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it's not a miracle

From time to time the media present us with reports of 'miracles': the most recent is probably that of the 9-year-old Dutch boy who was the sole survivor of a plane crash in Libya. Frankly I would have thought it more miraculous if everyone on board had survived... But anyway, 'miracles' are often presented in the context of medicine. The thing is - they aren't the result of some miraculous intervention, but of the skill & dedication of a whole range of medical practitioners (surgeons, nurses, anaesthetists, oncologists; the list goes on).

Why are some people so ready to ascribe these outcomes to some other cause?

 

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7 Comments

As you know, no amount of evidence is enough to persuade some people from believing the supernatural as the default explanation. It's often God, not the highly trained medical professionals who get the credit, or in the case that the skills of the doctors etc are recognised, "it was god working through them". It would seem that doctors and science can take care of the small stuff, but when something extraordinary is done, God must have taken over.

I was thinking the same thing regarding the plane crash survivor. By the way, aren't miracles usually considered a positive event? Losing one's entire family just seems like an extremely bad day, especially when taking into account the billions of people who had an uneventful day.

It reminds me of Richard Dawkins' documentary 'The Root of All Evil?" where he visits Lourdes to investigate if miracles really are being performed. When asked how many miracles have been performed over the years, the priest says 66. At a rate of 80,000 visitors a year coming to Lourdes for over a century, the statistics speak for themselves. I have to laugh when Dawkins notes that there has never been a miraculous regrowing of a severed leg, the miracle cures are always things that have a possibility of getting better anyway.

Yes, I've often wondered about instances where someone is the sole survivor of an horrific event & goes on to describe this as a miracle. It's even worse when they say that God must have had something special in mind for them. So what was so bad about those who died, that their God didn't view them has having a 'special' future?

I had a problem with a retina being torn in a couple of places. They put the gas bubble in and I got the major tear back in place. They stitched it down with lasers. They scheduled me for an operation to fix the other tear because, they said, I could not get it back in place with the bubble. The operation got delayed. I got to thinking, why can I not get the bubble in position to push this tear back in place? So I hung off the edge of the bed with my head at a funny angle for a number of hours. Nest day, I went by to check in with my doctor on the way to the hospital. He examined me, and said, "It is a miracle, your detachment is back in place, cancel the operation." They lasered me and that was that.

the most recent [report of a miracle] is probably that of the 9-year-old Dutch boy who was the sole survivor of a plane crash in Libya

Don't be a pessimist! The glass is 0.6% full!

Did you point out the inaccuracy of the conclusion to which he'd jumped?

Ha! What about the 'miracle on the Hudson', where a passenger plane lost power & the pilot guided it to a (splash)landing in the Hudson River?

It reminds me a bit of when I broke my back in London in 2006 - I crushed a vertebrae requiring two weeks in hospital (one week lying flat on my back waiting for surgery), major surgery to attach metal rods to my spine, a long, slow recovery process, a fairly impressive scar, and a cancelled holiday home to New Zealand.

And most people's reaction? "Gosh, you were lucky"!! LOL.

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  • Renee: It reminds me a bit of when I broke my read more
  • Alison Campbell: Ha! What about the 'miracle on the Hudson', where a read more
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  • herr doktor bimler: the most recent [report of a miracle] is probably that read more
  • Jim Thomerson: I had a problem with a retina being torn in read more
  • Alison Campbell: Yes, I've often wondered about instances where someone is the read more
  • David: As you know, no amount of evidence is enough to read more