Sunday, August 20, 2017

Faith journeys

Here's the testimony of a Christian med student:

Around the 6 min. mark he recounts a miracle. He says he overheard a phone conversation that was too far away to naturally hear, not to mention all the noise from passengers mulling around. In addition to hearing God's voice. If it happened, it must be telepathic. 

This is veridical in the sense that his impression was corroborated, both by what happened when he spoke to the man and the message on the video, by the guy recounting his side of the exchange. 

There are only four logical explanations:

i) He's mistaken

How could he misperceive what he thought he heard? How could that accidentally correspond to what was actually said? 

ii) It's a coincidence

What are the odds?

At this point an atheist might say, sure (i-ii) are astronomically improbable, but they're more probable than the alternative of something that crazy actually happening. 

Yes and no. (i-ii), however wildly improbable, might still be more plausible than the alternative naturally happening. But that's not the comparison. The comparison is whether God made it happen.

iii) He's lying

That's something we should make allowance for. If, however, there are many stories like this from prima facie credible witnesses, then what's the tipping point to overturn naturalism (i.e. physicalism, causal closure)? It's circular for an atheist to discount all these reports as unbelievable because we don't live in a world where things like that happen. But how do we know what kind of world we live it? What's the benchmark? If enough witnesses report incidents like that, then we do live in that kind of world!

The atheist is appealing to experience, yet he's using one set of reported experiences as the benchmark to evaluate other reported experiences. But what's his justification of appealing to naturalistic experiences to set the standard of comparison? Why not the other way around?

Moreover, there's not even a prima facie conflict. Not experiencing the supernatural isn't positive evidence to the contrary, that counters evidence for the supernatural. If I've never seen something, that doesn't count as evidence against your reported sighting. 

iv) He's telling the truth

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