Miracles?

Yeah, yeah, Brandon made a post with this same title a while back. But mine has a question mark. So it’s different, see? See? Anyway, the subject matter is slightly different and it’s been, like, almost two months. Now that we’ve settled that this is an entirely different post from Brandon’s, we can continue.

What is a miracle?
A miracle is any event that betrays the laws of nature. It is not simply something science has no answer for, but something science and scientific laws explicitly state could not happen. It is a phenomenon which, without “divine guidance,” would otherwise be impossible. A meteor hurtling toward earth and then stopping, abruptly, about a mile before impact is an example of something that betrays the laws of nature and science and could legitimately be called a miracle.

Some people think a miracle is “anything that happens at just the right time when it is not expected.” This is okay, if you’d like to consider every single coincidence or stroke of good fortune a miracle. By that definition, you would say that winning the lottery is a miracle, but it would be one hell of a stretch to call it an act of god, let alone proof for god’s existence.

There are no miracles, ever.
Now that we’ve got that explanation out of the way, I can make my assertion: that there has never in history been such a phenomenon which, by the above definition, would be considered a miracle.

For the record, I should point out again that as an atheist I am prone to disregard the Bible as a factual account of historic events, so using any examples from the Bible would be completely futile. To argue while citing the Bible as proof is to assume the Bible is one hundred percent factual and accurate. That just doesn’t fly with an atheist. To quote Damon Wayons in one of his greatest characters ever, Homey don’t play dat.

Word of mouth also doesn’t count as a legitimate source. If that were the case, I could tell you that I fell from the top of a skyscraper the other day and landed head-first in a garbage bin full of nothing but broken glass and fire ants, yet suffered no injuries whatsoever. And you’d have to believe me. Because you believe personal accounts of miracles.

All that said, you are welcome to provide me with examples of any miracles for which there is not only documentation (from a reputable source) but, ideally, photo and/or video evidence.

Biblical miracles
Even the so-called miracles in the Bible can be more or less explained away by science. It is entirely possible that “back in the day,” natural events happened. God-fearing people did what they did best and feared god. They embellished the natural events in their tales and as they were passed down more and more through the generations, by the time they were written down they had been so embellished they could now be mistaken for miracles.

Look, I realize the Bible is an actual book. It was written by people who believed in the business they were writing down. That doesn’t make it any more accurate, however. While some of the primary parts of the Bible (Jesus, as an example) are clearly sampled from previous religions, I’m sure some parts are simply huge exaggerations of actual events. Fascinating stories require fascinating embellishments in order to be fascinating.

Why do we have fish?

…and other questions about Noah’s flood for the layman.

What did the animals eat?
Sure, Noah took two of every species on his ark. As if that’s not believable enough, how did all the animals survive? Some animals have a very particular diet: they’ll only eat certain plants, grasses, berries, or other animals.

What did the vegetarian animals eat? Did Noah also bring plants, trees, grass, nuts, fruits, and berries on the ark? Did he remember to bring eucalyptus for the koalas and bamboo for the pandas?

What about the carnivores? Surely an animal such as the lion would require more than two antelope to survive for five months. Speaking of that, why do we still have antelope if the lions ate them on the ark?

Did Noah also take fish on the ark with him?
If not, why do we have such an abundance (80%-ish) of sea life on the planet? A worldwide flood that covered the tops of all the mountains would have severely offset the saline level in the ocean, killing all the saltwater species. Likewise, as the ocean’s salt water and the land’s fresh water met and mixed, all of the freshwater species would have died.

We would have a mass extinction of approximately 80% of all life on earth in the geologic record taking place only 6,000 years ago. This is not the case. We would have only very few (if any) species adapted to a strictly aquatic life. As the ocean is earth’s most life-abundant biome, that is clearly also not the case.

Why are there trees?
And grass, and bushes, and ferns? No plant could survive being drowned for five months (fact-check that if you’d like; there may be some that can – I’m no botanist). Unless Noah also included some of every type of vegetation on his cruise, a worldwide flood would have killed off all (or most) of the species of plant life on earth to the point of extinction. And yet in no time at all after the flood waters abated, a raven managed to find an olive tree in bloom. This would not have been the case. Six thousand years is not enough time for all the plant life on earth to re-evolve to where it is now.

Why is there still life?
With all the plant life extinct, all of the vegetarian animals who relied on plants would then go the way of vegetation and sea-life, followed by the carnivores and finally, humans. We’re talking about a global mass extinction here, consisting of 99% of all species on earth. You wouldn’t be here, I wouldn’t be here, the berries that became my coffee wouldn’t be here, there wouldn’t be a beautiful tree standing outside my window, and the lawn wouldn’t be neatly trimmed.

Editor’s note: my wife has explained to me that the animals on Noah’s ark packed their own lunches, and the carnivores depended on a diet of  “tofurkey.