In X-Files Friday: The Ultimate Superstition, DD cites Geisler and Turek,
David Hume argued that miracles cannot affirm any one religion because miracles are based on poor testimony and all religions have them. In other words, miracle claims are self canceling. Unfortunately for Hume, his objection does not describe the actual state of affairs. First, Hume makes a hasty generalization by saying that alleged miracles from all religions are alike. As we’ve seen since chapter 9, the miracles associated with Christianity are not based on poor testimony. They are based on early, eyewitness, multiple-source testimony that is unrivaled in any other world religion. That is, no other world religion has verified miracles like those in the New Testament. (G&T)
What we have in the New Testament is a well-documented, well-preserved record of people making claims. This does not constitute a body of verified miracles. (DD)
I agree. I've certainly not been afraid to criticize some of G&T's strategies elsewhere, and I agree that in this citation, G&T conflate claims with verification – and that's wrong. To me, it appears G&T simply presume the correctness of that which they are trying to prove, by alluding to it as verified. However, G&T's criticisms of Hume happen to be spot-on, and quite pertinent to our ongoing miracle discussion. That being said, I've also complimented DD's logical prowess elsewhere, but this time he did not address G&T's citation squarely at all – just flanked them with Benny Hinn before proceeding on to their "One Solitary Man" ideas.
G&T are correct in that different religions interpret miracles differently. Some religions don't account for them at all, and of those that do, some interpretations are more amenable to empirical testing and proving than others – hands down. For example, although superfluous and unscientific, intercessory prayer studies assume a naively plausible hypothetical framework we might be able to work in – could we only relinquish the foolish idea that we can systematically test the actions of whimsical deities.
Alas, DD's descent into Benny Hinn was really disappointing and a total red herring. Mentioning well-dressed charlatans only serves to sidestep G&T's valid concerns and further discredit the genuinely miraculous – should it exist. DD's strategy here was not unlike denigrating macroevolution with Piltdown Man – persuasion not by evidence leading to a reasoned inductive conclusion, but by rhetorical victory. He didn't need to mention Benny Hinn to make the cogent point that claims don't entail authenticity, or to successfully address G&T's pertinent rebuttal to Hume.
It’s ironic, because I really doubt that David Hume would find himself at all discomfited by the latter day superstitions that try to make the Big Bang an argument for a Creator, when in fact it eliminates the possibility of a Creator. (DD)
I have no care to surmise how Hume might react today, but my jaw almost dropped when I read that statement, the last seven words in particular. Although I'll certainly wait to hear any case, don't be surprised if "Big Bang eliminates the possibility of a Creator" makes its way into the False Arguments series. By all means, DD or anyone, show me your reasoned arguments demonstrating how the Big Bang "eliminates the possibility of a Creator." I find that a very disturbing argument, one that bastardizes science to bolster skepticism, as equally disturbing as any argument that bastardizes science to bolster religion.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but most skeptics do not accept the First Cause argument. If we can't say the Big Bang proves a Creator, how can we say it eliminates the possibility of a Creator?