Argument from incomplete devastation

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Tsunami damage

The argument from incomplete devastation is one of the humorous "Therefore God exists" arguments:

  1. A plane crashed killing 143 passengers and crew.
  2. But one child survived with only third-degree burns.
  3. Therefore, God exists.

This argument relies on cherry picking — i.e., counting the hits and forgetting the misses. The survival of a lucky few is sometimes referred to as a miracle. The fact that someone survived a tragedy against all odds is taken as evidence of God's existence. The fact that many others perished in the same event is not taken as evidence against the existence of God.

The argument is a form of argument from observed miracles.

"Only the atheist realizes how morally objectionable it is for survivors of a catastrophe to believe themselves spared by a loving God while this same God drowned infants in their cribs."

Sam Harris

See also

v · d Arguments for the existence of god
Anthropic arguments   Anthropic principle · Natural-law argument
Arguments for belief   Pascal's Wager · Argument from faith · Just hit your knees
Christological arguments   Argument from scriptural miracles · Would someone die for a lie? · Liar, Lunatic or Lord
Cosmological arguments   Argument from aesthetic experience · Argument from contingency · Cosmological argument · Fine-tuning argument · Kalam · Leibniz cosmological argument · Principle of sufficient reason · Unmoved mover · Why is there something rather than nothing?
Majority arguments   Argument from admired religious scientists
Moral arguments   Argument from justice · Divine command theory
Ontological argument   Argument from degree · Argument from desire · Origin of the idea of God
Dogmatic arguments   Argument from divine sense · Argument from uniqueness
Teleological arguments   Argument from design · Banana argument · 747 Junkyard argument · Laminin argument · Argument from natural disasters
Testimonial arguments   Argument from observed miracles · Personal experience · Argument from consciousness · Emotional pleas · Efficacy of prayer
Transcendental arguments   God created numbers · Argument from the meaning of life
Scriptural arguments   Scriptural inerrancy · Scriptural scientific foreknowledge · Scriptural codes
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