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David Hume long ago made the point that we need remarkable evidence to accept exceptional miracles. There is an assumption in Hume’s thought from the very beginning. His argument can be laid out like this:

Miracles entail the existence of God

Miracles are exceptionally improbable

Exceptional evidence is necessary for the exceptionally improbable

We do not have exceptional evidence

Therefore, it is highly probably that God does not exist

The imperative question of course is “exceptional to whom?” Hume’s argument, understood in this way, unfairly stakes the deck in favor of concluding that God does not exist. The second premise, “Miracles are exceptionally improbable,” already includes the conclusion: “If God does not exist, then miracles are exceptionally improbable.” Taken this way, Hume’s argument is clearly question begging or arguing in a circle: “since God does not exist miracles are exceptionally improbably, therefore, God does not exist.” If we assume God’s existence, understanding Him under classical Perfection theology (Anselm), then miracles are not improbable, but only as problematic as God deciding to enact His will. But how hard is it to use your will? I can will right now to stop typing, or continue, or get out of the chair, and so forth. If I were like God, I would be omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience, leaving no miracle impossible or improbable to the extent of God’ own definitive nature and schema for His interaction with creation. Thus, Hume’s second premise needs to be reworked to make his argument neutral rather than assuming philosophical naturalism (atheism), which inexorably leads to the atheistic conclusion. Perhaps the following might be a fair reworking:

Miracles entail the existence of God

Miracles are indeterminate in their probability apart from the evidential circumstances within which they occur

Miracles require enough evidence to verify their divine origin while also being tested by naturalistic theories to try to falsify its divine origin

Due diligence is performed by testing positively and negatively (verification and falsification) a miracle; to the extent that a miracle is given due diligence, it is rational to suppose it has occurred or that it has not occurred, depending on the outcome of verification and falsification

Therefore, God may or may not exist depending on each individual miracle’s case.

It may not be obvious, but the theists’ job is much easier because if even one miracle is verified, then theism is demonstrably true unless later the miracle’s occurrence can be defeated; the atheist (philosophical naturalist) must falsify every miracle in order to maintain atheism (philosophical naturalism). If the theist calls some miracle that was falsified into question, and then defeats that falsification, theism follows.

B. T. Scalise