• Jacob-B
    46
    ‘Miracle Cures’

    Hardly anything characterizes the irrational intransigence of the Catholic church than the belief in ‘Miracle Cures’. That belief is an essential element of the canonization process which creates new saints To qualify for sainthood miracle has to occur to a person who prayed to the candidate for sainthood. A Miracle Cure is defined as lasting remission of a terminal disease that can not be explained in terms of existing medical science. It has to be verified by high calibre medical experts. There is little doubt that such remission happens occasionally to people who prayed to a prospective saint. There is no physical mechanism that could explain how the prayer caused the cure so by definition it has to be a ‘miracle’ an event created by a supernatural agent.

    So far so good, but here enters the Black Swan principle. To be absolutely certain that it is indeed a miracle one has to establish that such cures are exclusive to people who pray to prospective saints, It would take just one such cure that is nor a result of a prayer to cast doubt on the connection between the prayer and the cure and bring it down to the level of a pure coincidence. As a matter of fact, puzzling lasting remissions are rare but not unknown and most are not attributed to supplication tor any saint, so the ‘miracle’ claim is unproven by any means.

    However, there is another objectionable side to ‘Miracle Cures’. It concerns the way they are dispensed. Suppose we have two terminally ill individuals namely A and B. Individual A is a brain surgeon whose skills save many lives each year (let’s even assume that he is is a good Catholic). Individual B is an ordinary person, not a bad apple but not an upright citizen.
    To whom of the two should God the merciful dispense his miracle cure. The answer seems obvious, but unfortunately, it is not a matter of deservedness but rather of ‘contacts’, a matter of ‘you have to know who to talk to’. So ‘B’ prays to the prospective saint and is cured, whilst ‘A’ who probably had not even been aware of the beatification process misses out and passes away.

    What we have here is sort of divine nepotism. This practice of favouritism in which idolatry worship of saints and gifts of money are valued above person’s goodness not new to the Catholic church They have their roots in the medieval practice of selling indulgences, and act that triggered the Reformation. It is a sad reflection that whilst the indulgences are things of the past, ludicrous belief in ‘miracle cures’ survived to this day.
  • TheMadFool
    3.8k
    Double the trouble for the Church?

    1. Miracle cures unproven
    2. Divine nepotism

    :rofl:

    By and large "miracle cures" are coincidences within the current knowledge framework. I mean yes, miracle cures are coincidences, causally meaningless, but that doesn't mean they should be dismissed as useless.

    Why?

    Because the first instance/detection of a causal connection will, obviously, look like a coincidence. With no previous records, nothing for comparison, and no knowledge of the mechanism, lacuna in knowledge, we'll be dismissive of real causal connections as coincidences.

    I don't believe in miracle cures but I would very much like to scientists to research cures with an open mind. The benefits are huge and I wanted to say the risks are low but then I thought of how some were publicly humiliated for entertaining a so-called crazy ideas.

    So, basically just like one instance could be coincidence, one coincidence doesn't mean no causation. Something maybe just beginning to enter the causal matrix.

    As you can see, framed in the above context, nepotism may not be "nepotism" per se but a very lucky event in that the person chose the right saint to pray to. I mean choosing antibiotic tablets over sugar tablets is NOT nepotism, is it?
  • alcontali
    474
    A Miracle Cure is defined as lasting remission of a terminal disease that can not be explained in terms of existing medical science. It has to be verified by high calibre medical experts.Jacob-B

    Medical experts have more knowledge about cause-and-effect situations in the human body than people without that training, but their knowledge is still fundamentally limited. They still do not understand the human body to a very important extent.

    You see, a car mechanic can replace the motor in a car and get it work again, because he is in a position that he can possibly understand the construction logic of a car, simply, because it is human-designed technology.

    If you chop off someone's arm, a medical expert cannot fix it by attaching a new arm. He has no access to the construction logic of this non-human technology, and just has to fiddle in the margin, without fundamentally understanding how it works. If they truly understood the technology of the human body, they would be able to attach that new arm.

    In other words, a high-calibre medical expert knows several orders of magnitude less about the human body than a car mechanic about a car.

    The fact that medical science declares a disease to be terminal is merely based on probabilistic black-box heuristics. It is certainly not a fail-safe determination. The fact that something cannot be explained in terms of existing medical science does not necessarily mean that much either.
  • T Clark
    4.1k
    Hardly anything characterizes the irrational intransigence of the Catholic church than the belief in ‘Miracle Cures’.Jacob-B

    Are you discussing this issue as a Christian who disagrees with Church doctrine or as a non-believer who is criticizing an irrational belief? My response would be different depending on which.
  • Jacob-B
    46

    I am a non-believer. I should point out that belief in cures by holy men and holy places exist also among Jews a Moslems but. unlike in Catholicism, they are not sanctioned by mainstream establishments.
  • T Clark
    4.1k
    I am a non-believer. I should point out that belief in cures by holy men and holy places exist also among Jews a Moslems but. unlike in Catholicism, they are not sanctioned by mainstream establishments.Jacob-B

    Just for the record - I don't follow any specific religion and I don't have much in the way of religious belief.

    I asked whether you were a follower because, while it makes sense to me if you are a Catholic to focus on such a narrow doctrinal issue, if you are not, it seems like an odd choice. This forum is full of criticism of religion by non-believers from all sorts of directions. A lot of them like to focus on the behavior of religious institutions that seems inconsistent with their doctrine. They discuss religious wars, persecution of other religions, personal failings of religious people from pedophile priests to Muhammad, the Inquisition, the genocide of native populations, religious wars, and on and on. Others argue the lack of evidence for religious phenomena and the lack of credibility of belief based on faith. Others point out the inconsistencies of religious beliefs and doctrine.

    I guess the next question is - Is the purpose of your post to undermine the credibility of Catholic religious belief? If so, I'll repeat what I wrote above - It's an odd choice of issues. In the overall scope of things, it seems pretty trivial. It's like complaining about the color of the paint in the Pope's bedroom.

    Maybe if you can explain more, it will make more sense to me. By the way - although the subject of the thread perplexes me a bit - your opening post was well-written and you laid out the issues you are interested in clearly.
  • god must be atheist
    574
    it makes sense to me if you are a Catholic to focus on such a narrow doctrinal issue, if you are not, it seems like an odd choice. This forum is full of criticism of religion by non-believers from all sorts of directions.T Clark

    Your last sentence in this quote above is true. But please also consider this:

    This forum is also full of illogical theorizing by religious thinkers.

    I t hink it is better to focus on a real problem, however small it is, than to spew out all kinds of horribly unsubstantiated belief-borne dogma.
  • T Clark
    4.1k
    This forum is also full of illogical theorizing by religious thinkers.god must be atheist

    I haven't found that to be true. There are a lot more vocal atheists here than believers. The atheists also tend to be more rabid. Case in point - Gnostic Christian Bishop.
  • god must be atheist
    574
    There are a lot more vocal atheists here than believers. The atheists also tend to be more rabid. Case in point - Gnostic Christian Bishop.T Clark


    I think Gnostic Christian Bishop is not an atheist. In my opinion he has an agenda and he is very careful in advocating it... he tries to prepare the intellectual terrain, so to speak, to accept it, but he is slow because he encounters too much resistence as is.

    If you want to find a rabid atheist, then look no further than me.

    And I don't know how many rabid atheists you've known, so this may sound new to you: in my opinion any serious talk about religion is an insult to intelligence. This is so because: No prediction has ever come true as written in religious texts; their content is getting more and more ridiculously childish by modern standards; the religious, instead of admitting the failure of their scriptures, try to smoothe over the self-contradictions and obviously wrong claims by "interpreting" the texts; and the entire body fo scriptures, that form the base of religions, is refutable, ridiculous (but not funny) and logically unsound and have been so since day one.

    Under this light, maybe you can understand our, the atheists', fervent attacks against ANYTHING that has to do with religions or with gods. It is an outdated, anachronistic, should I say stupid and ignorant, belief system, and deserves no respect. Atheists will leave no stone unturned to show this, and I think the smart thing for people would be to post on segregated forums: atheists where no religious talk is allowed, and the religious, where no atheist talk is allowed. A lot, and I mean a lot, of ill feelings and futile argumenting could be avoided this way.
  • T Clark
    4.1k
    If you want to find a rabid atheist, then look no further than me.god must be atheist

    I thought about including you along with GCB, but I didn't want to complicate this discussion.

    And I don't know how many rabid atheists you've known, so this may sound new to you: in my opinion any serious talk about religion is an insult to intelligence. This is so because: No prediction has ever come true as written in religious texts; their content is getting more and more ridiculously childish by modern standards; the religious, instead of admitting the failure of their scriptures, try to smoothe over the self-contradictions and obviously wrong claims by "interpreting" the texts; and the entire body fo scriptures, that form the base of religions, is refutable, ridiculous (but not funny) and logically unsound and have been so since day one.god must be atheist

    Thanks, I couldn't have asked for a better example to show @Jacob-B what I am talking about.

    Under this light, maybe you can understand our, the atheists', fervent attacks against ANYTHING that has to do with religions or with gods.god must be atheist

    I understand that you make the attacks you refer to, but I won't acknowledge that you have any good reasons for them. As you say, they are futile. Pointless. Bad philosophy.

    A lot, and I mean a lot, of ill feelings and futile argumenting could be avoided this way.god must be atheist

    Thanks for highlighting what I wrote previously - I find that atheists are primarily responsible for whatever conflict there is. I would not support your plan for segregation, but if it were decided to implement it here on the forum, my vote would be to evict the atheists.
  • god must be atheist
    574
    Thanks for highlighting what I wrote previously - I find that atheists are primarily responsible for whatever conflict there is.T Clark

    You're putting the carriage in front of the horse. According to you, as I understand, it is not the fault of stupid, outdated, unsubstantiated and improbable beliefs and their ensuing dogma that is the cause of stirfe and conflict, but the people who point out that the dogmas are borne from improbable beliefs, from stupid, outdated, and unsubstantiated claims.

    You realize that you have made a brilliant argument on the side of religion, the aim of which is to stop, stifle and squelch any progress, any creative and logical thought, to silence all those whose thinking can carry the world ahead, instead of keeping the masses steeped deep in ignorant dogma.
  • javra
    822
    In support of these posts:

    One big myth about medicine: We know how drugs work - from The Washington Post

    Its a bit outdated, written in 2015, but I think it helps with the officiality of it all.

    In support of there being no such thing as an omni-somthing guy on top clouds: I was young, had a good childhood up to and some time after this period, and noticed that there was a hell of a lot of injustice in the world. Conclusion: no such thing as an omni-benevolent all-controlling ubiquitously-aware psyche can exist. Yes, Epicurus beat me to the punch. All the same, its a simple but quite sound argument.

    But this doesn't prevent one from being earnestly spiritual in something like a Naturalistic Pantheism way. Spinoza being a good example of this. Other similar approaches can also be found.

    And I second @god must be atheist's belief that @Gnostic Christian Bishop is not an atheist.
  • T Clark
    4.1k
    You're putting the carriage in front of the horse. According to you, as I understand, it is not the fault of stupid, outdated, unsubstantiated and improbable beliefs and their ensuing dogma that is the cause of stirfe and conflict, but the people who point out that the dogmas are borne from improbable beliefs, from stupid, outdated, and unsubstantiated claims.god must be atheist

    I went back and checked for the last week. During that period, there were 18 active threads that dealt with the existence of God. Based on the opening post, thirteen of them were anti-religion and five of them I classified as neutral. I didn't identify any pro-religion threads, which doesn't mean that there weren't pro-religion posts within some of the threads. Based on that limited survey, if you guys would just keep your mouths shut, there would be very little discussion of religion on the forum.

    You realize that you have made a brilliant argument on the side of religion, the aim of which is to stop, stifle and squelch any progress, any creative and logical thought, to silence all those whose thinking can carry the world ahead, instead of keeping the masses steeped deep in ignorant dogma.god must be atheist

    I don't think my argument is brilliant, but yours is laughable. I can't see where anything I wrote in this thread is pro-religion. I'd say it is primarily neutral. I pointed out that the vast majority of writing about God on the forum is anti-religion and written by atheists and concluding, from that, that any trouble with religious issues is caused by people who are anti-religion. How is that pro-religion? I'd say it's anti-hypocrisy. Anti-hatred. Against bad philosophy. Against bigotry.
  • TheMadFool
    3.8k
    One big myth about medicine: We know how drugs work - from The Washington Postjavra

    I see we have to subscribe. :rofl:

    You're right though. If I could understand anything the title suggests we don't know how drugs work. I wish I could've read it - looked short enough for my attention span.

    Did you read it? What did it say?
  • Wayfarer
    8.2k
    To qualify for sainthood miracle has to occur to a person who prayed to the candidate for sainthood.Jacob-B

    That's not true. The prerequisite for canonization is that it has to be shown that at least two miraculous events can be attributed to a candidate for beatification. And one important point is that the beatification process is quite arduous. The office of 'the devils' advocate' was instituted specifically to argue against miraculous cures, and the whole process is characterised by quite high degrees of scepticism on the part of ecclesiastical officers.

    I happen to know this from reading this article in the NY Times, concerning the work one Jacalyn Duffyn, who is a hematologist (and also, she makes a point of saying, an atheist) who was asked for an expert opinion on a case. Her curiosity piqued, she delved into the literature on these cases, and was amazed to find that it was voluminous:

    Over hundreds of hours in the Vatican archives, I examined the files of more than 1,400 miracle investigations — at least one from every canonization between 1588 and 1999. A vast majority — 93 percent over all and 96 percent for the 20th century — were stories of recovery from illness or injury, detailing treatment and testimony from baffled physicians.

    So in actual fact, and perhaps ironically, there is a considerable body of empirical evidence about these cases. But she hardly found that the Roman priests were eager to rush to canonization. Indeed, she observes,

    Perversely then, this ancient religious process, intended to celebrate exemplary lives, is hostage to the relativistic wisdom and temporal opinions of modern science. Physicians, as nonpartisan witnesses and unaligned third parties, are necessary to corroborate the claims of hopeful postulants. For that reason alone, illness stories top miracle claims. I never expected such reverse skepticism and emphasis on science within the church.

    She has written several books about the subject that I myself haven't read, although they do sound interesting. Her biblio page is here.
  • Jacob-B
    46

    You got a point, but I still think that the belief in Miracle Cures is a good example of Divine Nepotism. You might be the best person in the world but you will be doomed if you do not follow our (weird !)
    rituals. That approach is, of course, common to all, monotheistic religions.
  • Wayfarer
    8.2k
    That approach is, of course, common to all, monotheistic religions.Jacob-B

    So you don't think evidence should have any bearing on the question?
  • Jacob-B
    46

    Where is the evidence?
  • javra
    822
    I see we have to subscribe. :rofl:TheMadFool

    Darn. Did a copy and paste on the web address from a web search and ... buggers. :grin: But I tweaked the address and now it's worked for me in the thread.

    In short, the article says that we quite often learn new knowledge of what drugs work almost exclusively via trial and error, and not via improved knowledge of biology and related fields. Also, we typically learn of how drugs work only long after we find out that they do (decades sometimes), and there are well known drugs that work to which we still don't know the mechanisms.

    Thanks for letting me know about the link problem
  • Gnostic Christian Bishop
    682
    I haven't found that to be true. There are a lot more vocal atheists here than believers. The atheists also tend to be more rabid. Case in point - Gnostic Christian Bishop.T Clark

    Eh, nt long ago I would have been insulted to be classed as an atheists due to their lack of sense in not understanding why religions and churches exist, even though atheist leaders were pushing them to start churches so as to protect their children from the supernatural stupid and immoral religions.

    These days I do not mind so much because atheists are smartening up, starting churches and thus are doing their duty towards their children by creating intelligent, what I term as mystery schools, just the way the ancients did before the more stupid religions began to read their myths literally.

    If I am really more rabid than the usual, I think you for the compliment.

    If you are not rabid towards the satanic mainstream religions, you are not much of a person and are not living by the Golden Rule.

    If you think you should live by the Golden Rule, change the labels in this quote to women, minorities, gays or children being brainwashed by religions and it shows what we should be thinking and doing for each other.

    "First they came for the Jews, but I did nothing because I'm not a Jew. Then they came for the socialists, but I did nothing because I'm not a socialist. Then they came for the Catholics, but I did nothing because I'm not a Catholic. Finally, they came for me, but by then there was no one left to help me." – Pastor Father Niemoller (1946)”

    Regards
    DL
  • Gnostic Christian Bishop
    682
    If you want to find a rabid atheist, then look no further than me.god must be atheist

    Stand tall brother.

    Both Christianity and Islam, slave holding ideologies, have basically developed into intolerant, homophobic and misogynous religions. Both religions have grown themselves by the sword instead of good deeds and continue with their immoral ways in spite of secular law showing them the moral ways.

    Jesus said we would know his people by their works and deeds. That means Jesus would not recognize Christians and Muslims as his people, and neither do I. Jesus would call Christianity and Islam abominations.

    Gnostic Christians did in the past, and I am proudly continuing that tradition and honest irrefutable evaluation based on morality.

    https://topdocumentaryfilms.com/theft-values/

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZxoxPapPxXk

    Humanity centered religions, good? Yes. Esoteric ecumenist Gnostic Christianity being the best of these.

    Supernaturally based religions, evil? Yes. Islam and Christianity being the worst of these.

    Regards
    DL
  • Gnostic Christian Bishop
    682
    smart thing for people would be to post on segregated forums: atheists where no religious talk is allowed, and the religious, where no atheist talk is allowed. A lot, and I mean a lot, of ill feelings and futile argumenting could be avoided this way.god must be atheist

    No buddy. A thousand times no.

    How can we cure the ill if we do not go to their hospital?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgeQaDnpuPM

    Regards
    DL
  • Gnostic Christian Bishop
    682
    my vote would be to evict the atheists.T Clark

    Stupid is as stupid writes.

    A philosophy forum without the freest thinkers would be a fundamental religionist forum, full of fool, fool.

    Regards
    DL
  • Gnostic Christian Bishop
    682
    But this doesn't prevent one from being earnestly spiritual in something like a Naturalistic Pantheism way. Spinoza being a good example of this. Other similar approaches can also be found.

    And I second god must be atheist's belief that @Gnostic Christian Bishop is not an atheist.
    javra

    Correct. I labeled myself a Gnostic Christian because it was the best ideology I could find in both the moral area and the free thinking area. I am an esoteric ecumenist and naturalist who believes in seeking god as Jesus taught and raising the bar of excellent whenever I think I have found god. God here I define as the best rules ands laws to live life by.

    All the gods and or our notions of god have come out of humans minds, and thus the only god we should bow to is a human one.

    The god of an ant is an ant.
    The god of a lion is a lion.
    The god of a human, is a human.

    We are natural animals and should follow natures ways.

    Regards
    DL
  • Gnostic Christian Bishop
    682
    that any trouble with religious issues is caused by people who are anti-religion.T Clark

    Rather selective in your views.

    You centered me out as one of the worst offenders, and you are correct, while ignoring that I am a religionist whom you have tried to label as an atheist.

    I repeat, if you are not against the vile homophobic and misogynous mainstream religions that posit that a genocidal prick of a god is somehow good, then you have a corrupted moral sense.

    Regards
    DL
  • T Clark
    4.1k
    Rather selective in your views.Gnostic Christian Bishop

    As Aristotle once said "facts is facts." Or was that me?

    You centered me out as one of the worst offenders, and you are correct, while ignoring that I am a religionist whom you have tried to label as an atheist.Gnostic Christian Bishop

    I wasn't aware that you are not an atheist. I'll be more careful in the future. From now on I'll say "atheists and anti-religionists," or something like that.
  • Gnostic Christian Bishop
    682
    I wasn't aware that you are not an atheist.T Clark

    My avatar ------- what can I say.

    Regards
    DL
  • T Clark
    4.1k
    My avatar ------- what can I say.Gnostic Christian Bishop

    I thought you were just a fan of "The Lion King."
  • Gnostic Christian Bishop
    682
    I thought you were just a fan of "The Lion King."T Clark

    I didn't know that he was a Gnostic Christian or atheist.

    Smart lion if he dropped his atheism for Gnostic Christianity.

    Hint. Hint.

    Regards
    DL
  • S
    11.3k
    You centered me out as one of the worst offenders, and you are correct, while ignoring that I am a religionist whom you have tried to label as an atheist.
    — Gnostic Christian Bishop

    I wasn't aware that you are not an atheist.
    T Clark

    He's an atheist. He just doesn't want to be called one.
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