Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Stupid is as stupid does

Miracle hunting must be one of the raison d'être of Catholics. Just in: The all-important miracle via the late pope--a requisite for John Paul 2's beatification--may have been found.

The problem here of course is that even if all the doctors and scientists in the world are currently unable to explain how this French nun was cured of her Parkinson's, it would not at all be warrant to conclude that her recovery was due to a miracle. This is a patent fallacy. Were such kind of reasoning considered legit we could attribute various inexplicable matters to anything we so wish--to extraterrestrials whether in Zeta Ridiculi or Alpha Ludicrum, to fairies, to Peter Pan, to His Noodliness the Flying Spaghetti Monster, to demons who want to mislead the religious,...

The Church is merely misleading the faithful into believing that miracles truly do exist, when in fact no miracle past or present is known to be so until positive evidence for their supernaturalness becomes available--something that is hardly easy to come by, if ever possible. The current lack of explanation/understanding is hardly positive evidence for the supernatural hypothesis. And need it be said that the Church has no positive evidence for any of its touted miracles. To define a miracle as recovery/remission that currently cannot be explained is to perpetuate the discredited God-of-the-gaps argument.

Why does the Church continue with their fallacious appeals to ignorance when Peter Gumpel, "an official at the Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of the Saints, which investigates reports of miracles by candidates for sainthood" has already rightly clarified that
What seems like a miracle now may not be one in a hundred years. Such are the advances of science. Declarations of miracles are not infallible teachings. [emphasis added]
Given Gumpel's admission, why call any unexplained phenomenon X a miracle? Why not be faithful to what is in fact true: that X may be a miracle but that we don't know, that when X is finally explained then it certainly was no miracle, and that if X remains unexplained for a hundred centuries it still will not attain the status of being a miracle by virtue of lack of positive evidence for its supernaturalness and by virtue of the fallacy of argumentum ad ignorantiam. As long as there is a lack of positive evidence--a preponderance of evidence--we will never be able to justifiably declare that X is supernatural in nature. The Church with its long history of philosophical inquiry knows this all too well. And yet it continues to announce "miracles" and canonize saints--who by tradition must've been involved in miracles. What a sham! (So what, may we ask, happens when scientific/naturalistic explanations finally are found for this and that declared miracle? Do saints lose their sainthood?)

As for the eventual canonization, tell me that Catholics won't find another supposed miracle to help nudge their beloved John Paul toward sainthood. Their cart never needs horses to pull it. The engine of irrationality has infinite horsepower.

1 comment:

Bronze Dog said...


I believe in miracles, and I believe they'll prove them. Someday, when a scientist looks at a bacterium, he'll see a very tiny wrench that God left behind, attached to its flagellum.