Miracles do not violate science
Debate Rounds (4)
Science: systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation.
1st Round - Acceptance only
2nd Round - Pro argues/Con rebuts
3rd/4th Round - Rebuttals
Scientific laws are only assumed true through repetition. No finite number of attempts can show that a law is applicable for every case in the universe. For example, long before Australia was discovered, it was believed in the West that all swans in the world were white. But when Europeans landed in Australia, they saw, for the first time, a black swan. What was considered a scientifically violable truth before had to be withdrawn. Let's look at another example. When Newton published his laws about the universe, they were regarded as incontrovertibly true for almost two centuries. They worked very well, and were endorsed as irrefutable. Then, Einstein's theories of relativity contradicted Newton. Despite common belief, Newton's laws were proved in important ways to be wrong or at least inadequate. However, these laws could be, in the future, proved erroneous yet again. By this we learn that Einstein's theories have the capability to be proved wrong and are therefore, not completely true, but our "best guess".
So how are scientific laws verifiable? They aren't. As we have seen above, scientific laws are our best guess of what we know about the universe. In this respect, we realize that miracles cannot violate science, because science itself does not verify what each instance will turn out to be. It only assumes what will happen based on previous tries. In his book What's So Great About Christianity, D'Souza writes that "scientific laws are not 'laws of nature.' They are human laws, and they represent a form of best-guessing about the world. What we call laws are nothing more than observed patterns and sequences. We think the world works in this way until future experience proves the contrary." By this we determine that "An effect or extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause." does not violate the assumed laws of science.
How do know that light travels 186,000 miles per second? We measure it. But just because it's that speed one time, ten times, or a billion times, does not mean that it's that speed every time everywhere. Miracles aren't 99.9% improbable, or even 50% improbable, because there could be 20 billion cases where a scientific law could be wrong versus 10 billion cases that it is.
Another contention I have is that: if miracles by this definition are possible, then there must be a supernatural. In that respect, wouldn't the supernatural have complete control over science? If we assume the Christian God for example, how would he be bound by something he devised? He would have the power to alter the laws of nature if he chooses to, which are the very point of miracles themselves.
1. D'Souza, Dinesh. What's so Great about Christianity. Washington, DC: Regnery Pub., 2007. Print.
"No finite number of attempts can show that a law is applicable for every case in the universe."
Scientific laws don't have to be tested for every case in the universe. Scientific laws state what will happen if certain conditions are met. You can have an infinite number of cases, as long as the exact same conditions are met in all cases, the law will be valid for every single case. You cannot consider science the "best guess", because science is not about guessing. The fact that scientific laws change over time only helps to prove that they are accurate. Also, most scientific laws don't change and never will(physics, biology, math)
" it was believed in the West that all swans in the world were white. But when Europeans landed in Australia, they saw, for the first time, a black swan. What was considered a scientifically violable truth before had to be withdrawn"
How is this science? That was simply an opinion that most Europeans shared because they lacked information. There is no science involved. It wasn't biologically proven that swans can't be black, it was simply what people thought at that time.
"Newton published his laws about the universe, they were regarded as incontrovertibly true for almost two centuries. "
Anything published in the 18th century about space or the universe can't be considered scientific. Newton's laws were never more than hypothesis. Even Einstein's theories are just hypothesis, as there is still no way to test his theories. Almost everything we know about the space and time or the universe are hypothesis, as we have no way of testing anything, but are based on information we do have and are most likely true, but indeed it could be different, since it was never tested.
However, miracles take place here on Earth, not in outer space and calling everything we know about physics, biology, geology, math etc. "best guesses" is simply ridiculous.
"But just because it's that speed one time, ten times, or a billion times, does not mean that it's that speed every time everywhere"
As long as it is still light, it will always have the same speed. It can be on Earth, Mars or in another galaxy, the speed of light will be the same. You don't need to measure the speed of light in every single place, this is ridiculous and illogical. Light is the same everywhere, it has the same basic structure and as long as nothing interferes with it its speed will be constant.
"there could be 20 billion cases where a scientific law could be wrong versus 10 billion cases that it is."
What law exactly? My opponent simply showed how science evolves over time then assumed science is 100% unreliable. Newton's law was just a hypothesis, hypothesis change over time, they are disproved, accepted, proven or improved. However, most science doesn't rely on hypothesis, but on facts. Everything is made out of atoms, that's a fact. You will never, anywhere in the universe, see something that isn't made of atoms. Mathematics is also a science. It's ridiculous to claim that "1+1=2" is our best guess and "1+1" could equal 10, if we calculated it on Mars.
Let's look at some miracles from the Bible. Why talk about the universe when miracles take place right here, on Earth?
Organism can't come back to life. As complex or simple as they are, they cannot come back to life once they are dead. My opponent simply assumes that something supernatural can happen, an organism can come back to life, based only on the fact that Newton's 400 year old laws are no longer accepted. Just because science evolves over time, it doesn't mean a dead brain can suddenly work again. Biology is a science, it has nothing to do with guessing, it relies on studies, observation and testing and the fact that it changes over time only gives it more credibility, as it gets more and more accurate every year.
My opponent didn't offer a reason to disprove biology, so why should we?
-walking on water
Why is this not possible? Because of science, physics more precisely. There is not much to prove, it very basic physics that won't allow this miracle to happen.
Can we trust physics? My opponent claims science is guessing, so this means physics are just something crazy humans came up with. Science says everything on Earth is affected by gravity. If science is just guessing then gravity is just our best guess, so according to my opponent there might be a place on Earth where people float. Maybe there is a place on Earth were humans have no mass. Who knows, right? Maybe pigs can in fact fly and it's just our best guessing that they can't.
My opponent doesn't realize that when he says "science is our best-guess", he also says science is completely unreliable. If he claims science is unreliable, he also claims everything is possible, including miracles, but he doesn't realize that flying pigs and floating humans are also possible if science if unreliable.
"miracles by this definition are possible"
miracle - an effect or extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause.
How are miracle possible by definition? Also, miracles have a supernatural cause.
supernatural - unable to be explained by science or the laws of nature
Miracles imply the existence of the supernatural. The supernatural cannot be explained by science (by definition), therefore miracles violate science.
Conclusion: My opponent's argument is based on the false assertion that science is nothing more than our best guess. Even my opponent defined science as: "systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation.", then argue that science only means guessing.
Dwint forfeited this round.
I'm interested in this topic, let's go again.
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