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#34401 05/17/10 06:47 AM
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Do miracles really happen, and if so what are they? People from ancient to modern times have claimed to experience and/or witness them. Are they supernatural intervention, natural happenstance, or something else entirely?

Recently wrote on this subject— comments pro or con appreciated.

Mystery of Miracles

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Originally Posted By: Warren
Do miracles really happen?


Thanks for the question, Warren. The short answer is: Of course there are!

As you say: "People from ancient to modern times have claimed to experience and/or witness them."

Add my name to the list.

You go on and ask: What are they? Are they supernatural intervention? Natural happenstance? Or something else entirely?

Then you add: "I Recently wrote on this subject— comments pro or con appreciated." Mystery of Miracles
In response to your inquiry: Will do! And will give examples.


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Originally Posted By: Warren
Do miracles really happen, and if so what are they?


Depends on how you define "miracle". As much as we like to pretend otherwise, most of the events that happen to us are stochastic in nature - a fancy way of saying these events happen to populations of people with a predictable statistical distribution. What this means is that extremely rare events are expected to occur with some degree of regularity - and when you consider that there are 6+ billion of us on this planet, it is of no surprise that even the rarest of rare events do happen on occasion.

Of course, many things that people claim as miracles really are not - often surviving diseases with high mortality (cancer, for example) is called a miracle, when in reality its just the expected number of people surviving the disease. Strangely enough, these people often are the last to acclaim their survival due to the work of their MD's, but that's another thread... The same rule applies for for surviving auto accidents, and any other number of rare events.

There is also the issue of self-selection; basically people interpreting events filtered through their past experiences. The problem here is things which appear absolutely miraculous may, in reality, be totally normal and expected events. If you've never been in a severe auto accident, it may appear a miracle when you survive one. In reality, modern cars are so safe that the majority of people in severe accidents survive. But since these accidents are rare, the events appear miraculous to those involved, even though on a population level they are exactly what you would expect. IMO, this effect is often amplified in religious individuals, who often are seeking signs of miracles.

I think to truly have a "confirmable" miracle you need an event to occur which simply isn't improbable, but is actually impossible (i.e. the laws of physics say it cannot be possible for that event to occur). After all, any other "miraculous" event could not be separated from events which are simply statistically rare occurrences.

Bryan


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TALK ABOUT A MIRACULOUS ESCAPE
==============================
I am amazed at how this film was made. It looks like God was rooting for the bear this time, eh? smile

"Cougar vs. Bear" on Flixxy.com

To watch this video go to:

http://www.flixxy.com/bear-animal-nature-film.htm?r=0

============


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TALK ABOUT A MIRACULOUS ESCAPE
==============================
As I said above: I am amazed at how this film was made. Somehow, it must have been set up. Be that as it may, it looks like God--if there is such "a" being--was, at this time, rooting for the bear smile "Later, I will let the cougar snack on a rabbit, or two. Such is nature as designed by "god".

NOW CHECK OUT

"Cougar vs. Bear" on Flixxy.com

To watch this video go to:

http://www.flixxy.com/bear-animal-nature-film.htm?r=0

==============
MORE ABOUT MIRACLES
--------------
Let me be clear: I do not believe in a "god" who is one who suspends the laws of nature--one who does certain miracles for a certain chosen few, just because they happen to belong to the "right" kind of religion and who say the "right" kind of rituals and prayers at the right shrine and at the "right" time.

Be this as it may, take note that organized-doctrinaire-politicized-and-ritualized kind of religion holds no attraction to me. Of course I accept that there is such a thing as a healthy kind of religion--rare though it might be--but this does not make me a dogmatic religionist.

In addition to the above--and more than once, over my 80 years, I have survived several near-death experiences, including several near-fatal accidents. But I make no claim that a god blessed and helped me and, at the same time, arbitrarily, refused to do so for others.

BTW, as a minister, over the years I have witnessed the suffering, pain and deaths--and officiated at the funerals--of numerous people.

Long before I became a minister, and even as child, I witnessed the death of many people (before and during World War 2--including several close members of my own family.) Despite this, I have never claimed--nor would I now claim--that a god--the one believers call God--intervened, saved me, and gave me a special blessing, while neglecting.

However, I do acknowledge that good and marvelous things--some even of the trivial kind, like the finding of lost items--did and do happen. And they happen, not just to, and for, a chosen few, but to anyone of us willing to put ourselves into the flow of things, or, as some call it, nature.

Me? I like to call it the GOD-like flow of nature. May I remind you that I think of GOD--the good, orderly and desirable--as total Consciousness and Being--that is, total Awareness. And, in my experience, such miracles of the serious and trivial kind seem to happen more frequently than the laws of chance allow.

I realize that the following story is about finding lost items, but I tell it simply to illustrate a principle.

FINDING THE SAME RING, TWICE
============================
I once lost a rather valuable ring, twice. The first time I lost it was because it was a bit too large for my finger. It slipped off my finger when I was raking some leaves in my front yard--a fairly large area.

Later, when I missed it, and after a time of using visualization--and what I now call "meta-prayer", I felt that it was somewhere in the front yard, but a relatively long search produced nothing. I concluded that I could have stepped on it, or that I had thrown it away with the leaves I had stuffed in bags, which by then were well on their way to the city compost area.

A week or so later, again after I took the time of visualize and to meta-pray, something, within me, told me to go and get the lawn rake. With the rake in hand, I walked across the lawn.

As I moved in a straight line towards the large maple tree, from which the leaves fell, I moved the rake back and forth. Within a few feet of the tree, and in rather tall grass, the ring came up on one of the tines--or is it prongs?--of the rake. Foolishly, without getting the ring sized to fit my finger, I put it back on my finger near my wedding ring, which fits well.

Weeks later, I lost the same ring again. However, this time I had no idea where I had lost it.

I asked myself: "What am I to learn from this experience? Am I to learn that visualization plus meta-praying really is a useful tool and power?

After I did so, once again, I received a strong feeling: This time, I felt that the ring was still somewhere on my property, but at the back. not front. With the same rake in hand, which I had used before, I was moved to go to the patio in my back yard area.

There, I stood and held the idea in my mind--that is, I visualized--that I would be directed to the location of the lost ring. With the rake in hand, and eyes closed, I turned around and around, several times, and stopped. Then I said to myself: "I will open my eyes, and begin to move in the direction I see when I open them." I moved in the direction indicated--towards the back fence and just left of centre.

As I moved in that direction, I searched the ground--as I had done before, in the front yard--with the rake. When I got to within three feet of the back fence--where I had been digging earlier, and planned to do some planting ... I found nothing. No ring appeared on any of the prongs!

I was just about to give up, and call it a failed experiment, when I looked down and noticed a clump of soil where I had been digging a few days before. I kicked over the clump of soil, which I noticed near the fence, and there beneath it was my ring.

This time. I took the ring, fixed the problem I had had with it and placed it safely on my finger. Just this minute, I looked at it. It is still where it had been, safely so, for years.

Later, I told this story in a sermon. Following church, an elderly member of my church asked me: "Do you think that I could use the same method to find a box of valuables which I have lost?" I encouraged her to do so and gave her simple instructions in visualizing.

The following Sunday. She was all smiles: "It worked!" she said, and then gave me the details of how it had been misplaced.

**************
FOR MORE ABOUT MIRACLES CHECK OUT:
http://www.wondercafe.ca/blogs/revlgking...xperiences-them
Feel free to add any which you have experienced.

Last edited by Revlgking; 05/27/10 06:35 AM.
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The mind is a powerful, mysterious device, and meditation - of which there are numerous methods - can enhance its functioning. Glad you've been able to apply it for good use, Rev.


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MIRACLE--A DEFINITION
=====================
From the dictionary.com

1. A noun, an effect or extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause.
2. such an effect or event manifesting or considered as a work of God.
3. a wonder; marvel.
4. a wonderful or surpassing example of some quality: a miracle of modern acoustics.
5. miracle play.
Origin: 1125–75; ME miracle, miracul (< OF miracle) < L m&#299;r&#257;culum, equiv. to m&#299;r&#257;(r&#299;) to wonder at + -culum

Word Origin & History

miracle, noun,

1137, from O.Fr. miracle, from L. miraculum "object of wonder"

First record of miraculous is from 1502.
=======================================
IMO, more and more of what we used to call the "supernatural" is being revealed, today, as the natural. Many things we take for granted today were thought of by our ancestors--and not that long ago--as supernatural.

I like to think of the "supernatural", if there is such a thing, simply as the unknown waiting to be made known. Perhaps some things are unknowable, to me. If I really come to accept that such and such is unknowable to me, I will leave it others to explore. For me it would just be stressful and a waste of time.

Paraphrasing the great SERENITY PRAYER, composed by the theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr (He taught at Union Theological Seminary, New York) and used by all those who attend AA programs, I offer the following meta-prayer:

I affirm that it is possible for anyone, including me, to have the serenity and peace of mind to accept life's limitations; that there many things, which may be of value to me and others, that I cannot know and do not need to know. I affirm that it is possible for any one to have the courage to make the effort to know, and to make use of, all good knowledge that is helpful and available to each of us, as needed.

Meanwhile, I trust and affirm that moment by moment it is possible for any of us to be truly humane, when we so will it, and be wise enough to know the difference between good and evil. It is possible for anyone to be hopeful and lovingly affirm the good, physically, mentally and spiritually, for self and all that is.
=====================================
References:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reinhold_Niebuhr
http://www.cptryon.org/prayer/special/serenity.html

Last edited by Revlgking; 05/27/10 03:59 PM. Reason: Always helpful.
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Originally Posted By: Revlgking
I like to think of the "supernatural", if there is such a thing, simply as the unknown waiting to be made known.


I don't think I've ever heard that sediment stated so succinctly before. If the history of science has taught us anything, it is that "supernatural" is just a way of describing real, physical events we simply do not understand.

There is much in this world I do not understand (QED, for example); but that doesn't make it magic...

Bryan


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Thank you for the responses and thoughtful comments!

ImagingGeek I admit stochastic is a new word for me. I like it-- also your review and comments, which I agree with and tried to express in similar form in the article.

Rev. King, I too liked your statement, "I like to think of the 'supernatural,' if there is such a thing, simply as the unknown waiting to be made known."

The unknown natural waiting to be known is what I call cryptonatural, which is a word I devised for the purpose, concurrent with a few other writers on the web, who used it in the same sense.

I take it then that everyone who has commented so far more or less agrees with my conclusion-- that natural forces, known or unknown, while possibly not all forces, are sufficient to explain all phenomena, so by the law of parsimony it is unlikely that any other forces are active.

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Originally Posted By: Warren
I take it then that everyone who has commented so far more or less agrees with my conclusion-- that natural forces, known or unknown, while possibly not all forces, are sufficient to explain all phenomena

I take your conclusion to be true (probably), though I'm not sure what you mean by "possibly not all forces". What exceptions are you considering?

To support that conclusion, the meaning of the word 'natural', as in

'Existing in or in conformity with nature or the observable world; neither supernatural nor magical'

needs to be expanded to include whatever caused the existence of the observable world. Since that hypothetical cause can never be verified, one may reasonably claim the possibility of an ultimate miracle, the Big Bang. Associated with that, one may claim another miracle: the entire universe continues to exist.

Alternatively, one may prefer to say "that's just the way things are". I suppose it makes no difference either way except, perhaps, in the way one feels about it.


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Originally Posted By: redewenur
I take your conclusion to be true (probably), though I'm not sure what you mean by "possibly not all forces". What exceptions are you considering?


Any force not natural or ultimately natural, including supernatural forces.

I did write on cosmogony too— Why Is There Anything? Though it may not be the best article for sure, it reflects about the best I can do now. It works with the issue of whether natural law is sufficient to explain the origin of natural law, as well as everything else.

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Warren, at unitheist.org you ask: Why Is There Anything?

My response to your most important question, Warren, is: Credit it to the fact that some of us are conscious, and/or self-aware, human beings.

Consciousness, or awareness--that is, yours, others, and mine--is what, in my opinion, creates what is.

Last edited by Revlgking; 05/28/10 11:21 PM.
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Originally Posted By: Revlgking
...Consciousness, or awareness--that is, yours, others, and mine--is what, in my opinion, creates what is.


You're not saying that nothing existed before conscious beings came along, are you?

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Whys is there anything - because if there wasn't there would be no one around to wonder why it was there...

Not a very satisfying answer, but one which does answer the question.

A more scientific answer (long video, great science):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ImvlS8PLIo

Bryan

PS: Is there any way to embed videos directly into the replies here on science-a-go-go?


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Originally Posted By: ImagingGeek
Whys is there anything - because if there wasn't there would be no one around to wonder why it was there...

Not a very satisfying answer, but one which does answer the question...


I said something to that effect in the article--

"...Actually we do know there was not nor is an exclusive, eternal nothingness, a complete and absolute nothingness void of energy or change, time or space, because such a nothingness would have precluded our existence..."

Don't know about videos-- can't watch them because I'm still on dialup.

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Originally Posted By: Warren

I said something to that effect in the article--

"...Actually we do know there was not nor is an exclusive, eternal nothingness, a complete and absolute nothingness void of energy or change, time or space, because such a nothingness would have precluded our existence..."

Don't know about videos-- can't watch them because I'm still on dialup.


Its too bad that you cannot watch the video - its fantastic. It also pretty much states that your "impossible" source of our universe is essentially where our universe must have come from.

The video itself is by Lawrence M. Krauss, a well known physicist and author who studies the origins of our universe. In it he goes over some recent results involving the curvature of the universe. While that doesn't seem to have much to do with where our universe came from, it actually tells us a lot about where our universe came from.

The curvature of our universe is determined by the amount of "positive energy" (mass, photons, etc) compared to "negative energy" (cosmological acceleration, etc). Basically, if our universe is curved (curvature can be positive or negative), it means our universe originated from a place with non-zero energy. If the curvature is zero - which is what recent results have demonstrated - it means that our universe originated, literally, from nothing. A true zero-energy state.

I'm not familiar enough with the physics to say what that means in terms of aspects like time, but given that time is a dimension of our universe, no different than the other dimensions, it seems plausible to me that it to may be a characteristic of this universe, and not of some greater "universe" that gave rise to ours.

Bryan


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Originally Posted By: ImagingGeek

...I'm not familiar enough with the physics to say what that means in terms of aspects like time, but given that time is a dimension of our universe, no different than the other dimensions, it seems plausible to me that it to may be a characteristic of this universe, and not of some greater "universe" that gave rise to ours.

Bryan


Like your last paragraph Bryan, and the whole thing sounds interesting. Will have to watch it at a friend's house, and maybe Google Krauss for some of his writings. Even at zero energy though something has to start a process, and sustain the whole thing. Maybe though that thing is very simple, thus could be inherent (uncaused).

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Originally Posted By: Warren

Like your last paragraph Bryan, and the whole thing sounds interesting. Will have to watch it at a friend's house, and maybe Google Krauss for some of his writings. Even at zero energy though something has to start a process, and sustain the whole thing. Maybe though that thing is very simple, thus could be inherent (uncaused).


Krauss's suggesting is the big bang was a zero-energy quantum fluctuation. That would be uncaused in the strictest sence of the word - simple a matter of statistical probability.

Somewhat humbling...to think our existence may be owed to nothing more than the random fluctuations of QED...

Bryan


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Originally Posted By: Warren
Originally Posted By: Revlgking
...Consciousness, or awareness--that is, yours, others, and mine--is what, in my opinion, creates what is.


You're not saying that nothing existed before conscious beings came along, are you?
Warren, I offer the following just as a guess:
The poet who wrote Genesis 1:2 put it this way: "The earth (cosmos) was without form and desolate. The raging ocean (chaos) that covered everything was engulfed in total darkness, and the power of God (consciousness) was moving over the face of the waters."

In other words, "Because there was no consciousness, as we know it, to give meaning and purpose, all that existed was darkness and chaos. Then the collective WE, which I call GOD--as inherent Goodness, Order and Design in, through and around all that is--became the immaterial point of light in the darkness and chaos and began the process which we call evolution (unfolding) into material form.

In the fullness of time GOD evolved into what scientists call the primordial ball, which is estimated to have been about 30 times the size of the sun. It was so compact that it contained all the matter now in the universe.

Fifteen or twenty billion years ago the ball "exploded"--the BIG Bang--as a blast of matter and light and it began the process of expanding and becoming what we call the galaxies, stars, planets, etc., of which we are now aware.

At this point, earth is the only planet that we know for sure has life on it, including we human beings. It began this process about two billion years ago.

Stay tuned. And feel free to add your own guesses.



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Originally Posted By: Revlgking
Warren, I offer the following just as a guess:
The poet who wrote Genesis 1:2 put it this way: "The earth (cosmos) was without form and desolate. The raging ocean (chaos) that covered everything was engulfed in total darkness, and the power of God (consciousness) was moving over the face of the waters."

That would be a wild guess. If you were to look into the Eastern Philosophies of Consciousness which gave birth to the Western Teachings you might guess this a bit differently.

1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

In the experience of Stillness or Consciousness stilled it appears to be as a void. When Consciousness moves it seemingly creates a ripple effect upon the cosmic waters (Something like ether) which gives a reflection of the movement. The symbolism used is that Consciousness is like an vast ocean and in its depths it becomes still and is full at the same time. On the surface of the ocean are waves or ripples created by surface action or consciousness rising from its still state into activity.
Originally Posted By: Revlgking

In other words, "Because there was no consciousness, as we know it, to give meaning and purpose, all that existed was darkness and chaos. Then the collective WE, which I call GOD--as inherent Goodness, Order and Design in, through and around all that is--became the immaterial point of light in the darkness and chaos and began the process which we call evolution (unfolding) into material form.

This idea would be in conflict with Rev 1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. Consciousness (What Man is a reflection of as in the image of God) has always been, is, and always will be and the creator of experiences that have beginnings and endings.
Originally Posted By: Revlgking

In the fullness of time GOD evolved into what scientists call the primordial ball, which is estimated to have been about 30 times the size of the sun. It was so compact that it contained all the matter now in the universe.

Scientists will soon discover universes within universes giving birth to more universes. Evolution being a concept of relative realities contained with time and space, also known as beginnings and endings or the alpha and omega.
Originally Posted By: Revlgking

Fifteen or twenty billion years ago the ball "exploded"--the BIG Bang--as a blast of matter and light and it began the process of expanding and becoming what we call the galaxies, stars, planets, etc., of which we are now aware.

At this point, earth is the only planet that we know for sure has life on it, including we human beings. It began this process about two billion years ago.
There are records that exist stating that man has been around since the beginning of time and are not native to the construction of the earth. Of course they don't fit within the boundaries of current science and technology and so would not seem relevant or important to Science at this point in time.
Originally Posted By: Revlgking

Stay tuned. And feel free to add your own guesses.

I find a certain satisfaction in experiencing Consciousness as it is described in scripture rather than making assumptions that lead to changing belief and opinion. I think the Church (Religion) has made its fair share of assumptions without actually diving into the reality of what Scripture describes or what The Teacher taught his disciples from in his own experience leading to the transcripts of information passed from the Teacher to the Student.
Whether Jesus or Buddha or whatever Master who shared from his own experiences in any past it has always been the downfall of any oral tradition to seek understanding outside of the classroom by making assumptions regarding snippets of the conversations and classroom experiences that took place between the master and his or her disciple.


I was addicted to the Hokey Pokey, but then I turned myself around!!




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