Hello. I'd like to ask about proof of miracles and of God -- and, in particular, what the standard of proof is. Arthur C Clarke said something like, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." Well, if a voice booms down from the heavens, tells you that it's God, parts the Red Sea and gives prophecies that come true, are there no other explanations for these events except "miracles", and would the unusualness of these events be strong enough to establish that the voice in fact is God?

Interesting! The way you frame the question, it appears you may be assuming that explaining an event in terms of God is only feasible if all other explanations (that we know about or can imagine) are exhausted / untenable. I suggest that a lower standard of evidence may be fitting --for the record, contemporary philosophers rarely appeal to proofs, and thus "standard of proof"; the concern, rather, is with good or bad arguments. Allow me to change your example slightly: let's imagine that many of the contemporary theistic arguments establish good grounds to believe that there is a maximally excellent, omnipresent, omnipresent Creator and sustainer of the cosmos (imagine, for example, that some version of the ontological, cosmological, teleological arguments, the argument from fine-tuning and arguments from the emergence of consciousness are credible) and that vast numbers of persons (maybe even over half the world's population) report having experiences in which they feel called to be just and compassionate by what appears to them to be from some transcendent, sacred power. Imagine the experiences are systematic, cross-cultural, sustained and coherent. Even if such experiences may be explained by naturalistic causes (imagine that the experiences can be explained along Freudian lines as the result of wish-fulfillment), I suggest it would still be reasonable (though not proven or known with certainty) to believe the experiences are veridical. After all, we might have justified beliefs in all sorts of domains and yet this is not undermined by our wishing that such beliefs are true. So, I suggest it might be reasonable to believe in an act of God even if there is some (in principle) naturalistic explanation.

I have sought to address a case that is a tad less dramatic than the one you imagine. I do so, to suggest that the framework for our assessing the explanation of events is pivotal. So, in my example, I ask you to imagine a case in which there is independent reason for thinking there is a God who *might* be revealed in human experience. But, to go to your example yet changing it slightly, would it be reasonable to believe in a mighty Rabbit if there was a voice from heaven "I am a great Rabbit" and the apparent rabbit then seemed to offer great prophecies, part the Red Sea, and so on? Because of the absurdity of believing in a mighty rabbit of that sort, we might never come to believe in the great furry, powerful creature. So, I suggest (in closing this overly long response, sorry), assessing such hypothetical cases involves frameworks. To some highly critical atheist philosophers, to believe in God might appear no different from believing in a mighty rodent, but for those of us who think theism is more reasonable than either naturalism or mighty rabbits, matters differ.

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