Science cannot “disprove” miracles
|July 15, 2018||Posted by News under Philosophy, Religion, Science|
From Amy K. Hall at Stand to Reason:
Recently, when I asked an atheist why he was an atheist, the first reason he gave was that “science has disproved God.” When I asked what he meant by that, he started listing miracles in the Bible—such as the virgin birth—that were impossible for him to believe “because of science.”
This is simply a misunderstanding of what a miracle is and, therefore, how one can evaluate it. Yes, people have used the methods of science to study the natural workings of the reproductive system and have very accurately said that virgins do not get pregnant naturally, but of course, no Christian ever claimed they did! We agree on how the reproductive system works, and we agree that in the normal course of things, a virgin does not get pregnant. The miracle claim is not that Mary became pregnant naturally (a ridiculous idea refuted by science), but that God caused her to conceive supernaturally. That is, in a unique situation, God personally intervened to cause something to happen. More.
The atheist in Hall’s account is professing naturalism, the belief that nature is all there is. Therefore, nothing can happen that nature does not produce. But that is a belief that guides what is accepted as evidence, not a fact in itself.
Christians think that God became a man (incarnation). That is an event that could only happen through a unique and irrepeatable process. So the question is not whether it can be accounted for in nature but whether it happened at all. Hall’s atheist probably wouldn’t accept evidence in the matter or treat it fairly.
As for other unusual events that people have termed miracles, the question comes down to, if there is a divine intelligence, is that intelligence able to intervene? If not why not? Note: “Theistic evolution” claims that such an intelligence “would not” intervene are a distraction.
Hat tip: J. R. Miller
See also: Thought for the day: Wayne Rossiter on science, miracles, or a blend of both
How naturalism rots science from the head down