Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Carrier's Christmas Whoosh: Finale

Here's Nick Peters with the last installment on Carrier's Christmas parody post. It's well past even Orthodox Christmas, but for these "arguments" -- it hardly matters!


We continue our look at Carrier's blog on Santa and it's still a
wonder as to how this is to be taken. If atheists are sitting back and
laughing and thinking that they've put the theists in their place,
then I say nothing of the sort has been done. Instead, it's been shown
that apparently some atheists are so bad at comedy that you can't tell
when they're being serious, or it could rather be that they're so bad
at serious argumentation, that you can't tell if it's supposed to be

Anyway, on to the argument from Christmas Miracles with the first premise:

1.Miraculous events have been documented to occur at and around
Christmas (by multiple eyewitnesses and even mechanical recording
devices that never lie, like TV cameras).

Of course, not knowing how to take this, it's hard to determine if we
should ask for documentation or not. It's also difficult to know how
he means us to take recording devices that never lie. True, these
cannot lie since a lie requires intent. However, they can be
manipulated or their content messed with in such a way as to picture
something as happening that never did. (To which, if the resurrection
had taken place in our times, we know skeptics would claim someone was
messing with the video tape.)

2.It is extraordinarily improbable that those miracles occur just by chance.

A miracle by chance is the term that doesn't make sense. If a miracle
means an agent outside of nature has acted in nature, then that is not
by chance but is by some sort of intention. They may seem to be chance
events to us, but they cannot be.

3.It is very probable that they would occur if Santa Claus caused them.

And here, if this is to mock God, I believe the argument is false. If
Santa caused a miracle, it would be very probable that the miracle
occurred? It would not be probable. It would be certain. Of course, we
just need to replace "Santa" with "God" to see how it works. What we
should say is "If a miracle occurs, it is probable some supernatural
agent caused it." (Keeping in mind that the dichotomy really doesn't
exist.) I am fully open to the possibility of a miracle happening
outside of Christian or even Judaistic theism. It could be another
agent like a demon or it could be God giving light to non-Christians.

4. Therefore it is far more probable that Santa Claus caused them than
that random chance did.

Given the backwardness of the last claim, I find this one doesn't
make sense. If God caused a miracle, then we do not say that it is
more probable that God caused a miracle.

5. Therefore it is very probable that Santa Claus exists.

From here, Carrier concludes that Santa exists, but I would argue that
while it could be more probable, you cannot get from a probability to
a certainty. You can only get to greater certainty or maybe beyond a
reasonable doubt.

Again, I just keep wondering how to take this. Carrier gives no clues.

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