Charles Babbage is widely known as the father of the computer, but he is lesser known for his contributions to natural theology and apologetics. In 1837 Babbage wrote the Ninth Bridgewater Treatise in response to a series of writings concerning faith and science that had been commissioned by the Royal Society. Among the remarkable features of the Ninth Bridgewater are mathematical analogies concerning the miraculous. We will explore these ideas, which range from the difference engine to a family of fourth degree curves, illustrating that for Babbage, miracles are not exceptions to natural law, but rather instances of a larger pattern. In addition we will see how Babbage employed probability to refute Hume’s argument against miracles.
Taylor, Courtney K., "Charles Babbage and Mathematical Aspects of the Miraculous" (2019). ACMS Conference Proceedings 2019. 17.
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