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True2Ourselves Forums   > Community Topics > Christianity & Science  > Miracle in St. Louis?

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  #1  
Old 07-18-2010, 03:36 PM
Giuliano
 
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Default Miracle in St. Louis?

I wasn't sure which forum was appropriate and decided since this confounds our current scientific understanding of how things work, I would put it here.

The evidence looks pretty good if the newspapers are accurate. I found this at the St. Louis Today website (more details at sltoday.com).


The news from doctors was all bad: Surgery would kill her. So would the cancer, in weeks or months, depending on which organ the cancer struck first. No one had survived a recurrence of this cancer after a stem cell transplant.

But she lived weeks, months, a year. Scans showed her tumor, which she named Spanky, wasn't growing as expected.

Eventually a surgeon removed the tumor and found it was dead.

"It was pretty astounding," her oncologist told the Post-Dispatch last year.
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  #2  
Old 07-18-2010, 07:59 PM
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Default Re: Miracle in St. Louis?

Google 'Spontaneous Remission' and then get back to me.
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  #3  
Old 07-18-2010, 08:07 PM
Giuliano
 
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Default Re: Miracle in St. Louis?

I already knew about spontaneous remission. I swear I did!

Wikipedia has this to say:

"Everson and Cole offered as explanation for spontaneous regression from cancer: "In many of the collected cases ... it must be acknowledged that the factors or mechanisms responsible for spontaneous regression are obscure or unknown in the light of present knowledge. However, in some of the cases, available knowledge permits one to infer that hormonal influences probably were important. ... In other cases, the protocols strongly suggest that an immune mechanism was responsible" [4]. Challis and Stam in 1989, even more at a loss, survey "In summary, we are left to conclude that, although a great number of interesting and unusual cases continue to be published annually, there is still little conclusive data that explains the occurrence of spontaneous regression."

In other words: We don't know! You asked me to google "we don't know." Now how scientific is slapping a fancy term like "spontaneous remission" on ignorance?

Having studied many subjects, some of which seem to alarm some respectable people, I think I have a reasonable explanation -- but that's not the point here. My theories don't matter.

Last edited by Giuliano : 07-18-2010 at 08:28 PM.
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  #4  
Old 07-18-2010, 09:51 PM
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Default Re: Miracle in St. Louis?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Giuliano View Post
In other words: We don't know!
That’s it! That’s the whole point. Lack of a current explanation does not equal God.

One of the points that I make when people deny evolution is that it belittles their faith. It’s denying the undeniable. As Augustine said in regard to science in general:

Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn.

The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men.

If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason?


I think he meant me when he said infidel...

But I put miracles in the same basket, with the exception that for miracles, the truth of the matter is not so apparent. But you are surely taking a huge risk putting all your eggs in that same basket, because if an explanation is found, then that’s enough to cast doubts on the whole edifice.
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  #5  
Old 07-18-2010, 10:28 PM
Giuliano
 
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Default Re: Miracle in St. Louis?

The Vatican takes great pains nowadays not to admit "miracles" too easily. They exhaust every possibility they can think of. They don't call the fellow in charge of playing skeptic the "Devil's Advocate" anymore but they do it.

Their "theory" isn't that bad. If someone thinks someone is holy, he can ask that person for help. If the prayer is answered and it looks as if a miracle has occurred, then experts are consulted and all other explanations looked at. If nothing else can explain it, it is not implausible to suppose that the prayer to the person was answered.

Nor is only one "miracle" enough to declare someone a saint. Rome is more stringent in its standards than that. It's got to be more than one. I think that's a pretty good way of going about it. It's almost scientific -- I say almost because it's not entirely a repeatable experiment because no two cases are identical. Nevertheless when one looks at the probabilities involved, it's a good procedure.

As Sherlock Holmes put it, "Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth." Still I think there are explanations for this kind of thing -- some involve the intervention of saints and some do not. I say that having seen some saints and talked to them -- you haven't had that experience. I can't expect to operate on my experiences. Now if you could jump inside my mind and know I was telling the truth, that would be another matter.

I have no real explanations for some of the miracles however -- like the child born deaf who was healed after prayers were made to Mother Drexel. I have one for spontaneous remission of cancer. The big problem with science today is that it relies so heavily on the theory of materialism -- it is a theory, you know.
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  #6  
Old 07-19-2010, 10:56 PM
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Default Re: Miracle in St. Louis?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad View Post
That’s it! That’s the whole point. Lack of a current explanation does not equal God.
But by the same token it does not equal "not God." What is the point with evolution? To deny the undeniable? Then to deny the undeniable that some things defy all natural explanation is likewise simply absurd. Your faith is that it is "not God." Why is that more plausible than that it is God? As Giuliano points out, the Vatican goes to painstaking lengths to prove that something is not from God. That is its default position! It assumes that something has a natural explanation and then, exausting all natural explanations, it may consider it to be a miracle, although even further examination is required after this. As for Orthodox, for example, after the appearance of one miraculous icon streaming myrrh, the icon was sealed in a tall glass case and still continue to drip myrrh onto the floor for a month and a half, in the witness of thousands, who for weeks endlessly line up to collect some of it. I myself also beheld another myrrhstreaming icon in a locked church toward midnight some years ago. It simply continue to trickle from the eyes. No one was adding to it--it simply "cryed" myrrh. I myself am of a scientific thought process and skeptical, but saw it and examined it for myself.
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Old 07-19-2010, 11:55 PM
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Default Re: Miracle in St. Louis?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linsinbigler View Post
But by the same token it does not equal "not God."...Your faith is that it is "not God." Why is that more plausible than that it is God?
No, I am emphasising the ‘We don’t know’ part. That’s my default position. And from that position it’s impossible to then accept a statement: ‘Therefore it definitely was God’.

If you could accept that, then you can insert God as an explanation for anything and everything, in which case miracles are nothing out of the ordinary. The very fact that they are treated as something special reflects the fact that…we don’t know the cause. Then go back to line one.

There was a dramatised documentary on the ABC a few nights back. An Aussie had got himself lost in the jungle in Laos, not very far from a small village. They searched for him for days but after the monsoon started after 6or 7 days, they thought to give up. It was hopeless. No-one could have survived.

By they checked with the local shaman and he did whatever local shamans do to get in touch with his particular deity and told the locals he would be found on the eleventh day. Due to an amazing series of coincidences the ambassador in the capital was able to get a helicopter in for 3 or 4 hours in a break in the weather, mainly to see if they could find the body. As you’d guess, they found him, barely alive, on the morning of the eleventh day.

We were party to all the events that led him to be found, but the locals weren’t. They thought, therefore, that their spirit gods, or whoever they believed in, had performed a miracle. But we know better, don’t we. We know that would be silly.
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  #8  
Old 07-20-2010, 03:23 AM
Giuliano
 
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Default Re: Miracle in St. Louis?

If the canonization process can be doubted, we should doubt the medical profession even more!

Consider the case of Amy Wall, who was diagnosed as having nerve deafness as a child. Her parents prayed to Mother Drexel and the child began hearing. No joke. Was it a miracle or just scientific medical diagnosis gone horribly wrong? Are our physicians no better than voodoo doctors?

I don't trust medical doctors entirely; but I don't doubt the diagnosis. Could there be some obscure explanation? I guess so, but it seems reasonable to me that a miracle occurred. Let's be practical: What worked? What got results?

Could I be wrong? Maybe, but I think the odds are a miracle occurred.

Last edited by Giuliano : 07-20-2010 at 03:29 AM.
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  #9  
Old 07-20-2010, 07:54 AM
CatholicCrusader
 
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Default Re: Miracle in St. Louis?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad View Post
That’s it! That’s the whole point. Lack of a current explanation does not equal God........
Not neccessarily regarding this particular topic, but in general, a "miracle" is not just something that lacks a current explanation. Technically, a miracle is something that happens in violation of the laws of the physical world. (An extreme example would be Moses parting the Red Sea.)

As for this, lack of a current explanation may not equal God, but it leaves open the possibility. If I stipulate that it may not be a miracle of God, would you stipulate that it could be a miracle of God?

Its a two way street: Since you have no explanation, you cannot rule out any possibility.

Last edited by CatholicCrusader : 07-20-2010 at 10:40 AM.
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  #10  
Old 07-20-2010, 10:20 AM
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Default Re: Miracle in St. Louis?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad View Post
No, I am emphasising the ‘We don’t know’ part. That’s my default position. And from that position it’s impossible to then accept a statement: ‘Therefore it definitely was God’.
Right, but no one is arguing that point. If, on the other hand, it is verifiably extra-physical--beyond the laws of physics, then it is by definition super-natural. In such a case God certainly is a more plausible explanation than to argue that the well-principled forces of the universe decided on their own to depart for a moment so that said subject is alone not subject to such physical laws for a short time. In other words, having something intelligent that acts in such a way is more plausible than non-intelligent matter to randomly choose to take a power that it does not have: to depart from the laws of physics.
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