Let us not bother defining a miracle.  We know that examples such as Jesus rising from the dead and the witch turning into a toad would be miracles.

If Jesus rose, there is no scientific verification.  He would need to send us a video.  Or he could send somebody to rise as he did in a lab.

So we see that science cannot test simply because the resurrection cannot have a second run. 

For the resurrection, that is cannot.

But what about won't?

The last plant of a kind is in the lab.  If it dies before you test the effect of water on it then you cannot test.  If it chooses to die, if it could, then it is hiding something.  It is antiscience to avoid scientific inspection.  To avoid science is to be against it.  Jesus said that to avoid him is to oppose him.  The point is that the truth cannot go away and if you stare the other way that is opposition to it. 

The plant can have its reasons and so can Jesus.  Who cares?  There is no excuse.

Atheist philosopher Antony Flew stated that a miracle should not be believed for:

1 PREMISE: Miracles are by nature particular and unrepeatable.

2 PREMISE: Natural events are by nature general and repeatable.

3 PREMISE: In practice, the evidence for the general and repeatable simply has to be by default and by nature always greater than that for the particular and unrepeatable.

CONCLUSION: Therefore, in practice, the evidence will always be greater against miracles than for them.

What he is saying is that in practice miracles are against science for science is an account of the usual and the normal.  Even if somebody breaks a world record though thousands have tried for centuries, that may be true but it remains true that we don't need to know.  The normal is what we need to know.  It is enough.

He is accused of being a David Hume here.  "Oh he wants to say miracles are unbelievable or untrue for he does not want to think they might be".  He is talking about practical.  Hume was talking about intellectual assent.

You may prefer this CONCLUSION: The evidence for miracles and against them will always be confusing so we will look but err on the side of nature and not put faith in them.  Here you avoid any accusation that you are throwing the evidence away.  You are considering it and deny it is conclusive.

The third premise annoys believers who say that instead of letting the evidence tell you when a miracle has happened you are just ruling them out.  We know that people break world records. These are not miracles.  But a miracle can never be proven for you can never prove you need that explanation.  A coincidence or something will do.  Am I just ruling miracles out?  Not in principle.  I am saying we can never use the evidence to tell us if they are real.  Considering a miracle explanation, does not mean you can use the explanation. I am saying I can look at a miracle and all I need to see is coincidence and that is all I can do.  This is simply refusing to stretch the evidence further than it needs to go.

Against Flew it is argued,

1 PREMISE: Scientific understanding is always based on constant repetition of events.

2 PREMISE: This repetition need not be a repetition of the event we are analyzing but only of other similar events.

3 PREMISE: Miracles are not constantly repeated events.

CONCLUSION: Therefore, miracles need not be eliminated from the realm of scientific understanding.

Basically we are told that if science is about the constant repetition then it is not about miracles for they are too once-off.

This does not follow.

The first premise is correct.

The second premise is saying basically that if you cannot prove your antibiotic cured John for that is in the past, you can try it with new candidates.  You will compare it to current patients and their experience.  Now you cannot repeat the John situation but you can try to replicate it.  You however are in fact repeating the use of the antibiotic.  Premise 2 is pretending that there isn't a sense in which we apply repetition.  Why the lie?  Because it wants you to think that science cannot repeat anyway so it should affirm non-repeating miracles.  In doing that it contradicts the first premise.

The third premise says a miracle is not constantly repeated.  So if the sun was spinning in Fatima for ten minutes in 1917, what if it had went on for ten centuries or forever?  Constant repeating is constant repeating and it does not matter if it does it in ten seconds or forever.  It is still repeating.

And if you say that a miracle healing is a repeated miracle, what is why your cancer stays away for fifty years, then it is a constantly repeated event.

There is no way you can show if this was a once-off that nature went along with or if nature is kept at bay.

For an argument calling for open-mindedness about miracles it is certainly narrow!

Omnigod is a good term for a God who can make all things out of nothing because he is the being who is all-loving and all-powerful and all-good. He is not like a limited pagan god.  Every law of nature he makes is a perpetual miracle.  He makes all things from nothing and makes and makes and makes.  It is a continuous series of making.  The argument is confused about God yet it wants you to think he does the miracles!

Let us take a look at Flew again.

He could have noted that you may have x amount of evidence for some supposed and y against it.  The amount of evidence is the same perhaps.  Or perhaps the amount is different but the quality is the same.  Anyway, despite all that, x or y still does not have the same weight.  You may dismiss evidence on such grounds upon deciding the other side is the one with no weight.

Christians say that Flew erred in saying the evidence for the repeatable is better than the evidence for the unrepeatable for natural unrepeatable things happen and we believe them.  They say that opens the door to miracles.  It does not.  It opens the door to natural anomalies that never repeat.  A miracle is a different type of claim.

It all hangs on the validity of our repeated observation.  So man has to decide if God spoke or did a miracle!  This gives great power to man.  Man controls and censors and filters the word of God.

Science can only see natural anomaly where there is miracle. Where is the natural anomaly? In your perception.  Science avoids using any explanations beyond those that are strictly necessary.  This is Occam's Razor - "keep with the simplest explanation".  So if 12 people see a man raised from the dead then the mystery is how nature is making them perceive, that not how the man is alive or if he is alive.  Science examines the miracle witness's mind not what he or she claims happened.

You only need a brain to see that supernatural and secondly paranormal claims are so out of the ordinary that they have to be tested and examined at a higher standard than anything else.  This is the same principle that tells us not to assume the truth of or believe any miracle report easily.  Assuming a miracle is a terrible thing for it is too serious for assuming.  Believing is just as bad for it is implying disrespect for evidence.  Believing is often just assuming in disguise.


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