Dale Tuggy

Dale Tuggy is Professor of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Fredonia, where he teaches courses in analytic theology, philosophy of religion, religious studies, and the history of philosophy.

3 Comments

  1. Randal Rauser
    December 12, 2016 @ 8:09 pm

    This is a great exchange. I could listen to you and Tim McGrew all day.

    At this point I’m only maybe two-thirds of the way through, but I wanted to offer another view on miracle, one that does not tie the concept to the idea of a supernatural being providing the direct cause for an event.

    In my book “The Swedish Atheist, the Scuba Diver, and Other Apologetic Rabbit Trails,” I argue that an event could be a miracle even though it is predicted by known laws of nature. Here are some relevant excerpts:

    “Let’s say for the sake of argument that the current view that weather systems are inherently unpredictable is shown to be false. As a result it becomes possible to predict future weather events with certainty up to one day in advance. Let’s imagine further that these one day forecasts become so accurate that they can predict with certainty not only that it will rain, but even the future trajectory of every rain drop, snowflake or hail pellet up to a full day in advance. Finally, let’s imagine that weather.com offers custom forecasts of tomorrow’s weather for your city, neighborhood, or even your own backyard. All you need to do is go to their website and type in the coordinates of your house and you’ll receive a completely accurate backyard forecast for the following day.
    “One day you get the forecast for your backyard because you’re planning an outdoor birthday party….”

    “So a second later the forecast pops up and it states that a violent thunderstorm will drop marble-sized hail pellets on your yard. Then the forecast shows you where all the hail will land and, incredibly, it predicts that the pellets will spell out ‘Happy Birthday’ on your back lawn.”

    … “Sure enough, the following day everything happens just as predicted. Your guests amass underneath a big tent when the storm blows in and delivers an icy well-wish from above. Even though this event was predicted in advance in accord with known scientific laws, I have no problem saying that it’s a [miracle], given the meaningfulness of its signature. In fact, I think that would be a great example of God working within the laws of nature. This kind of action is surely something well within the ability of an omnipotent being.”

    “… an event which is predicted in advance in accord with known scientific laws could carry a sufficiently suggestive signature that it’s reasonable to conclude it was directed by an intelligence.”

  2. Rivers
    December 6, 2016 @ 10:58 am

    Great discussion.

    I enjoyed McGrew’s explanation of how we should look at “evidence” when it comes to dealing with historical information.

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