Atheists and naturalists will often argue against miracles as Hume did: by saying they violate the universal human experience; i.e. humans have no experience of miracles.  There are at least three problems with this.

First, there is the confirmation problem.  How could anyone possibly know this to be true?  It would require that every person alive today be interviewed, and each and every one confirms that they have never experienced a miracle.  If even a handful of people claimed to have experienced miracles, then it would not be accurate to say it is the universal human experience that miracles do not occur.

Secondly, there is the problem of chronological snobbery.  Why presume that the miracles have to occur in our own day in order to be valid?  What if God only chooses to perform miracles at certain junctures of history, and our particular era is not one in which He chooses to do so?  If this is even possibly true, then the lack of any miracles in our own day speaks nothing to the issue of whether miracles are possible.  As long as even one bona fide miracle has occurred in the past, this would be sufficient to show that miracles are possible.  So to claim that the universal human experience excludes miracles not only requires that we look at the experience of both our contemporaries and our ancestors.

Thirdly, the fact of the matter is that there are many people who claim to have experienced miracles, both in the past and present.  The problem is that these claims are dismissed on the grounds that miracles do not happen.  But this is circular reasoning.  One cannot say miracles are not possible because no one experiences miracles[1], and then when they are presented with various miracle claims dismiss them as veridical on the grounds that miracles cannot happen.  This begs the question.  The evidence for miracles is simply dismissed based on a priori philosophical commitments and assumptions.

While other arguments can and have been made against the possibility of miracles, the argument from universal human experience is not a good one.


[1]This itself is a logical fallacy because we cannot infer that X is impossible merely on the basis that X fails to instantiate itself in reality.  There are no humans with green skin, but that does not mean that it is impossible for us to have green skin.

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