Personal causation

Suppose someone asks me, "Why are all your paintings in the corner of the living room?"

If I respond, "I put them there because I am intending to paint the walls," few people would think that I am claiming to have done something magical that violated the laws of physics. Rather, the laws of physics were an integral part of my being able to do what I did: if physical objects did not reliably follow such laws, I would have no idea how to act in regards to them in achieving my goals.

But when someone says something like, "It is a blessing that I recovered from my illness: God must've been looking after me," many people do assume that there is an assertion of some violation of natural law involved. This is a very strange double standard. (I take the point I am making here to be much the same one Bob Murphy has made a number of times in his posts concerning miracles.)


  1. There's a difference between a blessing and a miracle, and likewise a difference between expressing your belief that you have been the recipient of your god's mercy and asserting you are proof that your atheist interlocutor is thus refuted.
    These are ways your argument differs from Murphy's.


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