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Hume Miracles

Essay by   •  January 1, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,007 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,371 Views

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OF MIRACLES

In the extract of Hume's write up Ð''On miracles', Hume contends that Miracles do not

exist because they go against the laws of nature. However, in this essay, I will argue for my stance that Ð''Miracles are impossible without the touch of the divine' and that without supernatural intervention, even the most fantastic and unbelievable of occurrences can only be described as mere quirks of probability.

David Hume, in this excerpt asserts that one's experiences allows for a foundation of reasoning to be formed, from which a person can reasonably deduce or expect a certain event of occurring given certain circumstances. As such, he goes on to say that peoples' experiences or testimonies are thus the most essential and useful form of reasoning to us. However, he goes on to disclaim and states that human beings are not always trustworthy and they have their own agendas which lead to lies that would distort the truth. Following this, when faced with a conflict of experiences, Hume contends that when faced with a experience or testimonial of a miracle, he judges the probability exceedingly higher that the person who made the claim was either lying or lied to. The weight of the lack of support from probability combined with his views that miraculous acts such as the resurrection of the dead defy what nature says can or cannot be done leads to his conclusion that miracles necessarily do not exist. However, I would argue that the premises Hume bases his conclusion upon are false although his conclusion that miracles are impossible may or may not be right. A more accurate statement would be "without a god or super natural being who actively intervenes in human affairs, there would be no such thing as miracles"

When someone uses the word Ð''Miracle' in everyday context, it is unlikely that the miracle in question refers to something like an act of resurrection or parting the red sea. Usually, claims of Ð''it's a miracle!' would follow something fortunate on a scale far less grand such as receiving an inheritance from a long lost relative in times of dire financial need. I would like to bring forth the idea that although the probability of such an eventuality occurring to an individual is really low, it does not mean that it would/did not happen. The chances that someone you know winning the big sweep thus pocketing a couple of million dollars and going on to enjoy a life of luxury and comfort is painstakingly low. According to Hume, such events of such low probability (one in tens of millions in the case of the big sweep winner) are not worth taken seriously and it would be easier to assume that anyone who claims such an experience was either lying or hallucinating. However, we know from documentation from neutral parties that this is not the case, that there are some people who have been indeed with blessed with such outrageous luck. Hence, from this, we can establish that just because an event has a really low probability of occurring, it does not mean it would not.

As mentioned earlier, people tend to use the term Ð''miracle' in all sorts of contexts. However, in most of these cases, Ð''miracle' is used as a figure of speech or metaphorically in statements such as Ð''it's a miracle he came to work on time' and does not capture the actual meaning of the word. A miracle is defined by Webster's dictionary as Ð''an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs' with the key terms being Ð''extraordinary' and Ð''divine.' As such, even the most fantastic of occurrences such as a person falling

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