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Dembski and the Miraculous

Photo: William Dembski, © László Bencze.

Our colleague William Dembski was quoted in a Christmas Eve New York Times essay by Molly Worthen, who teaches history at the University of North Carolina. From, “How Would You Prove That God Performed a Miracle?”:

For now, stories of suffering in this fallen world vastly outnumber reports of miraculous healing; believers must search out God’s power in all these things. William Dembski is a Christian writer and proponent of intelligent design who completed a doctorate in mathematics at the University of Chicago (and later one in philosophy). He is an expert in probability theory, so he is well aware that statistically rare things do happen randomly.

“I believe in miracles, but I think they require scrutiny,” Dr. Dembski told me. “I don’t tend to see things as flamboyant as in the New Testament.” He published a moving account of his family’s disappointment at a healing revival, where he sought prayer for his autistic son. “There can be quite a bit of self-delusion on the part of people looking for miracles, and it troubles me,” he said.

Dr. Dembski’s family has learned to look for the miraculous in everyday loving encounters, like when a teacher’s aide made it her mission to help his son learn to use the bathroom on his own. “His life is so much better because of this person who wouldn’t give up on him,” he said. “It was no miracle, in terms of a magic wand that touched him and everything was fine. It was people who were willing to love him and do the hard work.”

That is a wise and beautiful thought. Merry Christmas to all our Christian friends and colleagues and to others who find in the day a touching tribute to faith and miracles.