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February 11, 2013

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Rational beliefs are either necessary or likely compared to alternatives.
Irrational beliefs are either impossible or unlikely compared to alternatives.

To be rational: Identify the necessary/impossible with deduction and the likely/unlikely with Bayes theorem.

Miracles seem neither necessary nor (logically) impossible.
So, for miracles, use Bayes theorem.

There's a hint of Bayesianism in Brett's appeal to belief in God.
If you had independent reasons to belief God exists, you could use that to justify assigning miracles a higher prior probability.

But, on another day, when it is God's existence that's being questioned rather than miracles, it will be the miracles that are brought in to support the rationality of theism.

Another problem: Even if presuming God's existence raises the probablilty that some miracles happen(ed), it doesn't help you choose which miracles to believe.

I'm not following the logic of the defense given. The wording of the title is a little ambiguous. There are two possible audiences with correlating approaches: Either we need to defend the possibility of miracles to unbelievers or explain miracles to believers. I don't believe the first is possible based on passages like Luke 16:31. We can come close with the second one based on our theologically informed philosophy of the relationship between the spiritual and the physical, but it's closer to speculation than exegesis.

In a theistic context where you have a God ..."

Seriously? There's nothing rational about such an assumption. First, prove God exists as you stated, then you can mount a rational defense about whether or not God uses miracles. I could just as easily say that a rational argument can be made that leprechauns have pots of gold at the ends of rainbow if I assume that leprechauns exist.

As for miracles being improbable instead of impossible, I can safely state that coming back from the dead after three days is impossible. Bodily tissues start to die minutes after oxygen has been cut off. Irreversible brain damage would occur within four minutes of the heart stopping. Resurrection is impossible, not improbable from a rational standpoint.

AJG, do you think resurrections would be impossible even if there were a God?

"Resurrection is impossible, not improbable from a rational standpoint."

From a naturalistic, non-supernatural worldview and basis, then yes you are right.

Darth Dutch

AJG, do you think resurrections would be impossible even if there were a God?

Well, I said from a rational standpoint. Given that I think a belief in God is irrational, your question is outside the bounds of my assertion.

I suppose if you want to include God in the discussion then everything is on the table, but since I have never seen nor heard from any reputable source that the laws of nature have been violated in such a way, I would say that resurrection is impossible.

From a naturalistic, non-supernatural worldview and basis, then yes you are right.

You mean from a rational worldview which was the subject of the entire discussion.

Religious faith is inherently irrational because it asserts that nothing is impossible (the video itself states this). You used the term supernatural yourself. Can you defend the idea that something that is outside of the universe is rational? I doubt it.

"You mean from a rational worldview which was the subject of the entire discussion."

Nope. The opposite of rationality is not faith, its irrationality.

Let me amend my statement - "From a naturalistic worldview & basis...". The fact of the matter is that you are coming at the discussion from a worldview that must be defended. It is not a given, which is what you are treating it as.

Darth Dutch

Darth Dutch

"Can you defend the idea that something that is outside of the universe is rational?"

Can you rephrase that? I'm not sure what you are asking.

Darth Dutch

"Religious faith is inherently irrational because it asserts that nothing is impossible (the video itself states this). You used the term supernatural yourself. Can you defend the idea that something that is outside of the universe is rational? I doubt it."

So much for the proposition that all knowledge is provisional and subject to revision.

It seems that that does not apply to statements that materialist naturalists dislike. We apparently Know that such claims are False. (Capitals are deliberate.)

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