Possible explanations to MIRACLES that have happened
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04-04-2013, 11:07 AM
RE: Possible explanations to MIRACLES that have happened
The brain is a funny thing. Our memories are wildly inaccurate, all the time.

Some event happens. You think your brain records the actual event, but what really happens is that the event passes through all kinds of subconscious filters and by the time the event is stored in your memory, your mind has already altered it to fit your perceptions - perceptions that can be strongly influenced by presuppositions (for example, religious beliefs). Then once the memory is stored, each time you remember it, your mind applies more filters, editing out the unbelievable bits, modifying the rest to match your own expectations. Years later, after you have recalled a specific event, say, 100 times over those years, you have actually edited that memory 100 times.

None of us know we're doing this. Our brain doesn't store the original event so our brain has no way to compare our edited memory against reality - all we have is the edited memory. So, to us, our memory seems to be a perfect record of the event, but we're actually remembering only our subconsciously edited version which usually is not the way things really happened.

This has been observed and confirmed, over and over, often with fake psychics - they get stuff wrong and get stuff right, apparently entirely by random chance, but the paying customers always, always, always edit out the wrong stuff and edit the right stuff to make it more right. Video tape a session with a psychic doing a reading for someone who really believes in psychics, let them go home and sleep on it, talk to them about it a few times over the next month or two, then play back the real recording, and they will always find that their memory is extremely different than the recording.

For ordinary common things, we usually apply ordinary common filters to our memories, which is to say we don't filter them very much at all. But for surprising, mysterious, uncommon, magical, supernatural, or miraculous events, our filters, fueled by our presuppositions, can greatly alter our memories without us even knowing we're doing it. Which is why it happens a lot with psychics, faith healers, miracles, etc., but not so much with our daily routines.

The same thing happens with miracles. What your parents remember, and what you remember, about your childhood experience was edited to be "miraculous" before any of your brains even stored the memory, and every time you remember it, or they do, or you all talk about it, your brains edit more miracle into it each time. You have no way, now, of knowing what really happened because your subconscious has imperceptibly altered your memories about it.

Don't feel bad. Everybody's brain does this, all the time. Yours, mine, everybody's.

Which means, what really happened (for just one example out of an infinite number of possibilities) may have just been that you were really sick, maybe even passed out for a while, and all of you have remembered it differently.

"Whores perform the same function as priests, but far more thoroughly." - Robert A. Heinlein
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04-04-2013, 05:08 PM
RE: Possible explanations to MIRACLES that have happened
(04-04-2013 10:37 AM)Doctor X Wrote:  No one truly, clinically, dead--brain dead--has ever come back to life.

Even physicians are human and are happy to think they had some part in a miracle.

--J.D.

^^This.^^

Again, no, you cannot die and come back to life.

Through profound pain comes profound knowledge.
Ridi, Pagliaccio, sul tuo amore infranto! Ridi del duol, che t'avvelena il cor!
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04-04-2013, 06:37 PM
RE: Possible explanations to MIRACLES that have happened
(04-04-2013 10:36 AM)PleaseJesus Wrote:  
Quote:A "miracle" is the least probable event ever to happen. Therefore ANY other explanation goes in front of it in line. There is no evidence for anthing other than natural EVER to have happened. If a miracle happened, the laws of Physics, Chemistry, Probability etc etc would have to be suspended. Due to the Pauli Exclusion Principle, if one thing is changed, THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE is altered.
Based on your description above, BB, there may be evidence for other than natural occurances, but they would be extremely rare. Your blanket statement, "There is no evidence for anthing other than natural EVER to have happened." is an attempt to proclaim special, omniscient (!) knowledge and also to PROVE A NEGATIVE! A more appropriate post would have been, "I'm an Agnostic. I've never seen or heard of evidence. It's unlikely."

Wrong. There is no evidence. Show me some evidence. You got nuthin.
Nice try at changing the subject. Troll.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein
Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music - Friedrich Nietzsche
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05-04-2013, 06:24 AM
RE: Possible explanations to MIRACLES that have happened
(04-04-2013 09:06 AM)Phaedrus Wrote:  I think that as a child you were put through a prolonged and painful battle with a disease without medical treatment, because of your parents' religious beliefs. You blacked out / fainted at least once. Eventually you pulled through and survived the experience. Your parents, who were likely worried sick, swung the other way and praised god for your survival.

Over time, through retelling, exaggeration, and a subconscious need to rationalize their faith, the story of you blacking out grew into a story of you dying and being brought back by god's miracle.

They can now never go back on that, even if presented with evidence, because they would feel as if they were being accused of lying, and it would be an attack on a cornerstone of their faith.

Many children at that church did die before because of their parents' faith. There are some though who are already old enough but was just plain dumb. I even know someone who died because of tuberculosis even though it's curable, because at the time of his sickness, he went on few days fasting. Ridiculous and stupid, I KNOW.

With what the others have said, I am convinced that it might have just probably been a faint.
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05-04-2013, 06:29 AM
RE: Possible explanations to MIRACLES that have happened
(04-04-2013 11:03 AM)Impulse Wrote:  
(04-04-2013 12:17 AM)GuiltyAngel Wrote:  hey guys!

I just wanted to ask what do you think about the so-called "miracles" that had happened. you see, we were once a member of a christian church very famous because of numerous miracles that had happened like, the dead were alive again, the demon-possessed healed, the sickly who were almost dying INSTANTLY healed. we were a witness of all these and these were reasons why my parents have very strong faith about this god. but now that i'm an atheist, i want to know possible explanations of these things so if ever they come up in a conversation, i have answers. i'm a newly deconverted. so i hope you guys can help me.

in addition, my parents said it happened to me before that i died. they knew i was dead at home because i was no longer breathing and i was pale already. for a few minutes though. it was because of severe tonsillitis and in that church we used to attend, we were not allowed to take medicine or see the doctor so they said it was the cause. i really don't know how true but they say they were convinced that i died.

another thing, my mother before was in the hospital dying. it was around 1990's and she left hospital signing a waiver because the doctors wouldn't let her leave. she had a kidney disease. she went to that same church on wheelchair and very weak. she explained that while the church service was on going, she felt really cold wind enter her body and after that, she could stand, she could jump dance and shout!

we've been a witness of so many miracles like so. what do you think is the explanation for all this?
Mostly it's done with lies. A faith healer, for example, puts a plant in the audience who stands up out of a wheelchair at the appropriate moment to convince people they have been healed. If this is done several times, people begin to believe in the "power" of the faith healer. For some people, their "illness" isn't as bad as they perceive and as soon as they believe it can be miraculously cured, the inaccurate perception may be lost, replaced by the new belief. Then they too have been "healed". Pretty soon they tell others about this miraculous healing and more and more people believe it. Then some of those people wish they had a healing story to tell too and may invent one and lie figuring that, since faith healing is "real", what's the harm in lying to get others to recognize the "truth". And the cycle goes on...

In your case, you obviously didn't die. It's hard to say exactly what happened, if anything (because it's possible even that was a lie told to you), but whatever state you were in was probably mistaken for death. I don't know about your mother's case. It could be a lie because she really really wants you to believe in faith healing. Or it could be that her problem was more perceived than real. Or it could have been a misdiagnosis. There is obviously no way for me to know, but it wasn't a miracle.

Well in our case, the church didn't really used any plants or whatever. They prayed so damn loud shouting God's name and some crap while laying their hands on top of someone's head. They do that especially to those who're demon-possessed. But no plants or whatever, just praying and shouting then like magic, TA-DAH! Instant healing happens. My mom's kidney disease didn't come back. She has not felt weak because of it too though in the hospital she was dying. Many of her friends have witnessed that, and even my dad. So I guess when the time comes that I'll come out of the closet and tell them I'm an atheist, it'd be very hard to explain.
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05-04-2013, 08:18 AM (This post was last modified: 05-04-2013 08:26 AM by docskeptic.)
RE: Possible explanations to MIRACLES that have happened
Well in our case, the church didn't really used any plants or whatever. They prayed so damn loud shouting God's name and some crap while laying their hands on top of someone's head. They do that especially to those who're demon-possessed. But no plants or whatever, just praying and shouting then like magic, TA-DAH! Instant healing happens. My mom's kidney disease didn't come back. She has not felt weak because of it too though in the hospital she was dying. Many of her friends have witnessed that, and even my dad. So I guess when the time comes that I'll come out of the closet and tell them I'm an atheist, it'd be very hard to explain.
[/quote]

Guilty Angel
The possibility of a placebo efect should also be considered in both your and your mother's case. Even the genuinely ill may have a temporary or even a permanent respite in their symptoms upon contact with a charismatic person or technique. The placebo effect is powerful and can easily account for a significant proportion of cures, even in those cases where modern medicines and surgical techniques are utilized.

See, "The Placebo is Powerful: Estimating Placebo Effects in Medicine and Psychotherapy from Randomized Clinical Trials,” Journal of Clinical Psychology, Vol. 61, No. 7 (July 2005), 835–54, by B. Wampold, et al.

Doc
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05-04-2013, 10:10 AM
RE: Possible explanations to MIRACLES that have happened
(05-04-2013 06:29 AM)GuiltyAngel Wrote:  
(04-04-2013 11:03 AM)Impulse Wrote:  Mostly it's done with lies. A faith healer, for example, puts a plant in the audience who stands up out of a wheelchair at the appropriate moment to convince people they have been healed. If this is done several times, people begin to believe in the "power" of the faith healer. For some people, their "illness" isn't as bad as they perceive and as soon as they believe it can be miraculously cured, the inaccurate perception may be lost, replaced by the new belief. Then they too have been "healed". Pretty soon they tell others about this miraculous healing and more and more people believe it. Then some of those people wish they had a healing story to tell too and may invent one and lie figuring that, since faith healing is "real", what's the harm in lying to get others to recognize the "truth". And the cycle goes on...

In your case, you obviously didn't die. It's hard to say exactly what happened, if anything (because it's possible even that was a lie told to you), but whatever state you were in was probably mistaken for death. I don't know about your mother's case. It could be a lie because she really really wants you to believe in faith healing. Or it could be that her problem was more perceived than real. Or it could have been a misdiagnosis. There is obviously no way for me to know, but it wasn't a miracle.

Well in our case, the church didn't really used any plants or whatever. They prayed so damn loud shouting God's name and some crap while laying their hands on top of someone's head. They do that especially to those who're demon-possessed. But no plants or whatever, just praying and shouting then like magic, TA-DAH! Instant healing happens. My mom's kidney disease didn't come back. She has not felt weak because of it too though in the hospital she was dying. Many of her friends have witnessed that, and even my dad. So I guess when the time comes that I'll come out of the closet and tell them I'm an atheist, it'd be very hard to explain.
Are you sure you would know if plants were used? The healers don't make that part known beyond the people directly involved in the deception. And again, once people start to believe faith healings can happen, it often goes a long way toward making them feel better even though there has been no real physical change. Thus, "healing" can happen with no plants too. That could be the case with your mother maybe coupled with a misdiagnosis. Were you there then? I had the impression her healing happened before you were born and you were just told about this. If you weren't there, then I'm sorry to say but it's possible she is telling you a story because she honestly thinks faith healing is for real and wants you to "know it" too.

"Religion has caused more misery to all of mankind in every stage of human history than any other single idea." --Madalyn Murray O'Hair
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05-04-2013, 07:45 PM (This post was last modified: 05-04-2013 07:49 PM by matthewwest.)
RE: Possible explanations to MIRACLES that have happened
I've had experiences in my life that I thought were miracles--or divine providence, at least. Even now, it may not seem as though there is a plausible explanation. All I can say is that the belief system (BS) I thought explained them at the time is simply not true, so there must be another explanation. And none of my experiences were so supernatural that they had no possible natural cause. My working hypothesis is that even highly improbable things have to happen sometime, and in these cases they happened to me. Add in confirmation bias, and there really isn't much left.

I've also found that if you make someone who claims to have experienced a miracle actually explain what happened, there usually turns out to be a lot less than meets the eye. You don't have to even be hostile, just act like the densest, dumbest moron in the room and and *make them explain it to you.* Just my opinions and observations, worth about what you paid for them...
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05-04-2013, 10:27 PM
RE: Possible explanations to MIRACLES that have happened
(05-04-2013 10:10 AM)Impulse Wrote:  
(05-04-2013 06:29 AM)GuiltyAngel Wrote:  Well in our case, the church didn't really used any plants or whatever. They prayed so damn loud shouting God's name and some crap while laying their hands on top of someone's head. They do that especially to those who're demon-possessed. But no plants or whatever, just praying and shouting then like magic, TA-DAH! Instant healing happens. My mom's kidney disease didn't come back. She has not felt weak because of it too though in the hospital she was dying. Many of her friends have witnessed that, and even my dad. So I guess when the time comes that I'll come out of the closet and tell them I'm an atheist, it'd be very hard to explain.
Are you sure you would know if plants were used? The healers don't make that part known beyond the people directly involved in the deception. And again, once people start to believe faith healings can happen, it often goes a long way toward making them feel better even though there has been no real physical change. Thus, "healing" can happen with no plants too. That could be the case with your mother maybe coupled with a misdiagnosis. Were you there then? I had the impression her healing happened before you were born and you were just told about this. If you weren't there, then I'm sorry to say but it's possible she is telling you a story because she honestly thinks faith healing is for real and wants you to "know it" too.

Yes, I'm sure. I mean, pastors we know, other church fellows we know do it all the time. When someone is sick, they just place their hands on his/her head then pray like crazy. Some actually heals instantly, even those who are severely ill. We even know someone who's 70+ years old. The guys from the funeral homes were already at the hospital to measure him for his coffin. But now, he can even play basketball with kids. Though his healing was not instant, it was sort of gradual so I was guessing that maybe the power of mind could really play a big role in someone. Making them believe they could be healed, they start thinking about healing, they fight against their sickness. That's my hunch though.

I'm sure no plants were used. They just believe that with prayer, anything is possible you know? So they depend on that at times of sickness.
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