The Instigator
Conservative101
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Dwint
Con (against)
Tied
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Miracles do not violate science

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/26/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 859 times Debate No: 53421
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (16)
Votes (0)

 

Conservative101

Pro

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.

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
Dwint

Con

This sounds interesting,
Debate Round No. 1
Conservative101

Pro

Main Arguments


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 What was considered a scientifically violable truth before had to be withdrawn.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."[1] 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."[2] 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.


Sources

1. D'Souza, Dinesh. What's so Great about Christianity. Washington, DC: Regnery Pub., 2007. Print.

2. http://dictionary.reference.com......
Dwint

Con

"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?

-resurrection
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.



Source:
http://www.merriam-webster.com...
Debate Round No. 2
Conservative101

Pro

I concede. The title should have been "Miracles are possible" rather than "Miracles do not violate science". I admit that miracles do violate science, but since science is simply best guessing, then it cannot be verified to show that miracles are impossible. I urge voters to vote Con.
Dwint

Con

Dwint forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Conservative101

Pro

I can rebut most of your arguments. Light has actually been slowed down to the speed of a bicycle before. If you're interested, we can go again. I'll make the title "Miracles are Possible", we'll edit our Round 2 arguments and we'll go from there.
Dwint

Con

I know light has been slowed, that's why I said "as long as nothing interferes with it its speed will be constant."
I'm interested in this topic, let's go again.
Debate Round No. 4
16 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Conservative101 2 years ago
Conservative101
True. I could not continue to argue a point that I no longer held, so I had to concede. I can rebut most of Pro's arguments fairly easily, but it's a shame I can't continue to debate that knowing I'm wrong about that and that I made an error. There's a new open debate if anyone would like to challenge my point on the possibility of miracles. Had I changed the title I could've done better.
Posted by St_Thanatos 2 years ago
St_Thanatos
For the knowledge of both involved in the debate: @Conservative101 rightly concedes, admitting to a poor foundation laid for the debate. However, I cannot rightly vote Con; the argument was largely circular, calling "ridiculous" and "illogical" what he ought to be disproving. He assumes that "Light is the same everywhere, it has the same basic structure and as long as nothing interferes with it its speed will be constant." However, interference is part of the question itself when considering Miracles, and Pro was arguing against this very principle of eternal sameness of substance.
I think this is a debate worth doing well. Both Christianity and Science, as we have seen, claim authority over the matter, and it is crucial to both doctrines (if Science in itself can be called a full doctrine). However, I do not think either party proved anything in this particular debate. No one deserves gold stars on their profile for this one.
Posted by Conservative101 2 years ago
Conservative101
If you admit miracles are possible, then why are you an atheist?
Posted by ArcTImes 2 years ago
ArcTImes
"Miracles are possible" sounds like a better title so semantics doesn't affect the resolution.
Posted by Conservative101 2 years ago
Conservative101
You're right. I thought about this for a while and I realize I've made a mistake.

Miracles do violate science. Science is best-guessing, and since miracles don't follow up with that best-guessing, or experimentation, it violates it.

BUT that does not make miracles impossible. Science, as you said St_Thanatos, does not cover the whole picture. Since what we know about the universe can be proved wrong in the examples I've shown, that means science is all human testing, and does not explain enough. The mere fact that it cannot explain miracles makes miracles possible because scientific laws themselves are human laws and do not cover the whole picture.

The title should've been "Miracles are possible" rather than "Miracles do not violate science". Sorry for the confusion, I misunderstood my own argument in the large part and don't deserve to win.
Posted by St_Thanatos 2 years ago
St_Thanatos
I think @ArcTimes is right about the debate in semantics. "Supernatural" may be a poor term to use for Miracles, as your argument is that what we call "Natural" is not (as CS Lewis says) "the whole picture". You have definitionally placed Miracles /outside/ of the Natural, which is what Science studies.
I agree with the theory behind your argument: that Science is not "big" enough to even consider Miracles, and therefore cannot exclude them. Perhaps it is more certain to say that Science Violates Miracles. Of course, I am speaking of Science as it exists currently; it may be important to differentiate "science as we have it" from "science as it ought to be", for "science as we have it" makes claims to certainties that "science as it ought to be" would not. When Science speaks like Philosophy, it does so with a forked tongue.

I find definitions to be a common difficulty on this site, preventing debates before they even begin. Perhaps the first round would be best used to establish definitions so that, as @ArcTimes points out, we don't end up arguing semantics in the comments section. A very boring argument indeed!
Posted by ArcTImes 2 years ago
ArcTImes
And I'm not trying to debate it here either. I'm just commenting because of the argument. You could still be right about miracles, but the argument you are using right now is fallacious.
Just remember that are a lot of things that cannot be proved wrong, even when they are illogical, or violates science right now. Example, you just said that science can't prove wrong that a person (at least someone that has the help of god) can walk on water because science change. True or not, it violates science.
Posted by ArcTImes 2 years ago
ArcTImes
It doesn't matter. The argument doesn't prove the resolution right. You could make a mathematical rule that is not "true", and then violate that rule. Here it doesn't matter what is true or false, or if it is possible to know what is true or false, but the known set of rules that are described.

Now you are talking about the walking of water only, but not about the other example. Of course, science was able to explain lighting, and yes, the supernatural explanation still violates science.
Posted by Conservative101 2 years ago
Conservative101
I don't know how many times I'm going to have to repeat myself. Science is a form of best guessing, meaning science can be changed in the future. The possibility of a miracle is open because of this ability to change. Just because science does not explain someone walking on water now doesn't mean it won't be able to in the future. When you say someone walking on water defies science, it really means it is not corresponding with best guessing, which does not at all violate science as a whole. Science has the ability to expand and explain more through experimentation.

Obviously this is getting nowhere. I'm pretty skeptical on my view and you are too, and since you're not interested in discussing it in a debate, I suggest you go your own way. I came here to do just that, not argue in the comments section.
Posted by ArcTImes 2 years ago
ArcTImes
Are you kidding?
What does "violates science" mean? It is not only about things that are false to science, but things that don't work with the rules of science, or the laws that the models of science propose. It is not the same as change of paradigms.

In the case of Miracles, it is not just a phenomena that we can not explain, but an explanation related to the supernatural. For example:

Lighting -> God
Jesus walking in water -> God

In the first case we know what is lighting now thanks to science. In the second case a person walking in water defies science, it violates science. It doesn't make sense using science.
You can say science could be wrong, maybe a person can walk in water. That doesn't mean it doesn't violate science.

Again, this is a debate of semantics, not a debate about science.
No votes have been placed for this debate.