Craig Keener: Zázraky

January 19, 2014 at 9:19 am


Profesor Novej Zmluvy, Craig Keener (Asbury Theological Seminary), vydal nedávno dvojzväzkové dielo Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts (2011), kde vraví o veľkej prítomnosti zázrakov v súčasnom svete, resp. vyliečeniach ľudí považovaných za zázraky. Pre mnohých skeptikov je vo veciach zázrakov problém absencie ich dokumentácie v uznávaných lekárskych publikáciach. Aj v tomto zhrnutí spomína, že niektoré údajné “zázračné” vyliečenia boli publikované v Southern Medical Journal. Chcel som ohľadom tejto otázky získať vyjadrenie od Stevena Novellu, ale podarilo sa mi získať “len” vyjadrenie jeho kolegyne, “SkepDoc” Harriet Hallovej, tiež publikujúcej na Science-Based Medicine.

Nie je to nevyhnutne potrebné, ale na tomto mieste odporúčam azda oboznámiť sa s obsahom danej knihy buď cez jeho spomenuté zhrnutie alebo cez videá v tomto článku.

Tie dôležité otázky v mojom emaily pre ňu boli tieto:

“Are you aware of some of these alleged miracles in the academic literature? I’m asking this [as you say in one of your articles] that miracle stories ‘fall short of the kind of case reports that are published in medical journals with x-ray, lab and other documentation and the opportunity for peer review.’ How many stories are there and do also the reports in the Southern Medicine Journal fall short (if you are aware of them)?”

S jej dovolením tu uvereňujem obsah jej odpovede:

Much depends on how “miracle” is defined. The dictionary says:

1.    A surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is considered to be divine.
2.    A highly improbable or extraordinary event, development, or accomplishment.

If you use the 2nd definition, miracles are documented every day and in every medical journal. Extraordinary things do happen. Cancers spontaneously regress. It is common for uncommon things to occur.

If you use the 1st definition, there are problems. How can you be certain it is not explicable by natural or scientific laws? Maybe there is a natural, scientific explanation but we just don’t know what that explanation is. And even if people “consider” (assume) it to have a divine cause, how could you possibly test that assumption?

The basic problem for me is that if some supernatural or divine entity were to have objective effects on the material world, we could study, measure, and quantify those effects. If the supernatural had an effect in the natural world, it would by necessity constitute part of the natural world and could no longer be considered supernatural.

The Southern Medical Journal is not a very reliable journal; it has published some very questionable articles in the past. I found some articles addressing the subject of miracles. This one lists 6 criteria that define a miracle. Number 4 is “something that can only be freely given by God.” I don’t see any way that science could test whether that was true in any given case. It assumes facts not in evidence, premises that have not been proven: that there is a God and that he can freely give miracles. Number 5, “A miracle must be understood as a special sign from God…” doesn’t even refer to the case itself, but to a psychological process in people’s minds when they try to understand it.

This one includes a number of documented case histories that are medically acceptable, but calling them miracles requires unwarranted assumptions beyond the evidence. Dr. Novella has written about cases where it was reported that dead patients returned to life, but it seems clear that they had never actually died. See [here] and [here]

These are called miracles by believers, but they are easily explained in the context of modern scientific knowledge.

Then there is this.

Scientific studies can’t test the existence of God or whether a “miracle” has occurred. They can, and have, tested the effects of prayer on medical outcomes. Here’s a Cochrane systematic review of published studies. Poor quality individual studies claimed to find positive outcomes, but at least one study found that patients who were prayed for had worse outcomes. Overall, the evidence [was] unconvincing.

So, while most reports of “miracles” are too poorly documented to even evaluate, there have been some fairly well documented case reports of unexplained improvements in health. But unexplained doesn’t mean unexplainable, and attributing an unexplained event to supernatural intervention is unnecessary and irrational.

Keener appears to be more willing to accept eyewitness accounts than most of us who know how unreliable such accounts are. We are beginning to understand how psychological factors lead to misperceptions and misinterpretations of events.  Eyewitness accounts of Biblical miracles are particularly suspect, since there is no objective evidence to support them and the accounts were written long after the alleged events. They could represent misperceptions, misinterpretations, or confabulations: we simply have no way to know what actually happened.

Lots of interesting things to think about. These are just my spur of the moment thoughts. Hope they are helpful.

Pozri aj:
■ Prvá kapitola z knihy
■ Rozhovor s autorom (4.10.2012; Apologetics 315)
“Are Miracles Real?” (Huffington Post; 15.2.2012)

1 – Úvod do projektu:

2 – Opisy očitých svedkov:

3 – Vzkriesenie z mŕtvych?:

4 – Historické opisy zázrakov:

5 – Zázraky ako znamenia:

6 – Predsudky západu a zázraky:

Rozhovor s Keenerom o jeho knihe:

Ježiš a iní divotvorcovia (30.12.2012)
Sai Baba: Podvodník či boh s kúzlami? (31.12.2011)
■ Benny Hinn: najbohatší kresťanský liečiteľ (10.6.2011)
Derren Brown: “Miracles for Sale” (27.5.2011)
■ iné z kategórie “Zázraky”


Entry filed under: ■ Hall. Harriet, ■ Keener, Craig, Knihy / Literatúra, Zázraky.

Bill Nye vs. Ken Ham Hallová: Komplementárna a alternatívna medicína


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