The Case Against Miracles Chapter 4

How do we access miracle claims? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

This chapter is by someone named Darren Slade and involves asking how we access miracle claims. I found this chapter really to be a slow chapter. There was little if anything said about miracle claims themselves and much more said about how to access people for credibility.

That’s fine, but at the end of the day, it made it look like someone has to jump through 1,000 hoops before we will take them seriously on a miracle claim. At the same time, it is claimed that it is not hyperskepticism. Excuse me if I’m skeptical of the idea that this is not hyperskepticism.

Keener was treated as someone who is naive and believes too easily. I saw nothing like that in my reading of Keener. Nothing was also said of the times that Keener provided medical documentation of some miracles in his book. To be fair, the next chapter deals with this more, but it would have been good to have seen something.

There is material on how eyewitness testimonies are routinely inaccurate. This is something that really boggles my mind when I see it. When we are told about the New Testament, we are told that it is late and thus not by eyewitnesses. When we can show it was by eyewitnesses, then the claim becomes you can’t trust eyewitness testimony anyway. Heads, I lose. Tails, you Win.

Slade also says that a theistic worldview should not play a determining role in evaluating the evidence. If you want to do that, then neither should an atheist or agnostic worldview. Making claims of miracles jump through 1,000 hoops is doing just that.

He also says because someone has a history of truth telling. For some reason, he leaps into straight the opposite and uses Joseph Smith as an example. Joseph Smith is certainly a candidate for being a witness that is not credible. I still do not understand the sudden shift, however.

Slade also says something about the Innocence Project has exonerated 361 people and 2/3 were convicted on faulty eyewitness testimony. That sounds impressive, but I want to know the other side. How many people have had the eyewitness testimony stand up? How many times has it been accurate?

The problem with many of these tests for memory and credibility is that they are often designed to make the person slip up in their memory and use tests to bring out fallibility. It’s a way of stacking the deck. People are often looking for the way memory errors instead of the ways it is reliable.

In the end, I remain unconvinced. I just saw someone being forced to jump through 1,000 hoops as I have said. While several things could be said about Keener, it’s hard to say he’s not thorough. This guy writes and researches so much he probably wrote another book while I wrote this blog.

We will continue later.

In Christ,
Nick Peters