The Instigator
Pro (for)
6 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
7 Points

scientifically inexplicable, apparently supernatural things occur, but not to atheists

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/18/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,010 times Debate No: 56805
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (2)




scientifically inexplicable, apparently supernatural things occur, but not to atheists. these are apparent miracles.

bottom line: please show something that happened to an atheist, that would have been called an apparent miracle had it happened to a religous person, because of its scientifically inexplicable nature.
no semantics please.

and while it may be fruitful to discuss how atheists respond to this stuff, the bottom line burden of proof is the last paragraph.

please do not include: miracles that happen to atheists who then convert.

what are thought of as miraculous events are heavily documented and readily available. there are tons of examples for theists, in previous debates i shown them. most credible people dont dispute hat things appear to be miracles, just that they claim there's alterative explanations. im not going to do a bunch of work to find them when it's readily available. . someone can see with no retinas even though this seems scientifically impossible etc, just to use an example. here are some documented miacles, and things that are inexplicable.

here is a list of incurable illnesses that have been cured, and medically documented...

lourdes is a religious place where many healings are said to occur. they have an organization set up to examine them (similar to the congregation for saints that the catholic church uses, but said to be even more rigorous)

an organization from the catholic church that does similar investigations

their criteria...
For a cure to be recognised as medically inexplicable, certain facts require to be established:
The original diagnosis must be verified and confirmed beyond doubt
The diagnosis must be regarded as "incurable" with current means (although ongoing treatments do not disqualify the cure)
The cure must happen in association with a visit to Lourdes, typically while in Lourdes or in the vicinity of the shrine itself (although drinking or bathing in the water are not required)
The cure must be immediate (rapid resolution of symptoms and signs of the illness)
The cure must be complete (with no residual impairment or deficit)
The cure must be permanent (with no recurrence)

The steps to verify the claims...
Approximately 35 claims per year are brought to the attention of the Lourdes Medical Bureau. Most of these are dismissed quickly. Three to five each year are investigated more thoroughly, by drawing up a Medical Bureau, comprising any doctors who were present in Lourdes at the time the apparent cure took place (this is the rationale for all members to notify the bureau of their visits to Lourdes).
The Medical Bureau investigates the claim, by examining the patient, the casenotes, and any test results (which can include biopsies, X-rays, CT scans, blood test results, and so on).
If this conference decides that further investigation is warranted, the case is referred to the International Lourdes Medical Committee (abbreviated in French to CMIL), which is an international panel of about twenty experts in various medical disciplines and of different religious beliefs. CMIL meets annually. A full investigation requires that one of its members investigates every detail of the case in question, and immerses him/herself in the literature around that condition to ensure that up-to-date academic knowledge is applied to the decision. This
may also consult with other colleagues about the case.
This information is presented at a CMIL meeting. Also present at the meeting are the head of the Lourdes Medical Bureau and the Bishop of Tarbes and Lourdes (currently this is Nicolas Brouwet). The cured subject is not normally present.

medically documented of incurable illessness..... what more would you require of me? that is a sincere question, not rhetorical
i will keep looking for studies and such, and may redebate you. if i deem it necesssay, if you do too good of a job as devil's advocate.
at a certain point, it is more the profound skeptisicms of the person, who needs to see it with their own eyes. than it is the lack of documentation etc.

the common objection of atheists and skeptics is that things just happen to occur by probability, that a genetic deviance, or random chance etc has caused it to happen to them. (that's how evolusion occurs, someone with a genetic deviance getting their genes prominent in the population)

but I don't see these things happening to atheists.
I see plenty of evidence from chrisitans and to a lesser extent other religious folks. but I don't see it from atheists etc, why is that? they might claim that it's just not as newsworthy or interpreted that way given the lack of religious context etc.
but you'd think there's at least be noteworthy evidence, or something, at least, that shows it happens to atheists etc

also, even if i acknowledged that they may occur, it would be extremely very small percentage wise.
as of now i'd be happy with just couple or a few examples.

ive shown some examples happening to theists, it shouldnt be hard to find some happening to atheists.


I don't know why everybody hates semantics; it is absolutely vital to define things.
Supernatural:of, pertaining to, or being above or beyond what is natural; unexplainable by natural law or phenomena; abnormal.
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.
First I must describe why the concept of something being "super-natural" is incoherent. The universe or multiverse or omniverse is all that there seems to be.Given we live in a natural world, and experience events in this natural world, we should expect natural causes for events in this natural world. If an event occurs and a natural cause is not found, it can be we don't yet know the cause or that there is not a cause(which is possible via quantum physics. However let's propose that there is a supernatural cause; is that even comprehensible? We live in a natural world, and all events we experience take place in this world, so if there is a cause outside of the natural world, it would have to come into the natural world to cause anything, does it then follow that it becomes a natural cause? Yes.

So your point reduces to"are there things that can't be scientifically explained yet?" Yes And they happen to atheist. Take the universe for example. The absolute origins of the universe are a mystery, "they defy natural explanation" at the moment. Most cosmologist are atheist, and their attitudes toward the origins of the Big Bang, is that at the moment it defies natural explanation, thus it is supernatural at the moment. However everything that happens is explainable in a natural way, they just may not be explainable yet, or there is no cause.

Now on medical and personal experiences.
People who are prayed for actually heal less efficiently than those who are not.

Cancer remission happens naturally.

With no supernatural realm miracles are especially non-sense. But further on miracles per Hume.

Your first "miracle" regarding cell sarcoma negates your own point. First you say it is incurable, but then she had a natural remission. Also there are treatments for cell sarcoma.
In some cases malignant brain tumors are removed and the individual lives on and is fine.
Now to absolutely undermine the resolution I just must provide one personal experience that an atheist had, that a theist would consider a miracle. Now I shall do so.

Seth MacFarlane would have died on 9/11 but he was late to the airport. I assure you a theist would say "oh god saved me", however an atheist says "oh that was close, I was lucky".

"scientifically inexplicable, apparently supernatural things occur, but not to atheists. these are apparent miracles."

Maybe you seem to think things are scientifically inexplicable because you don't know EVERYTHING about science.

Someone who knows no science would think an electron being technically everywhere at once is supernatural, but hey open your handy quantum physics textbook and hey it's Heisenberg's uncertainty.

In your next round will you demonstrate how a supernatural realm is coherent?
If there is no supernatural realm how is a miracle coherent?
Give notions and experiences that science can't hope to address.

If you can't demonstrate the coherence of the supernatural or miracles then all there is, is the natural scientific world, and then obviously nothing is seemingly supernatural, it's just that we don't understand yet.

If you manage to make the supernatural and miracles coherent then I will provide a plethora of examples and explanations of events happening to non-theists that would constitute miracles to theists.

Also so that I may better understand your position, can you clarify what you mean by "apparent".
1.clearly visible or understood; obvious. or 2.seeming real or true, but not necessarily so.
The first would be to indicate the supernatural exist. The second would merely be to assert the supernatural as a sort of inference to the best explanation.
Debate Round No. 1


con basically is just arguing that by definition supernatural things can't occur cause we live in a natural world. how much evidence will it take, though, to show that something perhaps isn't?
if you see a magician who waves his wand and makes cats turn into dogs, you could argue a natural explanation is possible, and perhaps even argue that it is preferable. but, the most direct observation is that violations of natural laws have occurred. we are just calling a spade a spade. after every known scientific attempts at understanding, at what point can we say the magician is actually using magic? it would be to deny what true and plainly evident to just live your life as if he isn't, or even to act as if you dont want to take a position on it.
the fact that these things don't happen to atheists, firmly cements the findings.

that you have to resort to something absurd like mere chance, Seth MacFarlane not getting on a plane that crashed, then you are essentially conceding the debate. you can't fulfill the burden of proof required in this debate. like most others who take this debate, you pretty much ignore the point so you can go on rants about how you view these so called 'miracles'

"If you manage to make the supernatural and miracles coherent then I will provide a plethora of examples and explanations of events happening to non-theists that would constitute miracles to theists."

if you can, why don't you? that's pretty much the point of the debate. me thinks it's because you can't.

i admit, there sometimes is a fuzzy line between natural cures and so called supernatural. cancer can sometimes naturally go into remission, no one disputes this. surely within history there have been natural healings that later had natural explanations to them. but without question, those cases do not cover all the healings i've listed. does that just mean we don't know the answer? well, it looks like we have blatant happenings that go against natural law and everything we know to be true. it's something else that those who get them, have God connected with them. when you add to the mix that we can't find similar happenings to atheists, what else can we conclude, other than what seems most straightforward?


"con basically is just arguing that by definition supernatural things can't occur cause we live in a natural world. how much evidence will it take, though, to show that something perhaps isn't?"
Well if the supernatural is utterly incoherent then there can't be any evidence. It's like saying hey how much evidence will it take to prove a square circle exists or a married bachelor exist? It's an incoherent idea.
"at what point can we say the magician is actually using magic? it would be to deny what true and plainly evident to just live your life as if he isn't, or even to act as if you dont want to take a position on it."
Magicians merely demonstrate illusory, everyone knows that. If you are trying to build a case for the supernatural, but comparing it to magic, you are contradicting and undermining your position.

"that you have to resort to something absurd like mere chance, Seth MacFarlane not getting on a plane that crashed, then you are essentially conceding the debate."
"the common objection of atheists and skeptics is that things just happen to occur by probability"

So it's fine for you to say something is chance, but not for atheists? Contradictions and hypocrisy.
Some theists might not think it was chance, some might say god made them late.
My grandmother was in a car wreck and she thought god saved her, but to me it was probability.

I know an atheist who got in a car wreck, but he thought it was not a miracle that he survived, but my grandmother did.
You can't cherry pick when you want to use chance.

So everything can be up to chance. There is naturally an infinite set of infinite sets of probabilities and event can take, to say it must be supernatural is ridiculous.

" it looks like we have blatant happenings that go against natural law "
Well no one knows everything about the natural universe so how can you say its against natural law?
Also given that you haven't even demonstrated the coherence of the supernatural, how can anything be supernatural?
If there is only the natural universe then you can't say something is not happening according to natural laws.
That's like saying hey here's this square but it doesn't have four sides.
Debate Round No. 2


bottom line: con has not, and apparently cannot, fulfill the burden of proof. showing something that would be called a miracle due to its scientifically inexplicable nature, that appears supernatural, happening to atheists.

the best he got was comparing apples with oranges. when something by chance happens like not getting into an airplane that crashes, that is indisputably hands down scientifically explicable. when cures to apparently incurable illnesses occur, they are by definition scientifically inexplicable.

the magician analogy was just to make a point. how much will it take to establish the supernatural? if you define by definition that supernatural cannot occur, then you are defining yourself into a box, and apparently (and very possibily) denying reality. at a certain point, it would be to deny what true and plainly evident to just live your life as if this stuff isn't true, or even to act as if you dont want to take a position on it. like an ostrich with his head in the sand.

again, bottom line, though is that con has failed miserably in fulfilling his burden of proof.


Voters look it up for yourself, you can get treatment for any disease, and most cancers can go into remission naturally.
Let's also talk about bias and dishonesty. Her links are to christian organizations, that's not biased?
Why is it that most medical professionals and scientists don't take faith healing seriously?
Because it's utter nonsense. When parents rely on faith healing, but then their child dies, no one says anything, but on the off chance faith healing appears to work they're like "see I told you".
Now the motion isn't: "Scientifically inexplicable things occur". I agree with you in that regard. You must think though, how long will they be scientifically inexplicable? Science is progressing very fast.
The problem occurs when you say supernatural. You have not demonstrated that anything supernatural can happen.
Your magician metaphor fails. Magic is not real, and you're trying to establish faith healing as credible by comparing it to something incredible.

I can explain to my grandmother how she survived the car crash, but she'll never think it's not a miracle.
If my atheist friend had AIDS and it was cured he wouldn't think it's a miracle.
Oh and I do know an atheist who won a bout with cancer, is that a miracle? Not to him.
You are trying to objectively analyze something that is subjective.
Who are you to say what is and isn't a miracle. You're cherry picking.
At least I'm consistent by saying all is chance.
Science can't tell you why you're here. It can say how but not why. Does that mean your existence is supernatural no?
In conclusion: Pro has not demonstrated the coherence of anything supernatural. All she has done is offer a self refuting analogy.
Pro has not demonstrated the coherence of miracles.
Pro has not demonstrated that anything is immune to chance. Remember I said that any single event can take infinity infinity probabilities. Pro has not even addressed how a single event can be outside of that range.
Also pro has the positive position, she has the burden of proof. I merely have to refute her arguments. Which is basically an appeal to coincidental faith healing. Which is refuted in my links.
For her to really satisfy her burden of proof, she would have to be omniscient.
The bottom line is if the supernatural doesn't exist everything she has said is complete non-sense. I have demonstrated the incoherence of the supernatural, and she has not adequately dealt with my analysis.
To know if something is supernatural, we would have to have a sort of methodological supernaturalism, but this is even more incoherent. We have methodological naturalism, because we live in a natural world. To have a methodological supernaturalism, we would have to live in a supernatural world. A further objection is that we call it the natural world, because we live in it inherently (naturally). Suppose there are creatures inherently existent in a supernatural world; I think they would be in the same predicament. We perceive it to be supernatural, but for them it is the natural world.

One last note. Voters before you vote I ask you to reflect on history and observe how many things were thought to be supernatural, but they were not. Remember Thor the thunder god or Zeus the lighting god. We now have scientific explanations. Why is there any reason to think that the things she has posted are not. And the worst part is that they are explainable through chance, and science, further explained in my links.
However if you don't want to accept them, just wait a year or two and the chances are science will have found an even better and further explanation.
The supernatural always fails, and science always prevails.
Thank you.
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by MrJosh 7 years ago
CON was tasked with demonstrating a scientifically inexplicable event that has happened to an atheist, which a believer would call a miracle. CON did this in the first round when he mentioned how the origins of the universe are currently a mystery to the scientific community. The existence of the universe is generally considered to be a miracle by believers, and there can be no denying that existence is something that "happens" to atheists.
Posted by MrJosh 7 years ago
What exactly is the resolution being debated here?
Posted by FuzzyCatPotato 7 years ago
not this again
Posted by socratits 7 years ago
You have a lot of debate topics.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by MrJosh 7 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct for PRO's tone in the final round; S&G for PRO's lack of capitalization; Arguments RFD in comments; Sources for CON using more reputable sources
Vote Placed by neutral 7 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Interesting, but Pro is right, the burden was specific and Con addressed non-germane points to the specific charge. Not that the argument was necessarily bad, just addressed the wrong point entirely.

By using this site, you agree to our Privacy Policy and our Terms of Use.