• Atheists make better sense

    From ThePete@21:1/5 to habshi@anony.net on Wed Oct 10 10:03:17 2018
    XPost: soc.culture.indian, soc.culture.usa, sci.philosophy

    On 10/24/2013 3:19 PM, habshi@anony.net wrote:
    excerpt asian age

    London: I wish I were a religious conservative: The field’s wide open.
    It must be dispiriting for believers to encounter so little
    intelligent support for belief. It’s certainly infuriating for us non-believers, because there’s hardly anyone left who seems capable of giving us a good argument. In search of a stimulating conversation
    about religion, we are reduced to arguing with ourselves.

    Which, still seething at a Spectator article purporting to be a
    serious examination of the case for miracles, I shall now do. I cannot
    argue with Piers Paul Read because he never produces an argument to
    answer. The magazine tagged his piece “I believe in miracles”, which
    was accurate because the essay was not a reasoned case; it was simply
    an attestation.

    What drew me into it was the implicit boast that Mr Read was about to
    answer the greatest British philosopher of all time, the 18th-century Scottish David Hume. Indeed he refers to Hume’s essay “On Miracles” as the leading case against the veracity of miraculous occurrences. But
    he doesn’t explain Hume’s argument. He simply asserts that it has been “refuted” (he means “challenged”, or “countered”) by philosophers like
    Anthony Flew and the Catholic G.E.M. Anscombe. He adds that C.D. Broad “made mincemeat” of it.

    Mincemeat of what? I cannot suppose that Piers Paul Read does not
    understand Hume’s “On Miracles”, because its reasoning is stunningly simple and can be summarised in three sentences. So let me do Read’s
    job for him:

    1. A “miracle” claims to be a divine intervention which temporarily overturns a law of nature, so faced with such a claim we must weigh
    our habitual assumption — massively and anciently supported — that the laws of nature always hold, against a single report that they have
    been overturned.

    2. People are notoriously deceitful, gullible and liable to mistake
    what they see, so it will always be more rational to conclude that the evidence for a miracle is unreliable than that the laws of nature have
    been overturned.

    3. It follows that no person relying on reason alone can ever conclude
    that the evidence for a miracle outweighs the evidence against it.

    I did not read this

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