Friday, April 13, 2012

The "Miracle Baby" Is Still Alive


Last night, in my MCCC Logic class, I began teaching "inference to the best explanation." The form of this reasoning goes like this:

1. Phenomenon Q.
2. E is the best explanation for Phenomenon Q.
3. Therefore, E is probably true.

For example, suppose Phenomenon Q is: I discover my mailbox by the side of the road is lying on the ground broken, 50 feet away from its original location. The 4X4 post is broken off at the base. And, there are pieces of broken plastic lying on the ground. Tire tracks are there where my mailbox was once anchored.

What best explains Phenomenon Q?

It would be Explanation E: A car strayed from the road and ran over my mailbox.

An alternative explanation F could be: An alien spaceship landed on my front lawn, broke my mailbox, and left plastic on the ground.

If these are the only two explanations, then clearly E is best. This is Sherlock Holmes' kind of thinking. In logic it's called inference to the best explanation.

Last night in Logic class I gave, as an example of Phenomenon Q, the recent story of the Argentinian "miracle baby."

Phenomenon Q (from what we know so far) is:

A premature baby - who was declared dead shortly after birth - was later discovered to be alive after spending 10 hours in a morgue refrigerator. How did this happen?
Doctors at the Perrando Hospital in northeast Argentina can’t explain how several doctors pronounced the child dead or how the premature infant born three months early survived for so many hours inside a chilly coffin.
A similar case occurred in Israel in 2008. A baby was found alive in a morgue refrigerator after having been declared dead for five hours, according to the Jerusalem Post. An Israeli doctor suggested the premature infant's irregular heartbeat could've eluded doctors and that placing the child in the cooler kept her in "suspended animation." The baby later died.
In a case last year, a 60-year-old man woke up in a South African morgue after 21 hours.
- CNN report

To ask "How did this happen?" is to ask for Explanation E. The CNN report given today reasons: Can cooling explain why ‘miracle’ baby survived?

Not if it was dead already.

Were the doctors wrong? Perhaps. Remember, reasoning by inference to the best explanation is inductive (probableistic), not deductive reasoning.

The students in my class last night did a great job giving possible explanations.

I suggested that one explanation could be: God resuscitated the baby to life from death.

Here is the point where your worldview kicks in.

(See: Newborn Baby Pronounced Dead, Placed in a Hospital Freezer, and Comes to Life 12 Hours Later)