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Monday, April 02, 2018

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I don't understand what basis do we have to talk about "exceptionless regularities".
Do they exist? How could we know that a particular regularity is an exceptionless one?

Yes, they exist. Pure water at sea-level boils at 212 deg. F. Every time. That is a regularity of nature and it is exceptionless.

How do we know that this particular regularity is exceptionless? From experience. Hitherto, no exception has turned up.

A short additional thought down the path of Augustine and the Epistemic/ Ontic problem: the argument you reference could surely be taken further to show that miracles can never occur. If we believe that the universe created by god does in fact operate on natural 'laws' that maintain its coherence, then arguing that humanity never understands all those laws today is not the same as accepting that absolutely anything at all can happen, because it forgets two things:

1. that if the universe is governed by natural laws, then those laws do impose some limits on what may occur in that universe;
2. science's correct understanding one a given day of some subset of natural laws may be good enough to state that a certain claimed happening (e.g. a dead man arising) cannot occur, according to those laws, which adequately cover the phenomenon in question.

Anything that really occurred in the ontic sense should be bound by the laws of god's creation, even if some of those things seem like magic to us today. The only possible events that could occur that could be genuinely considered miracles ... can't, because they violate the conditions of existence and function of the universe.

A cynic would say that any other kind of 'miracle' is just something that convinced humanity for millennia, until a new Einstein in the year 22,504 explained that away too, and that such things are just tricks of a bored god based on hitherto undiscovered scientific principles (following the dictum of Arthur C Clarke about sufficiently advanced technology appearing to be magic).

In the end, it seems that the glass vase that once smashed can't be un-smashed, even by those who created it with sand and fire, is an appropriate metaphor for understanding the relation of a law-bound universe to its creator and purported miracles.

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