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James Randi Educational Foundation

An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural

Introduction | "R" Reading | Curse of the Pharaoh | End-of-the-World Prophecies

Index | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z

Hume, David (1711-1776) A Scottish philosopher who taught that all human thought processes are the product of mechanical/chemical systems in the brain. James Boswell declared him “the greatest writer in Britain,” and in recognition of that fact, the Roman Catholic church in 1761 placed all of his writings on the Index of Forbidden Books.
      Hume's Philosophical Essays Concerning Human Understanding (1748) contained what has become known as his “Essay on Miracles,” in which he stated that because of its definition alone, “a miracle cannot be proved by any amount of evidence.” (The piece was retitled in 1758 “An Essay Concerning Human Understanding.”)
      More frequently, he is quoted as saying:  


      It is more likely that testimony should be false, than that miracles should be true.



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