A miracle is best described by examples. If Mary and John and Joseph really came down to appear at a gable wall in Knock in 1879 that is a miracle.

If you want miracles to believe in then using writings decades after the event or writings that may have been tampered with is not now to do it.  And using ones that show signs of tampering is worse.  Most tampering by definition will not be detected.

With the gospels and the depositions of the Knock vision there are clear evidences of interference with the texts.

One thing that makes Knock dubious is the fact that Catholicism does not have the authority which inspires belief.  Its main wonder, the resurrection of Jesus is full of holes and absurdities. 

Miracle itself creates a host of problems.

Suppose we could go back in a time machine to see those who said that Jesus rose from the dead.  For all we know, they might sign.  "You believe that nature is God's instrument.  Do you think that God used unknown natural means to raise Jesus?  Sign if your answer is yes."

Carl Sagan advised that a miracle is a very big claim.  Religion may say a miracle does not overthrow science.  Science says the dead man stays dead.  Religion counters, "We agree.  We would be overthrowing science if we said a miracle is naturally caused.  We say it has a cause outside of and beyond nature."   That is playing with words.  The fact is that if a miracle like that is claimed, all you know is that a man died and is now alive and you have no way to test if this was natural or not. There is more to nature that we will ever know.  So this leaves science unable to be sure if dead men naturally stay dead.  So a miracle is a very big claim even if it is not on the face of it very interesting.  For that reason, Sagan said that extraordinary claims need extraordinary evidence.  He only meant strong evidence.  If all you ask for is hard evidence or evidence of the same standard you need to put a person in jail for murder that is quite ordinary evidence. It is just good evidence.

The seeking of extraordinary evidence for extraordinary claims, whatever it taken to mean, definitely asks for one or more of the following: unbiased evidence, high quality evidence, perhaps a different kind of evidence, and a greater amount of evidence.

It is worried that demanding extraordinary evidence for extraordinary claims creates a standard that no miracle claim could meet. That would be very unfair. But even if a researcher is never happy that does not stop them affirming that there is unbiased evidence and that it is good evidence. It does not stop them offering it. So if you want extraordinary evidence and it is not there then work on what is there anyway.

Extraordinary claims need extraordinary evidence refers to some natural claims. (For example you need great evidence if you want to support your view that a small person managed to overcome and murder a hulking bully with no weapon.)  It always refers to paranormal claims. It always refers to miracle claims. It must not be misrepresented as impossible claims need impossible unattainable evidence. Or as extraordinary or miraculous claims need impossible unattainable evidence. Religions hate the principle and try to gaslight those who sustain it.

An extraordinary claim that Annie whose toe nail came off suddenly gets a new one is indeed extraordinary. But an extraordinary claim that she died and rose from the dead a week later is also extraordinary. But one claim is not as extraordinary as the other. With the first a doctor will demand proof that she did lose her toenail and that she has another re-grown. The extraordinary evidence will consist of a physical inspection before and after.

Richard Packham wrote in 1998,

So does an extraordinary event require extraordinary evidence? If “extraordinary evidence” means “clear and convincing” evidence or evidence “beyond a reasonable doubt”, then the answer is clearly “yes. But that requirement is a statement about the sufficiency of the evidence, not its nature. The evidence itself can be very ordinary, and, in fact, must be (since improbable explanations are inadmissible). But if a miracle really happens, there is no reason why there should not be evidence to prove it.

This is a good quote but I could prefer “no reason why there should not be evidence to establish it.” Talking of proof leads believers to say we are too demanding.

Matson in The Skeptical Review from 1997 tells us wisely, “To win his or her case, the skeptic need only show that the arguments in its favour are not compelling. The skeptic does not have to disprove the claims. The skeptic’s claim is that supernatural miracles and miraculous prophecy should presently be rejected as extremely unlikely, not that they have been proven false beyond any possible doubt”.

From this you see that religionists throwing down the gauntlet to critics are being exploitive.  They are telling critics of their miracle reports to disprove them if they can.  In saying that they are affirming that you need compelling evidence for miracle claims. To say you demand that your miracle story gets disproved to the hilt is admitting the standard of evidence must be very good and very high.

It is not just skeptics then!

Matson might be altered by some as follows. “To win his or her case, the skeptic need only show that the arguments in its favour are not compelling. The skeptic does not have to disprove the claims. The skeptic’s claim is that supernatural miracles and miraculous prophecy should presently be rejected as TOO unlikely, not that they have been proven false beyond any possible doubt”. Religion itself has to agree with this. It is not as strong as the first version where we have EXTREMELY where the TOO is but it does the job. It avoids being accused of being too demanding.

To complain that human nature lies willingly, lies accidentally while being unaware, makes mistakes, has a corruptible memory and so testimony to miracles and the paranormal is thus debatable leaves you open to this accusation. The accusation is, “But if you think that why believe what anybody says? Why believe them that the birthday cake is ready for collection?” The difference is that a miracle is outside of testability so the scope for error, lies and inaccuracy is bigger. The birthday cake is part of a bigger picture where we trust that most ordinary stuff we are told is true. It fits in that wider framework that validates it. It is not the same thing.

Many Christians today aware of the problems of looking or evidence for miracles among other difficulties suggest that if you take the facts about Jesus and his death and supposed return, you find that the resurrection suggestion has enough potential. The suggestion has explanatory scope and is leaving not information out. The suggestion has great explanatory power. After dealing with those you can then ask if the resurrection is at least plausible.

This is a trick for each thing has more than one explanation and we should be told the others but we are only told of their pet one, that Jesus really did rise by the power of God.