Larry Shapiro

The Miracle Myth

Why Belief in the Resurrection and the Supernatural Is Unjustified

Columbia University Press 2016

New Books in ReligionNew Books in Religion & FaithNew Books in SecularismNew Books Network September 26, 2018 Carrie Lynn Evans

There are many who believe Moses parted the Red Sea and Jesus came back from the dead. Others are certain that exorcisms occur, ghosts...

There are many who believe Moses parted the Red Sea and Jesus came back from the dead. Others are certain that exorcisms occur, ghosts haunt attics, and the blessed can cure the terminally ill. Though miracles are immensely improbable, people have embraced them for millennia, seeing in them proof of a supernatural world that resists scientific explanation.

In The Miracle Myth: Why Belief in the Resurrection and the Supernatural Is Unjustified (Columbia University Press, 2016), Professor Larry Shapiro helps us to think more critically about our belief in the improbable, casting a skeptical eye on attempts to justify belief in the supernatural and laying bare the fallacies that such attempts commit. Through arguments and accessible analysis, Larry Shapiro sharpens our critical faculties so we become less susceptible to tales of myths and miracles and learn how, ultimately, to evaluate claims regarding vastly improbable events on our own. Shapiro acknowledges that belief in miracles could be harmless, but cautions against allowing such beliefs to guide how we live our lives. His investigation reminds us of the importance of evidence and rational thinking as we explore the unknown.

Larry Shapiro is professor of philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Besides his occasional inquiry into the status of miracles, he primarily researches philosophy of psychology and philosophy of mind, currently focusing on issues concerning multiple realization and embodied cognition. He is the author of a number of books and the editor of The Routledge Handbook of Embodied Cognition (2014).


Carrie Lynn Evans is a PhD student at Université Laval in Quebec City.