X is true for so and so said it is true. Listening to "experts" and those who are in authority is treacherous. The authorities and experts disagree among themselves. They can be wrong. Some authorities and experts are deliberate liars because they know it will do their career little or no harm. For example, the Mormon archaeologist may say he has found evidence that the Book of Mormon is true. He knows this makes him the laughing stock of his field but he doesn't care for the Mormon Church is his audience. Christians like to quote authorities and professors that back up their faith. That is trickery for you could easily get as many if not more to say the faith is nonsensical. Science avoids authority - it depends on tests.

With religion and miracle claims, you find that they are propped up by "experts" who lend them credence.
If something strange is reported such as a miracle then take account of all the facts and come up with a hypothesis that explains all of them. Explanatory scope is an important task.  Indeed if you can think of many theories then all the better! You don't have to be able to explain how an alleged miracle happened. It's enough to know that it could have had natural causes and not have been a miracle at all.
What about the possibility that witnesses of miracles are lying? Your own brain is a liar too so you could be sincere and lied to by your very own mind. Think about that.
Don't be afraid to change your hypothesis.
The hypothesis must possibly account for everything. It is mad to say a stigmatist cut herself to make the wounds if you were watching her all the time and she had no chance to do that.
If hypothesis 1 accounts for something and if another hypothesis accounts for it just as well - no more and no less - then just choose the simplest one.
Suppose there is a miracle reported. If hypothesis 1 assumes that nature can account for it and hypothesis 2 assumes that the paranormal can account for it, choose hypothesis 1. You can't assume that the tenner stolen from your wallet magically turned into a puff of smoke. You assume that some more mundane and boring explanation is the right one - there is a thief on the loose.
Always ensure that in principle at least, a hypothesis can be falsified. Suppose somebody dying of cancer suddenly and instantly gets better. There is no way of telling that magic invisible medicine was behind it or that it was God or that the person suddenly unleashed temporary healing powers. You can't disprove any of the paranormal suggestions about what might have happened. You can't say you know when the cure took place. Perhaps the person was healed weeks ago and some occult force made the person seem to be still stricken with cancer and on the verge of death though they were not.

So what are we saying? If you decide some force unknown to nature is involved you cannot say any more than that. You are not saying what it is. Saying it is a miracle or paranormal is showing bias. It shows you are making it about your pet theory not the truth. You already know that nature is more than what you think it is so nature is all you need. We know nature better than the paranormal or supernatural so we choose the view that gives us the best option of finding a way to show it is untrue. That demands a natural account of what may have happened.

Arguments from authority are like the ad hominem in reverse.  The ad hominem says the argument is wrong for the person has flaws.  But it is not about the person's flaws but what they say.  Arguments from authority make it about the status and education of the speaker when in fact it is only what they say matters not who they are.

So with an an hominem, when one disagrees with the argument, one attacks the one making the argument and not the argument. For example, "I don't believe that adultery is wrong for the pope condemns it and he is dodgy". Another example, "Voltaire said Catholicism was nonsense but he was a scoundrel so you can't trust him." You can be the worst liar in the world and still be telling the truth about something. If some person who cannot be trusted either because of her bad life or because you don't really know her, what you do is you do not dismiss something she says. What you do is recognise that it may be the truth. She needs more checking out than a person known to be honest would.
I perceive that those who believe in miracles use ad hominem reasoning in order to make their stupidity and arrogance - or is it craftiness? look acceptable. They attack the person making the argument not the argument in these ways,
# Accusing those who reject belief of not having looked at the evidence.  Interestingly, if you say a miracle is untrue you get more mercy than other religions that simply pay no attention to it.  It is as if not believing is not the problem for them so much as you saying it is untrue.  Why the raw nerve?

# Accusing those who reject belief of not understanding the evidence.

# Accusing them of distorting the evidence.  They will be accused of putting the dogma that miracles do not happen above the evidence - they are therefore accused of being dishonest.  But everybody has a dogma that "Miracle claim x is untrue".  Catholics just reject the Mormon miracles without being able to tell us why.  Many sceptics just go all the way.  Everybody is dogmatic.  Some sceptics try to justify their rejecting when they can and that is good not bad.

#Accuse them of downplaying evidence that shows them wrong.

If some sceptic has done the work carefully and honestly and shown that a miracle claim even if true is unworthy of belief according to the evidence that sceptic is being demonised and it is the believers who are refusing to respect the evidence.

We conclude that arguments from authority are arrogant and lazy and show a bad attitude to those who do not accept them.



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