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Tags Charbel Makhlouf , Raymond Nader , St. Charbel , stigmata

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Old 26th December 2020, 05:49 AM   #41
Robin
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Originally Posted by suren View Post
Well, his argument is that Nader's life changed completely, he thinks that a fake is a very unlikely explanation. He thinks that even if a nonbeliever sees a miracle himself or hears testimonies of many eyewitnesses he'll still dismiss it by inventing "ridiculously unlikely" explanations such as lies, brain disorders, or mass hallucinations. He claims that although science is a powerful tool to observe the reality, it's insufficient, since there is also the supernatural and atheists are close minded and they fanatically believe only in science without being open to other possibilities.

I just don't know how to respond to this, these are somewhat emotional arguments, but even I sometimes have such thoughts.

PS: This guy is educated (computer science) and is not like most religious people. He doesn't deny evolution theory, big bang, etc. Once he said that for him Christianity is not a blind belief but a "rational conclusion".
So your friend thinks that it is 'ridiculously unlikely that the guy is fibbing but finds it perfectly plausible that a dead Saint came back to earth and somehow burned the image of a silly looking hand into his arm?

And I don't get your friend's reasoning. So Nader's life changed. Is it uncommon for someone to perpetrate a hoax and for their life to change? Seems to me that achieving some sort of life change would be the entire point of perpetrating a hoax.
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Old 26th December 2020, 05:57 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by suren View Post
S: This guy is educated (computer science) and is not like most religious people. He doesn't deny evolution theory, big bang, etc. Once he said that for him Christianity is not a blind belief but a "rational conclusion".
OK, then why don't you get him to share his reasoning for the truth of Christianity? If he has a computer science degree then he will be able to present this as a rigorous, formally valid argument.

Then we could all reach this rational conclusion.
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Last edited by Robin; 26th December 2020 at 05:59 AM.
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Old 26th December 2020, 07:13 AM   #43
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Originally Posted by Robin View Post
OK, then why don't you get him to share his reasoning for the truth of Christianity? If he has a computer science degree then he will be able to present this as a rigorous, formally valid argument.

Then we could all reach this rational conclusion.
I remember some of them, some of them are quite interesting but not fully convincing for me.

From my memory, his main arguments are these:
  • There is something instead of nothing.
  • Something cannot come from nothing.
  • The reality itself is self sufficient which is for him is a mystery.
  • Ordered things like the laws of physics cannot be accidental and come from chaos, they must have a purpose, even the randomness in quantum physics has some order (he said something about frequency of events/atom decay).
  • Materialism (or physicalism) cannot explain the existence of subjective feelings and morality cannot be supported by a materialistic worldview, since a bunch of molecules, even as complex as humans, is not fundamentally different from inanimate objects. A fully materialistic worldview implies that we have as much moral rights as other inanimate or animate objects, but we see no such things. He claims that even most of the atheists are actually unconsciously spiritual despite of their materialism. This implies that there is a mental dimension or soul. He also talked about the hard problem of consciousness he sent me links of David Chalmers' videos.
  • The existence of soul means that we are not accidental and we have a purpose.
  • Randomness of quantum mechanics allows us to have free will (non-randomness means determinism which makes free will impossible).
  • Christians were martyred for their beliefs. If Jesus' resurrection was a lie they wouldn't sacrifice their lives and Christianity wouldn't spread so rapidly. He argues that atheists' explanations such as hallucinations are ridiculous. Also the martyrdoms of other religions, even taken together, are far from the scale that Christianity had. He says it's because Christianity was spreading the truth and truth hurts. People don't like the truth, they only want to see the flaws of other people instead of theirs.
  • Christianity gave the rise of science and medicine, by founding schools, universities and hospitals, and many many Christians were scientists. Other religions couldn't do a comparable job. Also he showed a statistics that most of the Nobel Prize laureates are Christians. He thinks that Christianity changed the world and without Christianity we wouldn't have now a modern science, institutions, hospitals, etc.
  • He thinks that Christianity is unique by claiming that only God's self sacrifice can pay out our sins. He said other things like unconditional love and something like that, but I don't remember well.

Last edited by suren; 26th December 2020 at 08:03 AM.
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Old 26th December 2020, 09:45 AM   #44
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Originally Posted by suren View Post
He thinks that even if a nonbeliever sees a miracle himself or hears testimonies of many eyewitnesses he'll still dismiss it by inventing "ridiculously unlikely" explanations such as lies, brain disorders, or mass hallucinations.
I notice he's left out what is usually the most likely explanation, which is that the eyewitness is just honestly mistaken. Woo believers always do. It's almost as if they are completely unaware of how fallible their perceptions and memories are, despite that information having been freely available to them all their lives.

Quote:
He claims that although science is a powerful tool to observe the reality, it's insufficient, since there is also the supernatural and atheists are close minded and they fanatically believe only in science without being open to other possibilities.
Whereas I'd say it's him and people like him who are close minded, who fanatically believe only in the supernatural without being open to other possibilities.

The scientific method was invented specifically to compensate for the cognitive biases, and the fallibility of perception and memory, which led people to mistakenly believe in the supernatural in the first place.
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Old 26th December 2020, 10:00 AM   #45
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Originally Posted by suren View Post
Well, his argument is that Nader's life changed completely, he thinks that a fake is a very unlikely explanation. He thinks that even if a nonbeliever sees a miracle himself or hears testimonies of many eyewitnesses he'll still dismiss it by inventing "ridiculously unlikely" explanations such as lies, brain disorders, or mass hallucinations. He claims that although science is a powerful tool to observe the reality, it's insufficient, since there is also the supernatural and atheists are close minded and they fanatically believe only in science without being open to other possibilities.

I just don't know how to respond to this, these are somewhat emotional arguments, but even I sometimes have such thoughts.

PS: This guy is educated (computer science) and is not like most religious people. He doesn't deny evolution theory, big bang, etc. Once he said that for him Christianity is not a blind belief but a "rational conclusion".
This sounds like a personal problem.

If you have no response to ""ridiculously unlikely" explanations such as lies", then there's not much we can do to help you.

I mean, he had you at begging the question and reversing the burden of proof. As long as you let him get away with that, you've already lost.

But debating this guy by proxy is annoying anyway. Do you really want to be carrying water for him like this?
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Old 26th December 2020, 10:21 AM   #46
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Originally Posted by suren View Post
I remember some of them, some of them are quite interesting but not fully convincing for me.

From my memory, his main arguments are these:
  • There is something instead of nothing.
  • Something cannot come from nothing.
  • The reality itself is self sufficient which is for him is a mystery.
  • Ordered things like the laws of physics cannot be accidental and come from chaos, they must have a purpose, even the randomness in quantum physics has some order (he said something about frequency of events/atom decay).
  • Materialism (or physicalism) cannot explain the existence of subjective feelings and morality cannot be supported by a materialistic worldview, since a bunch of molecules, even as complex as humans, is not fundamentally different from inanimate objects. A fully materialistic worldview implies that we have as much moral rights as other inanimate or animate objects, but we see no such things. He claims that even most of the atheists are actually unconsciously spiritual despite of their materialism. This implies that there is a mental dimension or soul. He also talked about the hard problem of consciousness he sent me links of David Chalmers' videos.
  • The existence of soul means that we are not accidental and we have a purpose.
  • Randomness of quantum mechanics allows us to have free will (non-randomness means determinism which makes free will impossible).
  • Christians were martyred for their beliefs. If Jesus' resurrection was a lie they wouldn't sacrifice their lives and Christianity wouldn't spread so rapidly. He argues that atheists' explanations such as hallucinations are ridiculous. Also the martyrdoms of other religions, even taken together, are far from the scale that Christianity had. He says it's because Christianity was spreading the truth and truth hurts. People don't like the truth, they only want to see the flaws of other people instead of theirs.
  • Christianity gave the rise of science and medicine, by founding schools, universities and hospitals, and many many Christians were scientists. Other religions couldn't do a comparable job. Also he showed a statistics that most of the Nobel Prize laureates are Christians. He thinks that Christianity changed the world and without Christianity we wouldn't have now a modern science, institutions, hospitals, etc.
  • He thinks that Christianity is unique by claiming that only God's self sacrifice can pay out our sins. He said other things like unconditional love and something like that, but I don't remember well.
What a string of non-arguments, assertions, inaccuracies, special pleading and hand waving.

Ignores the role that Islam and the like played in the development of science.

That manure of the bovine about atheists really being spritual is the standard rubbish of calling atheism a religion, which just shows he's arguing in bad faith or doesn't understand atheism.

Morality is a purely human invention and does NOT require any sky fairy to justify it.

Existence of the soul? Oh please. Some evidence would be a good start and yet in all the thopusands of years of human history none has been provided.

Martyrdom...And...People die for all sorts of reasons and causes (or none), Christianity is not special in that way.

He's not putting forward any arguments for anything.
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Old 26th December 2020, 10:50 AM   #47
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Originally Posted by suren View Post
Well, his argument is that Nader's life changed completely, he thinks that a fake is a very unlikely explanation. He thinks that even if a nonbeliever sees a miracle himself or hears testimonies of many eyewitnesses he'll still dismiss it by inventing "ridiculously unlikely" explanations such as lies, brain disorders, or mass hallucinations. He claims that although science is a powerful tool to observe the reality, it's insufficient, since there is also the supernatural and atheists are close minded and they fanatically believe only in science without being open to other possibilities.

I just don't know how to respond to this, these are somewhat emotional arguments, but even I sometimes have such thoughts.

PS: This guy is educated (computer science) and is not like most religious people. He doesn't deny evolution theory, big bang, etc. Once he said that for him Christianity is not a blind belief but a "rational conclusion".
His "education" clearly did not equip him with rationality nor familiarity with the scientific process. Or else he's using a definition of rational which is not the same as everyone else's.

Oh looky: claims about the supernatural (which is what exactly?) and how scientists are closed minded...What? Because we don't automatically believe unsupported guff like any religious claims, but need some evidence?

But, then, I won't count as I have scientific training and worked for years in mental health, so I know fine well what kinds of things folk can believe in or hallucinate or misperceive.
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Old 26th December 2020, 12:49 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by Robin View Post
I just thought of a plausible explanation.

Maybe some long dead religious guy came briefly back to life in order to burn the image of a bizarrely shaped hand onto someone's arm using some sort of flamey spirity stuff, for some reason.
As I've already noted, in this or the other "miracle" thread - if a god does cheapo parlour tricks to convince the gullible while ignoring thousands of sick and dying children, then the god behind it is actually a disgustingly reprehensible scumbag.

It works to get good christian boys and girls wins at sport, makes pointless marks on people, but lets the little ******* die of starvation.

That kind of pathetic wanna-prove-the-sky-fairy nonsense makes me sick.

And angry.

But atheists are immoral.
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Old 26th December 2020, 01:32 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by suren View Post
I remember some of them, some of them are quite interesting but not fully convincing for me.

From my memory, his main arguments are these:
  • There is something instead of nothing.
  • Something cannot come from nothing.
  • The reality itself is self sufficient which is for him is a mystery.
  • Ordered things like the laws of physics cannot be accidental and come from chaos, they must have a purpose, even the randomness in quantum physics has some order (he said something about frequency of events/atom decay).
  • Materialism (or physicalism) cannot explain the existence of subjective feelings and morality cannot be supported by a materialistic worldview, since a bunch of molecules, even as complex as humans, is not fundamentally different from inanimate objects. A fully materialistic worldview implies that we have as much moral rights as other inanimate or animate objects, but we see no such things. He claims that even most of the atheists are actually unconsciously spiritual despite of their materialism. This implies that there is a mental dimension or soul. He also talked about the hard problem of consciousness he sent me links of David Chalmers' videos.
  • The existence of soul means that we are not accidental and we have a purpose.
  • Randomness of quantum mechanics allows us to have free will (non-randomness means determinism which makes free will impossible).
  • Christians were martyred for their beliefs. If Jesus' resurrection was a lie they wouldn't sacrifice their lives and Christianity wouldn't spread so rapidly. He argues that atheists' explanations such as hallucinations are ridiculous. Also the martyrdoms of other religions, even taken together, are far from the scale that Christianity had. He says it's because Christianity was spreading the truth and truth hurts. People don't like the truth, they only want to see the flaws of other people instead of theirs.
  • Christianity gave the rise of science and medicine, by founding schools, universities and hospitals, and many many Christians were scientists. Other religions couldn't do a comparable job. Also he showed a statistics that most of the Nobel Prize laureates are Christians. He thinks that Christianity changed the world and without Christianity we wouldn't have now a modern science, institutions, hospitals, etc.
  • He thinks that Christianity is unique by claiming that only God's self sacrifice can pay out our sins. He said other things like unconditional love and something like that, but I don't remember well.
I see, the usual stuff.
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Old 26th December 2020, 01:50 PM   #50
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The usual guff.
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Old 26th December 2020, 02:24 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by Robin View Post
And I don't get your friend's reasoning.
Follow the money train.

YouTube views, DVDs/books for sale - I have yet to see one of these loony claims without a money trail leading to the person whose "miracle" is being discussed.

God needs cash!
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Old 26th December 2020, 03:34 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by suren View Post
You can search Testimony Of Raymond Nader for more sources.
It is most probably a fake religious devotion sign to raise money for his ministry.
https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/n...perience-91640

Nader also started a prayer ministry called the Saint Charbel Family....... Charbel has devotees around the world, and the shrine at the monastery in Annaya, Lebanon, where he is buried, receives a large number of international visitors every year.

One of these nights, Nov. 10, 1994, as he was praying.......After returning to his car, the man noticed his sweater was sticking to his arm, so he pulled up his sleeve and, he says, he discovered five fingers...

Nader, ... is now the president of the Liban Message Movement, ..and the executive director of the Middle Eastern Catholic television station Noursat TV.

////////////////////////

Dr. Nabil Hokayem, a Beirut plastic surgeon, examined the mark on Nader’s arm three times: first in 1994, soon after its appearance, and subsequently in the spring of 1995 and the summer of 1996.

He told CNA that in his professional opinion, the mark is a third-degree burn, in the shape of what appeared “like five fingers, as if someone is holding [Nader] from behind.”

..complete crap. humans grab with their palm and fingers, and there is no palm print as Nadler can't reach the inside of his own arm when making the markings. Additionally thumbs go the other way and we shouldn't see any thumb marking at all.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Nader.jpg (31.8 KB, 13 views)
File Type: jpg Nader2.jpg (31.2 KB, 13 views)
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Old 26th December 2020, 03:43 PM   #53
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Originally Posted by Jack by the hedge View Post
A man had a pinkish-red mark on his arm which was said to resemble 5 fingers. It didn't hurt and went away in a few days.

There's not much to debunk.
I'm pretty sure I could achieve a similar effect by cutting holes in a shirtsleeve in the shape of whatever mark I wanted and wearing it in the sun for an hour or two.
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Old 26th December 2020, 03:48 PM   #54
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Looks like burns to me. Has he stamped himself with acid or something similar?
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Old 26th December 2020, 04:02 PM   #55
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Originally Posted by steenkh View Post
Looks like burns to me. Has he stamped himself with acid or something similar?
A Lebanese "plastic surgeon" claims the marking lasted from 1994 to 1996, however the same plastic surgeon claimed it looked like a hand holding him from behind, although the palm is missing and the thumb is in the wrong spot.

I suggest the palm is missing, as it is a self inflicted marking and Nader could not reach behind his inner arm.

I also note the mark is on his left arm as he is right handed.
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Old 26th December 2020, 05:25 PM   #56
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Originally Posted by suren View Post
Hi again. I found this miracle story where a man claimed that God or a Lebanese saint left a hand print mark on his arm. According to some sources he was examined by many doctors and they couldn't explain this burn.

http://www.visionsofjesuschrist.com/weeping361.htm


This isn't a new story but unfortunately I couldn't find many discussions about this in skeptical circles. I don't know how much is this credible. Although this is similar to stigmata and many stigmatas can be faked, I'm not sure about this one.

Any ideas on how such marks could be formed? You can search Testimony Of Raymond Nader for more sources.
Are these the same doctors who were amazed by Donald Trump "acing" his cognition test?
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Old 26th December 2020, 09:04 PM   #57
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Originally Posted by suren View Post
Any ideas on how such marks could be formed?
I'm guessing modified White phosphorous burns,on his upper arm, when Nader was in the Lebanese Christian militia in the Lebanese civil war. That's why he saw a burns expert, plastic surgeon, in 1994 who said the marks look as though he was grabbed from behind.
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Old 26th December 2020, 10:25 PM   #58
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Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post
As I've already noted, in this or the other "miracle" thread - if a god does cheapo parlour tricks to convince the gullible while ignoring thousands of sick and dying children, then the god behind it is actually a disgustingly reprehensible scumbag.

It works to get good christian boys and girls wins at sport, makes pointless marks on people, but lets the little ******* die of starvation.

That kind of pathetic wanna-prove-the-sky-fairy nonsense makes me sick.

And angry.

But atheists are immoral.
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Old 27th December 2020, 12:47 AM   #59
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Originally Posted by Matthew Ellard View Post
A Lebanese "plastic surgeon" claims the marking lasted from 1994 to 1996
He could have maintained it, like stigmata have often been maintained for years.
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Old 27th December 2020, 06:34 AM   #60
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I remember reading about a hazing ritual at some military academy where a symbol would get painted with a chemical, shoe glaze or brass polish or something, which turned the skin black. I'd be curious to see the palm side of this guy's right hand.
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Old 27th December 2020, 07:21 AM   #61
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Originally Posted by alfaniner View Post
I remember reading about a hazing ritual at some military academy where a symbol would get painted with a chemical, shoe glaze or brass polish or something, which turned the skin black. I'd be curious to see the palm side of this guy's right hand.
Originally Posted by Matthew Ellard View Post
A Lebanese "plastic surgeon" claims the marking lasted from 1994 to 1996, however the same plastic surgeon claimed it looked like a hand holding him from behind, although the palm is missing and the thumb is in the wrong spot.

I suggest the palm is missing, as it is a self inflicted marking and Nader could not reach behind his inner arm.

I also note the mark is on his left arm as he is right handed.
Hmm, interesting point, I have never seen the other side of his right palm exposed in the photos or videos.
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Old 27th December 2020, 07:30 AM   #62
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Originally Posted by suren View Post
Hmm, interesting point, I have never seen the other side of his right palm exposed in the photos or videos.
With respect to alfaniner and Matthew Ellard, it's not an interesting point at all. The interesting points, which you keep avoiding, are that your friend is full of nonsense and you're buying into it for no reason.
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Old 27th December 2020, 08:56 AM   #63
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
With respect to alfaniner and Matthew Ellard, it's not an interesting point at all. The interesting points, which you keep avoiding, are that your friend is full of nonsense and you're buying into it for no reason.
I hope so. He tends to use emotional tactics, and this is what makes difficult. His arguments are often based on moral credibility. He was even talking about thought experiments, here is on example:

He said to imagine that I have 4 friends who are sincere, honest, rational, non deluded, have no mental/neurological disorders, have no habits of making dirty jokes/tricks and I trust them from childhood. One day they come to me. I notice that one of the friends has slightly torn clothes and bruises. I, being curious ask them what happened to him. 3 of friends tell me that they saw him breaking the window and jumping from the 15th floor while he was drunk. One of them started praying to God to save his life. He fell on asphalt. They rushed down and when they reached him, to their amazement they saw him already standing with slightly torn clothes and bruises.

He asked whether I would believe if they really told me such story or I would stubbornly continue to defend my "narrow" naturalistic worldview even by discrediting my friends' testimonies.

He said that "denying Charbel's miracle stories is even worse than denying this thought experiment's story, since the Catholic church has documented over 20000 miracles related to this saint from all over the world. The best thing that atheists can do is to believe in conspiracy theory".

Last edited by suren; 27th December 2020 at 09:25 AM.
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Old 27th December 2020, 09:32 AM   #64
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I can explain it in three steps.

1. Someone made up a story.

2. Others believed the made-up story and invented more stories.

3. Repeat.
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Old 27th December 2020, 10:06 AM   #65
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I bet the palm is missing because after he burned the fingers on his arm he readjusted his level of commitment.
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Old 27th December 2020, 10:17 AM   #66
theprestige
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Originally Posted by suren View Post
I hope so. He tends to use emotional tactics, and this is what makes difficult.
The appeal to emotion is a well-known logical fallacy. His use of it should make things very easy for you.

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His arguments are often based on moral credibility. He was even talking about thought experiments, here is on example:

He said to imagine that I have 4 friends who are sincere, honest, rational, non deluded, have no mental/neurological disorders, have no habits of making dirty jokes/tricks and I trust them from childhood. One day they come to me. I notice that one of the friends has slightly torn clothes and bruises. I, being curious ask them what happened to him. 3 of friends tell me that they saw him breaking the window and jumping from the 15th floor while he was drunk. One of them started praying to God to save his life. He fell on asphalt. They rushed down and when they reached him, to their amazement they saw him already standing with slightly torn clothes and bruises.

He asked whether I would believe if they really told me such story or I would stubbornly continue to defend my "narrow" naturalistic worldview even by discrediting my friends' testimonies.
Begging the question is another well-known fallacy. Again, this should make things very easy for you.

Here, he's begging the question that the kinds of stories he's asking you to believe are stories of this nature. In reality, none of his stories involve four of your friends of impeccable character and absolutely reliable narration.

Quote:
He said that "denying Charbel's miracle stories is even worse than denying this thought experiment's story, since the Catholic church has documented over 20000 miracles related to this saint from all over the world. The best thing that atheists can do is to believe in conspiracy theory".
Haha oh wow.

He's telling you the Catholic Church is even more trustworthy than your four imaginary friends of impeccable character and absolutely reliable narration. Begging the question again. It's absurd, and should make things very easy for you to dismiss his claims.

And that's before we even get to the discussion of the fact that the Catholic Church has a vested interest in perpetuating belief in miracles, and has even engaged in conspiracies in the past to protect its interests.

And that is before we even get to their actual documentation of miracles. Instead of listening to him tell you that the Catholic Church has documented miracles, you should be demanding that he produce such documents for your skeptical examination.

Reversing the burden of proof is yet another well-known fallacy. Once again, this makes it easier for you, not harder. The only thing making this difficult for you is you.

Here's an idea. Instead of trying to get us to fight your battles for you by proxy, do this: Next time he mouths off about documentation, ask him to show you the Catholic Church's documentation of Charbel's miracles, and decide for yourself how compelling it is.
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Old 27th December 2020, 11:20 AM   #67
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Reversing the burden of proof is yet another well-known fallacy. Once again, this makes it easier for you, not harder. The only thing making this difficult for you is you.

Here's an idea. Instead of trying to get us to fight your battles for you by proxy, do this: Next time he mouths off about documentation, ask him to show you the Catholic Church's documentation of Charbel's miracles, and decide for yourself how compelling it is.
By harder I mean emotionally, not intellectually. When I'm trying to address his claims, he uses even more emotional arguments by telling crazy stories that happened with his aunt. He told me one story about his aunt praying for someone (who lived in another country) with an "incurable" mental disorder (he didn't tell the diagnosis unfortunately). According to her a couple of days later that person had a vision of Jesus asking him to repent of his sins, after repenting that person was completely cured. After that alleged thing that person called her and asked her to help him to find his 2 daughters who left him (probably because he was a difficult person + that mysterious mental disorder). That person and she (aunt) had no information about daughters' location. She decided to pray to the God to know their locations. According to her, God answered her prayer by telepathically telling the daughters' precise location, and it indeed turned out to be in our country in some brothel...

I guess it's better just to avoid any religious debates with him.

Last edited by suren; 27th December 2020 at 11:27 AM.
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Old 27th December 2020, 11:27 AM   #68
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Originally Posted by suren View Post
By harder I mean emotionally, not intellectually. When I'm trying to address his claims, he uses even more emotional arguments by telling crazy stories that happened with his aunt. He told me one story about his aunt praying for someone (who lived in another country) with an "incurable" mental disorder (he didn't tell the diagnosis unfortunately). According to her a couple of days later that person had a vision of Jesus asking him to repent of his sins, after repenting that person was completely cured. After that alleged thing that person called her and asked her to help him to find his 2 daughters who left him (probably because he was a difficult person + that mysterious mental disorder). That person and she (aunt) had no information about daughters' location. She decided to pray to the God to know their locations. According to her, God answered her prayer and telepathically told her daughters' precise location, and it indeed turned out to be in our country in some brothel...

I guess it's better just to avoid any religious debates with him.
That sounds like a very good idea: this guy is not arguing in good faith; some of that goes beyond emotional manipulation and is heading towards bullying.
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Old 27th December 2020, 11:37 AM   #69
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
No. It'd be closer to the truth to say that the point of this forum is to provide skeptics a place to discuss topics of interest around the themes of skepticism and critical thinking.
...
We simply do not have enough facts about what really happened to his arm to properly debunk anything.
"Here, unless you skeptics can conclusively debunk this rumor anecdote, I reserve the right to continue believing it might be evidence of the particular fantastic thing I choose to attribute it to." The Stump-The-Skeptics rhetorical game is the more adversarial version of the sort of mental exercise skeptics might engage in as examples of how to approach problems critically or how to recognize poor reasoning. But in practical terms, being presented with an anecdote gives little opportunity beyond speculation. Since there is no way to collect additional evidence to test any of the many hypotheses that might apply, there is little chance of finding an empirically supported explanation. And this is why anecdotes have very little value themselves as evidence.

Skeptics freely admit they can't conclusively explain a lot of the phenomena and observations that are attributed to various supernatural, paranormal, or conspiratorial causes. This is simply the problem of history; we can't rewind the clock and replay those events, paying closer attention to parts that might test a hypothesis. And we can't necessary extract that evidence from what the record of the event has left us. So for the most part we're content to leave them unexplained, with the tentative presumption that the cause was probably mundane.

What made the mark on the subject's arm? All we can do is guess, because we can't even look at the marks ourselves to rule in or out any specific chemical agents that might be consistent with the appearance of the marks. Or we can't rule in or out specific pathologies. The claim is made that doctors were unable to find a medical cause. But again it's all hearsay. What doctors? What were there exact findings?

Skeptics can say that mysterious occurrences are consistent with known phenomena. And this lets us reason parsimoniously about possible specific causes. But often that's the best we can do, even with piles of evidence. We can't be exactly sure what sparked the Apollo 1 fire, even after months of investigation, a forensic disassembly of the spacecraft, piles of recorded sensor data, and the design documents. All we can say is that it is consistent with an electrical spark from abraded wires igniting nearby combustibles in a saturated oxygen environment. The same is often true in other happenstance tragedies. We may not have an answer, but we can think through things enough to say that some hypothesis is at least consistent with known phenomena, and therefore the explanation is probably mundane.

So yes, solving mysteries is something that's likely to appeal to many of the regulars here. But unless you give us a way to test hypotheses with evidence, no one here is likely to be interested in it as a skeptical exercise. And I can't see that anyone would be inclined to commit to any explanation by way of debunking.
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Old 27th December 2020, 11:45 AM   #70
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Originally Posted by suren View Post
When I'm trying to address his claims...
I call BS on this.

You're not questioning claims, you're promoting them.

If it turned out you are actually the person making the claims, I would not be in the least surprised.
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Old 27th December 2020, 11:47 AM   #71
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Originally Posted by suren View Post
I guess it's better just to avoid any religious debates with him.
That would probably be wise. If his mode of debate is simply to tell you supernatural anecdotes and expect you to believe them, there's not much toehold for an intellectual exercise. Some people believe in religion partly because they want to believe in a magical universe that's on their side. That is, the desire to believe in magic is simply there, and no amount of rational discussion is likely to unseat it.
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Old 27th December 2020, 11:48 AM   #72
theprestige
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Originally Posted by suren View Post
By harder I mean emotionally, not intellectually. When I'm trying to address his claims, he uses even more emotional arguments by telling crazy stories that happened with his aunt. He told me one story about his aunt praying for someone (who lived in another country) with an "incurable" mental disorder (he didn't tell the diagnosis unfortunately). According to her a couple of days later that person had a vision of Jesus asking him to repent of his sins, after repenting that person was completely cured. After that alleged thing that person called her and asked her to help him to find his 2 daughters who left him (probably because he was a difficult person + that mysterious mental disorder). That person and she (aunt) had no information about daughters' location. She decided to pray to the God to know their locations. According to her, God answered her prayer by telepathically telling the daughters' precise location, and it indeed turned out to be in our country in some brothel...

I guess it's better just to avoid any religious debates with him.
There is no religious debate here. Just unverifiable, unreliable, third-hand apocryphal tales that you are taking way too seriously for no good reason at all.

Do you really imagine there's a point to trying to debunk "this guy told me that his aunt told him that this other guy told her... and none of it is verifiable"?

Last edited by theprestige; 27th December 2020 at 11:49 AM.
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Old 27th December 2020, 11:57 AM   #73
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
There is no religious debate here. Just unverifiable, unreliable, third-hand apocryphal tales that you are taking way too seriously for no good reason at all.

Do you really imagine there's a point to trying to debunk "this guy told me that his aunt told him that this other guy told her... and none of it is verifiable"?
It's completely impossible since there is zero physical evidence in favor or against. From the other hand these anecdotes made me more interested in psychology just to understand why people make such extraordinary claims. I was much more vulnerable to emotional arguments, such as moral credibility.

Last edited by suren; 27th December 2020 at 11:58 AM.
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Old 27th December 2020, 12:15 PM   #74
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Originally Posted by suren View Post
...He is arguing that Christianity is the religion that is closest to the truth
People are inclined to think that about their own religion. And their own definition of "truth".

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... and has the best answers to four necessary questions: origin, meaning, morality, and destiny.
There's probably a whole lot of circular argumentation one might take issue with while being led down the path toward the conclusion that there are four necessary questions.

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And he told me about some of this saint's miracles, including this hand print mark. He says that "even the most skeptical people become speechless and are unable to debunk them" or something like that.
And yet this claim of irrefutable miracles has not swept the world by simple word of mouth. This makes me think he may be overstating how convincing it it.


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... he doesn't like when skeptics speculate too much, he thinks that it's a sign that they don't want to believe but have no good explanations.
When there are multiple possible explanations and not enough information to narrow down the choices, that's just the way it is. If he thinks skeptics have to choose an explanation and insist it's the truth then he doesn't understand that skepticism isn't a religion and isn't about claiming you know the truth when you don't.
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Old 27th December 2020, 12:25 PM   #75
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Originally Posted by suren View Post
I was much more vulnerable to emotional arguments, such as moral credibility.
I don't understand what you mean by "moral credibility" arguments.
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Old 27th December 2020, 12:49 PM   #76
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I don't understand what you mean by "moral credibility" arguments.
Moral credibility for him is trusting people even when they tell unbelievable stories just because they seem to be sane, sincere, honest, not deluded or mentally ill. This was illustrated in his thought experiment of the miraculously survived friend. According to him many people who claim to experience miracles are very sane, sincere, honest, kind, have no interests in money or in being the center of attention. He thinks that it's very difficult to doubt their claims since there is no reason to for them to lie and it's very hard to imagine that they are hallucinating, mistaken or deluded. He claims that most miracles changed their lives to the better, they became more spiritual. He doesn't deny that some people abuse miracles, but he argues that despite that miracles really happen.

Last edited by suren; 27th December 2020 at 12:53 PM.
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Old 27th December 2020, 12:56 PM   #77
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Originally Posted by suren View Post
According to him many people who claim to experience miracles are very sane, sincere, honest, kind, have no interests in money or in being the center of attention.
Thanks.

And have you asked him to support this claim?

Have you rejected the claim if/when he doesn't support it?

ETA: I mean, for me, "moral credibility" would only apply to people I know personally very well, whom I already have ample reason to believe they have unimpeachable moral character and absolutely reliable narration. It's not something I'd accord to second- and third-hand narrators of unverifiable anecdotes.

And to be honest? I don't think I know anyone like that personally, either. If I did know someone like that, and they told me such a wildly implausible story, my first thought would be whether I knew them as well as I thought I did.

What is it about the unsupported claim of miracles being reported by unimpeachable witnesses that you find so difficult to dismiss without evidence?

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Old 27th December 2020, 01:11 PM   #78
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Originally Posted by suren View Post
Moral credibility for him is trusting people even when they tell unbelievable stories just because they seem to be sane, sincere, honest, not deluded or mentally ill. This was illustrated in his thought experiment of the miraculously survived friend. According to him many people who claim to experience miracles are very sane, sincere, honest, kind, have no interests in money or in being the center of attention. He thinks that it's very difficult to doubt their claims since there is no reason to for them to lie and it's very hard to imagine that they are hallucinating, mistaken or deluded. He claims that most miracles changed their lives to the better, they became more spiritual. He doesn't deny that some people abuse miracles, but he argues that despite that miracles really happen.
Moral credibility is not scientific evidence. There are plenty of people who honestly believe lots of nonsense that is neither factual or even makes sense in any logical way.
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Old 27th December 2020, 01:18 PM   #79
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Thanks.

And have you asked him to support this claim?

Have you rejected the claim if/when he doesn't support it?
He actually tried to back up this claims with St Charbel's miracles and sent me links. He told me that the people who were cured miraculously were sincerely believing in God. He said these people are very grateful to God, are very kind, and they don't seem to be insane or deluded. He claimed that this is the reason that he can't imagine that these people are lying, mistaken/deluded, etc.

I brought here one of the most impressive miracle claims, just wanted to know if someone has done more research on this (I mean finding something fishy in such story, I'm not very skilled in this and have limited knowledge). There are probably Lebanese who are more familiar with this saint's stories and probably flaws in them.

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Old 27th December 2020, 01:38 PM   #80
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Originally Posted by suren View Post
He actually tried to back up this claims with St Charbel's miracles and sent me links. He told me that the people who were cured miraculously were sincerely believing in God. He said these people are very grateful to God, are very kind, and they don't seem to be insane or deluded. He claimed that this is the reason that he can't imagine that these people are lying, mistaken/deluded, etc.
Does he know any of these people personally?

Quote:
I brought here one of the most impressive miracle claims, just wanted to know if someone has done more research on this (I mean finding something fishy in such story, I'm not very skilled in this and have limited knowledge). There are probably Lebanese who are more familiar with this saint's stories and probably flaws in them.
We've already pointed out several obvious flaws.
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