Thursday, April 17, 2014

Taking shortcuts on miracles

I've often documented the way MacArthurites ape the arguments of secular debunkers to discount miracles which conflict with cessationism. Indeed, they are often hostile to miracles which are consistent with cessationism.

Here's another parallel. Instead of evaluating miracles case-by-case, Hume tried to short-cut the discussion by impugning the credibility of anyone reporting a miracle. He uses a circular argument: miracles are reported by unreliable witnesses. And what's the evidence that they are unreliable? Why, because they report miracles!

In my experience, MacArthurites resort to the same tactic. Instead of sifting the evidence that Keener (and others) has amassed, they search for a few examples which, in their estimation, show that Keener lacks discernment. Having established to their own satisfaction that he's undiscerning, that somehow absolves them of the need to address the totality of the evidence.

Frank Turk uses a similar short-cut: 

My opinion is that because Keener is advocating for some iteration of the AoG view of miracles today, he is going to have to wear that jersey until he explicitly does something to separate himself from the pack.[sarcastic] Keener is has nothing to do with the AoG and therefore is not trying to let their Statement of Faith ride on the coat-tails of his small sample of documented miracles.
Notice that Frank is concocting a narrative of what really motivates Keener. Supposedly, Keener is retroactively proving the AoG Statement of Faith. 
Having imputed this hidden agenda to Keener, that somehow relieves Frank of responsibility to consider the specific, detailed, concrete evidence that Keener has assembled. 
But even if, for the sake of argument, you think Keener lacks discernment, or that Keener is blinded by his ulterior motives, how does that discredit the various witnesses he cites to reported miracles? How does that discredit medical verification?
This is a typical exercise in misdirection on the part of MacArthurites who loudly proclaim the absence of credible evidence for certain kinds of modern miracles, but resort to shortcuts to duck the actual state of the evidence. A policy of avoidance to dodge what they can't disprove. 

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