1. Cape Town
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    21 Jun '14 11:14
    This was brought up by Paul Dirac II in another thread and I think it is worthy of its own thread.
    I want to know whether theists here believe that the laws of the universe are violated when their prayers are answered, or whether it is merely a case of probabilities being 'adjusted'.
    So, for example, if you as a theist, believe that prayers do get answered, and you hear that a fellow Christian had his leg amputated at the knee, then prayed for it to regrow and the next day his leg was regrown. Would you immediately discount this as impossible, or would you consider the possibility that God did answer his prayer?
    If your answer is that this could not happen, then is it because you believe God chooses to remain hidden and thus never overtly breaks the rules, or is it that he never breaks the rules and somehow operates within the rules?
  2. Standard memberAgerg
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    21 Jun '14 16:521 edit
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    This was brought up by Paul Dirac II in another thread and I think it is worthy of its own thread.
    I want to know whether theists here believe that the laws of the universe are violated when their prayers are answered,
    So, for example, if you as a theist, believe that prayers do get answered, and you hear that a fellow Christian had his leg amputated at ...[text shortened]... breaks the rules, or is it that he never breaks the rules and somehow operates within the rules?
    or whether it is merely a case of probabilities being 'adjusted'.
    It is plausible that given sufficient information about a system one could assign the probability of an event one of either two values: 1 or 0. (I.e. if we flip a coin, with knowledge of the position, velocity, acceleration, higher derivatives ... Reveal Hidden Content
    zip it Heisenberg!
    of all particles that might affect its motion (including its own), all gravitational forces acting upon it, and so on and so forth ...) then one can be absolutely sure which of heads or tails it will land.

    To this end what would be the end manifestation of adjusting probabilities, when at the end of the day, such is a tool for us to reason about the universe in the presence of uncertainty? Would it not end up in some way a violation of the laws of the universe anyway!?
  3. Joined
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    21 Jun '14 17:38
    Originally posted by Agerg
    [b]or whether it is merely a case of probabilities being 'adjusted'.
    It is plausible that given sufficient information about a system one could assign the probability of an event one of either two values: 1 or 0. (I.e. if we flip a coin, with knowledge of the position, velocity, acceleration, higher derivatives ... [hidden]zip it Heisenberg![/hidden]of al ...[text shortened]... of uncertainty? Would it not end up in some way a violation of the laws of the universe anyway!?[/b]
    It might seem to imply a violation of the laws of the universe when only implying a violation of our current collective hunch about what the laws of the universe are. Independent evidence is needed to maintain support of the idea of EITHER interventional miracles OR the idea of probabilistic natural phenomena, as being superior to the idea of having an inadequate collective hunch that is in need of revision.
  4. Cape Town
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    21 Jun '14 18:06
    Originally posted by Agerg
    Would it not end up in some way a violation of the laws of the universe anyway!?
    If you won 100 national lotteries in a row, would it violate the laws of the universe? You may be able to calculate in detail every movement of a die, but what do you say when you calculate that it will come up 'six' 1000 times in a row?
    My point is that you can believe something is too good to be true, without knowing that it violated a law of physics.
  5. Standard memberAgerg
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    21 Jun '14 18:252 edits
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    If you won 100 national lotteries in a row, would it violate the laws of the universe? You may be able to calculate in detail every movement of a die, but what do you say when you calculate that it will come up 'six' 1000 times in a row?
    My point is that you can believe something is too good to be true, without knowing that it violated a law of physics.
    Winning 100 national lotteries in a row would not necessarily violate the laws of the universe (yes the probability would be negligibly small).
    On the other hand given that the probability of winning such a lottery 100 times is p' = p^100, my own point is that if p' is adjusted to p'+x then we have that the value of p is also adjusted; and if no tampering with the system by us, and no change in the number of balls this would highly suggest external interference with the laws of physics.

    As for your point, are suggesting that one who believes in miracles might not really be thinking about what would have to be true about physics for that miracle to have happened? (if so I agree)
  6. Cape Town
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    21 Jun '14 19:02
    Originally posted by Agerg
    As for your point, are suggesting that one who believes in miracles might not really be thinking about what would have to be true about physics for that miracle to have happened? (if so I agree)
    I know plenty of people who say that they prayed, and their prayers were answered in some way. The answer was not some obvious miracle, but something the less religious of us would would attribute to coincidence. They essentially say it was too improbable to be pure coincidence. They believe God did something to ensure that their prayer was answered.
    What I want to know is whether they believe that what God did was as significant a violation of physics as a human limb growing overnight.
    I am just curious as to what theists would say if such obvious miracles occurred. Would they dismiss it as a hoax or unexplained medical phenomena, or would they accept it as a miracle with the same readiness as they would accept prayers being answered in their own lives.
    I am assuming that different theists will have different answers to this question, so I was hoping for some sort of poll to see what range of thought there was on the matter, but it seems nobody is willing to go first, so they are avoiding this thread.
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