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 bwena
Joined: 2/5/2012
Msg: 1
How does science account for miracles?Page 1 of 4    (1, 2, 3, 4)
What do you think the scientific explaination is for miracles? For the sake of discussion, lets just agree they exist. I don't want a discussion about how miracles don't happen. For instance, someone who's MRI of a brain tumor suddenly dissapears 3 weeks after it was found? And the doctors cannot find an explaination.
 FrogO_Oeyes
Joined: 8/21/2005
Msg: 2
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How does science account for miracles?
Posted: 3/3/2012 8:36:46 PM
Science does not deal with "miracles". Science can only address specific, measurable and testable observations. For the specific case you use as an example, in the absence of any other evidence, there are multiple possibilities: most obviously, the original conclusion of "tumor" was in error. The cause of that error could be misreading of the MRI data, or problem with the machine or its recording devices. It could be that the "tumor" was in fact something else, which subsided or disappeared on its own or by normal body processes in the intervening period. The only SCIENTIFIC explanation possible would be one which examined the specific evidence involved - no such explanation is possible by way of an hypothetical discussion here because there just isn't anything useful to test in a scientific manner. That likely applies virtually across the board for "miracles". Scientifically speaking, they just don't happen, and classification of ANYTHING as miraculous is purely a layperson's conclusion, not a scientific one.
 Kings_Knight
Joined: 1/20/2009
Msg: 3
How does science account for miracles?
Posted: 3/3/2012 10:12:16 PM

" ... What do you think the scientific explaination is for miracles? ... "


No explanation is possible since 'miracles' are not reproducible, are not testable, are not able to be dealt with empirically, and are therefore outside the purview of science. Science and 'miracles' are mutually exclusive, because cience deals with facts and reproducible results. 'Miracles' require nothing more than faith and belief ... I'd include 'gullibilty', but some would say that's just gilding the lily. Leave science to scientists and 'miracles' to faith healers.
 jay.m83
Joined: 5/18/2011
Msg: 4
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How does science account for miracles?
Posted: 3/3/2012 10:27:12 PM
2 words "confirmation bias"
 Yule_liquor
Joined: 12/7/2011
Msg: 5
How does science account for miracles?
Posted: 3/3/2012 10:42:03 PM

For instance, someone who's MRI of a brain tumor suddenly dissapears 3 weeks after it was found? And the doctors cannot find an explaination.


with science, you can only make observations and assessments of what is there. Science cannot tell you why something grows or recedes without any interventions being done. With that I'll also say that there have been reports of seemingly "incurable" conditions that have resolved or disappeared unexplanably; but that is where science ceases. Whether or not it can be viewed as a "miracle" is strictly up to the individual.
 veevee
Joined: 2/14/2006
Msg: 6
How does science account for miracles?
Posted: 3/4/2012 1:21:37 AM
Considering the manner of your post and that these things were found with a 3 minute search online showing that we still have an immune system even with a tumor, it's pretty much settled that it's not an impossibility. Our immune system can attack anything and sometimes it can't fight back - sometimes we attack the wrong things and you get people with anaphylactic reaction while others don't experience that for the same encounter. Everyone's body becomes its own little environment and we don't all react the same to everything. Sometimes what some bodies can do seems like fluke behavior. How do some people smoke 50+ years and never get hurt by it by other people are mortally afraid of just their second hand smoke. Long ago I got prescribed penicillin for strep throat and broke out all over - since then I have to say I'm allergic. Are you allergic or are we... different.

http://www.medhelp.org/posts/Neurology/Can-a-pituitary-tumor-just-disappear/show/1630294
http://www.montrealgazette.com/health/Some+breast+cancer+tumours+simply+vanish+study/5862577/story.html
http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2009/0302/074_cancer_miracles.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/27/health/27canc.html?_r=1

Why does castor oil remove warts on some people and others not. Why does HPV come and go in lots of people. Why does a cow licking a bald head grow hair for one guy - ok I saw that one in a grocery store line magazine cover - probably fake but he might think it works - see placebo.
 nipoleon
Joined: 12/27/2005
Msg: 7
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How does science account for miracles?
Posted: 3/4/2012 1:55:13 AM
There are lots of things which happen which can't be presently explained by science.
That doesn't make them miracles.

There are also lots of miraculous things which are perfectly explainable.
That doesn't make them less wonderful.
 lyingcheat
Joined: 9/13/2009
Msg: 8
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How does science account for miracles?
Posted: 3/4/2012 3:08:50 AM

What do you think the scientific explaination is for miracles? For the sake of discussion, lets just agree they exist. I don't want a discussion about how miracles don't happen. For instance, someone who's MRI of a brain tumor suddenly dissapears 3 weeks after it was found? And the doctors cannot find an explaination.

If a 'miracle' is defined as - "A highly improbable or extraordinary event, development, or accomplishment", which is the only definition that leaves room for discussion, then the fact that the person got a brain tumour in the first place probably qualifies as one.

Car crashes would all be miracles too, since the series of events that lead up to (most of) them are improbable in the extreme. Fatal car crashes, being a subset, are even more miraculous.

I don't see how some of the things that are classed as 'miracles' though really can be... for instance when some disaster strikes an area wiping out vast numbers of people, like the Haiti earthquake, and some people survive. That doesn't seem particularly miraculous to me because there usually are survivors. It would be more miraculous if everyone in Haiti had been obliterated.

So really, the 'scientific explanation' for 'miracles' must come from branches of science as diverse as bio-mechanics, plate tectonics, and engineering, but perhaps mostly from areas like statistics, probability, and maths?
 IgorFrankensteen
Joined: 6/29/2009
Msg: 9
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How does science account for miracles?
Posted: 3/4/2012 6:47:22 AM

What do you think the scientific explaination is for miracles? For the sake of discussion, lets just agree they exist. I don't want a discussion about how miracles don't happen. For instance, someone who's MRI of a brain tumor suddenly dissapears 3 weeks after it was found? And the doctors cannot find an explaination.


Sorry OP, but you have set up a self-contradictory thread. "Scientific Explanation" is not compatible with "miracles."

Therefore, you have done the equivalent of declaring "Lets agree for the sake of this thread, that Red is Identical to Blue. How then does Science explain this, in light of red and blue being decidedly different colors?"

It's a nonsense post.

As for the exact example you used, Science is entirely comfortable with being unable to explain things immediately, without having to conclude that the reason is that "magic is real." In fact, most of what science has managed to turn from magic, into daily solutions to small problems in our lives, has been because they refused to stop with an explanation of "it's a miracle!", and instead pursued the mystery, until they found how to make the "miracle" happen on cue, for anyone.
 bwena
Joined: 2/5/2012
Msg: 10
How does science account for miracles?
Posted: 3/4/2012 7:41:12 AM
Thanks all for your thoughts. I don't have any rebuttle, I was just wondering how scientific minded people respond to things that appear to be miracles. Things that can't be explained by current science. I wonder if quantum physics will be able to explain things like that as we learn more.
 Aristotle_Amadopolis
Joined: 12/8/2011
Msg: 11
How does science account for miracles?
Posted: 3/4/2012 7:48:27 AM

What do you think the scientific explaination is for miracles? For the sake of discussion, lets just agree they exist. I don't want a discussion about how miracles don't happen. For instance, someone who's MRI of a brain tumor suddenly dissapears 3 weeks after it was found? And the doctors cannot find an explaination.

That is easy.

Things that are beyond our explanations are not miracles, they are merely things that are beyond our explanation.


With respect to the human body, we only know what we know and have yet to understand what we do not know and things we do not know are just that, things we do not know and nothing more.
 internetdatinglol
Joined: 5/17/2007
Msg: 12
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How does science account for miracles?
Posted: 3/4/2012 7:54:29 AM
I would argue that misdiagnosis was the cause of the miracle you outlined in your first post.
Show me a guy that regrows a limb and you will have a true miracle. Tumors go into spontaneous remission all the time.
 bwena
Joined: 2/5/2012
Msg: 13
How does science account for miracles?
Posted: 3/4/2012 5:48:36 PM
^^^^^^So, if you witnessed something that appeared to be a miracle... what would you call it? People get caught up in the wording of things and miss the content. What do you think when things that shouldn't be able to happen, do?
 HalftimeDad
Joined: 5/29/2005
Msg: 14
How does science account for miracles?
Posted: 3/4/2012 6:19:28 PM
Spontaneous remissions happen. They are rare, but they're not miracles.

We all get cancerous cells all the time. Our natural defences take them out. Sometimes the tumours don't get stopped. And, very occasionally, our defences will kick in after they've grown into an observable tumour.

But again, that's not a miracle.
 bwena
Joined: 2/5/2012
Msg: 15
How does science account for miracles?
Posted: 3/4/2012 7:04:47 PM
I have experienced something that seems remarkable and not at all possible, but it is of a personal nature. I'm sure I'm not the only one. I just wondered if others have pondered over this type of issue.
 lyingcheat
Joined: 9/13/2009
Msg: 16
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How does science account for miracles?
Posted: 3/4/2012 7:42:14 PM

I have experienced something that seems remarkable and not at all possible, but it is of a personal nature.
(my emphasis)

By definition, since it happened, it is 'possible'. Highly improbable things happen all the time.

On a personal note - I'd advise against sharing personal anecdotes as 'evidence' of anything (in a science forum) unless you're prepared to have them shredded and dismissed as of no consequence.
 kailania
Joined: 4/10/2008
Msg: 17
How does science account for miracles?
Posted: 3/4/2012 11:39:55 PM
what about someone diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
prognosis...possible life in wheelchair.
palsy in all limbs.

a few months later....person no longer needs services of the neurologists and other specialists...no signs of cerebral palsy.
Person goes on to live a normal life for the next 24 years and counting.

what about the pages and pages of diagnostic tests that say the person has c.p.?
what about looking at said person today?
mistake in diagnosis by several specialists?
or miracle?
what?
 Samhein
Joined: 7/20/2010
Msg: 18
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How does science account for miracles?
Posted: 3/5/2012 2:25:21 AM
Anecdotes are not proof of anything.
 lyingcheat
Joined: 9/13/2009
Msg: 19
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How does science account for miracles?
Posted: 3/5/2012 2:46:29 AM

what about someone diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
prognosis...possible life in wheelchair.
palsy in all limbs.

a few months later....person no longer needs services of the neurologists and other specialists...no signs of cerebral palsy.
Person goes on to live a normal life for the next 24 years and counting.

what about the pages and pages of diagnostic tests that say the person has c.p.?
what about looking at said person today?
mistake in diagnosis by several specialists?
or miracle?
what?

This ^^^ illustrates the problem with personal anecdotes... There's not enough information or corroboration to take it seriously. We don't know if a pediatricians ill advised comment 24 years ago has turned into "pages and pages" of diagnostic information by a process of cumulative growth over successive re-tellings. Likewise the claim of "diagnosis by several specialists".
We don't have access to when (what age) the diagnosis was made, nor whether the prognosis was specifically given or is a general forecast about CP. As well, the initial two paragraphs of the quoted post are suspicious as they don't accurately describe what might be expected to be the clinical experience of a family with a young baby suspected of having CP.


Some points to note about CP -

Cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the motor control centers of the developing brain and can occur during pregnancy, during childbirth or after birth up to about age three.

In order to be diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy the damage that occurred to the brain must be non-progressive and not disease like in nature. The manifestation of that damage will change as the brain and body develop, but the actual damage to the brain will not increase.

Treatment in the life of Cerebral Palsy is the constant focus on preventing the damage in the brain to prohibit healthy development on all levels. The brain, up to about the age of 8, is not concrete in its development. It has the ability to re-organize and re-route many signal paths that may have been affected by the initial trauma; the earlier it has help in doing this the more successful it will be.

Various forms of therapy are available to people living with Cerebral Palsy as well as caregivers and parents caring for someone with this disability. They can all be useful at all stages of this disability and are vital in a person with Cerebral Palsy's ability to function and live more effectively. In general, the earlier treatment begins the better chance children have of overcoming developmental disabilities or learning new ways to accomplish the tasks that challenge them.

Improvements in neonatology, or the medical specialty which is involved with treatment of neonates, have helped reduce the number of babies who develop cerebral palsy.

The effects of cerebral palsy fall on a continuum of motor dysfunction which may range from slight clumsiness at the mild end of the spectrum to impairments so severe that they render coordinated movement virtually impossible at the other end the spectrum.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cerebral_palsy


So, is it a miracle? There's no reason to suppose it is a miracle in the sense of -
A surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is considered to be divine.

Since no evidence has been presented to support the idea of 'divinities', let alone 'divine' intervention.

It might be a 'miracle' in this sense -
A highly improbable or extraordinary event, development, or accomplishment.

But then again... it might be a case of false reporting, a mistake, an inexplicable event, etc etc... There could be any number of 'explanations'.
Assuming that the anecdote has any validity, or solid connection to reality, of course.
 Gwendolyn2010
Joined: 1/22/2006
Msg: 20
How does science account for miracles?
Posted: 3/5/2012 6:34:26 AM
Science says, "This is interesting and 'I' don't understand how this spontaneous cure occurred, but I am going to look for the reason."
 yendor70
Joined: 11/21/2011
Msg: 21
How does science account for miracles?
Posted: 3/5/2012 8:08:17 AM
bwena:
"I have experienced something that seems remarkable and not at all possible, but it is of a personal nature. I'm sure I'm not the only one. I just wondered if others have pondered over this type of issue. "

I think most doctors just label it 'spontaneous remission' or some other catch-all description for their files since there often isn't a feasible explanation. A friend of mine (who is in his seventies and restores old cars for a living) was told to take it easy and enjoy his remaining time since he was diagnosed with severe calcification build-up in his heart and surgery wasn't an option for some reason. He had been feeling ill for awhile and that led him to the doctor. The issue was brought up in his church and they actively prayed for his healing. During later follow-up tests there was no longer any trace of the plaque build-up anymore and his doctor told him to thank god every day because he had been given a new heart. They couldn't rationally explain the remission.

I've read of other miracles as well. I read about a former african islamic man who had late stage aids and was quarantined in a tent left to die. Apparently he had exposed broken sores and the local doctors kept him isolated until he was ready to die. In his own testimony he mentioned a man (who said his name was Jesus) coming in to his tent and telling him that he was going to heal him. The man (who is now a christian) is healed and travels around remote villages preaching the gospel. It's hard to rationally grasp and explain away. He was born into Islam and the penalty for leaving that faith is death.
 Samhein
Joined: 7/20/2010
Msg: 22
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How does science account for miracles?
Posted: 3/5/2012 8:57:56 AM
When God starts curing amputations [a malady he's been permanently quiet about treating], let us know. Until then, some diseases go into remission, some recoveries are sped by positive thought [which prayer can bring], and the rest is anecdotal BS with no basis or validity.

Most 'miracles' are either beating the odds with rational explanations, or false reports of things hoped for.

And, nobody's been 'cured' of AIDS. Not yet. When it happens, we can thank Big Pharma.
 yendor70
Joined: 11/21/2011
Msg: 23
How does science account for miracles?
Posted: 3/5/2012 9:20:09 AM
This link is from CBN which isn't impartial but thought it was worth sharing anyway:
http://www.cbnafrica.org/spirituallife/stories/Sheik_Mohammed.asp
 Titanicrose
Joined: 6/12/2011
Msg: 24
How does science account for miracles?
Posted: 3/5/2012 10:38:48 AM
There is a scientific reason behind everything. It may not be explained right away for there must be studies that have to go into it to understand it. Like the thought many years ago that the world was flat? For years people believed it! I know it is"not a miracle" but a though process I am trying to explain! People believe in miracles because they want to and need to. So there are no miracles at all! Not that knowledge is a miracle, the fact is everything can and will be explained eventually is my "point"! Everything is explainable at some point! To believe otherwise is the notion of "Wanting to believe". So go ahead and want and wish for these things to be true, usually that is what weak minded people need and feel they need subconsciously! Week not to be disrespectful, but people who do not think objectively! Read the philosophy of Ayn Rand, you will get the point!
 bwena
Joined: 2/5/2012
Msg: 25
How does science account for miracles?
Posted: 3/5/2012 10:47:00 AM
Yendor70 Thanks, I'm glad other people are open minded. Even though I like science and read as much as I can, I am open to the fact that we don't know everything. And even though I don't have a PhD, I have my own empirical evidence, which is what brought me to the question. You don't have to be a scientist to have evidence. If I walk outside and snow hits my face, I don't need a meteorologist to tell me its snowing.
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