you do not believe in something, you have no reason to care or think about said thing.
            You, Swordfish, constantly question the nature and existence of God.
            Therefore, you think and care about God.
            Therefore, you are not an atheist.
            If you are not an atheist, you must be either a theist or an anti-theist.
            Choose.

        • GPS Daddy

          You have a track record of not asking serious questions here at The Stream. You also have a track record of not studying the materials that your pointed too. If you had studied the materials you have been pointed too you would not be asking some of the questions your asking.

          Miracles are known within the church. Documenting miracles well is much harder than you think. Especially for professional skeptics like new atheists.

          • swordfish

            Most of my questions are serious. It’s not my fault if you don’t take them seriously.

        • Ken Abbott

          My question was just as serious as yours, swordfish. Have you investigated each and every case before making your assertion veiled as a question?

          • swordfish

            There are no cases of healed amputees to investigate.

          • Ken Abbott

            That you know of. Have you made an exhaustive inquiry before stating your assertion of fact? Both of existing and historical cases of amputation? Here and throughout the world?

        • It’s not a serious question, so why should we provide serious answers? And what level of proof would you require? State up front, please, in detail, and no quibbling later.

    • Tim Pan

      Gods main concern is the redemption and purification of the human spirit. The flesh in the end means nothing. I had an event that underscores my point. Yesterday as I was meditating on the Lord. I saw a large image of Christ and from His heart came a orb of light that encompassed me. It was warm and soothing. The the Lord said ” you are healed and sin no more. ” This marked the 30 year anniversary of my divorce. It took 30 years for God to undo my sin of divorce.

  • Katann

    What one should look at is the circumstances in which and the people to whom God performs a miracle to. How did the miracle change the person and to those who witnessed it? God does not perform miracles for show or simply because we ask. The Lord’s mIracles speak to the very depth of our heart and soul. I’ve witnessed the power of a miracle and am also a recipient of one. Miracles are transforming, a display of the magnificent power of God.

  • D McGovern

    Please EVERYONE, stop responding to swordfish. This troll consistently inveigles us to engage with his ignorant nonsense. PLEASE ignore him and he will go away. Then we can have a real discussion.

  • Teleros

    Never came across the Diane Miller case until I read this. Wow.

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