Saturday, 11 June 2011

Modern Explanations of Miracles

In my earlier post we looked at some of these modern accounts of miracles in relation to David Hume but I want to look at modern explanations of miracles as a sole topic. 

As you would guess scientists would be against the existence of miracles as we have seen earlier this is in part to do with methodlogical naturalism. It makes sense then to start with the Chemist Peter Atkin.

Peter Atkin argues against miracles following oin the steps of David Hume's practical reasons against miracles. Atkins says that the only reason people endorse miracles is because they are seeking publicity, deluded or hallucinating. Swinburne, points out however that not all people who experience miracles are ill educated, deluded or seeking punlicity.

Richard Dawkins, too argues that miracles are just psychological events. He seems to take more the contingency definition of a miracle - arguing that they are mere coincidence which people take with special significance.  Dawkins explains that miracles such as Lourdes are just the placebo effect taking course. The placebo effect is essentially people people thinking that they will be healed and so are psychologically. He doubts any physical healing happens like someone gets up from a wheelchair and begins to walk. Dawkins concludes that for these reasons miracles are imporbable and God is not a neccessary explaination.

Polkinghorne, is a physicist and theologian, says that God is active through are world and points out that makes sense to say that God works through Natural Laws. His explanation is that God works through humans and affects physical processes because humans affect physical processes. 

Hume's work is based on Sir Isaac Newton's work which dictates that science is based on fixed laws of nature e.g. everything has an equal and opposite force. However, Einstein came along and updated Newton's work suggesting that it is not always correct and laws of nature are not always fixed. A good example of this is the recent interest in Quantum physics which fails to explain why tiny particles move the way they do. This implies that miracle events which 'violate the laws of nature' are actually scientific and science should accept them. However, this suggests that God does not exist as miracles can be explained through science just like Quantum physics.

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