AriArmstrong.com, Religion in Culture and Politics.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Perkins vs. D'Souza: Miracles

Greg Perkins continues to show why Dinesh D'Souza's Christian apologetics fails. I've reviewed his first post, regarding the alleged harms of atheism. In his second short essay, Perkins explains why miracles are impossible.

Perkins offers a nice summary of the nature of causality and its validation. He explains especially well the fact that miracles do not merely refer to something unusual and unexplained; they refer to something supernatural:

We are not talking about just any improbable happening, and not even something which violates our current understanding of the world as expressed in scientific laws, like D'Souza tries to argue. The entire point of miracles is to provide evidence of divine intervention, and surprises which may only reveal a current lack of understanding can't accomplish that: by that measure, even the tricks of magicians would count as miracles. Indeed, much of what we enjoy in our modern world would have been considered miraculous in previous times, from vaccines and medications, to cars, and the Internet and on and on. Yet none of these prove or even suggest a possibility that there is a God. No, a meaningful miracle is not merely something which would violate the laws of nature as we currently understand them, but something which would be a violation of any such law we could ever discover. That is, it would have to be a violation of lawfulness itself.


The epistemological criticism is that miracles require a leap into faith beyond reason rooted in sensory evidence. Before people knew what caused lightning, many religionists said God caused it. The appropriate answer was, "I don't know what causes it -- yet." The metaphysical criticism is that supernaturalism, upon which miracles are based, contradicts the law of causality.

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