Thursday, November 24, 2011

Kevin Brown's miracle claim

For the last few weeks, I've been looking for impressive miracle claims. Events that, if true, would totally shatter my deeply held world-view. I looked all over the Internet- I honestly have. But so many of the stories are just lame. The vast majority of them are miraculous healings that could easily  be explained by spontaneous remissions. There are some nature miracles- but they are far and few. For the most part, I haven't seen a single miracle that CANNOT be explained naturally. Now, I am agnostic as to whether the best explanation for the combined sum of miracles leans toward Atheism or not- but I think it can at least explain them all away. Well, all except one...

One of my favorite Christian bloggers Kevin Brown (AKA Diglotting) made a rather large claim in the comments sections of one of this posts. He claimed that only himself, but his entire family witnessed a supernatural entity on not only once, but several occasions. When I first read it, I immediately responded by saying that perhaps, in the future, a naturalistic explanation will be discovered. A few days later, however, I just couldn't keep it on the back of my head. I knew that this claim was different than the other ones. For one thing, he is an eye-witness- rarely do paranormal investigators and skeptics get the privilege of speaking directly to the ones who were involved. Secondly, I know that Kevin isn't a primitive, superstitious African tribal prone to hallucinating due to lack of food and clean water. Thirdly, there isn't much of a reason to lie.

All these factors made me want to investigate the claim further. I mean, I only have my immortal soul at stake, right? So, I commented on Kevin's post under the alias of "Darwinfish" in order to get some information out of him. Yes- I know the employment of alternate accounts is seen as dishonest in the bloggerspere, but cut me some slack, will you? I wanted to know the truth- even if it meant getting dirty and forcing it out of him. And so, I didn't want to stain my reputation with what I was planning to do to extract information.

Anyways, I waited for a few days; He didn't respond. Frustrated, I sent him two other comments, just to make sure he got the first one. Again, I got no response. Finally, I sent him a longer comment, accusing him of withholding valuable information that, according to him, could save my soul. At this point, I was extremely offended. How dare he let someone suffer for an eternity due to their ignorance. What kind of messed up, holier than thou attitude is that? Anyways, this time he deleted my comment, as well as every comment made under my alias of "Darwinfish".

Even when I pointed out the consequences of his actions, he still chose to ignore me. What the hell. At this point I am debating in my head whether he really did see a "supernatural entity". Did he make it up? Did he exaggerate his story so that he'd have something to fire at Papalinton, who he was debating in the comments section? I don't know- and I doubt I ever will. But this unproductive attitude isn't uncommon amongst miracle believers.

One middle aged woman claimed that her mother in laws arm miraculously grew one and a half inches longer right in front of her eyes. However, when one commenter suggested that she report the event to a skeptical investigator, she stated that she "didn't want to test God". Really? If God doesn't want us to be convinced by his miracles, why the hell does he permit them? The New Testament puts heavy emphasis on Jesus' faith healings, so I see no reason why Jesus would all of a sudden change his mind. To me, a better explanation is that people like her just don't want to challenge their beliefs. They'd rather believe in a miracle than admit to being mistaken. In the case of the woman, I found this video from Randi, explaining how faith healers do the elongated limbs trick.

Now, this whole preference to supernatural explanations seems innocent at first- I mean, I'm sure that old woman is enjoying thinking she's been healed out of what is obviously a sham. However, when you consider how many people like may change their minds- you realise it's a cruel, cruel thing they are doing. They are maintaining their comfort at the potential expense of other peoples eternal suffering. This attitude insults, degrades and belittles my worth as a human being.

So Kevin, if you are, by some miraculous coincidence reading this post, I am not accusing you of putting your feel-good beliefs before of my eternal soul. All I am saying is that it looks an awful lot like that from this perspective. Also, I don't really care if you find out that "Darwinfish" was me this whole time. Why should I? I just wanted answers. Your the one possibly sending me to hell. Something tells me I'm not visiting your blog anytime soon. And finally, thank you to the anonymous gent who asked me to blog thru the Old Testament. I would love to crack open the history books and look at a few of the sillier parts of the Bible in greater detail.

HT James McGrath for the picture


UPDATE

The information in this post is now outdated. Read this for more. I will keep this post up to serve as a lesson on how powerful coincidences can be.

5 comments:

  1. The Christian blogger's reaction seems to be common among people making miracle claims. I think most people just don't want to be grilled by someone who is seemingly trying to debunk their story. I guess I can't blame them, but it is frustrating from our perspective. Since you're looking into miracles claims, you might be interested in Craig Keener's recent book "Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts." Apparently, it provides a ton of evidence for modern-day miracles.

    http://www.amazon.com/Miracles-Credibility-New-Testament-Accounts/dp/0801039525

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  2. I heard of it from Triablogue. I considered buying it, but then decided not to. Firstly, it just seemed stupid that a biblical scholar was doing this, as opposed to a scientist, psychologist or anthropologist.

    Contrary to most miracle advocates beliefs, skeptics like Nickell and CSICOP actually do investigate paranormal claims- very often. Unlike a historian, they understand the science and psychology behind healings, visions, etc. Keener does not- and does not even come close to matching their qualifications.

    Secondly, from what I've read, most of the miracles were just healings- and those are easy to explain away using spontaneus remissions, false memories, etc. Exorcisms are also quite easy to explain psychologically. There are supposedly some nature miracles in it aswell, but according amazon, not many. Also, they put a heavy emphasis on miracles in africa, possibly the most primative, superstitious place in the world- something that I have a hard time taking seriously. Why do these miracle supporters do this? Hallucinations are easy to have when a person has a lack of food, clean water, sleep and is encouraged to have them. This is very elementary science.

    I'll try to read it soon. Maybe I'll do a post on it. To it's credit, it is one of the only miracle books I've ever seen from an accredited author

    BTW- I did say at one point that my immortal soul was at risk- so I don't think he got that impression from me. Personally- I haven't a clue what happened. All I know is that he's removed all my comments and removed the post from the fromt page- making it harder to access. Perhaps he solved the miracle claim himself, and wanted to distance himself from it without drawing attention. It seems cynical, but what else am I to believe?

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  3. Sorry, I deleted your comments because I thought they were mocking. When people comment on my blog under an alias, with no website link on their name, and with an email address that contains the word "anonymous" I tend to delete them. If you post again on that post, I will be glad to answer your questions.

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  4. Actually, I just realized I sent them to the spam folder, so I can just un-spam your previous comments.

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  5. So I was only able to unspam the two most recent comments. I can't tell from those two comments what exactly it is you were questioning me about. Can you ask me again on the post? (<a href="http://diglotting.com/2011/07/23/review-the-end-of-christianity-part-i/>here</a>)

    P.S. I took the link to that review off of the front page because I regularly add and subtract links to my reviews as I write new ones (to prevent clutter).

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