Opinion: Do you believe in miracles?

Hugh V. McLachlan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


These days most people think it unscientific to believe in "miracles", and irreligious not to believe in them. But would the occurrence of miracles really violate the principles of science? And would their non-occurrence really undermine religion? David Hume and Richard Dawkins have attempted to answer these questions in their different ways, but I am not convinced by their arguments, and for me they remain open questions. In 1748, in one of his key essays, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, the Scottish philosopher David Hume gave an account of the philosophy of miracles that impressed and influenced many thinkers. Hume defines a miracle as "a violation of the laws of nature...a transgression of a law of nature by a particular volition of the Deity, or by the interposition of some invisible agent".

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-27
Number of pages2
JournalNew Scientist
Issue number2720
Publication statusPublished - 8 Aug 2009


  • philosophy
  • science


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