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Show ALL Forums  > Science/philosophy  > How does science account for miracles?      Home login  
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 nipoleon
Joined: 12/27/2005
Msg: 46
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How does science a ccount for miracles?Page 3 of 4    (1, 2, 3, 4)
Just because we don't understand something, doesn't make it a miracle.

I'm perfectly willing to accept the possibility that God exists and created the universe.

But, if a perfect God created a perfect universe, then what need is there for God to constantly tamper with it ?
There shouldn't be any need for miracles.

If the universe constantly needs God's interference, then it's not a perfect universe and God isn't perfect either.
 null_locus_accede
Joined: 6/25/2011
Msg: 47
How does science a ccount for miracles?
Posted: 3/14/2012 4:05:20 AM
Unpredictable, unexplainable behaviour can be exhilarating to behold.
Just need to find your buffer.
Coddling insecurity is not worth it when one's receptivity is at stake.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GiBr_jctVmk&t=42s
 crguy43
Joined: 2/14/2011
Msg: 48
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How does science a ccount for miracles?
Posted: 3/14/2012 9:02:46 AM
Many people here seem to think that belief in God precludes unbiased scientific inquiry into the nature of things. That's a non-sequitur, and can only be attributed to anti-theistic bias.

God--if he exists, and I'm a believer--established the physical laws by which the cosmos operates. Could he break them? (Miracles?) Of course. An omniscient, omnipotent God could do whatever he liked. But having established the rules, he has very little motivation to interfere with them except in unusual situations where he might seize a "teachable moment" for his sentient creations.

The atheists in the scentific community--and there are more believers in that community than many people might think--continually beat on the dead horse of evolution as their weapon to put down those they see as ignorant members of the great unwashed, arrogantly styling themselves as the sole keepers of the truth, an elite cognoscenti.

Problem is, that doesn't work. I have no problem with evolution, nor do the great majority of believers. We lack the arrogance of all too many scientists, and don't presume to tell God how to do his job. Ditto in regard to the Big Bang, String Theory, Branes, or whatever theory might explain the creation and mechanics of the universe, because to us, they all stem from the God, the Creator and Overmind.

There is nothing more inherently logical about Hawking's cobbled-together version (Roger Penrose's opinion too, not just mine) that the unverse sprang into being randomly out of nothing than in believing in a Creator. In fact, if anything, the latter is the less counterintuitive.
 bwena
Joined: 2/5/2012
Msg: 49
How does science a ccount for miracles?
Posted: 3/14/2012 9:51:18 AM
Well said crguy43! I am actually agnostic. I believe that we just do not know everything. Science is great, but it does not explain how it all started... and that is what keeps me always in wonder of what we have yet to learn.
 rearguard*2
Joined: 2/8/2008
Msg: 50
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How does science a ccount for miracles?
Posted: 3/14/2012 11:39:48 AM
Why, exactly, did it all have to have started? That single idea is at the base of all creationist/religious justifications for God. If, for instance, God can be an eternal being without origin, then why must the universe that we perceive have an origin? The evidence for the idea of the "Big Bang" theory of creation is only the perceived expansion of the universe, and its only a theory that it started with a singularity. Even that theory is fraught with increasing issues regarding the evidence we have, and it is far from the only theory of the universe that has be held, both today and historically.

What is not proven is that the "Big Bang" was the consequence of a singularity in space-time, and it is more and more apparent that the event was probably neither a singularity nor unique.

Discard the idea that the universe has an origin, adopt the view that it is eternal, and you no longer need a creator, creation or any of the religious babble associated with all of those notions.
 lyingcheat
Joined: 9/13/2009
Msg: 51
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How does science a ccount for miracles?
Posted: 3/15/2012 2:13:55 AM

Many people here seem to think that belief in God precludes unbiased scientific inquiry into the nature of things.

Belief in god/gods clearly does, and probably necessarily must, preclude unbiased scientific enquiry into the nature of some things.
Recall not only that science requires hypotheses must be falsifiable, that conclusions should be based on evidence, but also that the experimental results should be repeatable by anyone.
Belief in 'gods' violates all three of those basic tenets.


That's a non-sequitur, and can only be attributed to anti-theistic bias.

hahahaa You are attempting to (wrongly) dismiss a comment you label a "non-sequitur" by using a non-sequitur!
"Anti-theistic bias" is not the only thing that might lead to suspicions about the rationality of god-believing 'scientists'.
For instance, simple commitment to the unaligned foundations of scientific enquiry might lead to doubts about the independence of someone who professes belief in 'gods' in the same way that someone who professes belief in unicorns and/or fairies, which rest on the same evidential foundation as 'gods', might also find themselves regarded with some suspicion.

In other words - belief in 'gods' is irrational, science is based on rationality. No "anti-theistic bias" is required to suspect believers in myth of being irrational and/or therefore incompetent.


God--if he exists, and I'm a believer--established the physical laws by which the cosmos operates. Could he break them? (Miracles?) Of course. An omniscient, omnipotent God could do whatever he liked. But having established the rules, he has very little motivation to interfere with them except in unusual situations where he might seize a "teachable moment" for his sentient creations.

WTF? You not only assume a god exists, you produce out of thin air proclamations about his/her/its motivations and intentions. Where are you getting your information?


The atheists in the scentific community--and there are more believers in that community than many people might think--continually beat on the dead horse of evolution as their weapon to put down those they see as ignorant members of the great unwashed, arrogantly styling themselves as the sole keepers of the truth, an elite cognoscenti.

Evolution and belief in god things are not necessarily connected, so your straw man doesn't really exist. The 'supremacy' of the concept of evolution isn't required to dismiss belief in fairytales.
All that's required is recognition that evidence for deities in general, let alone any particular one, is entirely lacking.

If you claim there's an alternate truth produce the evidence to support it. It's a simple process, yet religion has never been able to achieve it.
What passes for 'evidence' in investigations of alleged 'miracles' is nothing more than anecdote and personal testimony, both of which are invalid in scientific terms.


Problem is, that doesn't work. I have no problem with evolution, nor do the great majority of believers. We lack the arrogance of all too many scientists, and don't presume to tell God how to do his job. Ditto in regard to the Big Bang, String Theory, Branes, or whatever theory might explain the creation and mechanics of the universe, because to us, they all stem from the God, the Creator and Overmind.

Arrogantly smug preaching ^^^ dressed up as humility. pfft.


There is nothing more inherently logical about Hawking's cobbled-together version (Roger Penrose's opinion too, not just mine) that the unverse sprang into being randomly out of nothing than in believing in a Creator. In fact, if anything, the latter is the less counterintuitive.
(my emphasis)
If the concept of a 'creator' is a 'fact' you should have no trouble producing supporting evidence. Yet I see none, only repetitive irrational assertions.
On the other hand... the universe exists, matter exists, energy exists. All demonstrably.

No imaginary friends are required.
 Mr_Celibate
Joined: 2/16/2012
Msg: 52
How does science account for miracles?
Posted: 3/15/2012 11:06:21 AM
This might help clear some of the confusion on this subject.

On the topic of miracles by Father John A. Hardon S.J. :
"In other words, St. Thomas recognizes only one type of miracle in the strict sense of the term: where the effect simply transcends the forces of all created nature, human and angelic. Extraordinary events which appear wonderful to us because the effect transcends the powers of man, are only relative miracles, i.e., relative to our ignorance of supramundane, preternatural powers, like those of the angels and demons."

So not all extraordinary healings and events are miracles in the strict sense. They are the work of angelic powers such as, yes, the Devil.

Given God and the events of history we can say that He does not "fool around" or waste His time. A true miracle performed by God (such as the events at Fatima, Portugal in 1917) is easily recognized as such and is always performed to CONFIRM some OTHER thing.
 norwegian1988
Joined: 2/22/2012
Msg: 53
How does science account for miracles?
Posted: 3/15/2012 7:59:20 PM
"Miracles" are just unlikely events where the right data just wasn't collected as it occurred to explain it. Even if you believe in God or anything else, whatever it is that happened still happened in reality, and is therefore capable of being explained. It doesn't need to be any more complex. Even as a Christian I see no reason to treat miracles like magic.

To to answer the question, science has no problem accounting for miracles, since they're no different than any other event that occurs. We as people just can't explain them for lack of proper data or methodology.
 starfishgazer
Joined: 8/6/2011
Msg: 54
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How does science account for miracles?
Posted: 3/16/2012 3:04:58 AM
Miracles are things we do not have the knowledge or awareness to explain!
Miracles happen all the time we just take them for granted like the air we breath
the wonders of nature, survival and human kindness.
Keep your wonder of the universe and 'miracles' are all around and within you.
;)
 Samhein
Joined: 7/20/2010
Msg: 55
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How does science account for miracles?
Posted: 3/16/2012 4:12:09 AM
As long as you wrap them in quote fingers, there aren't any problems ;)
 tronvillain
Joined: 8/19/2006
Msg: 56
How does science account for miracles?
Posted: 3/16/2012 8:03:39 PM
Well, as was pointed out earlier, you can't just assume that miracles exist for a discussion of how science accounts for miracles. Currently, science probably accounts for "miracles" (something that really needs to be defined for an in-depth discussion) as hallucinations, delusion, exaggeration, lies,the placebo effect, misunderstanding probability, and various other natural explanations. If "miracles" not explained by natural causes did occur, then science would have to look further - perhaps there are "natural" causes not yet discovered, perhaps aliens did it, or magic, or psychic power, pyramids, or Thor, or Zeus, or Allah, or Yahweh, and so on through the never ending list of unlikely explanations.
 ImL8
Joined: 2/12/2012
Msg: 57
How does science account for miracles?
Posted: 3/16/2012 9:49:05 PM
Science is the stuff of data, facts, and knowledge.
Miracles are the stuff of belief and faith.
They are mutually exclusive.
 IgorFrankensteen
Joined: 6/29/2009
Msg: 58
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How does science account for miracles?
Posted: 3/17/2012 6:20:27 AM
TRUE SCIENTIFIC EXPLANATION OF THE SOCK 'MIRACLE.'

I posted this elsewhere, but since someone mentioned it, and it is appropriate to this discussion, Ill post it here as well, as a good example of seeming miracles which are not so.


I know where the socks go, that disappear in the laundry. I found some of them that were in "mid-escape."

They are like POW'S in a camp, in WW2. They tunnel their way out of the washing machine.

Most modern washing machines exhausts, no longer flow into a large tub next to the washer, where you can see what comes out. They flow directly into a pipe that goes into the sewer system. The way that washing machines pump the exhaust water out, is with a spinning fan-like rotary device, which pushes the water through a tube out of the washer tub, and into the sewer.

Socks are small enough, that they can make their way into the drain pipe, through the fan-like pump, and thence into the sewer. All of your missing socks, therefore, are not up in heaven waiting for you in Jesus' giant "unmatched sock" drawer, they are instead, keeping the feet of all the sewer alligators warm.

Sewer alligators are not so fashion conscious that they mind the miss matches, besides, they feel it is more terrifying to attack hapless sewer workers wearing multi-colored foot apparel, than a full set of matched footwear would be.
 musicfellow38
Joined: 2/17/2011
Msg: 59
How does science account for miracles?
Posted: 3/17/2012 8:14:40 AM
Science DOES account for miracles and does it just as well as it does for all other phenomena it studies. In fact, in recent studies, the explanations given for many claimed "miracles", ESPECIALLY the ones we are told to ASSUME ARE MIRACLES BEFORE they are studied, are the same scientific explanations given for the question of how Santa Claus manages to fly in a sleigh with over a billion tons of brand named gifts, distribute them to billions of select homes throughout the world, get them down ANY chimney, even if one does not exist, and eat several billion snacks all in one night. Of course, for a proper scientific discussion, we first have to ASSUME that every claim about Santa is TRUE before we try to explain it. No study required there. That's the only way to the truth after all.
 ImL8
Joined: 2/12/2012
Msg: 60
How does science account for miracles?
Posted: 3/17/2012 11:06:51 AM
Again, facts, data, and knowledge are the stuff of science.
Belief and faith are the stuff of miracles.
Whether you believe in miracles or not, these two concepts, science and miracles, facts and beliefs, are incompatible with one another... like oil and water.. they don't mix. The fact that they are incompatible concepts has nothing to do with whether you believe in God/miracles or not. It simply has to do with the meaning of the concepts themselves.
People talk of proof of the existence of God, whether through miracles, or what have you. Where you have proof, you do not have faith. A relationship with God is not about gathering proof. It is about bringing into your life that for which you hope. It is about seeing in life that in which you believe. To put it another way, you frame the world with your beliefs. People are good because you believe in the goodness of people, not because you see proof of that goodness. There is a plan for your life because you believe in the plan, not because you see the pattern of the plan. In the extreme, you don't look for the pattern, because the act of looking for the pattern is a rejection of your beliefs. You can never support beliefs with knowledge. They are incompatible concepts.
In the extreme, trying to "prove" a miracle using science is to utterly reject the very faith that should be the basis of your religion. "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." In the matters of faith, it's not so much do we have the correct answer but rather are we asking the right question, and are we articulating our beliefs in a consistent manner.
Think I've stirred the pot enough?
 musicfellow38
Joined: 2/17/2011
Msg: 61
How does science account for miracles?
Posted: 3/17/2012 11:18:29 AM
ImL8, I have so much to say about this but dont quite have the time right now but I'm confident someone will jump on it sooner than I. Otherwise, I hope to discuss further after lunch.
 musicfellow38
Joined: 2/17/2011
Msg: 62
How does science account for miracles?
Posted: 3/17/2012 2:10:46 PM

Again, facts, data, and knowledge are the stuff of science.
Belief and faith are the stuff of miracles.
Whether you believe in miracles or not, these two concepts, science and miracles, facts and beliefs, are incompatible with one another... like oil and water.. they don't mix. The fact that they are incompatible concepts has nothing to do with whether you believe in God/miracles or not. It simply has to do with the meaning of the concepts themselves.
People talk of proof of the existence of God, whether through miracles, or what have you. Where you have proof, you do not have faith. A relationship with God is not about gathering proof. It is about bringing into your life that for which you hope. It is about seeing in life that in which you believe. To put it another way, you frame the world with your beliefs. People are good because you believe in the goodness of people, not because you see proof of that goodness. There is a plan for your life because you believe in the plan, not because you see the pattern of the plan. In the extreme, you don't look for the pattern, because the act of looking for the pattern is a rejection of your beliefs. You can never support beliefs with knowledge. They are incompatible concepts.
In the extreme, trying to "prove" a miracle using science is to utterly reject the very faith that should be the basis of your religion. "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." In the matters of faith, it's not so much do we have the correct answer but rather are we asking the right question, and are we articulating our beliefs in a consistent manner.
Think I've stirred the pot enough?


lmL8, I can't quite tell if you're being serious or a little playful. Thus, not sure if I disagree with ALL of this or just a little bit. Maybe I'm about to point out the exact point you're trying to more poetically make. If that's the case, then we may be more ont he same page than I thought and if so, feel free to call me out on it. Otherwise, I'm going to point out the obvious.

You seem to be describing what a "delusion" is.



you frame the world with your beliefs. People are good because you believe in the goodness of people, not because you see proof of that goodness. There is a plan for your life because you believe in the plan, not because you see the pattern of the plan. In the extreme, you don't look for the pattern, because the act of looking for the pattern is a rejection of your beliefs. You can never support beliefs with knowledge. They are incompatible concepts.


See what I mean?

Science is the study of ALL REALITY. Anything that falls outside of "reality", by definition, is not REAL. Perhaps you are trying to say that those who insist on using the word "miracle" are not basing their beliefs on reality but instead are changing their view of reality based only on previously held beliefs despite other evidence, and thus making an argument moot, then yes, I agree. and Point well taken even if I was a little thick.

However, anything that is REAL is very much the business of science. Anything "not compatible with science" means it is outside of reality... thus, NOT REAL.

Also, by actual definition, belief and faith are just other words for "trust" for all practical purposes. To say that no faith exists where scientic "proof" does is misunderstanding the meaning of the word. If you meant something else by it, you still used the wrong word and maybe others are too.

I BELIEVE facts because evidence supports them and it's that evidence that convinced me to believe. Beliefs are very much based on knowledge. Its how that knowledge is interpreted that forms beliefs. However, what ACTUALLY happens in many arguments is not someone trying to find out the truth but tries to convince someone to believe something... one tactic is to say they believe it themselves. The things I have FAITH in are things that have evidence to convince me to believe in them, thus producing faith. I can't say for 100% certainty that a dropped item will fall downwards but based on the evidence I've been exposed to, I have FAITH that it will.

If I am playing black jack and need an ace dealt to me next to win but I know that all aces have been dealt already, it would be deluding one's self to up the bet in hopes for a "miracle" for another ace to be dealt. Even if one was, a simple scientific test will would account for it such as an extra ace was in the deck. In either case, science, facts or knowledge are not incompatible or sidestepped or anything, it is simply ignored in favor of proving a different point.

If the point was not to actually win the hand but to show to others the "faith" you have, then goal accomplished perhaps... but it was still a calculated decision based on facts and knowledge. If the goal was to actually win, the the decision was a deluded one. To say miracles are not compatible with science is to say that any card trick that looks like magic is also incompatible with science. Not so. It will only remain to look like magic of science is ignored.
 arwen52
Joined: 3/13/2008
Msg: 63
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How does science account for miracles?
Posted: 3/17/2012 3:07:01 PM

What do you think the scientific explaination is for miracles? For the sake of discussion, lets just agree they exist.


You can't ask what science "thinks" about a subject and then put a very unscientific limitation on it.

You might as well ask, "What does science think about unicorns? For the sake of discussion, let's just agree they exist."

In science, you have to have verifiable evidence. In the case of remission of an illness, you first have to have confirmation that the diagnosis was, in fact, correct to begin with. Besides that, there *are* cases of spontaneous remission of conditions and they occur in both believers and non-believers alike, so one cannot attribute them to the action of a deity in response to a specific request for said deity to temporarily suspend the laws of nature for your personal benefit.

As for other claims of the miraculous - they are usually easily debunked.

Show me an example of a true, verified miracle and we'll talk about it.
 musicfellow38
Joined: 2/17/2011
Msg: 64
How does science account for miracles?
Posted: 3/20/2012 2:22:26 PM

I do believe miracles happen, they are interesting to study as hopefully we can learn from them, but the fact that one has happened is really great regardless.


netgypsyLynn, when you've studied miracles, what qualities have you found that differentiate them from non miracles?

I know that was a smartassy question and I have more respect for you, based on your previous and THIS post to expect you to not see through my tactic, but based on a lot of what you said, I'm kind of surprised you believe in miracles and enjoy studying them... thus, it begs the question so I'll let you answer, and as smartassy as you want right back to me if you'd like.
 ImL8
Joined: 2/12/2012
Msg: 65
How does science account for miracles?
Posted: 3/22/2012 6:37:35 AM
We can debate til the cows come home if we don't agree on some basic definitions. You say "reality" is what science studies and "anything outside of reality, by definition, is not REAL" Your words in quotes. Beg pardon, but this isn't really a definition. It's kind of circular, don't you think. If I use the scientific method to study it then, by definition, it must be real? Or is it real because I use the scientific method to study it. I can make anything "real", according to your definition, simply by studying it.
Here's a couple definitions of reality:
reality (rɪˈælɪtɪ)
— n , pl -ties
1. the state of things as they are or appear to be, rather than as one might wish them to be
4. philosophy
a. that which exists, independent of human awareness
b. See also conceptualism Compare appearance the totality of facts as they are independent of human awareness of them
5. in reality actually; in fact
See how this definition ties reality to facts? Facts being the stuff if science?

And you say you believe because you have evidence, or facts, or reality, to support your beliefs. In my view of the world, that is a small subset of the concept of belief. Here's a definition of belief.
be·lief   [bih-leef] Show IPA
noun
1.something believed; an opinion or conviction: a belief that the earth is flat.
2.confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof: a statement unworthy of belief.
3.confidence; faith; trust: a child's belief in his parents.
4.a religious tenet or tenets; religious creed or faith: the Christian belief.
You see how I can believe the earth is flat with absolutely no evidence supporting that belief? Has nothing to do with reality.
My main point here is that if we can agree on definitions to be used as a standard for our discussion, like those contained in a dictionary, then we might find we all agree with one another to a greater extent than we may suspect otherwise.
Ennyhoo.. My position remains unchanged based on what you posted.
No offense, not a belief, just a fact. ;)
 cathisophobic
Joined: 12/7/2011
Msg: 66
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How does science account for miracles?
Posted: 3/22/2012 1:00:58 PM
For something to be considered a miracle (i.e act of god) it must defy all other explanation. For a tumor disappearing to be a miracle one must assume a few things. Firstly that the MRI functioned correctly, the procedure was correctly conducted, the patient records were not mixed up, and the results were correctly interpreted. Most importantly even if the person has something identified as a tumor it assumes that it is a permanent and irreversible condition. While the doctors may not be able to figure out what happened it does not imply that they only remaining explanation is divine intervention.
 DuncanRnB
Joined: 12/7/2011
Msg: 67
How does science account for miracles?
Posted: 3/22/2012 6:01:21 PM
Thats simple, it's a matter of somthing occuring as a result of pure chance and of which no known scientific answer is currently known.
 musicfellow38
Joined: 2/17/2011
Msg: 68
How does science account for miracles?
Posted: 3/23/2012 2:58:18 PM

We can debate til the cows come home if we don't agree on some basic definitions. You say "reality" is what science studies and "anything outside of reality, by definition, is not REAL" Your words in quotes. Beg pardon, but this isn't really a definition. It's kind of circular, don't you think. If I use the scientific method to study it then, by definition, it must be real? Or is it real because I use the scientific method to study it. I can make anything "real", according to your definition, simply by studying it.


ImL8 , Firstly, I TOTALLY agree with you about the need for definitions before discussion can be productive. Everything you said about definitions are correct... except for your interpretation of my quoted statement above. I wasn't trying to or claiming to define anything. I was stating pretty basic facts though and I'll requote YOU. "You say "reality" is what science studies and "anything outside of reality, by definition, is not REAL" Your words in quotes.".

Yup. that's right. Science studies reality and anything outside of reality is by definition, NOT REAL. I made no connection here that implied that reality is defined by the fact that it is studied by science or anything like that.

First, Anything outside of reality is not REAL. I really dont see how this is confusing or even really debatable. The words are english, the second being the root of the first. "outside of reality" is just another way of saying "not real".

Science studies reality.. that's the intention. Science doesn't "create" reality, reality is not dependant on being studied by science. It's just that science is not concerned with anything "outside of reality".

THIS is where the definitions come in. A really big mistake is labelling something before the definition is in place. In the case of miracle, what seems to be important to some people is the justification of the word "miracle" regardless of what definition is given to it. As long as it supports the belief. Without a proper drfinition though, the question of a miracle's existence is useless. And science doesnt operate that way. It doesnt create a label and then go in search of what it means.

The word hydrogen was not found, leaving us with the puzzle of what it means. The word is a label that is used to symbolize all that is known abotu the element that has been thoroughly studied. It has proper definition and all of that came before the label, not the other way around. You seldom see posts saying " I think hydrogen is the embobyment of all that is love and when it comes in contact with hate, it ignites and burns our reality" or other nonsense people like to say about definitionless labels like miracles, spirits, soul, etc...

In this way, science is concerned with labeling discoveries within "reality" based on all aquired knowledge, not making up words that they eventually hope to discover the definition to.


ImL8 , I dont think we disagree on anything, maybe just an oversight on what ytou thought i meant with my science and reality thing. But we certainly agree on the need for definitions.
 bwena
Joined: 2/5/2012
Msg: 69
How does science account for miracles?
Posted: 3/23/2012 9:51:00 PM
Food for thought:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFxc67bLrW0&feature=related
 nolochemi
Joined: 2/13/2012
Msg: 70
How does science account for miracles?
Posted: 3/23/2012 11:32:37 PM
I find science is only beginning to touch upon the various aspects of the miracle phenomenon ( Im going on the 5 sense observable )

The technology and physics of the past year alone have revealed a closer exciting look at " events " in linear time and light. Across a given scope of time, physics suggests there are many possibilities. Some more probable than others..

So even without delving into the mathmatical and obtuse we can agree were nearer to more conclusive indicators.

I've found from experience a witness' experience create a profound effect on others, enough to create a space for more 'improbable' events.

Keep in mind everything we *pecieve* is merely a symbol of an event, look towards the/an event itself so the " miracle " can unfold a new layer of preception to any symbol. I found this to be the closest I've come to understand miracles.

more: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17980-first-black-hole-for-light-created-on-earth.html
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