A miracle is a violation of the laws of nature; and as a firm and unalterable experience has established these laws, the proof against a miracle, from the very nature of the fact, is as entire as any argument from experience can possibly be imagined. Why is it more than probable, that all men must die; that lead cannot, of itself, remain suspended in the air; that fire consumes wood, and is extinguished by water; unless it be, that these events are found agreeable to the laws of nature, and there is required a violation of these laws, or in other words, a miracle to prevent them? Nothing is esteemed a miracle, if it ever happen in the common course of nature... There must, therefore, be a uniform experience against every miraculous event, otherwise the event would not merit that appellation. And as a uniform experience amounts to a proof, there is here a direct and full proof, from the nature of the fact, against the existence of any miracle; nor can such a proof be destroyed, or the miracle rendered credible, but by an opposite proof, which is superior.
If you had come to me a hundred years ago, do you think I should have dreamed of the telephone? Why, even now I cannot understand it! I use it every day, I transact half my correspondence by means of it, but I don’t understand it. Thnk of that little stretched disk of iron at the end of a wire repeating in your ear not only sounds, but words—not only words, but all the most delicate and elusive inflections and nuances of tone which separate one human voice from another! Is not that something of a miracle?
Sometimes we can literally count the number of ways you can reshuffle a series of bits - as with a pack of cards, for instance, where the 'bits' are the individual cards.
Suppose the dealer shuffles the pack and deals them out to four players, so that they each have 13 cards. I pick up my hand and gasp in astonishment. I have a complete hand of 13 spades! All the spades.
I am too startled to go on with the game, and I show my hand to the other three players, mowing they will be as amazed as I am.
i of the other players lays his cards on the table, and the gasps of astonishment grow with each hand. Every one of them has a Z perfect' hand: one has 13 hearts, another has 13 diamonds, and the last one has 13 clubs.
Would this be supernatural magic? We might be tempted to think so. Mathematicians can calculate the chance of such a remarkable deal happening purely by chance. It turns out to be almost impossibly small: 1 in 536,447,737,765,488,792,839,237,440,000. I'm not sure I would even know how to say that number! If you sat down and played cards for a trillion years, you might on one occasion get a perfect deal like that. But - and here's the thing - this deal is no more unlikely than every other deal of cards that has ever happened! The chance of any particular deal of 52 cards is 1 in 536,447,737,765,488,792,839,237,440,000 because that is the total number of all possible deals. It is just that we don't notice any particular pattern in the vast majority of deals that are made, so they don't strike us as anything out of the ordinary. We only notice the deals that happen to stand out in some way.