Heads I Win Tails You Lose, Another Christian Apologist's Trick

Vincent Torley over at William Dembski's Uncommon Descent Blog, criticized me for arguing we must choose between science or God. The flattering news is the company I'm in, for Torley also criticizes the views of scientists like Eugenie Scott, Sean Carrol, Jerry Coyne, PZ Myers, and Michael Shermer, mostly by pitting them against each other. In a very long post titled Detecting the supernatural: Why science doesn’t presuppose methodological naturalism, after all, his conclusion is this:
A revolution, it seems, is afoot. Scientists are finally coming out and declaring that they can live with the supernatural, after all. What will we see next? Open discussion of the flaws in Darwinian evolution?
The "heads I win tails you lose" trick is obvious. If we say science is closed to the supernatural the apologist will say we are uninterested in the truth. If we say instead it is theoretically possible to detect the supernatural then he can say we should be open to a discussion of the flaws of Darwinian evolution. So when he finds apparent divergent views between us he can say both, pitting us against each other. So let me respond.

To respond directly to his conclusion I don't think he fairly represented our views. Torley begins by offering a memo to Eugenie Scott and the National Center for Science Education:
The claim that scientists must explain the natural world in terms of natural processes alone, eschewing all supernatural explanations, is now being openly denied by three leading scientists who are also outspoken atheists. I’m referring to physicist Sean Carroll, and biologists Jerry Coyne and P. Z. Myers, who hold that there are circumstances under which scientists can legitimately infer the existence of supernatural causes. That’s a pretty formidable trio. The NCSE is perfectly free to disown these scientists if it wishes, but I think it would be severely undermining its own credibility if it did so.
What she argues isn't exactly that, for an abstract of an article on methodological naturalism by Barbara Forrest articulates what all these atheists probably agree on:
In response to the charge that methodological naturalism in science logically requires the a priori adoption of a naturalistic metaphysics, I examine the question whether methodological naturalism entails philosophical (ontological or metaphysical) naturalism. I conclude that the relationship between methodological and philosophical naturalism, while not one of logical entailment, is the only reasonable metaphysical conclusion given (1) the demonstrated success of methodological naturalism, combined with (2) the massive amount of knowledge gained by it, (3) the lack of a method or epistemology for knowing the supernatural, and (4) the subsequent lack of evidence for the supernatural. The above factors together provide solid grounding for philosophical naturalism, while supernaturalism remains little more than a logical possibility. Link
Forrest admits supernaturalism is a logical possibility, but that given these factors it "remains little more than a logical possibility." In other words, these scientists probably all agree that when initially investigating the nature and workings of the universe that detecting the supernatural is possible, but that based on everything they have learned such a possibility is very remote. Therefore, the divergent opinions he quotes from are speaking to different questions. On the one side, before their scientific investigations, they would all admit the possibility of detecting the supernatural. On the other side, after they have investigated the universe as scientists, they have all concluded the supernatural isn't much of a possibility at all. That's what I said anyway. So although I admit it's possible science could detect the supernatural, for me to conclude the supernatural exists would require changing the past, and I don't think that's going to happen.

Let me turn to his criticisms of my arguments at the very end of his post, since well, they are mine. Here's the essence of his criticisms:
Instead of arguing, “Since science is possible a miracle working God doesn’t intervene,” Loftus should have concluded, “Since science is possible a miracle working God doesn’t intervene very often”...All Loftus’ argument proves is that if God intervenes in the world, He does so relatively infrequently...The point I wanted to make is that even if we postulate 10 million separate interventions in the 4,000 million-year history of life on Earth, that would still work out at only one act of Divine intervention every 400 years. If I were a scientist, I wouldn’t be too troubled by that...Why, then, should scientists be perturbed by supernatural events that occur once every 400 years, especially when these miracles don’t affect their laboratory experiments?
The last sentence is interesting. Torley is contrasting the past, which presumably could represent 10 million divine interventions, with present day laboratory experiments that are taking place between these supposed interventions. But that's not representing science accurately. For if there have been 10 million divine interventions in the past then astronomy would not be possible, nor would geology, paleontology, or plate tectonics, since if God had intervened in these areas those sciences would not be possible. He admits there is a 4 billion history of life on earth. Science can investigate earth's history, and the history of galaxy, star, and planet formations. Since these sciences have produced a massive amount of knowledge God did not intervene in the past in these areas. Torley must therefore arbitrarily exempt these sciences from God's invisible intervening hand. Upon what basis can he do this? Faith is no excuse when doing science.

The point of contention for Torley is evolution since he's a proponent of intelligent design. He says:
First, if we’re talking about acts of intervention in the biological realm, one would only expect to see them occurring when a new kind of creature is being produced. Since Professor Michael Behe locates the “edge of evolution” at the taxonomic level of the family (roughly speaking), and since the total number of families of organisms is certainly no more than 10,000 (after all, there are only 292 families of insects), and the average lifespan of a biological family is more than 10,000,000 years (even for a species, it’s at least five million years), then we would hardly expect to see these acts of intervention occurring right now, during our lifetimes.
In the first place, we can and do observe biological evolution in our lifetime, as Richard Dawkins proves in The Greatest Show on Earth. Nevertheless, as with the other sciences I mentioned above, if God had intervened as often as Torley supposes then evolution would never have come to be established as the fact it is. He disputes this but I don't see how. Since evolutionary science is a science then it could not have won over so many scientists if God intervened so many times. In any case, Torley needs to show why the science of astronomy, geology, paleontology, and plate tectonics detects no divine intervening hand but that when it comes to biological evolution there is one.

Lastly, Torley says,
Loftus is appealing to a uniformitarian postulate here: if God doesn’t intervene in the world at present, then probably He never did in the past either. But if you believe in miracles, then obviously you won’t accept Loftus’ uniformitarian postulate. Miracles are by definition singular occurrences, and they don’t happen with a set frequency, at predictable intervals. If they did, then they wouldn’t be miracles.
Now this, of course, is the most puzzling of his statements. If miracles are by definition singular occurrences, without any statistical probability to them, the question becomes whether they have ever occurred at all. Sure, God may have done a plethora of them in the past and will do so in the future, but we live in the present where they don't occur. He's certainly not miraculously healing any amputees, that's for sure. Reasonable people must go with the statistical probabilities and the probabilities are that miracles by their nature are improbable to the point where they are impossible on natural grounds.

To see this just think about the case of Oprha Winfrey's discovery that she had a half-sister. If that doesn't help consider the Jews in Jesus' day. They believed in Yahweh, that he performs miracles, and they knew their Old Testament prophecies. Yet the overwhelming majority of them did not believe Jesus was raised from the dead by Yahweh. Since these Jews were there and didn't believe, why should we? No really. Why should we? Why should anyone? The usual answer is that these Jews didn't want to believe because Jesus was not their kind of Messiah, a king who would throw off Roman rule. But then, where did they get that idea in the first place? They got it from their own Scriptures. And who supposedly penned them? Yahweh. Christians will also claim God needed for them to crucify Jesus to atone for our sins, just as he needed Judas to betray him. So God needed to mislead them about the nature of the Messiah too. But look at the result. Because he used people for whom we're told he loves, Christians have also been given a reason to persecute, torture and kill Jews throughout the centuries for their alleged crime (the Romans are actually the guilty ones). Not only this, but the overwhelming majority of Jews will go to hell, where Judas is right now. Does this sound fair for a righteous omniscient judge? It smells exactly like entrapment pure and simple.

So let me conclude what I already said:
So how likely is it that God has intervened compared with the weight of knowledge science has produced? At best, if God has intervened at all then he has done so in such minimal ways as to be indistinguishable from him not intervening at all.

The lack of divine intervention in our world is counter-productive for a God who wants us to believe or fry in hell. We are supposedly created as reasonable people. Reasonable people need evidence. Reasonable people must go with the statistical trends. Reasonable people must compare comparables. Given the fact that science works precisely because God does not intervene, then it seems to reasonable people that he doesn't intervene at all. And if that's the case it's reasonable to think he didn't raise Jesus up from the dead either. It's also a good reason to think he doesn't exist at all.