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Re: [XTalk] Is there a consensus?

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  • Tim Crosby
    Bob Schacht writes ... You are correct that I have not been on very long, so maybe I m rehashing something that has been hashed to death. Furthermore, I agree
    Message 1 of 3 , Jun 27, 2005
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      Bob Schacht writes

      > perhaps you have not been on XTalk long enough to know how
      > frequently we have wrestled with this problem. For the purposes of
      > historical study, how do you establish that a miracle took place? It may
      > be
      > necessary to distinguish among the following:
      > * "Miracles" that were perceived by witnesses as miraculous, but which
      > in fact had some prosaic cause
      > * "Miracles" that were an illusion: people thought they saw something
      > that didn't really happen.
      > * Miracles that "really did happen," whatever that means.
      > So far as I am aware, we do not have objective tools of inquiry sufficient
      > to establish the existence of a miracle in history. The best we can do,
      > and
      > should do, is to obtain the concurrence of independent witnesses, and
      > present what the witnesses reported, using such language as "A miracle was
      > reported to have happened" rather than "A miracle happened."
      >

      You are correct that I have not been on very long, so maybe I'm rehashing
      something that has been hashed to death.

      Furthermore, I agree that many so-called "miracles" can be removed, after
      investigation, from the realm of the miraculous.

      I don't think I agree that "we do not have objective tools of inquiry
      sufficient to establish the existence of a miracle in history." Absolute
      proof is not a useful concept except in the realms of physics and
      mathematics. Your statement would only be true if you required a standard of
      proof far higher than we require to establish, say, the historical existence
      of cannibalism.

      Tim Crosby
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