With the moderator’s permission I am reposting my last few on-topic posts in the discussion I was having with Dr. Bonnette in the now closed thread: “**If Adam and Eve were real people…?” **I invite him to reply to these.
Before we get into a discussion of your last two posts, I’d like to point out a problem in your mode of discourse. You seemed anxious to determine what my worldview is for reasons that have become obvious. Rather than determining my worldview for the reasonable motive of setting a context for the discussion and better understanding my perspective, you use it again and again as an a priori argument against my position. In other words, your claim is that my worldview is the foundation and cause of my arguments and observations and that because my worldview is, in your eyes, a priori wrong and yours right, then it follows that my arguments must fail. But this mode of discourse is plainly fallacious. My observations and reasoning are the warrants for my worldview, not the other way round, so for you to combat them successfully, you need to focus your attention on my observations and reasoning rather than claiming that my worldview is itself an argument against me, and that yours is itself an argument in your favour. That might do for the pulpit, but not for the academy.
I can understand your desire to restrict our dialogue exclusively to secular natural science, but must remind you that this is a Catholic forum thread and that Catholics have no need to be intimidated into casting aside their theological and philosophical truths in favor of purely secular arguments immersed in the errors of materialism – errors repeatedly condemned by the Catholic Church.
Leaving aside for the moment your question-begging characterisation of Catholic beliefs as “truths” and secular arguments as “errors”, can I remind you about what you said in the post that I was replying to:
Whether you know my philosophical tradition or are convinced by its proofs is irrelevant to the task at hand, namely, showing that natural science can be reconciled with Christian belief about human origins. The burden of proof falls on you to show that these beliefs are contradictory to good natural science, not merely to your personal materialist philosophy
In other words, it was your suggestion that we limit our discussion to determining whether the findings of natural science can be reconciled with a literal Adam and Eve - in your words everything else is irrelevant. I am perfectly happy to do that - the findings of studies of human molecular biology are totally incompatible with a literal Adam and Eve and I am quite prepared to demonstrate that that is the case. However, if you want a broader discussion that also examines the warrants we each have for our world views, I am also happy to engage in that way. What you must not do, however, if you wish to be credible, is to take your worldview as a given, and reject mine out of hand. If you call on your philosophy as evidence for your position, then you must show how it is more reasonably likely to be true than mine.
Not being restricted by your scientistic presuppositions, I am free to accept evidence you apparently prefer to ignore because it comes from a theological perspective. Since your worldview sees God as an unnecessary hypothesis, and since you reject the possibility of genuine miracles a priori, you reject out of hand the empirically verifiable, historical evidence of direct divine intervention in the world.
There you go - this is an example of how you erroneously claim that I argue from my worldview to a rejection of the evidence. This is a direct inversion of the reasoning that I actually follow, which is to argue from the evidence to my worldview. I ask you to have sufficient respect for me, not to misrepresent me in this way again.
Consider these examples: (1) the hundreds of cures certified by the International Medical Commission at Lourdes as totally beyond scientific explanation … the most widely-witnessed miracle in all history when the sun danced in the sky before some 70,000 witnesses at Fatima in 1917, and the some 400 recorded resurrection miracles of Christian history…Christians rightly infer that such miracles bear witness to the truth of revelation. … Your secular inferences contradict what Catholics and many other Christians believe to be direct divine intervention in the world verified by historical evidence of unimpeachable authority.
There are several different severe problems which arise from a belief in miracles (if we define these as events in which God directly intervenes to procure an outcome, which would not have occurred in the normal course of events, by suspending or violating the laws of nature). First of all, since such events are, by definition, rare (if they were common they would undermine the epistemic principles of a well-behaved universe in which both folk science and sophisticated science are able to determine truth), then to claim that their occurrence can be empirically verifiable is contradictory. Secondly to claim that miracles are beyond explanation by science is to indulge in a species of God of the Gaps argument - it is no accident that the miracles of Lourdes were verified more frequently in the past, and that today, the verification of new miracles has all but dried up (the last in 2005 of a miracle claimed to have happened *53 *years ago - and only 67 have been verified by the Church in all the years since 1858, not thousands as you say). I refer you to Clarke’s law. At best, it is possible to say that a “miracle” is currently unexplained by present scientific knowledge. Thirdly, the class of miracles at Lourdes, for example, is indistinguishable from that class of illness which is known to be susceptible to spontaneous remission, misdiagnosis or conventional treatment, with the irrefutable class of illness such as recovery from amputation conspicuously absent. Fourth, there is a severe philosophical problem with miraculous cures: viz, if God is just how can he be prepared to suspend the laws of nature on behalf of one individual, when so many others are suffering? If God acted on behalf of Anna Santaniello, where was He during the Holocaust?
With regard to Fatima, I note that not all present witnessed the so-called dancing sun, nor was it witnessed at any distance away from Fatima, say in London or Paris. So the dancing sun was not a literal natural phenomenon as described, but a subjective or a natural local one, and moreover, one that not all present observed and that was reported with differences and inconsistencies by those who did observe it.
Claims of resurrection miracles have the same problems as cures at Lourdes, only more so.
To be continued