C.S Lewis on the Uniformity of Nature

“Unless Nature always goes on in the same way, the fact that a thing had happened ten million times would not make it a whit more probable that it would happen again. And how do we know the Uniformity of nature? A moment’s thought shows that we do not know it by experience. We observe many regularities in Nature. But of course all the observations that men have made or will make while the race lasts cover only a minute fraction of the events that actually go on. Our observations would therefore be of no use unless we felt sure that Nature when we are not watching her behaves in the same way as when we are: in other words, unless we believed in the Uniformity of Nature. Experience therefore cannot prove uniformity, because uniformity has to be assumed before experience proves anything. And mere length of experience does not help matters. It is no good saying, ‘Each fresh experience confirms our belief in uniformity and therefore we reasonably expect that it will always be confirmed;’ for that argument works only on the assumption that the future will resemble the past- which is simply the assumption of Uniformity under a new name.”

Lewis, Miracles chapter entitled “On Probability,” p. 102

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