Assess Hume s response for rejecting miracles

Topics: Empiricism, David Hume, Argumentative Pages: 2 (1133 words) Published: June 4, 2015
Assess Hume’s response for rejecting miracles (35 marks) David Hume puts forward two separate but very closely related arguments against miracles. Hume argues that the probability of miracles actually happening is so low that is irrational and illogical to believe that miracles do occur. Hume is an empiricist, meaning that he emphasises experience and observations of the world as the way of learning new things. He argues that when investigating any story of a miracle, evidence can be collected, such as from human witnesses. Also the laws of nature appear to be fixed and unvarying. For example, the law of gravity is the same throughout the universe so far as we know. Miracles must appear to violate the laws of nature. In conclusion he argues it is more likely that the report of a miracle happening is incorrect than that the laws of nature have been violated. Take as an example the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Firstly, according to the bible, people witnessed the event. Secondly, our experience of nature is that people who are dead do not come back to life. It is true that many people have had near death experience, but once a person has been in a grace or tomb for a day or two they do not come back to life – they start to rot. So this leads to a conflict between a law of nature and the miracle story. Hume’s question would be; which is more likely – that the law of nature has been violated or that the eyewitness accounts are for some reason mistaken? Hume’s conclusion is that miracles do not happen because there is so much clearly testable evidence in favour of the laws of science. Hume’s conclusion is that no testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony of such a kind that its falsehood would be more miraculous than the fact which it endeavours to establish. Hume also put forward some related practical arguments against miracles. Firstly he argues that there is a lack of convincing testimony from educated people. Hume...
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