I recently watched the thunderf00t v. Ray Comfort … encounter … on YouTube.
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It was interesting, although not especially enlightening or persuasive (for me, anyway, since I’m already firmly rooted in the god-free camp).
It did cause me to think about something, though.
There was a spot in the series (and this thing is about 95 minutes long, and broken up into 10 separate parts, so finding individual quotes really requires more time than I’m prepared to devote right now) where thunderf00t (whom I’ll refer to as TF hereafter) asks Ray whether he believes in demons, and Ray says yes… then TF plows through a list of other imaginary beings, like witches and wizards and so on… to each of which, Ray says “yes”.
At another point, Ray denounces “magic” as being (I’m paraphrasing here) unreal, but, practically in the next breath, declaring miracles to be perfectly real.
Magic, in the sense of witches and whatnot, is practically indistinguishable from miracles, except that a human (or humanoid) is directing it. Magic requires (it seems to me) at least one of the three following modes of operation to be valid:
- One or more “gods” exists, like stage hands in black body-stockings, just waiting around to help the conjurer achieve things outside the bounds of natural law
- The conjurer is a hybrid natural/supernatural being, able to bend or break natural law at will
- What science has revealed as natural law is not really law… more like guidelines, and somehow, conjurers can exceed them, or cause them to be exceeded, with just words, thoughts and gestures
Put another way, miracles are just magic, except that not only is the means of conjuring obscured, but the conjurer (god) is also hidden.
To buy the concept of miracles, but discount magic, or vice versa, is ludicrous, because they are functionally identical.
To accept the viability of magic or miracles, but also claim that the world operates in accordance with natural laws is dissonant, because the magic/miracle model requires there to be a “trap door” which allows the conjurer to operate “above the law”, but the natural law model insists that the laws simply cannot be broken.
For miracles to be valid, there must be a god capable, with or without prompting, of acting outside the bounds of natural law.
For magic to be valid, the conjurer is a god, or commands gods.
Of course, the idea of saints, angels, devils, demons, gods, and so on (as well as the miracles/magic they perform) requires that these beings depend on the same “Supernatural Physics” as any god requires to simply exist and operate in our universe.
Supernatural physics, at a minimum, has to:
- allow energy to order itself without the influence of matter or other energy
- allow one collection of supernaturally ordered energy to interact with other collection of supernaturally ordered energy without interacting with the surroundings of either or any intervening spacetime/matter/energy
- allow collections of ordered energy to be undetectable (no radiation, interaction with particles, electromagnetic fields, et cetera)
- allow a collection of supernaturally ordered energy to be conscious
- allow a collection of supernaturally ordered energy to, at will, suspend supernatural physics, and interact with normal matter and energy, but in an undetectable way.
- allow sensation without interference (contrary to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle)… its eye casts no shadow.
- allow for violation of the second law of thermodynamics, since supernatural activities neither consume anything, nor generate any waste (lest they be detectable and mortal)
- allow for faster-than-light communication and transport, which makes no detectable disturbance in the intervening spacetime, matter or energy fields
..AND it has to do all this, while allowing all of us to go about our daily lives catching baseballs, using electrical appliances, cutting down trees, eating food and having sex as if the laws of nature, as discovered and described through the practice of science really worked all the time.
All of this stinks of special pleading.
Without “Supernatural Physics”, there are no gods, no angels, no devils, no demons, no eternal souls, no miracles, and there is no magic.
With “Supernatural Physics”, the universe is a loony unpredictable place, where, today water might freeze at 32 degrees, but tomorrow, it might turn into a chicken at 32 degrees, and there’s no way for you to know how or why it happened, or to predict it next time, or anything… One minute you’re alive, the next you’re dead, and three days later, you’re alive again, as an undetectable “spirit” SOME people can see, but others can’t.
To believe in a god, you have to believe in “Supernatural Physics”, and to believe in “Supernatural Physics” you have to discount the validity of REAL PHYSICS, the consequences of which are readily observable all around you every minute of every day. To actively, consciously discount the validity of REAL PHYSICS, you have to be an idiot.
So… Miracles is magic is god is baloney.