If nobody believed in superstition it would be unable to hurt anyone

 

OVERALL'S THREE ARGUMENTS FOR MIRACLES AS EVIDENCE THAT THERE IS NO GOD

Religion claims that miracles have happened. Miracles are magical events such as cancers just vanishing. They are propounded by religion as evidence for the existence of God for only God can do them.  A miracle is what is not naturally possible. It is a supernatural occurrence. It is paranormal.

FROM STANFORD DICTIONARY OF PHILOSOPHY
 
Overall (1985) argues for the ... contention that a miracle would count as evidence against the existence of God, on three grounds: (1) if order and harmony are evidence for the existence of God, then a miracle, which entails a breach in the order and harmony of the universe, must count against the existence of God; (2) the inevitable controversies over the identification and authentication of a miracle are an impediment to the growth of scientific knowledge and philosophical comprehension; and (3) an omnipotent God who does intervene in His creation would be obliged, on pain of moral defect, to intervene more often and more evenhandedly than He is supposed to have done in the Christian tradition.
 
These considerations have not, however, moved many philosophers to endorse Overall's position. Argument (1), besides giving a tendentious characterization of a miracle, exemplifies a fallacy in probabilistic reasoning, assuming that if F entails ~E and E is evidence for H, then F is evidence against H, which is not in general true. Claim (2) is arguably simply false, as such controversies do not appear noticeably to have impeded the progress of science or philosophy. Argument (3) will be effective against a certain sort of theological position, but it is not one that many believers in miracles actually hold. For further discussion of this issue, see the exchanges between Larmer and Overall. (Larmer 1988: 75–82, Overall 1997, Overall 2003, and Larmer 2004).
 
RESPONSE
 
Suppose a miracle happens. All you may be able to show is that it is unexplainable and that the testimony to this is reliable. You cannot prove or give adequate evidence that God did it. All you get is an extraordinary fact. You can only guess what did it. What if it's an artificial intelligence that cannot be seen or heard just like God cannot be seen or heard? In fact, you would be entitled to make the best guess and that would be that its some kind of artificial intelligence. God is not the best guess for its going further and God is more than an intelligence and certainly would not be an artificial intelligence. It is false that miracles would show us the existence of God or that Jesus is his supernatural messenger. They would show the presence of an artificial intelligence. You don't assume your antibiotic medicine was made for you in a spaceship hovering around Mars. You assume it was made in a mundane way in our mundane world. Assume no more than you need to.
 
If order and harmony in creation are evidence for God then a miracle would count as evidence against the existence of God - Overall.
 
The Christians say a miracle should not be defined as a breach of the order in creation. But it looks as if it is even if it is not and that is all that counts. If we perceive order in the universe and take that as evidence for God, then this is based on our perception. Thus we are saying we should assume that a miracle is a breach. We perceive a miracle that way. That is what it looks like. If you perceive one then you have to perceive the other. Thus as it is all about our perception of order - and perception is what comes first - the miracle is a proof against God if its a proof at all of anything.
 
Christians argue that creation looks designed and the miracle looks designed too. But if people experience crazy apparitions of say Jesus with garbled incoherent messages are they going to tell us? If they do tell, they will fib that the apparition makes sense. It is only a guess that most or all miracle claims show signs of design. We see that creation looks designed. We only assume that miracles are designed. The rational person will hold that Overall is correct. The harmony should be believed in more strongly than the miracle because we see the harmony and only guess about the miracle.
 
Philosophers may argue that its a fallacy to think there is no designer if some things seem to not have been designed. They argue that to think everything must be designed if there is a designer is as foolish as thinking there is no artist just because a painting is incomplete.
 
But this overlooks the fact that God is said to be all-powerful. He can design everything.
 
If we assert, "Anything that looks designed is to be assumed to have a designer", then it follows that, "If the universe shows some signs of not being designed while everything else seems designed then the designer is imperfect. Or there is no designer for the undesigned bits." This alone proves that the argument, "Some design proves the existence of a perfect designer all-powerful God" is fanciful and going too far.
 
The inevitable controversies over the identification and authentication of a miracle are an impediment to the growth of scientific knowledge and philosophical comprehension - Overall
 
The Christians deny this but it is obvious that if religion is right about the duty to honour God and understand his works and miracles being the only ultimate duty or at least the principle duty then clearly it is more important to investigate an alleged miracle than a cure for cancer. It's still the principle. It calls for acceptance and obedience. Religion must be rejected for standing for evil principles EVEN if most members ignore the principles.
 
It is only through luck and the laziness of most believers if religion has not impeded science and medicine over miracles.
 
And religious philosophers and scientists HAVE wasted time on miracles. The Vatican spends a fortune on checking out miracle claims while the poor starve. And that is how it spends the Peter's Pence money it gets from the poor. It is church law that you give the Church money and its a serious sin if you would rather keep your money than give it to the upkeep of the Church.
 
If miracles are not signs from God or if they are nonsense then the fact that we have to address them and refute them if we can proves that there is a serious problem.
 
Believers chase after miracle claims without caring about the philosophy of miracles. Of course miracles have impeded knowledge. Medjugorje believers still look into the sun regardless of those who have permanently damaged their eyesight. No visionary has warned against this practice.
 
An omnipotent God who does intervene in His creation would be obliged, on pain of moral defect, to intervene more often and more evenhandedly than He is supposed to have done in the Christian tradition - Overall.
 
What should we assume in relation to all that?
 
He uses the word intervene. If God sets up the rules and loses control so that he has to intervene then he is not much of a God.
 
Suppose God should intervene more. It follows that its a pity he cannot intervene all the time. This would imply that suffering is to be seen as ultimately useless.
 
What if we strike out the word intervene and rephrase the argument of Overall as "An omnipotent God who does what looks magical in His creation would be obliged, on pain of moral defect, to do this more often and more even-handedly than He is supposed to have done in the Christian tradition".
 
If God is love we should be able to perceive it. Christians are forced to reason their way to the notion that God is love. They stress miracles as signs of divine love as if they need them to convince themselves of what they deeply down perceive as false.
 
If miracles are signs from God meant to indicate his true religion for us, it follows that as most of us do not have the expertise or the time to examine the issue we should be able to witness one or hear of one and know that its real and from God. This does not happen. We are forced to get the data about God and his deeds second-hand or third-hand or whatever.
 
Overall's argument does not specify what the moral defect would be. Would it be that God is doing a miracle to help one person and not bothering with others? Or would it be that God chooses some to witness the signs and leaves others to depend on hearsay? Or is it both?
 
Think of this. If I believe in miracles because of hearsay I am saying that, "I hear God has cured Johnny's deaf ear. He has not willed to cure Miley of her terminal cancer." It is said that a God curing some people of problems that are not that terrible while others suffer horrendous illnesses which brings horrendous torment on their family are not cured is not a God any decent person would worship. No decent person decides on hearsay that God cures some illnesses as a sign of his love while worse is left uncured. What would you think of a person who decided your suffering is deserved for he heard that you were a sinner? Miracles lead to our corruption and do not then show a loving God.
 
In the light of the fact that God should have it so that the miracle speaks of his presence and true religion plainly so that even the most naive person can understand it Overall is absolutely right about the divine moral defect.
 
Our conclusion can only be that Overall was right. Miracles are evidence against God if they are evidence for anything.