Humes View on Miracles

Topics: Logic, Scientific method, Inductive reasoning Pages: 3 (1011 words) Published: March 10, 2013
Explain Hume’s views on miracles.
Hume believed we establish cause and effect relationships based on our experience of this world which leads us to make predictions about what will happen in similar cases in the future. To Hume a miracle is a transgression of the laws of nature caused by God or by some form of invisible agent. He uses a priori reasoning supporting this with a number of sub-arguments designed to discredit testimonies regarding miracles.

He argued that miracles cannot exist because the laws of nature cannot be broken e.g. If one were to drop a book off a desk one would expect that it would fall to the fall because we have experience of gravity on Earth. Hume seems to support these priori arguments with empirical evidence because the laws of nature cannot be broken; Hume believed that miracles cannot exist. Also he believed miracles are invalid because different religions hold that their deities are responsible for the occurrence and these results in contradiction e.g. Christianity’s miracles show Jesus’ authority but Islam will show Mohammed being given first authority by God. He argues that testimonies are not enough evidence for us to base belief in miracles on as there is no scientific evidence for the existence of miracles.

Hume made the principle of induction which states that the probability of miracles actually happening is so low that it’s irrational and illogical to believe that miracles do occur. Therefore something being more probable is not proof that it is correct and Hick noted that exceptions would indicate the need to reformulate the original hypothesis. Hume also draws the practical argument which states firstly that there is lack of convincing testimony from educated people, secondly it only seems to happen among the ignorant and barbarous nations finally it has contradictory reports in different religions.

For a miracle to be called a miracle it must be something that never happens in the normal world therefore...
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