I hate to seem lazy, but I am. Still I've tried summarizing whole threads on message boards before it's a ghastly process. So here is a really good thread from my message board: a discussion between several of us but basically me vs Quntum Troll (QT is called "You wish" on carm).
His argument is that individual personal experince of miracles is not scientific and so we can't trust. My argument is there are aspects of reality and forms of truth that are not scientific but still true.
I put this put because it's an excellent discussion and it would be very complex to try and summarize it all here. and it's too long to cut and paste.
this is a sample and it's also for those who did not get through the whole thread. Tiny Thinker is a professional academic who teaches anthropology at a university. He has a strong science background and was known on the net as a member of the "original gang of four" three atheists and a catholic who went around destorying creationist's arguments. His site is "peaceful Turmoil" and used to have a pro evolution website.
Some things to keep in mind for this thread...
1. There is no such thing as objective knowledge. The video helps explain why by citing some of the same things I and others have mentioned in the past, but leaving out the culturally mediated aspects of the brain's perceptual filters.
2. Facts are socially constructed - what should we measure? In what way? For what reason? Based on what paradigm?
3. Science is an epistemological filter based on assumptions which cannot be proven.
4. Science self-limits its usefulness to a restricted subset of phenomena, suggesting other lenses are needed to have a more complete and accurate view of the world.
5. The use of science is not guided by some impartial, objective agenda. Knowledge originates by anecdote, intuition, and other sources that would make many who wish to consider themselves pure Positivists cringe. This often means that nuance and variation are ground down in the interest of standardization and the cases which still won't fit are relegated to the status of statistical outliers. These are not apolitical moves made by disinterested parties seeking only objective truth - that is simply the proper marketing and propaganda tagline - the story we tell each other to mutually reinforce our credibility. This doesn't mean I or my fellow academics are frauds or liars, but it does mean we are human and we bring those human flaws and agendas into everything we do, including research.
6. Many skeptics are cynics who generalize with a broad brush who set standards that exclude serious consideration of certain phenomena. As a distant example, in some circles if you don't have a correlation were p is at least .95 or .90, then the results are not considered to be significant. As a stats teacher of mine once said, that is just too arbitrary. A p-value of .86 may be telling your something really important if you are willing to pay attention. In the same way, some cynics use such arbitrary lines in the epistemological sand to ignore a whole range of things.
7. In addition, many of these cynics masquerading as skeptics go further and believe that if they can suggest a possible, even though unproven or even unlikely, naturalistic scenario to explain a phenomena then they suggest they have disproven/no longer need to be concerned with that phenomena. Note that this involves naturalism on their terms, which is often very restrictive (see point #6 above).
8. Anecdotes en mass should have the potential to amount to something if we take QT's interpretation correctly, but instead the large numbers are often used as a liability by the accusation on the part of the cynics of the logical fallacy argumentum ad populum. "After all", the accusation goes, "most people once believed the Earth was flat!" Clearly it isn't the large numbers that is a problem, because 1,000 lab studies replicating a result would be considered far more definitive than 10 such lab studies. This brings up one of Metacrock's objections - one set of large numbers is proof and another set is dismissed. One set of experiences is treated with respect and another set is treated with scorn.
9. Given points #3-5, such dismissiveness should be viewed with skepticism! As KR points out, not all truth can be revealed by one lens of knowing (reinforced by point #4).
10. Your bases are belong to me. I pwn you all.