No miracle has ever been confirmed by science. That is, no observation has been made that cannot at least be plausibly and more simply explained by known natural means.
–Victor Stenger, professor of physics and philosophy, author of God and the Folly of Faith
Many Christians will object to this statement and point to books such as that by evangelical apologist Craig Keener. In his two volume book entitled, Miracles, Keener lists thousands of anecdotal claims of miracle health recoveries, most of them attributed to the power of prayer to Jesus of Nazareth.
“How can all these people be wrong?” Christians ask. “Keener lists documented cases of people having extensive lung cancer or other cancers present on X-rays or CT scans which months later are completely free of any sign of cancer! Their doctors have no explanation. Their doctors are on record saying, ‘It must have been a miracle.’ Prayers to Jesus healed these people! Science just doesn’t want to accept the evidence.”
But note that Stenger does not claim that odd even very rare health recoveries have not occurred after prayers to Jesus (or Allah, or Lord Krishna, or the god of the Mormons, etc..). What he is saying is that even if very odd, very rare health recoveries have occurred after prayer to a particular god, none of these cases involve events which could not be explained by natural causes. If a natural cause is possible, then attribution of the recovery due to prayers to Jesus (or Lord Krishna) cannot be confirmed.
Let’s look at the claim that multiple cases of cancer have been cured due to prayer. Rare natural recoveries from cancer do occur. It is also possible that many of these alleged “cures” occurred because of medical treatment, such as chemotherapy or radiation, which occurred many months earlier, treatments that the patient and the faithful forget to acknowledge as a possible cause for the health recovery.
The proof that supernatural healings are not real is that Jesus, Allah, Lord Krishna, and the Mormon god never appear capable of (or at least aren’t interested in) healing medical conditions for which there is no known natural cure. Jesus never seems to heal the victims of major limb amputations, beheadings, or persons blown into a million pieces by a bomb.
Some clever Christians will agree with the statement in the title of this post.
“Of course science can’t confirm that miracles have occurred. Miracles can’t be examined by the scientific method. Miracles are beyond the expertise of science.”
Well, dear clever Christian, if that is the case, please stop using alleged miracles as evidence for the existence your supernatural god and as evidence for the historical claim of the resurrection of a first century brain-dead corpse! If miracles cannot be examined by science, then don’t use them as evidence for historical claims.
End of post.